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So it's not all in my head then:( (long)

(468 Posts)
MerlotforOne Tue 01-Jan-13 17:04:15

Can't quite believe I'm writing this, but need to get it written down before I minimise it again.
This morning, DH and I both a bit tired, DS (3) acting up a bit. DH offered to take DS and dog for a walk so I could get some peace. DS was being difficult about getting his coat on and DH was acting as though his temper was getting strained. He muttered 'I don't work hard all week to come home to this!' And then pinned DS on the stone floor and wrestled him into his coat. DS was sobbing and I wanted to comfort him, bu DH snarled t me to go upstairs and let him get on with it. I would normally retreat at this point so as not to provoke him, but today I decided not to and stood m ground.

He asked me again to go and I said if he was upset he should take the dog out and clear his head, and leave DS with me. He said 'you really don't want to push me just now' and I asked why he was threatening me? He walked over and shoved me really hard through the doorway into the next room and onto the floor. DS saw this sad and ran over to me. We both somehow ended up upstairs and DH followed us up and stood there saying I was over-reacting as it was only a shove had provoked him so i deserved the shove.

I was crying and DS was upset and brought me his muslin and dummy sad. I refused to let DH touch me and he told me again I was overreacting and denied the comment about me deserving it, said I had made that up. He then took DS and went for the walk. I haven't been able to send being in the same room all day, but daren't leave in case he gets really angry and does something worse.

He has only physically assaulted me once before, 8 years ago on holiday, and was so drunk at that time that he passed out and claimed no memory of it. He can be grumpy and I feel I walk on eggshells and that I have to justify myself a lot. Since the incident 8 years ago, I've always backed down before he lost his temper, and fooled myself that he'd changed, but I discovered mumsnet 6m ago and have been reading a lot on this board and feeling increasingly uneasy that quite a lot f it applied to me.

He is not at all financially controlling, but was very jealous and quite controlling of my social life (back when I had one) and can be quite argumentative after a drink (not that he drinks much these days). He can also be loving and affectionate and we have long periods of time where everything seems fine, but I've been excusing his behaviour for a very long time and now there are really no excuses left.

Don't know what to do really. Thoroughly miserable and very confused.

swallowedAfly Fri 01-Mar-13 13:24:35

i never saw you replied - just came searching for your thread to see how you're dong.

meditation stuff can be totally secular btw but i understand the associations for you.

how are things going?

MerlotforOne Tue 19-Feb-13 11:09:55

I'm a deeply secular person swaf, I've never felt comfortable with faith/religion. I have tried some mindfulness practices in the past, but given that H's Buddhist practice was used by him as an excuse to manipulate me and justify his own selfish and abusive behaviour, I'm steering well clear of that side of things. I realise it's him at fault and not Buddhism per se, but I get very angry just thinking about it, so I don't think I'd be able to practice anything like meditation at the moment, as in my mind its all linked. I find walking/ running outdoors and just focussing on being in the moment whilst doing that is helping.

Thanks for the suggestion smile

swallowedAfly Tue 19-Feb-13 07:27:54

do you have any kind of faith or practice merlot? ever done meditation or anything like that?

it can be really helpful during times like this to develop that side - am thinking of mindful meditation and self compassion practices and how they help with the accepting what you're feeling and being able to rest in uncertainty and stuff.

TeaMakesItAllPossible Mon 18-Feb-13 19:57:22

<squeezes Merlot>

You just need to make sure that you stay true to your core values ... the rest will follow.

swallowedAfly Mon 18-Feb-13 17:45:03

ooh i've got joni mitchel playing in my head now grin

swallowedAfly Mon 18-Feb-13 17:43:30

it's never going away.

the shock people go through when something changes or catastrophe or finding out their husband is having an affair or whatever is that jolt awake from sleepwalking. we want to believe things are permanent, fixed, safe, predictable but everything is phases and cycles really and can suddenly change. for example this phase you're in now - mum to a young child, juggling work and home and relationship etc - it feels like forever and 'life' but it's one phase and it will pass and other phases will come. so people talk about 'empty nest syndrome' and really i guess that's about sleepwalking too, forgetting that you're on a long journey and nothing is forever and you will have to change and re-establish over and over.

in many ways it can be reassuring to keep that in mind. i had a sudden moment of remembering it the other day - that this was just a chapter and not the 'all' of me, my life, my story.

river keeps flowing and all that cheesey malarchy wink

izzyizin Mon 18-Feb-13 17:39:40

Nothing to add except 2 of the maxims I adhere to:

1. The only thing you can be certain of in life is that nothing is certain


2. The only thing that is constant is change.

We're works in progress and whether some of us appear to be making more progress than others depends entirely on where we're standing when we assess our own passage through life.

MerlotforOne Mon 18-Feb-13 17:02:22

You're right (as usual) swaf, sleepwalking was doing me no good at all. I've been reading a bit about codependency and although it mostly doesn't fit with my core beliefs, I can recognise some of the elements from the way I'd been thinking over the past few years. I saw my DM sacrifice a lot of herself for her relationship with DF, so I really did believe that marriage is about always putting the other person first, and of course, H was reinforcing that when I did manage to express my feelings and made me feel selfish... All I know for certain is that I do have core beliefs, as they are what led to my discomfort about the relationship prior to 'the shove'.

I am busy identifying my boundaries and feel quite clear that if I feel that frightened/confused/depressed/ashamed state of mind returning, that its more likely to be him causing it than me 'going mad', and I refuse to live like that. I gave so much, and kept on giving and changing myself to fit, trying to keep my marriage going, and the thing that (if anything can) will have saved it is me leaving, becoming more selfish and being more demanding of H. It feels ironic.

I realise that I don't cope well with uncertainty in my personal life, so I guess that's something I need to work on in counselling, as its not going away anytime soon, is it?

Thanks for the good wishes Nickname, it makes me feel stronger to know that there's support here when I need it, and a different perspective to the traditional 'the wife must make the marriage work' view that I get from RL.

swallowedAfly Mon 18-Feb-13 16:26:56

nice to hear how you're doing.

i think it is really positive that you are able to see a good side to living alone and an appeal to it. i also think that that reflecting on when you left uni and what you might have done is a good sign that your 'self' as i think you put it is re-emerging. there's a merlot perspective and feelings and narrative rather than just wife/mother etc. it's also part of the 'participant observation' thing - there is a you to some degree separate to your life/marriage/present observing and reflecting itms.

i know it must be uncomfortable in some ways but it's good - you're not going native or slipping back in as if nothing happened and everything is the same. and you are remembering yourself.

as you know time will tell. both in how he behaves and in how yourself emerges through this. he may keep it up and be fine but you may grow beyond the relationship and want out. you may decide you want to stay and work at your marriage and then he starts behaving badly again. he may keep it up and you may fall in love with him again. it's just time isn't it?

whilst it feels really uncertain that's life really - it is all uncertain and never sewn up. it's not the image of life and in particular marriage that we're sold (and they all lived happily ever after) but it's the reality i think - that we keep choosing every day and one day we might choose differently or someone we've assumed we can rely on might choose differently.

sorry waffling on but trying to say you are living in reality, not sleepwalking. sleepwalking didn't you a lot of good really did it? reality is ok! good, bad, confusing, blissful, happy, sad etc etc etc. codependency, pretending you have no control or choice over your life, pretending everything is fixed and set and you're not making choices etc etc are not healthy ways to live imo and certainly not any kind of mature way to live ones life? all getting a bit of meaning of life ish sorry but this is it! mindful living.

NicknameTaken Mon 18-Feb-13 16:01:37

Glad things are going well for you, Merlot! The beach holiday sounds wonderful. I'm not surprised the constant vigilence about your feelings and everyone else's feelings and actions is exhausting. Best of luck with it all!

MerlotforOne Mon 18-Feb-13 14:05:24

Well, things are feeling a lot more settled this week. H is actually taking the initiative with looking at our finances and getting the house valued so we can discuss a possible house move from a position of knowing the information. We're both working at our own processes with individual counselling and communicating really well. I feel safe for the time being. DS is thriving - I hadn't really realised that he wasn't thriving before, but he's really happy and relaxed and developing at a rate of knots atm. H is more relaxed and cheerful than I've seen him in years (other than when he gets upset thinking about what he put me and DS through), despite having continued with all the household stuff as well as being back at work.

I'm hopeful, but exhausted, physically, mentally and emotionally. Work was really tough last week and I'm hanging on waiting for March when I'll be able to have a break from my clinical commitments. I've booked a beach holiday for the 3 of us (H never used to agree to beach hols, always wanted to be doing something active, even though active hols with a baby/toddler take a lot of organisation and logistics (which, of course, I used to do...)) the thought of a week just messing about with DS on the beach sounds like bliss and I'm quite excited.

I'm still very impatient and keep having anxiety about the whole trust issue. I do feel H has accepted that he's abusive and needs to make fundamental changes, and is doing his best to do so, but I also have times of thinking that maybe I'm not the best person to judge that, and how can I know it's not just another part of the cycle, which it may be, but then how do i know unless i give him chance etc etc ad infinitum.

I also think I'd got quite attached to the idea of living alone (with DS of course), as I've never lived alone (moved out of shared student flat and in with H at graduation) and always felt I would have liked to live alone for a while. I think I'm probably romanticising the whole thing, but I wish I'd had the strength to refuse to move in with him for a couple of years initially - although at the time it didn't seem financially feasible, with hindsight it would've been fine.

Not sure where I'm going with all this - I came on here to say 'hi' and 'thanks' and didn't mean to ramble on again...

MerlotforOne Mon 11-Feb-13 17:01:00

H has his first therapy session this week, Autumn. I will have to beware of not letting myself get distracted from my own process (which is very tempting sometimes!).

Tribpot I did feel very vulnerable when I was Ill, but had difficulty figuring out that that was what I was feeling and why. It seems my counsellor is right that I find it difficult to identify my feelings and the thought processes that lead to them, let alone share them, but I was able to share those feelings with H and he showed genuine remorse for being the cause of them and also did his best to reassure me. however without trust, verbal reassurance means little, so there's no short cut to the vigilance [frustrated emoticon]

Nickname I'll have a look for that book, the case studies sound interesting.

tribpot Mon 11-Feb-13 16:25:56

I did wonder if the illness made you think, Merlot 'what if he chooses now to go off on one again?'. When you knew you simply didn't have the reserves of energy to deal, placate, or follow through on the threat to leave again. It requires you to be in a constant state of readiness which is not sustainable.

You should, I hope, be able to share those feelings with your DH, because you need to resolve them together.

AutumnDreams Mon 11-Feb-13 15:14:42

Thinking too far ahead tends to give you excuses not to deal with the here and now, and it`s easier to do that. You really do have to process all that`s happened in the last eight years, and how it`s brought you to where you are now. By all means examine thoughts, make plans, for the future, but don`t allow them to distract you from what`s going on for you, right now.

Has H started his therapy yet Merlot?

NicknameTaken Mon 11-Feb-13 15:08:25

Just on the topic of getting bored with the constant vigilence - I think Patricia Evans talks about this in her book on verbal abuse. Might be worth a read. She does believe that some verbal abusers can be "fixed", but even in those cases, the women in her case studies sounded a bit weary, and wondered whether it was really worth all the effort.

On the other hand, I would be wary of making any decisions after a few days of being ill at home. It does sound like the right thing is to let things unfold by themselves for now.

MerlotforOne Mon 11-Feb-13 13:40:04

Yes, it would be possible to rent for a while. I'd have to be pragmatic about houses anyway, as we couldn't afford anything as nice as our current house in the part of the city I'd want to live in. If I was funding independently I'd be looking at a much smaller house/flat so I'd have to accept being prepared to leave the house if it came to it. I don't generally get attached to material things very much. When I left on 2nd Jan, fully expecting to not go back, I didn't think twice about the house.

There's no hurry with moving. My counsellor advised me to not think too far ahead, so I'm going to try not to get caught up in the 'busy purposefulness' as saf puts it so well, as I agree it could be a distraction. I have a tendency to get very enthused about projects and jump in too quickly, and I don't want to exhaust myself any further at the moment, but it would be lovely to regain the independence of city living and to be near to good friends again.

TeaMakesItAllPossible Mon 11-Feb-13 10:00:55

Would it be possible to rent in the short term?

I think a move to allow you to live your life well would be good. SAF is right about one pitfall. The other is buying a home that you fall in love with but can't afford by yourself - I would counselling at this point, when you already, rightly, feel angry, against putting more pressure on your relationship by feeling financially dependent on your H for the life you want.

If renting isn't for you then either buying at a price where you know you can afford the mortgage yourself if you have to or accepting that you and your DS would be prepared to leave the house if it came to it.

I think you're doing really well working through a difficult challenge.

swallowedAfly Mon 11-Feb-13 07:09:56

living near work and friends and with more going on sounds like a great idea.

i guess just be careful that getting immersed in all the business of moving doesn't sweep things under the carpet. easy to go native when you get caught up in a lot of busy purposefulness.

tribpot Sun 10-Feb-13 23:22:13

Sounds like a move to where you feel more comfortable would be a good step towards rebuilding your relationship - both with yourself and with your DH. And if it does turn out that he reverts to type, it puts you in a less vulnerable position as well. Perhaps think how differently you might have responded when he invited himself back in to the house the first time if you'd have had a better support network to call on around you.

You say you don't think it's fair on him to ask him to leave again (despite the fact he came back whilst you were still trying to process what happened) but if it is the difference between saving and ending your marriage it may be the right thing to do. Putting his feelings before your own is an example of falling back into old patterns.

What work is he doing on his personal problems, Merlot? Is he still awaiting counselling? Why is he going back to work if he hasn't started that process yet?

MerlotforOne Sun 10-Feb-13 18:38:46

grin at the goats!

We went out for lunch and a gentle walk this afternoon, and getting out of the house after 4 days has helped my frame of mind enormously.

I actually raised the fact that I really miss the city where we used to live and would like to move back there. We moved as its more convenient for H's work here, although there's not a lot going on around here, as its a rural and fairly deprived area, and I still commute back to the city. We talked about the pros and cons openly and without him shouting me down (this is one of the areas where he would have insisted he was right before). He even offered to arrange some viewings! Obviously I don't want to make big decisions about things like houses just yet, but it felt very promising.

Maybe I'm being led down the garden path and he'll revert to type soon enough, but a move might not be a bad thing anyway. I'd have a lot more freedom and life would be a lot easier in the city, with friends and work close by and more opportunities to get out and build some independence. Its certainly where I'd want to be if we split up, so why not live there anyway?

swallowedAfly Sun 10-Feb-13 11:29:40

yep - i nearly ended up married and keeping goats merlot grin but that suspended bit saved me by kicking back in. keep yours alive. personally i think he should have moved out and this time should have been spent separately but that's not the situation you are in.

MerlotforOne Sun 10-Feb-13 11:08:48

Hi swallowed, I'm very interested to hear you've studied anthropology, I've always fancied that! I know what you mean by participant observation, having covered the theory of it for my Masters. I think your 'suspended disbelief' sums up my mental state pretty well, and it's exhausting and easy to lose oneself in it and slip back into old patterns. I guess I'm worried about 'going native' before I've had chance to really get my strength back.

I don't think H means to be self-congratulatory, I think he's just being enthusiastic about embracing change, but yes, it's bloody annoying how it comes across.

MerlotforOne Sun 10-Feb-13 11:01:07

Thanks Xales. I don't really believe yet that it's ok to change my mind about staying. I'm terrified of making the wrong decision, whether that's staying or going. There's a lot of social pressure to stay.

I realise that I probably need more time and that making big decisions whilst suffering flu probably isn't wise. My DM says that everyone she knows who's divorced has expressed a wish that they'd stayed and worked harder at their marriage (although her social life is so couple-orientated I can see why you wouldn't want to be single in her world).

I'm just not sure how well I can heal while H is still here, but I don't think its fair on him for me to leave again unless I mean to stay away. Not to mention the practical difficulties involved.

swallowedAfly Sun 10-Feb-13 10:57:48

something just popped in my head.

i went to study a religion in a country of that religion as part of a year out of my anthropology degree. i studied it by a process called, 'participant observation' - i lived it. i called my mental/emotional/spiritual state a kind of 'suspended disbelief'.

the state you are living in reminded me of it. you are trying to suspend disbelief or judgement - to be there and in it and giving a chance whilst retaining some part of yourself that observes and can/will remove itself from the situation at some point. it's a strange state but you can learn loads in it! i was simultaneously a practicing member of a religion and community and a detached observer - it was odd and in the end quite disorientating and i kind of lost myself for a while.

sorry this may be totally irrelevant but that state i call 'suspended disbelief' and my memory of what it was like in there was really called to mind by your situation - might be worth a bit of reflection.

swallowedAfly Sun 10-Feb-13 10:53:10

i'm glad to hear you're going on actions not words merlot. absolutely right way to do it.

i'm not surprised you have found it clumsy and irritating. it's all so self-congratulatory and smug sounding you know? obviously i'm judging from outside but he really does sound so very pleased with himself for acting like a vaguely decent human being for a few weeks. woopy doo!

sorry to hear you've been ill. hopefully with him going back to work you'll get a bit more space x

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