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How do I react to grouchy (bullying?) H?

(18 Posts)
confusednow1 Tue 05-Aug-14 04:58:33

NT for privacy. Sorry if a bit long. H is a bit of a grouch, tends to be quite negative. I don't much like the way he is with the kids a lot of the time. He doesn't much like to engage in activities with them, except very passive ones, like watching a film together. He can be very critical, sometimes I almost feel like he's looking for opportunities to jump on them about something. But I don't want to exaggerate - he's not violent, doesn't drink, participates in family activities etc. We have a lot of fun together too, and have basically been happily married for 15 years. Apart from a period when he suffered from depression - I wonder if this is reemerging maybe?Also he never manages to know the routines, work out what their homework is or whatever - I do 95% of child organisational activity. They are 13, 10 and 9 and we both work ftoh.

But sometimes I can't bear the way he is. Yesterday evening was a good example. DD had left her cello, just received from school, out to show me. H came home and said not to leave it lying around and I said she left it out to show you. The evening was all a bit chaotic with the kids quite over excited. DD went to put the instrument away, but while she was putting it in the case it slipped and to cut a long story short the neck snapped. She wasn't mucking around, just putting it away, and was hysterical with grief/fear/embarrassment at what she'd done. I tried to comfort her and H came in shouting - at all the children - about how they never look after their things, they're so spoiled, they think they can wreck everything and not care and he'll just replace it all. Then he shouted at ds "and what the fuck do you think you are doing leaving your XX lying on the bedroom floor!". I told him to calm down and stop shouting, he was making it all worse. DS was mortified.

Afterwards he was furious with me too and said I undermine him, I spoil the children, I don't consult him about what activities they do, I spend too much money etc etc. I don't accept it, I never arrange anything significant without telling him. He rarely expresses any interest, and he arranges absolutely nothing for them ever. It's true that they are quite spoilt in the sense that we are not strapped for cash, so it's not a problem to organise music lessons or whatever.

Anyway, I tried to talk to him about the fact that I found it quite wrong to shout at DD, who had completely accidentally broken something and was very upset about it already, and recalled that she is mostly quite careful and organised. His retort: he sees the children as all the same and I'm wrong. I didn't even get to the part about vile swearing in a raised voice at his own kids sad

This morning he didn't get out of bed at all. 2 of the children refused to go and say goodbye before going out. I am at work and we haven't spoken.

It's true that they don't take great care of their things, but I don't think it's beyond the norm for their age. I'm also so sad that I take total responsibility for all the kids' arrangements and then just get criticism for it. I want to know what to do for him to support the children in behaving in the way he would like, not try to get there by nagging, bullying, undermining, insulting or swearing. I think he needs to see a doctor, but suspect he will freak out if I say that too.

Any suggestions?

EhricLovesTheBhrothers Tue 05-Aug-14 06:30:21

Why do you think he needs to see a doctor? Is he ill? He sounds like a mean bully to me and I doubt there is anything the doctor can give him for that.

confusednow1 Tue 05-Aug-14 06:41:09

Because he was depressed for a few years and maybe there's a resurgence now. Otherwise I can't explain why he's being a mean bully (I agree with this assessment). He's thoughtful and kind in many ways and a very trustworthy person. Our evenings are not usually so horrible as this one.

Paddingtonthebear Tue 05-Aug-14 06:43:34

He sounds unpleasant. He may well be depressed (not getting out of bed). Or he may well be sulking. Either way none of this anger and negativity is good for the kids. He should be apologising to you and to them. If he can't do that and face his attitude problem then perhaps he needs to move out for a while. Doesn't sound like he does that much in the way of supporting you and sharing the load

however Tue 05-Aug-14 06:46:52

It's hard to say really. Of course he reacted very badly, I don't dispute that.

But blithely saying 'it's normal for that age' when children don't take care of things would send my temperature soaring. We are not strapped for cash either. Our kids have a lot more things than we did when we were little. The result is that they have a more laissez faire attitude when it comes to their possessions. It's an attitude that we have unwittingly created but we're fixing it because it is a bad attitude to have.

I don't know how easy or difficult it is to snap the neck of a cello, but they're made of wood, right? And they're pretty robust? I'd be furious, too.

As for the endless organising that you do, when you both work full time, that is grossly unfair and he needs to step up. If he wants to have more of a say in what is going on with his children's lives, he needs to step up and become more involved, and do it in a positive manner, otherwise he'll alienate his kids.

FunkyBoldRibena Tue 05-Aug-14 06:50:56

Even through all the crap he is dishing out to you all, the thing that got me is that your daughter brought a cello home and wanted to show you both, and she can't even ask her dad to help her put it away as she is so scared of his reaction. That's no way to live.

frames Tue 05-Aug-14 06:52:49

This is horrible, he sounds horrible, and an unpleasant person to be around. I doubt very much your children are spoilt, they sound articulate and pleasant, it is shocking that their father chooses to behave as he has done around them.He sounds resentful_ so I am questioning what is driving this I don't want to scream LTB, but I think you and the kids should make some sort of plan of how you all live around him when he is like this, confidently. If you all stick together and stand up to him, he chooses to behave badly. Your poor daughter must be heart broken about her cello. We have snapped a cheap....but much loved fishing net this summer, in a similar way, accidents happen.

confusednow1 Tue 05-Aug-14 07:42:58

It was an accident with the cello - it was just big and difficult to manage and she is small. One of us should have been helping her with it. She wasn't being careless at all. I was annoyed too, of course I was, but shouting wasn't going to help as she quite obviously realised the magnitude of the disaster all by herself, and she knew that she had done it. It was a bit like telling some poor friend who'd crashed her car and was upset about it what an idiot she was. You just wouldn't do it and it wouldn't be helpful.

however you are right about taking care of things, absolutely. We need to work on their attitude to possessions and privilege. What are you actually doing about it with your DCs? Mine aren't completely careless, just behave like children do, sometimes leaving things lying around and forgetting about them, like they leave their dirty clothes on the floor and don't put them in the washing basket. I think it's more effective just to tell them to put them in the basket and check that they do, rather than coming out with a tirade about how they are messy and lazy and blah blah etc. Which is more the style of H (who also leaves his dirty socks on the floor btw). I sometimes make them checklists for the morning to tick off themselves so they don't forget the things they need at school and so on without me having to nag and supervise, though I have lapsed recently with that.

frames I also think there is some resentment. Maybe he resents my stronger bond with dcs. But I do generally defend him with them (not the shouty sweaty part though, I'm not defending that), and try to big him up. The rest is really up to him to work on the relationship more constructively. I really want them to have a more positive relationship.

I am highlighting the bad parts at the moment because I'm particularly upset at the low of yesterday. Our life is not all like this - it's hard to set out a whole relationship in a post - and I wouldn't say DCs were afraid of him. Even yesterday they were more furious and offended than scared (bless them, I found them all tucked up in one bed later on).

I don't mind organising the kids stuff myself (and H does plenty of other things), but I do object to the lack of appreciation, or for being criticised for taking bad decisions. Either he leaves me to it and says thanks, or gets more involved. One or the other would be fine with me. And he knows it's plenty of work - a whole other job really - because he makes a big fuss whenever I travel for work.

Twinklestein Tue 05-Aug-14 11:06:18

As a string player myself, it's very, very difficult to break a cello, particularly for the neck to snap, which is a sizeable chuck of wood.

However, that's not the point because it's your partner's behaviour that's the problem here, and he seems to be making your life miserable.

He shifts all resonsibility for the children onto you and then criticses you when they don't behave how he would like. If he wants them to behave how he wants then he needs to engage. I'm surprised he doesn't link the children's behaviour to his own example: shouting and swearing is not setting a good example is it?

I think his criticism of you is horrible and designed really to undermine and belittle you, while making himself feel superior.

Personally I couldn't stand it.

confusednow1 Tue 05-Aug-14 11:43:53

Maybe it was a rubbish cello or already damaged, I really have no idea. It belongs to school. Anyway she wasn't jumping on it nor spinning it around her head or anything, she was putting it in a case. But as you say, that's not the point.

wyrdyBird Tue 05-Aug-14 11:46:32

He sounds like more than a grouch. He sounds like a bully.

Regarding your children - He rarely expresses any interest, and he arranges absolutely nothing for them ever.

Don't they matter to him?

he sees the children as all the same and I'm wrong. I didn't even get to the part about vile swearing in a raised voice at his own kids

I think that answers my question. By this account, he seems to have so little real human interest in them, that he thinks they are all the same. You seem to be in the wrong by definition. sad and he feels entitled to shout and swear without apology. I doubt if he'd accept the same behaviour back, somehow.

Handywoman Tue 05-Aug-14 12:36:40

Confused I so recognize all of this. Been there, done that. In my case I had no option but to leave, which I did. My STBXH to this day thinks of himself as a hands-on involved Dad. And beware pinning this behaviour on 'depression' I'll wager it's his set of core values that's wrong, not his mental health. If it was a mental health issue he would listen, apologise then seek to change his behaviour long term and show you the respect you deserve.

however Tue 05-Aug-14 14:00:21

In terms of what I do to encourage responsible behaviour, I don't replace lost or broken things anymore, and I remove the stuff they DO value (iPad!) when the don't take care of their things or leave their room in a state.

They have a list on their wall of morning and afternoon jobs. Mornings are peppered with "LOOK AT YOUR LIST!!!" Rather than "get dressed, brush your hair, pack your bag, make your bed....etc"

It has made a difference, but it is a work in progress.

confusednow1 Wed 06-Aug-14 03:43:23

Yes, lists are good. I've had some success with lists. I also want them to be more competent and self-sufficient so that their lives are easier later on.

I don't replace lost or broken things if they are not essentials. I had to replace one of those dratted iPads, but they are compulsory at school. They are so addictive. My kids actually thank me when I take them away and hide them!

auntpetunia Wed 06-Aug-14 08:08:45

As an ex cello player I would say snapping the neck is an extremely difficult thing to do. That is the strongest part if the instrument. Most kids pop the bridge which is easier to fix. I really don't see how this happened if she wasn't being silly with the cello.

Maybe you dh over reacted by screaming and shouting at all the children but in the circumstances breaking a school instrument that you as a family will have to pay to get repaired would probably be enough to anger many parents. I'm not making excuses for him but if he's just through the door and this all happens I can see why he'd get cross.

Walkacrossthesand Wed 06-Aug-14 08:54:50

Did you actually witness the cello-snapping incident? Or did she come to you mega-upset and say it snapped but it was an accident? If the latter, surely it's more likely that in the chaos and melee of over-excited children (why so excited BTW, on a Monday evening in August?) the cello was ill treated and broken.
How would you like your DH to behave in terms of parenting?

Romann Thu 07-Aug-14 02:31:42

Naysayers - just google 'I broke the neck of my cello' if you want to see how many poor souls - of all ages - have inflicted the same pain on themselves. I have done it - the end caught the edge of a step. And it was in a soft case.

I guess she doesn't want her DH to shout and swear at his kids. Not unreasonable.

FolkGirl Thu 07-Aug-14 06:10:13

Hm, I've just done a quick count of instruments in our house. 17 in total, including a cello in the past. And not one of them has ever been damaged in any way, let alone broken. And I'm not precious about them. Well not all of them...

'Catching the edge of a step' might well have damaged a cello, Romann but putting it back into it's case in the living room is unlikely to. That happens in thousands of rooms across the world every day. They're not that fragile.

So, whilst your husband sounds like an irrascible arse, I suspect, OP that there is another side to this situation that you don't have such a clear view of.

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