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.
How can I talk to my husband without him mocking me?(24 Posts)
Please help. I have been married to husband for eight years. We have a daughter together and tbh if we didn't, I would have left him several times over. In many ways (and on paper) he is the perfect man - he is conscientious, works hard, very hands on as a dad - he can be extremely patient and loving with our daughter - and he has supported me financially for the last two years while I have been finding my feet in my career.
I know, he sounds like a dream, right??!!
But several times a week - and often several times a day - we find ourselves unable to see eye-to-eye. He isn't very good at expressing his emotions, which can lead to him shutting down and becoming very clinical and detached whenever me or my daughter get upset with his behaviour.
I spent the formative parts of my childhood in an extremely strict boarding school and had extremely controlling and strict parents who made my life quite unhappy. For this reason, I am perhaps hyper-sensitive to anyone who tries to control me. I find it very hard to be 'myself' around my husband sometimes, and I find him overly critical of me. When he berates me for something that I have done, if I try to reason with him, he ends up swearing at me and then when I try to talk to him about why that's upsetting and slightly abusive, he then mocks me, by saying that I'm droning on.
Needless to say, this has eroded any love / attraction I feel for him. I sometimes wonder if he is threatened by me in some way, and can only express that through anger.
I think the thing I find most difficult about our relationship is that I feel slightly gagged - that whenever I try to talk to him about the way he treats me, he totally shuts down, and doesn't make any effort to engage with what I'm talking about. I feel that it means we can't improve things.
I have contemplated leaving him so many times I am boring myself. I would do, were it not for our daughter. I loved him once, but to be honest I now don't really feel much for him; I think he is emotionally repressed which affects our r'ship in so many ways. He is also slightly anal about things like how clean the house is (while never actually cleaning the house,) NEVER organises date nights for us, NEVER instigates sex, and doesn't have many friends, which means we don't have a social life as a couple.
Occasionally we can have a laugh together but because I never know when he is going to flip out about something I say I find that when I spend time with him I am very wary and slightly uncomfortable about him criticising me.
I don't know why I'm posting on here really. I'm just so unhappy in this marriage. It's been eight years and they've been mostly unhappy, I can't contemplate this for the rest of my life, yet my daughter is so important to me. Please help. I just want advice.
Doesnt sound a great environment for your daughter to be honest. Would it help to focus on improving her life by leaving?
I don't want to be harsh OP, but I'm at a loss to see why you think staying in a relationship like that is good for your daughter.
You said your DH can be extremely patient and loving with your daughter. Not he is patient, but he can be. TBH, that's the least required of a parent!
I would suggest you consider whether you're modelling a healthy relationship for your daughter. Would you want her to be in a relationship like yours when she's an adult?
Best of luck OP. You and your daughter deserve happiness and I hope you find it.
I think you should try saying calmly, 'the marriage is dead and I'm filing for divorce'.
And see if he still mocks you then. It will hopefully enable you to actually go ahead with it. Honestly, life will be so much better without him.
He’s emotionally abusing you and your child is learning that it’s ok for men to behave like this to women.
You stay for her when really you should leave for her, and you.
It’s so tricky and I completely understand as I’m in a similar situation. It’s very hard to finish a marriage when you have children and emotional unavailability is a difficult thing to pinpoint as a reason for leaving. Have you tried marriage counselling?
You would need to change his personality and character.
If you feel he's a good father there's no reason to expect that would end if you split. He would still be in her life, you just wouldn't be living together and he wouldn't be making you miserable.
You're not hyper-sensitive - he is emotionally abusing you.
And as you are caring for your dd and doing all the housework he is not 'supporting' you, you are providing equally important things to the family as his job.
Are you close to finding your feet in your career? I think you should find a job, start saving and make plans to leave.
You had an unhappy childhood, and it sounds like your dd will have the same if you stay with him.
When he berates me for something that I have done, if I try to reason with him, he ends up swearing at me and then when I try to talk to him about why that's upsetting and slightly abusive
I'm impressed that you can control yourself not to swear right back at the bastard! I suspect you are a better parent than him.
You say you’re staying for your daughter, but really you should be leaving for your daughter. Don’t teach her to accept the same behaviour you’re currently accepting (and by staying you are accepting it).
This is how you can talk to your H without him mocking you: “I am leaving you. You are superior, unkind and unloving.”
(Adding “go fuck yourself” here optional but a nice touch I feel).
You say you are staying for the sake of your dd. On paper that may seem an admirable thing. But it isn’t!
You staying means your dd is learning that it’s ok for a man to treat their partner with contempt, to shout and swear at them. She’s also learning that when someone shouts and swears at you, the normal response is to keep quiet and accept this.
And his behaviour towards your DD will get worse as she gets older and starts wanting her own life and opionions, can you imagine what he will be like towards her when she dares to voice an option he doesn’t approve of?
You need to get her out of this toxic environment.
OP - I'm not a therapist, but the way you describe your childhood/ parents- I wonder if that's why you've ended up here - with a man you cannot be yourself with/ not allowed to have your own opinion etc. Perhaps you were initially attracted to him as it was familiar but now you have your own dc, you are seeing a different perspective. You cannot live your life like this and it may be better for your DD if you spilt as it will only get worse and you wouldn't want her growing up with a mother who was so fundamentally unhappy - it will show. Read some of the threads from women on here who wished they'd got out earlier as 20, 30 years later they are a shell of their firmer self. Good luck.
Staying for the child is rarely a decision that at all works out well for either the parent or the child going forward. I say the parent as well because your own relationship with her going into adulthood could be itself harmed. She won't want to come back and see either of you very often if at all and she may well leave home as soon as she is able. You do not want her to grow up thinking that she was the only reason that you stayed with her dad, its a terribly heavy burden to place upon a child. You state yourself that if it was not for her you would have already left several times over. I put it to you that it is for she also that you must leave your H.
Your own childhood set you up good and proper into entering a relationship like the one you describe; you have basically repeated in a relationship what you know and learnt from your own parents. Controlling behaviours like they showed you and still do for that matter are abusive. After all we learn about relationships first and foremost from them and they taught you a lot of damaging stuff.
What do you want to teach her about relationships and what do you think she is learning here?. He is sending her mixed messages by being nice to her but abusive to you as her mother. As it is she will go onto choose someone exactly like her abusive dad because you in turn are teaching her that currently at least, this is acceptable to you. What do you get out of this relationship now with him, nothing of any benefit from what you write.
Womens Aid are worth contacting on 0808 2000 247 and if you do have counselling I would suggest sole counselling (and NOT with him under any circs) also with a therapist who is well versed in the ways of controlling and critical parents.
So many posts on here have a sentence along the lines of ‘he’s a great husband/father... but.’
Thing is, great dads, husbands.. they don’t actually have buts. Most people, even unpleasant people, can be nice when they want to. Most abusers aren’t awful all the time because if they were no one would be with them. They’re nice enough that you doubt yourself then awful the other x% of the time.
Leave. For your daughter. Because kids do pick up this stuff.
I know it feels hard op, but Let your daughter see you chose happiness. It will be the best thing she will learn from you, the best thing you can do for her.
Really sorry you had an unloving childhood, I really know what that's like. You can rewrite the script, and have an adulthood that serves you.
People dont change with talking. They may change with consequences. He is paying no consequences for his horrible brutish behaviour. The consequence he deserves is losing his marriage and because of that getting part time access to his dc. Leave. He deserves it and you deserve to be happy.
What sort of relationship do you hope to have with your daughter when she's an adult? Are you close now?
How do you think she's going to feel when she asks why you stayed in an unhappy marriage for so long and you tell her it was her fault? How are you going to react when she tells you she had a miserable childhood?
You're not doing your daughter any favours here, you know.
You are not staying for your daughter you are staying because you sre afraid to leave
Do what is best for her and don't teach her that this is treatment that women need to tolerate for the sake of a relationship
OP I agree with PP who have pointed out that you have ended up with a man who fits the pattern of what you were used to and what you were comfortable with. Have you ever had any therapy regarding your abusive childhood?
You need to take steps to get out of this relationship. It's very toxic for you and for your daughter. Do you want her to have the same life you did?
Step 1 counsellor
Step 2 Solicitor to see where you would stand if you split.
Get your ducks in a row and promise yourself that this time next year you will be living happily with DD, nobody around to make you feel like shit.
You are most likely with him due to your childhood, it felt familiar to be with someone unable to really love you for who you are.
He will also pass this onto your daughter, she is lovable if she conforms.
You are describing an unhealthy relationship and I think you know that but unless he also agrees, then nothing will change.
I recommend the "the verbally abusive relationship" by patricia evans as she clearly defines the tatics he is using (possibly unconsciously) to enable him to be emotional unavailable.Its extreme defensiveness but as a relationship progresses and you start to demand more the tactics become more emotional abusive.
My ex started with sulking/silent treatment/stonewalling and then ramped up aggressiveness until I was always walking on eggshells and couldnt have a different view to him.
Counselling doesn't work as he has to have insight to recognise he has some responsible for the conflict.
Likewise even if he accepted responsibility its a massive effort to change as its normal behaviour to him, much like asking asking him to change the way he has been for since childhood.
Why are you staying?
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now »
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.