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my parents don't like the way my DH talks to me & I'm stuck in the middle(46 Posts)
I've been married for over 10 yrs to DH and we have 2 kids. We live hours away from my parents we see about 3 times a year. In the past year or so, I've noticed that they're often cold towards him, and that my mum, especially, can be rather snappy with him.
DH is an intelligent, funny, nice guy. We bicker. Not loads but probably too much for my liking. I've had issues with the way he talks to me which he sometimes acknowledges. But generally it's happy marriage.
I've suspected that my parents don't like the way he can talks down to me - I've told him to be aware of this and not to provoke any bickering in front of them. He agreed.
Last week we stayed with my parents for a week and it was awful. We had a couple of bickers whilst we were there - in front of my parent. I was cross at my DH for this. Anyway, my parents basically ignored DH for the entire stay and when they did talk to him, were short & rude. He's not stupid; he felt it. I was really upset and mentioned it to my sister yesterday who then (with my permission) discussed it with my mum. In a nutshell, both my parents don't like the way DH talks to me and they worry that our DD will learn that this is acceptable.
I haven't spoken directly with my parents about this - I still feel upset that they were so awful last week. I've discussed with with DH and he feels terrible but also angry at my parents. I'm being pathetic but what can I do? Counseling for me & DH? I know I need to talk to my parents but at the mo I'm too upset. What a head fuck.
I think you're angry with the wrong person tbh.
if my DD had been with a man who couldn't even be polite to her in front of her parents for a few days, never mind what goes on behind closed doors, I doubt I could have waited 10 years to show how much his shitty attitude upset me. Why are you so content to let him talk to you like crap? Why can he get away with being such a shit? He doesn't even bother pretending to be nice.
Your DH talks to you like shit and this upsets your parents. I can see why. Your DH doesn't need to get angry with them, he needs to rethink his attitude to you.
He sound horrible. My DH and I can bicker but never in front of our parents.
If Im honest I think your dh has a nerve to be annoyed at your parents being short with him when he was happy to bicker and be short with you in front of them. Its like its ok for him but not for anyone else. I'd be heartbroken if in future years my daughter came to visit (she's onky 8 at the moment) and her husband spoke to her in a disrespectful way.
If you say you have a generally happy marriage then that is your judgement to make, but you've said yourself that you bicker too much for your liking. Are you being honest with yourself about that? Would he agree to counselling or something? If he is generally a decent man surely he doesn't want to be bickering and upsetting you?
Good on your parents.
Perhaps your H should learn to treat you with a little more respect and others will not think he is a shit?
I would also be wary of saying 'don't talk down to me in front of my parents' because it kind of makes it sound like it's not too bad if he does it in private instead.
Why are you angry at your parents?
If they notice then it's worse than you say it is I expect.
Your anger is directed at the wrong person. How woul you feel if they supported your dh In how he treats you?
What do your friends say?
My parents are incredibly gentle and would never even call from one room to another. I can see that they would misjudge a healthy relationship.
Is there any chance that could be the case? Honestly?
I agree with your parents - and he is not setting a good example to your kids is he. Why don't you deserve better?
From what you've said here, sympathies lie with you for putting up with it & your parents for having to see their dd being disrespected certainly not your DH.
Do you feel aggrieved because you think your parents are over reacting? How would you honestly feel to hear your own DD (hypothetical or otherwise) being spoken to that way? Can you give us an example of the sort of thing he says or a typical exchange that might prompt your parents reaction?
Maybe if your husband feels terrible about this he should take it as a wake up call?
How would you feel if your children's partners talked to them like that? That's the litmus test.
I sympathise because I have a similar situation. My parents swear they adore DH but I know they don't and that they dislike the way he speaks to me sometimes and his inability to observe social niceties. However he is profoundly respectful of who I am in other, very important ways, I understand him and I don't give a shit what they think.
I would say however, that you are fuelling the fire by reporting back to your DH what your parents have said. Deal with it between you two.
So its ok for your h to speak to you like shit in private but not in front of your parents???
How the hell does that work?
I really feel for your parents, they ought to say that they don't want him to visit at all, might be the kick up the arse that you desperately need!
It's not your parents who are being awful.
Your parents are looking out for you and are right to be concerned that your children will learn pick up bad habits- rightly so.
Tell you DH to stop talking down to you and pick him up in it every time he does it.
My SIL's DH is like this and always has been. When SIL doesn't know how to do something: "God its EASY! Christ, X, you're being so STUPID!" "Ah FFS X, could you not even have sorted it? I suppose I have to do it for you AGAIN"
She doesn't even notice, I think. Sometimes she answers him back a bit, sometime she doesn't. But we all notice. A lot.
My Dh hates him. We spent last Christmas with the whole family and DH wanted to hit his BIL on Christmas Day cos BIL was snapping constantly at SIL cos the kids were over-excited and acting up. He bit his tongue at his BIL, but was fuming and basically politely ignores him now. As do I.
The couple have been together for about 13 years and they've always been like this but somehow its worse when you realise they're not kids anymore - they're in their thirties now and he needs to grow the hell up. And now they have small kids who are listening in to everything.
If you asked either BIL or SIL about their marriage they would say they were very close and very happy. He is not a bad man, far from it. He has always been very good hearted deep down.
But he is a bit of a cock, no two ways around it. They have two boys and yes I do worry that they are gonna morph into Dad. I dread the teenage years "Mum, you're so STUPID!"
I don't think OP has said he speaks to her like shit has she? She said he talks down to her. Sometimes DH does this, I get angry, we have a row, resolve issues, life goes on, etc. Not everyone is married to an affable chap lifted from an itv sitcom. DH is not capable of moderating his behaviour in front of my parents and in fact, my DM's faffing and wittering puts him in such a bad mood it makes everything worse.
You have all given me lots to think about. I'm not being completely honest with myself. Dh is a decent bloke but there are things about him I don't like. I guess I feel judged by my parents on this which I don't like - this is my second marriage. DH #1 was a complete knob and my parents hated him.
Sounds like you need to renegotiate your relationship with dh. Seems there's not a lot of respect for you.
What do you mean by "bickering"? To me it means two children who just can't let the other have the last word so they keep having digs.
They're not judging you. They love you and it hurts them to see you being mistreated. If he treats you like shit you are not in a happy marriage, you're in a comfortable for him one. Please don't side with your husband here. I know which side wants the best for you.
If it's a regular occur acne between you at home, you have normalised it. Your parents are probably concerned that if he speaks to you like that in front of them, how bad is it at home.......
I wonder what you mean by bickering too - to me that means two people having trivial disagreements, something that is annoying and petty but goes both ways. But it sounds like you are saying "bickering" when you mean "DH talking to you like shit"?
What does he actually say? Can you give examples? Sorry if I missed this.
Would your parents like anyone you married or is it just a coincidence they didn't like first H either?
I agree with Wheeler. We can all be short and irritated with our partners sometimes, but showing it consistently in front of others shows that you don't think there's really anything wrong with it, which is concerning.
I also think you are misdirecting your feelings.
He 'talks down to you', your parents are worried about you...and you're angry with THEM?
If he is such a great guy, maybe he should acknowledge that he talks to you in a way that makes the people who raised you and love you worried - about you and your daughter - and address that?
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I witnessed it with my 'lovely' stepdad. He was capable of being (or seeming to be) really kind and loving to my mum, but couldn't help patronising her in conversations and snipping at her all the time about stupid, petty things like how she had loaded the dishwasher wrong or forgotten to turn a light off in a room or some other petty shit.
It was deeply uncomfortable and, over the years, became unbearable. I ended up despising him. Thank fuck she eventually saw the light.
I agree with everyone else; you are angry with the wrong people.
"We bicker. Not loads but probably too much for my liking. I've had issues with the way he talks to me which he sometimes acknowledges."
You and your parents both have issues with the way he talks to you. You say he 'sometimes' acknowledges this. So that means that he won't acknowledge it at other times? That's something to ponder.
"I've suspected that my parents don't like the way he can talks down to me - I've told him to be aware of this and not to provoke any bickering in front of them. He agreed. Last week we stayed with my parents for a week and it was awful. We had a couple of bickers whilst we were there - in front of my parent"
So even forewarned, and agreeing to a particular behaviour, he can't manage to stop being a dick for a few days? And I won't even comment on the implication that you'd put up with this as long as nobody else witnessed it.
Mummyisamonster, reading your OP the picture of the frog sitting in a pan of heating water sprang to mind. I expect this talking down to you was only occassional at first, but has increased gradually, like the pan of water. You've not noticed the increase and are still sitting there, getting cooked/damaged by the increase. You have become so used to his talking down to you that it has become background noise. You said you only see your parents a few times a year, so I have to say that they are seeing it for what it is - a husband being constantly nasty to his wife, and his wife is their beloved daughter.
" I guess I feel judged by my parents on this which I don't like"
They're not judging YOU. They're judging HIM. And finding him somewhat lacking.
Bottom line, you are raising two children in an atmosphere of bickering and disrespect. This is the 'normality' that you and your husband are modelling to them, and that they will take into their own relationships in their future lives. Is that what you want for them? And if not, how do you think you can change things so that you and your husband start modelling healthier behaviour to your children?
It's funny, Mummyis, my husband and I are quarrelling around this very issue.
You haven't given examples so I don't know if you and your husband are actually "bickering," that sort of low-level mutual grizzling some couples do without realising--or whether it's a situation where he's always having a go at you and you feel you have to explain/defending yourself.
My husband's brother is an absolute pig to his wife. Gibbering insults at her all day long. She tries sometimes to defend herself and every so often will come out with something like, "Please don't correct my grammar." But still. So fucking grim to be around. And by sitting there silently I feel like I'm colluding somehow. So I avoid their company altogether. I don't know her well enough to sort of take her aside and talk with her.
I get wound up at my husband once because he referred to them "bickering." Yeah no.
iwillyeah I could have written your post except sadly, my dear mum hasn't yet seen the light or if she has won't admit to it.
I despised him too yet everyone else thought he was a "good guy" because he was gregarious and the life and soul when it suited him but behind closed doors his petty sniping and insidious put downs were not lost on me.
OP I agree with everyone else that your anger should not be directed towards your parents but I get it that you feel your judgment is in question as your previous relationship didn't work out. Sounds like you are minimising his behaviour to you, if its so obvious that others are picking up on it I dread to think what he gets away with when they aren't around.
Try imagining how you'd feel if your dd's DH spoke to her as your DH does to you. That's how your parents feel.
What sort of things does he say to you? Sorry but it must be pretty bad for your parents to blank him for it.
I can see why you might take this as a criticism on you and your choice of men, but I think that will be unhelpful to you in the long run. It sounds like your parents want you to be happy, and to have someone who treats you right. I honestly think that they are looking out for you here - they are giving your other half a clear message that they way he treats you - that he treated you IN FRONT OF THEM - is unacceptable.
In all honesty I think that should be a bit of a wake up call to you. Good luck. xxx
Talking down to anyone especially in front of people is disrespectful and humiliating and not normal behaviour. I just don't see how it can ever be explained as anything else
It's normal to want to feel adequate before parents, also a confident adult child acknowleges that not everyone including parents will approve their choices and has no need to explain themselves. How is your relationship with your parents?
DH and I 'bicker' sometimes when with his DPs (we don't normally). His DM did everything for her sons, so I always feel on edge when they are staying with us (I don't normally do the cooking and she is a bit when DH cooks) and am irritated when we stay with them if DH reverts to teenage loafing around. If your relationship with your DH is otherwise good, you may both be reacting to tension during your visits especially if your DPs were wary of your second DH at the beginning and visits are infrequent.
OP what your parents have done is show t heir love for you. You can see from many of the examples here that people often say nothing in these situations. They let someone tgey love be abused verbally in front of them.
we all need to speak up and let the victim know it is noticed, that they are not imagining it and the abuser then knows they are not being tolerated.
These things don't change until it is recognised as wrong. As we see with the op. She is only now realising how her relationship looks to others and admitting how it feels to her.
And it's not you who is being criticised either here or by your parents.
As someone else said it is like that horrible analogy of a frog being boiled.
The problem is your husband, not your parents
It is very hard watching your adult DD being treated badly.
My STBX Son in law talked to my DD like this and I wanted to punch him. How DARE he talk to my wonderful DD like that!
I chose to keep quiet letting her deal with it. MY DD has now left him and loves her new life with the DCs away from the man who constantly belittled her.
I stayed on civil terms with him knowing that he is the father of my DGC and we will both need each others cooperation with childcare.
Best wishes to you.
Not loads but probably too much for my liking. I've had issues with the way he talks to me which he sometimes acknowledges.
This is what matters.
It's not bickering if it's one sided. You may feel it's a two way because you respond to it, but who starts it, and how does he talk to you?
You have got desensitised to it to some extent, and are putting up with it, really. Your parents are right to be angry with him and so should you. They are also right that it is giving a bad example to your DD.
I think you need to stand your ground with him that you deserve respect from him. You should be prepared to leave if he doesn't. ATM he senses you are reluctant to walk out and feels entitled to treat you as he pleases, just as long as he doesn't push the boat too much.
I agree with everyone else. Your dh is the problem.
I was in an abusive relationship and as others have said you minimise to the extent you don't realise how bad it is. You feel embarrassed and don't want to see it as bad as it is so you make out its just bikering but it's not.
Your parents are trying to wave you a red flag.
botanicabababy I am still living that life with my 'stepfather' - ie my mum's lamentable choice of husband. My mum forces me to collude, too. I am not allowed to let on to the village how unutterably vile and emotionally abusive to her he is in private. She doesn't realise how often his mask slips and half the village know he is a pig to her, but don't say anything out of politeness.
It is shit, OP, it has really ground my mum down over the years and enrages me and makes me feel powerless - if I say nothing I am colluding, if I challenge him she will suffer later.
Sort your marriage or it will seep poison into everything, including your children's lives.
Oh and my 'stepfather' can be lovely, & then my mum acts like everything is fine. Except it isn't, & neither is your marriage from the sounds of things.
My DH does this, he gets his knickers in a twist and snips at me, talks to me as though I am a child and can be a bugger. It makes things very uncomfortable if we're with family. I put him in his place and will say loudly (even in front of his DM) 'oh just go and bully someone else, I'm not interested - leave me alone'. He will back down and apologise, and it has vastly improved over the years, but unfortunately, my DM is sometimes frosty towards him. I don't blame her.
As PPs have said, I absolutely do not want my DCs to believe that this is an acceptable way to speak to your partner, or anyone. I am always mindful of this.
Your DH needs to c
*control himself, especially in front of your family.
Good luck OP.
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