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Partner has different personality when woken in morning... starting to really bother me.

(152 Posts)

Ok, my partner and I have been together for just over a year, not living together, although he regularly stays over and me and my son both adore him. The problem is his attitude/behaviour when he wakes up. In normal, everyday life, he is the most kind, sweet, generous, gentle and loving man I've ever known. He has been my rock through a hellish year and is an excellent role model for my son. We were friends for years before deciding to take things further, and I've never been happier.

However, when he wakes up in the morning, he becomes a totally different person. A bit of background - he had insomnia for quite a long time and still has very unusual sleeping habits. He struggles to sleep. He has worked irregular shifts for many years, so has never developed a good routine. He's recently been offered a new job which offers slightly more usual hours, so he's trying to gradually train himself to wake up earlier. Anything before 10 is very early to him. It takes a very, very long time for him to wake up. He is unable to speak and doesn't have any memory of what's happened. On the few occasions I've made him get up, he has behaved very aggressively and it's taken at least ten minutes for him to respond and move. He sometimes falls over when he gets up and seems totally disorientated. I, on the other hand, love getting up early and getting things done, so I usually just leave him to get on with it.

There are three incidents in particular which are bothering me.
1 - I felt unwell and asked him to get up in the night as my son was crying. He was unresponsive and seemed totally uncaring, so i shook him to try and get a response. He then elbowed me twice in the stomach before storming out of the house. He only vaguely remembers this happening, but said that he thought I'd hit him when I touched him.
2 - Earlier this week, I was struggling to get my son ready for school. I suffer with depression and had an uncharacteristically bad morning after my son's (useless) father told me I'm a terrible parent. I was upset, so went upstairs and asked for help. He very angrily got up and went to the toilet. While he was in there, I lay on the bed because I was crying. He came back in and grabbed me by the wrist and ankle, telling me that I couldn't ask him to get up and then go back to bed. I was crying on and off for a little while. I discussed his with him yesterday and he didn't even realise that I was crying. It's like he's no longer human...
3 - This morning, his alarm went off at 8.30am, which is the time he's been trying to get out of bed. My son was happily sort of bouncing all over him, trying to get him up. He got angry and shoved him. It looked as though he meant to push him onto the bed because he was hurting him, but his hand caught him quite hard. I made him apologise and then took my son to school. When I came back, he was getting his stuff together to leave. I briefly discussed this with him and asked whether he remembered it. He said that he only had a vague memory of it, apologised and seemed very withdrawn and ashamed.

As he was leaving, I told him that he either sorts himself out or won't be staying overnight again as I wont have anybody treat us that way. He said that he understood and left.

I know it sounds as though I'm making a big deal of nothing, but it is so out of character for him and I don't really know what to do about it. It's as though he's still in a state of semi-consciousness for a long time after waking. Any advice?

unclefluffy Fri 25-Jan-13 12:38:28

Sounds like he needs to see a doctor. Does he take sleeping tablets? They can cause disordered waking.

And if he won't see a doc, or if it can't be sorted, perhaps he shouldn't stay over, as you say. You can't take the risk that he will accidentally hurt you or your son.

unclefluffy Fri 25-Jan-13 12:39:11

Sorry you're having a rough time, by the way. It sounds like you're doing a good job for your little boy.

Thumbwitch Fri 25-Jan-13 12:39:59

Doesn't sound normal - I mean, I'm not a morning person (MASSIVE understatement) and I wouldn't do those things. Nor would I only have a vague recollection of having done anything. Not that I'm a perfect barometer of what's normal, don't get me wrong!

DH, otoh, IS a morning person. BUT if you wake him in the middle of the night he can be quite an arse as well - not violent but bloody rude, and he doesn't know he's doing it at the time but does at least have a recollection of it the next day. He does really badly on insufficient sleep - maybe your DP has the same problem and has to learn to manage it better?
Perhaps he should consider going to his GP about the insomnia and mention the out-of-character gittishness at the same time? Sleep deprivation can cause character changes but I'm not sure that necessarily applies here.

Dahlen Fri 25-Jan-13 12:43:12

The only advice I can give you is to do what you've already done - tell him he can't stay over until he's got this under control. And stick with it until he has.

This could be anything from a complex medical problem to an abuser testing your boundaries. It's impossible to know and not that easy to find out either, as 12 months is a relatively short relationship.

However, what he does from this point on will speak volumes. If he accepts responsibility and on his own volition makes an appointment with a GP to get a sleep-specialist referral, then it's probably a medical condition and there's hope. If he doesn't, then he either doesn't value you enough to bother, or he's really an abuser.

What you need to think about is what you're going to do if it is a real condition but not one that can be successfully treated. While it's not his fault, your first duty has to be to protect your son (and yourself) from any outbursts of violence, which may mean accepting you can never live together or even calling off the relationship for good.

WeAreSix Fri 25-Jan-13 12:45:06

He sounds like my DH when he is sleepwalking. He has very peculiar out of character behaviour - but that's usually in the middle of the night. Although I guess 8am is your DPs equivalent of 4am.

DH was referred to a sleep clinic by GP, maybe your DP needs the same?

badguider Fri 25-Jan-13 12:45:35

I think he should try the GP. I sort of sympathise with him, I am not as bad but I do take AGES to wake up in the morning from a deep sleep and if I just try to force myself can walk into doors, fall over trying to climb into the bath and just basically want to sit in the hall and cry (for no real reason).... so I'm not agressive but I can be utterly and completely pathetic, not like me at all. When woken in the night by the fire alarm in uni halls I once fell down the stairs so bad I had to go to hospital, just because I wasn't fully awake.

Things that I've tried and help are:
1. a 'lumie' clock, this starts to light up with a special daylight immitating light half an hour before the alarm goes off, this means when it does i'm in a lighter sleep and it's easier to get up.
2. the iphone 'sleep cycle' app - this uses the motion sensor in the iphone to analyse your lighter and heavier sleep cycles and wake you when you're coming into lighter sleep within a half hour window of when you want to get up.
You can get more sophistocated versions of the 'sleep cycle' thing where you wear a motion sensor on your wrist.

Ultimately however, you might need to sleep in seperate rooms sad

PeppermintPasty Fri 25-Jan-13 12:47:45

You're not making something out of nothing, it's very worrying for you. You say it's out of character for him, but also seem to be saying he's been like this as long as you've known one another? Do you mean it's out of sync with the man he is for the rest of the day? ie he's a nice guy past ten am?!

Anyway, has he been to a GP? I would insist on it, he sounds unstable-grabbing you, being angry at you and shoving your son? -Unless he has a medical issue/disorder that he can get treated for, then the conclusion might be that he is simply a nasty piece of work.

Is there anything else, I mean does he drink or anything like that?

TurnipCake Fri 25-Jan-13 12:52:14

I'd bet my bottom dollar that after 10am, this guy isn't the most kind, sweet, gentle person ever, only less of an arsehole than he is before 10am.

I have intermittent problems with insomnia, I also work night shifts and that messes up my body clock something proper. But, I don't elbow people in their stomachs, grab their wrists aggressively or shove their children angry. Quite convenient that he 'forgets' so much of what happens. How does this guy actually manage to function?

PigletJohn Fri 25-Jan-13 13:03:29

Is there a drug or alcohol connection?

The bright lights help, and so will sunshine in summer.

Some people revive with a drink or snack, a glass of water and a biscuit by the bed may make a difference but what you describe sounds extreme.

PigletJohn Fri 25-Jan-13 13:09:43

Does he snore badly, and is he very overweight or a smoker?

Anyway, GP consultation will be better than guesswork.

Hobbitation Fri 25-Jan-13 13:14:48

Sounds like stress/insomnia. Lack of sleep + stress can make you almost crazy. Before I gave up my job, I felt like I'd be sectioned if I went on that way for much longer. He is probably just holding it together in the day. I've had apoplectic rage from being woken in the night, especially I had been trying to sleep for ages.

CartedOff Fri 25-Jan-13 13:30:57

I know there may be medical reasons for his behaviour, but I feel uneasy that you can already list three violent incidences towards you and your son and describe his behaviour in the morning as aggressive. Elbowing you in the stomach, grabbing you, pushing your son...I don't know if I could get past that, even if someone was waving a diagnosis in my face.

It's unacceptable behaviour.

TurnipCake Fri 25-Jan-13 13:32:58

Even if there was a medical reason (I'm waiting for someone to mention a thyroid problem) it would only serve as a 'huh, so that's a contributing factor' and I'd send him on his way anyway, and enjoy my mornings without having to walk on eggshells around this guy.

Hello, no, he isn't overweight or a smoker - he also doesn't drink or take drugs. Totally normal in every other way. Peppermint Pasty, yes, I do mean that it's out of character for him as he's completely normal again once he's properly awake. He obviously has been like this in the morning for a long time, but I didn't share a bed with him when we were just friends, so I had no idea!

To those who are saying this is abusive behaviour, I understand why you're saying that and it's difficult for me to really get things across over the internet, but that's definitely not the problem. i've been in... non-ideal relationships before and this isn't one of them. I think it is something to do with his sleeping problems.

He has been to see his GP in the past, but hasn't been for a while. badguider, he did mention an app of some sort like that in the past. He tries quite a lot of things to help with sleep, but he still ends up tossing and turning for most of the night. I suffer from night sweats and am a very deep sleeper, which doesn't help matters. At his own house, his bedroom is almost entirely black with minimal furniture, the comfiest bed ever, blackout blinds everywhere and things which minimise sound. I cannot provide that environment. It's like a little, silent cave. Thanks for everybody replying and mentioning seeing the doctor again. I don't know why that didn't occur to me sooner!

Just a thought - I was wondering whether it would be worth me mentioning it to his mom. We're close and spend quite a lot of time together. I've talked things through with her before and she was a great help. She has previously mentioned his inability to remember things in the morning. But I don't want him to think that we're ganging up on him!

pictish Fri 25-Jan-13 13:44:48

Whatever may or may not be causing it, his violence followed by his convenient lack of memory is totally unacceptable.

He has found a perfect excuse to behave like a complete shit, and have you put up with it.

Don't. He either seeks help immediately or gets right to fuck forever. Imho.

TurnipCake, I do appreciate you taking the time to respond, but you're on the wrong track here. The shoving of my son seemed as though it was actually meant to be moving him from his stomach (which he was jumping on and had been told no to) onto the bed, but it was misjudged and his hand caught him in an unexpected way. The elbowing and grabbing are what concern me most, as they were intentional - yet he often doesn't remember or seem aware of what's going on. I'm certainly no pushover and would happily walk away if I suspected this was more sinister or he had no desire to sort it out.

MMMarmite Fri 25-Jan-13 13:53:56

Does he take sleeping tablets? They can make it very difficult to wake up, like swimming through a fog, though I don't know if they can cause aggressive behavior.

Assuming this is out of character, which only you can judge, then I think he definitely needs to see a doctor. Perhaps you could go together - as he doesn't remember his behaviour on waking very well, it would help if you were there to describe it.

In the meantime, I think need to accept that you can't spend the night together. Does he live close enough that he can go home at night? At the moment you and your son are vulnerable to violence. Also he is probably getting a worse nights sleep too which may cause stress and damage his health.

Muminwestlondon Fri 25-Jan-13 13:55:46

Are you sure he is even awake when these things take place? DH has very lucid dreams/night terrors when he is convinced things have taken place/are in the room for example even when they haven't/aren't.

I once had one during my first pregnancy; I fell asleep in daytime and woke up convinced I had already had the baby and walked round the place, pulling things out of cupboards etc worried that I couldn't find it. I was vaguely aware of doing so, but was still in a sleep state.

I would go to the GP. Apparently stress etc makes them worse. DH finds they are getting better as he gets older.

Thumbwitch Fri 25-Jan-13 14:07:15

Muminwestlondon - my DH has those too. We nicknamed them his "episodes" - he usually gets them when he's very stressed or overtired, he would always have one after the flight from Australia to the UK, for e.g.
He's always extremely disorientated in them and it can take a couple of minutes for him to come out of them sometimes.

We deal with it by avoiding the causes, wherever possible.

extracrunchy Fri 25-Jan-13 14:07:38

You're not making something out of nothing - sounds like this needs investigating by a sleep expert, which I think your DP can be referred for by his GP.

My husband is the same to a lesser degree during the night. He's usually the kindest person on the planet, wonderful husband and father, but if DC wakes and I need DH's help, or something happens during the night, he's a totally different person, aggressive and borderline abusive, swearing, shoving, very hostile and unhelpful. He is almost IMPOSSIBLE to wake up - I mean you could literally punch him in the face and it might not have any effect! (obv wouldn't...)

I find it SO frustrating and hard not to be angry about it the text day but he genuinely can't remember it having happened at all. It's not generally an issue any more as morning's are fine, and DS doesn't often wake during the night nowadays, but your situation sounds a bit more severe and worth taking steps to fix, for both your sakes (and DC's). Apart from anything, it sounds like your DP could do with some general support with sleep anyway.

MimiSunshine Fri 25-Jan-13 14:09:31

It sounds like he has a sleep disorder. Night shifts and irregular sleeping patterns can cause havoc on the central nervous system and shouldn’t be under estimated or people accused of not just getting on with things. There’s loads online but this page has some basic info.
http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/shift-work-how-to-handle-sleep-life

I think you are right to say stay away until he gets it sorted, but he can’t just set his alarm for 08:30 if he is used to getting up at 10-11am. I could probably get up at 4am once maybe twice but I’d be a wreck very quickly. He needs to get back in sync with regular waking hours, very gradually before staying over.

However I do have some sympathy with him, why on earth did you let your little boy jump all over him when you knew he was struggling and you know what he’s like in the mornings? You should have removed your son. To be honest I’d be in an aggressive rage too if I was dog tired and woken up in that way, not that I’d harm a child though.
You say you are very much a morning person and mostly leave him to it but how often do you want him to just get up? If you’re expecting him to change and become more like you, then I’m afraid you’re being very unfair and as for shaking him awake to see to your son in the night, I don’t agree with that, except maybe if you were immobile. He’s your son, he’s not his dad and I just don’t think you can expect him to parent in that way unless already agreed.

I personally think people are too quick to go for the DV card; sleep disorders are real and can have huge effect on people. Assuming you don’t feel he is becoming abusive I think you need to support him in getting help. I think you should both go to see his GP so that you can fully understand what is going on with him and how to progress.
This is an interesting article to read:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070801091411.htm
The interesting points:
“More often, a confusional arousal occurs when someone attempts to awaken a sleeping individual in bed.”
"There is no evidence that individuals with these disorders are inherently violent or predetermined to seek out victims,"

And dont speak to his mum, you're not children, sit down and discuss things and make a plan for resolving things.

MimiSunshine Fri 25-Jan-13 14:10:51

Thanks for a very informative reply, MimiSunshine. I have tried to convince him to do it gradually, but he only found out about the new job this week and he has to be in work at 9.30 on Monday morning. I know he's worrying about it, as he's going into a higher position than before, but he tends to become quiet when worried, rather than talking about it. I certainly don't expect him to become more like me - he's very good at nighttime, whereas I become very sleepy and grumpy, no matter where I am. He makes sure I get to bed before I get too bad and gets me a drink etc. That's just the way we are. I just don't want him to be totally unable to function in a morning. I wasn't really 'letting' my son jump all over him. I'd just told him to get down when it happened. We're usually very playful, so that kind of thing is fairly normal and usually ends up with me at the bottom of a pile-on! And yes, he does assume a parent role with my son. He'd intentionally come over to help, as I had a terrible sickness bug and couldn't cope alone. They spend most days together and we're currently looking to move in together. I'd like to get this sorted before that happens. I'll have a good look at those links. Hopefully we can get this sorted out! Thanks all smile

expatinscotland Fri 25-Jan-13 14:38:31

What pictish said. NO MORE overnights until it's completely sorted out. He's an adult. This is his responsibility if this relationship is important to him.

TurnipCake Fri 25-Jan-13 15:53:59

Fair enough OP, you know yourself better than anyone else. But as expat said, no more overnight stays, you shouldn't have to tolerate what he's doing (whether there's a medical explanation for it or not - and I say that as a cynical, jaded doctor wink ), and it's up to him to seek medical advice, it's not your job to take him to the doctors or even suggest it, it's his responsibility.

OneMoreGo Fri 25-Jan-13 16:05:43

Have you described his morning behavior to him, clearly and carefully, when he is fully awake and 'with it'? What does he say, how does he react? I would be MORTIFIED if I behaved like that and then had no memory of it, and I would be trotting to the docs sharpish with no encouragement needed, not mumbling ashamedly and brushing it under the carpet. FFS. Agree with everything pictish said. You cannot allow any more overnights til he gets this sorted; the reasons why aren't as important as protecting your son from potential violence.

EuroShagmore Fri 25-Jan-13 16:20:09

Your thread title could describe me, so I expected to come on here and defend your partner, but the aggresive behaviour and lack of recollection is extreme.

I find waking up very difficult. I feel physically awful and mentally muzzy for at least a couple of hours. I am very grumpy and have a short fuse and my husband tries to interract with me as little as possible until I have properly woken up. I don't know how to explain it, but I just feel dreadful. I just need to be left alone until it passes. But I have never physically lashed out at someone or anything. It almost sounds like your partner is sleepwalking if he acting completely out of character and can't remember it later?

sarahseashell Fri 25-Jan-13 16:22:43

its not a different personality, its part of his actual personality. He's been violent towards you. I'd get out of the relationship now sad

MissVerinder Fri 25-Jan-13 16:25:47

Is he able to get up when there's something important to him (trips out with whoever, events etc) going on?

colditz Fri 25-Jan-13 16:27:20

I totally agree with Dahlen

I think you should tell him that if he wants to sleep over he has to go to the doctor and explain he has a sleep disorder with a list of what you actually say he does and not what he thinks he does.

You really can't continue to suffer this abuse. It doesn't matter if its a disorder or not, it matters what you're actually suffering from.

pictish Fri 25-Jan-13 16:33:46

Earlier this week, I was struggling to get my son ready for school. I suffer with depression and had an uncharacteristically bad morning after my son's (useless) father told me I'm a terrible parent. I was upset, so went upstairs and asked for help. He very angrily got up and went to the toilet. While he was in there, I lay on the bed because I was crying. He came back in and grabbed me by the wrist and ankle, telling me that I couldn't ask him to get up and then go back to bed. I was crying on and off for a little while. I discussed his with him yesterday and he didn't even realise that I was crying. It's like he's no longer human...

If he was with it enough to get the hump because he had been woken up, while you lay down, then I cannot see that there can be any medical explanation for that behaviour. It sounds like sheer temper to me!

RooneyMara Fri 25-Jan-13 16:40:17

I think to be out of it to the point of violence would take some extreme physiological issue.

recently, I mean in the last couple of weeks I have had very little sleep, having a new baby and no one around to help. One time I fell asleep for a few minutes, and woke, and could not find the baby - I literally walked round the flat trying to find him, terrified I'd lost him, and then saw that he was on my bed where I'd left him - I just hadn't seen him when I woke and couldn't remember what had happened to him.

I can't even remember when it was exactly but it was caused by having literally almost no sleep at all, for several nights. I still get almost no sleep at all, but I haven't had an episode like that again - it is very very rare for me.

For someone to have this sort of experience on a regular basis would suggest, to me, that there's something fairly wrong somewhere.

PeppermintPasty Fri 25-Jan-13 16:40:57

Yes, I agree. It all sounds a bit fishy to me, (his behaviour that is), but I am happy to be proved wrong if it is medical.

PeppermintPasty Fri 25-Jan-13 16:42:02

That was in agreement with Pictish, slow typing here...

RooneyMara Fri 25-Jan-13 16:43:50

I'm sorry OP but I don't think you should stay with this person. Whether he is conscious of it or not I think he is abusive.

Could it be he has some kind of psychiatric disorder?

TheLightPassenger Fri 25-Jan-13 16:54:02

yes, the incident that pictish highlighted did make me hmm about it being a grogginess on waking issue. Agree with pictish and expat - whatever the reason for his behaviour, no more sleepovers until he has sorted himself out, as you need to keep yourself and your child safe.

FairPhyllis Fri 25-Jan-13 18:19:35

Well you've done the right thing by saying no more staying over until this is sorted.

If this is a genuinely non-abusive situation then it is well and beyond not being a morning person. I can be extremely bad-tempered in the morning, but mostly it means I just want to avoid having conversations until I am a bit more together. So he might genuinely have a sleep disorder, but then he might also have a sleep disorder on top of being abusive, which is making the mask slip a little. So even a doctor saying, yes, xyz is wrong with you, wouldn't necessarily rule out that possibility for me.

I think you do need to take quite seriously the possibility that he is abusive and keep an eye on whether he is properly horrified by his actions, and whether he takes the initiative to sort it out.

But to be honest, it's so hard to detect an abusive partner in the early stages of a relationship that even finding myself entertaining the possibility that someone might be abusive would probably be enough for me to end a relationship, especially if there were DC to think of. The stakes are too high for me to take that risk, personally.

ladyWordy Fri 25-Jan-13 19:13:46

shock

No, you aren't complaining about nothing. He elbows you in the stomach, storms out of the house ... and then tells you he doesn't remember it. So did he sleepwalk out of the house, is that what he's trying to say. And the elbowing, how was it justified because he thought you'd hit him?

And what about your lying there crying in misery a few days ago. You've asked for help in desperation, he grumbles and then visits the loo. Unless he sleepwalks to the loo we can now assume he's awake.

So he's then apparently furious with you for getting him up and going back to bed.? Apparently he doesn't care that you're desperately miserable, crying - it's all about his discomfort, and he's so angry he grabs you by the wrist and ankle. I imagine this was rather a shock. I wonder if you really think this is acceptable, or justifiable because of sleep loss, or because he said he 'didn't realise you were crying' (which makes no difference at all).

Now I can see he has a problem with sleep and waking, but these two incidents did not take place during sleep or in the few moments after he's woken.

One more thing: it's fair to say Stars, that you can know someone as a friend for many years, trust and even love them.... yet you don't know everything about them until you become close. Only then do you see what they're like as a partner ( and it can, sometimes, be a very sad shock.)

northeastofeden Fri 25-Jan-13 19:30:06

OP I have a similar problem to your DP, and whilst I am not violent I am (told) I can be very rude if woken unexpectedly and I genuinely have no recollection of this at all, sometimes I can have a whole conversation and not remember any of it. Also you can be asleep even if you are walking around with your eyes open - I have done it and I have seen it happen as well, it is very weird! I rarely even swear day to day and I don't think my DH would suggest I am an abusive person, although of course you'd have to ask him!
The things I have found help most are a regular sleep routine, minimising stress wherever possible and I also have a lumie (like the poster further up thread), it makes the biggest difference of everything, although it wakes DH up way before me!! I also take vit D. I would go and see a sleep specialist. I also get night terrors on a fairly regular basis.

Hissy Fri 25-Jan-13 19:37:29

He shoved your son?

GAME OVER.

You have been with this guy about a year. you have NO idea who he is, but he's starting to show you. FWIW, an abuser can go about 2 years before their true colours show... you haven't even had that.

You can't live with this and you can't inflict this on your son.

End the sleep overs. End the relationship. Put your son first and show him that NO man EVER has the right to shove him. EVER.

Incidentally , how much did he apologise profusely for elbowing you ON PURPOSE, and shoving your son? hmm

I'm certainly no pushover and would happily walk away if I suspected this was more sinister or he had no desire to sort it out.

remember these words, you are going to need them.

Hissy Fri 25-Jan-13 19:46:11

To those who are saying this is abusive behaviour, I understand why you're saying that and it's difficult for me to really get things across over the internet, but that's definitely not the problem. i've been in... non-ideal relationships before and this isn't one of them.

So, you have a history of abusive partners, your ex is still abusing you by calling you a poor parent, you are depressed and have not been able to shake him and his legacy off.

Have you done the Freedom Programme? The one that teaches you what to look for and what to expect from a normal relationship?

Let me tell you, this guy is pretending to be nice, but it's slipping. You had to make him apologise.

You are terrified that it IS another abuser and are looking for any excuse for him to be able to treat you and your son like this. S'alright, we've all done that, but it doesn't change the fact that we are being treated badly, and our children are learning from it.

Let me tell you that there IS no excuse and if he IS elbowing you now, and clipping your son and having to be made to apologise, he is NOT a partner to stay with. You CAN do better, but only by demanding better.

If he's an abuser, it's his problem to fix (he won't) it has no reflection on you at all. Thing is, if you have been abused in the past, you will be abused again most likely, as you will still have immense vulnerability, that these people home in on, and you won't have the boundaries to shake them off. The only way you can stop this is to face it, address it and learn to reject it.

You have not healed from your previous abuse. You are at great risk from this man. As is your son.

RooneyMara Fri 25-Jan-13 20:45:36

Please don't let him move in with you. Your son has no one to prevent this and protect him, only you and you'll be letting him down big time if you allow this bloke to be part of the household.

He's patently injuring you both and you're going to let him move in? Whatever his reasons - whether or not he means to do it - it's happening, repeatedly, and your JOB as a parent is to stop it from happening to your son.

So sorry to be blunt, I just wish people had been this blunt with me a year ago when I was getting involved with a person who was no good for us.

Helltotheno Fri 25-Jan-13 21:24:11

*He shoved your son?

GAME OVER.*

This 100%.

Thumbwitch Fri 25-Jan-13 22:08:47

Ladywordy - DH pretty much sleepwalks to the loo and back to bed. He isn't really awake at this point and can get pretty snarky if I try to interact with him in any way - it is possible that the OP's DP was still more than half asleep when he got back to the bedroom.

dequoisagitil Fri 25-Jan-13 22:24:12

You MUST put your ds first.

Do not expose him further to this man's hideous behaviour.

I could not give a good fuck as to the whys and wherefores of what causes your bloke to behave like this. What he does is wrong. The end. The outcome of violence and intimidation is too damaging to worry about whether he "can help it". The results are what matter.

You may maintain a relationship, but for your child's sake, do not live together until the man is safe to be with, whatever the time.

hestonbloomingdale Fri 25-Jan-13 22:48:30

Its evidently a medical issue, you can either:

a) help and support him through it like a person in a normal loving relationship.
b) take the advice from a bunch of people who evidently have their own issues from current or previous relationships and throw him out to deal with on his own.

I know which I would do.

Given that you have stated that you do not believe that there is not a safety issue for your ds, trust your instincts.

dequoisagitil Fri 25-Jan-13 22:50:09

Shoving a small child is a safety issue!

Are we invaded by MRAs tonight or something?! hmm

hestonbloomingdale Fri 25-Jan-13 22:50:21

Correction.. you do not believe that there is a safety issue.

CoteDAzur Fri 25-Jan-13 22:55:25

"the iphone 'sleep cycle' app - this uses the motion sensor in the iphone"

What "motion sensor in the iPhone"?

sarahseashell Fri 25-Jan-13 22:56:18

what's an MRA confused

seriously heston - history of abusive relationships, she's been with this person just a year and he's already elbowing her, shoving her son, grabbing her harshly and speaking to her harshly while she's crying hmm

I don't care how sleep-walky he is shock she'd be well advised to put herself and ds first and get rid IMO

hestonbloomingdale Fri 25-Jan-13 23:06:50

"get rid" is the standard response to just abour every post here. Its unbalanced, and overtly over reactionary. The OP has done everything right imo, she has told him to sort it out but also recognises that its out of character.

pictish Fri 25-Jan-13 23:11:54

And yet, something inside her doesn't swallow what he says so she brought it here.

sarahseashell Fri 25-Jan-13 23:12:17

I disagree - it's certainly not something I say on all threads. One year into a relationship she's still finding out about his character- and what she's found here is that he's capable of physical violence, irrespective of the excuse, as well as being unkind to her and irrespective of the excuse he's been physical with her ds.

If she accepts this now and makes excuses for him (that he's 'not awake' or has some kind of 'disorder') what does the future hold?
She has a ds to think of here and he has to come first. I'd end the relationship at this fairly early stage.

sarahseashell Fri 25-Jan-13 23:13:01

^ that was to heston btw

AbigailAdams Fri 25-Jan-13 23:15:07

Have I stumbled onto another handmaidens site?

This man is violent. End of. He said he thought you hit him before he hit you in the stomach. Even if that were true, he had the sense of entitlement to justify hitting you back. Not only that, hitting you back with more force and then blaming it on you.

And I am with pictish on the getting up going to the toilet and then grabbing you incident.

And does anyone really need to explain how wrong the incident with your son was.

It doesn't matter if he can't remember, at some level he feels entitled to hit you and your son.

And I don't believe for a single second he doesn't remember.

Run, very fast away from this man.

dequoisagitil Fri 25-Jan-13 23:18:56

Most people who come on here to complain about their relationship are driven by the fact that it is not resolved by talking or discussion.

Unfortunately if your relationship issues cannot be dealt with talking & discussion between yourselves then your relationship is screwed. Funnily enough hmm

Hence the predominance of LTB.

soontobeburns Fri 25-Jan-13 23:29:19

I believe it could be medical and am firmly in the camp of seeing the GP and helping him through it..yes no over night stays but dont LTB.

hestonbloomingdale Fri 25-Jan-13 23:39:32

@ dequoisagitil that would depend upon how much you have tried to discuss it and work through an issue.

There is way too much glib "tell em to fuck off" advice given freely to people that have posted when they are quite possibly emotionally unable to distinguish good advice from the bitter and twisted.

dequoisagitil Fri 25-Jan-13 23:42:29

Bollocks, heston.

I believe in people enough to know that they will try to talk to the person they are with, before they'll go crying to the internet. They do. Ask them.

pictish Fri 25-Jan-13 23:58:31

Yes indeed. We are by no means the first port of call...we are the last resort.
The OP knows it's not on...and that's why she's here.

Bitter and twisted my backside. None of us have anything to gain from steering the OP away from a decent man. Why would we do so?

The OP however, has everything to gain from steering herself away from a violent man who knows he has this 'problem' (or whatever the fuck it is) with being groggy and unaware, swears he can't remember, yet whose first reaction to imagining he had been hit, was to hit back hard. Twice.
You'd think, given his regular 'confusion' he'd give his girlfriend the benefit of the doubt before lashing out wouldn't you?

He hit her because he felt entitled to, whether he was groggy, confused, unaware or whatever other pish he spraffs to explain away his violence.

And there's no getting away from that.

dequoisagitil Sat 26-Jan-13 00:01:41

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

AbigailAdams Sat 26-Jan-13 00:01:54

Nope heston. We just don't like or feel we have to put up with being hit.

dequoisagitil Sat 26-Jan-13 00:02:58

And yeah, that's a personal attack.

AbigailAdams Sat 26-Jan-13 00:04:20

Oh and it is his problem, not hers to sort out. If he was bothered or mortified by what he had done, as any decent man would have been to know they hurt their partner, then he would have already got help. He hasn't. He doesn't see it as a problem.

pictish Sat 26-Jan-13 00:08:51

Both incidents the Op reports took place directly after her rousing him from his sleep to pitch in and help with her son.

I think that on those occasions he didn't want to get up and help out, and thought he would actively discourage her from doing so again in the future. Frankly.

pictish Sat 26-Jan-13 00:11:25

Both incidents of violence towards her, I meant to say.

The incident involving her son...well...if the OP thought it was 'just an accident' she wouldn't be bringing it up here now, would she?

She knows.

pictish Sat 26-Jan-13 00:12:13

She knows...but she doesn't want to accept it.

pictish Sat 26-Jan-13 00:17:38

He was unresponsive and seemed totally uncaring, so i shook him to try and get a response.He then elbowed me twice in the stomach before storming out of the house.He only vaguely remembers this happening, but said that he thought I'd hit him when I touched him.

He only vaguely remembers storming out of the house?
Really?

What a crock of shit. He remembers perfectly well.

extracrunchy Sat 26-Jan-13 02:07:18

depuoisatgil I know your posts are born out of concern for the OP, but attacking another woman on the thread is totally counterproductive.

webweaverToo Sat 26-Jan-13 04:48:39

Hi Stars. I wonder whether your partner may have a sleep disorder called Confusional Arousals. From the page I've linked to:

A confusional arousal takes place as you wake up or just after waking.

You act in a way that is very strange and confused. It appears that you don’t know where you are or what you are doing. Your behavior may include the following:

Slow speech
Confused thinking
Poor memory
Blunt responses to questions or requests

You may seem to be awake even though you have a foggy state of mind. Episodes often start when someone else has to physically wake you up. It is common for you to sleepwalk or shout during an episode. You also may grind your teeth. A confusional arousal may last only a few minutes or a few hours. You tend to have no memory of these episodes....

...In some rare cases adults may display behavior that is very inappropriate. Their actions can be hostile and aggressive. This behavior can put a huge strain on their relationships with others.

I have Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder, which basically means I'm an extreme night owl, so I know what you mean when you say that getting up at 10am would be incredibly early for your partner. If I'm woken by a phonecall from a client I can have a whole conversation with them, go back to bed and fall asleep again, and when I wake up later I barely remember I had the conversation, let alone the details of it.

Sleep disorders require the help of a sleep specialist, and may require time spent in a sleep clinic where their sleeping patterns are monitored, as well as keeping a sleep diary for a few weeks. Some are somewhat treatable, others (like mine) do not respond well to treatment and sufferers generally fall back into their abnormal sleep pattern within a short period of time.

I think the important thing for you to focus on is the way that your partner's behaviour (whether caused by a valid sleep disorder or just him being an arse, or a combination of the two) is affecting you and your son, as well as your partner.

It seems sensible advice for him not to do sleepovers at your place until he has been to the doctor. I think it's a good suggestion for you to go with him, as you have experienced and can describe his behaviour and he either genuinely does not remember, or (if he's actually an abusive arse as some posters believe) he chooses not to/pretends he can't remember.

A proper appointment at a sleep clinic would, I think, determine whether he's got a disorder or is an abuser. At that point, you would be able to make an informed decision about whether you want to maintain your relationship and perhaps not move in together at all, or if you do, sleep in different rooms or whatever - or, if he turns out to be an abuser, end your relationship altogether.

And in the meantime, requiring that he sleeps back at his place rather than at yours would keep you all safer and happier than you are at the moment. Good luck.

Finallygotaroundtoit Sat 26-Jan-13 07:45:52

He is abusive, the 'loss of memory' is an excuse and in his eyes absolves him.

Sleep clinic/ GP won't be able to help it's not a medical issue at all

RooneyMara Sat 26-Jan-13 08:05:06

how can he have no memory of elbowing the op, but remembers his reasons for doing so? makes very poor logic.

Hissy Sat 26-Jan-13 08:07:30

If a normal person with a sleep disorder finds out that they have elbowed their partner, and shoved their partner's son, they do not need to be made to apologise.

If nothing else they would be absolutely hell bent on making it up to the pair of them, apologising profusely and getting the sleep thing sorted out.

It wouldn't be a case of the person that got hit saying, for safety's sake, till this stuff is resolved, it's best if we don't share a bed. No. That would come from the PERSON WHO DID THE HITTING.

there seems to be NO remorse, no desire to resolve this, just a memory loss and a packing of bags.

This doesn't sit right at all. Normal people don't behave like that, they really don't. Not after the fact.

I think that he knows full well what he's doing, and he really thinks he's entitled to do so.

OP, I know you don't want to see that this man is abusive, but it's almost certain highly likely that he is. You know the score. You get sucked in to this, you may not get out.

He hurt your son, and he hurt you. You know he hit you on purpose, but your jury's out on if he meant to hurt your boy.

Are you waiting for him to MEAN it next time? If this bloke isn't going to get himself all the help there is, NOW, then you know that this means that he WANTS to carry on with this 'sleep disorder' that means he never has to help out during the night, is not expected to function first thing, and can lash out at any time.

Mark my words, you are in a relationship that in it's current state, is a danger to you and your son.

AbigailAdams Sat 26-Jan-13 08:54:26

OP you know this is wrong. That's why you posted. Trust your instincts. Women are told so often to override them (parts of this thread are a good example of that). Please don't, they are there for a reason

pictish Sat 26-Jan-13 09:50:29

how can he have no memory of elbowing the op, but remembers his reasons for doing so? makes very poor logic.

Quite. That's because it's bullshit.

It wouldn't be a case of the person that got hit saying, for safety's sake, till this stuff is resolved, it's best if we don't share a bed. No. That would come from the PERSON WHO DID THE HITTING.

Yes, yes it would.

He just doesn't want to get up and help with the OP's son, and had a flash of temper when he was urged to by the OP. Imho.

shrinkingnora Sat 26-Jan-13 10:10:22

My DH has sleep problems and has real trouble waking up. He has insomnia and has also just been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea (he's getting a CPAP device to help with this and is having a full sleep study). He can be really quite rude if woken in the night or from a deep sleep in the morning and has a tendency to look at me with these cold dead eyes - I really do not recognise the person he is when he is like this. He has very confused and quite often no memory of these episodes - sometimes they are hysterically funny and he says utterly bizarre things or laughs hysterically.

He has hit me in the night but he is not an abuser. He genuinely has no idea what is going on. Even on a good morning he thrashes around and shouts out when woken (often shouts 'What's going on?! What? What?').

I really think the OP should repost this in the Health section - at some point we have to trust that she knows more than random people on the internet do about the exact circumstances. I agree though that he has to take sorting this out extremely seriously. If he is not sleeping properly he should have this properly investigated - apart from anything it will impair his driving ability. And if he doesn't make attempts to sort it out then that would speak volumes about how genuine this is.

shrinkingnora Sat 26-Jan-13 10:11:05

OP if you want to PM me please do.

shrinkingnora Sat 26-Jan-13 10:14:17

Because I've lived with someone with major sleep problems for 15 years. And he is lovely in all other ways. He also sleep walks and sleep talks by the way, particularly when stressed. You can have whole entire conversations with him including once when he was naked and carving bits of a ham in the fridge. Except it wasn't me talking to him, it was my flatmate. He was blush when we told him about it in the morning. Sometimes he makes toast and bovril in his sleep. We only know because he has bovril breath in the morning...

shrinkingnora Sat 26-Jan-13 10:15:43

Actually, webweaver's post is utterly excellent.

sarahseashell Sat 26-Jan-13 10:21:18

shrinkingnora it's one thing being married to someone with sleep problems so severe (and that must be hard sad) but quite another to progress with a new relationship. OP has a history of abusive partners and a ds from a previous relationship to consider. She does not have to continue with this relationship.

shrinkingnora Sat 26-Jan-13 10:26:33

Yes, but she also does not have to write it off without looking at it fairly. I honestly am normally looking at threads like this and thinking 'red flag - get out!' but so much of this resonates with how Dh behaves around sleep that I am inclined to think they need the help of experts.

'He said he thought I'd hit him when I'd touched him' - Dh cannot distinguish between a gentle touch on the shoulder and a wallop when he is like this. The disorientation and loss of balance also. But above all, the seeming like a stranger.

sarahseashell Sat 26-Jan-13 10:30:40

But she doesn't owe him any 'fairness' particularly given that he's been physical with the ds as well as her. Would you honestly bring a child into this scenario, if you didn't have to? I wouldn't

shrinkingnora Sat 26-Jan-13 10:41:24

Hmm. I do see what you mean but I think all of this depends on his reaction to sorting it out. I know some of the behaviours sound completely unbelievable but if you saw someone in the middle of one of these episodes you would be astonished at how awake they can seem. Sorry, not explaining myself very well.

And of course I wouldn't bring a child into an abusive scenario but I did have three children with a man with chronic sleep disorders. And they know that Daddy is utterly bonkers around sleep. But they are also very very secure in the knowledge that he doesn't mean to be shouty when he wakes up and that it is an illness. I'm kind of tempted to film it for the OP to see if it resonates with her at all...

shrinkingnora Sat 26-Jan-13 10:48:53

And I meant fair to herself as well as him! I really don't feel I'm explaining myself terribly well but I get woken up by DH's sleep issues approximately hourly at the moment can't wait for the CPAP device to arrive! It's like having a newborn.

sarahseashell Sat 26-Jan-13 10:50:36

Shrinking it sounds hard sad I do get what you're saying and no disrespect to you it sounds like you're very supportive and your children understand it's an illness, it's their dad and it's a different scenario than a potential stepfather.
OP I hope you're okay the thread has taken off somewhat and I hope OP comes back

Globular Sat 26-Jan-13 10:51:17

shrinkingnora Would your DH be able to not remember elbowing you, but remember his reasons for doing so?

That's the bit that makes me think it's more than just a sleeping disorder.

northeastofeden Sat 26-Jan-13 10:52:28

I really think the OP should speak to her DP about getting some specialist advice, clearly I would not recommend that anyone stay with someone who actually is abusive, however there does seem to be a lot of prejudice on this board around sleep disorders (speaking as someone who has one, most of those giving opinions don't) where they don't 'believe' loss of memory etc, much like some people don't 'believe' in depression etc 'they just need to pull themselve together blah blah...
I do take the point that how he has responded to finding out about the incidents of particular aggression is not appropriate, however he may be embarrassed, or not be believing it himself, I know it has taken several partners and my family before I fully understood my problem, it has been easier because two other people in my family do it and I have seen them when it happens.
I asked DH about this last night apparently sometimes I kick him too, I had no idea.
Be safe, sleep separately for now whilst you get this properly looked into, I would at least get it looked into.

HandbagCrab Sat 26-Jan-13 10:59:27

Does a responsible adult start a relationship with a woman with a child when he knows he has a violent sleep disorder?

Would a responsible adult go to the gp and beg for help after the first incident of sleep violence towards the woman they love?

Would a responsible adult expect another adult to do it for them (organise gp, hand hold, take the violence whilst it is sorted) or would they do it on their own? It speaks volumes that you are the one posting on the Internet, finding out about sleep disorders.

Anyone who hurt my ds whether they meant it or not would be out. If he's the amazing man with a sleep problem he'll move heaven and earth to sort it out to be with you. Or you could have a relationship but he never stays over if it cannot be sorted. He's an adult, not a child and no one should put up with being hurt physically by an adult because 'they can't help it' because they can, there is always a solution.

HandbagCrab Sat 26-Jan-13 11:04:54

I think physically assaulting folk in your semi-awake state is different to shouting or making bovril on toast too, although it may be a continuum on a scale.

I wouldn't choose to put up with someone's unmediated psychotic episodes for example, but I could manage/help someone with mild-moderate depression, providing they weren't being abusive towards me or my child.

spudmurphy Sat 26-Jan-13 11:11:05

He conveniently 'doesn't remember'

shrinkingnora Sat 26-Jan-13 11:15:33

Surprisingly, yes! Sometimes he has had episodes where something has happened and we have talked the whole thing through later and he knows his logic for doing things and he thinks they are totally reasonable at the time but can see later that they are madness.

Example 1 - we were staying with friends a while after we got together and he sleep walked. He got dressed and went to the loo. He then went to the front door and was telling me how he was going to walk to his Grandad's house (over a 100 miles!) to check on him (his Grandad had just died sad). I managed to gently turn him round and get him back to bed but had I not woken up he would have been lost in London at 4am in sub zero temperatures. With no shoes on.

Example 2 - he was snoring incredibly loudly (think wood sawing x a million) so I really gently put my hand on his face to wake him up (had tried shaking him to no avail). He whipped round and hit me. He thought I'd slapped him and lashed out (not that he would respond like that if someone slapped him when he was awake).

Example 3 - he once gave me a long complicated explanation as to why he couldn't brush his teeth before bed - there was apparently 'too much Shakespeare in the bathroom'. In this case, he didn't remember the exact reason but knew that he very strongly felt he mustn't go in the bathroom.

There are a fair few more but this post is getting rather long! Without the OP's second paragraph her three examples would absolutely be abuse. The sleep thing muddies the waters somewhat. And I totally agree no more overnighters until this is sorted.

In the OP's position I would sit down with him somewhere neutral and tell him that this situation cannot continue. DH has been very frightened in the past of what might have happened in some of his episodes but has always been open to discussion and practical ways to help it - perhaps you could note down all the things about his sleep that worry you. DH was genuinely not aware of lots of his issues because he hadn't lived with a partner before. It was only when there was a witness to it that he realised how many things he did in his sleep! The time from referral to monitoring for the sleep apnoea was only a couple of weeks and the sleep clinic referral looks like being just as quick, by the way.

Disclaimer - if even a tiny part of you thinks he may be using it as an excuse to behave how the hell he wants then listen to that tiny part.

shrinkingnora Sat 26-Jan-13 11:19:11

'I think physically assaulting folk in your semi-awake state is different to shouting or making bovril on toast too, although it may be a continuum on a scale.'

Really, it's not a 'semi awake' state. It's very different from how someone without sleep disorders would be when woken.

shrinkingnora Sat 26-Jan-13 11:20:04

It might help people to understand that there is being awake, being asleep, being half awake and half asleep and another totally different state that does not relate to either.

LesBOFerables Sat 26-Jan-13 11:32:06

He may have a sleep disorder which needs investigating, i dont know. But to focus on what youve posted from a different angle- and I know this is difficult to hear- it is concerning to hear that you have a history of abusive relationships, are still dealing with hostility from your ex, and are suffering depression, yet within just twelve months of dating your new partner is playing a parental role to your son, without even having moved in yet.

I'm just wondering if you shouldn't be stepping back a bit and slowing the pace of this down until things are clearer? The Freedom Programme sounds like a really good idea.

shine0ncrazydiamond Sat 26-Jan-13 11:38:09

This man no more has a 'sleep disorder' than I have the Ebola virus.

He sounds like a grumpy bastard in the mornings and can't handle the irritation of a small child bouncing about at some ungodly hour. However, rather than just confining his grumpiness to himself or being a bit snappy, he is already , within a year, using physical force.

You've had your red flag, your warning. It's up to you what you do about that.

HandbagCrab Sat 26-Jan-13 11:39:45

shrinking sorry I was trying to think of a way to describe it, rather than making a judgement of whether the man in question is awake or not, perhaps I should have used sleepwalk.

I can see your dh didn't know how bad his problem was until he met you, but presumably the op and this man are older and I would have thought this might have come up before? In which case, this man hasn't done anything about it has he?

Someone could be perfectly lovely and hit people in their sleep. But if they were truly lovely they wouldn't want to hurt people in their sleep so they would manage it by either getting help or not sleeping with other people. They wouldn't expect other people just to put up with it or have them run round trying to find solutions to their problem. I really think it is that simple. I hope op comes back as there is lots of good points from many different angles that might give her food for thought.

shine0ncrazydiamond Sat 26-Jan-13 11:41:31

I'd also like to pick up on this man playing a parental role to your child, despite not living with you and the fact you've only been together for a year. These things should be done very gradually and with great care. Him getting angry and shoving your son are not signs of a sleep disorder. At, what, 9am? They're signs of an aggressive man.

EugenesAxe Sat 26-Jan-13 11:45:52

Yes I agree, GP for sleep clinic referral - and you aren't making a big deal of nothing. What you've described is not nothing! I think you've handled it really well.

I don't really agree with 'truly lovely people wouldn't want to hurt people in their sleep' either. We all have the fight/flight instinct; who knows what's going on with him when he's in these states, but it doesn't sound like the 'higher brain' is being engaged much. I would see what the experts think before judging either way.

RooneyMara Sat 26-Jan-13 11:47:36

Nora some of what you have written resonates strongly with me in regard to ds1, who has fairly regular night terrors. He always seems awake, but what he says and does makes no sense.

I think in a way the OP's situation sounds suspect because the behaviours are not so irrational as the ones you describe in your DH.

In some of the incidents the OP describes the man is behaving in a way that would fit with the situation - he's not talking about walking 100 miles or Shakespeare in the bathroom, he's actually engaging with her in what sounds like a rational way, but rational and violent/angry.

What he is doing and saying is relevant to the situation in which it happens - he's acting like a right git, rather than someone who's lost the plot.

Of course we might be wrong but I'd expect him to be doing things that were far more 'out there' if he was genuinely in a sleep state. Not telling her how dare she wake him, how dare she go back to bed and grabbing her unprovoked.

shrinkingnora Sat 26-Jan-13 11:53:07

HandbagCrab - unfortunately you have just said that my DH is not truly lovely because somewhere deep down he must actually want to hit me in his sleep! It's kind of like saying that everyone's weird sex dreams mean they actually want to sleep with those people. I once had a sex dream about Tony Blair and I can absolutely state that I do not want to sleep with him.

The Op has said 'As he was leaving, I told him that he either sorts himself out or won't be staying overnight again as I wont have anybody treat us that way. He said that he understood and left.' I can't see where he has asked her to sort it all out for him. She has asked for advice and has got some really helpful information from both sides of the argument.

Hissy Sat 26-Jan-13 12:00:08

I'd also state that someone who doesn't live with you, has been with you only a year, and who WON'T step in to help when YOU are ill is NOT a DP.

They are a BOYFRIEND.

And from where I'm sitting, not much of one either.

OP, you owe this man NOTHING, you have NOTHING invested in him or his life. I actually take issue with those that say they have anything invested anyway. It implies return, profit, gain, and we've all seen women that have 'invested' their youth in a bloke only for him to do the Phone Tango, glued to it, deleting messages, and the 'it's not you it's me' stuff, only to leave and lo and behold out pops a girlfriend... There is no return on these investments, there is no point in putting up with anything less than good for the sake of not being alone.

This bloke is not known to you, he's not the father of your child, and he harmed you and your son. His behaviour since is not good enough, your behaviour is only to cover it up, make excuses for him and hang on to someone that clearly needs to sort themselves out, or FUCK off and find someone else to batter.

I think that so far you HAVE handled it well, but from now on, you need to handle things a lot better. You need him to prove to you that he wants this fixed, you need him to be full of remorse and assurances that he will never place you or your child in danger of harm again.

Yes you are worth that and more. your son is worth that too.

You put up with this, for the sake of a bloke you have known for a year, and you will lose your son. You will directly teach him that he is not important enough to protect from potential harm, and that it's ok for men to hit women, as long as they have a good enough excuse.

My guessing is though that you have long gone to ground, and that you won't return to this thread. you are in denial and you are unable to face what you fear might be true.

Your poor son needs you. YOU need you. Please don't hang around waiting for this guy, if he really wants to fix it, he will. If you are important enough to him, he'll make that effort. If you are not, then you deserve better. Really you do.

RooneyMara Sat 26-Jan-13 12:00:51

<worries about Nora>

Tony Blair? Oh my good lord. grin

shrinkingnora Sat 26-Jan-13 12:03:34

Okay, further example - he fell asleep on the sofa, I woke him up.

This is the conversation we had:

Me: Wake up, DH, time for bed.
DH (appears completely awake): What are you talking about?
Me: DH, you're not really awake, you need to wake up and come to bed now.
DH (shouting, leaning forward and very aggressive): NO I DON'T. IT'S NOT BEDTIME.
Me: Okay, last time, DH wake up it's time for bed.
DH: Why should I do what you say? Shut up, I'm asleep. I'll go to bed tomorrow.
Me: Okay, night night. (I go to leave room)
DH: <Snore>

Ten minutes later DH comes to bed and says 'I think I may have been shouting what did I say?'. The thing is we know from long experience that he doesn't mean it - he's often rather toddler-ish in the lashing out and shouting kind of way.

He was 24 when we got together and obviously knew there were issues but because he hadn't shared a bed with someone on a regular basis he really didn't know how bad it was. Sometimes he gets up and knows that something has happened but not any details. Sometimes he remembers the logic but not the detail and sometimes it is the other way round.

I am happy to video his violent awakening if that would help you OP?

shrinkingnora Sat 26-Jan-13 12:04:57

RooneyMara - I blame the chronic sleep deprivation wink

ifso Sat 26-Jan-13 12:25:57

are you ok OP?
Having only read your initial post, I can say your instincts are kicking in otherwise you wouldnt have posted - so deep down, you KNOW this man could be more of a danger.

He doesnt seem to have a serious mental problem, he sounds bad tempered, bad mannered and disrespectful verging on abusive.

protect yourself and your child - that is your immediate duty of care, to keep your son and yourself safe domestically

This guy is using you and trying to manipulate you - never in a million years let a man grab your ankle and wrist to aggressivley and intentionally pull you off a bed in your home because you lay down for a few minutes rest HOW DARE HE

screamingeels Sat 26-Jan-13 12:52:16

Haven't read all of this but to OP and shrinkingnora, we have a similar problem with DH here (and interestingly DS 2.6 yrs is uncontrollable & unconsable for about 20 mins on waking unless woken naturally when he's all smiles). DH's issues are compounded by a drink problem hard to tell if it causes insomnia or vice versa but sure makes things worse. Also DH is v ashamed of behaviour which makes it really hard to get him to ask for help.

I reached ultimatum point on Thurs after spectacular melt down when he had to get up and get DS to child minder. He needs to get help or get out. Cant have that level of aggresion in front of DC..

PigletJohn Sat 26-Jan-13 12:56:48

There are (at least) two opposing schools of thought here, violent abuser or sleeping disorder.

I have experience of a DP who has disturbed sleep and has seeminglu lucid (but not real) conversations and actions with no morning memory of them, and can be upsettingly unpleasant if woken unexpectedly.

I don't consideer her to be a violent abuser.

Either way, regardless of blame or guilt, it's a good idea to put a stop to the sleepovers with your young son at risk.

ladyWordy Sat 26-Jan-13 12:59:48

shrinkingnora very good posts - thank you for illustrating what it's like to live with someone else's persistent sleep disorder. It must be difficult, but you have adapted with good humour by the sound of it. smile

I do know someone who can undertake complex tasks during sleep - think of disassembling a piece of furniture! I also know someone who is highly aggressive on waking. Another can articulate recognisable but nonsensical sentences.

So I would not argue there is no such thing as disordered sleep. But Stars, you asked for opinions; and I wanted to reflect back and challenge your reading of what had happened, as to me there are aspects of the story which do not point solely to a sleep disorder

I can't better the advice that he looks for medical assistance and that in the meantime he doesn't sleep at your home, the latter of which you've already done.

For many reasons, I still think there is more to this than he says, but of course it's your judgement to make. Good luck with the next step. : - )

shrinkingnora Sat 26-Jan-13 13:01:57

Screamingeels - DD (9) also sleepwalks and sleep talks. She used to cry incosolably if woken during her afternoon nap for a good half hour.

MrsDeVere Sat 26-Jan-13 13:03:59

My OH is vile in the mornings.
He has MS and it takes him a long time to wake up and he is often in horrible pain.
I try not to wake him unless I have to and its impossible to have a proper conversation with him.
However, after a couple of incidents where he was fucking horrible and verbally abusive in the extreme (he rarely raises his voice normally) I had enough.

I told him I was trying to understand how he felt in the mornings but there were sometimes that I had no choice but to wake him and I refused to put up with anymore abuse. There was no excuse. He didn't have to be a ray of sunshine but he was letting off at me because he could. He was taking out his pain on me and I wasn't having it.

Guess what? He doesn't do it anymore. He may feel like doing it but he can control himself. So he does.

I get the feeling. If I have a nap in the daytime and I am woken I feel full of rage! shock. Its a horrible feeling.

shrinkingnora Sat 26-Jan-13 13:06:11

Thank you ladyWordy. The alternative to adapting was ending the relationship. The thing is I love him completely and know we will be together forever. He makes me a better version of myself and I like to think I do the same for him. I'm pretty sure my severe PMT has been pretty hard for him to live with too (much improved now but I was awful).

shrinkingnora Sat 26-Jan-13 13:09:11

Interesting, MrsDeVere. DH also has chronic pain (I'm making him sound like a right catch!). He was hideous when this started but we had a conversation about it and he also can now control this. Which is why I'm more inclined to believe he can't control the other.

MerryCouthyMows Sat 26-Jan-13 13:17:17

Right, this is me being extremely honest here.

I am similar to your DP. Anything before 10am, and I can't cope. I have no real memories of anything I have done before 10am, my DC's avoid me in the mornings because I yell and am extremely moody (so they tell me).

On a school day, I have to get up at 6.45am. I don't do too well with it. I sit in the kitchen on MN quietly on my phone, with a fag and a coffee.

The older 3 DC's get ready mostly without bothering me, and DD and the DS's keep an eye on DS3 until 7.45am, when I can cope slightly better.

It embarrasses me how badly I cope in the mornings, but I manage to get everyone fed, washed and clothed and to school on time without incidents of shouting and extremely odd behaviour from me ONLY if I am given that time to wake gently.

I am trying to save up for one of those gentle light alarm clocks, because my GP has just pooh-pooed my issues with sleep.

As a bit of background, my Mother, my Dbro and my Maternal Granddad and Maternal Great Uncle are all the same.

Not one of us can EVER get up before 10am reasonably. None of us can EVER get to sleep before 1am on a GOOD night.

We are all nasty bastards in the morning, before 10am, but really gentle, caring people after then.

We have all worked evenings / Nights best, and have all really struggled with 'regular' 9-5 jobs.

My bedtime is usually between 2-3am, but has crept slightly later at present, to 3-4am.

It's horrible, I wish I could change it, tried sleeping pills around 13 years ago from a different GP. Didn't do a thing, I still felt tired at the same time (2-3am), didn't fall asleep till then, and then felt 'hungover' for most of the following day. Which wasn't appropriate with a young DC to look after.

I can't get my current GP to take me seriously.

It seems to me that my 'circadian rhythm' is out of whack to GMT and BST. Though I DO fare slightly better every year as soon as we switch to BST.

I need to move somewhere where 2am in England works out to 11pm in that country!

I would get him to push for a referral for a sleep study (like I'm trying to.)

My DD and DS1 are the same too. DS1 especially, and he is having real issues with sleep deprivation on a school day. He goes to bed at 9.30pm (he's nearly 11, and it's the time that works best for our family.)

There are many nights where he is still lying on his bed awake at 2am, having laid there doing nothing but counting sheep and inspecting the ceiling since 9.30pm.

He had even tried counting up to 1000, then counting backwards again from 1000 to zero. He got through it THREE full times forwards and backwards before he gave up.

It really frustrates us all that our body clock seems set totally differently to the rest of the UK!

My DS2 and DS3 are far more like their Father, and are early to rise all the time.

webweaverToo Sat 26-Jan-13 13:42:53

Sounds like you have the same thing I have, Couthy - Delayed sleep phase disorder. It's a bugger trying to live in the "normal" 9-5 world, eh? Like being permanently jet-lagged. I use the Sleep Cycle app on my iphone which makes waking up a little more bearable as it measures your movements while asleep and wakes you up in your lightest sleep phase within a half-hour window of the time you set the alarm for.

Globular Sat 26-Jan-13 13:55:55

Thanks shrinkingnora, that's really illuminating. I'm back on the fence!

DoctorAnge Sat 26-Jan-13 14:56:01

OP I think it's you who needs to wake up.

Whatever the ins and out and mental gymnastics to prove this man isn't abusive like your past partner, he hit your son and you are vulnerable and depressed.

I really think you need to ask him to leave. Your son has a right to feel safe and away from someone who attacked him.

HandbagCrab Sat 26-Jan-13 16:03:48

I think I was misunderstood upthread. Someone lovely could be sleep disordered and thwack their partner in their sleep. That lovely person would be utterly mortified, go get help, come up with numerous ways they could not do this or to protect other people. It's not the sleep disorder (or the hitting if the sleep disorder is really causing that) it is what the person does about it.

CinnabarRed Sat 26-Jan-13 21:15:47

Mouthy, I've got a light alarm clock in need of a good home, if you'd like it. PM me your address and I'd be delighted to send it to you.

CinnabarRed Sat 26-Jan-13 21:58:23

Sorry, Couthy blush.

hestonbloomingdale Sat 26-Jan-13 22:59:16

@ dequoisagitil I really wish mumsnet had not censored your comment because it evidently said more about you than me.

@pictish - you are not the last resort there are many professionally trained people in organisations far better equipped to help with the issues being raised here. It is worrying that that you believe the statement "we are the last resort". It would be far better if people were more readily signposted to the professional services available to them.

Thumbwitch Sat 26-Jan-13 23:09:49

I don't think MN is the last resort - I think people come on here to sound off when they've just had a bad experience (whether it's the first or the 10th) because they need to let off steam about it and maybe find out what others' perception is of it, without having to live with RL people knowing.

Then they go and get the professional help they need to, often having been suggested by various MNers - they may not have been aware of where to go or what to do.

I'd be worried if I really thought MN was the last resort for people! Too much conflicting advice is given for that.

garlicblocks Sat 26-Jan-13 23:10:26

Has OP gone?

Has anybody mentioned parasomnias yet? Some behaviour that happens at a certain stage of sleep, and is uncontrollable, isn't a sign of hidden abuse. It's a sign of being in a dream state.

Sufferers can't help it, but that doesn't mean it should be tolerated by a partner. Many people with parasomnia have to sleep separately from their partner - sometimes with a locked door between them.

For you, OP, it'll be a good idea to get him to go to his GP. You do need to think, though, whether you want an ongoing relationship with somebody who cannot be trusted to be safe in the morning. It may not be his fault but that also means he can't change it.

garlicblocks Sat 26-Jan-13 23:25:36

OMG! Couthy and Web! I've got that DSPD! Thank you!
I'm going to print out the Wikipedia page and take to my GP. She'll love that (not) hmm
Still, at least I've got a name for it! Interesting to see it's comorbid with ADHD, which I also suspect in myself but have no hope of addressing at this age.

Right, so I should be going to bed ... confused

shrinkingnora Sat 26-Jan-13 23:31:40

You do know you can go to another GP? Ask for a second opinion if she is not helpful. Good luck with getting some help with it.

I'm sorry the OP has gone but at least the thread has helped someone.

thewhistler Sat 26-Jan-13 23:50:19

I'm with Mimi on it sounds like a disorder, which needs to be dealt with.

Get him also to check his sugars as my hypoglaecemic DN was very aggressive when woken (which was v hard to do). And no, it wasn't diabetes but did need controlling. ( can't recall how they did it, sorry)

thewhistler Sat 26-Jan-13 23:51:51

Basically DN thought he was being attacked or abused when woken, and was in a daze for the first hour +.

RooneyMara Sun 27-Jan-13 18:05:08

Heston, I'm sorry, it was me who reported the post as it was just horrible and appalling. I didn't want it to stand unchecked - but I should have asked you.

I agree it said far more about the person who posted it than it did about you.

pictish Sun 27-Jan-13 18:18:03

Hey hi!
Just to clarify by 'last resort' I really only meant that people only bother posting their problems when they have had a bit of a gutful already. People don't generally post at the first sign of trouble...that's all I was saying. Last resort was too strong a term to use.

hestonbloomingdale Sun 27-Jan-13 22:48:12

@rooneymara absolutely no need to apologise. Thank you for thinking it might offend.

@pictish thanks for the clarification. I am sure you are right that by the time people post here they have been through enough already.

Hello, I don't know whether any of you are still around... I had no idea I'd had this many replies! I don't check back regularly and often don't stay on top of email. I'm very sorry sorry if anybody was offended by this.... slanging match? I'd just like to state that no, this was not my last resort. I have spoken to my partner about this, but often find it useful to hear what others think. I don't have a wide circle of friends in real life, so mumsnet it is smile Just to clarify, my previous partners haven't really been physically abusive, but things weren't right. My partner (yes, I would rather refer to him as a partner than a boyfriend, thank you!) has not regularly shared a bed with anybody else before, so, no, he was not aware of this until I told him. I'm not older, I've just turned 25 and he is the same age. When he thought I'd hit him in the night, he didn't really remember exactly what had happened, but he knew that he'd been jolted awake by a pain. I don't think he can tell the difference between a gentle or hard touch. I didn't come here because I suspected he was abusive, it was more that I wondered whether anybody else had been in a similar situation and was looking for practical suggestions. No, he didn't profusely apologise or get down on his knees and beg for my forgiveness. He is often reluctant to speak candidly about things which I think are important, but I think it's partly because I do it so often and can be quite pushy about it. I'm used to dealing with things and can't stand for things to be brushed under the carpet, whereas he has never been in this situation before and is naturally very quiet anyway. Finally, thank you so much to everyone who took the time to find information and give detailed responses - it is very much appreciated. He has now started work and has been coping far better than I expected with the early mornings. smile

Hissy Wed 30-Jan-13 22:20:58

"No, he didn't profusely apologise or get down on his knees and beg for my forgiveness."

Why not? You know he hit you on purpose.

He hit your son too.

Is your BOYFRIEND sleeping back at your house again already then? [Hmm]

He's not your partner. Stop attributing titles that have not been earned, and don't actually apply.

You are 25, OK, so you accept you have a lot to learn, but you really have to understand that you have no clue of what risks you are taking and the harm you are doing your DS.

THIS MAN IS A DANGER. WAKE UP AND SEE THAT?

It's not your job to fix him, and it's not fair to place yourself and your son at risk until he does decide to say sorry, and look into tackling whatever issues he has.

Hissy Wed 30-Jan-13 22:23:22

Use of the word Partner, at your age, in these circumstances, when you are a newish couple, a very young one too just shrieks insecurity.

You allowing someone to hit you, shove your son underlines that.

If I knew you in RL, I'd consider contacting SS. I really would.

"He is often reluctant to speak candidly about things which I think are important, but I think it's partly because I do it so often and can be quite pushy about it. I'm used to dealing with things and can't stand for things to be brushed under the carpet, whereas he has never been in this situation before and is naturally very quiet anyway."

Sleep problems or not, this hardly strikes me as a match made in heaven. I think a few months down the road this incompatibilty is going to drive you nuts sad

allgoodindahood Thu 31-Jan-13 00:40:29

The fact that he has been coping well with the new early mornings implies that It's less of a sleep disorder and more a problem with you waking him up to do things he doesn't really want to do. Just saying.

sparklyjumper Thu 31-Jan-13 07:18:23

I've been lurking on this thread. Not liking what I'm reading at all. Sounds like the very early stages of an abusive relationship to me. And of course you'll talk yourself out of it but I wouldn't be at all surprised if you don't see some more of this behaviour in the future.

Whocansay Thu 31-Jan-13 08:33:17

So he only actually has a problem with you or your son waking him up? Going to work is fine? That means he can make a choice and he knows what he's doing. Be very careful OP.

Thanks to everybody who has given real advice. I'm gobsmacked that one poster thinks it appropriate to bandy around talk of reporting me to social services or to read into a few posts and declare me insecure. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

sparklyjumper Thu 31-Jan-13 13:02:53

What's happening with things now starareshining is he still sleeping over? Has he been to his GP?

sparklyjumper Thu 31-Jan-13 13:08:01

OP I also prefer referring to long term relationships as partners rather than boyfriends (not that I've had lots), there's nothing really in it other than boyfriend feels a bit odd when you're in your 20s or 30s, with child & he is quite involved.

I think what you've written sounds quite alarming, you've talked of him being violent however small, and even if was in some sort of half asleep state and going by all you've said I think some people aren't convinced it's sleep related, more just him being a grumpy sod when woken up.

Hissy Thu 31-Jan-13 14:54:03

Here we have a totally deluded woman, seemingly with low esteem, unable to see that her boyfriend, a bloke she has known only for a year, is violent on occasions, but when her attention is drawn to it, is forced to admit that he hasn't apologised to her or to her son, and what is more, he's not expected to.

Too flaming right is this a matter of concern from a child protection perspective. But your son is too young to ask for help. He just relies on your judgement.

When you allow your son to be shoved by some penis with overflow of entitlement, anger, resentment and out and out violence, when you KNOW that he hit you TWICE knowingly and on purpose, and you say it's all good, cos he's your PAAAARRRRTTNER, the one that should be ashamed of herself is YOU. If that is not insecure then the dictionary needs re-writing.

There is no man on earth, not even his own father that would come near my son if angry. I don't even HAVE angry people in my life. If my boyfriend of a year was even verbally aggressive to my son, the door wouldn't even hit him on the arse as he flew through it. There is no need for me to think about this, he would be history. I'm not unique in this, it's what good parents do.

Attacking me for wanting to see you step up and be there for your son is just farcical. It's not me that you should be angry with, it's the bloke who hits you and your son.

I protect my son. I am proud of myself. I have every right to be.

Your son has been shoved, you have been elbowed and it's OK with you.

Well you are 25, you think you know it all.

You most certainly don't and I feel sorry for you and more importantly your son. At least when I was in my 20s, my woeful lack of judgement never affected a child.

I hope you have switched on family around you that can help you out, that you can talk this through with, because you are totally out of your depth.

expatinscotland Thu 31-Jan-13 14:58:19

You are in an abusive relationship and, by default, so is your son.

sparklyjumper Thu 31-Jan-13 15:04:30

Have to agree with you hissy although I don't think it's helped that so many people have come on saying he's got a sleep disorder.

expatinscotland Thu 31-Jan-13 15:35:41

I agree with you, too, Hissy. I thought perhaps sleep disorder, at the beginning of the threat, but it's obvious now that he is violent and abusive when he doesn't want to be woken, since he's okay getting up for work.

God how incredibly fucking rude and patronising you are Hissy. hmm Feel better now do you?

Pilgit Thu 31-Jan-13 22:35:21

He needs to see a sleep expert. I saw one for sleep apnoea, but they deal with all sorts of sleep disorders and can work wonders. His GP should be able to refer him. This is a serious issue that will have life limiting effects. This kind of thing does happen and this is the extreme end of 'sometimes I wake up grumpy and sometimes I let him sleep!' My sister is foul first thing in the morning - worse if she has to be woken. Nothing on this scale but we all learnt not to talk to her till after she'd been up for half an hour and the second cup of tea

ModreB Fri 01-Feb-13 07:45:42

I'm sorry, but all of you shouting about abuse - can you tell me if you have lived with someone with a recognised sleep disorder?

I shout, scream, thrash, have punched DH in the head, kicked him out of bed, I sleeptalk, sleepwalk, and take at least an hour to wake and be functional in the mornings. I cook, clean, do laundry and have been known to cut the grass in the garden at 3am, all while asleep. I patrol the house, going into every room and telling the DC's I am looking for burglars. I have been known to interrogate DH about affairs, whether he is a murderer. He, obviously is neither an adulteror or a murderer.

The cat jumped on my bed one morning while I was waking up, and I threw it across the room as I thought it was a goblin. This is what made me go to my GP, as when DH told me about it I was mortified and thought, what if it had been one of my DC's?

I have a sleep disorder in which my concious brain wakes up at a different rate to my physical brain and I am not aware of the behaviour

The problems that I have are induced by stress and a disrupted sleep pattern, so this sounds very similar to your situation OP - new relationship, new job, new sleep pattern, adjusting to life with a young family in unfamiliar surroundings.

Please, ask your DP to go to a GP and ask for a referral to a sleep clinic. They did wonders for me, both with medication and with coping mechanisms to minimise the problems starting in the first place.

And dont let him stay over until he has done this.

Whocansay Fri 01-Feb-13 08:31:34

The point is ModreB, the OP's boyfriend seems to be fine getting up for work. He can control it when he wants to. Its only when he's asked for help by the OP or woken by her son that he decides that lashing out is a good idea and then pretends to remember nothing. Apart from what he finds convenient to remember. That's why people think its abuse and not a sleep disorder.

But yes, he still shouldn't be staying over.

Sioda Fri 01-Feb-13 08:46:50

Modre, you hurt the cat and you went to your GP. OP's partner hurt her and her child and he hasn't gone anywhere for help. You don't remember what you do - because you're asleep. The OP's partner does - however allegedly vaguely. He even remembers his thought process at the time - he knows that he hit the OP because he thought she hit him (anyone see a problem with that thought process?!). And his problem appears only when woken by specific people. I would be willing to bet that is not the same in your case. His also conveniently enough gets him out of waking up to help with a small child.

It's kind for people who have a sleep disorder to empathise but please look for the differences here rather than just the similarities. They're very revealing.

expatinscotland Fri 01-Feb-13 10:01:57

Funny that, he gets up no problem for work.

shrinkingnora Fri 01-Feb-13 18:33:35

Sioda, I can't state whether this is abuse or not but I can state that DH has told me he thinks he is being hurt when he is gently shaken awake. He describes it as being like a waking dream (we've had all sorts of interesting discussions since this thread was started). He says it is extrememly vivid and at the time he is convinced that he is awake and that it is only when he wakes up that extra 'layer' that he has any idea that he wasn't and sometimes even these lines are blurry.

And Modre said she has punched her DH in the head before mentioning that the cat was the last straw!

I do understand what you are saying about looking for differences, but I can't see where the OP says it never happens when anyone else wakes him and DH has lashed out at me because he thought I hit him. He would NOT do this when awake and just because he does it in this state does not mean that he would. I reckon I could punch him square in the nose during the day and he wouldn't hit me back. Although he might be a bit hmm

I really think I could write a series of statements like the OP's and it would sound like I was being emotionally and physically abused.

Obviously there are things here that look abusive from one angle and like a sleep disorder from another. OP has not stated whether he is getting help or not and has also said that he is coping with the early mornings 'far better than [she] expected' not that he gets up with no problem for work. BUT I am not in the business of trying to persuade people that abuse is fine if we pretend it's a sleep disorder - I just wanted to share my experiences of living with a partners sleep disorder for 13 years in the hope that he isn't abusing her. I really hope I haven't come across as one of these people who try to make everything lovely by ignoring the warnings and just hoping it's all ok really (like my mum has about her sister's marriage).

I hope that both sets of responses on this thread are helping people and that OP chooses the correct response for her situation. Only she knows which is the right way to go. Good luck OP, I sincerely hope you get the help you need in whatever form is right for you.

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