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How to tell if you are abusive or if he is?

(16 Posts)
Optomistic Sat 13-Oct-12 22:07:22

Dh and I have just had yet another argument about nothing and again he has walked away having accused me of being the sole perpetrator whilst I just scratch my head confused.

Really, really silly argument which I think he started..... We had a bottle of wine which he controls how much we have and when. He bought in the last glasses and his glass was much fuller than mine (whenever he thinks my glass is fuller he makes me lay it flat on a table to compare) so in jest I clinked glasses (which he tried not to do) and swapped glasses.

Cue him telling me I have to stop my wine issues (I drink once a week) and I am an alcholic (which he knows im paranoid about because my mother is). He then storms off to bed, refuses to talk and I am left bemused by how I have caused this argument. Ok, I shouldn't have swapped glasses but it was only because he always makes such a big issue about wine.

He then throws at me that he has done so much today, has ferried me around all day (he drove my friend and I to the shops at his insistence and picked us up, approx 1 hour total however I was happy to and had planned to drive). He is the angel who has been at my beck and call all day whilst I'm the argumentative alcholic who causes arguments.

I'm just frustrated that he won't talk and really don't understand why there was ever an argument in the first place about something so ridiculous - we have arguments like this every few days. It's always my fault and he always storms off refusing to talk. This causes me to run after him trying to talk, completely frustrated and we end up not talking which is ridiculous. He thinks I am abusive and manipulative whilst I think he is. Perhaps we both are? How do you tell who is being unreasonable/abusive when you both think the other is and if you were the unreasonable one would you be completely confused about what started the argument?

mostlyhappy Sat 13-Oct-12 22:17:03

The first thing that strikes me about this is that it is extremely cruel to call you an alcoholic as he knows this is going to pull on all your anxieties due to your mother. Obviously you are not one but I think that is mentally abusive behaviour from him.

From what you've said you sound like you are trying hard to be reasonable and fair and he sounds controlling and difficult.

Shakey1500 Sat 13-Oct-12 22:17:17

He controls how much wine and when? And also makes you put the glass down to compare? shock Is this done in a jest-y way or in complete seriousness? If it's the latter then that's really controlling and not normal.

From your post it sounds like instigates trivial arguments to then label you. Is that right?

Sounds very manipulative and I absolutely couldn't be in a relationship like that. Manipulation of that kind is clever, and will make the innocent party feel like they're in the wrong. Which, invariably, they're not.

ClippedPhoenix Sat 13-Oct-12 22:17:18

Its him sweetheart. He's a classic self entitled twunt.

HissyByName Sat 13-Oct-12 22:17:37

He is.

I had all of the above from my ex. 10 years. I wouldn't wish it on another human being.
I was an alcy. So he said. 2 glasses a week!
I was abusive too. Apparently.

ALL abusers say that, they all tell us that we are what THEY are.
He'll get worse. Don't negotiate with him. No point.

BitchyHen Sat 13-Oct-12 22:24:55

He is abusive. He's projecting his issues on to you. The fact that you are wondering if you are abusive shows you are not. Abusers don't have the level of self-awareness needed to question their own behaviour.

I have been where you are - get out.

Optomistic Sat 13-Oct-12 22:48:06

Thank you for responding. It's just so frustrating. He was lovely to me earlier when my friend was here and then just started acting detatched (pretending not to see me making kissing face at him when he clearly did.

Perhaps saying he was controlling the wine is slightly exaggerating but he filled up the glasses slightly and said he'd pour the rest with dinner. He didn't and I don't like drinking too late as I can't sleep so asked if we could have the last glass. He'd said he'd get it in a minute then got really grumpy when I started getting up to do it myself (tutting and muttering)

He also asked twice if I'd turned up the lights when he'd left the room and looked puzzled when I said I didn't ( as if I'd lie about that) and then said that heating wasn't working because the timer was set incorrectly (again looking quizzically at me and I'm sure he will start his 'there's only 2 of us in the house' routine soon).

Just feel like I'm going mad and wish he'd be nice to me all the time

Thank you and biddy interesting you were told the same thing- I just don't understand it

shanelle5 Sat 13-Oct-12 23:06:22

Hi there. I really had to respond to this as it sounds identical to what I went through for almost 3 years. Forgive me if I step out of line but it sounds like your partner has the same mental health issues as mine did/does as they are classic behaviours. It is an "illness" called bordeline personality disorder. Or another strain on the several types of personality disorder.
Please go and google it and you will see what I mean. I lived with this madness for such a long time and you really DO start to question your own judgement and think is it really me, AM i these things?? Its part of how they deal with their own problems - to reflect all the classic disorder traits onto you to hide that it is actually THEIR major flaw. ie Manipulation (they are usually very intelligent) controlling behaviour, excess in one area or another maybe drinking,gambling,spending or sex and they can start or cause an arguement in a nanosecond then make it all your fault. My DP treated me terribly but it was always me who ended up apologising as he very cleverly made me feel it was always ME with the problems and I just didnt know what was right or wrong anymore. It took a lot for me to step away but it was only after some time apart that the fog lifted and I was able to start biulding my confidence again and see that he was ill but thats no excuse, I ended up very depressed as a result of this relationship. I hope you dont feel offended by anything ive said, and that some of it helps.

ChooChooLaverne Sat 13-Oct-12 23:44:05

It doesn't have to be a result of a personality disorder - he may just be abusive. The stuff about the lights and the heating is called gaslighting. He is doing it on purpose to make you doubt yourself. This combined with the references to you being an alcoholic doesn't sound good at all.

OP I think yes he is abusive and I doubt very much you are. I suggest you read up on emotional abuse and you can see more clearly what you're dealing with. Have you read Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft? If not, I would recommend it.

HissyByName Sun 14-Oct-12 09:22:09

Bpd is a real disorder. There are treatments, and the sufferer CAN change the way they behave.

As can abusers.

My boyf was married to someone with bpd.

I was with an abuser.

Our experiences, what we've had to overcome, while not identical, are extremely similar.

The answer for him was to leave her. My answer too was to leave.

There's no reason anyone shpuld put up with ANY abuse, no matter what causes it.

deliasmithy Sun 14-Oct-12 09:46:01

Abuse is on a scale.
Before we all start jumping up and down shouting "abuse!", many people have unhealthy behaviours. Some of those are abusive type behaviours. Some of your post OP implies that your DH is, or has become, a little controlling.

What's more helpful is to look at the "why". Has he always been like this? If it has got worse, that maybe that he is upset or worried or frustrated by something, and when we feel emotional we revert to our bottom line, built in responses.

I have been in situations too OP, where I have felt the OH has deliberately picked a fight with me. The pattern seemed to be that he would have a difficult week at work, not tell me, but inside his confidence was knocked. I would later remind him not to tread mud through the house, internally he admits he then felt his confidence go even more, chew over thoughts about how I and everyone thought he was rubbish, then start an argument to prove his theory. Tiring. I'm pleased to report we've fixed this.

In my situation, the lack of communication was the real problem. How is it with your DH? Could you both sit down and discuss thoughts and feeling and it be productive?

I don't think it's helpful to say who is being unreasonable at this stage, but explain to him how the situation is making you feel and how you would like things to be. Avoid blame, as that's hard to listen to and more likely to stop the other person listening.

cupcake78 Sun 14-Oct-12 09:54:44

Being nice in front of others and then horrible when its just the two of you is abusive behaviour and mind games.

He should not be controlling how and when you drink as this is playing on your insecurities! He's being horrible.

struwelpeter Sun 14-Oct-12 10:22:03

There are healthy ways to deal with conflict or disagreement or simply different ways of doing things in a relationship. There is an adult way or there are various dysfunctional ways.
None of us are perfect, as one poster says we can often project or sink down to the toddler that lurks in all of us.
BUT: abuse is doing these things because it gives some perverse notion of power - like teasing a pet, the abuser realises they can manipulate their partner to their own advantage, they have used this behaviour before and simply don't wish to stop.
Better, healthier communication might in some circumstances allow two people to express their needs, perceptions etc but if he doesn't realise he has a problem or is getting a kick out of it then it is beginning to be abuse.
It's putting a frog into a pan of water then turning the heat on - frog doesn't realise what's happening so stays in the water to be boiled to death.
Keep posting, take a look at the long-running and brilliant EA thread. To me it sounds like abuse.

cheekydevil Sun 14-Oct-12 10:38:39

Is this what some people call gas-lighting?

CecilyP Sun 14-Oct-12 10:50:53

He sounds awful; not exactly abusive, but a real and constant strain to live with. I have no idea what he thinks makes you abusive, but, from what you have told us, he sounds completely unreasonable.

You are not going mad; he sounds unreasonable because he is unreasonable.

deliasmithy Sun 14-Oct-12 10:58:19

Struwel - things don't magically turn into abuse just because the person doesn't know they do them. Plenty of abusers know they behave that way, and plenty don't.
As you say, there are different motivations for an abuser than others. And neither you or I know what that motivation is, in this instance. To assume the worst is unfair and potentially unhelpful. It's fairer to point out that yes, there are concerns in the way he is reportedly behaving.

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