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Discussion Starter #1
My wife has a nasty temper. Just this morning I made the mistake of telling her she probably shouldn't drink as much coffee and eat deli meat now that she is 3 months pregnant. This lead to FUs, telling me that I have no say in how she handles her pregnancy, and actually coming right within an inch of my ear and screaming that I need to be home by a certain time. The thing that bothers me so much about this is that she has our son right with her while she is screaming at me. I've become alright at brushing this stuff off but I'm worried about my son.

Later that day I came home later than she wanted me to and was called an *******. She then, while getting ready to leave, hugged our son goodbye and said "sorry your dad is such an ******* and screwed up our day". I decided to pipe in and tell her to not use that type of language in front of him which lead to another outburst. I decided to tune her out again and when she came within an inch I plugged my ears which was followed by her dumping her glass of water all over my head.

I know that these outbursts aren't normal and I am trying to get her to come to couples therapy but haven't made much ground.

My questions are,

- is it worse for my son to see this happening which could definitely be shaping who he is and how he eventually treats his wife some dayshould
- I seriously be considering divorce just for the sake of removing me from a toxic situation
- would him growing up in a divorced family be just as bad
 

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I can't really answer your specific questions, but I have something for you to consider.

Was this happening before she was pregnant? Keep in mind that pregnancy really messes with a woman's mind. You might be able to get her to go to couple's counseling if you phrase it more indirectly.

You could mention something along the lines of:

1) Right now you are stressed out
2) Every time you get stressed out, so does the baby you're carrying
3) I think couple's counselling might help us learn how to take things down a notch - which would be very beneficial for our son and future baby

*Edit: The main thing when asking to go to counselling is not to focus on throwing blame around for why it is necessary. Try to phrase it with as much passive-voice as possible.
 

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You need to have some back bone. She is clearly not respecting you and that's because you have allowed yourself to be put in that position. Don't ask her not to talk like that in front of the kid demand it. Same with the pregnancy. You do have a say so about it because you helped make the babby and it could do harm to the child.
 

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Obviously both choices aren't GOOD for your son, but you've got to deal with the hand you've been dealt.

First off, you're playing a role in the abuse that you're experiencing. For instance, when you advised her to lay off coffee and deli meats, you did make a remark that suggested she do things your way, which is a control issue. It does not mean you were wrong, but it does mean that you tried to change something about her. She clearly has major issues with control.

I don't recommend bowing to what she thinks you *should* do, either. Neither of you should become a doormat for the other. I do recommend finding some healthy ways to establish and enforce good boundaries. She is being physically abusive.

It's far easier for me to advise women how to deal with these situations. For men, it's harder because guys don't get the same kind of support as women do and often end up getting wrongfully blamed. So please consider my limitations and take only what you can use - I'll do my best but as a woman, I just don't know how to completely step into your shoes on this one.

I think your son needs to be protected from seeing such things. Are you able to find a safe place to take him when she acts this way? If you left her for good, can you take him with you? She will be the same person with the next man who enters her life, and you won't be able to protect your son as well if you aren't present. And that guy won't have reason to.

I think that she needs help, but you can't force her to get it. I'd consider laying down a deadline and ultimatum, but in a way that lets her know SHE is in control of whatever happens. "I cannot live like this anymore. I'm going to take our son with me and live somewhere else. If you want our relationship to recover, you have the power to make that happen by getting into anger management counseling. If you want me to attend with you, I will, but if you don't want me to, I will understand. I'll be filing for divorce at the end of January if you choose not to focus on improving our marriage."

Do NOT have this convo with your son present. She WILL flip out and become abusive. She may also call the cops and allege that you're abusing her. A voice activated recorder or a witness (or both) can be a good idea.

Before you do this, I would encourage you to quickly and quietly shift your share of any money that's in joint accounts to new ones she cannot access.

I'd also encourage you to read up on parental alienation syndrome because she's a prime candidate for emotionally abusing your son, too. Trying to make a child hate a parent is NOT a loving thing to do! She's already doing that, and it will almost certainly get worse if and when you leave.

Your son's going to be affected no matter what decision you make, or if you make no decision at all. Whatever you do, make sure your son knows that he is important to you. Don't bash mom to him, but don't show him that a man should let himself be victimized, either. If you have to answer questions, take an approach that people do the best they can, but mom doesn't know how to do some things without hurting others - something that lets him see her as an imperfect person but one who does the best she can. He'll draw his own conclusions as he gets older whether you're still married or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
You need to have some back bone. She is clearly not respecting you and that's because you have allowed yourself to be put in that position. Don't ask her not to talk like that in front of the kid demand it. Same with the pregnancy. You do have a say so about it because you helped make the babby and it could do harm to the child.
Trust me, I have taken this approach. It just leads to HUGE blowouts. She is never wrong, has never apologized, and will never back down from an argument. It almost seems like she picks at me hoping for me to argue with her. So it has become easier just to ignore it and not give her what she wants.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
"I cannot live like this anymore. I'm going to take our son with me and live somewhere else. If you want our relationship to recover, you have the power to make that happen by getting into anger management counseling.
I would love for this to be the case but as the husband there is no way that I will ever be able to take our son away from her. Can you really image me saying this to her and then me being able to actually leave essentially, "taking a mothers child from her"? I have thought about this many times but I just don't see it panning out like that.
 

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I think you are right about the divorce because she is making no move to make anything better. No it is not a bad thing for your son to have two healthy functioning parents vs a war zone. She does need help. There has to be something that is the root of her anger. It may be something to do with the past or something to do with how she sees you. She just doesnt seem interested in finding it which is a shame because she is robbing her self.
 

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In your case, divorce. This way your son will live peacefully at least 1/2 time.

I feel really sorry for your son & unborn baby.
 

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I would love for this to be the case but as the husband there is no way that I will ever be able to take our son away from her. Can you really image me saying this to her and then me being able to actually leave essentially, "taking a mothers child from her"? I have thought about this many times but I just don't see it panning out like that.
As I said, I have a harder time putting myself in a man's shoes. This is an example of what I mean by that. Why would you, as a loving father, NOT do whatever it takes to protect your child?

I sound argumentative, and I hope you can look past it and understand that my purpose is entirely for your son's benefit. My father was one of the earliest examples I know of a man doing exactly that - he had full custody of my brother and I in 1975. (Granted, my mother was pretty neglectful and boohoo'ed forever about it, but never wanted to step up to the plate.)

Today, I see many single fathers raising their children. The fact that she doesn't want this to happen or that society once deemed motherhood as all-important aren't factors that outweigh your son's best interests.

If you keep a journal of these abusive events (date, time, factual data not tainted with opinion) you will be better able to protect your son and give him the best chance of learning to be an adult who can treat women well and who can treat himself well.

Obviously, you have to do whatever lets you sleep at night. I'm not trying to tell you what to do because I don't know the answer that is best for you, but I would hate to see your son left in her hands.
 

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I used to babysit for a woman who was more interested in partying than she was in being a mother. I was all set to testify in court when she agreed to let him have full custody. I found out later that the father fought for 2 years to get custody and he got it. He documented everything and won.

My advice is not to give up so easily. Seek legal council secretly and protect your kids. Both you and them need to get out of that toxic situation.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
As I said, I have a harder time putting myself in a man's shoes. This is an example of what I mean by that. Why would you, as a loving father, NOT do whatever it takes to protect your child?
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I didn't mean for it to come out that way. I'm not frustrated at what you wrote. I'm just frustrated at the situation that I have found myself in.
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The thing is that besides these outburst I feel that she is a great mother. That's why I married her in the first place. It's just the way that she handles her anger and goes about arguing is so taxing.
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The thing is that besides these outburst I feel that she is a great mother. That's why I married her in the first place. It's just the way that she handles her anger and goes about arguing is so taxing.
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My personal opinion is that this statement is a little like a mother saying, "Other than the fact that he's a pedophile, he's a great dad."
 

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I know that these outbursts aren't normal and I am trying to get her to come to couples therapy but haven't made much ground.
Hello86, if she has strong BPD traits (as you suspect in your "Borderline" thread), couples therapy likely will be a total waste of time. I say this based on my experience in spending over $200,000 in taking my BPDer exW to weekly visits for 15 years -- with six different psychologists and several MCs. With a BPDer, the issues go far beyond a simple lack of communication skills, which MCs typically focus on.

A BPDer's issues also include an inability to trust and a lack of skills in self soothing, controlling emotions, and knowing how to intellectually challenge intense feelings (instead of accepting them as reflecting reality). Moreover, a BPDer's emotional development typically is stuck at the level of a four year old. Hence, when a BPDer flips in seconds from adoring you to hating you and being absolutely convinced you are an evil bold-faced liar, "communication skills" won't make a dent in your marital problems. Not even a small dent.

For a BPDer, the best place to start is with IC from a psychologist experienced in treating BPDers. There are many excellent treatment programs available. Yet, as I found out the hard way, it is rare for a BPDer to have the self awareness and ego strength necessary to seek out such a program and stay in it long enough (several years at least) to make a difference.

Unless a BPDer really wants such therapy very badly, it is pointless to insist on her doing it. You would end up wasting a ton of money while the BPDer just plays mind games with the psychologists -- as occurred with my exW. I therefore encourage you to see a psychologist -- for a visit or two by yourself -- to obtain a candid professional opinion on what it is you and your two children will be dealing with.

Moreover, I again suggest you read my description of typical BPDer behavior in Maybe's thread at My list of hell!. If that description rings a bell, I would be glad to discuss it with you and point you to good online resources. Among other things, there is a forum on "Raising a Child when One Parent Has BPD" that you could greatly benefit from if your W is a BPDer.
 

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I understand the feeling.
Not wanting to make your kids feel like you are splitting them.

Looking back, it almost brings tears to my eyes, thinking of how screwed up my life must've been...

I come from both sides of the track. But I was also 14 when mine divorced.

Anyway, I remember laying up in my bed, and hearing them fight downstairs in the kitchen. I always worried "Will they divorce? Will it go too far tonight? Will one of them leave tonight? Will my family be broken tomorrow?"
Honestly, the questions plagued my mind. And as they fought, I got less love from my parents. Then again, getting love from them was like squeezing water from a rock...
Regardless, they did divorce. And I guess I knew that would be the outcome, and I remember how broken the family was.

But I knew as they moved into separate houses, my life changed.
Instead of staying up all night, constantly wondering "Would my family destroy itself tonight?" I usually just cried myself to sleep for the first week, then slowly came to accept it.

And I think divorce was the better option.
Parents that are yelling and screaming at each other make the situation toxic. And while divorce is not the desired outcome, it made life easier. I accepted it.
Kids are able to pick up on when their parents aren't happy. And it will affect them.

I would almost describe your situation like pulling duct tape off yourself.
You can either do it slowly, and it will be extremely painful.
Or you can just rip it all off quickly. It will HURT but it won't be long and dragged out.
 
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