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fed up of grumpy dh

(112 Posts)
thepixiefrog Mon 04-Mar-13 12:08:22

Just that really. When he's tired he is so grumpy, has no patience with the DC or me, and if we do have a disagreement he is rude and dismissive of me.

This morning ds1 was having a tantrum about his cereal (he asked for it then changed his mind once it was in front of him). Dh managed to keep his cool for about 5 minutes then lost his rag and started using his loud authoritarian voice, which is full of menace and anger. He sounds aggressive and bullying when he does this, I hate it. He eventually controlled himself and ds went into another room. Then dh and I had a minor disagreement about something that dh forgot to do. I was annoyed, but I didn't raise my voice, interrupt or say anything unreasonable. Dh did all of the above with much eye rolling and face pulling (he screws his face up into this horrible look of disgust and contempt and I feel like I could hit him, I NEVER would but I feel this flash of rage when he does it).

When he gets home tonight he will apologise and say it was because he was stressed from his encounter with D's, and blah blah blah.
He ALWAYS says sorry and looks sheepish and says he will work on his anger management, but it's been 10 fucking years and I don't believe him anymore!

Our 2 DC's speak to me the way he does when they are angry and it distresses me massively to see the negative effects our dysfunctional relationship has on them.

I want to be treated with respect ALL the time, even when when dh is tired or annoyed. I don't want to deny his feelings, we all feel angry at times, but the way he expresses it is unacceptable.

Sorry to rant, I just needed to get it all out.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 04-Mar-13 12:11:52

"He ALWAYS says sorry and looks sheepish and says he will work on his anger management"

Empty promises are no good to you and they are damaging your children. The problem here is that there is no downside to his behaviour. He blows up, he says sorry, you're OK with it, his life carries on with barely a ripple.... Where's his incentive to do anything differently?

When he gets home tonight tell him you've had enough and you want him to leave. Have a bag ready. Make the point. He needs to feel the clammy cold hand of loss around his grubby neck before he will even start to think about changing his behaviour. Tell him he can come back when he's actually done something concrete about tackling his anger...

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 04-Mar-13 12:47:51

Ranting will only help till the next time this all kicks off at home.

What do you get out of this relationship now?.

Your children are already copying what they are seeing from their Dad; they're also talking to you like this when they are angry. They are being profoundly affected not just to say emotionally harmed by what is happening in front of their eyes.

What you have tried to date clearly has not worked so its time for a different tack. Would actually consider now seeking legal advice with regards to separation.

Call Womens Aid; they can and will help you here.

He does not need AM; I was going to ask you what he is like around other people and or outside the home?. Probably he is charm personified so he can control his anger; he instead chooses to use you all as his emotional punchbags.

What do you know about this man's childhood; he is likely replicating what he himself saw at home as a child.

What do you want to teach your children about relationships and what are they learning from the two of you currently?. Surely you can see that this current model of a relationship is not fit for purpose.

You cannot change him but you can certainly change how you react to him.

Imagine too another 3.5, 10 years of same; he will destroy you all in the meantime and wreak his childrens childhoods to boot.

You have a choice re him - your children do not.

thepixiefrog Mon 04-Mar-13 13:33:50

Cogito - what you say makes perfect sense. I love him, and there is so much about him that is great apart from this one aspect of the relationship. I need to show him I mean business.

Attila - he can be grumpy and disrespectful during a disagreement, but he is not abusive. His crimes are interrupting and eye rolling (which are not acceptable) but I think Women's Aid are busy helping people who need to escape much worse than this.

I will ask him to stay with friends and get some therapy. If he takes me seriously (and I think he will) there is hope for us yet! If he dismisses my concerns I'll ask him to stay at friends and I'll talk to a solicitor about separation.

thepixiefrog Mon 04-Mar-13 13:42:49

Actually, I have just re-read my OP and I have to admit that you do have a point Attila. He is a bully when the DC are being difficult. He doesn't scream or swear, threaten or use violence, but he does uses that horrible angry voice to intimidate them.

His parents, especially his df are like this. If anything he is an improvement on them. He doesn't get angry with other people, just us, and I can understand that. Only my nearest and dearest have the ability to push my buttons that way, but I try my best to control it and show respect. He doesn't.

thepixiefrog Mon 04-Mar-13 14:11:37

Can someone hold my and for a minute? I've been thinking about how to go about telling dh to sort himself out or the relationship is over and I'm getting all stressed out! I feel really anxious and have a knot in my stomach, my heart is racing and now I need a poo! (Sorry tmi)

I'm really frightened of the confrontation, and I'm really frightened I'm making a mountain out of a molehill and that I'm being silly. I know I'm not but I'm scared anyway :-(

Jibberoo Mon 04-Mar-13 14:20:58

all i can say is you have my sympathy - my DH is just like yours (worse actually in the things he says) and there isnt a week when he doesnt go off at me for nothing. unfortunately leaving is not as easy as writing "leave him" on a social site. Our lives are intertwined, our DS would be devastated, we work together so that would effect the business and all for just shouty, sweary behaviour. My DH did seek help but all docs did was give him antidepresents - helped but you cant stay on those forever.
i just dont know how long i'll put up with this behaviour. Luckily for me my DS is not behaving like DH when angry and definitely understands that daddy is bang out of order hmm
good luck in what ever you end up doing though

thepixiefrog Mon 04-Mar-13 14:23:17

Thanks Jibberoo, I just needed to know someone was 'out there'. I hope you find a way to navigate your problems too.

lolaflores Mon 04-Mar-13 14:25:37

pixie if that is your instinct and if you would feel safer, then do it. An arguement is not a seperation, a seperation is not a divorce. as someone said, he needs to get this into perspective. he needs to understand how you feel, he is not listening so make him.
are you scared of telling him? Do you think it will make him go off on one?
Do it, just so you know you can and that you have put the foot firmly on the floor. It doesn't mean a divorce. it might also make the kids notice mummy has a voice and there are consquences

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 04-Mar-13 14:35:31

You're not making a mountain out of a molehill. You should not be walking on eggshells in your own home it should be where you are most relaxed.

It makes sense that you are frightened of confronting him because that's how all bullies keep control ... they take your nice, normal, kind personality and exploit it, knowing you would probably rather keep the peace than make a fuss. They know you don't like being shouted at and will try to avoid it. To them this makes you weak and contemptible. Of course he doesn't bully other people because he knows other people wouldn't stand for it. So he's capable of exercising some self-control and therefore he doesn't have an 'anger manangement problem' - he has a 'bullying the wife problem'.

Yes it's not as easy as 'LTB' but you really do have to find a way to switch the power back in your favour. IME bullies only change their tune when they are stood up to. If you need RL support in order to do that, please get it.

thepixiefrog Mon 04-Mar-13 14:46:51

I'm not frightened of him, just of change. I'm not great with confrontation, but neither am I scared to show I'm pissed off! It's just the possibility of change that freaks me out. Thanks for the replies.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 04-Mar-13 15:05:21

In case you do come back...

Your H does not actually have to scream or shout at you all; his words are enough to have you all cowering in submission. Living on eggshells is to my mind just code for living in fear. You become inurred to the abuse and also feel trapped.

My guess too is that you have shown your disapproval many many times before now but he doesn't get it and won't get it as long as he is still alive and kicking. You've already stated you don't believe him anymore; that should be more than enough reason to force a real change of your own circumstances.

There is always a way out; you do not have to keep growing flowers in the hole you find yourself in. Leaving is not at all easy I grant you but its better to be alone than to be badly accompanied.

What would you deem abusive if not this?. What would you describe his behaviour as?. His behaviour towards you is frankly appalling; he would not treat outsiders like this, no like all abusers they treat their wife/partner as their own personal punchbag. Your children are also getting caught up in this as well which is very sad.

Interesting to see as well that you latched onto Jibberoo's comments. You, like jibberoo, need to carefully consider your future with your respective H's; is this really what you want to teach your children about relationships?. You really want another year, 3, 5 of the same because this is what you'll get if you stay together.

You write that his Dad was the same; it is therefore not surprising that your H is like this now. He learnt this just as your children are learning these damaging patterns now. Your children are actively copying his behaviour and talk to you the way he does when they get angry or upset. That is not what they should be learning here at all.

Your children may well be devastated (you cannot know this for sure though, they may well be relieved) if you were to split but I can tell you now they won't thank you for staying if you were to choose to and for them to potentially feel that you put him before them as children. Is this really what you want to pass on to the next generation?.

amillionyears Mon 04-Mar-13 15:13:33

In my limited experience, and more men than women, can go into what I call a zone.
When tired, or especially tired and hungry, they need to eat and rest before they come out of the zone.
Something to do with blood sugar I think.

amillionyears Mon 04-Mar-13 15:16:12

And yes, avoidance, or spending limited time and discussion with them, is the best policy during the time that they are in the zone.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 04-Mar-13 15:20:12

Blood sugar?? hmm So the little wife should tippy-toe around this bear with a sore head until he's had a few carbohydrates and a nap? FFS....

Jibberoo Mon 04-Mar-13 15:27:34

i agree this cant be blamed on blood sugar but i cant get past the fact that seperation/divorce is just too easy nowadays (i heard that 50% of families in UK break down). I'm not saying stay if you're unhappy but working on problems together seems to be a better (if not harder) way forward.
i plan on trying to get us counselling - we tried a year ago and i think the counsellor was a bit crap, too much listening and too little calling us up on our behaviour.
my DH behaves like he does because everyone has always let him get away with it (parents, me etc). but after 36yrs its hard to retrain an old dog.
[thepixiefrog] have you considered counselling where both of you could air your grievences etc?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 04-Mar-13 15:35:55

It's a bad idea to take a selfish bully to counselling. A person like that will treat the counsellor with the same dismissive attitude..... "he will apologise and say it was because he was stressed from his encounter with D's, and blah blah blah. He ALWAYS says sorry and looks sheepish and says he will work on his anger management".... No intention of changing.

The OP could benefit from solo counselling however. Work out why she's so willing to stick around in the face of this treatment.

thepixiefrog Mon 04-Mar-13 15:39:17

Attila - just to repeat, I am not afraid of him in any way. I am not cowering away from his words. I am angry that he behaves this way and I intend to deal with it tonight. He will get an ultimatum and I will follow through with everything I threaten. Please don't assume I am a trembling frightened mess who is afraid to stand up for myself or my children. That is not the case. I'm just afraid of change.

Amillion - I really don't get what you're saying. That I need to make sure he's had his shreddies before I discuss anything contentious with him? If it is a blood sugar issue (which i sincerely doubt) he's an adult, who is able to say 'could we please discuss this later after I've had some food and perked up a bit?'

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 04-Mar-13 15:43:22

Hi jibberoo.

Agree with you re blood sugar.

This like OP's situation is really about two things - power and control.

I would tell you now that joint counselling is never ever recommended when there is emotional abuse present. No decent counsellor worth their salt would ever counsel the two of you together. If counselling is to be considered then you are better off going alone. He won't likely go to any counselling session anyway, also such men use sessions as sticks to further beat their victims with.

Also counsellors are like shoes, you need to find someone that fits.

A book I would recommend you read is "Why does he do that?" written by Lundy Bancroft.

Working on problems together is a very good idea but the key word in that sentence is together. Your H may well not think he is doing anything wrong re you in the first place.

I would also ask you what his parents are like; this was learnt from either one or both of them so is deeply ingrained.

Divorce is I grant you easier to obtain nowadays but it was far harder to obtain even 20 to 30 years ago. Women fought long and hard re rights in divorce.

Timetoask Mon 04-Mar-13 15:45:48

He is not a selfish bully, he has bad temper. Many people do. I get like that after too much coffee, not enough sleep (DS has n and wakes up really early). I am not condoning it, but going to bad temper to selfish bully is a long way.
He needs to work on it, find out what his triggers are, get help.

thepixiefrog Mon 04-Mar-13 15:46:12

Jibberoo - we had couples counselling 6 years ago which was great (for me anyway). I really changes the way I dealt with conflict, but dh struggled to implement the advice he was given. He had individual counselling for a while too. He was told in both that he needs to learn to recognise when he will descend into his unreasonable behaviour and take a step back before that happens. he claims to find that incredibly difficult and can't see it coming.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 04-Mar-13 15:50:15

"Attila- just to repeat, I am not afraid of him in any way. I am not cowering away from his words. I am angry that he behaves this way and I intend to deal with it tonight. He will get an ultimatum and I will follow through with everything I threaten. Please don't assume I am a trembling frightened mess who is afraid to stand up for myself or my children. That is not the case. I'm just afraid of change".

Good, I knew there was some fight and passion still left in you otherwise you would not have posted in the first place. You know his treatment of you and by turn your children is wrong.

Your H has had more than enough chances and he is neither willing and or able to accept any responsibility for his actions.

Change is a good thing, do not be afraid of change especially if a change of circumstance benefits your children and your good self. They should not be seeing such a bad example from their dad day to day, they've learnt to shout the way he does when they get angry. Awful.

As the saying goes feel the fear and do it anyway!.

You absolutely have to follow through on this and mean every word, if not an ultimatum will lose all its power. Also such things can only be issued once, you have to bear that in mind.

You cannot help him but you can certainly help your own self here.

Would suggest you also read the Lundy Bancroft book "Why does he do that?".

thepixiefrog Mon 04-Mar-13 15:51:52

I am at counselling, have been for a long time due to very abusive childhood. I have to agree with timetoask. He can be a knob when we argue, and he doesn't deal with tantrums from DC very well. BUT he is very respectful and considerate and caring 90% of the time. He is not an abusive bully - I am not abused. He exhibits some unreasonable behaviour that I am going to address today.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 04-Mar-13 15:53:32


Not surprised to see that joint counselling was indeed beneficial to you and not to him. It does not have success when there is underlying abuse present. He thinks at heart he is doing nothing wrong in the first place with regards to his own family unit. He is unwilling and unable to change, infact such men do not change readily if at all.

I would still say no to couples counselling this time around as it can be used as a stick to beat their victim with. You need to be able to talk also without censure in a safe and controlled environment, if counselling is to be considered I would strongly urge you to go on your own.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 04-Mar-13 16:02:57

No woman would actually like to consider their man to be abusive but what else would you describe his behavour as not just towards you but the children as well?. It upsets you understandably but he still does it within the home, you're his chosen ones to lash out at.

Like many such men he is probably all sweetness and light to those in the outside world but its different behind closed doors. Abusers can be very plausible to those in the outside world.

What did you learn about relationships when you were growing up?. That needs your consideration.

I was wondering what your own childhood was like and I am saddened to see that you were let down abjectly by the very people who were supposed to protect and cherish you. I would argue as well that they further conditioned you to more readily accept nasty treatment as an adult now from your H.

After all DH is an adult and should set a better example, its his bloody fault that he cannot deal with his children playing up sometimes. All kids play up on occasion!. And I bet they're good kids at heart; its he who is at fault here. By showing them his own tantrums he is teaching them the same and that's what they do now when they get upset. Presumably as well his parents treated him exactly the same when he was a child, you can see how such dysfunction filters down the generations.

Is he really that good 90% of the time or are you really just putting a gloss on it?. I have to tell you as well that the only acceptable level of abuse within a relationship is NONE. Yes, none.

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