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Living with a perfectionist

(48 Posts)
christie2 Sat 29-Dec-12 17:04:16

Living with a perfectionist is wearing me down. Wasn't always this way, but dh has reached middle age and asserted himself over the household. Fair enough, it can't be all my way either but how to achieve the balance. I can't always be wrong. I feel too old to feel so insecure yet the constant criticism really is wearing me down. My mid life crisis has me wanting to pack it in and let him do it his way and I do it mine and be done with it. But there are children to consider......... Help!

Bonsoir Sat 29-Dec-12 17:07:26

Could you give some examples of where you feel that your standards are falling short of his?

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Sat 29-Dec-12 17:11:05

You mean he's a nasty, controlling BULLY? hmm Let's call a spade a spade, shall we? Being a perfectionist is fine. Making your partner and family's life a misery by throwing your weight about and being critical is quite wrong and totally intolerable. It's not an equal partnership of give and take, it's dominance and it's designed to grind others down so that they eventually stop complaining, stop trying and give in for the sake of a quiet life. He wins

Have you tackled him about it? Refused to submit? Said 'no'? What happens when you challenge his 'assertion'?

christie2 Sat 29-Dec-12 17:15:55

It is constant nit picking, I don't dry the dishes dry enough, I don't line up the silverwear when I put it away, the fridge is messy, I use too many pots when I cook, I don't close lids properly, I put the pots away wrong, on and on. I don't organize the kids in the morning so the chaos in the morning is my fault. He wants them all called down at the same time, beds made, dressed and all eating at exactly the same time, I multitask too much, I need to focus on one task finish it then move on (even though I work 3 days a week and have 5 children). I don't make them do their homework neat enough I shop and forget to get everything in the groceries even though I am shopping with a young child in tow. I spend too much money ( I shop second hand) or I don't spend enough and the kids are dressed badly. I buy cheap stuff then back to I never stay on budget. So I have turned over tasks to him and when he drops the ball (we have not been on budget for 6 months since he took over the finances) he gets mad if I dare mention spending is off. He is great for a while then he gets busy at work and I have to take on all the home roles again and then within a short time back to the complaints.

Bonsoir Sat 29-Dec-12 17:24:58

Gosh, and how much of the housekeeping/childrearing for a family of seven falls to you, as opposed to him or to other people (cleaner/nanny/Granny etc)?

ImperialBlether Sat 29-Dec-12 17:27:07

I don't like him, OP! Do you?

RandomMess Sat 29-Dec-12 17:28:54


christie2 Sat 29-Dec-12 17:31:08

It all falls to me. No cleaner/nanny and my Mom is too far away although it is heaven when she visits. He just thinks I create chaos in the house and it would all be so organized and nice if I just did it his way.

Bonsoir Sat 29-Dec-12 17:32:13

shock shock shock

He dares criticise when he makes you do all the work?!

christie2 Sat 29-Dec-12 17:32:56

I do stand up to him and say no. Believe me I sometimes think how did I end up in this. I am no shrinking violet. But I do try to make nice for the sake of the kids. The thing that scares me is that I am starting to believe I am the problem. Sad really.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Sat 29-Dec-12 17:33:35

I repeat... he's a bully. He doesn't want an equal partnership in a loving family, he wants to be the drill sergeant of a platoon of marines. You realise that he sets things up deliberately so that you fail and are therefore constantly trying to keep him happy?

Here's the acid test. What is he like with the other people in his life? Boss, friends, co-workers, shop-assistants, waiters? Does he throw his nit-picky weight around with them or does he keep his scolding little trap shut? If he is universally unpleasant to everyone then he may have a personality problem. If he saves up all his order-barking and belittling crap for you... he's just a nasty husband. If it's the latter then you should seriously research the possibilities of divorce and independent living with your 5DCs, work out what he'd have to pay in maintenance, where he could go and live etc.... then hit him with it that if he doesn't shut up, this is how life is going to be.

I couldn't live like that

ImperialBlether Sat 29-Dec-12 17:35:22

Just what Cogito says.

And remind him that you will expect him to take all five at once when he sees them in his new home. None of this business where he'll take one out at a time. No way. All five, three times a week. grin

lolaflores Sat 29-Dec-12 17:36:30

christie2 never ever say that second to last sentence ...ever again. If you do it is all lost. He sounds like a man who likes to shift the goal posts and has fun watching you keep up. ask yourself if it is the end of the world if the silver wear is not to his satisfaction. he is free to sort it out after wards. you do not have to listen to the grumping. free yourself from his nit picking and I would suggest him.
How long are you guys together and when did all this start

ImperialBlether Sat 29-Dec-12 17:38:07

I don't know anyone whose cutlery is lined up properly! Where exactly is he going for his guidance on good housekeeping?

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Sat 29-Dec-12 17:38:52

"I am no shrinking violet."

I didn't think you would be a pushover. But some bullying men seem to delight in bringing a strong woman to her knees, possibly because they are so inadequate and so inferior, it's the only way they can not feel bad about themselves. He knows you want to keep things sweet for the kids and that's your Achilles Heel, unfortunately. Only by turning it back on him, demonstrating that you're not scared of independence and by showing him what life would look like when he's out in the cold... no family, no wife, no house... might he shape up.

pod3030 Sat 29-Dec-12 17:59:16

op, i could've written your post! i am a month into The Split and i am just starting to feel myself- little glimpses of myself pop up and it is like the sun coming out. i am living on my own with my 1yr old dd and initially it terrified me. but we are so much happier. ex p is a control freak and had to be the boss and knew what was best .everything was a criticism, even compliments were underhanded criticisms and i became a shadow version of myself, made myself small.I look back and see he is expert in gas lighting. to the outside world he is cool, laid back affable man.I believed him that i was the problem, kept going to self help things, how to improve myself, nlp courses, you name it. then i went to a counsellor, who said, you know what,you're actually ok. nothing wrong with you at all. i realised i had to be a good role model for my dd, she needed to see the real mummy, full of fun and colour and hope. The relief is indescribable op, and it will benefit your dcs much more than staying and not being the real you. sorry for the long post xxxxx

christie2 Sat 29-Dec-12 17:59:30

His role model is his mother who he was not speaking to all that often. He has friends but is known to be difficult and is disliked often and has been fired from jobs. I appreciate the support, I need to get strong again. I talked to a divorce lawyer last year and they didn't make me feel great. I was told our house would be sold he would get the kids half time (although I agree he would have trouble making that work but he is stubborn enough to do it to spite me) and I would have to go to work full time. Maybe I need to think it all through but I sometimes feel like buffer for the kids. I can get him to see reason at times, but it is so tiring. We have been together 20 years. Tbh, if I really think about it, it went downhill after our second child then the last 10 years have grown progressively worse. He threatened to leave me last year and I said fine, go for it. AFter one day he asked me to take him back and I did but I remember, being afraid that day but strangely, relieved. Thanks, this holiday with all our time together has made me think about my future, and the kids. Things have to change.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Sat 29-Dec-12 18:04:02

Look into it more deeply, maybe a different lawyer & have a look at things like the Benefit Checker and the CSA maintenance calculator to see what kind of income you'd have ... I don't think you'd have to work full-time in order to generate a reasonable income. And would selling the house be the end of the world if it meant you could live in peace rather than with Baron Von Trapp?

christie2 Sat 29-Dec-12 18:04:58

Omg I just read your post again pod3030. He keeps telling me I need counselling. I said once, what if they say I am not the problem. He assured me I was due to my upbrining ( my Dad was an alcoholic) and my history ( I was beaten, raped and almost murdered when I was 17). I think I will go for counselling, if he is right, then I will get the help I need but if I am not the problem, then I can see what I have to do much clearer.

MooncupsAndSaucers Sat 29-Dec-12 18:17:25

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

TapirAroundTheChristmasTree Sat 29-Dec-12 18:23:30

Mooncups Grow up and get a grip.

The OP is posting about the type of person who would INVENT a reason to have a go; she could work her fingers to the bone 24hrs a day and he would still be unhappy.

Could you be any more unhelpful?

emess Sat 29-Dec-12 18:23:39

Mooncup - you are surely not serious????

NotQuiteCockney Sat 29-Dec-12 18:25:00

I think counselling, for you, sounds like a very good idea. That will help to undo the mess he is trying to make of you, and help motivate you to get away from him.

Allergictoironing Sat 29-Dec-12 18:54:40

His role model is his mother. Hmm, did she have 5 kids and work part time too? I somehow doubt that!

Mooncups I'm going to be very generous and assume you left a wink off your post by mistake.....

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Sat 29-Dec-12 18:57:42

I'm hoping Mooncups is demonstrating how emotional abuse works by posting ironically.... rather than just being an insensitive arsehole. smile Emotional abusers set the scene so that you're always 'trying a bit harder' in an effort to avoid the nit-picking. But, since they have no intention of you ever meeting their impossible standards, your efforts will never be quite good enough. It's a pretty classic bullying/emotionally abusive technique.

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