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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, DH has abusive tendencies when confronted about virtually anything. He is emotionally abusive to ds1. I am looking toward leaving him, but that's going to take a while. In the meantime, I need some help. I want to make sure I do everything on my end right. This includes any time I must confront him about something. I want to be sure I do it right - it will give me more confidence knowing that what I'm doing is right before getting into a confrontation with dh.

So, I would really, really love it if you could provide me with examples of healthy and sensitive ways I 'should' be able to safely confront dh about this issue.

Here's the latest situation. DH coaches ds1's baseball team. Ds1 (age 10) is the star player - he's their best batter, catcher and pitcher. Dh decided to coach this year because last year's coach was too gruff, too serious, and he yelled too much. Well, dh is now all of those things, in my mind. The team loses almost all of their games. The parents of one child removed him from the team citing that the coaching suggests that the children should all be aiming for the major leagues and it was too stressful for their child, not fun anymore.

dh is particularly hard on ds1. Ds1 was late leaving for school this morning because he broke down crying telling me about all the stress he's going through because of dh's coaching. Dh told him after yesterday's game that if he pitched better the team would win - that's a fact, he said. Dh told him that if ds really wants to win, then he needs to pitch better. Ds said that after yesterday's game, dh was talking to the other team's coach with ds right beside him and said to the other coach, "Yeah, our first couple of pitchers (incl. ds1) were horrible. No offence, ds1, but you were brutal!" Ds1 said that everytime he looks at his dad when he's pitching, dh has the scariest, meanest look on his face and it scares him. Yesterday he yelled at ds when he was catcher and missed a catch, "Get the freakin' ball in the glove!"

One boy was late (his mom is so busy and is single with no help) and forgot his cup so he couldn't play catcher. Ds said that dh yelled at him two times and benched him and ds said that the boy looked really sad and scared. When another boy stole home base but got out, dh apparently really yelled at him too. This was just one game.

So ds1 said to me that now he hates baseball, and he fears the next game and if dh says he has to pitch he will just refuse (he could never really refuse dh, though). He said he is so scared. He said that dh "is just always negative, he never tells me I did anything good". Ds said that the coach last year was way better. He said he is embarrassed by his dad. He said that if dh were positive he knows they would play a lot better. And he just cried and cried.

When dh tells me about the games he gets really worked up but he downplays his reactions. i've been to enough games to know that ds1's interpretations are accurate.

So, ds1 begged me to talk to dh before Tuesday's game. How do I do this? I don't want to bring ds into it too much because I don't want to put him in a bad situation vis a vis dh. Dh will turn everything I say around, but I want to be sure that I'm persistent and that I don't just accept his twist of reality. How can I do that without using ds's examples? I can't go to the game on Tuesday, but I will go on the upcoming weekend. Do I have to wait until I witness some things so I can provide my own examples? I don't really remember specific examples from games that i've been to. I also don't want it to seem like we're talking about dh behind his back.

If you had to confront your partner about something like this, how would you start? "Since the team hasn't been doing so well, maybe it's not worth worrying about anymore. Might as well just focus on them having a good time. What do you think?"

Or, "I've noticed that Ds seems really anxious about baseball these days. I wonder if it would help if there was some way to relieve some of the stress he feels when he has to pitch."

These don't seem direct enough. Should I be more straight up? That's scary, but if I have to do it for ds's sake then I will. How about: "I'm feeling a lot of stress over baseball lately. When I'm at games, too, I feel a fair amount of negative tension and I'm worried taht the kids aren't having fun anymore. I wonder if it's getting more serious than it should be."

Thanks so much for any suggestions! I need to have this talk tonight, so the sooner the better. THANK YOU for everything!!!! xo
 

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I like your last "I" statement. DP and I are in counseling and anytime we have a problem with the other person we have to use an "I" statement about our feelings. Usually whenever someone hears a "you" statement they automatically get defensive. I know how hard it is to bring anything up with someone who automatically gets defensive, deflective etc.

Is there a way to vote him out of the coaching position? If he's making your DS feel this way, he must be making other kids feel this way too.

People respond more to positive re-enforcment then negitave. Your husband is doing nothing but damage for this kids. I remember when I was in high school I tried out for a play. I didn't get it and the teacher told me that I wasn't good enough, blah, blah, blah.. I never tried out for another play again even though its something I love. Everytime I go to audition I get those feelings of being worthless and not good enough. People will always remember how you make them feel. Anway, that really doesn't help you, but KWIM?

I would say start with the "I" statement, stay calm and if it starts to get heated call a time out and end it.
 

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I can tell you what I would say to my husband. I don't know what you "should" do.

We both come from abusive backgrounds. We actively want better for our kids. My husband got really angry when the kids were screaming in his ears and he screamed, "so they could find out how it feels." I can't find the head smack smiley. I told him that I take her to the playground so she can learn how to deal with @$$h0!3 children. She should not learn such lessons from her parents. Do you want her to remember someone who was a towering terrifying giant who loomed over her and screamed until her ears hurt? Really?

I ask my husband if he will feel pride when he remembers this behavior in twenty years. When our children are adults, will they want to know us? How do we treat them? What words do we use? Why in the heck should they want a relationship with us?

Given the overall patterns of stuff you post about I couldn't live with such behavior any more. In talking to him don't tell him he is an abuser. Tell him he is a bully. He makes them feel smaller and weaker and that is sad. He should want them to feel awesome because they are better than they were a year ago. They shouldn't feel bad that they aren't where they could be in ten years. That is not a way to live a good life.

I'm really pushy though. I'm very ok with confrontation.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rightkindofme View Post

I ask my husband if he will feel pride when he remembers this behavior in twenty years. When our children are adults, will they want to know us? How do we treat them? What words do we use? Why in the heck should they want a relationship with us?
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This is exactly what I say to my dh. What kind of relationship do you want with our children 20 years from now? THAT is the kind of relationship you have to start working on right now.
 

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I say stuff like that to my DP. I'm not afriad of her though. We are just not getting to the point where we can talk through a conversation like that without yelling and fighting. Shes never retaliated physically. She loves me and the kids though. She wants to get better, she wants us to be happy and she realizes she (we) need work and were working on it together.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgreen View Post

You guys seriously say that to your partner, just like that? Do they listen? Do they retaliate?
Yes, I said that to dh, just like that. Initially, dh didn't like me saying that. "Oh, we'll have a great relationship anyway............" etc.
But his behavior changed. Not overnight, but it did change. So I can tell that what I said sunk in. And I stood up for my ds a lot (dh conflicted with ds more than dd). So dh was never a "bad" parent; he just wasn't parenting optimally.

For example, dh was a "eat everything on your plate" kind of parent. Ds would get to the point of tears because he was full and didn't want to eat what was still on his plate. Dh's plan was to make him sit there. I'd ask ds if he was full and then excuse him from the table. Dh would say, "you shouldn't contradict me in front of the children." I would say, "Bull crap. If I think what you are doing is wrong, I'm going to tell you." By me (calmly) fighting dh, ds could see that I was in his corner and had his back, so to speak. That made a huge difference to ds. And dh has turned into a much better parent.
 

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So, I don't know your dh or exactly how you should approach him. But if my dh were acting that way, I'd say:

"I appreciate you coaching ds, but you're turning into a real hardass. You're scaring ds and the other players. You're not making it fun anymore. You really need to lay off the yelling and remember why you started doing this in the first place."
 

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Quote:
In the meantime, I need some help. I want to make sure I do everything on my end right. This includes any time I must confront him about something. I want to be sure I do it right - it will give me more confidence knowing that what I'm doing is right before getting into a confrontation with dh.

So, I would really, really love it if you could provide me with examples of healthy and sensitive ways I 'should' be able to safely confront dh about this issue.
It seems to me you are asking two questions -- one is how you might go about approaching your abusive husband in the way most likely to result in change. The other is what would be ok to say in a normal relationship -- what would be you "doing it right". I can't answer the first question. But with respect to the other, if my husband was acting in the way you describe I would feel no obligation to mince words. I'd sit him down in private and say "You are getting too serious and being an asshole when you coach the kids.". I wouldn't yell at him, or shame him, I'd just say it straight out. He'd get upset, of course, but I would tell him exactly how upset our kid was, and how it made him feel, and then my husband would go away and think about it.

Now OF COURSE you should not do this. It would not be safe for you you to do this. But I think it is important for you to know that people in normal relationships should be able to speak frankly with their spouses.

In case you think this is entirely theoretical, here are some things my husband and I have said to each other recently, without losing tempers or raising our voices. "Stop interrupting me in front of (our daughter), you are teaching her that it is ok to be rude to me." "It's not ok to use that tone with me." "You are just being an asshole now, stop it."
 

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If my partner retaliated I would leave. I put my partner on a pedestal because he tolerates a lot of excessively abrasive treatment from me he shouldn't. He knows that it is very hard for me to say things in a "nice" way and he would rather I say them than not say them. I pick my timing carefully and I don't criticize him in front of the kids other than to say, "It sounds like you need to tap out." These conversations happen late at night and I'm usually crying when I say this stuff. It's hard to criticize him but I believe that our kids are important enough to do stuff that is hard.

We have a long history of therapeutic type work together. I don't know that my advice is relavent to you. :-\ My partner is not abusive. I'm not afraid of him doing anything bad. The screaming stuff with the kids is by far the meanest thing I have seen him do since before we were married. Once he slammed his palm against a wall many feet away from me during an argument. He doesn't even raise his voice to me. So yeah, I'm not afraid to say anything that goes through my head.

I don't think I could live with someone if I had to be very careful about what I said. :(
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by voca View Post

Now OF COURSE you should not do this. It would not be safe for you you to do this. But I think it is important for you to know that people in normal relationships should be able to speak frankly with their spouses.
OP are you afraid of your dh, physically? Otherwise I don't see why you wouldn't be frank with him, even if he gets upset about that frankness.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I did it. A&A, I'm only somewhat physically scared of him but mostly I'm scared of the escalation and the crazy making and doubting.

I started off by saying that I've noticed that baseball seems to be getting really tense and stressful. He rolled his eyes and waved his hand to dismiss me. He said baseball is fine. He said I'm too sensitive. I said I worry that the kids aren't having fun anymore. He told me I worry about every stupid little thing. Then he said, "is this your subtle way of telling me you don't like the way I coach? Because I don't see you out there coaching. You acuse me all the time for ds' problems. But I'm the one who does all these things for him (ie. coaching)." he said that if ds seems unhappy then its just because his team sucks. Then he asked what ds told me about bball. I said nothing (I knew he would go after ds if I told him anything). He then told me that Im making it up, that I'm too sensitive and thinking I'm sensing tension but really I'm just making problems where there are none like I always do. then he gave me the angry, tight-lipped look and silent treatment.

Eta: he also said at one point, I really hate all your negativity. It's how you bring these thing up, he said. So I asked how he would like me to raise these issues. He said "just don't. "

I know I'm gonna get an earful either when he comes to bed or tomorrow. What do I tell ds? That I suck? That's how I feel. Like I suck and I've let him down, like I always do.
greensad.gif
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgreen View Post

I did it. A&A, I'm only somewhat physically scared of him but mostly I'm scared of the escalation and the crazy making and doubting.
I started off by saying that I've noticed that baseball seems to be getting really tense and stressful. He rolled his eyes and waved his hand to dismiss me. He said baseball is fine. He said I'm too sensitive. I said I worry that the kids aren't having fun anymore. He told me I worry about every stupid little thing. Then he said, "is this your subtle way of telling me you don't like the way I coach? Because I don't see you out there coaching. You acuse me all the time for ds' problems. But I'm the one who does all these things for him (ie. coaching)." he said that if ds seems unhappy then its just because his team sucks. Then he asked what ds told me about bball. I said nothing (I knew he would go after ds if I told him anything). He then told me that Im making it up, that I'm too sensitive and thinking I'm sensing tension but really I'm just making problems where there are none like I always do. then he gave me the angry, tight-lipped look and silent treatment.
Eta: he also said at one point, I really hate all your negativity. It's how you bring these thing up, he said. So I asked how he would like me to raise these issues. He said "just don't. "
I know I'm gonna get an earful either when he comes to bed or tomorrow. What do I tell ds? That I suck? That's how I feel. Like I suck and I've let him down, like I always do.
greensad.gif
I don't normally post here, but this made me angry. Don't give him the power, don't ask him how you are supposed to behave.

You can't change him. The only thing you can control is your behaviour, and whatever you do, you'll be in the wrong.

I don't know your husband and I have no idea what is the right thing to say. But he reminds me so much of my own father. And whatever my mom did she was wrong.

I would tell him: if ds is still feeling miserable after the next practice, *I* am pulling him out and will register him in another team or sport. *I* will not allow you to bully him. I DO NOT CARE what you think about this.

Not very diplomatic, eh? But can't think of anything else matching your dh's behaviour. Bullies are afraid when someone stands up to them.
 

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Is this little league or rec ball? Honestly, I'd take it to the people in charge of the program and tell them about the way he's coaching. You don't have to do it as his wife, do it as a concerned parent. At least that takes it out of your hands. I am a baseball wife, my kids play LL and club ball, I've seen some crazy stuff from grown men, it isn't just your dh, it happens everywhere.

I have no idea how to help you fix things at home, but I hope you find a way. ((hug))
 

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There's really something wrong in the whole dynamic when you can't share with dh what ds said about him.

The more you stand up to your dh, then either he will change, or you will get divorced faster.
 

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This is wrong on so many levels. I agree with the previos poster about talking to who is in charge of the program and telling them whats going on. Furthermore, why are you with someone you have to walk on egg shells with?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by transylvania_mom View Post

Don't give him the power, don't ask him how you are supposed to behave.
I think that ultimately it was a great thing she asked him.

He told her clearly that he is not interested in resolving any issues that might come up. She might have wondered otherwise if there was anything she could have done. But now she knows.

Very useful for her decision-making process, I think.
 

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I cannot answer the question about how you should answer this question.

In my relationship the conversation would probably involve me saying something, him getting defensive, me getting mad, us fighting, but me noticing him doing it differently at the next game or practice. He would hear what I said but he takes criticism really poorly and wouldn't behave well in the moment.

If our conversation didn't result in any changes. I'd tell him that DS was miserable, I'd tell him exactly how upset our son was about it. He'd feel really lousy about that and I'd see him trying harder.

Neither option worked I'd explain to him that I would be pulling DS from his team if the behavior continued and if I didn't see more effort I'd follow through.

It doesn't sound like your discussion went well, but it may still have made a difference. You may see him making more of an effort at the next game or practice.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post

I think that ultimately it was a great thing she asked him.

He told her clearly that he is not interested in resolving any issues that might come up. She might have wondered otherwise if there was anything she could have done. But now she knows.

Very useful for her decision-making process, I think.
I agree with this.

OP, you're in a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation... DS either gets bullied at baseball if you don't tell DH about what he said, or he gets bullied at home if you do, or both if DH doesn't step out of the coaching position. Talking about it doesn't make it better. If you think that having DS at least enjoy baseball, even if it means some extra abuse at home, then I'd tell DH it's either him or DS involved in baseball, not both, and DS won't be attending again until DH is no longer the coach, then make alternate arrangements for before/during the game times for myself and the kids and just be elsewhere. If anyone asks about it, it's not you who needs to be ashamed about anything, just tell them the truth: DH was bullying the kids and it was no longer fun for DS. If DH goes after DS, you just tell him it isn't up to DS, you made the decision, DS can say the same. There's no reason for you to ask, consult with or even warn DH before you take these actions. You tried to resolve it with him, he didn't want to, so resolve it without him.
 
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