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Is It In My Head?(119 Posts)
I've just got home from a pretty disastrous holiday with my boyfriend (been together almost a year) - it's one of several disastrous trips where he's been moody, sulky and mean and, despite me trying allsorts to ease the tension and cheer him up and make the most of the time away, he's been unbearable. To the point where I even looked into alternative means of getting home this time round (we were in Europe). No matter what I did, he either stayed in his mood (but flat-out denied anything was wrong), or snapped and accused me of being over sensitive on the occasions I did ask him why he was so irritable. It's hard to spell out what he was doing in black and white terms, because often he'd say or do something and then either deny it or say it was a joke. Or he'd make out I was the one in the wrong. But some examples include:
Mocking me for checking beforehand that the b&b had a hairdryer. I prefer to blow dry my hair as it's quite curly, we had a nice couple of dinners planned, it's what I wanted but he laughed and scoffed and rolled his eyes and made out it was me being vain.
Suggesting we walk three miles to dinner rather than getting public transport. The dinner was in the evening, it was chucking it down, it was at a nice restaurant (he'd booked it) and the plan was for me to put a frock and heels on and get dressed up. When I suggested this wasn't ideal (initially in a jokey way, I could tell his sulk was building so didn't want to ask him WTF he was talking about), he made out he couldn't understand what my problem was. Shrugging and smirking when I pushed him on it, and when I was saying 'you really don't understand what that's not a great idea?'. In the end I felt like the one who was being a bore/difficult.
Blanked me at a restaurant when I tried to jolly him up. It sounds pathetic but I tried to sing at him and ruffle his hair (I was getting desperate to get a smile from him at this point) - he literally ignored me. Didn't look up from his menu. He did this a couple of times.
Repeatedly pretended not to hear me. Or, when I started a story would start looking at his phone. I stopped speaking and eventually he looked up and said for me to carry on. I said I'd finish when he'd finished what he was doing on his phone (scrolling through FB). He just pretended not to hear that and looked back at his phone. I didn't finish the story in the end.
Kept saying he'd made me cross, but about small things that I really wasn't cross about. Eg we went to a bar we wanted to try and it was closed and he made this big thing about 'I'm sorry, I've let you down, have I made you cross now?' but in this weird sarcastic tone. I really wasn't cross, it was just one of those things, but he kept it going.
Reading all this back I know it's not good, but I suppose I'm looking for reassurance that I'm not overreacting or over sensitive or difficult or asking for too much. I'd also like to hear from people who've been in similar positions. I'm a smart woman with a career and great friends and my own lovely home (that he takes the piss out of) and a brilliant son (he also has a couple of kids - we don't live together) and I've read enough forums to know that these are all indications of narc behaviour, so why am I questioning it and myself and obsessing over the details, rather than just telling him to fuck off? Any feedback would be most welcome. Thank you for reading.
You are not overreacting! He’s an arsehole and an abusive one at that. Please don’t ever doubt your judgment or intellect because of him. Do not put up with his shit any longer.
Lots of posters recommend why does he do that by Lundy Bancroft, I’d recommend it too. It’s a sobering read when you start to put the pieces together.
Please just tell him to fuck off. That's the only advice I have for you, you don't deserve to be treated like this
He's abusive, wants to erode your confidence by making you doubt yourself, belittle you with all these intentional things designed to chip away at you. The longer you stay with someone like this the more you'll be become a shadow of yourself and even worse it will impact your son.
If you'll ask him of course he'll say you're overreacting or as my ex liked to flit between saying I couldn't take a joke or that I was playing the victim.
Funnily enough I have already read that book. A lot of things rang very true and I tried to end it off the back of reading it but when I tried to explain why to him, he said he had no idea what I was talking about. I then wondered if perhaps it was a combination of my over sensitivity and him just being a bit crap with expressing himself and so gave him another shot. You're right though, time to sort it out once and for all. I don't have loads of confidence at the best of times but this last year has really knocked what I did have. Thanks so much for replying.
You've been together less than a year and have already had several disastrous trips.
I didn't even get to the end of your post. He's a nasty prick and you need to leave him because it'll never get better.
He sounds really horrible and as a stranger on the Internet I'm angry on your behalf! Instead of building your confidence he working hard to make you insecure and second guess yourself.
@callysuper of course he had no idea what you were talking about, classic abuser move. If he was misunderstood a healthy response would be to work with you to make sure you didn’t feel that way, to understand not to dismiss. My “dh” regularly uses don’t know what you’re talking about, your talking shit, what are you going on about. It’s all part of their little repertoire and countless other MN’s posters have posted similar shite said to them by their “loved ones”
Out of curiosity Ididit2019 how did you end it with your ex? I suspect that if I try and explain all of this to him, he'll twist it, so is it even worth it? Do I just say it's not working and leave?
The peculiar thing is he always makes out after these holidays that we've had a fantastic time. It's like we've been on two very different weekends away.
It's is most certainly not in your head. Dump the arsehole asap and don't look back or even entertain any of his snivelling. He's an emotionally abusive piece of shit, I'm so sorry you've had to endure such horrible behaviour.
No explanation required, he will just tie you in knots and make you doubt your judgment yet again. He’s abusing you he lost his right long ago to the expectation of an explanation.
It's because he probably senses your withdrawal/dismay and so has to rein you back in. Also reinforces his defence that you are just being oversensitive as he had a great time so the issue is with you.
I was the same as you lack of confidence (think they are drawn to a certain type). I would try to get him to see my point of view, rephrase conversations in different ways, seek reassurance from my family whether it was him or me.... And then I just walked away. I honestly didn't look back. As after multiple conversations I realised he was never going to change and I was slowly becoming eroded.
Wow you're all brilliant. Thank you so so much. I needed this. I've spoken to a couple of friends about it and they also agree it's not good, it's just when it's so subtle and you try and explain it back to people and it doesn't sound like such a big deal that you start to doubt yourself.
He's a weirdo. You deserve peace, not mental torture. Tell him you're done (over the phone, hes manipulative it sounds), hang up and block his number. Be glad you have no children together. Clean break.
@Ididit2019 I think he does sense it. As soon as we got back to UK, he was nice again. That's the pattern. Crappy sulks when away, acting like a decent human when back. Thank you for your reply - it really helps.
@callysuper you mentioned you have the book by Lundy Bancroft, have a look over the section on the water torturer again, it might help. That’s what they do tie you in knots and make you sound crazy when you try and explain things
Don’t explain, just tell him it’s not working for you, then block, end!
Engaging with him will make you doubt yourself further. That's the danger when it starts off so subtle (but from what you've written it doesn't actually come across as subtle actions by him) I'm guessing it's the nice side he displays with you that causes you to doubt self and seek reassurance.
@Ididit2019 yes that's right - when he suddenly snaps back to loving and attentive is when his behaviour seems less atrocious. Although this trip I wrote it all down as it happened because I knew this was a risk. Shouldn't really be on holiday with your boyfriend taking sneaky notes on his appalling bullish behaviour, should you? Another warning sign.
@Idontkowmyname water torturer is the one I identified with at the time. The thing about friends and family thinking he's lovely is something that resonates. To his peers he is the life and soul of the party. Gah, I can't believe I've let this go on so long. What a fool.
@callysuper you are not a fool! Although the water torturer resonates more there’s probably elements of the others thrown in for good measure.
Woah @callysuper, it definitely is not in your head! I was cringing reading your OP, he’s totally screwing with your head! Gosh, and that after a year when you’re supposed to be all loved up still! Get rid, it’s not worth it. He sounds horrible!
I've been in a relationship like this before- it made me utterly miserable. I promise you that your spirits will soar once you've dumped him.
He’s the reason you’ve got no confidence OP. I went out with a guy who did stuff exactly like your boyfriend. Was with him for 1 1/2 years before I just couldn’t do it anymore. Moody, sulky, then great the next , it was exhausting. He is very abusive. Please leave him. I promise you you’ll feel better for it in time. Good luck.
He just sounds like a total dick OP and you worry far to much about his approval of what you want to do or his validation. Neither would be necessary in a half decent or non abusive relationship, and neither are necessary at all when you (hopefully) dump him. He doesn't need to understand why, he only really needs to understand that he's getting dumped because he makes you feel bad, ruins holidays with pathetic behaviour, and it's just not going to work out. I wouldn't even bother discussing it with him, just tell him and move on.
Future you will be grateful, the amount of emotional effort this sounds like it requires from you when he does nothing and makes you feel shit is awful. If he's nice when he wants something then he's a manipulator, you will never know what's real and when you're being played- and you will be because he knows it works and you will ramp up effort if he sulks. Get rid OP, definitely not in your head, a year is nothing, he's a knob.
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