How to deal with a difficult husband?

Liz - posted on 05/17/2012 ( 155 moms have responded )

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My husband is difficult. He is a glass half empty person and has very high standards for everyone. As a result, he is often criticizing and disappointed in me.
He also feels that I take advantage of him financially. I work part-time from home. We made this decision together so that I could be with our kids after school more. He mis-remembers this decision and tries to remind me that it was something I wanted to do and that I'm doing it so I can enjoy myself more, not for the good of our two children. I make a point to always say "thank you" when he buys us dinner or really, anything. He often has a victimized attitude. No matter how much I tell him how I appreciate him, it never seems to be enough.
Before you recommend therapy, he won't go. I've asked multiple times and he won't go.
Ideas, anyone? It's exhausting trying to keep up with his standards. I look forward to his business trips more and more. The kids and I are so much more relaxed when he's not around.
Divorce or separation is not an option. Talking to him about this directly also not an option. He gets defensive and angry. I'm looking for ways that I can be happy myself and set an example to him.

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Rita - posted on 05/18/2012

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My husband used to be quite similar. Divorce was not an option for me, either, b/c I take my vows seriously, including the for worse part. But also not an option was settling for a crappy marriage. So I gave him an ultimatum -- seek help or I was leaving. I was more than happy to separate, but we didn't. He started working on his issues. He ended up needing meds (ADHD and antidepressants). But it wasn't a quick fix by any means. It takes a long time to get to that point, and it takes a lot time to get out of it. Also, you have to address your own issues, your codependency and anxiety -- you have to learn how to live with him and love him unconditionally (this doesn't mean putting up with him but to be understanding that he does have issues). When my husband is having a rough day, I take that time and go do something for myself/with the kids. He learned slowly that I wasn't going to baby him; I was available if he wanted to try to shape himself up, and I was committed to the marriage in that I wasn't going to leave him, but I certainly wasn't going to be any sort of victim. He still has his moments, but I don't sweat it. When he's having good days, I treat him like I would anyone and we have healthy conflict resolution. But on his bad days, I might ask if he needs a nap or something, but if he's going to be a poop, he can be a poop by himself. My happiness isn't tied to his.

Amrita - posted on 12/01/2012

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I get blamed a lot – parents blamed me for spoiling my brother’s life. I was 17 and my brother was 9 yrs old. My mother thought I was a very convoluted and twisted person on the inside. Was she right?



My husband blames me for not respecting his parents and for not trying hard enough to work on the relationship with his mother. He has told me that my behavior disappoints him.



My husband compares me with his friend’s wives (and at times with his mother I think) – I fall short most times.



He tries to avoid any kind of discussion and shuts me out. Does not like to tell me things – he likes to decide if a piece of information is important for me to know and will only tell me if he feels likes telling me and when he feels like telling me.



He does not show much respect for me as a human being, much less as his wife. He has not hesitated to hit me on several occasions (6 times in the 10 years that we are married). All my efforts of running the household properly and making rules for the house go waste because he refuses to follow any. The difference in his behavior comes through very clearly when we visit his parents’ place – he will never forget to take his shoes off before entering their house. Not only that, he even washed his feet at their house so as to not bring the outside dirt into their house. I must have asked him countless times to take his shoes off at our house but he does not bother. When I confronted him about this his answer was – “its simple. Its my parents – I feel like doing everything for them without them asking and nothing for you inspite of you asking me many times”.



I feel as if I am just for decoration in his life – no power over anything, not even my own life!



Everything I do seems to be wrong! He does not even let me explain and misunderstands almost everything I say. A simple comment is not take just as that but seen as a deep conspiracy to start a fight. I am getting more and more afraid of talking to him. I am scared that if I say anything, he will not see the true intent/ meaning of what I say but will interpret it wrongly and put the blame on me. I AM VERY AFRAID!!!



What did I do so wrong? I wonder often.



He has started seeing me as a very negative person – I am not a negative person. I just cannot get myself to be the person I was 20 years ago! Life has changed me a lot! Life has changed him a lot too – he is not the same guy I fell in love with.



What can I do now? Claustrophobia is ruling my life now. I look at the sky and want to become a bird and fly away. I am tired – my mind is fatigued.



I am tired and stressed because I have to commute long distances to get to work and back. All my efforts to explain to him that its taking a toll on my health has fallen on deaf ears. The house we live in is in very poor condition and needs some serious repair. He does not want to move to a better place because he is afraid that it will hurt is parents. He feels obligated to live in such poor condition because the house belongs to his father. He will do anything for them, even if it means ignoring his own family’s needs.



We cannot invite friends over to our place because the house is in such bad condition. But that is alright as far as my husband is concerned. He does not feel bad that he has to avoid his friends because we feel ashamed to invite them home. In the past he had felt embarassed when he asked his friends that he needs to be with his wife more and that he cannot eat lunch with him. He blames me for that.



WHAT CAN I DO? PLEASE HELP!!!

Heather - posted on 05/18/2012

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Stop telling him how much you appreciate him, and stop telling him thank you for dinner or for him buying anything, period. You shouldn't thank him, especially in front of the children. You can give him a kiss or hug or whatever later, and thank him in private and tell him how much you enjoyed your meal, but not around the kids.

Stop living up to his standards. Tell him that this is Your house too, and that they are your kids too, and that you will do things around the house the way that your going to do them. You are the one who mostly cooks, etc., so things should be where you want them and need them to be. If he wants his clothes ironed a certain way, then tell him to find a dry cleaner that will do it for him, since you can't seem to do it like his mom did, or something along that line. It sounds to me like his mother and father had certain expectations for him, and that, that's what he is used to. He CAN change. You just need to keep telling him that you are both in this together, that you are not his child, you are his wife, and that this is your house too, and that these are your kids too. That what money he makes is YOURS and HIS.

Tell him the next time that he tells you that he is disappointed in you, to keep his opinions to himself, that you don't want to hear it, and that he Should NEVER talk to you that way. Tell him that you are his wife, and that you respect him, and he should respect you. Tell him that it might be alright for him to talk to his employees that way, but that it's not ever alright for him to talk to you and the children like that. Same thing if he criticizes you.

I had the same issues with my husband, and it took a few months or more of repeating what I said above, and he finally stopped being a jerk and treating me badly. Words hurt. Tell him that you don't speak to him like that or treat him that way, so why would be treat you and the children like that?

Amy - posted on 05/17/2012

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I know your looking for advice but you negated all the advice you would of been given before any one gave it.

Since he's being the way he is I agree treat him like a roommate! He wants to be thanked for taking you and HIS kids out to dinner stop accepting the invites. He can't make you feel guilty if your not there.

Since talking about it directly is not an option be just as passive aggressive about it as he is. He won't go to counseling go yourself, build up your confidence so one day you will have the courage to say enough is enough. Stop letting him get you worked up just respond with "I'm sorry you feel that way" and then walk away.

One final thing I'd like to add is your kids see this happening, don't be surprised or shocked if down the road this is how they treat their spouse or if you have a daughter this is the type of partner she'll marry. Good luck.

Shawnn - posted on 05/17/2012

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Um, can you say passive aggressive, and abusive relationship?

He criticizes you for nothing. He will not properly provide for you. You constantly have to "apologize" or "thank him" for things that you or he does. You constantly have to pander to his self esteem.

He will not go for counseling, nor will he listen to criticism. He gets defensive whenever the subject is brought up....And why are you still putting up with that crap?

He may not be PHYSICALLY abusing you, but mental abuse is just as bad. He's a controller. He wants it HIS way, no other. And, if he refuses to listen, and gets defensive, how long before he lashes out at you.

You cannot continue to tiptoe around this man and expect your family to turn out "ok". I understand that marriage is supposed to be for life, but honey, please, reconsider.

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Jodi - posted on 10/19/2012

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Just breathe in and out!! Let him be. And go where you want and do what you need to do to. Make yourself. Happy!😃🎃

Jodi - posted on 10/19/2012

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Just breathe in and out!! Let him be. And go where you want and do what you need to do to. Make yourself. Happy!😃🎃

Judith - posted on 10/19/2012

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Most women go through such rough times and it passes unnoticed. Pray about it and keep trying for the kids. Men do not realise how the behavior can damage the kids. I am with you in my prayers

Paula - posted on 10/15/2012

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@Zenovia, that does sound like an interesting read, and thanks for sharing the name of the book.

Noreene - posted on 10/15/2012

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What I come to realize is having husbands' who did not have love for their mother, grandmother, females in general and we are used as objects whether wives, girlfriends, prosititutes, and whatever other names in the world! I'm 55, married for 29 years and in December, 2012, it will be 30! I've managed to raise three children, ages, 23, 28 going in 29 in December and the oldest will be 36 November! Having God in my life for everything, even when I did not honor God daily, monthly, yearly, as I learned to do now, I am thankful I get to live through it with my children's fathers, as well as with my own male blood relatives! My life has been different since I was five years old, and knowing what I went through as a little girl with blood male relative, I must say it kept me strong to be the wife of almost 30 years with three grown children and do what my lifelong childhood dreams come true doing audio, video, music, photo, data technology using Apple computers and owner/operator and networking with people worldwide including this online post, I must say we are all powerful females, moms, grandmothers, ex's, etc., etc.! Love yourself no matter what, because I ain't dying for nobody and I have no idea who would die for me! Messing around ain't an option either! I'm doing me! I advise all of you females to do the same! Much love to all of you and take care of your children forever and eternity! I ain't got no age maximum on telling them about themselves if it's for them to do positives! I'm GROWN! Loving life with a Narcissist H U S B A N D! LOVE TYPING! That's how much positive energies I have left! Who want some? LOL - Spread the news! Smiles

Zenovia - posted on 10/15/2012

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I have just started reading a book called the "Broken American Male". It speaks to why men vsre like this and a loss of their identity and value in today's society. Even TV programs portray the husband as stupid or ridiculus ie: Simpsons, Family Guy. Its no wonder they are struggling. That being said, I didn't believe in divorce and now find myself raising 3 girls alone and starting over again with no finances or Career. He left after 20 years and claims he never loved me yet what I see is dissatisfaction with his life. He thinks he can change the outside to fix the inside. His struggle is with himseld but I never left and now, when we should be looking forward to our children graduating and moving on, I am left alone because he told me divorce was never an option when I wanted to leave after only 1 child. I stayed, prayed, made it the best I could, leaned on God and friends for support and now 20 years later he is gone and divorcing me. Now when I have health issues and am struggling he leaves and I have to start all over and believe me its no picnic going back to school and trying to find work that pays enough when you are re-entering the work force when you are almost 50

Paula - posted on 10/15/2012

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After reading all of the responses and how so many men are just like this or at least very similar, I just wanna know WTH is going on in the world? I know what my ex's problem was, he is a textbook narcissist but my goodness there are a lot of sulking, demeaning, unappreciative, demanding never happy men out there. I'm taking my time before I get back "out there" but I welcome a truly loving, respectful, compassionate, empathetic man (who is also sexy as hell and who will make me melt with his touch but that's another story lol). Is there something in the water or something? Are these men born this way or made this way, whatever it is it needs to stop because it is wreaking havoc on women and children emotionally.

Paula - posted on 10/15/2012

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Divorce or seperation is not an option, talking to him directly about this is not an option and therapy apparently is not an option either because he won't go, well this does not leave you with many options now does it? He is never happy about anything that YOU do, he actually feels that his WIFE is taking advantage of him financially, you have conditioned yourself or have been conditioned to thank him for everything he buys you and the kids including dinner, and while that is indeed a courteous thing to do, I doubt most wives or S/O make a mental note to say thank you EVERY time their man feeds his family (does he thank you every time you COOK dinner) and then he goes about getting defensive and angry to boot.



I would seriously look at Narcissistic Personality Disorder and quick. Narcissists are a complete drain on your energy (the fact that you mentioned you and your kids are more relaxed when he is not around is a telltale sign) because you find yourself "walking around on eggshells" because you come to fear their constant rants, criticism, put downs, blaming. You find yourself, not wanting to get him started. Very often narcissists will only use emotiional and/or verbal abuse as their weapons and most women will never have a clue that they are indeed being abused because they are not being "hit", and therein lies the insidious nature of emotional abuse at the hands of a narcissist, because you don't even know that it is happening. The story about how the two of you agreed that you should work part time at home to be with your kids and then him flipping the script (so to speak) after the fact, is what is called "gaslighting" and can take many forms. It is a tactic used to make you feel like you are going crazy, because while you know what was said and done between the two of you, he then he acts like this is the first he has heard of such a thing as if it was all your idea and that gives them even more opportunity to blame you yet again because he has removed himself from all of it and puts it all on you. If NPD is indeed the case, I don't know what to tell you because as you say divorce and seperation is not an option and most women will never find their own happiness being involved or married to a narcissist, it simply does not happen because the narcissist will not change, in fact they only get worse. I hope that is not your situation but after surviving 10 years with my narcissist ex and not being aware of what I was dealing with for 8 of those years, when I became aware I had to get out. You can change you and work around him all you want and every effort and stride you make toward anything positive, a narcissist will tear it down and strip it away from you no matter how small the thing is, if it makes you happy, just that alone will bother him. They will destroy it, make you choose between them and the thing that makes you happy and/or they will want to make you feel guilty for having or pursuing the thing that makes you happy. I don't know you and pray that your husband is not a narcissist because I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy, but for me, being unhappy for the rest of my life was not an option.

Elizabeth - posted on 10/13/2012

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Your husband has OCPD. Betcha. Google it and YOU go to a therapist, even if he won't.

Lilla - posted on 10/07/2012

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My husband is exactly the same! I found my happiness when I had our beautiful daughter, and changed a lot thanks to her. But he just stuck in his misery and seems to envy my happiness. It is very frustrating and tirening and the worst when he is pulling our toddler into a fight and sometimes says bad things about me to her. Just to hurt me, but not realising how much that harms our dd. I do realise in my situation this is mainly due to stress about money and def. envy as he hates his job... Men are such kids!

Colorfunch - posted on 10/05/2012

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Hi, I am also in the same boat and this is very typical of passive-aggressive personalities. They have standards for everyone but dont live up to the standards themselves. I was very frustrated for the first 7 years of my marriage, but now going on the tenth year, I dont give him stuff to feed on anymore, that has freed me of his burdens. I am a christian and my faith has helped me a lot as well



this is the way I start off my conversation with him on any issue, i notice that calms him a little bit:

first, remind him that you are both adults and you want to be progressive with your life and as such do not have time to be going back and forth over issues that are non-progressive.

Second, You want to cultivate a positive attitude towards life for yourself and for the kids that look up to you and dont want to be a gloomy example to them.



this way you have separated yourself from his standards and then you dont have to go too much into details of his tiny bitty pettiness(accusations):

Cindy - posted on 06/26/2012

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Hi Liz,
I have a passive-aggressive husband and have struggled with his critical attitude not only towards me but really everyone else. I have been on a new journey, that has been tough and life changing to say the least, but worth it. I have been focusing on God and the Bible. I am not crazy or fanatical about it, but excited about it. If we put ourselves into something positive and uplifting to us in our personal life, it shows and people are attracted to that. I have been patiently behaving as God instructs me to, as hard as it is and as much as I don't want to sometimes, but the benefits are starting to payoff with my husband. I try not to "preach" to him, but he is always invited to share in "my happiness" and my new way of life. The changes are subtle, but real. They key to anything is patience, diligence and a ton more patience. The best part about it is that I am better for it, I am happier, and although it hurts me that he is unhappy, I am glad I am not part of his misery any longer. That is his choice to live and stay there. I have told him that I won't be miserable with him, and the choices he makes are his responsibilty, not mine, so I have stood up for myself, but in a calm, loving, and patient manner. Not the angry manner that just makes him feel righteous in his blame of me.
You need to know you are not to blame for his misery, do not let him put it on you. You made the choices together and if you can afford it, you are doing the right thing for your family, just KNOW that. Often we are to blame in some manner, it does take 2...so make sure you fix yourself before you expect him to fix himself, be honest and accept any part you have played in the turmoil, so that you can break it, don't engage any longer. He will notice, believe me.
The most important part is to invite God to LIVE in you, your heart, your home, your children, your husband and your marriage. Ask Him for an intervention in your marriage and believe in your heart that God will live and work in your husband, marriage and life. The Bible is the guide to life and all our answers are right there, if we choose to read it and live it everyday!
I wish you the best and God's blessings for you, your marriage and your family!

Guadalupe - posted on 06/21/2012

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Another story of the guy being set in his ways. He knows what the two of you agreed on. I'm gonna take a guess & say that the kids like being around you more. So two things happened that made him" forget" your agreement. He's jealous that the kids like you more & he wishes he could work part-time.

Enid - posted on 06/19/2012

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I think it's high time you put your act together. Start all over again; get a full time job that will enable you to look after the kids and yourself. You can spend quality time and catch up with them during the weekend and in the evening. Stop accepting his invitations but do not initiate a divorce. If your children grow up in this environment, they will think it's normal and it is either they will adopt the same or they will be abused and think it's normal.

I come from more or less a similar background. Get yourself busy and pretend he is just a mate. Always look good and jovial. If this marriage is meant to be he will get jealousy and would want to be part of the team, if not he will just think you can manage on your own and will unleash you. Love is not supposed to be one sided; its about appreciating each other and always being there for each other regardless of anything.

Cara - posted on 06/17/2012

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Oh hunny,

By the sound of things, You want us to find the answer to whats wrong with YOu? What can you do to make things better? But honestly it's him! Not you. But the strength in you is not yet strong enough to make you stand up for yourself, I suggest you start looking for help for yourself. Once your self esteem is higher you will make the right choice.
Good Luck hun

Julie - posted on 06/17/2012

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Hi, this is a common problem in marriages that no one really talks about. I am glad you brought it up. First of all, you can be happy and stay married, BUT, if you can not speak to your partner in life, your soul mate forever directly? Well then that is the first thing you need to work on changing in order to find your happy.
If he gets defensive and angry (most people do), try a different delivery. This is the advise I received from my husband, so maybe other men my feel the same way. Otherwise, to bad! You have the right, and obligation to speak the truth, your truth. For example, my husband was in a funk for months, one day I said straight up, "you need to find your happy because I AM HAPPY and you are bringing me down."
At first, he took it and became sarcastic. He'd say random things like, "The sun is so bright today!" I was like, WTH are you talking about? He'd say, "Oh, I'm finding my happy" Nice The more he focused on positive reinforcement, the happier he became. As partners we feed off each others energy whether we know it or not. It is our job as there "other half" to lift them up, or smack them out of it!
Your husbands pessimistic attitude, and victim role is his way of projecting his own frustrations on to you. This is not acceptable or ok. Problem is, we teach people how to treat us. The more you "passify him with gratitude" the more power he has to continue the behavior. Last, even though he refuses to try therapy, it doesn't mean you can't go! Here is the "example to him" you can start to set. I just started talk therapy (for me, alone...no husband needed) and it is awesome.
Remember this, Never let him, or anyone dictate your happiness, future, or personal growth. A good therapist will help you find your voice and gain the confidence you need to communicate with your husband like the equal you are.
I can almost guarantee the dude is stressed out, and probably feels left out. Men are like puppies. They need love, affection, food and training! If you do not have the tools, go to a professional for help to get them, then use the tools necessary to try and fix your situation. Change starts from you, from with in...go for it!

[deleted account]

Liz, thanks for your post.. thats awesome first of all that divorce and seperation is not an option. I admire that strength. I am assuming this is your covenent or first husband? I think your attitude is excellent and your situation is currently difficult. I hear you about therapy. it really annoys me how well meaning folk, say "have you asked him to go to therapy" and when you say "he won't come" they go on about how great therapy was for them, or someone else... ah!!! I know what you mean by its exhausting trying to keep up with his standards... You know its funny how you wrote that line as the main liner to this post "How to deal with a difficult husband?" as I have had this very issue for about 8 years now in a marriage that has suffered seperation and now divorce (not my choice, was his).... so obviously I don't have the answers, but I am a believer (in Christ, or 'Yeshua" as I prefer to call him) and I believe He does have the answers to these questions, and so I am spurred on by your question to continue to ask this question to the One with all the answers.. As for those who say 'why isn't divorce an option" I believe you should stick with your convictions. Divorce and remarriage is over-rated and can bring alot of heartache to any children you have had together... I haven't re-married but I have friends who have, and even in the second relationship, there can be strife too... its all painted out as roses and good times, but i'd be wary to believe that... I enjoy your posts, please keep posting... as for what to do next? Have your heard of 'The Five Love Languages'? If you are good at sticking with programs (this is kind of like one where you stick with certain guidelines, kind of like a program) it could be good. Its a book where one does model good behaviour. Theres even a chapter at the back that talks about 'how to deal with a difficult spouse'... its christian based in terms of the principles of 'love one another', but just about anyone could read it.. other than that... I think trying to relax and enjoy yourself when you can is great... and spending time with good friends who are good for you if you have good friends... God Bless and I will be praying for you for a change in you and/or the circumstance!

Stacy - posted on 06/07/2012

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if divorce is not an option you are going to have to disengage him when he is being doom and gloom and judgmental. You are going to have to treat yourself like a priority and not let him affect you (hard I know). get a great hobby, hang out with close gal pals as much as possible. You also can feel free to tell him you don't appreciate all his nonsense and you will no longer indulge him in it. Tell him that you are happy and nothing can stop that. Keep being polite, keep being loving but you are not a doormat. You are entitled to happiness. Please don't rule out divorce. this marriage may not be in you and your families best interest. Good luck

Cassie - posted on 06/06/2012

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Diana,
Thank you so much for your response. You definitely have put things in perspective for me. There are the good times and those are what I need to focus on. Hubby and I had the "I need from you talk" the other night and one of the things that I said was I need you to want to be around the kids. Our 4 year old idolizes daddy and many times just seems to be ignored. The last 2 nights, even though dad had hay to cut, he ask our little man to come with him. You wouldn't believe how excited they both were and both enjoyable to be around.
Thanks again

Diana - posted on 06/06/2012

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Just to clarify for everyone because you are getting a lot of "Just divorce him" feed back & you said that divorce is not an option. Are you venting like you would to a girlfriend? I tend to complain to my "girls" about my hubby and realized that I often tell them the negative things and forget about the positive. I realize that at times he must sound like a horrible nightmare to deal with and I may seem like a victim to my friends. In my case I assure you that I am no victim. Is your hubby a nightmare to deal with all of the time, most of the time, some of the time, every once in a while, or is it just on special occasions? My hubby can be a nightmare about 15% of the time, but WOW, that 15% can really over-shadow the 85% of the time when he is just a giant, bull-headed teddy bear. I assure you that if I told you some of the things he says during that 15%, you would tell me to divorce him too. But, to me that 15% doesn't justify throwing away 22 years. Perhaps if the scales were 45% or more I would reconsider. To most people I seem like an easy-going push-over and to an extent I usually am, but at home it is an entirely different story. I compromise when it's not a big deal to me or I can see his point and agree, but believe me when I tell you that he knows my opinions. I'm not going to just agree for the sake of keeping the peace if what we are disagreeing about is a serious issue. My home is my safe-zone & I am completely myself there. I voice my opinions loudly and sometimes with the mouth of a sailor when I'm really at my wits end although it takes me a while to get there. LOL. I know that I am not always a treat to deal with either. You need to decide what percentage he is ogre and decide for yourself what percentage is acceptable to you. With this post people are just seeing the ogre part that you would vent to a girlfriend; they are not necessarily seeing a gentle-giant part if there is one so of course a lot of people are going to tell you to run for the hills. On the other hand if there is no companion side to him and he really is a tool... Most importantly if you realize that he is nit-picking, put him in a time out like you would a kid. That's one of my tactics. He hasn't realized it yet. LOL. I say to him, "You are just looking for a fight and I'm not going to give it to you. If it makes you feel better to call me names and say mean things, then you go right ahead. When you are ready to talk to me like I'm a human being, let me know." Then I leave the room and go do something else. Sometimes I leave the room giggling to myself how he's in time out & doesn't know it, sometimes I'm clenching my jaw. Now, to say that sets him off would be an understatement. Oh, sure he will come back a few times & try to keep fighting. As long as I remind him that I will be happy to talk to him when he is not picking a fight and walk away eventually he realizes that he is being a jerk. Do I get an apology? Rarely, but I don't need a verbal one as long as he acts like he is sorry. Do you know why this works for me? Because I know who I am and I am happy with who I am. That's what you need to remember about yourself. Be happy with who you are. Don't stop having fun because of him, have fun in spite of him and eventually he will want to participate. If he wants to be a Eyore let him. Sometimes they just need reminders that things aren't as bad as they may seem. I sometimes find myself being extra perky just to get my hubby out of his funk, but that's what partners are for.

Candice - posted on 06/06/2012

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Sure i have advice, it's called a divorce which is always an options and goodbye.

Sauni and by proxi his entire family tried this upon me and in the end it took a close friends mother whom I consider a mother of my own in many respects to open my eyes and tell me to woman up and get the f*** out before I kill myself or I endure watching my precious children being swallowed into the toxicity that comes with such control.

So I left. I took the matter to court won full custody of my children and we all three are much Happier.

Then I did the dumb thing of letting in a woman - my Aunty into our lives and she has the same ridiculously high standards and controlling ways - in the end i am glad i did not live up to her standards and she no longer speaks to me - because that was more toxicity i and my children did not need.

[deleted account]

I do not believe in divorce in most cases either, but I would never stay with a man that treats me like less than an equal. Some if you are chosing to live in abusive situations. There are places you can go and people who will help you. If you want to wake up dead one day, that is your choice. But what about your children? Do you want your sons learning this is the proper way to treat tgeir wives and tour future grandchildren? What about your daughters? Would you wish husbands like yours for them? All of you deserve better.

[deleted account]

I do not believe in divorce in most cases either, but I would never stay with a man that treats me like less than an equal. Some if you are chosing to live in abusive situations. There are places you can go and people who will help you. If you want to wake up dead one day, that is your choice. But what about your children? Do you want your sons learning this is the proper way to treat tgeir wives and tour future grandchildren? What about your daughters? Would you wish husbands like yours for them? All of you deserve better.

Cassie - posted on 05/30/2012

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Besides making a commitment and trying my best to stand by it. I do not believe in divorce in most cases.

Stifler's - posted on 05/30/2012

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I made a commitment for better or worse and I plan on staying with it.

Cassie - posted on 05/30/2012

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Liz,
I completely understand what you are going through!! My husband is exactly the same as yours. He is very critical of everything that I do. I take care of all the laundry, cleaning the house, feeding and bathing the kids, feeding the dogs and cat, watering the horses, and making sure the cattle have water. I don't feel that I ever expect him to take care of much except the yard and that is just because I literally cannot do it with a 4 year old and an 18 month old. I am pretty sure that my husband has anxiety attacks as well as depression. He is never happy about anything. We recently moved back to where our families live which has been a huge stress on both of us. However, after 11 years of marriage, I am finally starting to stand up to him. We had a disagreement last week and he was whining about a shirt being wrinkled. I finally just looked at him and told him that he didn't have a right to whine about it until he did the laundry himself.

It is so trying being married to someone like this. I find the hardest part being trying to defend his behavior to everyone around you. As obviously most people responding do not understand, divorce is not an option for me either. I made a commitment for better or worse and I plan on staying with it. Please let me know if you would like to e-mail back and forth. I know that there are many times that I need to talk to someone who truly understands.

Carrie - posted on 05/30/2012

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Since you rhusband mis-remembers the reasoning behind your decision to stay home, he really shouldn't be consulted if that changes. Can you increase your hours in your current line of work? If not, maybe an additional part-time job while your kids are at school? You need to start earning more for yourself, it will help with your self-image for starters. Also, it will show your children incentive to get father in life. I'm not sure why divorce isn't an option for you, but I respect your decision, so start doing some things on your own with yoru kids. Since you work part-time, you should have money to do fun things with on occasion without having to ask your husband for it. These other ladies are correct though, you are in an abusive relationship, no mtter how it may appear to others. If you get along with your family, & they are near by, maybe you, & the kids can make plans with them once every few weeks. You definetly need to build a network outside your home, the more you isolate yourself, & allow him to isolate you, the more depressed you may feel. Also, do something for you.. get a manicure, or a new haircut, or shoes. I know that may seem small, but it can also boost your spirits. And, stop kissing his ass! He is your husband, he is supposed to love you, care for you, & provide for his family. It isn't a favor. I'm not suggesting you be rude, just tone down the ego stroking & see if he notices. Then if he does take that opportunity to explain that you feel you can't win for losing.. When you thank him he pouts, rather than accepting it graciously, & when you don't he complains. Some people don't recognize what's going on until things change. Make some small changes, & then see what happens from there. But I can't tell you enough, save some of your money (even if you keep it in a box in one of the kids closet), I was once in your shoes (without children at that time) & wish I would have had my money to leave with. Good luck.

Stifler's - posted on 05/29/2012

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I am always the one lecturing my husband about how I gave up my career to have kids and don't really enjoy doing housework and not making any money.

Dinorah - posted on 05/29/2012

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How about you just ignore him in a subtle way and focus on your small children.

Enjoy your kids as much as possible and try to

Make their lives as pleasant as possible. Your job as a

Mother and wife is priceless. Don't ever let anyone make you

Feel worthless or inferior. Your husband might need to do

Some reality check and reAlize that if he had to pay someon

For the work u do around the house, that he could not afford

It. Both hae work to do: you need to lower your expectations

And he needs to understand that you plAy an important

Role on ur childrens lives and he needs to treat u with

Respect.

Stifler's - posted on 05/29/2012

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This is definitely abuse. If you're scared to talk to someone in case they get defensive and angry they are abusing you. If you're never good enough, being criticised, having to be on edge constantly about your behaviour? It's abuse. Marriage is about being best friends for life, respected, loved, a team. Not being subservient to another person.

Sarah - posted on 05/29/2012

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liz I hope you read this with all the other posts. you know when we are ina situation that is that tough it can be very discouraging. I am a cristian and I am glad the you have put out divorce and separation, in this day and age people seem to run to this 'solution' instead of facing the problem. I have never ever seen a situation where all the falt is on one side. please do not take offence but it takes two to really create that kind of situation. I don't know if you beleive in God, I believe that he is the only solution in this situation. Work on your relationship to God, build up your trust in Him, pray for your husband, God can do for him what no words or counceling will ever be able to do, because God can read the heart and He knows the past and the future. Give your problem (your husband etc.) to God. Forgive your husband for the anguish he is causing you, ask God to help you love him anyway. I have a husband that is very similar to the story I read. As I learn to pray and talk to God about him, God has begun to transform my husband and help him see what he is doing, at the same time showing me what I have doon to contribute or cause the problem. Read and studyGod's word, Trust in God, and He will be with you. message me if you would like to talk more about this, I know God can make it all better I have seen it happen, he is not perfect yet but then again neither am I.
I will be praying for you!

Shawnn - posted on 05/29/2012

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Wow, Kaye, if you're married, and you're dealing with what Liz is, I am so sorry.

But, I still say that this IS ABUSE.

Have you not been acquainted with MENTAL abuse? Men like Liz's husband, and others I've read about in here are absolutely ridiculous. They are handed everything as children. They are waited on hand and foot as they grow up. Their fathers and mothers teach them that women are servants, not good for anything but housecleaning, childcare and sex when MEN, who are superior, want it.

When you have to THANK your spouse for an evening out together, when you have to APOLOGIZE for things like the house not being clean enough, or the kids making noise, when you are told that you are only working part time because YOU wanted to (when it was a joint decision) and ultimately, when you have to thank him for getting things for the kids that are necessities, YOU ARE IN A CONTROLLING/ABUSIVE relationship, and it will only go downhill from there, unless YOU take a stand.

You are only serving to let your children know that women are still chattel. That we only deserve to be spit upon and fucked until we can't have any more kids. That we are not of any value as an individual, only as a subservient vessel of the man. That the only way to treat a woman is with disrespect, and they'd better put up with it because they're women.

But you seriously don't think that's abuse? Ok, whatever.

I've said it before. I believe in Marriage until Death. Period. But my husband treats me like a jewel. I am spoiled, I am loved. If anyone DARES to disrespect me, my husband will stand up for me. If my children dare to treat myself or any other woman with anything less than the respect we deserve, my husband will set them straight (that is, if I don't myself)

In a prior relationship (not marriage, thank god), my partner was exactly like this. I could not sneeze without permission. I could not go out with friends unless he was along. I was followed everywhere. I had to thank him for every little thing: his half of bills, etc. I lived with that crap for 3 years before saying "Nope, I'm not going to put up with this!" I kicked him out, met and started dating my current husband, and we are happily ever after 22 years later.

So, in light of that, why is divorce not an option? God won't strike you dead, you know. A lightning bolt will not come out of the sky and smite you because you've filed for divorce. And if it's your church, well, if they value your human rights as little as that, I'd be looking for a different message.

I'm not trying to be bitchy, but it really, REALLY irritates me to see women, strong, beautiful women, in this situation. Apologizing for things that aren't necessary. THANKING your spouse for family time. Mental abuse is slight, small, and very intrusive...and you won't even realize it when it goes from mental to physical. TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR OWN LIVES!!!

Mary - posted on 05/29/2012

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I know exactly how you feel. My husband and I made the same decision we have three children and we decided that it was cheaper for me to stay home with our children. Now my husband belittles me all the time because I dont have a job and dont contribute financially that I am less of a person. Now my children are even chiming in saying things like because I don't work and stay at home I am not an intelligent person. It hurts and is very stressful but like you divorce is not an option. Just know someone else feels your pain.

Jacurlyn - posted on 05/29/2012

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I am in a similar relationship and at first divorce was not an option. it got to where my 4 year old got so tired of seeing me always in tears or miserable that he started asking Santa to bring him a new dad. My husband refused counseling but I refused to be miserable and I saw how his actions were rubbing off on my 2 older children. Anytime I mentioned divorce, he would remind me how I didn't have a job, income or anyway to afford it. Finally I came up with the $100 consultation fee and went to a lawyer. I went home handed him my attorneys card and said its this or counseling. He got mad but finally agreed to go to counseling, i let him pick the counselor so there was no controversy there. If your husband values your relationship as much as you do then he will agree to counseling if not then he really isn't worth kissing up to. Of course counseling isn't a cure all but it will help. Also learn to turn your emotions off when dealing with him and don't take his crap, ignore him or give it back to him. Stop kissing his butt! I went from getting walked all over and being called named like lazy, uneducated, even a nagging cow. It used to hurt my feelings and I would go running to make him happy. Now my response is, sorry you don't like the way I do things, you are more then welcome to do it yourself or there's the door. He knows he can walk all over you because you let him. Don't! Stand up for yourself and your kids!

Naomie - posted on 05/29/2012

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Sweetie, I don't know why but he sounds like he has more than anger issues! Sounds even more like he has a mistress so he is frustrating you so that you don't catch on! The reason why that thought has crossed my mind is because, in every opportunity he gets, he demeans you and shutters your self-esteem! That is the MO of either a cheat or a chauvinist who believes men are superior and should not be answerable to anyone! Here back home, that is how most husbands who are cheating on their wives behave! I don't mean to alarm you because you are the one who knows him best, but that is another angle which also makes sense, if you are really looking for answers to your problem! Quick question, is he off the Liz-choo-choo train and doesn't even look at you that way again? From experience, a man, even a bad man who has the worst qualities, still comes home to demand for sex and most likely is not a cheat if he does it! So if he doesn't even pay attention that way or even make an attempt to suggest some sexual healing, then there is another woman involved who is making him change! Why is it it started when you decided to stay at home part time? Maybe he took it as a sign of weakness that you didn't put up a stronger fight to do full-time and now has latched on to a more independent, self-reliant woman!! Stop trying too much to please him and making excuses for his character, it is a bad and abnormal character and I tell you once he notices that you no longer bow down to him, he will sit up and recognize! Be more of the independent woman you wanted to be before all this part-time deal and who knows, maybe it will bring the change you have always wanted to see! Because from this side of view, you seem too nice and that is why he is taking advantage of your good naturedness! Good luck Love!

[deleted account]

My heart hurts for you having to live this way. You've been given some excellent advise and I really don't have anything to add. Pray over this. I understand your marriage vows are sacred, but at the same time, I'm sure there is a Biblical provision for divorce. I don't know if you are a Christian or not, so maybe Biblical wisdom doesn't apply here, I hope it does! This sort of treatment really is abuse and my fear for you and your children is that at some point, your husband could "snap" and hit you or one of the kids. Also, your children deserve better than to live in a home where there mother is being treated badly. Again, my heart hurts for you and I wish you all the best.

Sally - posted on 05/29/2012

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guess you got ask yourself if your happy to be a chattel.people see abuse differently. For me having someone make you feel worthless and you have to thank them all the time is abuse. Its a slow insiduous abuse that drags you down and destroys your very soul but we all have our bench mark about whats abuse and whats not.

Kaye - posted on 05/28/2012

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Yes I am married and if I'm not mistaken, I never read anywhere where she said she was being abused. Abuse is a completely different topic indeed and no one should or would be expected to remain living in an abusive environment. And as for my daughter.....well lol......she is def one to speak up for herself. Sometimes her strong will has to be reigned in a bit and refocused. But I absolutely love everything about her. When I was speaking of showing respect and love, I by no means believe its ok to become a doormat. However to lash out and point fingers and blame will most likely not get the end result she is hoping for. I guess you have to ask yourself if being "right" is more important and fulfilling than to continue being "married".

Sally - posted on 05/28/2012

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@Liz, my relationship with my long term partner is very like this, if he washed up a cup i always felt i had to thank him. Please jump on venting moms and you will see how it gets worse. I put a post up because i was so upset with myself for hitting him with a dinner plate .that is what he lowered me to. When i stopped taken notice of the sly digs, the put downs in company. When i thought sod it, when do you thank me for the clean house, your clean washing your home cooked meala. Looking after your children cos you say tou don't know how. I thought, thank me once in a blue moon. Well mybdarling doesn't beat as such, doesn't give a black eye but i do have wonderful multi ccoloured boobs because now when his angry it grabs, squeezes really tight and twists as hard as he can. Then informs me its my fault. Last time is cos i touched his hearing aid cos he didn't turn it of,i didn't want the batt to go flat. He hurt me and i hit him with a plate i had in my hand. I hate myself for doing it but guess whose bad guy. His got tiny mark. I can't put a bra on. Iv'e open my heart to you, please get out now. X
p.s my son is trying to treat me like a chattel as well. Maybe to much info i don't know and sorry if i over stepped. Your story is mine. Take what you need and ignore the rest. Be save

Stifler's - posted on 05/28/2012

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What? You're married. You can't be happy in yourself unless you're treated as an equal. Would you agree with your daughter having a husband who treats her this way? Or would you hope she stuck up for herself or left him or just stayed and continued to be abused.

Kaye - posted on 05/28/2012

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The first thing to do is to pray! It is not the Lord's desire or will for your marriage to end. Pray for strength and clarity and how best to respond to your husband All you can do from there is to continue to love and respect your husband. Actions speak louder than words so SHOW him love and respect.......even when he doesn't deserve it. God will answer your prayer.......but it will be in His own perfect time. I know firsthand how difficult it is to show someone love and especially respect when you feel you aren't getting it in return. But the best thing I ever did in my marriage was when I stopped focusing on what I wasn't getting from my husband, and I started focusing on me and the things I needed to work on within myself in order for me to be the wife and mother I am biblically called to be. God answered my prayers.........my life and marriage changed for the better. Some prayers aren't answered.....YET , but I have no doubt that God will finish what He started. It's a hard road, but with the help of God, very possible and well worth it

Dinorah - posted on 05/28/2012

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Please read the book called "Raising Cain" by Doctors Kindlon and Thompson..its a wonderful book into the emotional life of boys and the man they become

Debbie - posted on 05/24/2012

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Stop looking to him for your happiness, get your own.. Get involved with your favorite church, the kids will love it, as most churches have children programs, and some churches have sleep overs for kids on the weekends. Be independent, do for yourself, he'll see the new you and maybe join in with you. God has a plan girl, don't be unhappy. I respect you not wanting a divorce, you love your family.. Try it.. Good Luck Debbie

Kristin - posted on 05/24/2012

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I am very sorry for you and your children. Your husband sounds like a control freak who has severe insecurities in himself. I personally would leave or give him an ultimatum as that is not a healthy way for anyone to live, Unfortunately you can not make someone change if they dont want to, all you can do is find ways to make yourself and your children happy. Get a full time job or go back to school start making steps to become independent just in case you ever do find the strength to leave. Holding money over your head to support his family is crap and not right. Marriages and children are a team effort and him tryying to make you feel guilty about spending money is crap. A suggestion is maybe get a full time job and split all the bills down the middle and see i f that changes anything. Once he loses the power that you give him maybe he will change. I do not mean to sound harsh or rude or anything but in a way you are enabling him to treat you like crap because you keep apologizing and letting him walk all over you. Stand up for yourself, be confident and dont let fear of angering him keep you from being happy. Go to therapy for yourself to gain some self confidence and sometimes therapists can give you advice and tips on how to handle things better with your husband. I strongly feel that men who are dominant and controlling with their families are not happy with themselves and maybe get treated with less respect by co workers or something and they need to justify their worth by treating others like crap. Unfortunately if he can not see how he is hurting you or your children than you may not have any other option than to leave for your own benefit and your children;s well being.

[deleted account]

I agree, stop going out with him. No need to "take advantage of him financially" over a supper out.

Put his "gifts" in a box and when you are accused of "taking advantage" give them back.

Seems like life is all about him and likely always was (childhood). He really has a spoiled brat attitude.

Sometimes, not talking will say more than talking. Don't bother defending yourself. A fight can only happen with 2 people. Don't be the 2nd person. Set your own standards and disregard his standards, if he wants to keep his standards, let him but don't wear yourself out jumping to his beat.

If you are working from home and enjoy it, keep on. Whatever your "deal" was when the 2 of you decided on it, then until your kids are old enough for you to "work out" should still stand.

Treat him like a roommate, or give him his own bedroom and treat him like the child he is. At this point "being with him" is not an option. Give him no reason to get defensive or angry. When you are asked about the change in living arrangements just answer that it is the best for now. No extra reasons or explanations. If he won't get help, he will have to see for himself what he has done. If the "no-divorce" option is your standard, then let him set the bar. Maybe it is an option for him when he realizes that he is öut-in-the-cold" in the relationship.

Above all, remember that your children are watching your every move, you can make this pleasant for them by not fighting or miserable by fighting. But they will follow your example, you are the one they watch. Dad is not in the clear either, but take this role seriously for yourself and be the best you can be for them.

Diana - posted on 05/24/2012

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I've been thinking about this post a lot lately. My husband and I have been together for 22 years. We were high school sweethearts. At the beginning it was all rosy...He was the ying to my yang. LOL. Then we started to grow up. At first we moved in together. He would come home from a hard day of work and be stressed and I would ask him how his day was. Once he vented he was usually fine for the rest of the night. Then we got married & had kids. I still worked full-time. The guy who was once the center of my universe was then relegated to a distant planet at the farthest edges of my radar. I had kids, the house, a job, dinner to make, clothes to wash, homework to check, little people to keep alive & thriving...what did he mean he had a hard day when mine wasn't even close to over yet? One of the things I realized is that I didn't have time for him or rather I didn't make time for him. The kids came first. The cleaning came first. Dinner came first. I wasn't asking him how his day was anymore. I was running everything pretty much without him (although he was the major breadwinner because he knew where his money was going, but didn't see where mine was going...which was to pay the mortgage, medical insurance, & medicine...My money wasn't visible like buying groceries, electric, cable, phones, cars, etc.). I couldn't understand why he was being such a tool & he couldn't understand why I was so impatient when he would ask for little things like a glass of water or to pass the ketchup (after all he had 2 legs didn't he? and I worked all day & made dinner.). I've realized a few things over the last few years. 1.) Taking a few minutes to ask him how his day was when he gets home to let him vent whether it is at the dinner table or while I am making dinner (or while he was making dinner if he got home before me) made him feel like I cared. Sure, I might have had a crappy day, but we can talk about that later because I'm more sane. :) Sometimes I take so much time taking care of everyone else that he feels left out. 2.) Taking time to sit & sitting in the same room with him when the kids go to bed even if we are watching a show I don't like or sports which I really don't like while I read a book also makes him feel like I care enough about him to spend time with him. It also gives me time to take a deep breath and relax rather than to keep running around. 3.) He is much more irritable when he hasn't had his blood pressure medicine. It IS time released so if he usually takes it at 5pm, but one day forgets to take it at that time...he will turn into a monster & pick fights within the hour after 5pm. The only real fights that we've ever had have all been because he didn't take his meds on time because he became distracted by other things. He can take a joke any other time except then. 4.) Saying "Thank you" for simple things that he does. A lot of people say "You shouldn't have to say thank you for him doing things he should be doing anyway." Really? Don't you appreciate if someone thanks you for something even if you were doing it anyway? Doesn't the act of being acknowledged for something make your day a little brighter? Besides, just because he may be acting like an a** doesn't mean that you should too because 2 wrongs don't make a right. We try to teach our kids right from wrong & sometimes you just do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. 5.) There is a time & place to stick up for yourself and while your partner is all geared up is not necessarily the time or place. No good can come of it. It will just fuel the fire. Sometimes the best thing to do is bite your tongue & walk away. That doesn't mean that you have to take what he is dishing out or that it is ok to be treated like one of the kids, it just means that you are taking the high road & that you will deal with it later when everyone is calmer. 6.) You didn't always get along with your mom, dad, or siblings, why would you expect to always see eye-to-eye with your spouse. You live together, you love each other, you are going to work each other's nerves at times. It's normal. This has become my mantra to him when he is really geared up, but just about fizzling out. 7.) Laugh more. It can't hurt. Even if you don't feel like it sometimes a forcing a smile will make you feel better because it is showing that you are not giving up & you will not be defeated. It's good for you, good for him, & good for the kids to see. Be able to laugh at yourself and at each other. Keep your sense of humor. If you really want to know what the difference is going to be between a successful marriage to last through the good times & bad and one that is not going to make it...I'll bet the answer is a sense of humor every time. Often when things get really bad, the first thing to go is the sense of humor. 8.) Remember, it could be worse. As long as there is no abuse & the things that stress you both are normal, why always opt for divorce or separation right away. I often joke with him that our vows said "Until death do I part" so if he would like to have any chance of outliving me he needs to take a deep breath & calm down. 9.) I realize that I am not source of everything that goes wrong in his life. I will not accept the blame for everything that upsets him or goes wrong. That doesn't mean I have to fight with him, just that in my own mind I know that I am not the source of what is troubling him. If I can ask questions sometimes I can figure out what is really bothering him & help him come to some sort of solution about it. It makes me feel better & him. It also makes him feel like he is not alone. I am his partner and I love him because he is a wonderful human being when it comes down to it. We may not always see eye-to-eye (somedays I would rather poke him in the eye than look at him), but when it comes down to it at the end of the day we accomplish more good together than bad.

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