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So angry and taking it out on my DH

(23 Posts)
Joysmum Mon 24-Feb-14 17:53:11

I'm so ashamed but I'm struggling to not take out my frustrations on him.

I was last employed 13 years ago and am now starting to build my confidence and trying to find my way back into employment (which is a thread in itself!).

As my DD has got older, I've resented the success my DH has had by being able to focus on his career with no responsibilities other than bringing in a wage from a job he loves, is very well paid for and has had several promotions in.

Now I'm trying to rebuild a career for me I find myself being envious. I am so out if touch with the world, have no pension to speak of and will struggle to find a position even on minimum wage due to my outdated skills and lack of experience. I'll have to start from scratch on my career and he can earn more in one weekend than I can in a month.

I don't know what I want to do but pride and feeling left behind is making me want a well thought of profession rather than just a job, I don't have one obvious job drawing me in and it's between a couple of things that ought to be a vocation but aren't, just something I know I could do and enjoy.

I'm scared about going back to work, of having to relearn computer skills, having to concentrate and learn new skills, having to socialise again.

Having been on the receiving end of judgey women and the usual 'kept woman' and 'how lucky I am' comments I feel so angry, so bitter, so worthless, so frightened and I'm am being a right bitch in taking it out on my husband like I blame him. I don't but I'm jealous and resentful which is why I feel compelled to go for any career that might make me feel better about my role in life and something I can be proud of.

Is it just me being a bitch or is this fairly common? Can anyone who has been through the same give me some advice on how to get over myself please. I've lost my way so badly and need to get back to feeling like I'm worth something outside of the home sad

WipsGlitter Mon 24-Feb-14 18:04:52

"No responsibility other than bringing in a wage" that is a MASSIVE responsibility.

Why did you stay off so long? What did you do before. Basic computer skills are pretty much the same unless you work in a specialist field.

It's not your DPs fault unless you were shackled to the house?!

Have a look on some local sites and start applying for stuff.

tribpot Mon 24-Feb-14 18:15:56

Gosh. I'm kind of on the other side of this as my DH is a SAHP but this is not through choice (he is too ill to work). I'm quite sure he feel some resentment that I am not ill, have a million things going on, big social network, etc.

I think it is usual in any relationship for one partner to be perceived to be the more 'successful' at any given moment. Look how long Hillary Rodham Clinton had to be content with the spouse role! However, it isn't a competition, you're in a partnership. It sounds as if you have some definite plus points on your side:
- you have a good income coming into the house already, which gives you more flexibility and freedom to pursue a worthwhile career than would be the case for a lot of couples
- your DH is successful and should be able to coach and emotionally support you on modern office life as you ease back into the world of work
- I'm assuming he's now achieved a level of success that will allow him to make some sacrifices to support you, as you have done for him and your dd
- it also doesn't sound as if he has ever belittled your contribution to the family, or made you feel worthless for being a SAHM? This is no more than you should expect but is still surprisingly uncommon.

I'm not entirely sure why you resent your DH when he was doing what you (presumably) agreed as a couple was the right division of labour for the two of you. I think you resent more the fact that your choice came with consequences - as indeed his did, but you find the consequences less palatable. I'm sure when you look back, you won't regret the time you've spent at home but now you have a fairly difficult and lengthy process to go through to get to where you next want to be.

So I would buckle up and be determined to make 2014 the year you get yourself well and truly on the road. I think you need to focus on what kind of career you think will most fulfil you - there's little point trying to compete with those who've been on the corporate ladder for the last c. 15 years. Have you thought about retraining? What would you want to do in an ideal world?

Channel all that anger into determination to prove the bitches wrong. But more importantly to do something that you want to do. You have the luxury of choice - so exercise it fully! Good luck.

Joysmum Mon 24-Feb-14 19:12:55

Thanks for the replies.

Wipsglitter I'm sure you don't mean to sound so harsh or flippant but I'll try to explain.

He works long hours and is often away. It's 6:50pm now and I've just had a call saying he's 40 mins away now...he knows we eat at 6:30 but could only call now and often won't be home till late if he has to go to London. My hours would have to fit round his and I'm still not sure there's room for both of us to be as committed in our work as he's been able to be in the past. In fact, me working too means I can't continue as he has been and I think that's going to be hard for him to adjust to. That makes me nervous because if he can't adapt with his work then there are going to be some stormy times ahead.

Having myself had a mum who worked long hours and my DH having had the benefit of a SAHM when he was growing up, we decided I'd not go back to work. I was made redundant before I found out I was pregnant but in the same week my MIL had a serious heart attack that left her in hospital for months before she died and me being carer for FIL and the 2 GP's she was a carer for. In later years my FIL developed vascular dementia and so I was the main carer then. He's now in the final stages and in a home so my role there is redundant too as the home are fabulous. I've also developed 4 properties since my DD started school and would have liked to have done more but he wanted to improve our house, rather than putting a deposit fown in another. I'd have loved to have done property seriously as a living but that's now not possible and I'm resentful of that too.

I don't regret our choices (except having missed the boat in property developing) it's just that now I'm trying to get back to it, I'm realising just how much above earning a wage I've foregone on over the years. My pension is only worth £300 a year and he complained his is so little (at 38 is worth £15,000) which really got my back up.

Now my DD is at senior school and FIL doesn't need me and I can't do another house so I'm at a loose end but not able to just step into whatever job I applied for as I used to and it makes me realise how much I've changed over the years. I am lacking confidence, not the success I thought I'd be and if I had got my CV through for a job, I'd not have considered it because there are plenty others with check able work history and experience. Worse than that, I haven't a clue what I want to do to actually make it happen and can't just step into my old role.

I don't feel that he fully appreciates how serious this is to me or how much I am struggling.

Computer wise, both my DD and my DH thought it highly amusing when I tried going on DD's laptop and couldn't move the cursor because I was touching the screen like on my iPhone! I can't even type anymore. I've got a lot of catching up to do and no clear direction which frustrates me.

I'm considering 2 new professions, teaching and pediatric nursing, but tbh I'm doubting my motives for considering either. Both are well thought of and a 'profession' which appeals to my need to make a difference to the wider world, but I don't know if this, and the fact that I'm no longer needed as a SAHM and carer is pushing me towards a caring profession. Surely with either of those options it'd need to feel like my vocation, something I'm desperate do do, but I don't.

I'm doubting everything at the moment, really struggling to get through each day. On the one hand I think I can be better than most at either, but on the other I'm not strongly attracted and desperate to do either and surely that's wrong?

Cleanthatroomnow Mon 24-Feb-14 19:32:16

I think you need to take a deep breath and some baby steps. How about volunteering in a "caring" capacity. Training oportunities often come along with voluntary work.

webwiz Mon 24-Feb-14 19:33:19

I think this is so about so much more than going back to work - you seem to be doubting your value as a person.

I spent a long time as a SAHM and I am guilty of the over- active internal monologue when left to my own devices. My advice would be to stop trying to rush into a profession and to give yourself some time to work out what will suit you.

I did a free 'computing for beginners' course to sort out my computer wobbles and I have studied with the OU to give myself an up to date qualification. I started volunteering with the CAB about three years ago and that was a great confidence boost and now I have a paid role. It wasn't I'd originally planned to do (I had been thinking of teaching) but this job suits me perfectly. I think there can be a bit of serendipity when it comes to jobs so just trying out some voluntary work/training might give you a clearer idea about the direction you want to go in.

TheGreatHunt Mon 24-Feb-14 19:43:36

Why not volunteer as a governor or charity trustee to get back into things? Then side step into other jobs. It all depends what you want realky

I know lots of women, like you ( and me) who are angry. .

The angriest ones are SAHM's who want to go back to work after a long break. And realise they can never put into their career what their DH's did as, as childcare and housework still largely falls to them.

I know just as many Working mums who are angry, as they work hard, then come home to kids/cleaning etc, and just feel they never get any time to themselves.

On MN most (all?) women have good careers snd husbands who merrily do their half, of happy sahms.

Sadly, in RL i see a lot more angry women!

I have gone back to work after 10yrs at home. I never made that decision upfront, it sort of happened as we moved a lot, DS1 was sick, we moved again, and it just ended up like this. If has been GREAT for us, as a family. DH got support, the kids had a parent at home, healthy home cooked meals, help with homework yadda yadda. Only that I feel resentful of DH who has blithely started a new career, which he is giving his all, evenings, weekends, and he is making amazing progress. As he can count on me to keep home and kids together.

I could never do the same, as I do nog gave a wife, that's how it feels.

I have sort of accepted this but there is definitely some suppressed anger, I get what you mean OP!

Solutions ? I don't know. But I do know that both DH and I feel that whatever he earns, including pension, is OURS, not his, as he was only able to earn it and do so well fue to my support.

Also, I love being there for the kids, love it.

Still I have this angry feeling at times...sadly

tribpot Mon 24-Feb-14 20:33:52

Honestly, OP. I would not consider a caring profession if I were you. I am my DH's carer and between that and ds it's enough sodding caring for one lifetime. I very, very much enjoy the fact my job has nothing to do with that and think I would go bloody bonkers if I had to do a caring job too. Teaching and caring are vocational choices and if you're not feeling it, don't do it.

Sounds like you need to have a difficult conversation with your DH about how you want things to change. Of course it's been very comfortable for him these last years, particularly you taking on what were essentially his caring duties for his father. However, you didn't sign up for a lifetime of this and he has no reason or right to suppose that you did.

What about more property development? You enjoy it, you have a talent for it, and it's highly flexible.

Btw, I can't see what's so hilarious about thinking the laptop has a touchscreen. Many do and more will in the future, so you are obviously ahead of the curve where technology is concerned! I honestly can't see why that wouldn't be an obvious assumption if you hadn't used a laptop for a while, given the many touchscreen devices you see around all the time.

The only way to get over a lack of confidence is to get out there and build it, it can't come to you. To quote Eleanor Roosevelt "We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot."

WipsGlitter Mon 24-Feb-14 21:56:13

I did not mean to be harsh or flippant, but being the lone wage earner is a huge responsibility.

I agree you sound very angry but you need to channel that into making positive decisions for your family. Lots of families have give and take where one or other picks up the slack because of the others better earning power.

I think you need to be realistic about where your choices have left you. Unless your husband wants to reign his career in the vying with him to be his equal in career terns is going to be a joyless battle for everyone.

Joysmum Tue 25-Feb-14 01:40:16

Thank you everyone for posting.

wipsglitter I know how that feels, when we started out he was on an apprenticeship earning £55 a week and I was the main wage earner.

tribpot you're right about the self confidence. I used to head a small customer service department before I was made redundant. I can't see me getting to that level again for years to come in terms of both confidence, and technical ability and skills. We've spent what would have been the next deposit on doing up our own house so don't have the deposit for the next project which I wanted as my career, but somehow didn't get heard.

I also know I don't want to care for adults after my time with my in laws. I overheard my DH tell my MIL when she was ill that of course she could live with us. I'd not been asked and I'd have had to care for her full time, I went mad at him but he's so used to me fitting in around him without complaint I don't tend to feature in his plans and he forgets to tell me he'll be away because he never has to worry about it and can just go.

FiscalCliddRocksThisTown thank you so much for sharing that. I think a lot also is because I don't feel like I have any control or much say in anything. It also doesn't help that I feel guilty because I now don't have a full time role as FIL is in a home and DD is fairly independent too. It means I don't feel I'm pulling my weight and desperate for a purpose and to value my contribution to my family and the world again. That's why I'm so keen to get back to work ASAP in a role that pays well so I can make a difference.

ATM I'm more than aware that a weekend of overtime for him will bet more than a month of working for me. When I work full time, he will need to take up some of the running of the home which means he will need to trim back his unquestioning devotion to his company and cutting back the hours as he won't be able to do so otherwise. This means we'll be worse off but it's the only way I'll ever be able to start investing in my career. This also means we are going to be in for some arguments. Last night I once again asked that he text if he won't be home for dinner as we wait for him. I also reminded him that if I'm working, he won't be able to 'forget' to call our DD if he's going to be late, and won't be able to be too late or be away if he really is going to support me in my career to the extent that our DD would need him home. I could tell that hit a nerve as he's beginning to realise what this will mean to his flexibility at work.

TheGreatHunt only today I took my CRB cert (not that they call it that now) into my local infant school and was hoping for a call back today to confirm my hours there. I did a lot of voluntary work there when my DD was young and I enjoyed it, but I'm not sure if I'd enjoy it enough to spend years training for it. That's what I'm hoping to find out. With that, I'll also be able to do some voluntary work in my local hospital to see how I'd feel about the nursing but I'd need to commit a minimum of 6 months to being a volunteer on a ward.

Webwizz it's funny you should mention that, I had a great chat with my local job centre today and they gave me details of a return to work scheme which I've left a message with to call me back. I'll see what they have to offer. My DH is going to get me some software to get me back into typing, word, excel etc. that's going to be very useful so I just need for him to take the time to do it so I can start.

Tomorrow I'm going to ring a few of the local agencies to see what advice they have and if they could get me temp work and help with my CV. I suppose I've done a lot in the 13 years since I was last in paid work. I swing between feeling bouyant and capable to do what I need to, to then feeling useless and full of self doubt.

If anyone had a magic wand they could waft my way so I at least had something I desperately wanted to do then that would be great! My biggest hurdle is in knowing what I might want to do so I can work towards achieving it. As things stand now, I'm struggling with not having any clear direction.

I realise we are very lucky in that we are financially secure and I don't NEED to return to work. It's just my desire to get some self worth, self respect and a challenge in my life that is leading me to do so and I can see that after 13 years of no thought for needing to fit around me and DD, DH is going to find this tough and it will put stress on our relationship.

idinnehaveaclue Tue 25-Feb-14 08:53:30

You need to start looking at your 'problem' through different eyes.

You chose to give up work to become a SAHM. You were and are in a very fortunate position to do that. It sounds as if you have a very comfortable life and do not have to find a job to pay the bills. There are very few women who have that choice.

Yes, you are probably out of touch. The workplace has changed a lot in the last ten years and not for the better. Downsizing and redundancies mean that I am doing a lot more work for no more money. Most people are having to bust a gut at work these days. Hard work and long hours has become the new normal.

This is a first world problem. Turn your anger into action. If you're computer skills are out of date, book yourself on a computer course. If you're thinking of teaching, go and help out at the school. If you're thinking of nursing, go and volunteer at the hospital. Only then will you find out what you like and what you are good at. Focus on what you want to do and forget what you think you should do.

I would love to be in your position. I've had to go back to work doing something I don't particularly enjoy to bolster the finances. Careers are overrated in my opinion.

TheGreatHunt Tue 25-Feb-14 08:57:56

With roles like governors or trustees, it is more of an oversight and critical friend role, looking St the running of the organisation. A good way to get a foot back into the working world again?

Wossname Tue 25-Feb-14 09:14:41

Ah op, you sound so unhappy and frustrated, I really feel for you. To be honest, your husband sounds like a problem. Also, ditch the idea of a career for now and look at reasserting your own identity- volunteer somewhere and do an IT course. Your husband is going to have to adjust so you may as well ease him in.

Your mental health and self esteem are worthy of other peoples time, especially your husbands! Don't accept less then respect, you've done your bit for him and now he has to reciprocate.

Joysmum Tue 25-Feb-14 10:52:18


It's the human and emotional aspect of this I'm struggling with, not the actual practicalities of the job seeking itself. You can see from my posts I'm actually doing all you've suggested.

Yes, we have been lucky that one of us has been able to remain at home. I'm afraid I get touchy about people thinking how lucky I am when my DH has benefitted by now having a career where he will be earning 10 times what I will which he couldn't have done if I had returned to work!

It's only now I'm looking to go back to work and develop who I am and my skills that I've realised just how hard this will be on this household and the dynamics, and how much things will need to change. My DH and I will have less quality time together and we open up a whole new topic of fairness in the home chores whilst he's going to find it hard to rein in his work commitments as he'll know his prospects will suffer as a result.

Only this morning I find out he's arranged for a tradesman to come in on Thursday morning without checking to see if I was even available and then 'forgot' to tell me until yesterday. He would forget to tell me he would be abroad and I'd find out when he'd take work calls at home, forget to tell me he'd be working in London and so not home till very late. He never needed to worry about home responsibilities so we'd get forgotten about and work came first and that's how he liked it because he could achieve.

My problem is that it's only now I'm going back to work that I'm feeling angry and taken for granted because it's showing up how thoughtless he is and the battle ahead to change his attitudes to his work and home life now he'll have other responsibilities and will have to be flexible to our demands, rather than automatically being able to do anything he wants for his own career.

Joysmum Tue 25-Feb-14 11:00:26


All that makes sense, but I'm so frustrated, like I have a point to prove. I need to feel valued and like I'm contributing.

I was frustrated prior to my DD starting senior school this September as she was becoming more independent and clearly I wasn't working as hard as I used to and was beginning to feel more of a freeloader and lacking purpose in life. It's worse now due to some personal issues as well as my daughter having suddenly grown up and not needing me in the same way.

I just need to crack on with fulfilling who I am, rather than ensuring I'm there to support everyone else to fulfill who they are.

I suppose the answer is to put off making any decision about training for a career until next year until I've had a chance to dabble in some temporary paid work. This should allow me to experience a few different working environments and maybe get me closer to making a decision about what to commit to in the longer term.

Thanks everyone smile

Joysmum Tue 25-Feb-14 17:02:30

Could scream. Bloody computer has frozen today and obviously I can't fix it to get to my CV. I need the PC to be able to register online with the agencies I've spoken to and forward them the CV once I've done it.

The Out There, return to work courses are too basic for my needs so I think home training and maybe college is the way to go.

DH has just texted to say not to bother with dinner as he's eating out. He's got a lot of adapting to do. I've just told him I'm out tonight and might drink so may not be home. I need to start treating him as he's been treating me so he can begin adapting before needed.

I'm sick of not being considered. I think I need some time away.

AlwaysOneMissing Tue 25-Feb-14 17:17:53

I have read all the thread and felt like I just had to reply Joysmum.

I just needed to say that I totally understand where you are coming from on this. I think your feelings are totally justified.
It is easy for people to say you've had the luxury of staying at home, and to remember how lucky you are. But these people probably have no idea of the reality of that. Of how it feels to suddenly be totally financially dependent on someone else, and how the dynamics in your relationship change (usually in the WOHM parent's favour, to the detriment of the SAHP). The moment you give up work and become a SAHP, you are in danger of becoming 'trapped' (for want of a better word).

In actual fact, reading your posts, it seems to me your DH has been treating you like an unpaid skivvy. Sorry if that sounds harsh. You have been carer for both his DF and his GPs, as well as raising your young child. He tells his DM that she can move in with you - assuming that you will be her carer, without even asking you?!! I am appalled by that, and I think it speaks volumes for the lack of respect he seems to have for you.

And it's also telling that the one thing you have found fulfilling and exciting (property development) was swiftly put a stop to, at your DHs say so - what was the urgency to spend the money on your house instead of a potentially lucrative and successful career which you enjoyed?!
He doesn't sound like a man who genuinely has your best interests at heart.

I wonder whether being treated like a dogsbody has ground you down over the years and made you feel like a commodity who has to prove your worth and value to your family?

I think you have 2 separate issues here. Your career. And your relationship.

For your career I would advise you to imagine you have no constraints. No childcare issues. No difficult DH. You can train in anything and you can work in any field. What do you imagine yourself doing? Be open minded about it and think outside the box. For now I wouldn't worry about whether it is seen as a well respected job, or earns a lot of money. Once you get momentum in a job, opportunities will arise that you can not foresee now.

As for your relationship... I would take a hard and brutally honest look at how your DH has treated you and made you feel over the years.

AlwaysOneMissing Tue 25-Feb-14 17:19:52

Cross posted - and your last post just illustrates again how your DH's lack of respect for you is making you feel worthless and dispirited.

Good post alwaysonemissing.

janey68 Tue 25-Feb-14 18:08:09

It's a cry which goes up periodically on MN... 'I've sacrificed my working life so that he can forge ahead with his career'....
The trouble is, it can come back to bite you when you feel undervalued and taken for granted. It may be that your DH doesn't mean to treat you that way... Most people are creatures of habit and if they are able to fall into patterns of behaviour then they will. Your DH needs to learn to rethink things. It's all perfectly possible- but you need to step up and show him that you are serious about getting back to work and that he needs to step up and do more stuff at home. In a way you can't blame him for having made assumptions like booking a workman and assuming you'll be home... Because for well over a decade that's been your role, whereas his has been sole breadwinner, which doesn't come without its stresses.

Rather than play a tit for tat game, it would be better to actually spell out how you feel. Show your DH what you've written here... That you know you have skills and talents but you currently feel worthless. Enlist his support in getting yourself back on track. Presumably you were a confident woman with a serious job when he met you... You may be surprised to find that rather than wanting to shirk his domestic responsibilities, he'll be delighted that you want to regain your confidence and use your talents.

This thread is a salutary reminder that it can often work best for couples to have more of a balance in their lives... Not everyone operates best with the polarised roles of earner or homemaker... As you've discovered it often means giving up a part of your life which you value.

Keep up with the job hunt but don't fall into a career simply because you think it'll 'fit' best- go for what you know you can do and are good at. You'll need to update your skills and perhaps start lower down the ladder again but once you're back into the workplace, it then gets progressively easier to move on and up.

idinnehaveaclue Tue 25-Feb-14 21:53:37

Op, I do understand where you are coming from.

In an ideal world of course your DH should support your decision to return to work and share the chores accordingly but I honestly wonder if this is going to happen. I'm a PA in a male dominated industry so I have all your frustrations on a day to day basis ten fold. I hate to say it but your DH is the rule rather than the exception and, if he is anything like as successful and busy as my boss, the only way he will be able to contribute to the chores at home would be to scale down his job. My boss' schedule is full on. It's bad enough trying to organise him, I dread to think what it must be like to hop between meetings, conf calls, getting on and off planes, staying away, driving up and down the country.

The other side of the coin is one of the guys in my team who does help out at home. He spends most of his time whingeing about the fact that he wished his wife would work more hours/earn more money so he could go part-time. Even worse, the female boss I worked for whose husband was a SAHP and would ring her every day to check she had eaten her lunch... hmm

You are using your husband as an excuse. If you really want to go out there and get a career then do it. It's not that hard but to make it work you will need to do one or a combination of the following:-
1. Carry on doing it all yourself
2. Enlist your DH's help
3. Employ a cleaner, ironing lady, gardener, nanny, etc.
4. Leave your DH and set your own agenda

The only person stopping you is yourself.

DumSpiroSpero Tue 25-Feb-14 22:08:18

I can't properly relate to your situation as I went back to work (PT) when DD was 18 weeks old, but I have ended up in a 'comfortable rut' which is particularly frustrating at the moment as I career development I was hoping for in my current (reasonably well paid, term time only, 5 minutes walk from home and DD's school) job is now clearly not going to happen.

What I'm really posting for though, is to ask if you've considered block management as a possible career path (organising the upkeep and maintenance of blocks of flats). A close friend of mine does it - she has to go out and about but is based at home, and with your background in property development you'd probably have a lot of useful skills and contacts already. As far as I'm aware it pays pretty well too!

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