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Have I gone completely mad? Please help

(20 Posts)
raggybaggy Wed 06-Jul-11 12:19:02

Ladies, I need your help because I'm really on the brink here, but I'm so isolated I don't really have anyone to ask for advice.

I've been married for 7 yrs and have a child. I have a husband who's generally a good guy and a good 'provider'. We have a nice house. I work part time from home. From the outside it seems like I have a perfect life. On the inside though it seems very far from perfect. The problem is this. I find my DH very controlling. He's a perfectionist and seems to spend a great deal of time moaning. If things don't go exactly as planned or get done immediately, he just moans and whines. He is always negative about stuff and I feel he holds me back. I feel that I'm subtly controlled by him. e.g. one of the biggest problems for me is that I feel housebound by childcare - as he's out at work, he often just nips out for a drink with colleagues or whatever whenever he feels like it and that's fine. But if I want to go out in the evening, I have to book it in advance and write it on the calendar and it's a great palaver, with him having to make great efforts to get home in time etc. It becomes so torturous that I've just stopped going out. I know this sounds like I'm a massive wimp, but I just feel ground down after years of this. And now no-one asks me to social stuff because I can never go. I've looked for babysitters locally, and did have one, but she's now working in the evenings. As I write this I'm beginning to think I really am pathetic.

The other thing that has ground me down is the moaning, the constant moaning if the house isn't spotless or the washing up not done. The huge issue if the shirt he wants to wear isn't ironed. And then if he's had a rotten day at work, he'll come home and be totally stony faced and icey like it's all my fault some how. And if I complain about any of this, he just says it's because he had a bad day or whatever and I shouldn't take it to heart. And he usually apologises later. But the thing is, I just don't think I can take it any more. Because every time he's moany and nagging it's like another nail in the coffin. And he thinks he can sort of 'pull the nail out' by apologising, but the nail may be out but it's left a hole iyswim.

Last weekend I went to my dad's for a party. For the first time in many years I suddenly remembered who I was before I got married. I was surrounded by my siblings and new people who thought I was great fun, funny, attractive, clever. I just felt like the person that I used to be. It was like waking up from a spell that I'd been under for years, that had seen my life reduced to nothing more than a very long "to do" list, where I was the far from perfect wife.

And then I thought, No, I just cannot live with this situation any more.

I had a bit of a crisis then. I found a river, stripped off and went swimming, (there was no-one around!) in the hope that the shock of cold water would turn me back to my normal wife self so I wouldn't have any more disturbing thoughts about the state of my marriage. But it didn't work. Then I thought when I got home, my DH would be loving and kind and I'd remember why we were together. But when he got back from work after not seeing me for 4 days, he was cold and icey because he'd had a bad day and the trains had broken down. I could understand that, but I felt really this was my subtle punishment for having been away for the weekend - which I haven't done since before my DS was born 6 yrs ago. At that moment, I just felt it all end. I've been frosty to him since then. Now I've told him on the phone that I'm having a crisis because our relationship has no joy in it and that on my death bed I'll just have wished that I could have laughed more and enjoyed my days, because for years my days have just been filled with boredom, toil and duty. He says he thinks its the end. He might be right.

My hands are shaking as i write, because I think I've pulled my "perfect" world apart and this will be miserable for my poor ds who adores his dad. So have I gone mad? Please help.

cuddlysmurf Wed 06-Jul-11 12:26:34

Didn't want to leave this unanswered as you sound so sad.

If your H brings no joy to your life, and expects that you do not have your own life (and it sounds like he is a miserable sod) then you are both right to question continuing your relationship.

You have not "pulled your perfect world apart" - the situation today is not your fault.

Sounds to me that you and H need to have some serious and private conversations over the next few weeks about where you each see the relationship heading, and make a joint decision on your future that makes the best of your family circumstances.

<someone more eloquent than me will be along soon>

fluffyanimal Wed 06-Jul-11 12:26:55

Poor you. No, you haven't gone mad, you've come sane, and that can be just as frightening because delusions and misconceptions are familiar and comforting, whereas the truth is new and uncharted.

Your relationship is at a cross-roads. I would say that if you want to salvage it, he needs to acknowledge his behaviour and you both need to go to Relate. Or even if you don't want to salvage it, Relate can help you find a less disagreeable way of separating. Either way, the past state of affairs cannot continue.

Your DS can still adore his dad if you separate, and though there will be upheaval, your DS would ultimately be much better off if both his parents were fulfilled and happy, rather than living in a tense environment governed by pretense.

Proudnscary Wed 06-Jul-11 12:30:00

Darling, you have not gone mad, you are not a wimp and you do NOT have anything like a perfect life.

This is a nightmare and a terrible way for you to live. I really feel for you.

Others with experience of emotional abuse and controlling partners will hopefully come along as I think you need hand holding and advice.

cuddlysmurf Wed 06-Jul-11 12:33:03

oops posted too quickly .. .. ..

I have empathy for your situation having come to a joint decision with ExH to end my first marriage after 15 years and many nails in both coffins.

Making the decision, and exploring all the ramifications is the difficult part, and going to marriage counselling was what helped me (he didn't participate beyond the first session) to sort out my emotions and the practical stuff too. Not saying it will work for you, but its an option.

Hope you manage to talk . . . .

cathkidstonbag Wed 06-Jul-11 12:43:46

No you haven't gone mad. This sounds like how I felt 10 years ago. Before I kept trying to make it work and added 2 more children to the mix.
I don't have any advice, I'm trying to figure out what to do myself! Counselling is helping me, that and making time for friends. I get the whole difficulties in going out. I didn't go out socially for 10 years on my own! Now I go out once a week, if not more. I need time to be me as well.

quiddity Wed 06-Jul-11 13:38:21

No, you haven't gone mad. Google emotional abuse—that's what he's doing to you. See how many boxes he ticks. He sounds a real killjoy.
Loved your description of him pulling out the nail but leaving a hole.
Congratulations on recognising how wrong things are and that it's not your fault. Now you can work on fixing things, whether by getting him to change his behaviour (unlikely) or getting out and living your life. You're obviously a very strong and intelligent person and you'll flourish. Good luck.

TheFarSideOfFuck Wed 06-Jul-11 15:47:18

It doesn't sound like you have gone mad

it sounds like you have woken up from a nightmare

HerHissyness Wed 06-Jul-11 16:20:28

Well done! Welcome back to the real world love!

That family party? that IS what life is all about.

You are here now, and not alone! We all know a bit about what you are going through, some of us are no longer in those relationships and are free to start searching for our bliss, our joy, our laughter, others are still finding their paths to the rest of their lives.

You are not mad. quite the opposite, you have possibly not has such clarity in years! Feels good doesn't it? a bit disconcerting perhaps, but more refreshing than the FOG you've been in for the last few years!

I would recommend Lundy Bancroft Why Does He Do That link here

and I would invite you to pop along to our Support thread here

pickgo Wed 06-Jul-11 16:30:30

Also have a look at this and see if it rings any bells

raggybaggy Wed 06-Jul-11 17:08:16

thank you all so much for your support, I'm so grateful. I'm going to speak with him tonight about whether or not we can change our relationship to make it work. The more I think about it, the more I think he needs some kind of therapy to make him normal and less angry/controlling/OCD-ish about housework and stuff. xxx

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 06-Jul-11 17:17:34

"The more I think about it, the more I think he needs some kind of therapy to make him normal and less angry/controlling/OCD-ish about housework and stuff"

Controlling men at heart are angry men.

Talk to him if this is what you want to do but I do not think it will get you anywhere with him as he will likely blame you for everything that goes wrong.

You have had nowhere near a perfect life these past few years.

This behaviour too was probably learnt from his own parents; what are they like towards him and you?. You cannot even begin to change such a dysfunctional human being, you cannot help him here.

Many of these types of inherently dysfunctional men do not respond at all well to therapy even if they do attend any counselling sessions. He acts like this because he can; he likely as well does not act the same towards other people does he?. He can control himself in other situations like for example when he is out in public or at work. He is saving all his abuse for you. Abusers as well are very plausible to those in the outside world.

Please read "Why does he do that?" by Lundy Bancroft. Your H is within those particular pages. You and by turn your son do not have to live under his overbearing miserable rule any more.

TheFarSideOfFuck Wed 06-Jul-11 17:42:29

sweetheart, ask yourself this : is he angry/controlling to other people too ?

does he treat his mates/boss like this ?

just you ?

because if that is the case he can turn it on and off, it is under his control and he chooses to treat you like this

anger management has poor results in men who think they are entitled to treat the ones they love like shit, particularly those who don't admit they have a problem

I expect you make him angry...don't you ? (clue : you don't)

HerHissyness Wed 06-Jul-11 18:58:21

Read the lundy book. it will explain why you should NEVER have therapy with an abuser.

You've seen the light, you are right. undeniably, unshakably right. If you allow yourself to be detoured, diverted or distracted, you will be sucked back in again into the quagmire that is an abusive relationship. It could take years and years to work up the strength to see clearly again. Please don't do that to yourself.

Don't negotiate, don't discuss, don't beg, don't look for sympathy, don't look for apologies (he will never think he's done wrong, and if he DOES say he is, he's lying) Don't try to explain yourself, don't look for his agreement, or his support.

Write him off. totally.

The sooner you do this, the sooner it'll get easier for you.

WhoDidIMarry Wed 06-Jul-11 19:36:24

Nothing much to add other than to second what's already been said. Please do pop over to the EA support thread. I had my eyes opened as to what was going on in my marriage just last week and have found the girls on this thread a tremendous help. Be prepared to accept that it is highly unlikely that he will or even can change. It's a lot to take in, but you will be fine.

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Wed 06-Jul-11 20:15:10

The more I think about it, the more I think he needs some kind of therapy to make him normal and less angry/controlling/OCD-ish

OP: I know how you feel. I've been through it. Any woman who has stuck far longer than she should with an abusive man has thought first about getting help for him, when really the only thing she can and should do is consider her own needs first. You are the only person you can help, and the only person you can change. Changing another person is not in anyone's power.

He doesn't want to change: the situation he's created is just dandy as far as he's concerned. It gets him what he wants. You think he will want to go through therapy to work on himself when you explain to him how unhappy you are? Be prepared for a revelation about how little he cares about or even considers your feelings.

I second everything said above.

You deserve better.

Gailstorm Wed 06-Jul-11 20:41:16

No you have not gone mad!!!! You have come to life again.
I know it is hard to leave a relationship when you have a child but I left a moaning, joyless abusive man years ago and life has done nothing but get better. I's had it's bad days of course but I firmly believe that your child cannot be happy unless you are happy so don't feel like you've ripped something apart. Look on it as making something new.
Good luck. You deserve to be happy!

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Wed 06-Jul-11 20:43:21

Again on the topic of you feeling that your H needs therapy for his anger and control issues : the Lundy Bancroft book mentioned by several posters really is made for you.

Its subtitle is "inside the minds of *angry and controlling men*"

The author is a psychologist who has been a therapist for angry and controlling men for a couple decades, trying to get them to be better men. He knows what he's talking about. And in this book, he's talking to you, the wife of the angry and controlling man, so that you can understand and know what to expect.

It is not a book to help your H, but to help you. I really recommend you give it a read.

eslteacher Wed 06-Jul-11 21:49:49

A "nice house" is just a material thing. A husband who provides financially, and a part-time job you can do from home is just a set-up. The things that really matter in life are completely different. If being happy and making others happy, laughing and making others laugh, loving and being loved isn't the point of life then what is? You owe it to yourself to put these things first.

I can't imagine how hard it must be to make such a big change in your life and walk away from the stuff and the set-up you're used to. But it's great to see from your posts that you seem prepared to do it. I think a hell of a lot of people wouldn't have the courage or the oopmph. But everything will stay the same unless you make a change. You know you'll regret the wasted years if you don't explore what else it out there. There has to be more than what you currently have.

You don't say too much about the relationship between your DS and DH, but remember you won't be depriving your DS of a father. If anything maybe your DS will end up spending more quality time with his dad when they have dedicated and planned time for just the two of them.

Good luck! Keep hold of that party feeling :-)

threefeethighandrising Wed 06-Jul-11 23:02:46

But it isn't a perfect life because it's making you sad.

Try not to be too scared of this being the end. There is a difficult bit to get through, but on the other side of separation is a lovely life for you and your DS full of joy and life and people who are actually interested in you and your DS being happy.

Nice people do not punish their partners for seeing their families.

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