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Why am I scared of dh?

(64 Posts)
Bubblemint Thu 08-Oct-20 10:04:52

I’ve been with dh for 18 years, he’s 10 years older and was 30 when we met.
He’s never hit me. I number of times he’s lost his temper, like seriously lost his temper, is probably only in single figures. So why am I scared? When he loses his temper his face and voice changes completely and his eyes and he looks like someone else. I’m always keen to avoid this happening but maybe I should stand up to him? I don’t understand why I’m wary but I am, I think surely if he was going to harm me he would have by now.
So I am starting to think the issue is with me. Maybe I’m just so non confrontational that it’s made me feel scared of him losing his temper? It’s ridiculous isn’t it. I can’t udnerstand it myself.

OP’s posts: |
Alexandernevermind Thu 08-Oct-20 10:09:18

A man doesn't have to hit you to be abusive. This is a horrible situation, he is the one person in the world you shouldn't be frightened of and I think you both need professional help. What is he like with other people? Would an honest talk with in a safe environment like with a couples councillor help?

JKRisagryff Thu 08-Oct-20 10:11:23

You’re scared of him because he has an anger problem. Don’t put that on yourself.

Bubblemint Thu 08-Oct-20 10:12:21

But I’m increasingly thinking maybe it’s me - I’m unreasonable to be scared. I’m so non confrontational and I don’t like making people angry.
When he’s lost his temper he has frightened me but he does simmer back down quickly. It’s like from 0-100 in seconds and then an hour later he’s back down again.
I don’t trust him. I feel if I really annoyed him he’d harm me, but I don’t know why I feel that when he’s done nothing really to make me think it.

OP’s posts: |
Bubblemint Thu 08-Oct-20 10:13:57

He doesn’t drink as much now but when he used to drink more he was invariably more aggressive. It’s the change in his face and body language and eyes - it’s like he is someone else.
However to only lose your temper like that a handful of times in 18 years is probably not bad?

OP’s posts: |
EvenMoreFuriousVexation Thu 08-Oct-20 10:14:30

Have you ever told him (once he's calmed down) that he scares you when he's angry?

Techway Thu 08-Oct-20 10:14:43

No...not you. That is called walking on eggshells.

I recommend you read Bundy. Why does he do that. There he refers to an example where Dad/Husband gets really angry when asked my children/wife to clear up his plates. Everyone obeys as afraid of the sudden anger.

Next time at dinner, no one dares to suggest Dad/Husband clears his plates. Abuser has achieved his objective without needing to shout..the rest of the household have modified their behaviour.

I left when I realised Ex scared me. He was intimidating/menacing without raising his voice. His face and eyes would change and he was unrecognisable. It is utterly heartbreaking as the person you live with should feel the safest. Ultimately it triggered health conditions as my body was on adrenalin overload, despite me thinking I was coping with it.

I would recommend reading about this dynamic, Bundy's book, Patricia Evans, the verbally abusive relationship, In sheep's clothing.

Are you financially independent?

tyrannosaurustrip Thu 08-Oct-20 10:18:03

Trust your instincts.

Abusers are about control, and use whatever means they need to in order to achieve that control - be it physical, emotional or financial. It sounds like he's never needed to go beyond verbally demonstrating his anger - pretty extreme anger - for you to do as he wants. If you pushed back, and he felt he needed to use violence instead/as well, be that violence against objects (throwing/breaking/punching things) or if that didn't work violence against you, it sounds like he is capable of doing that and on some level you instinctively understand that and are changing your behaviour.

Do you want to leave? Do you want to have the time and space to think about whether you want to leave? You don't owe anyone a relationship, and your fear doesn't have to be 'justified' for it to be ok to leave. Living in fear of someone is not a nice way to live your life, and its not something you're doing because the problem is with you.

Bubblemint Thu 08-Oct-20 10:19:03

I am not financially independent.
Ds is wary of his dad too. It’s because it’s sudden and unpredictable and dh is BIG.
But he’s not an ogre or anything, he’s not constantly losing his temper all the time.
He’s under a lot of pressure at work at the moment and that makes him more easily annoyed.
The times I can recall have basically been out of the blue, totally unexpected. It’s the fact his face changes. When we married his father warned mine that dh had a nasty temper.

OP’s posts: |
Bubblemint Thu 08-Oct-20 10:21:50

Ds did something - about a year ago so aged 9/10 - and it annoyed dh and he hissed at ds ‘if you do that again i’ll hit you so hard you won’t see straight for a week.’
He’s never hit the children. Just to be clear.
But again - it’s the only real instance I can think of in all ds’s life where he’s said something like that to him and no one is perfect.

OP’s posts: |
Techway Thu 08-Oct-20 10:21:57

The feeling you have is your gut instinct. Women are wired to have a stronger sense, probadly because we are physically weaker.

I really would recommend The Gift of Fear. It will strengthen your belief in your gut instinct. Listen to it. You are not irrational.

I had the exact same feeling, interestingly I think Ex recognised I was becoming aware and started to see his behaviour. He was ramping up his behaviour but he never raised his voice.. it's a cold simmering anger that you can feel.

When I raised it he had zero empathy and blamed me. That is not the actions of a loving partner. I would be horrified if I scared a child or partner and would want to reassure and correct behaviour.

I suspect you are just becoming aware, it may take a little while longer as you are likely to be conditioned. I would also recommend you journal your feelings and how the interactions feel between the two of you.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 08-Oct-20 10:22:57

Its not you, its him. He does not have to hit you to hurt you and would probably be physical if he thought that his current tactics were no longer effective against you.

He remains volatile regardless. He targeted you I daresay because he sensed that you were and indeed are non confrontational and do not like making people angry. I am wondering if this all that started in childhood with you, it may well have done. Please give that some thought.

What did you learn about relationships when you were growing up?. This is a question you should ask yourself too.

How can you be helped into leaving your abuser?. I would also think he is all sweetness and light to all those in the outside world and or cannot do enough for them. Image is all important to abusers.

If someone else was writing your post, what would your counsel to them be?

What you are seeing from him is the nice/nasty cycle of abuse and that is a continuous one. You do not mention anything about him "apologising" (the quote marks are deliberate because he is not sorry at all) to you for his actions. This is all on him, absolutely all on him.
Such men too hate women, all of them starting in particular with their own mother.

If you do not trust him there is really no relationship. I would seriously consider your future within this going forward because there really is not one.

Couples counselling is a complete NON STARTER here and such is never recommended where there is abuse of any type within the relationship. You need to talk in both a calm and safe environment and he will not let you do that if you are in the same room as he. You are also not emotionally safe enough to do joint counselling with him either. If counselling is to be considered go on your own, go to Boots and go into their consulting rooms. They have helplines and information re domestic violence that can help you directly.

You do not mention children here but if you are parents the effects of all this within their home is damaging to them too.

BigusBumus Thu 08-Oct-20 10:24:32

So he's lost his temper in single figures in 18 years and you're all calling him an abuser????? WTF?

Why not listen to the OP when she says she thinks the problem is with her??

Perhaps @Bubblemint has Menopausal issues, anxiety, MH problems, Low Mood, any number of things that is manifesting itself in ways that makes her question herself and other people.

OP, could you talk to your DH about it? Perhaps the two of you could go to Relate and talk about why you feel this way in a calm and structured environment?

Alexandernevermind Thu 08-Oct-20 10:25:01

Why are you blaming yourself for his anger issues? Just one instance of losing his temper to the extent that you are terrified means that the fault lies with him. Does he know how you feel? I can't give you an advice on how to go from here as it's way out of my depth, but it is absolutely not your fault.

slidingdrawers Thu 08-Oct-20 10:25:23

So you and your DS are tiptoeing around him? This is learnt behaviour to protect yourself from him.

Unpicking your feelings with a counsellor by yourself (NOT couples counselling as mentioned upthread ) would be my suggestion. I would do this without his knowledge, ideally when he is at work. Lots of options atm to do this remotely.

If you ever feel at risk in the meantime in your home please call 999.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 08-Oct-20 10:26:39

THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE LEVEL OF ABUSE IN A RELATIONSHIP IS NONE. Apologies for caps but you need to hear this properly. Your marriage is over because of the abuse your H metes out towards you all in his house.

Again he does not have to hit you to hurt you. Words are more than enough and your DS is indeed being harmed by his father emotionally.

This cannot continue and ultimately the two of you need to get away from your abuser. You've become conditioned into tacitly accepting this from him and you have likely modified your own behaviours over time so as to try and not set him off.

slidingdrawers Thu 08-Oct-20 10:27:50

@BigusBumus did you read this:

"Ds did something - about a year ago so aged 9/10 - and it annoyed dh and he hissed at ds ‘if you do that again i’ll hit you so hard you won’t see straight for a week.’"

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 08-Oct-20 10:28:00

Stop with blaming yourself for his issues. Those are his to carry and are not your responsibility.

He does not have a problem with anger, he has a problem with YOUR anger when you call him out on his unreasonable behaviour. Such men really do hate women, all of them.

Bubblemint Thu 08-Oct-20 10:28:11

I am wary of him. I don’t like confrontation generally, but I am not scared of it in other instances.

OP’s posts: |
AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 08-Oct-20 10:30:31

Would you want your son to grow up thinking this treatment of you as his mother and in turn his own self is somehow normal?. No you would not. What is he learning about relationships here; a shedload of damaging lessons that is what. This relationship is no legacy to leave your son and it needs to be over.

Alexandernevermind Thu 08-Oct-20 10:30:35

Really @BigusBumus?

Techway Thu 08-Oct-20 10:31:32

@BigusBumus, the child and op feel scared. They have reason to given his threats. His own father warned of his anger.

Perhaps you can't relate as only been around "normal" anger but what the Op describes is not normal and indeed points to abusive behaviours. It is fortunate for you that you haven't been exposed to what the Op is living with.

Op, please don't doubt yourself. Research and it will help you put words around those feelings. Partners get angry but healthy relationships would ensure there is repair. Your son must have been terrified and had that been a stranger in the street you would have notified the police. It is no different to home, indeed it should feel safer for him.

No adult should threaten a child. Fullstop.

MattBerrysHair Thu 08-Oct-20 10:32:22

How does he speak to you normally OP? Is he respectful or dismissive? Does he take you into consideration on a daily basis? Is he thoughtful and kind, taking an interest in you and your day or are you there simply to service his needs? Is he attentive and loving with the children or is he emotionally distant and resentful if they want his attention? Without this information it's impossible to say whether he is at fault or whether you are extra sensitive to other's moods.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 08-Oct-20 10:32:48

Do you see yourself as a strong woman outside the home and can hold your own outside it?. You cannot do this within your home. Some abusers like supposedly strong women because they see them as an extra challenge to take down with them to their base level.

Your son is also wary of him as well as you. Do you not see that you are both really tiptoeing on eggshells around him. You've basically become conditioned and otherwise inurred to his abuses of you all within what he regards as his house.

TwentyViginti Thu 08-Oct-20 10:43:07

It's not an equal relationship when one partner is terrified of the other partner's temper.

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