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Is it me or is it him?

(32 Posts)
twentytoten Thu 07-Nov-13 10:24:52

I've NC'd for this as feel nervous about this.

I've also written and deleted this post over and over again as I'm very upset and bothered by this but I'm not sure how to express that clearly and what advice I was looking for and at the back of my mind I know that this is peanuts in comparison to other situations one could be in.

I don't love my husband, I don't fancy him and I don't feel loved by him. He is awful at big conversations and has a tendency to go upstairs and hide under the duvet if things get too much for him so its difficult to talk to him about feelings and emotions.

I'm not sure if its because I'm at home with our 2 young DCs that I have had more time to dwell on this or whether I would feel the same if I weren't sleep-deprived, ill and having CBT for anxiety and was back working and being more independent.

I feel I have had to make so many changes to how I speak and act because of him; like talking in 'bullet points', getting to the point straight away,not 'umming' etc that I don't know where to start in talking about this with him. And I'm not sure what outcome I want if we did talk.

My ex H was similar in that I never felt really loved by him and through the CBT I know that my relationship with my Dad has made me feel, at times, worthless and unloved.

So I guess my question is- how do I know if it is me that is messed up and its not him or has being with him for the last 8 years made me ill and where do I go from here?

I'm sorry this is a bit long, but I have no one I can talk to about this in RL My CBT lady is very nice but I don't feel comfortable opening up too much.

PinkBerryGuy Thu 07-Nov-13 10:32:10

I thought CBT was all about opening up? but that aside.

sounds like you're in a bit of a tough spot. : (
Have you thought about writing him a letter? you can rewrite it as many times as you like, re-read it as many times as you like until you have it saying exactly what you want it to say? you can then either read it and break it down yourself and see if they're your issues or you can demand he read it make him read it?

Just an idea to open lines of communication. Damn men, a lot of them are emotional dwarves and they make peoples live miserable.

akaWisey Thu 07-Nov-13 10:32:56

But you are the one who is seeking ways in which to try and address all the issues you have described in your OP - so my question is how on earth can it be you, and you alone, who is 'messed up'? You don't sound messed up to me. You sound isolated, worried, confused, under pressure and ignored. Not messed up.

twentytoten Thu 07-Nov-13 11:03:15

Pink- I did similar when I was still with my first DH and he looked at it, briefly, and said 'that just confirms that you're a nutter'
which was helpful
aka- I honestly don't think I've been happy for a long time now but then I think- should I expect to be happy or just get on with it (as my Mum has always said) and I'm really not sure if I have a tendency to be unhappy and anxious or whether I have unwittingly chosen to be with men who make me feel unloved and worth little.

I do know that my DH was awful when our DS was born, that was not me, and his behaviour then made me feel anxious so I know that sometimes it isn't me.
(I had to keep a notebook detailing the times of feeds/nappy changes etc and then he would input this into a spreadsheet- I was absolutely knackered and just needed a hug and sleep but I got a spreadsheet to show me where i had gone wrong)

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 07-Nov-13 11:15:54

"I feel I have had to make so many changes to how I speak and act because of him"

This ^^ suggests it's not you, it's him. When you can't be yourself with someone, can't act or speak normally and instead have to modify your behaviour and speech patterns unreasonably, then it is not a natural state to be in for anyone.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 07-Nov-13 11:16:48

"I had to keep a notebook detailing the times of feeds/nappy changes etc and then he would input this into a spreadsheet"

This ^^ is emphatically not normal

twentytoten Thu 07-Nov-13 11:23:36

Thanks Cogito- I wonder if my physical symptoms would disappear if I wasn't with him.

I'm happy with the DCs all day but anxious when he comes home, we had thought that I was allergic or reacting to the materials he works with but I'm fairly sure its because I get stressy when he gets home.
Even choosing what to cook for dinner is very wearing at the moment, its all about pleasing him. I spent sometime yesterday getting stuff for dinner yesterday that I thought he would enjoy and he got up and went into the kitchen to look for something else.
I wouldn't mind so much if he ever cooked.
I think his model of a wife is for her to be his 'mother' as well as the DCs and with very traditional role.

Apropo of nothing-- just remembered when we first met, like in the first days, he offered to pay for a boob job for me. Now I'm looking back and thinking that was a bit odd but at the time I thought he was just being really generous.

PinkBerryGuy Thu 07-Nov-13 11:42:34

I'm no expert but just from your few posts it sounds like you may have depression and anxiety issues?

If you do have these then your OH may have become your "kick off" point, a big ball of anxiety and depression that he is unwittingly causing or at least not helping with.

Maybe you shoud broach the subject with him in more of a "I need your help" way and not a "you're useless" sort of way... if that makes sense?

I would highly suggest talking to your CBT Lady about all of this.... she will have the tools to help you. : )

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 07-Nov-13 11:46:24

"I wonder if my physical symptoms would disappear if I wasn't with him. "

It's got to be worth a shot, hasn't it? Suggest a separation of a few months, get him out of your environment and see if things improve. My guess is that you wouldn't be anything like as anxious without this control-freak breathing down your neck

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 07-Nov-13 11:48:23

" he offered to pay for a boob job for me"

Means he never thought you were good enough, right from the off. He wanted to turn you into the woman he wants, not love you for who you are. Does he tell you how he wants you to cut your hair or what clothes to wear?

MerryMarigold Thu 07-Nov-13 11:50:51

I think it is likely to be both you and him. The fact you have been here before with someone else.

I too think you need to talk to your CBT lady about this.

Sorry, was the letter (and reaction) with your first dh or this one?

If you are going to do a letter (and I think it's a good idea), I would suggest telling him that you're feeling a lot of stuff but thought it would be better to write it down so he had time to digest it a bit. Also, as pinkberry says, say, "This is what would help..." He is likely unaware for example that his behaviour over the food was very hurtful. You can say "That really hurt me because I did make some effort to make something I thought you would like" - without crying or becoming over emotional, but he needs to know.

Also sounds like with 2 young kids, you have drifted apart. He doesn't sound very happy either, to be honest. I think you both need to put some serious effort into becoming closer, and often it is the woman who initiates it.

MerryMarigold Thu 07-Nov-13 11:52:28

Did he offer the boob job out of the blue, or because you said (or implied) you were not happy with your boobs? 2 very different things.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 07-Nov-13 11:57:14

"The fact you have been here before with someone else."

It's wrong to blame victims for the actions of emotional abusers. They don't bring it on themselves. However, if the OP's relationship with her Dad was poor she'll have grown up with quite low expectations of how men should treat her and quite low standards for what constitutes love. I don't know how long there was between husbands but would be willing to guess that it was short.

Dahlen Thu 07-Nov-13 11:58:09

It's not you, it's him. Definitely. The fact that you even need to ask shows how effectively he's managed to damage your perception about how you should expect to be treated. sad

I'm not a Dr and I don't know you, but I'd be fairly confident that your symptoms would improve (if not disappear) without him undermining you at every given opportunity. I've seen lots of 'depressed' women whose depression miraculously lifts within a few weeks of leaving their bloody awful menfolk.


Guiltypleasures001 Thu 07-Nov-13 12:04:54

Hi op speaking to the CBT therapist would be pointless if she does this type of therapy alone, you need a counsellor whom is integrative ie will talk about your past and make links to what's going on for you.

Your stressed because of him lovey it won't get better until you start making decisions about what is acceptable for you, no amount of CBT is going to solve this for you, after a while coping skills will be overwhelmed by the cause of the stress ie him and your past.

The thing about this type of counselling or therapy could mean a lot is brought up for you and could be hard at first, but at some point hopefully you will see patterns of behaviour and thoughts which mean you put up with far more than you should or is acceptable.

You have it in you to affect the changes you want, but it seems you are very much controlled by your husband and he is taking up more of your thought process than is healthy right now, please try and find some space to look inwards and see what it is you want for your future.

twentytoten Thu 07-Nov-13 12:13:26

Thank you
I haven't been able to cry for years, I physically just couldn't and I think I just went into coping mode and haven't allowed myself to feel anything for ages.
But I'm in tears now and just wandering around the house, which really isn't like me.
I must be my fault though as, and this is something I have never said or written or talked with friends about, I really really wanted children and I thought if I didn't carry on with my DH then I would never meet anyone else again and I would be too old to have a family. So I'm not sure I was ever really with him for the right reasons. I bottled it all up and I can hear my MUm's voice, 'you made your bed...' etc.
Ironically I just posted on another thread about self esteem and confidence and well done to the OP that she ended what might have become an abusive relationship.
I'm weak and rubbish.
I can't suggest separation or splitting because it would be devastating to the children and Dh as he adores them and he is a good 'playing' dad (not very practical)

PinkBerryGuy Thu 07-Nov-13 12:17:28

*I'm weak and rubbish.
I can't suggest separation or splitting because it would be devastating to the children and Dh as he adores them and he is a good 'playing' dad (not very practical)*

I think everyones heard this a whole bunch of times.

So i'm going to ask you directly.
What is better? a child growing up in a house with a miserable and depressed mother who thinks she is "Weak and Rubbish" and a dad that is useless but plays games....

Or grow up in a house with a happy mother who feels good about herself and her life and then sees her dad at other times when he has to be practical and not just a "play" dad?

You have one life, in that life you deserve happiness, not fake "get on with it and don't moan" happiness, but true,m honest to goodness happiness..... you do what you need to get it, once it's got it'll be better for you, all those around you and it will show your children that their happiness is paramount.

But, thats easier said than done isn't it.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 07-Nov-13 12:18:14

'Make your bed... ' is such a crappy thing to say when it comes to relationships. Everyone (including your DM) makes mistakes and maybe you got into the relationship for the wrong reasons, but that's no reason to compound the error now that you've realised. He's an abusive arse and yet you're having therapy, blaming yourself, taking medications (guessing) .... when there are alternatives. You're not weak or rubbish. It's a tough decision.

On the whole children are more devastated growing up in a loveless household with two unhappy parents than they are growing up in two households with parents that aren't miserable.

Dahlen Thu 07-Nov-13 12:32:43

sad twentytoten

I know you don't want to consider leaving, and I'm not going to tell you to, because you're clearly not ready for that. Try to think of this thread as a "safe space" in which you can explore your feelings and your relationship with your H. It will be uncomfortable and upsetting at times, but you don't have to do anything about that right now other than take it all in.

What you say about your mum's voice saying "you made your bed..." etc is probably part of the reason you've ended up in this situation. It is NOT because you're weak or rubbish. If you've spent your whole life being made to feel inadequate in some way, it is unsurprising that you've accepted being treated less well than you should. That's to be expected. It's not a sign of weakness, it's a predictable response to having your self-esteem shot down over time. While it takes courage to stand up for yourself and walk away, staying is not the absence of courage. Far from it. It is often harder to stay; you just don't know it because leaving is so scary it seems impossible. Women who stay in unhealthy relationships are often incredibly strong, coping types. They have to be because they spend huge amounts of time trying to fix the unfixable. Quite often little elements actually work, encouraging them to try even harder. The sad irony is that the same dedication aimed at themselves, a healthy relationship or a career would result in huge happiness.

You are not weak. Anxiety and depression are to be expected when someone is put under intolerable strain. Start recognising yourself as coping with an awful situation extremely well.

Now consider the fact that you don't have to put up with this at all. So what if you knew things weren't right when you decided to have children with this man. Poor judgement, maybe, but it's not against the law. You don't have to punish yourself by staying. Who benefits from that?

Why would the children be a reason to stay? Fast forward a few years. See yourself having a chat with your adult DC with them telling you that they feel exactly like you do now. Would you tell them to stay for the sake of their own DC or would you tell them life is too short? What do you think your future GC would be gaining from growing up in a house seeing such unhappy parents sticking it out through misery because of them (the children). Do you not think that might actually be very damaging? Apply that to your own relationship.

Also consider why you think separating from your H has to damage the relationship he has with his DC. As long as you don't obstruct contact, he can see the DC more than often enough to maintain a close, loving relationship with them. He doesn't have to live with you to do that.

Having separated parents does not damage children. Warring parents (either living together or in the process of divorce) does. While children may be upset at the change, they will adapt quickly provided they aren't dragged into an almighty mess created by their parents.

Some things to think about maybe. flowers

maparole Thu 07-Nov-13 12:44:23

"I had to keep a notebook detailing the times of feeds/nappy changes etc and then he would input this into a spreadsheet"

Exceptionally weird, controlling behaviour

"I spent sometime yesterday getting stuff for dinner yesterday that I thought he would enjoy and he got up and went into the kitchen to look for something else."

If someone had kindly taken the trouble to prepare a meal for me, I would eat it with a smile on my face even if I hated it (unless it was clearly so awful as to be joke-worthy).

You are wrung-out and in need of support and all he can do is hide under the duvet ... no good. It sounds to me as though he has no concept of you as a person. No wonder you don't feel any affection for him; who can feel affectionate or loving towards a plank of wood?

Maybe the breakdown in the relationship is partly on your shoulders, but what difference does blame make? You cannot spend the rest of your life dreading his homecoming each day: you will never be able to cure yourself in that situation.

Guiltypleasures001 Thu 07-Nov-13 12:47:39

Hi Op

Please don't go down the rd of I stay for the kids they know no different etc, I can categorically tell you I see between 10/11 kids as clients every week who's lives have been scarred or destroyed by the relationships between parents. Kids miss nothing I promise you that.

Girls grow up modelling their mothers and repeat the same patterns and mistakes often thinking it's their fault , and boys can grow up as seeing their mothers as weak and blaming them for not protecting them or leaving sooner.

The household you describe sounds toxic at best and abusive overall, this is the template you took forward from bits of your past and will be perpetuated by your own kids in their future.

I want to say you are not at fault lovey and in a way it is good you are crying, your like a pressure cooker and the tears are pressure escaping, there's a lot more that needs to come out. I would seriously suggest you find.a Decent BACP registered integrative therapist who will support you while you explore all this, otherwise you will find yourself becoming ill as people forget that mind and body are very much connected.

twentytoten Thu 07-Nov-13 12:50:47

Thank you, again.
If it's OK, this is a great safe place, and thank you for suggesting it. May I just keep waffling? It is really helping.

I have had a good cry and tidied some drawers out. My family always seem to deal with crises by doing cleaning.

Funnily enough I have had the conversation with my Mum about why she didn't leave my Dad, who I think now was a functioning alcoholic and who had a temper and who shouted at me, told me I was useless etc. She said she spent her married life with him walking on egg shells and being lonely as he went to the pub every night.

My childhood, when discussing it with the CBT lady, was not a place of laughter or silliness. I was shouted at and I can remember two occasions of being physically hurt. So I think I have learned to keep it all in and be fairly self constrained as well as a bit secretive to avoid getting into trouble.

Anyway, I asked my Mum, and she said she had no where to go, it wasn't the done thing years ago, she was not financially able to as she was a SAHM and her Mum had always disapproved of Dad so she didn't feel she could go to her.

I left my first husband, as in I was the one to leave the house, but it was he who ended it and told me he didn't love me and didn't want to be married to me. He was very very drunk when he said it but it didn't make it less true.

JohFlow Thu 07-Nov-13 13:00:08

It doesn't really matter who is to blame does it? The outcome is still the same.

It sounds like both of you have things going on.

If you are unhappy and think your relationship isn't working then steps need to be taken towards change. It would be difficult to continue a relationship where you didn't feel your efforts were being recognised, you couldn't work through problems or feel loved.

Your health and peace of mind comes first.

You deserve to be loved, respected and treasured. You need to be proactive in finding these things. It's then that you can start to heal from the past. Its a courageous path to take - but you are already showing resilience when dealing with the situation are in.

Dahlen Thu 07-Nov-13 13:00:18

I'm glad it's helping.

Your childhood sounds very sad but what was your relationship like with your mum generally? Obviously she failed to protect you from your father's abuse, but she's right that in the past (and not that long ago TBH) there was no help for women who left. Quite often they would lose their DC, too. Was she otherwise loving to you or was she so invested in trying to 'manage' your father that there was little left over for you?

hellsbellsmelons Thu 07-Nov-13 13:10:58

You waffle away. That's what this board is all about.
I have no experience of what you went through or what you are going through.
It sounds awful though and you do NOT have to put up with it.
Your mum sounds like she may well support you if you do decide that enough is enough and you want to be happy and you want happy children.
Don't forget, you repeated what your mum did and the cycle will continue with your children, unless you protect them from this and make changes.
As a PP said - you get one shot at life. Do you want to be living like this in 10, 20 or 30 years time? Of course you wouldn't.
Time to really thing about you and your DC rather than your H!

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