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I am sure I did the right thing - but marriage might be over

(179 Posts)
rememberthetime Wed 20-Jul-16 18:27:02

Our teenage daughter suffers with a mental health condition and has been seeing a specialised therapist. part of her problem is that she cannot sleep outside of our home as it causes her huge anxiety tot he point she will be in hysterics for most of the night. Tonight H and I were due to take our older child to London and stay over and had arranged to leave younger DD with her Nan. We had assumed she was better (due to the therapy) and we hoped it would be a chance for her to prove how she ahs improved. She had a complete meltdown last night and literally begged me not to make her go. She was hugely upset and distressed and I just knew it wasn't right to do this to her for the sake of a night in a hotel.

I told DH I couldn't go and that he would have to go alone. I didn't feel it fair to palce the burden of a mentally unwell child on my MIL and that we could make things worse. he didn't take it well.

We are doing counselling for our marriage and had agreed to trying to "co-parent" effectively. Part of this has been agreeing to how we would deal with things. We had agreed to sending DH to her nans and he has stuck to that. he thinks I have given in and let myself down because my own "stuff" about my childhood influenced my decision.

he uses a lot of psychobabble when he talks to me and I end up feeling wrong and misguided. But in this case i think I did the right thing. She is not ready yet and I just couldn't put his needs ahead of hers. She is a child and he is an adult. But he cannot forgive me and is not speaking to me. He wants me to "think about what I have done" and the how huge it is in how it has set back out process of healing our marriage.

For background - he is a recovering controller. I am usually scared to go against what he wants, but felt strong enough to do what i thought best in this case. Even though i have placed myself in the position of blame.

I have asked the question on the mental health board about if I did the right thing for my daughter and i am sure i did. I can't put her through that and i am supposed to protect her. But is my DH right to be angry at me? Do I deserve to be treated badly by him because i put her first and destroyed our "co-parenting" deal.

There was no way he would have allowed her to do anything other than what we had planned. I have never seen him change his mind on anything once he has decided a course of action.

So I am home alone tonight and he has gone by himself. We have another counselling session later in the week and I expect to be accused of all sorts.

steppemum Wed 20-Jul-16 18:31:36

I would have done the same.

When you made the plan you thought she would cope.
Now the time has come she obviously isn't able to cope.
You need to go with what she can cope with.
His response 'think about what you have done' is a controlling response.

For your dd, she needs smaller steps. eg you and her staying together at Nans. Or you out and she stays at home with someone else (Nan)
Then try at someone elses house, with you available if she can't cope. Knowing you are available will make her more likely to manage, if you are unavailable it is much scarier, in case it goes wrong.

AtTheEndofTheRoad Wed 20-Jul-16 18:34:49

I think you have done what you needed to do for your daughter. If he is really trying to change his controlling, then he needs to respect your difference of opinion. Co- parenting effectively doesn't mean you just have to do as he says and you are allowed to change a plan if the circumstances have changed.

KindDogsTail Wed 20-Jul-16 18:42:35

I think steppemum put it all well about how obviously your original plan may have seemed good, but in practice it was all too soon for your DD so you had to change the plan.

Think of skyscrapers, they have to be built to be able to bend if there is a high wind, or they will crash. Your plan needed to bend for your child's sake. When you go to the next counselling session, maybe the counsellor will be able to explain the problem to him.

I had not heard of a recovering controller before, but understand what you mean.

On the plus side, he was perhaps looking forward to having a break alone with you.

I hope your DD will have less anxiety bit by bit flowers

Lolimax Wed 20-Jul-16 18:45:45

I have a DD who suffered anxiety though nothing like yours. FWIW I definetly think you did the right thing and I'd have done exactly the same.

rememberthetime Wed 20-Jul-16 18:45:55

Thank you. My husband is very understanding about my daughter's condition, but the way he talks to her has meant that she refuses to communicate with him. he puts this down to typical teenage behaviour. So relationships within the house are fraught to say the least.

I think his main issue is with me. I admit totally that i was very upset at seeing DD so upset and I was so torn. I knew i literally had to choose between making him very angry and making her very very sad/ill/distressed. I chose her and had to tell him that. I didn't involve him in that choice I just announced it whilst in a state about my own emotions.

His first response was to try and make me see sense and the error in what i was doing. I made a unilateral decision and went against what we agreed. he can't understand why I would do that. he sees it as an affront to him. he said he feels sorry for me because i can't see how my behaviour is affected by my own issues and emotions.

I feel so confused - because I just put her first after so many years of putting him first every time to keep him happy. Our child missed out.

he also made me tell our son and MIL that it was my choice to stay home with DD and not his. He wants no part of my decision. How do i read that?

Lemonlady22 Wed 20-Jul-16 18:55:00

what about your other daughter.....you appear not to care that maybe she wanted to be first in your priorities for once....you dont mention your other child again apart from you were going to London with him....im slightly on your husbands side, and your teenage daughter although prob has issues, shes definately manipulative/gets her own way.....sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind...and it was your decision not to go so you should be the one to tell your son and MIL....follow through with your decisions

rememberthetime Wed 20-Jul-16 19:04:58

Your'e not entirely wrong Lemon . But I don't think you understand my DD condition. it is more than simple anxiety. She has a deep seated fear of sleeping elsewhere. To inflict that on someone is like asking them to look after a child who is vomiting everywhere.it isn't a case of tough love - it doesn't work like that. her condition is real and I believe this would affect her long term. not least in the fact that she would never trust me again.

Our older teenager only needed dropping off at the venue and would be gone all night. He isn't missing out. The plan was to spend a night with my DH. he is missing out - but i would be so worried about DD I wouldn't have had a good time. Plus he is an adult and should be able to cope with it.

HerRoyalNotness Wed 20-Jul-16 19:15:57

Wouldn't it have made more sense for the Nan to come to your house to sleep there? You could have adjusted the plan this way perhaps instead of cancelling the trip.

Porpoises Wed 20-Jul-16 19:18:05

I think it sounds a horrible way to live and life would be easier selerated from him. He seems to lack flexibility and empathy, and is trying to force you to lack them too.

What makes you want to stay?

RandomMess Wed 20-Jul-16 19:20:47

What I think is that he is still very controlling...

Sounds like it's time to call it a day.

rememberthetime Wed 20-Jul-16 19:32:58

Nan has a dog and had to get to work the next day. H doesn't like the dog in the house... but also it is about the noise associated with other people.

Yes, it does feel like it is him imposing his will. I rarely go against that so maybe it has thrown him for a loop.

I have thought about leaving so often and we have come close. i felt it made sense to try the counselling and give him a chance to change. To be fair he has changed so much. But he can be intransigent about certain things. it is a very black and white existence.

I already feel enough guilt about what the kids had to put up with when they were very young (I don't think he feels guilt about it at all - not that he has ever said) and I felt i had to protect my daughter this time.

if he wants to blame me for everything under the sun, I will just have to suck it up. I think I did the right thing.

VimFuego101 Wed 20-Jul-16 19:40:16

I think this is an exception to the agreement you made in counselling. It's not really a 'parenting issue' like dealing with bad behaviour. Mental health issues are just as real as a physical health issue. If she had broken her arm, would you have allowed him to insist that she not go to hospital or backed him up when he insisted she go to a sports lesson? of course not.

APlaceOnTheCouch Wed 20-Jul-16 19:44:05

It's not co-parenting if he refuses to be flexible. Refusing to discuss whether the plan should change in light of your DD's meltdown is about adhering to his idea of parenting. I'm not seeing anything in your posts to suggest he is a 'recovering controller'.
I have no idea whether your DD could have 'coped' with staying at your MILs. I also have no idea whether this night away was a major step in your relationship counselling but you should both have been able to discuss it without being entrenched in opposite positions.
tbh it sounds as though you already know your marriage is over but are struggling to make the final break. If that's the case, have some counselling sessions on your own to help you take the steps to end the marriage without having to dance round your DH's psychobabble to justify your unhappiness.

KatsutheClockworkOctopus Wed 20-Jul-16 19:55:17

If my DH told me to "think about what I gave done" , as though I were 5 years old, he would get very short shrift. I'm afraid I don't think he's really recovering from bring controlling, just exercising his control in a different, more subtle way.

KatsutheClockworkOctopus Wed 20-Jul-16 19:56:33

Apologies for typos, and FWIW I would have done the same as you OP.

Littletabbyocelot Wed 20-Jul-16 20:07:47

I'm also not seeing a 'recovering' controller. This isn't a one off, you describe knowing you had to choose between her mental wellbeing and his anger. Not just disappointment but fury and punishment. He's still controlling. Maybe he's like an alcoholic who now only binge drinks once a week. It's better but not ok.

If you compare that to a 'recovering' alcoholic, they don't touch a drop of alcohol. My uncle has been sober 20 years and still checks his food is alcohol free. He also acknowledges and tries to make up for the harm he caused.

KindDogsTail Wed 20-Jul-16 20:37:18

he can't understand why I would do that. he sees it as an affront to him. he said he feels sorry for me because i can't see how my behaviour is affected by my own issues and emotions

He sees it as an affront to him - but it was not about him, it was about your daughter.

he feels sorry for me because i can't see how my behaviour is affected by my own issues and emotions - this is gaslighty: he is making out there is something wrong with you you don't know about, and he is putting that to you in a tricky and indirect way. He does not feel sorry for you either. He is being disingenuous.

As it happens, you were being perfectly rational given the circumstances. So why would someone need to feel sorry for you? Why do you have misguided issues or emotions because you realised this plan would not work?

It is true the situation is extremely difficult with your daughter and it seems as though not life much life can exist for you and your husband outside of her needs for now. Your husband, however, seems unkind, controlling and self-absorbed.

rememberthetime Wed 20-Jul-16 20:49:14

I think that is the thing i am feeling most confused about. he has taken this issue and turned it from an problem our child has into a problem I have.

I totally admit i was overwhelmed with sadness and guilt last night and just couldn't contemplate doing anything to hurt my child. I have boundaries with regards to her behaviour, but this was different. I didn't sense manipulation.

I think he has seen this whole issue as an opportunity to teach me a lesson about my own emotional problems.

I have had counselling of my own in an effort to try and understand why I stayed and to work towards gaining confidence to make a better decision about if i wanted to stay. My counsellor repeatedly told me that i was perfectly normal and just adapting to the circumstances i was in. As a professional she felt i had some childhood trauma, but that I had normal responses to what was happening to me.

When i am with my daughter on our own she is almost always lovely. She totally changes around him. I think there may be an element of jealousy on his behalf about that. But perhaps i value my relationship with my daughter more than I should and I let her get away with too much?

Thank you for letting me chat this evening. I feel good for getting it on paper. Even if i don't get any responses smile

RandomMess Wed 20-Jul-16 21:09:41

I suspect your DD is streets ahead of you!

She knows you are safe, reliable, a true loving parent.

Her father is controlling and therefore abusive so around him she is on guard and walking on eggshells...

rememberthetime Wed 20-Jul-16 21:25:14

Random - you are right. She sent him an email the other day telling him he is "toxic" and she will not submit herself to that. I would like her to see his good side, for the sake of a relationship, but equally i am proud that she knows her mind and has developed such a clear sense of what is good for her.

it is still sad though. he thinks she is just saying stuff to hurt him. I think she has being doing a bit of reading...

Still, I expect tomorrow i am in for a bollocking. Not the shouty kind (he doesn't do that any more) but the sort that messes with my mind and leaves me exhausted and questioning my sanity.

WonkyCastle Wed 20-Jul-16 21:37:50

I could have written your posts, OP. I am sorry you are going through this.

I have a dd with severe anxiety (in her case as part of a separate disability), and my H is always pushing the boundaries, always expecting her to be the one who flexes, who 'shapes up', the one who changes to let the rest of us have a more (for want of a better word) 'normal' life. His resentment that we cannot have that normal life runs very deep.

My dd also changes when he is here. Without him, she is more relaxed, less controlling (as a reaction to her disability and anxiety, she can be very controlling), as soon as he is around she is tense.

Lovemylittlebears Wed 20-Jul-16 21:38:02

Take a look at dr guy meadows too he does some cool work on sleep related anxiety issues (I saw him myself and was impressed). Good therapy with a good therapist should hopefully involve her making choices to try and move past the phobia when she is ready to start making those small steps. ACT and CBT are great tools for anxiety and sleep related issues. You made the right decision by your daughter. I love my husband dearly and we don't have any issues like that but if there was ever a choice between him and my daughter there would be No contest - so don't let him make you feel bad x

RandomMess Wed 20-Jul-16 22:00:14

Please take some advice...

Protect your DC and do yourself a HUGE favour and end this non-marriage sad

rememberthetime Wed 20-Jul-16 22:06:20

Oh Wonky, how lovely to hear i m not the only one. The thing is that growing up in a controlling household is so damaging to children. I feel so much guilt about that - yet I am only just starting to get the confidence to even think about going my own way. I wish i had left before my confidence was taken from me. The result is a daughter with severe issues who may always be isolated from the fun she should be having. I guess I let her away with things because of my guilt.

I think my H has stopped seeing me as a project to be moulded and now sees it with her. He has started interfering in her counselling by contacting her counsellor for "advice". I agreed at first as a one off but he wanted to talk to the counsellor again because he wasn't happy with the results. I am very wary of him doing this as a controlling thing. he completely denies that.

Strangely our son is very stable and happy. But he has so much less pressure. I sometimes feel my husband has a "woman" problem as me and my DD are very much targets for his disappointment.

I have no choice do I? He isn't changing. I keep glossing over things because he is so plausible. His behaviour is so improved that i should be happy, but the way he is with our daughter isn't good. I feel like it is history repeating itself.

I can't do things right. I must communicate in a certain way according to the counselling advice. If I don't he will ignore what I say and focus on the way I said it. Then give a perfect rendition of how i should argue my point. I am regularly interrupted. yet he claims he is the better communicator of the two of us. That is laughable...

Oh dear...

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