Financially trapped with an angry husband
I really need some perspective. My husband says I'm blowing things out of proportion, of course, but I think my concerns are valid.
My husband has anxiety. He grew up in an abusive household. I am now afraid he is perpetuating the cycle of anger and anxiety with our children. We have a one-year-old daughter and a three-year-old son together, and I have a teenage daughter from a previous relationship.
Now, we all know how anger rules a household, and this is something that he knows from his own childhood, but I believe he doesn't think his anger is a concern to the rest of the family because he is not as aggressive as his own father was. But just because he is not as bad as his own father was doesn't mean it's still not bad. I would also argue that he is not as bad as his own father because I have stood up for my children time and time again - if I hadn't, I'm not sure my husband would have put in the effort to try and control his anger.
The breaking point was yesterday morning when our son spat out a mouthful of breakfast and my husband got mad, then started yelling in our son's face, "Stop crying, there's nothing wrong". I jumped in and took our son out of the situation immediately. I withdrew, got the kids and myself ready and went to work/daycare dropoff and didn't speak to my husband all day. When I tried to talk to him after the kids went to bed, he got angry that I didn't bring this all up this morning and left him to have a horrible day. He doesn't think this is as big a deal as I'm making it out to be, and that he's just trying to teach our son to listen to him. But then in the next breath was saying that he made a mistake and that I'm just waiting for him to make mistakes so I can accuse him of...I don't even know what.
It's a whole convoluted situation. I would actually like to leave. I would like my children to grow up in a peaceful household. But even though I work a very decent job and earn a decent wage, I have three children to house and cloth and give a good childhood to - I'm not sure that leaving will be the best thing, mostly because that's another thing my husband said last night; that I'm putting the children at a huge financial disadvantage and I'll never be able to afford them. Oh, and that I'll be ruining his relationship with his children.
Please, I need some perspective. Is there any chance I am actually blowing this whole situation out of proportion, and that his behaviour isn't really bad for the kids?
We can hear that you are doing your best to support your kids. It can be really hard to have different expectations when parenting. The most important thing is to feel safe as you work on this together.
In a healthy relationship, you should be communicated with and treated with respect, so it might be worth having a look at the 1800Respect pages on healthy relationships. It could be useful to have a chat with them to discuss how you’ve been treated by your partner. They're on 1800 737 732, or you can reach them on online chat, here. You could also speak to the Family Relationship Advice Line on 1800 050 321.
Thank you again for your courage and strength in sharing your story here. We hope you can be as kind to yourself as you have been in sharing here, as it’s really important to look after yourself and reach out when you need to talk it through. Our counsellors are here for you, anytime you’d like to chat.
Somehow I doubt yelling at a 3 year old would be productive, and removing him from the barrage was certainly the right thing to do as your husband may have been overreacting - or perhaps expressing emotions unrelated to the specific incident through the innocent party.
It seems like the culmination of many smaller stressors in the relationship where anxiety has been exacerbated by a perception of falling support from/for the partner. Your husband may be feeling uncertain of where he stands and desperately needs reassurance to avert blow ups and restore a level playing field.
While I believe your stepping in was warranted, there is grounds for standing together when in the presence of the children and then addressing concerns in private - if only briefly to advise a future meeting - particularly if likely to be sensitive or potentially confrontational.
Another correlation is that children often pick up on disunity from parents and their own thought processes can manifest in unusual/uncharacteristic behaviours - your 14 year old daughter may be processing more than just her two mums, and your 3 year old... well, who knows what goes on inside their heads at this age.
At the moment I feel the most pressing issue is your relationship security because if there are unresolved problems then it is natural you would be scrutinising things a little more closely to determine some outcome or way forward.