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I think I need to leave my husband

(17 Posts)
Ratbag82 Fri 08-Apr-16 23:27:27

I've been with partner for 12 years and we have three kids together. It's hard to know where to start with this but I guess what I really need is some advice on what I can do as I feel very trapped. Also I'm new to MN so please bear with me as I don't know all the abbreviations.

I've felt that I might need to leave him for a long time but I feel a bit blinded the enormity of what that might mean for me and the kids.

He has always been controlling with me which I struggle to cope with. He will sulk, shout, talk down to me, criticise me, threaten to leave me, tell me he wants to kill himself (has on one occasion swallowed a handful of tablets mid-argument) pushed and shoved or raised his fist, although thankfully he has never hit me but has left me bruised from the pushing and shoving. Even as I type this I'm thinking of all the different things that have happened and there are too many to list. He uses guilt trips, emotional blackmail and mind games to get his own way. It's like his only objective is to have things on his terms at any cost.

I believe he is depressed as he tells me he thinks about suicide a lot. He insists he only suffers with stress and anxiety and refuses to consider that he might be depressed. I think this is because he is worried that if he seeks help with his problem that he will be told he has bi-polar which his dad has had since my partner was a child. His dad also has narcissistic personality disorder and is extremely controlling and can be very cruel. This has had a very big impact on the whole family which I feel might be why my partner won't risk being told he has the same problem as he is scared of what this might make him do.
He is an excellent provider and for this I am very grateful. Since having my third child two years ago I have been able to give up work. In front of friends and family he always talked of how he'd like me to stay at home and care for the kids however in private he makes me feel that I have no right to make decisions about our life because I make no financial contribution. His attitude is that I have no value because I don't earn any money. Even when I was working he'd criticise the amount I earned and would suggest that I would be able to have more of say when I earned the same as him. We have a joint bank account. He has threatened to take my bank card away before but has never gone through with it. He says I spend too much. I have tried to cut down the cost of our groceries by shopping at Aldi and Lidl but we live in one of the most expensive parts of the country and we have three children. We don't walk around in designer clothes, I don't own expensive stuff like jewellery, I get my hair done about twice a year, don't have nails done, hardly ever go out or buy make up. I usually get my clothes from H&M or Primark because they're cheap. The majority of what I spend is on running the home, groceries and the kids. He can be very generous so I feel bad for saying this because he works extremely hard to provide for us but I feel he uses that as a stick to beat me with. He has openly expressed his views that he works harder than I do even though I'm up most nights with the children and rarely get to bed before midnight trying to keep on top of everything, when he's off to bed at 10pm after relaxing on the sofa for hours. I just want him to understand that I am his equal and for that to influence the way he treats me. He can be very generous but I've noticed its nearly always the big things he can draw other people's attention to, like buying me a car a few Christmases ago which he gave me on Christmas day in front of family with a giant bow on it. It was lovely and I was really happy and don't get me wrong, I appreciated how brilliant it was to be given such a lovely present but I would rather be treated with a bit more respect day to day than have months of anger directed at me and then presented with an amazing giant gesture. Maybe I'm ungrateful. I just find the whole thing so up and down all the time. Its really confusing and I can only imagine how difficult it is for the children to make sense of.
He tells me that the reason he's so angry towards me a lot of the time is because 1) everyone at work stresses him out and 2) because I wind him up. I'm sick of hearing his excuses and sick of his apologies afterwards too as to me they're meaningless because he does it again. He says he knows he takes everything out on me but if I didn't put up with it he'd kill himself or hurt himself.

He can be nice and reasonable sometimes but I feel like he's two different people. He can go from one to the other in a heart beat and without warning so we're all on egg shells all time. He can be affectionate but its very much on his terms. I've lost count of the times I used to be in tears or feeling down and he'd behave like it was an inconvenience to him. There was no emotion.

It will hurt as believe it or not I do love him, but I want to leave him. I'm worried that I wouldn't be able to pay the mortgage on my own or that he'd be difficult about our housing. We live in an area where we're in the catchment for an excellent secondary school but all the alternatives are terrible. My eldest child has Special Needs and I want to make sure he's able to go to a decent school so I feel I need to stay in this area and fear that this would not be a possibility as a single parent.

Any advice that you have about what help is out there for people like me and my children about how to cope financially and emotionally after a separation from a controlling relationship would be really appreciated. I also worry about how my kids will cope on their own with him when I'm not around to help them make sense of it all.

I'm so sorry to waffle, I realise this is long and I could carry on and on and on! Thank you for reading this far!

thestamp Fri 08-Apr-16 23:33:25

God you poor thing. He's dreadfully abusive, emotionally as well as physically. He's assaulted you to the point of leaving marks on your body. He's a criminal.

i don't have immediate advice since i'm not in UK and unfamiliar with the best resources for women in your situation. but i want you to know that i have read your post and i am so, so sorry you and your children are going through this. it must be hell on earth.

no matter what he says to you, please know that you've done nothing wrong and the way he is behaving is criminal, shocking, inexcusable.

i can only offer you my hand to hold, i think others will be along with practical advice soon though.

Limelight Fri 08-Apr-16 23:34:58

Someone much cleverer than me will respond soon I'm sure with loads of practical help, but I didn't want to leave this unanswered. You sound absolutely exhausted my love. You've already articulated this but yes, you need to leave him.

scotsgirl64 Fri 08-Apr-16 23:46:34
some useful links here...sound like you're in a controlling /coercive relationship
try to speak to someone over the weekend
good luck xx

CheshireGirl38 Sat 09-Apr-16 00:06:54

Have you told him how you feel? I know it's scary but do you think he would try harder in order to keep you? It will be hard if you have no income and the kids are young

Limelight Sat 09-Apr-16 00:21:05

I suspect nothing is harder than being subject to ongoing emotional abuse which is what this OP is describing.

Patchworkrainbow123 Sat 09-Apr-16 00:36:41

I'm so sorry for what you are having to go through. The 'walking on eggshells' and that his father has bi-polar are very indicative that he probably has too. I doubt he has NPD (tho I'm no expert) as I think you would have picked up on that much much earlier in your relationship. The up/downs you talk about are very indicative of bp.

Having 1st hand experience of bp I would suggest that your partner seeks help from his Gp and then hopefully a psyche referral and that you keep very strict boundaries. I think strict boundaries are so important as those with bp seem to push and push, Draw your lines on the sand and make it very clear what you will and won't put up with (hands on you, pushing/shoving defo no no!) Make sure these boundaries are very clear with repercussion. He needs to know exactly where the line is.

This is only my 2 cents worth. I hope things get better for you soon

Ratbag82 Sat 09-Apr-16 02:24:20

Thank you all so much, it means a lot to hear all your thoughts and supportive comments.

I've found it hard to speak about all of this before because I have been worried that people wouldn't believe me because he can be very charming and reasonable when he wants to be and the thought of finding the right words to say and then not being believed felt exhausting and more than I could take so hearing your kind words means so very very much to me. Thank you xxx

I attempted to speak to his mother when we went to visit a few months ago as my partner does worry that he is like his Dad. I tested the water with the suggestion but she very quickly said he was nothing like his dad. She is a lovely person and I don't want to scare her as she has been through so much in her marriage but she lives a long way away and so she doesn't see him for more than a week at a time which makes it easier for the worst of his behaviour to be hidden. I do think however that some of it could be behaviour and habits learned from his Dad.

On the occasion when he took all the tablets during a disagreement (mentioned in my original post) I was pregnant with our second child. At this point I told him I'd had enough as he did this whilst our first child was asleep only in the next room and it concerned me that he could have walked in in the middle of it. He then agreed to see the GP, something I'd been pleading with him to do for a long time. He has since been on medication and when he takes his meds he is much more manageable to be with. Unfortunately he voluntarily stops taking them regularly and this is when he is his most unpleasant and unpredictable. I can tell when he's stopped but if I dare to ask he gets angry.

I know I'm going to sound like a crazy person but I often catch myself talking to myself to deal with it. I know I must sound bonkers but I think its just something I've ended up doing because I need to verbalise my fears/frustrations/feelings etc but I've got no one to tell them too without repercussion. Is it normal to do this?

I tell him during these bad times how I think he needs to see someone and not just rely on the medication. I've told him that perhaps CBT might help and have given him the number for the Health in Mind services in our area. I've offered to call it with him, but the problem is he then makes it my problem to solve. He used to expect me to collect his meds from the GP despite him working opposite the dr's surgery, when I was running around after the kids and working half an hour away. When I wouldn't be able to get there he would blame me for not having his meds. Although I want to support him I know he'll avoid taking responsibility at any chance so I have to distance myself a bit and make sure he knows that it up to him to seek help.

I've also told him that if he doesn't seek help then he could lose all of us. I end up thinking he just doesn't love us because even this doesn't seem enough to make him go back to the GP and ask to be referred to MH services for assessment.

Your comments are really helpful because it reconfirms what I already know really, but sometimes it just helps to hear someone else say it so thank you so much again. I was really worried that people would say how could you let yourself get into this mess and to be honest I don't know the answer to that! You're all extremely kind and understanding people xxx

Joysmum Sat 09-Apr-16 08:16:23

I feel bad for saying this because he works extremely hard to provide for us

I always call bullshit when I see this expressed because it's how I used to feel until I had a revelation...

If he were single and without kids, would he be less career motivated? wink

It really hit me when I though of this regarding my DH. No doesn't work hard to provide for us all, that's just the byproduct of his focus on his career. He's doing what he would have done anyway.

Thought that worthy of mention because once to take that guilt away it makes it easier still to think logically about your needs.

You sound like you've done all the right things. You can see your relationship is abusive and are looking for ways out since you DH isn't taking responsibity to manage his own mental health.

FlounderingWildly Sat 09-Apr-16 08:20:48

Wow. JoysMum i had never viewed it like that before. Bit of a revelation.

Joysmum Sat 09-Apr-16 08:30:52

Yep, it hit me in the face like a ton of bricks when it first occurred to me. Of course that may not hold true for others who have to stay in a job they hate, but in our case he loves his work but works very long and unpredictable hours and it often away.

It him like a ton of bricks too when I asked him if he'd give up his job for a more simpler low paid one if we weren't in his life. His reaction was comical, could say anything as at that moment he knew his life was what he wanted it to be because I'd given up my career so he could be flexible in his and his time at home was purely leisure.

Misselthwaite Sat 09-Apr-16 08:32:16

I think you need to read 'why does he do that?' By Lundy Bancroft. He is abusive no doubt about it. There is loads of very knowledgeable posters on this board so keep posting and you'll get great advice.

Yeahsure Sat 09-Apr-16 08:36:57

Of course he's not 'working hard for the family', he's doing it for himself!

My dh was stay at home dad for 10 years. I have always worked. I work 'very hard' I earn a high salary, 'provided for my family'.

I have never, would never say I worked harder than my dh who looked after three girls at home and did the lionshare of the housework. I didn't bloody work harder! I at least could grab a breather, have a coffee, go for lunches here and there. And as for lying on the sofa all evening while you stay up till midnight getting house and kids sorted WHAT THE FUCK! The second I came in from work when they were small I'd take over, join in and we'd sort the house out together.

Your husband is abusive on every level:

Physically (pushing and shoving IS violence. Please don't believe the myth that only hitting or punching is violence)

You need to get past whether your friends, family, his mother and he himself think he's abusive. They will or won't believe you (his mother won't but that's understandable).. They will or won't support you (you'd be surprised how much support you will get from some though I promise).

You know.

The anger, the tension, the volatile atmosphere, the up and down, the walking on eggshells, the shouting, the criticism, the sexism - all of this is damaging your children.

I am all for staying together and trying to make things work when you have children but this is a seriously awful environment for your kids and they would without doubt be better off if you divorce.

Re practicals and finances, he will threaten the world, he'll say you'll get nothing, you'll lose the house, he'll even threaten to go for custody of the kids, but it will all be hot air. He has to support the children and that will most likely mean you will keep the house if not another perfectly adequate accommodation. Get a good solicitor and don't be scared by his bullshit!

chocolatemuppet Sat 09-Apr-16 09:22:06

OP - just like joysmum says, my exOH used to be the provider, and I felt the same guilt - he works hard for all of us and I should be grateful.

Now we have split, he still focuses on his career (he doesn't provide for me any more) and me and my parents have to be there and pick up the kids from school / clubs etc on 'his' days to have them. He sometimes doesn't get back to see them till 7 on his days. All optional - he doesn't have to work till that time.

Turns out he wasn't putting in the excessive hours solely to be a provider, but that work was his focus, rather than me and the kids. Still is.

Hope that makes you feel a little less guilty!

RiceCrispieTreats Sat 09-Apr-16 09:37:07

Your instincts are right: you do need to leave him. He's a damaged and entitled man who thinks it's ok to behave abusively towards you; he belittles and controls you in order to feel more powerful. He is not as interested in your wellbeing as he is in feeling like he has you under his thumb.

This is not what a partnership is made of, and you need to get out.

I understand your concerns about the house and schools. Luckily you are married, so that will give you some financial protection after a divorce.

I suggest that you gather information and sources of help now. Please contact:

- Women's Aid, for referral to support groups and help services.
- A solicitor, to discuss your legal and financial options

There are other support services out there, that you can use as and when you need them. But please start with those two. A solicitor especially is a fantastic ally to have, as they are dispassionate and well-informed, and there to fight for your interests (which you, as a kind and giving person, will find a little hard to do, while your husband will have no such compunctions).

IreallyKNOWiamright Sun 10-Apr-16 19:14:24

Please don't feel him providing for you is a reason to stay. He treats you badly
.you deserve to feel loved.

KoogaBlue Sun 10-Apr-16 20:22:56

Goodness - its sounds awful. Two bits of practical - are a fantastic organisation and you can at least talk to someone there - sometimes its helpful to talk to someone who is neutral - they are superb.

Secondly get some initial family law advice; know where you stand before you make any decisions that affect you or your kids - you can get some free advice here - they also have domestic violence specialists.

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