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How do I work out the problem?

(140 Posts)
Crackerjack9 Tue 24-Nov-15 11:39:01

Hello, NC for this one.

I'm 35, I've been married for 10 years and have three children - one toddler and two in KS1.

The marriage has never been great, although before we got married it was great and on a basic level we've always adored each other, while both having issues we needed to work through.

We hit a very rough time just over 4 years ago, when DH left for 3 months and was seeing another woman.

Since then we've muddled along, pretty much ok, but now things are bad again. I am walking on eggshells constantly, and DH says he is also, although to me it feels as though he is angry with me all the time, and I feel like I am trying to avoid confrontation, though he sees me as constantly picking at him.

We both want to make things work, but I am at a bit of a loss because I genuinely don't know if I am the problem. I get told I am. I can see some things I do that aren't good, and I see my parents do the same things so I believe I do them. DH has told me I'm not a normal person and can't have a proper relationship, and I think it may be true. But I don't think that's the whole story.

It's a big mess. Relate is out as, while we don't qualify for reduced costs, for various reasons we genuinely can't afford it. In any case, we went years ago and didn't find it helpful.

How can we start to pick through the mess?

Thanks for any help.

Ouriana Tue 24-Nov-15 11:43:06

Could there be some level of emotional abuse here? After 10 years of marriage your "D"H should not be telling you youre not capable of having a proper relationship. Thats nasty and uncalled for!

Crackerjack9 Tue 24-Nov-15 11:45:14

I just don't know. I feel completely confused. I am genuinely not a nice person and am a bad wife. I am selfish, I have anxiety problems etc.

I think a lot of boundaries have been broken in how it is acceptable for us to speak to each other.

hellsbellsmelons Tue 24-Nov-15 11:47:24

I have alarm bells going here.
Is he more protective of his phone or does have mentionitis about someone at work etc...
What he said is horrible and I'm not sure you are the problem.
Do you both REALLY want this to work?
Do you have a mutual friend that could mediate while you try to talk things through?

Epilepsyhelp Tue 24-Nov-15 11:55:30

If that's how he feels about you then I think you should get away from him. It sounds like he's making you believe bad things about yourself which are probably not true, you do not need that kind of person in your life. A partner should support you and lift you up, not tred you down and dislike you.

pocketsaviour Tue 24-Nov-15 12:00:12

Is his recent behaviour similar to how he was prior to leaving last time?

Ouriana Tue 24-Nov-15 12:02:14

You are selfish and a bad wife? Can you actually give examples of your terrible behaviour or is that just what he has told you?

Crackerjack9 Tue 24-Nov-15 12:09:10

I am reasonably certain he isn't seeing someone else. I am not absolutely sure where his constant anger has come from at the present time. If I ask him, he says he isn't angry, it's all in my head, and I then make him angry by asking. I don't know if this is true but I am certain he genuinely believes it.

I think he's got sick of me after years of me being a difficult person to be with, and is now angry constantly. When he's angry, he says he is trapped because he is not from this country and we are skint, that I am the worst person he's ever met and that I have destroyed his life. Then when he calms down he says he doesn't mean it, that he has an anger management problem (this is true) and that he was just trying to hurt me.

I can't blame him because I can be quick to say things like 'i hate you'....we're as bad as each other.

I am self centred. He says I never think about his feelings and that is probably true, in that my life would be a lot easier if he'd just kind of leave me alone a bit!

When I write these things about him he does sound abusive, but that's because it's all from my side. I really am very hard to live with, and have lots of issues, which o am trying bloody hard to work on. I thought I'd done well but I wonder if I have narcissistic personality disorder or something because I am just so selfish all the time without even realising it.

I think he does have some serious issues in how he treats me too.

We've worked hard to build a family for our children and I don't want to throw it away. I don't want their dad to live somewhere else...or me possibly...but I don't know how to address it. I feel evil just writing this because I am making him sound nastier than me.

Crackerjack9 Tue 24-Nov-15 12:10:46

Pocket, yes. It's similar, he's more in control of himself and I am more capable of avoiding triggers for fights but yes it's gone very like it was before.

BoxofSnails Tue 24-Nov-15 12:18:18

You sound very downtrodden, you believe some awful things about yourself, and the more you try to excuse yourself the more I deep down wonder if he is emotionally abusing you.

Do you have a friend or family member you could confidentially share some of this stuff with and get some real life opinions? Why do you still want to be married to this man? He sounds awful or, at best, the relationship sounds damaging all round. Can you see yourself as a single parent? Why/why not?

Crackerjack9 Tue 24-Nov-15 12:21:13

Ok examples. I didn't realise when we got together that I had serious issues with anxiety, low self esteem and depression. When we got married, I took on a very high pressure job. I didn't have any strategies to cope and ended up not working for years. Financially, this wasn't an issue but I wasn't in a good way and he supported me financially and emotionally for years.
When our first children (twins) were born I had terrible PND.
After that, so for the last 5-6 years, I've made a lot of progress. I look after the house/budget/bills and chores/children/cooking. I worked full time (rubbish job though) for 4 years and am currently at home but going back to work in January.
I am not good at much. House is often a mess, I nap when I get stressed. Sometimes I avoid certain situations due to social anxiety. I have very low libido which is a big issue.
I tend to just get on with my day and not really think about DH. He says I don't even see him as a person.
I have a tendency to be hyper -critical. My parents do it to me so I know how it feels. I did used to pick at things if they weren't done how I wanted but I have learned, I think. I sigh a lot about things. Sometimes I can't stop myself saying things. I'm not trying to be unkind...stuff like last week I asked OH to pick up a couple of things in town, total cost about £8. He managed to spend £27 on them, we can't afford it in my opinion, I mentioned it, a 2 hour row ensued (no kids present, we don't fight in front of them).
I don't talk about things when we row. I find it hard even to make eye contact and I claim up. This has always been the case.

Ouriana Tue 24-Nov-15 12:22:15

This man sounds like an abusive arsehole who is doing a wonderful job of convincing you everything is your fault.

Crackerjack9 Tue 24-Nov-15 12:24:24

I would be fine as a single parent. I did it for the few months he was away. Finances would be tricky.
I don't want to let go of the family life with him living here. He's a good dad and the kids would be devastated.
Nor do I see myself continuing to be in the marriage if we can't make some changes, though.

Crackerjack9 Tue 24-Nov-15 12:26:09

It's more that I DON'T feel everything is my fault but then worry I might be kidding myself. DH has said he wishes I could see myself how I really am. I think i am a very unpleasant person but I kind of think he is too?!? Maybe we deserve each other!

BoxofSnails Tue 24-Nov-15 12:26:37

So you have been ILL. And got better but not 'cured'. Like many of us. And your DH picks at that and throws it back in you face?
Really nasty and low.
Neither of you sound very able to communicate healthily - I think we don't spring into adulthood able to do this if it's not been modelled for us through childhood. I needed therapy to learn. But this sounds bigger than that. Please don't blame yourself for being ill, or credit him with being somehow good or better.
You sound lovely. But so unhappy. Is counselling for you an option? To address how you move forward in particular?

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 24-Nov-15 12:26:56

I wonder why he came back four years' ago and why you felt compelled to take him back?

Love ebbs and flows in a relationship but there should always be mutual respect. When respect goes, love follows. He doesn't sound like he is invested in your marriage any more. You say you fear you may copy some of your parents' behaviour but equally, he may be modelling behaviour he grew up witnessing. That 'can't do right for doing wrong' sensation is horrible and if he can't articulate why he appears so cross with you, this isn't just about your shortcomings, (genuine or perceived).

Crackerjack9 Tue 24-Nov-15 12:28:32

I am very lazy, quite often I'll have naps for hours to stave off stress.

BubsandMoo Tue 24-Nov-15 12:28:51

The situation sounds awful, what advice are you looking for? If the problem is that the two of you just don't love, respect or care for each other then you can't just magic that up. Your self esteem seems shot, you believe some awful things about yourself and he has said some unforgivably cruel things to you.

If you were thinking about counselling I'd suggest seeking support just for yourself.

Meljenks30 Tue 24-Nov-15 12:32:59

OMG this sounds like my relationship, me and my ex arnt married but lived together for 11 years.

everything was my fault and he constantly said im not right in the head....but we split up only 3 days ago (mutual thing) and everyone and i mean everyone of my friends and family said i am the most caring loving person they know and he was messing woith my head.. please please end this relationship now, it wont get better? we stayed togther for out son and it made me misrable... ok he has moved in with another girl and now dating her the day after we split up BUT atlease im free from his constant moods, nagging etc

Ouriana Tue 24-Nov-15 12:33:55

How good a Dad is he? Will he willingly, without you prompting, take them on trips out? Play lego/trains/dolls on the floor with them?
Even if you do not argue in front of the children they often pick up on the atmosphere, are they very comfortable around him or wary of him being in a mood?

Also, pnd is an illness. It is not your fault, in the same way having a broken leg or flu would not have been your fault and you should never feel guilty or to blame for that.

Crackerjack9 Tue 24-Nov-15 12:34:11

I don't have much respect for him. I think he has contempt for me but it's hard to say.
I care about him, but he says I don't. He cares about me.
I'm just so tired of not knowing if the way I see situations is real or if I'm actually, genuinely crazy.
I think counselling just for me actually sounds like a really good idea. It's something I hadn't considered and something which, given my history of anxiety, I could likely get through the NHS.

Crackerjack9 Tue 24-Nov-15 12:36:39

You are all so kind. I expected condemnation and it's not like that at all.
He isn't really into playing with the kids with toys. He wouldn't take them to the park etc off his own bat but does of asked. He does sports with them, reads to them, plays with the baby, is kind and patient. They're not wary of him at all.

Crackerjack9 Tue 24-Nov-15 12:38:21

I know depression is an illness...he got depression too and didn't work for two years while I did work (this was predictably my fault). But if you see women saying 'DH is depressed/needy/whatever' there is often something negative said about the man.

Crackerjack9 Tue 24-Nov-15 13:10:01 he's just come in for lunch (working from home).
This morning a tiny button fell off the side of my phone. I kind of just expected him to help me look (unreasonable of me) and then couldn't remember exactly where I was when I last pressed the button (reasonable enough surely?). This made him cross and I asked him to stop helping me look

So he came in and was so ott nice about the phone. He is often ott nice, either because he feels he ought to be, though if I don't accept his kind offers he gets very angry, or he has a go at me later for accepting them.

This time he was being nice because he'd decided perhaps the button breaking off meant he could twist it into him getting a new phone while acting like he was doing me a favour. He would deny that, say I was twisting things, if I said it to him, but luckily I wouldn't say it to him. I don't even know if it's just in my sick head!!

Anyway, we cannot afford a new phone, which he'd know if he gave a monkeys about our finances or played any role in them at all (or am I overly controlling about money? I can't tell any more).

He said something about his broken screen and I said 'we've got a spare screen, it's in the drawer'. I probably had a stressed expression on my face at the thought of trying to pay for a new phone. He started yelling at me about my tone etc.

Ok so it was a massive overreaction. I would like to go back to the days when every exchange wasn't fraught, when we gave each other the benefit of the doubt.

But was I being out of order? At this point I just have no idea. No idea at all.

I feel like I live with an enemy.

Anyway. I have to go out for a while. Thanks so much for your support and giving me a place to vent.

hellsbellsmelons Tue 24-Nov-15 13:19:08

But was I being out of order?

Honestly, the more you update the more I think you really do need to get away from him.
I really believe your mental health depends on it.
And I would bet a fair bit of money your anxiety suddenly reduces massively when you have this abusive arsehole out of your life!
Sorry - but that's how I see it.

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