I made a big mistake the other night

I made a big mistake…tonight.

My husband (as posted in another thread) stays home most of time with our child, who is 8

My husband has a passive aggressive personality. Very sarcastic. My son is picking it up. For example, my husband will
call me (on speaker phone) and tell me the couch got ruined or my favorite dress got screwed up at the cleaners. I now know never to believe him because it’s typically a joke. Ha ha…gotcha kinda stuff. But never said with humor.

Well, the other night my mother was visiting and my DH’s Father…for my son’s first communion.
I told my son at dinner that I didn’t have to work a day next week because I took the day off to be just with him.

He looked down and said “no thanks.” …I thought he was joking, like DH. So I said “come on…you know I’m excited for Thursday…and I know you are too!” He gave me a smirk, so I knew what he was doing…BUT…

He said “nope, Daddy got a sitter”. I said “right…right… know you are joking.”
But, I said “Sweetie that really hurt my feelings”. He just shrugged his shoulders and ignored me. (as my DH often does)

But my mother looked at me as if my child was serious…and she already thinks I’m nuts because I’m the breadwinner and work so much.

I snapped and said…“Mom…son is just playing games …like his dad with his passive aggressive sarcasm.”

I knew when I said it …I made a horrible mistake. I said “I’m sorry…I didn’t mean that”…and everyone changed the subject.

I pulled my husband aside and apologized and told him I was sorry, but that our child embarrassed me in front of my mother and his father…and I lashed out and I was wrong.
I said …“but our child should not be doing that …and that shouldn’t be something that he’s consistently exposed to.”

My DH said “yes ma’am” and that was it…and coldly walked away.

I had to go right back to work and I couldn’t stop crying. I felt like my child is now turning into a terror. My DH doesn’t care and my mother and father in law think I’m not loved by my own child.

I called my DH again and told him I didn’t want this tension between us and he said that this sarcasm and joking was just JOKING and that I’m making a mountain out of a mole hill…that it’s his personality, and it wouldn’t be changing easily.

Am I overreacting? I just don’t know if I’ve ever felt so low…knowing how awful my marriage is…and how bad my child was acting. And most of all…I feel terrible for being “that” person…and lashing out.

I talked to my son the next morning and told him how hurt I was by his “joke” and he instantly started crying. That made me feel better knowing that he still has compassion in his heart and he DOES know right from wrong… He apologized and said he would never want to hurt me again…hugging me…saying he loves me.

So, later on…at our final dinner together before my father in law and my mother left town…my Mom asked our son…“so what traits do you think you get from your Mom?”

My son said “my niceness. She’s always nice.”

My DH said “Well then, I guess I’ll just leave this house then.”

My Mother laughed at HIS sarcasm…as if he was Jay Leno. And there I sat…NOT laughing.

I am starting to recognize this is emotional abuse…

I am starting to recognize this is emotional abuse…/QUOTE]

Yes it is.

I will pray for you and your child.

Yes. This is correct. Mega, you have posted several threads here and they all point to ongoing emotional abuse.

Regarding the title of this particular thread, I fail to see what mistake you might have made in that conversation. Answering your mother honestly is not an error on your part, nor is explaining your son’s behavior. If your husband felt embarrassed or ashamed or angry about his poor treatment of you being problematic, well, that is his mistake and not yours. You are in no way required to cover up for his emotional abuse of you. And you were absolutely right to immediately address the problem with your son treating you as he has witnessed his father treating you. I am so sorry for what you are enduring. My heart hurts when I read about the things your husband has said and done to you. :frowning:

Well, in all honesty, as soon as I get “stronger” …I get hit with guilt.

After my mother witnessed that situation …I pulled her aside and asked her if she noticed what happened at dinner. She did. She said she knew what I was getting at …but that I was disrespectful to my DH …I told her that I was DONE with his tactics and that I wanted to let her know I was in the process of preparing for a separation (financially etc)…she implored me not to. She said my DH “is your cross to bear” and told me to just pray and that DH’s heart will open…

SO she recognizes the problem but condemns me for being disrespectful at dinner and implores me not to leave. I have been praying for DH for a LONG time…as many posters here know…

Well, your other thread hints that your mother might be an emotional abuser of you as well, and she might be afraid that if you get strong enough to stand up for yourself to your husband, you might stand up to her, too.

You are absolutely correct. I started working with a therapist and she’s helping me open my eyes and it’s VERY scary…because I didn’t realize so much was happening… that was DAMAGING to me…(and son).

I just thought that my ignoring my DH’s sarcasm and digs…was the best way to suppress it. And unfortunately, now that I’m standing up to him, it’s not pretty.

He either shuts me down or completely ignores me.

Also… my Mom and sister…they just shame me into feeling like a failure and a bad person.

The most frightening lesson I’ve learned in therapy? There are SO many similarities between my DH and my Mother.

Wow…just wow…that’s some extreme behavior on your DH’s part. I’m very sorry you’re going through this. Yes, this is abuse. Terrible.

I’d be worried for your son to see this as normal behavior. He’s already at an age where it’s affecting him. I’m worried what this has and will do to you and how in turn your son will either have to take your side, so to speak, or distance himself from you in an attempt to not be like you (and not get picked on like you).

Your DH sounds like a bully, who’s told you he’s not changing. Be careful and take care of yourself and your son. You husband will have to work if you are his financial support and this may not sit well with him. You may also want to see if he has life insurance on you, which will speak a great deal to his mindset. In any case, I wish you well and you’ll be in my prayers.

I have went back and read some of your other posts…

I am so sorry you are going through all this stuff with your work, your DH and your son.

First of all, maybe you made a mistake saying it in front of your mom and FIL, BUT you did speak the truth. Would I necessary apologize? In your case, most likely NOT. I don’t hear your DH saying I am sorry to you when he embarrassed you in front of people. I think I would have simply asked him how he felt when you said that at dinner. If and when he answered you I would have simply said, well that’s how you make me feel when you speak about me in front of people.

I am not a tit for tat person however I think if someone was treating me the way he is treating you I would indeed give him some of his own medicine. Unfortunately, sometimes that is the only way people learn is to feel what they do to others.

I have done this with my DH and he then understands my point of view.

GL and Bless you and your family!

Thank you…thank you for the support.

I think I’ve been on here enough…to frustrate people. Many thinking I was just complaining and not taking any action. While I’m certainly not the epitome of success just yet…I did want to get additional feedback and support.

That’s for several reasons…including…allowing people to understand just HOW MUCH I’m exposed to …and also…how it is second nature from my own family.

I wrote an email to my sister telling her I was saddened to hear how she reacted to my son and I was also upset to hear how she was talking about me and my family to my Mom.

I said simply… I know you and Mom spend a great deal of time in prayer …but I believe being a good person also includes kindness and compassion and I would appreciate it if she would try to bring that into our relationship, as well.

I have NO DOUBT that just that email will cause my mother and sister to disown me again for at least a few months. They will say I’m an angry bitter woman and will tell me to try to find peace…

So standing up to her in ANY form was a huge risk. But, it’s strengthening that muscle.

As for my HUSBAND …the biggest problem I have is that I know he’s just joking with this stuff. He may sound malicious (and I am learning there must be a touch of anger there)…but he is just being “himself”.

But, now after really digging into therapy…my mother and sister used to do that ALL the time to me. I’d get dressed to go out and they’d laugh in the corner and say I looked like I had “gorilla arms”…(I have long arms)…Or they’d make fun of my boyfriends and my sister would call one in particular “jungle boy”…

They both constantly made fun of me and laughed…So, I am SO used to these things. And I am just NOW learning about how damaging it all is … I am trying to recover (for myself) and most of all…to protect our son.

Almost two years ago, I was going through a serious crisis, and I was constantly turning to CAF to get help from some of the great people here, whose honesty and experience helped me successfully navigate through it all. I was able to make some difficult decisions, learn how to set real boundaries, and recover my emotional stability and sanity after decades of emotional abuse (from my mother) had led to me questioning my perception of reality. I am sure that my pestering forum members with new questions about every little thought and occurrence was exasperating to some of them, especially those who had “been there, done that, got the T-shirt”, but they were always kind and firm and honest. The help of these people here on the family life forum was crucial, especially when my attempt at going for professional counseling was an epic failure (my counselor gave horrible advice).
You can look back through my old threads to get the picture if you want. But don’t feel bad about using the forum to ask such questions. It is a good reality check and helps people to crystallize their thoughts about what is happening in their lives. God bless!

That you are used to being treated badly is concerning. You’d think your husband would be able to curb a behavior that is hurting you once you tell him it hurts. It’s not a joke when it hurts people. Why engage in humor that isn’t being enjoyed or found to be funny? Maybe being funny isn’t the point?

Maybe you have good or better moments/days with your husband and you’d like to think it’s not that bad. But why are you talking to a counselor and a bunch of strangers on a forum if it isn’t important to you? Sorry, but from you describe I have to disagree that your husband is just joking. If you told him today that it doesn’t matter what he thinks, the joking and sarcasm hurts and stops today or your walking out the door with you son, what would be his reaction? I have a feeling the mean jokes are not the only thing he does. In short, if part of his personality is just being a jerk, he needs a new personality.

I’m not trying to make this a bigger deal than it is, but if what you say is at all true, it’s really concerning. I’ve been in social services for over ten years and I’ve seen this same type of situation play out over and over again. There are some red flags here and I’m just trying to point out that it may be more serious than you want to see.


I am sorry that your husband treats you with no respect! There is a difference in joking with someone and making some one the joke and hurting them. Your husband needs to grow up and be a man. He may think that he is just joking but he is not – I would not doubt that there was some underlining resentment as you are the “bread-winner” and that may be effecting his ego. . . very frail thing the male ego (yes I am a man also :slight_smile: ).

The thing is you may want to wait till your son is asleep and have a serious talk with him. Flat out tell you how much he hurts you with his “jokes” and that it is a very bad influence on your son. I am sure that you would not want him to grow to manhood and treat women and especially his wife this way.

Try asking him why he has to “joke” at you – it is not just his personality. Does he say things like that to his mother or sisters if he has any? To his friends? I doubt it. You need to discuss this with him, and do not let him skip out and say: ”yes ma’am” and walk way. You seem to be a strong woman – remain strong and make him talk about this. If not it will not only effect your marriage but your relationship with your son.

I pray that God grants you peace and keeps you strong.


Trust me your husband isn’t joking. I’ve been there. This is abuse. You both should go for counseling and if he won’t go, then go by yourself.

I find that bullies say mean things, hurtful things, then cover their tracks by saying it was a joke, implying that you don’t have a sense of humor, as well as the insult.

Yes I suppose that is true. I just know him. I know it’s such a constant “joke” that I’ve grown to accept it. And the problem is… That IS him. And the fact that I am not approving of it makes him feel as if I am being unreasonable since I’ve lived with it so long.

He hasn’t apologized etc but when I came home he had dinner all prepared. Told me he missed me etc. these are all classic moves he makes when he knows I’m getting upset.

But he didn’t have any jobs today and I came home to the same dirty laundry. The laundry I did … When I left at 7:30 this am was still not folded or pulled out of the dryer.

It’s frustrating to say the least.

It’s not joking.
I believe he uses ‘joking’ as a mask, to protect himself from discovery and blame as a selfish person who doesn’t love you but knows how to get at you.
I would know if a man treated me as your husband treats you, that he definitely doesn’t love me and that one way of other he will fight like mad to keep the upper hand. It’s about power.
The sad thing is that it’s unlikely that your son will unlearn this behavior that he has been modeled. I feel very sorry for you. May God help you when he’s a teenager, and may God help his wife. He’s eight, he’s clever, I hope there is a way to undo the damage, but that’s a truly uphill battle. Boys do tend to model on their father.
How sad that many don’t recognize the red flags before they marry, and sometimes that is because of the treatment they’re accustomed to receive from their family.

The man who commented on the male ego and not being breadwinner…your husband didn’t have to make that choice, and your son is at school, so is it true that there is nothing stopping your husband from working except his comfort and ease.
This is how I see it, which may not seem kind but I think it is realistic.

May God help and bless you with the extra-ordinary graces you need.

I don’t think you made a big mistake tonight.
You called your husband out instead of surrounding him with the underserved shield he hides behind. It is a watershed moment. You didn’t mean to be unkind, and you did apologize which is more than your husband does, you acted instinctively out of much-bruised feelings, all the more intensely because your son betrayed you in the manner your husband does.

Sarcasm is often times an expression of anger. It may look like a joke but it’s not and the joke is at your expense.

Well, I am working on getting strong enough to leave. But as my mother painfully pointed out to me … Leaving will only give DH more unsupervised time with son and would only make me more helpless (in her opinion).

I was raised in a very stifled way as you can probably tell. So I was shamed into submission. I say that because now I don’t know how to deal w my son when he says things that are opinionated.

Like tonight, I was laying in bed saying a rosary. He had not done that. So I was teaching him. He heard the 5th Hail Mary in a row and said “mom that’s annoying”. I told him that wasn’t very nice and he just complained about hearing the same prayer over and over again.

But that blunt type opinion is what comes out of DH mouth consistently. I don’t say those kinds of things.

Is that normal for a kid? Now I’m overly sensitive to all these issues. Feel scared to trust my gut because it has been SO wrong.

I worried that it wouldn’t help a great deal if you separated from your husband, because he would still have influence over your son’s behavior, and as you fear, more influence that you had no immediate way to counteract as you can when living in the same house. Not only this, I think it’s possible your husband would make everything as difficult as possible to punish you and to hold on to his power in the relationship if you were to separate.
He has power because you have a child together.

Living with your husband is a difficult sentence for being naive. And most people are probably somewhat naive before they marry. How many of us really know what we are getting into. How many of us understand ourselves well enough, or clearly know the person we decide to marry

I think your son has been taught to speak his mind regardless of hurtful consequences. However he was being honest. Although honesty can hurt, better that he is honest rather than silently resist and in the end reject prayer and religion.

It is understandable that a boy of 8 would consider five to ten minutes of repetition of the same prayers to be tedious. Possibly better to say the Hail Mary and Lord’s prayer once over with him. At least then he would at least join in. Honestly, to most children the Rosary goes on a long time and the children usually don’t focus long.
I speak as someone whose family said the Rosary every night.

It is something to be endured for a child if the child doesn’t have unusual graces. I remember mostly gazing into the fireplace and watching the chanes in the flames as the wood burned. We never said anything unkind to our mother but were glad when it was over. I was a pious child but found the ten to fifteen minutes no less a chore than doing the dishes. I’d try to concentrate but it wouldn’t last long. I talked to God in my own time and in my own words.

I wish you weren’t in this situation, and can only pray for the best for your son, and your strength. Prayers for your husband too, that somohow God can move past your husband’s will to touch his heart and gentle his mind.

I had terribly sad and difficult early years, but my husband is in fact nicer now than in the early days, but privately I cried a lake in those years. I know how hard it can be to endure and I experienced the harm it can cause oneself. May God bless and help you.

I haven’t read many of your posts but your son didn’t say much that was mean, in my opinion. He does know the rosary is repetitive doesn’t he.

My husband is sarcastic as well and mostly I ignore it but I do speak up for myself when it goes overboard. We (you and me) need to see if we are overly sensitive about things.

I bet he has had your son in tears a lot though and If that were me I would give him such a look of disdain and later talk to him about abusing the child plus not to do it again. I am glad you speak up when what he says hurts you though. Being honest helps, otherwise you are being passive aggressive in making him read your mind then blaming him for things he knew nothing about.

Is he willing to go to counseling. Does he know you are in counseling? He is paying for it? Point that out and maybe he will think how he is contributing to the problems in your house.

I hope you told him you are considering leaving him over all of this. That may be what gets him into therapy. He probably grew up learning sarcasm and it is a habit, one that is hard to break. Have you talked to your counselor on how to break him of the habit? Not being rewarded would be something to do, I would think. Having to apologize to get back into your good graces is another, if you can take it that far. Don’t be such a doormat.

There are books on being assertive and even classes in learning it. I took a class and it helped me. Our husbands can be funny when we are dating them then get mean after we marry or so it seems to us. But I love my husband with all my heart and I have learned how to deal with him. I have even written notes to him letting him know how I feel about things he has done when I can’t tell him face to face.

My husband does take it to heart when I tell him something though and he is great in everything but sarcasm so maybe you have it harder than I do. Marriages are worth working on though and divorce stinks, that’s a fact.

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