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Feel like my marriage is broken

(22 Posts)
snowshapes Tue 22-Jan-13 12:03:31

Hi again,

Jessjessjess, thanks for clarifying. I think I understood you, I was reflecting more on the fact that I have wondered if I am projecting childhood experiences on to what is happening here, and that I don’t think I am. I guess I was more trying to rule that explanation out. Just to be sure I haven’t got this wrong.

But you are right, I am not projecting. It is happening. It is not all in my head. It is making me ill. It will damage (is damaging?) my DD. Not DS yet.

Cogito, your second paragraph sounds exhausting, which is in itself a revelation.

Thank you to everyone who has replied to this. I very much appreciate it.

jessjessjess Tue 22-Jan-13 08:03:15

Sorry you have misunderstood my comment OP.

I don't mean you are projecting your childhood.

I mean you are repeating it.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 22-Jan-13 07:42:54

"Why would you pick on a (insert DD's age) year old child?? "

Because he's a bully and all bullies are inadequate cowards. Being cowards they pick on those smaller, weaker or more vulnerable than themselves. Being inadequate they have to make others feel bad so that they can feel superior. The reason this increases post children is that, once you are the mother to a helpless baby, you instantly have a weak-point that can be exploited. Chipping, chipping, chipping away..... until you're too tired to fight back.

The only way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them, confront and challenge them at every opportunity. Ridicule their pomposity. Refuse to accept 'high standards' or unreasonable behaviour. Determinedly do your own thing. Ignore the foot-stamping or the silent-treatment. Preferably get them out of your life all together.

Stay quiet, try to fix them, modify your behaviour or keep the peace.... and they win every time. Certainly you should make some time for counselling.

snowshapes Mon 21-Jan-13 22:45:33

When I say I don't have time, I don't mean I can't be bothered, just that I have a demanding job, and I really don't have time to get where I would need to go. But I recognise I need to make time.

snowshapes Mon 21-Jan-13 22:42:14

All of these comments make sense. I have been thinking, is there any way that I've got it wrong here, that it can be fixed? But I am thinking back on what was said, and things which have been done, and I don't think I have it wrong. I am dismayed at some of the things which were said.

I am unhappy, I am stressed, and at the moment, I am oh, so tired, as I didn't sleep last night. My head is a fog, so please forgive me for not responding as I would like to.

But to pick up on one comment, Vintage, I am glad you said six years was about right for this to show - I feel like I have sleep-walked into this. I think it may have been subtle, but it is not so subtle now. Bullying is a word which has also come to my mind re DD, Cognito, and yes, mean. Why would you pick on a (insert DD's age) year old child?? The worst was that he said he had stopped trying to comment on DD's behaviour, because there was no point, whereas he so totally hasn't.

HotDAMN, I did see my GP in autumn and she gave me a number for self-referral for counselling. I have not called yet as I don't have time. Since then, I've had a few light bulb moments about my upbringing and a previous relationship I was in. Which opened my eyes, really.

vintagewarrior Mon 21-Jan-13 18:56:57

Abusive? Controlling? Call it what you like, but I can guarantee it will
grind the life out of you.

You may not be ready to hear this yet, but you deserve to be relaxed and happy in your life, something almost impossible to achieve in that relationship.

So many similarities to my exh, very subtley controlling, I'm so much
happier now, with a man that thinks sun shines out of me, and me him.

I would say six years is about average for when a man starts to show his true self too.

100% agree with others, get your friendshio circle sorted,
I wish you the very best.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 21-Jan-13 13:23:20

Placing you squarely at the root of any discord is a mean tactic, it means you are always on the defensive and treading on eggshells. No wonder you feel physically unwell. Ultimately you probably won't sleep well either.

If it were just you with him, that would be difficult enough. As your DD and DS get older, they will feel the lash of his tongue too. As he is not her birth father, he will have no qualms about criticising her or dumping on her. Him being away Monday to Friday just means you have one eye on the clock, waiting for that storm to break at weekends. Let me guess, you can do 99 things right, and if the 100th isn't up to his exacting standards, he'll use it as an excuse to find fault and grump.

Follow other posters' advice and, can't over emphasise this, build up your own circle of friends again.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 21-Jan-13 12:38:59

We had a talk this morning and it kept coming round to things I had done wrong and how he behaves in a certain manner because of how I have behaved.

"It's your fault, you made me do it!" eh? Classic go-to response for abusive people. It shows he is incapable/unwilling to take responsibility for his own behaviour.

You are not responsible for his behaviour, I hope you realise that.

You sound desperately unhappy. Can you look into counselling for yourself, to speak with an impartial third person about your own wants and needs in life, and how you can go about meeting them? Maybe unpick how the toxic messages your mother gave you about your value in the world led to the choices you have made as an adult - and how to go about changing those negative beliefs?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 21-Jan-13 11:34:49

"We had a talk this morning and it kept coming round to things I had done wrong and how he behaves in a certain manner because of how I have behaved. "

You've got yourself a "Blamer". They are not nice people to live with -often emotionally abusive, very insecure and inadequate. A blamer will never take responsibility for their own actions. It's always someone else's fault for making them that way. Because they never take responsibility, they never change. They'd rather crush you into the ground convincing you you're chronically in the wrong than admit they should straighten themselves out.

Abusive men often have 'high standards' or rather 'totally unrealistic standards' which they can hold up as a reason why others are sub-standard and need to try harder to please them. This is how they maintain control because the whole thing is engineered so that they are never happy. It's also known as bullying.

Controlling bullies don't really like the idea of you having a life of your own which probably explains why you've lost touch with your friends. They need to monopolise your time.

The reason you feel sick is probably stress. Unhappiness, anger and the feeling that you are walking on eggshells are all stressful. I think also you've just realised how much you've been modifying your behaviour now that you're having to school your DD in how to keep him happy ..... you realise how restricted your life has become. That's often when it hits home, when you see the effect on someone else.

dequoisagitil Mon 21-Jan-13 11:30:24

So it's all your fault as far as he's concerned? He does sound emotionally abusive, whether he has any issues or not - the outcome is the same for you, you're being treated badly. And so is your dd. It's not something that you should tolerate.

I'm so sorry you're feeling so low. There are ways out of this situation.

snowshapes Mon 21-Jan-13 11:17:01

Thank you. Forgive the short reply, but I am at work and I am sitting here with tears rolling down my face, I just want to say thank you for your replies, and that I have read them.

We had a talk this morning and it kept coming round to things I had done wrong and how he behaves in a certain manner because of how I have behaved. There was nitpicking, I don't want to make myself identifiable by going into details, and it seems to be me not interpreting or doing things as he thinks I should. But if I put it that bluntly to him, then he says no, it's not like that.

Diagnosed medical conditions, I don't know. I've wondered this. He is very inflexible, doesn't like plans being changed (unless he changes them, of course). He is not happy either, I don't think, but the only way I can make him happy is lead my life at a micro level, around him, but he wouldn't see it like that.

Jessjessjess, I hear what you are saying about your parents. I don't know if I am hyper-aware of it because of my own upbringing, maybe I am projecting, but I don't think I am.

Phineyj Mon 21-Jan-13 11:05:06

I wonder if your DH is depressed? Not that that excuses this behaviour.

amillionyears Mon 21-Jan-13 10:19:16

Does your DH have any diagnosed medical conditions?

jessjessjess Mon 21-Jan-13 10:12:46

Also, please understand this really isn't your fault - you deserve better!

It's an unfortunate fact that children of toxic parents often end up in abusive relationships. Not out of choice (my therapist's way of describing it is to say that the same situations can recur "as if by magic").

Not least because bullies pray on the vulnerable.

You don't have to live like this OP.

jessjessjess Mon 21-Jan-13 10:08:51

"I have begun to worry that he is unreasonable to my DD and have caught myself mediating and monitoring her behaviour, because it doesn?t always meet his standards."

This is not okay. I'm sorry but PPs are right - he is abusive. He has all the power in your relationship and that's not okay.

My mum used to do what you describe - the rules in our house were geared towards not pissing my dad off, and she would sometimes hide bad behaviour from him. I was once caught shoplifting as a teen and she made sure he never found out because we both feared his reaction. I am in therapy now. I wish they had divorced.

This situation is not your fault. But unfortunately you have to be the one to change it.

He is using petty trivia to overpower you and make you feel bad by criticising and nitpicking, and grinding you down in the process so you feel it's okay for him to have his way.

I would strongly suggest the following:
- Call Women's Aid. They give very good legal advice.
- Speak to your GP about counselling or therapy for you as it sounds like you have had a lot to cope with. Or try BACP or UKCP for a therapist. Mine is private and has a sliding scale of charges (I can only afford the cheapest and didn't have to supply proof of this).
- Read Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft and Toxic Parents by Susan Forward.

dequoisagitil Mon 21-Jan-13 09:51:47

I don't think an occasional nice chat on the phone is sufficient, do you? He's not a good man, he's not a good husband, and he's not a good stepfather. Dd deserves better, you deserve better.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Sun 20-Jan-13 23:31:29

He is abusive.

snowshapes Sun 20-Jan-13 23:27:47

Thank you, btw. Am on phone now. What's good? I will think about that. I have stopped enjoying time together. It all feels a struggle. The bond is DS, which feels like it excludes DD. We are okay talking on the phone, we can have good conversation then. Though he usually has a list of things he wants to tell me, but he listens too.

snowshapes Sun 20-Jan-13 23:21:03

It is the fact that it has started with DD. Everything else I explained as circumstances or whatever.

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Sun 20-Jan-13 23:06:09

He's abusive. Get rid. Sorry, but that's what's going on here - unfortunately, because you have a history of being abused by your mother, this abusive man will have latched on to you in the full awareness that you are accustomed to being abused and submitting to abuse.

You don't have to live like this. You can get rid of him and be happy.

The 'person he wants you to be' is a domestic appliance with a fuckhole in it, not a person at all. He's defective, and he doesn't 'love' you. so you would be happier and healthier if you got rid of him. See a solicitor, have a chat with Women's Aid, find out your best options and make plans. Good luck.

dequoisagitil Sun 20-Jan-13 23:01:30

It doesn't sound ridiculous. You're doing everything and none of it's good enough for him, he's critical and negative both towards you and the dc.

What does he bring into your life that's good?

snowshapes Sun 20-Jan-13 22:47:03

I'm really struggling with my marriage and I don't know what to do. I'm trying to figure out what is going on. I feel anxious around DH. Before Christmas I was feeling like I literally couldn?t breathe. He is not violent or abusive.

We don't live together, he is away Monday to Friday, I don't want to give too many details and out myself to anyone who may know me/us. I don't have a good relationship with my parents, and my mother has more of less cut me off since we got married. She is toxic, basically, and I worry that I have internalised her negative thoughts. On the other hand, I feel like I have lost myself over the last few years, and definitely since I had DS (now 2). We both (DH and I) have children from previous relationships/marriages, both relationships were well over when we met, not through our choice, and the children get on really well. But I have no family support.

It is very hard to work out which way is up. Over the years (we have been together six years, married 3), I have done the lion's share of the work of childcare and domestic stuff as I am here, plus a full-time job. So, I am physically exhausted. DH has high standards, I don't just mean in terms of being houseproud, because I like a nice house too, but in terms of how things should be in the relationship in terms of emotional connectedness, and I think he can be quite needy, in so far as things tend to need to focus on him, he has his routines and ways of doing things which he tends to stick to, regardless of what else is going on and finally, I have begun to worry that he is unreasonable to my DD and have caught myself mediating and monitoring her behaviour, because it doesn?t always meet his standards. If I feel his stance towards her on discipline matters is unreasonable and say so, he accuses me of 'always' stabbing him in the back.

Because I have become aware of these things, I am finding it very hard to see the positives now and he has noticed me withdrawing, but then we get into circular conversations where he sees it as me blaming him when I try to explain. I hardly see my friends, because he doesn't know anyone here, so it is always a case of us going out as a family, or me needing to catch up on work/housework so he takes the children out, or we see friends altogether. He does help out with the housework, but sometimes in a bit of a passive-aggressive way, like commenting that the sofas really needed hoovered underneath, when I know I did it during the week, so clearly I am not up to scratch, or commenting on the fact that there is an unremovable stain on the hob, which needs the special cleaner to get off (but then leaving that to me). That sounds really petty, I know, but I think it means that I internalise standards I can't possible meet as I am working full-time and looking after the children.

So, I just want to put this down, really. He went off to bed an hour ago, as I have to work and have been withdrawn again today. I'm so tired of this, it is a horrible atmosphere, I have been feeling sick all day, and I can't concentrate on what I need to do. I don't know what to say/do to make it better. I don't feel like the person he wants me to be, although he would say that is nonsense. I feel utterly broken.

Thank you in advance for reading this, and to anyone who is able to comment. I don't have a lot of time/access, so please don't take it amiss if I can't come back immediately. I will do so.

If I am being ridiculous, please tell me.

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