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?