Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
My DH is always right. Always.(178 Posts)
When I got together with my DH six years ago, we quickly discovered, after the honeymoon period where we just about agreed on everything, that actually we are polar opposites on everything. All the inconsequential stuff. All the important stuff. Totally different. I even found out recently that he considers my taste to be garish. It's like nothing about us suits the other.
The unpleasant undertone to these fundamental differences is that he is older than me (only by 7 years) and assumes a somewhat parental/older brother attitude when it comes to disagreements. As if I'm just a bit slow on the uptake, possibly, or haven't finished school yet.
We reached an amicable truce several years ago, because we do hugely enjoy some areas of our relationship, and we make each other laugh and think, so it wasn't worth quitting the relationship even though it means we just can't civilly discuss politics or anything important.
Sorry, gibbering merrily away but don't want to dripfeed. I'll get to the point.
I'm a SAHM. Our DD is 4 months old. I do the lion's share, but DH will contribute. The trouble is, he will argue with me about how I do things, and question and question and quibble over and over. Discussions reoccur every week. I feel like he can't stand not being the one 'in the right' in this particular instance, even though I really am not heavy-handed about 'being the one at home', I really don't swan about like I am All That just because I do 90% of the parenting, but I get this sense from him that his opinion is still the only one that matters here, he is right, and he is going to do things his way, even when it detrimentally affects both of us.
It's really colouring my feelings for him significantly. I can't help but dislike him. I feel like it's the height of arrogance. The equivalent would be for me to appear in his office and gesture casually towards his computer and say, 'well, that's wrong for a start, but I'll fix it.'
Maybe there's even this sense of jostling for control, which I don't know how to handle. Next we're going to be arranging performance meetings and talking in corporate business speak.
JaceyBee no, he wasnt like that at all. Your typical Mr Nice Guy. We were talking for a year before we even dated, then spent another couple of years dating before moving in together & in all that time, no red flags came up. I think he just hid his character.
I think you need to look at how things might be if you separate - money, who lives where, child care, and once you have your head round that and sort of accept that that is a possibility, then you are in a much better position to deal with DH a you are no longer in the 'OMG what would happen if we split up' fear mode. So then you stop appeasing or trying to fix things because you are worried about what he might do.
You can then start thinking about what you want in life and how to get there.
You can't change another person you can only change yourself.
He does sound awful. This happened to me. It took the birth of our first child for my STBXH to show his true colours. He seemed to find fault with everything I did with our baby - put me on trial, interrogated me whenever there was a small hiccup (e.g. nappy rash), criticised, undermined me, disputed all the routines we had... so that when he 'helped' he always did things 'his way', so he would just abandon her nap or change the routine causing upset and bother all the way. Everything he did or said was an implicit or explicit criticism of me.
I found I was in a power battle that was not of my making or choosing. He was doing it, and he obviously resented any iota of power that he thought I had. All this when - like you - I was a SAHM and doing 90 per cent of the childcare. It makes your home life horrific because he picks at everything and your are always tense. I felt like I was being treated like an underperforming employee or servant. It didn't matter how much I told him that, he refused to change his behaviour or acknowledge how out of order he was, still less apologise (God Forbid).
Unfortunately, I realised that what I had uncovered was his fundamental misogyny - I was shocked! There was no respect for me at at. My H actually believes deep down me becoming a mother meant that I was subordinate and inferior - but I didn't get the memo! I can't believe I married a man who actually thought/thinks these things. I did everything to try to prove that this could not be true, but in the end that was the only thing that added up. We split up. His behaviour was obnoxious and appalling and ground me down to a point where it was sink or swim. He had to go. And this was the man that I had truly loved and wanted to grow old with!
You have to get over the incredulity about the way he is treating you. Because it is outrageous. It is outrageous that he has no respect for you. He is being abusive. And it is a shock to recognise that. Tread carefully. Yes, stand your ground and tell him that you will not be bullied - but that won't necessarily work. Start to think about whether life might be better without him turning your home into an emotional torture chamber. I echo what thecatfromjapan said in her wise post. I fear you are being 'tenderised'. Don't let him erode your self-esteem to the point where you can't get out or get him out. Have you talked to RL friends and family? You need validation at this stage, because you'll start not to know what's 'normal'/acceptable/bad. This stuff messes with your head - be certain of one thing - it's not you, it's HIM.
That sounds like a horrible way to live mistressdeecee, I think you took the only sensible option in leaving. Was he always like that from when you met or did he get worse as he got older?
Therapy can def help but only if the person acknowledges there's a problem with THEM and works hard to make changes.
JaceyBee yes, it can be pathological and have such a detrimental effect.
kiwiinkits its good you are able to deal with your husband's rightness like this. He must at least have an innate sense of fairness and an ability to listen, and be aware he may have gone too far with you.
I'm in no way a passive person - pretty confident and assertive, definetely outspoken when I need to be. I've realised I'm the type of woman my ExH is attracted to - he wants to wear us down. He doesn't like very quiet, or meeker women.
His need to always control, always be right was just too much. I guess there are different levels re.inflicting this compulsion to be right on others. & god forbid someone should upset him at work; at those times even a slightly different view on a tv programme would set him off. Refusing to concede, his voice in my ears for hours no matter how I tried to screen him out, or tell him to shut the eff up, or put across my view. Life's just too short. He listened to no-one. I wanted peace and happiness in my life and home, not 'emotional warfare evenings'. So it was a case of 'no thanks', for me.
There's a big consensus out there that therapy very rarely works for those deeply entrenched in this rightness, which is pretty sad really. Even sadder for those enduring it from a partner, tho
I do think some people are beyond redemption but life being what it is, there must be hope for a few
If having to be right is something that has a pervasive negative effect on someone's life to the point where it ruins relationships, careers and friendships then I would say it is pathological and possibly indicative of a personality disorder ( and I hardly ever say that on here as I think PD is thrown around willy nilly but that's another story).
Despite common belief therapy can help, especially schema therapy but it would be long term and not funded. Boefborg your dw def sounds like she would benefit from doing some work on herself, do you think she would be open to this?
I think any person in an unbalanced power relationship risks going from compromising to controlling. I think it's a combination of two people, in a dance with each other. It's not only him, it's her too. It's human nature to seek advantages from a dynamic relationship. That's why mutual respect is so important. You can only share and negotiate if there's respect there.
OP, your assertiveness has been eroded by your childhood experiences. It's so important that you learn assertiveness. Get some books, teach yourself some phrases that help you stand your ground. Refuse to be disrespected.
I often find when my husband goes over the line into disrespect (he's 10 years older, a little controlling, likes to be 'right') I really do have to assert myself. Sometimes it's enough to laugh at his arrogance and call him an arrogant fucker. Sarcasm can help. Other times I go mental on his arse, telling him I refuse to be belittled and ignored. I do this because I have self-respect and I am comfortable with asserting my needs. I know I am half of our relationship dynamic. Therefore my behaviour and my willingness to stand up for myself is vitally important in what outcomes we see as a couple.
Jus yep I think it is about winning. Ime these are the people that will play a game against a tired 4 year old, play to win and then say "they need to learn how to lose" which I find ironic as it is something that the adult has never learnt!
Yes its definetely about winning. Often people like this dont really have a 'voice' elsewhere so they hassle the person nearest to them. Although I accept there's a disorder in their mind, I'm more concerned about the sheer havoc they inflict on those they claim they love. Its a toxic, emotionally abusive situation all round and they do it because they can - you can bet they don't talk to their boss or mates like that. If any mates are still around, that is
Hmm, I think OP must still be basking in the glow of the heat lamp. Lucky she's got this thread as a reminder when he flicks the switch to chill.
Hope you're ok, OP.
I think that's because in so many ways it's not actually about being right, for em. It's about winning.
I have been thinking about this thread over the last couple of days and I think that for me the big issue with Mr/s Always Right isnt that they think that they are always right, I dont care about that.
Its the fact that they must get you and everyone else to agree that they are always right. We have all had
rows discussions with people where they think they are right and you know that you are but you agree to disagree and it doesnt affect the relationship. But these people need to push and push until you change your view, or at least appear to.
Its like they cant stop until you confirm their view of themselves. This is why I think that it verges on a personality disorder, or at the very least, low self esteem/confidence. Thats why I dont think you can talk them out of this behaviour, it is part of them that will only change with large amounts of in depth therapy.
purrpurr so sorry to hear your story. Its the harsh and relentless reality of living with a Mr or Mrs Right, isnt it. With my ex Mr Right, even the fact work colleagues eventually couldnt stand him and he had no close friends, didnt alert him to the fact that his 'rightness' was bordering on a personality disorder (well imo anyway). Like your DW he couldnt bear to be wrong. Even if we agreed to disagree on a subject - he'd find a way to return to the subject a bit later. I used to find it quite amusing (albeit stressful) at times watching him furrow his brow then oh so very casually return to a 'linked' subject..so as to lead on to the original subject he just had to be right about.
I really do hope things improve for you. You must be a very patient and determined person. Sadly tho, it often doesnt improve as Mr or Mrs Right is always right and so doesnt seek help as they dont need it, do they? Their way of thinking is right so who's going to convince them differently? Yes, there normally is always a childhood reason, it was the same with my Ex. His father is the king of mindgames, my Ex and his sister are constantly wrangling (then Id have to listen to him banging on about her being wrong, malicious, etc )as their personalities are exactly the same. His niece, as well..exactly the same as her mother. This is what happens when these ways are visited onto children.
Its very wearing to live with. Please continue looking out for yourself, and your DCs. None of you deserve this. Its funny..often people only deem physical abuse, as abuse..but there are many ways to torment a person.
We parted long ago and Ive moved on since then into a relationship that doesnt drive me up the wall. I do forgive my Ex and we talk very occasionally..but ohhhhh the pleasure when he at times gets into his 'I Am Right' mode with me of being able to end the convo nicely, come off the phone and not have to put up with the tediousness of it all.
My MIL has a fridge magnet that says
"When I married Mr Right I didn't realise his first name was Always"
Like others, I also believe that you have to stand your ground, even if it does cause a marriage-ending row. The alternative is death by a thousand cuts, basically. Also, challenging him does at least give him the opportunity to reform. It might not work, but for your own peace of mind you can say you gave him a chance. The rest of what I say, however is a warning about what might lie ahead.
My case (namechanged regular) is a bit different as it concerns my wife. She is a genuinely good person. Everyone who knows her and has passed comment on her says she's lovely - the exceptions being her immediate family and some of mine too, who say she is frequently intransigent. She is desperate to be right. If someone disagrees with her, she gets affronted and can get upset. It is as if she expects people to agree with her automatically, and when she does modify her views, it is never in the instinctive way that most people seem to do. Her profession requires people skills, and as a result, her career is probably now over. Sometimes reality bursts in and she realises she was wrong, and goes into a major crisis. It doesn't help that she feels someone is to blame when anything, at all goes wrong.
About some years into our marriage, I felt just about nothing was going my way at all: because DW felt so strongly about everything I'd give way. So I started to push back. We have had years of rowing since then. She can be pretty savage and relentless. There have been many occasions when she hasn't even allowed me to break off the row: she has followed me from room to room, even refusing to let me sleep so she can continue. On one awful evening, I realised that I was quite likely to lose control and hit her unless I left the house. So I went for a very long walk. It was horrible knowing what I had to come back to.
I am pretty articulate myself, and can handle myself in heated situations quite well; I believe that I am good at talking through issues, and if necessary defending myself reasonably - but what good is that when faced by a person who just wants to impose their will on you? Her main complaint of me is that I don't talk to her - but the truth is that I just don't want to be used as a human punchbag, and get driven to self-harming again (something I hide from her).
My FIL used to be quite a domineering man, and DW tells me that she got the brunt of his bad temper, and was blamed for a lot of stuff. She was also expected to serve at table because she was the daughter. Somehow she learned to stand her ground - but in such a confrontational way that she does herself no favours now. I hate to hear her dressing down the kids. I spend some days in blank despair; other days thinking, yes, maybe I can make this marriage work, reminding myself of better days in the past, and that I am there for her and the kids, but it is pretty hard.
Albert 27 frightening, isnt it . Back when I was going through my woes with him I came across some stuff online..narcissism, emotional abuse, etc. I had to stop reading up on it eventually, as I realised seeing the sheer volume of women going through almost the same situations with men of almost the same characteristics, began to un-nerve me in some way...!
Im hoping the OPs situation with DH isnt too far gone, and that he will actually agree to change the dynamics of the relationship into something more positive - and then having agreed, act on it...
forgot to add - ExH was right about absolutely everything. I found it fascinating in some ways..a person who truly believed only his views were valid and correct. On every matter. Everybody else was wrong (including work colleagues) and subjected (secretly) to disparaging comments. Massive superiority complex.
purrpurr you are describing my ex husband to a T, in your post. & this part
he's the nicest guy you could ever meet
EVERYBODY likes my ExH. He's good looking, charming, softly spoken, would go out of his way to do things for others. Nobody has a bad word to say about him. Except..me, the one who saw his real face at home.
Me having a different view from him on a TV programme would result in being dictated to, to the point of argument
If I DIDNT watch programmes he watched, he would insist on telling me all about 'his' programmes
He withdrew our social life - ie anything I liked to do, little by little he stopped doing them. All intended to spite me, I guess
Wanted to tell me how to do every single task. His way. Only.
Talked as if he was the clever one, and I wasnt clever at all.
There are other things, too many to list, but basically it was about it being very important that others viewed him as kind, charming, personable and extremely intelligent. Indoors with me was a different story. Yet I am a very capable person. I used to think that annoyed him.
I believe him to be a Narcissist, and theres no hope when living with one of those unless you can find some way of screening out his comments. Bit hard when theyre in your face insisting on giving you their better way of doing things tho. Its insecurity at its worst. Oh..and my ExH didnt start off this way at all. It only became apparent after we married. He hid his ways pretty well through the years of courtship.
I hope you can talk to your DH and that he will actually listen, even if you could get some outside input. It may be an uphill battle to get him to listen to anyone tho, if he believes he is always right. Good luck
My ex was like this. It's emotional abuse. He's a genius - Pah!
Your opinions etc are valid because you are and should be his equal partner.
He sounds like a power/control freak. Again my ex.
It can only really get worse unless he gets a lot of help. Sorry. Sad but true.
Purr purr. I lurked on this thread and wondered how things are. I myself am in an EA relationship, confirmed by the Lundy book I was recommended to read. I'm battling at the moment as I'm trying to work out whether leaving my children without a dad is worth not having to live with it because now I'm armed I feel stronger. Your DH sounds so much like mine. So I wondered if you too read the book or have started to and what your thoughts are currently.
Great website Annie
"The abuser may shower their victim with gifts, compliments, promises, demonstrations of love and acts of affection in order to win back the victim’s trust or faith, and therefore maintain the status quo.
Hoovering is one of the key components of an Abusive Cycle. It is the tactic which ensures many abusers do not have to live alone. It can also act as the ‘plus’ side when the victim calculates the emotional balance sheet, manipulating them into sustaining the abusive relationship.
Like a tango, it takes two: the person doing the hoovering and the person being sucked in".
So, when you're getting the heat lamp, just note whether you're also getting to have am opinion you don't have to justify.
You know, an awful lot of the time, 'I don't want to' or 'I don't like that idea' would be perfectly valid reasons not to do something. And a decent person would respect, in many situations, someone else's right to say either of those things. If, OP, you find instead you have to 'present a case' backed up with online evidence, you should ask yourself why your husband doesn't think you are entitled to a personal opinion that he doesn't give permission for. Or are you not a human being allowed your own preferences and feelings?
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.