Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Anger issues - do I give up on the marriage? Advice needed(51 Posts)
Have nn changed for this.
Brief background. DH and I have a 3 YO DD. He rarely gets angry about things and loses his temper/shouts/used to throw or break something. Nothing physical has ever been near DD or I. He usually tends to find once it's out of his system he's fine again and it's like his release mechanism. I can't off hand think of instances where it's directed at me and I've never really felt any danger of physical harm. It's maybe about some DIY he can't do/something he's lost et and these bursts are short lived and rare. Although not physically harmed, I hate the way he behaves and it upsets me emotionally as I find his manner aggressive and angry. He is like a different person as he is generally quiet. I don't feel like I'm treading on eggshells trying not to make him angry all the time, but I do feel that I should avoid him when he is angry.
Since having DD and he was up in the night with her as a baby and very tired, there was a point where these got more frequent. I think the most frequent ever was 3 times in a week. There were a couple of instances where he really really shouting at DD 'just go to f*ing sleep' in a really loud scary aggressive way when she was too young to understand or listen anyway. This spurred me to think we had to do something about this. I don't want DD thinking this is acceptable behaviour and either growing up to behave like this or being in a relationship thinking this is the norm. DH after a discussion accepted he has a problem, but thinks I'm making a big deal over something relatively small given it's frequency. He grew up in an environment where this behaviour was acceptable.
When he does get cross, he HATES me mentioning it, and it makes things much worse. I feel I can't not mention it as my ignoring this behaviour I'm enforcing it's acceptable. I've tried different tacks like waiting until afterwards to try to discuss it, but it always gets him more worked up. So, yesterday he had 3 instances of not handling behaviour with DD very well and getting verbally aggressive (he says the same things I might do to discipline her, but his tone sounds very aggressive and he got really worked up about it) so instead of actually talking to him about it I left a book out for him to see which he had bought (OK, on my insistence to help with things, which I thought it had) about dealing with anger. My thoughts being it will show I don't think his behaviour is acceptable and guide him to rereading the book to help him be reminded of some strategies. I found the book put straight back in the bookcase and so picked him up on why I had got it out and he got annoyed at me mentioning it. This led on to him losing his temper and shouting and swearing at me about why I have to bring it up and I only make it worse by doing so and he'd be fine thank you very much if I hadn't bought it up. It ended out (I was very calm through all this) that I said if he genuinely felt this behaviour is acceptable and doesn't want to do anything about it then we have no marriage any more. I asked him to leave. He refused but said he would sleep downstairs. I said I couldn't be in the same house. I started getting clothes etc together to go to my Mums and was going to take DD with me (have to wake her up to do so) and then he said he would go to his parents. So, he went to his parents last night to sleep. He did say he was sorry and he knew his behaviour wasn't good but I think he still sees me making a big deal of this when he doesn't think there is a big deal and I'm not sure how willing he is to work on it.
He came back for his work stuff first thing this morning and left me a note saying 'sorry, we'll talk when I come home from work x'.
So, I'm not sure where to go from here. I think he certainly now thinks I'm serious about his behaviour being unacceptable given I've never actually said I'll leave him/the marriage is over. I feel I would owe it to him and DD and the relationship to give it another try but only on the basis that he would admit his behaviour is not right and he wants to work on it. Should I give conditions to things or will this all lead to resentment about it on his part and I should give up on the whole marriage? Anyone been in a similar situation or got any advice as to what I could do? Or ways in which I can explain it to him that this behaviour isn't acceptable (he just can't compute this and always puts it back on me)? Or am I being OTT and just put up with it? it's only a very small part of him.
Sorry for the essay, thanks for reading. Need to know in my head what tac I'm going to take by tea time...
If you keep avoiding it or allowing him to behave like this, he'll continue to do it.
You do need clear boundaries and what constitutes acceptable behaviour and leave when it's crossed.
However, it's likely that he'll slowly, slowly push those boundaries so that it doesn't feel as bad and you won't leave. You'd have to be very strong and determined.
On the other hand, you could separate temporarily and see if he can change his behaviour. The problem is that being away he'd have less stress to deal with.
But here the main problem is that he doesn't see it as a problem or sonething for him to fix. Not until you've threatened to separate. It's doubtful he'll see it as his problem, but more that it's sonething you are forcing on him and I do think he'll resent you for enforcing those boundaries.
Sorry, it doesn't look good for the marriage.
So, I think I'd wait for the talk, see what he suggests and says about his own behaviour. Don't help him, or lead him to a solution.
Anything less than full responsibility and not more than a token "I'll go to counselling" and let him go.
If he does stay, don't tell him what to do or criticise. Just observe and then decide.
He should be checking himself and correcting his own behaviour on the assumption that his child deserves love, respect and a calm environment. Anything less should mean the door.
I think where you go is you stick to your guns. His behaviour is completely unacceptable, aggressive and intimidating. He may not have physically assaulted you yet but that's rather by the by.
The good news is that he hasn't managed to succeed in silencing you which shows huge strength on your part but it is very stressful for you and DD to be on pins waiting for the next occasion when he goes into a destructive rage. Does he have a job? Does he behave like this with work colleagues? Does he shout and break stuff if he doesn't get good service in a shop? Or does he just save this performance for you at home? (And I'd be willing to bet the latter)
If you want to give the relationship another try therefore, you stand firm. Yes, there should be conditions to another try. e.g. He stays out of the house and he has to take the initiative, get help with his aggression, and earn his right to be back in the family. It is not your responsibility to point him towards books or courses or whatever. He is an adult and he is responsible for his own behaviour.
While he's gone, you can take your time to appreciate what a calm atmosphere is actually like... because I think you've probably lost sight of that down the years and you're in for a real treat. Ultimately, even if he deals with his behaviour, you may decide life is much better without him in it. Be in control and good luck
If he "can't compute and puts it back" on you, then he can't come home. Simple as. He needs to stay at his parents and work on this problem on his own. You cannot fix it for him, you cannot police it for him, you cannot help him fix it. It is HIS problem to recognise, accept, and fix.
Thanks. I need to get him to genuinely understand (or he needs to) that when he does this it's not on. It generally rarely happens, so I'm not on eggshells wondering whether today will be the day etc, but I'm minded that as DD gets older she will learn how to press his buttons and will likely deliberately do this and make him angry and he doesn't have a good way to deal with this so it's likely to get worse if it continues. The thing that swung it for me was the thought of DD behaving like this or having someone behave to her like that and feeling it's acceptable. I don't know if he's in denial or just can't understand why I'm making a big deal of it when he thinks it's acceptable and his DM has accepted FIL behaving like this all his life.
I think he's expecting to be back today and stay here again (I assume). I have no idea whether to cook him dinner or how to behave to him in front of DD.
Lweji that's very good advice to be as quiet as possible and see what he comes back with.
This is a really important time in things as I don't want him to think he can continue and everything will be fine, I need to be strong about that, it's how to do play things. I'm not always great at verbalising well my argument so I really need to think through what to do.
I just can't quite compute that we might actually split up though.
No. YOU don't need to get him to understand. This is where you need to realise that it is not your responsibility to "make him understand." You tell him the facts. Tell him to leave, if that is what the plan is (and I've done the other route where they stay in the home, and trust me, it's miserable and it doesn't work), and let HIM work it all out.
You cannot "make him understand" anything. He either will get it or he won't. If he gets it, he'll accept he has a problem, he'll stay at his parents, work on it, and fix the problem. If he doesn't get it, then he'll just continue to be an arse.
How perfect would you like him to be? Sorry but if these instances are rare and you're not walking on egg shells can't you just accept him for who he is?
Humans have flaws. People can lose their temper its natural, some are more patient than others. Dads can be more scary than mothers when they get angry. That's a fact but it can work both ways.
I think the man is allowed to demonstrate his emotions. Just because he might say things in a different tone to dd it isn't a bad thing. I think you are being controlling. Threatening to end the marriage over this one issue. Honestly.
I think the man is allowed to demonstrate his emotions.
Seriously?!?! You think that him shouting and swearing at his family is okay??
Everyone is allowed to have emotions. It is perfectly fine to be angry. It is NOT okay to shout and swear at people and take your anger out on them. That behaviour is unacceptable and abusive. And yes, it is perfectly acceptable to end a marriage over "this one issue." Or is abusive behaviour not a big deal in your world?
And I have certainly said things to my children in anger that I regret but I was tired at the time. I would go as far to say this influenced my irrational behaviour.
No she said the anger wasn't directed at her!
And very rarely people might shout and swear in a marriage. Ups and downs and all that.
Shouting, throwing and breaking things, and being verbally abusive is not 'demonstrating emotions'.... it's being aggressive and intimidating others. Yes, people have flaws but they have to find ways to express themselves that don't involve frightening others. Just because he's a father - in fact, especially because he's a father - it is neither a fact nor an excuse to be 'scary'.
"No she said the anger wasn't directed at her!"
Anger doesn't have to be directed at someone to be intimidating. In fact, smashing things is a well-known tactic of abusive men because it's a very clear threat.
Completely agree with Cogito, this is not a healthy way of demonstrating anger. It is frightening to the OP and her child.
The fact that you are scared to talk about it with him afterwards for fear of it escalating the situation speaks volumes.
The OP has never felt in danger or came to any physical harm/no eggshells. Sorry but it just seems like a robot would be more appropriate.
The instances are RARE. She just doesn't like them. So he's not perfect. I don't know anyone who is. I just don't see this as a good reason to end a marriage with children involved.
I have seen my husband get angry when he's hit his finger with the hammer. He then threw the hammer.
It didn't bother me one bit. I could totally understand why he reacted the way he did. He swore too!
I grew up in a home where my DF was constantly shouting, swearing, aggressive and even sometimes violent. He still shouts and when he does it still frightens me now and I'm in my late 20s. His behaviour is unacceptable and him being away from the home is the correct thing. He will hopefully now know you mean business and get some proper help. My DM used to let him get away with it too and if I got upset shed say 'stop crying, you know what he's like'.
What you find acceptable Quitelikely is your own business. The OP is concerned enough about his pattern of behaviour to ask him to leave. As she put it 'it upsets me emotionally'. She deserves support, not apologist clap-trao being told that Dads are entitled to be scary
He isn't doing it constantly though peaches
quitelikely thank you for your clear opinions. I guess it shows norms between people are different. Maybe DH would be better suited to someone like you (I mean this most sincerely). It's not just the behaviour, it's the fact that he knows it's a big issue for me but this doesn't make it important enough for him to want to do anything about it and that it's all my issue in that I need to change my reaction not the other way around (despite admitting he has a problem).
He is doing it consistently enough for the OP to be upset and ask him to leave.
Clap trap? Now that's not very nice is it. Slightly abusive even.
What I'm offering is my perspective on the situation. I can't tell the op ending the marriage is what I think is favourable when under the circumstances she has described I don't.
My opinion is just as valid as any
OP please do overlook Quitelikely's post. I'm not sure if she genuinely believes what she has written, or if she is on the wind up, but either way, if there was ever a book called How To Stay in your Miserable Marriage, she would be the author.
When he does get cross, he HATES me mentioning it, and it makes things much worse. I feel I can't not mention it as my ignoring this behaviour I'm enforcing it's acceptable. I've tried different tacks like waiting until afterwards to try to discuss it, but it always gets him more worked up.
What you describe OP is textbook domestic abuse. You say you don't feel like you're walking on eggshells, but your very words prove the very opposite - that's exactly what you're doing. You've tried different tacks, but whatever your manner or tone it's wrong hey?
Darling, in a non abusive relationship partners just tell one another how they feel, without considering every nuance in their approach. The fact that you feel you have to try different tacks says you are already altering your behaviour to appease him... and that is otherwise known as walking on eggshells.
You need to read up on emotional abuse. The book Why Does He Do That by Lundy Bancroft available on Amazon is excellent. In the meantime the net provides plenty of insight...something that in my heartfelt opinion, you really ought to gain. x
peach I think that's what MIL said to DH when he was growing up. DH once told me to tell DD 'that's just Daddy being silly' and when I questioned him it seemed that's what he was told when he was growing up. Has it had any/much effect on you and your relationships other than being scared of him?
Join the discussion
Please login first.