Advanced search

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.

But what if it is the other way round?

(177 Posts)
sufferingtoo Wed 26-Feb-14 10:00:27

Namechanged as my DP knows my username. Long time lurker, occasional poster and definitely don't live under a bridge!

Finally got up the courage to post whilst reading a current thread about anger management and did not want to hijack it.

My current situation is almost exactly the same as the OP in that thread. When my DP gets annoyed or something is not going their way they get consumed with rage - there is no violence - just rage and then an extended period of sniping and comments to belittle me.

Our DC is only 4 and I am worried how this will affect him in the future.

The real sting in the tail is that I am DH and the problem is with DW.

For instance we had a very minor disagreement on Sat night that should have resulted in a 5 min husband/wife row at most.

For me it resulted in the standard intensely angry tirade of abuse about how rubbish I am, how she had wasted her life with me, etc. She literally looked like she is going to explode with anger. Sunday was complete scilence except for continued snide comments, Monday not much better and we almost had a civil conversation last night. I did asked "how am I meant to live like this" and got told "don't! just leave!".

Going on past form she will be nice as pie by this evening or tomorrow morning and it will be like it never happened.

Don't get me wrong - I have my failings (as we all do) but I don't think I deserve this.

The advice on here about taking the DC's and getting a better life is all well and good when aimed at the female partner but what can the father do? My plan seems to be to suck it up, protect my DC from it and get us both through this, while trying to get her to realise what she is doing and hopefully improve the situation.

Before you ask - it does seem she was treated much like this as a child - talks about how her parents always put her down etc.

Any advice on how to manage the situation would be gratefully appreciated.

capsium Wed 26-Feb-14 10:37:03

puds My advice would be the same regardless of gender. I am just trying to be sensitive to the difference between emotional outbursts and more violent ones.

Not all who have the former, for a period of time will go on to have the latter. They may just be going through a difficult time, may be suffering from depression or just stress. There is a sense of scale to be ascertained.

capsium Wed 26-Feb-14 10:38:55

suffering X post.

Well if that is the case you need to talk. Marriage guidance and /or GP would be the next step.

Ellboo Wed 26-Feb-14 10:40:28

Of course your decisions about whether to live with this are yours alone. But in terms of your son, and speaking as the (grown up) child of a very volatile (but loving) mother, I would say that my Dad cushioned us a lot from her drama. I always knew that he would be calm and reliable (and still do) if she upset me. I never saw him react to her sharp tongue (other than to leave the room sometimes). I have often wondered how he put up with it, but am glad he did, as we are by-and-large a very hapy family. It has made me and my brothers very sensitive to other people's moods, but that's no bad thing.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 26-Feb-14 10:45:54

I don't mean to be annoying here, but you say the minor disagreement 'should have' resulted ina five minute row at most, but obviously your wife doesn't feel like that - yes, she sounds as though she needs to work on outbursts and anger, but isn't the thing about arguments quite often that small things set them off?

I know we've had disagreements about the merits of cloth v sponge as wiping tool that have ended up as the trigger for huge arguments where resentment about housework merges into resentment about money and then before you know it the whole relationship is suddenly crap... but one person can't really say 'that is a minor thing and should only have resulted in a short argument', whatever their sex.

AlpacaYourThings Wed 26-Feb-14 10:46:01


Do you think she is under a lot of pressure?
Is this normal behaviour for her?
Has she always been like this?

If there was a change in my DP's behaviour I would seek professional help as I know it's not like him and I would be worried for him.

If she has always been like this, is there a chance she will change? Patterns of abuse would show that EA don't change.

DebbieOfMaddox Wed 26-Feb-14 10:47:47

There can be middle ground if she wants to change. But she'd need to accept that she has a problem and be proactive in seeking help. How likely do you think that is?

What are your working situations? Is your DW the primary caregiver?

I think there will often be different advice to a primary caregiver experiencing domestic abuse (get out and take the children with you) from that given to someone where the abusive partner is the primary caregiver (where without a clearly documented history of abuse the existing caregiver is likely to secure residence of the child(ren) and the NRP will then be largely at the mercy of the abusive RP over how much contact there is).

Try contacting the Men's Advice Line (0808 801 0327 (line open Mon-Wed 10am-1pm, 2pm-5pm),, or Mankind (01823 334244 (line open Mon-Fri 10am-4pm, Mon-Thu 7-9pm),

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 26-Feb-14 10:49:12

The middle ground is to confront and reject the behaviour. In the immortal words of Supernanny... 'it's not assetable (sic)' Getting annoyed with stuff is part of life. Getting annoyed with partners is part of a long term relationship. But the angry outbursts you're describing are very personal, quite extreme, and specifically designed to intimidate, crush and belittle. That's abusive bullying and that's the part you have to confront and reject.

sufferingtoo Wed 26-Feb-14 10:50:06

ellboo - thank you for your post - whilst I appreciate what others are saying and will evaluate my situation every day - I think what you have said will give me the strength to think I may be able to do just that - cushion DC from her - and maintain the by-and-large happy family we have.

rainbowsmiles Wed 26-Feb-14 10:51:59

Sufferingto that is not a solution. Does your wife think she has a problem? She surely can't be happy with this.

sufferingtoo Wed 26-Feb-14 10:58:22

Original - I was meant to do something - I forgot - that caused her 30 seconds inconvienince. I do not know the correct description but feel sure it did not need to cause 40 minutes screaming and 4 days of tension.

Alpaca - I cannot see her as being stressed. SAHM to one school age DS, financially secure, used to work full time and was really stressed then, has friends etc. If I am honest - looking back it has always been like this.

Cogito - I think confront and reject is probably a very good starting point - thank you

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 26-Feb-14 11:01:48

Yeah, forgetting to do stuff is one of those things that, sometimes, can feel like more than it is, iyswim?

One can feel that the forgetting is indicative of not caring, not respecting, not listening... and I think that your deciding how much it should have mattered and how important it is and what she should have felt about it might not help.

Nobody should be shouted at, and it does sound as though there is some potential for Anger Management here - I'm not trying to diminish that.

hellsbellsmelons Wed 26-Feb-14 11:04:15

Sorry capsium it really wasn't fighting talk.
The list is what I think you are suggesting the OP do in this situation.
Not that you should 'shut the fuck up'.
That's not what I meant at all.
Maybe under my first line the 2nd line should have been, so you are suggesting the OP does:-
Everyone's opinion is valid here and we all have differing opinions on things.
It's healthy and I honestly didn't mean what I think you thought I meant - if that makes any sense!???

JohnFarleysRuskin Wed 26-Feb-14 11:06:53

I would not put up with this. Sorry.

Have you been able to calmly tell her what she is doing, how she makes you feel? Does she accept that her behavior is horrible? Does she want to change.

If not, then I would make plans to leave.

capsium Wed 26-Feb-14 11:11:10

hells No worries. I do think you are jumping to conclusions though. I am trying to be responsive to the situation as the OP has described it, it is difficult to see exactly what is going on from the outside.

What is happening may not be EA, it could just be a bad patch in the marriage or the result of the wifes's stress or even a medical condition such as depression.

There is a variety of actions that can be taken to tackle these issues and they are issues which are tackled successfully by lots of people everyday.

Burren Wed 26-Feb-14 11:11:26

OP, when I was a financially-secure SAHM to one child in a loving marriage, I was miserable and enraged and exploded regularly at my husband, because, despite an agreement before we conceived our son that we would live where my job was and he would work from home and travel occasionally to be on site for a project, he moved the goalposts when he lost his job and took another while I was on mat leave in a place from which I could not commute to my work.

I hated every second of being an incomeless domestic drone, and the way our lives were suddenly all about his job.

Are you sure your wife is happy with her life? Because the explosion over something minor was me, when is had no power, no professional life, and was frustrated and inwardly furious.

AlpacaYourThings Wed 26-Feb-14 11:22:48

If I am honest - looking back it has always been like this.

Considering this, what do you think is the right thing to do then?

ItIsAnIdeasGame Wed 26-Feb-14 11:32:20

Can you record her when she rants?

newlifeforme Wed 26-Feb-14 11:44:05

You need to confront the behaviour and ensure you wife knows its unacceptable.Like neo my husband grew up in a similar environment.It has impacted him signifantly and now in his 40's he is having counselling (for the last 18 months).He (&I ) have little respect for his dad who failed to protect the children.The repercussions of this behaviour is very damaging and long lasting.

What concerned me is that your wife reacts when 'things not going her way'.If this is the case then when your children grow up and dare to be independent your wife is likely to turn on them.

We have never understood why mother in law was so vile, she alludes to a bad childhood but that does not remove her responsibility.She may have been highly stressed raising children but it still doesn't not excuse the behaviour.MIL and FIL did eventually divorce but the damage was done.

livingzuid Wed 26-Feb-14 11:56:50

She's not a good mother if she is speaking to you like this when you have children. It's horrible as a child to see and hear one parent behaving like this to the other.

What burren said also needs to be taken into consideration. Did she treat you this way before your child arrived? I think you say she was like this before but if was only after the advent of your child then I wondered about PND or something similar.

Even if there is a more clinical explanation, you have a problem with her behaviour therefore there is a problem. If she does not acknowledge this or seek support and counselling to change her reactions then you need to consider the future of your relationship and what message staying with her when she refuses to acknowledge a serious problem as this gives out.

Good luck.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 26-Feb-14 12:22:40

That's not fair on you, four or five days of this, seriously? - an eruption followed by sniping and then sulking silence. Has she been more prone to this since having DS? Is there any pattern to this, by which I mean around the same time every month?

ToffeeOwnsTheSausage Wed 26-Feb-14 12:28:36

Stop worrying about the future and think about the here and now. Your child is already being affected by the way you house is. You need to take steps to change things and if that means separating and taking him with you, or making her leave, then you must. She might be the main "carer" but she is abusive to you and therefore your child.

People looking for reasons for why she gets so full of anger, maybe she is just a bitch and a bully and likes to lord it over her husband. Some people are just awful.

Clouddancer Wed 26-Feb-14 13:17:27

one person can't really say 'that is a minor thing and should only have resulted in a short argument', whatever their sex.

See, I think this is a valid point; it is quite dismissive of your wife's upset. There may well be a massive difference in perspectives here.

I think the exploding and the sulking could be a sign of communication breakdown and deep unhappiness, rather than abuse, but it becomes abusive if perpetuated with no attempt to sort it out.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 26-Feb-14 13:25:39

I think if, after you say, 'DW, I hate it when you're cold with me for days and when you get so angry - it's not fair, and it's not good for DS: can we talk about it? Is there something that's making you unhappy?', she tells you to f off or won't discuss it, or says you deserve it, or something, then it's time to think seriously about next steps.

But I would give that a try first.

JohnFarleysRuskin Wed 26-Feb-14 13:27:28

I think people have a right not to be 'exploded at' in their home. If this is her way of dealing with stress, then she needs to change her way of dealing with it.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 26-Feb-14 13:34:41

Of course, but the fact is some people do shout - I think rather than all this talk of packing bags and leaving and not putting up with it, if there's still some affection and a desire to have a better relationship, it's a good idea to try to talk about what's behind that.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now