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Help with my behaviour(57 Posts)
Me and my partner have been together for just over 7 and half years and have two daughters, ever since first daughter came along I've been the worst person to live with.
I'm controlling, abusive and uptight with everything or anyone in the house. I hate the affect it's having on everyone in the household. I've been reading this book to try and help "stop hurting the women you love" and I've enquired about a relationship course and will be going down to speak to them on Tuesday.
I spoke to my partner about this and she said she wants me to start listening to her, start respecting her and engaging in family life.
I am willing to do anything to turn this around, any ideas on where to start?
Does your partner use Mumsnet per chance?
She's an occasional user and mostly use the chat sections
If you are abusive you should offer to leave whilst you sort your shit out. If you love your Wife and children, you should not be making them live with your abusive behaviour.
Yes, if you love her, you want what's best for her and that involves you living apart from the family and treating them with respect.
Arrange to leave. Seek help for yourself. Accept you may never be forgiven. Don't blame anyone else for your shortcomings.
If you are serious, then as BingBong rightly says above, you need to leave and work VERY hard on yourself, for as long as it takes. Abusive behaviour is very hard to change, however, for several reasons, some being that it might be down to a personality disorder or mental health problem that's virtually impossible to treat with therapy or medication, or that the beliefs and unconscious mental and emotional patterns that created this within you could well be so deeply buried and hardwired into you, that it'll be so, so difficult to remove them. You should actually accept the fact that you should not be in a relationship with your partner ever again, and that you should certainly be single unless intensive therapy results in you genuinely being capable of treating a partner decently. That you have abused her so far is the biggest indicator that you will abuse her again, even after therapy.
You also need to find out about therapy for your OH and your DDs. Having an abusive father is like a training achool for making them future victims of abuse themselves, are you aware of the depth and breadth of the damage you will have caused them? Therapy whilst they are still young might be able to lessen some of the chance that you have turned them into future victims.
Therapy for your OH should be to guarantee that she does not take you back, and to help her claw back some of her self esteem and self worth which you have destroyed. It will hopefully ensure that she will not fall into a pattern of future abusive relationships, after having her boundaries and self worth so destroyed by you.
If you think any of this is excessive, unfair or untrue, then you are not ready to face the truth and have little chance of change.
I think you don't really want to make the changes necessary, I suspect you are posting here as some sort of grand gesture to try to fool your Oh that you "really mean it this time" about change. Grand gestures, of course, being one of the classic traits of an abuser.
Ok, well what would be the best thing to do after that? I know I need to under do my whole upbringing but where do I start?
The advice above suggests where to start
What's your wifes username ?
Therapy yes. But also imagine your house is rigged with cameras. Imagine you are being watched constantly, how should you behave in each situation? Step back and think is there another way of seeing things? What can you do differently? Preempt situations, plan ahead. If you suddenly feel angry about something, go for a walk to calm down before you say/do something you regret. If there are triggers to your behaviour, what can you do to change the way you respond? What can you do differently that would help and resolve issues positively?
It is tough when kids are small.
Ok thanks for the advice "Davidhasselhoffstoecheese" some of those things were mentioned in my book I've been reading, but the camera idea is good and something I never thought of.
You undertake intensive psychotherapy, which can take years. You do properly grasp the severity of what you have done to your family, don't you? And how long it will take to change you, which might not even be fully possible? You make it sound as easy and quick as taking a course of antibiotics.
Also, asking for advice on every step and how to take them, etc., is making others responsible for your choices; another classic trait of the abuser.
Surely, if a person is worried that they are abusive, then they probably aren't?! - ie they might be beginning to realise that they are grouchy, a bit self-centred, not easy to live with - and if they are responding positively to ideas like 'imagine a camera is on you, how would you behave' then that implies a willingness to take responsibility and want to change? Maybe I'm being too naive here, but I'd be reeling if I was a person who was in that place in my life and I read the responses above. We don't know age - could be early 20s, still young and 'growing up'. I dunno.
Agree with oxford bags entirely and you shouldn't be posting here if your wife uses MN. Are you hoping she will see this and realise you are sorry? Very manipulative if so.
Walkacross, youth or immaturity are not excuses for abusive behaviour. The majority of males capable of relationships, ie teens onwards, are not abusive. And if youth is an excuse, how come plenty of older, and even elderly men are abusive? Very ignorant and yes, naive comments from you, sorry. Minimisation helps nobody except you feel less discomfited with what's been sakd.
And of course some abusers will realise it. They are probably the ones with a slim chance lf doing something about it, as they have some perception and self-awareness. Again, suggesting that abusers aren't aware of what they are doing is mimimisation.
Also, even if someone did not realise they were being abusive, the end result is the same: an abused partner and damaged children. They are what matter, not the level of awareness the abuser has.
But if the OP hadn't used the word 'abusive' and just said 'controlling and uptight' we'd want more information before judging, surely? And abusers aren't known for putting their hands up and saying 'yes - it's my fault'. That's what I'm questioning - not the demographic of abusiveness. But I sense I'm on my own here, so I'll retreat. Sorry for any offence caused - none intended.
Moot point walk he did and abusers are well known for admitting to abuse in a manipulative way like posting on MN knowing their wife does and hoping she will see and take him back because he is 'so sorry' and changing himself...
OxfordBags, I'm not for one moment diminishing the gravity of domestic abuse but your approach is unhelpful and laden with very obviously unaddressed issues. The sarcasm is unnecessary. The OP hasn't clutched his heart and staggered about when he described his circumstances, so you have ridiculed him for that. But if he had gone on about his feelings, you would have accused him of manipulation and self-indulgence. Asking for all the advice you can get is not necessarily a 'classic trait of an abuser'; to a less paranoid and embittered mind, it could simply show that he is very, very keen to go about this in an informed way. The relationship course would suggest this too. I might so far as to suggest that this could be an admirable response on the OP'S part - something to be glad about!
My problem isn't with you or with the idea that domestic abuse is very, very serious. It's with your manner and the line you've taken that is purporting to be helpful but in reality seems to be more about dragging the OP over the coals - something that you have no right to do, given that he hasn't wronged you personally or even said anything to indicate that he doesn't take this seriously. Oh, it has probably not even occurred to him that he should leave the family home, especially as his wife has suggested relational ways that he could help her within the context of the relationship. I wonder how pleased she would be if the OP took your hasty, one-size-fits-all advice wholesale and packed his bags tonight.
While there are absolutes that don't vary from one relationship to another, such as the complete unacceptability of domestic abuse, there are different levels of abuse, different meanings around the event given its context in that specific relationship, different choices made by the people who have been abused about how it would most help them to proceed, whether through therapy, from a shared/separate residence, living as a family or not etc.
Your response to the OP's post, given the lack of information given about the issues mentioned in the paragraph above, seems very hasty and raises the possibility that the topic of abuse is a personally loaded issue for you. Until you can let go of that overpowering need to drag the OP over the coals and appoint yourself teacher of all things relating to marital abuse as it relates to children, I suggest that you take a back seat on threads like this. The OP wasn't fighting, yet you turned it into a fight. I doubt it achieved anything. And it's hard to ask for help. Always.
Op said he is abusive, Oxford has given the correct advice about abuse IMO.
The only acceptable level of abuse is none and I wouldn't underestimate the damage of EA either. Once there's been abuse there's no going back IMO. If OP is serious he might be able to improve his behaviour for future relationships but not likely for one with the woman he has already abused.
Have you tried 'Mindfulness' training? It might help you. It's a way of thinking about how you react to things and considering why you do things. It could help on a superficial level in that you will be able to adapt your behaviour.
But in order to not live a lie you need to go through proper therapy.
Likelihood you have been 'damaged' through your upbringing (not necessarily anyone's fault) but it happens, and that has altered the way you perceive and respond to things.
You will need to go back in time and delve deep. I'm sure it's possible, I'm sure anything is possible but I am generally an optimist.
In the meantime, there are a few things you can do right now Really think before you speak. Stop for a second and consider what your partner wants you to say or do, then act accordingly. If you're not sure, ask her gently, what she wants. It will probably feel weird and false. The other thing is to give your children with a huge amount of patience. Let them take the lead. Perhaps try a board game or something simple to start with. Count to ten (in your head) before you expect responses from them. Smile a lot, let them speak, listen and 'hang back'. You need to learn to let them all go. It will feel strange.
Also: look at where you learned abusive habits (e.g. Your Own father figures, pornography, friends who are twats) and really distance yourself from them. Think about how they have smoothed the road for you to be in your current place and get To the point where you don't want to spend time with them.
There is also overreacting as well in this. I think sometimes people on here are quick to condemn. He has acknowledged he has a problem. It's not very positive and helpful to say that's it for him for good and banish him to a life on his own with no hope.
Op- get the help you need and take advice from the professionals.
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