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Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Do I not deserve some respect?

(34 Posts)
misslinneaflower Thu 01-Sep-11 23:54:14

It's late and I should be in bed but I can't sleep. My man can be the most wonderful guy but he has a big problem, his anger. He can snap for anything! After having been together for over three years I have learned to tip toe around certain subjects, how to response to his anger but I'm sick of it and in the end of the day - I deserve better!
Today I had it with him. We were in town with our son (14 months old) and he was upset and grumpy. OH said he must be hungry so we bought something. "Where's his drink?" OH asked, "oh I must have forgotten it at home" I said. "How the f* can you go around town all day without a drink for him!?" F* that and f* this we bought a drink, not big deal. I then noticed that his nappy had leaked (use cloth nappies so it happens sometimes) and he was wet, that's why he was upset "You're F* stupid aren't you!?" my OH shouted at me and kept going on. I just had enough told him to f* off and walked away. I never do that. I very very rarely tell him back, thinking I should be a better example.

Now he's angry with me and hasn't spoken to me all night. How how how am I going to deal with this? I hate this side of him and it's not good in front of our son. He needs to learn how to deal with his anger but I'm at loss here... Myself I'm a very calm person that never gets angry with anyone. I just don't understand him at all. Why can't he just take it easy? To me, it's disrespectful, the language two people use in a relationship means a lot. Words hurt and makes me feel so little.

carernotasaint Thu 01-Sep-11 23:57:22

quote "how the fuck can YOU go around town all day without a drink for him" unquote, Does your OH see all the childcare as womens work?

pickgo Fri 02-Sep-11 00:07:11

It would be disrespectful to me too OP. How are you going to deal with this?

I suppose you have two choices. Continue to largely ignore it. I think it will escalate and you have to face the prospect that in another year or so your son will probably be saying the same to you. It will get worse and continue through the rest of your relationship. Do you want that future?

Or you can decide that here is where you draw the line. Make it clear to your P that you will not tolerate his vile, disrespectful outbursts any longer and if he does it again you will have to separate. And be prepared to carry that threat out.

I think the bottom line is, unless you put your foot down now nothing will change it will just get worse.

Alambil Fri 02-Sep-11 00:09:30

Name calling is verbal abuse. Ignoring you all evening is emotional abuse.

There is only one of two ways to deal with this, in my experience; put up and shut up, or ultimatum... "you stop, or we go"

I'm so sorry sad

scrambedeggs Fri 02-Sep-11 10:10:33

the first time he used a swear word at me, i would be out the door

I dont allow that kind of disrespect from anyone

JosieRosie Fri 02-Sep-11 10:13:56

I'm so sorry OP, I know how it feels to be spoken to like this sad

I agree with what pickgo said about your two choices - put up with it and it will get much much worse. And no, it's certainly not a good thing for your son to see this kind of behaviour. I'm sorry you're going through this

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 02-Sep-11 10:24:25

Of course you deserve better and so does your son. His father is not a good role model. Your son could also go onto behave exactly as his Dad is doing
and treating you with the same level of contempt.

Do you think you are actually in an abusive relationship?.

What are you getting out of this relationship now?.

Learning to tiptoe around certain subjects means that you have modified your own behaviour to try and keep up with his every changing mood swings. If you ignore it, this type of abuse escalates and I think it has since the early days of your relationship.

My guess too is that he reserves all his anger specifically for you; bet you a crisp £5 note that he does not act like this with other people. If this is the case (and abusers are very plausible to those in the outside world) then he can control his temper/anger. He likes to take it out on you and you've become his verbal punchbag. This is not therefore about anger; this is more about power and control and wanting absolute over you.

cestlavielife Fri 02-Sep-11 10:55:04

well done for walking away.

you will dela with this by deciding her and now you dont want this environment for your child.
that frankly you better off living apart and haveing a calm peaceful life.

you can give ultimatum - you swear at me again and me and DS will be moving out.
if he has an anger problem - he can got o gp and ask for your help.

if he says you provoke him dont try and argue - just realise that it is his problem not yours

think practically how you can do this finances and so on.

overmydeadbody Fri 02-Sep-11 11:04:54

You do deserve more respect.

You need to give him an ultimatum.

And why didn't he pack a drink for his DS or check his nappy?

garlicnutter Fri 02-Sep-11 13:43:55

One time, my ex had a rage at me in the Sainsbury's trolley park. It is very humiliating when this happens in public - but it gives you the chance to see what's going on from a detached point of view. In my case, a few people said "He shouldn't be treating you like that, you know."

I wasn't ready to see it properly then, but that memory gave me strength when, not too much later, the marriage came to an end.

AnyFucker Fri 02-Sep-11 17:46:44

Don't let any man treat you like this

What a terribel example he sets to his child.

But, I am sorry to say, by accepting it and staying you are complicit in that

I don't mean to make you feel worse, but my father was verbally abusive towards my mother all my childhood, and later to his own children

I hate him, but I despise her....for taking it and prioritising her relationship with an abusive bully over her children getting a normal blueprint for their own future relationships

ImperialBlether Fri 02-Sep-11 18:39:03

He ISN'T the most wonderful man if he talks to you like that. And now he's sulking and angry because you said the same thing back?

I wouldn't stay after I was told to fuck off. That would be enough for me.

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Fri 02-Sep-11 20:29:36

You're right, linnea, you do deserve better.

However, you're falling for the common pitfall of thinking you can somehow make someone else change their behaviour: ^ "He needs to learn how to deal with his anger but I'm at loss here" ^

It's not your job to make him change. You can't, even if you tried (and oh, how you must have tried). Only he can change, if he wants to. You can't make him want to change, either. All that has to come from him, and clearly he doesn't want to change.

You've asked him plenty of times, right? You've told him how upset it makes you feel to be shouted and sworn at, right? You've acted patient and loving in the hope that he would treat you in the same way, haven't you? Has any of that changed him? No. Because it can't.

The only person you have any control over is yourself. And your choices are to stay, and continue giving his treatment of you your blessing by the act of staying, or to go.

Please read the resources at the start of this thread.

<thread hi-jack> AnyFucker, how do you handle your parents now?

Makeyerowndamndinner Fri 02-Sep-11 20:45:01

The bullying and verbal abuse that you describe amounts to domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is an umberella term that encompasses not only physical violence but a range of other behaviours too, including emotional and mental abuse. These things are every bit as serious as physical abuse.

If you want some real life support with this you can go to your local Women's Aid group. They can provide practical support if you decide you want to leave your relationship, or just a listening ear if that's all you want for now. The service is completely confidential and non-judgemental.

Unless your partner can take responsibility for his behaviour and make some serious steps towards effecting a change (which would mean at the very least agreeing to attend a domestic abuse perpetrator programme and getting some therapy) then this situation will only escalate.

I think AnyFuckers comment up thread is one to think about. If you are a victim of domestic abuse then your child is also. It is traumatising for children to see and/or hear their mothers being abused and disrespected. It can affect them in many ways, often well into adulthood.

It is your partners fault that your son is being forced to witness this, not yours. Your partner is the abuser, not you. But as your son grows he will come to his own conclusions. And it is a fact that many people who grew up with domestic abuse come to very much blame their mothers for not having protected them from it. They are entitled to feel this way. All the feminist anti victim blaming theory in the world cannot take away peoples right to interpret their own situations as they see fit.

You do not want your son to come to view you with the same lack of respect that your partner does. Or to grow up believing that you are not brave/do not care enough to protect him. The fact that your partner can sometimes be nice does not make a jot of difference. His abuse will damage you and it will damage your child.

It doesn't have to be this way. You can leave and make a better life for yourself and your little boy.

carantala Fri 02-Sep-11 20:51:29

So sorry, OP, that you had such a horrible and humiliating experience!

Doesn't sound as if your OH is a loving father and partner! Hope that you can get through this! Best wishes

misslinneaflower Fri 02-Sep-11 22:38:14

Hi, I'm sorry I have been away all day but couldn't get to the computer. This is how the day went.

I tried to move on but he wouldn't have it. He was angry with me for "treating him like a dog in the middle of the street". We ended up having a huge fight in the car where I in a calm matter tried to explain to him why I was so upset. That I wanted a relationship based on "mutual respect, honesty and trust". It's been said before but it's basic! He responded with the usual name calling, swearing and shouting. I said what I've said before, if he does not change his behaviour he'll leave me with no other choice - I will leave him! It's the third time I've said that he said and his response is the same "so do it! F* off and find a better man for yourself!" I can't believe that, if I left him I would most likely leave the country (not from the UK) and he'd probably never see his son again.

Anyway, I left the car in distress (quick thing at the bank). When I came back he had calmed down. Stroke my hair and said he was sorry, that he'd been very angry the past few days but that it was down to stress and that he has stopped smoking (true). I'm very willing to forgive and forget and so I did. I said I was sorry too.

But there's always an excuse! And I know it will happen again. He can be the sweetest man. Two days ago he came home with flowers, just to say thank you that I'd been so kind during the week-end when he had a friend staying over.

Sorry this is getting very long. Your responses made me so sad. There it was, starring me in the face. But he has two sides and it's in my nature to believe the best in people, to forgive and forget.

But my diary is full of them, entry after entry of my disbelief over his outbursts and anger. I don't want to be the single mum. It would feel like such a failure.

Columbia999 Fri 02-Sep-11 22:58:49

It's not a failure to be a single mum, rather that than stay with someone who treats you like an idiot and demoralises you all the time. I was married to someone like that, and one day I realised that I was sick of trying to cover up his vile behaviour and make excuses for him.
This bloke sounds like he's not about to change any time soon. Again, you are NOT a failure if you choose to bring your child up without a selfish bully in the house.

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Fri 02-Sep-11 23:36:02

How terrible that he blamed his swearing and name-calling on you, and then did some more of it to boot.

Please read this book.

And please stop making ultimatums that you won't follow through on. That just confirms to your husband that you are willing to accept any behaviour from him.

Why do you make these ultimatums: what are you hoping they will achieve? And why haven't you followed through in the past: what is actually holding you back? Can you identify and name your motivations, your fears around this?

As you say, you know his abusiveness will happen again.

Would being a single mum really be a failure? How does being a single mum compare to being in a relationship with a man who does not respect you, and in which you are exhausting yourself trying to make things work and hoping against hope that they will, and as pointed out by other posters, modeling an abusive relationship for your son to imprint and repeat when he is an adult himself?

solidgoldbrass Fri 02-Sep-11 23:45:19

Look, men like this are always sorry, and sweet, and brandish bunches of flowers in between the bouts of namecalling and shouting and swearing. But it's an act. It's just to keep you compliant and make you think that this will be the last time. It won't be. Because he's not sorry. He thinks he's entitled to call you a fucking cunt and make you obey him because he is the Man of The House and you are only a 'woman', which in his eyes is somewhere between servant and disobedient pet.

misslinneaflower Sat 03-Sep-11 08:53:39

Good morning everyone.
I can't really argue with anything you've said. One point that you raised to me is a new way of thinking, that it would actually be a failure to stay. That I would fail as a mum if didn't keep my son out of harms way. I've never seen it like that, I've thought I'd be a failure as a girlfriend if I didn't believe in him.

Thinks have changed though for the better over the past years. It used to be so much worse, he was extremely controlling and jealous. I was not even allowed a facebook page on my own.

One of you wondered what I'm so scared of, why didn't I leave him before? Well a lot of it has to do with my situation here. I haven't got any family in this country at all. A few good friends but NOBODY knows anything about his "angry side". Nor does my family. I would hate to have to explain it to everyone as well, especially my mum who never liked him and who would love to say "I told you so!". But that's probably the worst excuse ever to stay in a relationship.

I could kick him out of the house but eventually I'd had to decide weather we'll stay here alone me and my son and get a job (I don't work at the mo) or leave the country and come back four years later with the tail between my legs, no job, no degree and with a child. I'm only 23 years old...

misslinneaflower Sat 03-Sep-11 08:55:01

Oh, and I ordered the book. Can't believe I did! What if he founds out?! But it was too easy not to as my card is already saved on amazon. Just a click.
Thanks for the tip.

Canistaysane Sat 03-Sep-11 09:12:21

He sounds quite like my step dad. Nice as pie one minute and your worst enemy the next.
I can't tell you what to do but from my past experience I would say try to make a new life for you and dc, Get out before it's too late - unless you can be sure he will change.

Makeyerowndamndinner Sat 03-Sep-11 09:40:35

Ah Misslinneaflower I can see from your post what a difficult situation you are in. It is extremely daunting to leave an abusive relationship and strike out on your own, particularly when you have little support from family and friends.

But I see your youth as a positive thing. You still have your whole life ahead of you. You have not wasted the best years of it on this abuser and you don't have to.

I don't know where you are but are there any domestic abuse service providers along the same lines of Women's Aid that you could approach for support? Perhaps you could choose just one friend that you trust to confide in?

You say he's better than he used to be - in fact, swapping controlling tactics can be quite common amongst abusers as it keeps you on shifting sand, not knowing really where you are with them, and can give the false impression that things are getting better. Things are not getting better because he's still being abusive. Just because he's being abusive in a different way doesn't mean his behaviour is improving.

You don't owe this man anything. You don't have to try to be a 'better' girlfriend. Nothing you do will change him because he can only change himself. He will only see your efforts to appease him as evidence that his abusive tactics are working. You cannot win in this situation because he has all the power.

And the absolute bottom line is that you have two choices. Just two. Continue like this or don't.

misslinneaflower Sat 03-Sep-11 15:06:05

O much has happened. I want to start by thanking all of you for your advice and support. Just amazing how many kind strangers there are out there!
I tried to talk with him this morning. Thought it is better to do it when he's fine and not angry. It didn't go so well. He lost it straight away and started shouting "what the f* do you want then? Do you want to break up? Is that what you want?! So do it! Take the money, buy yourself a ticket and go back to *!!!"

I left the house, came back later and we had a talk. He talked about my faults. How I don't appreciate nothing that he does or that he works x many hours a week, putting food on the table and so on, that nothing makes me happy. I tried to say that it's not about that, I only ask for some basic respect - stop calling me names! He says all couples do when they argue but I don't think that's true. None of my friends would be called "F* useless" because his shirt isn't ironed.

Anyway, he keeps going. I'm the selfish one, I'm the one who's not doing anything for this relationship, who doesn't value anything. He says that he knows he's angry, he knows his faults but do I? And says this is as much me as it is him.

At the moment he has left. But it actually looks like we're breaking up.
I have no idea what to do know, but I must speak so somebody.

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Sat 03-Sep-11 15:31:31

Heaping blame on you when he feels criticised is acting to type for an abusive man, linnea. It's not right, and I know how frustrating it is to be in the position where you just want to get through to somebody and they react to you with abusive rage.

Speaking to someone in RL is a very good idea. Do you have a BFF you can call / go have a cup of tea with?

"Why does he do that?" should also bring some clarity about what's going on, when it arrives.

For now, just be clear in your own mind that you deserve respect, and that it is not your job to try to understand or fix someone who isn't giving you any respect.

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