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Help with my behaviour

(57 Posts)
Sneezybell Sun 16-Feb-14 15:19:06

Me and my partner have been together for just over 7 and half years and have two daughters, ever since first daughter came along I've been the worst person to live with.

I'm controlling, abusive and uptight with everything or anyone in the house. I hate the affect it's having on everyone in the household. I've been reading this book to try and help "stop hurting the women you love" and I've enquired about a relationship course and will be going down to speak to them on Tuesday.

I spoke to my partner about this and she said she wants me to start listening to her, start respecting her and engaging in family life.

I am willing to do anything to turn this around, any ideas on where to start?

Lizzabadger Sun 16-Feb-14 15:36:41

Does your partner use Mumsnet per chance?

Sneezybell Sun 16-Feb-14 16:54:23

She's an occasional user and mostly use the chat sections

Bingbongbinglybunglyboo Sun 16-Feb-14 17:01:57

If you are abusive you should offer to leave whilst you sort your shit out. If you love your Wife and children, you should not be making them live with your abusive behaviour.

ImperialBlether Sun 16-Feb-14 17:06:47

Yes, if you love her, you want what's best for her and that involves you living apart from the family and treating them with respect.

Arrange to leave. Seek help for yourself. Accept you may never be forgiven. Don't blame anyone else for your shortcomings.

OxfordBags Sun 16-Feb-14 17:12:35

If you are serious, then as BingBong rightly says above, you need to leave and work VERY hard on yourself, for as long as it takes. Abusive behaviour is very hard to change, however, for several reasons, some being that it might be down to a personality disorder or mental health problem that's virtually impossible to treat with therapy or medication, or that the beliefs and unconscious mental and emotional patterns that created this within you could well be so deeply buried and hardwired into you, that it'll be so, so difficult to remove them. You should actually accept the fact that you should not be in a relationship with your partner ever again, and that you should certainly be single unless intensive therapy results in you genuinely being capable of treating a partner decently. That you have abused her so far is the biggest indicator that you will abuse her again, even after therapy.

You also need to find out about therapy for your OH and your DDs. Having an abusive father is like a training achool for making them future victims of abuse themselves, are you aware of the depth and breadth of the damage you will have caused them? Therapy whilst they are still young might be able to lessen some of the chance that you have turned them into future victims.

Therapy for your OH should be to guarantee that she does not take you back, and to help her claw back some of her self esteem and self worth which you have destroyed. It will hopefully ensure that she will not fall into a pattern of future abusive relationships, after having her boundaries and self worth so destroyed by you.

If you think any of this is excessive, unfair or untrue, then you are not ready to face the truth and have little chance of change.

I think you don't really want to make the changes necessary, I suspect you are posting here as some sort of grand gesture to try to fool your Oh that you "really mean it this time" about change. Grand gestures, of course, being one of the classic traits of an abuser.

Sneezybell Sun 16-Feb-14 19:40:41

Ok, well what would be the best thing to do after that? I know I need to under do my whole upbringing but where do I start?

Logg1e Sun 16-Feb-14 19:42:57

The advice above suggests where to start confused

Monetbyhimself Sun 16-Feb-14 19:44:08

What's your wifes username ?

Davidhasselhoffstoecheese Sun 16-Feb-14 20:48:35

Therapy yes. But also imagine your house is rigged with cameras. Imagine you are being watched constantly, how should you behave in each situation? Step back and think is there another way of seeing things? What can you do differently? Preempt situations, plan ahead. If you suddenly feel angry about something, go for a walk to calm down before you say/do something you regret. If there are triggers to your behaviour, what can you do to change the way you respond? What can you do differently that would help and resolve issues positively?

It is tough when kids are small.

Sneezybell Sun 16-Feb-14 21:31:04

Ok thanks for the advice "Davidhasselhoffstoecheese" some of those things were mentioned in my book I've been reading, but the camera idea is good and something I never thought of.

OxfordBags Sun 16-Feb-14 22:09:23

You undertake intensive psychotherapy, which can take years. You do properly grasp the severity of what you have done to your family, don't you? And how long it will take to change you, which might not even be fully possible? You make it sound as easy and quick as taking a course of antibiotics.

Also, asking for advice on every step and how to take them, etc., is making others responsible for your choices; another classic trait of the abuser.

Walkacrossthesand Mon 17-Feb-14 00:49:49

Surely, if a person is worried that they are abusive, then they probably aren't?! - ie they might be beginning to realise that they are grouchy, a bit self-centred, not easy to live with - and if they are responding positively to ideas like 'imagine a camera is on you, how would you behave' then that implies a willingness to take responsibility and want to change? Maybe I'm being too naive here, but I'd be reeling if I was a person who was in that place in my life and I read the responses above. We don't know age - could be early 20s, still young and 'growing up'. I dunno.

Offred Mon 17-Feb-14 00:52:57

Agree with oxford bags entirely and you shouldn't be posting here if your wife uses MN. Are you hoping she will see this and realise you are sorry? Very manipulative if so.

OxfordBags Mon 17-Feb-14 00:59:16

Walkacross, youth or immaturity are not excuses for abusive behaviour. The majority of males capable of relationships, ie teens onwards, are not abusive. And if youth is an excuse, how come plenty of older, and even elderly men are abusive? Very ignorant and yes, naive comments from you, sorry. Minimisation helps nobody except you feel less discomfited with what's been sakd.

OxfordBags Mon 17-Feb-14 01:02:17

And of course some abusers will realise it. They are probably the ones with a slim chance lf doing something about it, as they have some perception and self-awareness. Again, suggesting that abusers aren't aware of what they are doing is mimimisation.

Also, even if someone did not realise they were being abusive, the end result is the same: an abused partner and damaged children. They are what matter, not the level of awareness the abuser has.

Walkacrossthesand Mon 17-Feb-14 01:04:56

But if the OP hadn't used the word 'abusive' and just said 'controlling and uptight' we'd want more information before judging, surely? And abusers aren't known for putting their hands up and saying 'yes - it's my fault'. That's what I'm questioning - not the demographic of abusiveness. But I sense I'm on my own here, so I'll retreat. Sorry for any offence caused - none intended.

Offred Mon 17-Feb-14 01:11:28

Moot point walk he did and abusers are well known for admitting to abuse in a manipulative way like posting on MN knowing their wife does and hoping she will see and take him back because he is 'so sorry' and changing himself...

wouldbemedic Mon 17-Feb-14 01:11:29

OxfordBags, I'm not for one moment diminishing the gravity of domestic abuse but your approach is unhelpful and laden with very obviously unaddressed issues. The sarcasm is unnecessary. The OP hasn't clutched his heart and staggered about when he described his circumstances, so you have ridiculed him for that. But if he had gone on about his feelings, you would have accused him of manipulation and self-indulgence. Asking for all the advice you can get is not necessarily a 'classic trait of an abuser'; to a less paranoid and embittered mind, it could simply show that he is very, very keen to go about this in an informed way. The relationship course would suggest this too. I might so far as to suggest that this could be an admirable response on the OP'S part - something to be glad about!

My problem isn't with you or with the idea that domestic abuse is very, very serious. It's with your manner and the line you've taken that is purporting to be helpful but in reality seems to be more about dragging the OP over the coals - something that you have no right to do, given that he hasn't wronged you personally or even said anything to indicate that he doesn't take this seriously. Oh, it has probably not even occurred to him that he should leave the family home, especially as his wife has suggested relational ways that he could help her within the context of the relationship. I wonder how pleased she would be if the OP took your hasty, one-size-fits-all advice wholesale and packed his bags tonight.

While there are absolutes that don't vary from one relationship to another, such as the complete unacceptability of domestic abuse, there are different levels of abuse, different meanings around the event given its context in that specific relationship, different choices made by the people who have been abused about how it would most help them to proceed, whether through therapy, from a shared/separate residence, living as a family or not etc.

Your response to the OP's post, given the lack of information given about the issues mentioned in the paragraph above, seems very hasty and raises the possibility that the topic of abuse is a personally loaded issue for you. Until you can let go of that overpowering need to drag the OP over the coals and appoint yourself teacher of all things relating to marital abuse as it relates to children, I suggest that you take a back seat on threads like this. The OP wasn't fighting, yet you turned it into a fight. I doubt it achieved anything. And it's hard to ask for help. Always.

Offred Mon 17-Feb-14 01:13:23

Op said he is abusive, Oxford has given the correct advice about abuse IMO.

Offred Mon 17-Feb-14 01:14:52

The only acceptable level of abuse is none and I wouldn't underestimate the damage of EA either. Once there's been abuse there's no going back IMO. If OP is serious he might be able to improve his behaviour for future relationships but not likely for one with the woman he has already abused.

horsetowater Mon 17-Feb-14 01:25:04

Have you tried 'Mindfulness' training? It might help you. It's a way of thinking about how you react to things and considering why you do things. It could help on a superficial level in that you will be able to adapt your behaviour.

But in order to not live a lie you need to go through proper therapy.

Likelihood you have been 'damaged' through your upbringing (not necessarily anyone's fault) but it happens, and that has altered the way you perceive and respond to things.

You will need to go back in time and delve deep. I'm sure it's possible, I'm sure anything is possible but I am generally an optimist.

In the meantime, there are a few things you can do right now Really think before you speak. Stop for a second and consider what your partner wants you to say or do, then act accordingly. If you're not sure, ask her gently, what she wants. It will probably feel weird and false. The other thing is to give your children with a huge amount of patience. Let them take the lead. Perhaps try a board game or something simple to start with. Count to ten (in your head) before you expect responses from them. Smile a lot, let them speak, listen and 'hang back'. You need to learn to let them all go. It will feel strange.

PleaseNoScar Mon 17-Feb-14 06:31:27

Also: look at where you learned abusive habits (e.g. Your Own father figures, pornography, friends who are twats) and really distance yourself from them. Think about how they have smoothed the road for you to be in your current place and get To the point where you don't want to spend time with them.

Bedtime1 Mon 17-Feb-14 06:40:40

There is also overreacting as well in this. I think sometimes people on here are quick to condemn. He has acknowledged he has a problem. It's not very positive and helpful to say that's it for him for good and banish him to a life on his own with no hope.

Bedtime1 Mon 17-Feb-14 06:47:25

Op- get the help you need and take advice from the professionals.

Acknowledging he is abusive is only the first step. It won't make him stop being abusive, and as such, of course he should leave the family home while he works on his behaviour. It's not a punishment, it's for protection of his wife and children. Isn't it obvious? If the wife were posting we would advise her to live separately from him. Why would he get different advice?

Lweji Mon 17-Feb-14 07:16:50

start listening to her, start respecting her and engaging in family life.

Sounds like a good plan.

You may not want to leave, but she may want you out at any time because of your behaviour.
I bet you are not the same with others, particularly those not dependent on you. In which case, act as if she could kick you out right now, tomorrow, at any time. Make sure you think of her as someone in control of her life.
She may love you too much to kick you out at the moment, or you may be making it difficult for her. But you will lose her sooner or later if you continue with your behaviour.

If you really can't stop, then the best thing you can do for your family is to leave and to let them be happy.
Stop thinking about your own interests and think of them instead.

Bedtime1 Mon 17-Feb-14 07:24:41

Leave the family home might be a good idea but doesn't mean he can't be rehabilitated and make a go of things in the future.

Offred Mon 17-Feb-14 07:34:12

No-one said that bedtime. I specifically said he might be able to change for future relationships but there's not likely to be any going back with a woman you have already abused.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 17-Feb-14 07:40:18

I also think that, whilst it's commendable that you want to change your behaviour, you should step out of your family while you do it. Abusive behaviour cannot be tolerated, they are suffering by having you in their environment behaving the way you do and changing entrenched behavioural habits can be a very long process. Not a course and a book. They deserve to live in a relaxed, happy, calm home... not be on eggshells around you, wondering if the therapy is working or fearful of a relapse. And there will be relapses.

I also think that, if you live apart, you will be more motivated to change behaviour and will have to put in more effort to engage in family life.

Bedtime1 Mon 17-Feb-14 07:57:05

Offered - I disagree. It could be possible. There is a chance . It depends on his wife. If therapy works then who knows. We don't know his background, she might forgive.

Offred Mon 17-Feb-14 08:07:25

It isn't about whether the wife may forgive but about whether she should. How is he going to manage not to fall into old patterns of abuse in their relationship even if he works on himself? How will she manage to not be afraid he will? There will be too much pressure on it for him to actually successfully break free from his past and his patterns of behaviour. It's like a drug addict trying to hang out with their druggy friends whilst trying to give up drugs. He has to break free of the current relationship properly if he has any chance. She needs to heal from his abuse of her and he needs to be by himself while he sees if he can change.

Offred Mon 17-Feb-14 08:10:25

People think they can love addicts and abusers better very often and they are wrong. The addict/abuser has to do all the work on their own. A loving supportive relationship where the past exists still in the present, by way of a connection to and feelings about the behaviour, is not conducive to change.

kotinka Mon 17-Feb-14 08:21:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bedtime1 Mon 17-Feb-14 08:25:25

Is that what therapies for to help with abusive patterns and the past affecting the present and future? It might not work but there must be some people out there who have had positive results.

ImATotJeSuisUneTot Mon 17-Feb-14 08:37:35

Your intentions for posting here, in her space, are obvious - and it's not for advice.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 17-Feb-14 08:42:34

"there must be some people out there who have had positive results."

Of course there are. But it is grossly unfair on others to have to carry on suffering whilst others are in the process of achieving those positive results. The OP frightens his family. He has said he'll reform, go on a course and read a book. Do you honestly think his family have now heaved a sigh of relief at this news, are nicely relaxed and no longer fearful because I don't? They will be tiptoeing around him like he's an unexploded bomb, still suffering from anxiety, waiting for the next outburst.

So whilst being positive he can change if adequately motivated and treated, I think his family deserve to stop living in fear short-term.

kotinka Mon 17-Feb-14 08:45:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Offred Mon 17-Feb-14 08:46:28

Realistically though it isn't going to be the short term though cog. The kind of therapy and change required could take a very very long time. People work for decades on the effects of their childhood sometimes. Not fair to anyone to suggest really that if he just moves out for the short term it might be fine. It is likely to be a long term process and I doubt he could ever go back to his wife because he'd risk falling back into the old dynamic.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 17-Feb-14 08:50:29

For his family to stop living in fear short term the OP has to remove himself. His family can then start to heal. If he can never go back to his wife because his rehabilitation is too slow or too ineffectual, surely that would be a good thing?

Offred Mon 17-Feb-14 08:52:24

Yeah, that'd be a good thing but I'd worry from your post he or his wife might get the idea that staying with his mum for a month or moving into a bedsit short term would solve the whole problem!

Sneezybell Mon 17-Feb-14 08:57:30

Thanks for the replies, I'm in work now but reading though them and will reply when got more time

Offred Mon 17-Feb-14 09:02:06

You could try these perpetrator programs but I have heard others be sceptical about their effectiveness and question whether they just teach abusers to be better at covering up their abuse.

heyday Mon 17-Feb-14 09:19:59

At least you are finally acknowledging these problems and that is good. You say you are abusive and most people have jumped on this to mean physical abuse but I am assuming that you mean you are being verbally abusive which is just as damaging but can be dealt with slightly differently as your family are not in any immediate danger. You could be depressed as you do seem to be displaying symptoms of this. You could also be totally overwhelmed with being a partner and father of 2 young children as there are so many stresses and strains. I think you should sit down with your partner and explain how you are feeling, say sorry, say you want to change. Perhaps she can take some of the pressure of you for a little while so you can step back and try to find a new way forward in your life. You need to take baby steps towards a new future. You should speak to your doctor, ask him to get you some counselling, inquire about medication for depression if he feels that is an option. Make sure you have some relaxing time to yourself. Exercise can be a great stress buster too. I wish you well and truly hope that you can find some answers to your difficulties so that you can lead a happier family life ...for all your sakes.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 17-Feb-14 09:20:47

"staying with his mum for a month "

I don't think anything I wrote made leaving look like a temporary fix.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 17-Feb-14 09:23:20

"Perhaps she can take some of the pressure of you for a little ..."

The OP is 100% of the problem, not 'pressure' from his partner. hmm The OP's partner did not cause this and cannot fix this. The OP has to take responsibility for their own behaviour and, if he is abusive, he cannot just 'say sorry' and it'll be OK. Verbal abuse can be more damaging than physical abuse because it's invisible to others.

PleaseNoScar Mon 17-Feb-14 09:31:31

Perhaps she can take some of the pressure of you for a little while

Are you kidding? Surely he has been heaping pressure on her for years a while and needs to stop doing that.

OxfordBags Mon 17-Feb-14 09:32:53

Wouldbemedic, I find it rather amusing that you angrily insult me and infer things about my own experiences and feelings, yet say I have turned this thread into some sort of fight.

If you could show me one single scrap of evidence that children WON'T be damaged by growing up with an abusive father (his words, dearie, not something I've magicked up), I'd love to see it. Saying children will be adversely affected by an abusive parent isn't wild supposition coming from some personal issues of my own, it's just what's bleeding obvious, and which every study, etc., done on the topic proves.

PleaseNoScar Mon 17-Feb-14 09:33:57

OP can you give some examples of what behaviours you are talking about?
Also, what research have you done to date on finding out the negatives impacts you are having on your wife and on your children.

PleaseNoScar Mon 17-Feb-14 09:34:33

Lastly, what has caused you to want to behave differently?

Keepithidden Mon 17-Feb-14 09:37:15

OP - Can I ask how you knwo your abusive? Is it a case of reading about abusive behaviour and self diagnosing? What kinf of abusive behaviour are you exhibiting and what impact does it have on your family?

I ask because I have previously thought of some of my behaviour as abusive, I consumed vast amounts of literature and could see some of my behaviours in the the Lundy Bancroft tome. I suspect all of us can carry out abusive behaviour to some extent, but the key thing (I understand, and I am no expert) is the sustained pattern of behaviour. I can be quite passive aggressive, I'm crap at conflict management and withdraw. I recognise this now and pull myself up on it regularly, but it is a strategy that served me well when I was younger and single so it is a struggle to change.

I really hope this post isn't seen as minimising, it is certainly not my intent to diminish the harrowing experiences abusive relationships result in, I just wondered whether it was your own realisation of your behaviour that caused you to self diagnose, or whether someone else had pointed it out from an external position (possibly more objectively)?

OxfordBags Mon 17-Feb-14 09:37:41

Also, my advice - get long-term therapy whilst moving out of the family home, accepting that it will take a long time and that the relationship might be over, counselling will be necessary for his partner and children, etc. - is only the same advice he'd get from official, trained sources. I'm just saying it a bit more bluntly, because I'm not legally required to pussyfoot around self-confessed abusers, especially ones who I suspect are only writing here as a grand gesture, or who want tonpay lip service to the idea of true change.

And I presumed the OP is describing EA, not violence.

wouldbemedic Mon 17-Feb-14 11:15:06

oxford, I hope you don't shower real life people with such sarcasm and scorn - it would be abusive. Don't you see? Or don't you want to? It's not about whether the other person 'deserves it' - it's about decent standards of behaviour. Setting an example by treating someone with respect is not pussyfooting and it doesn't mean you can't get the job done. Shaming, aggressive behaviour is a classic sign of abuse. I'll withdraw from the thread now as this isn't helping the OP. OP, get professional help and take their advice. Mumsnet has probably been as helpful as it's going to be in signposting you to rl potential help. Good luck.

Monetbyhimself Mon 17-Feb-14 11:29:58

Am still amazed that people are engaging. This man has invaded a space that his wife uses. There are a thousand other online forums where he could have posted for advice.

Yet he chose to register on the forum his wife uses. And those of you who have made excuses for his behaviour, and who have placed responsibility for it with his wife know NOTHING about the dynamics of domestic abuse.

Creepy, manipulative, classically abusive behaviour to stalk and follow someone online.

OxfordBags Mon 17-Feb-14 11:45:11

Shoulder, meet chip.

OxfordBags Mon 17-Feb-14 11:46:40

(not you, Monet. And you're right about not engaging)

Bingbongbinglybunglyboo Mon 17-Feb-14 11:57:10

Op, have you made plans to move out yet?

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