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Is my anger ruining my marriage?

(86 Posts)
amItooangry Sat 08-Oct-11 08:37:13

I have been married 6 years and have DS aged 2. Last night DH came home at 3.30am (pretty usual for him) and we argued about everything and for the first time talked about splitting up.

His main concern is that I am too angry with him and it is affecting DS. I do feel angry most of the time, but tbh I feel quite justified in this and don't show it in front of DS.

We have lots of issues, exhaustion, shift work, money problems (and related trust issues) plus his family obligations (he is from Africa) and never really get a chance to work through all of this.

I am worried that surpressing this anger/upset is damaging my emotional and physical health and that he is trying to minimise my feelings and our problems by saying "well, if you could just stop getting angry, everything would be ok".

I feel that he really just wants a quiet life, with no confrontation and doesn't mind if I am seething inside, just as long as it doesn't affect him.

Any advice appreciated thanks

So what he wants is to do as he pleases, and you just passively accept it?

That's not very fair, is it?

Have you considered counselling? Something like Relate? So that the two of you can discuss your feelings and expectations?

I take it it is things he does that make you angry? You've given the 3:30am example. Why does that make you angry and what would you like to see instead?

tunnelmaniac Sat 08-Oct-11 09:02:15

Hmm, if my DH came home regularly at 3:30am I'd be furious TBH. Don't mind him going out (which he doesn't much), and the occasional late one would be fine, (e.g if Wales won the rugby world cup) but alarm bells would ring if he was staying out that late regularly.
He either is up to no good or it hasn't occurred to him that it isn't normal behaviour in a relationship to bugger off out all the time. Maybe it's a cultural thing?
Sounds to me as if you guys need to have a serious chat about your issues - with a mediator or similar.
Hope it works out x

amItooangry Sat 08-Oct-11 09:07:43

I think counselling might be a good step. I feel really trapped, if I don't react I just more frustrated inside with the unfairness of it all. If I confront him, I am just making myself more angry.

With the 3.30am example, he regularly goes out with friends or to family gatherings until that time. DS often wakes up between 5.30 and 6.30am so he is too tired to deal with him and means I never get a rest. Also DH works shifts so is often not around evenings and weekends, so we rarely get anytime as a couple or as a family - and I feel he prioritises his friends and extended family over us.

amItooangry Sat 08-Oct-11 09:16:31

The late nights are definitely a cultural thing, and I know there is nothing untoward going on. He doesn't drink and is often driving people home after family parties etc and the parties often don't start till 1am. I did go to a few of these before DS but tbh would rather get some sleep!

amItooangry Sat 08-Oct-11 09:18:08

Plus I suppose with his friends (from the same culture) they are all doing the same thing, so he does see it as normal behaviour in a relationship.

I think my expectations have definitely changed (and my lifestyle) since having DS but he seems to go on as before.

mamas12 Sat 08-Oct-11 11:16:04

To answer your question no I don't think your justifiable anger is ruining your marriage.
It looks like at best a lack of communication whereby you need to sit down and properly discuss what you each want/need/expect in terms of levels of support and looking out for each other.
At worst you are effectively a single parent lookng out for a very annoying a.n.other.

amItooangry Sat 08-Oct-11 11:59:21

So I just mentioned the possibilty of counselling and he seemed mildly surprised that he would be expected to attend as well as I am the one who needs to see things more positively! He just sort of shrugged and i suppose it is now for me to sort out and arrange just like i do everything else. He still wouldn't take his eyes of the sports news to discuss it properly and i feel so frustrated. I think I just need to become angry as a way to get some attention, however childish that sounds!

mamas12 Sat 08-Oct-11 12:25:31

He is being passive aggressive to make you behave that way, he does know how to push your buttons.
Make the arrangements and make it clear to him that yes it is for both of you to attend and to complete all the session neccessary to help your relationship.
If he doesn't then that will be another question I'm afraid.

garlicScaresVampires Sat 08-Oct-11 14:54:44

No, his disengagement is ruining your marriage (and making you angry.) Go ahead with the counselling arrangements and when if he doesn't follow through, keep going by yourself.
Hope you find it supportive. No, scrub that - make sure it supports you!

amItooangry Sat 08-Oct-11 16:33:59

We just went for lunch at the local shopping centre, which was about as relaxing as an outing with a 2 year old can be, but at least he was with us I suppose.

I think I am nervous of arranging the counselling because I know he will let me know and not go, and that will just bring forward the day that I have to make a decision.

His view is that he is supporting the extended family and wider community with these activities and is therefore blameless. He also does pick up and drop offs at the childminder when he isn't working. I don't want to ruin his relationship with our son, but there is more to being a good father and husband than that.

In his culture, people live communally with extended family and married couple (or men and women generally) spend very little time together (pretty much for procreation only as far as I can tell!) There is also very little divorce. He sees these two things as linked and thinks that the western emphasis on "couples" as a factor leading to separation. There may be an element of truth in this, but in Africa there would be at least support from other female family members, here there is no-one. Also, it is an extremely traditional patriarchal society so the lack of divorce may not be because the women are happy IFSWIM.

He seems to think that the counselling is supposed to "fix" my anger issues so I can see things from his (the right) perspective.

I'm not sure he is passive -aggressive, more just disengaged, but are there strategies for dealing with this other than just disengaging further myself?

Friends have suggested a temporary separation, but I just think we are so far apart already that I'm not sure what this will achieve?

garlicScaresVampires Sat 08-Oct-11 16:42:36

It might achieve some head space for you. Your posts are all about what he thinks, how he feels, his beliefs, his culture and his expectations. Have you lost sight of your self?

Counselling will help you, I think, even if he doesn't go. I'm pleased to hear you're able to talk to some friends, too - that's important, and so is the more detached perspective of a counsellor.

garlicScaresVampires Sat 08-Oct-11 16:49:11

He still wouldn't take his eyes of the sports news to discuss it properly - that is passive-aggressive, btw. You were discussing the future of your marriage, for heaven's sake, and he made clear his level of concern without even bothering to state it.

amItooangry Sat 08-Oct-11 17:03:48

I suppose I have lost sight of myself, in the middle of caring for DS, working and just general survival it seems like too much of a luxury. I don't want to become a martyr, but I seem unable to challenge without bullying (or being accused of bullying)

I am off to google passive-aggressive as maybe I don't understand this properly and will report back, thanks

amItooangry Sat 08-Oct-11 17:26:28

Wow - this divorcesupport.about.com/od/abusiverelationships/a/Pass_Agg.htm was illuminating. Thanks mamas and garlic, at least I know what I am dealing with now.

garlicScaresVampires Sat 08-Oct-11 17:37:05

Horrid discovery - well done for spotting it! Do keep posting; plenty of folks here who've been in it, through it, and come out the other side one way or another smile

Katisha Sat 08-Oct-11 17:38:13

Sounds like you have a huge culture clash going on here and I am not sure that it can be resolved. You have utterly different expectations of what a marriage is and different ideas about how men and women behave.

amItooangry Sat 08-Oct-11 17:50:58

Yes, but the culture clash issue has clouded my judgement about so many things, but it is not an excuse. This passive-aggressive thing is a lightbulb moment for me!

amItooangry Sat 08-Oct-11 17:59:27

oh - this is all making so much sense to me now. Like when he left me waiting at the restaurant for 2 hours on our anniversary because he was at the supermarket, or wouldn't fill the car with petrol when I was due to go to hospital to have DS. And I couldn't complain because he didn't mean any harm/he forgot etc. He never forgets the date of a single football match though hmm

The relief to finally understand all this is just immense. Is counselling still worthwhile do you think?

Misspixietrix Sat 08-Oct-11 18:15:13

"but it is still no excuse" EXACTLY that amItooangry I sympathise with you I really do, my H is african and have often had the "it's a cultural clash excuse of his family to me'' it isn't in fact it's more a case of their more than often blatent refusal to adapt to our culture iykwim? I agree with garlic, is there a way you can go for a drink or something where they'll be no distractions, etc, then lay it out to him in plain form there & then in a calm manner & yes still go if he won't x

foolonthehill Sat 08-Oct-11 19:59:30

Hi amItooangry sorry to see you posting sad for you.

It sounds to me that the cultural thing has been a huge smoke screen behind which his disengagement/abuse has gone largely unnoticed whilst you run around trying to fix whatever is broken....I've unfortunately been there done that and still have the T-shirt on...hope you can use your lightbulb moment to give you energy to work out what you want and what is best for you and yours.

It's tricky when 2 cultures meet but it's not up to just one of you to be understanding and find middle ground to stand on...he has to as well...or you're just standing by yourself in an uncomfortable place where you don't belong!

Wish you well.

BTW pretty sure that your anger is NOT too angry, just make sure you use it against what is making you angry....not against yourself!!

BlingLoving Sat 08-Oct-11 20:15:50

"from Africa" is a bit broad as there are a lot of cultures there but I am from Africa and can say that the late nights because of family etc are a smokescreen. My dh, not from Africa, has used similar supposed cultural excuses in past to make me think his family's behaviour is normal and acceptable. It's not.

You are right though that the extended family would normally be more involved. Perhaps point out to him that it's silvery well claiming cultural differences but so far he is the only one benefitting. When do you get the support too?

foolonthehill Sat 08-Oct-11 20:18:57

"silvery well".....???? I love predictive text!!!

amItooangry Sat 08-Oct-11 20:31:09

Sorry about the deliberate geographical vagueness, but don't want to out myself!

So, he has just gone out again and I had very calm discussion (was a bit difficult as his friend was here) about his responsibilities for DS. He insisted that "i knew he was going out" and that there was no way he could let me know what time he would be back. I felt very much like a parent setting a curfew, but specified that it was not me objecting to him being out late, but that he had to have sufficient sleep in order to be able to care for our DS tomorrow.

He said, "well if I have to I will just go without sleep for 24 hours" - making me out to be the bad guy again and no doubt the full guilt trip tomorrow when he is too tired.

Have also noticed that when we have a particularly rough time, there are always friends around so we can't speak openly - if I am not welcoming, then this is further evidence of my lack of cultural empathy.

garlicScaresVampires Sat 08-Oct-11 20:54:27

foolonthehill's right to call it abuse, OP. It's not all about "cultural differences", is it?
This ...
he left me waiting at the restaurant for 2 hours on our anniversary because he was at the supermarket, wouldn't fill the car with petrol when I was due to go to hospital to have DS
... is a depiction of a selfish arse who wants to make sure you know who's boss angry

Did you get to hospital in plenty of time for the birth?

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