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Do people ever grow out of giving others the silent treatment, and can they morph into open/communicative people??(30 Posts)
So it all erupted last night after a day spent indoors during which we probably all got cabin fever.
I was talking to ds about how I was maybe thinking of doing a reflexology course but that the
quite big in this case issue of having to touch feet was something I was not sure about. Brought on by the fact that I met my friend's friend (who is a reflexologist) last week, and she mentioned wearing gloves if people have athlete's foot...
Dh, from his sofa, really scathingly said that I was wasting my time thinking about this and it was never going to happen etc... I should have left it at this point but I was rattled by his horrible tone so asked him what he meant etc... He then said, in an equally horrible voice, that I was a "queen" who would be too "ooooo" "oooooo" to clean people's feet. Sounds laughable I know but his tone was really nasty and contemptuous. He said I should not waste any time or brain space on the idea as it was never going to happen.
Unfortunately I then rose to the bait and said that a. reflexology was not cleaning people's feet but massage, and a whole host of other things defending myself and asking me what he meant. It transpired that he meant that I am apparently too much of a queen to pick the piles of clothes up upstairs and that any housework that I do do (when I protested about what I do) is only shortlived .
I couldn't stop repeating the horrible way he had made the sounds that were supposed to be me being a queen as I was so hurt by this, and the whole thing turned into a big argument. I was telling him he could have been kinder in terms of how he delivered his opinion on me and reflexology, he was saying no he didn't do that (obviously not ).
We are now not speaking. This is what dh does - if he feels that an argument has somehow gone too far, he detaches completely. I have been through many periods during which he hasn't spoken to me and it has caused me a lot of pain. This has got a lot better as we went through a massive massive crisis over this and other things earlier on this year, but the tendency is still there and I knew that today would be like this. The last time it happened was on holiday in August when I had to send dh an email after about four days of the silent treatment, to ask him to start talking and apologising for my part in the argument (incidentally dh never ever apologises).
The difference today is that I have somehow had enough. I feel that the way he spoke to me last night re. housework etc. was really contemptuous. I don't understand why we can't be like other couples who might argue but then just hug and make up. Dh does not do discussions about us ever, and while we are getting on a lot better than during our terrible crisis earlier on this year, we only ever talk about superficial things. Never about us.
Dh is not affectionate with me, and I do feel that I am running on empty. It doesn't help that I am doing a course and have felt vague feelings of attraction to one of the students. When I say vague I mean vague but they are kind of there, and I know that a whole lot of projection goes on when a crush brews, but this person seems to be very open and communicative and I realise that that is what I yearn for - connection and communication.
I have spent the whole weekend preparing for a mini teaching session that is part of this course, and dh has (naturally) asked me nothing about it. I was sat at the dining table getting my materials together and it's like I wasn't there. Dh just went to bed - I must have sat here for a good hour before that and not a word. My sister also came over this afternoon and he did not say a word to her either.
I have been through this routine so many times, and I know that we come out the other side, but really it's crap. What is it about me that I don't seem to deserve a loving, communicative and affectionate relationship? I could go upstairs now and get into bed next to him and feel even more lonely than I usually feel, but really I am fed up with this puerile way of being. I am sure it feeds into my experience of my parents, who though very loving, were quite not domineering exactly, but you would not have crossed them in a way. So if I know that I am not being spoken to by dh I kind of hang my head in shame and wait for it to pass. Well sod that, this is only a half life.
It doesn't help that last night he dyed his hair a colour which has come out so so dark that it looks terrible. Now not only can I not bear to look at him because I can't face the closed ostracising me face, but I cannot bear to look at his hair which looks dreadful. Then I feel so sad because I think he is finding getting older hard, but he is not an easy person. Though he can be lighthearted and funny, he is also often on a short fuse. Eg. after two long days when I had hardly seen him - on the first one of those dd2 was ill and I spent the day sorting out the kitchen which was a tip, and on the second I had work so was out for 7 to 8 hours - I got home and the first thing he did was kick something out of the way which I had left in the wrong place on the floor (near a wall) and which he apparently kept on walking in to. He couldn't say oh nice to see you (he had been away), or even just pick the things up himself, he had to make a point of bad temperedly kicking them out of the way. It's his short fuse and lack of affection and open communication which I find difficult.
Thanks for listening to me ranting. It's really very difficult as we get on ok most of the time, even if we are not close (and he never touches me ). Well enough for our family to function and we do laugh about the dc a lot etc...
Then arguments like this happen and I am plunged back into that dark world. I think the difference this time is that, due to my not really worth mentioning vague crush on this fellow student, I am kind of wondering when it is going to be my turn to share ideas, laughter, be affectionate . Almost as if I no longer have to put up with his immature dynamic as there is another world out there which is just out of reach (except there isn't as divorce would mean seeing I don't know how much less of my kids and I couldn't bear that). Dh and I have been together for almost 20 years and maybe it's just too long??
How many other people does he give the Silent Treatment to ? His friends, work colleagues, boss ?
Or just you ? Thought so.
Perhaps you could break the silence and inform him his new dye job makes him look like David Fucking Gest. That should make him squawk.
Well sod that, this is only a half life.
He treats you like someone who needs to beg for his forgiveness. Like you are much, much less than him.
Can i ask why you feel the need to apologise? As it screams bullying to me; you are doing a course and he really doesn't like it. God forbid you "get ideas"...best you get back in your box pronto eh? Look up "stonewalling", it's a standard abuse tactic to keep you down, subservient.
What wiuld be normal is fir him to shoe an interest in what you are studying, support you, make encouraging noises?
Typos - sorry. PP nailed it - david fucking guest indeed!
Well no his family are silent treatment types. They are all very comfortable with it and at various times don't speak to each other depending on what has happened between them. Dh has one sibling that he has not spoken to for over 20 years. Even when they are speaking they are detached (though can be funny etc...).
Googled David Gest and dh's hair is (temporarily I hope!!) that dark!
Tbf I did say one really unpleasant thing in the argument, notably that being with dh is like being with a dead person (this is after he had started his whole thing about me). I know that is really horrible, but I do feel completely cut off from him. He spends all his time when he is at home sitting on the sofa working on the laptop. He can then selectively listen in to what is going on but more often than not he is completely cut off from it (though he does communicate with the dc). I just don't know what happened to actually LIVING LIFE. Maybe we are just incompatible. There is certainly a lack of trust between us. We also don't have any idea about how to resolve an argument or talk about it. I would be prepared to do it I think but dh is very defensive and "always right". He also uses anger as a means to shut down conversations he does not want to have.
I guess the long standing lack of affection is dh's way of saying that he actually no longer wants a relationship with me and this is what he is offering - a home together where we both look after the kids, but where we are co-parents more than anything else.
I think his use of the computer is in part a way to soothe himself as he is an anxious character and has been a workaholic for many years.
A bit of a drip feed sorry - I am a bit of a serial course doer and I think dh is in part frustrated about this. Still doesn't excuse his rude tone however. The whole thing sounds pathetic I know.
If acting like this is all he has ever known then he is unlikely to change
So you have a stark choice. Put up or shut up.
What you describe is utterly awful and futile. How you talk about yourself contains echoes of his condescending put-down style too. He's in your darn brainwaves. So what if you're a serial course-taker/student? Eventually you'll find/build a new path or you might simply love studying and experiencing new learning, people, possibilities. That's wonderful, not something to be downgraded and devalued to zero. You were RIGHT to say it was like living with a dead person. Remember that you said this and how deeply it reflects your truth about this marriage.
It's important. In that statement is your smouldering rebellion and longing for a full and satisfying life. Decisions to be made, I believe?
Giving someone the Silent Treatment is extremely self-indulgent. The person doing it feels very superior whilst acting all hurt.
Thanks for your messages.
Managed to be fairly normal with dh despite his silence and while he is still not talking / chatting, he is at least answering when I speak to him.
Naturally he has not asked about my practice lesson but even on a good day he does not ask questions.
He seems irritable and pissed off in general.
Realised today all the reasons why I don't actually fancy fellow student on course, but it has made me realise that I yearn to be hugged as he
while actually fairly arrogant has a comforting physical presence.
I said today to dh that we needed to win the lottery and he said no we don't we just need dd2's cuddles. I took this as a snub but I may have been projecting. Certainly dd2 is one of the massive reasons I can't contemplate leaving.
I've known someone who was/is irritable, contemptuous, mimicked /ridiculed me when annoyed, was/is patronising, sulks and goes silent if there is conflict, rarely apologises and is always right.
In 15 years they haven't changed. Actually it's getting worse.
Interestingly I also felt they had little interest in life...rarely saw the world/sun/greenery/birds/countryside etc. outside. Living in their own world which they desperately try to control.
I can't be doing with it.
Your DDs are now seeing your relationship as a basis for theirs.
They understand from you how women and men work together, the things they say, and the things they do, the way they are. They won't even be questioning this, they will totally accept it as the way things are when you are a grown-up.
Mine understood that daddy was the king of the house and mummy was fat, and she was not very good at exercising, and when she wore makeup it was because she wasn't very pretty. They learnt that daddy made the rules, and he got to decide who was stupid or lazy.
What are your DDs learning from your relationship? What will they carry into theirs?
Speak to a solicitor. Not to start plans for leaving but just to get into your head that it is possible and not some scary future beyond your control. Then you can be braver when you discuss things with him (as you know what the future could be).
What you describe sounds pretty bad.
I think you should leave not stay for the sake of your daughter
You have it the wrong way around
he can still be a father to her while demonstrating his utter contempt for her mother 24/7
God OP, he is an absolute mind-fucker. Don't stay with him. I echo AF - leave for the sake of your daughters. It makes me retch that they might have him as their male role model and possible template for future partners. Ugh! And for you, you deserve so much better than this. Really, this is what divorce laws were made for. He is vile.
a home together where we both look after the kids, but where we are co-parents more than anything else. This would slowly kill you. Don't do it.
he said no we don't we just need dd2's cuddles. I took this as a snub - yes this is a snub, but such a clever one you would be accused of not caring about dd2 if you pointed this out to him. This is a cruel snub that also snookers you emotionally. Get out. You can't stop him doing this to you AND live together. The only way to stop it is to make sure that he does not live in your home. He is poison. You could have a lovely, happy, warm and secure home without him in it. You can't have that WITH him. He proves that everyday.
Please go to a solicitor OP. You deserve better than this. And your daughters deserve to see that this is not right or normal.
He talks to you with contempt
He tramples on your hopes and plans
He is always right
He withholds affection
He gives you the silent treatment
Any other signs of emotional abuse?
This is going to be a big fat LTB from me.
If you're not sure whether it's abuse or whether you should leave, read Lundy Bancroft's book, and call Women's Aid. That should help clarify things.
Why are you even talking to him when he is giving you the silent treatment after picking a fight with you. As an absolute minimum give it right back to him. And when he decides to talk to you (or to bait you) "I'm not sure if I am ready to forgive you yet, especially as you still haven't apologised"
Because the only way out of the silence is for me to talk. If I don't talk then he is capable of not talking either for ages and ages.
The thing about divorce is that the dc (definitely the 14 year old, the other 2 are going to be 10 and 12 in 3 months) would be able to choose where they wanted to live so I might end up seeing very little of some / all of my dc. Added to the trauma (for them and for us) of being cut off from them when they would be with the other parent in any case.
How it is between us when there is no argument is OK - chatty and OK. OK enough for the dc to be happy and much much better than it was during our massive crisis. Yes I would like a more open and affectionate relationship but I don't think that's enough of a reason to go through the trauma of divorce. When it looked like it was going to happen last spring I honestly felt as if I was going to have a breakdown.
When it looked like it was going to happen last spring I honestly felt as if I was going to have a breakdown
Did you speak to solicitor and calculate out finances, consider where you could /might live, discuss anything with the DCs eg you and Dad not getting on too well etc, did you speak to friends and relatives about to sound out support.
Did you think it through?
Yes I did some of that - saw a solicitor basically. The dc knew how difficult things were. We live in London and the thought of how expensive accommodation is is terrifying. There would be a massive tussle over the house and dh would be nasty I think. I might feel unable to live in such a horrible atmosphere and feel obliged to rent somewhere with money I don't have and the dc would not at that point want to leave their family home I am sure.
I am on course to being more financially independent now after years as a SAHM but I will be earning £10 to £11 an hour so not enough!
Dh is talking again so I guess my strategy of forging on ahead regardless and talking myself kind of worked.
Up until a while ago I yearned for dh to be closer and more affectionate but I suddenly feel completely disinterested. This is going to sound awful but I think his hair is partly linked to this. There are 12.5 years between us (he is older) and they suddenly feel like a massive difference even though of course they are not. He suddenly seems much older than he is somehow and also "old before his time". I am sorry if that offends. Makes me feel ageist but maybe it's linked more to the fact that actually we never really talk about anything so under those circumstances a relationship kind of dies
Why feel guilty about how you feel ? He has made it happen.
Bad dye jobs and emotional abuse are a combination that doesn't engender much respect. Why the fuck would it ?
How do you intend to teach the DC that emotional abuse is not the right way for a man to behave?
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