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"If you hit me again you will regret it" - is this normal?

(231 Posts)
DaySleeper Tue 09-Jun-09 11:30:37

Am a regular poster but have name changed as DH knows my usual nick name. Sorry this is long but background is required. DH and I have been married for nearly 5 years. We have DD, aged 7.5 months. We live in England but are not from here and family and old friends are a long way away. DH is a complex character; people who meet him socially would think he is the most chilled out guy ever. Actually, there is a dark and quite strange side to him that I don't understand and which to be honest scares me. He doesn't fly into tempers, quite the opposite. If we ever argue he will just withdraw into silence, like a stone. This used to really upset me and I'd be in floods of tears trying to get him to stop shutting me out. Now I just wait for it to pass. I guess a lot of men deal with conflict like that.

But the darkness, the weirdness, can be best illustrated by something that happened about 4 years ago. We were on a flight back from a holiday destination where we'd had a really lovely week. We'd had a fight on the last day because I had been careless in how I packed some of our diving equipment. On the plane he was still angry. 3 hours into the flight he burst into tears (first time before and since) and said he had to talk to me about something, he felt so bad about it. I prepared myself to hear him say he was having an affair (not that I suspected anything, it's just the obvious thing that sprang to mind). I was shocked by what he did say: that he thought I should have a nose job. He was crying his eyes out and saying "I'm sorry, I feel so bad to say this but I really think you should have a nose job". As context, I'm actually fairly attractive (although I definitely have what I like to think of as a Roman nose!) and the only people I told about this episode (my sis and my best friend) were pretty freaked out about it. About 3 years later DH self-diagnosed some psychological disorder where you become fixated on a physical feature. He saw a psychiatrist once but nothing seemed to come of it. He thinks he's fine, maintains he loves me, finds me attractive etc. The episode still resonates for me though. It sounds crazy but in my lower moments I looked on the internet to see what would be involved in rhinoplasty as I thought maybe it would help. Needless to say there is no way I'm getting this done though.

Now DH has never come even remotely close to hitting me but he is a big guy who lifts weights and works out on a punching bag most days and has an intimidating physical presence. He also snores. Last night, after a nice dinner and evening together, he fell asleep and started to snore. I shook his shoulder and asked him to roll over (v normal going to sleep routine for us). I then dozed and drifted for maybe an hour. I woke up when I felt DH had started tossing and turning quite violently in bed. I thought he must be sick and said "are you ok baby?". He said "I'm angry at you for hitting me in the head". I was gobsmacked, I hadn't - not that I was aware of, maybe brushed his head in my sleep, I don't know. But hitting?? No way. DH then said "If you hit me in the head again, I'm going to hit you." I'm now fully awake, shocked. I said "are you threatening me?". He said, "yes, if you hit me again you'll regret it." At that point I got out of bed and went to "sleep" on the couch. I couldn't sleep because I could hear DH was awake and I felt scared he was going to attack me. Maybe irrational. I was freaking out.

This morning I've gone to work without speaking to him and we are due to meet at something at 11.30. I emailed him, quite cool and formal saying "are you still coming, please let me know". He emailed back saying "only if you don't hit me again." I guess trying to make light of it.

Apart from this stuff DH is fine - we have long term conflict between him and my parents, but there is fault on both sides. He is a good father, we usually get along fine (we have generally had a good sex life but it has definitely been affected by the arrival of DD and me being back at work full time), he helps out around the house, is usually affectionate. I am the main breadwinner by quite a long way. I earn maybe 4 or 5 times what he does.

Please tell me what you make of my situation. Is my DH normal?

rubyslippers Tue 09-Jun-09 11:33:28

you say very early on you are scared of your DH

that is not good - you say he has an intimidating physcial presence

He has admitted to threatening you

I don't think he is "Normal"

i think you need some outside help with this - counselling or RELATE

the shutting out is very controlling IME - you need a good communication flow in a relationship

pagwatch Tue 09-Jun-09 11:34:38

Are you sure he was fully awake?

I thumped DH once just as I was waking up because I dreamt he had an affair and i woke up in the middle of us arguing about it.
I have never and would never hit him nor would he hit me. It was just a half awake half asleep thing.

MrsMattie Tue 09-Jun-09 11:37:13

I don't think it is 'normal' or healthy to be frightened of your partner, no.

Also, the nose thing sounds extremely odd. Did he sort this one out?

AddictedtoCrunchies Tue 09-Jun-09 11:37:24

Hmmm...I'm not really sure what to say. If it had been me, and my DH had said 'if you hit me again you'll regret it', I'd have looked at him in disbeliefl and told him not to be so bloody ridiculous.

But it doesn't seem as though you have that sort of relationship. Did you feel threatened? You clearly did as you went downstairs.,.perhaps you need to talk to him and ask him why he overreacted.

As far as the nose job thing goes....hmm hmm. Not really sure what to make if that - i'd tell DH to rack off in no uncertain terms.

Sorry. That's a really cr@p answer. But I didn't want to leave without saying something.

madameovary Tue 09-Jun-09 11:38:07

What do you know about his childhood? Was his father or mother violent to him? It does NOT excuse his behaviour in the slightest but may shed some light on why he would feel the need to say such a thing.

He could have just been half asleep or having a bad dream. Wait to see what he says. He SHOULD be mortified and apologise.

In the meantime, this may make interesting reading if you are concerned about possible abusive behaviours.

morningpaper Tue 09-Jun-09 11:38:46

Sorry but if you didn't hit him and he seems convinced that you did, that is very odd. Do you think he might be having some sort of breakdown?

Has he been over-doing things recently? Does he take drugs or steroids? Sorry but if my partner started imagining things like this I would be extremely worried about his mental health and would probably ask him to leave for a bit until I was sure he was quite healthy.

Merrylegs Tue 09-Jun-09 11:42:35

Honestly? I don't know what to make of your situation.

Is your DH normal? Well, not like any normal I know.

That bit about the nose job - well, I don't even know you, but like your sis and best friend, I too am pretty freaked out by that.

You say you are the main breadwinner and earn much more than him. Are you perhaps thinking he wants more control in the relationship or feels 'inferior' to you in some way?

Sorry, not much help, but his behaviour does sound kind of 'altered' in some way.

Does it seem like that to you?

Tortington Tue 09-Jun-09 11:44:35

sounds very strange - am thinking steroids/drugs too.

thing is - if you were previously not scared of him - no, let me put it this way....I reguarly kick dh for snoring and tell him to turn over. but in your situation if i had done that and he hreatened me - and i had previously no signs of treatening behaviour - i think i would have told him to shut up and just gone back to sleep

so it makes me wonder whether you reguarly feel intimidated

maltesers Tue 09-Jun-09 11:48:16

He may have had a dream in which you hit him. Not that its your fault , but does he feel intimidated that you are earning 4-5 x his salary ?? He does sound like he needs psychological help. I can sympathise as my Ex was aggressive, over reacted, VERY hot headed and awful.

Sounds to me like he was having a bad dream, cos you said he was tossing and turning in bed quite violently. Have you asked him if it was a nightmare ?? First thing that sprang to my mind.
He does sound a dark , weird character. Can you go to councelling together ??

PinkTulips Tue 09-Jun-09 11:50:24

i've punched dp over stuff that happened in dreams blush

does he generally wake up crankily? my dp does and can be quite aggressive and unpleasant about stupid little things when he's coming round but is fine a while later.

the nose thing is weird but in a strange way i can almost understand it... when i fight with someone i often get unduly irritated and upset by something very random like that and the sensation can linger long after the fight is over.

all in all the incidents themselves don't sound like much but what struck me about the whole post was that you say you're afraid of him... and that's not a healthy or normal way to feel about your husband.. whether it's justified or not is hard to tell from what you've desribed but either way it needs sorting

maltesers Tue 09-Jun-09 12:00:00

You are quite rightly scared DAYSLEEPER... so would i be. He is a big guy from what you say.

OrmIrian Tue 09-Jun-09 12:03:46

It sounds as if we was still half in his dream. Clearly he was having a violent disturbing dream and was woken from it suddenly. I don't expect it was even you he was fighting with. Have you never done that?

mrsboogie Tue 09-Jun-09 12:17:03

God, that is weird. It is telling that he scares you. In some ways this is more scary than a dv scenario because it is more unpredictable and you don't know what's going on in his mind. It sounds like there is a lot going on there that he is keeping to himself. Do you think that the times when he is being "normal" might be an act?

I had a partner once who was a bit weird - he acted normally but you could tell it was an act after a while- I felt that there was a whole lot of stuff going on on the inside that he kept to himself - you could see in in his eyes - a sort of calculating look - when he didn't know you were looking at him. It occured to me once that they looked like a shark's eyes - kind of cold and dead. Turned out he was a sociopath. What's your gut instinct about this man?

What did he say when you met him? did you attempt to explain that you didn't hit him?

Deeeja Tue 09-Jun-09 13:18:21

I am sorry, but this situation does not sound good.
He said you need an nose job and then blamed it on some psychological disorder, so he does not need to take responsibility for the terrible way he made you feel. He cried, out of character for him, another way to avoid responsibility for his actions. He has claimed you have hit him so that he can have a claim at retaliation, even that he considers that it is ok to hit you back when you did not intend to hit him is odd.
The shutting you out during arguements is classic psychological abuse.
i think your dh is abusive, and is about to step it up a level into dv, and is setting the ground so that you feel confused and responsible for the violence.
I think you should plan an escape.
So sorry for you.

Hawkmoth Tue 09-Jun-09 13:24:30

My ex used to have terribly vivid nightmares. I remember one night I woke up and he was holding me down really hard on the bed... because he thought I had broken my neck and would die if I moved.

I think it's a matter for the doctor... though some of the other stuff is rather alarming.

JackBauer Tue 09-Jun-09 13:47:06

TBH, The sleep thing would not worry me as much if it wasn't for the rest of your OP.

I talk in my sleep when I am overtired and have had DH wake me in a foul temper as I have told him to f off or said I hate you etc, but aimed at my dream, not him. He also regularly accuses me of thumping him in my sleep, but I don't think I have. But he would never say it so aggresively.

I think his reaction to this is quite telling, especially as he has admmitted having psychological problems before.

How often does he 'shut down'? And what is he like the rest of the time?

A very good friend was vey worried about her DH who was acting strangely, skipping between hyper aggressive and normality. Turns out he was abusing steroids. I know others have mentioned this as well. Does it sound possible?

PinkTulips Tue 09-Jun-09 13:53:54

i once told dp in all seriousness when i woke up that i had to go meet up with my brother.... i'm an only child!

i also lost the plot as i dreamed he left me at the alter and feel guilty if i cheat on him in a dream.... dreams are very vivid for me, maybe your dh has similar issues with discerning dream from reality in those early moments of waking.

but again, i think it's worrying that you're scared of him enough to let a weird incident like this scare you.

if dp had said something like that to me he would have gotton; 'fuck off and go back to sleep you twat' and that would have beenm the end of it (apart from me teasing him the next day obviously wink)

FabulousBakerGirl Tue 09-Jun-09 13:57:46

Someone else has posted about her parter wanting her to have a nose job and the poster said she did have a roman nose so maybe do a search to discuss things with her..

Ultimately you are scared of your husband and that is no way to live.

Grammaticus Tue 09-Jun-09 14:04:10

I think you have a lot of good advice here.

I would also suspect that your DH wasn't fully awake when he said what he said. My DH is fit and strong, he also snores and we have a similar "shoulder-shake" routine to you. It can be hard to know when you are asleep and when you are awake - DH has occasionally said to me crossly after said "shoulder shake" - "I wasn't asleep!". Well, he clearly bloody was, or he wouldn't have made that racket!

BUT - the only thing that worries me here is your reaction. If my DH had said what yours did, I would have assumed he wasn't awake properly, rolled over and gone to sleep, and probably laughed at/with him in the morning. Your reaction is telling, I think.

The nose thing I wouldn't think that serious, tbh, we all have our occasional obsessions/ lack of judgment/ psychological frailty. This one is odd, I grant you, but I don't find it that sinister.

Can you explain more about his "intimidating physical presence"? This seems to me to be more about demeanour than about physical strength.

Rhubarb Tue 09-Jun-09 14:05:11

He needs to be psychologically evaluated. Meet up with him, tell him that his reactions are not normal, that he scares you and you need to sort it out.

Ask him to make an appt for BOTH of you to see his GP. Because if he went alone, he wouldn't tell the GP half of what was going on, you need to accompany him. If he refuses, then you book an appt and go alone. Let him know you are doing this.

Say that you are doing this because you love him, because you are worried about him. You're worried that he might hurt you or himself and that when he goes into these 'phases' he's not himself. It must be on his mind too. Reassure him of your love, but also let him know that you are not going to live under this cloud any longer. If he doesn't take action, then you will.

By your descriptions, I would have also thought drugs. If not drugs, then some form of psychosis, possibly schizophrenia. He needs to acknowledge it and deal with it, otherwise things could escalate.

NotQuiteCockney Tue 09-Jun-09 14:24:26

It doesn't sound normal, no.

That being said, is it possible you did hit him, in your sleep? If I was woken up by my DH saying I'd hit him, I would be inclined to say 'If I hit you, I wasn't awake - I didn't mean to hurt you.' Of course, he should have known or suspected you were asleep when you hit him, if indeed you did hit him.

Being afraid of your partner isn't good.

FabulousBakerGirl Tue 09-Jun-09 14:35:51

My DH once sat upright and shouted out. I nearly had a heart attack. Another time he whacked me right in the face. One of those times when he had woken up without any feeling in his arm or control over it. I have hit him too in the same manner.

That said, he has done and said unacceptable things when he was definitely awake, to you, OP.

DaySleeper Tue 09-Jun-09 14:36:12

Crumbs sorry, I'm at work and almost as soon as I posted I had to go to a meeting. Thanks so much everyone for your responses. A lot of people have asked whether he could have been half-asleep or dreaming. I don't think he was- he seemed wide awake to me. I am 99.9999% sure I didn't hit him- the only reason I can't be 100% sure is because I was dozing a bit at the time and I guess you can't rule out something funny happening. But I've never done anything like that before and I would expect that if I had hit him in my doze then I would have woken myself up, which didn't happen until he responded to me so harshly.

When I denied hitting him, he just kept saying "no, you hit me. You hit me, fact". He was cold and precise in the way he said it. And he wasn't normal to me in the morning. When he got up I was already up and dressed and having breakfast and he just ignored me.

I have to be honest, I would never have said something like "shut up you twat" or the other jokey responses many people say they would have given. I am a bit scared of him if I'm honest with myself. It's not even so much being scared that he would hit me but rather being scared of how he would react. If I say the wrong thing he gets offended and does the shutting down thing.... Others are more cheeky and teasing with him- for example, I'm always really struck by how my sister will be very jokey with him, but it doesn't seem to be a dynamic that he and I are able to have. Perhaps I am too tentative with him- I definitely feel like I tip toe around him, which is very different from the style of relationship I've ever had before and certainly not a relationship model that I grew up with (my parents have a great relationship, 38 years and going strong).

Others have asked about DH's background. He didn't have a violent background but I find his family quite different from mine. My family has plenty of faults but it is very loving and affectionate and pretty rowdy- if someone is upset with someone else, they tend to have a big screaming match where terrible things are said but then you end up crying together and reaffirming how much you love each other. There were three strong women plus my father and there tended to be lots of slammed doors, stalkings off, highly emotional rants etc etc. But it always ended well.

I would describe my sister and I as well brought up with good values and respect for others, but we would also answer back to our parents and be cheeky and probably completely annoying as teenagers. It was all just part of life. DH's family is much quieter and, I find, quite remote in the way they deal with each other. DH's father died about 10 years ago, before I met DH. They seem to have had an odd relationship. DH has massive issues with authority and authority figures (part of the reason he had a falling out with my parents is because he thought they were trying to control us, it was a stupid fight about our wedding which turned into a 5 year rift which I deeply regret). Apparently DH's father would not tolerate anyone disagreeing with him. There were the facts according to DH's father and there was no other way. I don't think he enforced this through violence but it seems to have been the household law. As a result DH left home at 17.

In terms of him shutting down, it happens most times we have a serious disagreement. If I do something wrong, he will close down for hours. It can be a few days. He seems perfectly happy to get into bed, turn his back on me and go to sleep, go to work the next morning. I usually have to expend a lot of energy to bring him around to talk to me.

Finally, I don't know how he feels about me earning so much more than him. He says he is fine with it, happy about it even. He works in an industry where there are a lot of redundancies at the moment and he says that my job takes the pressure off him because, unlike a lot of his colleagues, he is not the sole breadwinner with the whole family looking to him to pay the mortgage. He would never admit to having a problem with it.

It's refreshing, although very frightening for me, to realise that others think this behaviour is weird. I don't think he is abusing steroids, although it's a valid suggestion based on his interests in weights etc. I do wonder whether he's having some sort of breakdown and whether it has been going on for years, certainly since the nose incident. He has a reasonably stressful job and not the best temperament for dealing with it. My job is as stressful, if not more stressful (and I work much longer hours) but I tend to let things wash over me a bit and don't take work too seriously. DH tends to fixate on things that have happened and get quite obsessive about them.

I also genuinely wonder whether he has a psychological condition. When the nose thing happened I did think he had psychological issues and I desperately wanted counselling at that time but DH said that we could sort our own problems out. I don't know why I didn't push this. In many ways I have just been too scared to explore these dark edges of our relationship. I can't talk to anyone in RL about it because I am sure that it would turn them against DH. That leaves me even more isolated, if you see what I mean.

I am just so frightened and unsure as to how to take this forward. I honestly don't believe DH would actually hit me but I am scared there's something fundamentally wrong with him. As I mentioned in my OP, I had to see him in another context mid-morning today(we had to go to the bank together, after having gone our separate ways to work) and I found myself looking at him during the meeting and just wondering what the hell was going on in his head. And wondering how the hell I deal with this. I looked at DD as I was going to work this morning and felt chilling fear that I was not going to be able to offer her the loving and healthily dysfunctional (if you know what I mean) family environment I grew up in. I am sitting here feeling nauseous and fearful. I have a function after work this evening so he will probably make sure he is in bed and asleep (even if he's not) by the time I'm home so I've got another day of this to endure.

DaySleeper Tue 09-Jun-09 14:42:47

Grammaticus - the physical presence thing. It's hard to explain - he is 6 foot one, weighs about 16-17 stone. I am 5 foot six and weigh 8 stone. It is hard to define but I see other people react to the way he carries himself. He is very inflexible, for example, if we are in a busy street he will barge through people and almost take pleasure in pushing them aside if they are not looking where they are going. I hate it when people bump into me too, but he seems to almost relish it. He walks home from work every day and when he gets in there is always a story about someone he "nailed" on the walk home. It is unpleasant.

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