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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?

CaliforniaSucksSnowballs Thu 13-Dec-12 20:52:00

His behavior gets worse as you won't stand for it. He's loosing control of you and it's making him more angry. Please stay safe and call Womens Aid.
Put any paperwork and important stuff somewhere safe so you can get them if it gets so bad you and the kids need to leave suddenly.

AbigailAdams Thu 13-Dec-12 16:00:10

Counselling will just enable his abuse. Either joint counselling or any counselling for him.

His behaviour is escalating so yes it very likely will get worse sad. It certainly won't get better (or will only get better temporarily).

winniemum Thu 13-Dec-12 15:57:35

Thanks. Just confused as he suggested counselling, so maybe he wants to change.
Attila, I'm not sure what I'm getting out of the relationship now. It had never crossed my mind to go before now.
We've been married a long time, the kids love him, I thought I'd be married forever and if I left he'd be so furious. But things aren't good.
He has said sorry this afternoon but I don't feel the incident is over as I can't forget what he called me. Do you think his behaviour will definitely get worse?

cestlavielife Thu 13-Dec-12 15:37:00

get bag so next time he says leave you do so - with the Dc to somewhere safe

take his threats seriously - he is getting more angry.

think of who you could go to with dc if you need to; have money spare car keys , charged up spare payg mobile etc.

if he smashes things or is aggressive with you leave and call 999

mummytime Thu 13-Dec-12 11:19:11

Do not go to counselling with him; it is not advised because he will use it as another opportunity to undermine you and to give him more ammunition to use on you.

Do phone Women's aid.

Personally I would phone the police on the non-emergency number and get them to record his threat of burning the place down.

The situation is already getting worse. He has gone from shouting, to violence against in-animate objects and threats; the next stage will be violence against you/the children/pets. Please take this very seriously.

Do be prepared to dial 999 if he becomes violent again.
Do not let him know you are planning to leave/get rid of him.
Start to gather copies of importnat documents and bank statements. Have these kept in a safe place out of the house (with a friend or relative).

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 13-Dec-12 10:40:56


Abusive men do not usually attend counselling sessions (because they at heart think they are doing nothing wrong in the first place). Joint counselling is a complete no anyway given the ongoing emotional abuse he metes out.

Weak bullying men like your H use counselling to pin all the blame on their victim, in this case you (and by turn your children who have grown up within such an unhealthy environment). He knows that he is now losing overall control over you, that is also why he lashes out as he does. All that he does is typical of such controlling men.

He does not shout at other people like this does he, he reserves all this for you.

Things will not improve for you or your children as long as you remain within this situation. I would be seeking legal advice so that you have more knowledge of where you stand legally, knowledge after all is power. Womens Aid can also assist you here.

Your H actively chooses to shout at you and his children and uses you all as his emotional punchbag. What have they learnt and are learning about relationships from the two of you?.

What do you get out of this relationship now?. Something still keeps you within this so what is it?.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 13-Dec-12 10:33:07

Are you sure you "undermined" him and "misread" the situation? Could it be that your instincts are right, and that he just convinces you after the fact that you are in the wrong?

Yes, this is dreadful, and yes, you know what I am going to say: this is abuse. You deserve better. Your children deserve better.

He is a bully and they don't change their stripes. DO NOT go to joint counselling with a bully: he is the problem, and his sense of entitlement should not be given the same weight as your concerns, which is what will happen in couples' counselling.

Instead, book yourself into individual counselling for your benefit, to clear your head, and see if he is serious about working on himself and signs himself up to his own set of counselling sessions to deal with his abusive behaviour.

winniemum Thu 13-Dec-12 10:20:51

I'm afraid I'm back again. Things are getting worse and I really don't know what to do. The other day I undermined him in front of my DC as I had misread the situation. He became very angry with me and shouted. Not unusual. But then he kicked the lounge door, called me a f***ing b*tch , not to my face but while he was in the kitchen and shouted at me 'you know where the door is'. I calmly told him I wasn't going to leave, so he said he'd burn the house down before _he left. Oh god this sounds dreadful and I know what you'll say but he has suggested counselling which surprised me.
I do know I was wrong to undermine him and I apologised that I had misread the situation, but I said the very least he could do was apologise for calling me a f** b****. He said he wouldn't as I am being a b** by being quiet with him. How can I be friendly and chatty with him though when he won't apologise? He is trying to be nice to me but I just feel like he can't love me so I can't warm to him.
I have recently become stronger in my responses towards him, ie saying no to things and not letting him get away with being angry and I think he's becoming more angry as I become stronger.
Just needed to tell someone.

achillea Thu 16-Aug-12 11:36:10

I agree bubalu, it is better to stand up for yourself and if shouting is the only way to do it then it has to be. The alternative - if nothing changes - is to leave.

bubalou Thu 16-Aug-12 10:52:41

achillea - shouting back teaches DC's that it's OK to shout back and stand up for yourself.

This isn't ideal. Ideally she would tell the giant dickwad not to shout and her and he would listen - but that sounds unlikely.

What's the alternative - keep quiet and hope he will stop?

achillea Thu 16-Aug-12 10:28:08

bubalu shouting back teaches your dcs that it's OK to shout, but ignoring it may well be giving them the signal that their Dad is justified and that's normal behaviour and as a woman you should just sit back and take it.

My mother took the route of the silent partner for years, just reacted quietly and haughtily but it solved absolutely nothing, but my brothers have a very distorted view of how relationships should be and I put up with an awful lot more sh*te than I should have in the past.

Neither way is right, because both ways are expressing disrespect and lack of care.

Sometimes shouting is just an expression of frustration and should be seen as that - I do it sometimes but then say sorry straight away. But regular shouting that makes the other person feel bad is far more than that. Twisting it afterwards to absolve yourself from blame and make the other person feel guilty is actually really nasty and destructive.

MorrisZapp Thu 16-Aug-12 10:17:04

My DP shouts and swears in anger at me over laughably small things usually to do with housework.

My strategy is now to tell him its a huge over reaction, unacceptable etc and to refuse to engage until he's civil with me. This enrages him further though, as this is me 'turning it round' and 'making him the bad guy' when in fact it was me who forgot to wipe up the splashes round the sink.

He always calms down and apologises afterwards, but then a month later he forgets all over again that shouting and swearing at your loved ones is wrong.

It's a work in progress. It used to upset me, but now I just deal with it calmly and wait for the apology.

Good luck OP.

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!


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.

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?

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.

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.

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 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.

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 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.

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.

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?

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?

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.

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