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to end my marriage over this?

(120 Posts)
poopbear Thu 20-Feb-20 11:08:41

The way my DH talks to me and our kids. I get that people lose their temper and get frustrated etc but I feel like I’m always having to be the referee (if anyone understands that?). I’m also having to be a “Pollyanna” all the time or I’m accused of being “moody” or “needy”. Yesterday we went out as a family to do an activity and DH was so stern with our son that he made him cry. Our son has anxiety issues and is a very quiet, introspective boy and he gets upset/moody if he loses at any game he’s playing. This is a huge trigger for my DH who then starts “stomping” and talking in a moody/bully voice with stern tones in order to “buck him up out of it”. It’s then left to me to mop up the mess. I’m then a recipient of DH mood/looks because I’m “babying” him which has obviously caused this issue in the first place (according to him). This isn’t the first and only time. This is a constant theme. If the kids aren’t jolly happy/good losers etc then DH acts out. That’s fine but what about me actually? The whole scenario ruins my day and I’ve been poking up with this for years. I want to know if this is normal on family outings with young kids please as I have nothing to compare it to. Is this a normal thing (bravado man not knowing how to discipline in public thing). Am I BU and do I just poke up with it until kids are older and through all the phases and if this is the worst I have to put up with then I’m doing alright. It is just causing me huge anxiety because when we go out I’m on eggshells. If one of the kids collapses with a moody face then my heart sinks because here we go. How does everyone else handle it please if your husbands/partner has made your kid cry in public?

PicsInRed Thu 20-Feb-20 11:12:43

It's emotional abuse and you would be unreasonable NOT to attempt to end your marriage over it.

However, I'd plan and be careful about how 'custody' is handled. Are you the primary caregiver? Do you think he would 'allow' you majority care of the children?

Have you documented his behaviour towards both you and the children? Times, dates, details? If not, I would begin doing this and keep it somewhere safe off the property where he cannot access it.

Iremembertheelderlykoreanlady Thu 20-Feb-20 11:13:32

I can relate to what you're saying.

My OH is generally very good with our son but when he loses his temper he over reacts and shouts so loud that it scares him. I end up being the one refereeing and smoothing it all over for DS....except OH then gets annoyed with me for not backing him up. In my opinion he doesnt need backing up, hes a 6ft 2 man yelling in the face of an 8 year old.

So no advice but I can certainly sympathise.

Sparkletastic Thu 20-Feb-20 11:15:38

How would your DH describe the example you've given?

poopbear Thu 20-Feb-20 11:16:15

@iremember does it put you off your OH?

poopbear Thu 20-Feb-20 11:19:34

@Sparkletastic he’d probably say that he’s sick of the kids ruining our days out by not being able to control their emotions and that winning/losing doesn’t matter. That he’s embarrassed because everyone else’s kids are happy and enjoying themselves and joining in. I get that. I feel it too but it doesn’t help me. It doesn’t help solve the problem. It doesn’t help by getting annoyed and stern and making it worse. How does it look to others if my kid is sobbing his heart out and I’m doing nothing to comfort him? I’m stuck. Damned if I do and damned if I don’t.

JKScot4 Thu 20-Feb-20 11:21:47

Your DHs behaviour isn’t acceptable but you allowing your son to have a tantrum and blaming anxiety if he doesn’t get to win is far from acceptable, is he going to expect to win at everything in life?

Sparkletastic Thu 20-Feb-20 11:23:00

I do understand. I also understand why your DH is getting stressed and upset and handling it really badly. Do you ever manage to talk about your differing parenting styles away from one of these events and when you are on good terms? Would DH agree to do parenting classes or family counselling with you if you went into it with the spirit of both parties needing to get out of entrenched behaviours and looking for positive change together?

Sparkletastic Thu 20-Feb-20 11:24:53

The only other thing I'd say is to stay away from games and family activities that have a 'win / lose' dynamic for a while and opt for more neutral activities.

SudokuQueen Thu 20-Feb-20 11:27:21

I don't think either of you are wrong or right.

Your husband shouldn't be yelling at his children or you, for anything.

But nor should you be mollycoddling your son if he doesn't win and gets upset. How are you going to teach him to accept losing? He can't always win. It probably has caused his anxiety to an extent.

You both need to comfort him in a different way when he loses. Teach him how to accept it.

Splitting up may not be necessary if you can resolve your issues on parenting. Going to assume he wasn't always like this and you married him for happier reasons at least.

Justmuddlingalong Thu 20-Feb-20 11:27:31

I think your kids' inability to cope with losing, really needs to be addressed. Neither of you as parents are dealing with that behaviour well. He's overreacting, you're trying pacify them. Neither is a healthy way to deal with kids who can't deal with their emotions.

poopbear Thu 20-Feb-20 11:29:50

@JKScot4 he has a diagnosed anxiety condition and has had therapy and receives support at school for this. He doesn’t have a tantrum every time he doesn’t win. He finds it tricky to cope in that scenario and gets upset. If he’s then shouted at it makes that a lot worse and it descends into him becoming hysterical. So what am I supposed to do in that scenario? Why is it always me that has to mop up that situation? I’d love to have a rant off at how unfair it all is too but I don’t ever get to do that do I because I’m the one who always has to rise above it all and pour calm on everybody’s troubled waters. All the time. My son is extremely well behaved at school. Excels in all subjects. Has never set a foot wrong. Ever. Has never upset another child deliberately and is always always polite. Is kind to his friends. Does chores. Cleans his room. His only flaw is he gets upset when he’s losing and he gets upset when he’s told off for that. Isn’t it a high expectation to expect him to be perfect?

lazylinguist Thu 20-Feb-20 11:30:47

Your dh stomping and ranting is an example of him not being able to control his emotions. Effective parenting tactics should be based on what outcome they achieve, not on a parent's anger or embarrassment at their child's behaviour. If your husband wants well-adjusted, well-behaved, happy kids, then he needs to actually think about how to achieve that in a positive and sensible way, not just stomp and rant at them. If he can't do that, and he abuses you for not joining in with his bullying tactics, I'd be looking to ltb if I were you.

poopbear Thu 20-Feb-20 11:31:13

Some good advice here thank you. I think discussing tactics before getting into that situation is a good idea.

ohnooutofdateham Thu 20-Feb-20 11:32:02

Just as a side not is 'poking up with' and 'poke up' a regional version of 'putting up with'?

Op my DH was a bit like that, he couldn't handle any sort of tantrum or bad behaviour without resorting to being a bit of a dick himself. I explained to him clearly that he was the adult, shouting doesn't improve things and actually makes it far worse for me as I have to listen to the child tantrum then his tantrum. He stopped it now.
Our child was 2 at the time though and tantrums were to he expected so DH was clearly being unreasonable.

An older child needs to learn they can't cry or whine to get their own way. Obviously your DH tactic doesn't work but neither is yours.
If your son has a diagnosed anxiety disorder that is set off by losing - why on Earth are you continuing to do these activities?

Shoxfordian Thu 20-Feb-20 11:32:44

He's not acting like you're a team and parenting together. He's like another moody kid to deal with

FeedMeChoc Thu 20-Feb-20 11:33:17

Leaving your relationship isn’t going to change how he behaves with your children. Infact it will be worse because he’ll have them alone and you won’t be there to help. It sounds like a frank discussion when tempers aren’t high May be a better approach x

Areyoufree Thu 20-Feb-20 11:35:01

I’m also having to be a “Pollyanna” all the time or I’m accused of being “moody” or “needy”.

That's a red flag for me - I've seen that kind of behaviour before. No, what your husband is doing isn't normal. I could be projecting, but it sounds like he is more concerned with how the situation looks to other people, than to how to best support your son. Not good.

CatherineTheNotSoGreat Thu 20-Feb-20 11:35:18

Your DH sounds like a teenager. He's not managing his emotions or parenting like an adult. I feel for your kids. This is not helpful esp for your little one with anxiety. I'm slow to say 'end a marriage' but I think hanging around til the kids are grown might be very destructive to them.

poopbear Thu 20-Feb-20 11:35:46

Good advice. It’s tricky because my DH will only join in with certain family activities and the majority of them include a win/lose element. Think games like badminton. I’m up for suggestions of other things we can do during winter months.

TeddybearBaby Thu 20-Feb-20 11:36:47

My husband was similar. I remember my son being hit by another boy at school and my husbands answer was to hit him back but my son couldn’t do it, just wasn’t that kind of boy. My husband said ‘you’re going to have to get your dad to speak to him and teach him to box’

My dad came round and put him on his lap and told him you do need to defend yourself sometimes, he was sobbing saying I can’t do it grandad! And now daddy is angry with me!! My dad felt so sorry for him and was cuddling him reassuring him. After that my son would tell me things but say don’t tell dad which I didn’t. It ended up coming out when my sister asked something not realising my husband didn’t know and I told him that our son didn’t want to confide in him any more and he got really tearful and has never been like that again.

I know that is a different scenario to yours but it’s sort of the same. I’d say to him that we need to help support our kids not force them by bullying - why is so important for him to win for example. Maybe talk about it.

I don’t blame you for not wanting to live like that. If he’s mostly good I’d try to work through. You shouldn’t have to live in fear though!

SummerInSun Thu 20-Feb-20 11:38:49

Could you persuade your DH that you should go in a parenting course together? Or even read some good parenting books? Sounds like he is behaving as if he were a father in about 1890 (which may be what his own father modelled to him?).

I think a lot of men, especially if they had old school upbringings, thing their role is to be the tough one. They can't see that from a child's perspective, it is incomprehensible why an adult can go overboard with one emotion (anger) and that's supposed to be ok because it's labelled discipline, but for the child's emotions to be out of control is unacceptable.

Casmama Thu 20-Feb-20 11:39:18

I would have a conversation with your husband in advance and tell him how you feel.
Once you have done that I would tell him that if the situation arises where your son is upset and he starts shouting then you will walk away from both of them and get a taxi home. You will not be the referee anymore. I suspect if your dh had to find a way to calm your son down on his own that they would work something out between them.

GreenTulips Thu 20-Feb-20 11:42:37

causing me huge anxiety because when we go out I’m on eggshells

And your son has anxiety?

Can’t you see the link here?

I think it’s your DH that need therapy

ohnooutofdateham Thu 20-Feb-20 11:43:36

Good advice. It’s tricky because my DH will only join in with certain family activities and the majority of them include a win/lose element. Think games like badminton. I’m up for suggestions of other things we can do during winter months.

You need to have a frank discussion with your DH when you're both calm.

Activities can be; drawing, painting, walking, swimming, reading, baking, cinema, choosing books at the library, Lego, science experiments etc
Also not all weekend time has be taken up by 'activities'. Let the kids entertain themselves for a while.

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