husband is a difficult child

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by OpenWindow, Jul 18, 2008.

  1. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    husband is still mad at me for telling difficult child's counselor about an inappropriate touching incident with his little sister, because I knew she would have to report it to CPS. He has told me the safety plan is stupid, and isn't following it. He told the DCFS investigator that the incident was normal and if it was up to him he would have kept it in the family and not told anyone. He told difficult child that the alarm was coming off his door as soon as the investigation is over.

    We haven't talked about it since the first night DCFS came for the visit, because husband gets immediately angry. He's always had anger issues, but not nearly as severe as the first few years of marriage. He's the kind of guy that will yell and scream and cuss and call names, then 30 minutes later it's over and he's wondering why I'm still upset.

    Well, I thought we should try to talk again the night before last because we need to be on the same page. It didn't go well.

    husband was mad the minute I brought it up. He said there wasn't anything to talk about because I messed everything up. It's my fault they are investigating and giving us stupid safety plans. I am willing to sacrifice difficult child for something I imagine could possibly happen to easy child in the future. I am overanalyzing and I am wrong because I didn't go to school to be a psychologist. difficult child's counselor, who agrees with the way I've handled it, isn't right because she sees the worst cases so she is assuming the worst. I guess only he is right, because he can yell the loudest.

    difficult child was in the other room and didn't hear any of the argument until husband yelled quite loudly that he hated me (with some cuss words thrown in for good measure) and then left the room, slamming the door behind him. He came in about an hour later and said he was sorry.

    Last night he did the usual, acting like nothing happened. He asked me why I was in a bad mood. I told him it was hard to take someone saying they hate you and blaming you for everything. He said I should know that it's just the way he is, he gets angry and goes off. He told me he loved me more than anything but added that last night when he said he hated me, he meant it at that moment. He also said he's going to continue to be mad about it and at me until we get a letter saying the investigation is over and nothing more is going to be done.

    I talked to difficult child's counselor yesterday and realized that husband does exactly what difficult child does. He gets angry and lashes out at me. He says he hates me (and other choice words) when he gets mad. He doesn't take responsibility for things he does and blames me for making him mad. Even after the fact it's my fault he got that mad and said those things because I kept pushing him (in husband's case) or grounded him or made him turn off the video game (in difficult child's case). Whenever something bad happens, someone else has to take the blame and it is never him.

    All I know is I'm feeling like I'm done. I can take it from difficult child, but I'm not sure I want to deal with it from husband anymore.
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    O M G !!!
    We married the SAME MAN!

    Seriously, though -- I COMPLETELY understand what's going on over there with a husband like yours. Everything mine feels he would externalize and put the blame on everyone but himself. He is famous for his tantrums and outbursts. When he was younger, would through golf clubs or tennis racquets if he made a mistake or his teammate screwed up. He's also been known to bolt anywhere at anytime when his emotions overwhelm him (once it was up in a mountain resort on a dark road at 10:00pm about 5 miles from town while the kids and I sat in the car wondering where he went, and me thinking of just leaving him there and driving on to our cabin about 20 miles down the road).

    Okay so enough about me. YOU are right to stick to your guns. It IS important to have husband on the same page, but I'll bet he is feeling shame over the incident and that's why he's reacting this way. He's taking it all too personally. Just my guess.

    {{{{{Hugs}}}}} to you -- this is a tough thing to deal with -- the fact that husband does apologize after his outbursts is encouraging. That might be a good time to try to reach him again...​

  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I guess only he is right, because he can yell the loudest.

    That pretty much sums it up. {{hugs}}
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member you guys married ME? LOL.

    This seriously sounds like my borderline behavior. Check out some of the symptoms on that and see if they fit.
  5. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Tell your husband someone did the same thing to YOU at work and see if he STILL feels it's "appropriate" behavior.

    OMG......Janet you are a scream.
  6. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    Well, this is long, but I looked it up and answered some questions. I think you're right Janet, I may have married you. :tongue: Wait, no, I didn't, because my husband won't admit that he has any disorders, even though he was diagnosed with ADHD when he was young and depression, possible bipolar about 10 years ago.

    So what do I do next? How do I talk to him when he gets mad when I try to talk to him? Where do I go from here?

    GVCMOM, how do you handle it? He does apologize afterwards, but if I try to talk about it, even at that point, we end up arguing again.

    Thanks Terry - sometimes I wish I could let loose and scream too, but the kids are usually not far away and I try not to let them see it.

    DSM-IV Definition of Borderline (BPD)
    1. A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following: YES
    2. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in (5). YES
    3. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation. This is called "splitting." YES
    Following is a definition of splitting from the book I Hate You, Don't Leave Me by Jerry Kreisman, M.D. From page 10:
    1. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self. YES
    2. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in (5). YES
    3. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior. NO
    4. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days). YES
    5. Chronic feelings of emptiness. Don't know, but I imagine so
    6. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights). YES
    7. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms. YES
    Dissociation is the state in which, on some level or another, one becomes somewhat removed from "reality," whether this be daydreaming, performing actions without being fully connected to their performance ("running on automatic"), or other, more disconnected actions. It is the opposite of "association" and involves the lack of association, usually of one's identity, with the rest of the world.

    Is someone you care about causing you a great deal of pain?

    Do you find yourself concealing what you think or feel because you're afraid of the other person's reaction or because it just doesn't seem worth the horrible fight or hurt feelings that will follow? YES

    Do you feel that anything you say or do will be twisted and used against you? Are you blamed and criticized for everything wrong in the relationship-even when it makes no logical sense? YES

    Are you the focus of intense, violent, and irrational rages, alternating with periods when the other person acts perfectly normal and loving? YES Does no one believe you when you explain that this is going on? NO

    Do you feel manipulated, controlled, or even lied to sometimes? YES Do you feel like you're the victim of emotional blackmail? NO

    Do you feel like the person you care about sees you as either all good or all bad, with nothing in between? YES Is there sometimes no rational reason for the switch? NOT SURE

    Are you afraid to ask for things in the relationship because you will be told that you're too demanding or that there is something wrong with you? NO Are you told that your needs are not important? NO

    Is the person always denigrating or denying your point of view? YES Do you feel that their expectations of you are constantly changing, so you can never do anything right? YES

    Are you accused of doing things you never did and saying things you never said? NO, he just miscontrues Do you feel misunderstood a great deal of the time, and when you try to explain do you find that the other person doesn't believe you? YES

    Are you constantly being put down? NO, except when he's mad When you try to leave the relationship does the other person try to prevent you from leaving in a variety of ways (anything from declarations of love and promises to change to implicit or explicit threats)? YES, although I haven't tried to leave. It's more like when he is in apology mode.

    Do you have a hard time planning anything (social engagements, etc.) because of the other person's moodiness, impulsiveness, or unpredictability? NO Do you make excuses for their behavior or try to convince yourself that everything is okay? YES

    Thoughts that may indicate Borderline (BPD)
    Does this person:
    • Alternate between seeing people as either flawless or evil? AT TIMES Have difficulty remembering the good things about a person they're casting in the role of villain? YES
    • Find it impossible to recall anything negative about this person when they become the hero? NO
    • Alternate between seeing others as completely for them or against them? YES
    • Alternate between seeing situations as either disastrous or ideal? YES
    • Alternate between seeing themselves as either worthless or flawless? YES
    • Have a hard time recalling someone's love for them when they're not around? NO
    • Believe that others are either completely right or totally wrong? YES
    • Change their opinions depending upon who they're with? YES
    • Alternate between idealizing people and devaluing them? YES
    • Remember situations very differently than other people, or find themselves unable to recall them at all? YES
    • Believe that others are responsible for their actions YES-or take too much responsibility for the actions of others NO?
    • Seem unwilling to admit to a mistake YES -or feel that everything that they do is a mistake SOMETIMES?
    • Base their beliefs on feelings rather than facts? YES
    • Not realize the effects of their behavior on others? YES
    Feelings that may indicate Borderline (BPD)
    Does this person:
    • Feel abandoned at the slightest provocation? YES
    • Have extreme moodiness that cycles very quickly (in minutes or hours)? YES
    • Have difficulty managing their emotions? YES
    • Feel emotions so intensely that it's difficult to put others' needs-even those of their own children-ahead of their own? YES
    • Feel distrustful and suspicious a great deal of the time? YES
    • Feel anxious or irritable a great deal of the time? YES
    • Feel empty or like they have no self a great deal of the time? NOT SURE, but I imagine so
    • Feel ignored when they are not the focus of attention? sort of
    • Express anger inappropriately YES or have difficulty expressing anger at all NO?
    • Feel that they never can get enough love, affection, or attention? YES
    • Frequently feel spacey, unreal, or out of it? NOT SURE
    Behaviors that may indicate Borderline (BPD)
    Does this person:
    • Have trouble observing others' personal limits? ???
    • Have trouble defining their own personal limits? YES
    • Act impulsively in ways that are potentially self-damaging, such as spending too much, engaging in dangerous sex, fighting, gambling, abusing drugs or alcohol, reckless driving, shoplifting, or disordered eating? YES
    • Mutilate themselves-for example, purposely cutting or burning their skin? NO
    • Threaten to kill themselves-or make actual suicide attempts? NO
    • Rush into relationships based on idealized fantasies of what they would like the other person or the relationship to be? YES
    • Change their expectations in such a way that the other person feels they can never do anything right? YES
    • Have frightening, unpredictable rages that make no logical sense YES -or have trouble expressing anger at all NO?
    • Physically abuse others, such as slapping, kicking, and scratching them? NO
    • Needlessly create crises or live a chaotic lifestyle? NO
    • Act inconsistently or unpredictably? YES
    • Alternately want to be close to others, then distance themselves?
      (Examples include picking fights when things are going well or alternately ending relationships and then trying to get back together.) NO
    • Cut people out of their life over issues that seem trivial or overblown? YES
    • Act competent and controlled in some situations but extremely out of control in others? YES
    • Verbally abuse others, criticizing and blaming them to the point where it feels brutal? YES
    • Act verbally abusive toward people they know very well, while putting on a charming front for others? YES Can they switch from one mode to the other in seconds? YES
    • Act in what seems like extreme or controlling ways to get their own needs met? YES
    • Do or say something inappropriate to focus the attention on them when they feel ignored? NO
    • Accuse others of doing things they did not do, having feelings they do not feel, or believing things they do not believe? YES
  7. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    Star, I know what he would do.

    He would tell me what an idiot they were, would tell me I should have told them where to go, that they should be fired, and then he would offer to go to work and take care of it himself.

    In fact, he HATES people who act just like he does. He can't see the similarities. He is just vocal and speaks his mind, and his reaction is justified. They are jerks and jack... donkeys.
  8. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!


    Can't give a lengthy reply 'cuz I'm not at my easy child right now but wanted to say that it was very, VERY hard for a long time with-husband until he went on Lamictal. He had the rage issues, the emotional eruptions, paranoia, compulsive behaviors, ADHD symptoms, lots of what's described in the Borderline (BPD) info you posted. As I read them, I was reminded of husband's sister as well as my own father.

    The kids' psychiatrist said that husband's seizures were a blessing in disguise because they forced him to go on a medication that just happened to solve many of his other mental problems! I know that doesn't help you, but I have more to share and will do it when I'm back home a bit later...
  9. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Linda, for all the info you posted...your hubby sounds very much like Useless Boy. It got to a point where I knew he would drag me down so far I'd never dig out if I stayed with him. Sending you many hugs.
  10. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    In the pre-Lamictal days, the only way I could broach a sensitive subject with husband was when we were on the phone, via e-mail, or some other neutral territory. When it was face to face, he got too defensive which quickly deteriorated into outright hostility. He's not a hitter, but he sure let's you have both barrels with his words and his emotions. I remember one day after a particularly heated exchange, I furiously sobbed to him that as his WIFE, the person he CHOSE as his LIFE PARTNER, I deserved to be treated with LOVE, KINDNESS and RESPECT and he was NOT treating me that way at all. He would never talk to his mother, grandmother, or even his sisters the way he has to me. It shut him up for a few minutes and made him think.

    With therapy, I learned to detach (with love) and not let myself get sucked into his abusive behavior. I learned to speak my truth and really put my foot down for the boundaries I believe in. He was pretty shook up by that at first, but it got easier and easier for me to do with time. There are some good books out there on verbally abusive relationships that gave me concrete ideas for how to respond to someone like that. You don't deserve it and you don't have to tolerate it.

    I have to say, though, that the medications have made the biggest difference for husband. Although he tried ADHD medications before, they didn't completely help his anger issues. Only the Lamictal (and Paxil) have done that. He is like a completely different person in that regard.

    I think if your husband is mad at you, so what. Let him be mad. It's his problem, not yours. It doesn't change a thing about what you're trying to do for your kids. Don't let his emotional instability distract you from doing what you need to do for the rest of your family.

    So he doesn't like what's happened. That's too bad and it's in the past. All his ranting won't change a thing. What's important is moving forward and making progress. If he's not going to be part of the solution, then solve the problem without him. TELL the investigator what your husband is saying about the situation. That he's being uncooperative and harrassing you over this. Maybe even ask husband what he is trying to hide? To pull emotional blackmail on you by saying he's going to "hate" you until this is all over is just SO JUVENILE, and he sounds like a gradeschool boy pouting on the playground when he doesn't like the way the game is going. This is NOT a GAME. This is REAL LIFE GROWNUP STUFF and you have to get the answers to this situation because it has the potential to be REALLY SERIOUS.

    Follow your moral compass and don't let the meathead throw you off track.

    Okay, climbing down off my soapbox now!
  11. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Hey Linda...just wanted to say "I know what you mean" and send some hugs~
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    I guess, at this point, you have some decisions to make. Are you willing to continue to be treated like this?

    do you want your kids to be treated like this?

    Do you want to stay in this relationship?

    I cannot make these choices for you, no one can. I will suggest that seeing a therapist may make you more able to set boundaries for how you will be treated, or make up your mind about how you will be treated.
  13. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I always said if husband ever treated me even the smallest fraction of disrespect my kids show - I wouldn't put up with it. Marriage is not meant for one partner to be so disrespectful.

    Your husband is so in denial. He would rather close his eyes to make it go away than protect easy child in the future. You stay with your plans.
  14. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    Thanks for all your replies. It's so helpful.

    Andy - I used to say that all the time too, but here I am. husband is very good at apologizing. I'm very well aware that how he treats me at times is deplorable, but I have been able to detach and not take it personally. The only thing it has affected is the relationship between him and me. He never "wins" the arguments and I pretty much have control of all the important decisions. husband is in denial, he has been to some extent since difficult child's first counselor said he had ODD when he was 3 years old. I've come to the conclusion he's never coming out of it.

    Susie - I've been asking myself those questions for the last few weeks. Usually when there's a blow-up my answers are "no" I don't want to be treated this way, but yes I will stay in the relationship and try. This time, I'm just not so sure. I can't afford a therapist for myself but I have been talking to difficult child's therapist (she's free since difficult child sees her). Not the best situation but she's offered family therapy and we are going to try it.

    Thanks JoG - it helps so much to know that others understand. It props me up and gives me strength to keep going.

    Mary - Thanks so much. It's encouraging to know that if I decide to make a break others have been able to crawl out. I'm afraid the months after such a decision would be harder than all the outbursts these last 14 years.

    gcvmom - thanks for taking the time to give me your personal experiences. My husband isn't a hitter either, and sometimes I wish he was. Hitting is a line I will not allow to be crossed and it would end the relationship abruptly. I know I should feel the same about emotional abuse, but it's just not that easy. I wish husband would try medications. He took some ADHD medications and paxil or prozac about 10 years ago. They all improved things, although he didn't see it. He eventually quit each one claiming they did nothing. He is in "I'll do anything for you" mode right now so I might be able to convince him to see a psychiatrist, but I'm pretty sure by the time he got an appointment and got a medication subscribed, he will not be so accommodating. I guess it's possible though if I make it clear it's either this or he walks. I'm glad your husband has improved. Does he realize the medications have made a change?

    My husband is now in full-on apology mode. He wants to do everything he can to make it work, and he can't live without me. I am his everything and he can't imagine life without me. He is so sorry and it will never happen again. I'm a little relieved the arguments are over for awhile, but not sure I have what it takes anymore to rebuild the relationship again.
  15. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Linda, I haven't seen you in a bit. I'm sorry to read all that has gone on. Having met you I can not believe anyone could talk to you in such a mean way. It makes me so sad to hear that you have lived with this behavior. His excuse that it's just him being himself is such poor rationalization.

    If you can live with it and are happy, I wouldn't say this but if you are unhappy then maybe a change has to happen. If he can talk to strangers or coworkers with respect then shouldn't the mother of his children be spoken to with respect?

    You have to protect all of your children with husband's help or without it. Don't let husband turn this into something you are doing to him. Your kids need someone who is using reason and is strong enough to do the tough stuff.

  16. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    Hi Fran, good to hear from you.

    I can honestly say I haven't been unhappy in my relationship in the past. It was stressful and hard at times, but I could always find happiness. I never doubted that he loves me deeply, and I still don't. I know that he loves his kids just as deeply.

    But after this latest verbal attack, I just can't feel anything towards him. It isn't just in relation to difficult child, it has been building for awhile. I'm not mad at him, I just seem to be indifferent. I am unhappy, and worried about the ramifications no matter which decision I make. We are going to go to counseling and I'm not sure which way my feelings will go.

    I am strong in my resolve to do what's right for difficult child and easy child, nothing husband can say will change that. difficult child's therapist knows everything and has been an incredible support. And if ever I doubt that I'm doing what's right, I'll just post here and I can count on at least a few members to set me straight.
  17. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!


    My husband acknowledges that the medications help him control his anger better, and help him to be more patient with life. Even the kids tell him they notice the difference. He sees that he is less obesessed about the things he was compulsive over, but he claims that it is only because I have told him to be that way (which I have... for the last 19 years! So why is he able to do it now, and not before?).

    He would never believe me if I said I think you are X and need to take Y to solve your problems. It's ironic that he had a seizure disorder which led him to the medications (and surgery) that have improved things so much in the past year. Frankly, I don't think the seizure disorder is the sole source of his issues, especially when I look at his family of origin.

    Anyway, you have to decide for yourself what you will or will not tolerate. And you don't even need to say a word to husband about it because that's like asking for permission. It's simply an agreement you have with yourself, just like you already have with regard to physical abuse. How you respond to his behavior determines the outcome. Would you want your children in a relationship where they are verbally threatened, attacked and insulted? What are they learning from you? Okay, I'm done preaching :)

    I really liked the book "The Verbally Abusive Relationship" by Patricia Evans. Perhaps your library has a copy. It gave me some good ideas for how to change my own behavior in response to the way someone else treats me.

    I hope you get the support you need!
  18. amazeofgrace

    amazeofgrace New Member

    I can only offer <<<<hugs>>> sorry if they smell burnt, it's cause I am fried
  19. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Linda...I think you were referring to me instead of

    I have borderline and I know I am not easy to live with. I think I am getting better and easier to live with as I age and have gotten into therapy. At least I hope so for my families sake.

    There is a good book for families called Walking on Eggshells that you might want to read. There are also some good websites for families of borderlines where you can get support.

    I will tell you one of the hallmarks of borderlines is that we push people away because we are scared to death that the other person is going to leave us so we want to be the first to do it. We are scared of allowing ourselves to really love someone fully. Trust is a major issue for us. We want to really badly but we take everything as a slight against us and proof that...aha...see there...YOU dont really love us and its proof that you cant be trusted with our beings...and you dont want we must run fast and far...NOW! We can say mean and vicious things because we want to be the first to strike so it doesnt hurt us as badly.

    You wouldnt believe some of the things I have done.
  20. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    Sorry Janet! Funny thing is when I signed on this morning and opened this thread, before I saw your reply, I skimmed down and for some reason it popped out at me and I changed it, but too late! I was thinking you the whole time, and your posts are so helpful. Thanks for the insight. I think the big question for me is whether he'll go to therapy and stick with it. And you know what, I may just believe some of the things you have done ;).

    Thanks amaze - hugs in real life make me nervous but cyberhugs, especially burnt ones, are very comforting. :peaceful:

    gcvmom - I'm glad your husband has made such a change. I guess that's what I've always been hopeful for with husband - that he would change in the way yours has (but without the brain surgery if at all possible! :surprise:). I was counting on a miracle, that one day he would realize what he's doing and go get help. The only way I could get him to try a medication was forcing him to go to marriage counseling. She convinced him to go to a psychiatrist for adhd, knowing all along that it was more but that he wouldn't accept it from her. The psychiatrist told him he may have a mood disorder and subscribed anti-depressants, which husband was hesitant to take, but he did. He tried three different medications, all of which worked to some extent in my opinion, but he didn't notice any change. Back to the old husband where psychiatrists didn't know anything, he wasn't going to be their guinea pig, this was his personality and that was it. I still kept hoping for that miracle - I guess having these attacks every few months made it easier to keep going (or harder to leave?). If he was at least trying, it would be different (and I don't mean by being nice to me these next few weeks, but doing something different to make more permanent changes). I think that's my line in the sand right now.