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what the hell(6 Posts)
Horrible night last night arguing with my partner in front of our daughter who is 13. I feel awful about it. Talked to my daughter this morning and tried to explain in a simple way why it happened and apologised to her. I know that the relationship I'm in is quite simply a mess. We've been together 16 years have 2 children who we both absolutely love and own a house together. I know I'm not the most straightforward of characters and have my own issues which I'm sure must be hard to live with. Its probably these which mean I'm still with him. I've always felt his behaviour over the years has been emotionally abusive but he's clever and seems able to turn things on their head, making it seem to be me that is causing all the problems. I don't know how to explain it all so I'll go over a bit of recent history.
Normally a physically fit and active person I had neurosurgery a year and a half ago. It was really challenging for us all and he was in many ways really supportive. I was aware how difficult it must be for him also and I believe he did try hard. I was petrified something would happen to me and wanted to be calm and strong and 'normal' for the children. When home from the hospital I still read my son his bedtime story, helped my daughter with her homework and got up in the morning to help see them off to school. My parents and my sister came to help out and my dp was fine when my sister was here but I could tell he was getting cross when my parents were around, ending up in my mum taking offence at his attitude and leaving in tears - she can be quite highly strung and they are never a good mix at the best of times and I accepted that dp was stressed. My parents ended up withdrawing and I felt guilty and cross with them and dp too. Meanwhile life continued and my son was desperate to go to see a film at the cinema and I offered to take him despite feeling absolutely awful - I was so desperate to be normal for them - I couldn't get why dp wouldn't step in and say he'd take him and I don't know why I didn't ask him, I think I didn't have the extra energy or want an argument, I just wanted my son to get to see the film and have a nice treat but i was so sick. After 3 weeks I ended up back in hospital not well at all with a serious complication. They were scary times. DP during these times didn't have one night I don't think without drinking. Many of the children's activities which I normally drove them round for or organised were either put or hold or I had to arrange for other parents to help out. He didn't drink a lot - his standard 4 cans of lager a night. Meanwhile I really think his memory of it is that he was exhausted managing everything and dealing with emotional stress and uncertainty with me being so ill. As time went on and I recovered from the second operation I felt that he was getting more impatient and fed up with me. We'd discussed work on the house which went ahead, most of it done by him and he worked hard on it but my ideas were dismissed as boring and and he felt I was critical of his ideas. I had to be so careful about how I approached subjects. We had stupid arguments over ridiculous things like how high a hanging basket should be and I'd end up in tears or just gobsmacked as to how it could all feel so difficult.
Money was and is always as issue - I earn a lot less and have fitted work around the children. I used to be a higher earner than him when we met. We had a trip to the lakes supposedly glamping booked for 3 months after the op (paid for by my parents) and I was so looking forward to it but the accommodation was awful and he was resentful about spending money, even getting cross about getting a meal deal from a supermarket for lunch. I remember suggesting we have lunch at a pub and his response was - and often still is - 'who's going to pay for it then? are you going to pay for it?' We ended up coming home early. I did all the packing of the car to go and unpacking of the end while he grumped around and I felt so resentful. When we got back he was all loving and smiles and it felt like I couldn't talk about how awful it had been without seeming to cause an argument.
Meanwhile he's also telling me how much he loves me and how beautiful I am and how proud of me that I'm such a great mum etc. In front of the children as well as the 'who's paying for it then etc' and telling me I'm selfish and putting others in front of him and the kids eg my family, he's also telling them how wonderful I am and how much he loves me. And I feel like screaming because then whenever I voice an opinion which differs from his or let any resentment show it looks like I'm being difficult and tricky and he's mr nice guy. A couple of months later we had a dreadful 2 week family holiday where I honestly felt he was turning the children against me. He kept on saying how boring (because I was reading books) I was and how it felt like he may as well be on holiday on his own because he was doing everything with the children. And reminding us all he'd paid so much for it. When the children bickered he'd get annoyed with them and a couple of times he stropped off. This is all just 5 months after my surgery. I get that it might seem I'm searching for sympathy but I think I'm just looking for perspective. I know that after the ops I probably did internalise a lot and become quite withdrawn as I recovered, I wonder if his response was reasonable, i just don't know. One night at dinner he told me that I sucked the fun out of everything. I was so upset he'd said that - in front of the children too - and I told him it was unacceptable and unfair. A few weeks later I heard my daughter say exactly the same phrase to my son.
Anyway, when we got home I said to him the relationship can't go on and he's since gone out of his way to be loving and caring whilst ignoring pretty much what I say. He refuses to seperate. Tells me I need to make more effort. That I'm always slagging him off and he puts up with so much from me and I make him feel like crap. If I try and explain how difficult I've found him he tells me I need to move on. I asked him if he'd thumped me would he expect me to be able to move on. He said yes if we both discussed it and agreed to move on together. It's madness isn't it? Becuase I feel emotionally thumped by him but how it can it be reasonable for him to say that he thinks I should be able to get over it. And yet I'm still here because I feel responsible for him and that if I really seriously instigate separation then the children will hate me because he really does come across as the nice guy in all this and we'll all be so bloody poor life will be even more miserable.
Sorry this is so very very long and I've only touched the surface, I just needed to get it off my chest and don't even know why I'm posting really other than needing to get it down in order to regain a perspective which I though I had but which gets pulled all over the place. I feel I'm living a double life. This one where he is the loving father, partner, provider and we are the perfect family and the one in my head which wants to scream because know its not right and I should find the balls to finally something about it.
He is an abuser - nobody is an abuser 100% of the time, otherwise you wouldn't stay nor would you feel so utterly confused and wrong footed all the time.
He sounds vile and you and the DC deserve better. Being post surgery is so relevant here. All he did was drink and drag you down plus drive your parents away. I do hope you are well now. Please get rid of him.
Btw you will be surprised how aware of him the children are. I felt similar about my ex - it would break their heart. Now several years later the DC tell me they could never stand the way he treated me and felt nothing but relief when he went. I bet they walk on eggshells the same as you do. And as for refusing to separate and telling you that you need to try harder. How bloody dare he. There is so much wrong with that one sentence alone.
Oh watching my heart goes out 2 you. What a terrible time you have been through and i do not wonder you are confused and exhausted! I do not have any words of wisdom but it sounds like you need to step back from all of this and give it time for the dust to settle. I know us mums want to make it all ok for our kids and maintain normality as much as possible but it is time to look after yourself. Drop a few commitments if you can . It wont hurt if kids cant do all activities etc. I dont think you should make any big decisions re relationship until you are in a better place. I am not saying you are imagining the issues by the way only that when we are already low for whatever reason we sometimes cannot see the wood for the trees. Your whole family has been through a massive trauma and this may be affecting the way people are reacting and adding further stress to existing issues. Take care of yourself and good luck whatever you decide in the long term
What smilingeyes wrote; this man you are with is abusive. Such men as well can be "nice" sometimes but the nice/nasty cycle he is showing you and in turn your children is a continuous one. The power/control ante has been upped over time and particularly post surgery.
He has used and is saying the Abusers Script; he is projecting his own stuff onto you. He is really those things he says of you. Such men as well often refuse to separate; in his head he is onto a good thing with you so why should he leave and have to do the work of finding someone else to control?. Do not forget that after all he targeted you. It is certainly for those reasons as well that you need to get him out of your lives before he does any more emotional harm to you all.
And yet I'm still here because I feel responsible for him
You are not. I am wondering if you are co-dependent and act as such in relationships?. Read up on codependency and see how much of that resonates with your behaviours. He has never shown you any real consideration whatsoever, he certainly does not feel any sense of responsibility towards you.
Re your comment:-
"and that if I really seriously instigate separation then the children will hate me because he really does come across as the nice guy in all this and we'll all be so bloody poor life will be even more miserable"
I do not think they will hate you; I think they are as afraid of him as you are. You're all modifying your behaviours and you are a non person to him. He does not want to hear your opinions because he is the Big Man. Your children certainly know things are not right at home and perhaps even worse blame their own selves for their parents problems. Their dad has decided to conduct his own private war against you; such men like this hate women and all of them. None of what you write in that comment above are actually reasons to remain within this at all.
What do you want to teach your children about relationships, surely not this poor model of one for them to potentially repeat themselves as adults.
I would seek legal advice asap and talk to WOmens Aid on 0808 2000 247.
It always amuses me how quick people are to label someone as an abuser in here despite only hearing one side of a story.
He may well be abusive but equally he may well not be. I have seen first hand many relationships where the actual abusive partner is the one that affectively keeps banging on about how they are abused.
He has used and is saying the Abusers Script; he is projecting his own stuff onto you. He is really those things he says of you
On that logic then perhaps OP is those things she says of him?
I am not the only poster here to call him abusive.
Even the OP herself has thought his behaviour to be abusive:-
"I've always felt his behaviour over the years has been emotionally abusive but he's clever and seems able to turn things on their head, making it seem to be me that is causing all the problems".
"Anyway, when we got home I said to him the relationship can't go on and he's since gone out of his way to be loving and caring whilst ignoring pretty much what I say.He refuses to seperate. Tells me I need to make more effort. That I'm always slagging him off and he puts up with so much from me and I make him feel like crap. If I try and explain how difficult I've found him he tells me I need to move on. I asked him if he'd thumped me would he expect me to be able to move on. He said yes if we both discussed it and agreed to move on together. It's madness isn't it?"
So what is this if this is not abusive?.
He is already telling her how he feels, he is indeed banging on about how rubbish he feels. This is infact typical of what abusive men do, they make it all out to be the other person's fault. Telling her as well to make more effort post surgery as well is a low blow.
OP; do talk to Womens Aid and seek legal advice and get this man out of your lives as soon as you are able to do so. Your children will also thank you.
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