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In emotional limbo(8 Posts)
I'll try not to make this epic, but my partner and I have been skirting around separating for about a year and it's making me feel completely dazed.
Back story is that we met, had kids quickly (now in 40s, 2 boys 8 and 10). He seemed laid back, I'm quite lively/gobby (too much for some folk, and fair nuff), but wouldn't deliberately say a mean thing about anyone I like, and I like most folk.
So my OH made some major and minor decisions which affected the whole family, without taking my (well expressed) views on board. Whenever we disagree he does the silent treatment until I give in. Major = change of location after 2 years of silent treatment from him, alternatives and discussion from me. On one of these occasions he basically took advantage of the fact that I had had a v difficult birth ending in an emergency c-s and was exhausted with a 3 week old baby when he stopped discussing and just carried things out the way he had wanted.
I've grumbled about these things since to him, but on the whole we rubbed along. Now, looking back he goes on about how angry I've been (where I think bloody tolerant, and too much so). Anyway, things came to a head when some folk we knew through a club we joined on the new location started being shitty to me basically because I was new and they thought I might rock their comfy boat. OH thought the worst of them were awful people, but got in with some of them. The older members were all giving me a hard time to some degree, and he started backing off me. He stopped coming on family days out so much, or spending time with just me.
Finally, one of the club folk was pretty publicly insulting to another friend, I pitched in and the gloves were off (this was on social media though we all knew each other in real life). The worst of the club folk (Andy) - who OH thought was a weasily worm as far as I knew, got stuck in to me, and I asked OH for once to show he could support me. (I can give as good as I take so I didn't need help, just wanted a show of support). He basically did a Father Ted, oh, come on, down with this sort of thing, but in a really half-hearted way. I found out later that Andy had contacted him and he'd apologised, and strongly implied that I had mental health problems! (I have had depression off and on since first son, but usually under control with meds).
So this is a year ago. At the time I said, having only grumbled a bit in the past about being unhappy with how he treated me, that I wanted him to take a look at his own behaviour, or I wanted to end the relationship. (I wanted the first to happen, but was prepared to follow through with the second rather then be treated like I didn't exist re decisions). He seemed genuinely sorry for a couple of days. Then I got angry about all the crap and some more nastiness form the club and apparently - that was it - I'd 'blown it'... Since then it's been an endless chop and change of "sorry", "nothing to be sorry for", "all your fault because you get angry about stuff", "sorry" again, "it's always been bad because you're always angry" (I don;t remember things that way, I thought we were happy, esp as I just put up with him taking decisions so long as they weren't bad for the boys... But most of the time he just doesn't communicate at all.
If I talk he is silent until I get wound up, then he leaps on the first thing he can, usually just that I'm annoyed that he's silent. If I'm silent I'm "putting up walls". So I've been communicating more and more by email... some probably less reasonable than others, but always just saying, I know I get angry, but can you take a look at your own actions too, please?.
Today I got a reply to two emails I sent yesterday (having failed to manage to have a conversation with him the night before due to silence then pouncing) He said "I’m sorry that you see this as a means of communication and I'm sorry that you're upset, but I've told you you are just pushing me further away".
Not sure what I'm asking. Mainly, am I a complete idiot for still trying to make things work? He is so completely sure and tells me all the time, that all the problems we have are down to me being angry (which I just see as frustration after years of unsuccessful communications).
He's also just so loudly cheerful all the time, as though a 14 yr relationship down the tube is nothing. Just wish I could switch my emotions off like that. I also think it's 99% over even if I keep trying, so I spend all my time worrying about money.house.kids etc.
Sorry I didn't read the middle bit but if he controls huge decisions then that's a major no-no.
But the silent treatment. That is abuse. Google it.
He is controlling you.
I've tried telling him that it's not a positive thing. He tends to disregard my opinions (we're on a par intelligence wise, and he's aware of that, but can still just dismiss anything I say as rubbish) so I suggested he look it up. I also asked him to look up passive aggression specifically. After 3 silent days he conceded that 'the experts' seem to say that would be a description of some of his behaviour, but 'most men are like that'. Also it all gets lost in his view of my anger (raised voice in response to shrugs or eye-rolling when he won't talk) eclipses everything else so he doesn't need to apologise for or regret anything. So it's a no no, but I want to keep trying (and he doesn't) ... I just feel as though I'm going to be stuck in the same place for ever.
Wow that all sounds very tiring and convoluted, I felt drained after reading it all so God knows how you must feel living it!
There sound to be major communication issues between the two of you. You get angry and shout, he does the silent treatment, neither of you seems to be able to discuss your issues sensibly , so as you so rightly say you are both stuck.If you feel the relationship is worth saving then I would recommend trying couples counselling, otherwise you are both just going to keep repeating the same old tired patterns of destructive behaviour.
If you feel it is too far gone for this or your partner refuses to go, then you need to get some legal advice to see what you need to do next regarding separating.
The third option is to do nothing and carry on as you are, but I think you know that isn't really a viable option, is it?
Good luck x
Hmmm. He gives you the silent treatment, blames you for everything and doesn't apologise or accept he's in the wrong. These are signs of emotional abuse - does he do anything else on the list?
If he is emotionally abusive, couple's counselling is not recommended. If he's not, it might be worth a try, but you would need a very good counsellor who wouldn't take sides or insist on working on the relationship even if one or both of you is leaning towards ending it.
Personally I think the things that he's done are unforgivable deal breakers. Bullying and forcing you to relocate after a difficult birth... I have no words for that really. But on a day to day level the fact that he doesn't support you or back you up in an argument must make you feel very alone. I'd find it soul-destroying tbh.
And the fact that you have resorted to communicating by email... It's very strange. On the whole I think it's a bit of a lost cause I'm afraid.
Do you have supportive family and friends? Do you work?
I have supportive friends and a mum who tries to be supportive but has a pathological fear of 'what the neighbours would say' if my family broke up, so less supportive re this.He does apologise - seems sincere, just it's a different story 2 days later. The control over the move was before the difficult birth (although thinking about it, it was during the pregnancy that I finally gave in to the reason we relocated (sorry, trying not to be too identifiable!)
Yes, the communicating by email is dire... I try talking, but into silence.
Reading back, I wonder why I keep trying. I think I'm probably trying to find ways to convince myself that I need to get out.
He's being emotionally abusive to you. And the more you try to talk it out with him, the further he retreats into his controlling silence. He's making you doubt yourself. This is not good.
If I were you I'd get some counselling, on my own, and I'd start collecting information about our financial life and so on, so that if I did decide to leave him I was well prepared. Not that that's necessarily what you should do, but it helps to know what your options are. And it's something you should consider, as abusers rarely change.
"I’m sorry that you see this as a means of communication and I'm sorry that you're upset, but I've told you you are just pushing me further away".
That's him saying "stop doing that or else". The silence is a way of both avoiding a proper discussion and punishing you. Then when you react, he can jump on you make himself the victim ("you're always angry").
He doesn't want to communicate, or he would have done so by now. He just wants to shut you down and have you go along with everything he decides without a murmer of dissent. I doubt he intends to separate, he's just holding it over you to get your obedience.
As PP have said, start making plans to live life without this millstone around your neck, teaching your kids by example how to be an utter arsehole.
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