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just can't get through to my cold and angry dh

(115 Posts)
superdry Fri 27-Sep-13 12:38:34

no matter how hard i try i just can't seem to communicate effectively with my husband, any issue, even vaguely contentious, ends in a row, he won't engage with me, he won't listen to me, just goes yeah yeah, whatever, which inevitably leads to me trying harder to get him to listen, which eventually leads to him losing his temper, and sometimes threatening with some kind of violence - if i am lucky i get an apology the next day, but his manner doesn't really change as he always claims i provoked him, i won't leave him alone etc etc - the only way we have any kind of peaceful life is if i never complain about anything - anything at all, thereby 'not starting an argument' - i can go for weeks like that but inevitably i eventually 'have a go' at him about something or other, and the cycle begins again. i feel emotionally drained by it all, its the same old story, he says i am the one with the problem and obviously i think its him! any nuggets of advice out there? we have 2 young children

mistlethrush Fri 27-Sep-13 12:40:18

You know what everyone is going to say if its 'always your fault'

superdry Fri 27-Sep-13 12:43:33

actually, no??

mistlethrush Fri 27-Sep-13 12:58:44


Stroppygoddess Fri 27-Sep-13 13:05:56

Sounds draining, despressing and exhausting. poor atmosphere for your children to grow up in too.

Do you still love him? How long have you been together?

captainmummy Fri 27-Sep-13 13:07:28

What do you get out of the relationship?

Madlizzy Fri 27-Sep-13 13:07:29

I think if he's threatening you with violence, then yes, a suggestion to leave is a relevant one. He doesn't care about what you think, so you trying to communicate with him is pointless. He just wants you to shut and put up with whatever shit he wants to throw at you. He's the problem.

sometimes threatening with some kind of violence

I'm afraid this IS a LTB one.

Tryharder Fri 27-Sep-13 13:13:52

I'm not going to say LTB, because that is none of my business, not my decision, God knows not a decision to be taken lightly and your tolerance levels for bad behaviour are your own concern.

But: Have you tried phrasing your concerns in a different way? For example rather than you saying: 'I'm not happy because you did A, B and C....' try saying 'what if we did ABC rather than XYZ.." I.e trying to make it less personal for him so he can't perceive it as an attack which I assume is how he is seeing it now.

Or what about writing your concerns down and giving him time to consider them alone rationally?

Or arranging a system where you each have 5 mins to air your grievances at a certain specified preordained time agreeing in advance that neither of you (him) will get upset or kick off

superdry Fri 27-Sep-13 13:15:43

what do i get out of the relationship? well emotionally very little, he is the most emotionally unavailable and unempathetic man you could meet, but in general we have a decent family life and i couldn't bear the thought of breaking up the family, we been together about 8 years, married for 5, i just put it down to the fact that men don't like emotional and/or angry women - so i try and be zen and not let anything fuck me off too much, but my problem is i can't keep that up all the time, to be honest i don't think i've ever been much good at along term relationships, it's just not that black and white, its too easy to blame the other guy completely - surely i have to take some responsibility for my part in it all?

WithConfidence Fri 27-Sep-13 13:15:48

Get yourself some Lundy Bancroft.

He doesn't care what you think, he doesn't want to change and communicate and have an equal partnership. He wants to do whatever he wants. It doesn't matter how you behave, he has to want to start treating you (and the dc, it's damaging for them to hear this stuff, especially threats of violence) better.

All you can do is get him to leave and hope this gives him a permanent kick up the bum. Or put up with it, making you and the dc miserable.

Squitten Fri 27-Sep-13 13:16:04

So whenever you attempt to have a voice in your relationship, you are threatened with violence if you don't be quiet?

I would not recommend that as a situation to be staying in.

JoinYourPlayfellows Fri 27-Sep-13 13:16:26


You are describing an abusive relationship.

Threats of violence to intimidate you into doing his bidding is appalling.

Squitten Fri 27-Sep-13 13:18:30


This is not about "men". This is about the particularly horrific example of the species that you seem to have picked up. How on earth can you have a decent family life when you are basically ruled by him?

Living in fear of your partner's temper is an extremely toxic environment in which to raise children. You will end up with violent bullies for sons and cowed, insecure daughters - all learnt from dear Daddy.

You owe them better than that.

WithConfidence Fri 27-Sep-13 13:22:00

I'm sure you are not perfect superdry. But you should be able to be yourself in a relationship.

What is it that you cannot bear about breaking up the family? I am not being sarcastic, I have been there, I know it is not easy. But I mean specifically what is it you are worried about?

WhiteandGreen Fri 27-Sep-13 13:22:27

It seems unlikely that he is suddenly and magically going to change. This is true even if he acknowledged that there was a big problem and said he wanted to change. So the question is, are you happy to live like this?

I spent about 3 years at the end of my marriage trying to tell myself that if I could just not care about how he behaves, then it'll be alright. Tried very hard to be zen. Ha! Didn't work.

I would also tell myself that it must be my fault too, not just his. In the end I realised it didn't really matter who's fault it was given that we seemed to find it impossible to change our way of communicating.

superdry Fri 27-Sep-13 13:26:31

i've read the lundy bancroft book, i'm afraid the advice it gave didn't really help, apparently you are meant to tell them not to cross the line when they start getting out of order and they are meant to stand behind it obediently! i realise that its not a great atmosphere to bring kids up in, but its not always like that, and its nearly always late at night away from them, also he is extremely loving and affectionate with the kids, which quite frankly does my tiny little mind in even more!! he thinks i am a controlling b**ch that doesn't deserve his affection/attention/love

'Men' don't have group emotions, feelings and reactions any more than women do.

It's not about whether men, as a group like emotional women, as a group!

This is about you being afraid to show any emotion around your DH under threats of emotional or physical abuse.

And children pick up on things all the time.

haverer Fri 27-Sep-13 13:30:37

Your husband is abusive. He's doing whatever it takes to control you so that you do not challenge him in any way. Would you accept threats of violence from a stranger? Your children are going to learn that this is what a marriage looks like, an are very likely to replicate this when it's their turn.
You sound like you're working very hard, taking whatever's slung at you, thinking if different ways to head off an argument, all for the sake of your children. That selflessness is so admirable, but they won't thank you for it. You deserve more. They deserve more.
I'm worried about you. He's threatening violence now and that's enough to get you to comply. After that it can go two ways: you keep very small and still and unobtrusive, your spirit is broken and you lose who you are; or you express your own thoughts and feelings and he has to escalate to real violence to keep you in line. I don't know what's worse.

Gerbilectomy Fri 27-Sep-13 13:33:18

Your husband hates you, don't you understand that? He properly hates you.

Get out and get happy.

WithConfidence Fri 27-Sep-13 13:34:26

That is not what LB says. He says the only way a relationship with an abuser can work is IF you can lay down boundaries and IF he will stick to them. He says that is rare.

I spent many nights in bed when I should have been asleep listening to my parents argue and was constantly afraid another argument was going to flare up at any moment. Even when very small I was aware when there was something brewing and tried to stop it erupting being keeping them both happy. Probably part of the reason why I got myself into a shit relationship as I thought it was my job to try and keep my partner happy and not start an argument! Not having that atmosphere for my ds.

haverer Fri 27-Sep-13 13:34:54

Children pick up on emotions. They will feel the relationship. They will know that you always back down. That all daddy has to do is look irritated/raise his voice/whatever and you stop your line of questioning. And they'll hear muffled arguments.

Wellwobbly Fri 27-Sep-13 13:35:42

There is only one way:

acceptance. That you truly, truly accept him for WHO he is. Someone who does not care about how you feel, what you think, or what you want.

If you truly accept this, then you will stop looking to him to fill your needs or gain a connection, and develop your own life, own friendships, own interests and own connections*

Because, at the moment, you are just setting yourself up to be knocked down again.

PS: when I accepted this, he took the giving up as me not loving him any more and permission to get himself an OW who DID give him lots of attention.

*No bad thing really. Because you are going to have to do it in the end anyway. [Cynical]

superdry Fri 27-Sep-13 13:36:57

i guess i think the pain of breaking up the family would be worse than the pain i am dealing with at the mo,

i would have to find somewhere for me and the kids to live nearby so they could attend the same school which they love, i would have to remove the kids from the home they know and love, i am not sure i can do those things, and no, i couldn't stay in 'our house', because his name is on the mortgage and he wouldn't leave anyway, i mean i couldn't physically get him to leave

Gerbilectomy Fri 27-Sep-13 13:39:35

The pain of 'breaking up the family' (which he has already broken, btw) is temporary. The pain of continuing to flog this particular dead horse, and harm your DC in the process, will last and last and get worse and worse.

Rip off the plaster. Do what you know you have to do. It's not about you any more - it's about your DC.

KateCroydon Fri 27-Sep-13 13:40:50

If you are married it does not matter whose name is on the mortgage. I changed school half a dozen times as a child. It was fine.

MissStrawberry Fri 27-Sep-13 13:45:47

If you aren't prepared to investigate how you could rebuild your life divorced from this man what do you want from this thread as you can't get through to someone who is cold and angry and doesn't feel he should listen to his little possession?

I am sorry your children are living in such a toxic house and that you feel you can't do anything about it.

BeCool Fri 27-Sep-13 13:48:42

You can't get through to him because he doesn't want you to. He has you exactly where he wants you - "STFU and do as I please".

He says you don't deserve his affection/attention/love. This ishow he feels about you. It's more than that though - it very much reads to me that he despises you.

But it 'works' for him as he can keep you STFU by his nasty controlling/ignoring/dismissive/threatening behaviour, all the while you look after HIS children and no doubt keep HIS home in order and probably sleep with him too. He sees you as his own personal drudge/servant/sex provider.

I think you may have misread the Bundy book. I can see your P in the book - why can't you?

It sounds like you are trying to take responsibility by trying to talk with him etc, but as difficult as it is to accept you can't do anything with a person like this. He won't want to 'work things out' and improve your relationship.

YOU can't work on this alone. And he has no intention of working on it with you. He doesn't see it as broken - for him it's just how he wants it.

BeCool Fri 27-Sep-13 13:50:08

he has broken up your family already.
Your family is broken living like this.

AlisonClare Fri 27-Sep-13 13:50:56

Can you give us an idea of what a typical issue might be?

PeppermintPasty Fri 27-Sep-13 13:53:01

From the tone of your posts I think you are quite deep in denial about just how bad he really is.

Have you thought about some counselling for yourself (only)? Have you ever confided in friends/family about this desperate way of life? This is no way to live, and your children will be sucking it all up. But, easy for me to say, I know it's hard. Keep talking on here if it helps.


Abuse is about power and control, he wants absolute over you and the children. My guess too that by being overtly "nice" to his children, he is trying to show you as well that he is a better parental model to them than you are.

"In general we have a decent family life and i couldn't bear the thought of breaking up the family, we been together about 8 years, married for 5, i just put it down to the fact that men don't like emotional and/or angry women - so i try and be zen"

Being zen is not working, infact nothing you have tried to date has worked. Your abusive man is indeed angry. They all say that their victim/s too provoked them into acting, its all part of their dysfunctional script.

Also you would like to think that you have a decent family life but you really do not. You are kidding yourself if you think otherwise and denial is a powerful force. This marriage is already broken by his actions, your children are living in an atmosphere akin to a warzone. They do pick up on all the tensions both seen and unseen and they see and hear far more than you realise. Those late night rows are likely heard by your children as they sleep - or try to. They hear it.

What do you want to teach your children about relationships, surely not this dysfunctional model of one. Currently you are showing them this treatment of you is acceptable and that in itself is damaging. The only level of abuse acceptable in any relationship is NONE.

This man hates your very being and all that you stand for. The children do and will pick up on all his abuse that he is meting out, this is no life for them or for you for that matter. Abusers are not nasty all the time but the nice/nasty cycle of abuse is a continuous one. They just stay "nice" enough long enough for you to be sucked back in again.

You need proper legal advice and as soon as possible as well. He has already threatened you with some kind of violence; you could well seek some kind of legal order against him. You need to know where you stand legally in the event you separate from this abusive individual. I make no apologies for calling him abusive because that is indeed what he is. This life will not get better for you or your children, over time he has indeed escalated his levels of abuse and control.

givemeaboost Fri 27-Sep-13 14:02:42

Don't feel you cant leave! I know its hard but the fear is the worst bit, everything else can be got around-schools, accommodation, benefits etc

You probably cant see the awfulness of the situation as you are in it and wont until you leave him, you'll then look back and think why did I put up with that?? The children should be paramount in this and if you think the current situation is not damaging them, you are probably wrong, as posters up thread said children pick up on tensions etc v easily, also you don't know whether he has been telling the children things whilst your not around(parental alienation)

If I were you Id give womans aid a ring.

BeCool Fri 27-Sep-13 14:21:29

superdry I was in a very similar relationship until 9 months ago.

XP is wonderful with the children now. And after me drawing some VERY firm lines, he is actually nice/cordial to me now (most of the time) too. All my friends thought/think I am mad for leaving him as they see the warm, loving, relaxed family orientated person. Seeing him last night I almost thought I was wrong.

But I'm not.

In reality living with him was dreadful. He would not talk to me, if he did it would be in the form of a rant/lecture. He slept all day and disengaged from family life. He was angry with me all the time. I put all my ££ into the family while he was financially secretive and "always skint". HE saw his financial contribution to the family as "giving money to me". We could not communicate on a meaningful level. We could not make plans for our family though we desperately needed to move out of a one bed flat. He was secretive about his earnings (turns out he had a cocaine habit). He was verbally aggressive to me - often. A couple of times he started to get physical. By the end we had nothing & I detached. Then he was horrible over Xmas and very mean to me when I was sick in bed with sever tonsillitis and in a moment of clarity I kicked him out/ended the relationship.

All I wanted was to communicate in a meaningful way - like couples do. NOT POSSIBLE.

The children have coped well. They now spend time with him where they actually do stuff together.

We still haven't talked. I ended the relationship hoping it might be the JOLT to make him engage. It wasn't.

My life isn't perfect now - but it immediately got much much much better once we weren't living together. And I am starting to reconnect with myself little by little, day by day, week by week.

I thought I would struggle financially but WTC and maintenance mean my income isn't much changed.

I work FT and thought I would really struggle managing it all - but I still have great childcare in place and life is so much nicer now, without the anger and stress, that it all flows smoothly.

I thought he did approx 50% of the housework - what a joke. That was the biggest surprise as it became evident that he did about 5% but I was majorly desperately? over-crediting him in that dept.

There is lots I still miss about him. But as WellWobbly so eloquently pointed out on another thread recently my choice wasn't Single parent vs Lovely life as a couple and family. My actual choice was Single parent vs Living a hellish life walking on eggshells with an Emotional Abuser waiting for the day he actually thumps me and teaching my daughters this is how life is.

MatildaWhispers Fri 27-Sep-13 14:24:22

I used to 'try to be Zen' too. It really won't work, you are trying to deny your own feelings. In the end it will all get too much.

Lweji Fri 27-Sep-13 14:26:11

Definitely LTB.

Policing these men should not be for their partners. It's draining and they may well cross the boundaries at some point.

The best is to distance ourselves from them.

You can get him to leave, but you need to go the legal route.

Get as much information and support as you can, including family and friends.

Twinklestein Fri 27-Sep-13 14:30:47

I think it's a mistake to think you are failing to communicate with him. I have no doubt that he hears what you say perfectly well. But he despises you & simply does not care.

He does not care if you're unhappy, he does not care about your needs.
You have said yourself that he thinks you are "a controlling b**ch that doesn't deserve his affection/attention/love". He is treating you how he thinks you deserve. He will never listen. He will never change.

ageofgrandillusion Fri 27-Sep-13 14:56:13

Two questions OP - has he ever actually physically assaulted you. And what do you mean when you say he threatens you with violence? Can you explain more?

poorbuthappy Fri 27-Sep-13 15:08:19

No one on here is going to tell you how to change to keep your husband happy.
Because whatever you do will never be good enough. Because your husband is an abuser and does not love you.

Please don't kid yourself that your children will not suffer whilst you pretend you are in a loving relationship.
Because they will.

So yes LTB.

superdry Fri 27-Sep-13 15:15:47

he has never hit me, but he has pushed me and pushed me out of bed, when he threatens me he shouts right up loud in my face that he wants to smash my face in, that kind of thing really -

just to clarify he never actually used the words 'does't deserve his affection etc' thats more my interpretation of it, i am not sure he actually despises me, although i think sometimes he feels that way, i'm not sure he likes me alot most of the time and sometimes i think he loves me, but he is mercurial, a different personality from one day to the next,

as for the affect on the children, for the most part they seem pretty happy, i read a book by oliver james about how you can protect their psyches from this kind of thing -a process called love-bombing - also i grew up in a household where the parents rowed quite alot (although not abusive) and although it wasn't ideal i have very fond memories of my childhood although i can see that perhaps its left me with some pretty dodgy relationship issues

Policing these men should not be for their partners

This. Just this.

YOU won't be able to change his behaviour, Superdry. Only he can do that.

Twinklestein Fri 27-Sep-13 15:25:42

If my father ever threatened to smash my mother's face in, I'd have been absolutely terrified...

No amount of love-bombing your kids can cover up the fact that your husband is abusive.

Oliver James recommended it in response to common childhood behavioural problems, not as some kind of 'protection' for children with an abusive father.


Yes you certainly do have some dodgy stuff re relationship issues, that is all too clear.

Pushing you repeatedly is violence, they do not have to physically punch you in the face to be violent. He is also not above verbally abusing you either, you are nothing to him and he treats you as such. He will do the same to your children as well given time.

You cannot reason with someone like your H, he is beyond reason. It is not your fault he is like this, what is his background exactly?. Pound to a penny he saw violence and emotional abuse in his own childhood as well.

We learn about relationships first and foremost from our parents, yours in their own way taught you some very damaging lessons on relationships. Now the two of you are doing your bit to pass on some even more damaging crap to the next generation of adults.

This is no legacy to leave your children and they will not thank you for staying with him if you were to choose to. They will wonder of you why you stayed and perhaps even despise you for being so weak along with putting him before them. You are already a shadow of your former self, he has done a right number on you hasn't he?.

So called "Love bombing" will do absolutely nothing here to protect your children's pysches from the Dominator that lives within your home. This is not working either!!!. You live in a home that is not a sanctuary to your children, your children are learning how to also be victims. You certainly are.

Womens Aid can and will help you here, you need to take the first, often the most hardest of steps, to call them.

AgathaF Fri 27-Sep-13 15:38:07

When they are adults, you children will wish that you had been brave enough to remove them from living in an abusive home. They will not thank you or respect you for staying.

So, they haven't heard anything up to now, you think. But they will. Next week, or next month, or maybe next year. They will be frightened. They will feel guilty. They will store up that blueprint of what an adult relationship is like, and replicate it in their own adult relationships. You cannot protect them from that, no matter how much you try.

I know you wouldn't want that for your children. Who would. So, if you can't leave him for your sake, can you do it for your children?

wordyBird Fri 27-Sep-13 16:57:30

Yes, this is a textbook abusive relationship.
However, it's going to take a while before you can cope with the reality of that, or consider what you need to do about it. I would guess the thought of changing things seems overwhelming at the moment.

Can I suggest taking small steps, day by day?

For example: see if you can arrange counselling for yourself.
Contact CAB, or a solicitor to clarify what would happen financially if the relationship breaks down
Contact Women's Aid, 0808 2000 247 ... (Yes, it does apply to you)
Confide in a real life friend.

Maybe we can help to reassure you on some points.
For example, 1) The law is not just about whose name is on the mortgage.
2) if you've been together 8 years your children are small. Small children don't fear change anywhere near as much as adults think they do.

The world is constantly new for small children, and they often view new places or situations as exciting, or just par for the course, even if they are a bit apprehensive to start with. It's adults who like to cling to what they know.

So please don't feel you're stuck. Read BeCool's post especially, she's showing you there's a way through.

Lweji Fri 27-Sep-13 17:09:46

I left exH when DS was 6. He is now 8 and much more confident.
He misses his dad, but otherwise he's perfectly happy.

Remember, your H is the one splitting up the family, not you.
He's the one ignoring his partner and being violent (mentally, verbally and physically).

He promised to love you and he isn't.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 27-Sep-13 17:19:32

You can't get through to him because he doesn't want to know.

There is no magic formula to make another person care. He doesn't. When you try to get your point across, he threatens violence in order to shut you up and put you in your place.

Your children deserve better than growing up with this as their relationship model.
You deserve better than this kind of treatment.

He's not going to change. Your only option is to get out. Or stay, and die a little more inside every day, while ensuring that your children will reproduce this precise relationship role model in their own adult lives, either in the role of the abuser, or in your role as victim and enabler.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Fri 27-Sep-13 17:21:13

It's not you, it's him. You can't change him. He doesn't want to change, so you are left with the decision as to whether you are prepared to sacrifice your happiness and let your DCs see a relationship where their mother is dismissed and denigrated.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Fri 27-Sep-13 17:23:51

"I'm not sure he actually despises me" is a pretty sad thing to read.

It should not be like this.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Fri 27-Sep-13 17:31:41
Hissy Fri 27-Sep-13 19:11:20

You've had some of the most knowledgeable and respected posters on your thread already, and some excellent advice and perspectives here.

One thing I wanted to add is that say you did find the magic bullet/wand/baseballbat to get him to listen to you.

The instant he realises that he's doing what you want/makes you happy, he'd change it all, because you being happy is the LAST thing he wants.

He gets an emotional stiffy from keeping you in this manic dance on broken glass, all of the while creating smoke to further disorientate you.

An enormous effort goes into this, because he can't have you on an equal footing to him. You'd show him up for thé weak, insignificant, inferior prick that he is.

You think it's strength that fuels his temper? No way, it's the direct pole opposite, he's terrified of you, so has to bring you down, at any cost.

He hates you, because you show him all the things he is not.

There literally is no hope for an abusive relationship, they poison everyone within spitting distance.

Get your DC out.

ModreB Fri 27-Sep-13 19:48:03

Can I just add, if he (Physically) pushes you, how would he react if you push him back? Do you push him back? Do you feel that you could push him back?

If not, it is physical domestic violence and you should take your children and leave any way that you can.

If you cannot see the damage that he is doing to you, please see the damage that he is doing to your children.

cestlavielife Fri 27-Sep-13 21:43:04

This is Oliver James talking about domestic abuse.

I think you are totally misreading love moving and Lundy Bancroft.

The best thing you can do is talk to women's aid.
Or ask gp to refer you for some counselling sessions
Sitting zen like to try and prevent him actually smashing your face in is ridiculous

Your dc will be damaged by this.

So he great with them ? Fine he can be great with them fifty per cent of the time with them alone.
You do not have to live with him and suffer .

Separate and share the dc.

cestlavielife Fri 27-Sep-13 21:43:48

Love bombing

betterthanever Fri 27-Sep-13 22:16:56

OP - Lundy doesn't say if you ask them to stop doing it they will. He says the opposite, he says these men rarely change. He does advice you stand up to them but keep safe and leave if it becomes too much.
men don't like emotional and/or angry women - I don't like emotional/angry men/ anyone.
Do you think he will ever change? do you know that nothing you do will change him, he has to want to change and do it himself? if he doesn't want to, what do you want to do? I know that whatever that is can not be done instantly.

WhiteandGreen Fri 27-Sep-13 22:38:32

OP, nobody sits around just before a divorce thinking... "You know what, I'd really like to break this family up."

betterthanever Fri 27-Sep-13 22:45:35

Hissy spot on as always: You'd show him up for thé weak, insignificant, inferior prick that he is.

Molly333 Sat 28-Sep-13 08:41:13

And on the back of that what about the woman you are? What do you like? Who are you? What makes you laugh or cry? What would you like to do next week or next year? It's all being shut down , the you is being forcibly closed and shut down . Not communicating is a very effective controlling tool . I know as I was the daughter of a mum who lived like that , I then too did exactly the same , she was my role model and I copied her behaviour !!! Please read " why does he do that by Lundy Bancroft or get counselling then make yr decision. You don't hv to tell him but I cannot urge you enough that you need to think v seriously here!

superdry Sat 28-Sep-13 11:03:09

hi all

thanks for all your posts,re the lundy bancroft book that i read, i totally understood it, i totally recognised my dh in the pages, but in terms of advice - apart from leaving the marriage it kind of didn't help me - it just kinda reiterated what i already knew, which i guess is what this thread is doing,

but and it is a big but, dh's parents had similar issues in their marriage which is obviously where he learnt his crazy behaviour, and they are still married and he (my FIL) no longer behaves like that, i think people can change - however i am not so stupid as to believe my dh is anywhere close to changing at the mo, because he simply does not take responsibility for his actions, which is the first step - how i get him to take that first step is what is currently doing my head in will think i am crazy for saying this, i have been in an abusive relationship before, years ago - where i was actually hit - how come this is happening to me again, is it simply down to the men i choose or am i contributing to it in some way? does there not come a point where one has to take responsibility for ones own behaviour, are there certain women that push the buttons in men that make them go crazy? a certain harridan/shrew like trait, am i overly critical when i should be supportive etc etc,

ageofgrandillusion Sat 28-Sep-13 11:17:23

You do seem to think you can change him OP. Fair nuff, keep trying. Good luck with that one is all i can say. It's the kids i feel sorry for.

Because you've been unlucky.

Because abusers have an almost super natural ability to spot and prey on vulnerable women.

You CANNOT change him. You can't. You'll NEVER be able to change him and that's your first step.

He needs to leave.

If you really believe he can change, that's great.

But to do so he must do a lot of work on himself and his issues. So make him leave for, say, a year.

If he's changed. REALLY changed, he can come back.

tribpot Sat 28-Sep-13 11:26:28

This is a Ted Talk on domestic abuse. Your situation is not like hers (thank goodness) but I think there are some things in there that will resonate with you, esp the idea that it must - somehow - be your fault.

I think it is relatively common (only based on MN) to find people who've formerly been in violent relationships to be in emotionally abusive ones now. Because it doesn't seem 'as bad', it's very confusing as to whether your standards are just unreasonably high, somehow. They aren't.

tb Sat 28-Sep-13 11:42:53

OP, shouting at you that he is going to smash your face in, is assault. The 'battery' is when he hits you. What is referred to as assault is actually assault and battery.

I'd log it with the police, then at least you'd have a chance of getting hime out of the house on a permanent basis.

superdry, please don't believe that there's anything in your behaviour which causes men to "turn " like this, it's more that when women lack self-esteem, they tend, unfortunately, to attract a certain type of man - the dominant abusive kind.

You can change this pattern, but it will take work on your self-esteem and confidence, probably through therapy, and only once you are away from your abusive H.

You will attract the kind of man you think you deserve, sad but true. Once you love yourself truly, deeply and unconditionally, once you are gentle and kind to yourself, you will attract a kind gentle man to loves you truly, deeply and unconditionally.

Change is scary, I know. But if you don't change your situation, you're just going to get more of the same. Your H won't change. Why should he?

Lweji Sat 28-Sep-13 14:50:27

Even if he can change, I doubt he will unless you are really prepared to leave.
While he thinks you won't go, he'll be exactly the same.

scallopsrgreat Sat 28-Sep-13 15:08:03

I think you have missed the point about the Lundy Bancroft book. It isn't really about giving advice for a start. It is for recognising abusive behaviour patterns. And the thing he keeps reiterating throughout the book is that it is extremely difficult for abusers to change. They have to a) want to b) have consequences for their actions i.e. losing his wife and child (although often that isn't enough) c) have a network of people around him who will not enable his abusive behaviour e.g. family, friends, employers, police, courts etc. Even then it is incredibly difficult and will take years, with therapy.

Your husband doesn't appear to have any of the above. He isn't going to change. And I wouldn't trust that your FIL has changed. He may have changed the way in which he is abusive but he is unlikely to have stopped being abusive.

The reason you read from Bancroft that all you can do is leave, is because that is all you can do.

scallopsrgreat Sat 28-Sep-13 15:09:19

Why do you want to stay in this relationship so much?

superdry Sat 28-Sep-13 15:16:30

primarily to keep the family together

mistlethrush Sat 28-Sep-13 15:17:47

But all that will do is to teach your children that the proper way of having a relationship is for one part to be abusive - do you want your children to have the same problems as you?

Lweji Sat 28-Sep-13 15:21:17

Being together isn't all that.

To be happy should be your objective and for your children.
Do you think they are happy in this environment?

Twinklestein Sat 28-Sep-13 15:35:40

Your children won't thank you for it when they're older.

Their narrative will be 'our mother was not strong enough to leave our abusive father so we grew up in fear of him'.

If you have a son he may well pick up his father's abusive traits and make himself and gfs miserable by repeating the pattern.

If you have a daughter she may be drawn to abusive relationships herself.

crazyhead Sat 28-Sep-13 15:48:22

Your husband is treating you as though he despises you. If he really does, then he should have already taken responsibility for the situation and left you long ago - if I felt angry enough about what I perceived as someone bossing me around to threaten them with violence, I would have sat down and thought about the situation and left after the first time I had crossed such a dreadful line.

If he doesn't despise you, then he's simply a bully. He has the right to ask you to improve the way to communicate gripes with him if you are screaming them aggressively at him. But everyone has things they want to change/get cross about he doesn't have the right, ever, to respond like that to you.

I'd ask him which it is. If he hates you, he needs to have the courage of his feelings and leave you. If he doesn't, he needs to stop this behaviour immediately or the relationship has to end.

scallopsrgreat Sat 28-Sep-13 15:49:49

Why is keeping the family together important? Is it because you believe the hype that children need their parents in a relationship? Because it isn't true. And it especially isn't true when their fathers are abusive.

What is he doing to keep the family together?

ouryve Sat 28-Sep-13 15:53:23

If you really believe your H can change, superdry then let him. On his own, where he can't constantly frighten you or threaten you in the process. Nothing that you do or hope for will make him change, while he is still in a position where he can dominate and intimidate you, constantly.

And how do you know for sure that your IL's relationship is no longer abusive? Are you privy to every single conversation that happens between them?

Your children do live with you, though and will see every single look, or flinch, or glare, or shrug, or deep breath and may well hear plenty of the threats of physical violence. Why the hell would you want to stay with a man who does that to you? That's not what being a "family" is about. Being a family is about moving through life together, doing things for each other, out of love and not out of fear.

Twinklestein Sat 28-Sep-13 16:16:24

Your children do live with you, though and will see every single look, or flinch, or glare, or shrug, or deep breath and may well hear plenty of the threats of physical violence. Why the hell would you want to stay with a man who does that to you? That's not what being a "family" is about. Being a family is about moving through life together, doing things for each other, out of love and not out of fear.

This. Absolutely this.

I don't know why parents kid themselves that the children don't sense what's going on. Of course they do. Every single speck of stress, tension, temper, fear, derision, they pick up on everything.

Being nice to the children and a bastard to their mother is not being a good father. He's being a crap father. He doesn't care about his kids enough to treat their mother properly & think how will impact them. If he can't be nice to you & set a good example to his children of how to treat other human beings, then he should leave & see the kids separately. If he had any integrity he would do this. Moreover abusive fathers can sometimes turn against their children when they're older. You've got no guarantee that your kids will never have to experience what you're going through now.

StillSeekingSpike Sat 28-Sep-13 16:29:36

Look at how living with an abusive father, and acquiescent mother has affected your own husband. You say your FiL is 'better' now- but he has already irrepairably damaged his own children.

WeAreSeven Sat 28-Sep-13 16:41:20

How do you know your FIL doesn't behave like that now? I'll bet he does, when he's alone with your MIL.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sat 28-Sep-13 21:02:11

Think about this: what if you were to talk to your children the way he talks to you? What if someone else were to talk to them like that? What about when they are older - especially if you have a daughter?

That would be horrible, wouldn't it? Intolerable, in fact. You would know in your bones that no-one deserves that, not least someone you love and care for and are meant to support

You have no idea what your FIL is like when they are alone. I bet your DH doesn't display his own worst behaviour in front of his parents does he? So why would the reverse be the case.

As for your previous relationship, unfortunately you've just met a couple of them.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sat 28-Sep-13 21:03:31


Completely agre. Children are little bundles of instinct and empathy. They see and feel everything that's not right

JustLurkingNotPosting Sat 28-Sep-13 22:47:16

Hi Op, I'm afraid I agree with other posters, this man won't change.

I could have written your posts as my ex behaved in an almost identical way to your H. I stayed in order to keep my family together too, I didn't believe my little girl was affected by my relationship because I put on a good act and kept everything away from her. It was only after moving into refuge and seeing her blossom into a happy, relaxed and confident child, from the very first day in fact, that I realised how much she had been affected by everything.

It was unavoidable really when I think back as I was living half a life, I was emotionally drained and battered, even though I planted a smile on my face and tried my best to be a happy and attentive mummy I didn't really succeed, because everything I was going through dominated my mind, it changed me.

Once in refuge my daughter started asking me questions about things she had heard, she had been in bed but heard him shouting and sometimes smashing things. She was only seven but she had this need to understand. For a few weeks after we left he tried to talk me into going back and she would whisper in my ear "You aren't going to love daddy again are you mummy" or "We aren't going to move back into daddys house are we mummy." She kept me strong and she kept me focussed, not once did she cry or ask for him. His abuse intensified when I was pregnant so she had grown up with it, it was all she knew, sad mummy and angry daddy.

I used to use his childhood as an excuse for his behaviour as it was less than ideal but, the truth is, he is a grown man, responsible for his own actions, his childhood didn't force him to be an abusive twat, he made that choice himself. What kind of a man wants to inflict the same kind of childhood on his own children that his own parents forced him to endure?

Me and DD have a wonderful life now, almost four years after leaving, abuse free, a life full of fun and laughter, leaving was the best thing I did. I spent far too long trying to understand him, I spent a small fortune on books trying to find a way to cope, a way to live with him. My advice to you OP, cut your losses and leave. Save yourself and your children because you can't save him. You and your children deserve a far better life than the one you are living.

superdry Sun 29-Sep-13 08:50:06

his father changed after having a break down and lots of therapy, i truly believe he has changed but he is still a domineering personality -

also leaving would break my daughters heart as she and her father have an incredibly close relationship, if she had to choose between living with me or her dad, i reckon she would choose her dad

That's why children don't get to choose these things because they don't make the decisions that are truly best for them.

Lweji Sun 29-Sep-13 10:09:38

I do wonder about your DD.
Children may feel the need to be close to abusers because it makes their life easier.
In particular, she may take his side over you because she knows he has the power.
Once she is free of his influence and in a healthier environment, you may notice a change.

Besides, they can still have a good relationship if you separate. Unless he disappears from her life, but that would be all him. Not your fault.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sun 29-Sep-13 10:19:43

She could still have a relationship with her father.

Lweji is right.

She may be incredibly confused.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sun 29-Sep-13 10:20:36


Have you looked at the Womens Aid link I gave earlier?

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sun 29-Sep-13 10:23:00


I wish you could be a fly on the wall in homes where disagreements don't result in rows, where discussion isn't closed down, where affection sin't withheld, where cruel words are never spoken, where violence is never implied never mind threatened, where you can feel relaxed and understood.

Twinklestein Sun 29-Sep-13 11:39:05

Being close to her father may be a self-protective, survival mechanism for your daughter. Females reaction to a dangerous man may be to try to befriend & pacify for their own safety.

Moreover, people in abusive relationships can develop ties to abusers in what is called 'trauma bonding'. 'Stockholm syndrome' - where victims of kidnapping/hostage form bonds with their captors - is an extreme example.

Your daughter's bonding with her father may be based on her perception of herself as a victim.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sun 29-Sep-13 11:49:07

Also (and I'm not an expert here but I do know how some children react to bullying in school), if a child sees another child being bullied, as well as wanting to protect themselves, they may also start to feel as if the recipient of the bullying must somehow deserve that. Imagine the confusion in the mind of a child who sees her father (who she loves) bullying her mother (who she also loves).

ageofgrandillusion Sun 29-Sep-13 15:00:43

his father changed after having a break down and lots of therapy, i truly believe he has changed but he is still a domineering personality

You are making excuses for him in order to try find a reason to stay with him. This, even though you know full well that being exposed to this violent twat will probably do lasting damage to your child. To put it bluntly, you are as bad as he is.

Twinklestein Sun 29-Sep-13 15:08:15

To be fair to the OP, denial & masking of abuse may be part & parcel of 'trauma bonding' which she is likely involved in herself.

The problem is of course that this is to the detriment of her children's wellbeing.

superdry Mon 30-Sep-13 08:22:00

thanks ageofgrandillusion for spreading the love and empathy! to call someone who is attacked as bad as the attacker is pretty harsh, and quite frankly the way my dh thinks! if i felt bad before you sure as hell haven't helped with your lovely words

Why is keeping this family unit together so important to you?. Is that what you were told when you were growing up, that you must keep it all together regardless of cost to you?. Made your bed type and lie in it type nonsense?.

By staying you are showing your children that this treatment of you is acceptable to you on some level.

We learn about relationships after all first and foremost from our parents, your DH learnt a lot of rubbish and unsurprisingly has followed on with the same abuse he saw and learnt about in his own childhood.

NotDead Mon 30-Sep-13 08:53:11

need s more examination but you have already said that if you decide he is not listening you keep hammering the same message home until..and beyond ..tge point he gets annoyed. signaks lije 'yeah yeah whatever' really are 'ok I've taken in the info now you are going on so much I am starting to resent you talking about it'

I suspect you need a 'I have heard' noise or comment that he isn't used to giving and so you keep on and on.

A rel counsellor I knew had some theory about this treatment hardening a man's emotions a little each time. I have had thus treatment from a woman who said that 'men never listen' what was actually happening is that every time I said 'ok I understand' or ' yes ill do that' she said she 'knew' i didn't mean it, or 'knew' I wasn't listening really. When asked? Because she 'is very attuned'. she never Trusted me to do tge thing or behave differentlywithout pointed reminders.. thereby 'proving' that I hadn't listened and she 'had to' remind me.

It took a while but I learnt to make hearing noises and she learnt to say things only once or twice. .. perhaps some different techniques would give you a different outcome.

keeping pushing and paving when signals say 'stop' is kind of abusive in itself

superdry none of us wants to break up a family unit, especially when the abuser is so 'good' with his or her children.

But here's the thing; by being abusive to their mother, he is being abusive to the children.

He is teaching them to disrespect you, to treat you as a sub-human, that violence and aggression are not only ok but useful in getting what you want. He's teaching them that a man should be dominant and that power and control are worth more than love, respect and compromise.

His father may have changed with intense therapy. But look what he did to his son before the change. Do you want that for your children?

At least, with him gone, they can maintain a relationship but won't be exposed to the horrible nuances of an abusive relationship.

I believe people can change but only a) alone, b) because they want to and c) after intensive work and a long time.

What you're feeling is normal. You need to think of how you feel when it happens, as it happens and cling on to that feeling. Because you've been conditioned to talk yourself around.

But your instincts are not wrong. This should not be happening.

Wellwobbly Mon 30-Sep-13 09:18:07

Superdry , hi, I so see your pain and your efforts and determination to keep your family unit intact.

The issue here is how little you are heard and how little your needs count.

You give and give and give, and try and make your needs smaller and smaller; but there comes a time when the cost is just too huge.

When I tell you to accept him for who he really is, I mean it. It means dropping the hopium pipe (that he will change) and stopping looking to him to give you what it is you need. Instead, creating an alternative support network who can.

I really advocate Al Anon which helps co dependent tendencies of focussing on the other person instead of taking steps to nurture and look after your self.

superdry Mon 30-Sep-13 09:32:22

not dead, i agree with you to a certain extent, i am crazy to keep repeating myself to my dh, he certainly sees the way i go on as a type of abuse - and thats my point, i don't think these things are entirely black and white ie. he the baddie and me the goodie - yes what he is doing is appalling, but there has to be a point where you have to take some responsibility for ones part in the toxic atmosphere that creates these horrible episodes

wellwobbly, you are also right, it will check out al anon

Lweji Mon 30-Sep-13 09:43:58

Could you give us an example of an argument?

fuzzywuzzy Mon 30-Sep-13 09:46:59

Superdry, what kind of advice are you looking for?

What do you expect us from our computer screens to offer you?

My stance whenever there is a fear of violence is to take the kids and walk, I can't in all consciousness suggest you remain in a situation whereby you risk coming to physical harm.

What exactly do you want?

Why is remaining in a marriage where there is a threat of violence and no mutual respect, love and understanding so important for you?

You and your husband are role models for future relationships for your children.

BeCool Mon 30-Sep-13 10:02:11

The thing is it doesn't matter how much YOU want to change things at home. You can want and try and devote everything to changing things at home - but he won't change. He has no interest in changing and the fact that it is something you want/need means he is even more scornful and indifferent to it.

So keep searching for a way YOU can stay and solve this - but what we are all telling you here is that you are wasting your precious life away.

Change needs to come from both parties - and he will have to undergo a major personal transformation to change - and you can't do that for him or your family.

And to be blunt, this family you are so desperate to keep together, is getting more and more damaged by the day. I think what ageofgrandillusion was saying is that if you know this, and you choose to stay in the relationship, then you are participating in the abusive environment your children are constantly exposed to. This might be difficult to hear - but you talk of wanting to take responsibility for your part in the toxic environment - well there it it.

Instead you are focusing on what part you play in causing your H to behave so horribly and abusively. Why not accept that he is responsible for himself and he chooses to be the way he is? You are responsible for yourself - and you can choose to end the relationship and then create an entirely new space and place at home.

All you can do is work on you and make the best decisions for your DC and yourself. It is dreadfully sad if you think that the best decision for you all is to stay in this horrible negative relationship. Not only is it negatively affect your DC, but you seem to believe this 'family unit' is worth preserving, at your expense, for your DC's happiness.

You can have a much more positive family unit with just you and your DC. Maybe the responsibility you need to take for the toxic relationship, is to question why do you stay, and let yourself be treated like rubbish by this man. What everyone here is telling you is that there are options.

The reason no one is advising you how you can fix your H and things at home, is because those answers don't exist. If they did the wise MN'ers would be sharing them with you.

scallopsrgreat Mon 30-Sep-13 10:20:15

Without you both working towards the same goal, you trying to make this work alone will destroy you.

You cannot change him. You cannot make this better.

superdry Mon 30-Sep-13 12:10:41

just to reiterate my dcs are not constantly exposed to his behaviour, in fact they have barely seen it, you all seem to be advocating that the only path is to completely change our whole lives, because of a nasty behavioural pattern in a man that occurs approximately 0.001% of the time - as laughable as it may seem, apart from these horrible episodes i like my life, my home, my friends etc

i posted on here because i was feeling crap, if you look at this as the first step before contacting womens aid, i certainly wouldn't expect someone at womens aid to tell me i was as bad as my DC for staying in the situation, i just don't find that kind of 'advice' helpful

one day i may well leave him, in the mean time i'd like to think i can come to places like this for some kind of support so i don't feel quite so alone, i am aware that mumsnetters can be quite militant, but jeez - give the girl a break, i am only human!

BeCool Mon 30-Sep-13 12:23:44

OK superdry - well you know where we are.

Just do reread you OP though - I think his behaviour is affecting you for a lot more than a minute a day:

"no matter how hard i try i just can't seem to communicate effectively with my husband, any issue, even vaguely contentious, ends in a row, he won't engage with me, he won't listen to me, just goes yeah yeah, whatever, which inevitably leads to me trying harder to get him to listen, which eventually leads to him losing his temper, and sometimes threatening with some kind of violence - if i am lucky i get an apology the next day, but his manner doesn't really change as he always claims i provoked him, i won't leave him alone etc etc - the only way we have any kind of peaceful life is if i never complain about anything - anything at all, thereby 'not starting an argument'"

It certainly sounds as though this is taking up much more of your time and life than .001%, or .01% or 1% or even 10%.

Wellwobbly Mon 30-Sep-13 12:25:43

Superdry, I get you smile.

The trouble is, it is hard to wrap your head round the person you have difficulties with, with 'he is abusive, LTB etc etc'.

I have just had a counselling session where I was trying to outline the abuse. The IC interrupted, and gave me the complete key (as to why I still love someone who is 'absive')...

he said: in all the time I have seen you, the word that runs through your story is 'neglect'. Mr Wobbly is not abusive. But he has completely neglected you'.

And that is it. The IC ALSO did not absolve me of my part to play in the disintegrating of the marriage, and Superdry honestly talks about it: adding to the atmosphere of the M with frustrated, negative behaviours.

The trouble is, to Mr Superdry you are trying to talking to him. What does he hear? In the words of chumplady, 'a background drone, rising sometimes to an irritating fucking whine'. [then there is the confrontation].

I don't have the answers. But I think that is where the issue is.

Hissy Mon 30-Sep-13 13:42:22

Superdry, when you are finally free of this awful man, you will look back and understand better what is being said here.

I know it was harsh, and perhaps ill-worded, certainly less than supportive, but saying that the children are suffering and you are thé only one that's standing in the way of that stopping do have some truth, albeit unpalatable.

Babies in thé WOMB are affected by domestic abuse, children sleeping are affected by abuse. I know that's not what any one of us stuck in this awful situation want to hear, but it's true.

The sooner you can find the courage to do what has to be done, the sooner you will see dramatic improvement in your DC wellbeing, and in yours.

We're here for you. Nothing you say will shock us. Truths we say may shock you though. You've been conditioned to accept this ill treatment and don't see how it's perceived with a clear head.

Call WA, you need to speak to as many people as you can about this, and when you're ready, make the only move that will resolve this. To leave him.

He won't ever get better, only worse. Getting over abuse can't be done automatically, you need outside help, and your children will possibly need it too.

So consider this a saving of some kind. The sooner you garner the strength to leave, the less you'll pay in therapy.

Keep posting, please?

scallopsrgreat Mon 30-Sep-13 14:21:06

superdry you aren't as bad as your abusive husband, of course you aren't. And I agree that is a less than helpful comment. You aren't the one doing the abusing. It is his behaviour that is causing the problem.

But this is affecting you more than 0.001% of the time. My immediate advice, if you don't want to ring WA and you aren't in the mindset yet to leave, is to start a diary noting everytime he belittles you; threatens you with violence; everytime you feel you have to change your behaviour to avoid an outburst or to accommodate his needs above yours; is unsupportive or you just feel he isn't working with you but against you.

I suspect it is more than you think and will be enlightening.

This behaviour by him is not acceptable but also is indicative of a deep-rooted problem with him that you cannot solve. You can work around it perhaps to a certain extent but if you want you and your children to be able to flourish he will be actively working against that. Because he is controlling.

There is a pattern and they all follow it.

AgathaF Mon 30-Sep-13 14:28:23

Good advice re a diary from scallops.

Lweji Mon 30-Sep-13 14:39:11

I often say here that it's not the good times that define if a relationship is worth keeping or not.
It's the bad times that are important.
If they are horrible, why stay?

You call them horrible.
The rest of the time, I'd guess you are walking on eggshells to avoid an argument.

I understand that you don't want to leave now, (and think calling you an abuser was OTT and unhelpful) but I'd have a plan on how to do it and make it a real possibility if things don't improve.

At the very least considering leaving will allow you to make an impression on him that his behaviour will lead to the collapse of the marriage if it doesn't improve.

"to reiterate my dcs are not constantly exposed to his behaviour, in fact they have barely seen it, you all seem to be advocating that the only path is to completely change our whole lives, because of a nasty behavioural pattern in a man that occurs approximately 0.001% of the time - as laughable as it may seem, apart from these horrible episodes i like my life, my home, my friends etc"

Denial is indeed a powerful force and you likely feel got at hence your defensive responses. Your anger and pain however, are being directed at the wrong people here.

It is indeed only when you are out of this will you see the full extent of the abuse he has meted out towards you and by turn your children. You do not want to see it currently because it is all far too painful and you cannot face up to the fact that again you chose someone who has turned out to be abusive.

Those so called horrible episodes certainly make up more than 0.001% of your life don't they?.

A diary as scallops suggested is a good idea, he must never find it though.

Would you want your children to have a relationship likes yours is now?.

You cannot answer what you get out of this relationship because you actually get nothing from it.

ageofgrandillusion Mon 30-Sep-13 14:51:44

he has never hit me, but he has pushed me and pushed me out of bed, when he threatens me he shouts right up loud in my face that he wants to smash my face in, that kind of thing really
I'm sorry OP but somebody who is capable of this kind of shit should not be living under the same roof as children. You know that, i know that, anybody with any kind of consideration for the welfare of children should know that. No, you are not as bad as him - of course not. But you have chosen this 'partner.' Your poor kids get no say in the matter.

Lweji Mon 30-Sep-13 14:55:18


I got rid of my exH for similar behaviour.
He didn't hit me, he pushed me against the floor once and he slapped me hard the other time.
No visible bruises.
It was after DS was asleep.

I still called the police and told him to leave the second time. I only regret not having done it the first time. sad

JoinYourPlayfellows Mon 30-Sep-13 15:07:17

"apart from these horrible episodes i like my life, my home, my friends etc"

Well at least you're honest about the real reason you are forcing your children to grow up in an abusive household.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 30-Sep-13 15:13:11

you all seem to be advocating that the only path is to completely change our whole lives

Yes, that is correct. And you are the only one with the power, and the responsibility, to do it.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Mon 30-Sep-13 16:40:20

Your children barely see it because you are doing a good job of tip-toeing round the edges of him. How hard and how tiring that must be for you!

I think it's so unhelpful to accuse you of being as bad as him, but you do have power that you don't currently feel.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Mon 30-Sep-13 16:42:20

... actually I don't believe they don't see it. They may not witness his threats but they will sense his moods and their effect on you. The effort you go to to feel happy enough.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Mon 30-Sep-13 16:46:05

"the only way we have any kind of peaceful life is if i never complain about anything - anything at all, thereby 'not starting an argument' - i can go for weeks like that but inevitably i eventually 'have a go' at him about something or other, and the cycle begins again"

That's what I mean. You are not able to express yourself. And not being able to express yourself means not really being yourself.

I totally appreciate you might be feeling harangued, and I would understand if you went away from here for a while. I wish you very well.

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