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My marriage is making me miserable and confused

(27 Posts)
Scandimummy Sat 18-Jun-16 19:16:36

I'd be so grateful if anyone would take time to read this and comment. I'm in a situation where my marriage has been making me so miserable at times but feel completely stuck. We've been together for ten years and we have three very young children. Dh has got a busy, demanding job. The children never let us sleep. I've given up a great career for now to be a sahm.. probably a common story with a lot of challenges.

My dh can be the perfect husband a lot of times. He constantly tells me how attractive he finds me, he's lovely with the children and spends all his spare time with them. He cooks and cleans, never does anything by himself but always puts us first. Hearing him play with the children makes me always think what a great dad he is. He works really hard and his job involves looking after other people. He brings the only income in and deals with all the financial stuff. We can talk about pretty much everything and often have a good laugh together. Our interests and values are very similar.

BUT.. he constantly makes me feel so rubbish and low and I feel like he's doing it a little bit with our eldest daughter too. He's always critical and sarcastic. He can never say I've done anything well. He tells me I'm useless and can't even wipe my own a***. Apparently I'm untidy and inconsiderate, he worries for the safety of our children around me, can't handle the mess I make when cooking, I always ruin meals, make everyone unhealthy with not providing the right diet to the whole family. Am the most negative person on earth.. if I get upset or confront him about what he says he tells me he's just joking and I should get sense of humour for Christmas. My opinions are often ridiculous, apparently I don't cope as well or keep the house as tidy as all the other mums.. I'm sure you'll get the picture. He's also often critical of our daughter and sarcastic with her. She's always faffing, whining, getting in the way.. if I ask him to be nice to her he blows off the handle and tells me not to give him parenting lessons.

I often think about leaving but whenever I talk about how his behaviour upsets me and how I feel like I'm always treading on eggshells and can't relax in my own home he gets really upset, reflective and promises he'll change. And he often does change for a few weeks or even months. And he's always such a lovely dad and a devoted husband that I just feel unreasonable. However even when he's being nice I still feel like he doesn't appreciate me or think I'm good at anything. I want my kids to grow up in a happy family like I did and I can't handle the idea of them having to experience divorce. Feel so miserable about this but cant see a way out or how this could change. Any thoughts?

gobbynorthernbird Sat 18-Jun-16 19:28:40

He's not a loving dad or devoted husband. Your children are not growing up in a happy family. If he's vile to you, you can split and be happy.

purpleaura Sat 18-Jun-16 19:30:24

Hi Scandimummy, your partner sounds very unpleasant to be around. I can see that ultimately you have 2 choices- to stay with him, feel crap and have your kids grow up thinking that is how men should treat women or leave him, and yeah, it'll take a while to get on your feet, but you'll do it and you'll show your kids how strong you are, what an amazing mummy you are, how much you care for them, and show them that if someone treats you that way it should not be tolerated. If you're sure that none of you are in danger, you can take time to think about it and make your choice when you feel ready. Some counselling could help- is that something you could get access to? Or you could call women's aid for support and advice because frankly the way he's treating you and your daughter is emotionally abusive.

MariaSklodowska Sat 18-Jun-16 19:30:49

he sounds like a total cunt - how is that being a good dad?

Oliviaerinpope Sat 18-Jun-16 19:32:20

Leave him!

purpleaura Sat 18-Jun-16 19:32:48

Just to add, I'm going through a separation right now. There's been no abuse, but it certainly is not the way I ever imagined my life turning out. It seems that lives a birch sometimes! It has taken me months to feel ready to make this decision. And slowly I'm getting used to the idea that I can do this. You can too smile

BitterAndOnlySlightlyTwisted Sat 18-Jun-16 19:34:40

He's not a lovely dad. He's critical and sarcastic to your little girl. How bloody cruel is that? And he's the same to you.

Any marriage that leaves one party miserable is a marriage that needs to end.

He blows hot and cold precisely because it leaves you confused. He's a manipulative bastard and you need to get yourself and your children away from him. Soon, before the harm done you all is permanent

Swifey Sat 18-Jun-16 19:35:10

My father was like this, very critical, and just always 'on' at us! He wasn't as bad with the boys, but definitely with me. He just used to pick at me. It really affectedy self esteem growing up, and had a bad effect on how I viewed men. My dm never picked him up on it, and I now feel that she should have done. I am now late 30's and have two ds, I am very conscious to be very enthusiastic with them, because I know what the negatives are like. He is not a good father if this is what he is like with his eldest dd, and not if he treats you like this in front of your dc.

Swifey Sat 18-Jun-16 19:38:07

Oh, and I also need to add. My first bf who I lived with and nearly married, was just like my df, and it took me 7 years to work it out. I realised I was being emotionally abused and left. I now have an amazing dh and am encouraged and loved every day.

mrbear444 Sat 18-Jun-16 19:40:43

This sounds like classic emotional abuse. Look for support online and see the definition and I think you'll find that it describes what you're going through. You wouldn't stay if he was physically abusive to you and your DD so consider it the same without the visible bruises the damage is the same.

Believeitornot Sat 18-Jun-16 19:58:44

He's controlling in his own little way.
The sarcasm, the belittling interspersed with the finding you attractive. So on the one hand he seems to be lovely but actually he has little respect for you.

What does he actual compliment about you as a person?

Believeitornot Sat 18-Jun-16 20:00:14

I will add, my dh can be sarcastic and has been doing it with the DCs. I've been calling him on it every time as it confuses them (they're only young and don't understand). I worry that he will start to be sarcastic and make digs directly at them and do not want that.

RiceCrispieTreats Sat 18-Jun-16 20:01:49

He's a bully.

Of course you feel miserable and confused. It's confusing as fuck to have someone tell you that you're gorgeous one minute, then tell you that you're useless and can't wipe your own arse the next.

If he truly respected you, he would be unable to say such things to you.

Summerlovinf Sat 18-Jun-16 20:11:10

What MariaS said

Scandimummy Sat 18-Jun-16 20:17:21

Thank you so much for all your replies!!! I didn't think I'd get any. I've been through both CBT and counseling last couple of years due to depression and eating disorder. Both therapists said there was nothing wrong with me except that I lack assertiveness. Both of them said they thought he was emotionally abusive and suggested relate. First time I suggested it we went once and then he said it was too expensive and promised he would change within that summer so we wouldn't need any more sessions. This time the counsellor wrote a referral because it would then be free. I suspect she didn't send it though because she promised all kinds of other referrals too that didn't happen (eating disorder clinic, nutritionist..) and I've not heard anything from relate.

I recently printed out a page describing what emotional abuse is. He admitted to it, said e doesn't know why he does it and knows it's horrible and wants to change. After that chat he's been great for a couple of months and we've been waiting to hear back from relate. This week he's relapsed back into his old ways though.

I've just never been able to think this is definitely emotional abuse. These nasty comments that I listed before are things he's said throughout the years. It's not often that bad but more subtle. I'll come back from friends house and he asks if I've been slagging him off (well, I have so him asking feels justified). Or he comes home grumpy cos he's not had anything to eat. When I ask why he says it's because he didn't have break long enough to buy food and I'd not bought him anything to eat (again fair enough cos it's my job to do the shopping with him not having enough time. But then when he finds empty chocolate wrappers from my pockets and tells me off for my binges and says it'll be my fault if our daughter ends up with an eating disorder.. that's when I do wonder whether this is a healthy relationship. But again with our children.. he's always lovely with the boys and most of the time with our daughter too. He's currently stroking her head cos she's struggling to sleep. And he lets me sleep in the morning with the boys while he gets up with our daughter. And it always sounds like they have a great time playing, reading books etc. It's mainly when the siblings are together (always scrapping) everything is always her fault. I just really worry. She's six and her thumb sucking has recently become constant. I'm wondering whether there's a connection..

Summerlovinf Sat 18-Jun-16 20:21:15

So he's EA, knows he's EA, does nothing to change that and it's affecting not only you but the children too...have you thought about planning an exit for you and your children? Please do consider this option. You can't change him..he is not for changing.

Scandimummy Sat 18-Jun-16 20:30:40

And to what he compliments me on except for my looks. Nothing. A couple of months ago I broke down in tears and said I feel like he doesn't think I'm good at anything. He didn't say anything. I had to repeat it a several times and ask him if that's how it was until he said: of course it's not that way. I think you do a great job (with the kids) in hard circumstances (meaning I never get any sleep and three kids are hard work). I'd say I'm a great mum. I'm very loving and patient. I've always got time, kind words and cuddles for them and I hardly ever shout and never say anything critical of them even though they are mega hard work and throw tantrums etc. I would say the first bit about him as well though. He's so lovely with them but gets cross and critical quite easily.

springydaffs Sat 18-Jun-16 20:32:36

Complete sidetrack but if choc/sugar is your drug of choice then do take a look at Food Addicts Anonymous. It's great! I'd link but I'm on my phone. It's changed my life.

Back to the husband: unfortunately those beliefs he has about the female gender go deep. It's rate for someone who has those believe to change.

In one way I am glad relate haven't got back to you because it is an extremely bad idea to have couples counselling with an abuser. Which is what he is - sorry.

And anyway, relate have been a bit crap haven't they? If they're worth their salt they will refuse to see you together if abuse is in the mix.

Do get hold of Lundy Bancroft's Why Does He Do That? It will open your eyes.

Even if your head is taking a while to get it, your heart and soul knows something is very wrong. They are spot on.

mrbear444 Sat 18-Jun-16 20:33:05

The thing about EA is that it erodes your self esteem and makes you feel like he is right about what he says to you. Your post has just demonstrated that you agree that it's your fault he comes home hungry. He is an adult and can take responsibility for feeding himself you are his wife not his mum. Also he is blaming a 6 year old for all the children scrapping. It sounds like he has a problem with women/ girls even if he is stroking her head now. As I said before you wouldn't put up with this if it was physical . please consider your position for your DDs sake if not for your own.

Nanny0gg Sat 18-Jun-16 20:46:53

He's also often critical of our daughter and sarcastic with her.

Keep reading that, will you please.

SandyY2K Sat 18-Jun-16 20:51:46

How do you think he's so great when he puts you down and is so critical. Also doing the same to your daughter. Please don't let him carry on doing this or he'll damage her self esteem and confidence. Yours too, but don't let him do this to your child.

He is abusive and I'm not saying he can't change, but he won't unless you leave him, because he has no motivation to stop.

See a lawyer to check what divorce means financially and custody wise. Do you research now.

You need to get firm and stand up to him. Very strongly tell him that one more incident of his abuse will spell the end of the marriage for you. Don't say it if you will not follow through though.

That doesn't mean you have to leave on the day, but it means you are no longer emotionally invested in the marriage and you will communicate with him as a fellow parent and not as a spouse.

Then you firm up your decision and seperate. Unless he sees the you are serious the cycle will continue.

If during the seperation he seeks therapy and gives permission for his therapist to talk to you about his progress and him being safe enough to reconcile with, then you can decide.

I'm very concerned about the psychological damage his abuse will cause your DD.
Every so often a grown woman talks of running from man to man for validation after wanting make approval that she didn't get from dad.

BitterAndOnlySlightlyTwisted Sat 18-Jun-16 20:58:44

I suspect that he's the cause of your depression and eating disorder. Two therapists have cottoned on to the fact that he's abusive. TWO! And he is. Very. You need to thank your lucky stars that you haven't been to Relate with him. It would be just another opportunity for him to attack you but this time with an audience, very possibly backing him up. I also suspect the reason for lack of referral is because they have the measure of him and know he would be a danger to you in those sessions.

DO NOT let him see the Lundy Bancroft book if you secure a copy! You do not need him to have a road-map on how to abuse you further.

This man is a danger to your well-being. He is not your friend and confidante, he is your enemy.

Believeitornot Sat 18-Jun-16 21:02:46

I'm wondering if he doesn't respect women. Belittling you and his daughter. Your daughter could end up being a people pleaser or with very low self esteem.

What is his relationship like with him mother? Did she run around doing everything for him?

BeautifulMaudOHara Sat 18-Jun-16 21:06:09


BeautifulMaudOHara Sat 18-Jun-16 21:06:50

And good luck, read your own posts as if they were written by a friend and you'll know what to do.

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