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My DH is always right. Always.

(178 Posts)
purrpurr Wed 18-Sep-13 21:14:04

When I got together with my DH six years ago, we quickly discovered, after the honeymoon period where we just about agreed on everything, that actually we are polar opposites on everything. All the inconsequential stuff. All the important stuff. Totally different. I even found out recently that he considers my taste to be garish. It's like nothing about us suits the other.

The unpleasant undertone to these fundamental differences is that he is older than me (only by 7 years) and assumes a somewhat parental/older brother attitude when it comes to disagreements. As if I'm just a bit slow on the uptake, possibly, or haven't finished school yet.

We reached an amicable truce several years ago, because we do hugely enjoy some areas of our relationship, and we make each other laugh and think, so it wasn't worth quitting the relationship even though it means we just can't civilly discuss politics or anything important.

Sorry, gibbering merrily away but don't want to dripfeed. I'll get to the point.

I'm a SAHM. Our DD is 4 months old. I do the lion's share, but DH will contribute. The trouble is, he will argue with me about how I do things, and question and question and quibble over and over. Discussions reoccur every week. I feel like he can't stand not being the one 'in the right' in this particular instance, even though I really am not heavy-handed about 'being the one at home', I really don't swan about like I am All That just because I do 90% of the parenting, but I get this sense from him that his opinion is still the only one that matters here, he is right, and he is going to do things his way, even when it detrimentally affects both of us.

It's really colouring my feelings for him significantly. I can't help but dislike him. I feel like it's the height of arrogance. The equivalent would be for me to appear in his office and gesture casually towards his computer and say, 'well, that's wrong for a start, but I'll fix it.'

Maybe there's even this sense of jostling for control, which I don't know how to handle. Next we're going to be arranging performance meetings and talking in corporate business speak.


Pollydon Wed 18-Sep-13 21:16:54

Tell him he is being a twat.

purrpurr Wed 18-Sep-13 21:22:02

Ha Polly smile concise!

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 18-Sep-13 21:26:41

It sounds like he considers you inferior to him in some fundamental way.

fieldfare Wed 18-Sep-13 21:27:18

Show him what you've typed here as a starting point.

While having differing opinions can be interesting, stimulating and fun, what you're describing sounds onerous and wearing.

throwinshapes Wed 18-Sep-13 21:28:34

What exactly does he disagree on in relation to your SAHM methods?

TalkativeJim Wed 18-Sep-13 21:28:59

This isn't usually recommended, but could you show him your OP? - and the many, many replies I do not doubt that you will get, which will tell you that yes, this will split you up?

You may have been easy going enough to put up with what sounds like a LOT of arrogant bullshit for a long time, but you're now seeing where your boundary lies. With your child, and being told how to parent. And perhaps with the really inexcusable bullshit of finally being the person who is, for the best reason of all, in the driving seat - and still having him try desperately to crash through it in order to feed his ego. You've just given birth, this is your baby. Nothing will strike at you more than being dismissed in that role. Mother Tiger WILL raise her head.

As you say - it's to the detriment of both of us. He needs to be told, really told, because very soon it will be to the detriment of all three of you. And you will find, perhaps even shocking yourself, that you will not put up with that. As you shouldn't. And that will be that.

purrpurr Wed 18-Sep-13 21:31:18

Katy, unfortunately I think that's it. He recently said he's fairly certain he is a genius. I giggled because I don't tend to normally spend time with folk that think they are geniuses (genii?) and he got very blustery and cross and insulted that I laughed, because of course he is a genius, why didn't I think that already?

So, it's obvious now that I'm thinking about it. Of course I'm inferior. I'm just above average in enough things to look reasonably clever, I'm not a genius.

Fairenuff Wed 18-Sep-13 21:34:25

He genuinely believes he is superior to you. I would be very surprised if he changed. You either put up with it or leave.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 18-Sep-13 21:35:53

I'm the same - clever, but no genius. grin

Could you give more specific examples of what he says and does?

Ruralninja Wed 18-Sep-13 21:36:45

I wonder what makes him think he is,a genius? Its not dissimilar to going around proclaiming your own hotness i.e. Not On! Also, why doesn't he value a relationship with an equal? None of it makes him sound particularly smart...

givemestrengthorlove Wed 18-Sep-13 21:36:47

Over confident and domineering.
Will get worse
Be very very firm, don't let him criticise you or insist on having his own way....simply tell him to get stuffed and stop interfering because you are not discussing it .
It's the only way he will lay off.

purrpurr Wed 18-Sep-13 21:37:54

Throwin, lots of abstract things. If we are trying to share the night work (we do this occasionally when I'm on my last legs with tiredness as DD doesn't sleep well, normally I'm in the spare room with DD - haven't slept in the marital bed more than twice since April) he decides how things will be done, often resulting in numerous unnecessary wakings of all three of us, really unnecessary crying from DD which upsets me as I don't wait for her to cry before I sort her out with feeding or what have you. But I'm too tired to argue and it's so nice to momentarily believe I've got help instead of battling away by myself all the time, and then in the morning when I'm more tired than I've even thought possible I do try to talk to him but he just will not take on board anything I say.

Diagonally Wed 18-Sep-13 21:38:29

If this is his personality, and his underlying belief system is that he is superior - to others generally, or to women generally - then you face a real challenge, I think.

How does he behave with other people? Does he tend to compete / dominate with everyone, or is it more of a power struggle just between you both?

motherinferior Wed 18-Sep-13 21:40:10

He is fairly sure he is a genius?

Is he, you know, actually clinically deranged? In what way is he a genius? I mean, I've met some pretty damn bright people in my life and am not slouch in the old intellect myself but I haven't met many people who'd be called a genius. The mathematician Ruth Lawrence, perhaps, we overlapped at Oxford...and the odd musician, but that's about ti.

purrpurr Wed 18-Sep-13 21:42:02

TalkativeJim, your post made too much sense. My heart got heavy just reading it. You are quite right.

Ruralninja, ace nickname btw, I think there's some sort of superiority/inferiority complex going on, there must be. He often says if we split up, he'd be single forever, so he casts himself as practically unloveable, but at the same time, sees me as beneath him.

AnyFucker Wed 18-Sep-13 21:42:14

Genius ? Genius ? Genius?

What a wazzak

arkestra Wed 18-Sep-13 21:43:04


What's he going to be like when he's 60?


Is there something going on in his life that's making him feel defensive? Something at work or with his family that's worrying him? Sounds like he's trying to get control for some reason and he wasn't always that way?...

thecatfromjapan Wed 18-Sep-13 21:43:07

My husband did/does this.

It has definitely worsened over the years, to the point where it has genuinely affected my mental health. Really.

In hindsight, I really wish I had stood my ground earlier. That would have involved (I think): articulating to myself what the problem was; really believing that there was an issue; identifying that there was an issue of power and respect; convincing myself that I had legitimate grounds to feel a bit undermined/pissed off/disrespected; listening to my feelings; explaining to dh what was not acceptable about his way of speaking to me/thinking about me; explaining that power and responsibility must be shared; being prepared for - perhaps- some heated exchanges/arguments.*

So ... I think it really is worth trying to get it sorted out now.

Also, what I realised very recently - and this really may not apply to you - is that I was being - what might I call this? - "Tenderised" - in those early days. Inch by inch, my husband wore down my self-esteem, and really laid down the rules about his views/opinions/wants/rules being the ones that mattered. My reality, right down to the way I parented, was less "real" than his.
What this did was actually make his life a lot easier. It's weird to look back on, but now I can see that the constant undermining was actually a real power-organisation, which resulted in a lot of family life running around my husband, to ensure that his life is quite smooth, and I am constantly running to ensure that things stay smooth for him.

And, honestly, it really did seem to start with him telling me how to "do" the parenting that I was doing most of.


So, I would say, it really is worth being quite firm about the validity of your adulthood, competence, and autonomy right now. Because this really is about your competency as an adult, and your validity as a real, live human being, who is separate - but equal - to your husband.

*In spite of all the "I feel", "It seems to me", "It makes me feel" language that Relate teach you, it quite often can be quite hard to persuade someone stubborn, and used to getting their own way, of the legitimacy of your opinions/viewpoints/feelings.

throwinshapes Wed 18-Sep-13 21:43:21

There's a fine line between genius and madness
<not helpful>

Diagonally Wed 18-Sep-13 21:44:29

Sorry X post.

An ordinary genius would just be busy doing the sort of things that genii do and not worrying too much about other people.

But he thinks he's a genius and gets cross if you don't agree = he thinks he's superior to everybody.

This is who he is...its not going to get any better.

purrpurr Wed 18-Sep-13 21:44:35

Diagonally, just between us. He's the nicest guy you would ever meet, honestly.

Ha. No way. All these months I've spent on Mumsnet and how many times have I seen that? Oh, he's the nicest guy. Ooh, for extra Mumsnet bingo points: But he's such a great dad. Yeah, really. I'm just going to go slap myself.

AnyFucker Wed 18-Sep-13 21:44:37

TJ is right, love. That poster just predicted your future, in a nutshell.

He will chip away at your respect for him. It's happening already, isn't it, or you wouldn't be inviting commentary here.

No respect, no relationship.

throwinshapes Wed 18-Sep-13 21:46:36

Soz did not mean to be glib.
Looks like TheCat has some good insight.

Fucking hell, what a knob. I don't like him and I've never met him, I can't imagine how unpleasant it must be to have to live with him. He sounds awful OP, do you really see yourself with him forevermore?

motherinferior Wed 18-Sep-13 21:48:03

I still want to know what he's a genius at. You can't, AFAIK, just be a General Genius At Everything.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 18-Sep-13 21:49:35

I assume this has always gone on, but now that you are a mother, you're not able to overlook it.

I would give a little bit of slack to both of you because of the newborn sleep deprivation phase : it can exacerbate problems and you may both be not at your best.

But the fact that this is an issue going back years makes me think it's a real problem and not just temporary.

purrpurr Wed 18-Sep-13 21:51:56

But surely there's something wrong with me to have ended up here? I mean, when he proposed, I was all goosepimpley not because he'd asked, but because someone had asked at all.

I can try thecatfromjapan's advice and try to stop this. But I have been trying to stop this, way before we had DD. He has a charming habit of cutting across me in conversations so he can tell me what I'm saying is 'completely irrelevant' and that I must get to the point. Maybe that is all he means, but I always feel garrulous and waffly and boring. And stupid.

But maybe it's more about me than it is about him.

thecatfromjapan Wed 18-Sep-13 21:52:22

One of my friends once said something pretty wise about "nice": He may be "nice" but what he is doing is not nice.

Also, "nice" is bloody easy when you don't give a stuff. Easy to be generalised nice if you don't care. It's people who hold it together to be ethical, respectful, tolerant in situations they really, really care about that are solid gold (if you ask me).

GoodtoBetter Wed 18-Sep-13 21:53:36

But that's just fucking rude. With every post I like him less. Genius my arse, pompous bastard more like.

AnyFucker Wed 18-Sep-13 21:54:13

Why is it about you ? If you are a MN user, you should know that isn't true

he is an arsehole...nothing you did or didn't do made him that way

Genii are figments of their own imagination, not created by their wives

thecatfromjapan Wed 18-Sep-13 21:54:46

When he cuts across you, ask him if he genuinely considers you a real person, with valid, equally weighted viewpoints on reality. Does he actually consider your reality equal to his?

I have a suspicion that my husband has serious problems obtaining to his acceptance of reality. Proper, multi-being-inhabited reality.

motherinferior Wed 18-Sep-13 21:55:09

Darling, lots of us have ended up with appalling blokes who think that the sun is tremendously privileged to get the opportunity to shine out of their arses. And in my case, when said bloke chucked me I went into a decline - literally, into months of depression. Please don't feel it's all about you. Yes, there may be reasons why you've allowed yourself to be preached at by Mister Genius (snigger) but it is, fundamentally, his problem.

purrpurr Wed 18-Sep-13 21:56:05

Motherinferior, I'm not sure he thinks you are a genius at something in particular, more that it is a general amazing level of ability across the board. :/.

motherinferior Wed 18-Sep-13 21:56:14

My dad's a bit like your husband, Cat.

throwinshapes Wed 18-Sep-13 21:57:14

Cutting across you and making you feel what you say is irrelevant.

His behaviour is insidious.

Your comment about the proposal is worrying. A man like this will be drawn to those with low self esteem. hmm

thecatfromjapan Wed 18-Sep-13 21:57:33

Sorry. Posted to soon.

I honestly think your dh doesn't quite grasp you are truly real. Just like my dh.

It's not about "genius". It's not about intelligence. It's about the fact that he doesn't get that the world outside his slice of it, the world beyond his eyes, is real, along with all those other people who are in it. Including you.

And you are not some super-clever, higher-order pet or servant.

purrpurr Wed 18-Sep-13 22:01:10

argh x post, sorry.

I know it's all not quite right, but at the same time, I've got a somewhat colourful background re: relationships, so I do have to wonder what crap I'm bringing in here. I do tend to see men as authority figures, for instance, which is nothing to do with my DH's delusions of genius and simply about my upbringing, but that will be colouring our interactions. So he might be an arse but I might be a bit of an arse as well. Possibly.

He could be trying to assert control over this area of our lives as he has grown used to having to be the assertive one out of the two of us, perhaps, and only now am I rallying.

No, that sounds all well and good written down but it's bollocks.

givemestrengthorlove Wed 18-Sep-13 22:03:03

You know he's not right. Don't doubt yourself.

pointythings Wed 18-Sep-13 22:04:19

One of my good friends is with a man like this. Still. After 25 fucking years. He puts her down. He's so sodding superior I want to slap him. She won't leave him because she loves him and her self esteem is at rock bottom. This is you in 25 years time. Stand up to him or get the hell out, he doesn't deserve you.

AnyFucker Wed 18-Sep-13 22:05:30

No, none of that "sounds good" at all

Who are you trying to kid, love ? The man is an arrogant fool. Not a great realisation, but an important one nonetheless.

Bogeyface Wed 18-Sep-13 22:05:51

I know someone who has a genuine genius level IQ, (they are accepted as the foremost expert in their field worldwide) and she is the nicest person you could hope to meet. Her husband gets very cross with her sometimes though because she lacks in confidence in many areas. Yes she is extremely intelligent and in her specialism is outstanding but when it comes to day to day things such as her children, shopping, picking a cooker (say) she defers to him because she is frightened of getting it wrong.

He is not a genius, he is either a) an arrogant twat who genuinely thinks that he is better than practically everyone else or b) knows that he is actually just your average person, same as the rest of us and hates it, so puts you down in order to make himself feel better.

Either of these is a deal breaker for me and most people, so he needs to change pronto or ship out.

For the record, as the SAHM to a 4 month old, yes you do know better just as he would if he was the SAHP.

superstarheartbreaker Wed 18-Sep-13 22:07:02

He's Mr Right. (See Why does he do that y Lundy Bancroft. ) He dosn't sound like a genious; he sounds like a twat!

AnyFucker Wed 18-Sep-13 22:08:30

This man is like my father. That I have no contact with. Being all superior to my mother wasn't enough for him, he started putting his kids down too. That should have been the lightbulb moment for my mother to get us all the fuck away from such damaging behaviour.

Unfortunately, she put him on a pedestal like you are doing with your husband. he ro wn relationship with her children is ruined because of it. And yes, she is still with "The Genius" and he is still putting her down.

AnyFucker Wed 18-Sep-13 22:09:04

*her own

lookingfoxy Wed 18-Sep-13 22:09:23

OP my dp can be like this if I let him away with it, we have a 3 month old.
my usual response to any of his parenting comments are either, 1. I haven't lost one yet (also have ds) 2. I wonder how on earth the baby's still alive after spending all day with me or 3. I just plonk baby on his lap and tell him to get on with it.
If he starts talking anymore dribble I just ignore, he pulls me up on it and I tell him I'll stop ignoring him when he stops the shit talk.
oh he's 13 years older than me, wonder if its an age thing?
I know I must sound rude to other mumsnetters but honestly its needed sometimes.
Come to think of it he hasn't been as bad recently. .......

Phalenopsis Wed 18-Sep-13 22:10:12

OP, when you're married, you're supposed to be a team. From what you've said, you're not a team. He has the 'me talk - you listen' approach which screams that he doesn't value you as a person in your own right at all. You're just the non-hired help who provides 'added extras'. Yes, that's crude but that's all he seems to see you as.

If my OH cut across me when I was speaking, I'd hit the roof and be very upset because it would show me that he didn't value my opinion enough to shut the fuck up and listen. My father tries to do exactly as your husband does and I won't put up with it from him. I will not be interrupted by anyone. My opinions are important. Yours are too.

And as for the genius thing - please! I'd call him Walter Mitty. What a wanker!!

pointythings Wed 18-Sep-13 22:11:41

bogeyface very good point. I have an IQ (officially) which is higher than Carol Vorderman's. Doesn't mean I don't need a mechanic to sort my car and a plumber to fix my loo. Genius is a meaningless term, you need to be a decent human being.

So the things I am most proud about myself are: Listening, making people cups of tea when they're stressed, artwork on the envelopes of people's cards at home and always wanting to hug my family. Sod IQ.

And you do know better about your DD - you are the SAHM, you do the childcare, you're the bloody expert.

Phalenopsis Wed 18-Sep-13 22:12:38

Oh and a colourful past doesn't entitle anyone to treat anyone else like shite. Don't make excuses for him. He doesn't seem worth them to me.

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Wed 18-Sep-13 22:13:09

You need to call him on the interrupting. Every time. Whatever he says, say 'I haven't finished, ignore anything about how you have to get to the point, and just carry on with what you were saying.

Re him 'making the decisions' in the middle of the night - or any other time - again, you need to resist this, and in a short way that doesn't get you stuck in a long explanation that he will then dismiss. Instead go for 'I'm going to do X, thanks', 'I'm fine with doing it this way, thanks', 'Yes, I hear that, but I'm happiest doing it this way'. And the do it. Trust yourself. You are a parent, you've both been parents for the same length of time, you are competent. You don't have to keep mollifying him or explaining why you're doing it your way not his way.

Also, I'm unbelievably intelligent grin and even I'm not good at everything, so this 'general level of genius' is rubbish. I also don't tell people I'm a genius because I'm smart enough to know they would think I was a complete berk for doing so. smile

Here are some books I recommend when these kinds of discussions come up. Try and get hold of one or both and see if they help.

Anne Dickson – A Woman in Your Own Right: Assertiveness and You

Manuel J Smith - When I Say No, I Feel Guilty (this includes the ‘broken record’ technique, though you can also google to get info on this – it’s a very good book overall for those who have a tendency to feel selfish over enforcing boundaries)

NamelessMcNally Wed 18-Sep-13 22:16:38

He's not sounding either like even an averagely nice person. And clearly his general geniusness doesn't extend to emotional intelligence. Are you on maternity leave?

runningonwillpower Wed 18-Sep-13 22:16:43

He actually said he thinks he is a genius? He said that out loud?

And he still expects you to take him seriously?

It is your bounden duty to bring this pillock back to earth.

Dahlen Wed 18-Sep-13 22:20:45

What do you want to happen and what do you think is realistic? Do the two match up?

Regardless of anything else, and regardless of its success in making him a nicer H, every single time he cuts across you interrupt him back with, "do you realise how disrespectful interrupting me like that is?" If he counters with "but you're not getting to the point" or "you're talking nonsense" you say, "it doesn't matter if you agree with me or not. It is my opinion to have and to make, and a respectful person would allow me to say it in however many words I need".

I know that's a lot easier to type than it is to say in the middle of a situation where you're already flustered, but it's worth practising. Rather than arguing with him about x, y, or z (which you can't win because he won't let you) it simply calls him on his behaviour.

Dahlen Wed 18-Sep-13 22:21:43

FWIW, I'd have laughed to if my partner had said to me that he thinks he's a genius. It's the only sane response to such madness. And, of course, it's long been said that there's a fine line between genius and madness. wink

purrpurr Wed 18-Sep-13 22:32:58

AnyFucker, that's what I don't want to do. Repeat history. The fact that my DD is a girl worries me. That straight away tells me there's a problem. I need to do what my mother didn't do. Fix it or fucking well leave, not sit around afterwards being all doe-eyed and victimy. I do get that.

purrpurr Wed 18-Sep-13 22:37:22

Dahlen, I have tried to address that before, but he has this way of... I don't know. Just a way. Which combines with my low self esteem and means I'm often hearing myself scrabbling about desperately trying to justify myself for really basic things. And sometimes I'm aware he doesn't even give a shit, which somehow conspires to make me doubly scrabbly.

Been a member of Mumsnet for nearly 18 months and have avoided posting about this. I might as well have just posted myself an LTB postcard.

TalkativeJim Wed 18-Sep-13 22:37:52

I think maybe one of the first things to think about might be setting out how you feel in a very carefully crafted, no holds barred, suitably erudite letter - which of course can be helped along its editorial pathway by several old hands on here. Given his attitude to you, it's going to be the only way you actually get to tell him how you feel, why you feel it - and most importantly - why you think it's deadly, deadly serious.

He probably won't accept a word of it, because the genius is both never in the wrong and also so completely desirable that it's inconceivable that you might be dissatisfied with getting to Sit At The Feet Of The Master. But you'll need to say it - both for you, so that you feel you got the chance to put your side across, and for the situation - if you've spelled it out to him on paper, it will at least give you the security of being able to say 'But I was completely clear about this, in my letter. I said that I would no longer be able to accept x and y....' when he starts the inevitable bluster/belittle/bully when you disagree next.

What AF touched on is the real big thing, you know. He's an arrogant god-complex twat who can't bear to be in the wrong or in control, and do you know what - those kind of people generally tend to make absolutely appalling, years-of-therapy inducing parents. The emotional and mental beatings you can just about withstand will crush your child's spirit and ensure that they grow up unable to value themselves, unable to form healthy relationships of their own. Almost guaranteed. You don't sound as if you will stand for that: you're seeing the issue now in its embryo form as he lets your DD cry. Him imposing his different way on proceedings is more important to him than how she feels. That - will - not - change.

TalkativeJim Wed 18-Sep-13 22:39:05

Oh x-post, on the fatherhood issue, and the scrabbling. Letter. Say your piece, as perfectly as you can. No scrabbling.

Dahlen Wed 18-Sep-13 22:45:03

I agree that a letter is a good way to go if all else fails for the exact reasons Talkative Jim gave. People like your DH hate that, as it's so much harder to talk over and rubbish a well-written letter (although that probably won't stop him trying).

You're not scrabbly purrpurr. You sound perfectly articulate and clear on this thread. Probably because people are paying you the basic human courtesy of listening to you instead of making you feel like you are depriving them of valuable oxygen. sad

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Wed 18-Sep-13 22:53:11

Hi OP. I did what your DH does.

Once. If you correct someone's pronunciation of "goujon", you deserve EVERYTHING you get.

Next he does it, say this "You are interrupting/correcting/belittling me. If you do it again, (deep breath) you will leave this house within 15 minutes. I have spoken".

...although there was more swearing in our caee.

Dahlen Wed 18-Sep-13 22:54:57

Disgrace - what stopped you?

lookingfoxy Wed 18-Sep-13 22:56:36

Disgrace are you my dp? lol

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Wed 18-Sep-13 23:06:07

Sorry, Dahlen I don't quite follow?

AnyFucker Wed 18-Sep-13 23:09:26

I think Dahlen meant what stopped you from continuing with the twattery ?

Dahlen Wed 18-Sep-13 23:11:51

I did. smile

Chubfuddler Wed 18-Sep-13 23:12:55

He sounds like he has an actual personality disorder.

I have LTB postcard I could send you if it would help.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Wed 18-Sep-13 23:13:35

The bollocking I just posted for the OP to use. With more swearing. And in public. In Padstow.

I could have crept down a mousehole.

Dahlen Wed 18-Sep-13 23:16:06

I think you are probably a man who respects his wife and probably just indulged in a bit of twattery. wink I think the OP's H has had more than enough bollockings and appeals to his better nature and has just carried on regardless. sad

AnyFucker Wed 18-Sep-13 23:21:08

We've all indulged in occasional twattery. A sustained programme of it though, that is summat else

Walkacrossthesand Wed 18-Sep-13 23:21:40

purrpurr, can I just say that you are very witty with a great turn of phrase - despite the aaargh-ness of your situation you have made me smile with your 'mums net bingo' and 'LTB postcard' remarks. What a shame your genius husband doesn't appreciate you. I second the 'raise an imperious hand and say in stern tones 'let me finish!' approach to attempts to interrupt/derail. You might not have to do it very often to shift the balance...

lottiegarbanzo Wed 18-Sep-13 23:32:04

You should get him tested, for geniusness, they might find something else.

thecatfromjapan Wed 18-Sep-13 23:32:28

I've been thinking a bit more about this. purrpurr I think you are going to be OK. I really do. You have insight, and you have had the sense to reach out to somewhere where the reality of what is going on in your relationship will be confirmed and where people will insist on your rights to be a full person. I really do think that is tremendously important. It will help you in whatever you decide. And it will help you succeed in whatever you decide to do. It will help because - I do believe this - belief in your fundamental right to a full human existence is absolutely paramount to getting through this sort of stuff (at all levels of crapness).

It may sound such a little thing, but I can only say that it has taken me years to get to this point, and, partly because it is a relatively new place for me to be, I can tell you: it makes a world of difference.

The main thing is that you really must hold on to that sense of yourself, your importance, your validity, etc, that you currently have. Don;t let it go, or be eroded. Use mn for validation. Not just from threads of your own - but reading other threads and realising that this sort of behaviour is named, and described, and documented: it is real, not your deluded imagination. And a lot of people (OK, a lot of women grin) are prepared to say it is unacceptable. That should give you strength. It really is half the fight.

So - if you decide to employ Snazzy's assertiveness techniques, or other poster's suggestions, or if you decide that you will leave - you (and your daughter) will be OK. You can do it. There is nothing implicitly at fault in you. Good luck.

TalkativeJim Wed 18-Sep-13 23:34:17

Liking Sustained Programme Of Twattery. A new MN acronym perhaps?

'OP, I hate to say it - but I think you've got a bit of a SPOT problem'

grin on an otherwise v serious thread

This man is a prick who hates women. It also sounds that you were brought up, or conditioned at some stage, to believe that men are important and godlike, and women should submit gratefully to their every demand.

I'm afraid you're not going to be able to fix this man. He is incapable of perceiving you as a human being, as important and valuable as he is. Someone once posted an excellent definition of how woman-hating men think, which I'm going to paraphrase (because I can't remember the exact wording) - basically, to a man like this, women, particularly their female partners, are like dogs. You own your dog. You 'love' your dog - you see that it is well-fed, healthy, has a comfy bed etc. You give it treats, take it for walks, treat it with affection. But it's a dog. It's not allowed on the furniture, it's not consulted about important decisions, and it has to be trained to obey you.

AnyFucker Wed 18-Sep-13 23:40:26

heh smile

Bogeyface Thu 19-Sep-13 00:53:26

Is he a member of Mensa? Only takes about a tenner to do the home test, which he wont object to you invigilating given that he is such a genius.

I know my IQ, it took the home test and a supervised test to confirm it. As such a gifted person I am sure that he would love to have it in black and white or will make excuses to not take the test because he knows that he is no more a genius than 99.9% of the rest of the world.

SlangKing Thu 19-Sep-13 01:48:25

So long as the child's needs are being met, what's worth criticising? If he's so concerned and smart, why is he creating a bad atmos'/stress around his kid? He should be grateful you're doing most of the work.

Johnny5needsinput Thu 19-Sep-13 05:54:01

I was married to a man like this. What he is doing, coated and covered in his I'm a genius and always right and really a nice person, is abusive. It is undermining and belittling you. I remember arguments where my ex would decree that "this discussion is finished" just because he said it was and his logic meant he was right.

Can I gently suggest you get the book "why does he do that" by Lundy Bancroft.

Abuse like this is hard to deal with and it does a number on your head that takes a long time to get rid of.

microserf Thu 19-Sep-13 06:13:32

I thought I had nothing to add to this thread, but it began to bring back memories of the ex before dh. I had always dated high achieving types. Last ex was one of these. It took me much, much too long to realise that he at the core of our relationship did not respect me, nor really consider my feelings to be valid. Certainly not as valid as his. He also undertook an education process to make me better. Funnily enough, I never bettered myself sufficiently.

He certainly considered himself quietly superior on every level. When he left me I was devastated. Strange how that seems ridiculous now, it was actually the best thing that ever happened to me! During the relationship friends confronted me to tell me he was an arse. Wish I had listened.

I don't think they can change, and they are incredibly hard to confront on their behaviour as they make you feel crazy for trying to address it.

I took a long time out before meeting dh. When I met him I had revised my previous long list of criteria in a partner down to one. That one was "kind". Fortunately dh is indeed a very kind man, whcih I could see by how he treated me, his smiley and friends.

Good luck. I hope you can find a way through this.

microserf Thu 19-Sep-13 06:15:51

Damn - not smiley , family.

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Thu 19-Sep-13 06:20:17

He doesn't sound that bloody clever to me. If he was, he wouldn't feel the need to try and make someone else feel inferior and he definitely wouldn't feel the need to call himself a genius. He sounds quite insecure. And he sounds like a proper knob.

GiraffesAndButterflies Thu 19-Sep-13 06:52:33

I rarely post on relationships but I used a tactic with a serial interrupter once that worked really well, so wanted to share in case it's useful to you. Every time I was interrupted, I would completely ignore the interruption, and finish my sentence exactly where I'd left off. Takes quite a bit of concentration sometimes to not engage, not make eye contact and to keep focused on what you were saying, but it worked very well for me. Sometimes leaving the room for a few seconds as soon as the interruption started helped too- just wandering out and back in.

Hope that's helpful. Lots of luck.

GiraffesAndButterflies Thu 19-Sep-13 06:55:16

I should have made it clear that I was waiting for Serial Interrupter to finish. Shouting them down never worked in my exp, so I would wait calmly and silently for them to be done and then carry on as though I'd just paused to clear my throat, no matter what they'd said and even if several minutes had gone past.

4amInsomniac Thu 19-Sep-13 08:05:29

I cured my DH of some of his (milder) tendencies in this direction by joking, both with him and when in company, that you know the honeymoon is over when Mr. Right turns into Mr. Always Right!

On the subject of genius, the generally accepted definition is that someone is a genius if they score in the top 0.25% of IQ Tests. This is 1 in 400 people, and generally means an IQ score of over 140-145. 100 is average, 2/3 people score between 85 and 115.

I agree with whoever said get him to do the Mensa test!

Pollydon Thu 19-Sep-13 08:05:29

Hmm, I honestly think he has some sort of mh issue, failing that , he is a twat.
You cant spend your life dealing with this shit, and neither can your dd sad

lottiegarbanzo Thu 19-Sep-13 08:21:01

Once he's proven himself a genius in IQ terms, ask him to outline for you the differences between the different types of intelligence and, between intelligence, cleverness and wisdom.

A wise person would not be endangering his relationship with his wife and child, or making his wife's work more difficult. A stupid person would do that.

SugarMiceInTheRain Thu 19-Sep-13 08:39:26

I can't really add anything to what the other posters have said - this has nothing to do with differences in opinion, nothing to do with the age gap but everything to do with his arrogance and attitude towards you. It makes me sad for you and your DD. My DH and I are very very different from each other - different tastes in music, films, books, social life etc. He is 8.5 years older than me. There is no question that he is cleverer than me - he's an astrophysicist! But none of that matters because we respect each other and value each other's strengths and opinions I don't think your DH respects you or values your contribution, or, dare I say it, your happiness, one bit.

Chubfuddler Thu 19-Sep-13 10:14:56

He might be a Mensa style genius (and as Stephen fry once said that is the kind of intelligence least worth having) but he sounds like a total arse.

Deep down you don't like him really, do you op? I don't blame you either.

purrpurr Thu 19-Sep-13 10:26:09

Thanks for all the replies. Lots to think about. I do think though if I go back to being myself and stick up for myself instead of being agreeable, we'll have an almighty row and there'll be no coming back from that. In my darker moments I'm not sure it's worth it. But it must be.

Offred Thu 19-Sep-13 10:31:16

Purrpurr - just f

Offred Thu 19-Sep-13 10:32:44

Just finished reading your thread, wanted to say don't know about genius but you are intelligent, articulate kind and funny and worth so much more than the way he is treating you.

I do think you'd be happier alone as he seems so astonishingly arrogant that he is unlikely to ever change.

What do you get out of this relationship now?.

My guess too is that your inherent low self esteem has come partly from your own past; what was your upbringing like?. We after all learn about relationships first and foremost from our parents, what did yours teach you?.

I do not like the sound of your H at all, he reminds me somewhat of my BIL who has no empathy, has a seemingly wide grasp of every subject going (he absolutely does not, infact he knows everything and knows nothing) and thinks he is right all the bloody time. He is a narcissist. I would look up narcissistic personality disorder and see if any of that fits.

Offred Thu 19-Sep-13 10:35:47

And honestly doing the Mensa test would be indulging his bullshit.

I don't really believe in the validity of the IQ test. What's important is not indulging/humiliating him over his claim to be a genius but making it clear his bullying and superiority complex is absolutely unacceptable and that is true whether you break up over it or not, whether he accepts it or not.

Chubfuddler Thu 19-Sep-13 11:01:26

Why must it be worth it? Why can't it be the case that this relationship is a bit shit and you'd be better off out of it?

Offred Thu 19-Sep-13 11:05:27

Think what Attila and chub are getting at is very pertinent.

When people think about whether leaving/ending a bad relationship is 'worth it' they are really considering whether they feel they deserve more. If your self respect was low and has been worn down by this dickhead then you're more likely to think it isn't (you aren't) worth making a fuss...

Not true.

No-one should have to live with this crap.

Meerka Thu 19-Sep-13 11:13:55

One thing that might help is to take some of the suggestions on board here and then to consider how he's going to respond to them - and how you will respond to that.

(GiraffeandButterfly's amazing suggestion about letting him finish and then completing what you were saying as if he hadn't spoken is super :D )

Do think that it might be an idea to plan out how you will respond to it if you do end up in an almight row. What is the best case? (that he takes a few days to think and then starts to change? ) what is the middling case? what is the worst case? (that you or he will have to leave?). What will you do then?

Planning really helps.

it can be really hard or impossible to stand up to a domineering man, so it might help to work out what you can or can't do (maybe you'll find you can do more than you thought with MN advice?) and how you'll react then, and what you can do to get the best outcome in the circumstances. Like .. "he'll do it again and I wont be abel to say anything so instead of wanting to creep off, I'll stand up with more dignity and leave the room under my own steam and go to my DD". Small step, but hey.

Good luck. YOu don't deserve this.

Meerka Thu 19-Sep-13 11:15:55

One more thing - from what you said about the proposal, I'm wondering if you ever reallly liked this man at all, or if you were just blown away by someone, anyone, taking an interest. If that's so - next time, remember yer worth more!

I think the bossing you about re The Right Way To Tend To The Child could be part of a general control trend. If you want to stay with this man you need to nip this in the bud now, before you're disinclined to open your mouth in case you get shot down in flames.

Just trying to see it from both sides here- maybe he genuinely believes that he is being helpful? He thinks you're struggling, he thinks he's offering a solution- it just comes across as trying to act the foreman (because he is!). Can you tell him how undermined he makes you feel and ask him to suggest rather than dictate?

My ExDH was similar- lovely bloke in many ways, but somewhat inclined to bossiness. I don't mind anyone offering suggestions- if they're good, I'll take them on board but if they're shit, I'll carry on doing things my way thankyouverymuch. He really objected to this. He believed that if he ordered me to suggested that I do something a certain way, I should just unquestioningly comply, without the need for him to convince me with logical argument that his way was better.

The crunch came when he ranted at me for about a minute, telling me to fuck off and fuck myself, because I wouldn't put DS (then 2.6) in the bath in precisely the manner recommended by him. And this tirade was delivered at a high level of decibels in front of DS. I decided I was fucked if I was going to allow my son to grow up thinking that was a normal way for a man to speak to his wife, so I moved out.

And, interestingly enough, when I was packing my clothes I realised that I owned a fucking bin-liner full of clothes and shoes I didn't like and had never worn. These were all things I'd bought at H's behest suggestion in full knowledge that I would never wear them, simply to appease a controlling twat. I was fucking horrified with myself.

In ExH's favour, though, he never described himself as a genius.

I hope you manage to find ways to head off the control, although frankly you shouldn't have to. If he respects you, he wouldn't be trying to control you in the first place. Good luck. Don't let yourself get ground down by it so you end up thinking it's reasonable to buy a pair of cowboy boots that are a size too big just for the sake of a quiet life! wink

NanTheWiser Thu 19-Sep-13 12:37:08

I never post in relationships, but your thread rings so many alarm bells with me, purrpurr.
I was married for 20 years to a man just like yours (he died 2 years ago). And he was 14 years older than me.

Like you and your H, we seemed to be on each other's wavelength totally in the early years before we married (we had 9 years before we were free to marry). He was attentive, charming, generous - I thought I'd found my soul mate, he put me on a pedestal and made me feel a million dollars - I think I was a trophy on his arm.

As soon as the ring went on my finger, he changed totally - a Jekyll and Hyde situation, if you like. He did his utmost to undermine me, and destroy any self esteem I had, and I spent many years wondering what I'd done to be treated in this way - I was treading on eggshells the whole time.

He too, was ALWAYS in the right, never apologised for anything, and liked to pick arguments for the sake of it. He too, thought he was a genius, and flew into a rage if he was contradicted.

Attila has mentioned her BIL - that describes my late H to a tee, and about 5 years ago, I happened to look up Narcissistic Personality Disorder. WOW, I had found the answer - my H fitted all the criteria.

Knowing what I knew helped me to deal with the situation I was in, I assumed a superior attitude, which he found puzzling - and it took the wind out of his sails. I also shouted loudly at him if he upset me, or just gave him the cold shoulder, which also worked.

The bottom line with such people is that they have such an enormous inferiority complex, that they need to boost their own egos by belittling others. Inside they are empty. They feed from their "supply", they need a constant supply to make them feel superior, and that is their partner/ spouse.

All I can say is, living with a Narc is a recipe for a nervous breakdown - you will never change him, and the usual advice is to run for the hills. I stuck it out - even nursed H in the last year of his life when he was very ill, but I can tell you, I am SO much happier on my own, making my own decisions, and being my own person. I've got back all my self confidence and esteem, and am last, ME!

Check out NPD, and see how much of it fits your H - you might be surprised.

cuillereasoupe Thu 19-Sep-13 14:57:26

Don't get him to do the Mensa test. It's not that beyond the bounds of possibility he would qualify - plenty of people do - and how insufferable would he be then?

I agree with whoever suggested informing him of research into the various forms of intelligence. Tell him that emotional intelligence (which you sound like you have in spades) is of much more social value than pure intellect.

DIYapprentice Thu 19-Sep-13 16:34:59

I do think though if I go back to being myself and stick up for myself instead of being agreeable, we'll have an almighty row and there'll be no coming back from that. In my darker moments I'm not sure it's worth it. But it must be.

If you really think that, then you must see that the marriage is unsustainable.

To give your marriage a chance to be a real partnership, you simply MUST stand up for yourself. He doesn't respect you right now, and without respect there isn't a marriage worth saving.

If he talks over you - tell him not to. If he continues, exit the conversation, leave the table/room, wherever it is you are, to get your point across that you will NOT tolerate it anymore.

If you don't, you will slowly but surely be ground down, because now as a mother you are more vulnerable. You will hurt whenever your DD is hurt, you will be hurt whenever you try to justify yourself to him, that actually you do know what is best for your DD. You will get worn down as each and every day you get nothing but being looked down on, and talked down to.

While you were working you at least had your job that gave you respect, other people that recognised your abilities. As a SAHM you won't have that.

Fairenuff Thu 19-Sep-13 16:57:38

What use is intelligence if you don't know what to do with it.

This man has less self-awareness than most 10 year olds, poorer manners than most 7 year olds and less empathy than most 5 year olds.

No wonder he says that if you left him he'd be on his own forever. That's probably the truest observation he has made. Perhaps you could ask him to think about why that might be.

Radicalwithage Thu 19-Sep-13 18:49:27

Completely agree with NanTheWiser. I've just awakened to the fact that my ex is a somatic narcissist. The reason you got along so well at the beginning was because he became what you wanted him to be. You fell in love with an illusion of him.

I've started to look deeply within because I feel I have to take some responsibility in allowing this to have happened. Not that I'm saying that it's my fault, but I'm an emotionally intelligent, independent woman and I need to know how and why I ever let this emotionally stunted sociopath into my life and end up having children with him. I realise now that I have codependency issues which due to a screwed up childhood has left me with intimacy issues. I'm in no way suggesting that this is the case for you, but I would say if your instinct is telling you something then it's for a reason.

Narcissists are described as vampires, they suck the very life out of you. They cause you so much self doubt because they love to manipulate you and are completely devoid of empathy. It's also the case that they are always the victim and have to be right.

Please do take Nans advise and look up NPD. Hopefully it will give you a greater understanding of what you may be dealing with.

purrpurr Thu 19-Sep-13 20:26:14

Feels like my brain is melting today. I am totally awash with self doubt. I was raised in a home where the opinions of my father were the most important. He was threatening and controlling to boot so it wasn't like he earned respect and we fawned over him, just that in his own insidious ways he scared us into following orders, in the tiniest of ways. You couldn't be fat, for example. As a result my mum found it impossible to be slim and I have never been even remotely bigger than slim until pregnancy.

I do think I transfer a lot of these fears and stresses when I get in a relationship with a man. I assume at some point he will act like that and maybe I cause it to happen.

This business of my DH always having to be right. Why do I have to take it to heart so much? Surely I should be able to just shrug it off? Why is it such a big deal?

AnyFucker Thu 19-Sep-13 20:45:35

YOu are blaming yourself again

Blame him he is the one behaving like this. You didn't cause it, you can't control it, and you can't cure it.

TeaJunky Thu 19-Sep-13 20:55:17

My DH was like this.

Until one day I said enough was enough, I wouldn't live 'up to his standards' all my life, I'd parent the way I felt best - and if he didn't like it, he could shove it and leave.

He changed.

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Thu 19-Sep-13 20:58:27

You could ask, why is it so important to him to be right? Why does that need have to trump all your needs, or indeed any obligation he might have to be kind and caring to you? Why can't he 'shrug off' his own demands to be right?

TeaJunky Thu 19-Sep-13 20:58:30

Sorry I forgot to say, DH never thought he was a genius or made me feel inferior or unnecessarily lay down his law like that. I meant more that he is seven years older also and I felt a bit baby'd at times, like I didn't have enough life experience and he knew it all. It was really really annoying!

marmitelovesme Thu 19-Sep-13 21:00:21

There are several things you have said that resonate with me and my situation. I particularly relate to your self doubt, endless self questioning and ability to turn anything around to be your own fault. I really could have written large chunks of your posts myself. As a reader of it, it's obvious it's not you. And that you need a way out of the situation. I don't have any answers for you, I don't have them for myself, but I am just starting conselling which will help me find my answers. I strongly recommend it, for you on your own.

Personally, I'm hoping for a happy ending. Right now I have no idea what that ending is, but I know it'll be a whole lot better than this life now. Be strong. You are telling yourself something is very wrong, believe yourself. Then be yourself.

thecatfromjapan Thu 19-Sep-13 21:06:50


I think what AF says about blaming yourself is right.

I've been doing the whole questioning thing for years. At first, I did it quite unproductively (in my opinion) - blaming myself (implicitly) and lots of analysing.

Somewhere, somehow, that changed.

I started to phrase those questions differently, and came up with some different answers. Here;s what I reckon: you act in the way that normal people in a relationship act - with consideration; taking the other person's views into account; assuming that if someone is very ... vehement ... about something, they probably have a good reason for it; assuming that your dh, like you, will not put himself and his wants absolutely first, to the detriment of everyone else; assuming that your dh, like you, weighs what is great for him in the scales alongside what is good for you and your dd.

You are, sadly, probably wrong to do this - because (certainly at the moment) your dh is not acting like a fully paid-up member of the adult, compassionate, caring human race. Which is a shame.

This means that "normal" just won't work.

It;s not you that's the problem.

I think realising that the problem lies with his behaviour is very important . If you don't bear that in mind, it will seriously affect how you deal with it.

That's just my opinion. And it really is drawing on my own experience - so it may be wrong for you.

However, with hindsight, I can see that - in my case - all my attempts to understand led to me trying to be "reasonable" and "fair" in what was actually a situation massively weighted against me, and with the boundaries all in the wrong place to start with. Ultimately, the more "reasonable" I was, the worse he was - all the time (I think) taking it as a green light to go further.

I really think it's important to really get it into your head that it is his behaviour that has to change. the problem almost certainly lies with him.

I still have problems believing this about my own relationship - deep down - and, rationally, I can see how debilitating this is.

thecatfromjapan Thu 19-Sep-13 21:11:35

Snazzyenjoyingsummer : "You could ask, why is it so important to him to be right? Why does that need have to trump all your needs, or indeed any obligation he might have to be kind and caring to you? Why can't he 'shrug off' his own demands to be right?"

This poster is right.

Seriously, what sort of person acts like this???

Pin those two sentences up somewhere, or put them on a bookmark.

That is seriously crazy behaviour, and needs to be seen as such - by you.

AnyFucker Thu 19-Sep-13 21:31:44

Yup, it matters not a jot whether he accepts that his behaviour is unacceptable, just that you do

purrpurr Fri 20-Sep-13 09:55:14

Thanks for the replies, this thread is a lifeline right now.

Last night he did something with DD that isn't anything major but really didn't sit well with me at all, and I found I was entirely mute. I hated myself immediately and I can't get over it. I did try to comment on why what he'd done wasn't right but I struggled to find any words. I was frozen. Previously I would have presented a case, sometimes backed up by information found online. My opinion/personal knowledge is never enough. How am I going to get out of this?

"I was raised in a home where the opinions of my father were the most important. He was threatening and controlling to boot so it wasn't like he earned respect and we fawned over him, just that in his own insidious ways he scared us into following orders, in the tiniest of ways".

The man you've married seems very much like your own father is.
You could well be repeating now with your H what you saw and learnt in your childhood.

Chubfuddler Fri 20-Sep-13 10:44:55

How are you going to get out of this?

With our help. With women's aid. With a refuge if necessary. With the aid of benefits if you need them.

He is bad for you and the relationship you are both modelling is bad for your daughter. Break the cycle. You can do it.

TalkativeJim Fri 20-Sep-13 10:46:57

I've been thinking about you a lot, OP.

I may be well off beam but every post of yours seems to indicate that you know at some level that this is not going to work.

What strikes me most of all (ironically, given your H's attitude) is just how self-aware you are, even if some of that awareness is a bit cloudy. Perhaps it's your DD's birth that has started causing the clouds to clear.

This is what I think is going on in your head. You have known at some level all along that in marrying this guy you were striking a bargain with yourself - a level of validation - I mean, when he proposed, I was all goosepimpley not because he'd asked, but because someone had asked at all - in exchange for the power setup you have now. And you thought that that was ok, because you are also clever enough to have self-examined to the extent where you thought you knew that you'd never have high enough expectations to 'do better', damaged as you knew you were by your own upbringing. (And, I would suspect, knowing deep down that yes, he is a twat also brought its own small level of private comfort). And on the surface, of course, provided you deferred as per the bargain, it's all fine.

But now that's fallen apart, because now on your side of the bargain is your DD's future - the childhood she will have and the future that that will help shape. You could sacrifice your own (in your opinion rather crap anyway) sense of self, but you're finding you won't sacrifice hers.

And so you are here. And despite those posts in which you look for answers, you have already shown your colours to us - firstly, you're intelligent, and secondly, you've said that you've been here, reading these boards for a long time. So you know. You know that he won't change - you know it from knowing him and you know it from seeing countless examples of women dealing with abusive, narcissistic men play out on here.

I think you are moving on in your head, I hope you are anyway.

My advice? I hope I am not stirring, maybe I am. I can think of only two major things. Firstly, please consider that if you leave, the smaller your DD is when this happens the better. Firstly, because she will know nothing of all this, and secondly, because if you leave and start building a new regime BEFORE it gets to the point where he has succeeded in establishing his routines, his preferences, it will be easier for you to keep control of your own decisions later on. And of course, before your resentment grows any more because you have seen (in your eyes) him start to damage her.

Secondly, a smaller practical point. If you get the the point where you are intending to leave, do not tell him - just go. Pack while he is out, and go (to parents, wherever). Present him with a fait accompli. This does two things. Firstly, it sets the tone for your future engagement: you have reached the point where no more discussion is necessary, and you simply act - you no longer try and either talk to him or ask his permission in any way. This will send a powerful message. Secondly, it avoids a situation where he tries - and initially almost certainly succeeds - to prevent you from leaving. It would be best to avoid this - it would be hard indeed to come back from any physical violence on his part or very nasty threats. And when he rages why - why didn't you speak to him - you will be able to say 'But what good would that have done? You have shown that you have no respect for me nor interest in what I have to say.'

Chubfuddler Fri 20-Sep-13 11:01:34

I did a flit while ex was at work. I effectively snatched my children from childcare and school and fled.

purrpurr Fri 20-Sep-13 11:08:31

TalkativeJim, I'm beginning to think you know me in real life. Scarily accurate assessment.

I don't work and have no savings as such. Probably enough for a couple of months of living expenses.

This is so frightening. And if it turns out it's me with the problem then I've completely fucking destroyed not just my life but the foundations of DD's. sad.

Chubfuddler Fri 20-Sep-13 11:13:44

It's definitely not you. It's him.

Your daughter is very very little and the sooner you can get away the better. She can have a functional relationship with her father but one which is not overshadowed by watching him belittle her mother.

She will be fine. You will too.

TalkativeJim Fri 20-Sep-13 11:19:38

Are you close to family - could you stay with them if needed? And, what do they and your friends think of him, incidentally?

Women's Aid would have good advice on the support you would get as a single parent. There would be help with housing, living costs and childcare if/when you started work, and maintenance from him. Not easy, but doable.

Incidentally, leaving before your baby is weaned, if you are bf especially, puts paid to him trying to get a shared care agreement for some considerable time.

Chubfuddler Fri 20-Sep-13 11:20:50

Jim almost certainly doesn't know you op. Your situation and the dynamics played out in it are sadly very common, believe me.

purrpurr Fri 20-Sep-13 11:32:32

But that's half my problem I think, I've seen this all over the place and people don't leave. A friend of mine is with a completely useless piece of humanity who has finally, after three years, started to behave in a socially acceptable way after multiple ultimatums and rows and god knows what else. But she didn't leave.

I can't avoid the idea that I could fix this, if I got more forceful. If I sat him down and told him not to treat me like this. That sounds horribly naive, but what if, if we sit down in a Serious Conversation, we can talk it out and fix it?

That's if I don't say anything fucking irrelevant in the middle of it. Oh fuck.

Chubfuddler Fri 20-Sep-13 11:37:04

It doesn't matter what other people are prepared to put up with. All that matters is you and your daughter.

From whst you describe I genuinely do not think your husband will see that there is a problem to fix - he is perfectly happy with the status quo. Why would he want to change? He doesn't see anything wrong with himself. He's a genius and he's always right.

Chubfuddler Fri 20-Sep-13 11:40:51

Wonderful hecate once posted on a similar thread that it would be wonderful if our life choices were: 1) shit thing or 2) marvellous thing but mostly they aren't.

I'm not going to lie, leaving him would be hard. But living with him is hard. So pick your hard.

Leaving him would in my opinion (and recent personal experience) quickly get a lot better whereas living with him would get worse. But it is up to you.

But hoping against experience and your own knowledge of whst he is like that he will magically change is madness, frankly.

MortifiedAdams Fri 20-Sep-13 11:43:30

I really think he may be on the Spectrum.

There is no changing some people.

lottiegarbanzo Fri 20-Sep-13 11:47:38

Basic suggestion but don't discuss, there's too much tension and opportunity for him to derail you. Write it down. Give him time to digest, then sit down and let him respond. Listen, reflect. Set out your terms, let him respond, you tell him whether his response was adequate or not.

LookingThroughTheFog Fri 20-Sep-13 11:52:49

Wonderful hecate once posted on a similar thread that it would be wonderful if our life choices were: 1) shit thing or 2) marvellous thing but mostly they aren't.

I'm not going to lie, leaving him would be hard. But living with him is hard. So pick your hard.

Chubfuddler, this is glorious and very wise. I'm going to copy it to a desktop notice for future reference.

lottiegarbanzo Fri 20-Sep-13 11:53:50

Best to ask for a response in person though, or I suspect you might get a ten page response, running through points from first to thirty-seventhly...

EldritchCleavage Fri 20-Sep-13 12:04:15

I agree with the consensus above. I just wanted to add:

Does it matter who is right or who is to blame? If it does, it matters a lot less than the simple question of whether you are satisfied with the status quo or not. Can you really go on as you are?

We women are conditioned to stay, to put up with things, to defer. But if this is not working for you, you can change it, whether by leaving or something short of that. That's not wrong.

As for dealing with your husband over the most important things like treatment of your DD, sometimes 'winning the argument' is less important than just putting a boundary in place. You may not have an answer to all his clever points. You are still allowed to say 'No, I'm just not doing it.'

The fact that in any given situation you may struggle to articulate your feelings does not mean your feelings can always be discounted.

MrsMinkBernardLundy Fri 20-Sep-13 12:10:06

purr if this pattern continues, him thinking he is superior and you are less than a person you may be walking inot a lifetime of abuse gore you and your dd. my x did the same talked over. would mother allow me to disagree. thought he was older and wiser. it did not end well.

You say you see this situation and posters do not leave. you are right, very few leave immediately without a deal breaker incident. but eventually with planning a lot of them do. that is why there are do many of us referring to our awful controlling x. we left smile

However, I think you want to give this a shot. you want to have the serious conversation.
Ok. here are my suggestions. have the serious conversation at a planned time. i.e. we need to talk, Tuesday night we will talk.
Take notes in the lead up to the talk of incidents in the past week of him being controlling and how you felt. and what he should/could have said instead.

Takes notes from this tread of points you want to get across e.g. you deserve respect. you are entitled to an opinion.
Mskea list of specific issues regarding Dd. negotiate those.

But actually go in either a written agenda. use it to keep on track.

And make it absolutely clear that there will be consequences and that you will stick to those consequences if he does not shape up.

You are earth better. remember that. you are just as much a person as he is.

Your last post is heartbreaking, OP. you know the answer. You can't fix this, he has to. Does he want to? Or does he like things exactly the way they are?

MrsMinkBernardLundy Fri 20-Sep-13 12:27:29

You are worth better. sorry rushed post on phone

"I can't avoid the idea that I could fix this, if I got more forceful. If I sat him down and told him not to treat me like this. That sounds horribly naive, but what if, if we sit down in a Serious Conversation, we can talk it out and fix it?"

Did your mother manage to "fix" your Dad?. No, she was systematically ground down by him and trod on those eggshells accordingly. All that crap got passed onto you and those lessons have indeed carried over into your relationship with your H today.

Women tend to stay in relationships well past their sell by date as well for one thing because they have been conditioned to want to fix problems. I do not think he feels he has or is treating you at all badly so from his viewpoint there is nothing to so call "fix" in the first place. Your parents both taught you a lot of damaging lessons when growing up and that legacy continues to this day.

Telling him not to treat you like this is about as effective frankly as spitting in the ocean (particularly if I am correct by thinking that he could well be narcissistic in terms of personality).

What do you want to teach your child about relationships here?.

MrsMinkBernardLundy Fri 20-Sep-13 12:47:19

Op you can try to fix it if you want but within very clear parameters.
If he won't have the conversation
if he won't engage during the conversation
if he does not change after the conversation

then he is not going to fix and you have to do something about it.

in which case you cannot go oh well it is not fixed i will just have to put up with it.

He is unlikely to change but he definitely won't if there are no consequences.

You need to be prepared to carry it thought.

If you do try, and he changes result and if not then you can leave knowing you have given him fair warning.

Madlizzy Fri 20-Sep-13 12:55:01

What did he do to your daughter? If that's worrying, I think it's all the reason you need to take action. Oh, and you won't be able to fix this, as he doesn't think he needs fixing, he's quite happy with the status quo. You deserve to be respected as an equal human being. Listen to the wise ladies on here. x

flippingebay Fri 20-Sep-13 13:12:46

One of the issues here IMO is that you've let things slide with him for such a long time, that now when it's important, such as your DC, you are now experiencing what he's always been like. It's just you've never out your foot down before.

Someone said earlier about a mummy tigress and I think hats exactly right... You've been a push over so far, and now because it's your DC, you've become a tigress

Munzle Fri 20-Sep-13 13:53:25

This sounds a little like my husband, who actually has huge self-esteem and confidence problems himself. He behaves like this when he is depressed. When he's not depressed, he recognises that he can be like that and makes a genuine effort to change and he has definitely changed. For example, he used to go on and on whenever I spent any money. I made the point that we had chosen for me to stay at home and him to work as that's what's best for our family, and by him questioning my spending he was sending the message that he didn't trust me to take decisions on how to spend our money. He has pretty much stopped making any comments at all now. Just saying, i don't believe anyone's just a prat without reason - is there something he needs to get sorted? Does he need some help sorting out some issues?

Chubfuddler Fri 20-Sep-13 14:01:48

Maybe he is just being a prat because he's just an arsehole?

I get really bloody frustrated with the constant repetition of the fiction that women are supposed to work out what is wrong all the time and then fix it.

Orangeanddemons Fri 20-Sep-13 14:05:52

My dh can be a bit like this unless checked. I bought him a badge that looked like an old prefects badge with word perfect on it, but he wouldn't wear it!

If he starts I always do the complete opposite of what he tries to get me to do. Works a treat. Otherwise I totally ignore him or tell him to shut up

SisterMonicaJoan Fri 20-Sep-13 14:09:48

MortifiedAdams I really think he may be on the Spectrum [Hmm]

No, he's abusive - end of. That is a dangerous and minimising statement to make and autism is not something you cannot diagnose over the internet. He could be absusive AND on the spectrum but being on the spectrum does not make someone absusive in it's self.

Jux Fri 20-Sep-13 14:54:52

Most of the real genii I know (and I know a fair number, grew up with at least 5 of them!) were actually very humble people and certainly didn't see themselves as superior; definitely didn't behave how your dh does (my dh does the same too - he thinks he's a genius, but the reality is that in comparison to my bro or my dad, he's a bit dim. I suspect yours is too.)

motherinferior Fri 20-Sep-13 16:31:33

*Maybe he is just being a prat because he's just an arsehole?

I get really bloody frustrated with the constant repetition of the fiction that women are supposed to work out what is wrong all the time and then fix it*


NanTheWiser Fri 20-Sep-13 16:39:57

The more I read, the more concerned I feel about you, purrpurr. There are many far more erudite posts here than I can manage, but they are all saying the same thing.

My father was probably a Narc, from what my mother used to tell me - terribly self-important, and probably a bully. Somehow, women seem to seek out partners with their fathers' traits, for good or bad.

This: I was raised in a home where the opinions of my father were the most important. He was threatening and controlling to boot so it wasn't like he earned respect and we fawned over him, just that in his own insidious ways he scared us into following orders, in the tiniest of ways. You couldn't be fat, for example. As a result my mum found it impossible to be slim and I have never been even remotely bigger than slim until pregnancy., my H had 2 daughters by his first wife, the younger is late 40's and a rebel and a spitfire, so he didn't bother with her. The older girl, now early 50's, was the meek and mild one, and not as intelligent - I've been told that he used to tell her she was "fat, stupid and ugly", and constantly criticised - he made a point of never praising anyone. She became so thin she was almost anorexic, and for her, everything in her life must be absolutely perfect.

Ring any bells? Both daughters have strong narc traits, albeit in different ways, but how much is nature or nurture is impossible to say, both, probably. You don't want your DD to grow up in fear of her father, which she would, undoubtedly.

Don't for a second, believe a Serious Conversation will work - If, IF he is a narc, he lives on a different planet to you, his brain is wired differently, and he lacks empathy with any other human being, therefore he cannot relate anything you say, to himself. He cannot step into your shoes and imagine what you feel.

He knows exactly how to pull your strings, doesn't he? You were probably rather vulnerable, as you say you look up to men as authority figures, and were grateful he proposed. Narcs seek out the vulnerable, because they want the control - my H used to say to me that POWER was the most important thing to him - I used to think he was a bit odd, but of course now I know why.

Nothing you do will change him, can you really imagine what it will be like living like this for the rest of your life? Absolute hell.

Attila again is right on the button, and I'll say again - look up NPD and see if he fits.

And Radical, I'm sorry you have found yourself in this situation - it comes as a bit of a shock, doesn't it? But now you know, you are armed with the weapons to deal with it - you sound an intelligent person, you just need to make your plans whatever they are. Mine was somatic too.

No other advice to give except, make your plans to leave, if you want to save your sanity.

southfieldsmum Fri 20-Sep-13 17:02:57

They have a word for this kind of thinking and behaving - NARCISSISM. Plain and simple and I should know, am attempting to re-educate my narcissistic husband (who is also super nice) after years of me accepting that there is one perspective for our relationship and that was his. It is a nasty shock for him that I am putting up boundaries and saying actually no, no longer being 'laid back' and happy to be told what to do. Incidentally he is also 7 years older and the power has always been wildly imbalanced in his favour. Think you are getting some good advice, start as you mean to go on!

purrpurr Fri 20-Sep-13 17:54:42

South, so you are fixing it? How? Just behavioural change from you?

Got a text today telling me he missed me and then when he got home he told me I look lovely. He's so nice. When he's nice like this, it's hard to believe I could have started this thread. It's like someone's turned a lovely heat lamp on.

southfieldsmum Fri 20-Sep-13 18:19:23

Trying to. OUr relationship worked really well for a long time as if was 'good' - listened to him, agreed with him was 'supportive' (i.e.: just going along with his bright unrealistic ideas) and so he was mostly nice, generous but oh so controlling. But after 3 children and a career change from me i began to tolerate it less and less - I was utterly loosing touch with myself and the constant criticism (because thats what it is - he may say it is 'advise' but essentially you are being told 'you are wrong') and outbursts was wearing me down. It is no surprise that as my self esteem grew my tolerance of him and his behaviour shrunk. So... I have become very hard-arse. He is reacting as expected - outraged/shocked/increasingly controlling but right now I am continuing. I eventually became less scared of the big rows, more honest (which I had been criticised for not being truthful enough) and just less concerned with saying not or upsetting him. This was obviously not over night but where we are at the moment and guess what - the world has not ended! All my good thoughts to you tonight, enjoy his good side and remember that he is also a whole person made of good and bad - same as you. BUT you do not have to take this shit.

southfieldsmum Fri 20-Sep-13 18:24:29

Oh also important to think of narcissism as being on a spectrum so that your narcissist may not be the same as or as severe as somebody else's. So when people say 'oh you can never change a narcissist' that is not necessarily true for your particular flavour of narcissism. IMPO

Chubfuddler Fri 20-Sep-13 18:46:03

Is it worth it? Really?

A marriage is supposed to be a mutually loving partnership not.... well words fail me for what the previous poster describes. It sounds shit.

Jux Fri 20-Sep-13 19:00:38

Perhaps that is working for you, south, but how long is it taking and what are children absorbing about the relationship in the meantime?

Purr, your dd is very young and whatever damage is being done is minimal at the moment, and will be quickly forgotten if it stops now.

On the other hand, you could take years trying to bring him to a point where he behaves with respect towards you - or it may never happen. And while you're doing that your dd is learning everything about relationships that you learnt.

southfieldsmum Fri 20-Sep-13 19:15:23

is it worth it? excellent question and is asked on a daily basis. 15 years, 3 children, like purr's husband has excellent qualities but due to his own shit upbringing has some very entrenched beliefs about himself, others and how the world works. Am pushing very hard for therapy. But yes, this is not an indefinite arrangement and I will call it quits. BUT I HAD to try something - I'm still too emotionally in it to just LTB. Call me whatever but for me I had to really know that I've tried.

MrsMinkBernardLundy Fri 20-Sep-13 19:39:32

I think that is it in some cases, the trying, the serious conversation is not necessarily going to change anything. in fact it probably won't. but this is for you not him.

So that you can say, i tried. i gave him a chance to behave reasonably. and once he has had that chance if there is no change you can give yourself permission to leave.

Note it is your permission you need,.not his.
And he needs to change. not you. the only change you need yo make it to realise you deserve better.

He is not always right. he thinks he is. big difference.

wordyBird Fri 20-Sep-13 21:13:15

I know what you mean about the heat lamp. And that guilty feeling of 'oh, how can I have been so unkind and said those things, and behind his back too. He's so nice really, he just doesn't realise/has been under stress/other justifying statement here....'

But the price of the heat lamp is being undermined, dismissed, cut across, devalued as a anything else that happens. Your frozen response with respect to your daughter tells us that there's more.

Anniegetyourgun Fri 20-Sep-13 23:52:56

Hmm... heat lamp or... hoover, anyone?

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Sat 21-Sep-13 00:25:57

You know, an awful lot of the time, 'I don't want to' or 'I don't like that idea' would be perfectly valid reasons not to do something. And a decent person would respect, in many situations, someone else's right to say either of those things. If, OP, you find instead you have to 'present a case' backed up with online evidence, you should ask yourself why your husband doesn't think you are entitled to a personal opinion that he doesn't give permission for. Or are you not a human being allowed your own preferences and feelings?

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Sat 21-Sep-13 00:27:01

So, when you're getting the heat lamp, just note whether you're also getting to have am opinion you don't have to justify.

Fairenuff Sat 21-Sep-13 08:38:22

Great website Annie

"The abuser may shower their victim with gifts, compliments, promises, demonstrations of love and acts of affection in order to win back the victim’s trust or faith, and therefore maintain the status quo.

Hoovering is one of the key components of an Abusive Cycle. It is the tactic which ensures many abusers do not have to live alone. It can also act as the ‘plus’ side when the victim calculates the emotional balance sheet, manipulating them into sustaining the abusive relationship.

Like a tango, it takes two: the person doing the hoovering and the person being sucked in".

Contemplative Tue 08-Oct-13 00:00:31

Purr purr. I lurked on this thread and wondered how things are. I myself am in an EA relationship, confirmed by the Lundy book I was recommended to read. I'm battling at the moment as I'm trying to work out whether leaving my children without a dad is worth not having to live with it because now I'm armed I feel stronger. Your DH sounds so much like mine. So I wondered if you too read the book or have started to and what your thoughts are currently.

Albert27 Tue 08-Oct-13 00:15:40

My ex was like this. It's emotional abuse. He's a genius - Pah!

Your opinions etc are valid because you are and should be his equal partner.

He sounds like a power/control freak. Again my ex.

It can only really get worse unless he gets a lot of help. Sorry. Sad but true.

MistressDeeCee Tue 08-Oct-13 00:20:51

purrpurr you are describing my ex husband to a T, in your post. & this part

he's the nicest guy you could ever meet

EVERYBODY likes my ExH. He's good looking, charming, softly spoken, would go out of his way to do things for others. Nobody has a bad word to say about him., the one who saw his real face at home.

Me having a different view from him on a TV programme would result in being dictated to, to the point of argument

If I DIDNT watch programmes he watched, he would insist on telling me all about 'his' programmes

He withdrew our social life - ie anything I liked to do, little by little he stopped doing them. All intended to spite me, I guess

Wanted to tell me how to do every single task. His way. Only.

Talked as if he was the clever one, and I wasnt clever at all.

There are other things, too many to list, but basically it was about it being very important that others viewed him as kind, charming, personable and extremely intelligent. Indoors with me was a different story. Yet I am a very capable person. I used to think that annoyed him.

I believe him to be a Narcissist, and theres no hope when living with one of those unless you can find some way of screening out his comments. Bit hard when theyre in your face insisting on giving you their better way of doing things tho. Its insecurity at its worst. Oh..and my ExH didnt start off this way at all. It only became apparent after we married. He hid his ways pretty well through the years of courtship.

I hope you can talk to your DH and that he will actually listen, even if you could get some outside input. It may be an uphill battle to get him to listen to anyone tho, if he believes he is always right. Good luck

MistressDeeCee Tue 08-Oct-13 00:27:02

forgot to add - ExH was right about absolutely everything. I found it fascinating in some ways..a person who truly believed only his views were valid and correct. On every matter. Everybody else was wrong (including work colleagues) and subjected (secretly) to disparaging comments. Massive superiority complex.

Albert27 Tue 08-Oct-13 00:32:03

Sweet Jesus DeeCee - that's my ex to a tee.

MistressDeeCee Tue 08-Oct-13 03:04:07

Albert 27 frightening, isnt it shock. Back when I was going through my woes with him I came across some stuff online..narcissism, emotional abuse, etc. I had to stop reading up on it eventually, as I realised seeing the sheer volume of women going through almost the same situations with men of almost the same characteristics, began to un-nerve me in some way...!

Im hoping the OPs situation with DH isnt too far gone, and that he will actually agree to change the dynamics of the relationship into something more positive - and then having agreed, act on it...

boefborg Tue 08-Oct-13 11:04:26


Like others, I also believe that you have to stand your ground, even if it does cause a marriage-ending row. The alternative is death by a thousand cuts, basically. Also, challenging him does at least give him the opportunity to reform. It might not work, but for your own peace of mind you can say you gave him a chance. The rest of what I say, however is a warning about what might lie ahead.

My case (namechanged regular) is a bit different as it concerns my wife. She is a genuinely good person. Everyone who knows her and has passed comment on her says she's lovely - the exceptions being her immediate family and some of mine too, who say she is frequently intransigent. She is desperate to be right. If someone disagrees with her, she gets affronted and can get upset. It is as if she expects people to agree with her automatically, and when she does modify her views, it is never in the instinctive way that most people seem to do. Her profession requires people skills, and as a result, her career is probably now over. Sometimes reality bursts in and she realises she was wrong, and goes into a major crisis. It doesn't help that she feels someone is to blame when anything, at all goes wrong.

About some years into our marriage, I felt just about nothing was going my way at all: because DW felt so strongly about everything I'd give way. So I started to push back. We have had years of rowing since then. She can be pretty savage and relentless. There have been many occasions when she hasn't even allowed me to break off the row: she has followed me from room to room, even refusing to let me sleep so she can continue. On one awful evening, I realised that I was quite likely to lose control and hit her unless I left the house. So I went for a very long walk. It was horrible knowing what I had to come back to.

I am pretty articulate myself, and can handle myself in heated situations quite well; I believe that I am good at talking through issues, and if necessary defending myself reasonably - but what good is that when faced by a person who just wants to impose their will on you? Her main complaint of me is that I don't talk to her - but the truth is that I just don't want to be used as a human punchbag, and get driven to self-harming again (something I hide from her).

My FIL used to be quite a domineering man, and DW tells me that she got the brunt of his bad temper, and was blamed for a lot of stuff. She was also expected to serve at table because she was the daughter. Somehow she learned to stand her ground - but in such a confrontational way that she does herself no favours now. I hate to hear her dressing down the kids. I spend some days in blank despair; other days thinking, yes, maybe I can make this marriage work, reminding myself of better days in the past, and that I am there for her and the kids, but it is pretty hard.

slug Tue 08-Oct-13 11:26:26

My MIL has a fridge magnet that says

"When I married Mr Right I didn't realise his first name was Always"

MistressDeeCee Tue 08-Oct-13 19:25:40

purrpurr so sorry to hear your story. Its the harsh and relentless reality of living with a Mr or Mrs Right, isnt it. With my ex Mr Right, even the fact work colleagues eventually couldnt stand him and he had no close friends, didnt alert him to the fact that his 'rightness' was bordering on a personality disorder (well imo anyway). Like your DW he couldnt bear to be wrong. Even if we agreed to disagree on a subject - he'd find a way to return to the subject a bit later. I used to find it quite amusing (albeit stressful) at times watching him furrow his brow then oh so very casually return to a 'linked' as to lead on to the original subject he just had to be right about.

I really do hope things improve for you. You must be a very patient and determined person. Sadly tho, it often doesnt improve as Mr or Mrs Right is always right and so doesnt seek help as they dont need it, do they? Their way of thinking is right so who's going to convince them differently? Yes, there normally is always a childhood reason, it was the same with my Ex. His father is the king of mindgames, my Ex and his sister are constantly wrangling (then Id have to listen to him banging on about her being wrong, malicious, etc )as their personalities are exactly the same. His niece, as well..exactly the same as her mother. This is what happens when these ways are visited onto children.

Its very wearing to live with. Please continue looking out for yourself, and your DCs. None of you deserve this. Its funny..often people only deem physical abuse, as abuse..but there are many ways to torment a person.

We parted long ago and Ive moved on since then into a relationship that doesnt drive me up the wall. I do forgive my Ex and we talk very occasionally..but ohhhhh the pleasure when he at times gets into his 'I Am Right' mode with me of being able to end the convo nicely, come off the phone and not have to put up with the tediousness of it all.

Bogeyface Tue 08-Oct-13 21:41:06

I have been thinking about this thread over the last couple of days and I think that for me the big issue with Mr/s Always Right isnt that they think that they are always right, I dont care about that.

Its the fact that they must get you and everyone else to agree that they are always right. We have all had rows discussions with people where they think they are right and you know that you are wink but you agree to disagree and it doesnt affect the relationship. But these people need to push and push until you change your view, or at least appear to.

Its like they cant stop until you confirm their view of themselves. This is why I think that it verges on a personality disorder, or at the very least, low self esteem/confidence. Thats why I dont think you can talk them out of this behaviour, it is part of them that will only change with large amounts of in depth therapy.

Jux Tue 08-Oct-13 22:21:07

I think that's because in so many ways it's not actually about being right, for em. It's about winning.

Hmm, I think OP must still be basking in the glow of the heat lamp. Lucky she's got this thread as a reminder when he flicks the switch to chill.

Hope you're ok, OP.

MistressDeeCee Tue 08-Oct-13 23:51:43

Yes its definetely about winning. Often people like this dont really have a 'voice' elsewhere so they hassle the person nearest to them. Although I accept there's a disorder in their mind, I'm more concerned about the sheer havoc they inflict on those they claim they love. Its a toxic, emotionally abusive situation all round and they do it because they can - you can bet they don't talk to their boss or mates like that. If any mates are still around, that is

Bogeyface Tue 08-Oct-13 23:53:04

Jus yep I think it is about winning. Ime these are the people that will play a game against a tired 4 year old, play to win and then say "they need to learn how to lose" which I find ironic as it is something that the adult has never learnt!

Bogeyface Tue 08-Oct-13 23:53:20

learnt? Learned.

Kiwiinkits Wed 09-Oct-13 00:12:47

I think any person in an unbalanced power relationship risks going from compromising to controlling. I think it's a combination of two people, in a dance with each other. It's not only him, it's her too. It's human nature to seek advantages from a dynamic relationship. That's why mutual respect is so important. You can only share and negotiate if there's respect there.

OP, your assertiveness has been eroded by your childhood experiences. It's so important that you learn assertiveness. Get some books, teach yourself some phrases that help you stand your ground. Refuse to be disrespected.

I often find when my husband goes over the line into disrespect (he's 10 years older, a little controlling, likes to be 'right') I really do have to assert myself. Sometimes it's enough to laugh at his arrogance and call him an arrogant fucker. Sarcasm can help. Other times I go mental on his arse, telling him I refuse to be belittled and ignored. I do this because I have self-respect and I am comfortable with asserting my needs. I know I am half of our relationship dynamic. Therefore my behaviour and my willingness to stand up for myself is vitally important in what outcomes we see as a couple.

JaceyBee Wed 09-Oct-13 00:44:34

If having to be right is something that has a pervasive negative effect on someone's life to the point where it ruins relationships, careers and friendships then I would say it is pathological and possibly indicative of a personality disorder ( and I hardly ever say that on here as I think PD is thrown around willy nilly but that's another story).

Despite common belief therapy can help, especially schema therapy but it would be long term and not funded. Boefborg your dw def sounds like she would benefit from doing some work on herself, do you think she would be open to this?

MistressDeeCee Wed 09-Oct-13 01:34:46

JaceyBee yes, it can be pathological and have such a detrimental effect.

kiwiinkits its good you are able to deal with your husband's rightness like this. He must at least have an innate sense of fairness and an ability to listen, and be aware he may have gone too far with you.

I'm in no way a passive person - pretty confident and assertive, definetely outspoken when I need to be. I've realised I'm the type of woman my ExH is attracted to - he wants to wear us down. He doesn't like very quiet, or meeker women.

His need to always control, always be right was just too much. I guess there are different levels re.inflicting this compulsion to be right on others. & god forbid someone should upset him at work; at those times even a slightly different view on a tv programme would set him off. Refusing to concede, his voice in my ears for hours no matter how I tried to screen him out, or tell him to shut the eff up, or put across my view. Life's just too short. He listened to no-one. I wanted peace and happiness in my life and home, not 'emotional warfare evenings'. So it was a case of 'no thanks', for me.

There's a big consensus out there that therapy very rarely works for those deeply entrenched in this rightness, which is pretty sad really. Even sadder for those enduring it from a partner, tho

I do think some people are beyond redemption but life being what it is, there must be hope for a few

JaceyBee Wed 09-Oct-13 07:46:07

That sounds like a horrible way to live mistressdeecee, I think you took the only sensible option in leaving. Was he always like that from when you met or did he get worse as he got older?

Therapy can def help but only if the person acknowledges there's a problem with THEM and works hard to make changes.

PoppyField Wed 09-Oct-13 11:15:40

Hi OP,
He does sound awful. This happened to me. It took the birth of our first child for my STBXH to show his true colours. He seemed to find fault with everything I did with our baby - put me on trial, interrogated me whenever there was a small hiccup (e.g. nappy rash), criticised, undermined me, disputed all the routines we had... so that when he 'helped' he always did things 'his way', so he would just abandon her nap or change the routine causing upset and bother all the way. Everything he did or said was an implicit or explicit criticism of me.

I found I was in a power battle that was not of my making or choosing. He was doing it, and he obviously resented any iota of power that he thought I had. All this when - like you - I was a SAHM and doing 90 per cent of the childcare. It makes your home life horrific because he picks at everything and your are always tense. I felt like I was being treated like an underperforming employee or servant. It didn't matter how much I told him that, he refused to change his behaviour or acknowledge how out of order he was, still less apologise (God Forbid).

Unfortunately, I realised that what I had uncovered was his fundamental misogyny - I was shocked! There was no respect for me at at. My H actually believes deep down me becoming a mother meant that I was subordinate and inferior - but I didn't get the memo! I can't believe I married a man who actually thought/thinks these things. I did everything to try to prove that this could not be true, but in the end that was the only thing that added up. We split up. His behaviour was obnoxious and appalling and ground me down to a point where it was sink or swim. He had to go. And this was the man that I had truly loved and wanted to grow old with!

You have to get over the incredulity about the way he is treating you. Because it is outrageous. It is outrageous that he has no respect for you. He is being abusive. And it is a shock to recognise that. Tread carefully. Yes, stand your ground and tell him that you will not be bullied - but that won't necessarily work. Start to think about whether life might be better without him turning your home into an emotional torture chamber. I echo what thecatfromjapan said in her wise post. I fear you are being 'tenderised'. Don't let him erode your self-esteem to the point where you can't get out or get him out. Have you talked to RL friends and family? You need validation at this stage, because you'll start not to know what's 'normal'/acceptable/bad. This stuff messes with your head - be certain of one thing - it's not you, it's HIM.

Good luck.

JustinBsMum Wed 09-Oct-13 16:29:49

I think you need to look at how things might be if you separate - money, who lives where, child care, and once you have your head round that and sort of accept that that is a possibility, then you are in a much better position to deal with DH a you are no longer in the 'OMG what would happen if we split up' fear mode. So then you stop appeasing or trying to fix things because you are worried about what he might do.

You can then start thinking about what you want in life and how to get there.
You can't change another person you can only change yourself.

MistressDeeCee Thu 10-Oct-13 00:59:48

JaceyBee no, he wasnt like that at all. Your typical Mr Nice Guy. We were talking for a year before we even dated, then spent another couple of years dating before moving in together & in all that time, no red flags came up. I think he just hid his character.

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