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Passive aggressive DH or is it me?

(43 Posts)
MistressofPemberley Mon 29-Aug-11 15:44:05

Hello. I'm having an awful bank holiday Monday. DH hasn't spoken to me properly since Saturday evening. We spent the day with family yesterday and were both happy enough from an outsider's perspective. But ge barely made eye contact with me once, and showed no affection or attention whatsoever.

This happens fairly frequently; he just goes cold and it's always up to me to be sunny and bright and gradually draw him out of it. This time however I was so sick of the sulking (which is only directed at me and probably imperceptible to others) that I decided to not make the effort. Unfortunately I'm a feisty, let's have a row then move on type and the silence and stalking past each other has driven me mad today. We were meant to be having a day out today but that hasn't happened. I tried to go out for a walk earlier but my DS (3) got upset. I'm so angry, frustrated and upset that this atmosphere is ruining the weekend. I'm upstairs sobbing with rage, but also feeling as though I'm going crazy. Maybe it is all in my head. He came up just now and asked what was wrong. When I told him that he'd ignored me and had been so cold since Saturday, he turned it on me and said I hadn't been speaking to him! Now I did try yesterday, but he kept up the cold shoulder, went to bed early by himself, didn't offer me tea when he made his etc. I know that sounds silly but we always offer each other a drink when we're making one. I'm sure I'm hard work sometimes but I cant see that I've done anything wrong. I made a lovely dinner on Saturday, I was in a upbeat happy mood etc.

I just want to scream trapped in this bedroom upstairs. Maybe it is me. Especially if no one else can see it. I'm just so angry and upset and I need him to know that this behaviour is not acceptable to me. But if I ever bring it up he denies that he's in a mood and turns it on me so there is no point. It just makes me even more mad. I then calm down, break the silence in some grovelling way (because i cant handle the atmosphere any more) by making dinner, or hugging him, and it's then swept under the carpet.

buzzsorekillington Mon 29-Aug-11 15:55:22

The 'silent treatment' is actually a form of emotional abuse. Then denying that was what he was doing is a form of 'gas-lighting' and minimising. You're doing all the appeasing, all the running, trying to bring him out of his moods and he subtly (or not so subtly) spoils the entire weekend, and you know that he'll say it's all you if you confront him about it. Hae you read the threads about emotionally abusive relationships?

If he does have abusive traits, the very fact you were happy may have been the trigger, they like your moods to be contingent on them.

MistressofPemberley Mon 29-Aug-11 15:57:22

Sorry, pushed send too early.
I feel better just for writing all that. And I'm aware that I probably sound like a complete idiot making a big deal of something that sounds like a playground spat.
I just find sulkers so hard to deal with. I'm sure it will all be fine once the working week starts, and we are both adjusting to his being at home as he previously worked abroad for a year. But the day's been ruined and now my anger is taking over my mood. I really want to flounce out the door and go and see a friend but I will pay big time (with a week-long cold shoulder) if I do that, and I don't want that. I grew up with a mother whose moods could freeze hell, and I'm determined not to inflict that kind of atmosphere on my DS.

I suppose I'm just looking for others who have experienced similar behaviour from their DHs.

Thumbwitch Mon 29-Aug-11 16:00:03

God, sounds horrible, poor you. And then what buzzsore said.

What do you want to do about it though - he is who he is, and if it is PA or emotional abuse, he's unlikely to change himself - can you continue to live with it? is there any point in going to counselling with him, since he refuses to accept any responsibility for his moods (or even accept that he is having them!)

Has he always been like this or is it a newish thing?

Thumbwitch Mon 29-Aug-11 16:02:13

What he's doing is more than just sulking though. If it was just sulking, he'd tell you what you had done hmm to upset him and put him in a mood - he's not doing that, he's denying he's even in a mood and saying it's YOU who is in a mood. So he's not sulking, it's something else.

ChateauNeufDePape Mon 29-Aug-11 16:02:26

Agree completely with buzzsore. And even more after your second post. Do some reading on emotion abuse and see how much seems familiar. The Womens Aid website is a good place to start.

Cheeseandharps Mon 29-Aug-11 16:05:37

It's horrible, isn't it? My H is the same, turns things round and I end up doubting my sanity. I think sulkers like your DH and mine can't deal with emotional openness (that's a bit of a presumption on my part, sorry).

I deal with it now, by completely ignoring his sulks, treating him as if he's a toddler. That's probably not emotionally healthy, either sad

MistressofPemberley Mon 29-Aug-11 16:08:04

Hi buzz. I haven't read those threads because I don't feel I have any place there. Comparing a moody DH to some of the awful things others are going through doesn't feel right, but I will do.

I know that I do annoy him sometimes. We are very different: I'm extremely sociable and can talk to anyone; I'm always up for a party; I have a close group of friends ( who he loves and who love him). He on the other hand has no close friends and no contact with his family now (abusive and alcoholic mother, alcoholic father). I know he adores me deep down (or I thought he did) and he is a good father. I just question our relationship at times like this.

MistressofPemberley Mon 29-Aug-11 16:15:29

Thanks to others too. I'm crossing posts everytime! I've started now so it's all spewing forth and I cant stop typing smile

TheDreamWeaver Mon 29-Aug-11 16:32:27

I'm with you on this one, mistress. I've experienced gaslighting for years, but have only just found out due to lurking here that it has a name! I tried everything with my ex...being sunny, breezy and ultra bright to cancel him out for the children; laughing at him and gently ribbing him for being all sulky baby; asking straight out what it is that's upset him, he denies being upset;completely ignoring him, pretending I don't realise he's grumpy. NOthing works, and I think the worst thing to do is match his mood IME, because when it's time to be friends again, he'll say it was you being funny, not hm, he was just quiet for a bit, cna't he just be quiet without all this shit to follow? On another thread I saw the advice to take his audience away, so get up and go out, have a fun day with your child, nothing will have changed when you get home so why put yourself through the interim hours of being aggressively stonewalled? I HATE it, it's SO frustrating because they aren't actually doing anything "wrong" if you confront them about it....they just make out you're imagining it. I suppose the only thing to do would to not react in any way, but still, why the hell should you and your child live in a shitty atmosphere til he's goos and ready to snap the fuck out of it? I would never know what started a stonewalling session - which have lasted up to two weeks - and I would never know why he came out of it. I would get all introspective..."well, what did I do that day that was different to that day? I'm sorry I can't offer you any advice as such, but I intend to lurk more threads for inspiration in my own life, and to check out a book that's recommended highly by some ladies on here. I hope it helps, even just to know you're not the only one living with a tosser....wink

I do think my partner sought me out as he described me as autonomous, independant, strong willed etc etc when he met me.....I think deep down I was like a spirited horse he wanted to break.

The book: I think AnyFucker and HerHissyness et al, and others who offer a lot of emotional support I'm not qualified to do regard it highly

TheDreamWeaver Mon 29-Aug-11 16:36:36

Read silent treatment/sulking thread.

All the pro's are on there! grin

buzzsorekillington Mon 29-Aug-11 16:37:40

A moody dh who can for no apparent reason spoil an entire weekend isn't exactly normal 'though.

That he has no friends of his own, a dysfunctional relationship with his parents and may have learnt abusive behaviour patterns from them does wave some red flags as well.

It's just a bit worrying that you're doubting yourself when it's him going into moody strops. It may not be as bad as what some other people are experiencing, but it's still not on. I mean a slap isn't as bad as getting seven shades of shit beaten out of you, but it still shouldn't happen.

InTheArmyNow Mon 29-Aug-11 16:53:06

I have an h who is PA too. I have had the silent txt, being grumpy and moody. Not saying what is going on or saying things are fine.
Imo this worst EA because there is so little to be seen. I have doubted myself, thought it was my fault bbecause I am too feisty, not calm enough etc...
I don t really have an answer for you because in my case by the time I have woken up to it, so much damaged had been done I did not l9ve him anymore.
What i know is that some behaviours. In my PA h were under his control. Others seem to be more difficult to tackle and would prob always be there.
Taking some distance. And not reacting helped. As being overly cjeerful with the dcs wo noticing him. Also change happened only when i gave him an timatum and threaten to leave.
Go and do some reading.g on EA so you know you are not making as fuss. Then you will have to decide what you van and can not live with.

MistressofPemberley Mon 29-Aug-11 17:06:35

dream, thanks for your advice. I will head over to that thread and have a look later, for sure. I think he's thawing out now which is making me feel guilty for being so dramatic, but this is what happens! I do love him so much; I just wish he'd grow the fuck up sometimes and not make me an object of hate. He has had a shit childhood, and DS and I are his world.

It makes you doubt yourself though, you're right buzz, and that's what is such a head fuck. Sorry for language. And like dream, he always says he loved me for the fact that I am independent, feisty, opinionated, bright blush, "not like the other girls". He's always encouraged and supported me; in fact I've done a degree, MA, and professional qualification since being with him. So it makes no sense that he'd bully me emotionally confused.

Thanks everyone though. I rarely dabble on MN chat but when I do, I feel very supported.

Thumbwitch Mon 29-Aug-11 17:10:07

Ah no, it does make sense, he doesn't want you to leave him. He likes that you are successful and has helped you to be more successful - but he doesn't want you to get to the point where you realise you don't want to be with him, so he makes you unsure of yourself. Does he ever say anything along the lines of "I don't know who else would put up with you" or anything to suggest you're lucky he loves you?

TheDreamWeaver Mon 29-Aug-11 17:14:53

....And now he's thawing out you have to make sure you don't rock the boat to put him straight back into another sulk. You can't say "oh, so you've decided to snap out of it, have you!?"
Because that's you kicking off and he hasn't even done anything!

You have to be ready to be nice again as soon as HE decides it's time. sad

(or that's my experience anyway)

I'm getting really annoyed with myself now that I've put up with this for years!!!! smile

Good luck to you. x

MistressofPemberley Mon 29-Aug-11 17:18:16

thumb never. Never ever. And I would never be with someone "like that". He's loving and complimentary all the time. Unless he's in a sulk. And he makes me feel as though he hates me.

MistressofPemberley Mon 29-Aug-11 17:20:57

Yes dream! exactly! If I ever mention it it will all start up again! And if I don't be friendly quicksmart it'll be all me who was the sulky one. So I can't ever punish him, or make my feelings known. Aargh! Time for wine smile

Thumbwitch Mon 29-Aug-11 17:24:36

well that's something anyway.
He's still got you in a state of uncertainty a lot of the time though, it's not good. sad

Hope you can get some good advice from the other thread and maybe the book too - I've heard it can be very enlightening!

squeakytoy Mon 29-Aug-11 17:29:45

I actually split up with my husband because of this type of behaviour. I just couldnt take it any longer. He was exactly as you describe your husband.

I would beg him to tell me what was wrong, was it anything I had inadvertently done etc? and would get either no response, or just told no it wasnt me.. but it was me who he wouldnt communicate with, and would be fine with others... in the end I left. He also drank too much too which added to the problems.

After I left he had a breakdown, but I refused to go back until he did something about the way he behaved.

He did. He went to counselling, and it sorted him out. We got back together after 4 months and he was a changed person. The counsellor made him see how important communication was, amongst other things. A lot of the problems were in his head. A few things had happened in his life (before he met me) and they had never been addressed, and had resulted in him being very paranoid and prone to bouts of withdrawal and depression, but he bottled it all up totally and would not talk about it. Now he knows he has to tell me if things are getting to him.. and he does.

ImperialBlether Mon 29-Aug-11 17:36:28

OP, what would happen if, when things are going okay, you asked him why he behaved like that at times and whether he realises that when he does, you start to think how much happier you would be without him?

thisishowifeel Mon 29-Aug-11 17:40:27

Oh dear....another one. sad

It is emotional abuse and it always gets worse. It is about controlling you. Everything he does and says is to get you to be under his control. It's impossible to see when you are in it.

He is not a good father. He's a shit father actually. Absing a child's mother, in any way at all, is child abuse. I don't know any child abusers who are good fathers. Strong language? Yes...and it needs to be. This death by a million cuts is SOOOO damaging, to you, to your dc's, I can't begin to tell you.

My EA h had therapy and his behaviour improved for nine months. Then he quite suddenly became violent and physically attacked me out of the blue.


101namechanges Mon 29-Aug-11 17:51:22

How long have you been married and has it always been like this?

101namechanges Mon 29-Aug-11 17:54:07

How long have you been married and has it always been like this?

MistressofPemberley Mon 29-Aug-11 21:22:34

Written a response so many times in the last couple of hours but damn i-phone keeps losing it.

Been married nearly 3 yrs. It was all very head over heels. I left a boyfriend to move in with dh. Engaged and pregnant within a year. My choices.

Sulkiness rears it's ugly head every once in a while. As I said, he's worked abroad for the last 14 months so the times we have seen each other have been quite honeymoon-ish.

He's been back for a month now, working very long hours. Plus I'm about to start my new full time job next week (the one I've been studying for for the last 5 yrs).

Re: the sulking. It's all thawed a bit, partially thanks to my necking White wine and just not giving a feck. However, I cooked dinner (predictably, as I said I would), and DS and I sat down to eat it. Bearing in mind that I'd been prepping and cooking for a good hour, and that you can hear and smell everything from the sitting room (where he was slumped) that goes on in the kitchen, and bearing in mind that we weren't speaking, I sat down and ate with DS. He eventually came through after DS told him to, and sat down muttering under his breath "oh, dinner's ready is it?".

And no thank you after dinner. In fact he left some, which is the ultimate slight. He loves to eat, and I love to cook. He never leaves food. Did it to hurt me.

It's all so childish and churlish and stoopid.

Can not and will not tolerate it. Even though I am.

He's got work tomorrow and i haven't so I'm waiting for him to go to bed so I can top up my glass and have a crafty fag outside. I actually wish he was still away.

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