Husband causing problems - how to deal

Marie - posted on 08/26/2011 ( 2 moms have responded )

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My husband is always shouting and now our daughter is picking up bad behaviour from him. It makes everything so stressful. I'm a very easy going person. I tend to let things pass all the time until it reaches a certain point but the constant problem-causing wearies me when I'm already trying to take care of a toddler.

Background info: My husband has been unemployed since our daughter was born. He's finally got a job but we are still waiting for his contract to come through so he's at home all the time. So far we've only been up for 2 hours and already tension is building. My daughter needed a diaper change. My husband was right there with her so I enlisted him in the changing. Our daughter took the notion she wanted to go on the big toilet (she is just learning) before we had finished wiping her up. My husband had the dirty diaper in his hands at this point. I started to tell her we needed to finish wiping her before she went walking around but before I got 2 words uttered my husband started yelling and screeching 'NO NO NO NO', made her panic and start crying and then yelled at me ' Here take this will you!' and thrust the dirty diaper at me angrily. When I had calmed her down and then pointed out to him that he had upset her by unnecessary shouting he replied that he had been shouting at me, as if that justified everything. Then my mum who is staying with us started telling us about a funny dream she had last night. My husband walked in half way through, had missed the explanation about it being a dream, impatiently cut her off and snapped 'is this a dream or something'. When she said yes he said again in an irritated tone 'ok now it makes a bit more sense'. It was hardly my mum's fault that he hadn't been there to listen to the whole story. He's always rude and abrupt with my parents and they have started to dislike him. He gets very impatient with both my parents and his dad as they are all hard of hearing. It doesn't help that he mutters things so even I have a hard time hearing him. A lot of the time he is muttering snide remarks about them which is picked up on even though they don't hear all the words. When he's not doing that he's bellowing impatiently at them. The next thing this morning was that he was taking our daughter out to post a letter at the post box. She has a very heavy cold and it was chilly outside in the early morning air. She had only a thin shirt on so I rushed to bring her a jacket before they set off. He said 'I'm not wearing a jacket'. He is not poorly, he was wearing a thermal T-shirt and a sweater and he is not my daughter – I'm not responsible for what he does. I said the last thing to him and he stormed off muttering something and refused to put her jacket on. Then when they returned he announced he was taking her to the shops. Before they left again I said to him (tentatively – for I'm always aware he's going to kick off) 'Will you make sure she doesn't get too tired' (I knew if I said nothing he would make her walk for miles and she really isn't fit at the moment). He said 'It's not her who has to carry me'. I didn't know what the point in saying that was other than some indication to me that he wasn't going to pay any attention to my request. Whenever I try to do or say anything he always throws objections at me. So many hours in the day are lost wasting time questioning and debating with me everything from what sized spoon I'm putting out, how many wipes I need to use for a task, how to fold a tissue, which shelf to put a pen back on… If I try to just get on with things without engaging in debate he sulks for days and says I'm trying to dominate everything. Actually I have very little say in anything. I don't get to buy my daughter clothes or decide whereabouts in the room her bed is going to go. I can't relinquish all say over my daughter's care, especially since my husband is not reliable. He is extremely forgetful and dozy. He once left her for an hour and a half sealed under a raincover in a hot porch while she slept. I found her with the cover all fogged up and quickly unzipped it and a blast of hot air wafted out at me. She was soaked in sweat and red in the face. She was only a little baby at that time. He also absent-mindedly walked off and left my elderly mum and our daughter locked in the car in the baking sun with the windows sealed up. He took the only key and my mum had no way of opening doors or windows. My mum was waving to get the attention of passers by to help break a window as she was struggling with asthma and my daughter was red and sweaty and crying that she was too hot. He returned after 20 mins in the shop. Truth is he's always doing things like that. At the same time he gets so angry if any one questions him. If I ask him whether he remembered to get ketchup at the shops without fail he will make out I'm unreasonably checking up on him. He won't even let me remind him of things we need before he sets off shopping. Hence we are always without things as he forgets all the time. Now my daughter is stating to use the same abrupt manner with me, shouting at me to 'take this!' or other instructions.
I don't know why he has to be so angry and defensive, rude and snappy all the time and why he can't co-operate. He is also a bit of a baby about things. If we run out of his brand of milk he will refuse to have his breakfast (he won't just have toast or something else, there are plenty of options) and the whole day has to be rearranged to accommodate getting what he wants. He has to have his favourite pyjamas, his favourite pen to write with, his slippers just so. Substitutions will not be tolerated. If I suggest an alternative I usually get bellowed at as if I'm the one being unreasonable.

Do other partners act like this when requested politely for some co-operation? How should I tackle this? I have in the past wondered if I should leave but he does love our little girl and she loves him and when he's not in these moods he is lovely and thoughtful. Also if I did how could I ever trust him to have access to my daughter. He is bound to have one of his dangerous absent-minded episodes. He also takes barmy notions. For example: our daughter has been very poorly with a heavy cold and is un-characteristically cranky. He has been looking up bi-polar disorder in infants. He always goes for the extreme, never the obvious – she's just cranky because she's poorly. I can see I'm in for a battle over this too. He'll probably be trying to dose her up with bi-polar meds next!

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Katherine - posted on 09/08/2011

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It kind of sounds like HE may be bi-polar. I would suggest counseling. You and he need to have a heart to heart or you need to write him a letter. A letter may be better because that way you won't be interrupted. His behavior is not normal behavior. He needs help. I am a psychology major and these mood swings point to a disorder. He could be any number of things. If he is not willing to get help, all you can do is leave.

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Nicole - posted on 10/14/2011

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I agree with Katherine! Sounds very similar to bi-polar disorder (something I have been diagnosed with since I was a teenager).

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