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Is this controlling/unreasonable behaviour?

(51 Posts)
bluemaid Sun 12-Jun-16 23:37:13

My hubby keeps telling me to 'stop fighting' all the time. What he means with fighting seems to be when I comment on something such as "isn't it son's bedtime/dinnertime?" or whatever, which he probably hears as criticism, even when I meant it as a normal bit of communication, which he could reply with something sensible such as "Oh yes it is, silly me, I forgot what time it was!". Instead he starts shouting at me to stop fighting! This is followed by demands to do this or that (shut up, sit down etc) and if I'm not doing it he loses his temper completely. I find it almost impossible to say anything to him because of this. He sees this as completely my problem, we've had this for years and I'm still "fighting" and I'm not learning anything etc. We've had couples counselling/therapy and it seemed to help but he's stressed again and shouting at me a lot more (at least once a week). I don't think I'm especially demanding/critical and this happens even when i'm in a good friendly mood... we do have age difference and cultural difference, i wonder if that's the problem but we've been together for over 15 years now, you would think he knew me by now.

Hillfarmer Sun 12-Jun-16 23:41:48

Yup. Unreasonable behaviour at the very least.

The cultural difference seems to be that you are a normal person and he is an aggressive, controlling person who seems to think he bark at you for no good reason. Sounds pretty horrid having to live with that.

Hillfarmer Sun 12-Jun-16 23:42:35

And after 15 years he does know you, he just thinks you're worth less than him and he deserves to have power over you.

SandyY2K Sun 12-Jun-16 23:45:30

Why does he see the need to tell you to shut up? That's not on at all.

In terms of cultural differences that may be a issue and it may have something to do with English not being his first language or the language he thinks in.

There are some things said in one language that literally translated into English can loose the original meaning.

Can you say what his ethnicity is?

RunRabbitRunRabbit Sun 12-Jun-16 23:55:05

Hang on a minute. You say This is followed by demands to do this or that (shut up, sit down etc) and if I'm not doing it he loses his temper completely. Why would you ever do what he says in that situation?

If a person who is not your superior is barking orders at you, you don't obey! You pointedly refuse. Perhaps with a "you are not the boss of me" or a "try that again nicely and I might agree to do it."

I don't care what the age difference is, what the cultural differences are, what he's stressed about, what mood you are projecting or not, you should not be obeying shouty orders. Ever.

It seems you are "fighting" against being a submissive wifey. He shouts and shouts and still you don't learn to be submissive. Pffft. Continue not learning blue. Fight a bit more. He does know you and he wants to change you. He wants to make you learn to stop fighting to be equal. Fuck that. Fight harder.

bluemaid Mon 13-Jun-16 00:34:23

Thanks, RunRabbit, that's what I always do or say next but that makes it worse.

And I'm the one who's a foreigner, I come from a culture where you can be quite direct and I didn't receive fantastic parenting either, so I may be part of the problem here? He says he can't stand me "fighting" and every time I do, he gets depressed for 3 days or something. I think fighting means you actually shout and get aggressive/violent, not merely that you disagree on an issue or ask some salt for your dinner... Or try to stop your son doing something stupid/have a word with him on his behaviour, all instances where this has happened.

corythatwas Mon 13-Jun-16 09:12:54

I am also a foreigner from a very direct culture (oooh yes! we say it like it is!), but I have never had issues like this with my British dh. I may have learned to tone my speech down over the last 20 years+, but it has not been in consequence of any nastiness from his side, more that I have noticed that people around me don't speak quite like I do.

It's his barking at you that is fighting. And the "I get depressed for 3 days" sounds like emotional blackmail.

In British culture - and MN will bear me out over this one - telling your wife to shut up and sit down is a sign of deep disrespect.

RiceCrispieTreats Mon 13-Jun-16 09:22:17

He hears your statements as criticism, and calls it "fighting". This to me says that he is very, very insecure. This is a difficult issue but could be resolvable, if he is willing to acknowledge it and work on himself.

However, it is clear that he is not willing to see himself as the problem here. The fact that he instead goes on to bark orders at you is awful and controlling, and if he tells you to shut up that is very demeaning. This is not a respectful relationship. And respect is the bedrock of relationships. Without it they founder.

If he loses his temper completely, and you walk on eggshells trying to prevent this, then you are indeed being controlled. This really isn't ok.

This marriage is not healthy and it is not good for you. You are not being heard, you are being put down, and you are changing your behaviour out of fear. Since he sees this as your problem, I really don't see any hope of improvement.

Are you ready to call it quits?

SandyY2K Mon 13-Jun-16 09:35:26

Telling you to shut up or sit down just isn't good enough. Your not his child and one shouldn't even tell their child to shut up.

Is he an aggressive person or does he tend to want the final say in everything?

bluemaid Mon 13-Jun-16 10:11:21

Thanks RiceCrispieTreats,
I think you're right, I didn't realise he might be insecure. He may need personal counselling. I've been thinking about leaving lots of times before, feeling trapped and not able to leave, but it's not on the agenda anymore, we are planning to move abroad together (even if it kills us). But just this am he's been going on about how I couldn't survive on my own, because I apparently couldn't understand home insurance policies (and I have 2 uni degrees!)...

RiceCrispieTreats Mon 13-Jun-16 11:35:04

At the core of every bullying behaviour, there is a fundamental insecurity.
But I'd like to stress that just because there is an explanation to his behaviour, doesn't mean that it is resolvable. People like your husband who choose to mask their own insecurities by controlling and demeaning others are usually unable to examine their own behaviour, since their entire mode of functioning is all about casting blame on anyone or anything but themselves.

If he won't take responsibility, he won't change.
And from what you write, he's already decided that he isn't the problem.

ImperialBlether Mon 13-Jun-16 11:38:18

You're moving abroad with a man who treats you like this? Why would you do that?

bluemaid Mon 13-Jun-16 12:10:02

Because it's something we've always wanted to do, and I couldn't afford it on my own, it will provide our son a better life and schooling, and us a better lifestyle etc etc. Alternative is roughly leave him and be stuck in relative poverty in the UK to co-parent our son with him for the next 10-15 years while he goes to a problematic school here and probably gets into gangs or bullied by them etc. London is no place to be a teenager!

RunRabbitRunRabbit Mon 13-Jun-16 15:28:26

So how do you plan to stop being bullied?

Wolfiefan Mon 13-Jun-16 15:30:55

I've had depression. You don't get depressed for three days because someone fights with you. He's sulking. Emotional blackmail not a mental illness.
He loses is completely? Doing what? He sounds like a bully.

bluemaid Tue 14-Jun-16 23:01:29

He marches off, usually while I'm still talking (this happened again just now - I disagreed about changing our weekend plans!). This is an improvement since years ago he would get violent a couple of times, holding my wrists, pushing and shouting to my face kind of thing - He doesn't do that anymore but his face says the same thing and he has to remove himself. This is where he also calls me names, stupid cow etc. Most endearing was f*ing creep... and then afterwards he claimed it wasn't meant to me! At this point if he hasn't removed himself I have recently got violent myself because I can't stand being called stupid and shouted at my face etc. And I grew up in a family where you had to more or less fight to survive so I can do it if need be. I can hit back. One slap usually shuts him up. Not ideal of course... I'd rather be heard in the first place and have a normal conversation about it.

bluemaid Tue 14-Jun-16 23:09:27

The emotional blackmail makes sense, I've seen that before - he had a very unsual and massive cry attack on a camping trip in the middle of the night last year, so that I got worried about him hurting himself, when I had been earlier talking along the lines of separating - but not because he was sad to see me leave, he was crying because I'm "damaging" our son if I leave "and I don't care" (You could wonder who would be the responsible one for the separation, and isn't teaching your kid ALL the swear words and disrespect for his mum a bit damaging...?)

Wolfiefan Tue 14-Jun-16 23:10:40

He has been violent. You have been violent.
You need to get out of this volatile situation for the sake of your child. This is not a healthy relationship.

RiceCrispieTreats Tue 14-Jun-16 23:15:40


I realise that this may seem normal to you now given that it was normal for you growing up, but violence has no place in a relationship and you really need to end it.

And your son is learning all the same lessons from the two of you now. He'll be exchanging slaps and punches with his own partner when he's grown.

Leave now and give him a chance at growing up NOT watching his family members manipulate, control, and hit each other.

RiceCrispieTreats Tue 14-Jun-16 23:26:28

Also, please contact any family counseling services that exist in your borough. Where I live there are counseling and support services for families where there is domestic violence, which do things like provide counseling, mediation, and parenting classes. I don't know what the equivalent would be in London though. But I suggest you get professional support to ensure that you get to the bottom of why you think this behaviour is normal, and also to help you make sure that you don't pass on the same damaging lessons to your son.

It's important to stop family violence being handed down to yet another generation.

bluemaid Tue 14-Jun-16 23:44:37

I don't think it's normal, otherwise I wouldn't be writing about it.
We've done the whole rounds of counselling, mediation and parenting classes many times, like I said before, and we are having fresh start. It's just that some habits die hard. I do think my hb is depressed and probably needs help for that but not sure how to persuade him to go, he gets very irritated if I mention anything like that ( I'm on ads anyway). He mainly thinks I'm the nutter who needs help!

bluemaid Tue 14-Jun-16 23:50:44

I don't think it's right to just leave people like that, I'm not sure why everybody goes on about it? He's not perfect but neither am I. It wouldn't be good moneywise for our son either - and he's his as well, we would still have to argue about all the same stuff at least on a weekly basis, just with even more hurt feelings... I've seen separated couples, I'm not going there. There must be a way we can sort things out.

RiceCrispieTreats Tue 14-Jun-16 23:53:37

I meant for you, not as a couple. There is no point in couple's counseling where there is violence.

Since you're still hitting your husband, AND staying to receive the abuse that he is dishing out, in the house where you are raising your son, these old habits of yours do need a bit more help dying.

Your husband's choices are his own. You can't make him get help for himself.

You can get help for yourself though. And you can choose to walk away from this marriage.

RiceCrispieTreats Wed 15-Jun-16 00:03:30

I don't think it's right to just leave people like that

It is right to leave a marriage that is harming you and harming your son.

It wouldn't be good moneywise for our son either

Divorce courts will decide on maintenance payments; they are there to ensure that your husband's money goes to raising his son. And there are benefits you will be entitled to as a single parent.

we would still have to argue about all the same stuff at least on a weekly basis, just with even more hurt feelings...

Not unless you want to. Courts, again, are there to ensure the best arrangement for your son, in a dispassionate way. Then the separated couple just needs to stick to it. Contact about logistics concerning child only, and only in writing. You only need to get your emotions involved if you want to.

There must be a way we can sort things out.

Clearly not: you've already tried, and he won't take any responsibility or seek any help.
How many more times do you want to try?

TendonQueen Wed 15-Jun-16 00:06:44

Honestly, OP, I wouldn't move down the road with him, never mind abroad. He sounds like a nightmare to live with. Don't feel ashamed to say 'I gave it my best shot but it still wasn't working'.

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