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I am a shrew but is DH an arse? (long)

(130 Posts)
braketime Tue 31-Jul-12 12:20:08

Not sure what to do. Yesterday we went to the Olympics to see the diving. Long wait to the awards ceremony, so suggested we leave early and go look round the park (DD lolling around complaining she was hot). Kids fought on and off all day and I did snap at them. When we get home at long last, I start getting them ready for bed. Yell at DD not to get out of the bath to show her dad her blister but to get back in and finish off first. DH then snaps, throws washing basket on ground, calls me a bitch in front of the kids and then says I ruined his day by leaving the Aquatic centre before the awards ceremony. I'm completely flummoxed but apparently he'd already told me earlier that this was what he wanted to do and I'd put him in a bad position by asking to leave (and then clearly sulked about it for the rest of the day).

Later on I tell him it was unacceptable behaviour, he then says I ruined his life by having a second child and we should separate and take one kid each as this is the only way to stop them fighting. Refuses to apologise and says his life is being ruined by the negativity around the children. Then tells me that i ruined his day by insisting we leave the awards ceremony. I told him I would have stayed if he'd said so but he didn't - I can't see that I did wrong but according to him it is all my fault and I should have remembered that he'd said before he wanted to watch it and I'd put him in an awkward position.

We do fight a lot, we snap at the kids a lot, they fight a lot. We are a disharmonious family. We could probably do with parenting lessons. But this is extreme surely?

DH always drags up old ground, criticises my parenting in front of the kids as says I yell too much. But the other weekend he threw a cup of water in DD's face as she was rude to him when he asked her what she wanted to drink (she said "whatever"). No apology to any of us, I just had to take a screaming DD upstairs to bed.

I'm sure if I were a better parent then life would be better. But do I have a right to expect better behaviour from him. Both DD and DS challenging - DS constantly in trouble at school (10), DD (7) very dramatic and high-maintenance at home (always screaming!). We got an educational psychologist to see DS as the school were up in arms - more money out the door. I am worried that DH will walk out as he finds the kids unbearable, to be honest I couldn't afford to live with the kids on my own. Should I just bite my tongue and get on with life?

ImperialBlether Tue 31-Jul-12 12:27:15

Oh god what an awful situation. It seems as though you two are causing the trouble and your poor children are responding with really bad behaviour.

Something needs to be done. You know that your children will be friendless tearaways if they carry on like this.

Putting the money aside for a moment, how do you think life for you would be as a single mum? You would then have control over what the children do and how they behave. Do you think things would be better?

curmit Tue 31-Jul-12 12:28:48

He threw a glass of water in her face? That's awful. Could you go to family councelling through your GP? - It's free I think. Or certainly you could both go to marriage councelling through your GP and go from there. He is obviously harbouring a lot of bad feeling and it is coming out in these explosive incidents.

mostlyhappy Tue 31-Jul-12 12:31:22

I think his suggestion that you each take a child each is appalling - does he have no idea about child-rearing? Maybe you are being so snappy with the children because you find your relationship with your husband to be so stressful and separating could calm things down?

braketime Tue 31-Jul-12 12:33:08

to be honest I think parenting the two of them on their own would drive me mad. They do bicker constantly. DS definitely has something going on - he is basically a control freak, responds with anger if things don't go his way and has zero social skills. DD more "normal" at school but horribly high maintenance regardless. To my shame I yell at them that if they don't behave I will leave them with the nanny full time and work rather than look after them as it is so stressful. They are better separated, they are very competitive for attention and needy (why are they so needy? my parents basically ignored me and I got on with life).

Feel very isolated and not sure what to do.

EdithWeston Tue 31-Jul-12 12:33:45

It sounds as if he is having a "straw that broke the camel's back" moment.

He attached importance to seeing the rewards ceremony, you don't even remember him telling you this. There may be many such previous incidents. He puts up with it quietly, you don't realise the impact until he snaps.

Perhaps that's why he keeps dragging old stuff up - he still doesn't think you attach importance to his pov. This doesn't excuse behaviour, but may explain it. There are probably lots of factors involved.

This isn't about your "rights". This is about a family in trouble.

Parenting classes would be a good start point.

Themumsnot Tue 31-Jul-12 12:34:56

I'm sorry, I can't get past the fact that he threw a cup of water in your DD's face. You do know this is assault don't you? No normal parent behaves like that.
Being blunt, you need to model harmonious behaviour for your DC - their bad behaviour is a direct product of what they are seeing from you and your DH, not a cause of it. So you need to be analysing carefully how this toxic relationship between you and your DH has come about and what you both can do to remedy it.
Has he always been like this or is it just since the children arrived? Just from what you have posted it sounds as if he is the main instigator of the disharmony in your family, but be honest with yourself - what can you do to change your behaviour and will it help enough? How much does he need to change his behaviour and will he be willing to? One thing is for sure, you can't carry on the way you are going. You and your DH need to accept responsibility for your children's behaviour and change before it is too late.

braketime Tue 31-Jul-12 12:38:28

I do yell a lot, i come from a yelling background (one of five kids, I think my mum went mad when she had the fifth). But I yell then forget about it. DH snaps, goes mad (and really does go mad, yelling abuse at all of us). and then never ever apologises or backs down. It makes me nervous as I don't really want him to leave and it always feels like a threat.

Kaluki Tue 31-Jul-12 12:38:29

He threw a glass of water at her?
The way you describe your dc is quite shocking!
No wonder they are out of control.
Time to make some changes - both you and your DH need to calm down and work out how you are going to parent these kids and I think you need to get professional help to do this.
You absolutely can't have one child each! That is an appalling suggestion!!!

BelieveInPink Tue 31-Jul-12 12:45:24

Your children's behaviour is a direct result of you and your husband's behaviour. I can say that as an outsider.

That's all I had to say really, until I read that he threw a drink in a 7 year old's face. That changes things completely.

CailinDana Tue 31-Jul-12 12:52:22

If my DH threw a glass of water in my child's face he would be out on his arse, and he's actually a nice person. Your husband sounds like a nasty bully and it looks to me like the children would be far better off without him. That said, if you're a yeller then you need to look at ways to discipline without verbal abuse too.

TubbyDuffs Tue 31-Jul-12 12:54:08

Your description of your son sounds just like your husband!

You do need family counselling of some sort. You cannot honestly believe that splitting your children up is the answer.

Do you think you should be able to just ignore the children and they should just get on with it?

What is your normal day with the children, do you interact much with them?

I have 3 children, and yes there can be a lot of bickering, but some days they can be the best of friends, and that more than makes up for the "bad" times!

If the house is full of screaming and shouting, it isn't going to feel like a safe or very nice environment for any of you. Please seek help.

Sarcalogos Tue 31-Jul-12 12:55:27

Sort out yourselves and the kids will follow.

You cannot tackle their behaviour until you sort out your own.

I cannot believe your DH chucked water into your child's face and you allowed things to continue with no apology from him.

If he is just NOT sorry for behaviour like this im not sure anyone on MN can help you sort it out.

braketime Tue 31-Jul-12 12:58:08

off to lunch will look at this later. I know I yell too much. But would this fix DH? There are so many stress points in our relationship: work, kids, money, getting things done. We don't seem to have any time or any ability to do things. I need better communication tools, but how would I know about the bloody awards ceremony if he didn't tell me at the time? TBH it feels like he wants me to be a mindreader.

braketime Tue 31-Jul-12 13:03:37

Tubby of course I don't ignore my children. But I don't really do "games" either - I am happy to talk to them, take them out, and go on walks/shopping/out and about but I don't do lego. And when I am home I have chores to do, homework to supervise, etc. So I am deficient (admit this am not a Blue Peter mum at all), but not totally absent (at least not in body!).

HumphreyCobbler Tue 31-Jul-12 13:08:01

I think you all need to sit down and have a think about how you communicate. Ask for some help/family therapy. You all need to sort yourselves out, and I sense that you are ready to try. I hope your DH is too. You owe it to your children.

The throwing water incident is truly shocking.

2fedup Tue 31-Jul-12 13:14:04

Please get yourselves some family counselling as even if you split if the relationship isn't improved, things will still be hard.
I feel for all of you as it sounds like a horrible way to live. No one is perfect, but if you look firstly at your own behaviour as this is the only bit that is in tour control. shouting raises everyone's tension levels and if you are shouting often, somtimes, you are not listening effectively, so taking 10 secs to think about the impact may help just to calm everything down a little bit and make things more manageable on a day to day level.

TubbyDuffs Tue 31-Jul-12 13:18:26

Sorry brake not meaning to make out you are a crap parent, just picked up on the fact that your parents ignored you and wondered if you thought this was normal parenting.

The situation can't be good for any of you.

I totally sympathise with you, as I know when I try and get anything done round our house, the kids will play up terribly. If I leave the housework and play with them instead, they are great. Problem is then the house is a tip! I have given mine dusters and cloths before now and given them jobs to do, so that we are all "playing" together, however that has backfired when the eldest decided to shower the whole bathroom including ceiling once (so probably not the best advice). Mine are a bit younger than yours though so are easier to engage/distract.

You do need to communicate as a family. Have you thought of sitting down and having a "family meeting" to try and get some house rules on paper, including a no shouting rule (and definitely a no throwing water in faces rule)? Just remember seeing this type of thing on a programme that used to be on, the name of which I can't remember, but basically they changed the parents/children's lifestyles with very good results.

Callisto Tue 31-Jul-12 13:20:40

Your family life sounds absolute hell to me. One parent constantly yelling, the other parent constantly blowing his top. It's no wonder your children behave the way they do. And how can you all live like this - I would have a breakdown or similar if I had to live in this sort of toxic atmosphere. None of you sound happy, your children are 'needy' because they are living on a knife edge all of the time.

You really, really both need some parenting classes and marraige councelling wouldn't go amiss either. You need to do it now before it is too late for your children (who I feel deeply sorry for, particularly your son).

OxfordBags Tue 31-Jul-12 13:27:59

I am amazed at how you can't see how your DCs' respective issues are so blatantly caused by not only how both of their parents behave badly as individuals but how you interact and parent together. If my parents were like that, I'd become obsessive, needy, scared of people, etc. If you carry on like this, the poor things have no sense of security, of harmony, of knowing what's going to happen next... apart from the fact that one or both parents will inevitably going to go loopy over trivia and upset and terrify them. That instability and constant fear will make a child controlling and quick to anger out of fear and seeing people who you like the most in the world be so nasty randomly will hardly inspire confidence in making friends, because if your parents will turn on you or each other, who is to say a friend won't do the same? And similarly with your daughter being high-maintenance; if you model screeching and drama for her, she will act that way. If her needs for security and calm are never met, she is going to push and push and push to get other needs met, simply because she has no faith in getting needs met so she feels she needs to go over the top to either get the attention required or to force things into happening. You two are so locked into your own dramas, personally and together, that the only way to get your attention is to act up. You must be able to see this, surely? And you don't do anything fun or creative or on their level, so how do you expect them to get positive emotion.

They see you two unable to control your own emotions and behaviour and yet when they don't behave how you want them to, you threaten them with abandonment (leaving them with the nanny). You know you'd be back, but that must be a terrifying threat for them. If you two adults can't control yourselves, why are you expecting children to?! And how are they supposed to learn if they don't witness you doing it?!

I think your DH was a passive-aggressive manchild twat to speak to you how he did, but frankly that is the most trivial of everything you mention here; your relationship sounds horribly toxic and your children sound really damaged by it already. Sorry to be harsh, but it's true. You mention parenting classes and so on - you really, really need to change. Things like throwing water into a child's face and saying you should take one child each are seriously abusive and abnormal.

Themumsnot Tue 31-Jul-12 13:48:43

Brake - you need to address some of the pertinent questions people have asked on this thread. You appear to be in denial of the fact that you and your DH are both abusing your children and your behaviour is the cause of their problems. If you don't face up to that you can't make things better.
What is coming across from your replies is that you are fixating on the tangential issue of the awards ceremony to distract from the main problem which is the effect that your very disfunctional relationship is having on your children.
You have to start by changing your own behaviour and making it clear to your husband that he has to change his rather than, as you seem to be doing here, trying to justify not doing anything on the grounds that you can't 'fix' your DH. Only he can do that, but it doesn't excuse you from not fixing yourself.

monsterchild Tue 31-Jul-12 14:02:33

Brake, it also sounds like you perhaps don't listen to your DH very well. If he isn't lying, and he had to blow his top to get your attention (which is what it sounds like) then YOU need to figure out how to listen. your DS and DD's reactions also say they are not being heard unless they act out too. Having to be controlling, acting out in school, drama and hysterics are all signs that kids aren't being heard.

I agree with everyone on here that you need to admit that you and DH need counselling to figure out how you can listen and he can control his outbursts, THEN get on with parenting the kids.

Kids reflect their parents, so model proper behavior. And being ignored by your parents isn't a reason to ignore your own! I was also ignored, and I won't do that to my kids! I had to learn to listen to other people, learn to really hear what they were saying rather than nod and go my merry way because no one ever taught me to give a damn.

braketime Tue 31-Jul-12 14:23:06

Wasn't aware I was ignoring questions - maybe you can spell them out for me?

I guess what I'm looking for is guidance on how to improve communication. Don't think I can get DH to counselling so what you seem to be saying is that I have to change and find ways of chilling out/not yelling/not reacting.

ImperialBlether Tue 31-Jul-12 14:31:29

I've read your other thread where you describe your son. You wrote it in March 2011 and say that your son is dreamy and disorganised. In the last year, then, he's become a lot of trouble.

What has happened in the last year to make him so unhappy?

Frankly, you made me really angry when you said you don't "do" lego or games. Why not? Because you don't want to? Do you think it's worth doing something calming with the children because they want to do it?

When your daughter tried to get out of the bath to show her dad her blister, was your first instinct to yell? Did you speak to her quietly at first? How long did it take from her initial decision to jump out of the bath until you yelled at her?

Can I ask what your job is? Do you deal with people? What kind of skills do you have to use at work? How long could you keep your job if your reaction is to yell?

Callisto Tue 31-Jul-12 14:41:16

Brake - if you read the replies you will figure out the questions we are asking. Is this how you ignore your own family too?

Whether or not you can get your husband to councelling, YOU need to get yourself to councelling and also parenting classes. Many people have suggested this, but you're still asking what you shoud do. hmm

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