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Dh just explodes every so often(51 Posts)
My DH used to be really lovely but in the past few years he's got nastier and nastier towards me at times. He swings from being very loving to suddenly being awful towards me, often with little or no provocation. By little provocation, I mean something such as me objecting to a joke or comment he makes about me, or me being 'awkward' and not doing as he says.
Every so often he will explode at me, make out I'm in the wrong, and then come out with a string of things that I've supposedly done recently that have pissed him off, ie things where I haven't done as he says.
This morning he made a nasty comment about something I was wearing and when I objected to it he then escalated it into an argument, saying I'd started it and that I'm always moaning at him (I'm not at all, in fact if anything I try to make an effort to be upbeat), that he doesn't like me at the moment and that today he didn't want anything to do with me. I got upset and then tried to sort things out before I took the DC out for the afternoon, and he said he wants to still be married to me but it will "depend on my behaviour" towards him.
Honestly though, he gets in such a strop if he thinks I've said things snottily when I haven't, or basically if I do not toe the line and just do as he says.
He then said he is going to start pulling me up on things that I do that annoy him and he started having a go at me because one day this week I left our bedroom curtains closed during the day and didn't make the bed, because I was out all day after dropping the DC at school, and when I got home I didn't go upstairs and forgot about it. I said that there are loads of things that I do do every single day to keep the house running smoothly and he started asking me what they were and I said some of them and he was scoffing and saying things like "that only takes a minute". When he's in moods like this he picks apart everything I do and starts making out that I never do anything in the house.
I do work BTW. Not as many hours as him but I do the bulk of the housework (although it's never good enough), cooking, childcare.
I feel really low.
Your description of how you can't win for losing sounds eerily like my experience with exH. He didn't care how the house looked. I visited his place after we divorced to pick up the DCs one time after visitation and it was not one bit tidy or even clean. The DCs reported he constantly had mice.
He won't change. There is a script in operation here. He would do this to anyone -- there is nothing you personally did to cause this and nothing you can do to control it or make it stop. In many ways he is on autopilot. This is 'relationship with a woman 'mode for him.
I also have an ex dh like this, during counselling when our marriage was on the verge of collapse he actually admitted he would sometimes "wind me up on purpose" because he knew it would lead to me getting angry with him, kicking off in front of friends and family and making me look the worse person and him the innocent victim of his "banshee" of a wife.
The little comments about housework etc, exactly the same! makes me mad to even think back to that time, putting up with it for so long like an idiot!
Your kids will pick up on this, focus on them and ask yourself if they are going to be happy growing up in this environment. Do you think he would think from their perspective if you pointed this out to him, enough to make him try and make positive changes? what is his relationship like with his family?
"I wonder if he isn't planning on leaving and just wants to blame the split on you"
I was thinking the same
Another one here who had an ex like this, I was constantly walking on eggshells. I could tell as soon as he walked in the house what mood he was in and if it wasn't a good one I'd sit there terrified, just waiting for him to explode and not daring to speak
He won't change, you deserve better - and so do your children
Well done for starting this thread. It is extremely hard to acknowledge that you are in an abusive relationship, especially as you had a violent partner before. I am sure you are feeling 'Oh no not again', and really hoping that you don't have to leave this relationship. And of course this affects your whole self-esteem. But at least you have some - otherwise you would not be writing here. Cherish that and know that you have the strength to change things.
There is some brilliant advice on here. My fellow posters are bang on. He is being utterly abusive and controlling. He won't get better. This is so familiar to me. If you don't have the Lundy Bancroft book already, do get it. Pictish has nailed your situation. It happens to lots of intelligent, feisty, self-confident, determined women. We can be all those things and still find that we not only seem to have chosen someone that has turned into a misogynist arsehole, but that we also find we have become under-confident, hesitant, worried shadows of our former selves...tiptoeing round a nasty, unrepentant bully who will never apologise, and who has no basic human compassion towards you. He will do all this, probably whilst maintaining that he is a brilliant father and all round nice guy to everyone else.
It is very common for the change to occur just after having children. It is true you are more vulnerable as a mother because they can now blackmail you with the children. I found myself finding ways to stay 'upbeat' (as you call it) and bending over backwards to make things right so that there would not be a confrontation. When that didn't work I also tried 'disengagement'. I remember telling a friend that I just needed to grow a tougher shell, and even planned to cultivate a 'bunker mentality' towards his appalling treatment of me. This does not work. You are living in the same house, you have children to care for - you can no more build yourself an emotional bunker, while you have an emotional terrorist in the house, than fly.
He is the one attacking you. The enemy is on the inside of your family. You can't disengage. Ultimately the only way to defend yourself and your children is to get him out of the house. Or get yourself out.
He doesn't want you to call his bluff. He relies on being able to threaten you with breaking up 'unless' you behave yourself. Instead of being terrified by the idea (I know, I have been there. My STBXH tried frightening me with that for years and I fell for it) - why don't you just imagine what life could be like if he did leave. Imagine if, next time he said 'I will stay married to you, depending on your behaviour', that you replied 'Actually, I've thought about this and I don't want to be married to you any more.'
If he threatens to leave, why don't you say 'Go on then.'
It might be a whole other problem trying to get him out if it does come to this, because then he would lose much of his bullying power over you.
So for the meantime, do get the Lundy Bancroft book. Read the good advice on this thread. I don't think people are rushing to the LTB option, but this situation has obviously built enough of a list of symptoms that people can read it for what it is. It is a very familiar tale, but it is vital that you get out of it before you are crushed. You need to do this for you and your children. He won't improve.
Good luck. You sound brilliant. It is not your fault he is like this. You are not the stupid one.
I wonder if he isn't planning on leaving and just wants to blame the split on you.
Sweetheart, it sounds like you have been conditioned to accept abuse. First from your family then your first husband and now this. Only you can get off this destructive merry go round.
It's also a rubbish model for the kids to see.
What is the situation with the house? Do you both own it? How are you set financially.
I wonder if he really was that nice when you first started.
Have you looked at red flags to see if any applied then?
I have seen on threads here that affairs were associated with such sudden changes in behaviour. Could that be a reason?
But, ultimately, you don't have to accept it. Get legal and financial advice and go on from there.
If you are worried about his reactions, contact WA for advice. Which may be a good idea anyway for support, as you don't seem to have it elsewhere.
Yes...he's an abusive barrel of shit.
I think that he's allowed to get angry and be pissed off whenever he feels like it, but you are not. His anger is justified, whereas yours is an outrage.
I think that he complains about your tone when you ask him to do something, and it seems to you that no matter how you say things, it's the wrong way to say it.
If think if you stand up for yourself after he is rude or unpleasant to you, that'll be you starting an argument.
I think you second guess your every action and word, considering first how he's going to react, and you adjust your expectations, needs and personal wants in accordance to his.
I think you are in an abusive relationship.
Seems to me that you have been conditioned by your environment growing up, into accepting poor treatment as a matter of course. The good news is, you can recognise that, and just as easily decide not to.
You need to look inward and listen to your own opinion now and trust yourself. It's telling you that this is wrong, and you are being bullied by your own husband.
That's why you started this thread.
Read up on emotional abuse. There is easily accessible information on the net. Helps to move forward if you are clear on what you are dealing with.
It is interesting - first husband physically abusive, your current partner emotionally abusive. The latter is just as bad as the first, but you will say to yourself he doesn't hit me like my ex did, so he isn't as bad. I know I did, but it was only after doing the Freedom Programme and putting some distance between us did I see the facts.
Freedom Programme can be accessed HERE
"I really don't know what steps to take from here. I have thought about just totally disengaging from him initially to see what happens and to see if his behaviour changes?
He used to be so lovely when we first got together"
These men can and do tie their victims up in knots.
Your idea in the second sentence simply will not work. These men do not change and you cannot begin to try and disengage so long as he is in your day to day life. Your children all too clearly pick up on bad vibes and atmosphere. Also sound travels; they hear their dad shout at you all too clearly.
All the above is typical of abusive men; they can be and often are charm personified in the early days. This man's mask slipped over time and he really started to get going when your youngest was three years of age. Abuse like he shows you is truly insidious in its onset.
Your own parents poor example (they were and remain abusive) and ill treatment of you also led you into the arms of such a man (your first H) because that was all you really knew; you married really a carbon copy of them. You do not have them in your life now, the same needs to happen with this man. Your second H is basically abusive as well, albeit of a different type, but abusive all the same.
You are not powerless even now however and you have a choice re this man; your children do not. Do you really want them to grow up in such a household, to learn about abuse and being abused as you did?. One generation i.e you has been profoundly affected, now your children are seeing it as well. Do not leave them such a damaging legacy because they truly won't thank you for staying with him and longer term your relationship with them as adults could be well and truly over. They could well despise you for being too weak to leave and accuse you too of putting him before them.
Living with the Dominator is no fun at all. Your only option is to legally separate.
Are you in the UK?. If so talk to Womens Aid as well because they can and will help you. Even if you are not in the UK there are domestic violence services who can and will help you. You just need to be brave and ask for that help.
I'm so sorry you are going through this. It's textbook domestic abuse of the emotional and verbal kind. It only goes in one direction so if you can, please get help, contact WA, your GP, a counsellor for yourself who understands DA.
You can do this. You do bit have to live like this and life can get much easier for you and your DC. It may seem impossible but you CAN do this. It's hard at first - strap yourself in for a bump ride. He will try to convince you that you are wrong or crazy or a bad mum but don't listen to him. And life WILL get easier!
Your self esteem is already shot to pieces - I guess your parents treated you in the same way, your ex was abusive and you are a victim of abuse in this relationship too.
Have you heard of the Freedom Programme? You can do it online for free if attending in person is not a possibility.
Thank you everyone
I really don't know what steps to take from here. I have thought about just totally disengaging from him initially to see what happens and to see if his behaviour changes?
He used to be so lovely when we first got together. He was lovely when DC1 arrived. I'd say his behaviour started changing from when she was around age 3. He was a total arse when I was pregnant with DC2, and a total arse after the birth, refusing to do anything around the house and being nasty. It just seemed like he suddenly started nit picking at everything that I do (or don't do, from his point of view). I feel like there could be 100 crumbs on the floor and I would hoover up 99 of them but I'd get a moan from him for missing one rather than cleaning up 99, if that makes sense.
He was away with work last week for a few days, and I spent loads of time cleaning and sorting the house out whilst he was away, as he always moans and says that I don't do enough. On the day DH got back my 5 year old messed his room up a bit, so of course DH just focussed on that and moaned at me about that.
It really makes me angry too when DH says things that are going to be imflamatory or upsetting, then gets annoyed when I say anything back. It's like he is allowed to have boundaries and I am not. He'll make it quite clear to me that he won't do something, for example "I am not doing the kids bedtimes tonight as I'm too tired", yet for example the other day when he was clippering his hair he asked me to do the back for him and I said "Just bathing the kids, I'll do it in 10", and he got in a bad mood and started saying that I was being awkward. I can't win.
I feel like it's affecting my whole self esteem. I don't speak to my parents or sister as they weren't very nice to me when I was growing up, and in adulthood, and also because my parents are 'good friends' with my first husband, who used to hit me. So I have no family support.
Totally abusive twat. God, how could you tolerate it? Makes me feel sick for you, you need to make the break and bring your DC up in a healthy and happy home. You owe it to them to not raise them in an abusive( emotional and mental)environment and teach them love and respect. Be strong and see him for what he actually is...a complete bully
OP does he behave like this towards other people who annoy him, or is it just you?
sounds exactly like my very emotionally abusive ex - hope you get rid OP. He sounds very scary and in my experience his behaviour will only get worse. Don't let your children grow up thinking this is normal or acceptable.
I remember being told off by my xh once for not having let a car out of a secondary road as I drove past it on the way back from dropping my youngest at preschool (even though there was no traffic around me, and he was too hungover to drive) and he decided to choose to bring this up and rant and berate me once we got home (while he undressed and got back in to bed having decided not to go to work that morning). He went on and on about my driving and crime. Hadn't picked up on my 'misdemeanor' at the time it happened, but wanted to unleash anger and put me down as much as he could (probably so I would not disturb his sleeping and get on with housework). The way he went on I felt like I would probably be jumped on by police and arrested the minute I left the house!
He told me every time he ever made me cry that they were crocodile tears put on to manipulate. Abusive men don't change, they don't respect, they don't love. And I agree that once you have children, something seems to switch on (or off) in these men and they ramp up their abuse, just at the time it becomes so much harder emotionally and physically and financially to leave. FWIW life is so much happier and better and richer in every way now without him in it!
Such abusive men often ramp up the power and control ante when the first child is born. Its a common tactic used by such inherently abusive men.
Men like this one you are with do not change; he is seeing nothing wrong with his behaviour.
This is an abusive relationship you are in, no two ways about it.
You need help and a plan to leave; staying within this will only drag you down further and will also do the children a great deal of emotional harm in thinking that abusive relationships are the norm.
Are you in Eire (I am going by your username here) or are you actually in the UK?. You need legal advice to get this man out of your life as soon as possible.
I was in a relationship like this once, before I met DH.
It's an abusive relationship, nothing less. I understand exactly how you feel - you begin to question your sanity. But you are totally sane.
Sadly, abusers don't change and I think you need some advice.
Whatever happens - if you let this continue, you will become physically ill from the stress of it.
Good luck xxx
He is definitely abusive. Please go and get some advice, CAB, solicitor, Womens Aid. You do not have to put up with this and you don't deserve such treatment.
What you're experiencing OP is emotional abuse... bullying if you prefer... and I'm sorry you're in this situation. His behaviour is designed to make you feel bad, keep you on the back foot and keep you in control. The only way to deal with bullies is either to reject them (LTB) or stand up to them and refuse to accept their crap. What worries me is that you say it is escalating. Please stay safe.
He is abusing you.
You do not deserve this treatment at all.
The way you try to explain to MN that his accusations are not justified makes me want to cry for you.
Please get that Lundy Bancroft book mentioned -- 'Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men'
It does not get better, and appeals to him to stop will only result in more derision and contempt. He is choosing to do this because the satisfaction of hurting you is what he wants out of this relationship and that is what he is getting every single time he starts in at you.
So steel yourself. You have decisions to make.
This was my STBXH. He went from a loving and caring man to a verbally/emotionally abusive arsehole within a couple of years of our DTs being born.
I use to tread on eggshells around him and he would have a blow up about once a month. He constantly told me to shut up in front on our DC and also in front of his Mum which was so humiliating. We separated in horrible circumstances just over a year ago. He is a very angry and emotionally cold person.
I have just book the Lundy Bancroft book to help to move on, it's been a struggle as I still have contact with him because of our DCs. Everyone thinks he's a great guy, it makes me sick but I have to just get on with it for our DCs sake. He will never change because he won't even accept that he's done anything wrong - nothing wrong constantly telling your wife and DC to shut up apparently
It will only get worse for you. You need to make the break. ((Hugs))
Op, my ex h was like you describe. It's walking on egg shells and he is making you feel like to have to justify all your actions! As no one has yet suggested it, please pop onto amazon and get a copy of Lundy Bancrofts book'why does he do that? Inside the minds of angry and controlling men'. There is tons in there that will resonate with you.
My ex h got worse when children were born. iME it doesn't get any better, especially when you are bending over backwards to be positive and self aware and he is taking such an aggressive and controlling stance.
Sorry, not being heavy, but as someone said, this Is a emotional abuse and it's a slow annihilation of yourself.
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