17 answers

Husband Acting like a Child

This may be a bit lengthy but it's late and I'm in the mood to spill my guts! First, I have been with my husband for 10 yrs. Dated for 7 and married for 3. I knew when I met him that he had anger issues that stemmed back to his relationship with his mother. His parents divorced when he was around 16. His mother was the disciplinarian and his father picked him up on the weekends and let him do whatever he wanted. He is now 35 and has nothing nice to say about his mother. I on the other hand, have a great relationship with her. She is very loving, generous, and supportive. She tells me that he was always a handful as a child. He was an instigator (spelling?), never wanted to listen and would always push her buttons. She did what she thought was best at that time to discipline him and refuses to apologize to him for how she parented. I definitely see her point of view but I also love my husband and have to show him support. How do I go about trying to be understanding when deep down I think he's being immature and always "playing a victim, woe is me". *Note: He was not abused or anything serious like that.

Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated.

Thanks moms!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I can't thank all of you enough for all of your advice and comments. They really helped me to remember that my husband needs me to be his rock, a listening ear, and not have a judgemental attitude. I think that writing down my thoughts has helped quite a bit with my "stress". So, that being said, I will give some back story!

My H's dad worked hard all day at his job and would go to the bar every day after work and usually show up at home drunk. My H's mother was a stay-at-home mom and was raising my H and his sister who is 6 yrs. older. The dad would never help out with the changing diapers, etc. So, needless to say there relationship was strained and led to divorce. While going through the divorce they tried marriage counseling with my H present. He says that the counselor always took his mother's side. I asked my H what was it about his childhood with his mother that hurt him so bad. He says that she never let him do anything. Such as, one day he wanted to go to Kennywood with some friends and asked for $20. She would not give him the money. He wanted to go outside and play with his friends and she said no. (she says it's because he wanted to go out and play at 8 am on Saturday morning and she would tell him to wait until noon). Ok, so you moms are catching my drift with the type of things that upset him. Needless to say, these are his experiences. So, after the divorce the parents wouldn't be caught dead in the same room together because they can't stand each other. He still has a great relationship with his dad. Whatever his dad says, he listens. We were house hunting and he had to get his father's approval before mine! So, back to where I was...I tried to explain to my H that there are always 2 sides to each story. I said, "Do you think that maybe your mother was so stressed out because your father never helped her and was always drunk when he came home?" (which his father admits to my H). He agrees that his dad wasn't around like he should have been but says that's no excuse for my mother to act the way she did. So, this is where I would just be silent and not say anything and just let him talk about his situation. I have told him before that life is way too short to dwell on things in the past. You cannot change what happened. You can only go forward knowing that you are the only one that can change the way you think. I suggested that he write a letter to his mother expressing his feelings to her. So, he did write a letter. When she received the letter, my H was at his grandmother's house with his dad. She showed up at the door with the letter and started screaming at my H's dad saying "See what you did to our son! He hates me! And it's all your fault!" Well, that obviously backfired! I told him that maybe he should try talking to someone just to help with his anger. He says maybe I should but never really followed up. I guess maybe I should just make the appointment and tell him that I will be there with him if he wants me to. He doesn't mind that I have a relationship with her. He never asks what we talk about. I have a good relationship with his sister as well. She has no sympathy for him. She has a different view of how things happened.

Ok, so 11 months ago we had a baby boy. It was not a planned pregnancy but definitely not a disapointment. We were very happy. While I was pregnant, we discussed our emotions about having a baby and how it will change our lives. I told him that I wanted us to be on the same page as far as parenting. I know we will have 2 different styles just from our upbringing. I did not want my H to pin me as the bad guy as our son grows up because I make him do chores or do his homework before he can play. Our son needs to know that he has to show me respect as well as you. He needs to be a father before he is friends with our son. Kids need boundaries. Also, it is not going to be fair to our son if you talk mean about his grammy. He deserves to have a relationship with her. So, My H did agree with me and he is not opposed to his mother seeing and spending time with her grandson. Thank goodness! I'm hoping that my H will understand just how tough it is to be a parent and not Forget about what happened between himself and his mother but just take fatherhood one day at a time and enjoy his son and let him be able to create a better bond than he had.

Thanks ladies for letting me vent!

Featured Answers

Next time he has something negative to say about his mom tell him to sit down and write his life's story and exclude his mother from it starting with his birth and see how long it would be and where he would be and who he'd be.

A good psychologist can work wonders. My mom and I have had "issues" as long as I can remember - she was just never able to accept me for who I am b/c I'm different from what she thought I should be...and she has some manic/depressive issues. Though we'll never be best friends, things improved when I talked to a psychologist. She had a lot of tips on how I could handle her.

Good luck!

More Answers

What's worse than a full grown man who hates his nice mom? A full grown man who worships his evil mom!!!! But this is about you not me.

OK. You have every right to be fed up with the lowliest of all features in a man-"victim mode". Even if he was severely abused and neglected by a drunk psycho (again, I'll get off my own family story...) it's still unattractive to be a victim about your mommy. Which you already know obviously.

That said, he's your man, and you need to be loyal to him first. So. You don't have to agree with him or encourage him, but hear him out and let whatever he says "be". Do that, super present, listening and eye contact thing. Don't agree, don't object. Just listen and let him know you hear him. To a realistic extent that you can handle. The most "agreeing" you ever have to do is to say, "I see how you feel." when he's finished. Meanwhile, carry on your good relationship with your MIL, but don't elaborate on it too much with your man. Try to keep it separate. When he sees you not fighting him, and not "provoking him" by siding with her, and keeping your relationship with her fairly quiet, it will knock some wind out of his fight.

But when the whining gets too excessive for you, just say, as unsarcastically and sincerely helpful as possible, "Look, I know you have a lot of pain resulting from the wrongdoing your mother did to you, but there is nothing I can do. I see you have a lot still hurting you about this and I care, but I wasn't there, so please try to work it out with her or with a therapist if you can't let it go and get on happily with your life. You're such an awesome man, and a great dad, and I want you to realize it and feel better, we have so much to be thankful for...." Or something. You can't really change his world view on this UNFORTUNATELY. But you can take the high road and pretend like you sympathize.

My gay best friend still has mommy issues and whenever I make it about his legitimate pain and what he might do about it, he sort of gets off the tangent, because he doesn't really want to solve it, and I'm not joining him in the tirade, so he gets bored. Sometimes I just have to hear him out. Exhausting.

BACK TO YOU! Obviously the problem could be in your husband's parenting!!!! Is he being the "heroic slacker dad" he envisions did him so much good as a boy? From what you describe, it sounds like it wasn't your mom's strictness so much as his dad's undermining of her that messed things up-which is ALWAYS the case when parents play good cop bad cop and DADS slack off while MOMS do the heavy lifting. Hmmm, not SURPRISED he was always very difficult for his mom while spending weekends with the "cool dad".

SO, is he undermining your parenting?!! This is where you CAN draw the line and confront him head on. Stick to PRESENT issues between YOU and HIM. Don't let him say you're being too strict like his mommy so he has to be the "cool dad" or whatever-I can't speculate what's happening, but KEEP HIM IN LINE when it comes to defending the raising of your own kids. Remind him that you are not abusing the kids in any way, and for you guys to succeed you need to be on the same page. Kids need a strong dad. Any issues in this arena that can't be resolved by you should be taken to counseling, and let the counselor hear all the mommy daddy stuff from his past-don't put up with it yourself at home when it comes to your child raising.

I feel for you! Good luck! I guess your main question was how to sympathize and be understanding...Do the best you can. But don't personally enable him to be a mega victim if at all possible. It's not good for the kids to see their dad acting like that. Maybe you can sit around the dinner table sometime and play a "game" where EVERYONE at the table lists 3 good things about BOTH their parents- maybe after seeing some news story about kids that have it really hard, and then pointing out how lucky you all are and then going to the game. He may learn from what his kids point out about him, and it may be good for him to have to think of nice things about his mom "all within a game". One tiny step...?! I don't know. This is a tough one. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi C.,

Your husband is entitled to his opinion, whether he is right or wrong.

When your husband says, "Woe is Me," agree with him. That is his opinion, it is not yours.

When he annoys you with so many of them and you feel fed up,
set boundaries on him by saying your feelings.

Darling, when you ..............(descrbe the behavior or verbal expression)

I feel................(state a feeling)

In the future........(describe or state what it is you need from him)

Hope this helps. Good luck. Thanks for expressing your concerns. D.

1 mom found this helpful

C.,
the answer: blood is blood ... The bound is forever.
Now the problem : an age 35 year old ' man' with ' mommy' issues m-u-s-t- grow up now [ not tomarrow , not next week , not next christmas] n-o-w.
Is he a daddy yet ? Your 'man' m-u-s-t break the cycle of crazy before 'your' children are ' messed' up .
No. This does not require councelling [ he will not go anyway]
it requires your man to take a man step to 'be' a man .... His boyhood was long over... He is a man, hence, is acting like an idiot .
Mom in law sounds like a strong selfassured women [ i bet he resents this , because he does not know how to be this pillar ] i am sure dad in law is a whiner , free sprit , no rules , no boundries typeguy [ a mess in his senior years] ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh??????????
Fix this now before your children are messed up for life and mom in law is dead !!!!!!!!!!!!!!then you have to deal with ,' i should have'
a grammy

what's his relationship with his dad now?

He needs to talk things with a neutral person a therapist and resolve his issue with his mom.

Is it affecting your relationship? or do you have kids?

A good psychologist can work wonders. My mom and I have had "issues" as long as I can remember - she was just never able to accept me for who I am b/c I'm different from what she thought I should be...and she has some manic/depressive issues. Though we'll never be best friends, things improved when I talked to a psychologist. She had a lot of tips on how I could handle her.

Good luck!

Next time he has something negative to say about his mom tell him to sit down and write his life's story and exclude his mother from it starting with his birth and see how long it would be and where he would be and who he'd be.

Oh man, I say do not put yourself in the middle. It's his mom let him work it out with her.

Hi C., My advise is to stay as far out of this one as humanly possible! If you like your MIL great, that doesn't mean that he has to...it is his mother! You can't change or interfer in their relationship they have to do that one on their own and if you get into the middle of it you will regret it because you will get blamed innocent or not, no matter how well-intentioned you are. I have a bitter angry non-relationship with my own mother and she loves my hubby...from the very beginning he has taken the road of "no comment" between the two of us and through the 20+ years that we have been together it is the very best road for him to be on. He listens to me and yet stays as far out of the entire situation as he can...and he is one smart guy for it! Good luck and best wishes!

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