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Dh has started being really quite controlling.(366 Posts)
This is all quite complicated and might be long, so apologies for that.
I had a breakdown a few years ago and was since diagnosed with bipolar. I basically fell off the planet for a while with regards to real life and things and DH was an absolute star, he took up my slack and did most of the housework and parenting while I couldn't, as well as becoming the sole earner.
My drinking reached alcoholic levels and I overspent A LOT so we ended up with a system whereby I have limited access to cash.
Anyway, I'm much more stable now. My drinking is under control and I'm now doing 100% of the housework. Dh now works very long hours, seven days a week (from home in the evenings and weekends).
But I've started to notice that he's micromanaging me. When we went out for dinner last night he made me agree to only have two glasses of wine. I actually had three and a cocktail (and had a great time) but he lectured me this morning. I'm starting to feel like a wayward child.
This evening he wanted to work so I was sorting bedtime for our youngest. I was upstairs watching tv and had told ds to come up at 7.30 (I would have gone down and reminded him). At a quarter past seven DH brought him up, with his book bag, and told me I had to read with him before bed (I would have done anyway!). We read and had a nice chat, and he asked if he could watch tv for a few minutes more, which I said was fine. I was going to get him at 8pm and bring him in to bed with me to settle (we co sleep usually). Again, at about ten to eight, Dh brought him up, he was huffy and ds was crying. I said I was just about to come and get him and DH said that he wanted him off the telly and in bed. Again, I felt like a naughty child who had broken the rules.
He has a tendency to be a bit chivvying with me on things like going out for a walk or playing a board game with the kids. And earlier I asked him for some help washing up after lunch as I'd already washed up from breakfast and the dishwasher was full, he said no because he'd been working all morning. Which is fair enough but not the sort of thing he would have refused to help with before. It discombobulated me a bit.
I just feel like the balance of power has shifted massively, if that makes sense. I totally understand why but it's making me quite sad and a little bit uncomfortable. I'm quite a free spirit and being told what to do doesn't sit easily with me.
I'm not sure how best to address it. Dh is lovely, and would take it very personally if I told him directly that he was stifling me. But if I don't have free reign to make my own decisions on timekeeping, parenting, what to do with my weekends, I think I'm going to crack.
Actually I've just read that back and I think I'm just being a spoilt petulant twat.
I don't think you're being a spoilt brat. You're on an even keel and are able to take a look around yourself which is good. Your bloke probably hasn't seen that and is used to doing things to keep things running and that probably includes leading you on your way as you would a kid I suppose.
You do need to talk to him though and get that relationship back rather than the parent and child you fell into.
I don't think you are a spoiled twat but clearly the balance has shifted and DH has had to be in control, because he had to be. It could be a real fear that things will go wrong again that drive him to keep things in a certain way.
Although I suppose what you describe could be controlling - the drinking for instance. Sounds like it's out of worry, but to actually say you can only have 2 is him kind of parenting you. It's possible he doesn't think you should drink at all so wants to find a compromise.
It's so hard for me to give you advice on that part because I would be worried too, and it's sometimes hard to worry without coming across like he has. But if you are better, then he needs to realise you are in control of yourself and relax.
With the DS thing, it sounds like you have very different parenting styles that don't match well. He wanted DS in a routine and asked you to be part of it and you went against him with that. Personally I wouldn't be too happy if 7.30pm was bedtime and it was always pushed back by one parent in that way, although I agree being flexible is also part of parenting. You don't say if that happens often. Undermining the other parent isn't great, you are obviously a parent in your own right but also part of a team.
I think you do need to talk to him, start kindly and I think he may open up to you about how he is feeling? It's likely that he has worries or issues he might like to share and you could talk it over and compromise?
He probably doesn't trust you. You don't sound unreasonable but believe me, when you have seen someone inadvertently attempt to destroy themselves with alcohol it doesn't take a great deal to set off the warning bells. 3 wines and a cocktail would have me in the edge of my seat waiting for a disaster.
I suspect your DH is dong his best to try to hold everything together and was worried that one drink too many for you could end badly.
Same with the money.
In a normal situation these things may seem controlling and abusive. I don't think this is the case here.
Just find a way to accept giving up alcohol and all will be vastly improved, I am absolutely sure of it.
I don't disagree with him regarding the alcohol, given the past, but as far as the DC, the reading and stuff, he needs to relax and stop being so regimental with you about it.
Find a quiet time and let him know you were on the case and can manage to sort the DC out and you had it planned.
Phrase it in a way, that he doesn't need to worry, but don't let him relinquish his looking after them.
I hate saying this... but did your DH have a 'great time' after youd had your 3 glasses of wine and cocktail? If they were big glasses at 250ml that's a full bottle of wine so that plus a cocktail if you've not drunk drink in ages would have most people rather drunken.
Just with the bed time. I'm assuming dh needed to concentrate on work again and when he brought ds up at 7:15 he thought that would be him upstairs for the night. Did you tell dh you said ds could stay down stairs until 8? If not how was he to know.
Also if he wanted to watch more telly could he not have done that with you upstairs? It sound like you dh either was working or needed a bit of peace before working again. While you were relaxing upstairs?
Three glasses of wine and a cocktail is a lot. Particularly given your history.
I agree with a PP. Giving alcohol up would make things much better.
You sound rather more laid back wrt homework /bedtime etc, if dh didn't know your plans, he was just making sure everything got done, I think. I can see why he might get frustrated if he was working downstairs with dc (who still needed to do hw at 15 mins to bedtime) and you were just watching TV alone upstairs. Maybe he feels you're not pulling your weight (in a timely fashion)?
Well done on stabilising btw (I understand somewhat, with bipolar in the family) . But try not to push limits (alcohol) as you'll be on the slippery slope again before you know it.
Stop drinking altogether and then see how things go over the next 4-6 weeks.
I'm sorry you're in this position. I was a drinker but I can only echo Jelly's point. It sounds to me like you are not pulling your weight. Your hub is working from home and looking after the kids. C'mon do your bit now, you might enjoy it. Your kids will enjoy you
Yep your H is being controlling but given what's happened before and your behaviour now, I would be too. I'm glad you are well but being well isn't a reset button, it doesn't undo the real trauma your H experienced in the past. Having your behaviour policed is not nice but it can't be much fun for your H feeling like he has to. Your alcohol intake for someone who is bipolar and has a history of alcohol abuse is concerning and you should have taken responsibility for it but instead, you chose to rebel against the very real fears of your H. In addition, you are a co-parent and whilst you can have a different parenting styles there does need to agreement and consistency. Did you really change the bedtime goalposts because you're 'free spirited' or were you rebelling at being dictated to?
There's compromise to be had but you do have acknowledge and accept that you have to be an active participant in the compromise. Was there any couples counselling after your recovery? Any discussions on how your marriage and relationship would operate post recovery; from you assuming responsibility for your alcohol intake through to joint responsibilities regarding parenting and housework? It sounds like you both have very different ideas about your personal and relationship responsibilities and you've both drifted into a dynamic where he's retained responsibility for the things he feels are 'important' (which unsurprising for him, housework isn't) and you're permitted responsibility for stuff that isn't important enough for him to micromanage. Conversely, you rebel (drinking and parenting choices) against the things where you feel you should retain responsibility whilst not appreciating the responsibility of being holder of the purse strings.
Talk but you both need to own your responsibilities, rather than expecting the other to take up the slack of the stuff that's is less important to you. That means he doesn't get to dump all the housework on you and you don't get to re-engage in risky behaviour that had a huge negative impact on your family.
Whether you like it or not your illness and the consequences of your illness have impacted your relationship and being well doesn't erase the past.
I am confused about the bed time.
You were upstairs and told your son to come up at 7.30. He brought him up at 7.15, but somehow your child ended up downstairs again at 7.45?
The bringing him up at 7.15 would have annoyed me, but (having said he needed to be upstairs at 7.30) did you let him go down stairs again?
Your dh was working and you were upstairs, who was with your child? Ehy not keep him in bed?
Tbh if dh told the kids it was bedtime at 7.30, i was working and then the kids came back down while he stayed upstairs i would be pissed off too.
Why didnt you keep him upstairs with you? Why werent you downstairs with him earlier? Does your dh think that you check out of parenting?
My mum is a drinker and also had several breakdowns. When she is drinking when she is out with us, she has a great time. The rest of us pretend to. Its awful for everyone that had to care for her and pick up the pieces she couldnt. She still doesnt understand how bad it was and thibks because she is well now, that everyone else should be fine.
Does your dh really think you are coping as well as you think you are?
It will take a while to reestablish a good balance. His behaviour isn't odd, though I can see it must be irritating. When you have worked hard to establish good routines with your children and your partner doesn't respect that it is really irritating. It smacks of being 'Disney Dad'. If you are the one who has made nutritious meals, made sure everyone cleans their teeth and gets to bed on time, it is galling to watch the other parent swan in and give them junk food, let them stay up late 'just this once' etc. My DH didn't do this, but he'd be away all week then come home at the weekend and didn't know the routines. The DCs would get all unsettled and play up because he'd send them up without the usual rituals. Routines are hard to establish but pay dividends in terms of easier parenting and relaxed kids.
I think you and DH need a chat about why he does things that way, and how you feel when he tells you what to do. He may be able to back off on some things and you may respect his parenting style more. Be prepared for him to tell you that you aren't as stable as you think you are, just yet.
Thanks all, lots of good points.
Re bedtime, ds is awful at going to bed, and he was as high as a kite last night. Dh goes out three nights a week and on those nights we do it my way and it works perfectly, ds is asleep by 8-8.30. When dh is in he does it differently, tv off, ds plays in his room until 8.30. I'm usually in my room watching tv by then so ds will end up coming in with me anyway. Same result, different methods of getting there.
Ds wasn't disturbing dh working at all.
Re the drinking, I know lots of you will say I shouldn't drink at all. I am working with services and they are happy with me drinking moderately at weekends, this was a special night out. It was three tiny glasses, in fact it was one bottle between three of us, it was a nice place where the waitress pours
a dribble at a time. I was 'appropriately' tipsy and dh did have a nice time.
I know it sounds like I'm making excuses but that's how I feel at the moment, that I have to make excuses and justify why I'm doing things all the time. It's very stressful. I appreciate that it's stressful for dh as well.
It is a bit confusing. It sounds like DH has a hands on approach to bedtime but he needed to work. I don't know how old DS is, but is it not confusing to have one parent say one thing, the other another? Also TV will just stimulate a hyper child so I also see DH point that watching MORE TV isn't really helpful.
But I am not here to criticise your parenting, it's all your choice. I think that you have very different approaches to life in general. DH is clearly a looker-after-er type, which you needed then but don't need now. That could be a problem for you both. In his mind he needs to be the one steering the ship just in case. You want to do things which are polar opposite of what he wants to do, so there is going to be a problem with that
I think the problem is your drinking and if I was your DH I'd seem "happy" outwardly but inwardly I'd be on egg shells.
As far as your youngest, how much exactly did you fall off the planet and how bad exactly was it for your DH? I think you and he need to sit down with outside help, e.g. A conunsellor, and talk things through.
If I was your DH I'd be on eggs with the drinking and that would filter into other areas for me - sorry I don't mean that to sound horrible.
Did you actually agree to have two glasses of wine beforehand, but ended up having 3 plus a cocktail? That would worry me too, as it would demonstrate you're not able to control your drinking as well as you think you can.
Equally there is no way I would be able to manage my drinking (I've been sober for nearly 6 years) if I thought someone else was monitoring me and making comments. That would be likely to send me back to serious levels of drinking faster than anything else. The impetus to stop and to stay stopped had to come from me.
Part of learning to manage your mental health condition is to recognise the warning signs, I assume, of when you're switching between mania and depression, or where one is more extreme than usual - managing the crises. Both of you will need to know how to do this and recognise that it needs to be done. Have you had any honest conversations about how he can support your mental health and how you can support him by letting him know when your symptoms change?
I find it somewhat odd that he's working 7 days a week when you and ds need him, what's prompted that?
I can't articulate this very well, so I'm sorry if this comes out wrong.
It seems to me that you and your DH have gone through the mill. And in order for things to run well, you agree behaviours between you.
And that's about basic respect and understanding.
But you don't do that. So you agree 2 drinks, and have 4. That's massively pushing the boundaries and actually really disrespectful to your DP and what you agreed. Why do you feel you need to do that?
And then, because you've pushed the boundaries you act like a teenager and minimise and excuse.
It's like listening to my 18 year old.
I'd hate that if I was your DP it's rude and disrespectful, especially even more so given your history.
If you don't want to do what your DP needs you to do to rebuild trust, need to talk to him and you should look at separating. I don't see it as that different to an affair and if this was an affair and the wife said - for example - don't contact the ow (alcohol in your case) - but the partner refused to, promised they would and snuck around doing it anyway - MN would condemn that and quite rightly in my view.
I hope you can overcome your demands and sort things with your DP.
Not demands - that was an autocorrect.
Im confused. You say your drinking got to "alcoholic levels" and services are happy for you to drink at weekends? I've never heard anything like that. From what I know, being a child if an alcoholic, you are an alcoholic and shouldn't be drinking at all, ever.
No wonder your DH is being over the top. He will be petrified youre heading back to how you were. You said you'reself that he was an absolute star when you had your breakdown.
Please think about that, how he helped you- I really think you owe it to him and your DS to stop drinking.
I justified the wine because if I'd have had two glasses as planned they would have been full glasses. It didn't end up that way so I adjusted. Dh feels that I broke my promise. I can see that.
He's working seven days because he's at the end of a huge project and we need the money. It's worrying me because he's become quite obsessive about it, he was hugely tired yesterday but did five hours in the morning and another three in the evening.
We do work very closely together around managing my illness, we have regular TAF meetings with a support worker and do everything we're supposed to. I go to therapy twice a week. I do still have a fucked up relationship with booze but I am working hard to address it and it's working.
I just feel like I've ruined our relationship and I miss how it used to be.
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