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Need perspective from Mumsnetters

(55 Posts)
Peterpurvis Sun 08-Sep-13 08:36:52


I have been on mumsnet for years but very rarely post, however I would really appreciate some perspective as I am unhappy but unsure if it's just me over thinking and generally a bit hardwork....

Basically, I find my H hard to live with - he's quite up and down emotionally and also gets annoyed with me over the smallest things. The tone and delivery of what he says upsets me and doesn't fill me with a comfortable feeling.
He also does things that I find a bit odd and it irritates me. I wonder whether other women would feel the way I do.

He gets annoyed when I say I'm going out with a friend (he says he's not annoyed but it's the tone and delivery eg I'm going to stay with a friend one night this week - getting the train straight from work and then back in the morning to work (prob an hour each way). I told him and he said 'What you doing that for? Will you be able to get to work on time?'. I responded because I want to see my friend and yes of course I can get to work on time (my point is why asking me stupid qs like why am I visiting a friend and also about getting to work on time - how old does he think I am!))

This seems quite minor compared to other threads on here but I feel claustrophobic and like I can't think clearly as I am always wondering what he will say next. We have 2 Dc's - 4 & 6.

SoThisIsHowYouNameChange Sun 08-Sep-13 09:02:54

I'm afraid I need more information.

LittlePeaPod Sun 08-Sep-13 09:06:48

I am sorry Op. I can't seem to see the issue. Maybe you could share a bit more information / specifics?

Peterpurvis Sun 08-Sep-13 09:09:32

I know I'm not explaining myself - that's the problem I can't. Maybe I just need to calm down....

Sorry and thanks for your response

myroomisatip Sun 08-Sep-13 09:17:21

Do his questions make you feel controlled? Has he always had this kind of reaction to you doing something for yourself?

Bumpstarter Sun 08-Sep-13 09:21:15

Read dr joe carver's 'signs of a loser'. You may be able to spot other signs of controlling behaviour on there.

If you are unhappy in your relationship,I suspect you can't talk to your h about it. Why not?

Peterpurvis Sun 08-Sep-13 09:35:03

Hi. Yes his questions do make me feel controlled - not sure whether that's me not able to share information. I went out the other day to meet a friend who is having a very bad time - H knows about this but whilst I was out he sent me two texts - 1st saying he hated our DS haircut ( I'd taken him to get it cut but it was shorter than usual) and that he was going to take him back to the hairdresser to get it sorted ( this was 8pm so he meant he would do it in the near future so why text me then?). I then got another text saying 'on second thoughts probably better to let it grow'. I eventually texted 'yes. On way back'

Is this odd or not?

Peterpurvis Sun 08-Sep-13 09:38:23

Bump I try and talk but don't get any where. Eg I tried to tackle him about the text haircut thing - he said he has a right to express himself about his son's hair. Will look up that book.


mammadiggingdeep Sun 08-Sep-13 09:40:40

Sounds like he doesn't like you having your own life....i think it's unreasonable to text pretty trivial things whilst you're out. Do you think he's insecure?? Do you go out more than he does??

scallopsrgreat Sun 08-Sep-13 09:48:29

I think I am getting an idea of what might be bothering you. When you are out with these texts, do you feel he is doing it to constantly remind you of where your attention should be i.e. not with your friends?

pictish Sun 08-Sep-13 09:49:44

Hmm...well it certainly sounds as though he doesn't respect you much. Like he thinks you're subordinate to him.
He feels entitled to get annoyed with you over little things and speak to you in a manner you don't feel happy with, and he also gives himself the authority to question your movements and motives, as though he needs to decide whether it's a goer or not. Of course, it is respectful to run things by our partners, as you do - but none of us really expect them to behave like they're the dad to an incapable child.

What does he say when you tell him how his manner makes you feel?

Peterpurvis Sun 08-Sep-13 09:53:00

I would normally socialise once a week but sometimes twice although I would have to 'ask permission' for this as I get the impression he doesn't like it although he says he's not bothered. He always goes out on the same evening per week - he doesn't have many friends but doesn't really attempt to make any which is fine although he will comment that no one ever texts him.

I'm getting annoyed just writing this

If you feel controlled then you are likely correct.

"Ask permission". Not on. Does he try and sabotage your nights out by trying to stall you in other ways?. Yours is not a marriage of equals; I think your H wants to keep you in the hole he has also dug for you.

I would read "Why does he do that?" written by Lundy Bancroft as that could help you further. I do not like the sound of your H at all; controlling men are often very angry men. Talking with him won't get you anywhere because he thinks he is doing nothing wrong in the first place.

What do you get out of this relationship now?

What do you think your children are learning about relationships here?. They are all too clearly seeing and learning from what is being played out here by the two of you, is this really what you want to teach them?.

LittlePeaPod Sun 08-Sep-13 10:03:56

Hi Op

I am really sorry you are feeling so low/down.

If your DH is trying to be controlling and stopping you going out, doing what you want or making you feel controlled then I can see that you would have an issue and you should leave. Asking permission to go out with friends isn't on. Telling him as a matter of courtesy is different.

All couples have disagreements and don't always see eye to eye. Others may not agree with me on this but your haircut example doesn't sound controlling, more that he was pee'd off and expressing that. When I have been irritated I have sent my other half a text about it whilst he was out with his friends and he has done the same to me. From what you say, your DH wasn't having a go about you been out with your friends, he was irritated about something completely different. I can't see the link between the haircut and been controlled/him stopping you seeing your friends etc.

It sounds like you are unhappy at the moment and maybe he is too. Have you considered having time alone and talking through these issues and how you are feeling etc.? Maybe with an impartial personal (couples councillor) there?

Please don't miss understand if you are feeling controlled and EA then you need to get out before it escalates and trust me it always escalates. Take it from someone that was brought up in a very abusive and violent home before my mother had the courage to LTB is secret.

Lazyjaney Sun 08-Sep-13 10:16:06

Reverse the sexes and play these again, eg "my DH wants to stay overnight at friends, ignored me when I said he shouldn't, and we have 2 small children" and the response would be very different.

Makes me think there are 2 sides to this.

LittlePeaPod Sun 08-Sep-13 10:20:28

LazyJaney Exactly and MN would go wild.

I would personally suggest sole counselling due to the control aspects her H has shown towards her. Also joint counselling is never recommended at all where there is any control behaviour shown within a relationship. Apart from anything else I doubt her H would even consider counselling in any case because he may at heart feel he is doing nothing wrong here. He certainly has not appeared to have apologised to the OP.

Peterpurvis Sun 08-Sep-13 10:25:25

Thanks for your thoughts and words - it's helping me think. In terms of the haircut - I already knew he was unhappy about it as he had told me the day before. I don't get the texting when I'm out surely we can talk about it when I get back (although we already had)

With regards to staying over with friend - she is a childhood friend who lives abroad but is over for a conference - I want to see her before she goes back to Aus and I won't see her again for another couple of years. H knows her and likes her.

I asked whether he tried to sabotage your plans in other ways whilst you were out with friends and he has indeed done this. The texts re the haircut is a classic example, he knew you were with a friend but decided to text you on some pretext anyway.

You went on to text that you were on your way back which is precisely what he wanted all along.

LittlePeaPod Sun 08-Sep-13 10:32:21

I am really sorry and maybe I am blind here but I can't see any controlling behaviour in what I have read so far. The Ops DH has not tried to stop her going out or told her she can't etc. His been irritated about their sons haircut etc. with young children I think it would be courtesy to speak to your DH if you are planning to go out/stay out over night. After all he would be at home with the children.

Again I am really sorry but I am struggling to see where the controlling aspect of his behaviour is in what I have read so far?

LittlePeaPod Sun 08-Sep-13 10:35:15

BTW Op I am speaking from experience here. I lived in a home with an EA, controlling and violent father.

Peterpurvis Sun 08-Sep-13 10:39:28

Would you suggest sole counselling with relate or another professional?

Btw a couple of weeks ago I decided to nip to a shop with Dd to buy something for the house that we needed - I would be out for an hour, DS was watching TV and didn't want to come and H was doing similar. I just said I was going with DS which resulted in a stupid type argument as follows:

Me: just nipping to x to get x with DD won't be long
H: you're going now? Why?
Me: cos we are free and I've been meaning to get X for ages
H: But it's nearly time for kids tea
Me: it's not we've got an hour/hour and a half before then
H: you're going near there tomorrow do it then.
Me: Don't want to do both tomorrow it would be too much

This went on and on until I had a strop and said

Me: forget it I'm not going
H: think you should go

Blah blah - totally weird and I have no idea

pictish Sun 08-Sep-13 10:41:06

I think that the text was a blatant reminder to you that he is there and you ought not to relax too much, because he is still the most important concern in your life, and right now, you haven't apologised enough about upsetting him over the sodding all important haircut*.

*Tenuous excuse to treat you like dirt, and simultaneously assert his authority, while having you absorb his shit.


pictish Sun 08-Sep-13 10:43:06

So he talks you out of your own decisions, then pretends that he didn't, so it's your own fault if you don't go?

Peterpurvis Sun 08-Sep-13 10:46:36

Little Pea - Thanks it's useful to have POV maybe I am being unfair to him. However I will say that I would always check it's ok to go out and stay over. I haven't stayed over anywhere without kids for at least a year.

If you're irritated about a haircut is it fair to text me when I'm out with a friend who is very unwell and having a bad time? If it was me I would talk to him about it and then stick to what we agreed. Ie the night before we had a discussion and said to leave it, it would grow so why send a text when I'm out?

RandomMess Sun 08-Sep-13 10:46:51

He sounds controlling to me, he is belittling you and getting you to seek his approval or face the consequences. Says he is happy for you to go out however ensures that you are on edge whilst out by send you unpleasant and unnecessary texts.

I'm not sure counselling with someone so manipulative would be a good idea?

Peterpurvis Sun 08-Sep-13 10:49:29

Pictish yes he talks me out of most things then changes his mind and says ok. By which time I'm annoyed and the enthusiasm has gone.

pictish Sun 08-Sep-13 10:51:48

Littlepea - those among us who have been in controlling relationships can see the little red flags fluttering in the breeze. We know that one of those complaints don't add up to much, but two or three, and a picture starts to form. We also know that these behaviours are difficult to spot, are subtle and insidious, and that to anyone on the outside looking in, seem rational and even reasonable.

You may think of it as projection, and perhaps you'd be right...but some of us know these men from afar, and we are seldom wrong.

RandomMess Sun 08-Sep-13 10:57:52

I've never been in a controlling relationship btw and I can see red flags and horrible behaviour him that would just eat away at someone loud and clear!

pictish Sun 08-Sep-13 10:59:37

Yes...this is controlling behaviour OP.
He wants to control what you do, so he makes it unpleasant for you to follow through on something you have chosen to do yourself. He fires negativity at you, with the threat of further unpleasantness if you persist - like a row, or a sulk, or a telling off....
Then when he is sure he has deflated your enthusiasm, he quickly switches tack so he cannot be held responsible for what he just did, shoving the responsibility back to you after he has got his he can gaily go on ruling as King Dick.

LittlePeaPod Sun 08-Sep-13 11:00:21

Op. It's just my opinion and its not right or wrong. With regards the haircut yes maybe he should not have text whilst you were but he was clearly still irritated. What he text though wasn't in anyway asking you to cut your outing short or having a go about you been out. It was about a disagreement you and him had over something else. Very petty true but it just sounds like a petty argument/disagreement between a couple.

I don't want to come across as belittling how you feel. But the examples so far read like a couple that are bickering, not communicating or seeing each others perspective and how this impacts their feelings. That's why I thought discussing with an impartial person may be good (alone or as a couple whatever is right for you)

Based on the information so far I am unsure I can be of more help here but I am sure there will be others that may advise you that see the control/abuse etc.

Pictesh. I think if you read my previous posts you will see that I more than understand what it's like living in an abusive, EA and violent home. Please don't assume I don't.

sooperdooper Sun 08-Sep-13 11:01:06

Maybe I'm not understanding enough but I don't really see the issue, if your friends is an hour away then asking if you will be able to get to work ok seems a normal enough question to ask.

And the haircut text, well he's entitled to an opinion, and he said he'd take him back, he didn't say you'd done anything wrong or you had to do anything, if my DH text me something similar I'd think nothing of it

pictish Sun 08-Sep-13 11:04:34

Ok...fair dos.

I remember being with someone who would hang on to grudges over tiny things for sport. Iy was before mobile phones were common, so he would lie in wait for me to be relaxed and enjoying mrself before making a pointed comment about whatever shit it was.

"So are we just ignoring the fact that you snapped at me on Wednesday for no good reason? It still sticks in my throat."

If we had had text a medium he would most certainly have used it to peck at me while I was elsewhere not paying attention to him.

Leavenheath Sun 08-Sep-13 11:16:02

I've been on a few threads recently where OPs wrote about their husbands having up to 5 solo holidays a year compared to their none and having got to the end of their tether and exhausted themselves, posted on Mumsnet to ask if it was fair.

To which they got the usual replies from the usual suspects that they were trying to keep their husbands on a leash and which queried their competence to supervise children single-handedly.

Therefore, an OP writing about her displeasure that her partner wanted to stay overnight with a friend once a year would unleash a torrent of posts offering grips, numerous posts telling her that she was being very unreasonable and maybe a few kinder posts exploring the possibility that this was displaced anxiety and wondering if there were deeper issues at play.

OP although I've never experienced an abusive relationship, I recognise the possible warning signs here too. I've got a friend whose husband can't bear her going out unless she takes all the children. In his case it is pure selfishness and laziness plus a deep-seated belief that childcare is not something that fathers should be expected to perform on their own. On the rare occasions she stands up to him and has a night or a day out on her own, he assails her with texts and calls and on occasions, has invented fake illnesses either in him or the children that ensures she scurries home.

It is controlling behaviour and it's insidious. My friend is a shell of the woman she was before she had children.

Lazyjaney Sun 08-Sep-13 11:39:43

There's a thread about a DH going fishing on AIBU now, almost the reverse of this. The OP there of course is not controlling in wanting him not to go, but hard pressed and fully justified, what with small kids and a house to run etc etc

Somewhere between these 2 lies the answer.....

Bumpstarter Sun 08-Sep-13 11:40:01

It's not a book. Here is the link. It will take you half an hour to read it, and it will help you clarify what controlling behaviour he uses or not.

Leavenheath Sun 08-Sep-13 12:00:50

I've just checked that AIBU thread you've mentioned Lazyjaney.

It's not the same at all. The husband announced this morning he was going out fishing all day, leaving the OP with chores to do that were time-based and urgent (getting uniforms ready etc.) She adds that when he does this (implication being it's a regular event), he brings fish home which he guts in the kitchen and leaves the OP to clear up the mess.

This OP is talking about an event for which she gave notice and there is no sense that her partner will have to do anything extra other than supervise and feed his own children. She doesn't say that when she gets home from work the following night, she expects her partner to unpack her overnight case and deal with the soiled contents.

Even then, at least one poster has advised the OP that everyone needs some time to themselves and that it's not unreasonable to seek it every now and then.

NotHappyEither Sun 08-Sep-13 12:03:36

Hi OP, just wanted to say I could've written your post word for word. You have explained my life but much better than I ever can. I also find it hard to put my finger on and wonder if I'm reading too much into things. The conversation you described resonants with me massively. I often end up not doing thing because of exactly that reason but I couldn't quite put my finger on how to explain it. My friend told me the other day that she's stopped inviting me out to certain things because she knows he'll make me feel bad about it sad

Anyway, I'm not sure what to add really other than yes deep down you as well as I know its not quite right. I don't think there is anything that would change the way he is. If he's anything like my DH he probably can't see anything wrong with what he does anyway. He's just not capable of looking at himself like that.

something2say Sun 08-Sep-13 12:13:51

Domestic abuse red flags.

Feeling uncomfortable when he is grumpy, moody, speaks to you like shit.
Texting while you are out. Disturbing you, not being very nice.
Spoiling your good time, then twisting it round to make it seem like you decided not to go.

My advice.
Each time he speaks to you like shit, say don't speak to me like that please, I don't like it.
Then walk away leaving him open mouthed.
Get on with your own thing and remove him from your metaphorical nipple while you are out.
Suffer the discomfort of weirdness while this shift in power works its way out.
Keep your friends and attend to the amount of money you have at your disposal just in case xxx
Avoid arguments when he starts, get yourself away.

Peterpurvis Sun 08-Sep-13 13:07:13

Thanks to all - I nipped out shopping to get the stuff we need for this week. Have read your comments and appreciate you all taking the time to advise.

I think it's unfair to compare my going away for a night with notice when all H will need to do will be pick kids up, feed them and put them to bed (I will have washed and iron the uniform and bought all the food for the week) to someone who announces he's going fishing today leaving other half to sort out all jobs needed for the week.

Anyway, the going away was just an example of how claustrophobic and yes controlled I feel. I believe that in this day and age things should be equal - I work full time and so does H, we earn roughly the same. I usually put kids to bed and get them up in the morn ready for school. I have always been fine with H going out even when DCs were small and I had to coordinate getting them to bed because I believed it was good for him to socialise with friends.
I am most certainly not unreasonable maybe I shouldn't read into what his response was to my going away for a night.

Peterpurvis Sun 08-Sep-13 13:08:58

not happy really glad that you understand my situation but sorry that you are not in a great place yourself

NotHappyEither Sun 08-Sep-13 14:59:07

This is why I always end up doubting myself. When you explain it to someone it can come across that they're just caring about you. Or you start to wonder if actually you are being out of line and expecting too much. Thing is it doesn't feel like that. It's not because of caring its like everything covers some other agenda they have going on.

I don't think you're being unreasonable. I also would have no problem with DH going where he wants and would just like the same in return. When he wants to do something does he just do it, while you feel like you have to clear it with him if you want to?

Shapechanger Sun 08-Sep-13 15:23:42

That 'Loser' article by Dr Joe Carver absolutely rocks. Even the fact that he's chosen to call the villain 'The Loser'. Love it. Saw lots of stbxdh in there.

Leavenheath Sun 08-Sep-13 15:39:53

Apart from anything, that sounds like an unfair division of labour you've got going on there.

If you both work full time, why are you doing all the kids' washing and ironing, sorting them in the morning and at night? I see you did the week's shopping today too. What does he do then?

And to reverse this, when H goes out/away, does he make sure the kids have got enough clean and ironed clothes and the fridge is stocked? So that all you have to do when you get in from work is feed them and put them to bed?

I have a feeling that's going to be a rhetorical question...

Bumpstarter Sun 08-Sep-13 19:20:31

Shape changer... Yeah, it's great, isn't it!

I found it so useful, an will be reading it with my children once they are an appropriate age.

Hullygully Sun 08-Sep-13 19:25:57

I'm not getting "controlling" so much as "rigid and can't cope with unexpected anything"

It sounds like his initial reaction to anything slightly unexpected: popping to shops, going to friend's is a threatened NO! followed by an Ok when he calms down, assimilates the info and gets past the threatened feeling

I may, or may not, be a little prone to this myself.

Peterpurvis Sun 08-Sep-13 19:48:40

Hully interested to know why you react in that way (if you know)?

Yes, unfair division of labour that's true but hey that's another challenge and no he doesn't get the kids sorted if he goes out although he may possibly text 'give the children vegetables' (which also drives me crazy).


Hullygully Sun 08-Sep-13 19:52:29

I don't really know, I had a chaotic childhood so there is something about being safe/in control of my environment and not liking surprises. I am aware of it in myself and try to fight it, but often my first reactions are negative and I have to apologize later. Change makes me fearful and so defensive/aggressive.

Peterpurvis Thu 12-Sep-13 09:15:03

I'm back, DH has been shouting at me again and I can't stand it any longer - counselling needed but where do you go? Relate or somewhere else?

Peterpurvis Thu 12-Sep-13 09:17:23

Also what steps do I need to take to split up?


Do not under any circumstances do joint counselling. It is never recommended where there is abuse within a relationship Counselling if it is considered should be for you only; you need to talk in a safe and controlled environment.

Did your children hear him shout at you as well?. It is not beyond the realms of possibility.

I would be talking to Womens Aid in your particular circumstances.

Seek legal advice asap; some Solicitors do a free 30 minute consultation.
There is help out there, you just have to take the first, often the most hardest of steps, to access it.

Peterpurvis Thu 12-Sep-13 09:29:10

<gulp> didn't expect that response...

Bumpstarter Thu 12-Sep-13 22:29:36

Read this

It will help you see what problems you have in your relationship, and give you some pointers on how to break,up safely.

Bumpstarter Sat 14-Sep-13 00:37:01

Hope you are ok, Peter.

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