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Old 05-26-2005, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a problem that I have no idea how to deal with and thought I’d ask for input and suggestions here.
So here’s what happened recently. My DH was doing yard work and had allowed my daughters (ages almost 6 & 8) to play in the hose while he worked. I’m not sure of exactly what happened because I was inside with our newborn, but according to both girls accounts, 8yo was annoying 6yo in some way (trying to get her to play with her?) because 6yo was in a mood to play alone and not share. They had a tiny little pool that was apparently the center of the issue. 6yo wanted to get in it alone…8yo wanted to stay in and have 6yo join her. That’s the basic gist I got from both after the fact. So their stories line up pretty much
.
So my main issue is this. I was in the house as I said, and I just happened to look out the window to check on everyone and I was apparently just in time to see 8yo sitting in the little pool with DH standing over her, obviously scolding her. Now I don’t necessarily have a problem with him disciplining the girls if done with decency, but the look on his face and his body language were so threatening and cruel looking. He just had this “I hate you, you’re an idiot, I can’t believe you” look on his face. A totally disgusted look. Now I couldn’t hear anything he said, but I could make out the tone of voice and it was definitely not an “I love you speech”. My daughter was sitting in this little pool with her head all hung down and it just killed me to see that and I also hated that I couldn’t hear what he was saying because I knew I wouldn’t have a good enough idea of what had happened to really confront him correctly.
I immediately went out and told the girls it was time to come in and get cleaned up. As soon as they came in, I asked what had just happened and they told me the deal with 6yo not being in a sharing mood, etc. Then I asked 8yo what DH had said to her and all she said was “He said “Damn me”..I said “damn me?” she said “yes, but he always says it quiet and thinks I don’t hear him or so no one else can here..I dunno” Then I got it and asked her if he’d actually said “damn you” …she said yes.
Now I know there was more said, because I saw him talking down to her for much longer than that, but that’s all I could get out of her, she didn’t want to talk about it anymore.
I was furious that he would say “damn you “ to my daughter but was pretty sure he’d deny it or even worse, not see why I was so mad about it when I “wasn’t there to see what had happened”…which I wasn’t and all I have to go on is what the girls said happened, obviously not the whole story.

So this happened 4 days ago and I’m still quietly, internally seething about it. I haven’t said a word to him yet and as far as he knows, we’re just hunky dory right now…but I can’t get the image of my daughter with her head hung down and him looming over her with that look and imagining those words being said to my little girl. I guess the worst part is that I know this is not the first time this kind of thing has happened. He once told her she was “so annoying” and has said many other similar things to her.
When we first had our son together, we were shopping and I’d bought the girls mini burgers and 8yo is totally in love with her new little brother and leaned over his stroller to coo at him and DH said in that very disgusted voice “Damnit Hannah, keep your crumbs off the baby”…like a few crumbs were going to hurt him even if that DID happen, but she wasn’t even dropping crumbs when he felt the need to say that.

We have ongoing issues with how he relates to her. He thinks she’s in need of more discipline and I think she’s a very good kid who will naturally outgrow some of her more annoying phases. She’s the most loving kid in the world, which also means she’s somewhat clingy at times and being 6 & 8…neither of them do many things without having to be told more than once…but the youngest is FAR worse about most things and it doesn’t make him nearly as angry as when the oldest does it. I’ve tried talking, fighting, reasoning, common sense, suggesting reverse thinking (what if it was his kid being spoken to that way), etc…all to no avail. I think he totally resents her and the fact that I had kids with another man before him, in general) and she gets the brunt of his resentment. But he won’t even consider that to be the case. He says it’s all because of things they do (read…SHE does).
There’s so many more examples I could give, but I guess for now, I’d just like to know how you’d deal with the one “damn you” issue, knowing that you didn’t have all the facts going in.

Also, to get a bigger picture, I’ll say here (like I've said before) that when the girls aren’t around, DH is the most loving man in the world towards me. Romantic, sensitive, thoughtful, etc. But that ends with me and our new son basically.

Any thoughts or suggestions?
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Old 05-26-2005, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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ohmy gosh...I just looked back and saw how LONG that was.

So sorry..and thanks to anyone that takes the time to get all the way thru it.
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Old 05-26-2005, 02:38 PM
 
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Wow.

The way he's treating your dds is unacceptable IMO and its your job to stand up for them and for them to know you are and will stand up for them. And the fact that you are sure he will deny his behaviour or his "damn you" statement raises a red flag to me. Sounds like there are some additional trust and communication issues.

I'm a single mom and I hope to marry someday, but I would never, ever, ever tolerate anyone talking to my little girl like that... I don't care how "loving and sensitive" he is to you and the son you have together. That has nothing to do with him cursing at and belittling your girls.

I hope you are able to work it out somehow. Little kids, big kids, teens and adults all have habits and characterisitcs that can be annoying to some. Banking on your girls "growing out of" occassionally being annoying is not the solution.

I would just ask you to consider the message you are sending to your girls that here you are... four days later having said nothing and allowing your husband to feel that things are "honkey dorey" when he has CURSED at your child.
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Old 05-26-2005, 02:49 PM
 
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Well, dh and I have both got frustrated sometimes and lost it with one of the kids, and said things or used a tone of voice of which we're not proud.

ON the other hand...

(1) The other person can step in and say "whoa, you're pretty over the top right now," and take over. And the one who loses it apologizes after.

(2) I as a stepmother cannot imagine treating my stepdaughters differently from my biological daughter in terms of discipline. We're a family (well, leaving aside access issues) and I have never and would never make the kind of distinctions your husband is. The issues around you having had children with another man - he just needs to get over it and not put his issues on this poor girl.
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Old 05-26-2005, 02:59 PM
 
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I know when my dp parents my sons from another sometimes I react in a defensive way, like how dare he! I know this is due to my protectiveness of my boys and the fact that it was just us and now I have this other person 'stepping' on my toes, but, he always does it respectfully and often has more patience then me. I just have to seperate how I feel about his parenting (and this involves my ego) and how he is actually parenting. Sometimes I even feel favoritism is in play and again I have to question is this reality or am I being overly sensitive. In your case I do not feel swearing is an acceptable (though I admit I have been known to do it under my breath on those REALLY stressful days). Approach your partner about how you feel, holding it in just leads to resentment and furthur poor parenting choices on his part. Sometimes an awarness is all that is needed for change.

Nursing student, (LAST SEMESTER!!!)Cloth diapering, cosleeping, breastfeeding mama to 4!!!
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Old 05-26-2005, 03:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shonahsmom
I would just ask you to consider the message you are sending to your girls that here you are... four days later having said nothing and allowing your husband to feel that things are "honkey dorey" when he has CURSED at your child.
You definitely hit a bullseye there. I think part of the reason it's bothering me so much (other than the fact that it happened obviously) is that I didn't say anything about it right then. I feel like total crap about that. I feel like it was totally selfish and cowardly of me not to stand up for my daughter in favor of having a day without another fight that would surely have ended without a resolution (they always end that way...he thinks he's right, I think I'm right, everything stays the same and eventually we just drift back into an amicable state until another issue comes up).
I also know that this kind of thing has happened before and even when I do say something....he has an excuse or says "I didn't say it like that" or mean it like that...or whatever. But I SAW his face and even if he didn't say those actual words (which I do believe he did) I'd still be angry because I DID see the look on his face and the head shaking (like "I can't believe how stupid you are" and the rest of the body language.

So yes, I feel absolutely horrible about not having said something, which is I guess one of the reasons I came here to get opinions. And I do appreciate them all.
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Old 05-26-2005, 06:12 PM
 
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Julie,

This is a very difficult situation for you to be in. Give yourself a bit of a break and know that you are doing the best you can. While you may feel bad that you didn't address the issue with him right away, my bet is that you've "addressed" so many issues with him that you didn't feel he was ready to hear any more.

At some pt. you need to sit down with him and discuss just how important this all is to you. Does he even have a clue that you are thinking about leaving him once his immigration goes through b/c of his treatment of the girls? I would try and sit him down, have a long heart to heart again with complete honesty. Try phrasing the issues in terms of I know how much you love our son, and I wouldn't want to do anything to jeopardize it. Tell him how you think he treats the girls in a manner that you don't think he'll treat your son togehter and that if he thinks that is an apporopraitae manner to treat your son, then you feel you have an even greater reason for concern. Etc.

Have you gone through your vision for your kids and how you would like them raised and why? If so, it might bare repeating, if not, now is a good time.

I would definately discuss the incident and let him know that even though your daughter knows he didn't want her to hear him that she still can, etc.

Is there any sort of fun activities they can do together that will cultivate mutual interest and respect?

Best wishes!!
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