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Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Have finally bit the bullet. Made an appointment with RELATE.

(32 Posts)
alsonamechanged Sat 29-Sep-12 12:40:56

Me and DH have been married for 10 years. We have 3 DCs. Our relationship has always been mired in quarreling. Pretty physical in the first few years when the quarrels get heated, but have since mellowed down a lot as he got promoted and gained status at work. All I had to do was remind him I was going to the police if he loses it with me, and he stopped. Nowadays won't even do it anymore. I am not innocent, I grew up with a physically and verbally abusive mum and a Dad who was well off, hardly at home. And if he was, never got along with my mum. I used to hit my DH back in return and then get hurt myself. I am proud and used to just keep it in the family so to speak, could never bring myself to the police if DH did something. Luckily he has only lost it with me by slapping me on the face twice in the past. As I said he has stopped getting physical with me for a few years now since gaining promotion at work and I stopped caring about my pride that much and was genuinely going to police if he did that to me. To be honest I just think nobody will take me seriously. I learnt to threaten my mum with "going to the police" when I was about 14. She stopped. Its sad though when I look back how much of my current life seems to replicate the one I grew up with.

I have no job and crap social skills. I have no friends, just a bunch of acquaintances. I think people think I'm odd and unlikable. I never say the right things in social situations. I feel a freak. When I did have jobs, I was often bullied at the workplace. I keep getting upset with things people say to me. Maybe I am oversensitive but I don't know what to do with it. I lived like this my whole life. I have many FB friends from school and college. I don't know how I ended up making friends at all when I feel so inept now.

I am worried for my DCs. I am not happy here where I like. We live in the North, I can't drive and my DH has been pressuring me to drive and paying for it. I can see his intentions are good because it'd be easier for me to get around and possibly socialise more. But Im such a slow learner. We've spent a few thousand on lessons and exams. I am still crap at judging distances, anticipation,etc. I am nearly there but have been "nearly there" for ages. My confidence is shot and we can only afford lessons once a week so when DH takes me for driving practice, we get into major arguments. I cant take his constant criticism and telling me driving is really say, even stupid and the disabled can drive, so why can't I, etc etc. HE says my bad driving is because I am a negative person, and told me I should just snap out of outfit, life is good, etc etc. I hate it whenever he says that. He says All the time. Just Now it happened again. He got so pissed off at me arguing back at him he stopped the car, asked me to change speeds, and started driving. I wouldn't let it go and kept trying to make him see how hard it is for me, and he started doing crazy shit like speeding and threatening to crash the car (our 4 yr old at the back ). See this is the man I married. He does stupid things when he's angry. He also smokes weed recreationally to help him calm down. So basically he works 9 hrs every weekday and then is on call for 1 day overnight, and he's doing an advanced diploma at the same time, and we have no family or friends and no money for babysitters so our family life is just quite stressful and busy really. We haven't gone out as a couple for 3 years and its clear that to him that's not a priority. I know with the driving thing, I find it hardvto take his counsel. I dont trust his judgment as he doesnt even know some of the road signs himsef and passed hus exam more than 15 yearsago in another country. He hasnt got in an accident for years except a few years ago he damaged the car by driving over a fallen tree in bad weather or something, which cost some money to fix his car. So maybe hes a good driver. Maybe he has a point. But hes really rude about it I find... My instructor isnt like that.

We live in a nice area and spend all our money on rent, for and the kids' extracurricular classes which they enjoy. I feel bad if we had to stop one of the kids' classes just to have money to thought one a month. As parents, we are very dedicated to the kids. But our quarreling . Im concerned about the effect that has.

I really want to leave this city and go back London. He has said he'd pay for us to do that but leave him out as he got to keep his current job and he's having it so good he doesn't want leave and find possibly less ideal one near London. I am feeling scared of moving down to London with just me and the kids. He shares my chores at home and helps me babysit if I need to go out. He said he would buy a trailer and live in it at his industrial workplace's carpark. Something which Im sure his colleagues wouldn't mind. He's the superior anyway and Im sure they're used to his oddities. They actually like him because he's hardworking and helpful. I think he lost it once with his colleague and got shouty aggressive - totally out of character as usually hes a man of few and necessary words and is normally easy going. He is passive aggressive I think. But he realised it was a mistake because an older lady at work told him she was shocked to see him act like that and he never ever did it again in all his 8 years of working there.

Anyway Im not sure if RELATE is gonna change anything in our relationship dynamic. Toomuch has happened between us and we are angry witg each other. Resentful. Feels each other could change or do more tochange but never quite getting there.

Ive been thinking about divorce but dont jnow what thats gonna achieve really. Yes no morequarrelsthe kids can witness. But would the kids have a worse life? Right now their dad does a lot of the fun things with them. Hes athletic and outdoorsy and Im not. He takes them out a lot on his free time and I genuinely appreciate what he does for them. I think if we divorce though I would definitely want to move back to london... no way I am going to stay here on my own and be unhappy... I am really really homesick. I go to London every now and thdn and its not enough. My kids know it. They love it too. But it would seem sad that their Dad wont be around. He said he would come and see us every weekend. But its a 6 hr commute into London each way and I really doubt he can keep this up withiut burning out.

Im not entirely sure whats good. What I should do. And would the RELATE sessions help anyway?

alsonamechanged Sat 29-Sep-12 12:43:05

Sorry for all those typos and corrected words... tyling on my pad.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Sat 29-Sep-12 12:58:25

Relate is not recommended for abusive relationships.

Can you bite the bullet and schedule counseling for yourself? Relate will also do individual counseling to help individuals work out what their needs are in a relationship, and whether these are being met in their current one.

You might also benefit from individual therapy from a non-Relate therapist, to help you work on the issues stemming from your childhood, and how these continue to affect the decisions you make today (such as staying with an abusive man).

alsonamechanged Sat 29-Sep-12 13:23:32

So are you saying that my husband is abusive to me even now? What about me though? I throw insults back at him.. I bite back when he tries it on. I am abusive too right? See Im not thinking of myself as a victim .. well maybe I don't know if I am subconsciously, but I feel unable to strike out on my own because of my past experience of working. I know I am happiest when I feel productive but I don't know what's wrong with me. Why I don't say or do the right things with others at work... I always feel people are taking the piss with me. In short I am afraid I will fail if I had to support my kids myself... and I know my husband knows that. He doesn't say it outright. Well he said it once that he thinks I may be unable to manage alone with the kids but I was already thinking so too. He doesn't want to leave the kids though this is clear. Neither do I. But I think we are in a so not perfect situation right now. He has agreed to go for the relationship counseling and he thinks I should go for counseling. The only problem is cost.

alsonamechanged Sat 29-Sep-12 13:31:41

Also he will never go for individual counseling himself. He never admits to feelings... He doesn't open up. He does stop for the sake of the kids though. Like just now in the car, when he was speeding, my 4 yr old told him not to go so fast and he stopped immediately with a guilty look. Another time he threatened to leave and I said go-ahead but my eldest stated crying and he stopped and looked guilty again and apologised to her saying he didn't really mean it. Basically I know he would do anything for the kids but will do nought for me. I don't love him anymore. I think he knows . I am staying because I know my social difficulties from childhood and how hard it would be for me to make it out there. I did consider the possibility i may have aspergers, even... i just dont know what good it would do for my kids if i left him. I dont like going out, i dont have many friends... i still embarass myself sometimes outside. My husband can teach them a different side to life than I can... unfortunately there is no one else if i leave him.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Sat 29-Sep-12 14:44:38

Whether he goes in for individual counseling is neither here nor there, OP. The only person you are responsible for is yourself

Just you, not him.

You are the one who is unhappy. Seek help for your own self.

If he wants help, he's a grown man and can seek it for himself. In fact, it will only be effective if he does seek it out himself.

(And yes, he is abusive to you even now. Look at the angry reckless driving incident with threats to crash the car with your children in the back, fgs.)

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 29-Sep-12 14:46:32

Just because the hitting has stopped, that doesn't mean you're not being abused. Absence of punishment is not the same thing as kindness. Loving partners can talk difficulties through without resorting to 'losing it'. If you snap back, that doesn't change anything. Living in an atmosphere of constant arguments is not normal or tolerable and it's probably a big part of why you're so lacking in confidence and have difficulties socialising.

alsonamechanged Sat 29-Sep-12 15:17:18

Okay I have been reading some stuff on Drirene's site and actually recognise controlling behaviour in.. myself actually. I don't know which came first. Me or him being abusive. I feel so guilty especially to my children. I feel I've let them down.

I feel depressed but not really in depression as I'm not suicidal. Just feel like I don't know how to get from here to a better place for myself and the kids. I can hardly see the light. I know that with separation it will come with it's own set of issues... I met DH when I was 21. I had been living on my own for about 2 yrs at that time. Looking for a new job as lost my other one due to disagreeing with a controlling bitchy boss. I was just too happy I was out of my family home as I had wanted to get away from my mum for so many years. But I wasn't doing a great job at being independent. I was nearly maxing out my credit card, I was falling ill often because I went out partying and wasn't eating well at all (didn't know how to cook). I met DH and thought he was a sweet man. He would cook and clean - still does. He supported me through Uni. He can be really good at comforting me when I was down. I just feel like... maybe back then I fell in love with him for all the wrong reasons. I was just looking for a parent substitute I guess. Which is disastrous.

Over the years I have learnt these domestic skills. So that's not my worry when separating. I am just worried I won't be able to cope with 3 kids on my own. It would be just me. And starting out working after almost 8 years scares me. I have no CV to speak of.

Also I still want to go back to London but not sure if its better just to stick with DH for the time being and get him to finance the move first. He has said he would as long as he's not coming along. I am still trying to work out if he's just trying his luck testing me to see if I dare to go without him. As he does not want to go. I have told him before that I am not happy here and he said well I should just get over it because life here is better, it's cheaper, less polluted, etc. I must just get my license in order to enjoy it more. I refuse to wait until I get my license. I find driving bloody hard and he keeps saying its me being negative that's failing my exams but I know its not because I try hard to focus and concentrate when driving but I somehow still don't really do it well enough. I am sick of him pushing the blame all down to me. I know in London I can get around without driving. I have done all my life. I feel confident there because I have freedom. I don't feel confident here.

So I get serious with him saying yes, I'm moving down with kids. If you don't come along that's fine. Then he says you won't survive there. You racked up so many bills when you were there. Its not a good place for us. Its too expensive. To be fair I am still racking up my credit card now. I am 2 k in debt with no income and I know its my fault.

I don't really know whatvto do from here.

alsonamechanged Sat 29-Sep-12 15:38:37

About the counselling, yes I know I need some. But its so expensive. Relate charges me £50 per session for marriage counselling. I have no idea how much a non-Relate counsellor charges. And how do I go about finding one? A few years ago I tried looking for a counsellor or psychologist through the BPS or something, to see if my childhood trauma can be worked through. I have been doing a lot of inner work the past few years to understand why I am the way I am and find I still well up or get angry whenever I have to recall some past experiences with my mum. I have severed ties with her 5 years ago after I had an argument on Facebook with her sister for saying that "having kids was a regret for her." It upsetted me because my mum said these same things over and over to me when I was a child. Actually she said many times she wished I was dead. I still feel very upset at it. I am welling up as I type this. I know it happened so very long ago, so these words should not have that much impact on me now but its disturbing how much they still do. My mum however, would grudgingly do everything she could for me back then. It's kind of twisted but she still cares for me somehow? Like when I told her I was moving out at 19, for good, after another row with her, she cried. But then afterwards she would call me once a year to make sure I'm okay but then make lots of snide remarks insinuating I can't look after myself... and fair enough, I couldn't do it very well. I was in and out of jobs. I overspent. I partied and I fell ill a lot.

Anyway I just feel like my mum, my husband, they are all not outright lying to me when they express doubts at my ability to cope independently. And maybe I'm not... maybe its all a load of bull and I just came to believe it. But I can't seem to undo this doubt in my head.

alsonamechanged Sat 29-Sep-12 15:41:40

Sorry I forgot to mention that what happened after the FB argument with my mum's sis was that my mum wrote me an email saying that what I did was wrong and I was ungrateful and disrespectful. I said to her well I've had enough of this. So you really do think I'm a waste of space and you regret having me? Just don't talk to me ever again. And then I never ever heard from her again. Ever.

emess Sat 29-Sep-12 17:40:38

I don't have any answers but I do think you should start with an appointment with your GP. You need support for your current situation, and your GP should be able to help you access it. Meantime please keep posting here - there is good support right here.

Abitwobblynow Sat 29-Sep-12 17:54:26

Leave your H alone for the time being, and work on yourself.

Why I say this? How you and he get into it, is a dynamic. Stop focussing on him, and work on what you can control - yourself. Work through your childhood hurts, unlearn your coping strategies and learn to reach out to others and make friends.
You aren't evil or bad, these are skills to be learned.

Then, and only then, can you think about your M. It's not worth it at the moment, because you are so dependent and you need to sort your own stuff out.

Keep on learning to drive. I failed 5 times! Don't go out w your H, only with a driving instructor.

One day at a time, please believe in yourself, take care.

alsonamechanged Sat 29-Sep-12 17:58:44

I dont know that the GP can do. I am not depressed though...I did once ask for counseling when I was undergoing a bot of severe anxiety a few years ago (and thing was there seemed no reason for the anxiety as my family life was ironically not as troublesome as it is now with the homesickness and the driving stress) and was told it was a few months waiting list and only 6 sessions or something. The GP was happy to give me anti depressants though, which did nothing for my anxiety though reading a self help book on anxiety did... It seems to me I would have to fork out for private. Hence wondering how to go about finding a good counselor or psychologist.

alsonamechanged Sat 29-Sep-12 18:02:57

I know its a dynamic Abitwobbly, which is why I am not taking a victim or abuser mentality here. I know I have a lot to learn. Just dont know where to start. So many issues here. Should I stay here, go to therapy first? Or move out first?

suburbophobe Sat 29-Sep-12 18:30:04

I think you should go for therapy first - for yourelf.
Just get on that waiting list.

Then when you can untangle all the stuff in your life - childhood, relationship, etc. - you are in a clearer space to decide what you want from life.

It's no shame to have difficulty with driving (I passed my test as a teen but have lost my confidence, not having driven for years).

I agree with only going out with the instructor.

And yes, it's dangerous and abusive for your husband to take his temper out while driving the car with you and DC in it.

alsonamechanged Sat 29-Sep-12 18:35:06

Oops sorry... yeah I get what youcmean Abitwobbly. Just reread what you said there. Yes.. so I should just shelve my moving plans until later. Go for therapy first.

Is it better to see a qualified psychologist trained in counselling or psychotherapy though? Or does it not make a difference. I think once I saw on a psychotherapist's website locally that they charge £75 per session... does that seem reasonable? Also I could probably only afford to go once a month, twice tops, if it was this price.

alsonamechanged Sat 29-Sep-12 18:40:17

Suburbophobe, yeah I know he's such a crazy ass. Many years ago he once lost it in an argument and hurled a chair in my direction though he did it such that the chair would not hit me, just the wall next to me. I knew from then on he has anger management issues. He knew he was wrong. Never did it again but today I realised he could still do it in a sly sidewards way by threatening to kill all of us in the car. But I felt reasonably cool throughout because I could sense he was just trying to scare me. He is far too selfish to ever want to kill himself for the sake of me! I was daring him to do it by not being scared and said Do it then, if you think its worth also killing your son for this. . And he stopped when my son piped up then and there.

alsonamechanged Sun 30-Sep-12 11:17:12

Today he tried to be all friendly and nice to me. Came over and gave me a hug when I was alone in the kitchen. I was repulsed and said whatever, you don't feel bad at all for what you did did you? And predictably he looked surprised and said "What, I must feel bad?" I said Ah, don't bother. And walked off. What a pretentious prick.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 30-Sep-12 11:37:44

Do not do joint counselling with him under any circumstances.

Go out driving only with your driving instructor.

You learnt an awful lot of damaging stuff in your own childhood and it goes without saying that it needs to be unlearnt. It is a hard and painful process to undergo but for your sake you need to do it.

Your own childhood at the hands of your toxic parents who utterly failed you and sapped all your confidence and self worth conditioned you into being with your H now. He was the first person to actually show you any interest. I would say from his behaviours that he is abusive. He does not need anger management; that does not work on abusers anyway because it is not a problem with anger. Abuse is about power and control. A more pertinent point is that in public he is probably very plausible to those in the outside world; he is not hitting them or throwing furniture at them is he?. You are again the scapegoat for his inherent ills. Abusers do nice and nasty very well but its a contunuous cycle; what happened to you today is but a part of that same cycle now. He has not apologised or even taken any responsibility for his actions.

What do you want to teach your children about relationships?. What lessons do you think the two of you are imparting to them currently?. A relationship where there is constant arguing with undertones of domestic violence (destroying possessions would fall into that category let alone his hitting you, his driving aggressively and the verbal crap he doles out) is not an ideal role model for them themselves to replicate.

BACP are good and would not charge the earth. They could well help you quicker as well as Womens Aid. NHS counselling would perhaps only give you six sessions and the waiting lists are miles long.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 30-Sep-12 11:42:57

Your dysfunctional childhood at the hands of your violent toxic mother and absent toxic father messed you up big time. That blame is theirs alone, you did not make them that way. The lessons that you learnt from all that has carried over now into your adult relationship.

Dealing fully with your pastfully is the key to dealing with your own situation now.

tzella Sun 30-Sep-12 12:08:39

Sorry, I don't have much to say about the wider picture but I'd really stop driving with him. Me and my dad got on like a house on fire and the only arguments we ever had were about driving together.

alsonamechanged Sun 30-Sep-12 12:32:06

I fully agree with everything that has been said to me on this thread. I see through him for the person he is. In fact, I saw the light a few years ago whilst pregnant with my 3rd as I went on a self help book shopping spree and bought the Gaslighting book as well, based on the good reviews on Amazon. My entire way of treating him and viewing him changed. I stopped initiating sex with him. If he tried doing it, I would, depending on my mood, but at no point did I ever say I love you to him ever again. I suppose all my hatred for my mum just came flooding back and I couldn't believe what a mess my life was by choosing a man just like her in a way. I find it cringeworthy just to look at him saying sappy things to me on the odd occasion he says that - I honestly think this man can be so delusional sometimes, especially if he's had a nice get together with his mate and had a nice joint or whatever. He is immature and the youngest boy and the "favourite" of his mum, had been brought up by middle class super religious Christian parents who dragged him to church till he was 17, he was a mummy's boy though he rebelled by going out partying and turning his back on religion and smoking joints and having girlfriends from ethnic minorities (to his parents' disappointment). His mum never allowed any expression of negativity in the house. Argh I can't stand her - she watches my every move like a hawk - thank goodness she lives abroad! She knows where she stands with me though. One thing I'm not great at is pretending.

The problem is when things go well its at the back of my mind.
These dramatic events where he does something stupid or crazy during an argument with me in order to try and control me happen rarely. The last time was maybe 6 years ago. But all the time he is constantly like a rash. Irritates the hell out of me. But the drirene site was really good. I saw for myself now that all this time I was Allowing him to upset me. I shouldn't engage with him if he is trying this on. We have a nice garden and park nearby. I should just take a walk outside immediately if he starts getting up my nerves rather than stay.

I also started to see now that being with him has affected me mentally the same way living with my mother was. Always on the lookout for perceived insults, getting all pissed off too often, combative, etc. It's no wonder I find it hard to socialise. I must look so insecure and irrtable. I have no idea how I managed to make any friends at all in school but I did. Every once in a while I decided to be positive and open and then friends appear in my life. I just don't know how to get that back as often now. I am afraid after living with it for so long it has gotten harder and harder and I am jaded.

I have just Googled up a local counsellor who is Bacp accredited and charges just under 50 an hour so not as expensive as some others - but still is though for me, as I have no income. I will call her on Monday and cancel the RELATE appointment. I hope she is good... because I can see I may even have problems trusting her with helping me solve my problems. See I am always defensive and wary... it's not a great thing but helps keep me street smart though... so hard to break. I've read of people saying that some counsellors are not right for some people. How would I know if she is right for me? Any advice? Do I just go along with how I feel so if I am starting to feel better after x amount of sessions then that means it is working???

As a sidenote, my husband was enthusiastically looking for a new place to rent last night. Showed me a gorgeous penthouse in the middle of Manchester city a stone's throw from the station. Said we could live there and my non driving issues will be solved and it is cheaper than London. We live just under an hour away from Manchester at the mo'.

I don't doubt for a second he really wants to help me (Well it's a bit self serving anyway for him, because he needs the kids in his life. He finds it hard to make friends, he's not from around here, not into football, not into drinking, and he used to be the life of a party in London... and if I'm happy then I, and hence the kids, continue to stay?), and that sometimes he is not horrible. But I need to be strong and then decide if he is mature enough to change. And I think I really must not engage in arguments with him anymore.

alsonamechanged Sun 30-Sep-12 12:36:17

And I agree that this driving thing exacerbated this. As I said its been years since his last crazy outburst and the last outburst was caused by me telling him to stop smoking weed and that I was going to tell his mum about it cos he is still keeping up that good boy pretence in frontof her. I don't want to practise in his car either but I can't afford more than one 1 hr lesson a week. Believe me, this driving thing is bugging me so much. Have spent so much money on it and still no pass.

izzyizin Sun 30-Sep-12 12:36:52

Do you have family/friends in London you can call on in an emergency, provide occasional babysitting services etc?

If not, and given your lack of qualifications which will severely restrict your earning capacity, I very much doubt that as a single parent to 3 dc you'll have the 'freedom' you envisage in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Your dc are not only having to live with the tension caused by warring dps, but are being further destablised by the knowledge that their dm may decide at any moment to take them hundreds of miles of way to a place where they are unlikely to be able to see their df on a frequent basis.

You say that you're happiest when you are being productive? I would suggest that you become productive by building your self-confidence; continue to persevere with driving lessons, enrol on courses that will enable you to qualify for employment above the minmum wage, put the needs of your dc above your own, and source affordable counselling that will enable you to resolve those issues from the past that are adversely affecting your present life and the lives of those around you.

As Atilla has said, dealing with the past is the key to a brighter future for you and yours.

izzyizin Sun 30-Sep-12 12:55:04

I once taught someone to drive using my car. At the test centre there were vehicles emblazoned with various driving school logos and, while testing ensued, I was left with a group of super-confident instructors waiting for their pupils to return triumphant.

In the face of their 'certainty' my confidence in my 'pupil' took a dive but, unlike many others, he returned clutching his 'pass' slip having passed on his first attempt. He put his success down to the fact that for the very first time he was able to do what I'd taught him without me screeching in his ear grin

If you find that 'nerves' get the better of you, or you become stressed/flustered when taking the test, have you considered a short course of hypnotherapy to overcome your fears/calm you?

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