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Tantrums and petty behaviour

(172 Posts)
incapablemale Tue 15-Oct-13 11:47:49


First post, so please let me know gently if I am in the wrong bit. Not sure really if this should be in AIBU, but thought it fitted better here. Apologies its so long.

I find myself in a marriage that is not fun or happy. While I have read a fair bit on various threads about many husbands being useless and totally oblivious to any household tasks, I like to think and hope I'm not in that league.

OH recently gave birth to second child (DD) and had many complications. For over a month before the birth I took significant time off work and cared for DC1, OH and the house. Although cleaning is something that I'm not that hot on, for the last 6 months now, I have washed up everything every day, making sure the kitchen is clean for the next day, and everything ready to use. I've cooked ALL the meals, I've done as much washing as I can, and have taken as much care of DC1 as I possibly can, caring for him throughout the night, and when I can taking DC2 to give my OH sleep.

However, I'm finding it increasingly difficult to cope with her behaviour. Things that annoy her are blown out of all proportion. I am aware that the sun does not shine from my posterior, but stupid little things that we could grin and have a laugh about are always turned into a matter of her getting more and more stressed, shouty and unpleasant.

Any time she is annoyed (almost all the time it seems) she withholds physical affection, talks to me in a cold or very hostile and sometimes threatening way, and uses the children (the threat of taking them away) for emotional blackmail.

To an extent, if I really am as annoying as she seems to think I am then I deserve some of this behaviour, however, what really worries me is that DC1 is like a sponge and is picking up this behaviour, and how to treat and talk to me.

What on earth can I do to make her see that we don't need the stress and also talk/bring down situations that otherwise seem to flare up from nothing to massive arguments?

kotinka Tue 15-Oct-13 11:53:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

incapablemale Tue 15-Oct-13 12:07:30

The problem is it's always my fault apparently. Every time we talk it's always me who is doing Nothing, doesn't see the situation and it gets to the point where if I pointed out to her that it's her being unreasonable then she gets in such a mood that I'm kicked out of the house hmm

I don't know how it happens but it always seems to be that we get to the point where I realise that if I actually say what I'm thinking it's not going to do any good and it will just make the situation worse and I'll get kicked out - again.

incapablemale Tue 15-Oct-13 16:22:11

Thank-you Kontinka,

I suspect it maybe depression, but it's so hard to deal with.

kotinka Tue 15-Oct-13 16:40:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

amber381 Tue 15-Oct-13 17:04:30

What were things like before DC2? And after DC1 was born? Is this drastically different? Or have there been similar times before? I know it took a long time for me and dh to properly re-connect after having a baby. But if it was different last time, maybe pnd is a consideration.

JumpingJackSprat Tue 15-Oct-13 17:13:03

her behaviour is abusive. whether there is a reason for that is up to her to find out - id suggest she needs to go to her gp. but if you were a woman posting about a man the advice would be to leave. im noying that what you should do but then neither should you live on eggshells.

incapablemale Tue 15-Oct-13 17:54:23

It is pretty much eggshells. I try to keep my sense of humour, but I'm finding it really hard.

After DC1 it wasn't so bad as this.
Mage has been on adp's before, but when she was she was just a robot, so loathed in one way to see her back on those.

amber381 Tue 15-Oct-13 19:00:19

Is she shouty and stressy with the DCs too? Or just you? It sounds like you will find it hard to get through to her at this point as it seems she is very wrapped up in herself. When she kicks you out have you tried actually going and leaving for a bit? Maybe she would take stock and realise she is not really appreciating what she has?

incapablemale Tue 15-Oct-13 21:20:50

She is mainly just snouty and stressy with me.

incapablemale Tue 15-Oct-13 21:24:05

If I did actually leave her for a bit so would then be accused of not being there (sounds crazy when I read this post back). When I've tried this at all - even for a small time - she then remonstrated that she could not depend on me and I was a bad husband, even if she kicked me out.

RandomMess Tue 15-Oct-13 21:27:40

Can you try and talk to her when you've had a better day and express that you are concerned about her because she seems very unhappy? How "easy" is your dc2 to look after - one of my dc was very very high needs, cried relentlessly, didn't nap - it nearly killed me tbh it was such an awful time.

tingle1 Tue 15-Oct-13 21:31:08

Ltb. you are better than this

kotinka Wed 16-Oct-13 08:46:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kotinka Wed 16-Oct-13 09:09:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

incapablemale Wed 16-Oct-13 12:05:16

Kotinka, when I say she checks me out, it's a case if I have to disappear for the afternoon.

I am in a quandary as it feels like I am being so disrespectful if I don't go, as she seems to hate me. But at the same time it's ludicrous.

I worry if I don't go that she will ratchet it up to the next level and run away herself with the kids.

I found a checklist on here about character traits of 'the loser' an she fits several. To be honest, I see some of the traits in myself, but the angry driving, nice followed by nasty, unable to comprehend other people's feelings and other things all fit.

In a way very depressing as it feels like I now know we're probably doomed, but at the same time, now I know what to look out for and what to expect it's slightly easier -maybe...

Dahlen Wed 16-Oct-13 12:26:03

I'm sorry you're going through this. It sounds hard.

I think you need to have a long think about your relationship at various times in the past.

It sounds as though this behaviour is associated with giving birth. You said she wasn't "as bad" with DC1, suggesting that she was behaving similarly but less severely. If she isn't like this at other times, it sounds very much like PND. Abandoning her when she's dealing with that would be very cruel. However, that doesn't mean you have to be abused. I would focus on trying to get her to accept that she needs help, while continuing to support her as much as you can, but every single time she shouts/calls you names, etc., repeat, "Please don't shout at me/call me names/speak to me in that tone of voice. It is unnecessary, hurtful and damaging for our DC to overhear."

OTOH, if elements of this sort of behaviour have always been present in your relationship (even though they may have been exaggerated by giving birth), then I'm sad to say that you're in an abusive relationship and the only option open to you is to leave.

I hope things improve.

Scrounger Wed 16-Oct-13 14:40:57

incapablemale, I don't have any advice to add to the others. I'm sorry that you are going through this.

I just wanted to check on your post yesterday at 17.54, did you use her name, if so you may want to ask MN to amend the post so that you aren't identifiable.

incapablemale Wed 16-Oct-13 17:58:47

Thank-you all for the advice - it's really appreciated and good to be able to share.

Scrounger - thanks to call me up on that - was just my phone/fat thumbs as I tried to type a different word - but great to have you helping me not blow my cover.

incapablemale Wed 16-Oct-13 22:22:07

Oh goodness, tonight - where to start? ! Sorry this is so long.

I came in from work in time to take care of the children while DP cooked supper. (I offered to cook, but she wanted to cook).

After complimenting her on supper I washed up while DP and children were in the lounge. Halfway through the washing up DS wondered into the kitchen crying and blubbing. DP calls for me to pick him up, I start washing the soap off of my hands and drying them. Again a call to pick him up - I reply that I am. I pick up DS - I know have a wailing child in my ear. DP then starts saying the same command to me over and over again, getting louder and more angry in tone, but I can't hear her as DS is balling in my ear. In the nicest and happiest tone I can muster I call something like, "I can't hear you." Still DP sits on sofa and shouts the same command again and again each time her indignation increasing.
Holding DS in one arm I again call in a happy voice that I can't hear her, just wait while I come through to the lounge.

I have DS in my arms and am trying to talk him out/distract him from his blubbing but still DP is issuing a command - I walk to the lounge to see if lip-reading will help me understand her. As I walk out of the kitchen into the lounge DP is still yelling her command. It's not in my mind a good thing to have her shouting so I try and smile and say in a happy tone that I am sorry but I couldn't hear her. She angrily says several words at me and motions to take DS, thinking this will calm her as maybe it's what she wanted all along, I lean down and gently deposit DS onto sofa beside her - she then shouts at me about not listening to her. I calmly (thanks to Your advice MNers) said that I didn't think it was a good idea to shout like that and be so angry at me in front of DS as he is picking up behaviour so quickly. She fires back with how he's picking up some of my annoying behaviour quickly, I don't rise to the bait and go and finish the washing up. I then bath, read a book to, give a bottle to DS and settle him to sleep.

I come down stairs and the atmosphere is it's familiar thickness. She's sitting looking daggers at me from the sofa. I wish up some of the pudding things that have been created since I was settling DS and calmly ask her why she seems so upset - if I've failed to do something or what was it that I've done wrong?

She recounts how I kept screaming at her from the kitchen, that I was probably screaming at her but holding DS to my mouth for him to get the full benefit.

She then recounts several small incidents that really we're not life-changing or at all dreadful over the last few days, and then says that every day I do something crazy to make her feel bad or put her in a bad situation. That now she knows me more she knows that I like to do things that are unnecessary just to wind people up, and that she thinks that I'm pushing her to breaking point so she will storm off and I can blame her and not help her at all with the children.

The evening started so well, and ended after the above tirade with her heading off to bed in anger and frustration - going to bed with DC2 in separate room to me.

I'm struggling to know how I could have been any more calm and polite yet she thinks I yelled at her while holding up DS to my mouth (did not). And then by stating all her grievances, interrupting any explanation or version of events from my point of view and eschewing any personal contact or wanting to at least try to agree and make up before a night of staring at the ceiling wondering why...

Can I be that awful?

RandomMess Wed 16-Oct-13 22:32:16

She sounds angry, at the end of her tether, and that she is possibly not coping - and that she's taking it all out on you.

Somehow you need to find the time to talk properly - how I'm not sure.

How old is your youngest?

incapablemale Wed 16-Oct-13 22:50:54

5 months

Annabelllll Wed 16-Oct-13 22:51:25

I feel really sorry for both of u however u cant live like this and u need to talk to her and suggest counselling and visit to gp. When I was on antidepressants I was acting normal so maybe your wifes meds where just not right for her?
Could i ask her mum or sister to talk to her , build support network ?

Stay strong

garlicvampire Wed 16-Oct-13 23:41:07

Oh, poor you! And DS sad

she thinks that I'm pushing her to breaking point so she will storm off and I can blame her

Both of my abusive XHs did this exact thing. It's a major head-fuck; I really did start thinking he must be right ... and constantly modifying my behaviour, which of course made no difference but caused great harm to my self-confidence and even my identity.

She is abusing you. It's horrid for DS2. Imo it's impossible to tell whether somebody's being abusive because that's who they really are, or due to temporary insanity. We do know that PND is far more prevalent than previously thought, so that's an obvious cause to rule out. It doesn't sound like she's going to respond well to any suggestions of yours, so please do try and rope her mother/best friend in. If you share a GP, you can make an appointment for yourself and then speak about the stress you're under due to worry about ... cue detailed description of partner's behaviour. You can also try speaking to the HV.

Good luck! I hope this is something that can be sorted with the right meds. Keep posting, though, in case.

SuffragetteCity Thu 17-Oct-13 08:08:05

It sounds like PND to me as well. I had it after the birth of both of my DSs, and it was much worse with DS2 as I just felt so overwhelmed being the parent of 2 children. Also, DS2 was not a good sleeper and I was breast feeding so the sleep deprivation was killing me at the 5 month point. I remember feeling irrationally angry with my husband and generally pressured/annoyed by life in general. Does your partner have opportunities to get sleep? That could effect her mood greatly. I never got medication for my PND and it improved when I was able to get some decent sleep. In hindsight, I see how bad it really was and that I should have sought help, but at the time I just didn't have the headspace to even consider what was going on. I think you need to try to calmly speak to her about how serious this is for you, even if she gets defensive.

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