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Reasonable requests/emotional abuse(20 Posts)
This is going to be long, but I'm looking for some opinions.
Background: We've been married 5 years and have a 7.5 month old DD. Our first daughter was stillborn in March 2011. DH has suffered from depression for a long time and DD1's death exacerbated that.
I am currently at home with DD2, we live in the middle of nowhere with no public transport. We have one car between us, so if I want it then I have to drive DH to work, and then fetch him at the end of the day. I generally do this once or twice a week to go to baby groups. My mum drives 1.5 hours each way to see me once a week as well. We live 30 mins outside a city, where DH works.
Mum has been looking after the dog for a week while we went to visit PIL. She came down to get the dog without asking if we would take him to her because she knew we would have to drive 10 hours each way to PIL's. She then brought him back yesterday.
So, yesterday DH went to work as usual. Mum came down with the dog. My sister lives in the nearby city and phoned to say she was off sick and why didn't we come in? Mum, DD2 and I duly went in. I spoke to DH at some point before Mum arrived and said we were going to visit DSis and said 'so you might have to pick me up from hers after work'. I had the car seat, two bags and no coat, plus DD2. Mum keeps a buggy in her car, but it's not the one that the car seat goes on.
Mum wanted to go shopping in the city centre (6 miles from DH's work but in the wrong direction for heading home). We'd have been unable to get back to DSis's for 4.20ish (DH finishes work at 4 and it would take him about 20 mins to get to DSis's at that time of day), so I called him and asked him to either come and meet us in the city centre or wait at his work until Mum dropped me off when she was ready to go home. His work is on her way out of town, so that wasn't unreasonable. It would have been closer to 5.30 before she could drop me off, though. DH needs to build his flexi time back up and could perfectly well stayed at work, or, alternatively, come in to meet us if he wanted to leave at 4.
DH point blank refused to come and get me or wait because it would mean he got home later than usual/it would put him out to have to drive into the city centre - he suggested either Mum or DSis should drive me home, an hour's round trip for them. He said if that wouldn't work then I should get on a bus to his work, to be there for 4 o'clock. That would have meant leaving at 3.30 at the latest, so I couldn't have gone shopping with Mum and DSis. I also had DD, the car seat, which would have been v awkward to carry, and no coat or phone, because I've lost mine and haven't done anything about replacing it yet. After a conversation that basically boiled down to 'YABU - you come here', 'No, YABU, you come here', he hung up on me. At that point I asked DSis if I could borrow her car to get home in and she said yes. DH phoned at 4 (DSis's phone) to ask what I was doing and I said I would make my own way home. He didn't ask how, he just accepted it and said 'Okay, see you later'.
When I got home I was pleased with myself for driving DSis's car without mishap (ours is an automatic and it's a long time since I drove a manual), plus DD was needing fed and bathed. So I ignored the argument and spoke to DH as usual. He sulked a bit but gradually thawed out. As DD refused to go to bed until 10.30, the issue never really got discussed.
Today, Mum called to tell me she thinks his behaviour was emotional abuse.
Please can you advise me? Is DH being emotionally abusive? I know he was behaving like an arse, but he doesn't think so.
Sorry that's so long! If anyone waded through all that, what do I do?
If it is the latest in a long line of incidents then, yes, it could be emotional abuse. However, if it is a one-off then it is probably just hugely inconsiderate of him. Either way, I think you need to discuss it with him.
Has your mum had cause to say this to you before? Has she witnessed other stuff that she is concerned about?
As a one-off it isn't emotional abuse. He was being unhelpful, confrontational, inflexible, selfish, sulky ... a PITA. Emotional abuse is more about controlling someone on a regular basis, being difficult to please as standard, belittling your efforts, making you wary to say anything in case he flies off the handle... more than one incident in other words.
He has done similar things before. Mum reminded me that when I was 7 months pg with DD1 he refused to come across town to get me from a friend's and made me get the bus to meet him instead. She said that the point is that he embarrassed me in front of friends/family, and that it wasn't an unreasonable request on my part. He does seem to focus on the car/driving - he doesn't like driving out of his way and I do feel wary of asking him to come and get me. That said, he does it sometimes either without protest or with only minimal protest. He encourages me to drive others about less - for instance, he says friends are taking advantage of me if they ask for a lift home (eg I'll go to my sister's house and a mutual friend will ask me to take her home again afterwards, 20 mins in the wrong direction. DH says I shouldn't take her, and since DD2 is usually with me then I have taken to saying no).
He also doesn't like me making plans for the weekend, say, without consulting him first. It's not that I can't go, it's that he wants me to discuss it with him before committing myself.
I agree that its not emotional abuse but it was a bit inconsiderate of him. Mind you, in was inconsiderate of you to ask him to do all that after a long days slog at work at work as well.
That makes things slightly different. Controlling the use of the car so closely, being selfish about lifts and discouraging you from taking friends home etc., could be him trying to restrict your movements. But making plans for the weekend and consulting him about them... I'd have thought that was pretty normal in a marriage. Assume he consults you if he wants to make weekend plans?
Why don't you get two cars?
See, this is it, Zippey. I find it hard to tell when I'm being unreasonable. Mum could very well just be being biased in my favour. She's wound me up to the point where I don't know what to think. I naturally don't want to think that DH is an EA twat, but I'm worried that I'm just closing my eyes to the problem. Mum says he shouldn't have expected me to forgo the shopping trip, or one of them to take me home, and that getting the bus was out of the question with so much stuff to carry.
Did he know how much stuff you had to carry and that you had no coat?
Cogito, we can't afford 2 cars at the moment - I'm on SMP until the end of Dec and we're barely making both ends meet as it is. In fact, our money problems are a whole other thread - he's very bad with money. I'm not brilliant with it myself but I do at least recognise that if we've got 3 weeks to go before pay day and we're already short then all extraneous purchases have to go. He just keeps spending on things like online gaming, and then says he has to, because he's depressed and it cheers him up, or else he'll promise to stop and then sends me an email from work saying 'I was bad...I might have spent £30 on computer games last night'. When there isn't £30 to spend!
Agatha, he knew what I had to carry - I never got round to telling him that I had no coat.
I don't want to accuse you of drip-feeding - largely because I don't think you're conscious you're doing it - but the more you say about this man, the more I think you should listen to your DM.
One refusal to give a lift is a PITA. Repeated witholding access to the car and making your social life difficult is nasty bullying. Being 'bad with money' usually means someone is acting like a spoilt brat. Wasting family money on gaming when you're short of cash, going back on promises, putting up silly excuses like he's depressed and e-mailing a 'silly me' is irresponsible. If he's depressed, he sees a GP ... not spend £30 on games.
Mums may be biased in favour of their DCs but it's usually with good reason. They don't want to see you taken advantage of. If I asked your DM, what else wouldn't she like about him and would she have a point?
It sounds like there is more to this than just a one-off.
It is very selfish of him to knowingly leave you to struggle with your dd plus car seat, but maybe he doesn't realise that it is difficult to carry both? It does sound like he resents your use of the car for some reason - did you have two cars before and was this car his?
His lack of control over his spending is a bigger problem though, and being depressed is no excuse for spending needed family money on his own entertainment. Again, selfish of him.
Based on all your posts he sounds like he's trying to limit your access to friends and family.
Funny how he seems to have a problem coming to get you when you're with your friends or your family. He doesn't want you to drop your friends home.
I don't know OP, I'd listen to your mother, unless she's completely prone to dramatics but it's doesn't sit right with me!
Oh and spending on himself is a pretty nifty way to ensure YOU have no money isn't it?!
I had a car many moons ago whilst EXP didn't drive and he would offer my services to all and sundry - so much so that i detest having to drive anybody anywhere unless i want to. And that goes to going out of my way uneccessarly to get anyone, so yes after your DH had been working all day and you were out with people who could drive you home, i probably wouldn't have wanted to pick you and DC up (but probably would have and grumbled about it!!)
If money has been tight for a long period of time, then i do see that there would be times when you think "sod it" and go and blow x amount of cash and then feel bad/naughty after and try and make lightness out of it with partner whilst knowing full well you shouldn't have done it!
If the spending was ongoing and causing financial difficulties, then yes this needs to be addressed but on the whole (and only going off what you've said above) i don't paticularly think he's being EA, just a grumpy bugger with a partchment for video games once in a while.....but i could be wrong!
I agree that the more you say the more inconsiderate he sounds. Im not sure if emotional abuse is the term I woudl use for him though.
For me, marriage is a partnership and you help each other out as much as you can. It sounds like you can gain a lot trying to talk to one another with a neutral party, as in councelling, or with someone you both trust for example. He might see some of your actions as unreasonable too. I dont know how that sounds to you?
Sorry - had to make dinner and then DH came home and we've been talking about this. I wound up telling him what Mum had said - she said she wanted to talk to him herself anyway, so there was no point in concealing it. He adduced a lot of instances where he has come to fetch me/done things for me, and I think I was being unreasonable.
Zippey, that sounds reasonable. He does think some of my actions are unreasonable - he says he felt emotionally blackmailed yesterday, so he struck.
I think the money thing is a much bigger issue, but he knows that - most importantly, he knows he's got a problem. He did get a referral for CBT a few months ago but the NHS gave him 1 appt with a mental health nurse, who said that there was a year's waiting list, gave him some websites to look at and said she would arrange a follow-up appt in Sep and if he still felt he needed CBT he would be put on the waiting list then. The follow-up never materialised. I have been bugging him to chase them.
I'm sorry I sound like I'm drip-feeding, Cogito. It's hard to know where the discussion will go, and therefore what is relevant.
Thank you all for taking the time to post! I do appreciate it.
Walter, Mum does sometimes overreact. Every time she looks after the dog, for instance, she comes up with a list of imaginary ailments she thinks he has.
He does sounds like he is restricting your movements both with the car and by insisting on you check with him first.
No I DEFINITELY would NOT expect check with a partner before I made plans. I would check something is OK after but I would not be asking permission beforehand. I fact when I tried to do this the my (now ex)P after I had become some accustomed to having to do so with my abusive ex, I was totally mystified. It can be a very subtle way of undermining your judgement (of your friends) and freedom. Ex did this to minimise my contact with friends he did not approve of (ie the ones that did not like him or the way I was with him).
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