Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Anyone experienced this?(56 Posts)
My lovely friend's DH will not speak to hear, it's been four weeks now. He was like this before Christmas for three weeks and then ok but then they had a minor row about the children's behaviour and he's not spoken to her since. She's tried so hard to make up, she keeps asking to talk, she's asked for a hug, she even made him a valentine's meal but he just rejects her. It's causing so much tension at home, they live in a small house with two young children and you can sense the tension as soon as you walk through the door.
She's at a loss as to what to do and doesn't understand why he's doing this when their argument was relatively minor.
He's refused to talk to her and is completely against counselling. She's terrified that he's pushing her away because he wants it to end. The children are young and she earns very little so doesn't know how she'd cope on her own.
Does anyone have any ideas or experience of this?
It's called stonewalling and its emotional abuse
Or he might want to end but wants her to do it so is pushing her to the limits to make her.
Encourage her to save herself some money x
It is emotional abuse, it's manipulative and it could easily be the fore-runner to one of those asinine 'I'm not sure if I love you any more' conversations. Look at all the things she's doing to get back in his good books... it's demeaning.
If it was my friend I would suggest they stop crawling, leave him to his ridiculous sulk and get on with life with the DCs. I'd also suggest - since she is nervous about what would happen to her in the event of a split - they get a bit of information on the reality from CAB, a solicitor or similar. Take the fear out of it and she might find some confidence.
For someone to stop communicating with their partner there has to be more to it than just a small falling out.
There seems to be a deeper problem in the marriage that she's not telling you about.
If there's a deeper problem, rather than not telling, it could be that she's not aware of it yet. Quite common for cheating partners, for example, to detach or start to act oddly right before the conversation when they end things 'out of the blue'.
She needs to stop apologising, stop thinking she's done something to deserve this and stop thinking she couldn't possibly cope on her own.
Second what teddybear and joysmum already said. He is being abusive and he may well be trying to force her to end it. Even if she was in the wrong in the original argument, she has apologised and his refusal to talk to her for four weeks is emotionally manipulative and very, very wrong. He is trying to make her feel so bad about herself that by the time he does speak to her again she will be so fucking grateful he can do and say whatever the hell he wants.
Encourage her to stop trying to change him and focus on what SHE can do. She could go for counselling herself to get some perspective on the way he is treating her and to work on her own self esteem. She could also try and get some free legal advice to find out exactly where she would stand financially if they split. All these things will make her feel less helpless and see that she has some choices other than putting up with his horrid treatment.
It's a control technique from a nasty man who believes that if he doesn't knock his wife about that makes him a good guy. When he's got her good and ready to do ANYTHING to get him to notice her again, he'll relax and "forgive". From then on she'll be terrified to do anything to breach the peace - all he has to do is go a bit quiet and he can win any argument. Sometimes it would be easier if such men would knock their wives about because then it would be clear what was going on.
Such behaviour is generally learned from somewhere - is one of his parents a sulker? - and can thus be unlearned, unless he has a personality disorder. Whether he is receptive to unlearning it remains to be seen.
I think she needs to find out exactly how she could cope on her own (bearing in mind that the non-resident parent is expected to pay maintenance for the children) and present it to her H with "look, clearly you're not happy in this relationship, this is how we can part with minimum expense and distress to the children". If it's what he wants, she will be ahead of the game here and there is some hope they can indeed do the whole thing fairly smoothly.
However, my guess is that he wants no such thing, he wants to put her back in her box so she doesn't dare to argue. So this is the point at which he may (a) realise what he stands to lose and step up (b) realise this is not working any more and try another control technique or (hopefully not) (c) go ballistic and start throwing his weight around in a more overtly aggressive way. In the last scenario this is where your friend realises it's time to (d) LTB. But let's hope it's (a), eh?
Oh, and second Cogito as well - she's very smart. ;)
My ex did this because I made a meal without first asking what he wanted -made one of his favourites but he didn't want it so he didn't speak to me for 5 weeks before announcing that it was very presumptuous of me but he was sure I'd learned my lesson
I obviously hadn't because I let him continue behaving like an abusive twat for the next ten years while I tied myself in knots wondering how I had turned into such a terrible person that couldn't do anything right
He is emotionally abusing her and it will not get better
Tell her to stop grovelling and start getting cross. Tell her to try something like:
"Would you like a cup of tea? Oh whoops - you can't tell me, can you. You're not speaking to me! What about blinking once for yes and twice for no? Would that work do you think? Hmm??" then wander off chuckling.
Rightly or wrongly I'd be totally taking the piss out of him. It's completely pathetic and I'd be making sure he knew it.
He's abusing her, albeit not physically.
She's acting like someone who is being abused (trying to appease him rather than just telling him to fuck off to the far side of fuck).
She should pretend it's not bothering her, play her music song along, get the make up on, laughing etc seeming without a care in the world, he won't be long in wondering what's making her so happy, this worked for me, but dh never lasted giving silent treatment for anymore than a day or2, I'd b worried at how long this has went on, she needs to respect herself and not put up with this. It won't do the kids any good.
I agree, she needs to get on with her own life with the children and whatever else she does.
And just leave him to his pathetic little childish sulk on his own. Which is exactly what it will be reduced to if she stops trying to knock down the stonewall...
I agree calamitykate!
I've been married now for twenty years ..happily
However, when I first met my dh he would go all silent on me for days on end...I'm a very chatty outgoing person and noticed myself changing, by fussing round him and trying to please him.
I loved him and was perfect for me apart from these long controlling moods. We were not married at the time,
So I sat him down told him very clearly that I loved him loads but we were not going to last if he is going to continue with these moods!! And if he had something to say just say it and we could talk.
He agreed and told me it was mainly jealousy and enjoyed the attention he got from me trying to get him out of his black moods!
From then on I did completely ignore him when he went into a mood ( it was hard but I made sure I did it) I was cheerful and carried on with life.
My god the massive change !!!
Over the years he may have gone a bit moody for silly things but it never lasts more than half hour.
He knows he won't get any attention whatsoever !!
I think his dad was very moody with his mum
He has learnt that life is too short to be in a miserable mood.
I've said you have a choice live a nice happy life or stay in a miserable mood that I won't be taking any notice of.
Put it into practice and wait for results
If they really love you they will change.
Thanks all. I feel so cross for her, she lacks self esteem anyway and really doesn't need this.
His father is like this and his mother ended up leaving him so there is a family history.
I think their marriage is generally very pressured, they really struggle financially, they don't have savings or property and find it really hard to make ends meet. They both work shifts and sometimes they don't see one another from one week to the next. He also hates his job and resents that she works part time. She works part time because it's impossible to arrange childcare around their shifts. On top of this they have a toddler who is in the midst of the terrible twos and is a real challenge and a 3 year old who hates that the other one gets any attention.
Cog - I did wonder about him cheating. I asked her and she doesn't think he is but may be in denial.
Thanks for the advice - I did think counselling for her may be a good idea but she's so shy I can't see her initiating it. Re. the legal advice, is it worth it given that they have no assets and no money?
I feel so frustrated for her
Also, is there a website I can refer her to about emotional abuse. I did wonder about pointing her to this thread but she'll probably kill me.
Ive been there, Ive had it done to me on many occasions, after the umpteenth time I realised it was ridiculous & why the fuck was I trying to please & grovel to this fuckwit.
So I ignored it, pretended like he didnt exist, didnt make him food, didnt do his washing, he got the message.
The emotional abuse carried on in other forms & I left last October, couldnt be happier to be rid of such a manipulative twat- Ive two under 2 & it hasnt been easy but at least I am happy.
hope your friend finds strength-its no way to live in your home
It's pretty clear she lacks self-esteem unfortunately. I am also willing to bet that the silent treatment is not the only way he brings her down. You mention resentment over her part time work and I wonder what form that takes. Sometimes abuse victims are Ok about owning up to sulking behaviour because they see it as relatively minor but they're not happy sharing the more insidious stuff. I don't think she's in denial about cheating exactly, but it's part of a bigger picture where she's frightened to stand up to this guy because she doesn't want him to walk out.
Womens Aid - Emotional Abuse. Although she may not be in a place to hear this kind of information.
Thanks. Stupid question but how do I send a link to this thread? I'm on my phone.
Are you sure you want her to read the whole thread?
It's not just abuse of her, it's abuse of the kids too. Imagine how confusing and distressing it must be for little ones to witness this every day, for so long too.
Join the discussion
Please login first.