to tell my friend to think carefully?(14 Posts)
My friend, mum of two toddler DC, told me today that she's finding things stressful at home. I didn't think much of it, lots of people have stressful times and with two small ones etc. She then mentioned that in the last year her DH has kicked a hole in a door, dented a metal bin with a kick and thrown one of her DC's plastic forks in anger, either because of her or the DC.
She has admitted to being very pass remarkable and has tried to lay off on snippy comments but she said discipline is very often shouting loudly at DC, at which they often lash out, followed by storming off and silence (to her). She said it's stressful but didn't seem to think it was remarkable. Am I right in thinking it sounds like he is overly stressed/angry? When she tries to follow up with a discussion he refuses to talk about it.
Her dh's discipline I mean. Also it was her 'fault' fork was thrown because she sighed when he shouted at her ds3-she said she sighed with the stress of it but he wasn't happy.
It sounds like he is having trouble controlling his anger which I would imagine is only going to get worse as he is allowed to do so unchallenged. I would be worried in her shoes, and in yours I would be providing her with a listening ear and offering to help her to find a way to talk to him about it, making it quite clear that it is unacceptable and needs to be addressed.
Give her the number for Womems Aid and let her know she can always come to you if needs to get out with the DC quickly. Not much more you can do than that really.
She has tried to talk to him but he is not interested/able to. She had no fears for their safety but was mostly concerned about what her DC are seeing and hearing. I know her dh to be a good guy and very involved dad.I hhave told her of course that I am here but she's not nearby in terms of practical help-she was just visiting today.
If he's punched a hole in a door that's beyond normal levels of anger
Yes that and the bin are things that happened when he was alone downstairs following something that happened upstairs. She is quite softly spoken herself so can imagine her bristling at every raised voice and feeling very stressed.
If she won't do it for herself, will she deal with it for the children's sake? She has no fears for their safety, but presumably she wouldn't have expected him to behave like this at all when they first got together, so she needs to recognise the pattern of escalation.
Good point re escalation. She did say that a freak out of his that would have been a big deal and after which he apologised profusely has now become a regular enough thing that is not even discussed.
So she realises that there is no chance that this will go away by itself? And that he is gradually ramping up his angry outbursts, whether that's because he is finding it harder and harder to control himself or because it is getting the desired results without him having to suffer any repercussions? Because I can't really see how else it's going to go - she is allowing him to carry on, with it, so he has no incentive to change unless he suddenly decides he isn't happy with the way he is acting.
She can't be there all the time - presumably he spends some time on his own with the children, so what is to stop him from venting his anger at or near them? What will protect them from seeing his reactions as normal and acting them out themselves? How will she feel the day one of her children is punished at school for treating someone the way they are treated by their father?
She isn't doing him, her or her children any favours by ignoring this - at the moment, there is a chance for them to save their relationship by acknowledging the problem and addressing it. If he snaps and hits her or one of the children, then that will be it - there will be no going back.
He spends quite a lot of time on his own with them. . You are right, I will encourage her to try talking to him again-yesterday she didn't want to engage at all-is it anger management he'd be looking for? She feels strongly that his father was similar to him when he was growing up.
PS don't think there any desired results-seems like it's lack of control.
I think getting him to admit that there's a problem is the first step - if he is willing to acknowledge that their current set-up isn't healthy, then they can decide together whether they think that family therapy, anger management or even something a bit less direct might help. Unless he is willing to engage and accept that they cannot go on like this, then the cycle started by his father (and possible his father, and fathers going back generations on his side) will continue.
Update is he agreed the dc are going to learn from him and that it's important he stays calm but she says he very much downplayed and left the room. . Think she needs to be more insistent. Thanks dojo for feedback.
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