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dh and i barely talking, probably my fault....

(62 Posts)
Fairylea Sun 28-Apr-13 13:09:15

I am feeling really sad and angry at the same time... I'm hoping posting about it might be cathartic or at the very least help give me some perspective.

Dh and I have for the past week or so barely talked, and had no physical contact at all which is totally out of character. Things have been difficult for a while, I'm going through a very tough time with my mum (which I had a thread on, I will try and link in a bit for background). It's come to a head because my mum's dog bit someone so obviously I cannot take the dc to her house anymore. I understand and know this. But mum thinks it's all a bit of a joke the dog biting the postman and doesn't understand why I won't bring the dc round, she is however welcome to visit ours. We live 5 minutes away.

Dh hates my mum. Understandable considering the background. And he gets frustrated that I seem to make allowances for her behavior based on the fact she's my mum. He gets annoyed I don't hate her as much as he does. If it was down to him she would not see the dc at all. I feel sad about the relationship with my mum and feel very caught between dh and my mum. When mum texts or comes to visit dh gets into a mood and becomes very negative about it.

This has all built up into me talking to him and saying I don't particularly like my mum but she is my mum and it's hard for me. Especially as an only child and no other family. He said he won't say anything but he just can't help himself.

I am also struggling with looking after two dc (one 11 months one 10 year old) all day every day no support as he works everyday most days 8-10 and we have no family or friends to help. Literally no one. So I'm doing it but it's bloody hard.

We seem to constantly get into this tiredness competition over whose life is more difficult and I feel I can't have a moan without him alluding to how awful work is for him at the moment. So I've literally just stopped talking to him really.

This week on his day off we went into town which is actually 40 min away in the car as we live rurally. Ds started moaning and whinging in the car as its a long journey and I got very fed up feeling sorry for ds and generally stressed. Dh then got fed up with me as I couldn't calm down even when we got to town. I felt really wound up. And I was annoyed as the only reason we went was for some book that he wanted. He can't drive so I had to go to. None of the shops had the book so he ended up in a mood and had to order it online later anyway !

We ended up having lunch somewhere and ds was enjoying some food and suddenly had a bit of a choke (which is one of my major anxiety things as dd nearly choked and died when she was little) . Dh went to offer him some more food and I don't think he realised ds was choking so I put my hand out to stop dh and dh got annoyed with me and said he knew what he was doing.... it's so frustrating, he thought I was attacking his parenting, ie that I'm the better parent.

It has now been a few days and neither of us are really talking at all. I have said sorry for snapping etc and just said I'm finding everything difficult. He said well there's nothing he can do as I obviously don't want anything to do with him... which is partly true as when I'm stressed I just want to be on my own. I'm usually in bed by the time he gets in as I just don't want to have conversations that time of night.

Ds is sleeping 12 hours a night so it's not a sleep issue.

I don't know where to go from here. None of this makes much sense.

PavingAnotherRoad Sun 02-Jun-13 14:50:36

Oh no that really was loooong - apologies. I guess what I was trying to say, albeit in a really long and convoluted way, is that you can be a wife and a mother, and your life might be stressful and complicated at the moment, or your life might be really easy at the moment, but in any of these circumstances it is natural to enjoy some time alone if you are an introvert. So please don't beat yourself up about it, or automatically take it as a sign that there must be something 'wrong' with your marriage.

PavingAnotherRoad Sun 02-Jun-13 14:33:53

"I just feel very unhappy in all aspects of my life. It's not a depression as such because when I do have time alone I don't feel depressed. For example, when ds has a nap I have been doing a lot of gardening this week and enjoying doing that. But when everyone is around me I just feel overwhelmed. I don't think that's very normal is it"?

OP this paragraph struck chord with me. You have a lot to deal with emotionally at the moment wrt to your relationship with your mother, on which I am not going to comment because I feel I would be a little out of my depth. But PLEASE do not feel 'abnormal' for enjoying a little snatch of 'alone time'.

Over the last few years (after changing jobs) I am dealing with constant interaction in my day-to-day life - when I get up, when I travelled to work, a public facing job, then at home in the evenings - and I find it very difficult to deal with the constant stimulation. It has affected my mental health leaving me feeling constantly anxious, paranoid and generally unhappy in my life. Until recently I would find myself sitting in the bathroom(!) with my head in my hands, despairing, thinking 'I just want an hour alone, with no-one looking at me or talking at me' and believing that I must be some kind of anti-social freak who isn't 'normal' because I cannot deal with being in company ALL THE TIME. I would also go to bed early and pretend to be asleep so that I did not have to 'deal with' interacting in the evenings (and then fret about the horrible person I was for doing so - adding to the stress!).

A few months ago I stumbled across the book 'Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking' and it has been a revelation. If you are an introvert (seems possible from your posts?) there is evidence that you physically NEED periods of low stimulation/alone time to 'recharge' and help maintain a strong healthy psyche. Over stimulation can encourage anxiety and confusion.

Reading about the possible neurological reasons for the feelings I was experiencing has led to a certain level of self-acceptance. I now recognise that it is ok to structure my life in a way that ensures I have a little bit of 'alone time' every once in a while, alongside the time I spend with my family, and recognise this time as essential to my (now much improved thankfully) mental health, rather than feeling guilty about 'neglecting' the people I love, and labelling myself as 'anti-social'

Anyway - apologies for the massive post that is not really 'on topic' as such, but your post made me think of the self-loathing/sense of failure I used to feel for 'needing' time alone and not being more 'social'. Please DO NOT FEEL GUILY OR ABNORMAL for enjoying short periods of time alone as a part of your life.

DistanceCall Sun 02-Jun-13 01:52:27

I understand that you worry about your mother. But what you are doing is killing your marriage and potentially harming your children. And of course, it is killing you and your life.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Sat 01-Jun-13 14:41:24

Do you feel disloyal to your mother for putting yourself & DH first?

I think you're doing well reducing contact.

There is a feature in today's Guardian about people bitten by dogs. Says a lot your mum and how she carries on in her own sweet way when she wouldn't countenance thinking about weighing up risks about keeping a dog that bit the postman when she has GDCs.

I suspect you are feeling raw and need time to adapt. I am not taking sides but I feel your DH might feel like by withdrawing you are punishing him.

Are you punishing him?

DistanceCall Sat 01-Jun-13 13:16:58

I just read your thread about your mother. Get some counselling for yourself. You are trying to disentagle yourself from your mother's suffocating web, and it's hard, more so if you do it on your own. Get some support.

DistanceCall Sat 01-Jun-13 13:15:11

I think you should sit down with your husband and talk. Perhaps you might want to show him this thread, or your original post. It seems like you are both very exhausted, very tense people who care about each other.

And it sounds like each of you doesn't know what the other one is thinking/feeling because he/you won't say it. For example, when he gets annoyed because you won't have a snack, have you said something like "I'm trying to lose some weight, because I don't like looking like this and I would feel happier and sexier if I was a bit thinner"?

And I agree that counselling might be a good idea. Having a place where you can talk in front of an objetive third party would be good.

topsyandturvy Sat 01-Jun-13 10:13:26

When you see your dh there is no need to "talk" if you are both not ready for that. Just a chat about casual stuff every day is going to start to improve things between you, whereas avoiding the poor man will make it worse.

You need to work hard to get comfortable with your new identity, really make some effort, the "not closely ensnared with mother" identity. I know it is really hard when you have a major life change like this, coming to terms with who the new you is (I have been there myself) but please try hard to look forwards and not back and when you are through the adjustment period you will feel truly relieved, like a new person

Hattieboomboom Fri 31-May-13 23:47:01

Fairylea, you're doing well with the steps you've taken to distance yourself from your Mother. I can understand that the minimal contact etc is a big deal for you.

It must be especially hard as it hasn't made you any happier, but it was never going to instantly.

You have to stick to your guns, that's really important.

And now, as has been said in a previous post, your focus has to be on yourself, your DH and DC.

Its no wonder you don't fancy sex btw; you're depressed and not even talking to your DH - when the situation there improves, the other will come. The same applies to your confidence with looking after your DS - you're a wonderful mother to him, I can tell from the way you've said several times how much you enjoy being at home with him.

What happened with the counselling?

Try and let your DH in - he can help you feel happier.

Snazzywaitingforsummer Fri 31-May-13 23:42:45

Well, to be honest, if everyone around you is stressing you out then you probably will feel overwhelmed when there are all there. And if in contrast, when you're on your own and it's peaceful and you get to do something nice and fulfilling that you have control over, then both those responses actually seem pretty rational to me.

It says that your depression comes from your dealings with the people in your life. In other words, it's not you in essence so much as you in your current situation. Which is good, because then if the situation changes then your feelings have the chance to change.

I would definitely consider using the new nursery for 1/2 afternoons a week, and spend that time doing things you like and to hell with anything else. To be honest, while many parents have fears about what will happen to their child in childcare, it's very rare anything does, and it sounds to me like this fear is actually fear of a future where you might in some way not be dependent on your mum, because you've internalised the idea that you can never do without her and terrible things will happen if you try. I would really push yourself to trust others with your kids because that will give you more freedom. Plus it would open up the opportunity for you and your DH to have more quality time together and I think that would help, as well as the time on your own.

Fairylea Fri 31-May-13 23:05:36

Thanks. You're right something does have to change. I've seen a different nursery locally and thought I might go and see it... I don't know if I'd go back to work, or even if putting ds in nursery for an afternoon or two a week would give me some time to be able to move forwards with everything. I'm worried something will happen to him at nursery and I'd blame myself... irrational I know.

I have just come up to bed now after waiting up for dh and making an effort to talk, just generally. I am trying. In my own way.

I just feel very unhappy in all aspects of my life. It's not a depression as such because when I do have time alone I don't feel depressed. For example, when ds has a nap I have been doing a lot of gardening this week and enjoying doing that. But when everyone is around me I just feel overwhelmed. I don't think that's very normal is it?

Snazzywaitingforsummer Fri 31-May-13 22:58:39

OK, have just read the thread you linked in your second post. You know, really, I think, that your mum has too much of a hold in your life. The question is, how are you going to change that?

Snazzywaitingforsummer Fri 31-May-13 22:55:19

Unfortunately you can't have everything you want in life. You have mentioned a lot of aspects of it that you don't want to change - you don't want to move to a different area, you don't want to lose your DH, you don't want to cut contact with your mum, you don't want to use childcare. But if nothing changes, there is no way out of this situation for you - except for the 'giving up everything' option you have mentioned where you just run away on your own. I can see, frankly, why that sounds appealing but for most people it just isn't a reality, plus it would lose you all the good things in your life as well as the bad ones.

I second the suggestion of counselling and I also think some time on your own, without having to please either your mum or your husband, would help. I'd really urge you to think about your childcare aversion and think about getting someone else to take the kids at least for a few hours here and there. Could a family support organisation like HomeStart (if you have them near you) help?

Fairylea Fri 31-May-13 22:44:00

I'm not wondering why he feels distant. I'm trying to understand why I do.

Fairylea Fri 31-May-13 22:43:19

I know I do. Which is why I'm talking about it here.

Or maybe I'm just not very good at relationships.

ecclesvet Fri 31-May-13 22:41:46

Well, to be frank, you refuse to talk to him, insist on bringing this emotionally abusive toxic woman around him and his children, you've unilaterally shut down your sex life, he's forced to work ridiculous hours in a job he hates - and you wonder why he feels distant. You really need to change your behaviour.

Fairylea Fri 31-May-13 21:43:39

Thanks. I've been trying to take on board your advice. Hence the length between replying.

I've been making a real effort to distance myself from my mother. In fact I haven't seen her since the last time I posted. She has asked to come round twice and both times I made excuses. She has phoned once but it was a very stilted conversation. Mainly about her. She made some comment via text about bringing ds to hers (as if assuming we will change our minds) and I didn't reply.

It's so hard.

I haven't texted unless she has texted me, which hasn't been much, and then only minimum replies.

I know that maybe doesn't sound like I'm doing much but it's such a huge change for me. Honestly.

I don't think I will ever be able to cut her out completely or confront her properly about anything. Or if I need to. No idea.

On the other side of life.... well dh and I aren't really getting any better. I still feel very down about everything, and he is very stressed with work, still looking for another job but nothing is about.. so we still seem distant. Mainly my doing really.

I feel a bit paralysed by grief. I hope that's not offensive to anyone, it's not intended to be. I just don't know whatto do with my life anymore as I've spent my whole life making decisions around my mum. So now I don't have to I feel worthless.

Dh feels very distant to me. I don't feel able to share how I feel as I don't think he can ever understand properly and I don't expect him to.

We went round to his family this week, everyone was there, lots of them. I came away feeling very stressed out actually. I don't know why, everyone was nice to me etc. It just felt like they weren't my family, like I was in the wrong place.

I have had a very difficult week with the dc as well. I keep hoping I'm doing the right thing and I feel anxious a lot of the time, especially with ds who is now trying to walk and crawl everywhere. I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing anymore.

When dh comes home from work I leg it up to bed ten minutes before he's due in and pretend to be asleep as I don't want to talk. I know that's not helping but I just feel unable to talk about anything other than how was your day etc.

Our sex life is still non existent really. I have no sex drive. At all. I feel like I now have the two dc I wanted and I just don't have any desire to have sex again. Dh keeps trying to snuggle and be affectionate but I find it difficult because I know he's hoping it will lead to intimacy and I just don't fancy that at all at the moment.

I never used to associate sex just with having babies but I do now and I don't know how to change that. I feel as I'm getting older sex is less appealing. But I feel sad for us that I feel that way.

What a lot of moaning. I'm sorry. I want to be more positive but I need an outlet.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Fri 24-May-13 15:38:40

I realise you feel like piggy-in-the-middle caught between the two key adults in your life. You didn't choose to be an only child, you've dealt with your parent for 30+ years through her illness, alcohol abuse and recovery but now I think you have reached the giddy limit.

Sorry Fairylea I won't repeat the advice upthread - it's all been said - but if you are still enmeshed with M after all she's put you through, how on earth will your DD rationally opt for less contact with Granny as she gets older?

If your M is manipulative and self-centred as she is, what benefit is there to letting her come between you and DH and ultimately influencing your DCs?

oohaveabanana Fri 24-May-13 14:02:59

OK, I'm going to take one example which really stuck me, out of what you've been posting, and just try and help you have a look at whether your dh or your mum is being most unreasonable.

In your post on 23rd at 9.30, you talk about dh coming home even when he knew when your mum would be there - and your feeling was that if he finds it so hard, he should have come home at a different time. Ie it was absolutely his fault for precipitating the tension.

Imagine roles are reversed - you work horribly long hours, but have the chance to pop home to see your wife & dc at lunch time, for a very short break. How would you feel if the time that your dh had arranged to see a family member you really, really can't stand during that precious 40 mins? Think about your perspective on this - why shouldn't your dh be able to come home whenever he likes? It's his & your house, not hers. Was it really not possible for you to delay her visit - Sorry mum, dh will be home & I know he likes some time with ds, it'll be easier if you come at xx (I suspect that your dh isn't home at a set time, but given his hours, it would surely be fairly easy to avoid his breaktime?)

My mum isn't anything like yours (although very annoying and self centred) and I seriously cannot imagine how hard it is for you to break away. But I can tell you what you're describing in terms of a dynamic doesn't sound healthy, or normal to me.

You have the capacity to do so much more, be so much more - think of all the amazing stuff you've done so far, and those beautiful children you're raising! Let yourself let go of her & use all that potential.

redwellybluewelly Fri 24-May-13 13:39:16

I think you are trying to wage war on two fronts and only a fool does that - your mum is toxic. So is mine. So I do get where you are coming from.

Your DH sounds frustrated and angry and fed up.

I don't think you can prioritise your DD's relationship with your mum over your relationship with your DS and your DH. Read your posts, read how you have been firm and then in the face of your mum NOT respecting your wishes you have resorted to default mode. My mum has seen my DC once in 4 months, when she did so - rather than thank me for making the arrangements or appreciate I was dipping my toes in the water of reconciliation - she had a real attack on me for my bizarre behaviour, the impact it was having on my DC and the fact she hadn't done whatever it was I thought she had. I was 34weeks pregnant at the time and I am due #2 in a fortnight - I have no intention of allowing her near my beautiful children until she changes her attitude. They are not missing out on emotionally manipulative behaviour.

Get counselling. I did. 2 years of it via my employer (and you can access it through your GP) and I finally figured it out for myself - I cannot change the behaviour of others but I can change my expectations of them and my reaction to their behaviour

Have a little faith in yourself that you could change the situation

Hissy Fri 24-May-13 07:45:19

If you haven't got a toxic mother, haven't had to go through that extra special circle of he'll, then no, it's not easy to understand the torture it is.

All he sees is the woman he loves being treated like shit by someone, and he wants you to stand up for yourself, for him and for your DC.

Get counselling, fast. You need back up, you need to understand just how bad she is, you need to feel that pain, understand it wasn't ever you that caused it, and forgive yourself for putting up for it.

This woman has actively ruined your lives. You CAN state boundaries. You have that right.

Hissy Fri 24-May-13 07:40:54

Your mother ISN'T a good person to have around the DC.

Read your thread. Please.

Read also your last sentence. You're trapped in all this and can't confront the situation. Your H could help you here. He's just telling you things you don't want to hear. Doesn't make him wrong though. STOP fighting him!

The anguish you feel is your childhood fear of her. It's irrational. I guarantee that if you DO hand this over, if you DO create some distance, you will feel some relief fairly shortly.

Fairylea Thu 23-May-13 21:11:49

Thanks, I know you're the voice of reason.

The problem is that cutting her out is giving me more emotional and practical stress than just getting on with it. I just wish dh could let me deal with her and stop moaning at me about it. I know he doesn't want her near ds but unfortunately she has a relationship with dd that has been very close for a number of years and I just cant stop that, for dd as much as anything. I'm hoping that as dd gets older she will want less contact with mum and then as she won't have built up a relationship with ds much contact will become less.

I'm getting really annoyed because I feel like dh doesn't trust me to look after ds around mum. I'm not going to leave her alone with him. She isn't abusive. She loves the kids, she just says the wrong thing all the time and has different ways and ideas. I'm not saying she's a nice person, she's a battle axe but dh is acting like she's going to hurt ds and she wouldn't hurt him. She's just really difficult and annoying.

I have thought about everything all day. I just can't trust dh to sort it out because bottom line is that I still feel alone in this. I don't feel a real connection to anyone and I feel like for the first time ever I'm finding my feet without living with my mum.

I'm starting to wonder if maybe I should just focus on raising the kids. I just can't cope with the stress of everything. I am absolutely raging at dh because I just don't feel he understands how difficult it is for me with my mum. He just doesn't really get it and I don't think most people can. Because of this I find myself getting very defensive and frustrated talking to him about it because he will get annoyed and I'm sitting there thinking yeah but you haven't known her for 30 odd years so I know her better than you....

I just feel like I want to run away. I can't because dd is settled at school and whatever else so I really do need to be here for the kids but I really just feel like I want to blow up my whole life and start again. I think when my mum dies I might actually start living.

Hissy Thu 23-May-13 20:51:52

Your H doesn't want that woman anywhere near his child. For good reason. You, sadly, have not shown yourself to be strong enough to protect yourself from her, and he wants to be there to limit the exposure to her poison.

Fair enough. He may not be perfect, but sounds like he cares a hell of a lot for you and your DC.

more than she ever has...

Hissy Thu 23-May-13 20:48:04

By not talking to your H, you are siding against him.

She doesn't need to come around every week. Your H is trying to help you here FGS. Stop pandering to a woman that has wrecked your life and start investing in yourself.

THEN the arguments WILL STOP. You are ALLOWING yourself to be pulled. Stop that. You don't want her there EITHER, so ask H to help you manage her. Stop answering the calls, be OUT, and let your H deal with it if you can't.

Your mum is not thick skinned btw, she is just ignoring YOUR wishes/protestations. She is fighting a war here, a war against whoever she sees as having influence on you, and if that detracts from the attention she demands from you.

If you can move house, please do so, please get away from her. Give your H a chance to be happy with you and your DC. Let him help you grow.

Fairylea Thu 23-May-13 09:30:38

Things just aren't getting better after all.

Mum came round the next day, dh came home from work on a break knowing she would be there. I don't know why he can't just avoid her but he feels that's giving her what she wants. I have no idea anymore.

I spent the whole time feeling incredibly stressed and awkward knowing that dh didn't want mum to hold ds, and knowing that mum was desperate to hold him. When she came in ds was in his highchair having just had dinner and she brought him some toys to play with. I went and hid in the kitchen so dh had to make the decision about getting ds out and handing him to mum for a cuddle. I know that if I did it dh would be angry with me.

Dh then handed ds to mum as he felt he couldn't really say no to her having a cuddle. He then went into a terrible mood and effectively stormed back to work without saying goodbye to me, which annoys me because if we are going to show mum what a strong family unit we are then he's just made himself look like a moody sod as mum is so thick skinned she would have no idea why he would be annoyed.

Mum stayed for an hour or so and then left.
Dh was in a terrible mood when he got home from work (at 10pm) saying that he won't have my mum tell him to pass his child to her. I didn't want to defend her but I feel he's blown it out of proportion. She just wanted a cuddle as any granparent visiting would do.

I feel like because dh hates my mum so much any normal behaviour is perceived by him as wrong etc even when it's normal.
So now we are back to square one again. I really don't see how we can move forward from this.

I'm not inviting mum round all the time. She comes round maybe once a week for an hour or so and that's it.

If he wanted to, dh could avoid seeing her.

I'm not telling dh anything about her. Dh keeps asking me if I've heard from her.

I feel pulled in all directions. I don't want to spend my life arguing about my mum anymore. I'm fed up with it. I need some fucking peace.

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