dilemma about DH and the rest of my life(78 Posts)
So, DH is and always has been verbally abusive, aggressive and angry all the time. He is also quite lazy and selfish. He has poor impulse control. I suspect some form of adhd, personality disorder and childhood trauma. We have been married a long time and have DC. Everyone will no doubt tell me to LTB which I am feeling that I want to do. After having kept the family unit together for so long, I just don't know if I can go on any more. My love for him is almost depleted, as I feel so victimised and alone. He doesn't do much to help with house and kids and moans about anything he does do. He is constantly bickering with me and older DS, is grumpy and miserable. The tension is awful.
We had a big row recently after he lost his temper with teen DS and shouted and swore at him in a fit of rage, making toddler DS very scared. I feel I have done a crap job at protecting DC from this. We talked about him leaving but no decision was made. He was not in a good place mentally after this convo.
Anyway, DH agreed to go to gp and was referred to anger management therapy. The course will last several months and he is willing to try it.
My dilemma is, should I act on my feelings now and suggest we separate, but that would risk him chucking in the therapy before it has begun because he won't see the point. He needs to go to it to sort out his head, and to be a better person and father, regardless of whether we are still together. I worry about him having unsupervised access to little DS if he doesn't get his anger under control.
Even if he can get through his mental issues and anger problems with therapy, my head tells me he will still be lazy and selfish. I feel like a single parent a lot of the time, so know I could cope without him. I do still love him, just not the same way.
Tricky. I would suggest separating now because if you don't he may feel he's still got you as his safety blanket. I also think that, reading your post, you are ready for this break and that it would be a backwards, retrograde step if you don't follow through.
I'm sorry you're going through this.
It would be a good idea to separate while he sorts his issues out (if he can) otherwise things will carry on.
Your children will start to replicate their father and be angry abusive men or they will become anxious and withdrawn. Either way not good.
What's the financial situation?
Sounds horrible for you!
What's important to you? What would you want written in your eulogy?
That you stayed regardless of the abuse... Or you were brave, struck out and made t je best of your life with your kids..
Life is just too short!
Me personally, as much as I'd want to leave for my own sake, if you truly believe it will make him a better father and if you believe he will not attend the therapy if you separate, then I would would stay until the therapy is done.
But I would separate myself from him as much as I could in the meantime. I mean, 'mentally' leave him, get used to the idea of separating, plan finances, do more things independently from him, take the children out as much as you can, build your own separate life, and so on.
I would definitely leave once the therapy is done. That way, you can say you gave him every chance to be a good father and it might give you a bit more peace of mind with sharing the parenting once you do separate. It doesn't mean you have to stick around and be his wife after the therapy is done.
liongirl I think this has already happened. DS1 is very withdrawn and when I asked him how he feels when dad shouts at him like that, he shrugged and said he was used to it. Broke my heart. DS2 already mimics DH behaviour, pointing and shouting, and screwing up his face, and has started hitting me (not that DH has done that). Nature or nurture I don't know.
As long as your family are physically safe then I think you should give your husband the support he needs throughout the therapy. He has agreed to it so that's a very positive step. The mental damage on your DS may or may not be reversible - hard to say as most teenagers go through anxious times.
Perhaps as Fiona sugests stay in the short term but mentally check out.
Good luck to you and to him.
I would be separating and telling him that he must continue with the therapy so that he can have a relationship with the DC going forwards.
He really doesn't sound like a good, loving dh and anger management isn't going to make him into one. If he really, really wants to change then who knows? But for now I'd say you've given enough and should concentrate on the well being and happiness of your DC and yourself.
I agree with Fiona, it's been going on so long anyway that I'd want to make sure he'd done the course and then split, because your DH is still going to have access when you split, so he needs to be a better parent for their sakes.
How old are your DC? (approx so as not to out yourself)
I would leave now. YY your DCs have already had to live in this environment but I wouldn't prolong that if you don't have to. Also on a practical level, if he completes the therapy and then you leave, it's creating a new crisis point. If you leave whilst he is attending therapy then therapy may be able to help him deal with his anger about the split and to see where he is responsible.
At least there is some documentation about his referral and his anger issues so you will have some paperwork to support your concerns concerning future contact and how it is managed.
Did you go with him to see the doctor about his anger? Because anger management isn't usually recommended for domestic violence cases. The same with couples counselling.
The OP said he 'shouted and swore' so the GP may not have considered it a DV case. The only person I know who was referred for anger management counselling presented to the GP in a similar way and was referred.
You are staying with him because of your shared history. ask yourself, if you were single and you met him today would you go out with him? marry him? If the answer is no then you should leave.
your children have been affected by this and will continue to be the longer you stay. They have had years of close up abuse and whilst you might have had other experiences in your life they haven't. they have had a lifetime of it.
at the point where someone says they are worried about leaving a child with its father then sorry but for me that is the line that has been crossed.
this is his anger. this is his laziness. this is his selfishness and not yours.
all the time you stay with him you step into an enabling role. he behaves like this still because you are enabling him to do it. he knows you are always there to pick up the pieces, run the house, do everything etc.
it is hard but move on. really for the sake of your kids.
For god's sake, leave and protect your kids. You aren't responsible for his actions. He can chose to complete or not complete therapy himself. It won't work anyway unless he's committed.
The difficulty is that if you stay whilst he does the anger management therapy and then leave anyway, he may forget everything he's learnt or decide it was all pointless and abandon it.
shouting at kids seems to be a normal thing to do - there are loads of threads on here about people shouting at their kids all the time but no one seems to suggest these people leave their kids, which always astonishes me because verbal abuse is sometimes worse than other kinds of abuse.
As long as your family are physically safe then I think you should give your husband the support he needs throughout the therapy. He has agreed to it so that's a very positive step.
I disagree rather strongly. It's been proven that emotional abuse leaves scars just as deep as physical abuse, and that watching the abuse of a parent leaves a child as traumatised as undergoing that abuse themselves.
Also, and call me cynical, but is there any evidence that said DH knows he has an anger problem, and is committed to doing some very difficult work on himself in response? Because if he'd quit if you left, then he doesn't really believe that, does he? He's just doing it as a sop to you.
You have described an abuser. And anger management doesn't fix abusers; nothing much does, except a really high-quality programme specifically for abusers. It's not your responsibility to make sure he goes to anger management therapy, and there's not much point him going if he doesn't really believe he needs it - or, more likely, if it's simply going to become a tool to get you to stay. "But I neeeeed you to support me if I do this therapy!" "I went to anger management therapy for you! I'm totally changing, you need to lower your expectations!" "My anger management therapist says I'm much better now, so it doesn't matter what YOU think."
if he stops the therapy, then he wasnt commited to changing anyway. You need to protect your children, not him x
I think you should leave for your own and your dc's wellbeing.
You aren't responsible for him. He isn't a child. He needs to make his own decision around the therapy.
Does he have uncontrollable outburst of anger with anyone other than you and the children? Colleagues, friends, people he encounters in day-to-day life?
If it's just you and the children, it's an abuse issue not an anger management issue.
He needs to call the Respect Phoneline and follow their advice. For example, they might suggest that he does the Freedom Programme for men.
Even if he admits that he is abusive and agrees to get help, he doesn't need or deserve any help from you. You are the victim of his abuse and you cant help him. You need to focus on getting professional support for yourself. Have you called Women's Aid? Have you asked your GP or Women's Aid about counselling you could get?
Is there any kind of emotional therapy support you could access for your DC? Whatever you decide to do about leaving, it does sound as though your DC need some specialist support for themselves, having lived with their father's abusive behaviour.
People like him don't change. Every passing day is damaging to your children.
About a year ago one of my co-workers had a major outburst at work and was ordered to take an anger management course offered by our employer. I took it with him out of curiosity and because we could get a cash gift for taking advantage of this new "work-life balance" program.
To my surprise the 10-week course does not really teach one how to not be angry. In other words, how to better and more philosophically deal with the ups, downs and daily aggravations of life. It just teaches one how to not express it inappropriately. But one still can be seething inside.
Anger control classes can help one from lashing out at the boss or in curbing road rage but I don't see one being of much value in intensely personal relationships day in, day out, unless one is truly, truly motivated to change. Does it seem as if your husband is?
I don't think it's your responsibility to mitigate the effects his abusive behaviour has had (and will continue to have) just because he's agreed to go to anger management. He should leave the family home (because he's making everyone unhappy), work on his behaviour and let you be the driver.
You're not happy. Even without that it's enough to say you want to separate.
If he does the AM course, and it works for him, then maybe you might think about letting him into your life again. You might just fall in love with him again.
I don't think that's likely to happen when you have no space to allow yourself to try and get there if that makes sense.
"that would risk him chucking in the therapy before it has begun because he won't see the point."
Stop and think about that, OP. Because what it says is that he doesn't actually accept that he has an anger problem; he's going to do the course simply to shut you up and keep his feet under your table.
So, given that he really doesn't think he has a problem - do you really see this course making any difference? Sure, he might attend - but he's not going to take anything on board!
Cut your losses. Staying together is damaging your children, the sooner he is gone the sooner you can start repairing the damage he has caused them. If you are worried about unsupervised contact then go for supervised. If he abandons the Anger Management course, I would hope that would be taken into account for access purposes.
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