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Where do I turn to?

(29 Posts)
Leh64 Wed 04-Jan-12 10:01:00

So glad I found this site, hope to get some help/advice. Where to start... I've been married for 20 years, have 3 kids, 2 of school age, 1 of 18. I'm so unhappy in my marriage. Always had ups and downs, but over the last year all we do is argue. He's always controlled all the money, as we have joint accounts, (inc mine, I work part time) He always dictates our food shopping, and any expenditure. But the worst thing is, to others, he appears so nice and everyone likes him. He's had some health problems himself over the last few years, which I do feel sorry for, but they just seem to have made everything worse. None of the few friends I have, are aware of how unhappy I am, I've kept it all to myself (he doesn't like any of my friends!) He is such a control freak. We've got the usual financial ties, mortgage, 2 cars etc. there's absolutely no spare cash I could use to help me. Also, I live in a very rural area, and everyone knows everyone else, and I just know I'd be the bad one. I just feel I can't go on any more with things the way they are. I go to bed every night and dream of how it would be if it was just me and the kids. It's all getting me so down, and I feel I have no one to turn to.... I have no family near, both my parents are dead. Any help or advice much appreciated, thanks.....

fluffyanimal Wed 04-Jan-12 10:29:23

Welcome to MN, you'll get lots of support here. I'm not the most knowledgeable about this type of thing but didn't want you to go unanswered. It sounds like you are being subjected to emotional abuse: controlling, alienating you from your friends, behaving differently on his own with you compared to how he is in company.

Lots of people here recommend a book called Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft, you may find it helps you to understand your husband's behaviour and realise it is not your fault.

Tell your friends. The fact that you think you'd be painted as "the bad one" shows that he has done a good job of brainwashing you to think that any problems in your marriage are not his fault, and of eroding your self-identity. Start trying to find the person you really are deep inside.

Talk to Womens Aid as well. Emotional abuse is still abuse.

Leaving is possible. Lots of MNers have done it, even with no money. They will be along soon to help you. Keep posting, keep reading MN, build up your strength. You can do it!

IWantWine Wed 04-Jan-12 11:07:51

Watching this with interest. Much sympathy to you Leh64 as I am in the same boat sad

fluffyanimal Wed 04-Jan-12 11:09:35

Glad you bumped the thread, IWantWine.

Emmasmum40 Wed 04-Jan-12 13:11:50

Hugs to you. I'm in the same boat too.xx

fluffyanimal Wed 04-Jan-12 14:59:42

Ladies, if you haven't already found this thread, and as this one doesn't seem to have got much traffic yet, check this one out:
Support thread

Leh64 Wed 04-Jan-12 16:25:21

Sorry, but. have to have another mini rant! He's just in from work, and chats away to me as if everything's ok, and stupid me chats back...as minimal as I can get away with. Makes me think I'm going insane, fact of the matter is, I do not love him, or want to be with him any more, but where would I start, where could I go, 3 kids and no money. Other glitch is that through his job he's actually quite well known and respected in the local social work dept. It all seems so impossible.

latedeveloper Wed 04-Jan-12 16:48:24

you sound very unhappy.

You need to start planning your escape.

Detach as much as you can - talk to your friends, stay on mumsnet

start having a social life without him with non couple friends - an exercise or a language class for example

If your children are now older can you work extra hours/get another job?

What would happen if you opened another bank account and had your salary paid into that. Then say you are happy to pay a proportionate amount into the joint account.
If all hell breaks loose then you will need to be prepared to leave.

If your children are older they will get to choose who they stay with so not sure why social services would be a worry.

RudolphthePinkNosedReindeer Wed 04-Jan-12 16:54:20

I have been in a long marriage that died, yes for the most part I was good at normal minmal chat thing too, didn't stand up to him cos depressed, when I felt well enough to try and tackle things wrong with us, it just degenerated into a blaming shouting match. I too used to fantasise about being without him.

Firstly, do not worry that it seems impossible. Do the research as if you were doing it for a friend - finances, likely divorce outcome etc. Don't be daunted that it still seems impossible, putting flesh on your fantasy is the first step in making it real.

Lots of people on here who will give more specific advice, and do come over to the abuse support thread <sighs as knows will fuck up if tries link>

Finally, head up, shoulders back, tits forward grin

IWantWine Wed 04-Jan-12 17:08:23

Take a little bit of control back, where you can.

At least I earn my own money so I now spend it on whatever I like smile And I am no longer afraid of him. I never used to be able to walk out the door without being cross examined and I virtually never ever went anywhere without him! Now at least I can come and go as I please. I have made friends through work and am building on increasing my social life - all without him.

Baby steps.

foolonthehill Wed 04-Jan-12 17:09:47

Hi, it took me 14 years to realise I was in a marriage that only suited one person...my OH.... and was damaging both me and the children.

Lundy's book "why does he do that?" inside the mind of angry and controlling men (available from Amazon!!!), made me realise that i was not alone and much to my surprise despite his most charming exterior when i finally asked him to leave last october a number of people got in touch to support and offer help. I am not fully extricated now, we still have financial ties and the children to consider, his controlling and difficult behaviour has got worse and like you I have little or no financial resources but for me it is all worth it because I have my mind back.

I really recommend the info at the top of the support thread here (and the support from the wonderful women there too) it was like a light bulb being switched on for me. I would have done (and I think did do) everything I could to save my marriage...but if there's only one person paddling you just go round in circles..get some info, some support ad then you can work out what you want /need to do

NJJK Fri 06-Jan-12 07:53:56

Dear Leh64,
I just came across your post when I was searching for something else.
I felt compelled to give you my opnion.
I was in similar situation many years ago and I wrote a similar message on a forum for advice from a relationship guru and the advice was to leave. I had similar issues like joint accounts, kids, controlling and nagging husband, feeling unloved and unappreciated. Only difference was that I was in full time job, earning much more than him.. so I was kind of a main bread earner.
I decided not to leave my marriage and tried to work on issues as from his prospective, things were ‘normal & fine’. It was me who was unhappy. I realized with time that I was still in love with him. I liked him as a person but had so much anger for him as a husband. I had this thought in back of mind that I had to do it for kids to give that stable home/family but I had my well being in mind too.
Now, I am very content with my life and have a happy family. He has not changed much but I have. I no longer seek his approvals for small matters giving myself more control and small pleasures. I try to not depend on himemotionally. I have opened up more to him making sure that he knows how I feel. I do not feel guilty on spending some money on myself and taking small breaks away from him.
There are only two things I would suggest to you.
First is to let the anger go and think rationally about what you really want. Do you seek freedom or love or happiness. Though all may seem related but those are not. As freedom may not lead to happiness and happiness may not depend on your marriage or freedom and love can still be won without freedom. Sometimes you need to be lonely to have a clear mind so see if you can take a small breaks too. Go somewhere away from husband to think clearly that what do you want. Never start any process without having an end in mind so think that how you want life to be after 10/20/30 years when kids are no longer around and what are you missing most in life and what blessings you already have.
My second suggestion will be to discuss your feelings with your husband. Men think quite differently from us. We except them to understand our silence and pick up hints but they are quite dumb in these matters really. He might be thinking that he has given you everything you need in terms of finances, house, kids etc. You need to tell him clearly with cool head on your shoulders that how you feel and what changes you desire in your life. He might not be able help streightaway or even understand but at least he would know how you feel and you will feel better too.
I wish you all the best with whatever you decide to do in the end.

Anniegetyourgun Fri 06-Jan-12 08:20:30

Or, you could leave him.

struwelpeter Fri 06-Jan-12 10:48:40

Dear Leh64,
do look at the EA thread and the reading list at the top. However hard you try to change, it won't work unless he is willing or able to meet you some of the way.
Do make a list of what you want in 10/20/30 years time. It sounds as though he doesn't factor much now so will he when the DCs have left home.
I tried to read booksa, examine my behaviour, make changes, not get upset and the further I pushed myself into a corner the more advantage he took.
And by squashing yourself, you will either go mad, get depressed or burst out in anger.
You will manage and more than manage by yourself, in fact you will probably flourish. There is nothing worse than being lonely in a relationship.

Leh64 Thu 12-Jan-12 23:14:37

Thanks to all above who gave me advice. Current situation is, I'm still here, I've told him exactly how I feel...... well, maybe a bit of a watery version to be honest! He is trying to change, there's maybe a slight improvement, but I feel it'll not take much for him to slip back into his old ways. I am still here mainly cos of the kids, I am still fond of him, and in a way, I do feel sorry for him. I really don't want to upset the kids. We are talking more, and we did have a really good chat about everything, and he said he'd try and change. I don't have anywhere to go, or any money to go anywhere, and neither of us could afford to keep the house on our own, so that's the way things are just now. If I win the lottery any time soon, he'll not see me or the kids for dust though!! I guess I'm just trying to make the best of a bad situation.

izzywhizzyswinterwarmer Thu 12-Jan-12 23:42:27

Sounds as if you're good candidates for Relate - you may not have a lot of spare cash but every £ you spend trying to repair/restore/renew your marriage may save hundreds if not thousands on divorce.

There's a lot to be said for talking about joint issues and differing views of your marriage in the presence of a neutral third party as any promises made relating to changes needed can carry more psychological weight than those made without a witness.

Why not give it a whirl especially as you can be secure in the knowledge that, if no fundamental changes materialise, you won't be encouraged to stay in a marriage that is obviously going nowhere and Relate sessions can also be used to smooth the way to civilised divorce/separation.

Leh64 Sun 15-Jan-12 01:01:51

Sorry, I know I'm being repetitive, but we live in a very small rural area. Everyone knows everyone else. Believe me.... relate is not an option, I've never even heard of relate here. I'll just plod on, and see how things go. Not ideal, but when does life ever turn out the way you wanted it to.......

izzywhizzyswinterwarmer Sun 15-Jan-12 01:24:59

If it's a choice between muddling along in an unfulfilling marriage and travelling for a couple of hours for counselling which may resolve the problem(s), I know which I'd choose because I believe that we create our own lives and we are responsible for our own happiness.

Barring accidents and ill health, I see no reason why my life shouldn't continue to be the way I want it to be.

ThePinkPussycat Sun 15-Jan-12 10:41:54

There is a lot of advice on the EA thread against joint counselling in an abusive relationship,as the abuser can manipulate the counsellor and use the counselling to further his abuse. There is also another thread by Theagreement, who tried Relate counselling with her partner, with disastrous result.

HoudiniHissy Sun 15-Jan-12 16:14:39

Counselling is a waste of time or money.

Leh, you're unhappy?, you have a right to be! Anyone would be!

Give him a deadline to equalise everything, or you will contact lawyers. You have to show him you're serious. He's just paying you lip service tbh.

A normal person, you for example, would be mortified if your partner came to you and said they were feeling as you did, due to their actions. You'd make DAMNED sure you changed immediately, you'd ask for feedback, you'd apologise.

He hasn't done ANY of this, has he? He's only said he'll try, and slips back to how it was.

He knows that eventually you'll get worn down again and stop asking him to be nice.

HoudiniHissy Sun 15-Jan-12 16:16:42

Oh and for the love of god don't surrender like that poor woman upthread. Think of the lesson being taught to kids here! Generations of misery.

Put yourself and your children first. Show them what self esteem is and what it means to be respected.

NJJK Wed 18-Jan-12 07:02:51

Dear LeH64,
I am glad to know that you have had a discussion with your husband. That is a good start for both possible options you are considering i.e. separation or staying put. Please correct me if I am wrong that I do not sense any physical/verbal form of abuse in your marriage except emotional one. That could be intentional (which is really bad) or unintentional i.e. as time passes in marriage we become slaves of our habits and start taking others for granted.
We can only comment on the basis of what you type here which you might have done in one of your most depressing moments.
Divorce process is hard but legal proceedings for finances are usually in the favor of women especially if those are house makers [you still need a good lawyer]. Divorce rate is quite high in this country and I am sure that you can find good advice on the internet about it.
Few posters above suggested you to be brave and not to surrender.
This is marriage we are talking about, not a corporate affair where you terminate a contract if your warnings, demands or deadlines are not met. Being brave does not always mean walking out, it could also mean to take stand up for your rights and take charge of your life and tackle the problem. It is not surrendering if you pause and take a step back and analyze the situation & yourself and your feelings rather than keep charging on the basis of your emotions. It is the good ENDING for yourself we all want.. whatever way we get there.
You have spent at least a decade together sharing happiness, sadness and high & lows of life.
All couples/marriages are different with different circumstances and sometimes separation is the best possible option for both parties to have a happy life. I hope that you do not take a decision on the basis of your anger & emotions and then spend the rest of your life justifying it to yourself and others.

Leh64 Thu 12-Jul-12 23:23:54

It's July, I'm still here with him. Not much has changed. We're really feeling the pinch financially, as everyone is. I can't upset the kids. I lie awake at night and imagine if I win the lottery, what I'd do. He is not part of my dream. I have to make the best of what I've got. Not everyone has an ideal marriage, I certainly don't! :/

changeznameza Thu 12-Jul-12 23:37:33

Leh, I was in your shoes. No money. Controlling dh who i felt more and more stifled by and cut off from. i fantastised the whole time about being without him. my heart would literally leap when he was late home in case something had happened that meant i would never have to see him again. (i know that is terrible, but its true.) i did the minimal small talk and assured everyone i knew that my life was fine and good and that everything was ok.

wont go into too much detail but he was not very nice.

my lightbulb moment was when i was watching another couple we knew and how they interacted and the dh was so suportive of his dw, treated her like a queen, fetched her a drink, laughed at her joke, and i realised that my marriage was so different to that. instead of that my dh would whisper criticisms into my ear or in secret, would say the cruellest things and then leave me crying and not even try to comfort me.

anyway - i left him. it took over 2 years from the lightbulb moment, to when i left. it is really difficult - practically and financially - i had to take out a loan to cover the first year's rent. not ideal for ds but at least he is lucky to have 2 parents who love him dearly and he divides his time between us.

exh never really accepted what i'd done or why. its an ongoing struggle. but i am me again in my own house where i can do whatever i want.

best of luck. be brave x

Leh64 Sun 07-Oct-12 17:26:59

Still here, after all this time. We're back to square one, I'm not really talking to him much, except when I have to. Life is hellish...... kids are unaware of just how bad things are, as are my few friends, keeping everything bottled up, feel so useless, and a failure. Wish I had £ to allow me to leave and start over..... Sadly I don't sad

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