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Husband emotionally cold towards the kids

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Jessie1980 Tue 21-Mar-17 07:34:25

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Today 07:31 Jessie1980

Hi there
This is my first post, I hope.it won't be too much of a ramble! I really don't know what to do. I've been married for 6 years and together for 8, we have a Ds 5 and Dd 3, both great kids. People always comment on how well behaved they are, polite etc.
When Ds came.along I'm sure I had pnd but didn't recognise at the time and so just got on with it, had a horrendous labour and had felt terrible after it all. Anyway, dh found it difficult too and I was told he didn't 'get' babies and they were alien to him so because of that I didn't expect anything from him, I got no emotional support and if he was left in charge of them he'd just go for a.walk so they were in the buggy, or go out in the car. I always wondered was it so he didn't have to interact with them.
Anyway I let it all go and thought it would all be fine when they were up and running around talking. They are 5 and 3 now and if anything, it's gotten worse. He has a low tolerance towards them, he is constantly at them to say please and thank you if they forget just once (they are good at saying it) and the most recent is if they say 'i won't as in a drink or something, he bellows 'its not want, it's I would like'! But everywhere we go to family etc, they are asked, what do you want to.drink, what do you want to eat. I can see it being confusing as to why they aren't allowed to say this word they have been taught but everyone else is!
He never praises them or offers encouragement, he only started telling them he loved them a few.months ago after me questioning him as to why he didn't. If they try to tickle him, they are told he is not ticklish and to stop it as it's annoying. He never comforts them if they are upset, he never apologises to me or them. He hurt Ds but running into his heel with the buggy when we were on holiday and cut him, blamed Ds for it who was in front and didn't see him! He was crying and his father just stared at him with a blank expression and I asked was he not going to apologise and he just glared at him.
I could go on all day. Dh works away for 6 weeks at a time, he's just home 1.5 weeks and I have had.enough of it all. The kids certainly aren't.babies now.so what is the issue. He is more loving towards me and the dogs and he gives the impression the kids are an inconvenience to him although he tells me.thats rubbish.
I have told him how I feel yet again last week and how I'm not willing to put up with it any longer. He won't see any sort of councillor and doesn't see any issue with our marriage or the way he treats the kids, looks at me like I'm making it up when I list what he does or doesn't do to them.
He won't talk, I.am.met with a brick wall or like I am attacking him when I try to talk.
He has however started making more of an effort with the kids since I talked to him. He greets them in the morning and actually speaks to them rather than walking past without even a hello. He has stopped being on their backs for little things and yesterday I came home from work (I work from home but work away 1 day a week) yesterday and found they had made pancakes (he has never done this before).
So he is trying but he won't talk and he has just said I want to change who he is as a person and if I'm not happy it's my choice if I want to leave. Like there is.no.fight to save our marriage. He says he feels I have rubbished all he has done for us as a family over the past 5 years and is sad to think I don't want to be with him.anymore.
I feel enormous guilt now for making him.feel like this. I can't help but feel the effort he is making with the kids will be shortlived as we have been here many times before and I feel I have a lot of resentment towards him.that has built up over the years. I do love him and I believe he cares for me and the kids. He provides financially and would do anything for us but is not there emotionally. I just don't know what I want to do from here.

Thanks in advance for any replies!

Username: Jessie1980

Subject:

Husband emotionally cold towards the kids

Message:

Hi there
This is my first post, I hope.it won't be too much of a ramble! I really don't know what to do. I've been married for 6 years and together for 8, we have a Ds 5 and Dd 3, both great kids. People always comment on how well behaved they are, polite etc.
When Ds came.along I'm sure I had pnd but didn't recognise at the time and so just got on with it, had a horrendous labour and had felt terrible after it all. Anyway, dh found it difficult too and I was told he didn't 'get' babies and they were alien to him so because of that I didn't expect anything from him, I got no emotional support and if he was left in charge of them he'd just go for a.walk so they were in the buggy, or go out in the car. I always wondered was it so he didn't have to interact with them.
Anyway I let it all go and thought it would all be fine when they were up and running around talking. They are 5 and 3 now and if anything, it's gotten worse. He has a low tolerance towards them, he is constantly at them to say please and thank you if they forget just once (they are good at saying it) and the most recent is if they say 'i won't as in a drink or something, he bellows 'its not want, it's I would like'! But everywhere we go to family etc, they are asked, what do you want to.drink, what do you want to eat. I can see it being confusing as to why they aren't allowed to say this word they have been taught but everyone else is!
He never praises them or offers encouragement, he only started telling them he loved them a few.months ago after me questioning him as to why he didn't. If they try to tickle him, they are told he is not ticklish and to stop it as it's annoying. He never comforts them if they are upset, he never apologises to me or them. He hurt Ds but running into his heel with the buggy when we were on holiday and cut him, blamed Ds for it who was in front and didn't see him! He was crying and his father just stared at him with a blank expression and I asked was he not going to apologise and he just glared at him.
I could go on all day. Dh works away for 6 weeks at a time, he's just home 1.5 weeks and I have had.enough of it all. The kids certainly aren't.babies now.so what is the issue. He is more loving towards me and the dogs and he gives the impression the kids are an inconvenience to him although he tells me.thats rubbish.
I have told him how I feel yet again last week and how I'm not willing to put up with it any longer. He won't see any sort of councillor and doesn't see any issue with our marriage or the way he treats the kids, looks at me like I'm making it up when I list what he does or doesn't do to them.
He won't talk, I.am.met with a brick wall or like I am attacking him when I try to talk.
He has however started making more of an effort with the kids since I talked to him. He greets them in the morning and actually speaks to them rather than walking past without even a hello. He has stopped being on their backs for little things and yesterday I came home from work (I work from home but work away 1 day a week) yesterday and found they had made pancakes (he has never done this before).
So he is trying but he won't talk and he has just said I want to change who he is as a person and if I'm not happy it's my choice if I want to leave. Like there is.no.fight to save our marriage. He says he feels I have rubbished all he has done for us as a family over the past 5 years and is sad to think I don't want to be with him.anymore.
I feel enormous guilt now for making him.feel like this. I can't help but feel the effort he is making with the kids will be shortlived as we have been here many times before and I feel I have a lot of resentment towards him.that has built up over the years. I do love him and I believe he cares for me and the kids. He provides financially and would do anything for us but is not there emotionally. I just don't know what I want to do from here.

Thanks in advance for any replies!

highinthesky Tue 21-Mar-17 07:39:55

Is he likely to sustain his recent change of attitude to your children? You are being forced to choose between this man, and being able to provide a secure and loving upbringing for your children.

Is there really a contest? He can take custody of the dogs.

flowers

Jessie1980 Tue 21-Mar-17 07:44:50

Thanks highinthesky

I just don't know if he will sustain it, I feel like either this is just put on seeing as I've brought it up again and he is forcing himself to interact with them because it's obviously not natural, if not he'd have been doing it all along. But I also feel that I've to give him another chance for his sake? At the same time, I don't know deep down if this is what I truly want anymore. Maybe we need help to go forward. Maybe I should see someone on my own to try to understand everything.

Cricrichan Tue 21-Mar-17 07:45:11

He sounds like my dad towards my kids when we go and stay with them but always towards the end of our holiday he's a lot better with them. He's just not used to being around kids and i have 4 so he finds it overwhelming. He was a brilliant dad to us though but that's because he saw us every day.

I think your dh is struggling because for 6 weeks he isn't around kids so he's not used to them. You need to sit him down and tell him that they're not little for long and he'll regret it. Tell him that they are just kids and that's the way kids are. They're not little robots and to enjoy his very little time with them. Maybe try and give him one on one time with each of them so he's not as overwhelmed until he gets used to them?

noego Tue 21-Mar-17 07:45:54

My dad was like this and it fucked up 5 kids. Get shut of him if he cannot change his mindset. They are children FFS.

BadRespawn Tue 21-Mar-17 08:03:19

This won't improve over the long term, OP. I sometimes struggle to be as imaginative and spontaneous as my other half with our little girl, and I sometimes accordingly feel that she maybe sees me as 'less fun' because of that, but I would never effectively give up on trying to interact with her in the way that it sounds like your OH is doing with his children. He should actively want to engage with them - it should be instinctive - and the fact that it isn't, and that he doesn't see that as an issue, really does not bode well. Do the children express preference for being around you even if both you and OH are in the house? It would not surprise me if that were the case.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 21-Mar-17 08:18:27

Jessie,

What do you get out of this relationship with this person?.

Do you think he feels guilty; no. So why do you feel guilty for him?.

How many chances have you already given him?. Why give yet him another?. You also state that you have had enough of it all. It sounds like he never wanted to be a father in the first place hence he working away from home for weeks at a time.

What do you think your children are learning about relationships here from the two of you?. This behaviour from his is intolerable and is emotionally harmful to his children and in turn you.

I am wondering as well if his nose has been put out of joint by his children because they are here now and they are the primary focus of your attention?. Some selfish and entitled men really think like that and if this is the case such change from him will be very short lived.

Have a look also at his parents OP; what are they like in that do they behave similarly?.

He has told you that he will not see a counsellor nor sees any issue with your marriage as it is. That also says an awful lot about him as well.

LiveLifeWithPassion Tue 21-Mar-17 08:30:45

If he won't see a counsellor, would he attend parenting classes or read a parenting book?

If he's really aware of how he's affecting the kids and is willing to make an effort, then he needs to spend more time interacting and playing with the kids.
He needs to dedicate time in the day for just him and the kids. On their own and together.
Find things he would enjoy doing with them. Things that he enjoys himself.

0dfod Tue 21-Mar-17 08:42:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

annandale Tue 21-Mar-17 08:54:03

I'd say he is trying to do something that he perhaps doesn't value, certainly doesn't understand, because it will please you. He clearly does love you. He also loves the kids, he's just not very good at the emotional shitwork and doesn't understand that you need to work at their pace, on their level, at the point they can access.

Love is a verb and all that. He really is trying to do better with the children. He is providing financially - as the breadwinner in my family, that is not nothing. It's not enough but it is something.

This will change as they get older. He won't necessarily get closer to them but he might suddenly be really good at 10 year olds, or teenagers, or he might be good enough.

The question is, really, can you live with it, and do you think the children are being actively damaged by it? I am a fan of sticking it out, usually. There are a lot of threads where people are told that there is someone out there who will love you perfectly and be the perfect dad. I don't believe those people exist. From what you have said, he is trying his best but is not a natural father. Speaking as someone with a highly imperfect father, who has moulded us all in quite odd ways, I'm still glad my mother stuck it out until we left home (though my sister wishes they had split up earlier).

Practically speaking I agree with the 1:1 idea. Children are good at making relationships with the people they love and will get better at it as they age, it isn't all down to you to sort it out.

0dfod Tue 21-Mar-17 09:40:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Jessie1980 Tue 21-Mar-17 09:58:09

Cricrichan – he was at home for a spell of 9 months and things were no different. I have explained that they are just little and are just being kids but it doesn’t seem to register. He doesn’t think there is anything wrong with the way he treats them and says he doesn’t want them growing up to be rude and is just doing what he thinks is right and important.

BadRespawn – it’s definitely not instinctive with him, that has been apparent from when my son was born. The kids are usually playing in whichever room I am in, I was tidying the kitchen the other day, he was sitting in the sitting room and they were with me, I went upstairs to hang washing and I noticed they were up playing near me again. The other day my DD asked me if it was ok to paint her dads face (pretending with a plastic toy lipstick), he was sitting on the other side of the couch but she didn’t want to ask herself. They never ask him for anything, always me but I also see its probably because I do everything for them while he is away at work.
AttilaTheMeerkat – What do I get out of this relationship? I’m not sure, companionship, I used to think we had a good relationship and were a happy family. I think I have been lying to myself. I don’t believe he feels guilty, probably more self-pity as he’s said I have rubbished all he has done for us and it’s hard to take. He doesn’t want to talk about making amends. I’ve given a few chances but just don’t want to throw it all away without knowing I’ve given him a chance to change – this time I have told him I am close to leaving and I’ve never said that before, although all I have gotten back is that it’s my decision to make.
I don’t believe he is jealous as such, although I remember him not being overly happy that he did not get evenings with me after DS was born as I would be upstairs for hours trying to get DS to settle.
His parents split when he was a teenager, my own mother died when I was 11 so I have been through a fair bit of shit too and I know it affects people different but I don’t believe it gives you an excuse to be an arsehole, especially to your own kids!
LiveLifeWithPassion – I bought a book for him last June, it was rubbished and thrown to the side. He has had told me he is taking them to a soft play centre this afternoon after nursery has finished which is great but I don’t know if its too little too late.
Annandale – I really don’t know if I can live with it – deep down I just feel we will be back here again before too long once, I don’t understand him. He says there is no problem with the way he treats them yet suddenly he is treating them as little people.
For long enough he called DD ‘it’ until I couldn’t take the hurt of that anymore and had a go at him. He called her a ‘noisy brute’ the other day and didn’t see the problem with it as that’s what she is. If he wakes in the night to find one of the kids in bed with us, he will get up and sleep on the couch. When we go on family days out or holidays its like he doesn’t want to be there, he doesn’t interact with us, has a face on him but when asked, he says of course he wants to be there. I even started taking a 4 pack of beer with us on days out to see if that would make it better for him, so we are sat there having a family picnic while he sits drinking beer?! It didn’t make it any better btw.

HarmlessChap Tue 21-Mar-17 10:16:47

Some dads find it much more difficult than others, when my DW had PND after both of ours I found it really hard to bond with the children as she was constantly taking over or criticising how I was doing things. I wasn't as bad as your DH seems to be but when I was left in charge one day a week, at 6 months, when she went back to work part time it was both a delight that I didn't have her looking over my shoulder all the time but also I was a bit of a fish out of water, albeit only initially. If he left you to it as babies are "alien" then he won't have bonded well either, but that doesn't mean he can't learn.

It sounds as though he is struggling to find his role and sees it as the the disciplinarian which may reflect his own childhood. Hopefully he'll sustain the attitude and build upon it, if he's better with the 5 year old it wouldn't surprise me, many men do find it a lot easier once you can start to have some form of conversation and reason with a child.

My kids are teenagers now and while I did enjoy the early years, once they were of school age I found parenting more enjoyable and TBH easier.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 21-Mar-17 10:17:59

Hi Jessie

re your comment to me:-

AttilaTheMeerkat – What do I get out of this relationship? I’m not sure, companionship, I used to think we had a good relationship and were a happy family. I think I have been lying to myself. I don’t believe he feels guilty, probably more self-pity as he’s said I have rubbished all he has done for us and it’s hard to take. He doesn’t want to talk about making amends. I’ve given a few chances but just don’t want to throw it all away without knowing I’ve given him a chance to change – this time I have told him I am close to leaving and I’ve never said that before, although all I have gotten back is that it’s my decision to make.
I don’t believe he is jealous as such, although I remember him not being overly happy that he did not get evenings with me after DS was born as I would be upstairs for hours trying to get DS to settle.
His parents split when he was a teenager, my own mother died when I was 11 so I have been through a fair bit of shit too and I know it affects people different but I don’t believe it gives you an excuse to be an arsehole, especially to your own kids!"

I think you have indeed been lying to yourself here.

What level of companionship do you really get when he is only home for a week and a half after working away for 6 weeks?. Do you all miss him at all when he is not there, probably not. You're certainly not getting your own needs met in this relationship are you. I still think his nose got put well out of joint when his children came into being because they became the full focus of your attention rather than he.

Do not get sucked into the "sunken costs fallacy"; the part you wrote about, "not wanting to throw it all away without giving him a chance to change" strikes me as very much that train of thought which is a rabbit hole you do not want to go down. That fallacy basically causes people to keep on making poor relationship decisions. Do not get bogged down by focusing on your sunk costs.

There are two ways to understand this process, both involving avoidance. One is an avoidance of disappointment or loss when something doesn’t work out. When a relationship doesn’t succeed, especially after a long period, especially after many shared experiences and especially after developing a hope that the relationship would be a good one, it is a loss. It is a loss of what might have been and an acknowledgement that a part of one’s life has been devoted to this endeavour.

Another angle to evaluate is that focus on “sunk cost” creates a distraction from one’s inner truth. The sentence often goes like, “I’ve already invested to much, so I can’t notice my thoughts and feelings that are telling me to end or change this relationship.” This is a type of insidious defense against noticing yourself. You enter into a neglectful relationship with yourself which divorces you from your inner thoughts and the quiet feelings that might guide you in your life. In other words, thinking about what already has been may prevent you from deciding what you want your life to be.

How many more chances are you really going to give him before you finally say enough, do you not think you have given him more than enough opportunity over the years?. He is showing you by word and deed that he is not for changing. If he says the decision is yours to make then take him up on it; he has likely said that because he can then go into full on self pity mode and say to people, "oh she left me".

I am sorry to read that your mother died when you were yourself young but his and your experiences are markedly different. Your dad never said the things your H has said to his children now did he. You are certainly correct in your last sentence; it does not give him the right to be an arse to his children.

You have a choice re this man Jessie; your children do not. Children who grow up in households where one of the parents is emotionally unavailable can end up with all sorts of emotional problems and those can and do carry over into their relationships.

Jessie1980 Tue 21-Mar-17 10:20:48

HI HarmlessChap
He is not better with the 5 year old, worse if anything. Even a few members of my family have commented to me about the way he is with him. He can hardly move without being told off or told to sit down and be quiet, stop asking for things, eat properly, sit still etc etc etc. Its like everything DS does, irritates him athough again when questioned, he says its not ture.

HarmlessChap Tue 21-Mar-17 10:25:56

Maybe you need to film him, covertly, and play it back.

He sounds like the father of 2 boys I knew while growing up, they ended up despising him by the time they went off to Uni.

TheLegendOfBeans Tue 21-Mar-17 10:27:30

For the sake of your children he needs to either do a complete 180 in his attitude or you need to get out.

I've seen the effect that dad's like this have on their children and it's really destructive. Either the beat goes on and the children become emotionally cold and distant adult, unable to articulate their emotions healthily OR they go the other way and become desperate for love and affection from IME usually unsuitable or redundant sources.

It's so easy for strangers on the internet to be judge jury and executioner re your family life but honestly, his issues are his to resolve and it doesn't sound like he's anywhere near there yet.

Meanwhile, your children lose out

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 21-Mar-17 10:30:51

Well if family members notice then you know that things are very much off between your H and his children, particularly his daughter. If you do not act Jessie your son will just get angry and eventually have nothing to do with his dad because of his lack of approval. Your daughter in her future relationships will seek out emotionally absent men to try and rescue and or save or try to please men in order for them to love her. She will search much of her life for the one thing her father was unable to give her; his love.

Jessie1980 Tue 21-Mar-17 10:35:11

Thats what hurts the most, is the fact that the kids are the ones who are losing out. I see other fathers (or male members of the family) interacting with their kids, smiling at them and having a bit of fun and i always think to myself, why is he not like that, what is the problem that stops him getting close to them. The last thing i want is for them to be messed up, they are my whole world.

AttilaTheMeerkat - i suppose when he is away, i am totally on my own, i'm not a hugely social person and dont find it easy to make new friends so sometimes days can go by wihtout me seeing another adult. So when he is here, i have adult company and someone i can talk about adult stuff too.

Jessie1980 Tue 21-Mar-17 10:38:47

AttilaTheMeerkat - this is a fear of mine. DS already says things like 'i'm rubbish at everything' and i wonder if its just a stage he is going through, or if it stems from his dad.

They both miss their dad lots when he is away though so it's not like they dont want him, its funny, i think i read somewhere that even if a parent is abusive, the child still wants to be with them and love them.

TheLegendOfBeans Tue 21-Mar-17 10:41:32

DS already says things like 'i'm rubbish at everything' and i wonder if its just a stage he is going through, or if it stems from his dad.

I'd say so. That's depressing talk from a child of 5.

Adora10 Tue 21-Mar-17 10:46:44

You will never understand some people; fact is he's not like most parents and is a cold and unfeeling parent; none of that is good for your children; he's already damaging them with his annoyance of them being alive; I'd always put my kids first; I'd have to separate from him; and then monitor how he is with them; I'd never put a bad tempered intolerant person before my kids, dad or not.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 21-Mar-17 10:47:06

Hi Jessie

Re your comment:-

"AttilaTheMeerkat - i suppose when he is away, i am totally on my own, i'm not a hugely social person and dont find it easy to make new friends so sometimes days can go by wihtout me seeing another adult. So when he is here, i have adult company and someone i can talk about adult stuff too".

When is he ever there truly?. He's only at home for a week and a half at the best of times. Why are you so isolated, I know myself it is oh so very easy to become lonely and isolated but you need other people's input as well. You need to get out into the world with your children. They will not benefit from your own isolation here either.

And your son saying those things at his tender age is profoundly depressing and likely stems from his dad's low opinion of him and his daughter. Do not do your bit here to continue the dysfunction he metes out to his children; you do still have a choice re this man. Children are programmed to love their parents anyway no matter how rubbish they actually are.

DutyCalls Tue 21-Mar-17 10:50:39

That situation sounds very damaging to a developing child, children are intuitive and it won't be long before they start picking up his negative feelings towards them if they haven't already.

My OH can sometimes act this way towards our toddler, I think he flounders a bit sometimes due to a bad upbringing himself. However his heart is in the right place, and I never allow any inappropriate behaviour to pass without calling him out on it. He may think I'm judging his parenting but there is no need to be rude, nasty or cold when disciplining a child and I won't let it stand just to keep the peace.

Can you imagine being a young child missing and waiting for your father to come after 6 weeks only to be ignored and scolded? You mentioned he used to walk by them without any form of acknowledgment? I'm sorry but I think I would have exploded on the spot, it is his failing not yours or your children's and they need to be protected from what can be mentally and emotionally damaging.

Jessie1980 Tue 21-Mar-17 11:01:36

Adora10 - dont get me wrong, he is quite even tempered as in, he appears grumpy all the time, but never explodes at the children, but its constant critism, like nothing is ever godo enough.

AttilaTheMeerkat - 'When is he ever there truly?. He's only at home for a week and a half at the best of times. Why are you so isolated, I know myself it is oh so very easy to become lonely and isolated but you need other people's input as well. You need to get out into the world with your children. They will not benefit from your own isolation here either.' Sorry, he is home for 5 weeks at a time, he is 1.5 weeks into his time at home at the moment is what i meant, sorry if i was not clearer. We live in a remote place, but dont get me wrong, i do go out with the kids to do stuff, i have always taken them to classes and to do stuff which i think they will enjoy. We have to travel some distance to do anything so its not always easy but i do try to at least do something or let them have a friend over etc.

DutyCalls - it breaks my heart to know how much they look forward to seeing him and to witness what they get. He made an effort the first day, then it went downhill from there.

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