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Pros and Cons of being a Single Mother (bit long sorry)

(30 Posts)
goodbyesunhellomoon Sun 01-Nov-09 22:42:10

I'm in such a strange marriage. It's an emotionally abusive one. I'm a SAHM at the mo and DH is self employed.

On the surface and to everybody else in the outside world my DH is fantastic - he is really popular and well thought of, he has great people skills and is very considerate of others - he has lots and lots of friends and good friends from way back from when he was 3 (he's 36) his mother thinks the sun shines out of his arse - my parents love him - he is a brilliant Dad.

He took the plunge into self employment 5 years ago ((which signalled the start of our problems)) - and financially things were very rocky and still are but it looks like he's going to do well in the end and I have worried and been proud in equal measure of what he's achieving and how hard he actually works (all week, late at night, dragging himself in at weekends when all he really wants to do is spend time with his kids) quote Peter Andre(!) Behind closed doors things are very different where I am concerned. He is very very moody and up and down. He criticizes nearly everything I do (and I find myself striving to please him), he makes me feel like a bungling idiot half the time - it hurts so much how we can have a great couple of days getting on great, laughing and happy and then things can change so dramatically over nothing to him treating me like I am the most hateful, vile creature. Weeks of silent treatment can ensue (the longest was 9 weeks) He can be very very cruel in the things he says.

An recent example would be the crime of being slightly disorganised and a couple of messy kitchen cupboards can make him explode if he can't find something he's looking for and then he won't speak to me for a week or so.

He basically takes all his stress out on me.

What's kept us together all this time (apart from the fact that financially we cannot split at the moment) is that we have the same sense of humour - we have had so many great times over the years and have been very close at one stage but for a long time now I find myself plotting my escape in a year or so when finances pick up and living a life without being turned on and criticized constantly.

But then I look at how much my dc adore him and wonder how can I do that to them? if it did happen and we split I know he would want to see the kids as much as me and with family support around maybe the damage wouldn't be so bad.

goodbyesunhellomoon Sun 01-Nov-09 23:06:32

Finding all the answers I need in Axiom's thread on leaving an Emotionally Abusive relationship - sorry to have waffled sad

TimothyTigerTuppennyTail Sun 01-Nov-09 23:09:50

Where's that thread? I could do with some answers too!

GroundhogsRocketScientist Sun 01-Nov-09 23:10:20

Don't really know where to start, but wanted you to know someone is there.

Yours is not a strange marriage, it's a bad one. This is madness, sick sick madness...9 weeks not talking to you? that's literally INSANE!!! That's actually a form of torture.

You can't go on like this, really you can't. It'll totally and utterly destroy you, and you know that.

Has it occurred to you that the DC see how mum is treated, so perhaps act up the adoration as a coping mechanism? FGS, he's abusing them as much as he's abusing you. They are learning to live like you do... Is that something you'll be proud of?

FGS, get yourself out of there, get your DC out of there, the sooner the better. In a couple of years time, he may have browbeaten you to a mental pulp, so you can't leave...

Your DC will be happier knowing Mum is happy.

GroundhogsRocketScientist Sun 01-Nov-09 23:12:02

axioms thread

goodbyesunhellomoon Sun 01-Nov-09 23:19:55

thanks groundhogs - you're right, I'm not someone I'm proud of at the moment. I don't want my dc's to grow up treating me like I'm stupid as well. They're 3 and 1 at the mo but they'll be really aware soon enough.

God what a mess!

kikisunflower Sun 01-Nov-09 23:39:42


My DH is also self employed. Our finances also bad re his business. I was tired and stressed dragging myself to work 3 times a week. We fought and argued. My kids age 4 and 2 adored him also.

One night when the police were called they told me to change the locks, he would get the message. He did.

I became too stressed and tired to work any longer so am now a single mum on the dole.

Not great but we get looked after, whilst I get my energy back.

It was the best option for me to finally get out of that relationship. We get on better, the kids still see him, we are civil, its ok.

Don't be a martyr, the kids wont hate you for it, your family and friends will not hate you for it, they may not understand. you may choose not to tell them the whole story.

My relationship with my kids is amazing now I am not tired and stressed, all that matters really is their and your happiness.

Get out now whilst the kids are young enough not to be to affected

SolidGhoulBrass Sun 01-Nov-09 23:43:41

Yes, get out now. What a nasty piece of work your H is, maintaining this image of being Mr Wonderful while having made a conscious choice to use you as his emotional punchbag.

Conundrumish Sun 01-Nov-09 23:53:00

Coming at this from a slightly different slant, your DH obviously doesn't cope well with the stress of self employment for whatever reason, or stress in general.

If he knew you were thinking of leaving him, would he consider changing his job? Surely no amount of income is worth the life you have described and your children must be going through hell living with that. He is probably setting them up for problems dealing with stress themselves. If he was back in 'safe' employment, albeit on a much lower salary, surely that would take away the pressure and keep your family together?

He sounds to me like he simply can't cope.

FanofFireworks Mon 02-Nov-09 02:21:21

If he couldn't cope, he'd snap at ANYone. The simple fact is, he doesn't. He only takes it out on one person, thereby showing he is in complete and utter control of his emotions.

Get out - I hope reading Axiom's thread will encourage you

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 02-Nov-09 07:26:12

I also hope that reading Axiom's thread will encourage you. I would also talk to Womens Aid.

This is not a stange marriage, this is an abusive one which will take you some considerable time to recover from once you've escaped him. It is perhaps only when you leave that you will realise the full extent of what he has done to you all.

Abusers can be very plausible to those in the outside world.

No one benefits from being in an abusive marriage. I do not say this lightly but get out of this abusive marriage asap for your sake as well as your childrens. They are likely to be more afraid of him than actually adore him, a good father also does not abuse the mother of his children.

What are you both teaching your children about relationships here?. Is this the sort of relationship you would want for them as adults?. I would think not.

goodbyesunhellomoon Mon 02-Nov-09 09:28:44

Thanks a lot everyone - some really valid points there.

He isn't coping with the stresses of self employment. He's also doing other money spinning things on the side of his self employment as well - he's trying desperately to get us out of this financial mess we are in (that he caused) and give us all a good life - i.e a night out once in a while, babysitting, me being able to work, no longer the threat of debt collection letters arriving.

It's all very worthy but there's been too much damage done now. I've realised that I could be the worlds most perfect wife, like flipping Anthea Turner - super organised and efficient but I wouldn't be happy. It wouldn't be the real me. He would still be emotionally distant a lot of the time even if he couldn't blame me for anything in particular - and I've realised that my happiness is just as important as his.

I don't think our kids are really aware though. Certainly not the 1 year old anyway. We are SO well versed in putting on a front for everyone that we're quite capable of appearing normal and happy and jokey around them. We've only ever had a couple of rows in front of them which I think a lot of people do. The real nasty shit is kept for just us on our own. Although I guess my oldest does see me getting stressed over the smallest things.

You know in a way I actually prefer the silent treatment - it means there's no conflict and if we end up sleeping separately for a while well more the better! I think in my head it was over a long time ago.

I've got a lot of thinking to do - thanks again smile

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 02-Nov-09 09:43:16


You certainly have a lot of thinking to do and I hope you come to a decision re him asap.

The silent treatment is just as damaging as being spoken to abusively. That is abusive behaviour as well on his part. It does not equal no conflict.

Again I have to put it to you - what are you teaching your children about relationships here?. Would you want them to have an emotionally abusive relationship that is all built on sand?. Of course not, but if you were to stay this is what you'd be showing them, that it is "acceptable". They could also well turn around one day and accuse you of putting him before them.

You're right in one respect; you could be the "perfect" wife and it still would not be enough for this emotionally unavailable man. You would also be surprised at what children do pick up on; all the unspoken stuff between you two gets seen. You made a very telling comment about your eldest seeing you get stressed over the smallest of things. What is that teaching that young person?.

Your H won't change but you can change how you react to him.

BTW what is this man's parents like, what did he learn from them?. I think you need to take a look at them too.

goodbyesunhellomoon Mon 02-Nov-09 10:00:09

His parents are the archetypal emotionally distant, strict father who worked long hours and doormat pushover mother so there you go!

DH was raised like he was frigging royalty by that woman.

Reality is starting to set in. I can't imagine my dc's being in a relationship like this. I'd be devastated to think of my little girl being dismissed as nothing more than shit on the sole of a shoe.

There is one really positive thing though - we are going to be making a long distance move next year to be close to our families for support and to have a more affordable way of life. It also means DH will be working away from home for 4 days a week as his business is not ready to be sold yet.

So in a way I am fortunate - I think this move really will spell the start of the end of things. I will concentrate on building my life back up with support from my family - he can come home at the end of the week and take the kids to his family or whatever. I feel hopeful but scared - it means I have to hang on in for a few more months though.

NicknameTaken Mon 02-Nov-09 10:10:37

I too agonized about taking my then 17-month DD away from her beloved daddy. Six months down the line, she still spends a lot of time with him (even more than before), she isn't exposed to fighting, and most of all, my relationship with her is better than ever. I always loved her and thought I was doing well as a mother, but now that I'm not in that relationship, my smiles and laughter with her come more naturally. There's no tension in my body when I hug her. Yesterday it was raining when we woke up, so we stayed in bed and cuddled and read stories and then made pancakes.

You are not serving your children's best interests by allowing yourself to be this man's emotional punching-bag.

Conundrumish Mon 02-Nov-09 11:06:29

FanofFireworks - I'm not supporting his behaviour, but I don't agree. I'm sure a psychologist would argue otherwise.

Conundrumish Mon 02-Nov-09 11:10:18

Sorry, didn't make it clear what I wasn't agreeing with - it was this bit: 'showing he is in complete and utter control of his emotions'.

Good luck OP with your move, it sounds as though you are going to be well placed to break free of this relationship.

cestlavielife Mon 02-Nov-09 12:18:56

your dcs are 3 and 1 - of course they adore him. what else do they know?

splitting doesnt mean he cant see them.

you need to plan escape now. easier with smaller kids in some ways.

i once thought i would carry on putting up with criticism etc til the kids were older and it would be easily to naturally spend more time apart.... visions of a nice pleasant amicable split...

he got nastier and nastier, he got stressed and exploded.

do you really want a year or so more of this?

VinegarTitsOnFire Mon 02-Nov-09 12:36:04

GSHM has he always been like this? or just since taking on the stress of self-employment?

It sounds like he doesnt know how to channel his stress, he is taking it out on the person who is closest to him, this is wrong. Have you tried telling him how your feel? do you think if he knew you were planning to leave that might be enough to make him take a drastic look at himself and get some help?

I think he needs councilling, i'm not saying you shouldnt leave him, you should, but dont give up on him, if might be the kick up the arse he needs to change his ways and get some help

queenofdenial2009 Mon 02-Nov-09 12:49:34

My abusive ex also worked from home and I can really empathise with what you're saying. Counselling, psychologists, whatever - I told my ex many times how unhappy I was, disliked his behaviour, asked him to change. It did change, it got worse because he knew the effect it was having on me. I tried again and again, but he would just say that's the way I am, I can't change. Ironically I am a psychologist by training and tried really hard for him to see that he was responsible for his behaviour, not that I was asking him to stop being the person he is.

I left this summer after being hospitalised for a month from the stress of it. I believed I couldn't take DD (4) away as she adored him etc. But she has been so much happier since we went, spends time with him but has never asked us to get back together or anything like that. Do it for your childrens' sakes, they will be more aware than you can possibly think.

He never even asked why I left. But then he now gets more sympathy from all and sundry about his horrible, mentally unstable partner who took his child and left him. Me? So much happier, new house, doing well at work and much better social life.

goodbyesunhellomoon Mon 02-Nov-09 13:14:54

Thanks everyone

vinegar - he's always been really great most of the time - he's not perfect and can have a temper - but since we have had children and he has become self employed about 60-70% of the time he can be almost intolerable - the couple we are today to the one we were 5 years ago is almost unrecognisable.

He was saying the other night how he wishes he could turn back the clock and not have married me - how incompatible we really are - which is true. This has been said quite a few times before so it's nothing new. I think we're both feeling absolutely trapped and he feels guilt and responsibility on top. The slightest slightest thing can tip him over the edge and it really is unbearable at times. I'm in survival mode where I just get on with things trying to take no notice of moods and silences

queenofdenial - I have told him his behaviour is intolerable and not fair when he's being an arsehole - to which he will accuse me of acting the victim. doesn't help.

I'm not perfect but my crimes literally are being a bit disorganised and sometimes a little messy - and that's it. Like lots of people. But I'm a good mum and a good person sad

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 02-Nov-09 13:37:08


Well someone has to break this intolerable cycle and it may as well be you as I think he will just carry on as he is. He will not change, if anything these behaviours over time escalate. It could be that he is waiting for you to end it so that he can tell people that you ended it rather than he, making him look "good" in the process.

Does he feel any guilt and responsibility towards yourself, his wife?. No of course not, you take all his emotional abuse crap, you are his emotional punchbag. Crap btw he reserves only for you and no other so he does have self control. You are allowing yourself to be treated like this, you have become conditioned to accepting this as "normal". This has probably gone on for years. He cares not a jot for you really, you are but a possession to him. Abusers never listen to the protestations of their victim - and never will do so either. People only change if they really want to, telling them their behaviour is intolerable will not make them act any differently in future.

Again, what are you both teaching your children about relationships here?. Children do pick up on moods and silences. Look how his emotionally distant parents screwed up their son/your H here. Is this really what you want for your children, is this the legacy you really want to leave them?. I sincerely hope not.

If you were to take a really cold and critical look at your relationship, for how long have you been truly happy within it?.

If another poster was writing your postings what would your own response be?.

BEAUTlFUL Mon 02-Nov-09 13:46:54

Why don't you sit down with him and tell him how close to breaking you are, what specific behaviour of us gets to you, and chat about where to go from here?

I'm saying this because I was v grumpy when self-employed and my DH couldn't take it and just left. If I'd known how upset he was, I would have been motivated to change.

BTW, it's hard by yourself! So don't rush into it. Don't stay forever if unhappy, obviously, but don't just leap. See how things are after the chat and the move. You might be OK. I hope so.

goodbyesunhellomoon Mon 02-Nov-09 13:47:01

Thank you Attila - I appreciate your no nonsense approach.

It's about the kids now not me or him.

I'm feeling anxious.

goodbyesunhellomoon Mon 02-Nov-09 13:48:40

Thanks beautiful - that's interesting from the other side.

I'm not going to rush into things - when we're being civil again I think I'll bring things up then.

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