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LEAVING sulking H(952 Posts)
I can't believe this is my third thread.
I first posted in December about my H's sulking and silent treatment - I was ready to leave then but then got persuaded to give it another go.
My second thread is where everyone helped me work through what was going on, helped IRL by individual and joint counselling.
We have now made a joint decision to separate, and I have found somewhere to live.
I don't regret not leaving in January because I have had time to process a lot of things, confide in friends, and come to understand a lot of things about myself and H.
However, sometimes I think it would have been a lot easier to power my way out of the door whilst still fuelled with a lot of anger.
Right now I am mostly very very sad.
Today seemed like a reasonably good day, H and I managed to discuss childcare arrangements up til the school holidays quite calmly and sensibly.
We each spent time doing fun things with the DC and H is actually encouraging them to get a little excited about the new house and buying new furniture etc.
But I have just been hit by a massive wave of sadness again after overhearing part of a conversation between DC1 and a friend. DC1 was saying that he had no idea at all this was coming and had never seen us argue or fight.
I was sure they were at least aware of the horrible atmosphere, particularly over the last few months so it's a bit of slap in the face to realise they had no idea at all and this must seem totally incomprehensible to them.
I think at some point in the future you can mention about Dads sulking and that you spent much of your time ensuring he was happy so that the sulking didn't happen and that's not how a happy relationship works.
You need to educate them about the unhealthy dynamics so they hopefully don't fall into the same trap in their relationships.
They will realise the lighter atmosphere once you are living separately.
Once away and settle with the separation he might actually understand a bit better but you will have to do some reassuring and that some relationships are toxic.
The dynamic between the two of you is all your kids have ever known. They're accustomed to it and so are you.
If you've never had stand-up-screaming matches, perhaps your DC is imagining that's what fighting looks like in a marriage?
They had no idea because you are a good parent and protected them from his negativity and compensated for his bad behaviour.
But they will certainly have been affected by you being unhappy whether they were consciously aware of it at the time or not. I'm sure you will see a positive change in them once the upheaval is over and they can see you being the calm relaxed and happy person you deserve to be.
They are young. Perhaps when they’re older they might understand more
Probably it’s more like it was normal to them
Later DC1 will realise that never seeing you argue was actually a sign that you were afraid of him.
Children are resilient. They'll be OK even if it was a surprise.
Chances are DC will mainly notice the difference in a few weeks or months when they realise how much happier everyone is.
It's all they've ever known, it's their normal. I remember quite a while back something about watching your behaviour so as not to upset daddy, or minding what you say so as not to upset daddy. They've already learned to tread carefully around him when he is sulking or otherwise moody. They will see in time that it's easier now they don't have to do that anymore
* But I have just been hit by a massive wave of sadness again after overhearing part of a conversation between DC1 and a friend. DC1 was saying that he had no idea at all this was coming and had never seen us argue or fight.*
That says so much don't you think? Your husband was so good at undermining you whilst looking perfectly normal and positive and you got so good (for your sake and your children's sake more) of managing around his moods, walking on eggshells, not showing anger etc) that everyone, including yourself sometimes?, were completely fooled. You have always done your best for your children. Your best now is what you are currently doing and it must be the hardest thing you've ever done. It is the right thing though. 🌹
Feeling deep sadness doesn't mean that we are doing it wrong or that we should change what we are doing.
Sadness is a normal, natural part of life even though most of us are not very equipped to know how to cope with it.
We're with you in the sad Jamais.
That must be hard whilst you are so introspective, & asking yourself if this is the right thing to do.
But Imagine if there were no DCs, you would have left well before now,
The lesson they have been learning, is that Daddy can behave "that" way, & Mummy will do back flips to make it all comfortable.
This is their model.
There will be a time for questions & explications, & when they come into the kitchen in the new house & you are singing out loud, or fooling about, they will see a new person has blossomed & understand better what freedom & a relaxed atmosphere is & how different it was under his dominating cloak of unhappiness
I think that is the crux of why I left my ex - I didnt want my daughter to grow up and have his behaviour as normal, to not be affected by raised voices and aggressive behaviour or complete disregard for his family.
Kids dont know. They only have their own home as a single reference point and dont have the wider experience, unless it is seriously bad, to recognise dysfunction - many parents dont recognise it!
The sadness is natural. I would also recommend you have a journal, just in case MN disappears and log how his sulking made you feel. At times post separation Ex appeared "normal" and I thought could we be together again but these were only brief moments rather than sustained periods of time.
My youngest knew nothing of the conflict and probably assumed I was the aggressor however since being solo with his Dad he completely understands. I don't know what is worse, his previous ignorance about his Dad or his sad acknowledgment of how his dad is.
Divorce is very painful and I don't advocate it lightly but sometimes it is essential. I am sorry you are going through this, it is like a bereavement and it does it better with time.
When you're in your new house and feeling so much more at piece, the DC will see that you are happier. Kids want happy parents.
You are a great parent and you shielded them from the worst of his behaviour, at a high cost to yourself. They are not aware of that right now and I guess they have the idea that unless there was screaming, arguing, whatever else, then there was no fighting. I still think back to your very first post about him ruining your weekend away, the straw that broke the camel's back, perhaps. Sadness is inevitable, but I don't think you could have continued to live much longer with his dreadful behaviour. Mind yourself.
Remember, this may just mean that your children think sulking is normal, and is the way to respond when someone does what you don't like. I learned that as a child. It's hard to unlearn.
You are doing the right thing for their mental health as well as yours. Well done OP. It's natural to be sad, but it really is the best for you and them. They will get to see their Mum happy now, out from under the thumb.
Also there a couple of posts in your first thread early on with comments of how your DC react to their father's sulking & other behaviour. Then his hijacking DS's birthday... so even if they hadn't witnessed any fighting, they most certainly have had to "subir" their father's behaviour. & so all 3 of you have been adversely affected by him.
It's just that for them it's their "normal"
Thank you, your posts have made me cry a bit (in a good way knowing you are all rooting for me) and also take a step back and realise that of course for the last 10 years this is how things have been so they know no different.
I can remember that when DS1 was little things were pretty idyllic but after that it has pretty much always been this way and I had got as far as googling houses/flats and thinking through practicalities of divorce in the past.
Today was another step, I told my boss, who was concerned for me and worried that my responsibilities at work might have contributed to our break-up. I said that my current position has given me more confidence in myself which could have changed the dynamic, but that I don't regret doing this job which I love.
I’d go against the grain here and suggest actually they didn’t really notice at least not in a way that affected them. My kids saw Dad sleep on sofa for months. Overheard arguments. Complained about Dad shouting at them all the time. Yet still when we split felt shocked and said they had no clue. Kids can be quite self absorbed. Unless it’s neglect or aggression level bad I think they tune out a lot of what parents do and say where it doesn’t involve them. I’d avoid painting their Dad as toxic as they can feel that means they have something wrong with them (being their dads kids and maybe sharing traits or personality). Also be prepared for them to be all over / defend the parent who moves out (because that will make them insecure they may be left too). The parent that stays often is the one who gets all the fallout (because they may feel more secure in that relationship). They will want explanations but don’t need to know the gory details. I agree that once you’ve separated over time they will see the faults for themselves because you won’t be there to intervene or shield them from moods / sulks etc. It’s horrible knowing you’ve made a decision which hurts your children but it is short term pain. A year on you will all have come through the other side. It does shake them realising their parents and life isn’t perfect but they adapt probably quicker than we do.
You’re totally right
Children are self absorbed, not in a negative way. They just are. They don’t recognise nuances in that time and space. But they well look back on it as adults in a very different way.
And I agree, they will have to deal with their father doing the same to them as he did to you. Once they’re out of the quiet family dynamic they will realise
Sadly that’s their battle. You can’t fight it for them. But by being separated you can assure them that it’s not normal. If you were still together it would all be hidden and minimised
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