Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

I'm starting to feel like this is a deal breaker

(44 Posts)
AudreyJunior Tue 09-Apr-13 10:11:34

DH and I have been together for 13 years and married for 10. We have two small DCs.

DH has always had a temper. When driving he occasionally loses his temper with others on the road and when that happens, he drives very aggressively and dangerously. It frightens me, and he knows it, but he tells me I've no right to comment because I can't drive myself.

He gets inappropriately angry around DC2 for some reason. The other day DC1 told me 'Mommy, I love you because you don't shout at DC2' which fairly stopped me in my tracks. DC1 is nearly 3, DC2 is 14 months.

We've had a month or so of bad sleep with DC2, due to all four canines erupting at once. Last night at 11pm DH went downstairs to get him a bottle of milk (he'd been too tired to drink his bedtime bottle so was hardly being unreasonable to want one!) and I heard a lot of noise. This morning I found that he had punched through the kitchen lightswitch (it's a button rather than a switch) and it was completely shattered.

We've discussed his temper many, many times. Last time he agreed to arrange anger management counselling for himself but he never did. He just doesn't think he has a problem at all. But I'm starting to think that I can't let him stay. He's great with the kids otherwise and they're mad about him but I don't want them growing up afraid of his temper. My mother had a terrible temper and it was horrible to live with.

Am I overreacting? It's hard to trust myself when he thinks what he's doing is fine.

KatyTheCleaningLady Tue 09-Apr-13 10:23:00

You are not over reacting.

He must recognise the problem and seek help, and you have to be willing to force an ultimatum.

Dahlen Tue 09-Apr-13 10:29:42

Does he lose his temper in front of anyone else, or is it just you and the DC?

AnyFucker Tue 09-Apr-13 10:33:34

You have been under reacting so far, love

Yes, it's a dealbreaker

Please protect your children now, prioritising your relationship with a violent man is not the answer

Ask him to leave

AudreyJunior Tue 09-Apr-13 10:34:21

Me, the kids, other drivers. Never in work, with friends or in front of my family and almost never in front of his family; in fact, once when his siblings heard him shout, they were shocked as they didn't realise he had a temper at all.

No you are not overreacting at all; far from it. There is probably more you have not written of either.

These men never enter AM counselling; he is probably saving all his bile for you and your children. They never think that they thesmelves have a problem. Also punching domestic items is an indicator too of domestic abuse. Does he ever break "his" things?. Probably not.

There are an awful lot of red flags attached to your H and perhaps your own childhood experiences at the hands of your own angry mother led you to being with such a person now; after all we learn about relationships first and foremost from our parents. You were probably taught to keep quiet and act as peacemaker.

Listen to what your eldest is telling you; children are so very perceptive here. Is this really the environment you want them to be growing up with?. An angry man like your H is not at all great with the children and he is being vile to your youngest. Am sure too that they are both afraid of him.

What do you want to teach your children about relationships here?. Both of you are currently imparting damaging lessons to them.

Would suggest you call Womens Aid today and talk this through with them.

BirdStrike Tue 09-Apr-13 10:40:53

Then it's not an anger management problem then is it? If it was he would also lose his temper at work and in front of friends and family. He chooses to be violent with you, your DCs and other drivers.

Please get out of the relationship before he starts hitting you or your DC instead of light switches.

Dahlen Tue 09-Apr-13 10:41:42

I was worried you were going to say that. He does not have an anger management problem. If he did, he would lose his temper indiscriminately with everyone. He loses it in front of you and the DC because he wants to and he knows you can't/won't fight back.

Car drivers are not going to respond to him either. Road rage incidents are actually very rare, as he knows. However, driving aggressively is one of the hallmarks of an abusive personality.

This is about feeling entitled to achieve his own way with threats. It's not about anger at all. Anger is simply the medium he uses to get what he wants.

The fact that your child has said "I love you because you don't shout at DC2" is obviously a major wake-up call for you - and it should be.

I know this is going to require some major rethinking on your part, which is going to be difficult. Googling abusive relationships would be a good place to start. Don't assume that because your H hasn't descended into violence aimed at you he isn't abusive. He is. sad

Good luck.

What do you get out of this relationship now?.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 09-Apr-13 10:42:54

Tell him you would like him to address flying off the handle before he punches a person not a light switch. It could be seen as intimidation, threatened aggression. You wouldn't risk an unstable dog around your DCs would you?

Was this irritation with DC2? With you for not getting the milk? Was he just tired and cross? Sounds a disproportionate response. Work stress, broken nights, small DCs, we all have crosses to bear but don't erupt. How is his blood pressure? Does he take steroids?

Even if he thinks he has it under control what example does he set your DCs, get angry, blow up, lash out?

Time to get serious.

AudreyJunior Tue 09-Apr-13 11:15:04

I think he doesn't get angry with anyone else because they don't push him. In work, he's mostly left to his own devices as long as the work gets done, which it does. Our families don't ask anything of him except that he turn up at occasions and be reasonably sociable, which he's fine with. And friends aren't likely to pick fights with him.

I impose more on him. I try and change his behaviour; get him to tidy up after himself, or do things faster to get out of the house on time, or whatever. He most emphatically doesn't want to do things any other way or at any other speed but his own, so he gets angry (I'm not the only one with an angry parent; he got this trait from his dad).

I assume it's the same with the kids, that he doesn't like that they won't do things his way. DC2 is a livewire and about as cooperative as any other small toddler. I don't know why DC1 didn't have quite the same effect on him; possibly it's because she's a girl and DC2 is a boy, I don't know.

Attila, he's never broken anything in anger before that I know of so I don't know if he'd break his own stuff. As for what I'm getting out of the relationship, bugger all, to be honest. He has absolutely no understanding of the concept of emotional support. When I had PND I woke him one night to tell him that I'd been mentally listing all the pills in the house and I was worried about my mental state and he didn't say anything - he said later he didn't know what to say so just went to sleep.

TakingTheStairs Tue 09-Apr-13 11:19:48

Audrey Listen to yourself
I impose more on him. I try and change his behaviour; get him to tidy up after himself, or do things faster to get out of the house on time, or whatever.

You're making excuses for him. Don't. He is a bad tempered bully and a nasty person.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 09-Apr-13 11:28:27

OP if your DD has noticed H behaving differently with DS and ^ she is not yet 3^ this is not you overreacting.

Dahlen Tue 09-Apr-13 11:30:44

What you say is imposing more on him is actually stuff that you shouldn't have to impose at all.

I bet you get accused of nagging as well. hmm No woman would have to nag if her man carried out what is usually a perfectly reasonable request (such as please don't leave your socks on the bedroom floor) in the first place. It's not nagging; it's ignorance. Turn it around.

Being in a relationship is supposed to be beneficial to both parties and if you love someone you want to make their life easy. You don''t expect someone you love and respect to have to pick up after you, nor as a loving parent do you expect children to change their basic personality or act as perfectly behaved adults. And all this should be freely done, not done under sufferance or reacted to with displays of anger.

I don't want to get into a discussion about PND. It's a very real illness and in many cases can be mind-crushingly awful. However, in cases the mother is not suffering from hormonal-based PND at all - she's suffering a normal emotional reaction to being overwhelmed by responsibility and having a shit partner who not only fails to help but actually worsens the problem with their own behaviour. Was there an element of that in your situation do you think?

Dahlen Tue 09-Apr-13 11:31:33

In some cases that should read - missing word there, sorry.

TKKW Tue 09-Apr-13 11:37:59

Hi Audrey, i had to reply to this one.

omg, this sounds very unhealthy for you and your two children. It will build and build until he does put a fist through a wall in front of you or your children or he chucks something around a room and someone is caught in the "crossfire".

who know when that time will come but in the meanwhile, you'll witness more of the same. i mean its not normal to routinely go ape sh*t because you can't find your keys, glasses or wallet in the morning or whatever. its very weird to smash the light switch in. i mean, who does that?

You must not be able to relax, poor thing. it will cause more harm to your children's emotional wellbeing and erode your confidence if you continue.

i dont have any practical advice - could you talk to him and tell him that its really damaging his relationships with you.

i am a big fan of counselling although i know the private route is expensive.

i think you need to tell him it cant go on like this and set a time limit.

hope things are ok.

AnyFucker Tue 09-Apr-13 11:38:26

Imposing on him ?

You have an expectation that he contributes to what should be a partnership. You would be one hell of a Stepford Wife if you didn't. Is that what he wants ?

Buy him a blow up doll, stick it in the corner of the room with tape over it's mouth, a broom in it's hand and leave him

TKKW Tue 09-Apr-13 11:40:35

sorry, just saw he refused to attend a counsellor. wow, he likes to get gis own way by intimidating then, doesn't he?
yes, you need to think about calling time unless there is an improvement.

hopkinette Tue 09-Apr-13 11:43:44

The fact that he hasn't voluntarily removed himself from your children's environment as a matter of urgency suggests to me that he doesn't think he has a problem. He thinks he's justified in raging and shouting. As long as he thinks he's in the right, he won't stop. I think you need to get rid of him.

mummytime Tue 09-Apr-13 11:46:45

Please phone Women's aid.

Do not go to counselling with him, it will be harmful for you even if he agrees to go. Counselling without him, could be very helpful though.

I can't believe there is a job where people don't make demands on an employee, and do not impose deadlines. So don't fool yourself, he is just being angry with you because he chooses to be. DO NOT blame yourself.

dingit Tue 09-Apr-13 11:53:32

i will probably get shouted down, but if he has never laid a finger on you or the dc, you are perfectly safe. Would you rather he punched the light switch or you. My dh undergoes a personality transformation in the car, and is vile tempered as soon as he is behind the wheel. He has also kicked objects in temper, usually when diying, and wrecked his golf trolley after playing badly. We have been married 20 years, and i am irritated by his temper, not frightened by him.

You need to consider leaving and soon.

His dad was abusive to him (when you have a vile temper and you take it out on your kids that is what it is).

He is now repeating history and being abusive to your baby. Shouting at your 14 month old for being a toddler is abusive.

Your 3 year old is aware and is scared enough to talk to you about it.

It will escalate as your ds gets older.

He is refusing to get help which means he wants to carry on abusing his family (because he manages to control himself for others).

You need to protect your children from him, remove them from the situation.

Phone Women's Aid 0808 2000 247.

I have 2 kids the same age as yours, if my DH ever behaved like that he would be out on his ear.

TKKW Tue 09-Apr-13 12:01:53

dingit, yes, your view is one that will be shared by very few people. do you have kids?

MushroomSoup Tue 09-Apr-13 12:02:42

Dingit she might be perfectly safe but this is no way for the OP and her DCs to live.

TKKW Tue 09-Apr-13 12:02:50

actually, shouldn't have asked that dingit.

dingit Tue 09-Apr-13 12:04:14

yep. i agree though, if she is frightened by him, they need to sort it out. It worries me how many people on mn tell the op to ask their dh to leave. Surely that is a last resort.

Startail Tue 09-Apr-13 12:04:26

You want to change the way he does things and you get no emotional support.

Regardless of his temper these are huge red flags.
Adults don't change unless they want to change .
And emotional support is at the heart of any family relationship. Why would you want to be with a partner or keep up a relationship with parents, siblings or friends if they weren't there for you when you needed them or they needed you?

Loulybelle Tue 09-Apr-13 12:04:32

So he can control his temper when he knows he needs too, with you and the kids he thinks he can lose his temper and no repercussions.

OxfordBags Tue 09-Apr-13 13:13:52

He doesn't have an anger management problem. As others say, if he did, he would be losing his temper willy-nilly with all and sundry. I used to volunteer with a guy who had true anger management issues (terrible childhood in care) and he couldn't control himself if got riled, no matter who it was (just shoutiness, thankfully). He was also incredibly remorseful and ashamed and was in therapy the whole time I worked alongside him. People who accept they have problems and genuinely want to work on them, will work on them and get help.

Your talk of pushing him and the Dcs not doing things his way is the classic talk of the abused wife. It could be written in a textbook as a classic example of how women blame themselves and their kids and excuse and minimise the man's behaviour away, so as to be able to delide themselves that he's not as bad as he really is, and also to delude themselves that things can be good again 'if only' you and the kids maintain some fantasy level of perfection, etc., etc.

The things you list are completely normal and reasonable. You should be able to expect - wothout asking! - a grown man to tidy up after himself and to organise himself enough to get out of the house on time with the rest of the family. This is NOT trying to change his behaviour! That is expecting a basic level of respect and adult capability. Has he told you that this is you trying to change his behaviour? Because it's bullshit. It's also incredibly selfish and unreasonable and fucking immature and pathetic to insist that everything has to be his way and his speed. It's also incredibly abusive. And of course he gets 'pushed' in other areas of his life. It's just that like all bullies, he won't act out when he judges others as able to give it back to him. He picks on strangers, the vulnerable (DC2) and those he sees as beneath him and not real humans (you lot).

This is just not how a normal family operates. It's how an oppressive dictatorship works.

Having to live with a father like him will damage your DC for life. No 3 yr old should say things like she loves you because you don't shout at DS. That was like a knife in my heart and I don't even know your kids! How on earth can you rationalise this as an acceptabel family atmosphere to raise them in? Not that I am blMing you for abusive and self-obsessed ways, but if he won't change and he is having a negative effect on you all, then you as an adult, have to suckit up and get him away from them.

He won't change. Why should he? He gets to act exactly as he likes and take his temper out on you all, especially a tiny, vulnerable child (it doesn't get much cuntier than that) and nothing happens. His life is how he likes it and wants it and he gets to be a cunt. If he wanted to control his temper and be nice to you all, he wouldn't have ever acted how he does in the first place. Do you see?

And to reiterate: someone who chooses to take his temper out on someone tiny, delicate, vulnerable, dependent, loving and trusting is a fucking CUNT. Only abusive bastards do that. It can't be excused or rationalised or minimised. You know you would sew your own mouth shut before you ever treated your DC that way. So how come he gets to?

OxfordBags Tue 09-Apr-13 13:18:08

PS Of course they act mad about him - children with an abusive parent always appear to adore that parent. It's automatic self-preservation; if they keep him as sweet as possible, they hope to protect themselves and not make him get angry. It's no way to live. You know that, from your own childhood. And sadly, your childhood experiences mean that part of you has unconsciously internalised unreasonable anger as normal, which is now clouding your judgement as to how bad it is, blaming yourself (a familiar pattern for children of angry parents) and, like the child you once were, hopelessly believing that it can be made better.

nannyj Tue 09-Apr-13 13:41:12

As someone who lived with a father who is like your husband can I implore you to seriously think about leaving him. My overriding memory is about fear and his temper and living on eggshells. If your children are picking up on it now at such a young age it must be pretty bad and he has no incentive to leave.

My father was like this all through my childhood and its left many scars on myself and sibling. To be honest I blame my mother too as she never left.

What OxfordBags wrote.

I would further assert that your own childhood at the hands of your angry mother led you straight into the arms of this bloke; you were conditioned by her to accept this now as your lot in life. You learnt an awful lot of damaging lessons about relationships when growing up.

Your children are being damaged here by your H's actions. Unfortunately for you and that is an understatement, no-one protected you in your childhood but you as their mother can and actually should protect them now from his malign influences before their own childhoods are further emotionally wreaked.

You also write that you get bugger all from this relationship so what is exactly keeping you there now?. The forlorn hopes that he will somehow see the light and change his ways?. It did not happen in your childhood and it won't happen with him now.

Lemonylemon Tue 09-Apr-13 13:43:30

"yep. i agree though, if she is frightened by him, they need to sort it out. It worries me how many people on mn tell the op to ask their dh to leave. Surely that is a last resort."

She needs to ask him to leave while he sorts his temper out. The fact that his family members were shocked at his temper outburst speaks volumes. If he genuinely had management anger issues, then these would have manifested themselves in front of other people - not just the OP, the DCs and other drivers.

She needs to ask him to leave while he sorts his temper out because :
"He gets inappropriately angry around DC2 for some reason."

She needs to ask him to leave while he sorts his temper out because :

"I think he doesn't get angry with anyone else because they don't push him."
"He just doesn't think he has a problem at all."
" assume it's the same with the kids, that he doesn't like that they won't do things his way."

It will escalate. Nobody should live in fear of another person's bad temper, let alone small children.....

Fairenuff Tue 09-Apr-13 16:41:13

You say he doesn't do it to others because they don't have expectations or make demands on him that anger him. But when you think about, we all face frustrations in our daily life.

People getting in our way in supermarkets and on pavements. Long queues. Being put on hold or taking ages to sort out other people's mistakes.

People get upset by what others do or say all the time but they express their feelings in an appropriate manner. This is what your dh does with everyone else. But with you and dcs he chooses to show anger by violent actions. It is abusive, bullying behaviour designed to control you. And it's working. You are already blaming yourself for his actions.

It would be a deal breaker for me.

afrikat Tue 09-Apr-13 16:54:18

I'm completely with nannyj. My childhood memories are of a bad tempered father who used to snap at anything and went from throwing things / punching walls to lashing out at us when we got to about 3. I remember always being scared around him and I also resent my mother somewhat for not protecting us and leaving sooner.

I think he doesn't get angry with anyone else because they don't push him.

So his outbursts are your fault are they? And your children's fault?

You have said you get 'bugger all' out of the relationship.

There is no need for anyone to shout at a child of 14 months.

So, what are you going to do?

AnyFucker Tue 09-Apr-13 17:24:55

Me too with nannyj and having a childhood like this

I blame my mother too, for staying with him, even though she knew it was damaging her kids

I have no respect for her, and yes she is still him, still his verbal punchbag

sad AF and nannyj

AnyFucker Tue 09-Apr-13 20:05:15

thanks, scarlet

NoraLuca Tue 09-Apr-13 20:53:10

To echo what everyone else has said, he could restrain his anger if he wanted to, but he doesn't. What gives him the right to be angry with you? Can you imagine behaving the same way yourself?

FWIW, I left my H in February after nine years together, in large part due to his temper. There were countless incidents over the years, until one day he smashed my laptop to smithereens and I left. No regrets.

TisILeclerc Tue 09-Apr-13 21:22:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nannyj Wed 10-Apr-13 11:34:07

My dad could be the nicest man around other people but I'm sure it was a way to control my mum and have his own way as we trod on eggshells around him.

It's very easy to fool yourself that you're hiding it from your kids but you can't. Everyone just learns to be quiet and tread very carefully around
him. I had an illness when I was younger and it wasn't until I was an adult that we realised it was stress. I was 2 and a half.

killerrobot Wed 10-Apr-13 21:29:28

Don't know if you're still around OP. Just read your thread and this really shone out to me...

I assume it's the same with the kids, that he doesn't like that they won't do things his way

I wonder why or how on earth anyone would or could expect a 3 year old and a 14 month old to do things their way? These are tiny, pre-school age children, hardly amenable to reason/considering the needs of other. Nor should they be.

I'd be interested to know how comfortable you would feel leaving this man in sole charge of your children, for, say, half a day. No need to answer, but just think on it. If you would have any reservations or fears about doing this, then you have to get rid.

You should get rid anyway, IMO. It sounds like your kids are being damaged and I would seek to limit that damage.

killerrobot Wed 10-Apr-13 21:29:54

*others

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now