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How should I react to DH shouting?

(62 Posts)
winniemum Sun 05-Aug-12 19:14:03

Just need some advice. My Dh shouts quite a bit. Sometimes at the children and sometimes at me.
After lunch I was hoping everyone would help clear up. But DH gave the DC's jobs to do and went and sat in front of the TV.
I wasn't happy with this so asked him to come and help me as I'd been working all morning and he'd only worked for a couple of hours.
He really shouted at me in front of the DCs. I told him he was only shouting so I'd go and clear up and he wouldn't have to do any.
Guess what? I cleared up myself to keep the peace and DH carried on watching the TV. I'm really upset as I can't cope with the shouting and hate the DCs to witness it, and I go into my shell a bit.
Now he is in a bad mood with me because I've been quiet all day. He's gone out to take the dog for a walk and slammed the door.
But it wasn't my fault in the first place was it? Or am I being awful for being quiet. He calls it sulking. But I really find it hard to be happy when he's been shouting. I find it hard to react in any other way. How else would you react?

Fairenuff Mon 06-Aug-12 17:15:41

The single most important thing you can give your children is good self esteem. Everything they do as an adult, absolutely everything, will be as a result of their self esteem. Their careers, their relationships, their happiness.

Every time your dh shouts he erodes their self esteem. And yours, of course OP. People who love each other are not shouty and critical and controlling.

My ds shouts at me sometimes because he's a young teenager and trying to assert some independence. But I tell him I will only listen to him if he talks. If wants to shout at me then I won't listen and I will probably walk away.

That's the message I want to give him. What message do you want to give your children?

winniemum Mon 06-Aug-12 20:08:39

I'm feeling seriously down now. As my eldest does have big self esteem issues and he's 19! My other teenagers are older and now I know I've let him shout for far too long.
I tried to talk to him last night, but he just raised his voice and said I was trying to blame him for everything, my DC1's bad mood when he got in from work ,my DC2 being a bad tempered little bugger. OH god. It sounds awful.
This morning he stopped me before I went out and said I was over reacting. I felt so cross. I went out in the car.
Anyway he's been nice to me for the rest of the day.
My head is spinning. It's not good and I am so mad I haven't been a better mum and protected my kids more.
Sorry just in a bad place right now.

Yama Mon 06-Aug-12 20:16:29

Winnie - see my earlier post. My Dad was a shouter. One day I ceased being scared of him. It actually strengthens my resolve not to allow shouting in my adult life.

Don't beat yourself up. You are not a shouter. Being a teenager is hard. Sorry you feel bad right now.

garlicnuts Mon 06-Aug-12 20:45:22

Oh, bless, Winnie sad There's no point in shouting at yourself now, is there?! You've got DH for that.

Would it be impossible to grab a quiet half hour with DS1 and start a conversation about how he feels with all the grumpiness & shouting? I realise 19 is a dreadful age to be considering such matters - but it's also an age when you're just starting to see your parents as separate individuals, so he might have something interesting to say. If nothing else, it's likely he'll feel privately grateful you asked his opinion.

Now tell yourself five of your REALLY GOOD qualities! You deserve your best, too smile

garlicnuts Mon 06-Aug-12 20:47:46

Yama - don't want to sacre OP, but 19 is the age when I knocked my father out with a perfect uppercut :D

It improved our relationship no end.

garlicnuts Mon 06-Aug-12 20:48:13

*scare - I haven't gone all French and religious wink

Fairenuff Mon 06-Aug-12 20:58:26

Oh Winnie I didn't mean to get you down, it's not your fault don't blame yourself. It's never too late to set a good example to your children. I agree that talking to them would be a good idea. We all make mistakes but what's important is that we learn from them. Your children will be parents themselves someday so you can help them now by showing them that there is another way.

Regarding your dh, you will really need to stick to your guns if you want him to really listen to you. He is being defensive, instead of listening to how he makes you feel. It's still all about him. You need to talk to him some more and tell him that things are going to change.

Yama Mon 06-Aug-12 21:14:39

Garlicnuts - wow, I take it he deserved it. I found becoming an adult very liberating. I enjoyed standing up to my Dad. He stopped taking me on a long long time ago.

Thing is my Dad was a very good parent in many ways. I do credit my parents with my high self esteem.

winniemum Mon 06-Aug-12 21:17:09

Thank you so much for helping. It is reassuring that you came out OK Yama.
I will talk to DS1 as I think he's depressed which is what is really making me so so sad.
Fairenuff you haven't got me down, I really suppose I've known all along it's not good for the kids. I don't know why I haven't done more about it that's all. as unlike Wheresthedamndog, my DH hasn't got a lot of great qualities right at the moment. He's so cross with everything. I'm trying so hard to get him to stop shouting the trouble is if I pick him up on it he shouts more and I hate it in front of the DCs.

Fairenuff Mon 06-Aug-12 21:23:19

He is bullying you Winnie by shouting over you when you talk. Don't let him get away with it. Just say 'I want to talk with you. If you start shouting the talking will have to wait. But it is not going to go away. Let me know when you're ready to listen'.

Alernatively, if that doesn't work, what about trying Relate?

motn Mon 06-Aug-12 22:10:34


If it's the last thing you do buy this book

A quote from the first chapter.

"when you feel hurt and try to discuss your upset feelings with him, you don't feel as if the issue has been resolved, so you don't feel happy and relieved....(He says 'you're just trying to start an argument' or in some other way expresses his refusal to discuss the situation)

Another quote

" He is either angry or 'has no idea of what you're talking about when you try to discuss an issue with him"

Please, please read it.

achillea Tue 07-Aug-12 18:25:54

OP, it's been 20 years right? Can you remember what you were like before you met him and have you changed? I'm wondering because I've been through something similar - you trot along for a decade or two in a fairly satisfactory manor and then wake to find yourself in a kind of nightmare that you can't get out of, but one that you've got used to.

winniemum Tue 07-Aug-12 19:02:01

Abusive. Do you think it is abusive, him shouting and getting angry? It's not right in my face but shouting so the whole family hears. God I'd not thought of it as abusive.
He got a bit cross when we first met but not loads of shouting.
Think I have got used to it. I'm just worried for my kids. I hate them to witness his bad moods.
I really don't know whether I want to go to relate as I don't really feel like he wants to change. He keeps telling me that's how he is.
I have told him recently his behaviour was bullying and he was so cross, he couldn't believe I'd said it, nor could I to be honest.
So what now? My head is still spinning.

achillea Tue 07-Aug-12 19:07:16

It's difficult to say it's abusive on here because nobody has met him or you, but it's more about how it makes you feel and whether he understands the effect and then chooses to continue.

The other thing you should consider as a gauge of how serious this is, is how it affects the family atmosphere. Is there a lot of stress in the home, is there when you go out together?

garlicnuts Tue 07-Aug-12 19:29:29

I don't know all about your relationship, Winnie, and can't say "he's this or that kind of abuser" based on your posts.

What I can say is that a man who cares about his wife stops doing what hurts her. A decent person is mortified if they hurt someone they love.

I can say, too, that a good person shows concern about the atmosphere in their family. If their children seem to be overly cross and/or disruptive, they try to get to the bottom of it and help their children to feel secure. Bullies and abusers choose 'control' over 'care'.

Emotionally rounded, well-balanced human beings give criticism a fair hearing. They try to improve their relationships by making small changes and compromises (that's what you do, isn't it?) Emotionally stunted people, and bullies, say "This is how I am", implying you'd better put up with it.

So what do you think?

Fairenuff Tue 07-Aug-12 20:34:47

He's not keen on going to relate. He doesn't see it as a problem. He doesn't think he needs to change. What about you Winnie, what do you want?

You can always go to counselling on your own.

winniemum Tue 07-Aug-12 20:53:21

I think I will try counselling as I'm not happy.
I wish he was just a happier person who did things with his DC's.
I have told him if he cared he wouldn't shout and get cross so much but he thinks it's his nature.
There is stress at home when he's in a bad mood .He accuses me of siding with the kids all the time, and of course I do as I can see his reaction to things is way over the top.
None of us have ever done anything bad, yet his reaction to little things is like it's the end of the world.

achillea Tue 07-Aug-12 21:11:43

Oh dear that's awful. He really needs to want to do something about this. Can you give an example of the little things he loses it about?

winniemum Wed 08-Aug-12 10:42:05

Typical examples. If he is taking my daughter to school (rare), and she says 'come on Dad I'll be late' (as he is late for everything) he shouts at her on the way to school in the car. Really shouts! My daughter is a really lovely teenager too - no trouble at all. So I take her all the time now.
If the DC's don't do the jobs they're asked to do, he shouts at them, and then shouts at me for giving reasons why they might not have done them - they are all teenagers, and the DS's are great lads too. But they are human and don't always jump when he says jump.
He also makes odd remarks.
Last night he came in from his sport and said "There's no beer in the fridge, mind you I suppose I'm not allowed to get annoyed about that am I"
He isn't a drinker, but my son had taken some of his beer. I think someone rational would have a quiet word with their DC the next day and ask them to ask first and pay for what they had taken. Not make a childish remark.
Still unhappy. Don't know where to find a good counsellor.

Fairenuff Wed 08-Aug-12 11:25:33

"There's no beer in the fridge, mind you I suppose I'm not allowed to get annoyed about that am I"

This is passive aggressive. It's controlling behaviour. And. as you say, it's entirely unneccessary.

You cannot change someone else's behaviour, they have to do that themselves. If they are unwilling, all you can do is decide what you will put up with. You decide where your boundaries lie, not him.

Counselling might help you work out where you can go next. You could ask your GP or just get in touch with relate. You can go to see them on your own. There might be a bit of a wait though.

If you tell your dh that you are gonig with or without him, it might make him see how serious you are. At the moment, he just expects it all to go away. He is waiting for things to go back to normal, for you to accept his behaviour and stop going on about it.

He has not even begun yet to think about how his behaviour impacts on your and the dcs. It's still all about him. He will have to start to think about that for anything to change.

Stay strong x

winniemum Wed 08-Aug-12 17:53:25

Thanks Fairenuff. I will try relate and go on my own. There isn't much point in him going as he thinks I have the problem, not him. As he said to me, he feels the amount of shouting he's doing isn't increasing, it's my tolerance level that must be decreasing! Maybe it's because I'm just starting to see how awful the situation is and I don't want to tolerate it for the sake of the kids.

helicopterview Fri 10-Aug-12 04:04:54


My ex husband used to shout at me and my dcs.

I cannot tell you what a blessed relief it is to have a peaceful house now. I manage to get the dcs to behave perfectly well by calmly explaining what I want. And no-one attempts to force me into doing things by intimidation.

Shouting is bullying, lazy, and emotionally unintelligent. It'd be far more effort for him to enter into a debate about what everyone's roles need to be in the household. Or, god forbid, do his bit.

I know now that my ex dh was having an affair. He didn't treat me in a loving way at all. The shouting was part of that whole parcel.

It is not loving to shout at you.

He is not treating you as his equal.

I think you probably need to look a bit deeper at your problems with him than this.

achillea Thu 16-Aug-12 09:29:40

Winnie this is intimidating behaviour and happens so that he feels in charge and in control. Great for him, but absolutely devastating for you. It must make you and the dcs feel absolutely worthless. He is prepared to emotionally hurt you AND your precious dcs so that he feels better.

It's easy to say from a distance, but after 20 years you are all deeply involved in this and won't be able to change anything except your own situation. Do you ever feel like you just want to take the kids and get out of there? What would happen if you did?

Ephiny Thu 16-Aug-12 10:04:42

I can't stand shouting (fortunately DH doesn't do it) and will not engage with someone who's shouting at me. I treat it the same as I would a barky dog - turn away, don't acknowledge or respond. If someone has something to say to me they can say it in a polite, non-aggressive way.

I had shouty parents too. When I was little it was frightening, but as a teenager I started to see it as ridiculous and just had contempt for them really. I feel the same way now about adults shouting and stamping around slamming doors etc, like a toddler having a tantrum, it makes me lose all respect for them.

bubalou Thu 16-Aug-12 10:12:34

I don't know what others think but I would shout back.

You said yourself it is not your style. Yes you don't want the children to see and hear shouting but I'd rather them see me sticking up for myself and raising my voice then going into my shell and basically letting him talk to me like that. You're showing them it's OK by not fighting back.

Next time he does it, summon up all the strength you have and really give it to him. Don't lose control. Just go for it. He will be shocked and maybe think twice about it next time.

By the way you sound like a lovely level headed woman - don't let him be a dick!


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