DH has huge self-esteem issues, but digs his heels in at home

(26 Posts)
Ooodlesanddoodles Sat 15-Aug-20 08:24:42

When I've spoken to friends and family members about my struggles with DH, the following words have been used to describe him, "sheep" "zombie-like" "people pleaser" "cowardly" "wimpish" "hunched" "soft" "gentle" "sensitive" "kind" "autistic" "slow" "detached" "clueless".

He has huge self-esteem issues it seems and he appears to cowar to strangers, hunching his body and speaking in a way to please them. This often comes at the detriment of me.

He has a circle of friends that he's always made a lot of effort to fit in with, he will always say yes to every organised event/ meet-up, again at the detriment of his own family and often, our financial situation. He is obsessed with the way he comes across to others and will be overly kind and agreeable. If he tries to organise something though, something I once encouraged him to do, they don't reciprocate.

He has a food addiction and he is hugely self conscious of the way he looks which again means he sort of obsesses over other peoples lives and victories whilst neglecting his own. He has stopped making an effort with physical intimacy and is very insular. It's all very sad.

I chose DH after a stream of arrogant boyfriends and meeting someone seemingly so kind and humble was refreshing and lovely. However, what I've since learned is that to make up for his pleasable nature in the outside world, at home, he is stubborn, lazy, does not listen at all to my needs and treats me with complete apathy. With have 2 children together and he's a kind, lovely Dad on the whole, but he can be lazy and irresponsible. He neglects our relationship a lot of the time in return for being a yes man in the outside world and also a Mr Helpful. I feel extremely lonely and fed up. He can be extremely un-caring and will sulk and simmer on resentment if I criticise him.

I am worried about leaving him, but he's leaving me with little choice. I feel sorry for him in many ways, but I can't go on like this. I'm not sure what I'm asking really, I just want to share what I'm feeling and get some perspective. I've been having counselling for 4 years and after plucking apart all of our arguments and disagreements over the last few years, this week, my counsellor and I concluded that this- his self-esteem problem is actually at the crux of all our problems. He needs some help, but he's extremely unwilling to help himself and says he will not succumb to any more "demands that I change!" He laughed when I suggested he try counselling himself- it's odd that at home, he can be quite arrogant, stubborn and driven. He can be the complete opposite of the image he shows to the outside world. I'm learning to have more sympathy for him than anger, which has taken time to do, many people I've spoken to about this just feel sorry for him. I dread initiating separation as I've no doubt that I will be the bad guy in the eyes of everyone we know. He will never change.

OP’s posts: |
GeorgeMichaelsEspadrille Sat 15-Aug-20 08:34:55

Woah - sounds like a nightmare OP. Did anyone have anything good to say about him?

I'm struggling to understand why you are with him.

Also, this probably would be better in relationships, where some more knowledgeable people will be able to offer more useful thoughts.

NoSquirrels Sat 15-Aug-20 08:38:04

Report your thread and ask to move this to the Relationships board.

Ooodlesanddoodles Sat 15-Aug-20 08:39:52

This was supposed to be in relationships- don't know how it ended up in here! 🤭

OP’s posts: |
Mintjulia Sat 15-Aug-20 08:40:43

Well, you aren’t happy, you can’t put the source of that unhappiness right, and he is unwilling to make any changes himself, so you have two options.

You either stay in a non-marriage with no support or intimacy, or you leave, get it over with, and build a new life.

I think you’ve been incredibly tolerant so far but staying out of sympathy won’t do you or him any good.

mummmy2017 Sat 15-Aug-20 08:45:28

Ask him if he likes his life.
His home, his family.
Tell him, he changes things or you will leave.
Also start commenting Infront of people.
He says of George I would love to go to your event on Sunday.....
You say.. so your going out and leave the children when you promised to take us too the zoo.

TantricTwist Sat 15-Aug-20 08:59:49

You're clearly not happy and it's not working out.
I would leave him and start again.
Life's too short.
Good luck you can do it and have a more fulfilling life in the process.


PicklePig31 Sat 15-Aug-20 09:40:24

Your post is so sad @Ooodlesanddoodles...

You have rightly said that he won’t change and frankly, the people that know you/him won’t blame you for leaving.

Please leave, life is too short and you deserve to be happy.

LannieDuck Sat 15-Aug-20 11:03:05

If you're at the point where you're thinking of leaving him, I would be honest about that.

Yes, he can dig his heels in and refuse to change - that's his right. But you can also decide that you don't want to stay in an unhappy relationship.

Once he knows that refusing to change may lead to divorce, he'll need to decide whether the relationship is more important to him than digging his heels in further.

billy1966 Sat 15-Aug-20 12:13:58

Well he sounds awful OP.

Don't worry about what people think, they are not in your marriage.

I applaud you managing to be sympathetic towards him as he sounds like a deeply unattractive man.

Your happiness is important too.
I think you need to look at how you want your life to look in 10 years time.
Can he change?
If not, do you really want to be 10 years more with this man?
Best of luck.flowers

NellieTeehan Sat 15-Aug-20 12:21:38

Exactly what @Mintjulia said. I know a man like this, and as far as I can judge he's stubborn and unwilling to change at home because he doesn't see you as a separate human being any more. Other people need to be appeased and 'yes'ed, but not reliable old you, as you threw your lot in with him long since. Does he have any idea you are considering leaving?

This is why I would never get involved with someone who has low self-esteem. Some people think it's kind of sweet and humble, but it's absolutely toxic in its impact on families and marriages.

TrollTheRespawnJeremy Sat 15-Aug-20 12:39:57

I had one of these. It got old. Obsessed with how he came across to other people but an absolute shit at home. Didn't remember my birthday, didn't pay his end of bills, just didn't give a fuck about anyone but himself. Incredibly selfish.

Kicked to the kerb.

Let him make someone else miserable.

billy1966 Sat 15-Aug-20 13:07:32

I agree.

Someone with low self esteem, obsessed with others perception of them yet utterly dismissive of those that are close to them must be so tiresome and unattractive to be with.

It's as if he hasn't any respect for someone who would care and be with him.

Either way, hugely unattractive.

Dickens's character, Euria Heep, in "David Copperfield" comes to mind and his sycophancy....

GlassOfProsecco Sat 15-Aug-20 13:32:16

This sounds like my STBEX.

He's "lovely" on the surface - friendly, chatty on the surface - very easy going initially.

But it's just a mask; underneath he is passive/aggressive, critical, mean-spirited & can not cope with people having basic needs. He is a misery to be around & makes the atmosphere at home awful.

I'm getting rid of him & I can't wait.

bakedoff Sat 15-Aug-20 14:37:17

Oh god. Life is too short OP. You’ve had counselling for 4 years and he won’t reciprocate!! That alone is enough to draw the line. I think you’ll be much happier going it alone. Have you worked though how you will feel if he gets a girlfriend shortly after you split?

3sb73zmlsn98 Sat 15-Aug-20 16:56:51

Sorry for the gf / grateful there's a second pair of eyes to see if the kids are poking their fingers in the socket, possibly!

funnylittlefloozie Sat 15-Aug-20 18:13:33

He sounds awful. If those are genuinely things your family and friends have said about him, noone is going to blame you one bit for leaving him! You'll probably find they say about time too!

GlitteriestFluff Sat 15-Aug-20 20:27:06

When someone cares more for what the world thinks than what those closest to them think, well, that's a narcissist in a nutshell.

He will care far less than he will pretend to when you leave

Ooodlesanddoodles Sun 16-Aug-20 16:45:59

The comment about him not seeing me as a separate human being really hits home. We have discussed separation and I would need to stay in the house we're in for the time being as he has somewhere to go and I don't right now. His response was that we could separate but continue living under the same roof.

I have responded that this is point-blank controlling; he's acting like he owns me. So no, he doesn't see me as a separate person at all.

I just feel like I have a constant black cloud over me. I find it hard to make friends, be fun, take up hobbies as I'm mentally and emotionally exhausted.

OP’s posts: |
mummmy2017 Sun 16-Aug-20 17:20:10

Who owns the house?
I am hoping you own it so you get some sort of start once you divorce him.
Get the child tax credits in your name and start separating your lives.

Ooodlesanddoodles Sun 16-Aug-20 17:37:40

The house is jointly owned.

OP’s posts: |
Sssloou Sun 16-Aug-20 21:40:09


See if the about throws some light.....if so any FOG you have will

GlassOfProsecco Mon 17-Aug-20 11:00:57

Mine is a Covert Narcissist - the mask did not slip until I had moved in (18m in to the relationship).

Now I see him for who he really is.

Zaphodsotherhead Mon 17-Aug-20 11:24:42

So he's a yes man and keen to please ...everyone except you?

I know men like this. It's all about how they look to the outside world, and some of them are right cunts at home too.

You've come to the end of your tether and he's not right for you now. He may have been at the beginning, but he isn't any more. And you don't want your children to grow up thinking that they have to prostrate themselves in front of others to be liked, do you?

Ooodlesanddoodles Mon 17-Aug-20 14:47:54

Some of the vulnerable/covert narcissist traits are there, some aren't.
His mother is a narcissist though.
I feel excited at the prospect of starting over, but nervous about being away from my children when they're with their father. I know something needs to change; I'm really miserable.

OP’s posts: |

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