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.
ZOMBIE THREAD ALERT: This thread hasn't been posted on for a while.
I've posted before about my dh and I separating.
It was very amicable but isn't any more sadly.
To cut a long long story short he was emotionally, verbally and physically abused by both parents.
Obviously he couldn't get angry with them. Or control the situation.
He meets a girl who likes him, has fairly low self esteem and is a classic rescuer (that's me by the way)
He's finally got an outlet for all the rage and hurt but because of his childhood it came out in such subtle ways that I never saw it. Classic passive aggressive victim type stuff. In fact everyone thought I was the nag/ aggressor etc even me.
I even had a breakdown because of the relationship and my ambivalence towards him. Why couldn't I be happy with someone who was so gentle and kind?
His way of punishing me is to be completely apathetic about everything and I'm exhausted after carrying me, him, his anger and hurt and my guilt and hurt for so many years.
Now that I'm starting to see how things really are l can't unsee them. Our dynamic has always been that I get upset or angry, lecture him (I now know that it's not lecturing but that's how it's felt with someone who won't engage), he refuses to see it, then admits to something, then we go back to normal.
This time I'm not engaging in that dance.
We've hardly spoken for two weeks because as always he's waiting for me to break the deadlock and I'm not.
He won't tell his family that we've separated and now his mum wants to visit.
I know that unless I find the money and somewhere else for him to stay he won't go despite saying that he needs to.
I've waited every day for so many years for something, anything from him but even now, even when he's about to lose everything he still can't do anything.
He's so terribly terribly damaged and that in turn has damaged me.
I'm not going to get my happy ending am I and my heart is broken.
I think the essence here is 'Now that I'm starting to see how things really are l can't unsee them'. I visualise it as a piece of elastic, stretching and stretching to accommodate an unsatisfactory set-up - and suddenly the elastic snaps and you fly apart in opposite directions, and realise how far apart you had become.
Are you comfortable with your decision to split? It sounds like you are still living together?
To be frank, I had a horrible childhood, alcoholic father and abusive mother. I think you need to stop looking for explanations. I'm terribly sorry you've been through this but there is not ever an excuse to treat another human being like that. He is a grown man that hasn't shown any respect to you, this is never ok and he is responsible for his own actions, his parents influenced him but he still has a choice to behave a certain way.
Walk, no I'm not really ok with the split even though it was initiated by me.I'm still clinging onto the idea that if he can only see what is going on then somehow that will change things for the better.
I've spent years trying to find the words, to explain, to relate. Only just starting to get my head around the idea that no matter what I do he won't change.
I know that makes me look silly but hope is a habit for me now. And I'm terrified of going it alone.
Fml it's only just starting to percolate that he did and is making choices and that is blowing my mind and breaking me into little pieces all at the same time.
It's all been so subtle and my whole view of life, me and my relationship is shifting.
It sometimes feels as if I've been punched in the stomach, for example when I realised that he has set arguments up when I always blamed myself and my temper.
It's a real head fuck.
My perspective would be as follows.
1. Stop making excuses for his behaviour. Rotten childhoods don't necessarily make for rotten people. He is an emotionally abusive bully.
2. Get proper legal advice and start the divorce process formally rather than waiting for miracle changes in behaviour. Solicitors are not so easily bullied or manipulated.
3. Tell plenty of people that you have separated so that it makes it more 'real' and you're less likely to backtrack. If he can't face telling MIL, either tell her yourself or tell others who are likely to pass it on.
4. Don't even think about paying for him to leave or finding his own place. He is no longer your responsibility.
Ok cog,thank you for your reply. Obviously you are wrong about it all that goes without saying.
Naturally all I have to do is find the end of the rainbow next to which will be the magic words to make it all better. How come you didn't list that?
1 have done which is why my head is exploding not blaming myself for everything now.
2. If I initiate divorce he will roll over and accept it like a beaten dog. And I want him to fight for us.
3. I've been telling people which makes it more real but I'm not on my own with it either. He and I have been in our own cosy bubble of drama and now I'm changing my responses he doesn't know what to do.
4. If I don't kick him out he will never go so what should I do about that? (genuine question there in case it looked sarcastic). I suppose I'm not ready to give up yet but I don't want my children to grow up in this. I'm coming out with every cliché in the book aren't I. Thought I was more interesting than that.
My idea of normal is so screwed isn't it. Please don't yell at me for being so weak.
Is there really no hope?
Has he had counselling? Does he want it? Does he see that he is abusive?
Can't he stay with his mum?
You're neither screwed or weak but if you keep going after things that simply aren't going to happen & if you hang on to false hopes you're going to feel very frustrated and disappointed and you're going to waste a lot of time. I don't know if there's no hope but when you're at the stage where someone else's behaviour is causing you to feel exhausted, damaged and experience MH problems, it's not exactly hopeful
Regarding point 4.... divorce will fix that one.
Quite, yes to counselling but they keep referring him up the scale when he tells them about his parents so yet another waiting list (and I do believe him about that. It went initial consultation to 6 weeks cbt who referred onto his supervisor to long term which is what we are waiting for now)
He can see conceptually that he doesn't behave brilliantly but not on a case by case basis which is what's needed. I think (no doubt because I want to) that he does want to change and make things work but doesn't know how because I've always done it for him. Stepping back from that rescuer role is sooo hard
Hell no to his parents! They are responsible for this and live in another part of the country.
It's up to me to change how I deal with this isn't it.
Sadly yes. He can use counselling to kick the can down the road for the next 20 years. 'Conceptually' is just another way of someone saying that they can see the problem as a rather abstract, academic matter... but they're not actually planning to do anything about it. As for 'doesn't know how'.... does have difficulty functioning in society? holding down a job? staying within the law? ..... or is he capable of modifying his behaviour when necessary and it's only lucky you that gets to be the rage outlet?
He already did use therapy in the past to kick the can down the road! I think that if he had to really face what he's been through, how it's affected his life and how he is with me he would break down.
As I'm sure you're aware people protect themselves from pain in many ways. Just as I've done over the years to avoid seeing what our relationship was really like.
The vaginismus didn't help! Especially as it then made everything my fault. Although he never said so of course but didn't stop me beating myself up about it - which helped the situation no end!
Yes of course he can hold down a job etc but I think you already knew I'd say that
His anger has come out in a 'lost boy ' way. Not aggressive. Not unkind. Just letting everyone else be the aggressor and him being the victim. That's why it's taken me so long to see it. The fact that he genuinely is a victim confused the matter further.
Fuck what a mess.
Point 4 as in what do you of about it... once your divorce/financials are settled then he will leave, whether that be because everything is finalised (as in divorced) or you have to sell. Until that time unfortunately he has as much 'right' to be in the home as you do
Are you prepared to leave? Is there any other choice?
I held on to the family home.. was adamant I should stay with the kids, it was their home. We lived under the shadow of his abuse like a cloud. Even after I funded his move out. Til the kids started showing the strain and social services became involved. It was hell and we moved. Life now is peachy. He's not allowed any contact with me, we have a new life, amazing new friends, a good job and the kids are doing amazingly both at school and home. I feel fantastic about myself.
The house was repossessed, I'm up to my eyes in debt... it still beats living like that.
and I was abused as a child, over and over and over again. It never makes it ok to be a cunt. A reason is not the same as an excuse and the more you excuse and enable this behaviour the more you encourage him to continue. He is not your problem, he is an adult, he has a choice, he chooses to act like this.
Shukleberry, I'm glad things are better for you now. That sounds awful.
Cliché alert: he really is a great father and the kids adore him
Another cliché: he's really not that bad. He just needs to find the strength to deal with his past (and stop treating me like an angry parent)
Cliché three: the kids seem happy enough and I don't think they have picked up too much.
Please no one respond to this. Even I can see what I've just written and how unlikely all the above is.
Stop making excuses for him, and - in a nice a way as possible - make up your damn mind.
You don't want to be in a relationship with him because he is never going to change (and he isn't), but you don't want to give up hope that one day you will find the magic sentence and everything will click into place in his head.
You are living in a dream world. Plus, it's not YOUR responsibility to find those magic words anyway. So stop looking.
Initiate divorce. He will accept it like a sad dog or whatever? Probably. Not least as a means of guilt tripping you for "giving up on him" or some other nonsense.
Ask a solicitor about what you can do to get him to leave the house. He knows you don't want him there but refuses to leave - that's pretty shitty behaviour in my eyes (assuming you are the primary carer of the children).
If his mother comes? Fine. But tell her you guys are separated and in the process of divorcing. Does that cause a bad atmosphere? Well tough shit.
At the moment he is desperately burying his head in the sand hoping that if he looks pathetic enough, then you will sweep him into your arms and look after him again.
You are not some bizarre mother replacement.
Kay I know believe me but please be gentle with me.
I'm starting to see everything differently after many years and it's hard for me to take it in.
I've spent years being the baddie and it's all so subtle that sometimes it's like trying to hold onto bubbles. My mind rejects the reality and the idea or realisation goes pop.
I guess what I'm after is just to get it out of my head while I come to terms with my new reality.
I've been in this marriage for 15 years and only seeing things like this for a few weeks. Even when we separated it was because of fairly nebulous reasons I'm not happy ' and I still saw it as being my fault.
So just used the 'd' word and now he's in the bathroom crying.
Apparently him asking if I wanted a cup of tea or saying two weeks ago that he could see that he's treated me badly but nothing since counts as making an effort
He really believes his own shit.
He really really believes it
Yet again I was the one who had to break the deadlock.
I'm so cross
Join the discussion
Please login first.