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Crying as quietly as possible so as not to disturb DS

(39 Posts)
Spidermama Thu 24-Dec-15 21:58:42

This is the least christmassy post I will ever write but I have to get it out so here goes.
I live with two highly explosive individuals. DH and DD who is 17. I have another 3 DSs too but we don't have the same propensity to let rip.

Earlier this evening DD had a massive mad emotional explosion for some minor misdemeanour which I can't remember the details of. I think I had the temerity to ask her to bring her cup and plate over so I could wash them up. Anyway she had her usual immediate blast off so DH followed suit taking it as personally as he could and pouring shit loads of petrol onto the DD fire.

It's 4 hours later now. The evening was completely ruined. DS and I didn't go round the corner to our friend's house for drinks after all. I've been pouring over stuff on the internet about how to handle explosive people then talking DH down and trying to work out a Christmas-saving strategy with him.

Meanwhile my 10 year old DS has found his own pillowcase for Santa to fill and taken himself off to bed. Now abusive DD and DH have made up and are having drinks and a cheeseboard downstairs while I'm still reeling in the wake of their ridiculous emotional explosions.

I know from reading the psychobabble I'm meant to just bite the bullet and be nice to them to try to find out what is really the problem and why they are so touchy about stuff.

Actually I'm upstairs seething with resentment that they can now move on with their lives, have a lough, hang out together, while I'm up here with my Christmas eve' ruined, feeling anything but good will, and my gorgeous 10 year old Christmassy boy has taken himself off to sleep probably to escape the horror of these emotionally incontinent car crashes.

They are selfish fuckwits who never seem to notice how their ludicrous drama-spats affect the rest of us.


ImperialBlether Thu 24-Dec-15 22:17:27

I couldn't live like that. I'd pick up the three sons and be off, leaving them to it. They are abusing the whole family and you would be better off away from them.

franklyidontgiveadamscarlet Thu 24-Dec-15 22:17:39

I don't know what has happened with your family.
But these two people only wreck it for others because they get something out of upsetting others around them.
Why are you letting them ruin it.
Take the rest of the family away to people who love the Christmas spirit.
Or get rid of these two completely.
Tell me what their good points are..

OhBeloved Thu 24-Dec-15 22:40:15

You have my sympathies Spider sad

Deep breaths. Try to take a step back and focus on doing at least one thing that's just for you tonight.

Focus on your DSs tomorrow and try to make sure they have a great day.

Then.... on Sat or Sun sit down with DH & DD and tell them exactly how their drama ruined your Christmas eve and ask how they propose to ensure that nothing like that happens again. If you're not convinced of their sincerity or commitment make alternative arrangements for next year.

Spidermama Thu 24-Dec-15 22:43:21

They have good points, but their bad points are really bad. I do fantasise about moving away but I can't do it to the family. It would damage my DD irreparably and also DH earns lots of money and my wages are comparatively shit.
Neither or them seems able to control these regular explosions. They just blow up in our faces. For DD it's daily and for DH it's about three times a week when he's here. Mercifully he works away a lot.
His mum always had outbursts and so does his younger brother. They're in full explosion before they can do anything about it.
I really resent how they can bounce back and have a good old laugh while I'm still in stunned horror.

Spidermama Thu 24-Dec-15 22:45:44

Good advice OhBeloved. Thanks.
We all tend to shy away from trying to resolve stuff at a later date because when everyone's in a good mood we don't want to risk inflaming the incendiary members of the family again. They blow so easily, everyone's just grateful that they're in a good mood for a change and no-one wants to rock the boat. It does mean though that I never get my feelings known and they 'get away with' wreaking havoc regularly.

OhBeloved Thu 24-Dec-15 23:09:21

Make sure you let them have it in full detail and frankness then Spider. If they're anything like the ones I know, you take it all a lot more seriously than they do. angry

Have a merry Christmas Spider in spite of them

angryangryyoungwoman Thu 24-Dec-15 23:10:17

I'm sorry to read you are going through this. No advice, sorry, just sympathy

TimeToMuskUp Thu 24-Dec-15 23:32:09

Is there a reason why they are so volatile? (I mean in the emotional sense of a reason; children I work with are often described as "going from 0-60 in two seconds" by other adults when actually they are permanently at about 40, and so much more ready for a fight, and often it's because there are emotional problems/neglect. Is there anything in your family history aside from DH's family tendencies that could explain it?)

If not, I'd do as other posters say and leave them to it. When they're kicking off, walk away and refuse to engage at all. Do you have close friends or family you can go to at short notice? Not talking about it afterwards means they probably have no idea just how bloody awful it is for you all. Tell them, in the most brutal of words if you need to, but make sure they know just how awful their behaviour is. There are no consequences for their shitty behaviour. Put consequences in place.

Spidermama Thu 24-Dec-15 23:53:06

DH's mum was a bit of a nightmare when he was younger. She was violent and volatile. He had a pretty stressful upbringing. He's quite full on as a person. He's always got loads of energy and ever sits down so I would say he operates at at least 40 on the 0-60 scale as a matter of course.

DD has been very highly strung since teens. She screams abuse at family members every day but thinks she's the victim and it's everyone else's fault for pissing her off. She really doesn't seem to see what everyone else sees (and hears).
She's very quiet and well behaved at school though.

I can't work it out. I wondered about reading this post to them with all its poeticism. The trouble is they're both so defensive. They leap into over-animated moral outrage if ever anyone says anything even slightly critical.

I'm looking forward to DH going away to work again but that's not for another 2 weeks. Perhaps things will be better tomorrow. I certainly hope so.

Thanks again for your help. Good night and happy Christmas.

MoominPie22 Thu 24-Dec-15 23:56:38

Totally agree with what's been said spider...I really hope they don't ruin your and your son's Xmas sad

You must tell them in no uncertain terms how you feel and how their outbursts are effecting you. You shouldn't have to "handle" them at all! They aren't bloody toddlers having a tantrumangry

Obv not everybody has their type of personality whereby they can change, at the flick of a switch. I too would feel shell-shocked and then depressed and resentful as a result of being put in a shit mood or have my evening ruined.

Are they actually aiming all their anger at you when they flip out? Or is it just random outbursts of anger at no-one in particular?

I think, in your shoes, next time it happens I would just leave the room. Leave the house if you have to! But just remove yourself from the situation. But if they have a shred of decency after you've had an honest discussion with them, this shouldn't happen at all anymore. If it continues to, you need to think of consequences. Also, maybe try recording one of their outbursts when they're in full swing. Then you can play it back to them, cos I'll bet they don't realise how bloody ridiculous they sound! Pratsfshock

peacefuleasyfeeling Fri 25-Dec-15 00:03:23

No words of advice, just exhausted, pale-faced recognition sad I wish you courage and resilience, it really sucks.

CumbrianExile Fri 25-Dec-15 00:06:57

Is the money really worth it? Can you really day you're happy?
Your dd is learning from her dad. Her brothers will follow if you don't make a stand.

summerwinterton Fri 25-Dec-15 00:20:50

regardless of your wage you could split - do not stay with him for his good salary

differentnameforthis Fri 25-Dec-15 00:38:19

I know from reading the psychobabble I'm meant to just bite the bullet and be nice to them to try to find out what is really the problem and why they are so touchy about stuff. Go now & tell them how they upset everyone. How fucking selfish they are & that they spoilt everything.

You can't talk to a highly explosive person when they are exploding, so do it now.

They are selfish fuckwits who never seem to notice how their ludicrous drama-spats affect the rest of us. Go tell them!!

trackrBird Fri 25-Dec-15 00:40:44

I'm meant to just bite the bullet and be nice to them to try to find out what is really the problem and why they are so touchy about stuff.

No. That's ropey advice: it only works on normal, healthy people who feel deep regret after an outburst - rather than refreshed, and enlivened. The latter group require a much stronger and more assertive response.

Unfortunately the understandable "let's not rock the boat, everyone's happy now" thing means they keep getting away with the behaviour, and when life doesn't suit them again, they know they can blow up at you again, without consequence. There is always, always a next time.

So there is a problem here, but tonight is not the best night to have to handle it.

I hope you have some peace and a lovely time despite it all.

APlaceOnTheCouch Fri 25-Dec-15 00:41:41

I really feel for you and your DSs sad fwiw I don't think being nice to explosive people helps nor asking them what they're feeling. It just encourages their self-obsession and their belief that the world should revolve around their tempers apologies if I sound bitter but STBXH is one too Would family counselling be an option? It would be a good example to your DSs and could help them to establish boundaries. The problem with learning to placate explosive people is that it can leave your boundaries torn to shreds and that's a very vulnerable place to be when it comes to forming other relationships.

In the meantime flowers for you. None of this is your fault.

PuellaEstCornelia Fri 25-Dec-15 00:48:59

Sounds like learned behsviour. They behave like this and get ome sort of emoerry Christmas sweetie - you deserve better!tionsl feedbak from it. You don't have to take it. Tell them to fuck of to the far side of fuck and fuck off again.

PuellaEstCornelia Fri 25-Dec-15 00:50:03

erry Christmas sweetie; you deserve better!

differentnameforthis Fri 25-Dec-15 00:50:34

Neither or them seems able to control these regular explosions. They just blow up in our faces. Do they blow up at friends? Work colleagues? member of the general public? If not, they bloody well can control it.

DD has been very highly strung since teens. She screams abuse at family members every day ... She's very quiet and well behaved at school though. So yes, she is able to control it.

differentnameforthis Fri 25-Dec-15 00:53:30

Your dh needs to realise that he isn't a child anymore, and that he is doing to his kids what was done to him. Giving them a traumatic childhood.

One already thinks it's OK to abuse her parents, and you don't know if the others will follow suit soon.

The fact that you can't wait for him to go away again speaks volumes, op. sad

Jux Fri 25-Dec-15 01:19:34

Print out you op, x2, and leave copies addressed to each of them. Add how it affects you and ds, as you have in the other posts.

wotoodoo Fri 25-Dec-15 01:35:38

Actually, reading this brings me back to a time when I lived with an italian family. It didn't help that I didn't speak the language, their family dynamics were explosive and then later when I was cowering in my room expecting the worst , they would be carrying on as normal and joking around as if nothing happened!

It made me realise that I could never live with people like that (obviously not just italians!) as that was their way to deal with issues, blow up and then move on.

It is interesting your younger ds's attitude to them, may be you could have a quiet word with him and ask him whether they upset him or does it not matter? He might be used to their behaviour, or it might affect him deeply.

If he copes ok then it might be a good idea to follow his lead and ignore them, however, if he is traumatised as much as you are then family counselling is in order.

Either way, in a quiet moment you could let them both know that they will need to change their style of combat and ask them what it's going to be as you've had enough.

Didactylos Fri 25-Dec-15 01:56:18

I was your DS with the pillowcase, quietly getting on with things while emotional/volatile sibling sucked up every bit of joy, attention and it sometimes seemed every bit of oxygen from the room. Don't underestimate how hard it can be for the 'good' and quiet ones

My siblings outbursts, for whatever underlying reasons (probably control issues, fear, anxiety) were a learned response and on a certain level under conscious control eg the anxiety etc was real but the behaviour was chosen and could be stopped eg if visitors turned up. But it often felt like the emotional equivalent of a cat pissing to mark its territory - and just as pleasant. The rest of us got used to being second strings and accept that every occasion would be about managing sibs behaviour and feelings

Concentrate on your DS for now and a calm, icy discussion led by what you said in your OP can be had with DH and DD later

toadflax Fri 25-Dec-15 02:03:56

Thinking of you Spider, I know
how hard it can be living with people who shout and upset people. Some excellent advice here though. They do need to know what effect they are having.

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