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The common thread of the worst things people do on MN?

(46 Posts)
britneyspearscatsuit Fri 07-Aug-15 21:10:44

I read a lot of the sad threads on here that make you wince, and have also over the last couple of years had my own very sad stories. Some threads on here actually bring me to tears and had something similar not happenned to me a couple of years ago I'd never believe stuff like it happenned to "normal people".

Just observing over the last few days in a pensive mood that what seems to be the running thread between the most awful threads that just beggar belief are the ones where the life partner or spouse who has enjoyed a loving relationship and family with someone for years - just suddenly ceases to give a shit anymore.

I mean, it is one thing to stop loving someone, to end a marriage, to meet someone else....while awful, those things happen and I can say I have experience all those things and have been heartbroken before but I healed from them in acceptance and understanding that came eventually after a bucket load of tears and hard work.

What I think I see here a lot, and have experienced once myself is the loving partner who just "switches off".

They leave for an OW and cut off their much beloved wife of many years and tell her to claim benefits.

They present the end of their marriage to their open-mouthed wife as if it means nothing at all and then act like she is inconveniencing them when she cries.

The lie, manipulate and do anything to push the guilt onto the person they have just destroyed.

They are not sorry.

They do not cry to see the pain they are causing.

They are not the same person that shared a bed, a home, a life, children with you.

What happenned to the person who for years brought you a blanket if you fell asleep on the sofa on a cold night, or the person who called every day from work to ask if you needed anything from the shops. The person who ran from work to meet you in A&E and held your hand while one of the kids got seen to.

What happens to ALL that history? All that shared love?

I am wondering if this is the worst thing a person can do to you. To act like they hate you when they decide to leave you.

I am also wondering how they do it.

Why they do it.

It's so much easier if someone was always a bastard. I have experinced that too! but to suddenly become one, after years of not being one?

Isn't it easier, doesn't it feel better to say "I am so sorry, I will always love you but I have just fallen for someone else. I will do all I can to help make this as easy as possible on you and the kids".

Seemingly good, loving people who love their children and their wife for many years just turn that off like a switch.

I don't understand, and I think this, or having had this happen to me is what prevents me from being truly emotionally available.

CainInThePunting Fri 07-Aug-15 21:18:43

Yes, when they switch off with no warning, feels cruel, heartless. You wonder where it came from when previously they appeared to care. Was it all bollocks? Where they just pretending all along? That hurts. How did they keep it up for so long? When did they start looking for a way out?
Who knows. I'm sorry x

britneyspearscatsuit Fri 07-Aug-15 21:30:06

Yes I mean that exactly. Wasn't really speaking for me...I mean I am ok....just reading threads on here where the same happens time and again.

pocketsaviour Fri 07-Aug-15 21:40:51

I am wondering if this is the worst thing a person can do to you. To act like they hate you when they decide to leave you.

It's not the worst thing, but it's very shitty.

I am good at compartmentalising myself and switching off emotion when needed, but I've never let a relationship end without there being an obvious slide, on both sides, towards that end. Sorry I can't think how to word it properly... Basically I've never walked out of a relationship where the other person was thinking all was okay. We've argued, shouted, tried to make things better, failed, and then split.

When my ex left me (for OW) I wasn't surprised. He'd been phone guarding for a few weeks and hadn't wanted sex the previous weekend (highly unusual.) My response when he told me he was moving out (over the phone!) was "You really are a fucking idiot." I was far more angry than sad, especially considering all the money he'd borrowed off me... which needless to say I've never seen a penny of hmm

OW was about to get a large inheritance as her dad was terminally ill. Only the joke was on him as she sussed him out about 6 weeks after he moved in and slung him out. What a shame grin

britneyspearscatsuit Fri 07-Aug-15 21:59:13

I've never walked out of a relationship where the other person was thinking all was okay. We've argued, shouted, tried to make things better, failed, and then split.

Exactly. And always afterwards I still cared how they felt or for their general well being.

butterflygirl15 Fri 07-Aug-15 22:01:50

And the awful thing is - all those memories you shared are now ruined. You cannot look back at any of your many years together with and joy or fondness. Not only have they robbed you of your future in the most callous way, they have destroyed your past too. It is completely and utterly heartless.

britneyspearscatsuit Fri 07-Aug-15 22:23:58

Yes I know.

Was just reading a couple on here last night and honestly sat there crying.

anxiousnow Fri 07-Aug-15 23:14:56

Rather ignorantly I thought this was something I felt but others didn't. The feeling of 'but he did care for 20 years truly and was an amazing Dad and husband. He wasn't like Dave or Jacob etc etc he was never a wanker'
The ruining of all your treasured memories is something I agree with too. All tainted. I will never understand it ever.

autumnleaves123 Sat 08-Aug-15 08:55:28

I also find it unbelievable that someone can switch off a relationship, just like that. Especially a robust, loving relationship inside out.

I suspect in those rare cases, there could be a serious mental health issue going on. A nervous breakdown that turns the person into someone else.

Most couples go through highs and lows, and it's sort of understandable that after a low, a partner might want to check out. It might not be fair, but you can rationalise it.

What goes beyond comprehension is how someone can check out without an explanation or an underlying reason.

Dowser Sat 08-Aug-15 09:30:29

What helped me after my ex husband died, ( we'd had the typically acrimonious end of marriage and divorce )was going through all the old photographs. My son was very close to his dad and was bereft at losing a big part of his family life and I posted loads of the family, childhood photos, grandparents etc all the times When we were a happy family. It helped me to see that things hadn't always been so awful.

Gaveme some perspective. He'd died and it was time to let go of all the feelings of animosity. It was christmas and new year so a time for reflection. I'm not a fan of frozen, but as his death stirred up so many memories, good andbad, ikept singing let it go, inmy head. I didn't want to drag all those old feelings into this year and I think I've finally succeeded in that but it has taken 7 years.

I hope everyone who has been inmy situation can finally find their peace. It's what you need to aim for.

I doubt he ever found his. Every time he saw his son there would be a reminder that he wasn't seeing his daughter. Every time he saw half his grandchildren again another reminder that his others weren't there. Christmas dinners were spent with another persons family, not his own. I don't think he had the joy and contentment with his new wife as I have withmy other half. He told my son he didn't love her. I believe he died a deeply unhappy man.

This gives me no joy at all. I just see it as a sad and wasted life from someone who had such potential.

KurriKurri Sat 08-Aug-15 09:52:39

This happened to me - I thought I was in a happy marriage, I loved my husband, i thought he loved me - we had been married for 31 years - one day I woke up and found a letter on the doormat saying he had run off with another woman with whom he;d been having an online affair for months. It is the worst thing that has ever happened to me (and I have had life threatening illness, bereavement and other awfulness in my life).
When I next saw him he treated me like the enemy - it was clear there was absolutely no feeling there at all, he was like a total stranger and I couldn't get my head around it - the loathing he seemed to feel for me was incomprehensible - and he couldn't name a reason or name anything I had done to him to deserve it. He had just switched off. I think perhaps the cutting alls attachment from me was his way of coping of being able to do what he did and his way of handling the guilt. He also completely cut off the children and even the dog !

As you say all my memories of my marriage have been destroyed - I have questioned every moment we had together and asked myself if any of the feeling she displayed were true, he has also destroyed my daughter's memories of growing up - she questions whether any of her childhood was as it seemed - she hates to look at photos he is in - we read things behind his eyes in family pictures - did he always loathe us ??

Not only has he destroyed my marriage, he has destroyed my chances of ever having a loving relationship - I would never trust any man again, I would never allow myself to love or to be hurt and betrayed in the way he has hurt me. I would never trust any one with my inner most thoughts or let myself be vulnerable to anyone.

I am Ok (ish) with it now I have seen him for what he is, and I know how to protect myself from him when he sends his sporadic messages about how he is sorry for what he did (whilst still carrying on with the OW). I helped myself by taking some control - I divorced him, I got counsellling, I read books, did a lot of thinking etc.

One book I found very helpful was 'Runaway Husbands: The abandoned wives guide to Recovery and Renewal' by Vikki Stark.

The detachment thing is a very common way for these awful men to behave, they tell you what is going on when they have actually spent months deceiving you and mentally consigning you to a sort of 'sub human' thing with no feelings that they need bother about. When they tell you, you of course are devastated and shocked and in pieces, they are completely at home with the idea that it is all over - so they have a massive advantage when it comes to any legal or financial arrangements because they have already thought it all through.

I thought that my ex husband was a coward and that is why he behaved as he did, but his subsequent behaviour has shown me that what he is cruel (I could write a book on the atrocious way he has behaved since his initial running off) - he takes pleasure in hurting people, and when I look back there were signs over the years which I buried and ignored because it is hard to believe when you love someone. And acceptance of the fact that he is incapable of remorse or empathy of any sort has helped me move on - at first I was desperate fro him to feel sorry and to care, now that I have truly understood he never will I am much more at peace.

Atomik Sat 08-Aug-15 10:05:54

I mean, it is one thing to stop loving someone, to end a marriage, to meet someone else....while awful, those things happen

These things don't "happen". (passive, no control over events)

People choose for them to happen. (active, wholesale control over events)

It is hard for me to be shocked that people treat a spouse like a disposable tissue they have finished blowing their nose on.... after years of a shared life and love.

My "I'd die for my kids" father treated his children like a case of fleas he'd rather not have nipping him for attention and support (in every sense of the word).

If you can't even maintain commitment and love for the people you actively chose to create, then a spouse you picked is at a distinct disadvantage in terms of your longer term concern for wellbeing.

DiscoDiva70 Sat 08-Aug-15 10:21:33

I've experienced this, from a 'loving family man' to suddenly someone who made me feel like shit on his shoe. He also went from 'loving father' to a dad who hardly bothers with his kids anymore and makes me jump through hoops with csa appeals etc to try and get some maintenance, even though he's rolling in money and lives a luxurious lifestyle, with his string of different women.

For years I wondered Wtf did I do to make him change so much?
Until I started to read about Narcissism, and learnt that the man I thought I was in love with wasn't the 'real' him at all. It was just an illusion and he portrayed a false image.
It's hard to get my point across on here regarding the way narcissists behave, but I encourage anyone who has gone through this experience to read up on it. I would say you'll be quite enlightened.

Sweetsecret Sat 08-Aug-15 10:42:11

Yep, I see my stbxh now and just think "who are you?" He just left me and my 2 DC'S four months ago, and he just isn't the man I fell in love with, married and sent the last 13 years of my life with.
I sometimes feel like I am mourning the loss of my H, because this guy who turns up to see the kids looks a bit like him, but isn't him at all.
He just switched off any emotion towards me, not even any anger or hatred. Not sure what's worse some emotion (even anger) or just total ambivalence towards me.
I still spend most of my days feeling utterly confused.sad

britneyspearscatsuit Sat 08-Aug-15 11:05:50

Just a question here on the narcissism...

Do you think this is something that can remain concealed over many years? Truly?

Because it's obvious a lot of these men behave like narcs after they do it, but what about all the years before?

Looking back forensically on my ex I genuinely believed him to be a deeply kind and unusually moral and thoughtful person. I actually believed that being married to him made me a better human being by association. He seemed almost Ghandi-like in his sainthood. Out of all the relationships I ever had, this was definitely the man I trusted most and believed would never treat me badly.

Never too tired to play with the kids, never grouchy, never gave me the silent treatment, never saw him treat anyone badly, never aggressive, always full of enthusiasm and positivity.

I also think autumnleaves that there might be underlying MH issues at play here. I read a lot of threads on here about "midlife crisis" and the family man who suddenly goes absolutely nuts. I think I read on here someone's husband left them for an internet date in Thailand he'd never even met. It's abnormal surely.

My ex was treated for depression and anxiety after he did what he did (he'd never had any MH issues before) so I wonder how many of these men who abdicate their wives and children have something "wrong" inside of them.

butterflygirl15 Sat 08-Aug-15 12:07:14

my ex had 2 breakdowns after he left us. I don't think he could live with what he did.

britneyspearscatsuit Sat 08-Aug-15 12:09:50

what happenned in the end butterly girl? Was there someone else? How long ago was it?

I don't think my ex could live with it either.

KurriKurri Sat 08-Aug-15 12:27:10

I think there is something behind the mental health problem thing - my XH also left with someone he hadn't met (Only talked to online)and as you say that is just very odd behaviour - who would do something like it is so high risk. I think he may have depressed certainly - we had talked about it and I had tried my hardest to get him to seek help, he was in his fifties - probably realised that he was never going to be a millionaire, never going to be a top person in his field, starting to become aware of his own mortality etc.

But then again - I was also at that stage in life, I had been very sick with cancer and had to face the idea of death, and I would never have dreamed of hurting those I love in that way. I think the mid life crisis gets trotted out as an excuse - yes we all have times when life seems mundane and unsatisfactory, we think about what might have been, but you don;t often hear of women abandoning everyone who loves them (I am sure it does happen occasionally but the vast majority of these people are men) Just to dump all your responsibilities and everyone who cares about you takes a special kind of ruthlessness beyond a mental health explanation.

And mental health problems don;t automatically mean you treat someone like dirt - I have plenty of friends with mental health probs and they wouldn;t dream of hurting others.
With my XH rather than being a change in his mental health, it seemed to be a flaw in his personality, and in hindsight I can see he has tended to behave in such a way over the years and I have been in denial about it.

He has never really exhibited grief (such as when his parents died) after we married he made very little effort to keep contact with his parents - I was the one who contacted and kept in touch with them - it was as if he didn't need them any more, ditto his sister who he doesn't really bother with.
He has no close friends, just acquaintances and doesn't appear to need friends. I suspect he is not actually capable of forming true relationships, or of truly loving others -he was just a good actor, and a consummate liar. he is one of those life and soul of the party, 'loveable' buffoon type people that others see as harmless and it turned out he had a very dark side which he mostly managed to keep hidden - I saw flashes of it over the years, but made excuses for him, but after he left me, the dark side came out in full force and it was actually scary to be in the company of this weird stranger.

britneyspearscatsuit Sat 08-Aug-15 12:38:21

Funny those things you mention draw a parallel with my ex also kurrikurri

He definitely "played a role" (as in he acted diferrent around diferrent people)

He did not have very close relationships - or the ones that he did he was not his true self. He was very close with his parents but lied to them all the time.

He also did not experience great grief or sadness.

He also had a tendency to "lie" and be quite manipulative if backed into a corner.

I can honestly say though I always thought he was just a nice guy / people pleaser and never saw evidence of a dark side in almost 30 years of knowing him.

britneyspearscatsuit Sat 08-Aug-15 12:40:29

(I was also genuinely scared and disturbed by the person after)

butterflygirl15 Sat 08-Aug-15 12:50:40

yes - there was an OW. He rewrote history to say he never loved me etc. But when we were together he was utterly devoted and in love. I never ever would have doubted him. No idea if he is with her now or not. He doesn't bother with our DC, hasn't done for over 2 years now, and I am in the middle of a child maintenance nightmare to get what is owed. I do know he absolutely hates me with a passion, as did the OW.

britneyspearscatsuit Sat 08-Aug-15 12:56:03

How awful. I'm so sorry for you and for the DCs

there's another thread on this morning where he's just forgotten about the OP

DiscoDiva70 Sat 08-Aug-15 12:57:16

Britney
Yes I do think that Narcissism can be concealed for years. Apparently relationships with a Narcissist follow the same pattern and go through three different stages. Idealize, devalue and discard.
These three stages can vary in length and in some it can take years to get to the 'discard' stage. So I've read.
I do want to add that I'm not labelling every man /woman who leaves a relationship abruptly and without no obvious reason etc as a Narcissist.
I'm going by my own experience and the ex who I'm talking about does fit the traits of a Narcissist.

butterflygirl15 Sat 08-Aug-15 13:04:51

We are fine and much happier without him.

I will never understand how or why he just flicked that switch, but I don't care any more. I cannot live the rest of my life wondering about his decisions and I refuse to be defined by what he did to us. He has missed out on so much and lost wonderful DC, and the blame lies solely with him. He tried to blame that one on me too - but then don't they all.....

He was a narcissist too - I devoted my life to his whims, needs and tantrums. Now I don't need to and am no longer anxious pandering to him.

KurriKurri Sat 08-Aug-15 13:19:12

I think what is very hard at first is trying to find reasons for the behaviour - I spent endless sleepless nights going over everything in my mind, thinking and over thinking, trying to find explanations - it was only when I realised that actually you can't expect rational or good behaviour from irrational or bad people, that I started to feel free of him and move on with my own life.

I think it is hard for other people (who haven't experienced this) to understand just how devastating it is - that someone you thought loved you and had your interests at heart can suddenly turn so hostile and vicious for no reason. It is so far removed from a break up where two peopled drift apart and mutually agree to separate, but still retain respect and affection for each other. And my XH could not come up with a single reason why I deserved such treatment.

The total detachment and absence of care undermines your whole identity and sense of self worth. I think people expected me to be 'over it' a lot quicker than I was and that in itself made me feel foolish and weak for not coping better.

I also had a lot of grief from the OW - who decided she hated me despite never having met me - and directed a lot of very unpleasant behaviour towards me - again it is hard to understand her behaviour - she had what she wanted, why did she need to try to hurt me more - some people must just get their kicks out of cruelty.

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