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Am I being manipulated?

(26 Posts)
CakeWillDo Sun 20-Jul-14 12:29:24

I could really do with some advice. The background is that DH and I had a rough patch earlier in the year due to his need to in control of everything. We attended counselling together and things improved dramatically.

Until this week. We are holidaying at my parents house (which can be a bit stressful for us both as they are very different to us). Since we have been here DH has had two verbal outbursts directed at me. The second was finished after I said I didn't want to discuss the issue any more and he shouted at me in front of DC1&2, which undstandibly upset them. So that has played on my mind even though he said sorry.

What has prompted me to post this is a letter he gave me today. Basically asking if I still love him. One reason is I wouldn't kiss him goodbye when he was sweaty, apparently that's putting my dislike of sweat over his feelings. He says I'm snappy, not smiling at him and distant, which I have been. prior to counselling I was ready to leave after living with his controlling for so long. To have his outburst once was disappointing but a second one has me worrying it will be a permanent slip back. Especially as the second outburst came because I had an allergic reaction to something of his (happened previously but nowhere near as bad) as a precaution I asked that he remove it from the house when we go home. He didn't like that and said I was over reacting. He has a history of not considering my health and I was quite upset but stood my ground, hence the shouting at me that I was wrong and he was right. To me we are already in a stressful environment which doesn't help but he lost it twice so I don't want to be close to him.

Am I being too guarded and making this worse? I have been in emotionally abusive relationships in the past and this feels similar with the letter, making me feel bad. But I know I can shut off emotionally and it doesn't always help. Sorry if this is rambling, I can't talk to family as they love dramasad .

Vivacia Sun 20-Jul-14 12:35:57

What do you actually want?

CakeWillDo Sun 20-Jul-14 12:42:00

To be in a relationship where we're two equal partners. I do love DH but I don't want to put up with everything having to be his way. I have my own issues, I'm not perfect. I find it hard to tell if I'm overreacting though?

Vivacia Sun 20-Jul-14 12:46:22

Your first post refers a lot to things such as sweat and allergies, and doesn't really say much about equality and compromise IMHO.

CakeWillDo Sun 20-Jul-14 13:00:47

As in I should comprimise more? Sorry my post was a bit chaotic and longer than I realised.

Vivacia Sun 20-Jul-14 13:17:11

I was thinking compromise on either side.

You want to know if you're being unreasonable or over-reacting, but I can't see how anyone could say either way. The incidents you describe depend so much on the wider context of your relationship.

All I can say is that I don't think relationships are supposed to be this difficult.

(I think your OP was a bit jumbled, and that it might be putting people off being able to reply).

CakeWillDo Sun 20-Jul-14 13:23:54

ok, I appreciate your replies thank you.x

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 20-Jul-14 13:30:23

I think it's manipulative, yes. If I understand it right, in the context of a marriage unhappy enough to require counselling, he yells at you on holiday badly enough to upset both you and the DCs and then follows it up with a letter full of little guilt-inducing references, complaining about you being irritable and unsmiling? Just because you stood up for yourself?

I'm not surprised that you have disengaged from him and
I think this is why the standard advice is that you shouldn't entertain joint counselling with someone who is exhibiting controlling or bullying behaviour.

I suspect you'd like this to be over.

CakeWillDo Sun 20-Jul-14 13:51:12

I apologise for the message being a bit all over. I have asked for it to be deleted do that I can write it again, more coherently.

Yes that is how I'm feeling. The counsellor was happy to see us and did well to challenge him. He did adress his issues. I guess stress on holiday has been too much. would it help if I wrote out what I meant in op?

MiniTheMinx Sun 20-Jul-14 13:52:05

This doesn't sound healthy. Two things strike me about his reaction to you saying you didn't want to discuss further. One, that his reaction was to shout because you were effectively shutting down communication. The shouting could be perceived as a last ditch attempt at control, or a desperate need to resolve the "thing" under discussion. The second, is your need to shut down the dialogue before it is resolved, maybe through fear that you will have to compromise, thus feeling bullied, or maybe because you seek to control the situation yourself.

As regards the letter, well it makes perfect sense to send a letter or find a way of communicating, whereby the person talking can say what they want without being shut down. Or, it could be that the person writing the communication down in this way, wants the last word, doesn't want a two way dialogue or seeks to manipulate, using emotive language to create guilt etc,..

Finally, you say you don't want to be in a relationship with someone when everything has to be their way. Neither should you be. But in order to find a compromise in these situations, sometimes it requires dialogue which is stressful, may feel coercive as each seeks to influence the outcome, may involve emotive reactions and may at times feel like it isn't going your way.

If I were to accept at face value what you have written and rely on intuition, I would say that; you are a sensitive person who dislikes conflict but wants things their own way, he is someone who wants things his way and is prepared to use shouting, bullying tactics to get it. You don't sound at all suited, how did you got to this point of being

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 20-Jul-14 13:52:37

I didn't struggle too much to read it personally but, if you think it could be clarified, feel free.

Vivacia Sun 20-Jul-14 13:58:54

I didn't struggle too much to read it personally but, if you think it could be clarified, feel free.

I agree, others don't seem to have had the same problem.

Guiltypleasures001 Sun 20-Jul-14 14:15:56


You sound put down and cowed, I'm not sure you've got through his years of past treatment of you, your post comes across as walking on eggshells and looking over your shoulder waiting for him to kick off again.

You've changed he's noticed it, it's funny how these types notice things when it might be of detriment to their home comforts and way if life.

Ide say thanks for the letter and mine will be in the post fresh from the solicitor.

Your not happy he doesn't care have a LTB from me and thanks

CakeWillDo Sun 20-Jul-14 14:33:02

ok I will try do this a bit better...

DH, myself and 2DC are holidaying at my parents house. The first incident: On day 2 DH got very wound up with my family and took it out on me. He removed himself from the family and upon his return was very upset. I put this down to a one off and carried on.

The second incident was 2 days ago. I walked into a room, where unbeknown to me he had sprayed something I react to. I asked DH if on our return home we could stop using it (for fear of a full blown reaction). He took it badly and was insisting very strongly I was over reacting and inconveniencing him.

I have since the second incident withdrawn from him a bit. It has concerned me his behaviour. Previous counselling helped and he got it under control. I am also concerned that he has given me a letter asking if I still love him (due to noticing me withdrawing) and has been very upset.

I just don't know if I am being manipulated or if its me withdrawing making the problem. should I just get over his outbursts?

GirlWithTheLionHeart Sun 20-Jul-14 14:38:53

Maybe he's being snappy because he's feeling a bit unloved due to reasons listed in his letter?

I can get quite down and upset with my p, which comes out as snappy if I feel he's being distant etc

GirlWithTheLionHeart Sun 20-Jul-14 14:39:58

For example, if you aren't smiling much at him/seem distant and unloving yet complain about things a lot without the balance of affection and love it could lead him to snap/feel resentful

Quitelikely Sun 20-Jul-14 14:50:17

People snap at each other, especially married ones with dc. I think you are being off with him and he has written you a letter to sort of see why? I think that's an ok thing to do. It is stressful staying with other people (sometimes) and that can manifest itself in a number of ways.

I'm thinking you had a coughing fit after walking into his deodorant (psychic me ha) and as long as you asked him nicely about not using it anymore (think about it, did you ask him in an appropriate way?) I don't understand his response unless he feels you complain or are sensitive about your health??

Annarose2014 Sun 20-Jul-14 14:54:17

I am interested that he felt he needed to put it in a letter even though he's living with you.

Given that you have said you can shut down conversations, could it be possible that he feels a letter is the only way he can lay out his fears?

I think he overreacted to whatever he was spraying as I can't think of anything that it is neccessary to spray in a house as a matter of urgency. However does it really need to be removed from the house entirely? Or just a compromise to use it when you're not around?

It sounds like he has done work on himself. I don't think the latest incidences mean its all gone to pot. And laying out your fears about the relationship to your partner is not inherently controlling - he has a right to voice his worries.

However, if he is reverting to shouting as a means of expressing his frustrations then its back to counselling you go. Learning to argue calmly is an exercise we have to repeatedly practise.

But it does sound like you are withdrawing a good deal. The avoided kiss that upset him very much depends on context. There is a world of difference between someone refusing to kiss someone sweaty is a jokey "Noooooo! You're all sweaty!" way and someone refusing to kiss someone sweaty in a distant, cold way, if you know what I mean?

Regardless, without counselling both of your reactions are going to get worse.

Lweji Sun 20-Jul-14 15:18:55

I also think his reactions are worrying, particularly given what went previously.
No wonder you shut down if you expect shouting.

A letter could be a good idea, but I also don't like that he's asking if you love him in this context.

I think you are finding out that people don't change that much and that he won't either. You can hold out to see if he does, eventually, but you could also be waiting forever, always hoping, until you realise how many years you've wasted being unhappy.

CakeWillDo Sun 20-Jul-14 15:20:08

He wrote the letter when I went out for something. I guess it was easier than trying to talk to me, so I see that is something I've made happen.

No I didn't ask him not to spray it in an aggressive way. Just as I would ask anyone. He got aggressive, I stood my ground and he went overboard. I wanted to end the argument because we weren't going to agree. He will keep going until you agree he's right.

We were having a lovely time until this happened. Also he knows I really don't like kissing him when he's very sweaty thats always been the same. He thinks it's stupid and I should just do it anyway. I don't.

The reason im so bothered is his was a very regular occurance. ittook a lot for him to hange and a lot for me to get past everything that happened. I guess I can only see if things go back to normal when we get home. After reading redponses I'm trying to make an effort to be closer with him and forgot the outbursts.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 20-Jul-14 16:07:26

The spraying incident is revealing I think. Either 1. he knew you have a reaction to the substance and did it anyway. Or 2. he knew you have a reaction and forgot about it at the time. Or 3. he doesn't know you have a reaction to the substance.

If it's 1, his OTT response to your request not to use the spray makes sense. If it's 2. or 3. surely a simple apology would have been more appropriate?

Vivacia Sun 20-Jul-14 16:31:29

It sounds as though you find him really irritating, and he's feeling that even if he can't articulate it, and it's making him anxious. Only you know whether your irritation is valid.

Do you fantasise about leaving him?

hamptoncourt Sun 20-Jul-14 16:33:35

So you are inconveniencing him with your allergic reaction to something he knows damn well you are allergic to but he used it again anyway?

You both sound really unhappy. My guess is this relationship is past it's sell by date.

CakeWillDo Sun 20-Jul-14 18:21:21

He knew I have a problem with it. I don't think he used it with disregard, I guess he assumed it was out of the way. It was just unfortunate that I walked in after. It would have been nice if he just spoke to me rather than getting angry.
I have taken on board all the comments and will bear them in mind. We've had a nice evening without DC and have planned things together to give us a break this week. Hopefully that will help calm us both and get things back on track. It's a good sign that you didn't all say it was a bad situation. It is a big help to have MN to help gain clarity. Thank you for all the comments.

CakeWillDo Sun 20-Jul-14 18:24:48

To answer the question regarding leaving. No I don't fantasise about it, that would be my idea of a nightmare. I want us to be a family. However I didn't want to just sweep this week aside and bury my head in the sand (if things were to regress). I get that the situation was down to me too, so that's ok.

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