I had a fight with husband over difficult child: Insights and opinions are welcome

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by SuZir, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    We had quite a nasty row a moment ago. It got heated and we were beginning to say things we would be sorry for later so I took a time out and went to our patio to breath for moment. husband left the house during that. I'm not sure if he has just taken a walk to think or if he went to his parents for the night. I kind of hope he isn't coming back soon because I'm trying to organize my thoughts. So, I'm sorry about rambling.

    difficult child has had school stress and tougher time with sport lately. Today he had an especially bad day. Well, you know sports one day you are a hero, other day one "Oops!" and you are the laughing stock in front page of every sport media. Today difficult child got closer that other extreme today. He will survive, but with sports feelings run high and he was really, really, really upset with himself. When I talked with him, you could hear that he was in tears. I told him all the mommyisms; "it's not an end of the world", "it's only sport", "one day you too will laugh at it", "things like that happen, you are not the first nor the last", "sun will rise also tomorrow" etc. you know the drill, I'm sure.

    What husband did, really caught me off-guard. He totally laid it on difficult child. How he should do better, not make that kind of rookie mistakes, how he always screws up, how much money we have spent to his sport etc. He was starting to go on to other matters when I literally ripped the phone away from him. I talked quickly again with difficult child and he was upset over what husband said. "Dad always thinks I'm a screw up, he is never on my side" etc. This time I give it to him, he has reason to be upset. If difficult child needs to be chastised because of making a mistake in game, his coaches will do it. Parent job is to support, especially on the tough times. I really don't know what an earth husband was thinking. Okay, he is emotionally more invested in sons' sport success than I, but mainly with easy child. He has even been easy child's assistant coach when he was younger, not so much involved with difficult child. But even then, he does know better. You just don't kick your kid when they are not only on the ground but in the hole under the ground.

    And this is not totally new. husband has been increasingly critical with difficult child few months now. He was very upset and angry with difficult child when he got caught from gambling and stealing, but later he seemed to forgive him and things were back to normal last spring. But during the summer and early fall husband has become very nitpicky, short and judgemental with difficult child. difficult child hasn't been especially difficult during that time. In fact he had a great summer. He has been somewhat PITA lately, there has been some things we are not happy with (but they are mostly typical young adult stuff, nothing major), but still husband's frustration and anger feels totally unfounded. And it started when difficult child was still doing great. I have even been thinking, if husband's shortness has something to do with guilt. difficult child got diagnosed with PTSD early summer and there is lots to be guilty for both me and husband, husband maybe more so. I have wondered if he has trouble handling the guilt and he just wants to see difficult child so faulty kid that there would be nothing to feel guilty about, because it was all difficult child's fault anyway. My armchair psychology can of course be totally cockeyed, but I really don't get what else could be wrong with him. I mean, this is not like him at all. He is being totally unfair and even mean to our own son of all the people and that is simply not a guy I married. Not at all.

    I really don't know what to say to my husband when he comes back, nor do I know what I really should say to difficult child about it. Luckily he is not spending a night alone but has his girlfriend with him.

    And luckily easy child is not home but will not come home until Sunday night.
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I have "kinda" been there done that with husband and difficult child#1. It's been a decade but husband and I have yet to have an honest conversation about our differing perspectives. The major differences between your post and my experience is that my husband has NEVER expressed negative reactions to ANYONE in the family....he has personality changes where he avoids the child who has disappointed him and is a bit curt. One on one with me however he has said things that are really quite cruel about difficult child#1. He was a "star" athlete. husband is a very quiet man who "glowed" rather than boasted. He (husband) was the one who started him learning sports as a toddler. Without all the gory details we also lived through the "falling of the star"...in a small community. The wounds have not, and will not, ever really heal. Sigh.

    I wish I had great advice to share from the perspective of a very experienced parent/grandparent. Sorry. The one thing I will offer to you is this...the perspective divide can result in irrevocable issues for years to come. Think it through and make your decision wisely. Caring and understanding hugs coming your way. DDD
  3. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I agree that shouting negatives at anyone is non productive in every way.

    Honestly? It sounds like your H is tired of being a cheerleader and just wants your son to 'man up'. Sounds a bit like my H in many ways. He's patient and kind, giving, etc....but in the back of his mind he's thinking 'this kid is 19, for crying out loud, man up already!'

    Do you think that could be the case with H and difficult child? I tried to read your post from my H's perspective and that's what I came up with...could be way off base.

    Regardless, sending hugs and peace to you and yours.
  4. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    I could be way off base...but between the lines? It doesn't sound like the issue here is with your son and sports at all. It sounds more like there have been things boiling and building between either you and yoru husband or something all on your husband and you both are kind of using this kid sports "thing" to vent around or about each other. It's high school sports - the kid is going to mess up, there's going to be highs and lows for him - you're both adults I "think" you both get that point. I'd say there is something else going onthat maybe you both need to air out and stop skirting the issue. (maybe?)

    Sometimes for us? It was the fact that DF felt I babied Dude too much or tried to "Fix" things too much - and we didn't have sports so it wasn't sports per se - but maybe it would be his therapist oh the month......and instead of talking about the real issues------we'd deflect and when the issue of therapist came up the big BANG would come out about EVERYTHING......I this, I that.......he THIS he doesn't THAT......follow?

    ANd then the claws would come out about how I too much this and he over did that. And before you know it - I think we got so off course from the original disucssion - it was like "WHAT THE ? were we talking about and how the ? did that get in the conversation?" ------and it became obvious after a while that deflecting was going on. I mean - well heck since ONE irritating subject came up lets just throw ANOTHER log on the fire......and instead of dealing with issues as they came - we'd have a big old BON FIRE.....about Dude.......and I felt like it was ROAST Dude night. So I'd go into DEFENSE mode and of course THAT got brought up that I was MOLLY CODDLING.......and well he was a n OGRE......and yeah.......sounds familiar - but after counseling? A lot of that stopped. And a good bit of it was being done by treachery and triangulation on the part of the difficult child.......TOTALLY UNAWARE of any of it.

    So just FYI........thearpy taught us how to realize what was going on --------address problems as they happen.......not stew.......recognize TRIANGULATION as an art form of a difficult child........and not to pout. And how to fight fair......and not criticiize.
    Oh and how to appreciate having time apart without guilt..
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    Fred would slip every once in a while and do this sort of thing with Travis. And I'd rip him a new one every time.

    Over the years I found out that father in law actually did favor Fred's older brother over him. Bro could do no wrong, while Fred could do nothing right. Fred had told me this, but this is often a misconception within families and it isn't always true........so I refused to judge until I had enough evidence. This came from mother in law who explained it made her furious that father in law did this too.......most especially because his Dad did it with him and his older bro as well. Sometimes it's a case of cruddy parenting carried on to the next generation.

    Until I called Fred on it, he didn't realize he did it. Then, he'd deny he did it as often as I said. So I called him out every single time. It shocked him how much he actually did do it. He was actually just venting off his frustration, didn't really mean that he thought Travis was a scr*w up. Then all I had to do was tell Fred he was acting like his own dad and he'd stop cold every time.
  6. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    New day, sun did rise like I told difficult child. Not that he feels like that. But this was the first time he ended up to blunder reel on national television. And it did cost his team a game, and many fans of the team are totally p****ed off with him. For him it probably cost lots of playing time and ending up to bench for some time. Maybe even a stint to juniors or minors and that will be hard for his ego. Then again, they would not do that to him to be mean but to help him gain his confidence back. He got totally owned and out smarted by a veteran (who has done same move before and owned rookies with it) and difficult child is paying high price for it. But it is price he needs to pay and learn from it. If he does, it just makes him stronger. If he plans to carry on with his sport, this will not be a last time he will be the total anti-hero of the game. And there will be much bigger games he will screw up and take a blame of loosing. That is sport. But he has also every right to be upset. It is tough. I know I would be totally upset if I would make a mistake that big in my work and it certainly would not end up on telly or headlines. But yeah, he will live and learn.

    But even after sleeping on it, I don't get what is going on with husband. We haven't talked again after last night. I did text him when he didn't come back to ask if he is okay. He told he would spend a night on in-laws. He had something he had to be on this morning and he had been home changing clothes while I was running with the dogs. We will have to talk later.

    I did something I have really never done before. We have always had a deal we would back each other up with kids. Even if we think other one is wrong, we talk it with between us and then decide how to handle it. But I did feel he was so out of a line yesterday with difficult child that I simply couldn't back him up. So when difficult child called again this morning I did told him husband had no right to criticize difficult child's sport performance like that. And if we have spent a lot of money for difficult child's sport, it is certainly not difficult child's fault but our decision. He doesn't need to feel guilty for letting us down in this. I also told him that I don't know what has made husband so stressed out, but that difficult child shouldn't feel too bad about what husband said, that I'm sure he didn't mean to be so nasty but was just venting in bad time and that I'm sure they can work it out.

    husband may be upset for me doing that but there is a line I won't let him to cross and still back him up and this was over that line. As I said, it is not our job to criticize our sons sport performances. They get critique elsewhere, our job is to support them when they are down. Only thing we could criticize would be lack of effort. And even that preferably when they are doing well. And this was not about lack of effort but reading the game wrong, making a mistake in the blink of an eye and getting outsmarted. And it wasn't like difficult child would had been calling husband to ask opinion or even to ask to be consoled. husband called him and simply started to ream him out. And that I really don't get.

    But even if you forget the last night, I don't still really get husband's frustration with difficult child. I could understand it, if it would be about difficult child needing to man up. But in fact difficult child has been doing just that. It is bumpy at times, but he has been maturing and manning up and I don't really know what else husband wants from him. difficult child lives on his own. Has a job that pays his bills, other than therapy we are not paying anything for him (and if the public funding or difficult child's insurance comes through, we will not be paying that either, we will find out soon.) Graduates from school soon in planned schedule. Yes, difficult child can be a PITA, has tendency of creating drama (it's only two weeks we spend a night awake worrying because he got lost in woods etc.) and you never know with him. But all things considered difficult child is doing well, working hard and making progress.

    I was also thinking if this was about money. husband has talked about it concerning difficult child a lot lately, but I don't really get it. We are in good financial position to be frank. We have no debt or mortgage. We own our house, summer cottage and boat. We have other property and long term investments. We make a comfortable living. husband career has been going well and he has not at least talked about any concerns. And even if he would lost his job, we have good unemployment benefits (we would only start to really hurt after year and half of unemployment) and he is well connected to get a new job. And if needed, we could get by with my income alone. And if we wouldn't want to modify our lifestyle to go with my income we could liquidate our long term investments. Okay, they are mostly inheritances and we would like to pass them on to next generation, but it could be done, if needed. So it can not be money per se.

    When it comes to favouritism, it's quite clear easy child has always been husband's favourite. I don't know how much it is about background factors and how much it is about their personalities. I have not been happy about it, but I do take part of the blame. Those background factors are solely on me. And husband has tried to be fair in the past. I don't really know if father in law has played favourites in husband's childhood, no one has at least said so. mother in law did play favourites and still does, but husband is that favoured one.

    I'm just very confused right now on what is going on.
  7. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hi SuZir
    My intuition - for what it's worth, take it or leave it - on reading your initial post was that this is nothing to do with difficult child but everything to do with husband. Stating things very baldly, he perhaps does love and respect difficult child somewhat less than easy child and because of this he is allowing himself to vent stress and irritation on difficult child. But it is really about husband's stress and irritation. Is he okay? Does he have things going on for him at the moment?
    Like I say... just a feeling. Might be quite wrong!
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Gosh, I'm so sorry to hear all of that, and I hope that your difficult child is recovering and realizing that life does go on.

    It's a shame when parents end up in a situation like that. I can't think of a single couple who hasn't been there done that.

    I, too, am wondering what is going on with-your husband. I would sit down alone with-him and hash it out.

    Fingers crossed ...
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I had to think about this a bit, because my husband isn't in that category. But I know others who are/were.

    One possibility is that your husband may be like some Dads I know, who cannot handle their son(s) excelling beyond the Dad's success. Perhaps as long as difficult child was really struggling, he wasn't a "threat". Now that difficult child is turning around, husband doesn't want to continue to be part of the success, or he'll get left behind?

    In which case ... how do you fix husband? (now, that question I don't have an answer for)
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Suzir, I believe I remember a post you wrote something about the issue of difficult child not being husband's bioson. If this wasnt you then forgive me. If I am right, then I am gonna bet this is the issue. Now that your easy child is in the sport program I am betting he wants to compare the two and easy child really doesnt quite meet up to difficult child so husband wants difficult child to fail. Not pleasant.

    Even though I have 3 boys, only 2 of them are Tony's. He does treat my oldest as his own but there was competition. Actually the biggest competition was between Tony's two bio kids. Which was the favored boy and Cory was completely left behind most of his life because of his issues. Things came way too easy for Jamie and he has taken advantage of being the golden boy. Cory has worked his entire life to be like his father and I have struggled and cried trying to get Tony to see that Cory is practically turning back flips to show his dad he wants to be exactly like him. I almost cried the other day when I heard him tell someone that he was proud of him.
  11. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have a different take on this and may be all wrong, but could it be that your husband felt your son's mistake was a reflection on him (husband)? I have seen a lot of kids in highly competitive sports and the parents are far worse than the teammates or fans when they make a mistake. For some reason the parent loses sight of the fact that this is not a reflection on them, it is an honest error and nobody wants to make an error on purpose let alone have everyone see it. It becomes a question of whose dream is this, the child's or the parent's.

  12. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    You have given me much to think about. I'm still confused what is going on and talking with husband has not much clarified things. He does admit he was out of line on yelling to difficult child about a mistake in game, but he doesn't acknowledge being short with difficult child otherwise. And he says nothing is wrong, he was just in the bad mood on Friday because he had to make a difficult decision at work (he had to let a long time subordinate go because of continuing personal problems.) Okay, I get that, but it doesn't explain the continuing trend of being very critical with difficult child. Neither does is explain the very half-a**ed apology he made for difficult child; he sent a text where he said he maybe shouldn't had yelled for him about mistakes at sport. Well that is between them, but I have to say he would never accept that kind of apology from difficult child in return.

    Nancy: I thought what you said, but I have to say husband has never really been that kind of sport parent, and even less so with difficult child. He is much more involved with easy child's sport career but even with him he has always hated when parents do that. Of course our sons have not been in this kind of spotlight before. But still point of view most people have to this blunder from difficult child is to contrast experience and young talent and how this veteran (over twice difficult child's age) gave a kid a great lesson and how difficult child will likely never make a same mistake again. So while difficult child is upset and so were some of the less experienced fans of his team, most people do see it as an unavoidable rookie mistake. Nothing to be ashamed of for husband, even if he would take difficult child's performance as a reflection of himself.

    IC and Janet, you gave me really a lot to think of. Maybe problem is not difficult child screwing up but him succeeding. You remember correctly Janet, difficult child is not a biological son of my husband and he is not that in the worst possible way (me cheating on him.) Our sons have always been polar opposites in some ways. difficult child has always been in trouble, always something wrong with him and easy child has always been the 'perfect' child, real golden boy who seems to excel in everything. And of course easy child is my husband's flesh and blood, difficult child genes come from somewhere else. Maybe that has made it easier for husband to handle the situation of me cheating and him having to raise an other man's son as his own. It was very difficult decision for him to stick with us when find out difficult child is not his and he has handled it with much grace, but I do get that it can not be easy for him. Maybe easy child being so much 'better' child has made it easier. And now that difficult child being a 'flashier' talent is coming more and more evident and he is getting a grip also otherwise that situation is changing. easy child is not the undeniable star of the family any more. And if husband is having that kind of feelings, he is likely feeling crabby because of it. He is a good guy, he would not like to feel that way. He really is committed to being a good dad, so feeling something like that would make him angry with himself and that could easily end up to come out as an anger towards difficult child.

    I think it is better if I let things calm down, because husband really denies being harsher with difficult child in general lately and I don't think it helps any if I insist. Maybe better let him calm down some time and try to approach this trend again after that in some other way. And of course I have to accept that husband's and difficult child's relationship is between them, I'm not a party in that and it is up to them to handle it. I'm sure me nagging about husband being unfair with difficult child would not help at all but make it worse. Of course keeping my mouth shut (and not rolling my eyes either) will be a challenge...
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2012
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh trust me I know how hard it is to not be the one in the middle between fathers and sons. I get caught in the middle a ton. Tony and I have fought a ton over this.
  14. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Yeah, it is difficult not to intervene. Especially when it feels that husband shows more understanding and sympathy to total strangers or acquaintances than to our own kid. It's just not like him at all.
  15. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    One more thing that really hoovers in this situation is, that I have to mince my words around husband. In fact I decided not to talk about difficult child with him at all. And in the same time difficult child is having hard time and worrywart that I'm, I can't help but think all the more negative scenarios with difficult child. difficult child's team schedule was worst possible from difficult child's point of view after his blunder. There are ways these kind of things are usually handled to help the player get over it and gain back confidence, but because of the schedule they couldn't do that. Neither can they do the second best option. They are simply stuck with the worst possible way to handle it and difficult child simply has to rise to the challenge or this could end up much bigger issue for him and his season.

    Of course it is only sport, but try to explain that to dramaqueenish teen boy who has dreamed about sport career since he was two or three and who could easily consider this situation like he would be screwing it all up (he isn't, it just a bump but if he wants to make it he has to learn to handle these bumps.) So I do worry that he could slide back to very maladaptive coping mechanisms. I bet that right now he would give anything for being able to not think last Friday and unfortunately gambling gave him just that. If he gets through this, it again makes him much stronger, but I fear that this could easily turn out to be a too difficult challenge for him in this point and that he could screw up. And that would of course start another ballgame all together. He has been doing well and spiral down is the last thing he needs, but I can't help but see also that a very realistic possibility right now. And I can't do anything for that. And now I can't even share my worries with husband. And that kind of hoovers.
  16. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    SuZir... I do hope my words don't sound cavalier or patronising but... this too shall pass. You sound like me, as if you get a bit over-anxious sometimes, over-focused on difficult situations.
    difficult child will get through this on his own and I guess you cannot control it or shield him from all harm or difficulty. It honours you that you want to try. But, you know... let go and let God. :)
  17. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Suz...I always want to make it better and in fact, the more Cory tries, the more we have attempted to help him out of some problem situations.

    For example, a couple of weeks ago his truck broke down and he couldnt get the 5 miles to wear his ride picks him up. Now in years gone by we would have just blinked and said "let Mandy take you." But that entails waking Mandy up, getting the baby up and all that at 4 am. Yes I know...Tony and I did it for years when we were young and had no one to help us but sometimes I am a sucker. Well Cory has been doing very well lately and after Tony fired him he immediately got another job that is really good and his boss loves him and even has put him in charge of running a crew. Tony obviously taught him very well and Cory brags to everyone about how he wouldnt be where he is today if his daddy hadnt taught him so well.

    Anyway, when Cory's truck broke down he called over here and asked Tony if he could us our truck just for 4 days a week to drive the 5 miles each way to get to his ride. Now this is something we really dont like to do because Cory has no license and my truck is an heirloom from my dad. Its not just any old truck. We got it when my dad died. Cory swore on his grandfathers grave he would be careful and nothing would happen to it.

    Then came the call last Thursday. They had a slight accident with the truck! I was about to freak until I found out what happened. Mandy backed into it with her car while it was parked in their yard. She broke the blinker light. Nothing major. Cory is gonna buy the new light.

    But boy was Cory ticked off! He told her point blank that she had just cost him the chance of EVER using that truck again because of what she had done and from now on SHE would be getting up to take him to work....lol. My gosh I think the boy has learned a thing or two from all our talks. It wasnt our fault we were going to refuse him again...it was hers. He also made HER come over here to tell Tony what had happened...lmao. I think my baby is growing up. About time, he has kids he has to make responsible himself...lol.
  18. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Malika, I'm self-confessed neurotic worrywart, so certainly no offence taken pointing that out ;)

    You are very much right. This too shall pass. difficult child's sport situation probably more quickly than not and husband's and difficult child's relationship... Well, they do love each other, they will work it out someday. And I often end up underestimating difficult child's resilience and share guts, I hope he will again show me wrong.

    And in the end of day: There is absolutely nothing I can do, that I'm not doing already. I did tell him all those mommyisms when he needed to hear them, I did listen him vent of his dad's attitude and yesterday I made up something I needed to discuss and plan with him and called and tried to get him think non-sport things little bit into the future. Just trying to get his thoughts out of his current jam and to totally different things and remind him at the same time that there will be next week, next month, next year etc. And he is gaining back some sense of humour. When I called him yesterday, first thing he said was to ask me not to give him a pep talk. Apparently his every former coach and instructor, junior national team coaches, few players playing same position he plays, one of the owners of his team, one of his biggest childhood idols and some other more random people have felt the need to either call him and give a pep talk, or send an email or private Twitter or Facebook message or SMS to cheer him up. He says he has a serious pep talk overdose going on. So I was happy to tell him that I didn't have any pep talks for him but instead needed his help with a present for his aunt and to know if his and girlfriend's puppy that they will get in few weeks needs a crate for car, because a friend of mine is selling her old one that would be right size for their puppy.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
  19. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I absolutely hate this. difficult child came home for few days (he was sent to minors, we live near the minors team) and it has been horribly awkward.

    difficult child is a mess. Being sent down is a blow to ego, but that he seems to be handling. But he is very anxious that he will screw up again and not get his act together as his coaches expect. He isn't really being obnoxious, like he usually would with that kind of feelings but sulking and being very touchy and whiny on random matters. And very, very tightly wound. But still, sulking teen I can handle, I have plenty of experience on that. (I wouldn't mind some board juju for him doing well in his next games, he could really use a positive spin in sport, that would help also out of the field.)

    It is a sulking husband I have trouble with. He doesn't talk to difficult child, he doesn't even look at him. However he is eye-rolling, sighing, making mouth noises and other non verbal communication in the way that makes me unsure which one of them was a teen boy and which one was supposed to be an adult... Luckily difficult child will be at home only few days and will then be back to his own home. But of course just having some distance doesn't really solve anything, just keeps thing manageable.

    But yeah, now it is very clear there is something going on with husband and it probably has very little to do with difficult child. He just happens to be a perfect scapegoat. This just isn't like husband at all. Unfortunately husband doesn't seem willing to talk with me about what really is wrong with him.
  20. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Sending lots of juju difficult child's way for sure. Lots of pressure for one so young. Is the move something where he can earn his way back up ? Is that a pretty common response to a situation like this?
    It does sound like husband has issues to work through but I have to back you up on drawing a line. I agree that adults should be consistent and a team but not in cases of abuse and while this may not meet that definition it came close.
    Since it was such a public error would anyone have given husband a hard time?
    In your first post I thought about how when there is any crisis in my life I tend to do a fair job and make ok decisions but when things cool off thats when I fall apart and for example my son might really do a terrible job unloading the dishwasher with no sorting the silverware at all (yeah ...huge life altering mistake, right ) that is when I get super frustrated and it is out of proportion to the situation.
    Not sure that makes sense ..esp since your issues are certainly much bigger but it seems husband stood up and really committed to being difficult child's dad, stepped up during crisis times and now on an issue that has not much to do with the deep family issues or.his parenting, he cut loose. Of course the truth is probably that there were a number of issues and he made a bad call just like difficult child did! His was personal though and he has to do better in order to grow as a dad. We all have that job responsibility in parenting I suppose. You did the right thing stopping the phone call and trying to reassure your son.
    I hope time will help and you will be able to talk this through.
    Hugs to you mommy, it is a heart work out for sure!