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Worried about my mum - controlling husband

(5 Posts)
KisstheTeapot14 Tue 16-Feb-16 20:00:24

So...this story goes a long way back. Mum was widowed young, in the 1980's. She courageously picked up the pieces, continued to do a great job raising two children (my sister and me), worked to keep the roof over our heads and all the rest that goes with it. After a few years she decided that she would seek a new partner. And this is where what might have been a happier chapter didn't quite go according to plan.

The man she met seemed nice enough, interesting, well-travelled, good job. The fact he still lived with his parents at 40...might have been a bit of a hint...but never mind, lets press on. They had a long standing relationship where he stayed over, they went on hols etc but he kept asking her to marry which she wasn't all that keen on. After a couple of asks he said that if she didn't accept he would leave. So they got married. That was many moons ago - during which time his behaviour/their relationship has become more and more troubling.

The life she now lives features:having no control over little things in the house - asking him to switch off the radio for example, is a no-no. What would happen if she did? Sulking, storming, making life uncomfortable.
There is a great deal of minimizing of her feelings and belittling of her thoughts.

She has become isolated, she does not visit friends, the ones she had she is no longer in contact with. He tolerate her visiting us and a couple of other relatives but she always has to be back at certain times or there's hell to pay.

He's never hit her, that we know of, but in times when he feels out of control (when she was ill after hip operation) he did almost barge her over in a fit of anger. I would certainly say there is clear psychological/emotional abuse. Things blew up over Christmas (a disruption to the routine he can't tolerate, even though they 'celebrate' Christmas day alone). She was in tears Christmas eve and on the day. When he gets in a mood, she pays for it. Not saying she's a saint to live with but no-one deserves this treatment.

She turned up with a bag of ornaments the week after. She's not having a tree again she said. I think he's stolen the magic of Christmas.

One day over Christmas DP and DS went to see mum and her husband whilst I went to the Jan sales. After a couple of hours (mum not consulted, she was upstairs looking for a toy) he made it very clear that they were not welcome any more, so they left. When mum found out she was very upset and even talked about leaving. He says its all a storm in a teacup and also if they did split and sell house (that she paid for!) there would not be enough money to set up independently. They are both retired. She won't have much of a pension as she worked p-time.

Sorry for long post. My sister and I are at our wits end. Our mum was once a strong, feisty, independent person who has been worn down to a shell of what she used to be by this controlling, selfish man.

I know it's her decision to stay or leave. I just can see this getting even worse than it has already become.

Any advice from those who have been in mum's position, or family who have watched from the side-lines? How do I bolster her confidence, so she can feel like she is really making decisions for herself?

Maybe it's a job for the A-Team?

(Sorry - it's laugh or cry round here!)

pocketsaviour Tue 16-Feb-16 20:09:25

When she talked about leaving, at Xmas/New year, was that the first time she had ever mentioned splitting up?

Could you suggest going with her to a solicitor to find out what her legal and financial position would be if they did split? "Just so you have the information Mum" (because he will be telling any lie he thinks will cow her.)

thenightsky Tue 16-Feb-16 20:21:57

Can she see a solicitor? Won't she be entitled to part of his pension if they split?

This all sounds so awful for her to bear. sad

KisstheTeapot14 Tue 16-Feb-16 20:33:25

Thanks Pocket. No, not the first time. It has been said before, not on a regular basis...a couple of times. This time she was quite militant - said 'I don't care what he does to me, but he can't treat you like this'. Sadly, you could see that attitude fade as the days and weeks went by..as we have when it's come up before.

It's not actively horrible all the time, his behaviour goes in waves - or is triggered by some event like going on hol (he hates the uncontrollable aspects of airports/travel). He'll ''be good'' for a while and then it goes downhill.

They are on hol currently - she had said she wouldn't go, then back tracked.
She said she will go to CAB when she come back, and has talked about seeing a soliciter. I said she really ought to know for sure what she could do if she got to a position where she decided to leave - for her own sanity. I would go with her for sure, but she's quite evasive to pin down to any definite course of action. Unless I make the appt for her and walk her there hand in hand - then that feels like me being controlling!!

In some ways, he is very dependent, she does all the washing/cooking/looking after things. He can be a bit 'little boyish'. She said to me if she did leave it would kill her to see him crumble, he would be such a mess. I think this aspect does tend to feature in abusive relationships, from something I heard on the radio. Being horrible/vulnerable as a way of getting what they want. Consciously or unconsciously.

She's whittling away at her possessions, giving stuff away to charity shops, so that 'she doesn't have much to get rid of when she leaves'. Then in the next breath, she says ''that's what your auntie x says all the time!'' (her sister, also in strange relationship with money controlling/odd partner who often has said she will leave and never has...)

Mum's side of the family is a bit eccentric. She was the most sane of the bunch, but her husband often cites them as a way of belittling her objections/feelings towards his actions.

WeiAnMeokEo Wed 17-Feb-16 01:43:05

So much of this sounds like my mum...(I actually posted about it recently, feel free to have a look smile ) I can really relate to your sadness and frustration at seeing your mother's personality seemingly crumble.

Are you and/or your sister able to help her out with any practicalities, eg. a place to stay, if she does decide to leave?

She probably feels really alone and scared just thinking about leaving, especially as he has eroded her self esteem so much, so I don't think hand-holding her to the CAB or other places where she can get support would be controlling - you can use it as an opportunity to show your support and help her feel more empowered.

Good luck, sending cake

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