S@“t has hit the fan. What would you do?

(411 Posts)
Whotsithitthefan Mon 21-Jun-21 01:22:14

NC as outing. Long time poster.

I can’t sleep. DH had left. Sleeping in the car somewhere I think. DM here staying. DC being bullied at school and so is being a nightmare at home. Once he’s talked about what’s going on he’s fine but while he’s holding it all in, quite frankly, he’s a grumpy thug.

DH approach is long lectures. Reminding DC of past difficult behaviour. Criticising. Telling off. He takes it very personally when DC insults him or is rude to him. Won’t let it go.

I tend to try and listen first as there is always a context and then discuss the difficult behaviour once things are calm and I think DC can reflect.

Tonight DC was acting up. I stayed out of it as DH doesn’t like me taking over and finds it undermining if I offer a different approach. He wants me to back him up but I can’t because I feel like DC would then feel the whole world was against him/her and I don’t want to join in the critical lecture and when I do try and back DH up things just escalate anyway.

So I focused tonight on clearing up and left DH and DC to it. Meanwhile I don’t realise that DM is finding the way DH is talking to DC unbearable. She had told me earlier and I had a bit of a moan as I’m finding it hard.

I then hear really raised voices. DM shouting at DH that he is abusing DC with his criticism and domineering. She’s very upset. He’s really angry with her. DC joining in.

I stood between them and just repeated ‘time out’ over and over. DH kept going and going. When I kept saying time out DC would join in and told DH he’s a psycho. DH finally left and I managed to get DC calm and to sleep.

I’m in bed but can’t sleep as I can see it from all angles and have no clue what to do.

DC ‘full up’ emotionally and feeling particularly got at by DH. Deliberately pushes him because he knows he loses the plot and is testing him. The behaviours need addressing but also DC is a child and is overwhelmed at the moment.

DH is feeling blamed by me and unsupported by me. Feels like I get in the way of their relationship and turn DC against him because I’ll stick up for DC if I feel DH is out of order. I have been trying to stay out of it but it’s hard when it’s a child getting it in the neck. Tonight I stayed out of it apart from ‘time out’ when it was getting too heated. DH is sleeping in his car somewhere refusing to ever talk to my DM ever again. Wants us out of the house tomorrow at one point so he can change for work. Telling me I’m toxic and causing him MH issues (I can be quite critical to be fair) but I feel he’s the one whose being toxic to DC who should be the priority.

DM now in bits because she thinks she’s ‘ruined my life’.

Have today tried to be calm and have supported both DC and DM with their stuff. Feeling too cross with DH to support him much but am worried about him.

Feel like no one is supporting me. I hold the emotional stuff for them all but what about me? AIBU to wish there was someone in my life that was calm and steady to ‘hold’ things together.

How do I handle things tomorrow? I’ll have to do the school run so ‘brave face’ on. Then I know DM will be distraught. God knows if DH will get in touch.

Just needed to get this out and hope someone is awake and had some advice. I need to get some sleep.

OP’s posts: |
Anordinarymum Mon 21-Jun-21 01:24:47

How old is your son

Whotsithitthefan Mon 21-Jun-21 01:26:17

Mid primary.

OP’s posts: |
DancesWithFelines Mon 21-Jun-21 01:34:48

Your DC is just a primary aged child who is being bullied at school. With all this at home from his DF it must feel relentless.
Can your DH not see that?
What is the point of him going on and on?

Aquamarine1029 Mon 21-Jun-21 01:36:09

Your husband is a bully. Why are you allowing your child to be terrorised like this? Your home sounds like a battleground, and I think you all would be much happier if you ended the marriage.

Weenurse Mon 21-Jun-21 01:38:00

Does DM live with you?
How old is DC?
If DM is visiting then get her home again.
If DC is under 14 then DH needs to learn to pick his battles, if over 14 then house rules need to be agreed to in a calm manner and consequences agreed to for all (including parents) if they are broken.
I feel like I spent DC teen years closing their bedroom doors and ignoring the mess. Refusing to engage if they did not speak to me calmly and picking my battles. Because I put most things back on them, they learned to self reflect.
We also had a roster where everyone helped cook , clean etc. so it never fell to one person. Everyone felt like they contributed and part of the ongoing running of the house.
When DH lost the plot, I would remind him he is the grown up and needed to act as such.
This worked for us, pick what you think will work for your family.
It is not easy.
Good luck

Anordinarymum Mon 21-Jun-21 01:38:04

It looks to me as if none of you know what to do and nobody is listening.

Sort out the bullying with school

Sort out the rest by sitting down and talking with someone else there (not your mum because she is emotionally invested) and listen to each other.


Weenurse Mon 21-Jun-21 01:39:46

Mid primary means DH needs to learn to communicate better.
Suggest family counseling for adults initially, then add DC.

YukoandHiro Mon 21-Jun-21 01:40:27

Get your DM out of the house first. Why is she there?

You need to ask your DH to come to counselling with you so you can work together to parent DS. Sounds like he has unresolved issues. Has he read the Phillippa Perry book? Could be a good place to start

Whotsithitthefan Mon 21-Jun-21 01:40:36

I agree Dances. No point in going on about something over and over. If it doesn’t work the first 20 times it’s unlikely to on the 21st. I agree with DH that DC needs to learn less aggressive ways of expressing overwhelming emotions but his approach isn’t working. We did have a good talk a couple of weeks ago and DH focused on relationship mending and it was working. I’m not sure why it’s gone backwards again.

Don’t know what to do about DM and DH. She’s staying a week. He’s said he doesn’t want to speak to her ever again.

I feel like this could be the beginning of the end of our marriage. sad

OP’s posts: |
Isadora2007 Mon 21-Jun-21 01:43:46

Hmmm. It sounds like you and your husband have reached a crisis point where he needs to consider another way of dealing with your son and you need to fathom out together how to tackle his issues on the same page.
Why is your mum there and for how long?
Accept that your mum overstepped and probably tackled your H as you didn’t. There are ways to interrupt in a non undermining manner and you chose to just tolerate it after offloading on your mum. So your boundaries are all fuzzy and that needs addressed.
Your child may be having a difficult time too but that doesn’t excuse disrespectful behaviour and it sounds like you’re letting them away with a lot and your H isn’t.

So come at it from this POV. What do you BOTH want? Where are the similarities that you can and do agree on? Then begin to listen to what each other does and why… what does your H think or say he is doing and why? Toxic is an incredibly strong word to use about your husband tbh and if you genuinely feel that then that’s another issue altogether.
And of course yanbu to want support and calmness. But how it all went down tonight isn’t achieving that.

Whotsithitthefan Mon 21-Jun-21 01:45:20

DM just here for a week. Haven’t seen her apart from once since Feb 2020 due to Covid and distance. Her and DC have close relationship.

DH and I are in counselling. The counsellor had called him out in this ‘why are you arguing with a child?’ Kind of thing.

Thanks for replies. All helpful. Will look up Phillips Perry book. Def unresolved issues. Theme of feeling judged. Misunderstood etc.

OP’s posts: |
Isadora2007 Mon 21-Jun-21 01:45:22

Why did your focus become relationship mending instead of your son and managing his behaviours? That seems to be the main issue?

Whotsithitthefan Mon 21-Jun-21 01:53:14

I do manage and address DC behaviours but not in the same way. I will calmly request he stop and ask him what’s going on. Listen. Empathise. Help him with whatever and THEN consequences. I’m not always the best at it and can forget so I’m working on consistency

Tonight I de-escalated it as best I could. I dealt with the behaviour I saw but not what went before as I didn’t know what had triggered DH to get so angry. He was shouting in DMs face by the time I heard there was a significant problem.

I’m cross with DM for interfering and for then needing me to counsel her when my DC is in bits and my DH as gone. But she was also hearing what went on and sticking up for DC so can understand it too.

Can’t get her out til weekend without DH back to do childcare and I’m not sure that would be the best thing either.

OP’s posts: |
mathanxiety Mon 21-Jun-21 01:54:32

Tell your H that neither you nor your mother is leaving your home so he can change his clothes. He needs to grow up and get over himself.

He needs to stop taking stuff the DC says personally. I see the counsellor has said the same thing. The teen years are going to be extremely tough if this is how he handles mid primary.

He is demanding everything his way and dealing in absolutes (never talking to your mum again for instance). That is not on.

Stand up to him over the changing clothes scenario. Keep on insisting he changes.

Providora Mon 21-Jun-21 01:54:40

I've been EXACTLY where you are.

10 years down the track I'm divorced, have a civil but emotionally distant relationship with my mother, and 2 teenage sons who are replicas of their father and speak to me the same way he speaks to them. Somehow, all of it ended up being my fault in everyone else's eyes.

I urge you to make some changes NOW as it will get worse, not better if you put your head in the sand and don't act.

Your 'D'H's personality is already influencing the way your young son treats people, I think that's the priority. 'D'H needs to be a good role model for respectful communication, or get the fuck out.

Notimeforaname Mon 21-Jun-21 01:57:45

What was your husbands reaction to being 'called out' by the therapist?
Did he recognise it at the time for what it was? Can he recognise it now?
When he does come back, ask him that, does he know he's arguing with and bullying a child.
Sorry op.

It's good you're both seeking outside help. Perhaps there is hope !

Whotsithitthefan Mon 21-Jun-21 01:57:53


Good question. DH was trying to build relationship with DC because he’d realised that his critical parenting style was partly causing and certainly exacerbating the behaviour. It was working because when the relationship is there DC wants to connect, will talk more, doesn’t bottle things up and then behaves better. They were in a vicious cycle before. Back in it again now.

OP’s posts: |
thecatfromjapan Mon 21-Jun-21 01:58:39

Your child is far too young for long lectures. Really. He's just not cognitively there yet.

Factor in the fact he's being bullied and he's probably being lectured for acting out about the bullying and it's doubly inappropriate.

There's a massive power mismatch here. Your son is very, very, very young. Is he really as much of a 'thug' as your DH? No. I don't think so. I know you used that adjective because you're cross and frustrated but - honestly - your son is tiny.

Communication styles have to be practised. If you want a house where you talk through issues, you have to insist on it. It sounds very much as though you're not 'coming between' your DH and his child. Your DH is.

It sounds as though he doesn't know how to communicate with a child. It sounds as though he won't let you model and facilitate more positive communication but insists you stand to one side and watch him do his thing. Which seems to be about projecting his own anxieties about feeling unable to deal with complex emotional situations and turning them into aggression and anger.

Never helpful.

He was angry with your son, he was angry with your mother, he was angry with you.

He blamed you for his depression.

He sounds as though he has a deep-seated anxiety about failing as a husband and a father, which he copes with by angry control.

You sound as though you try and support him by letting him do this, whilst watching and knowing - deep down - it's counter-productive.

Agree with everyone else, counselling is a good idea.

But should your DH also be seeing a GP for anxiety/depression? He certainly shouldn't be blaming you.

From the outside, I would say you have described a pretty surreal situation:

A primary-age child, with emotional problems that need discussion, identifying and sorting-out, being lectured and then shouted at by his dad, which then turns into a hideous situation with three adults, and ends with your husband sleeping in the car.

I'm really sorry. To get to this stage, things must have been grim for a while. I can imagine you are very stressed, and tired, and worn down.

It's not normal. It really isn't. I don't say that as judgment. You have my full sympathy.

I say it only because sometimes, you can get so caught up with an ongoing, difficult situation, you can lose sight of how far you've been dragged.

Good luck.

NakedNugget Mon 21-Jun-21 01:58:49

It doesn't really matter but I wonder if your dc is a girl then there might be a lack of understanding there from your dh. Girls can be more outspoken than boys and maybe she's standing up for herself and I think you should listen to your dc.

You need to speak to your dh and tell him that he needs to start listening to dc. No it didn't help that your dm stepped in but she probably couldn't stand the lack of understanding your dh was showing dc and sounds dm did something you should have done long ago.

I think your dc will remember your lack of support if you don't act now and hold you to it for a long time. If dh doesn't agree to relax and try and listen more then you might need to end your marriage. If he does agree to change he needs to apologise and have a long talk with dc. He surely must love dc but the way he's showing it is all wrong.

I feel for you, my dh gets annoyed at my dd and she's very much outspoken and won't back down to him and I love that about her. Too many times women are made to feel like they can't speak up and they should hush and agree with men because men are physically and often verbally more aggressive. That's why if your dc is a girl please try and encourage her strength and growth in this and show her you're there for her.

me4real Mon 21-Jun-21 02:03:38

Mid primary.

I thought you were going to say, like, 16 with how your husband is acting. He's just a little one. shock sad

I don't think there's any point bringing up past bad behaviour of a child. Unless it's like 'I've spoken to you about X before' if they do something again that you've already discussed.
Do you think your LO could have some ASD/ADHD or something? I'm just thinking that's something you could look into, see the GP in general or whatever and describe what's going on if you haven't already. (If it's really is so bad as to warrant it and it's not your husband completely overreacting. And it doesn't justify your husband's behaviour at all, probably quite the opposite.)

I would agree your DH is being kind of abusive to your LO. It sounds like he's talking to him like he's an unruly teenager, when there's even more of an imbalance of power than that. It's really not ok.

Whotsithitthefan Mon 21-Jun-21 02:04:36

Thanks all.

Providora - so sorry to hear that. I think it’s make or break for us now. I’m not feeling hopeful tonight.

Notime - he can see it on a good day but it comes and goes. Tonight he feels like we are all against him I think. He’s a good dad I’m so many ways but this is his Achilles heel. If he feels disrespected or under valued.

I’m not perfect either of course.

I could refuse to be out of the house tomorrow but the it’s going to be so awkward.

I was thinking about suggesting to DM she texts to apologise.

The thing is his mum noticed it when she was here too but she said it to me not him...

OP’s posts: |
thecatfromjapan Mon 21-Jun-21 02:08:08

Seen your updates.

OK. I hate to say this but I think your annoyance with your mother is misplaced.

I don't know how to say this gently : why, if your therapist has raised concerns about your DJ's interactions with your child, we're you so hesitant to interrupt your DJ's lecture and why were you so worried about 'undermining' him?

Seriously: you know your DH has problems with his interactions with your child. Yet you are somehow scared of intervening.

I think it is not just your child your DH has undermined. I think he had control over your interaction with your child, and he has you in a place where you prioritise his perceived needs over what your senses and intelligence tell you.

In fact, think about it, the power dynamic is that your DH gets free reign. with you standing back, a silent witness - under the guise/pretence that you DH is somehow a 'victim'.

That's a crazy situation when you realise one of the people supposedly victimising your DH is actually a young child.

QueenBee52 Mon 21-Jun-21 02:08:25

sounds like a nightmare for your Son OP. Home should be a supportive safe place, for him. sad

Good luck resolving this flowers

Notimeforaname Mon 21-Jun-21 02:10:08

He’s a good dad I’m so many ways but this is his Achilles heel. If he feels disrespected or under valued He really needs to work on his confidence and fragile ego then. You cant fall apart and explode at other people,especially children.
He does not have the coping skills he needs for life. He needs to get them fast.

The thing is his mum noticed it when she was here too but she said it to me not him

Direct her to him next time.

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