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I think my DH is bullying me

(34 Posts)
randomnamechanger Tue 04-Feb-14 16:58:22

I've namechanged for this.

I've been with my DH for 12 years. I have a DC from a previous relationship, who is now 16. My first husband was extremely abusive, controlling and bullying towards me. DH and I have two children together; they are aged 4 and 9.

At first, and for several years, DH was lovely. Very respectful towards me, not controlling at all. Fantastic to be with really. I became a SAHM after we had our first child together, which was something we both decided on, but in the past 3 years or so he's started to become quite nasty at times, and I feel quite bullied, and am starting to feel like I did in my first marriage. I don't understand why he has changed so much.

When I was a SAHM he became more and more dictatorial towards me, shouting and being unkind if I hadn't done enough in the house in his opinion, and at the same time refusing to do anything himself. I now work, basically full time but I work school hours, pick up the kids, bring them home, sort them out with tea and bath/bed/homework, and then carry on in the evening. So essentially full time really. When I didn't work he wanted me to work, and now I do work he wont' do his share around the house, and gets annoyed if I ask him to do anything that enables me to work, such as take a couple of days of annual leave during half term.

He says unkind things, supposedly joking about me, and when I object, he turns it round onto me and says that I speak to him like shit, and that I need to take a long hard look at my attitude. He often says I have an attitude problem, but I don't know how I have? It's like he wants to say/do what he wants and I cannot object at all. He sulks for days when I've answered him back. He also thinks he has first dibs on any time in the evenings/weekends. So he'll get home and basically tell me he's not doing any childcare/clearing up tonight as he's doing X, Y or Z. If I tell him I'm doing something he gets annoyed.

He gives me no sympathy or support if I'm ill. If the kids are ill he gets cross with me. I was up with DD all night the other night as she was ill and I got no sleep. I carried on as normal the next day, working (I work from home), housework, sorting kids out etc. When he got home I mentioned in passing I was tired and he just said really venomously 'You should have gone to bed then'. He hates me being ill. He won't do anything to help out at all if I'm unwell.

He won't ever discuss his behaviour with me. If I ever try to talk about things he says I'm trying to cause an argument. he recently said something disrespectful to me and when I pulled him up on it he said to get back in my box. Then it all turns round onto me having an attitude problem, I'm an arse, I speak to him like dirt etc.

I think what he wants is for me to toe the line, never query him, me do to everything, and to just put up and shut up, which I won't do. I feel so alone at the moment and it's affecting my self esteem and I'm very low even though I'm on antidepressants.

I don't understand why he started being this way and how he changed so much. Did I do something that made him turn into a bully?

HotDAMNlifeisgood Tue 04-Feb-14 17:02:55

No, you did not make him into a bully. Only he can do that - youhave no power over another person's behaviour. This is who he is:

I think what he wants is for me to toe the line, never query him, me do to everything, and to just put up and shut up

Jan45 Tue 04-Feb-14 17:12:17

Oh poor you, what a shame, he sounds absolutely dreadful, don't you think you'd be better off on your own, you're pretty much a single parent as it is. He sounds like a complete misery and is not interested in having an equal relationship with you.

It's time to get tough, he either shows respect or it's over, honestly, you shouldn't have to live like this.

randomnamechanger Tue 04-Feb-14 17:19:45

I think at some point I'm going to have to end the marriage if he carries on as he is sad

At the moment when he's in one of his moods he keeps saying things that are really below the belt and spiteful, then I'm expected to just accept his apology. I have gone none contact with my parents recently because of how they have treated me in the past, and DH was, I thought, supportive, but during a recent argument when I was trying to argue my corner he said 'Dont' go falling out with me like you've fallen out with everyone else'

He also regularly tells me I'd never get anyone else if I left him.

Jan45 Tue 04-Feb-14 17:21:44

So, what is it that you are getting out of this relationship apart from misery???

He needs a seriously good kick up the backside, in other words, don't put up with it, it's not a good role model for your kids either!

fromparistoberlin Tue 04-Feb-14 17:30:48

oh poor OP, he sounds he wont change.

look I wont say LTB, but I think you need to decide what you are getting out of this

Clutterbugsmum Tue 04-Feb-14 17:37:04

I think sooner rather then later bringing your marriage to an end.

I bet he doesn't treat friends, work colleagues like this. He does it to you because he can make you feel like shit and doubt yourself.

LilyBlossom14 Tue 04-Feb-14 18:09:50

blimey he sounds vile - Women's Aid and the Freedom Programme are my recommendations.

tinyturtletim Tue 04-Feb-14 18:24:32

You have two options here...

1- stick around continue to be the good wife whilst this poor excuse for a man drains you of your dignity, self worth and any confidence you may have. Let his words turn into punches and as your children start to answer back watch him destroy them one criticism at a time.

2- leave, get some self respect, get off anti depressants. Show your kids what being a mother is all about and that noone will ever be able to treat their mum this way. Even if you leave with nothing it is better than being emotionally drained.

You don't say how old your kids are, however no matter what you have to get them out of this.

Handywoman Tue 04-Feb-14 18:26:07

Sounds quite a lot like my ex

Mine was also fine until we had kids. Then something flipped. Suddenly everything was my domain and to ask for anything like annual leave to cover hols, or help around the house was a huge burden to him. He was miserable, snappy and angry. He would say nasty things then expect an apology to wipe the slate clean again.

It's just not good enough, is it.

Don't know what you should do , OP, everyone has their breaking point. I also started antidepressants but remained depressed. When that happens, you know it's time for something to change.

You know abuse can creep in and undermine, it starts without you even realising it. It isn't your fault OP.

We are here listening. Women's Aid are there for you, too.

Handywoman Tue 04-Feb-14 18:28:11

tiny OP states there's a 16yo, a 9yo and a 4yo

bishbashboosh Tue 04-Feb-14 18:29:19

I know it' s not so simple as leaving.

My Dh suffers from OCD and this can come across as dictatorial too and he sometimes makes mine and the kids life a misery. Especially the boys. Any crumb or if the curtains are drawn wrong he goes into meltdown and the kids hide. If I try and stick up for the kids he says I am crazy and mentally ill.

I know I could never leave. Its crap, I don't know what the answer is I am sorry.

You feel like nobody will believe you as to the outside world he is perfect

Handywoman Tue 04-Feb-14 18:33:59

Sometimes is is as simple as leaving. Somehow. Anyhow. Do you have any IRL support OP?

LilyBlossom14 Tue 04-Feb-14 18:37:09

bishhbashboosh - OCD makes him have a meltdown and the kids hide - really? That sounds pretty bad to me.

LadyInDisguise Tue 04-Feb-14 18:38:10

In short YES he is bullying you and NO you haven't done anything that made him that way.

Please notice how he is using anything to get at you and destroy your self esteem. You went NC with your parents so it means you are cutting everyone out if your life. You are ill or one of the dcs is ill, no worry about you it them, it's clearly all your fault and unacceptable. He plays on your fear to be alone (no family around and no husband if you were to leave him).
What a lovely man. NOT.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 04-Feb-14 18:42:29


So what do you get out of this relationship now?. What needs of yours are being met here?.

You do not know you could never leave either. That is often stated from a position of powerlessness; there is help and support out there for you to go but you need to be brave and make that first step to take it.

It can be as simple as leaving because you are then stating that you are no longer putting up with Mr Dominator in your home. Staying is a lot bloody harder than leaving. Many abusers as well can be plausible to those in the outside world but I am sure that some of your friends have their suspicions about him.

My friend's ex H has OCD; he was also abusive and used the OCD as an excuse and cover for his abuse of her. She eventually divorced him.

What are you both teaching your children about relationships here?. Do you want them to emulate this dysfunction as adults in their own relationships too?. We learn about relationships first and foremost from our parents. On some level you are showing your children that this abusive treatment of you and by turn them is acceptable to you. Its really not acceptable is it?.

Anniegetyourgun Tue 04-Feb-14 18:51:31

Yes, just because a person has OCD doesn't mean they would necessarily be a nice person if they didn't have it. Abusive bastards can have mental problems too, just like anyone else. Also, whatever is causing someone to behave insufferably, it doesn't mean you have to live with it.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 04-Feb-14 18:52:05


Unfortunately you went onto marry someone scarily similar in nature to your abusive ex. Such men usually ramp up their abuses when children are born (and often before); this is likely what happened with you over time as well. Also such inadequate men cannot ever stand being anything other than first in the pecking order.

Abusers grind their victims down. He is the root cause of you being on anti depressants and I would think you would be able to come off them completely if you were to get this person out of your life in terms of legally separating.

I would suggest that you talk to Womens Aid and seek their help and support. Also find out where you stand legally with regards to separation as knowledge is power. Womens Aid Freedom Programme would be a boon to you as well as this is for women who have been in abusive relationships.

Handywoman Tue 04-Feb-14 18:54:26

Absolutely agree with Annie .

All that matters in the end is that if you start out as equals in your relationship and end up cow-towing to keep the peace , or whatever reason, you can simply call 'time' on the relationships. It matters not if there are mental health issues involved, or if everyone else thinks he is Mr Perfect.

FabULouse Tue 04-Feb-14 19:23:14

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Tinks42 Tue 04-Feb-14 19:30:12

Men like this make me want to spit they really do. Yes, OP he's an arrogant bully. Start sorting yourself out behind the scenes and squirrel away some cash too. Get yourself in a position of control and get rid of him, life's too short to put up with this. Don't even wonder "why" he's like he is, it's a waste of time and energy best spent elsewhere, he won't change it's entrenched in him.

randomnamechanger Wed 05-Feb-14 09:20:09

Thanks everyone for the replies.

I think he must have cottoned onto the fact that I'm totally pissed off with him as he was really nice to me last night. Didn't stop him buggering off to play football with friends for 2 hours leaving me to do everything regarding the kids/clearing up and catch up on my work though.

I think deep down I'm truly baffled about why he's turned out like this, and that he seemingly put on an act for so long. It's as if he has been very very gradually testing the boundaries over a very long time.

randomnamechanger Wed 05-Feb-14 15:49:24

Just thinking aloud really; I know he isn't happy in his current job, but he won't look for a new one. He does a trade, but will only do a certain sector of it, even though he's qualified to do different sectors, because he's so fussy and doesn't like so many different aspects of it. He even started a business with a friend and hasn't made any effort with that either, even though its virtually a ready made business as his friend has an established business and DH could potentially get loads of work passed to him. He seems to somehow hold me to blame for it all.

To cap it all off, I might lose my job now as I'm on a trial period and I don't think they're happy with the amount of sales I'm doing, and it's a very difficult sector to 'sell' in, so no doubt DH will be raging with me if that happens.

Jan45 Wed 05-Feb-14 15:59:52

Please read what you have written, so you are now accountable for everything that goes wrong in his life and yours, even when you are trying your best.

Seriously, you are never going to be happy in this kind of situation, and you could feel so much better about yourself if you didn't have to suffer this bully constantly putting you down.

Handywoman Wed 05-Feb-14 18:00:41

I reiterate my point that : when you have been on antidepressants for a while and you're still depressed then it is time to make a change.

I recommend you stop sucking everything up/being so flipping omnipotent.... and start feeling some anger

Not the sort of anger that sees you chucking plates at him: I am talking about feeling just enough anger to muster the energy to book a free appointment with a solicitor and fully appraise yourself of your legal position with perhaps a little angry energy left to look into what benefits/tax credits would be due to you if you split

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