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my parents don't like the way my DH talks to me & I'm stuck in the middle

(46 Posts)

I've been married for over 10 yrs to DH and we have 2 kids. We live hours away from my parents we see about 3 times a year. In the past year or so, I've noticed that they're often cold towards him, and that my mum, especially, can be rather snappy with him.
DH is an intelligent, funny, nice guy. We bicker. Not loads but probably too much for my liking. I've had issues with the way he talks to me which he sometimes acknowledges. But generally it's happy marriage.
I've suspected that my parents don't like the way he can talks down to me - I've told him to be aware of this and not to provoke any bickering in front of them. He agreed.
Last week we stayed with my parents for a week and it was awful. We had a couple of bickers whilst we were there - in front of my parent. I was cross at my DH for this. Anyway, my parents basically ignored DH for the entire stay and when they did talk to him, were short & rude. He's not stupid; he felt it. I was really upset and mentioned it to my sister yesterday who then (with my permission) discussed it with my mum. In a nutshell, both my parents don't like the way DH talks to me and they worry that our DD will learn that this is acceptable.
I haven't spoken directly with my parents about this - I still feel upset that they were so awful last week. I've discussed with with DH and he feels terrible but also angry at my parents. I'm being pathetic but what can I do? Counseling for me & DH? I know I need to talk to my parents but at the mo I'm too upset. What a head fuck.

I agree with Wheeler. We can all be short and irritated with our partners sometimes, but showing it consistently in front of others shows that you don't think there's really anything wrong with it, which is concerning.

IWillYeah Sun 15-Jun-14 10:31:56

I also think you are misdirecting your feelings.

He 'talks down to you', your parents are worried about you...and you're angry with THEM?

If he is such a great guy, maybe he should acknowledge that he talks to you in a way that makes the people who raised you and love you worried - about you and your daughter - and address that?

Sillylass79 Sun 15-Jun-14 10:45:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IWillYeah Sun 15-Jun-14 10:51:38

I witnessed it with my 'lovely' stepdad. He was capable of being (or seeming to be) really kind and loving to my mum, but couldn't help patronising her in conversations and snipping at her all the time about stupid, petty things like how she had loaded the dishwasher wrong or forgotten to turn a light off in a room or some other petty shit.

It was deeply uncomfortable and, over the years, became unbearable. I ended up despising him. Thank fuck she eventually saw the light.

I agree with everyone else; you are angry with the wrong people.

"We bicker. Not loads but probably too much for my liking. I've had issues with the way he talks to me which he sometimes acknowledges."
You and your parents both have issues with the way he talks to you. You say he 'sometimes' acknowledges this. So that means that he won't acknowledge it at other times? That's something to ponder.

"I've suspected that my parents don't like the way he can talks down to me - I've told him to be aware of this and not to provoke any bickering in front of them. He agreed. Last week we stayed with my parents for a week and it was awful. We had a couple of bickers whilst we were there - in front of my parent"
So even forewarned, and agreeing to a particular behaviour, he can't manage to stop being a dick for a few days? And I won't even comment on the implication that you'd put up with this as long as nobody else witnessed it.

Mummyisamonster, reading your OP the picture of the frog sitting in a pan of heating water sprang to mind. I expect this talking down to you was only occassional at first, but has increased gradually, like the pan of water. You've not noticed the increase and are still sitting there, getting cooked/damaged by the increase. You have become so used to his talking down to you that it has become background noise. You said you only see your parents a few times a year, so I have to say that they are seeing it for what it is - a husband being constantly nasty to his wife, and his wife is their beloved daughter.

" I guess I feel judged by my parents on this which I don't like"
They're not judging YOU. They're judging HIM. And finding him somewhat lacking.

Bottom line, you are raising two children in an atmosphere of bickering and disrespect. This is the 'normality' that you and your husband are modelling to them, and that they will take into their own relationships in their future lives. Is that what you want for them? And if not, how do you think you can change things so that you and your husband start modelling healthier behaviour to your children?

matildasquared Sun 15-Jun-14 12:14:17

It's funny, Mummyis, my husband and I are quarrelling around this very issue.

You haven't given examples so I don't know if you and your husband are actually "bickering," that sort of low-level mutual grizzling some couples do without realising--or whether it's a situation where he's always having a go at you and you feel you have to explain/defending yourself.

My husband's brother is an absolute pig to his wife. Gibbering insults at her all day long. She tries sometimes to defend herself and every so often will come out with something like, "Please don't correct my grammar." But still. So fucking grim to be around. And by sitting there silently I feel like I'm colluding somehow. So I avoid their company altogether. I don't know her well enough to sort of take her aside and talk with her.

I get wound up at my husband once because he referred to them "bickering." Yeah no.

botanicbaby Sun 15-Jun-14 12:14:21

iwillyeah I could have written your post except sadly, my dear mum hasn't yet seen the light or if she has won't admit to it.
I despised him too yet everyone else thought he was a "good guy" because he was gregarious and the life and soul when it suited him but behind closed doors his petty sniping and insidious put downs were not lost on me.

OP I agree with everyone else that your anger should not be directed towards your parents but I get it that you feel your judgment is in question as your previous relationship didn't work out. Sounds like you are minimising his behaviour to you, if its so obvious that others are picking up on it I dread to think what he gets away with when they aren't around.

tribpot Sun 15-Jun-14 12:20:44

Try imagining how you'd feel if your dd's DH spoke to her as your DH does to you. That's how your parents feel.

itiswhatitiswhatitis Sun 15-Jun-14 12:25:41

What sort of things does he say to you? Sorry but it must be pretty bad for your parents to blank him for it.

kaykayblue Sun 15-Jun-14 13:03:26

I can see why you might take this as a criticism on you and your choice of men, but I think that will be unhelpful to you in the long run. It sounds like your parents want you to be happy, and to have someone who treats you right. I honestly think that they are looking out for you here - they are giving your other half a clear message that they way he treats you - that he treated you IN FRONT OF THEM - is unacceptable.

In all honesty I think that should be a bit of a wake up call to you. Good luck. xxx

ZuluinJozi Sun 15-Jun-14 16:01:50

Talking down to anyone especially in front of people is disrespectful and humiliating and not normal behaviour. I just don't see how it can ever be explained as anything else

It's normal to want to feel adequate before parents, also a confident adult child acknowleges that not everyone including parents will approve their choices and has no need to explain themselves. How is your relationship with your parents?

Phineyj Sun 15-Jun-14 22:22:21

DH and I 'bicker' sometimes when with his DPs (we don't normally). His DM did everything for her sons, so I always feel on edge when they are staying with us (I don't normally do the cooking and she is a bit shock when DH cooks) and am irritated when we stay with them if DH reverts to teenage loafing around. If your relationship with your DH is otherwise good, you may both be reacting to tension during your visits especially if your DPs were wary of your second DH at the beginning and visits are infrequent.

whatdoesittake48 Sun 15-Jun-14 22:53:59

OP what your parents have done is show t heir love for you. You can see from many of the examples here that people often say nothing in these situations. They let someone tgey love be abused verbally in front of them.

we all need to speak up and let the victim know it is noticed, that they are not imagining it and the abuser then knows they are not being tolerated.

These things don't change until it is recognised as wrong. As we see with the op. She is only now realising how her relationship looks to others and admitting how it feels to her.

MexicanSpringtime Sun 15-Jun-14 23:24:04

And it's not you who is being criticised either here or by your parents.
As someone else said it is like that horrible analogy of a frog being boiled.

AnyFucker Sun 15-Jun-14 23:27:33

The problem is your husband, not your parents

paxtecum Mon 16-Jun-14 04:49:53

It is very hard watching your adult DD being treated badly.
My STBX Son in law talked to my DD like this and I wanted to punch him. How DARE he talk to my wonderful DD like that!

I chose to keep quiet letting her deal with it. MY DD has now left him and loves her new life with the DCs away from the man who constantly belittled her.
I stayed on civil terms with him knowing that he is the father of my DGC and we will both need each others cooperation with childcare.

Best wishes to you.

Lweji Mon 16-Jun-14 06:47:40

Not loads but probably too much for my liking. I've had issues with the way he talks to me which he sometimes acknowledges.

This is what matters.
It's not bickering if it's one sided. You may feel it's a two way because you respond to it, but who starts it, and how does he talk to you?

You have got desensitised to it to some extent, and are putting up with it, really. Your parents are right to be angry with him and so should you. They are also right that it is giving a bad example to your DD.

I think you need to stand your ground with him that you deserve respect from him. You should be prepared to leave if he doesn't. ATM he senses you are reluctant to walk out and feels entitled to treat you as he pleases, just as long as he doesn't push the boat too much.

Fairylea Mon 16-Jun-14 07:00:53

I agree with everyone else. Your dh is the problem.

I was in an abusive relationship and as others have said you minimise to the extent you don't realise how bad it is. You feel embarrassed and don't want to see it as bad as it is so you make out its just bikering but it's not.

Your parents are trying to wave you a red flag.

whattheseithakasmean Mon 16-Jun-14 07:08:01

botanicabababy I am still living that life with my 'stepfather' - ie my mum's lamentable choice of husband. My mum forces me to collude, too. I am not allowed to let on to the village how unutterably vile and emotionally abusive to her he is in private. She doesn't realise how often his mask slips and half the village know he is a pig to her, but don't say anything out of politeness.

It is shit, OP, it has really ground my mum down over the years and enrages me and makes me feel powerless - if I say nothing I am colluding, if I challenge him she will suffer later.

Sort your marriage or it will seep poison into everything, including your children's lives.

Oh and my 'stepfather' can be lovely, & then my mum acts like everything is fine. Except it isn't, & neither is your marriage from the sounds of things.

goofygoober Mon 16-Jun-14 07:08:19

My DH does this, he gets his knickers in a twist and snips at me, talks to me as though I am a child and can be a bugger. It makes things very uncomfortable if we're with family. I put him in his place and will say loudly (even in front of his DM) 'oh just go and bully someone else, I'm not interested - leave me alone'. He will back down and apologise, and it has vastly improved over the years, but unfortunately, my DM is sometimes frosty towards him. I don't blame her.

As PPs have said, I absolutely do not want my DCs to believe that this is an acceptable way to speak to your partner, or anyone. I am always mindful of this.

Your DH needs to c

goofygoober Mon 16-Jun-14 07:09:01

*control himself, especially in front of your family.

Good luck OP.

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