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DH puts me down and calls me Stupid, baby on the way, how to deal?

(106 Posts)
HPonEverything Thu 28-Jul-11 08:26:07

I was inspired to post this by the "DP called me a slag" post but didn't want to hijack it.

I have a similar 'problem' (don't think I've ever been called slag though). I get "wanker" and "twat" and more cough endearing ones like "shittydrawers". It's all banter and I laugh and don't really mind. I don't do it back because it's not my style but I don't mind him doing it.

The 2 I really do object to though are "Stupid" and "Shut Up". I pull him up every single time over these. He apologises for "Stupid", but doesn't see what's wrong with "Shut Up". He still goes on to use them the next time. I was not allowed to use the words "Shut Up" when I was a kid or I would get hit, so I never use it. DH doesn't do it in a kind of "oh shaaaaat aaaaap" jokey way which would be almost acceptable.

My real concern about these words is that when it's just the 2 of us it only affects me. However we have a child on the way and what kind of respect will that child have for me if it hears my DH calling me Stupid and telling me to Shut Up? I've explained this calmly to DH and told him he needs to get out of the habit ASAP, he sort of agrees but thinks I'm being OTT.

A lot of it with my DH is that he has self-esteem issues. He comes across as over-confident and quite cocky, but I know he has problems with me being the most, well, academic (sorry if that sounds vain), or geeky if you like, and better at general knowledge, crosswords, that type of thing. He puts me down when we're alone or in company.

It's pretty much his only fault and we're very much in love, so I feel bad being on here slagging him off, so to speak, but I'd really appreciate some advice.

I don't want to start objecting to every bit of banter, or get precious about it, but I envisage a future with a 4-year-old telling me to shut up because it's heard daddy say it to me and thinks it's ok.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Thu 28-Jul-11 08:29:36

Are you sure it's his only fault? Because a man who is calling you wanker and twat and stupid, and who puts you down both alone and in company, and who is threatened by your intelligence, and who isn't altering his behaviour despite it upsetting you, doesn't sound like a nice man. If you can see that it's not alright for a child to call you stupid or tell you to shut up, you must see that it's not just 'banter' when your husband puts you down in front of his friends. It's nasty and horrible.

HPonEverything Thu 28-Jul-11 08:32:51

Good point, really. Maybe I'm just too used to it! I've never thought of it that way because I just accepted it as 'his way' and the way he is with our friends, and put it down to his poor self esteem (which he would never admit to)

I do put myself down a lot and don't have a lot of confidence, so can I really blame him for doing it too?

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Thu 28-Jul-11 08:34:41

Yes, of course you can blame him! My husband is quite shy, tends to put himself down, had parents who brought him up with a lot of criticism, etc. So I build him up, support him, and love him. That's like saying "well I'm quite ill, so it's alright that he poisons me".

FreudianSlipper Thu 28-Jul-11 08:38:00

this is not banter this is being nasty and its emotional abuse

why if you love someone do you want to call them names even in so called jest if it makes them feel worse about themselves, there is nothing loving in that, his self esteem issues are not the reason he is being this way do you want to call him names to make yourself feel better and more confident

HPonEverything Thu 28-Jul-11 08:40:37

I see what you mean.

To be fair he does 'build me up' when we're alone (around calling me Stupid, obviously!). Though when I think of it a lot of the recognition of my intelligence is done in a sort of negative way for example calling me a "geek", or saying "you're just like your mum/dad - all brains but no common sense".


FreudianSlipper Thu 28-Jul-11 08:45:35

yes builds you up then knocks you off the pedestal, sorry this is classic emotional abusive controlling behaviour

read up on it Lundy Bancroft Why Does He Do That will explain exactly how these men work, and sadly i think you will read it and recognise far too much in your relationship

QuintessentialShadow Thu 28-Jul-11 08:46:33

Your dh seems to be building up his own self esteem by reducing your worth. Is it working? Does it make him feel better?

This is not banter, it is emotional abuse, and it is really horrible. You are absolutely right that this is not an environment for a child to grow up in.

You need to stop laughing, and tell him it is not on. Tell him you have been putting up with his downputting ways for so long, but you have actually come to consider it really rude, and mean, and you dont want to keep hearing this kind of talk all the time, so he needs to stop.

If he finds you OTT, ask him what makes him think it is ok to call people such things? What gives him the right? Is it commonly acceptable to address people like this?

lifechanger Thu 28-Jul-11 08:47:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HPonEverything Thu 28-Jul-11 08:48:31

I think I've sort of justified it in my head because I tell myself that the people he's putting me down in front of won't believe it anyway (except my parents, but that's a whole other story). Most of our friends probably think I'm quite 'cool' because I can laugh at the banter. They're all mostly ex-army as is DH so there is a lot of offensively-tinged banter.

My DH's best friend is a misogynist and says much worse things to his wife, they are very unhappily married, and my DH is in awe of this guy. The best friend talks to me almost as badly as he talks to his own wife, but at the same time recognises my intelligence. It's kind of f'ed up when I think about it.

I'd never thought of it as emotional abuse. What can I do? When we're alone I've asked him not to put me down in front of others to grease the social wheels, but he just doesn't seem to get it. And as per my OP I've asked him not to call me Stupid even when we're alone.

HPonEverything Thu 28-Jul-11 08:50:44

I'm going to precis this thread to him I think. He makes out like it's me just being precious/paranoid and that it's totally normal so I shouldn't be upset, but you ladies (I assume all ladies...) have made me see it's not.

QuintessentialShadow Thu 28-Jul-11 08:53:16

But you are not really laughing at the banter are you? It is just a facade.
And I would not be surprised if the friends pity you. Because there is nothing cool about taking emotional abuse with a laugh.

Is putting down wives regarded part of the social interaction and amusement of the group?

What would happen if you did not laugh? If you quietly asked him to stop becacuse you find it really hurtful and unecessary. How would he react to that?

How do you see your child growing up in this setting?

HPonEverything Thu 28-Jul-11 08:55:59

If I didn't laugh I'd be told I had no sense of humour I think.

HPonEverything Thu 28-Jul-11 09:16:24

Putting down wives is really only part of the social interaction and amusement of DH and the misogynist best friend when the 4 of us are together (which isn't that often). I'm scared of the misogynist and DH would never protect me from him, he will always stick up for misogynist over me.

Of the other couples we are friends with I'd say we are the most lovey-dovey type couple, so there's a huge disconnect between him being like this whilst putting me down.

I'm quite a bit younger than him but we've been together 10 years. I believe he's proud of me but doesn't really show it to anyone else, and rarely to me, so I'm not your typical 'trophy wife' or anything. I'm also his third wife and I'd love to know if DW1 and DW2 had the same issue but I'll never know.

I'm making him sound like a total wanker sad

turquoisetumble Thu 28-Jul-11 09:23:05

Well, why don't you continuously call him 'tiny prick' and 'shit-in-bed' infront of his mates for a larf? It's just banter and fun after all, isn't it?

If there is a future for you and DH (that you'd want to bring a child into) then no more laughing and being cool about it. You pull him up every single time. Ask him why he's so rude and why he feel the need to put you down. We can all overstep the mark sometimes, but if someone tells you that something is hurtful and you do it again, it's just nasty.

The fact that he has a best friend who is deeply misogynist speaks volumes, I'm afraid. Has this never worried you? Do you talk to your DH about it? What does he think about the way he speaks to his wife and you? It doesn't sound like your DH thinks much of women really. The fact that he lets this friend talk disrespectfully to you, well I'm dumbstruck. Not many men would let another man speak offensively to their wife.

turquoisetumble Thu 28-Jul-11 09:32:47

I'm sure DW 1 & 2 had the same issues (they were married to the same man after all), but they stopped putting up with it.

Why do you believe he's 'proud of you' if he doesn't really show it? Be careful, people show you how they are through their actions. If he doesn't show it, but tells you you're stupid and to shut up and lets another man put you down - well, that's the reality.

Personally I would refuse to go anywhere near the misogynist. Just as if I were black, I wouldn't go out for a nice cosy evening with a racist.

exoticfruits Thu 28-Jul-11 09:53:12

I think that you have to stop letting him get away with any of it. Pull him up every single time he does it or he will only get worse and your DC will think it normal-you don't want a 3 yr old saying 'shut up mummy, you are stupid'.
DCs never ever do as you say-they do as you do.

If you have tried the proper discussion and got nowhere and want to stay with this man (not sure why hmm
I would remain calm and just question him each time as in 'why did you call me 'shittydrawers'? - and keep questioning the answers (like a 3yr old with why?) as in 'why do you think it funny'? 'why is that?' It will soon become evident that he can't justify. Be like a broken record, and even if you have just done it an hour ago do exactly the same again. Don't get emotional, don't argue ,just keep your voice even and sound totally bored. I would do it in front of others too. It sounds like advice for a toddler-but that is how he is behaving. If you are consistent and do it everytime he will get totally bored and stop.

I would only do it if you don't want to split and have tried all adult conversations first.

NicknameTaken Thu 28-Jul-11 10:08:20

I see it as abusive as well. Some couples do banter like this and it's fine, but you've told him you're unhappy and he doesn't have enough respect for your feelings to make any effort to behave better. Your feelings don't count at all. Bad, bad sign.

You might try reading Patricia Evans' book on verbal abuse, which has strategies for dealing with it.

I totally second exoticfruits' post. Do you want your dcs to talk to you (and other people) like this?

Your DH and his misogynist friend are between them normalising a particular way of treating women. Don't justify to yourself that at least your DH isn't as bad as his friend - bet you anything that he will act more and more like him after your child is born.

Allinabinbag Thu 28-Jul-11 10:09:02

I used to 'banter' quite a lot with my husband, until he told me he really didn't like it. It can start out funny and like an in-joke, but then it gets hurtful and downright rude. Perhaps that's how it started (perhaps not), but it has to stop. Tell him you won't have him speak like that to you, it's not funny, you don't like it and you don't want your child to hear it. Of course it is within his power to change, once I realised I was going too far, I stopped it.

pickgo Thu 28-Jul-11 10:10:44

I'm sorry I don't think trying to change him will work. If his best friend is a misogynist, you've been together 10 years and this has always been his attitude towards you, he's ex-military... all this indicates an ingrained attitude to women that will not shift without huge efforts on HIS part, NOT yours.

I'd suggest Hpon, that your lack of confidence might well have somehing to do with the fact that you've been with this man for the last 10 years. At first he would have seemed like someone to admire I'd imagine, as older men so often appear to younger women. As you grow up however the scales fall from your eyes and you start to see them differently and realise all those things you didn't notice or dismissed actually add up to a poor relationship that drains your self-esteem and confidence.

I think this will get much worse with a baby on the way.

Read the Lundy Bancroft book OP 'Why Does He Do That?'

oldwomaninashoe Thu 28-Jul-11 10:12:46

How is he going to feel when his DC gets sent out of his nursery class for calling a classmate Shitty-drawers or Wanker or Twat???

Irespective of it being disrepectful to you at the moment it is not the sort of language you would want your DC repeating at the local toddler group.

For the sake of the DC he needs to stop right now, because believe me kids are experts on repeating what they hear at home. By my estimation he has about 18 months to 2 years in which to cease altogether, ask him now does he want his child to be a social pariah, and to have their language (and ultimately both your parenting skills ) ctiticised!

oldwomaninashoe Thu 28-Jul-11 10:13:49

"criticised" blush

ImperialBlether Thu 28-Jul-11 10:27:41

Oh god, OP, this man is completely vile.

He tries to build himself up by bringing you down.

He knows you are better than him (well, you are, in every possible way) and tries to bring you down. You're ten years younger, much more intelligent and obviously have the social skills he completely lacks.

You should judge someone by the company he keeps. He is best friends and worse, respects, a man who hates women and who treats his wife really badly.

I'd advise you to get out of the relationship. You will never be happy with him. He will be an awful dad as he will encourage your child to abuse you, too.

Ephiny Thu 28-Jul-11 10:51:14

Sorry but that really is an absolutely unacceptable way for a man to speak to his wife. I don't care if he has self-esteem issues. I struggle with low self-esteem myself, but would never speak to my partner (or anyone in fact) like that.

I really hope that sort of thing isn't 'normal' in a relationship - certainly isn't in mine. Maybe it's normal for 'banter' between men or teenage boys, but surely they should have a bit more respect for their wife and mother of their child?

So I don't think it's at all 'precious' to say that you don't expect to be spoken to like that by anyone, certainly not in your own home. And that you don't want language like that used in front of your child. Well done for saying something about it, make sure you stick to that.

AnnaBegins Thu 28-Jul-11 10:52:09

He sounds truly awful.
And you are right to be worried about your child picking up on this, I have an acquaintance who would regularly put his wife down (in company!) and call her a cretin, and lo and behold their son started calling his mum a cretin when he was 3. Highly embarrassing for everybody, and must have been mortifying for her.

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