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Partner has different personality when woken in morning... starting to really bother me.

(152 Posts)
StarsAreShining Fri 25-Jan-13 12:33:32

Ok, my partner and I have been together for just over a year, not living together, although he regularly stays over and me and my son both adore him. The problem is his attitude/behaviour when he wakes up. In normal, everyday life, he is the most kind, sweet, generous, gentle and loving man I've ever known. He has been my rock through a hellish year and is an excellent role model for my son. We were friends for years before deciding to take things further, and I've never been happier.

However, when he wakes up in the morning, he becomes a totally different person. A bit of background - he had insomnia for quite a long time and still has very unusual sleeping habits. He struggles to sleep. He has worked irregular shifts for many years, so has never developed a good routine. He's recently been offered a new job which offers slightly more usual hours, so he's trying to gradually train himself to wake up earlier. Anything before 10 is very early to him. It takes a very, very long time for him to wake up. He is unable to speak and doesn't have any memory of what's happened. On the few occasions I've made him get up, he has behaved very aggressively and it's taken at least ten minutes for him to respond and move. He sometimes falls over when he gets up and seems totally disorientated. I, on the other hand, love getting up early and getting things done, so I usually just leave him to get on with it.

There are three incidents in particular which are bothering me.
1 - I felt unwell and asked him to get up in the night as my son was crying. He was unresponsive and seemed totally uncaring, so i shook him to try and get a response. He then elbowed me twice in the stomach before storming out of the house. He only vaguely remembers this happening, but said that he thought I'd hit him when I touched him.
2 - Earlier this week, I was struggling to get my son ready for school. I suffer with depression and had an uncharacteristically bad morning after my son's (useless) father told me I'm a terrible parent. I was upset, so went upstairs and asked for help. He very angrily got up and went to the toilet. While he was in there, I lay on the bed because I was crying. He came back in and grabbed me by the wrist and ankle, telling me that I couldn't ask him to get up and then go back to bed. I was crying on and off for a little while. I discussed his with him yesterday and he didn't even realise that I was crying. It's like he's no longer human...
3 - This morning, his alarm went off at 8.30am, which is the time he's been trying to get out of bed. My son was happily sort of bouncing all over him, trying to get him up. He got angry and shoved him. It looked as though he meant to push him onto the bed because he was hurting him, but his hand caught him quite hard. I made him apologise and then took my son to school. When I came back, he was getting his stuff together to leave. I briefly discussed this with him and asked whether he remembered it. He said that he only had a vague memory of it, apologised and seemed very withdrawn and ashamed.

As he was leaving, I told him that he either sorts himself out or won't be staying overnight again as I wont have anybody treat us that way. He said that he understood and left.

I know it sounds as though I'm making a big deal of nothing, but it is so out of character for him and I don't really know what to do about it. It's as though he's still in a state of semi-consciousness for a long time after waking. Any advice?

shrinkingnora Fri 01-Feb-13 18:33:35

Sioda, I can't state whether this is abuse or not but I can state that DH has told me he thinks he is being hurt when he is gently shaken awake. He describes it as being like a waking dream (we've had all sorts of interesting discussions since this thread was started). He says it is extrememly vivid and at the time he is convinced that he is awake and that it is only when he wakes up that extra 'layer' that he has any idea that he wasn't and sometimes even these lines are blurry.

And Modre said she has punched her DH in the head before mentioning that the cat was the last straw!

I do understand what you are saying about looking for differences, but I can't see where the OP says it never happens when anyone else wakes him and DH has lashed out at me because he thought I hit him. He would NOT do this when awake and just because he does it in this state does not mean that he would. I reckon I could punch him square in the nose during the day and he wouldn't hit me back. Although he might be a bit hmm

I really think I could write a series of statements like the OP's and it would sound like I was being emotionally and physically abused.

Obviously there are things here that look abusive from one angle and like a sleep disorder from another. OP has not stated whether he is getting help or not and has also said that he is coping with the early mornings 'far better than [she] expected' not that he gets up with no problem for work. BUT I am not in the business of trying to persuade people that abuse is fine if we pretend it's a sleep disorder - I just wanted to share my experiences of living with a partners sleep disorder for 13 years in the hope that he isn't abusing her. I really hope I haven't come across as one of these people who try to make everything lovely by ignoring the warnings and just hoping it's all ok really (like my mum has about her sister's marriage).

I hope that both sets of responses on this thread are helping people and that OP chooses the correct response for her situation. Only she knows which is the right way to go. Good luck OP, I sincerely hope you get the help you need in whatever form is right for you.

expatinscotland Fri 01-Feb-13 10:01:57

Funny that, he gets up no problem for work.

Sioda Fri 01-Feb-13 08:46:50

Modre, you hurt the cat and you went to your GP. OP's partner hurt her and her child and he hasn't gone anywhere for help. You don't remember what you do - because you're asleep. The OP's partner does - however allegedly vaguely. He even remembers his thought process at the time - he knows that he hit the OP because he thought she hit him (anyone see a problem with that thought process?!). And his problem appears only when woken by specific people. I would be willing to bet that is not the same in your case. His also conveniently enough gets him out of waking up to help with a small child.

It's kind for people who have a sleep disorder to empathise but please look for the differences here rather than just the similarities. They're very revealing.

Whocansay Fri 01-Feb-13 08:31:34

The point is ModreB, the OP's boyfriend seems to be fine getting up for work. He can control it when he wants to. Its only when he's asked for help by the OP or woken by her son that he decides that lashing out is a good idea and then pretends to remember nothing. Apart from what he finds convenient to remember. That's why people think its abuse and not a sleep disorder.

But yes, he still shouldn't be staying over.

ModreB Fri 01-Feb-13 07:45:42

I'm sorry, but all of you shouting about abuse - can you tell me if you have lived with someone with a recognised sleep disorder?

I shout, scream, thrash, have punched DH in the head, kicked him out of bed, I sleeptalk, sleepwalk, and take at least an hour to wake and be functional in the mornings. I cook, clean, do laundry and have been known to cut the grass in the garden at 3am, all while asleep. I patrol the house, going into every room and telling the DC's I am looking for burglars. I have been known to interrogate DH about affairs, whether he is a murderer. He, obviously is neither an adulteror or a murderer.

The cat jumped on my bed one morning while I was waking up, and I threw it across the room as I thought it was a goblin. This is what made me go to my GP, as when DH told me about it I was mortified and thought, what if it had been one of my DC's?

I have a sleep disorder in which my concious brain wakes up at a different rate to my physical brain and I am not aware of the behaviour

The problems that I have are induced by stress and a disrupted sleep pattern, so this sounds very similar to your situation OP - new relationship, new job, new sleep pattern, adjusting to life with a young family in unfamiliar surroundings.

Please, ask your DP to go to a GP and ask for a referral to a sleep clinic. They did wonders for me, both with medication and with coping mechanisms to minimise the problems starting in the first place.

And dont let him stay over until he has done this.

Pilgit Thu 31-Jan-13 22:35:21

He needs to see a sleep expert. I saw one for sleep apnoea, but they deal with all sorts of sleep disorders and can work wonders. His GP should be able to refer him. This is a serious issue that will have life limiting effects. This kind of thing does happen and this is the extreme end of 'sometimes I wake up grumpy and sometimes I let him sleep!' My sister is foul first thing in the morning - worse if she has to be woken. Nothing on this scale but we all learnt not to talk to her till after she'd been up for half an hour and the second cup of tea

NewYearNewMia Thu 31-Jan-13 22:20:20

God how incredibly fucking rude and patronising you are Hissy. hmm Feel better now do you?

expatinscotland Thu 31-Jan-13 15:35:41

I agree with you, too, Hissy. I thought perhaps sleep disorder, at the beginning of the threat, but it's obvious now that he is violent and abusive when he doesn't want to be woken, since he's okay getting up for work.

sparklyjumper Thu 31-Jan-13 15:04:30

Have to agree with you hissy although I don't think it's helped that so many people have come on saying he's got a sleep disorder.

expatinscotland Thu 31-Jan-13 14:58:19

You are in an abusive relationship and, by default, so is your son.

Hissy Thu 31-Jan-13 14:54:03

Here we have a totally deluded woman, seemingly with low esteem, unable to see that her boyfriend, a bloke she has known only for a year, is violent on occasions, but when her attention is drawn to it, is forced to admit that he hasn't apologised to her or to her son, and what is more, he's not expected to.

Too flaming right is this a matter of concern from a child protection perspective. But your son is too young to ask for help. He just relies on your judgement.

When you allow your son to be shoved by some penis with overflow of entitlement, anger, resentment and out and out violence, when you KNOW that he hit you TWICE knowingly and on purpose, and you say it's all good, cos he's your PAAAARRRRTTNER, the one that should be ashamed of herself is YOU. If that is not insecure then the dictionary needs re-writing.

There is no man on earth, not even his own father that would come near my son if angry. I don't even HAVE angry people in my life. If my boyfriend of a year was even verbally aggressive to my son, the door wouldn't even hit him on the arse as he flew through it. There is no need for me to think about this, he would be history. I'm not unique in this, it's what good parents do.

Attacking me for wanting to see you step up and be there for your son is just farcical. It's not me that you should be angry with, it's the bloke who hits you and your son.

I protect my son. I am proud of myself. I have every right to be.

Your son has been shoved, you have been elbowed and it's OK with you.

Well you are 25, you think you know it all.

You most certainly don't and I feel sorry for you and more importantly your son. At least when I was in my 20s, my woeful lack of judgement never affected a child.

I hope you have switched on family around you that can help you out, that you can talk this through with, because you are totally out of your depth.

sparklyjumper Thu 31-Jan-13 13:08:01

OP I also prefer referring to long term relationships as partners rather than boyfriends (not that I've had lots), there's nothing really in it other than boyfriend feels a bit odd when you're in your 20s or 30s, with child & he is quite involved.

I think what you've written sounds quite alarming, you've talked of him being violent however small, and even if was in some sort of half asleep state and going by all you've said I think some people aren't convinced it's sleep related, more just him being a grumpy sod when woken up.

sparklyjumper Thu 31-Jan-13 13:02:53

What's happening with things now starareshining is he still sleeping over? Has he been to his GP?

StarsAreShining Thu 31-Jan-13 12:57:53

Thanks to everybody who has given real advice. I'm gobsmacked that one poster thinks it appropriate to bandy around talk of reporting me to social services or to read into a few posts and declare me insecure. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

Whocansay Thu 31-Jan-13 08:33:17

So he only actually has a problem with you or your son waking him up? Going to work is fine? That means he can make a choice and he knows what he's doing. Be very careful OP.

sparklyjumper Thu 31-Jan-13 07:18:23

I've been lurking on this thread. Not liking what I'm reading at all. Sounds like the very early stages of an abusive relationship to me. And of course you'll talk yourself out of it but I wouldn't be at all surprised if you don't see some more of this behaviour in the future.

allgoodindahood Thu 31-Jan-13 00:40:29

The fact that he has been coping well with the new early mornings implies that It's less of a sleep disorder and more a problem with you waking him up to do things he doesn't really want to do. Just saying.

tallwivglasses Wed 30-Jan-13 23:45:19

"He is often reluctant to speak candidly about things which I think are important, but I think it's partly because I do it so often and can be quite pushy about it. I'm used to dealing with things and can't stand for things to be brushed under the carpet, whereas he has never been in this situation before and is naturally very quiet anyway."

Sleep problems or not, this hardly strikes me as a match made in heaven. I think a few months down the road this incompatibilty is going to drive you nuts sad

Hissy Wed 30-Jan-13 22:23:22

Use of the word Partner, at your age, in these circumstances, when you are a newish couple, a very young one too just shrieks insecurity.

You allowing someone to hit you, shove your son underlines that.

If I knew you in RL, I'd consider contacting SS. I really would.

Hissy Wed 30-Jan-13 22:20:58

"No, he didn't profusely apologise or get down on his knees and beg for my forgiveness."

Why not? You know he hit you on purpose.

He hit your son too.

Is your BOYFRIEND sleeping back at your house again already then? [Hmm]

He's not your partner. Stop attributing titles that have not been earned, and don't actually apply.

You are 25, OK, so you accept you have a lot to learn, but you really have to understand that you have no clue of what risks you are taking and the harm you are doing your DS.


It's not your job to fix him, and it's not fair to place yourself and your son at risk until he does decide to say sorry, and look into tackling whatever issues he has.

StarsAreShining Wed 30-Jan-13 11:13:47

Hello, I don't know whether any of you are still around... I had no idea I'd had this many replies! I don't check back regularly and often don't stay on top of email. I'm very sorry sorry if anybody was offended by this.... slanging match? I'd just like to state that no, this was not my last resort. I have spoken to my partner about this, but often find it useful to hear what others think. I don't have a wide circle of friends in real life, so mumsnet it is smile Just to clarify, my previous partners haven't really been physically abusive, but things weren't right. My partner (yes, I would rather refer to him as a partner than a boyfriend, thank you!) has not regularly shared a bed with anybody else before, so, no, he was not aware of this until I told him. I'm not older, I've just turned 25 and he is the same age. When he thought I'd hit him in the night, he didn't really remember exactly what had happened, but he knew that he'd been jolted awake by a pain. I don't think he can tell the difference between a gentle or hard touch. I didn't come here because I suspected he was abusive, it was more that I wondered whether anybody else had been in a similar situation and was looking for practical suggestions. No, he didn't profusely apologise or get down on his knees and beg for my forgiveness. He is often reluctant to speak candidly about things which I think are important, but I think it's partly because I do it so often and can be quite pushy about it. I'm used to dealing with things and can't stand for things to be brushed under the carpet, whereas he has never been in this situation before and is naturally very quiet anyway. Finally, thank you so much to everyone who took the time to find information and give detailed responses - it is very much appreciated. He has now started work and has been coping far better than I expected with the early mornings. smile

hestonbloomingdale Sun 27-Jan-13 22:48:12

@rooneymara absolutely no need to apologise. Thank you for thinking it might offend.

@pictish thanks for the clarification. I am sure you are right that by the time people post here they have been through enough already.

pictish Sun 27-Jan-13 18:18:03

Hey hi!
Just to clarify by 'last resort' I really only meant that people only bother posting their problems when they have had a bit of a gutful already. People don't generally post at the first sign of trouble...that's all I was saying. Last resort was too strong a term to use.

RooneyMara Sun 27-Jan-13 18:05:08

Heston, I'm sorry, it was me who reported the post as it was just horrible and appalling. I didn't want it to stand unchecked - but I should have asked you.

I agree it said far more about the person who posted it than it did about you.

thewhistler Sat 26-Jan-13 23:51:51

Basically DN thought he was being attacked or abused when woken, and was in a daze for the first hour +.

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