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What DS learned from DH

Started by Pen, July 10, 2017, 07:29:20 am

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As my DH gets older & more tired of working hard w/o much financial reward, the daily grind, home maintenance demands, etc etc, I am seeing my often grumpy FIL emerge. And I see both of these men in my DS's treatment of me (often rude, dismissive, putting me down.) My DS didn't spend much time around his GP, and my DH wasn't as grumpy when the kids were young - but enough must have been observed by DS to have given him permission, I guess. Or it's genetic, I don't know.

It's hard work to stand up for myself w/o causing backlash. Harder to accept it quietly, though. I am working on finding a way to let them know I will not tolerate that treatment any longer w/o creating defensiveness and more of the same.

DH is a good provider, hardworking and honest. He loves our disabled DD, provided massive support for DS through college, and loves his family above all else. However.....

Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


I think you have a two-fold problem (three-fold if you count DS):  (1) Your DH is stressed and he is reverting to some bad ways of coping, probably picked up from his FOO.  (2) You don't want to accept being unfairly treated but you are not confident about how to stop it.  Is it time for some short-term counselling for the two of you, or for just yourself to get support in dealing with this problem if your DH is unwilling to go?  Sometimes the formality of an "official" counselling session signals to the people involved that there is a real problem requiring attention and resolution.

Your situation also reminds me of a conversation I had with an older friend in her late 70s who told me that when her husband retired, he became the "fun guy" he was in their early years of marriage.  They had some wonderful years together after he retired, and he was a loving support to her as her health declined with Parkinson's.     

I am currently in family counselling taking baby steps in trying to reconcile with DS after the cut-off initiated by me.  The counseling sessions feel like a hostage negotiation.  I am trying to negotiate having some kind of relationship with DS and GC, and DIL is trying to block all attempts.  Unfortunately, the counsellor is not very good.  But this is what I have to work with and it is providing a forum for discussion.  My DS has been indoctrinated with a certain negative view of me by his wife during this estrangement, and some of this damage is being undone as we speak to each other.  So I have a little hope. 

I am noticing that since I have been removed from DIL's abuse for some time now, I am much less tolerant of it. For a while before our estrangement, accepting a certain level of disrespect was the price I was paying to maintain contact with DS and GC.  I am still gauging the situation like you are, and I am working on better skills to defend myself.  I am seeing a good therapist for myself, and it helps to have someone in my corner to help me see some blind spots.   

Maybe this is just a bump in the road of your marriage which can turn out to be a positive change as you work on it.  I really understand your confusion right now.  Hang in there.  Hugs. 


Hi Pen, I'm sorry to hear what you're going through.   :(. I want to give you a big hug!  You deserve better!

I understand your dilemma where either speaking up or putting up can cause discomfort, and may lead to more grief.  This was my experience in my first marriage, though the issues were about control and the silent treatment.

Like Marina, I went to therapy as well, first with him and then alone, although in my case I had one foot out the door after 10 years, and was pretty bitter about the treatment I had put up with.  I've wondered if I had seen this therapist earlier in our marriage, while I was still fully committed, if my first husband and I could have come up with better communication strategies.

Marina had a very key line: it helps to have someone in my corner to help me see some blind spots.  My therapist opened my eyes, or rather led me to open my eyes, and see that what I was experiencing was not acceptable.  None of my family members did, although they did not see everything.  I know they worried privately. 

I think that a good therapist can shine a light on what problem areas you might have and help create a plan for dealing with them.  Help with word choice and action choice so you can have some consistency and not back down.  As with so many things, it might get worse before it gets better, but you will have drawn the line about how you want to be treated, and deserve to be treated.  It's a gift you give to yourself. 

You're a gem, Pen!   :)

PS. Marina, your post is golden!


Thank you both!!

I've been putting off making the commitment to return to counseling for various reasons, but I think you're right about "having someone in my corner to help me see some blind spots." Lately I've been reacting from a place of survival and it hasn't been going so well. I tend to do this when I'm way overwhelmed with Life Stuff. Funny, I can be so clear and balanced when I'm helping friends with their Life Stuff, but a mess when I have to take care of myself! I could use some help for sure.

Hanging in 'til DH retires (he's still got a couple of years) and then we can see how it goes. I expect things will change for the better, especially if I can get myself sorted out.

Love you guys!
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Pen, kinda sounds like you and DH are each going through Life Stuff at the same time. Acknowledging there is a problem is a good first step to get past it.  Hope some Good Stuff comes out as a result.   :)

(I sure could use a break from the Life Stuff right now.)   :P


Wishing the best for both of you  :D



Pen, I think it is the alignment of the stars (kidding). My BF (long term) has been treating me in ways I could not accept so I left him alone, would not take his calls, and told him if he came after me the police would be called. He was upset, as if I should accept his tone, rages, whatever, because he is frustrated. Anyway, he went to work and all the guys got into a conversation about how their workplace frustrations were being taken out on the wives and GF's. OK I get their frustration, their jobs are difficult. But in no way shape or form am I going to pay the price for someone else's wrong doing. I am giving his another chance, again. But he knows from my past record that I give limited chances and if he does not stop his treatment of me the relationship will end. Men (women too) often think that in a committed relationship they do not have to be good to their spouse. Sometimes you have to give them a wake up call to let them know it is not ok and you can and will leave if you feel the need. I have seen many women live in misery just because it is difficult to make such a change. Why would you do that? So that you are not seen as selfish or intolerant? It is not selfish to want peace and happiness. Hopefully the stars will move soon! LOL. Wishing you peace. :D


Thinking of you, Pen, and how hard it is when support disappears in our lives. We give it but/and we need it, too. I agree that counselling with DH or alone could bring you a chance to be heard and given options. It's a Catch 22 when we want to take a stand and not make waves. I remember it well and for me, it caused a kind of inner paralysis. Hugs...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama