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Has a partner ever tried to subtly sabotage your life or happiness?

(43 Posts)
Inamusical Sun 27-Sep-20 08:51:31

I think DH competes with me in an extremely unhealthy way. I don't think he wants me to be happy or successful in a professional or social sense.
On the face of it, he can be very well-meaning, but deep down I sense contempt. He gets offended when others do well for themselves and is a bit of a gossip when it comes to other people, it only dawned on me recently that he's doing the same with me.
If I try to manage my life to make it easier, less chaotic, he will always find a sneaky way to hinder me or to sabotage things, even if it's just me having an early night. Or if we plan for him to cook the family meal so that I can do something else for once, he will get caught up doing something outside so that I have to juggle doing 2 things at once.
If I'm chatting to a friend or family member, he will constantly pull me up infront of them for being "wrong."
If I'm jolly and energetic, he seems miserable and wants to stand in the way of any plans despite saying "yes ok we'll do that" he will become all slow and slovenly and make us late.
I've concluded that deep down, he hates me and is showing his feelings passive-aggressively.
If I do well at work, I'll tell him and although hes saying the right things, the look on his face is often different, he looks annoyed, I sense it.
I genuinely don't think he wants me to do well at all or be happy. He's spent much of his life sabotaging his own happiness and wellbeing (doesn't manage his workload well, over-eats but refuses to take the kids swimming due to his size, stays up until the early hours and is snappy, tired and miserable Monday- Friday) and I've come to realise, I think he wants to sabotage mine.
Has anyone come across subtle behaviour like this before in a relationship? What sort of things did they do?

OP’s posts: |
catfeets Sun 27-Sep-20 09:20:56

My ex husband used to do this. I got a promotion that came with a lot of exams to complete in a short space of time during a probation period.
Without fail, he would start arguments, find things that had to be done immediately, invite people round etc etc. This was all so I couldn't spend any time reading my material for the exams.
It became obvious that he was jealous of me progressing in my career as he had no promotion prospects at all.

JohnMcCainsDeathStare Sun 27-Sep-20 09:26:03

I hope he isn't going to be your DH in the near future - if you do make an ultimatum - make sure you go though with it.

Back in High School I had a DP. Things were fine at first, we were both nerdy social pariahs and I was impressed by a boy who didn't find my unhidden intellect intimidating. But he did to snide marks and digs, he thought I was arrogant and accused me of making a fuss a lot - he wa a very passive person.
It was when I got my GSCEs he did'nt once say 'well done' just said 'it's because you are a girl' and made a thing about being a superior entity because he got a better Maths grade (the only one). He became very snippy and depressive, and only ever was complimentary if I was to go to 2nd base with him - whined about not going further. He tried to undermine me so i'd be compliant and when that didn't work pretended to be a goat. That is his he stopped washing and demanded sex.

I finished it when for an experiment I did NO organizing of anything and NOTHING happened. So in short, I got out before he sabotaged his own A-levels before sabotaging mine.

Sicario Sun 27-Sep-20 09:40:22

This is really difficult behaviour to deal with. It sounds like it's deeply ingrained in your DH. He may not even realise that he's doing it.

This style of sabotaging and belittling never bodes well, and it's exhausting.

I had a lot of this kind of behaviour in my first marriage. A man who cannot deal with his wife's successes isn't worth having. In fact, they will only ever drag you down. I wish I had binned the marriage earlier. He was like an albatross around my neck.

EarthSight Sun 27-Sep-20 09:57:21

I think this kind of character flaw is major. If he had any remorse or sense he would realise how negative his feeling were, realise they are unfair and act on it.

Instead, he either doesn't want to do this kind of introspection because it's hard, or he genuinely think he is justified in his behaviour. It sounds to me like he has contempt for you. He is not on your side anymore. He's not even neutral, he's actively sabotaging you.

I can't imagine what an absolute bully & sly asshole he must be in the workplace - I've worked with people like that was are narcassistic, insecure, and get easily jealous & resentful of other people and make their co-worker's lives miserable. They are almost always too cowardly to take on someone in authority and so will zero-in on someone talented they are jealous of and slowly destroy them. They are usually pretty manipulative and you have to watch them like a hawk. They are usually pretty clever in fooling others too into thinking they're a good guy and that they don't mean anything bad with their behaviour.

There two things that might happen if you try to do something about this. Either he will back down or, despite you thinking otherwise, it will escalate.

Get legal advice. If he truly is against you, start changing your current password to everything you own. Make sure you put your most precious belongings in your parent's house or hide them. If you intend to divorce, tell your boss first.

If he really is an asshole, he's going to be very difficult to co-parent with. He will say sly things about you in front of the children and try to get everyone to sympathise with him whilst he paints you as a bad person. Maybe none of that will happen, but just be ready for it.

Sssloou Sun 27-Sep-20 10:02:53

What’s his family like? I suspect that there is one dominant character who may not erupt often but keeps everyone compliant, repressed and quiet by the threat of volatility.

He sounds v bitter about everyone else. That would be a v unattractive characteristic in the first place. Now you are realising it’s also turned on you.

Bunnymumy Sun 27-Sep-20 10:13:36

Sorry mdear but your partner is a covert narcissist or similar.

That's a big way to spot them, everything has to be a competition. They also like to burst peoples bubbles when they are happy.

Theres no fixing this shit unfortunately.
But know that the issues are entirely his.
Run for the hills. Seriously, run, before he sucks the life out of you. Because he will, because he resents you, he dislikes you, he sees you as competition and he does not want good things for you. That is not a partner, it is an enemy.

TwentyViginti Sun 27-Sep-20 10:16:44

I've concluded that deep down, he hates me

He certainly doesn't like you much.

workhomesleeprepeat Sun 27-Sep-20 10:19:31

Yep - my ex would do this. I’d rsvp to an event (important ones like weddings!) for us and remind him of the date constantly, then at the last minute he’d make some bullshit excuse about work (he worked in hospitality, so could get days off - not like he was on an oil rig in the middle of the ocean or something) and I’d have to make excuses for him at the event and feel like a right gobshite.

I think he secretly hated flying but was too embarrassed to say. Several times we’d arrange holidays (sometimes with others) and he’d leaving planning etc all to the last minute, then make of some shit about why he couldn’t go, and at that point it would be too expensive for me to go on my own.

I’m not a big birthday person. I like to go for a nice dinner. He’d never arrange anything and couldn’t be bothered to buy me presents in the later years of our relationship. So I’d book dinner myself for us, and he’d sit there with a face like a slapped arse, denying that he was in a bad mood. Probably cause he couldn’t even make up what he’d be in a bad mood about.

As mentioned, he worked in hospitality so had late shifts. After I said I was making more effort to get more sleep and go to bed earlier, he’d come home and bang about when he never did before. He said later in passing - separately - that he wanted someone to talk to when he got home. Not having someone to talk to when he got home at 3am was one of the reasons he gave for cheating hmm

I don’t know if these are the kind of examples you are looking for OP, and I have many more I won’t bore you with here - but I did definitely feel like he was trying to stealthily sabotage my happiness!

Bunnymumy Sun 27-Sep-20 10:25:17

Just saw this.
(See the top part)

You might find Melanie tonia Evans youtube videos in narcissists worthwhile too.

But do read up on narcissists, because you're dealing with something like that. And the sooner and better you see, the easier it will be for you to take back your power and know what needs to be done.

Bunnymumy Sun 27-Sep-20 10:26:30

Sorry it's a bit blurred

blissfulllife Sun 27-Sep-20 10:27:24

Yes I've come across one unfortunately.

Every birthday, achievement, good news, bit of luck I had, he'd have to piss in my pool and pull me down.

If I tried to lose weight he'd buy loads of bad food and sit there trying to tempt me. Then when I lost weight he'd refuse to sleep with me as I was now unattractive and saggy! (I wasn't).
I started a course at college and he'd purposely have a problem that meant he couldn't watch the kids at the very last minute. Job opportunities he'd ridicule and accuse me of sleeping with the boss. Had some inheritance and he was livid! He actually wanted me to refuse it, for absolutely no reason at all.

Yet if he achieved something we all had to make a massive fuss of him!

Boiled my piss!

Onxob Sun 27-Sep-20 10:34:50

He's either a narcissist or deeply insecure. I'm not sure this can be quick fixed OP. These traits are deeply embedded and often linked to childhood/family dynamics.

If he would be open to counseling where you could voice it all openly without giving him the ability to gaslight then that could work if he's willing to do the introspection required. Lay it all out with him and see what his reaction is. He'll probably get defensive but if you go in gently in a non-accusatory way he may be receptive, assuming some of this is subconscious and he's not a complete dickhead.

Though not as bad, my husband can be similar in certain ways and I call him out on it every time. While he won't "own up" he usually gets embarrassed and winds his neck in.

AnnaFour Sun 27-Sep-20 11:41:43

Why are you still with him?

MitziK Sun 27-Sep-20 11:47:05

One ex did it.

1. Food. He seemed to take a fridge full of ingredients to cater for an entire week as a challenge - namely, how many of them he could jam into frying pans for one breakfast in the thirty minutes it took me to do the school run. He didn't even eat most of it, he'd take one or two bites out of most things and then say he was full up. I'd regularly go into the fridge to take some cheese out and find a lump had been gnawed off the corner with all the teethmarks - and he'd laugh. Orange juice would be chugged in litres (and then he'd complain of stomach ache later). And if I turned my back for an instant, he'd be in there fucking around with the food - if I was making myself poached egg because I like it and him fried eggs, I didn't want to come back from the toilet to find an entire box of eggs in a half cold pan with an inch of cooking oil tipped on top.

2. I wanted to complete my OU degree. As soon as he realised I was going to have online tutorials, which meant using a computer and potentially having an online affair, apparently, he'd wait until the tutorial started and come in to talk at me, offer teas, ask if I'm alright, tell me the cat was dying (she was asleep), turn the TV up full blast and generally want to watch what I was doing. If I tried to do any work, he'd complain he was lonely and couldn't I do it sat next to him on the sofa. So I did. And he complained that the tap-tap-tap of typing was irritating. And that it was really ignorant of me not to watch the programmes he liked. When he wasn't leaning over to 'see what man you're talking to now'.

3. Diet/healthy stuff. Whenever I tried to improve my health, this was obviously a threat to him and he needed to stamp down hard (but obviously not in a way where I'd realise what he was doing and dump him). More meddling with food - I caught him melting a whole block of butter into a tin of beans I was going to heat up for some beans on toast whilst he had a fry up - which I was perfectly happy to cook him, by the way, I just didn't want one. He claimed he was doing it out of love because it would 'make the beans glossy'. Lots of 'I don't want that shit' and going out for a takeaway, or 'I'll still hungry' and bringing back takeaways, ice creams and sweets. And more to the point, getting angry that I didn't like them. My decent trainers started going missing. My sportswear would get boil washed with things that the colours would run on. At one point, he took the laces out of my shoes and I couldn't find a single sock - I found them tucked under the mattress. He blamed the children.

4. Work. He phoned my boss when I was ill (subsequently diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis) and told her that I had mental health issues and was about to be sectioned because I'd been prescribed antidepressants for pain, so not to contact me ever as I'd kill myself if she did.

5. Sleep. I had to go to bed at the same time as him or he'd whine like a 3 year old wanting a drink of water. He'd then complain if I wanted to read because I wasn't tired. Then wake me up at 5am after around 2 hours of sleep because he'd been snoring since 9.30pm. He made foul impressions of me snoring like a pig and keeping him awake all night. Not sure how I did that when I'd got back up as soon as his snoring started and gone back into the living room to sleep.

6. Social life. He followed me. He'd try and turn up to gigs I was playing at where I knew he hated the music. He'd tell people - including me - that I wasn't a real bass player because I didn't play slap bass. I fucking hate slap bass - and I can play it, I just don't want to. He'd tell people he was a great drummer. He's never even sat behind a kit. Or counted to four more than once, going by the way he sort of banged his foot on the floor on the 2 and a quarter, 3 and a third and 7/8th of the way between the 4 and the 1. Or he'd go 'can't we just stay home and cuddle up tonight?' 'I feel ill' 'OK, who are you meeting this time' as I was nearly out of the door. I got accusations of going out to pick up men for doing things such as washing my hair, wearing clean clothes or leaving the house in the first place.

I'm so glad I got shot of the prick. I felt nothing but relief when he finally fucked off (which, naturally, was interspersed with threats of suicide, some low level stalking - who is that man you've got in there with you tonight, I know you're there because I'm outside your window - etc and general accusations of having fucked some random bloke I knew).

BilboBercow Sun 27-Sep-20 11:55:11

When does he become an ex op?

WishICouldThinkOfAGoodName Sun 27-Sep-20 12:52:33

Yes I was married to a mean mood hoover. If I got a promotion he’d say, “that’s another nail in the coffin for me”, any good news I got and he’d suck the life out of the room. He would also make my life more difficult e.g. if I was trying to make dinner something would happen in another room (caused by him) that would need my attention.

It’s exhausting isn’t it?!

I got rid eventually, what will you do?

Heffalooomia Sun 27-Sep-20 13:09:31

The writing's on the wall OP👀

Ruminating2020 Sun 27-Sep-20 13:13:28

Not dh but a former male friend and coworker.

You are right, this is not a healthy way to interact with each other. As your husband, he should be building you up and being supportive of you, not tearing you down.

My ex coworker would make everything a competition with me and whenever I told him anything I was happy about, he would either accuse me of rubbing it in or tell me that I was only successful because of some other unrelated factor. It was fucking exhausting.

A healthy relationship is a cooperation, not a competition. Have you pulled him up on this op and what does he say? If he gets defensive, then he is not being responsible for his behaviour.

It seems like he has self esteem issues and can't stand seeing others do well. He probably needs support for this but that still doesn't give him the right to take it out on you.

I hope you manage to sort something out op.

Dodgydreamer Sun 27-Sep-20 13:18:57

They never get any better OP, you think they don't realise but they do. It's very sadly intentional.

I had similar to everyone else with my exH but his specialty was health scares on the few occasions I was close to leaving him for his behaviour - major health scare, that'll put Dodgydreamer off her stride and make everything about me again. He was perfectly healthy, nothing wrong with him whatsoever!

He hid money when I finally left thinking I wouldn't know and then admitted it when I told him I knew what he was doing.

I found out he lied about stupid little things all the time and worse would lie about me to everyone that would listen so he had started a campagin of character assassination against me well in advance of me finally leaving. As a result of this I have lost a friendship and my in-laws of a decade didn't once get in touch to see how I was when I finally managed to leave.

Kept trying to hooover me back in and turned very nasty when I wouldn't come meekly back to him. My favourite line of his post separation is "I know I lie FFS but why can't you just pretend I don't" angry

I became very ill and came here to try and figure out the right words for what I was experiencing. Read a few posts on PA behaviour and the penny dropped.

I'm not sure my ex ever actually liked me, he certainly acted like he hated me and I now I think he just saw me as a possession, not a real person with feelings that mattered.

Be prepared for him to make your separation/divorce very difficult, but also remember it's worth going through it for the freedom you'll find on the other side! flowers

catsareme14 Sun 27-Sep-20 19:20:34

Yes . My ex ruined every occasion that was important to me , even my daughters wedding . He constantly humiliated or made fun of me in front of others . Called it banter . It destroys you , every occasion was ruined before it even happened . Leave .

JohnMcCainsDeathStare Sun 27-Sep-20 20:35:59

It's so depressing when you realize that your supposed comrade and ally turns out to hate you but will still be with you because hating you fills a gap in their lives that they are too scared to confront.

It was the surprise I got when I dumped him that was wierd. Although I wonder if it was because I dumped him before we ever had sex, and I just stole his thunder. He was still very passive-aggressive around me the rest of high school.

dudsville Sun 27-Sep-20 20:49:40

So much of this was true for me too.
I had to study a lot, take a lot of exams and write a lot of papers in order to qualify for my job. When it was new to me (I'm poorly educated) I was scared and he was supportive, and when I failed everything at my first attempt he was so caring.

Then I worked it out, started getting that top grades. I was a poor sleeper and he'd argue with me the night before exams, every time. I got a first and when i stupidly ran up to him in my excitement I got emotionally shut down. When I got a much lauded internship gre was aghast. When my final dissertation passed he was actually floored and flipped through the pages as if truly shocked I'd written it. I noted all of this. It took time as i had low self esteem, but by this time he'd become angry all the time. In my mind i gave the marriage a year (he didn't know, i didn't give an ultimatum). We went to couple's therapy - the couple's therapists said i would struggle on my own (twats). I chose one of their sessions in which to tell him it was over. That felt terrifying and a relief. The night he moved out (in my seemingly feeble and helpless state I'd manage to secure a job and buy him out of the house) was such a celebration. I've never looked backed.

OP that subtle constant undermining is devastating. I hope you don't stay.

rosabug Sun 27-Sep-20 21:55:36

Yes and you have a passive aggressive on your hands. You can't change them it's deeply embedded.

lynnenamka.com/anger-management/anger-management-articles/the-boomerang-relationship/

BloodyMiserable Sun 27-Sep-20 22:08:03

I had one like that too, definitely a covert narcissist. He was so "nice" on the surface, it took me years to see what he was doing. It's a horrible realisation when you understand you are being sabotaged & manipulated. And the always having to win/be right/be superior is draining too.

Once you realise what's going on, it's very hard to un-see it.

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