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.

Opinion please... This caught me off guard

(45 Posts)
LittleMissRayofHope Wed 20-Aug-14 09:45:07

So DH and I recently bought a new car. Preggers with baby no2 and knew we would need to upgrade so started the hunt.
Had a ford focus, I wanted something along the lines of c-max type and size. He bounced from car to car to car. Wanting a C-max, then S-max, then Mondeo, then a golf+ then finally settling on a tiguan.

I like the car. VW is a good make. It's nice and high up. Little 4x4 has loads of upgrades and is in great condition etc.
But, at the time I pointed out several things
A) it was more then I had budgeted to spend on new car
B) it has higher car tax then before which I wasn't keen on
C) it was very high mileage
D) running costs are higher as is excellent fuel efficiency on long journeys but I mostly do short ones and that is not as good.
E) next insurance group so again more.

We discussed and discussed and he was so so so keen and seemed completely set on it so I agreed and we bought it.

We were having an argument the other night where we said I always get my way and everything I want and he always has to give in and never gets anything he wants etx. Basically painting a picture of a very selfish and demanding wife and a bullied and put upon husband.
So, I used the car as an example of one of the hundreds of times I give into his wants and go against my own. This was on Sunday.
Last night we spoke again, very calmly about a few things that had been said and he concluded the conversation by saying that we have to sell the car, he will give me back the money that I put in (we split the cost 50:50 on everything) and any loss he makes on the sale of it will be his to swallow. But that he isn't a bully and he can no longer enjoy the car knowing I only bought it to make him happy.

This has actually hugely pissed me off. It seems like an incredibly childish and stupid way to behave. We did get a fantastic deal on the car and I do like it. He has completely missed my point and in subsequent explanations is essentially refusing to see my point. So now he wants to sell it and buy a different car.

My friend agrees that he is acting like a pathetic man child but then she mentioned 'gas lighting'.
I was lost when she said that. But it's cos he has now put me in a position where if I say anything about these sorts of problems it will be worse for me and that the 'sale' of the car (which she reckons he will do a u turn on) is a tool to teach me not to bring these things up and has put me in my place. I think she might be right cos now I do feel like I can't say anything no matter how I feel cos it has caused a huge issue. He has taken it to a huge extreme rather then just see my point.

What do you think? Are we (friend and I) over analysing? Or is he emotionally manipulating me into a position of submission??

BlackDaisies Wed 20-Aug-14 09:57:21

He sounds like hard work! I wouldn't have the patience to discuss his tantrum over the car. I would call his bluff. Tell him if he feels that strongly to just get on with it. Keep agreeing with him over it. If he wants to use it against you, remind him calmly whose choice it was.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 20-Aug-14 10:11:47

I think you have to separate out several things.
- How do you normally reach agreements on subjects where you disagree? A mature conversation, weighing up the pros and cons and finding compromise? You say you've given into his wants 'hundreds of times'.... is that always the way it ends up?
- is the story of the demanding woman and submissive man a new thing or is it a fall-back position that you've heard a lot of times before? Similarly the guilt inducing idea that you've 'spoiled' the car with your objections to the extent that he has to return it. Is it a one-off or a pattern, in other words?

'Gaslighting' would be to try to convince you that events happened in a completely different way to the one you remember with the result that you lose confidence in your own judgement. I think you're being emotionally bullied rather than gaslit.

tribpot Wed 20-Aug-14 10:12:08

So, as I think you know, you have two problems here.

One is the ludicrous over-reaction to finally acknowledging your previous concerns about the car. This is either simply childish or deliberately designed to stop you from feeling able to raise concerns. However, the appropriate response to this is to never concede on anything, isn't it? If he cannot bear to have things around him that you somewhat disagreed with purchasing, he will have to let you have your own way in everything. His choice. What the hell is 'enjoy the car' anyway? You drive it from point A to point B. If it does that, there is no emotional gain from the experience.

The second is the fact that he has this view of your relationship where you get your own way, when this is clearly not the case. This again sounds highly manipulative, designed to make you feel you can't assert your will because - there you go again, getting your own way.

You need better tools to resolve disagreements, and he needs to stop being such a tool in general. Could you suggest relationship counselling as a way for you both to find a better way to communicate? Your method of splitting purchases 50:50 seems slightly weird, what's the basis of that approach?

Legionofboom Wed 20-Aug-14 10:16:28

Has he always been like this or is this out of character for him?

abigamarone Wed 20-Aug-14 10:22:53

It's not gas-lighting, but it is emotional manipulation. If he ends up getting rid of the car that fact will be brought for the next 10years worth of arguing. Mind you if you stop him changing the car, he'll bring that up too. (I'm not helping, sorry)

LittleMissRayofHope Wed 20-Aug-14 10:25:57

We are both a little funny money. We just split costs down the middle on everything. I know most don't understand this approach but it works for us.

His, now, inability to 'enjoy' the car means he saw it as a nice thing for us, a family vehicle etc etc and now I've spoiled it he sees it as a bad thing and everytime he looks at it he feels sad and guilty.
I think it's a mind game.

I give into things he wants, usually material things. Usually costing more then I'm happy about.
He gives into things for me. Usually to do with dd and family stuff.
We both give way. To say hundreds of times is probably true but sounds worse then it needed to due to the frustrated tone of my post.

Frequently during rows/bickers/conversations etc he will say I either didn't say something or that I said it this way when I know I said it that way... Then the conversation can't move forward because no one can prove what was said/how I worded it and he gets annoyed that 'you can't even remember what you've said'... But I can. He just hears it how he wants to.
^^ gas lighting?

I said, this morning, regarding the sale of the car to just go and do whatever he wants. If he no longer wants it then fine, but I will take back the full amount I put in as I don't see why I should suffer financially due to his hissy fit. He then called me selfish.
I know he won't sell it. I am firmly becoming convinced this is designed to knock my confidence and stop me having or expressing my opinion.
Which is a dick thing to do

tribpot Wed 20-Aug-14 10:29:05

Yes, what you're describing now is gaslighting. The other stuff is emotional bullying.

I find it interesting that you describe the 50:50 approach as working for you, yet you also say:
I give into things he wants, usually material things. Usually costing more then I'm happy about.
So it doesn't, really, does it? You are constantly shelling out more than you want to and have budgeted for. That's the definition of 'not working'.

What things does he give way on regarding your dd and family stuff?

LittleMissRayofHope Wed 20-Aug-14 10:30:24

abig that is his reason for wanting to sell, you reminded me. He says I will complain about it and use it against him in the future.
He also said that if it breaks down and needs fixing that he will have to pay for everything as I will refuse on the basis I didn't want it...
I got very angry at that as that is now insulting my character and making me sound awful. And it's not true. It already cost is money and I simply paid my share.
Also, if I do pay towards repairs he will feel guilty about it.

LittleMissRayofHope Wed 20-Aug-14 10:36:07

With money, if all our money was pooled he would probably consult me less on a purchase then he does now. So if he went and spent a large amount it would be done. Where as at the moment I can at least control it a bit. I know it sounds an odd set up. But generally it works. He has a taste for the 'finer things' which I do too, but my priorities changed since being a mum.

I feel a bit stuck to give an example of how he gives in cos they all sound a bit crap.
I'm the main parent, he works more then me. And I tend to make up the rules and discipline and training etc and he frequently disagrees with my approach but 'gives in' as I end up saying I can't parent your way as it's not natural to me.
Have to often almost bully him into doing something of a weekend, he's tired from work etc and would happily stay at home doing nothing but I like to do day trips etc.

It's starting to sound real shitty now it's written down sad

EarthWindFire Wed 20-Aug-14 10:36:26

I give into things he wants, usually material things. Usually costing more then I'm happy about.
He gives into things for me. Usually to do with dd and family stuff.

So you both 'give in' to things that you don't want. It isn't one way.

TillyWilly Wed 20-Aug-14 10:37:26

So what was the original argument actually about before you brought up the " car" example?

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 20-Aug-14 10:38:18

Emotionally manipulative. Awful behaviour. Once you get into this cycle of prediction .... you're already thinking way ahead about what he will say and do when X or Y happens ... then you are being manipulated and your behaviour, whether you like it or not, will be modified as a result. It's very insidious and quite corrosive.

I would suggest you stick to your guns every single time from now on. No more agreeing to keep the peace. If he wants to paint you as some kind of demanding, unreasonable woman that always gets her own way then why disappoint him? hmm If you want to keep the car, tell him to stop being so ridiculous.

antimatter Wed 20-Aug-14 10:40:29

well done with sticking to your guns!

however I can see that there's big mismatch between what you and he want
I can imagine bringing up kids as things such controlling child's behaviour, praising, attitude towards homework and school will be happening on daily basis - how are you going to make decisions if you usually differ on approach to your dd

you splitting expenses in half IMHO fuel issue with money - if you contributed according to your incomes and budget becomes family budget then lets say too much money was spent on your car and that meant no family holiday - once decision is made - then that's it

you wouldn't be coming back few weeks down the road arguing that half of your money was spend frivolously

as you can see - I am on your dh side - once you agree to pay that should be the end of the discussion
you may on the next big expenditure reflect on it - but stop blaming him
you agreed!

this must be the pattern in your relationship which started ages ago
IMHO life is too short to argue about such stuff

save your energies for something else smile

LittleMissRayofHope Wed 20-Aug-14 10:41:11

It started with a bicker, about dd not sleeping well. And then just ran and morphed into a big row about nothing in particular.
We do blow up every now and then. Get very stubborn. Both refuse to give ground. And usually concede were being prats and make up.

Which is why I'm sure he won't sell. But this caught me off guard only as it seemed so manipulative and I feel backed into a corner.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 20-Aug-14 10:59:29

Big rows about nothing in particular are not the sign of a healthy relationship. Even allowing for conceding and making up, I think it is a) a big source of strain on a relationship and b) a rotten environment for children.

FrootLoopy Wed 20-Aug-14 11:01:55

I don't think she used the example of the car to 'blame him', it sounds more like she used the car to defend herself against the accusation that everything is always her way though. It was an example of where SHE has compromised what she wants because HE cares for it more than she does.

Which actually is the basis of most of the compromises with DH and myself. If we can't agree on something, then we assess who cares more about it - and usually it will go in their favour. It ends up being a fairly even 'giving way' in the end. There are some things I care about more than DH does, and other things he cares about more.

When we are both passionate and disagree, well we somehow have to BOTH compromise.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 20-Aug-14 11:13:42

The 'rule' with a compromise however FrootLoopy is that, once the decision has been taken, the subject is dropped. Not used for ever afterwards as the jumping off point for insults, accusations and guilt-tripping tantrums.

sunbathe Wed 20-Aug-14 11:20:15

Buy you only 'agreed' to buy the car, because he was so set on it. You didn't really want it, did you op?

FrootLoopy Wed 20-Aug-14 11:27:42

Cogito, agree in principle. But it was the DH who used all of the OTHER times HE had given way to beat the op up verbally about it.

He can't make wild, unjustified accusations like that and then not expect other agreements to be brought up to show that its simply not true.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 20-Aug-14 11:41:30

I'm agreeing with you FruitLoopy.... In a healthy, happy relationship you compromise and move on. In an unhealthy, unhappy relationship, the compromises compound and become arguments in their own right.

TillyWilly Wed 20-Aug-14 12:13:46

Since we don't hear the husbands side of things we can only give opinions based upon OPs experience and view. It's the same for alot of posts really. In my opinion without hearing the other persons viewpoint, you can never really make an unbiased opinion.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 20-Aug-14 12:29:38

I don't think the OP is looking for an unbiased opinion or claiming to be unbiased themselves.... hmm

TillyWilly Wed 20-Aug-14 12:33:57

You don't think the op is looking for an unbiased opinion??

LittleMissRayofHope Wed 20-Aug-14 12:43:32

I was looking for opinions of course.

It is fair to say that I did not want to buy the car but that I agreed. And I have not mentioned it once since that time. Until this argument where I used the whole situation as a tool to show my DH a time where I did something for him and therefore I did not 'get my way all the time'.
I agree the past should not constantly be dragged out I to the present everytime we bicker but I needed something to demonstrate my sacrifices to him and picked that one.
The point of my post is that I now feel he is manipulating me into a 'position' whereby I will be far far more cautious in future to make my opinion known or heard for fear of the repercussions. Ie: emotional heart ache, financial loss (I will feel guilty if he makes a financial loss) etc etc.

Thank you for opinions. I feel a bit better now that I see it's not my imagination. I am realising things about him more and more during this pregnancy that put me on edge for possible 'EA' and the like. I think he is a game player and plays on my emotions as I'm more freely emotional then he is. I shall have a think and decide how to progress from this point as I'm not prepared to be played or backed into a corner.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now