Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

What is the difference between being a very boundaried person and taking offence at everything?

(51 Posts)
allthatshewantsisanotherbaby Sat 11-Nov-17 20:55:32

When I met DH, I was attracted to him because he seemed to have a lot of boundaries, which is what I lacked. He used to, without hesitation, cut people dead if they made him uncomfortable or asked too much of him or he felt they were taking advantage. He was never embarrassed about stating when he was not happy or disliked something, and he never worried about causing a scene or not being liked. This made him appear strong to me.

Ten years later and I now realise I am married to somebody so rigid that they can never be wrong, who has never ever apologised, who is never afraid to threaten with a nuclear option, doesn't care if my friends or family like him, will lay down the law or walk off in public if I do something he doesn't like, will never ever compromise, and expects adult-type understanding of his boundaries from our toddler DC.

Is there any way this could be positive? What would you do if you were me?

allthatshewantsisanotherbaby Sat 11-Nov-17 20:56:47

Just to add - as per my title. He gets offended constantly by things I say or do and things other people say or do. He is always asking for apologies from people and jumping to extremes over small things. It means I walk on eggshells.

jeaux90 Sat 11-Nov-17 20:58:54

Does he have any sense of his own mistakes or the consequence? Is he controlling at all? Financially? Are you ok to have your own friends and social life?

Slightlyperturbedowlagain Sat 11-Nov-17 21:01:27

Honestly, in the situation you describe what would I do? I would LTB. Sorry if that's not what you wanted to hear, but I can't see any positives there.

allthatshewantsisanotherbaby Sat 11-Nov-17 21:03:52

He feels guilty about things like not earning enough money, or saving enough money for our future, or not being able to give the DCs the best opportunities. Things like that. But he has no sense of any mistakes he might have made in his interactions or relationship with me or the DC over the years which has made me upset or sad or hurt.

I can't tell if he is controlling. He is controlling in the sense that there is only one way - which is his way. It is very rare that we will do something my way.

QuiteLikely5 Sat 11-Nov-17 21:05:05

It is very harmful to children when their caregivers expect things of them that they do not have the capacity to offer

Does he suffer anxiety ? Seems like he has a need to control things?

QuiteLikely5 Sat 11-Nov-17 21:06:56


In that case you need to take control back?

You need to make decisions based on your own judgements and not relinquish all decisions to your dh

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 11-Nov-17 21:07:27

What do you get out of this relationship now?. What needs of yours are being met here?.

Controlling behaviour is abusive behaviour and is about having power and control. It may well be that you confused this behaviour with him actually employing boundaries in relationships.

To my mind as well walking on eggshells is code for living in fear. I would seriously reconsider your own future within this relationship because this man will not change. What do you want to teach your child about relationships, surely not this role model of one. You cite your own lack of boundaries; what exactly did you learn about relationships when growing up.

jeaux90 Sat 11-Nov-17 21:09:53

If you are walking on eggshells your kids will too.

Do you have your own work? Hobbies? Friends?

Slightlyperturbedowlagain Sat 11-Nov-17 21:11:41

Ok I'm going to ask it, it may or may not be relevant as obviously I'm only going by what you are saying, but has he ever been assessed for ASD? Many adults suffer from this without the insight provided by a diagnosis.

allthatshewantsisanotherbaby Sat 11-Nov-17 21:14:55

We had an awful argument this evening where he was upset over one small thing I said. I was explaining calmly how I felt about the fact he was controlling money.

He took from what I was saying that I was accusing him of being dishonest. (I wasn't.) Instead of listening to my explanation of what I really meant, he has left the house for work, telling me that I must apologise immediately for calling him dishonest, as he has taken enormous offence and will never be able to get over it and go back to talking about the issue unless he receives an immediate apology. He has also turned his phone off so I cannot communicate with him now.

So the issue does not get discussed, and I am left here in an empty vacuum.

allthatshewantsisanotherbaby Sat 11-Nov-17 21:16:42

slightlyperturbed I have often thought about whether he has ASD. He does not specifically aim this behaviour at me. If I am his abuse victim, then everyone is his abuse victim. He has friends and colleagues who think he is slightly odd, but still get a long with him, and apologise tongue in cheek, just to get him to move on

jeaux90 Sat 11-Nov-17 21:19:37

At best he is being emotionally abusive.

Why are you in this relationship?

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 11-Nov-17 21:21:07

ASD does not automatically equate to behaving abusively towards her and other family members. I doubt very much if OPs husband is infact anywhere on the ASD spectrum frankly; he comes across as a common or garden abuser and overreacting to a perceived slight is a part of that. This is precisely how such men operate towards their unfortunate partner.

OP - what if anything do you know about his childhood, that often gives clues. How does he control money; does he also rigidly control your access to it?.

Slightlyperturbedowlagain Sat 11-Nov-17 21:24:19

I think it would be worth investigating the possibility- there are some on-line quizzes that would help at least open a conversation and help him consider whether to investigate further. Just having the possibility of an explanation can be very empowering for you both. A colleague of mine had a complete renaissance a few years back after this after his diagnosis. In his words 'now I understand that I'm not weird like I thought all these years, just different'

Slightlyperturbedowlagain Sat 11-Nov-17 21:26:36

It's the rigid thinking and behaviour that make it worth investigating Attila. Or yes it might be abuse, but tbh many abusers are charm personified in other areas of their life, whereas OP is saying it runs though his whole life.

Bunnystew Sat 11-Nov-17 21:27:26

Text him ‘you are wrong and have misunderstood. I haven’t claimed you are dishonest. I raised the fact that you are controlling with money. I wish you had choosen to discuss this problem properly. I will not apologise as Ive done nothing wrong.

allthatshewantsisanotherbaby Sat 11-Nov-17 21:30:11

I did not know that over-reacting to a perceived slight was a sign of an abuser. I thought, stupidly, that he was just very sensitive to everything... But every time I apologise I feel smaller. He says that's because I am stubborn.

His childhood was very traumatic. But I know that is not an excuse for how people behave in their future relationships.

Trafalgarxxx Sat 11-Nov-17 21:32:40

Before you even go there, having ASD doesn’t mean that as his partner, you have to accept all his ways, do everything the way he wants etc....
This is NOT an excuse to get aWay with murder. Nor does it mean you have to accept everything and anything from him.

At best, this is his kick in the butt to show him he is often too rigid and yes he is at ‘fault’ just as often as others are.
It should be an opportunity for him to see the works in. Different way and change his response.
Not for you to bend over backwards in even more than you are atm.

Slightlyperturbedowlagain Sat 11-Nov-17 21:34:49

Totally agree Trafalgar

Paisleyteddy Sat 11-Nov-17 21:51:41

One “rule of thumb” to suss out people like this is how much their “boundaries” and “brutal honesty” and “telling it like it is” are to THEIR social advantage whilst lowering the other parties self esteem?

I used to (note the happy use of past tense halo) socialise with two people with this whole “I say it like it is” philosophy. Like they were “keeping it real”

Go to a place they didn’t like? ( I’m not taking a spontaneous trip to climb mount Everest, but maybe a coffee shop or a restaurant) They’d start “honestly” pointing out everything they found wrong with the place so I’d have to pick another. If they got bored when we were doing a joint activity they’d make their boredom VERY clear so I’d have to cut it short. Any meeting with MY other friends were sabotaged because if they weren’t wanting to socially engage then they would be “authentically quiet” (but they’d be happy to point out “honestly” if they found my manners falling short)

Funnily enough, this only applied one way - if there was any criticism of them, however slight, they’d have a right fucking meltdown.

It may have been asd (in fact, both of them were in technical professions and didn’t seem to have great people skills in general)

But the impact on ME was the same - walking on emotional eggshells, feeling like I was there to be bullied and play therapist at the same time, generally being humiliated and belittled and like I was just there to support them and be a “prop” not as a human being in my own right? (A lot of other people found them weird and seemed to drift away from spending any social time with them - both in their late 30s now and still single and holiday with mum and dad)

BubblingUp Sat 11-Nov-17 21:51:45

Does he ever empathize?

I don't think having strong boundaries is the same thing as feeling slighted at every little thing, although I guess it could look the same.

exhaustedmumof4 Sat 11-Nov-17 22:06:03

Boundaries are to protect yourself, to stop people walking all over you. They’re not supposed to permit you to walk all over others. You have to respect the boundaries of other people too. Forcing someone to apologise for any and every perceived slight and have them walking on eggshells around you is not respecting their boundaries. Seems like your DH needs some empathy and maybe counselling.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Sat 11-Nov-17 22:18:20

Strong boundaries with a thin skin is a bad combination. If you give it you have to take it.

Let's say you don't apologise. What will happen?

RunRabbitRunRabbit Sat 11-Nov-17 22:20:11

Re-read your own posts. You wrote this insane statement.
I can't tell if he is controlling. He is controlling in the sense that there is only one way - which is his way. It is very rare that we will do something my way.

That is the exact definition of controlling. He controls what you do. How on earth are you telling yourself you are not being controlled by him?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now