My dh and I have been having problems seeing eye to eye since my first child was born 7 + years ago. We have been seeing a marriage counselor who thinks that he needs to address the roots of his anger and get rid of it. He is mostly in denial. He has about a 10 minute frustration-with-kids threshold then uses threats, raising his voice, physically restraining or moving the children (7 and 4), controlling through being angry or manipulating by withdrawing his love/affection. This is his daily MO.
Last night my son and daughter were trying to wrestle with him before bed. My daughter encouraging my son to climb on Dad's head. I heard my DH losing his patience after about 2 minutes as I brushed my teeth. Next I know my daughter is yelling and crying because DH (180 lbs) sat on her (40 lbs), covered her nose and mouth with his hand to make her stop calling her brother. When she panicked (she said, started getting scared), he took his hand off and put a pillow on her face, she said she turned to get a breath of air and he mashed the pillow over the opening.
I walked in then, she was up and ran to me telling me what happened. I tried to keep things light and say, "You can see she didn't like that and that scared her, right Dad?" He said, "I can see that SHE wants YOU to think that."
We went into the bathroom, DH started to read a book to my son. While my DD was telling me what happened, DH started reading the book in a really loud voice to drown her out (?). We went back into the room, and I said, I think Emma would like it if you said you were sorry for scaring her. He just ignored me. Then, my DD tried to get his affection and listen to the book he was reading and he kept pushing her away. I asked why he was so angry and he said he wasn't.
This physical stuff is usually mild although counter to my parenting philosophy---picking up a child and moving them or physically restraining them when they aren't doing what you want them to do.
He once threw and broke a toy shopping cart. But, he usually holds it together and just fumes. We know he's mad but he doesn't do anything but withdraw, have a sour face, and be cold. I am growing impervious, because I don't seek his approval anymore, but I don't know how to help my kids.
The best I have been able to come up with is to stay married so that I can be a mediator as much as I can. Shared custody would necessitate that they be alone for greater periods of time than they are now. This is obviously not an ideal solution and I feel like I am showing my kids that this is acceptable behavior...
I am a completely peaceful, Ghandi-loving, vegan-leaning, Buddhism-exploring person. Am I being too sensitive as is suggested by DH?
P.S. No one else on Earth would believe this. He's funny, charming, friendly and playful with other people and kids. And, half the time with my kids.
Please send me your thoughts.
Edited by eko_mom - 6/15/13 at 8:54am