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just can't get through to my cold and angry dh

(115 Posts)
superdry Fri 27-Sep-13 12:38:34

no matter how hard i try i just can't seem to communicate effectively with my husband, any issue, even vaguely contentious, ends in a row, he won't engage with me, he won't listen to me, just goes yeah yeah, whatever, which inevitably leads to me trying harder to get him to listen, which eventually leads to him losing his temper, and sometimes threatening with some kind of violence - if i am lucky i get an apology the next day, but his manner doesn't really change as he always claims i provoked him, i won't leave him alone etc etc - the only way we have any kind of peaceful life is if i never complain about anything - anything at all, thereby 'not starting an argument' - i can go for weeks like that but inevitably i eventually 'have a go' at him about something or other, and the cycle begins again. i feel emotionally drained by it all, its the same old story, he says i am the one with the problem and obviously i think its him! any nuggets of advice out there? we have 2 young children

KateCroydon Fri 27-Sep-13 13:40:50

If you are married it does not matter whose name is on the mortgage. I changed school half a dozen times as a child. It was fine.

MissStrawberry Fri 27-Sep-13 13:45:47

If you aren't prepared to investigate how you could rebuild your life divorced from this man what do you want from this thread as you can't get through to someone who is cold and angry and doesn't feel he should listen to his little possession?

I am sorry your children are living in such a toxic house and that you feel you can't do anything about it.

BeCool Fri 27-Sep-13 13:48:42

You can't get through to him because he doesn't want you to. He has you exactly where he wants you - "STFU and do as I please".

He says you don't deserve his affection/attention/love. This ishow he feels about you. It's more than that though - it very much reads to me that he despises you.

But it 'works' for him as he can keep you STFU by his nasty controlling/ignoring/dismissive/threatening behaviour, all the while you look after HIS children and no doubt keep HIS home in order and probably sleep with him too. He sees you as his own personal drudge/servant/sex provider.

I think you may have misread the Bundy book. I can see your P in the book - why can't you?

It sounds like you are trying to take responsibility by trying to talk with him etc, but as difficult as it is to accept you can't do anything with a person like this. He won't want to 'work things out' and improve your relationship.

YOU can't work on this alone. And he has no intention of working on it with you. He doesn't see it as broken - for him it's just how he wants it.

BeCool Fri 27-Sep-13 13:50:08

he has broken up your family already.
Your family is broken living like this.

AlisonClare Fri 27-Sep-13 13:50:56

Can you give us an idea of what a typical issue might be?

PeppermintPasty Fri 27-Sep-13 13:53:01

From the tone of your posts I think you are quite deep in denial about just how bad he really is.

Have you thought about some counselling for yourself (only)? Have you ever confided in friends/family about this desperate way of life? This is no way to live, and your children will be sucking it all up. But, easy for me to say, I know it's hard. Keep talking on here if it helps.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 27-Sep-13 13:54:49


Abuse is about power and control, he wants absolute over you and the children. My guess too that by being overtly "nice" to his children, he is trying to show you as well that he is a better parental model to them than you are.

"In general we have a decent family life and i couldn't bear the thought of breaking up the family, we been together about 8 years, married for 5, i just put it down to the fact that men don't like emotional and/or angry women - so i try and be zen"

Being zen is not working, infact nothing you have tried to date has worked. Your abusive man is indeed angry. They all say that their victim/s too provoked them into acting, its all part of their dysfunctional script.

Also you would like to think that you have a decent family life but you really do not. You are kidding yourself if you think otherwise and denial is a powerful force. This marriage is already broken by his actions, your children are living in an atmosphere akin to a warzone. They do pick up on all the tensions both seen and unseen and they see and hear far more than you realise. Those late night rows are likely heard by your children as they sleep - or try to. They hear it.

What do you want to teach your children about relationships, surely not this dysfunctional model of one. Currently you are showing them this treatment of you is acceptable and that in itself is damaging. The only level of abuse acceptable in any relationship is NONE.

This man hates your very being and all that you stand for. The children do and will pick up on all his abuse that he is meting out, this is no life for them or for you for that matter. Abusers are not nasty all the time but the nice/nasty cycle of abuse is a continuous one. They just stay "nice" enough long enough for you to be sucked back in again.

You need proper legal advice and as soon as possible as well. He has already threatened you with some kind of violence; you could well seek some kind of legal order against him. You need to know where you stand legally in the event you separate from this abusive individual. I make no apologies for calling him abusive because that is indeed what he is. This life will not get better for you or your children, over time he has indeed escalated his levels of abuse and control.

givemeaboost Fri 27-Sep-13 14:02:42

Don't feel you cant leave! I know its hard but the fear is the worst bit, everything else can be got around-schools, accommodation, benefits etc

You probably cant see the awfulness of the situation as you are in it and wont until you leave him, you'll then look back and think why did I put up with that?? The children should be paramount in this and if you think the current situation is not damaging them, you are probably wrong, as posters up thread said children pick up on tensions etc v easily, also you don't know whether he has been telling the children things whilst your not around(parental alienation)

If I were you Id give womans aid a ring.

BeCool Fri 27-Sep-13 14:21:29

superdry I was in a very similar relationship until 9 months ago.

XP is wonderful with the children now. And after me drawing some VERY firm lines, he is actually nice/cordial to me now (most of the time) too. All my friends thought/think I am mad for leaving him as they see the warm, loving, relaxed family orientated person. Seeing him last night I almost thought I was wrong.

But I'm not.

In reality living with him was dreadful. He would not talk to me, if he did it would be in the form of a rant/lecture. He slept all day and disengaged from family life. He was angry with me all the time. I put all my ££ into the family while he was financially secretive and "always skint". HE saw his financial contribution to the family as "giving money to me". We could not communicate on a meaningful level. We could not make plans for our family though we desperately needed to move out of a one bed flat. He was secretive about his earnings (turns out he had a cocaine habit). He was verbally aggressive to me - often. A couple of times he started to get physical. By the end we had nothing & I detached. Then he was horrible over Xmas and very mean to me when I was sick in bed with sever tonsillitis and in a moment of clarity I kicked him out/ended the relationship.

All I wanted was to communicate in a meaningful way - like couples do. NOT POSSIBLE.

The children have coped well. They now spend time with him where they actually do stuff together.

We still haven't talked. I ended the relationship hoping it might be the JOLT to make him engage. It wasn't.

My life isn't perfect now - but it immediately got much much much better once we weren't living together. And I am starting to reconnect with myself little by little, day by day, week by week.

I thought I would struggle financially but WTC and maintenance mean my income isn't much changed.

I work FT and thought I would really struggle managing it all - but I still have great childcare in place and life is so much nicer now, without the anger and stress, that it all flows smoothly.

I thought he did approx 50% of the housework - what a joke. That was the biggest surprise as it became evident that he did about 5% but I was majorly desperately? over-crediting him in that dept.

There is lots I still miss about him. But as WellWobbly so eloquently pointed out on another thread recently my choice wasn't Single parent vs Lovely life as a couple and family. My actual choice was Single parent vs Living a hellish life walking on eggshells with an Emotional Abuser waiting for the day he actually thumps me and teaching my daughters this is how life is.

MatildaWhispers Fri 27-Sep-13 14:24:22

I used to 'try to be Zen' too. It really won't work, you are trying to deny your own feelings. In the end it will all get too much.

Lweji Fri 27-Sep-13 14:26:11

Definitely LTB.

Policing these men should not be for their partners. It's draining and they may well cross the boundaries at some point.

The best is to distance ourselves from them.

You can get him to leave, but you need to go the legal route.

Get as much information and support as you can, including family and friends.

Twinklestein Fri 27-Sep-13 14:30:47

I think it's a mistake to think you are failing to communicate with him. I have no doubt that he hears what you say perfectly well. But he despises you & simply does not care.

He does not care if you're unhappy, he does not care about your needs.
You have said yourself that he thinks you are "a controlling b**ch that doesn't deserve his affection/attention/love". He is treating you how he thinks you deserve. He will never listen. He will never change.

ageofgrandillusion Fri 27-Sep-13 14:56:13

Two questions OP - has he ever actually physically assaulted you. And what do you mean when you say he threatens you with violence? Can you explain more?

poorbuthappy Fri 27-Sep-13 15:08:19

No one on here is going to tell you how to change to keep your husband happy.
Because whatever you do will never be good enough. Because your husband is an abuser and does not love you.

Please don't kid yourself that your children will not suffer whilst you pretend you are in a loving relationship.
Because they will.

So yes LTB.

superdry Fri 27-Sep-13 15:15:47

he has never hit me, but he has pushed me and pushed me out of bed, when he threatens me he shouts right up loud in my face that he wants to smash my face in, that kind of thing really -

just to clarify he never actually used the words 'does't deserve his affection etc' thats more my interpretation of it, i am not sure he actually despises me, although i think sometimes he feels that way, i'm not sure he likes me alot most of the time and sometimes i think he loves me, but he is mercurial, a different personality from one day to the next,

as for the affect on the children, for the most part they seem pretty happy, i read a book by oliver james about how you can protect their psyches from this kind of thing -a process called love-bombing - also i grew up in a household where the parents rowed quite alot (although not abusive) and although it wasn't ideal i have very fond memories of my childhood although i can see that perhaps its left me with some pretty dodgy relationship issues

waltermittymissus Fri 27-Sep-13 15:25:10

Policing these men should not be for their partners

This. Just this.

YOU won't be able to change his behaviour, Superdry. Only he can do that.

Twinklestein Fri 27-Sep-13 15:25:42

If my father ever threatened to smash my mother's face in, I'd have been absolutely terrified...

No amount of love-bombing your kids can cover up the fact that your husband is abusive.

Oliver James recommended it in response to common childhood behavioural problems, not as some kind of 'protection' for children with an abusive father.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 27-Sep-13 15:32:10


Yes you certainly do have some dodgy stuff re relationship issues, that is all too clear.

Pushing you repeatedly is violence, they do not have to physically punch you in the face to be violent. He is also not above verbally abusing you either, you are nothing to him and he treats you as such. He will do the same to your children as well given time.

You cannot reason with someone like your H, he is beyond reason. It is not your fault he is like this, what is his background exactly?. Pound to a penny he saw violence and emotional abuse in his own childhood as well.

We learn about relationships first and foremost from our parents, yours in their own way taught you some very damaging lessons on relationships. Now the two of you are doing your bit to pass on some even more damaging crap to the next generation of adults.

This is no legacy to leave your children and they will not thank you for staying with him if you were to choose to. They will wonder of you why you stayed and perhaps even despise you for being so weak along with putting him before them. You are already a shadow of your former self, he has done a right number on you hasn't he?.

So called "Love bombing" will do absolutely nothing here to protect your children's pysches from the Dominator that lives within your home. This is not working either!!!. You live in a home that is not a sanctuary to your children, your children are learning how to also be victims. You certainly are.

Womens Aid can and will help you here, you need to take the first, often the most hardest of steps, to call them.

AgathaF Fri 27-Sep-13 15:38:07

When they are adults, you children will wish that you had been brave enough to remove them from living in an abusive home. They will not thank you or respect you for staying.

So, they haven't heard anything up to now, you think. But they will. Next week, or next month, or maybe next year. They will be frightened. They will feel guilty. They will store up that blueprint of what an adult relationship is like, and replicate it in their own adult relationships. You cannot protect them from that, no matter how much you try.

I know you wouldn't want that for your children. Who would. So, if you can't leave him for your sake, can you do it for your children?

wordyBird Fri 27-Sep-13 16:57:30

Yes, this is a textbook abusive relationship.
However, it's going to take a while before you can cope with the reality of that, or consider what you need to do about it. I would guess the thought of changing things seems overwhelming at the moment.

Can I suggest taking small steps, day by day?

For example: see if you can arrange counselling for yourself.
Contact CAB, or a solicitor to clarify what would happen financially if the relationship breaks down
Contact Women's Aid, 0808 2000 247 ... (Yes, it does apply to you)
Confide in a real life friend.

Maybe we can help to reassure you on some points.
For example, 1) The law is not just about whose name is on the mortgage.
2) if you've been together 8 years your children are small. Small children don't fear change anywhere near as much as adults think they do.

The world is constantly new for small children, and they often view new places or situations as exciting, or just par for the course, even if they are a bit apprehensive to start with. It's adults who like to cling to what they know.

So please don't feel you're stuck. Read BeCool's post especially, she's showing you there's a way through.

Lweji Fri 27-Sep-13 17:09:46

I left exH when DS was 6. He is now 8 and much more confident.
He misses his dad, but otherwise he's perfectly happy.

Remember, your H is the one splitting up the family, not you.
He's the one ignoring his partner and being violent (mentally, verbally and physically).

He promised to love you and he isn't.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 27-Sep-13 17:19:32

You can't get through to him because he doesn't want to know.

There is no magic formula to make another person care. He doesn't. When you try to get your point across, he threatens violence in order to shut you up and put you in your place.

Your children deserve better than growing up with this as their relationship model.
You deserve better than this kind of treatment.

He's not going to change. Your only option is to get out. Or stay, and die a little more inside every day, while ensuring that your children will reproduce this precise relationship role model in their own adult lives, either in the role of the abuser, or in your role as victim and enabler.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Fri 27-Sep-13 17:21:13

It's not you, it's him. You can't change him. He doesn't want to change, so you are left with the decision as to whether you are prepared to sacrifice your happiness and let your DCs see a relationship where their mother is dismissed and denigrated.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Fri 27-Sep-13 17:23:51

"I'm not sure he actually despises me" is a pretty sad thing to read.

It should not be like this.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Fri 27-Sep-13 17:31:41

Womens Aid

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