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Finding it difficult to get my head round DH shouting at me when I was ill.

(33 Posts)
LuciusCornelius Sat 30-Nov-13 03:40:50

I'd been ill for 10 days (carrying on as normal as I could) and it was getting worse, thought it was probably flu (when I went to Drs the next day turned out to be flu/chest infection), but I'd gone up to bed at 7pm and slept for 5 hours (really not like me) until DH came up at 12 and I woke up.

I was disorientated and couldn't work out why it said 23.58, and said 'Eh? Have you had dinner (usually have it at 9), why didn't you call me' (I was starving and had been dreaming about it) and he straight away started shouting at me that he didn't know whether he should have left me or disturb me, and couldn't do right for doing wrong.

Despite feeling like crap I was pretty upset that he reacted like that and said as much, it went back and forth for a bit, so I got up and went downstairs.

I was in bed for the next two days and all I got was a couple of texts, not even a call, although tbf I did text him making it clear how fucked off I was at him.

I do see what he's saying, completely, I suppose it was only 5 hours and it was at night, but really, this is so out of character for me that it hurts to think he didn't want to see if I was OK. That instead of gently saying he didn't know what to do, that he chose to start shouting full volume. It makes me out to be some kind of harridan that takes him to task for always getting things wrong, and that's just not true at all (IMO anyway, but then it would be wouldn't it?)

He does ratchet things up very quickly if things aren't going his way, after he's cooled down he admits he does it, is defensive, says crap he doesn't mean. I'm no angel, not by a long shot, but I am able to keep it under control and keep my voice down and not rise to the bait I know so well and that bubbles up so quickly.

Everything's fine until something out of the ordinary happens, it could be me starting work and saying things can't stay the same as I won't have the same free time to do my normal housework things and he'd have to do more, bringing something up that's been bothering me for a while, saying we need to cut back because we're skint, anything really that I know he won't like.

Nobody wants to hear things they don't like, but this is extreme, it's anything that's not 'nice' for him. I'm quite shouty myself and was brought up in a volatile household, but the pattern here is just so obvious. I know from experience it's used as a technique to make the other person think twice, but I don't go along with that because some things have to be said (money, DC etc).

There are other bits to it too but it'd be too much for one thread, but I feel as though I can't rely on him to be there, when the chips are down he just seems to grind them down even further, that it must mean he has so little respect for me that he thinks I'm OK to be shouted at like that when I'm in (what felt like) a vulnerable position.

It happened on Tuesday (I think) and I emailed him today to say why I still can't bring myself to not be fucked off about it and be 'normal' with him. Am I sulking? (which I hate) Or is being angry about something different and sulking is about manipulation? Maybe I am being manipulative? Maybe I'm just having a pity party, but the thought of him shouting at that particular time has brought tears to my eyes every day (and I don't cry easily) and I can't seem to shake it off. Maybe because I'm still getting better?

I. Just. Don't. Know.

I'll probably regret posting and get ripped to shreds, but I'm going to have to take the risk because it's left me feeling insecure and questioning things I don't want to question and I can't seem to resolve it on my own.

Any words of advice would be a huge help.

notnagging Sat 30-Nov-13 04:05:39

You maybe overthinking it. Only you would know. It's very difficult when someone is ill, to know what to do. Is it better to let them sleep it off or wake them? You don't now if he checked on you whilst you were sleeping. Tbh I would have been more annoyed that he had woken me up.

birdmomma Sat 30-Nov-13 04:10:37

I'm not making excuses for him, but when I'm worried about someone I love, I tend to get a bit cross and shouty. So I'm not the best person to be a nurse to family members! Maybe stop texting and emailing him, and actually talk to him? Or is he away from home? just calmly tell him that you were hurt when he shouted and you've been upset since. He probably feels really bad.

Chottie Sat 30-Nov-13 04:23:21

I've had that disorientated feeling when not well and being woken up unexpectedly too, so I do sympathise. It is difficult to know what to do, when someone hasn't been well. I would have left you to sleep too.

I think you ought to concentrate on getting well and have a chat with your DH and lay this to rest.

TobyLerone Sat 30-Nov-13 04:46:44

It sounds a bit like you're overreacting.

Why are you communicating with your DH by phone/email? Have you not seen him since Tuesday?

LastOneDancing Sat 30-Nov-13 04:58:24

Sounds to me like your hurt is not over the isolated incident, but over the whole 'angry at change' cycle of behaviour he displays.

Is he aware of how he reacts? Does he calm down and accept things fairly quickly or does it drag on? Is he supportive after the storm has passed?

Hope you're back to fighting fit soon OP.

BitchyHen Sat 30-Nov-13 05:56:13

It worries me that you say he's shouting when you bring up stuff that's 'not nice'.
It sounds like he's shouting to shut down conversation on subjects he doesn't like.
I hope you're feeling better soon.

Lweji Sat 30-Nov-13 07:47:10

It's not about his reaction when you were ill, is it? It's about his reactions in general.

He could have reacted oddly then, but why did you end up spending 2 days in bed and only communicating with him by text? Did he not go and see how you were and if you needed anything?
Where did he sleep?

This is the type of thing exH would do. He doesn't seem kind to you at all.

I really don't like the way he reacts to you starting conversations about things he doesn't like. Particularly the one that involves him working more at home. Is he working more at home, or are you still doing what you did before having a job?

Sorry, but this does not look good.

For now, I think you need to have a good conversation with him. Try not to accuse him, but say that you don't like when he shouts at you and that you won't put up with it much longer if he carries on. Maybe suggest counselling for both and separately, to see if you can improve your relationship. See what he says.
It's not good to enter counselling with an abuser, but a good counsellor will be able to assess it, and you can see how it goes in a controlled environment.

Meanwhile, challenge his screaming always. Do not let the discussion go on with shouting.

You may end up having to make serious decisions, yes, but they may make you happier.

maparole Sat 30-Nov-13 08:24:35

This sounds a lot like my ex: no conversation about anything important was possible and almost any minor comment whatsoever was taken as a personal attack against him. I used to spend days contemplating how to broach something that needed to be said, but I always ended up being shouted and sweared at.

It's no way to live. Sharing your life with someone necessarily entails tackling difficult issues from time to time and you need a partner who will face these issues, not run way from them. Without communication, there is no relationship.

I agree with Lweji: wait until you are feeling totally well, but don't let things continue like this.

arthriticfingers Sat 30-Nov-13 08:36:55

Lucius When you feel stronger, try reading through the links at the top of this thread:

Especially this:

LaurieFairyCake Sat 30-Nov-13 08:41:59

I think you deep down believe that he won't be there for you as you age or if you get truly sick.

It's a difficult think to know the answer to even in long , healthy established marriages - I know plenty of people who have had cancer and their spouse has been unable to support them and has treated them appallingly.

When you're well you need to talk about whether he was angry or afraid and how hour relationship is going generally. - is this really a long term relationship for both of you?

TiredDog Sat 30-Nov-13 08:52:17

This is not about this incident. It's about the feeling that you constantly have to support him, worry about his feelings, his reaction and possibly have started to adapt to try and cushion him against life's little unpleasantries. Who's doing that for you?

You feel awful, sick and exhausted and he cannot man up and return the behaviour? I'd be questioning a lot myself

unidentifiedflyingobject Sat 30-Nov-13 09:36:30

I don't think you are overreacting or overthinking. This one event has brought to the surface a pattern - you are not allowed to be ill, change things, say difficult things because then you may cease to function in the way that he likes and is comfortable with. You're hurt that at your lowest point, the person you love was cruel to you instead of kind.

A really long time ago I posted a thread about my now exdh being truly lovely 90% of the time, but when I was ill, struggling or weak in any way, he was unfailingly horrible (I used to dread being ill because it was the same every time) and like your dh, used shouting to shut challenging things down. We are no longer together. (Although get on better now than we did before!!) It was indicative of a wider way that he viewed me that was just not ok.

You're still feeling fucked off at him because you don't feel you've been able to resolve previous issues and this has just layered on top of it. You've emailed him questioning your own behaviour and giving him ammunition to call you manipulative/sulky - why have you done that? You're making yourself the problem here and taking too much responsibility for the situation. Do you actually feel guilty for being ill and going to bed?? BEcause that's no good either!

WeirdDreamWoman Sat 30-Nov-13 10:07:15

Watching with interest as I am in a very similar situation myself. I can't stand shouting and when dp shouts half the bloody street can hear. Hope you feel better soon. Also was wondering where your dh is for you to have not seen him in so long?

Lweji Sat 30-Nov-13 10:12:46

I often say it here, IMO, the true measure of a relationship is when things do not go well. Everyone can be nice and pleasant and funny when they are happy and things are good.
It's the difficult times that define it. When one is ill, when a difficult subject comes up, when there's a disagreement.

It's how the two partners handle disagreements and the difficult times. If there's shouting rather than talking, name calling, unfair accusations, lack of respect, physical violence (breaking things, pushing, etc, also count) or threats, blanking off, no apologies, and, importantly, build up of resentment, then something is wrong.
It's how the bad times make you feel.

Twinklestein Sat 30-Nov-13 11:08:46

Everything's fine until something out of the ordinary happens

Illness, starting work, having to cut back financially are not "out of the ordinary" they are part and parcel of normal family life.

He doesn't like anything that doesn't go exactly his way: he becomes angry, aggressive, bullying. He doesn't even think about you, it's all about him.

This is not normal or acceptable and I'm gobsmacked frankly that anyone has said you are over-reacting to a highly problematic behaviour pattern.

You are overanalysing though - none of this is your fault not is it caused by you. You are not manipulating, you justifiably angry at * his* manipulations.

sunbathe Sat 30-Nov-13 11:10:29

Re the first bit of your post, op -

you'd gone to bed for 5 hours, presumably without saying you'd be gone so long. So dh had to do dinner, bath, bed.

Then he felt got at by you when he went to bed. I guess he's not a mind reader.

Just on that, I can see why he was upset.

So there might be a mixture going on of stuff he does that is not ok and stuff that anybody might get a bit pissed off about?

Hope you feel better soon. flowers

LuciusCornelius Sat 30-Nov-13 11:33:30

I've only got a minute, and just wanted to say thank you for your posts, they're really helpful and giving me some perspective and I'm just thinking on what you've said.

I'll write a longer post out when I can get back on without the NC standing out.

Really, thank you for the time you've taken posting.

Lweji Sat 30-Nov-13 11:41:13

Poor man who had to feed his children, bathe them and put them to bed. hmm Which, actually, he might not have had to do, as the OP only fell asleep at 7, so it's possible that she had already done it, in fact.

Presumably he knew the OP was ill and that's why he didn't wake her up.
The normal response, even if he was frazzled, or even in a grumpy voice, would have been: "because you were ill and needed a rest". No need for shouting immediately.
He probably felt got at for being selfish to have dinner alone and not calling the OP. His reply would have been normal, except for the shouting and start playing the victim.

And it still doesn't explain not going to see the partner who was ill in bed for 2 days.

LuciusCornelius Sat 30-Nov-13 14:23:30

With the text/emails, I sent DH the text at 1.30am, I knew it wouldn't wake him up so I thought I'd send it before going back to bed. The email I wrote thinking it'd be a way of saying how I felt, I'm not very good at that stuff anyway (which makes the way he reacts even more difficult), so writing it down does help sometimes, although unusually not this time, which is why I posted.

He did ask how I was but I ignored him, so that bit is my fault for being stubborn, although I was hurt from the shouting bit which was playing on my mind (and makes me think maybe I was punishing him/manipulating him?). I wonder if the high temperature distorted how I felt? When I think back to his shouting it was very oppressive and I felt squashed to the bed, and afterwards (he sorted the youngest out so I didn't have to look after them) I was on my own for the two days (and slept for a lot of that). He was back with them from work at 7pm, and I think I felt isolated and uncared for, although like I say, a lot of that was me withdrawing from him.

He did keep things ticking over, the older DC can sort themselves out and he'd usually sort the youngest out for bed while I work anyway.

I agree with posters saying it's the shouting bit that was unnecessary and that I was overthinking it, overreacting, not making it any better by withdrawing from answering how I was etc.

The pattern of shouting when things aren't going his way, I was thinking about it last night after posting, and I wonder if it's him feeling insecure about any changes in the role I play? It does seem to be at those times, starting work, can't do what I normally do etc. I don't like change either so I can understand that, it does sound a bit feeble and doesn't excuse how he deals with it, but it helps to see that maybe it freaks him out.

I'm no wall flower and don't take anything he slings at me passively. I don't mind accepting responsibility for shit if it is me, and he does cool down and apologise if he's in the wrong, as I do. So it's not an unequal power thing, it really isn't.

We've been married 14 years and have worked through things as you do to come to an understanding of what we're like and an agreement of how to deal with them when they come up, maybe this is just one of those things?

Just writing it down helps, I've definitely seen the role I play in it a lot more, and have tried not to write in a way that gets the answers that are put the blame on him and not me IYSWIM.

I've been talking to him generally today, so that's a bonus in itself.

You've been so kind and I am grateful.

LesserOfTwoWeevils Sat 30-Nov-13 14:26:26

He sounds horrible.
Anyone can be nice when things are going their way, why wouldn't they?

There's no excuse for shouting at someone who's ill and disoriented. But if he shouted at you because he was worried about you, then he'd have felt terrible and apologised abjectly when he cooled off.

Instead he's stonewalling you, because as far as he's concerned you're in the wrong for not fulfilling your normal "duties" and inconveniencing him. You're not supposed to be ill or need anything.

It's all about him.

ishouldcocoa Sat 30-Nov-13 14:29:26

My DH can't cope very well if I'm ill, and gets a bit shouty at me sometimes. It happens very rarely, tbh. I think its his outward reaction to panic.

Trouble is, shouting never helps any situation, does it? So - you're not alone.

Lweji Sat 30-Nov-13 14:35:26

Definitely keep talking, but take care.

Did he apologise for the shouting before he asked how you were? I'd have been tempted to tell him to f off if he just came in as if nothing had happened.

And you shouldn't really be making allowances for his shouting over fairly small changes. You getting a job and saying he will need to do more at home, is not that traumatic. Will he shout at his boss if there's a change in role or more work for him?
Have this in mind. The shouting is for you, isn't it? Why should you deserve it?

It looks like you keep making allowances for his behaviour and he gets to behave as he wants.

Lweji Sat 30-Nov-13 14:37:45

I still don't understand why would anyone shout at another person who is ill. Unless they feel the illness is a bother, more than they care about the person.
What stress? Unless they are rushing to hospital there is no huge stress and being stressed does not excuse shouting at a vulnerable person. hmm

Twinklestein Sat 30-Nov-13 14:55:58

He did ask how I was but I ignored him, so that bit is my fault for being stubborn, although I was hurt from the shouting bit which was playing on my mind (and makes me think maybe I was punishing him/manipulating him?).

Sorry but of course you ignored him after he yelled at you. So would I. It's a perfectly normal reaction to completely unacceptable behaviour. You were not being 'stubborn' or 'punishing' him or 'manipulating' him. He is the one manipulating & punishing you for being ill.

In all my life, my husband has never once yelled at me when I was ill, nor have I ever heard my father yell at my mother when she was ill.

But it's not the yelling in itself that's the main issue: if he'd calmed down, apologised & said he was worried about you; or it was a one off, then fine.

He shows a clear pattern of anger, shouting & stonewalling to get what he wants. Being 'oppressive' and making you feel 'squashed to the bed' - is not on. He's a bully. He has you running round in circles thinking everything's your fault for saying things in the wrong way.

Concluding that: I was overthinking it, overreacting, not making it any better by withdrawing from answering how I was etc

is the opposite inference that you should have drawn: he was out of order and you dealt with it the best you could. You're basically saying you should have put up and shut up.

And yes, some men are insecure about their wives working, and some are pissed off to lose their housewife/skivvy.

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