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Ongoing row...two letters...your opinions please. (long)

(42 Posts)
lovemenot Tue 22-Jan-13 23:24:40

My original thread

Ongoing row with yet again no resolution. I finally wrote him a letter:

Dear xxxxxx,

I'm lost. And I can't go on this way. And more importantly, I won't go on this way.

I have argued with myself non stop about dragging out this silence but I keep coming back to the fact that if I don't fix it, it won't get fixed.

I can only assume that you think this is my issue. And therein lies the problem.

This particular situation was caused by your reaction to what you perceived to be criticism from me. You bullied dd13 over the tv, you reacted with aggression when I called you on it, you told us to shove it up our arses and stormed out of the house. You ignored me when you came back and again the following morning. And I'm supposed to do what? Apologise to you for not allowing you away with bullying? (Her tv programme ended before you put your coat on, yours started as you locked the front door).

Why can you not say "yeah, sorry, I over reacted"? That would have ended the whole thing there and then. But it seems to me that you do not actually believe you should have to apologise at all. Do I not deserve that level of respect? Does dd not deserve that level of respect?

How can you let this silence go on this long and do nothing about it? Does our marriage mean so little to you that you won't do anything to sort it out? Or do you really believe that I will just get over it and then you'll forgive me? Do you really think my standards for myself are that low that I would allow myself a month long hissy fit without being aware of the long term consequences? This is Day 41. If I had caused this, I would have apologised 40 days ago.

It's becoming very simple. I will not fix this. Because I always do. And then I get blamed. Or get called a miserable bitch. Or worse. And you don't apologise. Or if you do, you apologise for your words but not for the hurt you might have caused. And you think I'm too stupid to know that.

I have asked you twice to make time to talk about this. You have ignored both requests.

Our marriage is broken. I will not continue in a relationship where I am not respected, where communication only works on a practical level, where I am afraid to talk to you and have to suss out your mood before attempting to discuss anything, where I get no hugs, no emotional support, no intimacy.

I will continue with my counselling and I think you need to do the same. You cannot handle conflict, you get defensive instantly, you get aggressive and you are not able to say sorry. I don't want an aggressive SOB, especially not when that aggression can be directed towards me. (He once told me he was an aggressive son of a bitch but he was my aggressive SOB!)

It took 8 hours but he eventually replied with this:

How strange is this, apart from a different preamble and opinion of how this started, I could have written that letter from me to you. One difference is that in the twelve years or so that we have known each other, you have never, ever said the word sorry, it's always my fault.

Regarding the kick off event, I very strongly object to being treated like an unwelcome intruder in my own home and being spoken to like a piece of shit that walked in on someone's shoe, it wasn't just the comment, it was the atmosphere when I walked into the house. This is not the first time I reacted that way to the same treatment, which does of course depend on your humour at any given time. In the past I did decide to offer the olive branch for the sake of all. I am a reactive person, I never walk in looking for trouble and I most certainly am not a bully. I don't think I am very demanding and I don't generally interfere in how you guys operate the house, even though there are some things I don't like or agree with.

This time I decided not to apologise for my reaction and use of intemperate language. You decided to use teenage girls schoolyard bullying in an attempt to make me conform to your way of thinking. Of course, I don't bully easily so when that didn't work you then demand that I sit down and talk to you. I'm sorry for not asking "how high" when you decided I should jump, after six weeks of been sent to Coventry, especially when I have not been refusing to talk to you, that was your game.

On the wider issue of relationship and intimacy, it was me that suggested counselling and I assumed it would mean for both of us. I don't know the answers so commenting or discussing would probably not be productive, without at least some conversation with a counsellor as to how that should be handled.

I am a man, I'm not a SOB, I try to be gentle but that does not mean soft and I am just as amendable to a hug as anyone else.

BadLad Fri 25-Jan-13 11:07:53

I've told him (by text, he is in work) that I am willing to go to joint counselling but not to my counsellor as my counsellor would be biased toward me. He has thrown back the organisation of the counselling to me 3 times. I'm not biting. Let him make an effort.

Why? If you think it would benefit both of you, then why not just organise it?

No idea if counselling would help or not - perhaps it wouldn't - but it seems odd to me not to organise counselling just because it's his turn to do it, or something, if the marriage is at as low a point as it seems.

I wouldn't worry about his reply and the lack of cooperation since then - it's no surprise that the two letters didn't solve anything. Both of them are blaming the other person, and contain some words almost guaranteed to get the other person's back up (for example hissyfit in yours, treated like shit in his). I've no idea whether your marriage can survive or not, or who's at fault, but I wouldn't be too disappointed that you haven't got anywhere after exchanging those letters. They read like the thoughts of someone at the end of their tether, rather than any hope of reconciliation.

Sorry you're in this position - months of silence must be awful.

Dozer Thu 24-Jan-13 23:14:00

You sound v fed up and tired, is there any way, if you ask, he'd move out (temporarily to start off with!)?

Hatpin Wed 23-Jan-13 23:15:03

Sounds like its just one massive power struggle all the time, with the sulking, silences, letters...having to prove yourself right etc.

It must be exhausting. I'd LTB quite honestly.

MagicHouse Wed 23-Jan-13 23:12:40

Don't engage in all the detailed criticism and letters. When I was splitting up from my ex we used to send lengthy bitter emails to each other.I would put my point of view, and of course he would respond by trying to destroy all my points, and try to make himself come out looking better.
Now a couple of years later I've read a few again and feel sorry for myself back then, expending all that pointless energy. What a waste of time! You know that you are unhappy, and that some of his behaviour is unacceptable and hurtful. I think by staying there, you are sending signals to your DD that actually women DO put up with being treated like that.
My advice would be a last ditch attempt at counselling, and then leave. It might be the best thing you ever did.

lovemenot Wed 23-Jan-13 22:38:18

Dozer....I didn't send him to coventry, I simply refused to engage with him on his terms this time. I truly hoped he would be the one to re-engage with me, but he didn't. Yes, it went on ridiculously long. But I could see the rest of my life being one where I was the only one who would fix it. Which would give him permission to behave as he pleased, coz good little wifey would get her knickers in a twist - and then fix it. I'm sorry if that doesn't make sense to you, but I don't want my dd to grow up thinking that's how husbands treat wives.

ll31... my dd was grounded for the first time in her life for something quite serious. He agreed with my reasons the night before. Until it didn't suit him. The rules of her grounding were home without going out for 24 hours, and no phone or laptop for the rest of the week. Please remember that he has absolved himself of all discipline issues regarding her....what sort of father does that? But if that is what he wants, then he should respect decisions that he decided I should make. Had he talked to me before waking her that morning, I would have let her go as I would have had an opportunity to explain to her the reasons for lifting her grounding. This might sound harsh....but she is 13 years old and at the stage for going out on her own with friends and it's important that rules are rules. She was not angry at being grounded, as we had had a long chat about why her behaviour was out of line.

I'm doing nothing but thinking about whether I want to stay married to him. As lots of others here know, it's incredibley hard to let go of something you committed to with all of your being. I've spent a long time making excuses for some of his behaviour, have thought I have been over reacting, or he is tired, or I am tired, or it won't happen again. I have the Lundy book and yes, I see him in there, but then I think I'm being hard on him, or it's just a rough patch, or it's not that bad. When really it's like death from a thousand cuts. And no matter how hard I try, I just can't fix it. He is 59 years old, I am 49. Is he too old to change and am I too young to spend the rest of my life with someone who does not treat me with the love and kindness that I deserve?

ll31 Wed 23-Jan-13 20:07:40

I don't know , lets be honest , none of us do, whose version is correct. . Tbh, I find not letting dd go out somewhere with him questionable. Equally some of what u describe him doing is too.

If I was u, I'd decide if u actually wanted to stay married or not before u go for counselling, its only fair.

kittybiscuits Wed 23-Jan-13 19:46:54

custardo is spot on OP, and you are quite right to leave it to him to arrange the counselling, though I doubt it will be productive, even in the unlikely event that he arranges it, as he is likely to manipulate the counsellor to make himself appear terribly reasonable and make you seem like a crazy person, which you are not x

pictish Wed 23-Jan-13 19:37:13

OP - you MUST read the Bancroft book, because I can assure you your husband is in there, in all his glory.

Do not go to joint counselling.

That is all. x

carlywurly Wed 23-Jan-13 19:31:04

Oh my god, life is way too short to live like this. That letter made me shudder.
I would honestly run for the hills if dp ever pulled the sulks on me for even one week, never mind 5 or whatever you're up to. Get rid.

bigbuttons Wed 23-Jan-13 18:06:20

Op he is an abusive cunt.

No joint counselling will help. He turns everything back on you. Your op sent chills down me, I have been there. I have had such a reply given to me many times, when I finally challenged exdp always my fault, always.
I feel so sad for you. i would say leave , but it's not easy. please protect your children though, whatever you do.

Dozer Wed 23-Jan-13 17:58:45

Just organise the counselling, petty to bicker over that, your counsellor can probably recommend someone, or a bit of research on the bacp site.

Dozer Wed 23-Jan-13 17:56:01

Sounds v stressful. What does your dd make of it? Can't be nice for her.

Do you still want to be with him? ( doesn't sound like it).

I think it was unreasonable of you to "send him to coventry. If things are that bad seeing a counsellor and lawyer would be sensible!

lovemenot Wed 23-Jan-13 17:07:41

Oh no, it wasn't taken as a criticism, honestly. Me repeating your question was me sorta thinking out load. Shoulda included a smiley smile , sorry.

I've told him (by text, he is in work) that I am willing to go to joint counselling but not to my counsellor as my counsellor would be biased toward me. He has thrown back the organisation of the counselling to me 3 times. I'm not biting. Let him make an effort.

Busybusybust Wed 23-Jan-13 16:34:23

My question honestly wasn't a criticism - I was just curious. And, no, I don't think you should apologise when you are so clearly not in the wrong.

You don't seem to have any life together - I don't really see why you are still together - it all sounds a most unpleasant way to live. If you were to separate, I can't see that it would make any difference to you and DD - apart from life being so much more peaceful.

lovemenot Wed 23-Jan-13 14:12:22

Do I say sorry? I say sorry as a matter of course as I go along. "oh sorry, I forgot to get milk on the way home", or "sorry, I should have described that better". If I snap at dd I will say sorry and explain why I was snappy. One particularly grumpy morning, I texted him within minutes of him leaving "sorry I was such a grumpy arse this morning". After the "f***ing bitch" incident, he reckoned I was wrong to not let dd go out with him and felt I should apologise. I didn't. He had repeatedly told me her discipline was my responsibility (not his, not shared!!) and I had grounded her for reasons she understood, and he had undermined my decision.

But yes, our communication skills are crap. He doesn't hear me, so I got tired of trying to be heard. He doesn't ask my opinion, he prefers to have an audience. He gets defensive, so I clam up, or get defensive too, or have to guage his mood before broaching something.

With regard to dd, he will say she needs to be told this or that rather than discuss something he disagrees with with me.

I have always treated him with respect, as I do to everyone. I won't make arrangements to go out without checking with him. I don't call him names, I do try to discuss rather than inform.

He works hard but also makes little effort to do family stuff. I have always invited him but he declines. So dd and I have always done stuff together - he has never been on a plane with her, he has been to 3 movies with us (she and I have been to hundreds), he has never been to the zoo with us, I have taken her on countless trips both locally and around the country, he has never joined us. Nor has he ever suggested something for us to do together.

Busybusybust Wed 23-Jan-13 12:06:52

As a matter of interest, OP, do you ever say 'sorry'?

Flisspaps Wed 23-Jan-13 11:41:31

My next letter to him would be from
a solicitor. I simply wouldn't live like this, nor would I expect my children to sad

porridgeLover Wed 23-Jan-13 11:36:24

I'm trying to figure out why I feel uncomfortable about all the blaming 'him' on this thread.
I dont disagree that his behaviour is unacceptable, calling you a f*****g b***h is not on, nor is slamming doors. And refusing to talk for 40+ days is ridiculous.

So of course, with dh being the way he is and me being the way I am, am I sabotaging my own relationship or is my instinct to self-protect a learned behaviour or a true instinct?
This bit.

I think what has to be figured out here is whether he is truly an abusive man who wont change.......or, is he at heart someone who has never learned effective communication or how to deal with uncomfortable emotions? Leaving him with patterns which are not helpful and are abusive to the recipient?

OP, I hear that you are frustrated by his behaviours over a long number of years. I understand that this is not acceptable and in your shoes I would not want my DD to witness me condoning anybody treating me like that.
Things cannot continue as they have been. End of.

Good for you that you are getting counselling for it helping you to work out what it is that you do want from your relationship?

And is it helping you to figure out whether you are both caught in a toxic relationship dance where you are both not communicating well?

Would he go for counselling alone to figure out why he behaves that way?

Of course, if you are willing to look at yourself and improve how you communicate, but he doesnt, then that is continuing abuse.

Disclaimer I have had letters of 'apology' from my abusive STBXH. I know that there is a huge difference between the self-serving note written to justify the unjustifiable vs a genuine attempt at remorse and change. Only you can judge which he is.

AbigailAdams Wed 23-Jan-13 10:50:23

Disagree overbythere. If this man is abusive, then there is no repair to the relationship. Whether he is abusive has to be established, first. That involves apportioning blame (not necessarily out loud as an abusive man always believes he is right and will not accept blame).

And don't go for counselling with an abusive man lovemenot. The abuse is likely to get worse, as will the mind-fucking.

Seriously, get the Lundy Bancroft book. You will probably find a few light-bulbs coming on!

PartTimeModel Wed 23-Jan-13 10:46:06

I understand your frustration lovemenot - I have been in a similar situation until recently:

We could not communicate. I would try & talk things though & got no response, or got an angry response.
Days later P would then reply with a 'diatribe'/lecture/rant with his thoughts. Again, no discussion or adult communication.
If he was totally off the mark (as he often was) and I said something like "well lets discuss point x more as we aren't' in agreement" I would then get a defensive rant about how his POV doesn't count, ppor me, what a fucking bitch I am etc etc.
It was all so fucked up by his defensiveness.
He also commented many time how his input/he doesn't count - we have 2 dd's so he is only man in the house. I strongly dispute this - but his total lack of ability to have a discussion about anything ment I had to make decisions myself often.
He then said that he would just agree with me on everything - so he would smile & nod and agree with me, and then go off and do whatever he wanted to do - usually the opposite. He called this parenting! So so so childish.
All the while he built up resentment towards me.
Until he would explode in a verbally violent angry OTT outburst.
Then there would be no talking for days while he felt ashamed and gave me time to 'cool down'.
then grovelling apology.
Then off we would go again.

I constantly tried to talk, to communicate, discuss, make joint decisions. His chip on his shoulder became so vast it drowned him & our relationship.

I'm not saying I'm perfect but I tried and tried and tried. He would NEVER agree to any form of counselling.

I mistakenly thought he had got better and his behaviour has changed over the years re verbal abuse and angry outbursts. Then I realised they hadn't - the behaviour as the same but he was better at managing it - so the out bursts were fewer, but essentially he was still the same.

I got very sick on boxing day - was in bed for 3 days and he was hostile and angry with me about it. I then realised I had no desire to ever be shouted at again, and I told him the relationship was over.

We've hardly spoken since. I'm expecting him at some point, to come over and give me the 'lecture' about what I've done etc etc.

Got to go to doctors. I'll be back soon.

I don't know how you've gone all these days like this - it's miserable for everyone.

overbythere Wed 23-Jan-13 10:38:38

The point is not who is right or who is wrong or finding out the 'truth.' It's about seeing if the harm can be repaired. Or if you both want it to be. Not sure from what you have said to be honest.

tallwivglasses Wed 23-Jan-13 10:22:08

Brilliant Custardo. OP, I think he's living in a parallel universe or something. How exasperating.

lovemenot Wed 23-Jan-13 09:13:29

LOL Hyper I was thinking the same!

lovemenot Wed 23-Jan-13 09:12:25

Thank you. Custardo your comments are pretty much spot on!

I will agree to joint counselling. And least then I will know if there is any hope for us.

Hyperballad Wed 23-Jan-13 09:11:40

Hee Hee Cust, can I ask you to write a reply to any letters I get in the future?!

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