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husband's emotions baggage/problems

(28 Posts)
Rorogeorge Mon 23-May-11 20:27:01

My husband has lots of 'issues from his past' which occasionally come to light, this weekend was one of those times. We had a bit of a row on sat eve, which I was very upset about as we have not had a row in ages- ( 4 months at least) and he has been quite cheerful- he suffers with depression during the winter more. Anyway, I wanted him to apologise for being sexist and patronising about my PMT in front of the DC. He wouldn't and lost his temper and smasjed something. He has issues with his mother 'villianising' his father when he was young, and thinks in some twisted way that is what I am doing. (I think he is too scared to have it out with her, so is somehow putting me in her place)

After an immense discussion, I managed to persuade him I don't think he is a villian, but he must control his anger and take some resonsibility. He has many, many good points and that I am not trying to villianise him, but want harmony and love in our lives. He needs to see a counsellor, how can I possibly get him to go when he just buries his head in the sand and occasionally he will completely overact over tiny things. I'm sorry this doesn't make much sense! Basically I want him to admit he has emotional issues and seek help, stop the self loathing and give himself some perspective. Ultimately I think he needs to accept he is to blame but that it doesn't mean he's horrible, just troubled.

garlicbutter Tue 24-May-11 00:37:21

I didn't want you to go unanswered, but it's hard to know what to say.

I can't tell from your post whether you're expecting too much in terms of daily harmony, or he's being a sporadically controlling arse, or if he is, indeed, plagued some domestic bad habits that come from his parents and could be fixed. confused

What I can say is that refusing to apologise for offending you - and breaking objects in anger - is a very bad thing. It sends a message to you, and your children, that your feelings don't count and, if you try to insist they do, there will be violence.

You know where I'm heading with this. So why do you want to fix him? Is it, truly, your responsibility?

Rorogeorge Tue 24-May-11 10:45:39

Thank you, you are on the right lines and thank you for responding.I don't really know what I want to do. I feel like I have invested 11 years in this, and mostly I can honestly say I am happy. However, when he is unreasonable I feel so powerless and wonder how it got this way?? I know he is emotionally messed up and feel I want to help, rather than fix him, because I do still love him. I think if things don't change though, eventually we will end up splitting up. I sometime wonder is it me?? When I can see he's grumpy I know I should just walk away, but if I am grumpy too, I can push it. `not saying I'm excusing his behaviour- I'm not excusing smashing things, but there is an element of blame on my part too.

sunshineandbooks Tue 24-May-11 10:52:21

Problem: He was sexist and patronising.
Consequence: You called him on it.
Result: He smashes things up and gets you to tell hiim that's he's a good person.

That sounds really dodgy to me, I'm afraid, especially if he's not given you a full apology since.

He may or may not have issues. He may or may not be able to overcome them. It's irrelevant. They are his to deal with. It is unacceptable for him to use them as an excuse to smash things up, belittle you, or play the victim instead of apologising for his bad behaviour.

I'm sorry if I sound over harsh, it's just that this rings so many bells with me. I remember thinking that I'd seen the light with my XP when I found about his childhood and that we could work on things together and overcome them. It took me a long time to realise that while he was happy to blame things on his childhood he didn't actually think he had a problem at all - he'd simply twigged it was a good way of manipulating me.

I hope I'm wrong though. Good luck.

Rorogeorge Tue 24-May-11 11:31:33

It rings true I'm afraid. Its just a case of waiting, for me. Waiting to see if he apologises or tries to see things from my p.o.v- at the moment I think I'm too willing to see the good in him but I did tell him if there is another outburst I'm going. That's when he flipped and said I was villianising him etc etc. I really don't think he can see his behaviour is unacceptable, or if he can, he won't admit it. We will have some time alone this weekend, I don't know whether to suggest we do something 'fun', or leave it. I think we are treading water, which is sad to admit, but true. I have too much respect for myself and have got stronger these past years. He actually said I'm not as chilled as I used to be, I think that means I stick up for myself more!! Our relationship is actually much better than it used to be, but I still have that niggly feeling that it needs to be sorted.

Rorogeorge Tue 24-May-11 12:22:34

sunshine- how long did you and your exp try and sort things out for? Do you have children?

sunshineandbooks Tue 24-May-11 12:45:46

I was with my XP for 6 years in total. If I am truly honest with myself, and knowing what I know now after thoroughly educating myself, there were signs all along that I chose to ignore. However, his abusive behaviour didn't really start to show itself until I became pregnant. From that point on it deteriorated steadily until he tried to strangle me when the DTs were four months old. At which point I left and never looked back.

Every so often, I experience little 'flashbacks' (dramatic name for something that isn't really that dramatic in my case) where I remember something he said or did that didn't really register at the time. If the same thing were to happen now, I'd be aghast and recognise it for what it was straight away. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, eh? wink When you live in this sort of relationship you become incredibly desensitised to unacceptable behaviour, often without realising it at the time because your boundaries are eroded oh so subtly and in tiny incremental steps. I realise now that while my XP upped his game when I became pregnant (planned), he had been grooming me for years.

Have you come across the Lundy Bancroft book oft referred to on here? I think you may find it helpful for understanding your H's behaviour and how it ties in with your own feelings.

sunshineandbooks Tue 24-May-11 12:46:43

DTs are nearly 5 now BTW.

cestlavielife Tue 24-May-11 14:13:05

start keeping a log - record as sunshine did problem, consequence, result

you can look at subtly changing your reactions.
you can tell him smashing things is out - is not good exmple for dc

if he needs help to control his temper he needs to go to GP.
if he has issues - he needs to address them

if he thinks he was justified in smashing something because you incited him - then you have problems....

what did he smash? his things, your things, joint things?

Rorogeorge Tue 24-May-11 17:48:17

He usually throws whatever is in his hand. mobiles often get it!!

cestlavielife Tue 24-May-11 23:57:34

how often is often?

Rorogeorge Wed 25-May-11 11:12:50

Well it seems to happen that we have a big argument a couple of times a year. It is more often when I am tired/stressed/worried as I guess I am not as good at being rational and walking away from him and coming back to discuss rationally later. It is definitely far less than it used to be, but I think I am better at reading the signs. However, he blames me for his behaviour
('winding him up', 'knowing exactly what I'm doing' etc etc.) There may be an element of truth in this, but I do not accept it is all my responsibility. He is also very chilled out and kind most of the time, so friends do not imagine he could lose his temper- this gives him further justification that it is me who makes him like this. I know you are all going to tell me to get rid, and believe me I have been thinking the same, but I must stress he is a good husband and dad in lots of ways, and when I pick a calm moment and pick my words carefully, he is receptive to ideas and will do things for me, this is a real improvement as I didn't used to bother asking, I would just seethe with resentment. This is not the case at all now as I have become much better at saying no and also asking for what I want.

He just seems to have this inability to accept blame for anything!! he won't give me any slack for losing my temper or acting irrationally, but expects me to do so for him. I am still angry with him and waiting for an apology, he is being 'normal' but I'm sure knows I'm still not right. its a waiting game with deadlock here......

Rorogeorge Wed 25-May-11 11:14:37

sorry C'est la vie, to answer your question, he doesn't choose what to smash, if he is holding a cup for example, the cup gets it! Not deliberately picking my things for eg, not premeditated.

zikes Wed 25-May-11 11:43:12

The thing is, it's all about you changing your behaviour: you recognise his triggers, you walk on eggshells around him, you pick 'good' times to talk to him.

Where is his responsibility for his own temper?

Rorogeorge Wed 25-May-11 13:40:00

Got it in one Zikes, I know you are right...But if I can try and help him, shouldn't I be doing that??

To be fair, I suspect he is trying to minimise his outbursts, but to admit it would be very difficult for him. He grew up in a household where there were lots of arguments and blaming of each other. He also blames his mother for his lack of relationship with his own father whom she left when he was about 4 and she did not let his father see him. He has since died ( 10 yrs ago) and of course, he cannot change that and he has not really dealt with these feelings. He needs to discuss all this with his mother but she is a hard woman who I doubt will listen to any criticism. He works with his stepdad too, which compounds the problem as he does not want to cause step dad pain. Sorry for waffling, just trying to explain why he is like this to see whether anyone thinks I should carry on trying or cut my losses!

garlicbutter Wed 25-May-11 15:06:34

I understand about wanting to help him - but has he actually asked you to? Have the pair of you had a real, problem-facing conversation about what HE needs to change and deal with, what kind of help to seek and where to start? Been to see a doctor or a therapist together?

Or ... when I pick a calm moment and pick my words carefully, he is receptive ... is his idea of help all about you conforming precisely to his demands, even as far as specific terms and the manner of your speech?

zikes Wed 25-May-11 15:16:31

It's where 'helping' him crosses into 'managing' him. It takes inhuman effort to remember all the time what buttons not to press, maintain what he wants and tackle things the 'right' way (according to him/what you've learnt/been taught by him). And there's no guarantee he won't move the goal-posts or be extra-stressed sometime - and then you're back at square one, the blow-out.

It shouldn't be that hard. You should be able to be yourself, your flawed self (cos we're all flawed) with him.

He should be willing to deal with his issues. It's no good whining about his poor family relationships, his missed opportunities (he can't blame his mother for not forming a relationship with his father once he was an adult). We become responsible for ourselves at some point and have to sort out our own demons.

Labisiffree Wed 25-May-11 15:32:30

(name changed sorry)
So, assuming I decide to go, which if there is another 'smashing' episode, I have told him I will, what is the best way to go about it??? I'm scared of doing everything wrong, making mistakes, making the wrong choices and being blamed for tearing the family apart, because that is how he will see it and how others will see it because nobody really knows apart from maybe one or two best friends, what he is really like. I'm scared it will take me a very long time to get over this and I'm scared of admitting defeat. It sounds silly, but although he is a prat who does whine and blame me/anyone other than himself, I love him and know I would miss him and I want to help.

cestlavielife Wed 25-May-11 15:33:07

"He needs to discuss all this with his mother " - no i think he needs to discuss with a counsellor/therapist and let it all out and come to terms with the way things are.

he cannot change his mother
he can only change himself

Labisiffree Wed 25-May-11 15:39:22

Will the GP send him to a counsellor if he goes? She has been consistently supportive of me and has urged I persuade him to go and see her.

Zikes- he was told his father had died when he was 19, he had considered trying to get in touch, but it was in pre facebook etc days and he wasn't really ready.

cestlavielife Wed 25-May-11 15:41:12

agree with you need to consdier whether you ar e infact adapting your behviour to avoid an outburst - i know this was the way i lived for years.

frankly it was easier to remember next time to buy the right colour washing up liquid - rather than buy the wrong colour and risk an outburst. literally.
(there were many other examples - it took a lot eg he had a major mental ehalth crash involving smashing up lots of things etcetc then i saw a counsellor...looke d over thewhole relationship...saw teh reality for what it was)

so consider what it is that you do to keep the peace, how much do you actually do to try and avoid him getting upset?
do you actually do this?
is it each day or only sometimes?

maybe even see a counsellor yourself and have a good hard look a the relationship and how much you do walk on eggshells etc. or is it in fact you overreacting ? by analysing example situations you might see a pattern...

consdier whether you imagine growing old with this man once kids have grown up.
how will your life be?
will it be hand and hand into the sunset of your golden years? where will you live? what will you both be doing?
(my exP actually ahd no idea at all - if you asked him what will you be doing when you retire he literally had no thoughts on the matter - where as most people will say live in the country/by the sea/travel/ -some kind of vision of how they want their lives to be

if you know what your life with him will be like in five or ten years time or when kids have left home - that can help you imagine what needs to change - or not ....

Labisiffree Wed 25-May-11 15:49:50

C'est la vie thank you for your reply, in answer, he doesn't freak out all the time, definitely only sometimes, and it is often only once every few months, not more. He is,by nature a bit grumpy, but I just ignore that and get on with what I am doing if he is a bit grumpy. He talks about travelling when the kids have left home, and sometimes that idea seems totally appropriate. maybe we are just going through a bad patch, but I agree we should see counsellors seperately.

my situation doesn't sound as bad as yours was. there are times when he will pick on anything eg house untidy, dinner unhealthy.. in order to start a fight, but this was more common when I wasn't working and he was resentful I think, he seems to have grown up a bit. But I worry that by carrying on like this he somehow thinks his outbursts are OK because life just carries on afterwards. How can I break the cycle without leaving????

cestlavielife Wed 25-May-11 16:25:01

you dont have to leave forever if he does it again - just long enough to make him realise you serious....and for him to persuade you he recognises his actions and is prepared to do something about it

Labisiffree Wed 25-May-11 20:57:43

I think that is good advice I will have a plan in place for this eventuality. Thanks for the replies, it means a lot and helps me get things into perspective.

Labisiffree Thu 26-May-11 15:57:15

Long chat with a friend today made me see I must discuss this with him and stop it happening again. He is doing his considerate, kind self thing, his version of sorry, but He needs help and support and counselling. I need to make him see that as I will not have this happening again.

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