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how do you tell which of you is the problem?(10 Posts)
I'm beginning to realise that I am in a (minorly) abusive relationship here but am still struggling with feeling confident that it is him not me causing the problems. His argument, if we spoke about it, would be that I am actually doing things which the-man-on-the-Clapham-omnibus would see as unreasonable. Now I can see (and have always been able to see) that this doesn't give him the right to shout abuse at me but it still leaves the question as to whether I should change my behaviour or not (as obviously there needs to be compromise on both sides). So how do you decide whether you are being reasonable?
I think you need to consider a combination of:
a) how would you feel if someone else treated you the way you treat them and vice-versa,
b) whether the reaction is proportionate to the original act, and
c) realising that we tend to judge ourselves based on our intentions whereas we judge other people based on their actions.
I think this article is also a good starting point for identifying potentially abusive behaviours.
Could you post an example or two of what's been going on?
A few issues here.
- Shouting abuse is NEVER right or acceptable, whatever the reason. So he is responsible for that on.
- Doing things in a different way, sometimes things that the-man-on-the-Clapham-omnibus would not find acceptable. Well I think it really depends of what it is. I do things that a lot of people would find starnge, weird or downright stupid. but there are not hurting anyone and I am confortable with them. Should I change them because they are not 'mainstream'? No I don't think so because they follow one essential rule : do not harm.
- Compromising in a relationship? Again depends on what it is. If it is something that is essential for you, then not you shouldn't. If it is something not that important, then you should.
So if you are vegetarian for ethical reasons, you don't even want to use leather shoes because animals have been killed for them, then giving up on that would be wrong. If you have a problem with the colour of the walls and can't agree on a shade of beige, then maybe it's time to compromise.
One thing about compromising though. If it's always the same person who compromise, it's not a compromise anymore. It's the sign of an unblanced relationship.
Can you tell us more about what the issue is?
BTW in most situation, no one is 'the problem' as you put it your title. In most cases, both partners can make amends so that the relationship works better.
My starting point would be to consider whether you are really right for each other. He has no right to abuse you regardless of anything else and what I am about to say is not an excuse for abusive behaviour, but I think that some people can behave appallingly within a relationship with the wrong person without actually being abusers. I'm not sure it's about changing your behaviour, but if you're in a situation where you're feeling abused then it may be that a) he is an abuser in all his relationships (in which case you should leave rather than try change your behaviour) or b) you're not right for each other and this is causing an unhappy relationship in which he's expressing his frustration/unhappiness in this horrible way (in which case you should split). Without knowing all the details, it's hard to know which is which, but I know that I've been very angry and shouty (although I don't think abusive) in relationships with the wrong people.
I seem to have left an option c out, which is that you may well be right for each other and this is a communication/relationship problem that could be resolved through counselling to explore the problems and both of you would have to listen and possibly both have to change.
I guess that the problem is that there are lots of minor issues: examples - getting coal at night after 10.30 (in case it disturbs the neighbour (who has never complained when I've done it)); staying up later than anyone else on the campsite when camping (in case I wake them); having an untidy (small number of toys) front garden (we are v rural - no one can see it except postman); getting a parking ticket; etc etc. Usually not being "careful" enough or "considerate" enough.
None of these could, in any way be described as 'unreasonable'. Is your DH much older then you? I only ask because the 'Clapham Omnibus' sounds like something my father would say (similar nit-picking expectations as well).
It's important to realise that in an abusive relationship it is always the abuser's fault. The fact that you're willing to consider that your own behaviour is responsible for him abusing you suggests to me that it undoubtedly isn't and that he's done a better job than you realise on getting you to accept being blamed for everything.
Please try reading the Lundy Bancroft book. Although he deals primarily with physically abusive realtionships, his analysis of how abusive relationships work and why they are never the fault of the victim applies to all forms of abuse. I think you might find it helpful and encouraging. Understanding what is going on gives you much more power to control it.
Hope things improve.
So how do you decide whether you are being reasonable?
The answer is: Know thyself.
Why does your husband's statement that you are being unreasonable make you doubt yourself? You know whether you are being unreasonable or not, according to your value system. Your value system is not wrong, or right. It's just yours, and you're entitled to it.
Like sunshine, I am concerned that you are asking this question because you are willing to take on responsibility for someone else's actions. If your husband's argument is that he is verbally abusive because you are "actually doing things which the-man-on-the-Clapham-omnibus would see as unreasonable", then that boils down to: "It's your fault, you made me do it."
Which is grade A abusive twattery.
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