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The Resentment Runs Deep

Here Comes Treble's picture

Last night, I posted a rant. I went to bed angry and I woke up angry.

So here’s an instant replay. My fiancé and I are sitting at the table discussing the things I’d discovered with my market research so far. (I’m writing my business plan.) This goes on for about 10 minutes. Then, I’m mid-sentence about wedding statistics when he says, “I need to call my daughter.” He walks away and grabs his phone. OK. I guess I was getting boring. I ignore him and busy myself with getting ready for our visit with friends.

His daughter comes home and we head out like we’d been planning to do. She’s in the kitchen helping prep the meal. I come in to assist and she half asks about Daddee coming in to help because “he knows what to do.” At that point, my sarcasm burst forth. “Because I don’t know what I’m doing all those other times I cook for y’all, right?” Then, I call him in to take over because I’m over it.

A few minutes later, I’m out near the grill. He brings his daughter out. She’s crying. He tells her to apologize.

“I didn’t mean it that way,” she sputters.

“It’s ok. I know you didn’t. You’re not the one that needs to apologize anyway,” I reply.

“So who does?” he asks.

I respond, “I’m not gonna talk about that right now.”

What angers me now is how manipulative that last move was. First, he made it clear I shouldn’t have started an argument while over at friends.’ Ok. I can admit he’s correct there. I guess I should’ve held off. That would have been classier. Instead, I’ve waited until my anger has reached a boiling point. Yes. That’s on me. Holding off for fear of putting him on the defensive again only made it worse.

Anyway. The manipulation from the two of them was at level expert last night. He drags his crying daughter over to apologize to me? But I was being unreasonable, right? So why was the apology needed? Simple. To put me in the bad guy position. Then, he put himself on his model father pedestal. “I thought our conversation was over. I needed to call her to arrange pickup. I was being a responsible parent. She’s my responsibility.” To which I said, “That’s right. And I’m not.”

One thing that still comes to mind and bugs me: Mine and his daughter’s birthdays are four days apart. Two years ago, my dad was coming to visit (from out of town) on her actual birth DAY. He offered to take us both out for a birthday dinner. But my fiancé said he didn’t want us doing that because “that day is about her.” He later apologized after I told him I would have nothing to do with either of them on MY birthday. Still, that pretty much set the tone for this whole thing (along with several not-so-blatant things from then on).

His daughter has learned the relational aggression well. She pretty much ignores me unless she needs something. She pokes and prods at me and my son under the guise of “just joking.” These things are so subtle, but pretty irritating. And of course, my fiancé doesn’t see it.

If I’m cooking or doing some household chore or sleeping with him, I exist. Otherwise, I’m invisible. I get a token five-or-so minutes here and there — a little bit of leeway to talk about my dreams. But then it’s back to his thoughts or a Netflix marathon. (That’s quality time, right?)

So I guess this whole issue goes much deeper than him rushing to his daughter when I’m in the middle of talking with him. It also goes deeper than her acting like I’m less than — as if I’m that ugly sweater your aunt gave you, but you wear anyway because it’s cold and everything else is dirty.

Really, I just miss the moments he looked at me with admiration and love. I miss his undivided attention. I miss being on even footing with everyone in his eyes — however fleeting that was. Still, I have a temper and a hard time letting things go. So maybe I AM being self-centered and evil. Who really knows? It’s hard to tell anymore.


**UPDATE** (12/31 6pm):

Well I shared everything with him that I said here. These were his responses:

1. “I’m tired of having the same arguments over and over. I’m also tired of your jealousy toward my daughter.”

2. “Every time we go to friends, you start a fight.” (This has happened, but not every time.)

3. “You can paint it however you want it. We get along fine until my daughter gets around. Then it has to be all about you. You get mad even when I take just a few minutes with her.” (This is ridiculous, because I have ENCOURAGED him to go out one-on-one with her. Recently, he responded by wondering aloud why I didn’t want to have a family night instead.)

It seems tonight that I’m being subjected to the silent treatment. But that’s ok. I need a little while to process all this anyway. So I’m taking the evening for myself.


Veritas's picture

Situations like this can take over all that we think is normal. I have never seen it happen before I married a man with a kid but, whether intentional or not on the part of DH, this is manipulation, gas lighting, triangulation...pick one, because the normal people I have let into my world and my life don't use those tactics. Therefore, I personally was not looking out for them when they DID happen. I was caught off guard and although I knew some of these situations felt wrong, I could not put my finger on it exactly.

This is what started making me angry. The manipulation made it look, for all who were watching, as if I was the bad guy...and I'm saying to myself, WTH??? How did this get turned around onto me?? So pretty soon, even at the first hint of manipulation from DH or his son, my defenses went up, anger soon followed and I suppose I did over-react sometimes, but I felt like I was living in the Twilight Zone, no kidding. The games, the lies...I mean seriously, it was incredible and when I tried to talk to anyone about it I did end up sounding like there was some sinister plot to take me out LOL! But it was all true, and when I accepted that I could step back and really look at the situation.

I don't know if your relationship can be salvaged or not. Mine is not fixable but some DHs on here are able to get their head out of their asses and see shit for what it is. I will suggest, as I normally do on so many of these posts, that you start getting your head right, step away from the anger and despair and start supporting true boundaries for yourself. Find and secure your own sense of peace without your DH. Teach him your limits and expectations as a wife.

I know this hurts but you have a lot more control over how this may affect you than you know...sending hugs and a listening ear Smile

ldvilen's picture

Excellent, Veritas. "The manipulation made it look, for all who were watching, as if I was the bad guy..." Please keep posting.

Here Comes Treble's picture

Thank you Veritas (love the name!). It is crazy-making. I can’t express how isolated I feel. A lot of it is self-inflicted because I allow myself to live in the emotion. The wall I keep hitting is where to begin with boundary setting. Those boundaries get hard to define when you’re convinced you’re being selfish. You are so right in saying that stepping away from any emotion is important. I just have to figure out how.

Again. Thank you so much for your encouragement. It means so much!

Veritas's picture

I am so glad you are here on the board...this place saved my sanity! You are definitely on the right track and yes, boundary setting is hard because a lot of us have a conflict with what is a healthy boundary for us vs. what we feel is fair. It is all fair. Sometimes we are selfish or mean but generally I believe that most of us try hard to be good, caring people. If you were really selfish you would not feel so disconcerted over trying not to be selfish. Manipulation from others can make us feel this way.

There are 2 things I did that made setting a boundary easier. Honestly, I did not know what boundaries needed to be in place. I even googled boundaries to see examples because without a definition, I knew I would not recognize one :)...

First, I wanted to stop playing the game. Now my adult SS is a narcissist but my DH is not, he just got caught up in SS's little games and lies. So, instead of becoming passive-aggressive over these sly comments (as in your story when SD used PA to make it seem like DH was the only one who could prep the food), I realized that I needed to stop assuming I knew what they meant. I started genuinely asking, what do you mean? or I don't understand that comment, would you explain? Yes, I was calling them out but on another level, these are the same questions I would ask of anyone who asked me a question or dropped a comment that I did not understand. If my family did it, I would ask what they meant and KNOW that they were innocent and not being mean. Therefore, me asking DH or SS to explain established a boundary that I would ask, and not assume, when I didn't understand what they were saying. I use this boundary with everyone now, even family, and it makes me feel good that I am not getting mad by making assumptions and it actually makes most people feel like they are really being heard!

Second, I had to realize that boundaries could be flexible, could be added or changed and that they were FOR ME, not against DH or SS or anyone else for that matter. These boundaries were/are my code to live by, such as, no one gets to come into my house and yell at me (SS). Simple boundary but it's mine. Or this one, that you mentioned in your post:
"Then, I’m mid-sentence about wedding statistics when he says, “I need to call my daughter.” He walks away and grabs his phone. OK. I guess I was getting boring. I ignore him and busy myself with getting ready for our visit with friends."......I had this one happen with my own DH and no, it is not acceptable in any world for this to happen. My boundary is, yes, I expect you to listen to me when I talk, even if it makes your eyes glaze over, and I will listen to you in return. If there is ever a question of whether I am done talking or not, just ask. Walking away without knowing if I am done, or me walking from you, is not acceptable. This is my expectation, for you to confirm that our dialog is finished because if you don't, I will support my boundary by pointing out nicely to you that I was not done talking.

Expectations are many times at the heart of these matters and while a situation may annoy us it won't always annoy the other person. Regardless, if you make this your boundary, you are teaching the other person to respect you, respect your needs, respect and honor your expectations and that you will also do the same for them.

One last thing...I have wallowed in the pit of emotions...such a warm and welcoming place to build up anger. I had to evict myself from that and it was uncomfortable. My main reason for staying was because I did not want DH to get the upper hand and think that just because I didn't get mad over something he did, that it was accepted by me. That was my excuse. Get mad at DH to prove he hurt me because if he didn't know he hurt me, he would keep doing the same things over and over. Unfortunately, nothing changed by my acting that way. Again, I stopped using my own passive-aggressive comments and remarks, I calmly would tell him if something he did was not acceptable and stand by it (no, DH, you don't need a reason or explanation as to why this is not acceptable to me, just know that I am telling you it is not acceptable and be good with that). I spent a long time going over past scenes and replaying them in my head, changing my reactions to things, making up new answers that would support my new positive outlook on life. You do NOT have to justify your needs or what makes you happy.

I have no idea if any of this will work for you. I can only share my experience and tell you that I am so much happier today then 4 years ago and that the only person to change in all of this mess was me. Just me. As for my DH, he knew how I felt in that he could glad in the same damn pants he got mad, DH, you do things your way but they are not my way and that is okay for me to be different Smile

Gimlet's picture

Your comments on this thread are some of the best I've read about boundaries. Perfectly stated advice.

2Tired4Drama's picture

I don't think it's a question of you being self-centered. I think the issue is you are longing for the kind of attention and behavior from a man who obviously isn't capable - or willing - of doing it anymore.

Fundamentally, what you have right now is what you'll get for the rest of your life. And that doesn't seem to be what YOU want and need and it never will. But it's hard to face up to the reality of NOW when in the PAST/beginning it was so much better. You have to let go of that because it won't ever return. All relationships have a honeymoon phase and that initial devoted, loving attention from our beloved never lasts forever. What you are left with is what you have now.

You are not his priority, as he's shown you with his deeds. His daughter probably won't ever see you in a better light, either. Why should she when she is getting her cues from her father.

Resentment is a symptom of disease in a relationship. I know, because I have had a case of it too. It starts when we willingly subject ourselves to second-class status in the name of myriad excuses - for the skids, not to rock the boat, to appear easy-going, to be nice. We subjugate ourselves because we so want to make things work with this man, this relationship, and/or these skids.

Sometimes resentment can be cured, most often not. Sometimes it is terminal to the relationship, other times it remains like a chronic condition which flares up from time to time but can otherwise be lived with.

Only you can make an assessment of how bad your resentment is. I know one thing for certain - you will be making a terrible mistake if you get married. There is nothing wrong with postponing a wedding until you resolve this resentment issue.

If you can't talk to your fiance about it and work on it now, perhaps with a counselor, then what's the point of marrying? That's like knowing you have a heart condition but you decide you want to go out an run a marathon without any training or doctor's clearance.

The result would be the same.

Here Comes Treble's picture

I’d say the resentment is pretty bad — and it continues to grow despite my efforts. (Although my “effort” so far has only been to ignore it.) As for the self-subjugation, I believe one of my reasons/excuses is that he covers the lion’s share of the financials. My current job doesn’t pay much and doesn’t offer much in the way of moving up.

I’m also angry with myself because I have a bachelors in business I’m not using. This is why I’m plotting on a business and making a formal plan to present for financing.

This is something else of note. He has his own business and is a fly-by-the-seat kind of person. I guess my personality and my business education make me the exact opposite. He doesn’t understand the need for it and has said it’s a waste of time to plan. I guess that’s why listening to me talk about it isn’t one of his favorite things to.

I’m starting to think that just chasing my dreams/wants without talking with him would be best. At least I’ll be getting somewhere without the added pressure of his approval (or disapproval). I think if I work toward my own happiness, it’ll make it easier to deal with this.

So yeah. With all of those things in play, counseling sounds pretty awesome.

2Tired4Drama's picture

Is it possible that some of your resentment might be because you are financially dependent upon him? And could your financial dependence on him be driving some of his attitude?

Like it or not, money has an impact on relationships. Statistically, it's often the cause of divorce.

If I were you, I'd focus on my own plans to become financially independent and proceed accordingly. It might make a positive difference in the tone of your relationship.

And if not, you will be better poised to move on with your life if need be.

ESMOD's picture

"I’m also angry with myself because I have a bachelors in business I’m not using. This is why I’m plotting on a business and making a formal plan to present for financing. "

I hate to be a downer, but have you had any real discussions with banks regarding financing?

I know it is darn near impossible to borrow funds for a business (even not particularly large amounts can be hard) unless you have a current stream of cash flow/income and have assets to back up the loan amount.

For example, when my DH and I borrowed money through a SBA program, we not only had to both personally guarantee repayment (along with proving our ability to repay through my job salary), we also had to put up our home PLUS the large value business asset we purchased with the majority of the loan. We also had to prove we had already spent money of our own into the business before they would lend. In our case it was in excess of 40K on a loan of less than 200. Basically, if you need money your can't get

Do you think his lack of interest in your plan is because he sees it as unrealistic? or has "heard it before"?

I'm not trying to burst your bubble as much as hope you have realistic expectations.

Is this some kind of business you could run on a shoestring lower budget as a 2nd job and keep your day job? Or perhaps find a job more suited to your degree that pays more?

Survivor227's picture

Omg I too understand that resentment. I met and married a closeted narcissistic man. We dated for a year and a half before we got married. I thought that he was so different. Wrong. He’s verbally and physically abusive, which started right after we got married, I live in constant chaos because his son is a nightmare. He’s got all the makings of a Ted Bundy at 16 years of age. He will treat me like dirt, his father sits there and let’s it happen, when I say something about being disrespected, then it’s always my fault. That I just don’t like his son. His kids would rather lie to your face, if the truth would save their life. I made my husband go back to work after being off a year and a half, paid for his back surgery, his glasses (that he never wears) his teeth, his sons ingrown toenails (that he could have fixed before we ever got married because he had insurance) his kids root canals ( yes again could have been fixed before I came along) paid for food for 12 people, we live in his family home, his mother had cancer and just passed away in September. I paid for air conditioning units, renovated a garage for my kids to have a room to sleep in, and don’t get me started on the chickens that we raise. So to be called a bitch, shook like a rag doll, thrown around the furniture and told to get out when he gets pissed... yeah I understand your RESENTMENT!! My kids would rather live not knowing where there next meal will come from, than with me. So please take my advice, because I didn’t use it, do get married to this man. If he doesn’t put you on his level in the relationship triad, you will just grow to hate him. Save yourself and buy a dog for companionship. They are much more loving and loyal...

Llilac1's picture

Every great once in awhile I feel like my dh will try to pull this with his daughter as well and make me feel like odd man out. Last time I looked at her and asked her if she was interested in doing this new craft I bought with me at that moment and she jumped on it. Leaving him alone and shocked at that outcome. The look on his face was classic. Then he lurked around us for hours while we had fun doing this craft. I wish StepAside was still around. She was the queen of discussing relational aggression. I miss her and her posts.

2Tired4Drama's picture

This reminds me of an earlier situation in my relationship with my SO. We had been together about a year and a half, and I had gotten to know the skids a bit. I had suggested to him that maybe I could invite his daughter to go shopping with me for his birthday gift.

I'll never forget it. He looked at me like he had just tasted a lemon and said, "She won't want to go shopping with YOU!"

For a long time I took this to mean that SD must have told him she didn't like me, but in hindsight, I think this was my SO trying to keep me as the "odd man out" too!

SacrificialLamb's picture

"I wish StepAside was still around. She was the queen of discussing relational aggression. I miss her and her posts."

Me too. But I suspect she is still here under a different name. So many people here have multiple ID's.

still learning's picture

^True, spare yourself the angst and legal issues of divorce by not marrying this man in the first place.

stepper47's picture

I have lived in the resentment pit and it is awful. It is an isolating feeling to perceive that your boundaries and needs are ignored by the person you pledged to share your life with. I held it in for a long time, then when I did start to address some things, DH was defensive. Of course that made me more resentful and less pleasant, which led to him being more defensive, and on the merry go round we were stuck. It took a huge fight that almost ended our marriage for us both to be able to lay some things down and be able to hear each other. I can see what leads him to cater to his daughter, which is the fear of losing her, so unless something directly affects me, I let it go. He is starting to understand what I need and making am effort to meet those needs. Things are not perfect and never will be, but it has made a huge difference in my frame of mind to know he is listening now and doesn't see me as the enemy. It's hard to reach past all the built and resentment and negative feelings to get there, but it can be done. I hope that you and your DH can reach a point where you can have honest conversations and that he can really understand where you are coming from.

Livingoutloud's picture

I am yet to see anything positive coming out of women becoming financially dependent on men. And men and women. Bad idea all around

still learning's picture

paired with, "you hate my kids" and the term *kids* doesn't have an age limit. I've heard this nonsense from DH in regards to ss32.