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But what if it is the other way round?

(177 Posts)
sufferingtoo Wed 26-Feb-14 10:00:27

Namechanged as my DP knows my username. Long time lurker, occasional poster and definitely don't live under a bridge!

Finally got up the courage to post whilst reading a current thread about anger management and did not want to hijack it.

My current situation is almost exactly the same as the OP in that thread. When my DP gets annoyed or something is not going their way they get consumed with rage - there is no violence - just rage and then an extended period of sniping and comments to belittle me.

Our DC is only 4 and I am worried how this will affect him in the future.

The real sting in the tail is that I am DH and the problem is with DW.

For instance we had a very minor disagreement on Sat night that should have resulted in a 5 min husband/wife row at most.

For me it resulted in the standard intensely angry tirade of abuse about how rubbish I am, how she had wasted her life with me, etc. She literally looked like she is going to explode with anger. Sunday was complete scilence except for continued snide comments, Monday not much better and we almost had a civil conversation last night. I did asked "how am I meant to live like this" and got told "don't! just leave!".

Going on past form she will be nice as pie by this evening or tomorrow morning and it will be like it never happened.

Don't get me wrong - I have my failings (as we all do) but I don't think I deserve this.

The advice on here about taking the DC's and getting a better life is all well and good when aimed at the female partner but what can the father do? My plan seems to be to suck it up, protect my DC from it and get us both through this, while trying to get her to realise what she is doing and hopefully improve the situation.

Before you ask - it does seem she was treated much like this as a child - talks about how her parents always put her down etc.

Any advice on how to manage the situation would be gratefully appreciated.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Wed 26-Feb-14 10:03:21

I'm sorry you are dealing with this.

Has your DP had an counselling to confront the issues from her childhood?

No one should have to be subjected to someone else's anger.

capsium Wed 26-Feb-14 10:06:40

It sounds like her anger stems from stress and frustration.

It does not sound like you want your family to break up.

I think it might be prudent to avoid any criticisms or anything that can be perceived as nit picking for a while. Do not add to the stress. This will mean less arguments. Being kind and helpful will help with her stress.

Yes, you may have to be the stronger person but this is what must be done to maintain a calm environment. Don't think about what you deserve, but be single minded in how to get what you want, a happy family life.

Lots of women have to do this too...

You were very brave posting here so well done to you. it cannot have been easy writing that.

My advice to you would be to get out of this dysfunctional relationship asap and before she does you real physical harm. Its a small step between mental and physical abuse. You are being abused; domestic violence is no respector of persons, class or creed.

I was not really surprised to see that she also saw violence when she was growing up; we after all learn about relationships first and foremost from our parents. She was taught how to verbally be violent, that is all that she knows and she has simply repeated it with you. BTW she would be the same regardless of whom she married.

Your child does not need a woman in his life who purposefully abuses his Dad. You cannot even begin to protect him from his mother's violent outbursts towards you.

Your son is learning about relationships first and foremost from the two of you - what is he learning from you both?.

Re this plan:-
" My plan seems to be to suck it up, protect my DC from it and get us both through this, while trying to get her to realise what she is doing and hopefully improve the situation".

Its a crap plan all round and basically will not work. You need a different tack as of now. You are too close to the situation to be of any real use to her, also she does not want your help.

You cannot protect your son fully from this whilst she is still in the home. You can break the cycle only by getting away from this woman before she completely destroys you and by turn her son.

I would urge you to call Mankind today, this is what they write on their website:-

IF YOU ARE A VICTIM OF DOMESTIC ABUSE OR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, YOU ARE NOT ALONE, WE ARE HERE TO HELP.

NO MATTER WHAT YOUR BACKGROUND, AGE, JOB, RACE OR SEXUALITY, WE ARE HERE TO GIVE ALL THE SUPPORT WE CAN.

One in Six Men will be a Victim of Domestic Abuse in their Lifetime
If you are a Male Victim

YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME

YOU ARE NOT 'WEAK'

YOU ARE NOT ALONE

For many men, calling our helpline is the first step they have made in talking to someone else about the problems they face.

Whether it is information or just emotional support, please call.

01823 334244

Do call them!!!

ClaraFox Wed 26-Feb-14 10:11:04

I'm not sure I agree with capsium. Would a female poster be advised to tip toe around an abuser to keep the peace? I don't think so.

Having said that though, I'm not entirely sure what to suggest. Would she open to a discussion about her behaviour? A frank exchange in which you lay out how you feel and what exactly is causing this? Would she be open to counselling? And what would she say if you told her you wanted to end your relationship?

I'd explore that in the first instance I think

wherethewildthingis Wed 26-Feb-14 10:11:44

So, modify his own behaviour, walk on egg shells and try to appease his abuser? All the while the children continue to be exposed to this. I can't imagine any woman being advised to do this on here.
OP if I were you I would start keeping a diary of her actions, get legal advice and start making plans to get her away from you and your children.

The only level of abuse acceptable within a relationship is NONE. You understand that, NONE.

There is no justification or excuse for violence of any kind.

rainbowsmiles Wed 26-Feb-14 10:13:11

Does she recognise she has a problem?

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Wed 26-Feb-14 10:13:20

Capsicum I cannot help but think your advice would be different if it was a female poster. I have never seen a female poster be advised to 'help' with the stress. The disparity between advice given to men and advise given to women is irritating.

It is not OPs fault his wife blows up at him like this, so why is it up to him to fix it?

Your wife like abusive types do, does the nice and nasty cycle common to abusers very well. But its a continuous cycle.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Wed 26-Feb-14 10:14:21

Sound advice Attila

So capsium
Shut the fuck up.
Be passive.
Do as she wants.
Don't try to be yourself.
Hide all of your feelings.
Don't worry about the impact on the child.
Just do as you are told!!!
Would you give the same advice if the roles were reversed?

Look OP - this is abuse pure and simple.
She belittles you, puts you down constantly, gets angry at the drop of a hat. Shouts and swears.
This is having an impact on your 4 YO for sure.
You cannot and should not live like this.
As she won't listen to you, can you write a letter to her?
As you have explained here.
See how she reacts to that.
You cannot go on like this. Your self-esteem will hit rock bottom soon.
I'm sure someone can advise on a site or organisation for men suffering from DV.
You could also be pro-active and see a solicitor for advice on what your options are.
Is she a SAHM? Is she the primary carer?
Everyone deserves happiness. You only get one life!

I doubt very much that OPs wife realises that she has a problem at all given the fact that she herself grew up within a violent household.

This cannot be fixed (besides which it is not his responsibility to do so), the only way forward is for OP to leave the violent person behind.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 26-Feb-14 10:16:46

My advice is the same as it would be if you were the woman on the receiving end of this behaviour i.e. confront, reject and put yourself and your DC first. AttilaTheMeerkat is quite right. The only acceptable amount of bullying and aggression in a relationship is none.

capsium Wed 26-Feb-14 10:20:02

Looking from the outside in I think it is very difficult to ascertain whether you are being emotionally abused OP. Sometimes people do go through intense periods of stress and are very hard to live with and yet they do recover and there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Yet, for some the situation is much much worse. There is support out there if you need it.

However I have known of situations where people have been happily married for years and yet gone through some very difficult times. It depends how affected you are by it all really, and whether when the pressure is taken away your wife can start to relax and enjoy her life.

Hope all goes well for you.

sufferingtoo Wed 26-Feb-14 10:21:33

Thank you for your thoughts - please don't turn this into a "would you say that to a women" thread.

Unfortunately I was afraid the advice would be like Attila's - I was hoping there could be some middle ground.....

I have all the cliche's - she is a great mum etc. Is there no middle ground?

capsium Wed 26-Feb-14 10:21:53

Attila not everyone one who has seen violence in their life is doomed to be 'damaged goods' for the rest of their lives.

capsium Wed 26-Feb-14 10:26:03

suffering There is middle ground. There is all sorts of help. If your wife is unhappy a lot, sleeping badly etc she may be suffering from depression, which her GP could treat. It may not even be that severe it could just be a bad patch.

try taking the stress away from her shoulders for a time. If that does not work, talk. See whether she feels she is suffering from depression or whether marriage guidance would help you. Also you can see a marriage counsellor by your self to get their advice, if you wish.

fuzzywuzzy Wed 26-Feb-14 10:28:57

Tell someone in authority this is happening ie GP etc, this must be affecting your DC as well?

Do not suck it up, do not spend your life walking on egg shells.

If you want to stay with her she needs serious anger management therapy, which I think would be your GP beingthe first step.

I personally would get legal advice as well you can't leave your child with this woman as she clearly thinks this is normal way to behave and acceptable.

rainbowsmiles Wed 26-Feb-14 10:28:59

Hi sufferingto. The idea that no one else should be subjected to someone else's anger is great but reality is somewhat different.

I was wondering with what kind of regularity this happens. Is it a few times a week or once a month or every other day?

wyrdyBird Wed 26-Feb-14 10:29:00

Sorry to say, sucking it up or trying to manage the situation will get you nowhere. It's likely this behaviour will continue, or worsen. And your son is caught in the middle, witnessing it, and perhaps suffering the same verbal assaults when he gets older and develops a mind of his own.

So it can't just continue like this, with you hoping for the best, or waiting for the tirades to blow over.

When women come to this board they have usually tried everything to help their partner change. It doesn't usually work. But, presumably you have told her that you find these outbursts completely unacceptable, and the relationship will be over if they continue?

Because you do have to assert your boundaries. And you may have to employ the ultimate option, and finish the relationship. For your son's sake at least.

capsium Wed 26-Feb-14 10:30:07

hells That is fighting talk! I'm not completely without any experience in such matters.

Yes, sometimes people have to get out of a situation but you have to get a sense of scale. Some situations are very bad indeed, some less so...

sufferingtoo Wed 26-Feb-14 10:33:43

capsium - I do see whare you are coming from but life is pretty stress free. We have a nice lifestyle, a trouble free DC, I would say I do a fair amount in the house (cook, put loads of washing on etc) considering I work full time.

If I am honest - I hope it can be "solved" by talking to GP etc - but it is the intensity of her anger that really is starting to get to me - she is literally furious at times. It is as if she likes being angry.

NeoFaust Wed 26-Feb-14 10:36:14

My mother treated my dad this way all my childhood and still does today. It's only since being on MN that I've felt comfortable calling it what it is; horrible emotional abuse.

I spent years wishing that my Dad would divorce her, or at least stand up to her, but he never did. When she started mentally and physically attacking my brother and I he couldn't even bring himself to oppose it. We used to wait for him to get home from work, not so that he could protect us, but so that some of the cruelty and viciousness would be divided between three rather than just two.

My brother turned out okay by converting himself into a cold, tough (but charming and ethical) soldier. I'm just a horrible mess. Both of us regard our father with affable contempt and our mother with icy, polite loathing. Thank god we had exceptionally strong female role models outside the home, or I'm sure we'd be appalling misogynists.

I can't say things would be the same in your family or the dynamic is anywhere close, but from what I see it looks that same and you have a lot of pain in your future if you don't stop it right now.

rainbowsmiles Wed 26-Feb-14 10:36:16

And attila there is no mention of violence in his wife's childhood.

There are so many what ifs in this situation. The ability for some to quickly impose their own template on other peoples lives with such scant detail never fails to flabbergast me.

capsium Wed 26-Feb-14 10:37:03

puds My advice would be the same regardless of gender. I am just trying to be sensitive to the difference between emotional outbursts and more violent ones.

Not all who have the former, for a period of time will go on to have the latter. They may just be going through a difficult time, may be suffering from depression or just stress. There is a sense of scale to be ascertained.

capsium Wed 26-Feb-14 10:38:55

suffering X post.

Well if that is the case you need to talk. Marriage guidance and /or GP would be the next step.

Ellboo Wed 26-Feb-14 10:40:28

Of course your decisions about whether to live with this are yours alone. But in terms of your son, and speaking as the (grown up) child of a very volatile (but loving) mother, I would say that my Dad cushioned us a lot from her drama. I always knew that he would be calm and reliable (and still do) if she upset me. I never saw him react to her sharp tongue (other than to leave the room sometimes). I have often wondered how he put up with it, but am glad he did, as we are by-and-large a very hapy family. It has made me and my brothers very sensitive to other people's moods, but that's no bad thing.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 26-Feb-14 10:45:54

I don't mean to be annoying here, but you say the minor disagreement 'should have' resulted ina five minute row at most, but obviously your wife doesn't feel like that - yes, she sounds as though she needs to work on outbursts and anger, but isn't the thing about arguments quite often that small things set them off?

I know we've had disagreements about the merits of cloth v sponge as wiping tool that have ended up as the trigger for huge arguments where resentment about housework merges into resentment about money and then before you know it the whole relationship is suddenly crap... but one person can't really say 'that is a minor thing and should only have resulted in a short argument', whatever their sex.

AlpacaYourThings Wed 26-Feb-14 10:46:01

OP

Do you think she is under a lot of pressure?
Is this normal behaviour for her?
Has she always been like this?

If there was a change in my DP's behaviour I would seek professional help as I know it's not like him and I would be worried for him.

If she has always been like this, is there a chance she will change? Patterns of abuse would show that EA don't change.

There can be middle ground if she wants to change. But she'd need to accept that she has a problem and be proactive in seeking help. How likely do you think that is?

What are your working situations? Is your DW the primary caregiver?

I think there will often be different advice to a primary caregiver experiencing domestic abuse (get out and take the children with you) from that given to someone where the abusive partner is the primary caregiver (where without a clearly documented history of abuse the existing caregiver is likely to secure residence of the child(ren) and the NRP will then be largely at the mercy of the abusive RP over how much contact there is).

Try contacting the Men's Advice Line (0808 801 0327 (line open Mon-Wed 10am-1pm, 2pm-5pm), www.mensadviceline.org.uk, info@mensadviceline.org.uk) or Mankind (01823 334244 (line open Mon-Fri 10am-4pm, Mon-Thu 7-9pm), www.mankind.org.uk).

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 26-Feb-14 10:49:12

The middle ground is to confront and reject the behaviour. In the immortal words of Supernanny... 'it's not assetable (sic)' Getting annoyed with stuff is part of life. Getting annoyed with partners is part of a long term relationship. But the angry outbursts you're describing are very personal, quite extreme, and specifically designed to intimidate, crush and belittle. That's abusive bullying and that's the part you have to confront and reject.

sufferingtoo Wed 26-Feb-14 10:50:06

ellboo - thank you for your post - whilst I appreciate what others are saying and will evaluate my situation every day - I think what you have said will give me the strength to think I may be able to do just that - cushion DC from her - and maintain the by-and-large happy family we have.

rainbowsmiles Wed 26-Feb-14 10:51:59

Sufferingto that is not a solution. Does your wife think she has a problem? She surely can't be happy with this.

sufferingtoo Wed 26-Feb-14 10:58:22

Original - I was meant to do something - I forgot - that caused her 30 seconds inconvienince. I do not know the correct description but feel sure it did not need to cause 40 minutes screaming and 4 days of tension.

Alpaca - I cannot see her as being stressed. SAHM to one school age DS, financially secure, used to work full time and was really stressed then, has friends etc. If I am honest - looking back it has always been like this.

Cogito - I think confront and reject is probably a very good starting point - thank you

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 26-Feb-14 11:01:48

Yeah, forgetting to do stuff is one of those things that, sometimes, can feel like more than it is, iyswim?

One can feel that the forgetting is indicative of not caring, not respecting, not listening... and I think that your deciding how much it should have mattered and how important it is and what she should have felt about it might not help.

Nobody should be shouted at, and it does sound as though there is some potential for Anger Management here - I'm not trying to diminish that.

Sorry capsium it really wasn't fighting talk.
The list is what I think you are suggesting the OP do in this situation.
Not that you should 'shut the fuck up'.
That's not what I meant at all.
Maybe under my first line the 2nd line should have been, so you are suggesting the OP does:-
Etc......
Everyone's opinion is valid here and we all have differing opinions on things.
It's healthy and I honestly didn't mean what I think you thought I meant - if that makes any sense!???

JohnFarleysRuskin Wed 26-Feb-14 11:06:53

I would not put up with this. Sorry.

Have you been able to calmly tell her what she is doing, how she makes you feel? Does she accept that her behavior is horrible? Does she want to change.

If not, then I would make plans to leave.

capsium Wed 26-Feb-14 11:11:10

hells No worries. I do think you are jumping to conclusions though. I am trying to be responsive to the situation as the OP has described it, it is difficult to see exactly what is going on from the outside.

What is happening may not be EA, it could just be a bad patch in the marriage or the result of the wifes's stress or even a medical condition such as depression.

There is a variety of actions that can be taken to tackle these issues and they are issues which are tackled successfully by lots of people everyday.

Burren Wed 26-Feb-14 11:11:26

OP, when I was a financially-secure SAHM to one child in a loving marriage, I was miserable and enraged and exploded regularly at my husband, because, despite an agreement before we conceived our son that we would live where my job was and he would work from home and travel occasionally to be on site for a project, he moved the goalposts when he lost his job and took another while I was on mat leave in a place from which I could not commute to my work.

I hated every second of being an incomeless domestic drone, and the way our lives were suddenly all about his job.

Are you sure your wife is happy with her life? Because the explosion over something minor was me, when is had no power, no professional life, and was frustrated and inwardly furious.

AlpacaYourThings Wed 26-Feb-14 11:22:48

If I am honest - looking back it has always been like this.

Considering this, what do you think is the right thing to do then?

ItIsAnIdeasGame Wed 26-Feb-14 11:32:20

Can you record her when she rants?

newlifeforme Wed 26-Feb-14 11:44:05

You need to confront the behaviour and ensure you wife knows its unacceptable.Like neo my husband grew up in a similar environment.It has impacted him signifantly and now in his 40's he is having counselling (for the last 18 months).He (&I ) have little respect for his dad who failed to protect the children.The repercussions of this behaviour is very damaging and long lasting.

What concerned me is that your wife reacts when 'things not going her way'.If this is the case then when your children grow up and dare to be independent your wife is likely to turn on them.

We have never understood why mother in law was so vile, she alludes to a bad childhood but that does not remove her responsibility.She may have been highly stressed raising children but it still doesn't not excuse the behaviour.MIL and FIL did eventually divorce but the damage was done.

livingzuid Wed 26-Feb-14 11:56:50

She's not a good mother if she is speaking to you like this when you have children. It's horrible as a child to see and hear one parent behaving like this to the other.

What burren said also needs to be taken into consideration. Did she treat you this way before your child arrived? I think you say she was like this before but if was only after the advent of your child then I wondered about PND or something similar.

Even if there is a more clinical explanation, you have a problem with her behaviour therefore there is a problem. If she does not acknowledge this or seek support and counselling to change her reactions then you need to consider the future of your relationship and what message staying with her when she refuses to acknowledge a serious problem as this gives out.

Good luck.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 26-Feb-14 12:22:40

That's not fair on you, four or five days of this, seriously? - an eruption followed by sniping and then sulking silence. Has she been more prone to this since having DS? Is there any pattern to this, by which I mean around the same time every month?

ToffeeOwnsTheSausage Wed 26-Feb-14 12:28:36

Stop worrying about the future and think about the here and now. Your child is already being affected by the way you house is. You need to take steps to change things and if that means separating and taking him with you, or making her leave, then you must. She might be the main "carer" but she is abusive to you and therefore your child.

People looking for reasons for why she gets so full of anger, maybe she is just a bitch and a bully and likes to lord it over her husband. Some people are just awful.

Clouddancer Wed 26-Feb-14 13:17:27

one person can't really say 'that is a minor thing and should only have resulted in a short argument', whatever their sex.

See, I think this is a valid point; it is quite dismissive of your wife's upset. There may well be a massive difference in perspectives here.

I think the exploding and the sulking could be a sign of communication breakdown and deep unhappiness, rather than abuse, but it becomes abusive if perpetuated with no attempt to sort it out.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 26-Feb-14 13:25:39

I think if, after you say, 'DW, I hate it when you're cold with me for days and when you get so angry - it's not fair, and it's not good for DS: can we talk about it? Is there something that's making you unhappy?', she tells you to f off or won't discuss it, or says you deserve it, or something, then it's time to think seriously about next steps.

But I would give that a try first.

JohnFarleysRuskin Wed 26-Feb-14 13:27:28

I think people have a right not to be 'exploded at' in their home. If this is her way of dealing with stress, then she needs to change her way of dealing with it.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 26-Feb-14 13:34:41

Of course, but the fact is some people do shout - I think rather than all this talk of packing bags and leaving and not putting up with it, if there's still some affection and a desire to have a better relationship, it's a good idea to try to talk about what's behind that.

"And attila there is no mention of violence in his wife's childhood"

But there is - perhaps not physical but verbal. She has talked about how her parents put her down. Its corrosive behaviour.

She is doing that very same behaviour to her now H and by turn their child; that's what she learnt about relationships when she was growing up. The only acceptable level of abuse within a relationship is none. That's right OP, none.

People do have stress and do shout but what OP is suffering here at her hands is on a different level altogether. Her reactions are completely OTT.

Your family OP is not a happy one at all is it?. Your house is not a happy home at all. Trying to cover her behaviours up also does you no favours but actually enables this awfulness at home to continue. Where are the consequences for her actions?. You cannot even begin to fully protect your child from her abuse of you; is this really what you want your son to remember about his childhood?.

StupidMistakes Wed 26-Feb-14 13:36:37

I would say try to get her help, there could be underlying issues that need addressing. If she refuses help then honestly I think you need to leave (and I will be flamed for this next sentence) but take your child with you. Let her have contact but until she has dealt with her issues you will need to be primary carer otherwise your child will grow up thinking this is normal and have self esteem issues and other emotional issues possibly including attachments in the future.

You aren't powerless. I am not saying it won't be hard or the road to her recovery will be easy.

Good luck

JohnFarleysRuskin Wed 26-Feb-14 13:41:55

Well, we've all suggested talking as a starting point. Talking, counselling, all that is good, IF she is willing.

"it resulted in the standard intensely angry tirade of abuse about how rubbish I am, how she had wasted her life with me,"

I'm surprised that people are defending this, but there you go.

It is not down to him to try and get her help; why should be take further ownership of her violent temper and outbursts towards him?. He should actively seek help for his own self, this man is already desperately looking for a middle ground here and there may not ultimately be any such thing.

I would like to know if his wife is actually contrite post these verbally abusive episodes towards him or whether she actually accuses him of driving her to do this?. Whatever the root causes there is no justification or excuse acceptable for such verbal violence towards another person regardless of their sex.

The only person he can help here is his own self and he talking to Mankind may well be of considerable benefit to him. Domestic violence is no respecter of persons, class or creed after all.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 26-Feb-14 13:44:06

Who's defended it? defending it would be saying 'well, OP, you do sound rubbish and I think she has wasted her life with you, so she is right to say that'.

Saying that there might be things to think about here is not the same thing. And I do not think it is entirely unproblematic that OP is deciding what she can be cross about and for how long.

"And I do not think it is entirely unproblematic that OP is deciding what she can be cross about and for how long".

Really?. A minor, to his eyes anyway, disagreement ended up in her angry tirade telling him that she has wasted her life and that he is a rubbish husband and the next day entailed more of the same with her saying, "don't! just leave". OP is right - he does not deserve this at all.

Also her behaviour post all this verbal abuse is telling in that she is acting like it never happened and is as nice as pie. Abusers do the nice/nasty cycle very well but it is a continuous one. It will happen again.

capsium Wed 26-Feb-14 13:50:45

Attilla I do think you might be projecting your own experiences onto the OP rather.

Yes, there may be a serious enough problem to have to end the relationship. However lots of people experience temporary problems similar to what the OP has described which are resolved. I know some very successful people who have recovered from a lot.

I think it is only the OP, or someone who knows every one that is involved, to say which is most likely.

Well no actually re myself. But I do know that domestic violence victims are certainly not solely women.

What too if she refuses to discuss anything and keeps yelling at her H?.

OP has also stated that its always been like this as well if he is honest with himself. Whatever the root causes there is a child here to consider apart from both parents.

capsium Wed 26-Feb-14 13:55:24

What too if she refuses to discuss anything and keeps yelling at her H?.

You cross that bridge when you come to it. Just don't panic at this stage.

JohnFarleysRuskin Wed 26-Feb-14 13:55:52

Calling it a 'temporary' response to stress, suggesting he tread on eggshells around her in case it sparks her off, minimizing it, ARE defending it.

It is not defensible to treat someone like this.

If she wants to change, fabulous, they can get help. I really hope she does.

VerlaineChasedRimbauds Wed 26-Feb-14 13:59:01

I recommend calling Mankind too. Calling them won't mean ending your marriage - but it will mean talking to people who understand and have experience in listening to and counselling men who are suffering abuse. The abuse may be not be permanent and the problems may be surmountable - but as described it is completely unacceptable and unhealthy in a relationship.

I know a man who suffered emotional abuse, fury and then physical abuse from his (ex) wife - it was hugely damaging to him AND to his children and his relationship with his children, who couldn't understand how he hadn't done something about it.

Please get some help.

I do not myself think the OP is panicking; like many people in such situations he is conflicted; what does he do for the best for all concerned?. He probably still loves his wife despite everything, it would not surprise me at all if that was indeed the case.

I think the OP is at the end of his rope now actually because he really has no idea of the best way forward both for him and his child. Hence asking here.

VerlaineChasedRimbauds Wed 26-Feb-14 14:01:10

Capsium - it sounds to me as if the OP has well and truly reached that bridge. It's not as if this was a one-off event.

rainbowsmiles Wed 26-Feb-14 14:03:07

Atilla your level of assumption goes beyond reasonable. You cannot assume violence from the information provided.

I think it is telling that the OP has not said whether his wife believes she has a problem.

His claim that he does a lot of washing even though he works full time? And he cooks??? That his wife can't have any stress because basically she has an easy life provided by him. His easy child is no doubt easy due to the hard work of the main care giver.

In explanation for the argument he gives no real detail just that he forgot something. Does he forget things a lot? Is he passive aggressive? Does she behave like this a lot or is it once a month. Does she suffer from pmt. Does she have graves which can be defined by the rages.

The detail is scant. The OP doesn't want to provide any more detail. Okay.

But can we maybe try and rule out all the possible explanations before heading straight to the exit plan.

A question for you OP:-

Does she act in the same ways to people in the outside world or do you solely bear the brunt of her verbal abuse?.

Clouddancer Wed 26-Feb-14 14:06:49

"it resulted in the standard intensely angry tirade of abuse about how rubbish I am, how she had wasted her life with me,"

This sounds like my mother who told me that my father (and therefore having us) had screwed up her life. My father was an alcoholic, but in the end, she stayed with him because she felt she had to. I think the 'Just don't, leave!' comments are revealing. She is saying what she thinks. She is intensely unhappy, it is expressing itself as anger, she doesn't want to be in the marriage. The problem is she is a SAHM, she has no independent income, so she feels utterly trapped. The only way out is if he goes.

Not saying it makes her behaviour better, but the Op probably thinks he is providing a nice home, it is his weekend time off, why is she making a fuss about him forgetting to do X, and she is probably thinking he never listens to me, he doesn't take care of what I ask him to do, I have no life, he gets to go out and do a job and doesn't appreciate me and he says, what are you making such a fuss about etc etc etc and he expects her to forget about it because his life is fine, and she is over-reating anyway, but she can't forget about it because her life is not fine.

I agree that she needs a better way to manage stress, because for as long as she just screams out her anger at the situation, it will not get better, and yes, it is abusive. Of course it may be that she just enjoys telling the OP that he is rubbish and it is fun to be unhappy for four days, but honestly, I think she sounds miserable, and she is making everyone else miserable.

capsium Wed 26-Feb-14 14:07:42

It is not defensible to treat someone like this.

I never said it was. However everybody is fallible and everybody makes mistakes.

I do not myself think the OP is panicking; like many people in such situations he is conflicted; what does he do for the best for all concerned?.

Neither did I and I don't believe he is. However to end a relationship without even considering ways to salvage it, possible causes which can be eliminated, would IMO be panicking. Everything should be explored.

IME people such as the OP's wife should not be 'written off' so easily. This is not aimed at the OP but to posters who, not knowing the exact situation have advised he ends the relationship because she had experienced violence in the family as a child. I speak honestly when I say people can recover from past traumas.

I can only go by the information that has been provided directly by the OP and even he has stated he was expecting counsel like my own.

OPs wife is consumed with rage when things do not go her way.

A minor disagreement escalated into what he describes as a angry tirade of abuse about how rubbish I am, how she had wasted her life with me, etc. She literally looked like she is going to explode with anger. Sunday was complete silence except for continued snide comments, Monday not much better and we almost had a civil conversation last night. I did asked "how am I meant to live like this" and got told "don't! just leave!".

Going on past form she will be nice as pie by this evening or tomorrow morning and it will be like it never happened. This is precisely how abusers operate; they do the nice/nasty cycle very well but it is a continuous cycle.

OP's stated of his wife that it does seem she was treated much like this as a child - talks about how her parents always put her down etc.

How else can this be explained; my counsel was also for OP to call Mankind and talk to them. He can only help his own self ultimately; he is too close to the situation to be of any real use to her.

TwinklySprout Wed 26-Feb-14 14:14:38

The bottom line is whether she acknowledges that there is a problem and is willing to take difficult steps to change. In your shoes, my decision about whether to stay or go would be based on the answer to that. You cannot stop someone with an anger problem being angry. Only they can do that.

JohnFarleysRuskin Wed 26-Feb-14 14:16:22

Twinkly spout says it well.

capsium Wed 26-Feb-14 14:17:54

Attila As I have said people can overcome a lot. Calling Mankind may be useful, it may not. I would not say that you cannot help if you are close to the situation. Being close is what gives you all the information.

Labeling his wife as an 'abuser' is tricky. It suggests that her behaviour will never improve. I do not think you can say this at this stage. All she has done so far is argue, shout and sulk. Something which we all do, occasionally, to a greater or lesser degree. There has been no violence so far, so she does have some degree of self control.

I know EA can be awful also. However it is difficult to say whether this is EA as an outsider. If there has been a cause, such as depression or a change in lifestyle that the wife is deeply unhappy about (taking the role as main carer for example), once this is alleviated the behaviour would improve.

unlucky83 Wed 26-Feb-14 14:18:39

Hmmm - The thing that has jumped out to me is the 'don't - just leave' comment...that makes me think that maybe you aren't as helpful as you think you are? Maybe you need to talk to her and find out more how she feels ...maybe think about couple counseling...
I am not saying she isn't completely in the wrong, has anger problems etc ...is abusive - maybe that is the case - but that rather sounds like she wouldn't miss you being around...which makes me think why?
There is a book called 'wifework' that is worth a read...
My DP infuriates me sometimes. (I'm a SAHM, he's WOHP) I have felt like that it would be easier without him around and I couldn't put my finger on exactly why but small things (like forgetting something that would only inconvenienced me for 30 s) would make my blood boil....reading even a bit of Wifework made me really see why -and we are working on it...
Is she happy being a SAHM? Or would she love to be able to go back to work -but it is difficult because of after school/childcare/covering sickness etc ...(and maybe even being a SAHP has damaged her career prospects). Is she bored and fed up - not enjoying it, got it more or less under control, but would like a break and then you 'help' by doing XYZ 'for her'....
An example- from my DP - is cook. He will cook dinner but actually it is what he wants to eat - not me or the DCs - we would be happy -even happier- with something less fancy ...and he create lots of washing up/mess...Sometimes he cooked so I wash up (marginally prefer this one) - or he might put (randomly throw!) some things in the dishwasher (he seems to think pixies live in there separating and cleaning the individual itemsconfused ) and hand wash up the excess - which he piles up on the draining board until overflowing (things do fall off and break)...and leaves for me to put away...
You see he had the very best of intentions - but he hasn't actually helped! He has done the opposite- it would have been easier and quicker for me to cook a simple meal for the family and tidy up.
Add to that I am then supposed to be grateful for the 'help' (even if not actually said) - and then add in 'I will look after DC for you while you ...' angry
Maybe something like that is going on ...and she doesn't really know how to verbalise it - or pin point the exact annoyance...it is just there... simmering frustration, resentment, anger ...
And I would say the same if it was a DW working out of home and a DH as a SAHP ...

rainbowsmiles Wed 26-Feb-14 14:45:43

I agree unlucky.

My husband would be "helpful" putting washes on, but he would put half a wash on or leave things damp in tumble drier or he'd say he'd done the washing then I'd go out and he'd have left all of the school clothes in the dirty washing but put through some towels. Not helpful.

He is now a thinking washer but we had many a fight over his "helpfulness".

The Op seems pretty dismissive of his wife's role. Anger is a corrosive dangerous emotion within a marriage but sometimes it can be understood.

I think there is more to this dynamic than the simple conclusion she is an abuser. For all we know she has lost it 3 times in the last 5 years.
It's as reasonable an assumption as anything else.

sufferingtoo Wed 26-Feb-14 14:49:25

Thank you all for your thoughts - which have given me loads to think about. I can actually see a lot of the points raised and there is a whole spectrum of causes and effects to consider.

I do need to reflect on my role in this situation and what I have to do to tackle this.

I can understand the whole "it may be minor to you" and the "you may think you help but do you really comments" and that is only really for me to decide. I think I will pluck up the courage to ring Mankind or the like - just to get another prospective.

I lurk here often and had got myself pretty set in my mind that this was EA and that I should leave etc from reading the responses to other threads. I don't know if it is because a man is posting but it is good to read comments that suggest other alternatives that may work and are food for thought.

sufferingtoo Wed 26-Feb-14 14:55:17

Rainbow - sorry could not let that one go.

I am not in any way dismissive of her role - equally as important as mine (I presume you will agree).

For clarity -
wash/dry/fold/put away - that is called doing the washing.

agree on meal/shop if required/prepare/cook/clear up (as you go cos I hate leaving it)/ dishwasher/back in cupboards - that is called cooking dinner.

She does this about once a month (and not I do not think it is hormone related as it is not regular but I am no doctor).

capsium Wed 26-Feb-14 14:55:37

Hope it all goes well for you suffering and you get to the bottom of it. smile

I don't often post on the relationship threads but I would probably have said the same to a woman in your situation.

Bewilderedotcom Wed 26-Feb-14 14:55:48

I've been in exactly the same situation although gender reversed. Can I say it will not get any better and making excuses and trying to understand her is not going to change anything.

This type of rage, which is triggered by nothing (in my case H couldn't find his bank card and said it was my fault as I had 'probably' put something on top of it (I hadn't). 30 minutes (it can be up to 4 hours) raging about my faults, shortcomings and so on followed. I wouldn't mind getting upset about a missing bank card but the personal attacks and name calling (bitch, whore) is what make these type of rages a different matter.

Please understand, it is not about having a short fuse it's something far deeper. It's a belief that they have the right to treat you in this poor way. She may have observed this in her childhood but she may have also have picked up the the belief that she is entitled to treat another person this way. Maybe a bit of genetic programming involved.

There is an element of choice that you can't ignore. She chooses to behave this way because it gives her a sense of empowerment. The more she does it the more she will continue.

If you meet like with like (and somewhere along the line even the most mild mannered person will react with aggression) it will only escalate the situation.

A big danger sign is if she never comes to you and apologises or offers to stop or decrease the rages. It indicates she doesn't accept this is wrong. That is a very bad sign.

I don't know what to advise. Nothing worked for me, ignoring the rages, ignoring him, whatever! Like your P my H was a hard working and reasonable person most of the time. However he would fly into a rage if I brought the subject up of his rages!

It's only if she accepts the behaviour and takes responsibility will things change. Get in touch with the organisations others have listed. Talking things through will get things right in your head.

Looking back I wish I had walked out the minute it started, but I was 3 months pregnant and had just come out of hospital with a threatened miscarriage. I would take bets your P didn't start this behaviour when you were is a position to pack and walk!

apermanentheadache Wed 26-Feb-14 15:04:13

Poor OP. It doesn't sound good. It seems clear to me that, for whatever reason, your relationship has run its course. My SIL had a similar (eerily so) situation to yours. She left and took the kids, and is now transformed. Sometimes you can't see how shit things are until you're out of the situation.

capsium Wed 26-Feb-14 15:06:17

She does this about once a month (and not I do not think it is hormone related as it is not regular but I am no doctor)

There are many medical condition that can affect mood and impulse control, for example diabetes, depression, hypothyroidism, PCOS to name but a few.

Bewilderedotcom Wed 26-Feb-14 15:13:14

Capsicum. I have hypothyroidism and pmt. I also know people with diabetes and PCOS. These conditions can cause mood swings in a few cases and irritability.

They do not cause someone to be emotionally abusive and manipulative. This is clearly the case here. You are making excuses for appalling behaviour.

I get irritable and niggle about the mess in the kitchen. I have never screamed personal, hurtful, threatening abuse at anyone.

You cannot excuse the indefensible. Those conditions you cite do not cause people to become emotional abusers.

capsium Wed 26-Feb-14 15:19:44

I do not think we have enough information to say this constitutes EA though. Bewildered, Attila.

Bewilderedotcom Wed 26-Feb-14 15:23:22

For me it resulted in the standard intensely angry tirade of abuse about how rubbish I am, how she had wasted her life with me, etc. She literally looked like she is going to explode with anger. Sunday was complete scilence except for continued snide comments, Monday not much better and we almost had a civil conversation last night. I did asked "how am I meant to live like this" and got told "don't! just leave!"

Doesn't this constitute enough information? 40 minutes of ranting is NOT normal!

rainbowsmiles Wed 26-Feb-14 15:24:26

If it happens once a month then she should keep a diary and speak to her gp about pmt.

If she is fine the rest of the time and no other issues then pmt sounds possible. There are different levels of pmt.

But even if she does have pmt it doesn't excuse it. It is totally unacceptable. She has to accept she has a problem and seek help. And if it is pmt there is help.

Sounds cyclical if it is once a month. And it doesn't have to be regular as periods can be irregular.

Isetan Wed 26-Feb-14 15:28:14

capsium - Labeling his wife as an 'abuser' is tricky. It suggests that her behaviour will never improve.

How ridiculous, whether OPs wife's behaviour improves is entirely up to her but right now her behaviour is abusive.

unlucky83 - Hmmm - The thing that has jumped out to me is the 'don't - just leave' comment...that makes me think that maybe you aren't as helpful as you think you are?

You know what leaps out at me when I read 'don't - just leave', is that OP's wife does not want to discuss it calmly and without vitriol and if OP doesn't like it he can go.

OP you are not responsible for her behaviour and you can not stop it, if she refuses to address her anger then it won't get better. She has to be the one to seek help and she has to be the one to address whatever is behind her anger, if it was in the power of the abused to change the abuser then the Relationships board would be empty.

Right now you have no idea if your son will be the next focus for her anger but at the very least if he continues growing up with this going on in his home then he will be effected. With all the will in the world you can not cushion/protect him from this, especially if she is his primary carer.

If it was just you then sucking it up would be your prerogative but it isn't just you, there is also a little boy and his childhood at stake.

And for the posters calling this 'a bad patch' or speculating whether depression has triggered this behaviour, it doesn't matter what the cause of her unacceptable behaviour is, the important thing is that it stops.

apermanentheadache Wed 26-Feb-14 15:30:53

It would be unusual for someone with severe PMT to not realise themselves they had a problem and that it was cyclical. It's pretty bloody obvious, surely?? 'aaargh, I'm cross with everyone, why am I so angry?". Period arrives. Mystery solved.

rainbowsmiles Wed 26-Feb-14 15:36:42

Apermanen you would be surprised. Even the OP has said it happens once a month but instantly dismissed pmt.

That's why I wanted to know whether the wife recognised it as a problem. But the OP has so far not confirmed.

OP thought this did constitute EA from what he wrote in his last post but writes also that he has been given much food for thought generally on possible alternatives.

I sincerely hope that OP does call Mankind and talks his situation at home through with them. There is after all also a four year old child in this household.

Bewilderedotcom Wed 26-Feb-14 15:51:58

Ffs! PMT! Give me a break, the OP says it's around once month but not regular calendar wise.

Did this behaviour happen before they lived together and had the DC? I'd bet not because the living together and the DC would not have happened! Unless she miraculously didn't have periods before!

Being irritable and bad tempered does not mean 40 minute rages and personal emotional abuse.

Only an idiot would not recognise the link and do something about it.

Only an idiot would not recognise the link and APOLOGISE and then do something about it. The P appears to have 4 day episodes and then develops total amnesia.

Are we to believe PMT symptoms includes amnesia? Grow up!

Regardless of root causes I still think OPs wife's own childhood has played a role here in how her own view of relationships has been shaped.

The only level of abuse acceptable within a relationship is NONE. I sincerely hope that OP has indeed talked to Mankind today.

LurcioLovesFrankie Wed 26-Feb-14 15:57:15

There's an elephant in the room that no-one has mentioned yet. OP, if you could be guaranteed 50-50 custody after a split, how would you feel about leaving? Is it that you're terrified that given your DP is SAHM and you're the full time WOHP, you'd be very disadvantaged when it came to custody?

It sounds to me like your perception is that your partner's rages are out of proportion to your behaviour, and that you've tried talking to her after the event when things should have been calmer, but your attempts have been met with stonewalling. Now it could be that your perception is wrong, or it could be that your instincts are spot on and this behaviour on her part is really unreasonable. This is one reason why talking to Mankind is such a good idea - you'll be able to talk it through with people who deal with this stuff on a daily basis rather than a bunch of internet randoms. But it does strike me that you might be trying to put up with an untenable situation because you're frightened of losing access to your child, and that's something you need to think through (FWIW I have a friend who was full time - his ex I think was PT rather than SAHM - who got 50-50 custody after the split and the custody seems to be working very well).

apermanentheadache Wed 26-Feb-14 16:01:56

Yes I thought that too, Lurcio.

The charity Families Need Fathers might be helpful in this case.

LurcioLovesFrankie Wed 26-Feb-14 16:09:23

Should add (though with the important disclaimer that I'm just another internet random) that my gut feeling is that your instincts are right on this one. I couldn't live with someone who had 40 minute rages followed by 4 day sulks.

capsium Wed 26-Feb-14 16:10:51

How ridiculous, whether OPs wife's behaviour improves is entirely up to her but right now her behaviour is abusive.

Being abusive and being an abuser is different. It depends whether the behaviour is habitual, labeling that person an abuser in terms of EA, suggests it is.

You really can not can an objective sense of scale from what the OP has said. A lots of people have experienced verbal rows which have resulted in sulking for a few days. It is a common, if undesirable, experience,.

I don't condone bad behaviour but think it is damaging to even suggest things can never improve. People behave badly for all sorts of reasons, medical conditions included. This does not mean they will always behave badly.

rainbowsmiles Wed 26-Feb-14 16:13:29

Think you might find periods come roughly once a month and for many not regularly. The 40 min rage, the refusing to speak for a few days and then the miraculous back to ones old self sounds very like the more severe end of pmt. It may be that things have got worse as she ages this is fairly typical too.

Just because you have no experience of something doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

I'd have thought if there is a chance this could be medical and treatable then surely a good outcome for all.

But as I have said before she needs to accept she has a problem and want to seek help otherwise what choice does the OP have.

A diagnosis of pmt doesn't mean it's all okay. It just provides the why. The OPs wife would still have to change her behaviour.

dollius Wed 26-Feb-14 16:18:48

I am the child in this scenario. My mother dished out horrible emotional abuse to us all, although I was the particular target. She talked like shit to my father in front of us all as well.

At the age of 40, I am still primarily angry with my father for doing nothing to protect me from her rages and I have suffered from dreadful depressive episodes, to the extent that I am now on a very high dose of ADs for life.

Just putting up with it will not get you anywhere - not if you want a meaningful relationship with your children when they have grown up.

HardToAdmitIt Wed 26-Feb-14 16:18:49

I have NC'd for this as I don't want it linking. This was me. I was angry, shouted at the children, blamed my DH for everything and we would regularly have screaming rows. One day he sat down and told me he was leaving unless I sorted it. I went to GP, came off hormonal contraception onto the coil and was prescribed Citalopram for anxiety. We have a long way to go, but the explosive rage has calmed down a lot and we are atarting to talk about things that we couldn't have done before without me getting in a rage. It's horrible to admit, but I couldn't see I needed help. I hope you can work your way through things.

Twinklestein Wed 26-Feb-14 16:20:08

You can have very severe forms of PMT such as Premenstural Dysphoric Disorder and Menstrual Psychosis. My mother used to go completely mad for a week every month. However she was furious the rest of the time, like the OP's wife, so hormones was only part of the story.

My father was, I guess, in the same position as the OP. What to do?
My father chose not stand up to her and to pretend it wasn't happening and keep the family together.

My mother had no real awareness of her own behaviour, or its impact on others. No idea she could or should control it. She just thought she had the right to kick off whenever she felt like it. And when it was over she just forgot about it.

I don't think all people who end up being abusive are intentionally or unrepentantly so. And I feel sure that if my father had taken a tougher line, reflecting her own behaviour back to her, it would have made a big difference.

In the OP's situation I would tell his wife her behaviour is totally unacceptable and that she needs to sort it out or the relationship is over - that he will have to protect himself and his son from her raging. The first step would be psychotherapy and anger management. If she's not willing to acknowledge the problem and work on it, then he just needs to get himself and his son out.

whatdoesittake48 Wed 26-Feb-14 16:21:12

if it was PMT - you would feel remorse for your actions and apologise. I agree that feeling stressed and angry once a month is common and can lead to being crictical and irritable even downright angry. but you do notice what you are doing - it isn't occurring in a vacuum.

She sounds like she justified her actions and does really care what the OP thinks or feels.

fromparistoberlin Wed 26-Feb-14 16:27:38

you need to call her on it, her gender is irellevant OP

dont let fear of splitting up hold you back, it sounds to me like emotional abuse

she could change! but you need to be very brave and call her on it

so sorry OP

and as for the all excusers, PMT? fuck right off, sorry but there is no way people would say that about a man behaving that way

apermanentheadache Wed 26-Feb-14 16:29:17

Menatrual psychosis remains a disputed diagnosis as far as I am aware. PMDD, the jury is still out on. some say it's usually a misdiagnosis for what is actually major depressive disorder. Others have quite convincingly argued that it was in effect invented by the manufacturers of SSRI drugs to create a new licensed application for their drugs.

SanityClause Wed 26-Feb-14 16:35:24

It is absolutely possible for an abuser to stop being abusive.

People with a dysfunctional childhood may go on to become abusive in their adult lives. (I said may!) They may then go on to realise that they are playing out their own childhood abuse in their own families. They may get help, and stop the cycle of abuse.

They have to want to do it for themselves, though.

kentishgirl Wed 26-Feb-14 16:36:26

Hi OP,

All I can share is some personal experience. My exhusband would fly into the most appalling rages. Literally frothing at the mouth. He used to terrify people who witnessed it. He never got violent so I wasn't afraid, but it's impossible to deal with.

We talked about it and he tried some DIY anger management stuff (go for walk, go away and mangle up a metal coat hanger, just get out of my face basically). He accepted it was unreasonable and trusted me, so if I said 'you are overreacting, go and calm down', he would.

He was later diagnosed with bi-polar (not a surprise to me), which may have been a contributing factor to this. But he's also just hot-tempered and there was a lot he learned from his mother's equally hot temper. She never dealt with it as an issue and everyone tiptoed round her all her life (apart from ex, who used to have blazing rows with her instead).

Your wife needs to accept this is not ok behaviour. It is destructive to your relationship, it's abusive to you and your children. She needs to seek some help with it. It's not something you can fix yourself.

drudgewithagrudge Wed 26-Feb-14 16:38:34

I grew up in a household with a mother who was very unhappy with the way her life had turned out and took out all her frustration and anger on my father.

She didn't raise her voice but came out with long monologues about how useless he was and what a miserable life she had. He never said a word in reply and I came to regard him as a weak spineless creature who I despised.

Sometimes I was on the receiving end of her wrath and he never stuck up for me which made me despise him even more.

When I married I began repeating my mother's behaviour with my husband with inevitable results. I had two disastrous marriages because I always picked someone I knew would not fight back. I have now been married 20 years and it could have gone the same way as my husband is a very quiet man who doesn't make a fuss.

I have managed to break this cycle of behaviour and we are happy together.

I feel sorry for my mother being like she was and sorry for my father not being able to stand up to her. If these things aren't sorted out they go on from one generation to another.

Meerka Wed 26-Feb-14 16:38:37

silly questoin and sorry if I missed an answer to it already.

Have you tried actually sitting down and calmly talking about these rows and their viciousness? Saying how each of you feels and how the rows make you both feel? On your side pointing out that they are unliveable-with?

If this can be done calmly, you've taken the first step.

If it can't be done then she needs to work out some way of handling them better because none of you, children included, can handle them.

Does she actually, when she's calm, want to split up? Or is it only when she's angry? Is it possible that that's the only time she can say it? Not sayin'that's the case, just asking, you know.

One problem that hasn't been mentioned yet is that IF things should get to the point that you believe you have to leave, it would mean leaving your darling son there most likely becuase she is the primary caregiver sad You'd need to take legal advice but from the little I know your situation regarding him would not be good. This is one of the areas where, when there's verbal or physical violence, the woman has a dangerously unfair advantage (the husband of a close female relative who was violent physically, verbally and emotionally took legal advice and was told that if he left, their children would almost certainly go to her because she could be very convincingly 'normal'. No one who didn't live with her would believe what she was like).

Seems to me that quietly ringing the number Atilla gave for advice / support, and then trying to sit down and discuss the situation without heat with her are possible steps forward. And if it gets to the end of the road, seeing a solicitor with specific focus on how to handle the situation with the son.

Good luck, suffering

rainbowsmiles Wed 26-Feb-14 16:49:36

Aperman, in the UK it is described as severe pmt rather than pmdd. It is real. It is not an excuse. And it is not a justification. And there is little understanding from other women because they experience a little irritability and think it is the same but it is not.

Mood, rages, anger are not always just emotional disorders.

Twinklestein Wed 26-Feb-14 17:07:06

Menstrual psychosis and PNDD are controversial diagnoses, it's true. But then issues around menstruation in general are quite controversial. Women suffering from bad PMS or conditions such as endometriosis can find themselves treated quite badly by doctors.

A couple of pioneers of work on MP - John Studd, who was professor of obstetrics and gynaecology and Imperial College, and Ian Brockington, formerly professor of psychiatry Birmingham uni, believe it is commonly misdiagnosed as bipolar. Both have found that hormonal treatments produce results that psychoactive drugs do not.

unlucky83 Wed 26-Feb-14 17:57:36

OP - I will apologise for maybe judging you unfairly in the 'helpfulness' stakes... just I remember saying something very similar to DP once during a row - after biting my tongue more than once and telling myself he was actually trying to help and not being able to articulate exactly why (a seemingly small thing) had lit the blue touch paper...
Have you called her on the 'just go'? Does she really want you to leave? Have you talked about it? Would you leave if that was what she wanted - or would she have to go? If you did leave how would she feel?
Does she actually want the relationship to continue?
I think they are really important questions...

Isetan You know what leaps out at me when I read 'don't - just leave', is that OP's wife does not want to discuss it calmly and without vitriol and if OP doesn't like it he can go.
She said that during 'an almost civil conversation' to the question 'how am I meant to live like this'
So the OP's DW doesn't care what the Op feels/thinks....as far as she is concerned the relationship is over? - or that she thinks that it is ok to behave like that and he has to put up with it?
I do see what you mean...but I still think it could be taken two ways...

Agree speak to Mankind...

(rainbow we are working at the moment on the thinking washing too!)

Bewilderedotcom Wed 26-Feb-14 18:09:33

The PMT debate is nothing but a red herring in trying to excuse this abusive woman's behaviour.

Would anyone here seriously believe that a normal reasonable woman would be completely oblivious to the fact that she regularly flies into 40 minute rages where she verbally enviscerates her partner, then snaps and snarls at him in front of her child for 4 days?

Anyone behaving like this does NOT suffer immediate and lasting amnesia. They CHOOSE to condone their behaviour so they can repeat it. A reasonable person, man or woman, would be mortified at their behaviour and seek to discuss and stop it. There is no indication this is happening or has happened, so please let's stop the PMT stupidity.

JohnFarleysRuskin Wed 26-Feb-14 18:42:40

Agree bewildered. I am finding the excuse-making on this thread quite nauseating.

badbaldingballerina123 Wed 26-Feb-14 18:43:59

I'm not going with the pmt idea either . Im fairly confident she's not raging at other people.

Op if your still reading ,why on earth did you sit there and endure a forty minutes character assassination ? I'd have got up and left the room . And the following days snide remarks ? I'd have took the kids out for the day .

capsium Wed 26-Feb-14 18:51:48

Bewildered maybe she is not normal and reasonable because there is something wrong with her. There are medical conditions which affect behaviour, thought processes, lucidity, which if treated, would allow a person to live a relatively normal, happy life.

Perhaps OP's wife is healthy but deeply unhappy, but for a good reason and reacting to this badly. It is impossible to tell.

The thing is you have to excuse people's dysfunctional behaviour at some point. Otherwise all you are left with is anger, the very thing you despise...

sufferingtoo Wed 26-Feb-14 18:55:01

Thanks again for advice - it is helpful. Will respond to points etc tomorrow as I want to sleep on it and digest what has been said.

capsium Wed 26-Feb-14 18:57:16

Of course the children should be sheltered from this. I would take them out too. Depending on the severity if the situation, I might leave with them too.

However demonising their mother is no good either. If she is ill she is ill, if she is just deeply unhappy, there may be a valid reason. It might be possible to correct either situation.

JohnFarleysRuskin Wed 26-Feb-14 19:01:26

Good luck op. you don't have to excuse people's dysfunctional behaviour.

Getting shouted at and abused by your partner is not acceptable.

capsium Wed 26-Feb-14 19:04:40

John you misinterpret me. Excusing is not the same as enabling dysfunctional behaviour. You can excuse the behaviour without enabling it or perpetuating it.

LadySybilVimes Wed 26-Feb-14 19:10:51

OP I was a child in this situation. My dad did what he could to cushion us, but by the time we were teenagers I would lie in bed listening to mum tearing strips off dad and hoping he would just come and get us and walk away. He would have been much happier. He still has to tiptoe around my mum who holds him in nothing but contempt, and both parents still try to moan about the other one to me.
As a parent myself now I have screamed with rage in my childs face when he was about 4. It was the wake up call I needed, and now, with my dh help I am so much more chilled and happy. I knew what I was doing was wrong and changed my behaviour. It wasn't easy, and I had to swallow my pride and apologise more than once.
Unless your dw can accept what she is doing is unacceptable then there is no way forward that doesn't result in her abusing you and later on your son when he starts to stand up to her. As a teenager my mum used to scream that she wished she had never had us, shout she was leaving and drive away in the car. Every time it hurt and I still have trouble accepting that people want to be with me.
Please for the sake of your son do something about this, be that standing up to the abuse or leaving - but please don't just accept it as the status quo.

badbaldingballerina123 Wed 26-Feb-14 19:28:18

Premenstrual psychosis ? Serious illness that causes her to be a bitch , but only to her husband in the privacy of her own home ? I've never heard anything like it . What bollocks.

She's a bully , she's abusive to him and she has no respect for him .l bet his sex life is shit too .

This is what would have happened in my house. The minute she started ranting I'd have got up and left the room . If she followed I'd have gone out. The following day with the shitty comments I'd have demanded an apology, if not I'd have took the kids out for the day .

As for why don't you leave , I'd make it absolutely clear that yes , I could leave and might well do so if things don't change . I don't think it would do her any harm to consider what life would be like as a single parent
parent.

BitOutOfPractice Wed 26-Feb-14 19:34:00

I am also gob smacked by the amount of mealy mouthed apologists for what is clearly abusive behaviour here. There is NO WAY that a woman posting this would have been questioned and doubted like the OP has. Really quite embarrassed on MN's behalf tbh sad

OP I hope you can sort the wheat from the chaff here

I think the most telling posts are from those people whose mothers behaved in a similar way to their fathers, who chose not to respond and "take it". Read those. Your DC are already being affected by this. They will continue to be affected by it as long as it goes on.

Good luck to you OP. I hope you find a way through this

Twinklestein Wed 26-Feb-14 19:36:44

If you read my post more carefully, you would see what I actually said was:

My mother used to go completely mad for a week every month. However she was furious the rest of the time, like the OP's wife, so hormones was only part of the story.

Twinklestein Wed 26-Feb-14 19:37:20

^^That was to baldingballerina123

badbaldingballerina123 Wed 26-Feb-14 19:46:08

Twinkle , I wasn't commenting about your post personally .

capsium Wed 26-Feb-14 19:47:27

I don't think it is being a 'mealy mouthed' apologist to mention the possibility that the OP's wife may be ill or deeply unhappy about something.

Only OP knows for sure the scale of her behaviour and again only from his perspective.

Some members of my family work in the mental health and probation services so do appreciate how serious some illnesses can be and how they can affect behaviour. Also how some situations can be turned around and how very difficult some situations can be for all concerned.

Not saying OP's wife is definitely ill but it is a possibility.

livingzuid Wed 26-Feb-14 19:50:19

It's entirely possible for her behaviour to be caused by illness. There isn't enough info from op to understand exactly what is going on. Is she acknowledging that flying randomly off the handle isn't on, for example? Has she promised to seek help and then nothing?

Realising there is a problem and then dealing with it properly is part of any self management of illness and if she's diagnosed and she refuses treatment then that's very serious. But it could explain this behaviour. Illness is no excuse to be abusive but equally if no one knows what's going on then everyone is suffering and no one is getting the help and support they need.

Or she could just be a bully, not discounting that either. But there isn't enough to get a clearer picture of what's going on. Not for me anyway.

joanofarchitrave Wed 26-Feb-14 19:52:21

I am very glad you are going to ring Mankind.

OP, I am astonished to see two posters suggesting that if you leave, you might 'have to' leave your child with your DP. I would suggest that you get legal advice before you do any such thing. Why on earth would a partner concerned about a person's ability to contol their anger do that??? I would suggest that you stay put with your child and ask HER to leave until she can prove that she's got some help and is not going to behave like this any more. And I would expect some pretty good proof.

I don't think your marriage necessarily has to end but I do think that living like this is not what you or your child should have to do.

Twinklestein Wed 26-Feb-14 19:57:43

No worries balding

LurcioLovesFrankie Wed 26-Feb-14 19:58:01

Joan - if you read back, you will see that what we actually said was that he might be trying to find ways of staying in an untenable relationship because he was frightened that that might be the outcome, and we have tried to reassure him that this is not the automatic outcome, and given resources (Families need fathers was suggested) to check out where he stands. It is (given the fact that something like 9 out of 10 RP are female) a not unreasonable worry, and he does need reassurance and an open discussion of the issue, together with suggestions on how to get shared custody if he goes down the separation route (sorry for talking about you in the 3rd person, OP).

fromparistoberlin Wed 26-Feb-14 20:07:19

It is absolutely possible for an abuser to stop being abusive

i do agree with that that OP.

I think some practical (yet not dramatic actions) are:

call mankind
keep a diary
dont accept behaviour, remove yourself and child when she does it
call her on it
and try to talk to her, if she wont talk, wont accept there is an issue then you need to make some decisions

and if she 100% blames it on you and refuses to engage then she IS abusive in my very humble opinion

apermanentheadache Wed 26-Feb-14 20:07:35

I am completely with the people who think it is ridiculous to excuse this behaviour and attribute it to some mystery medical condition. There may be something medical going on, who knows, but unless it is something like dementia or psychosis you would surely expect some self-awareness and insight on the part of OP's partner.

BitOutOfPractice Wed 26-Feb-14 20:14:13

If a woman had come on here, saying she was being verbally abused on a regular basis, and someone suggested it ws because of some mental or physical health reason they would be howled down and told to stop making excuses for the abuser and that that was not the woman's responsibility but the abuser's. If it is because of some mental or physical health condition, the abuser needs to take responsibility for it and get some help / treatment. The double standards really do these boards a disservice, they really do

FWIW my uncle was verbally and physically abused by his DW for years. Eventually she started on the kids too. It ws because she was a vile abusive person. No excuses. Just that. She scared the bejeezus out of me as a kid. Both of her children (my cousins) still suffered into adulthood as a result of what they suffered and witnessed. OP take heed

Lazyjaney Wed 26-Feb-14 20:17:11

This is an unacceptable situation OP, ignore the apologists here. If the sexes were reversed they'd be telling you to LTB.

However, I suspect walking off with the kids is not an option unless you are very well prepared, so I think you have to lay your plans carefully. See a lawyer, speak to organisations' that help, go on support websites etc.

In the interim see if there is anything you can do in case it is illness/treatable etc, but you must see this as Plan B.

joanofarchitrave Wed 26-Feb-14 20:24:27

Sorry Lurcio, I should have said that I completely agree with what you and Attila wrote. I was thinking of two other posts I believe, but really should have scrolled back to check more closely. Sorry OP.

AtSea1979 Wed 26-Feb-14 20:28:42

Sorry haven't read whole thread but sounds to me like PMT. She needs to get this addressed, keep a diary so you can see if there is a monthly pattern.

rainbowsmiles Wed 26-Feb-14 20:45:10

Nobody is excusing anything.

The OP had not told us whether his wife apologises or recognises her behaviour is wrong. I've said all along this is key.

All I'm saying is it might be pmt. It happens once a month. It comes from nowhere and disappears the same way. She has no reason to feel unhappy or upset at husband. It Is a possibility people.

Even if it turns out she does have pmt it would still be described as abusive behaviour. But at least there may be a way to deal with it.

BitOutOfPractice Wed 26-Feb-14 20:49:28

If there is a medical cause, she needs to address is and stop abusing her husband.

Abusive partners often apologise, beg forgiveness, promise it will never happen again...

And it doesn't disappear. It goes on for days and days. It's just not on

livingzuid Wed 26-Feb-14 21:32:17

I am completely with the people who think it is ridiculous to excuse this behaviour and attribute it to some mystery medical condition. There may be something medical going on, who knows, but unless it is something like dementia or psychosis you would surely expect some self-awareness and insight on the part of OP's partner.*

No one is excusing behaviour. But undiagnosed a mental illness can wreak havoc. Your other part of your statement is also incorrect. There are numerous conditions that have a negative impact on behaviour. You only need to see the mental health board for examples of what people are struggling with.

Sorry op for the derail. It is apparent that you want to try to find a solution. There are some good suggestions here. But if she is sick in some way then she must acknowledge that she needs help and actively get professional support.

If she is a bully then you need to acknowledge you live with an abuser and take steps to protect you and your dc.

For me there is not enough info but clearly you are very unhappy and need to discuss this with her soon. Her reaction will be telling. Either way if she refuses to acknowledge the severity of her behaviour and is dismissive of your concerns then you need to consider what is best for you and your dc. Living with what you have now is not an option.

badbaldingballerina123 Wed 26-Feb-14 21:56:43

I don't agree with the ill thing at all , but there's an eAsy way to test this theory Op.

Next time she's ranting and is on the verge of exploding, go to the bathroom and set the alarm on your phone for ten minutes. Set the tone of the alarm to your usual ring tone. Let the alarm go off mid rant and say it's your friend , parents , or someone else she respects. answer the call briefly. See if she is so ill and out of control that she wants anyone else to hear her ranting.

My ex h was an abusive arsehole and would regularly rant at me , he had no point to make so would do the character assassination . I call it the list. On and on he would go until he had purged himself of his frustration or bad mood . When called on it he would claim he couldn't help it because he was so mad blah blah.

One time he was literally throwing things round the kitchen ranting . As I walked from the kitchen to the living room I passed the front door and knocked loudly on it. A completely calm nice Dh appeared to answer it despite the fact two seconds earlier he was so out of control.

Goes to show.

anapitt Wed 26-Feb-14 22:54:52

I put up with similar shit for 16 years and got out of it last year.I am so ok I can't even tell you . ( I am a woman and shoulder ALL the financial responsibility for the family )

last month a mutual friend said " Mr Anapitt is a jekyl and Hyde"

Just like that it all fell into place. So glad not to be there. it's not ok to be like your wife/ my ex

AmazingJumper Thu 27-Feb-14 00:26:31

The one difference I see in the way people are responding re this being from a man is that there are a lot more people saying about your DW that 'people can change, maybe she's just stressed'.

People hardly ever say that when someone's DH goes off on rages.

Clouddancer Thu 27-Feb-14 07:21:29

The only reason I would say look at the dynamics of the marriage first is that I was in a very unhappy marriage, where latterly I shouted. It was not how I was before and it was the thing which made me think, what is going on here? I learnt to breathe through the flashpoints, stay calm, and then I could respond rationally. I started to recognise the control and the bullying, which was making me unable to breathe.

NOT saying the OP is like my ex. Just that if you are in an abusive relationship, you have three choices, you respond, you submit, or you leave. The dynamics are such that you don't see clearly what is going on, you feel like you are losing your mind.

Extrapolating from that, I could see a situation where the situation is a response to deep unhappiness on her part. This could be ascertained by talking, making changes (maybe a job? maybe he helps more?), going to counselling. Maybe that helps, if it doesn't, then he has time to seek legal advice and think about separation.

I fully accept that women can be abusers, my mother did enormous damage to her dc, incl. me, by similar behaviour to the OPs wife. But my father absolved himself of responsibility by drinking. A lot here depends on what happens next. FWIW, I do think nothing my dad did would have made my mum happy. On the other hand, who defines happy? They are still rocking on in their crazy, dysfunctional marriage 40 odd years later, they just have dc that don't speak much to them.

My only final point, is that I kind of wonder why he is posting on a forum he knows his wife uses. Is he not worried about her reaction if she sees it? I hope they both manage to sort it out one way or the other.

Meerka Thu 27-Feb-14 07:23:35

It's not a bad idea to go to the doctor's just to check out if there is a biological cause or exacerbating factor. At least rule it out.

Then, whether something biological is found or not, it needs sorting for the OP's sake and for his son's sake.

Anythign that can help tackling this behaviour is a good idea.

Hissy Thu 27-Feb-14 07:49:57

Another one here that's so glad you posted sufferingtoo.

I hope it helps you feel less alone. Mankind will help too.

None of any of this is your fault, you have done nothing wrong.

Ultimately you will have to face up to the fact that you do deserve better, and that there literally is no excuse for anyone to mistreat anyone else.

You really do need to consider that living with someone like this is harmful to all exposed to it. I strongly urge you NOT to leave any children behind, as they need normal parents, not abusive ones.

I don't think she'll ever change, nor will she ever seek help, because she is getting what she wants; to roar at and belittle her partner and terrify all those exposed to her outbursts.

The longer the dc stay in this, the greater the chance of them suffering exactly as you are in their adult relationships. Or worse: becoming an abuser like her.

This is the reason I left my ex. My son was happier within days, and is thriving. As am i.

I know hundreds of people who have left situations like yours, and not one of them ever regretted it.

You are the best chance your kids have. Please get them out of this.

Lazyjaney Thu 27-Feb-14 09:12:34

^^
it's much more difficult for men to get kids out of these situations, so OP will need a lot more advice and careful planning than a woman would.

Get thee to a solicitor OP.

Bewilderedotcom Thu 27-Feb-14 09:27:52

OP appears to be doing something very common when living with someone who is intermittently explosively abusive.

That is blocking out these times and living with 'good' times. After all it's 4 days out of 26 that this happens and if you can block those 4 days you can kid yourself (but only for a limited time) that things will change for the better, and after all, it wasn't THAT bad, was it? sad

To live like this saps your self esteem, damages your children and can affect future relationships.

You CANNOT live with this, you CANNOT sort it out on your own. There are only two options. Sort the problem out by getting professional help so that the W understands and stops her abusive behaviour, or leave.

FaceDirectionOfTravel Thu 27-Feb-14 09:31:59

I am interested to read this as I fear that one of my (male) friends is in an abusive marriage. The dynamics are the same as with a male abuser in terms of power, control, being 'allowed' to do things, money, appearances, etc. Awful. But there is not much to be done from the outside except keep inviting him out, try keep in touch (ideally without having to see how W), etc.

Be brave OP. You are a person with rights who deserves respect.

FaceDirectionOfTravel Thu 27-Feb-14 09:35:26

Oh, and I was awful to my husband while I had PTSD, also had an awful childhood etc, but I was very keen to try to get help for myself, could tell things weren't right, wanted to be a better person. When my husband would say, 'Please don't speak to me like that' I knew he was right, I knew I was unwell. Standing up to me was important for my recovery.

FaceDirectionOfTravel Thu 27-Feb-14 09:35:26

Oh, and I was awful to my husband while I had PTSD, also had an awful childhood etc, but I was very keen to try to get help for myself, could tell things weren't right, wanted to be a better person. When my husband would say, 'Please don't speak to me like that' I knew he was right, I knew I was unwell. Standing up to me was important for my recovery.

sufferingtoo Thu 27-Feb-14 09:51:27

Again thanks for the replys and thoughts. Long hard think last night and have decided best way ahead is to:

Start to keep a diary - looking for routines in the anger. I know a lot of you do not think it could be medical but I would never forgive myself if it was and I did not at least look into it.

I definitely think I am going to confront her as well - I personally think writing to her is best - it gives her time to think it through before responding(even if for a few minutes). As suggested I will see what the response is and if she even acknowledges that it is not acceptable.

Finally I will get myself prepared to finally call her on it - the answer to "well leave!" will be "that is what I intend to do".

These things are not resolved in a day and I now need to work through the next stages. Oh and don't worry DC comes first and I would never leave him too suffer!!

Finally there was a comment about posting if DW uses forum. She does not use MN but she does know my normal nick and I did not want to take any chance at all.

rainbowsmiles Thu 27-Feb-14 09:57:09

Sufferingto, regardless of the reason your wife should not be treating you like this. I think a letter is a good idea but please be very clear that you are drawing a line. That the behaviour has to stop.

It really should be her who is bending over backwards to fix things.

I wish you the best of luck.

Meerka Thu 27-Feb-14 10:16:14

suffering you sound a thoughtful and caring man. I really hope some of the feedback here can help.

A very leading question: do you still love her? (don't answer here, just posing the question!)

All the best

I do hope you talked to Mankind yesterday.

Be careful as to the location where this diary is or will be kept; if she finds it then all hell could break loose.

If she rips that letter up then you also have your answer as to what she thinks.

I would personally give myself a set time limit re your wife e.g two months and stick to it. She is not your project to figure out or just as importantly yours to rescue and or save from herself .

BitOutOfPractice Thu 27-Feb-14 10:48:21

Meerka, I asked him the same question and he said he didn't know.

MistressDeeCee Thu 27-Feb-14 10:57:36

OP - I would say sit down and talk clearly and firmly with your DW regarding her behaviour - its a serious issue. If she can't or won't take steps to change her behaviour then you have to contemplate leaving. What this will mean for your son, I don't know..get advice on taking him with you. You will do your son absolutely no favours by remaining in a toxic environment, all the shouting and screaming and boiling rage, the watching and hearing you belittled by his mother, will very probably leave him a nervous wreck and prevent him from functioning normally in relationships when he grows up. Its very probable that he will have zero respect for you in years to come, and that will also blight the father-son relationship. He doesnt deserve that legacy. A parent's job is to protect a child and enable that within a safe environment, not to enable a person who's behaviour is causing acute distress, particularly in the presence of a child. This must be awful to live with. Please seek further advice.

MistressDeeCee Thu 27-Feb-14 11:03:34

Also - if you are thinking of leaving I wouldnt outline plans to her, as yet. Seek full advice 1st. Don't go to her with 'Im Leaving'. Its far better to keep your own counsel, at least for a time. To put it bluntly, you are a man so I think you have to be more careful about these matters

Sneezecakesmum Thu 27-Feb-14 13:21:04

Leave the letter and go out for an hour or two so that she has time to really think things through. If she is explosive and abusive then her instant reaction will be to tear it up in front of you. Otherwise sounds like a good plan.

Sneezecakesmum Thu 27-Feb-14 13:24:31

That should be leave the letter for her to take time to read, not leave the letter!

Talking things through is always good but not with an explosive person. They need time to read through and really think about the affect their behaviour has. Also a letter can be written with care, outlining all the points and being non confrontational.

Hissy Thu 27-Feb-14 13:33:16

writing the letter will help YOU see what the situation is, but it won't make a dent on her behaviour.

sadly.

It may even give her something to hold on to, and point while she twists the words you have written and FURTHER bash you to bits about. Be careful. Write it, and put it to one side for a while, re-read it and really weigh up if you think this could be used as a weapon against you.

She may refuse to read it. Simply because it's important to you and that you'd like her to read it to make your life better. Quite simply, she is invested in the exact opposite.

IF you write the letter, it'd be best off if you actually said, read this, make the changes TODAY, or pack your shit and leave.

I'm of the belief that No Evidence of your complaints against people like this is the best.

There are a gazillion people in the world who WON'T abuse you and your children.

Lundy Bancroft says that it's possible that abusers can change. BUT... ONLY when they have lost EVERYTHING - no support from spouse, no support from friends, family, anyone they know. Then and only then does a sneaking doubt begin to creep into their minds that treating you like shit for their own emotional hard on is perhaps not the best idea.

Even then it's a very slim chance that they don't STILL feel entitled to treat you like shit.

Your children are suffering, you are suffering. You can't do anything at all to make her change, only she can. She WANTS to be like this, or she would have changed the first time you disagreed.

I'm sorry, I know this sounds so defeatist, but until you realise that the ONLY thing you can influence is whether or not you choose to accept this, then you will be banging your head against a brick wall.

LightFromADeadStar Fri 28-Feb-14 18:07:15

OP, not sure you if you are still around, but wanted to say I understand the position you are in. A couple of the posters noted the dilemma peculiar to being the male in these cases, so I wanted to share some thoughts with you about my own situation; I hope it is of some small use.

My wife is a SAHM as was her wish and is the primary caregiver. With respect to the temper tantrums and moods my position is the same, though I should I say I do not receive overt abuse in terms of name calling or belittling. My self-esteem remains intact. However, the snide comments, minimising, denials, forgetting, telling me what I mean during arguments then telling my why that was wrong (!) are emotionally draining to say the least. Arguments never get resolved because she will divert all over the place while I am trying to defend myself against a specific criticism e.g. “Oh , there’s a lot of other stuff, “ “I have had ten years of this,” though these things remain unidentified. I am genuinely open-mouthed at the responses mid-argument as they do not seem to come from any contextual position; it’s like they are beamed into her from alien brain somewhere. She will shut the argument down by saying we clearly can’t communicate and should maybe get divorced. I have reversed this recently, saying that the children are not going to see these arguments anymore, whether it be with us both in the house or one of us out of it.

If there were no DCs, I’d have left years ago. But there are two young DCs (9 & 5), the older one being on the receiving end of this sometimes if he argues back about anything, usually over being made to re-do homework. The big arguments my wife and have are the occasions I am there to intervene (either “you should support me” or “don’t interfere”). I have made it clear that I will support (D)W if DCs need a telling off about something, but I will intervene if she is yelling at them – and this is not short and to the point (not good anyway) - but drags on afterwards restating the same thing again and again mixed in with “after all I do for you,” “you don’t show me any respect.” I can’t express how I feel when I see\hear her mimicking them or using sarcasm. The problem here clearly is that the kids witness the big arguments, but they do see me defending them against unreasonable behaviour and saying this is not how adults should behave.

So, same position as you: do I stay to try and stand between (D)W and them when we have these episodes (not regular – but I am well aware of the cycle having lurked here for sometime and read all the links on the long-running emotional abuse threads); or do I take a chance and leave and go for 50:50 care of the children at the risk of ending up with every other weekend contact? The thought of not being in the same house as my DSs every day and chatting to them and tucking them into bed is mortifying. Worse than that.

Two big episodes in Dec have, I think, pushed me over the threshold now into thinking we should separate and that any time the DCs would have with me in calm environment would be better that than things continuing as they are. It’s still difficult get one’s head around as the kid’s will get told off time to time when I am not there. Thing is, it’s not just the telling off, it’s the warped world-view. FFS.

My thoughts are with you. It’s an utterly horrible position to be in.

unlucky83 Fri 28-Feb-14 21:50:18

light I know this may not be the case - and I hope you can understand where I am coming from -
but actually when I was always annoyed with DP I know I had less patience with my DC...
If you are seething inside and unhappy, you are more likely to overact to another annoyance... and DC can be very annoying...
Maybe a split is for the best, for everyone...
The best eg I can think of is a couple I know a little - the DH was really nice, laid back, cheerful and the DW always seemed bad tempered, miserable...once at a social event she shouted (unreasonably I thought) at one of her DC...I was shock
When I heard they had split I actually thought I am not surprised it must have been awful for him living with her... then the next time I saw her, a few months later, she was like a different person...obviously much much happier and relaxed...and that includes with her DCs too (and she still is).
The split was amicable - from what I know they do have shared childcare, pretty much 50:50 and pretty flexible (he works away) -they actually both seem so much happier.
(And actually you might also gain insight from reading Wifework - or maybe couple counseling?)

savemefromrickets Sat 01-Mar-14 08:26:35

As well as the diary, I would suggest getting some counselling on your own so you have someone independent to talk to and bounce your feelings off.

I found the process less woolly and fluffy than I expected, it was a genuine help to me and I now realise what I am and am not willing to tolerate. I also have more confidence and self-worth.

As for being a male suffering EA, I've seen my DP recover from an ea relationship which ended before we met. His self-confidence was eroded and he had no idea about what was acceptable behaviour in a relationship. Very minor things, which would just be a niggle to most of us, used to cause massive one sides rows. Just a note of warning, the bad behaviour from the ex continued after the breakup and has resulted in some very difficult times for him. Be prepared that breaking up with an abuser, if it comes to that, does not automatically put you in a good place mentally to shrug off their abuse. It takes time to recover to the extent that you can stop being controlled.

Light

I would ask you what you get out of this relationship now, what needs of yours are being met here?.

There are certainly women out there who are violent in all sorts of ways towards men.

In your case I would take a chance and leave; this is misery for all concerned particularly your children who frankly deserve better from their childhoods.

Re this comment:-
"The problem here clearly is that the kids witness the big arguments, but they do see me defending them against unreasonable behaviour and saying this is not how adults should behave".

No they do not, all your children see of their parents is two people arguing and shouting at each other (and perhaps even blaming themselves for their parents problems). At 9 and 5 as well they are not in any way emotionally mature enough to realise that you're actually trying to protect them from their mother's mad outbursts; they just hear noise from the two of you. Also sounds travels so they do not even have to be in the same room to hear it all. Are your children becoming more people pleasing themselves, becoming quiet and responsive to their mother's moods. Look at the myriad of emotional effects this is having on them properly.

You state as well that if it was not for the children you would have left years ago. That is itself damning. You have a choice re your wife; your children do not.

What do you want to teach them about relationships - your wife is certainly teach them a whole bunch of damaging crap and you're also doing your bit too currently.

I would also speak to Mankind in your case as well if you have not done so to date. They can advise you further.

Hissy Sat 01-Mar-14 18:01:00

What worries me most by your situation light is that she already started tearing your ds to pieces.

You really do have to get your dc out of that situation.

Restructure your life to be able to be the primary caregiver. You can't leave them with her.

LightFromADeadStar Mon 03-Mar-14 00:30:26

Unlucky, Atilla & Hissy - thanks for your comments; thoughtful and clear sighted as usual.

You are right in saying any exposure kids have to this type of behaviour is unacceptable and can be immensely damaging, so I have no illusions about that.

Atilla - I appreciate you note the element of risk involved in any decision about leaving because that is the difficult part insofar as acting so the the kids end up in the best and safest situation possible. There is no argument from me that this is a crappy example for them to model adult relationships on as they grow up, so something has to change. Again, I accept that the responsibility to protect them lies with me.

Hissy - you have identified correctly that a complete restructuring of my\our lives would be needed to make this happen and this is where the prevarication has been on my part: these episodes don't happen often; maybe I can make it better, if it happens one more time, then...

- but once is too much isn't it.

That said, I am going to go through counselling process - we have had initial session - spell everything out along with consequences and give it final shot. My partner witnessed much physical and other abuse in her childhood and does not get the significance of the impact of these episodes or even of phrasing and tone of voice on those around her. I know I can't fix her nor is it my job, but if I am going to turn DCs lives upside down, I need to know I have exhausted all other possibilities. The Jekyll\Hyde nature of her behaviour is hard to take because I do see the person I married and was delighted to marry a lot of the time. However, that's neither here nor there when it comes to thinking of the DCs is it.

Thanks for taking time to respond to this.

Sneezecakesmum Mon 03-Mar-14 11:49:28

It IS the Jekyll and Hyde nature of people with this type of behaviour that makes it so difficult to understand what's going on and how to deal with it.

LightFromADeadStar Mon 03-Mar-14 13:46:12

Sneezecakes - very true. If the behaviour was constant, the decision would be easier. Nevertheless, I have a clear plan, so will follow that.

OP, Apologies for late hijack of your thread. Did you write that letter?

Lightfromadeadstar,

You should be aware that joint counselling is NEVER recommended where there is abuse within the relationship. Is the counsellor from a recognised body?. What happened at the initial session; I would think the initial session did not go at all well. There should be no more joint sessions. Apart from anything else, no decent counsellor worth their salt would have ever countenanced seeing the two of you together in the first place.

Again you are falling into the trap that many women in abusive themselves fall into; they want to in their minds still try everything before ending the relationship. This is already over and was over the first time she was violent towards you and by turn the children. I was not at all surprised to see that your wife herself had a violent and abusive childhood; she is basically carrying all that into her adult relationships now. That is what she learnt about relationships first and foremost from her parents. She would have behaved the same regardless of whom she married. The only way this whole sorry situation is going to get better is for both you and the children to be apart from her.

If abusers were nasty all the time no-one would want to be with them at all. Abusers can be nice sometimes but they do the nice/nasty cycle very well and it is a continuous one.

Put you and your children first now because they only get one childhood after all.

Hissy Mon 03-Mar-14 16:13:00

Ooh yes - what Attila said about counselling. that's a HUGE NO, it will tear whatever strength you have from you and give her an ally in your destruction.

once is too much isn't it

(((HUG)))

yes love it is. it really is. I know how hard this is, I have climbed out of a hideous relationship myself and while it's a long haul, it is SO worth it.

Within 3 days I didn't feel quite so awful and within a week my son was showing strong signs of feeling stronger (little fear/stress-based developmental issues he has calmed RIGHT down) Seeing HIS improvement was what kept me going, enabled me to dig deep and ride over the pain, hurt and shame of having 'failed'.

I could see - very quickly - that I wasn't failing my DS.

Let me tell you this. You taking them away from an abuser will NOT turn their lives upside down. It will be the best and kindest thing you can do for them. You will NEVER, ever EVER regret this decision. You will see your girls grow up healthy, with boundaries and in safe, equal partnerships. If they grow up raised by her, they will become mini (and often WORSE) versions of her. That would kill you. I know it would me, and was another point that drove me onwards.

Better parents that live in separate houses than being raised by an abusive parent.

I know that I made the best decision of my life in getting my DS away from his abusive ex. Actually (although he's thousands of miles away) he sounds as if he's actually learned that he has burnt his bridges with me and some of the things he has said lead me to believe that he might have really reevaluated the way he used to think/treat me. I will never, ever EVER give him another chance. i don't need to. I know I can have normal, healthy, happy loving relationships; ones where I don't need to walk on broken glass, or looking over my shoulder for the big bad bully to kick off again.

In his book Why Does He Do That Lundy Bancroft describes the chances of an abuser changing, and STOPPING their abuse of their partners.

The Snowball's chance in Hell is as near as you are going to get to a one sentence answer here.

In order for an abusive person to change, they have to see the cold hard facts. They have to lose everything: family, children, friends, partners everyone anyone connected to them must NOT condone their behaviour in any way shape or form. Only this complete lack of support may prompt them into self-examination.

Doesn't guarantee they will change, most will even then, dismiss ALL of that wealth of negative reaction to their behaviour, tell all of them to FTFO and find other victims to fall for it.

Rather than 'give it one more chance' you need to go in hard, and fast and decisive. Take no prisoners and accept no shit.

THEN you may have a chance in getting her to change, but please don't hold out any hope. Get HER to make the changes to enable her to be considered good enough to occupy your lives.

You can't FIX this. You HAVE to break it all to pieces to have any chance of making anything positive come out of it.

PS - The book I mention above was one of the biggest keys for me to find myself after ending the relationship with DS dad, it really was liberating. I don't know if there is a FEMALE on male abuser version. Mankind might help you here.

Hissy Mon 03-Mar-14 16:13:35

I know how long that was blush I'm sorry for going on so much.

WarmFuzzyFuture Mon 03-Mar-14 21:19:52

Hissy I think yours is a valuable and intelligent contribution.

OP, there is a lot of good advice (and sadly some really hmm viewpoints).

Essentially Attila et al have nailed it.

Deal with the reality of what is going on and the damage it is doing to both you and your DS.

If your DS came home after going to a friend's house and recounted being present during a tirade similar to what you have described in your original post, what would be your thoughts/feelings?

LightFromADeadStar Tue 04-Mar-14 18:43:46

Attila \ Hissy - Many thanks again for your thoughtful responses.

Looking back now after having read lots on this subject on this forum it is disturbing to see the well described script and timescales being played out: the rare odd comment before getting married and the barely noticeable increase in the years after the first child until you reach the point where you are asking yourself “Hang on, how did I get here? How did I marry someone who says thing like that?”

I have read your posts through a few times now and absorbed what you have to say. I will read Lundy for that perspective, though the NPD threads and references have been very enlightening so far. “Causal cruelty” is the phrase that sticks in my mind from the halcyon pages when thinking of little comments thrown in to conversations.

Hissy - brought a tear to my eye reading your post. You have somehow found the strength to get yourself out of an unbearable situation. I understand very well what you say and without in any way wishing to compare my situation with what you have endured recognize much in it. I am going to make arrangements to get some legal advice and take next steps from there.

Thanks for giving your time to share your experiences and guidance. I hope OP reads this and can act in good time, so he doesn’t end up in this mess. I will leave this thread for the OP now and if needed start separate one…thanks.

LightFromADeadStar Tue 04-Mar-14 18:44:49

That should be "Casual cruelty"...

Hissy Tue 04-Mar-14 21:43:12

Light every victim of domestic abuse thinks other people's situations are worse than hours.

You think what I endured was bad, yeah it was in many ways, but my abuser never mistreated my son; only me.

Your situation IS worse than mine was somehow, smd means that she'll destroy your DC directly.

What happens when his teen hormones hit? He doesn't stand a chance, and you know it. Look what she's doneto you, and you were an adult when you met her.

Do what you have to do, putting the emotions to one side, and we'll help you put yourself back together when it's done.

Hissy Tue 04-Mar-14 21:46:59

Mumsnet was the only place I had support in the beginning.

Early thread s that became the Emotional Abuse threads are proof of that.

You're safe here, we'll keep you focused!

Loopytiles Tue 04-Mar-14 22:41:13

Custody of DC will be a problem for OP since he works FT and wife is primary care-giver, unless he changes the status quo in terms of who does the childcare.

Hissy Wed 05-Mar-14 00:04:52

That's what I suggested would have to happen, op and light in fact are seemingly aware of that.

In terms of the abuse here, it's absolutely what should happen.

Hissy Wed 05-Mar-14 00:07:32

Light i'd like to see a thread here either for you personally, or eventually a support thread for men suffering from spousal abuse.

I'll look out for it.

Aussiemum78 Wed 05-Mar-14 05:20:33

Personally next time she says leave, instead of trying to appease her id call her bluff. Leave or ask her to leave. Separate for a period.

She either wants that deep down but is staying for the children, or is using the threat as leverage. Leaving, or planning to us about the only way to find out and stop it.

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