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Long marriage with controlling DH - he says I have just sponged off him

(402 Posts)
HoarseAndSad Sun 04-Dec-16 11:37:37

DH has always been really difficult and prone to get nasty if he can't get his own way.

Over the years he has let me make some decisions (for instance I make all the decisions about the children) but he will pull rank over some things, like finances. He also controls where I go and hates me having friends.

We married very young, soon after I had left school. I had been ill through secondary school so left with no qualifications, and he had a good trade, so I raised the children, ran the home and worked part time, fitting it around the family.

Meanwhile, he worked hard, and concentrated on his career which gave us a good standard of living, and eventually had several good promotions. He never contributed to the home other than financially - no bed time stories, or trips to the park, or washing up or cooking, as that was all left to me. He worked from home and would make life really hard by messing up the house while I was at work because i think he was resentful that I wasn't at home, so he made life retry miserable.

When our youngest was born, he insisted I got a part time evening job and he would look after the baby, but the it was awful - he would make me late every day, mess up the house while I was out, and the baby wasn't looked after properly, e.g. not fed or nappy changed or put to bed. Often I would get home and youngest would be roaming the house alone while DH had taken himself to bed.

I stuck it out for eighteen months but handed in my notice in the end. Since then (ten years ago) I have been a SAHM.

I have done a bit of volunteering but DH has been really unsupportive - in the last role, he decided (for no apparent reason) that I was cheating on him with another volunteer and kept threatening to confront this person until I gave it up.

About a year ago, he told me that I had been sponging off him for years, and he was sick of it. I have been trying to find a job since then, but he has put barriers up every time I have an interview, and ridiculed me if they are not what he thinks of as a good job. So I haven't found anything yet.

I feel such a failure - I thought I was doing the best thing by looking after my family but now it turns out that I am just some sort of fool who is now unqualified for anything and has very little work experience, and a DH who resents me every day because of it.

After he ranted at me all day yesterday about my lack of income while we put up the decorations, he told me today that he plans to open a separate account so I can't touch his money. He just doesn't understand that I can't just find a job that he thinks is suitable. I feel so low and worthless today, and so tearful .

Sorry it's so long. I know I should leave him, and I would, but I think I need a job before I can.

Bambamrubblesmum Sun 04-Dec-16 11:45:32

How old are your children?

I'd start digging my escape tunnel if I were you.

Get a job
Research housing options
See a solicitor
Get documents together

Then when you are ready drop the bombshell. Life is too short to put up with that shit.

MoMandaS Sun 04-Dec-16 11:45:35

I think you need to separate yourself emotionally as far as you can, so you can deflect his ridicule over the jobs you're going for. If you do want to leave him (which sounds like a great idea!), you wouldn't necessarily have to have a job first but I can see it would be easier if you did, for a few reasons. How old are your children? Do you have to rely on him for childcare when attending interviews or could you go without telling him?

PerpetualStudent Sun 04-Dec-16 11:45:48

Oh sweetheart. I didn't want to read and run. I'm sure others will be along with better advice, but do you have family you could confide in to help you leave?

gottachangethename1 Sun 04-Dec-16 11:46:55

He is an abusive husband. Without you, he would have nothing. You brought up the children, acted as his personal slave and housekeeper and had to tolerate him belittling you. No wonder you have no faith in yourself.
Many will tell you to Ltb, which you'd have every reason to do, but practically you need to make yourself strong and realise just how awfully he has treated you. Read Lundy Bancroft- why does he do that? It will be a light bulb moment for you.

Simonneilsbeard Sun 04-Dec-16 11:46:58

Omg reading this was horrible. You already know you need to go!
He's an abusive cunt who has ground you down to the position you are now in, which is right where he wants you. Dependant on him so he can heap more abuse onto you and feel superior despite the fact that is was him who has prevented you from working.

This is emotional abuse 101! i hope you find the strength you need to leave this man you don't have to live like this x

trufflepiggy Sun 04-Dec-16 12:01:55

He's abusive OP. flowers you will be a lot happier without this man in your life

HoarseAndSad Sun 04-Dec-16 12:05:53

Thank all so much for replying. I thought it was so long no one would bother!

Funnily enough, I have the Lundy Bancroft book and I had a feeling that my marriage is abusive, but I have never confided in anyone about it so I haven't been able to hear any sort of feedback.

(He used to hit me and rough me up a lot for the first ten years that we were together but not for a long time now)

My oldest children have left home, and I have just one young teen at home so childcare isn't a problem.

I only have a mum but she and I aren't close, and DH loathes her. I stupidly have confided in him about her behaviour when I was a child, so he would happily cause a complete rift between us, so I won't involve her.

I don't why I care what he thinks. I suppose it's because he is always around (he works from home, has no family or friends, and no hobbies) so he is always THERE, telling me how crap I am, and wanting to know where I am going and who I am on the phone to. I don't feel like I can do anything without running it past himsad

Trifleorbust Sun 04-Dec-16 12:06:32

Some men are happy to accept a woman's unpaid contribution until they feel they have a better option or she is no longer needed. That is because they are misogynists. Your husband's money isn't just his; it is family income. Start thinking about the steps you need to take to secure your independence. Get a solicitor if you can.

Hermonie2016 Sun 04-Dec-16 12:21:30

How old are you? At present it must feel bleak but there is always a way to change your life.

I think you need to get professional support as he has been violent in the past.Please don't feel you have to live this way, many of us are escaping abusive relationships, it's not straightforward but it's also not impossible.

Bambamrubblesmum Sun 04-Dec-16 12:23:27

Start getting your exit plan together in your head. Do it today. It will be the first step to getting control back.

You have one life, you don't need to waste any more time being unhappy and ground down. You deserve to be happy.

Do you have access to any money? Do you have a mobile that is pass code protected?

Make an excuse to go out on Monday and phone a local solicitors to get an appointment. You need to know where you stand before you make your move.

JuddNelsoninTheBreakfastClub Sun 04-Dec-16 12:32:46

So sorry you are in this situation, he has been physically, emotionally and financially abusive towards you, he sounds vile. Other people will have good advice but many have said Woman's aid are very helpful. He sounds very controlling as well, trying to sabotage you getting a job so you don't have any financial independence. I agree you should and get a job and plan your next action. Good luckflowers

Cary2012 Sun 04-Dec-16 12:41:28

Get legal advice pronto and plan your escape.

You have been in an abusive relationship for a long time.

A good solicitor will dig deep, and see that you put work on hold, and training and qualifications to bring up the family, thus enabling his career to progress and flourish. My solicitor saw same with me, and it improved my settlement, so make sure you tell a solicitor all this.

The money that has come into the home, is shared, it is neither his or yours. If you had undertaken training then a full time job, rather than staying at home, the childcare costs going out of the family pot would have been enormous, and he is very foolish not to realise this.

So, get those ducks lined up, and plan your exit.
Good luck,

HoarseAndSad Sun 04-Dec-16 12:41:44

It does sound bad written down. Obviously it isn't terrible all the time - the children turned out ok (not close to their dad though).

Topseyt Sun 04-Dec-16 12:56:17

I hope you have the strength to get out of this.

I am tempted to say go for whatever job you want to, regardless of what you H thinks or says. It might just get you the foothold you need to get back into the job market again and help your self esteem.

He sounds awful.

whitehandledkitchenknife Sun 04-Dec-16 12:57:05

Sponged off him? How? You have raised his children. You have cooked and cleaned and managed the house. You have serviced him.You have enabled him to do what he has done. Without your regular, reliable, ongoing, unceasing support he would not have been facilitated throughout his entire adult life. And you have endured physical, emotional and financial abuse. How very, very dare he.
He isn't fit to share the same air as you OP. Please don't minimise and excuse his appalling behaviour. Start planning your exit. You are worth far more than this apology of a man.

HoarseAndSad Sun 04-Dec-16 12:58:32

Thank you all for responding. It's weird reading that you all think he is abusive - he is so confident that he is right that I really doubt myself.

whatminniedidnext Sun 04-Dec-16 13:01:59

When you read the Lundy Bancroft book, did you recognise that your husband has been abusive? I knew my ex was abusive but the book really did confirm it.

whitehandledkitchenknife Sun 04-Dec-16 13:02:24

He is a nasty bully. Who is feeding off you. Getting a kick out of your self -doubt. Makes my blood boil on your behalf and want to do mad vigilante stuff.

Topseyt Sun 04-Dec-16 13:02:27

Don't doubt yourself. He is an arse.

whatminniedidnext Sun 04-Dec-16 13:07:10

It's weird reading that you all think he is abusive

Yup - because men like this are experts in manipulation. Some parts of the abuse (such as those digs and little put downs) are more subtle than others but over time they chip away at your confidence. Abusers are generally good at fooling other people with their "nice guy" act.

I remember a domestic abuse worker coming round after I split up with XP. She thrust a leaflet under my nose and I blanched at the words "domestic abuse". Even now, I can't get over the fact I have been a victim of domestic abuse; it sounds weird but as others on here say, abuse doesn't necessarily need to be physical. In fact, the scars from emotional abuse are often worse long term than those who have suffered physical abuse.

Frequency Sun 04-Dec-16 13:12:34

Are you with my ex? All of this sounds horribly familiar. Especially the affair with a co-worker. When I was offered the opportunity to train for promotion from one crappy job to another slightly less crappy job, I was constantly accused of sleeping with my gay, 10 years junior co-worker. And yeah, I ended up leaving because of it.

I'd spend the entire day cleaning the house, come home from an evening shift to find the youngest had drawn her name in sharpie on the computer monitor and there were no clean dishes to make my supper in.

It took me years to leave. Way, way too long, but I did, eventually.

I won't lie to you, life isn't a bed of roses. Like you I had few qualifications and fewer employment opportunities. I found a weekend job, set up my own business and things became bearable. I'm still skint, we can't afford days out, nice clothes or the holidays we used to have, but I don't feel so ground down by life and there is hope. My business will grow, things will get better. I have hope for the future, something I never had with ex.

Call Woman's Aid, start making plans to leave. You can do it and things will be better.

If you stay things will never change. He will never change. This will be your life forever. Realising that was what gave me the kick I needed to get out.

Cary2012 Sun 04-Dec-16 13:49:37

Listen to Frequency OP, her post could have been my post years ago.

There is a better life for you too.

It was my solicitor who told me that my ex was emotionally abusive. I filed for divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour. She needed five examples. I typed up a huge list of instances, at least twenty. She sat and read it in front of me, then said 'you've more than enough grounds, this man is clearly emotionally abusive.' It was the first time I had been told that.

I now realise, many years later, that a huge part of the abuse was his ability to make me think that it was all me and he was rational and blameless.

Frequency, I'm glad things are better for you. We have less money, and I have to work long hours and scrimp and save. But the freedom and peace of mind to be in a happy home are priceless.

HoarseAndSad Sun 04-Dec-16 13:54:14

The accusations of cheating were shocking at the time. I felt so bad, because this man would have been horrified if DH had confronted him, and he had a lovely wife and children. I think DH had no intention of threatening him really but I didn't want to take the risk. It was all a terrible situation, and it put me off volunteering (which I suppose it was meant to)

HoarseAndSad Sun 04-Dec-16 13:57:02

Sorry to be posting short messages / he is in and out of the room sad

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