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How do I know if it's me or not?

(43 Posts)
Bumpkin2 Sat 30-May-15 23:58:27

This is probably just going to be completely garbled but I'm tired, emotional and confused!

How do you know if you really are useless or if it's just the way someone makes you feel? I constantly feel like I'm a terrible mum, awful around with work around the house because of how I'm made to feel. My self esteem is at rock bottom with everything but I don't know if I genuinely am just useless at everything or if he's being controlling and a bit of a nob. I tend to go between the 2 depending on how I feel.

We've got a 2 year old and however I dress her is wrong, I filled her milk up for bed the other day and he had to come and put more in (which then overflowed because it was too full but it felt like he had to do it just to correct me again), if I'm changing her nappy or getting her ready for bed he comes and takes over, when he comes in from work if the windows are closed he makes a big deal of opening them or vice versa, however I cut her meat or anything with dinner he has to do it again. It's loads of petty stuff like that but I no longer feel confident to make any decisions myself as it feels that everything I do is wrong.

I'm unhappy but feel like if it is me that's just being rubbish then I should be trying to change before making any decisions.

I have asked him to stop doing certain things before as I said that him doing it made me feel useless. He said that that wasn't his problem, if that's how I feel then that's my fault for feeling like that, not his for saying or doing whatever.

I'm just so confused, he says I'm a great mum,I hear him tell my daughter that I'm the best mum in the world but just feel the opposite. I'm not sure if I'm completely imagining it now!

This is probably too garbled for anyone to understand to reply to anyway, maybe I just needed to get some of how I'm feeling off my chest.

Atenco Sun 31-May-15 00:04:21

Oh dear, OP. There will be others who are more forthright, but it sounds like jealousy to me. My FIL adored my dd and when we were with him he would complain if I forced her to eat and complain if I didn't. I loved him and just laughed about it, but I couldn't live with someone like that, it would be hell on earth.

laurierf Sun 31-May-15 00:07:23

however I dress her is wrong... when he comes in from work if the windows are closed he makes a big deal of opening them or vice versa… however I cut her meat or anything with dinner he has to do it again

Even if you were making random choices, you would sometimes get it right about whether it was appropriate to have the windows open or closed, whether you had cut food in the 'right' way, whether you had dressed her 'correctly', even just through sheer 'luck'. But you are not making random choices. You are her mum and you are doing the best for her. You might not get it right every time (who does?!) but you are certainly not getting it wrong every time.

It's not you.

Has this only started since you've had DC?

Tiptops Sun 31-May-15 00:09:49

How do you know? Well, you don't really as the man you've referred to in your post has criticised, ridiculed and taken over everything you try to do, so that you're left with little confidence and a lot of doubt in your abilities.

However, as an outsider looking in I can assure you it absolutely is not a case of you being useless. He sounds emotionally abusive and horrible to live with. Does he ever make you feel happy?

Jackw Sun 31-May-15 00:13:05

Well, I already know it's not you and he is a controlling (and incompetent milk bottle filling) knob and that was just after your third paragraph.

Bumpkin2 Sun 31-May-15 00:18:18

It's certainly got worse since I got pregnant with my daughter, although he made the decision to move down south after we'd been together about 2 years but weren't living together. I knew it was move with him or end up splitting up so decided to move with him even though I didn't really want to.

When I got pregnant he'd get really annoyed at me for not eating properly or watching scary films as he believed it would affect the baby. I caught him on an Internet dating site when I was pregnant but decided to stay to give it our best shot at making things work. I'm pregnant with our second now so don't know if I'm being too sensitive.

I've always been told I'm over sensitive but really don't know if I am here or if it's him and he's just using that.

God I sound completely pathetic don't I!

Bumpkin2 Sun 31-May-15 00:21:43

Thanks everyone. I didn't really expect to get replies!

I often question how often I'm happy, I don't know how much is that I'm genuinely happy or if it's just that I relax when he's not in a bad mood and constantly criticising me.

molyholy Sun 31-May-15 00:29:05

You don't sound pathetic OP. He does though. He sounds horrible and it must be knocking your confidence that he undermines everything you do. I know you have a dc and one on the way, but you sound so unhappy. Do you want the rest of your life to be like this with him pecking your head all the time. OP hope you find the strength to make the right decision for you and ypur dc's flowers

BertieBotts Sun 31-May-15 00:30:02

It's NOT you.

I, it must be said, am a bit rubbish much of the time especially with household stuff and practical stuff. It turns out I have undiagnosed ADHD. (As in, here's proof that I'm not just being self pitying, I do actually struggle with the organisation involved in domestic and self care type stuff.)

With my ex, I certainly felt useless, that was the word he liked to use too, he would re-do things, huff and sigh, comment, tut, complain, laugh nastily at me, etc.

With DH it's not like that at all. He gets exasperated occasionally, but he's supportive. He doesn't focus on what I'm crap at, he focuses on what I'm good at, and reminds me often of what those are. He helps me, in an actual constructive way, not an undermining way. He pretends things don't bother him when actually they do, to give me time to sort it out without being embarrassed. When he makes jokes about my incompetence, I feel like he's laughing with me, never at me.

Honestly. Even if you are useless (which I doubt!), a supportive partner doesn't act this way. It's not you. Really.

You've given it a shot, don't waste an entire army's worth of ammo on him. If it was going to work it would have worked already.

goddessofsmallthings Sun 31-May-15 00:35:08

Regardlrss of how much is you being 'genuinely happy' or whether you simply feel less constrained when he's not in a bad mood, this is isn't any way to live, is it?
r

Bumpkin2 Sun 31-May-15 00:40:25

I keep thinking if I just got better with things around the house then things would either be ok, or I'd know for sure that things weren't right and it wasn't just me. He complains, and rightly so, that I'm not the tidiest of people but he doesn't really have anything, I do but nowhere to put stuff and I don't want to throw my things out which is what he wants.

If things were easier I'd definitely leave, I keep thinking how I'd feel if my daughter felt like this in a relationship and it would break my heart. They're just so close though, I'd feel really selfish leaving as they'd both be unhappy. Why does my happiness come before theirs? I also couldn't bare the thought of leaving her with him for weekends, we've hardly been apart since she was born, the thought of a whole weekend kills me. Plus he can't go a full day at the weekend without having to go for a sleep, and if I'm out for any length of time or locked away upstairs studying he never thinks to change her nappy and she often leaks through. Maybe I'm just making excuses do I don't have to make the difficult decision though. I dream of having my own little house where I can have whatever I want in it, keep things wherever I want and make it properly homey. Then I remember that I won't be able to work for a while and then it would only be part time so probably couldn't afford much anyway!

Bumpkin2 Sun 31-May-15 00:43:28

You're right, it is no way to live, I just don't know what to do anymore

laurierf Sun 31-May-15 00:43:44

I caught him on an Internet dating site when I was pregnant but decided to stay to give it our best shot at making things work

He is not giving it his best shot. He undermines you, makes you feel useless and goes on internet dating sites whilst you are pregnant… but then thinks you shouldn't be watching scary films?! His behaviour is so much more harmful to you and your baby than a scary film.

Let's say for a moment that you wanted to leave… do you have family who could help you?

Bumpkin2 Sun 31-May-15 00:47:00

Yes, my family would help, I'd be able to move back with my mum for a bit but for the sake of everyone's sanity couldn't stay long!

laurierf Sun 31-May-15 00:49:03

What did he say when you caught him on an internet dating site whilst you were pregnant?

Bumpkin2 Sun 31-May-15 00:55:37

God, this is going to make me sound even worse now. He said that he panicked because of the pregnancy, I'd let myself go and wasn't doing the housework so he'd often come home to washing up that needed to be done. Everyone was telling him that he really needed to look after me now and it panicked him because he didn't know how he could any more than he already was doing or something like that. I have a long term health condition that is much better now but at the time I was struggling so things often got left but I probably could have put in more effort than I was. Not that I'm saying that that justifies it. He said he'd never met anyone and really didn't think he would have.

BertieBotts Sun 31-May-15 00:59:39

You wouldn't leave her for whole weekends to begin with. You work up to that. She sees him little and often to begin with. They still get to have their relationship - it's not your happiness or hers, it doesn't work like that. You can have both.

Trust me, you could be a domestic goddess and he'd find something to put down, because he likes putting you down. That is what this is about, not your abilities. He proves it by putting you down over totally arbitrary things.

Unless you're dressing your child in a plastic bag over their face, or a swimsuit in the middle of December, or in Newborn sized clothes or something, there is no possible way to dress a two year old wrong. How can opening a window (or not) be wrong? He made the milk worse in an effort to prove a point.

No, getting "better" won't solve this. Getting out would, and you could have your lovely house. It doesn't cost that much to make it homey, because what you talk about - having things you like, keeping things where you like, costs nothing at all, it just costs an absence of him.

Melonfool Sun 31-May-15 01:02:06

My dad was like this, it honestly will only get worse. Undermining, making out you're stupid, moves on to name calling.....my father went further too.

Really, you can't live like that and, actually, your daughter will suss him and not thank you for staying with him. I actually can't forgive my mother for allowing me to be treated like that.

Gilrack Sun 31-May-15 01:05:42

Have a look at Mr Right in the OP of this thread.

Bumpkin2 Sun 31-May-15 01:21:57

I'd just feel guilty Bertie, they adore each other and I'd feel awful for breaking that up. If I go away for a few days he just misses her so much,and after a couple of days she just keeps asking for Daddy. I'd move away from here so it wouldn't be as easy for little and often either,although we'd only be about an hour away.

Gilrack, that actually made me laugh as it's so true! Not all the time as it depends on his mood though. He knows better than everyone at EVERYTHING! It doesn't matter if that's their job and have been doing it for 20 years, if he disagrees then they're wrong. I pull out of the parking space in a different way to him, it's not that there are different ways to do it, I'm wrong in the way I do it. I feel sorry for him at times,it must be hard work being that perfect!

It's not all the time though, he can be really sweet at times but something just seems to trigger him and he changes.

BertieBotts Sun 31-May-15 01:25:47

You're not sounding bad. It's understandable why you'd stay - a lot of us have been there. Men like this are very, very good at playing on your sympathy card. Nobody would blame you for caring! flowers

Just remember to listen to what he's telling you here - this wasn't really a "poor me, I was overwhelmed", oh yes, he mentioned that as a token thing, but it wasn't about that at all, it was a "you weren't attractive enough and didn't do enough housework, so I felt entitled". That's cruel, and low, especially when your health condition was exacerbated.

BertieBotts Sun 31-May-15 01:49:15

Sorry my posts keep getting delayed for ages - I think they're doing the server backup around now.

Would you have to move away or is it an option to stay closer? Either way, as a toss up, consider her happiness, and yours, but not his. He's responsible for his own happiness.

At what times would you say he is sweet? Can you describe the sweet behaviour? Often when you live with emotional abuse (which this is, BTW,) the times when it's absent and they are being normal or neutral can feel "good" because it's a relief and because you feel as though it's hope that he could be like that all the time. The trouble is, when compared with a healthy relationship, this kind of feeling is the down times, not the good times. The baseline is different and so you don't expect as much. You almost go looking for anything which is non-abusive and interpret that as good, when it might be standard, or it might not even be good at all. Sometimes this kind of interaction is dangled, like a carrot, like a "Look what it could be like if you just live up to my exacting standards." Problem is as soon as you live up to them, the goalposts move, because it was never about what he was demanding, it was about him getting to make the demands.

Or the other common pattern is that they are very good at doing grand gestures of romance and sweetness which are really very formulaic and mean nothing at all. It will be a line lifted straight from a film, or a very predictable gesture, or a gift so generic that you wonder if he knows you at all. But when you are looking for the good, which you so desperately want to do, it's easy to interpret it as "at least he's trying!". If you were to try and give him any feedback on what kind of gifts you do and don't like, that wouldn't go down well, anyway.

And then worth remembering also that cartoon evil villains who want to be evil all of the time don't exist. This is the reality. Abusers are often if not always nice, too. It would be easy to leave them if they weren't, and it's not, ever. It is hard.

BertieBotts Sun 31-May-15 01:49:50

Sorry my posts keep getting delayed for ages - I think they're doing the server backup around now.

Would you have to move away or is it an option to stay closer? Either way, as a toss up, consider her happiness, and yours, but not his. He's responsible for his own happiness.

At what times would you say he is sweet? Can you describe the sweet behaviour? Often when you live with emotional abuse (which this is, BTW,) the times when it's absent and they are being normal or neutral can feel "good" because it's a relief and because you feel as though it's hope that he could be like that all the time. The trouble is, when compared with a healthy relationship, this kind of feeling is the down times, not the good times. The baseline is different and so you don't expect as much. You almost go looking for anything which is non-abusive and interpret that as good, when it might be standard, or it might not even be good at all. Sometimes this kind of interaction is dangled, like a carrot, like a "Look what it could be like if you just live up to my exacting standards." Problem is as soon as you live up to them, the goalposts move, because it was never about what he was demanding, it was about him getting to make the demands.

Or the other common pattern is that they are very good at doing grand gestures of romance and sweetness which are really very formulaic and mean nothing at all. It will be a line lifted straight from a film, or a very predictable gesture, or a gift so generic that you wonder if he knows you at all. But when you are looking for the good, which you so desperately want to do, it's easy to interpret it as "at least he's trying!". If you were to try and give him any feedback on what kind of gifts you do and don't like, that wouldn't go down well, anyway.

And then worth remembering also that cartoon evil villains who want to be evil all of the time don't exist. This is the reality. Abusers are often if not always nice, too. It would be easy to leave them if they weren't, and it's not, ever. It is hard.

BertieBotts Sun 31-May-15 01:51:31

Sorry my posts keep getting delayed for ages - I think they're doing the server backup around now.

Would you have to move away or is it an option to stay closer? Either way, as a toss up, consider her happiness, and yours, but not his. He's responsible for his own happiness.

At what times would you say he is sweet? Can you describe the sweet behaviour? Often when you live with emotional abuse (which this is, BTW,) the times when it's absent and they are being normal or neutral can feel "good" because it's a relief and because you feel as though it's hope that he could be like that all the time. The trouble is, when compared with a healthy relationship, this kind of feeling is the down times, not the good times. The baseline is different and so you don't expect as much. You almost go looking for anything which is non-abusive and interpret that as good, when it might be standard, or it might not even be good at all. Sometimes this kind of interaction is dangled, like a carrot, like a "Look what it could be like if you just live up to my exacting standards." Problem is as soon as you live up to them, the goalposts move, because it was never about what he was demanding, it was about him getting to make the demands.

Or the other common pattern is that they are very good at doing grand gestures of romance and sweetness which are really very formulaic and mean nothing at all. It will be a line lifted straight from a film, or a very predictable gesture, or a gift so generic that you wonder if he knows you at all. But when you are looking for the good, which you so desperately want to do, it's easy to interpret it as "at least he's trying!". If you were to try and give him any feedback on what kind of gifts you do and don't like, that wouldn't go down well, anyway.

And then worth remembering also that cartoon evil villains who want to be evil all of the time don't exist. This is the reality. Abusers are often if not always nice, too. It would be easy to leave them if they weren't, and it's not, ever. It is hard.

I have to go to bed, sorry. I hope you get to talk to someone tonight, or have some chance to think. There is no rush with any of this, just don't waste your whole life deciding. Okay? smile

BertieBotts Sun 31-May-15 01:52:36

Aaaaaaaaargh!

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