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That this really upsets me, how can I change it??

(44 Posts)
Tryingtostayyoung Sat 03-Sep-16 18:00:15

This is really hard for me to talk about; I have genuinely never told a soul because I find it very very upsetting but I'm just so done with it I don't know what to do.

DH was brought up in a very dysfunctional horrible home (dad), him and all his siblings bare emotional scares from it but all very different ones, some of these scares make them more sensitive, some make them numb to some things and some have given them a warped way of using language in a productive way.

My DH is honestly lovely, he does everything for me, looks after me, supports me BUT when we argue about ANYTHING small or big he feels the need to call me names. These can be relevant to the situation or not, they can be relatable to me and sometimes entirely not but something he may know would upset me to be called. It doesn't happen all the time and tbh a lot less now than he used to as he does recognise that it is wrong BUT views it the same as say shouting or swearing in an argument, it's something that you shouldn't do, it's not helpful but sometimes you may just get angry and in the heat of the moment do it. I am completely different, yes I may sometimes shout or maybe (rarely) swear at him BUT I would never ever call him names as I think it is viscous. I was never brought up like that and I find it so hurtful.

Today we've had a small stupid argument because it was raining and he spotted a small leak, he was resolving it so I didn't see that i needed to rush and get up to help. I could see him huffing so asked what was wrong he proceeded to tell me that I should have jumped up to help, I told him that i thought he had it under control, then because of his tone I decided that no I was not going to jump up and help. He became more frustrated and proceeded to call me lazy and a slob continuously (I am neither these things) I said that he was a bully and he said good.

I'm not talking to him now at all, later on he will tell me that he is sorry and he lost his temper but I can't take it anymore. I don't understand his need to do this, he witnessed his dad do this to all of them why is he repeating it? He hates his dad, everything he is and refused to even speak about him. How can I really make him understand that this isn't normal behaviour? Wwyd??

DoreenLethal Sat 03-Sep-16 18:06:14


Even if it is just for the week, he may see that actually you are serious about this. No point in making empty threats.

monkeywithacowface Sat 03-Sep-16 18:06:20

Does he manage to not call his friends/boss/work colleagues/neighbours names? I suspect he is capable of not name calling but just doesn't care enough not to do it. He knows it upsets you but does it anyway. Dysfunctional upbringing or not he's in the wrong.

PotteringAlong Sat 03-Sep-16 18:09:27

If pack a bag and I would stop in a hotel tonight. Short, sharp shock. Tomorrow when things had calmed down you can talk properly but I wouldn't stay tonight.

RunningLulu Sat 03-Sep-16 18:12:02

My husband has the same upbringing and does the same thing. I just speak over him, loudly, telling him not to call me names and walk away.

Arfarfanarf Sat 03-Sep-16 18:17:05

How would he react if you told him he had become his father?
Would he get help?
Because you dont want this for the rest of your life, do you?
But it's what you're facing.

AgentAgency Sat 03-Sep-16 18:17:17

His upbringing does not give him a free pass to use you as an emotional punching bag.
I don't think I'd be able to tolerate that at all

Arfarfanarf Sat 03-Sep-16 18:18:02

And yes, monkey has it

List all the other people he treats like this.

I'm betting it's a short one.

QuiteLikely5 Sat 03-Sep-16 18:18:35

I don't think you should rush to ltb!

If you have known him a long time and this name calling is the worst of him then I do think it's worth trying to resolve.

Abuse is all about dysfunctional communication.

When your dh calm down you need to discuss it with him again and ask him how he could have approached the situation differently. He really ought to have asked you for help before he called you names??

Now I must confess I've called my own DH lazy blush

Ask him when he is going to have an outburst if he can count to ten and think about how he can communicate his needs without resorting to hurtful comments

BertieBotts Sat 03-Sep-16 18:18:53

Honestly? This is verbal abuse. He's doing it because he learned it from his father and he can't just rewrite that template. In fact, he probably feels like he's being very restrained/better because he "only" does it when he is angry.

Unfortunately, it's not something you can change. You shouldn't be looking to change your response so you're not upset by it, because it is upsetting. You can't change his behaviour - he has to want to change it himself.

Do you have children? Are you planning to have them?

It would be pertinent to work out whether this is merely a language pattern he falls back into when he is angry or whether he actually has an abusive nature. I'm afraid there are a few signs of the latter in your post - him getting "huffy" rather than just communicating to you that he wanted some help; him saying "good" when you said he was a bully; the fact you're responding to his moods by withdrawing (suggests it's not an uncommon occurrence.)

If it's a kind of verbal fallback ONLY, then it would be worth giving an ultimatum. He chooses whether to fix it or lose you. If there are signs of a deeper abusive nature, that is a lot more worrying and serious.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Sat 03-Sep-16 18:22:41

Why do you stay anywhere near him when he is calling you names? He became more frustrated and proceeded to call me lazy and a slob continuously If you stay in the room, if you even look at him, that's sending the wrong message. He can't fight if you aren't there. Turn around and walk away immediately he calls you a name.

Tbh the whole argument sounds bonkers. He started it by having a go at you when you asked if he needed help. You explained your non-mind reading abilities to him instead of saying "Stop being a knob and tell me if you want help or not?" Then he had more of a go at you including lots of name calling. You stuck around for all of this. Bonkers. The second he started on you again, you should have left, possibly with a "fuck you, I'm not sticking around for this".

Tantrums need the oxygen of attention. Cut off the supply.

Are you used to pandering to his moods? Would he punish you if you walked off? Was he just looking for a fight because he was pissed off about the leak?

RhiWrites Sat 03-Sep-16 18:28:12

Has he ever had any kind of counselling? People do tend to repeat a cycle of abuse if they don't examine what they do and why.

Tryingtostayyoung Sat 03-Sep-16 18:28:28

RunningLulu It's good to know that I'm not alone, this is how I normally react, walk away.

To answer a few questions, yes we have one DD but he never speaks like that to her or to me like that in front of her.
He would react like that to any of his family like that as I suppose he's most comfortable.

It's really difficult because this is genuinely his only major flaw and he really does try and rectify. He has changed alot over the years and he is better now than he was before. I couldn't tell him he was like his father because it would devastate him to the point where I think he wouldn't get over it. I don't think he is like his father I just think it's one of the things he has taken from that environment but he has also taken things that have made him a better man.

I will talk to him later when we have both calmed down but I think the problem is that he just really doesn't see it as a big issue, as I said before he looks at it like shouting or swearing. Not something he does often but sometimes does it in the moment. I don't know how to get through to him. Leaving isn't the answer, at the end of the day I knew he was "damaged" I just have to find a way to make him see.

Tryingtostayyoung Sat 03-Sep-16 18:31:40

RunRabbitRunRabbit This would normally be my reaction but I was getting angry myself which I don't normally.

RhiWrites Yes he did start to a few years ago but not for long enough in my opinion and he just finds talking about the whole the thing soul destroying.

BertieBotts Sat 03-Sep-16 18:34:15

Abuse is not "all about dysfunctional communication". That's a very dangerous way to look at it. It assumes it can be fixed, if both parties are willing to work on it. It can't.

It's not clear whether OP is in an abusive situation, although her DP is acting out abusive behaviours, presumably learned from his father. Sometimes abusive behaviours can be divorced from an abusive mindset. More often they are caused by one. But it is possible that they can occur separately, especially if a person has absorbed them as normal and doesn't really draw a line between behaviour that is abusive, and behaviour which is a bit shitty but excusable in extremis.

When you're talking about a situation where abuse is happening in a relationship, the problem is not communication, the problem is perspective. A person with an abusive mindset has a very skewed perspective of relationships, and believes that their abuse is justified because of what they expect from their partner (which is usually impossible). It's not a healthy way to be and it takes a lot of work and introspection for the abusive person to realise and understand what they are doing. This doesn't come easily and it has to come from the person themselves. Unfortunately part of the abusive mindset itself involves the abuser believing they are above criticism and/or a paranoia that "everyone" is out to get them, so they are unlikely to entertain any information that tells them they should change.

The only acceptable level of abuse is 0. You can't hope to change an abuser; you'll waste years of your life trying. It's sad, indeed, but by staying you just destroy two lives (plus however many children you have.) If the abuse is an isolated behaviour then you maybe have a chance. But don't kid yourself; isolated abusive behaviours are rare. And they are isolated. Someone having more than one "isolated abusive traits" is an abuser.

Tryingtostayyoung Sat 03-Sep-16 18:37:34

To make things clear I am NOT in an abusive relationship whatsoever. He just has not worked out how to communicate his anger in a healthy way at all. As I said he has gotten a lot better over the years.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Sat 03-Sep-16 18:38:22

There's also the possibility that you could have counselling to see if you can feel it as no worse than swearing and shouting, if you genuinely believe it is nonsense he doesn't mean, is genuinely trying to stop, and genuinely doesn't mean to hurt you. I'm suggesting this because in my house, shouting would be seen as the worst. Different people find different things the worst.

Actually, the worst thing both DH and I would find about your confrontation would be his initial assuming the worst of you and having an unprovoked go at you. Worse than swearing, shouting or name calling round here.

nicenewdusters Sat 03-Sep-16 18:40:22

He doesn't call your dd names.

He doesn't call you names in front of your dd.

I think I'd want to know why he was choosing to call me names, when he knew I didn't like it. If he can control it at other times, he can control it with you. Unless he chooses not to.

ImperialBlether Sat 03-Sep-16 18:40:48

I think he needs to be told that he sounds like his father. He needs a real shock. It sounds as though he needs some sort of therapy after that childhood - do you think he would accept that's necessary?

BertieBotts Sat 03-Sep-16 18:42:05

My last post was to QuiteLikely5

OP - I think it is likely this could be a case of "isolated abusive behaviour" as I was explaining - do you think if you explain to him that you can't cope with it, you can't live with it, that he might do CBT or something to change the patterns? He doesn't need to go back over the abuse if he doesn't want to. Something like CBT helps you change patterns without necessarily needing to understand why they occurred in the first place.

If he can control it in front of DD, then he can control it. So I think it's unfair he expects you to deal with it the rest of the time. And it's unrealistic to claim that she doesn't know, because the thing is, she will overhear it at some point. And it's not something that you want her to normalise, in turn.

It really is irrelevant if you knew that he was "damaged" when you got together. It's a shitty, shitty thing but it's actually not your issue to deal with, it's his. That might not be fair but that is life. You can't physically take the problem away from him. And it's also OK to realise - actually - I can't handle this after all. Yes, you knew what he was like, but you couldn't have known what it would be like to be married to him for X number of years. It's okay to say nope, this is my limit.

BertieBotts Sat 03-Sep-16 18:44:49

Sorry for crossposts.

I don't think it sounds like you're in an abusive relationship, but name-calling is abusive. Which means that it's unacceptable behaviour, which you need to tell him, because it's not fair of him to expect you to just put up with it.

Rumpelstiltskin143 Sat 03-Sep-16 18:50:42

Tell him that even he starts calling you names that he sounds like his father and that's not a good thing.

It's not the same as telling him he IS like his father.

Tryingtostayyoung Sat 03-Sep-16 19:06:46

RunRabbitRunRabbit it is 100% nonsense that he doesn't mean, I know him inside and out, they are words that he uses to voice his anger at me in the moment that is all.

See we are both quite shouty people in general so although we rarely do it towards each other it's not something that either of us find terrible swearing and name calling to me are on a level pegging but swearing happens less. As I've said this is not something that happens often at all.

veryfriendlylion Sat 03-Sep-16 19:29:52

Sorry to hear about this situation and I hope you're ok.

My DH had a difficult childhood, emotionally neglected by both parents (separated) who now try to play happy families. We see them maybe once a year as it causes too much upset for DH. He has never been abusive to me but used to be a terrible liar about bizarre things. It was a very confusing time but I persevered as knew he didn't know what it was to be loved and looked after. One day it came to a head an he sought counselling.

It was the best decision he ever made- he's always been outwardly confident but now he's comfortable with himself, with his situation and has coping mechanisms.

It hasn't been easy but we are so solid and I know we have something extra because of what we've been through. If you love him, and you think this is purely down to his upbringing I would strongly encourage you to broach the idea of counselling. People like your and my DH have had enough rejection in their from people who should have looked after them. At least then you know you've tried with someone you love and know deserves to be happy.

Good luck flowersflowers

poppledopple Sat 03-Sep-16 19:33:10

Trying - re-read your OP and your last (19:06) and you will see that you are minimising your feelings. Dont do this - it is not healthy or constructive. You sound like you have a great relationship - but a chink/flaw is hurting you. Tell him this - how he chooses to respond to that tells you all you need to know - he should want to fix it if it hurts you.

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