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H and I had heated and possibly over honest confrontation in counselling, now he is not speaking to me at all

(127 Posts)
feelokaboutit Thu 04-Oct-12 16:20:30

We have had two bad episodes like this before when he blanked me for a period of weeks following a bad argument. (Once up to 6 weeks, the other time a little less I think). When I bring this up in counselling he says yes but what was the argument about - as if what I did or said (which I don't agree with as on both occasions I was very angry with him about the way he behaved so it's kind of a swings and roundabouts situation) warranted him not speaking to me for six weeks hmm.

We have been in counselling for a few months now but we have probably been for a total of 6 sessions together so far as often we can't go for various reasons. What has happened is that I have finally been able to say what I find so difficult, and he has basically reiterated again and again that the state of the house is the main issue for him. In fact I think he went to counselling in the hope that the house would become minimalistic and since that hasn't happened he has said that there is no point to going.

However, though I have finally been able to externalise much of what I find difficult, it doesn't actually feel like anything has changed between us.
On Monday I was very honest about how I feel. I have mentioned the possibility of separating several times now but neither the counsellor nor h take it up. Things also got pretty heated and in the same way that h finds so many things so difficult about me (I am apparently childish, messy, a victim, etc... etc...) I have also said what I find difficult (I find h bad tempered, cynical, negative, he bears grudges etc....). At the point at which he was saying that I am such a VICTIM I got upset/angry and said that to stop behaving like a victim would mean telling him to Fxxx OFF, at which he said that I do, every day (not in so many ways but I suppose we are both often distant from each other, in my case because I find him overbearing, controlling, critical and yes bad tempered).

Anyway, sorry to go on, my question is... given that it did get very heated and "over" honest in counselling, do I now have to accept that h is not talking to me at all (I ask him questions face to face and he doesn't answer at all, I can sometimes get an answer out of him if on the phone - these are all logistics questions nothing more) - IS IT IN FACT MY FAULT?????

ChooChooLaverne Wed 10-Oct-12 14:36:07

feelok sounds like he's escalating your punishment. Good luck with it all. Keep on posting here if it helps.

willyou I would recommend looking at BACP. Also it might be worth going to your GP if you can wait but how long you have to wait will depend on where you live.

feelokaboutit Wed 10-Oct-12 14:07:17

Hi willyoulisten - I googled counsellors in my area and a website popped up called and I found her on there (I think that's where I found her anyway - she's certainly still there). You can look up someone in your area and see their description of what they do, and what their qualifications are.

willyoulistentome Wed 10-Oct-12 14:01:31

Leeokaboutit - How did you go about finding a counsellor?

feelokaboutit Wed 10-Oct-12 13:55:33

Hello all. Thanks again for all your messages. I am thinking about all of it. My sessions with my individual counsellor were going to finish at the end of October but I am going to ask her if she can continue to see me (my slot may already have gone to someone else). With regards to the joint counsellor, she is going to phone h this week to see if he is going to come next week. I will go along next week and see if he comes (which I doubt). However, unless h comes and we make significant progress of some kind, I think I definitely have to call it a day with her.

I think all her dire warnings about divorce are her way of saying how difficult the reality of it might be - a bit like a protective mother. Not sure this is what I need though.

I started another thread because h did not come home last night. He is away for work which he sometimes does but this time did not let me know. I know he is deeply not talking (and me too) but I would at least have expected him to let the kids know. I phoned him this morning after wondering where he was all night and we had a very brief conversation where I said he hadn't told kids or me and then hung up.

I think I am going to work on being my own best friend and giving myself credit for all the things I do like about myself and which I think I do well!! Maybe along the way I will also manage to resolve my issues with clutter!!!

Thanks again.

ChooChooLaverne Wed 10-Oct-12 11:16:31

"I think the crux of my issue with dh is how critical he has been in the past and how negative, blaming and short tempered he can be. Basically I would like to be liked just because I am me, and the rest we could sort out afterwards together iyswim."

The way he has been is the real him - you can't change this but you can accept it as the truth. Of course you want to be liked just because you are you. That is your entitlement. Only I don't think you will ever feel that from your husband. "The rest you can sort out afterwards" - I think this is where you are in denial about him and what he wants to do or is capable of doing (I would go with wants to personally as he chooses to behave in this negative blaming way)

"Ideally that is what I would like with someone, a safe environment to just talk about anything without fearing blame, shutting down, defensiveness or anger."

I know you feel stuck and I do understand how difficult it is making a decision about what to do next. But if I were you I would focus on what you've said here and try and work towards that. And I don't mean by trying to change your husband into someone who is capable of being that person, but by focusing on yourself (carry on with your own personal counselling) so that you can believe you are worth having a relationship where you are treated like this - even if just with yourself IYSWIM.

If you feel overwhelmed by the practicalities of splitting up, why not have a session with a solicitor or CAB to find out your financial options and look at the different parenting options open to you? I don't think you have to have a 50/50 parenting split and while it is becoming more common it certainly isn't the norm for all divorcing couples (I wonder if you think this is how it should be because your H believes he has to have his fair share in everything?).

FWIW in my situation my DS stays with his father every other weekend and he seems happy with this. I don't think 50/50 care would work in our case and my ex certainly wouldn't be interested in this level of commitment.

springyhope Tue 09-Oct-12 23:55:54

Not too rambly at all imo but whatev, it's good to ramble now and again <serial rambler>

I rarely admit this but in the early days when I met my 'change springy into an obedient wife' husband, I went to see The Taming of the Shrew. I honestly did think that I had at last found someone who loved me enough to 'tame' me (as I had had similar messages from my father as you have had from yours OP: re 'faulty').

I so learnt the hard way. So bloody sad that I thought that about that play [sob]

garlicbutty Tue 09-Oct-12 23:06:05

God, that was rambly shock I need an early night.

garlicbutty Tue 09-Oct-12 23:03:50

I agree with Springy, yet again. When I said I realised I was wrong to try and change my ex, I was telling the truth ... While we were divorcing, I asked him what single thing he would have wanted from me, that he didn't get. He said "more distance" sad My entire premise, in the way I loved him, was mistaken. He was a weirdo, though - still is, I'm sure. With hindsight, I reckon he actually is a psychopath. This does not change the simple fact that I was in the wrong marriage and should have accepted that instead of trying to "fix" it by reshaping him and myself. People either fit together or they don't. Even if they fit to begin with, life goes on and they can develop into a poor fit.

There's no shame in saying "You're OK; I'm OK; this marriage isn't okay for the two of us." There's quite a lot of wisdom in it, actually. Your husband seems to be taking a very strong stance that YOU are not OK. He wants to reshape you - and, it seems, won't ever be satisfied with your 'shape'. He's labelled you faulty, and that's the way he wants it. Perhaps it makes him feel OK, but it sure as hell ain't doing you any good! You can't spend your life being crap just to make him feel better. So the question is: What will it take for you to feel OK (apart from your username, that is grin) and how to get there?

springyhope Tue 09-Oct-12 22:39:56

The non-emotional, non-intimate 'relationship' is one thing, but the put-downs are another - they are two different things. Actually, imo related: perhaps he won't be intimate with you unless you learn to behave the way he deems you should - so it's stalemate. You've tried complying, that hasn't worked, his standards are specific and not possible for you to pull off (because they're unrealistic imo). He won't accept a half-way house, he expects total compliance. You can't do that (and neither should you imo).

Freedom Programme? That would be a start, a way to get the ball rolling, a way to explore your options.

garlicbutty Tue 09-Oct-12 22:27:38

I know, it is really hard. I feel for you. It would be so nice if we could see our various potential futures before making the choices that shape them, wouldn't it?! Back in the real world, I guess all we can do is aim for self-honesty and what feels right. Talking helps a lot, as other people's views can illuminate things for us even when we disagree with them. Keep posting if you can stand it smile

Do you have the possibility to continue with your personal counsellor for a while longer? He seems to be doing you good.

feelokaboutit Tue 09-Oct-12 21:52:39

Have answered your pm redadmirals.

I agree with you garlicbutty when you say that we can't force people to be a certain way. I think h is perfectly happy with a non emotional, non intimate who am I to say that he has to open up to me... Ideally that is what I would like with someone, a safe environment to just talk about anything without fearing blame, shutting down, defensiveness or anger.

Thanks for everyone else's messages - lots of different opinions. Don't know what I am going to do - am feeling totally stuck and unable to do anything sad

spookytoo Tue 09-Oct-12 19:39:42

Apologies for side lining thread OP.
Well it's not that clear cut garlic. His DM seems/ed to laugh along with the 'daft old trout' image, maybe she liked the 'being looked after' that resulted from that, and his DF died youngish and was v sorely missed by all the family so I imagine he was a nice chap. DM can be pretty critical of others.
Family relationships are never simple

garlicbutty Tue 09-Oct-12 18:06:26

So the best-known red flag was there, Spooky: contempt of the mother. Is he turning into his father? Would you want to have been married to FIL?

Renegotiating a relationship is normal and necessary at times, of course. We need to remember that negotiations are transactions. You need to know what you're offering and what you'll comfortably accept in exchange. Wishing you luck with yours smile

spookytoo Tue 09-Oct-12 16:49:19

In my case DH was a kind, thoughtful, disciplined, hard working man when we met. I liked that he was knowledgeable and able. He is very popular with workmates but can take a dislike to some people.

So in fact he was normal. (except he and his siblings had a demeaning attitude to his mother confused )

And I don't remember any snidey comments when DCs were small, I made all teh decisions regarding them. It's just more recently, and I put it down partly to seeing himself getting old, and, true I am no perfect angel, always a delight to be with, but I don't like the digs and snidey criticisms (passive aggressive I think).

So in my case he wasn't a basket case when I married him but life changes, eg his status at work is less important to him , kids leave home, and I have allowed criticism to become too common and need to call him on it.

garlicbutty Tue 09-Oct-12 16:16:33

It's very common for women to see themselves as magical healers. Men do it, too, but women really hold all the trophies for this. We see a man who is an arse, and we understand he's that way because something damaged him in the past. So far, we are correct. Going further, we feel that we can repair this damage - still further; we feel we must. Unasked, uninvited, unqualified, unprepared and unsupported, we embark on our projects to heal their invisible wounds. "I'm OK!" they say, and we murmur "No, you're not."

I didn't stop doing this until I saw what a gross insult it is. Who was I to tell a man, who finds himself OK, that he's a wounded fuck-up? Why was I trying to change the person I'd married? He didn't ask me to change him (well, actually mine did, but it was clear he hadn't meant it.) As far as he was concerned, he was OK. Why was I insisting he wasn't? What right did I have? Answer: none.

He is who he is. He's OK. I didn't like being married to him and that's OK, too. It's okay to make a mistake and admit it. It's really, really not okay to be in the wrong marriage and try to alter the spouse. It's disgusting when you think about it. Who did I think I was, Doctor Frankenstein?

"Healing" an arse is not a kind or respectful thing to do, and it's far from loving. Turns out I was an arse, too, for trying to change him. So I did the rational thing at last. I turned my healing powers on myself.

spookytoo Tue 09-Oct-12 15:42:23

I don't think you have done this so if not you should get things into place so you can leave. Plan your finances, where you will live, how kids get to school etc. Have it all decided.

Then treat your husband with sad pity as you know, assuming you haven't told him yet, that if he doesn't change you will go.

At the moment he is, in his eyes, the powerful one who has to force you into following his will, or if you don't you get the silent treatment. Perhaps the dynamics will change when he sees you pity him, it is now you who has the power, and he might decide he wantst to behave differently.

My DH is a bit like this to a much lesser degree, and I always turned a blind eye, knowing it was his problem and due most likely to his upbringing, but it doesn't make for a happy equal relationship and I need to change it for my sake. Am making improvements thanks to info on mumsnet. But I found out first how easy it would be to leave if I had to which gives me the confidence to take it on.

Abitwobblynow Tue 09-Oct-12 15:30:51

You, me and RedAdmiral all live with the same man!

I also ended up refusing to tidy up/do any house work, because although it was the wrong passive aggressive thing to do, in a way it was quite honest because I was protesting to only being seen as 'housekeeper' and 'nanny'. I also got the 'this house is so messy' as a 'sign of his very deep distress'

IC means individual counsellor.

IC told me yesterday that he was never ever going to change, and my problem was that I kept hoping and wishing and trying to change him. All the time I did this I absorbed a lot of pain and suffering. I really need to take this on board.
He also said that he would never leave. He said the only thing that would change him is not me or even the hurt of the children, but something catastrophic like a death or (he is a workaholic) losing his job and being unable to find another one.

Nice to know I am part of the fixtures and fittings!

So similar boat to you, and like you I take all the sh*t to keep the family unit intact. But why are we doing this? What are we modelling, really?

ChooChooLaverne Tue 09-Oct-12 14:08:31

"The counsellor reckons he has a lot of issues of his own relating to parts of his childhood and that it is easier for him to attack me than to think about these. I recognise that these issues are there but does this mean that I have to live with someone who is essentially very critical and on a short fuse?"

No, you don't. You are choosing to live with him even though this is how he treats you.

No matter his childhood issues, he is a grown man and can choose to deal with them in a productive way. He isn't, he is choosing to punish you instead.

I think you would be much better off reading Lundy Bancroft's 'Why does he do that?' and accepting that this is who he is. He isn't likely to change - after all just a few sessions of counselling and you end up being ignored as punishment. IMHO you would be much better off accepting the truth about this man than trying to get him to treat you half decently.

"The counsellor (when I went by myself yesterday) was being very negative about divorce saying, in parts, that it changes the children's relationship with both their mother and father"

Of course divorce means change, but change doesn't have to be bad. I left my emotionally abusive XH over a year ago and while there have been some tricky patches DS is now blossoming into a happy confident child. I think it is much better for him to see his parents separately than to live with us together miserably. We have a good relationship and I think the one he has with his father is much better than it was now he seems him on his own and doesn't have to listen to him criticising me or shouting at me.

springyhope Tue 09-Oct-12 13:38:12

erm I wouldn't make it all about him tbh. He's already had centre-stage for the n years you've been married - and look how he punishes you if you take up some of his space? I don't think now is the time to lavish him with time and attention tbh. Sounds like you've been doing that all your married life (no-one understands him quite like you, huh?)

there are worse things than divorce. Divorce is vile, tis true, but a slow and agonising 'death' is worse, particularly when it profoundly impacts the kids of that marriage, who go on to replicate it. so bleak.

amillionyears Tue 09-Oct-12 13:23:15

This is coming across as a very sad situation.
I think you want to stay with him.
I think he wants to stay with you.

But he has things that went on in his childhood that he is not willing to face.
And he sounds a tricky person to be able to understand and unravel.

I think you were right to get counselling for yourself,and jointly. I agree that your consellor also seems unable to handle the situation properly.

The 3 things I can think of,short of seperating are
1.change to a different counsellor
2.I would advise you to buy a copy of the book I recommended and read it,or else borrow a copy of the book from the library and read it.
3.Basically,give him an ultimatum. He has to start opening up. He can write down all his worries,woes etc.[And give him a few days as sounds like he has quite a list].....because you cannot take the situation as it is.


redadmiralsinthegarden Tue 09-Oct-12 13:15:17

i think choo choo has a point. my xh was always v critical about my housework. I heard him tell ds2 that mummy 'couldn't be bothered' to tidy up. (This was after I'd spent all morning deep cleaning the hall and stairway. but in doing so had failed to notice the ds's pyjamas lurking behind the bathroom door!).
i think that after a while i deliberately failed to do housework, a to piss him off! and b because i just couldn't 'do' it - i would feel overwhelmed.
perhaps some of that resonates with you?

springyhope Tue 09-Oct-12 13:03:14

she has an agenda!
She certainly does - and should be struck off for giving advice, for a start. What are her qualifications? (does she have any....)

I would have like the counselling to be a place where we could really express ourselves without it devastating our daily lives but maybe I was unrealistic, especially given h's fragile ego.
It is a place where you should be able to really express yourself without being punished devastating your daily life - not his, notice. As for 'fragile ego' - he's a bully. Fragile ego doesn't come into it.

His silence now is an extremely hurt reaction, I think
I give up OP. And you? You are seriously considering perching yourself on a tiny cleft on a windswept mountainside in order to accommodate said husband's tantrums because you are slow to obey . Please do get that!

You didn't mention the Freedom Programme. You'll get a lot of info here about what is going on in your husband's head. 1.5 hours once a week. Or read it online (I posted the link upthread), though it's better to meet f2f with others in the same position. At least have a go and facing that you can't sweep it all under the carpet, that you don't have to be the fall guy, pinning yourself to the cross for 'peace'. Please?

redadmiralsinthegarden Tue 09-Oct-12 12:49:56

have pm'd you, feel!

feelokaboutit Tue 09-Oct-12 12:38:04

Hi all
Redadmirals - can I ask you how old your children were when you split up with your husband, and how access works for you? And whether you find it very difficult to be apart from your children? I reallly wonder how that would work. The counsellor (when I went by myself yesterday) was being very negative about divorce saying, in parts, that it changes the children's relationship with both their mother and father - I am not totally sure what she meant by this but I also suppose that she has an agenda! Criticism certainly wears you down and I understand that you must feel much more empowered and confident now.
Amillionyears - you are right - h hasn't asked us to separate etc... I had a look at the book you mentioned on amazon. Last week's counselling session did get very heated and I did tell him to F off which he may have taken at face value, hence the not talking to me at all. I would have like the counselling to be a place where we could really express ourselves without it devastating our daily lives but maybe I was unrealistic, especially given h's fragile ego.
springy - I really appreciated your post about the similarities between my h and my dad and me wanting to be a "good girl"... I have thought this before as well and it's certainly food for thought.
choo choo, h's two lots of really long silences in the past were definitely emotionally abusive, which I tried to point out to the counsellor yesterday (when I went by myself).... His silence now is an extremely hurt reaction, I think, at some of the things I was saying. I don't think he has the emotional tools to deal with our issues. The counsellor reckons he has a lot of issues of his own relating to parts of his childhood and that it is easier for him to attack me than to think about these. I recognise that these issues are there but does this mean that I have to live with someone who is essentially very critical and on a short fuse? She did admit that criticism really erodes relationships. I think you really hit the nail on the head when you said that it is easier for me not to tidy up than it is to face up to the fact that our problems might go deeper.
Abit I am sorry to hear you are having a difficult time... what is the IC?

I think the crux of my issue with dh is how critical he has been in the past and how negative, blaming and short tempered he can be. Basically I would like to be liked just because I am me, and the rest we could sort out afterwards together iyswim.

Also, we are still not talking AT ALL. There is no point in my trying to address h as I will either get no response or a very curt / cold one. Obviously we cannot continue to live together in this ridiculous way but I am not sure what to do. The counselling itself was to try and help me address such issues but it seems that I have done that and yet here we are again. Maybe a trial separation would be a good idea for us?

I just don't know where to start and part of me does feel I should stop being ridiculous, accept what's good, do my best with regards to my responsibilities and see where that gets me. Maybe when h seems me caring more about certain things he will have to climb down from his isolated rock and start communicating. One thing is for sure however, I don't think we are ever going to have a close intimate emotional relationship. It will always be difficult for us / me to discuss issues.... I suppose it's whether getting the relationship back on to an even keel where we can talk and laugh about the kids (but not much else) is worth it???

Abitwobblynow Tue 09-Oct-12 11:36:23

I really think that Choo Choo has got a good point here.

However: I got told by IC yesterday, that I AM 50% to blame for the problems in the marriage.

Why? Because, (like OP and like wives everywhere who are desperately trying to manage something they have no control over,)

I allowed it. There is ALWAYS the complementary position.

So basically, when MN says 'leave the bastard' they, according to my IC (not that he knows about my addiction to MN), have a very good point!

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