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Is this email abusive/ am I abusive?

(181 Posts)
mayapapaya Sat 15-Feb-14 02:53:33

I am a regular poster but have changed my name for this. I am at a very difficult place in my marriage for many reasons. Some of the reasons are to do with job and family stress, and are beyond my control at the moment. The primary reason is that my husband thinks I am emotionally abusive.

The latest dispute is about whether this mail below is abusive. A bit of context. He had to unexpectedly travel for work and missed a v important event in DD's life. This is not the first time this has happened. I sent him this email because she was upset, and that got me upset:

"Can you pl arrange things with your boss so that you can DEFINITELY be here for the next event? FIX THIS. I'm sick of this."

I apologised for this "shouty" email later, but he says this is part of a longstanding pattern of abuse, which I can't recognise. I don't see that this email is all that terrible, though I recognise I should not have sent it because there is not much he can do abt the demands of the job at the moment.

I am the first to admit that I have a short temper. I have gone to counselling to try and fix it. I think I have now got my outbursts down to say three or four times a year. I try very hard, but sometimes the stress from other parts of our life spills over. My husband says I should find other ways of coping and not take it out on him. I agree. I find this easier said than done though. When I say I get angry, there is no namecalling/ no fighting in front of the children/no physical abuse. Just me losing my temper like above/sometimes speaking in a nasty tone, and so on.

My idea of marriage is that if one person occasionally blows up, the other person should forgive them if they apologise. I'd do the same with him. However, he is the type of person who stays mostly calm and then has a big blowup once a year or so. I should also mention that he hates confrontation in most areas of his life. He likes pleasant interactions everywhere; but this is something I find unviable in family life.

He is now so furious that he wants to cancel our family holiday because he does not want to go anywhere with me. He has also said really hurtful things, such as "You have been the cause of most of my unhappiness in the past few years." I really don't know what to do now. I have apologised, but he won't accept an apology. Please help.

innisglas Sat 15-Feb-14 03:48:57

It's hard to have an opinion just from what you say here, but certainly it sounds like you put yourself in the wrong with your temper and now everything that happens is your fault. Certainly what you quote from him sounds much more like a temper tantrum than what you said, in fact, a huge overreaction

FatNotFit Sat 15-Feb-14 03:51:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FatNotFit Sat 15-Feb-14 03:52:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FatNotFit Sat 15-Feb-14 03:53:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

perfectstorm Sat 15-Feb-14 05:05:31

He let your child down, as part of a pattern of doing so, and you sent a frustrated and upset text over this... and this is you being abusive?

Blimey. He's led a sheltered life.

Has he spent more time than usual away at/for work this past year at all?

FrankieStien Sat 15-Feb-14 05:11:29

I don't think that email is abusive. You sound cross in it but for good reason.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 15-Feb-14 06:10:55

I can't judge whether you are abusive on the strength of one e-mail but angry e-mails in block capitals are an aggressive and cowardly way to communicate. If you are unhappy with someone, talk to the person about it directly.

Do you have these angry outbursts you describe with other people or just your husband? When you have an outburst what happens? For a passive person that avoids confrontation, being shouted at is very distressing, even if there is a genuine problem and even if the person doing the shouting apologises afterwards

Squirrelsmum Sat 15-Feb-14 06:13:31

Does he often call you abusive? Just going on your post I think he is the one with issues, he missed an important event in your child's life, not the first time, and when you got upset with him about it he threatened to cancel the family holiday because you made him upset? For real?

thezoobmeister Sat 15-Feb-14 06:21:51

You expect a bunch of total strangers on the Internet to arbitrate between you and your DH based on one side of the story?

I think you should go to couples counselling if you are serious about fixing this. Rather than apportioning blame, which appears to be your agenda at present.

PlainBrownEnvelope Sat 15-Feb-14 06:28:47

Does he actually have the influence at work to say no to travel requests, because that's a pretty critical piece of information.

What was the important event?

Lweji Sat 15-Feb-14 06:32:08

It depends on what the work trip is for and what the event was.

Why did you send the e-mail rather than talk to him?

You know your husband. Was he sad he was missing the event but really had to go? Or did he just not care?

In any case, no, a partner does not have to forgive angry nasty outbursts all the time.

I do think you need to count to 10 or 100.
You could have waited until you were calmer to send the e-mail. Or just tell him that she was upset and discuss what you both could do to make it better.

You knew there was nothing he could do about it then, you know he can't actually sort it out with the boss to make sure he doesn't miss events. You just wanted to take it out on him because your DD was sad and thus you were feeling sad. Are you sure you didn't add to your DD's unhappiness?

If his work is a problem, then it needs to be discussed properly, not with angry, shouty emails, ordering him about.

He has also said really hurtful things, such as "You have been the cause of most of my unhappiness in the past few years."
Do you think he was being truthful? Because then it may hurt you, but it's not hurtful in the sense that it is meant to hurt you.
I'd pay attention.

Lweji Sat 15-Feb-14 06:39:24

One thing I do find worrying is in your last paragraph where you say he is blaming you for his feelings. I don't want to wave a big red a suite flag, but no is is responsible for his feelings and actions but himself. If he is unhappy then he should do something about it, raise the matter at the time, not avoid confrontation until one big horrible blow up (and I bet you anything you're the one who ends up pleading and apologising after that blow up, am I right?)

Most of this could be said about the OP too.
The trip should have been discussed earlier, or later, not in an angry outburst. She's blaming him for her being upset because the DD was upset. Maybe she should be teaching the DD to deal with her feelings in this instance, instead of taking it out on him.
And if she is the one with the most blow ups, then she is the one who needs to do something about it and raise the matter at the time.

But, as others have said, it all depends on context. My ex could seem very calm but he went out of his way to annoy people.

It doesn't really seem the case here, but you only wrote about one event, and I can't see here how he was in the wrong.

NumptyNameChange Sat 15-Feb-14 06:40:57

obviously not much info here to go on but from what you've said it sounds like he's found a stick to beat you with and is using it to wear you down into never saying boo. obviously just what you've said though.

does this need for 'pleasant interactions' come across as controlling or normal? what is his family of origin like? how do they deal with tension? what are his mum and dad like marriage wise?

if the true extent of your 'abusive' behaviour is 3 or 4 snippy emails/interacitons a year then i think the above sounds likely. if you're minimising then obviously it's different.

mynewpassion Sat 15-Feb-14 06:49:50

On this one incident, it doesn't sound abusive but it could be just one thing in a line of several incidents. You acknowledge that you can get a bit nasty and maybe worse in the past. You sought out help to control it. Depending on what is said, apologies don't erase the words once they are out.

Or maybe he is feeling guilty for missing the event and you piling on the guilt and anger made him lash out at you by blaming it on your anger issues. Also, threatening to cancel the holiday and saying hurtful stuff is just getting back at you. These are his issues. Or it could be that he is tired of being your punching bag and this was just the straw that broke the camel's back.

I don't really know.

Could he have said no to this job travel without it affecting his employment adversely? Did he try to re-arrange his schedule or have someone take his place but couldn't? Did he talk to DD and explain? Will he try to make it up to her some how?

differentnameforthis Sat 15-Feb-14 07:03:53

All this talk from other posters about letting the dc down...he was travelling for work, sometimes that what you have to do for work.

If he simply decided to go to the pub all day on their birthday, then yes, he is letting them down, but travelling for work? Really?

differentnameforthis Sat 15-Feb-14 07:05:50

Oh & your emails wasn't abusive, aggressive yes!

As for him perceiving your behaviour as abusive, just because you don't feel like it is, I think you have to take him seriously. You need to have a good chat about things, I think & stop sending aggressive emails.

nooka Sat 15-Feb-14 07:19:32

I don't know whether the email on it's own was abusive, but it undoubtedly was not at all nice, and no just saying sorry probably doesn't really cut it, unless you really mean it and won't do it again.

Sometimes I have had to be away for things that were important to my children and they were sad. That made me sad too, but being far away there wasn't much I could do. I expect that dh found the children being sad upsetting at times, but he would have done his best to cheer them up and then moved on. We would have talked about it later and if it was a very big deal thought about what we could do to make things better next time.

Sending a 'you bastard' email, especially if the problem was not of the other person's making is mainly about spreading your unhappiness I think.

Logg1e Sat 15-Feb-14 07:27:01

Your description of your behaviour reminded me of how my mother behaved when I was a child - only losing it a few times a year, only talking in a nasty way etc.

I'm not saying you don't have a good reason to be angry or frustrated (it's impossible to tell) but you don't have an excuse to be nasty or send emails like that.

Lweji Sat 15-Feb-14 07:28:22

That email blamed him for your feelings as well as the DD's, made a veiled threat that it could be the end because you were sick of it, and put him in the unreasonable position of taking control of his work schedule when apparently he can't.

From his point of view he didn't actually do anything wrong. You were just feeling frustrated, but you really shouldn't take it out on him like that.

At some point apologies do mean nothing. Particularly if you reached a level previously where you had to get counselling.
This event won't be taken by itself, but it will pile up on top of all others and it will bring up all his hurt from previous outbursts.

Another person might be fine with it and brush it off, but he doesn't. You sound mismatched in that aspect, but it doesn't invalidate his feelings. Maybe he does need to grow a thicker skin, and you could talk to him about it, and maybe have counselling, but his response of possibly walking away is not wrong either. It's his choice how he deals with his feelings, as it is yours how you deal with yours.
In this instance you chose to take it out on him and that's what he is seeing. Your choice of action. Nothing but you caused that email.

Joysmum Sat 15-Feb-14 07:41:03

My DH work long and unpredictable hours and is often away.

However, on important occasions he's been very clear to those above him that he's either booking holiday for those days, or must be local and finish in time.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 15-Feb-14 08:01:28

Bully for your DH Joysmum but some of us don't get the choice. I recently had to cancel two events very important to me because I was on a three-line whip to attend to some corporate stuff in another country. Ultimately, they pay my salary and it would be a career-limiting move to refuse....

NotJustACigar Sat 15-Feb-14 08:44:53

I'm sorry but I do think your email to him was pretty horrible. It sounds like he's under a fair bit of stress at work and being pressured to travel. he likely feels a lot of guilt over not being there for the occasion as well. You are adding more stress and pressure instead of being supportive. Unless he has a pattern of missing DCs important occasions then I'm sure he would much rather not have gone on the work trip. The purpose of a marriage I think is to be kind and supportive to each other, not to be a second, meaner boss to your husband.

If I were ou I would suggest and get into counselling as quickly as possible as your DH sounds extremely fed up. It sounds like he thinks he would be much happier without you in his life and from that I can only assume he is considering leaving. That plus cancelling the holiday tells me he has at least one foot out of the door. You need to get back into counselling as soon as possible. Call relate on Monday morning and tell your husband immediately you're going to get help.

PowderMum Sat 15-Feb-14 08:45:32

OP I've been known to send similar emails to yours to my DH, he knows that it is me expressing my frustration and certainly doesn't think I'm being abusive.

When you have a job where you can't control your trips it can be really difficult and sometimes you miss important events. I get frustrated because my DH often has to travel on a Sat or Sun just so he is ready for a meeting first thing on Monday morning and then often he doesn't get back until the following Saturday lunchtime.

When I am thinking clearly and rationally I know that it is part of his contract and that he can't say no, plus this is why he is paid a very good salary and to be fair it has been the case for the whole of our relationship pre and post DC. However when yet again I'm left dealing with all the at home crap whilst he swans off around the world I see red and let him know. If he ever called me on it I would have to seriously think about the relationship.

I might see a red flag in your DH behaviour but it really depends on the background, what was the event he missed, did he really have no influence on going away, how old is your daughter.

DameEdnasBridesmaid Sat 15-Feb-14 08:49:18

Your email makes you sound like you think you are in charge.

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