My husband is mean to my little boy (his stepson)

closetdivaJanuary 5, 2009

Okay.....I'm sure that this is pretty common, but I could use some advice please :) My husband and I have been married for 3 1/2 years together for 5 years. My son just turned 10. He really is a good boy (I know all mom's say that), but he is - he has been student of the year at his school for the last three years in a row, is very smart, very polite, very funny.... he's also his class Prez. Anyway, he's my little guy that's for sure. My husband is really a big old teddy bear, however, he seems to be the ONLY person that sees and focuses on imaginary flaws that my son seems to have. When he asks him to do something, his tone of voice is really snotty and if my son doesn't do it fast enough, he gets really angry. He is a big guy 6'4 from Texas -from a big italien family. My son and I are both kind of slight and more "chill" as far as our personalities go. There were never raised voices in my parents punished us if necessary in a calm manner (restriction or whatever). The way my husband grew up is totally different with lots of yelling etc. I've tried to explain to my husband that I really want him to be a good example to my son (who has chosen to call him Dad on his own). However, the manner he chooses to speak to him is not a good example - whether my son is in the wrong or not, he doesn't need to YELL at him and scare everyone even our little dog. I love my husband to death - he does a lot for us, can be really fun to be around, but he is so dang crabby and my little boy seems to get the brunt of it. I'm so tired of doing damage control and trying to make sure that my little boy realizes the situation - yes, sometimes he is in the wrong and yes maybe he should do what he is asked immediately - and I try to tell him that his "dad" was raised differently and unfortunately yells. What do I do? I cannot do this for 10 more years (until my son goes to college). For one thing, i have Lupus which is exacerbated by stress (I'm in remission now but was VERY sick with it when I was married to my ex who was emotionally abusive). I'm sorry this is so long.....I'm a newby and have never posted anywhere. Btw, he yelled at my son for no reason tonite, I'm sleeping in the guest room. thanks :(

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This is so sad. Does your DH have any children of his own? He is this way in general? Have you suggested any group counseling?

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 7:08AM
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mmm...he's a big italian guy....well...sorry to say but my hubby does the same thing to his own ds. WHy? He thinks he's weak and a mommies boy. I can tell cause he's voice changes and yes he also screams at him for he doesn't eat his food fast enough. Deosn't do it to our son but has started...i've stopped him for doing now.
I now yell back at my husband while he is eating to prove a point. I tell him why he's not finished..then 15 seconds later, i tell him why he hasn' touched his carrots...then quickly add. oh you dont like my cooking...? lol. He gives me a growly look...hahhah..then i tell him, dont do this to your son or anyone under our roof. Not nice. Hwo did it make you feel?
That was my situation.
BUt i would worry with yours. for one your in remission so...screaming back at him wont help.
Where is his biological father?
Your husband has assumed the role and wants to toughin him up. The only thing i would suggest to you if to sit down and tell him that under no circumstances is he to scream at your son ever again. It hurts you to see him doing that, and it makes you sick from the screaming.
ANd yes, it was his upbringing. My fahter had this tone when he would talk to all of us and he always was screaming..but he said he was just be a greek italian thing.
So, the only thing i can tell you is to speak to your husband. And tell him you understand how he is but screaming in your house doesn't cut it for stresses you out. Have you tried speaking to your husband?

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 9:03AM
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My brother is 6' 2". I've never heard him raise his voice except at a sports event. Real men dont have to shout to be heard. I would try to talk to DH that sometimes when you want people to listen to you shouting doesnt help.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 10:31AM
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I agree with kkny, size and height have nothing to do wiht bullying little children. every men in my family is tall and athletic and yet it does not mean they have to bully children. this is unacceptable. does your son have a father? what does the father say? is he tolerating this?

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 11:02AM
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You need to talk to your husband and try to work out a way that he can help raise your son without being overbearing. It will be tough because he will probably think you are being overly protective.

This is a real tough one because a lot of people end up having to choose between their children and their spouses. A cousin of mine remarried while her kids were teenagers. One went off to college but the other was 14 or 15 at the time living with them. The husband moved in to their condo and started bossing the boy around and trying to set limits in what had been their home before him. His father was still very involved so the boy did not consider my cousin's husband his father, just her husband. After many confrontations, my cousin had her husband move out to relieve the stress. I'm not saying that's what you should do, but take steps before you get to that level.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 11:18AM
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You husband's behavior is unacceptable and counter-productive -- but you know that.

Do you know WHY he is doing it?
Because that could be the key to changing it.

My first thought was that he is jealous of your closeness to your son, and of the time and love you lavish on him. (My sweet Hubby had some of this...)

But Maria's 'toughen him up' theory could also be it given Hubby's background.

Or it could be something else entirely --

But whatever it it, you need to find out the reasons and motivations if you want to have any hope of changing them. I'd send your son to a friend's for a sleepover and try talking to Hubby calmly one-on-one first. If he won't open up (or can't - doesn't know?), then haul him into counseling.

It would be a shame to damage your son's budding personality when he seems to be doing so well...

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 11:37AM
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I suspect he behaves this way because he is emotionally abusive. unfortunatelly people who marry abusive men, end up with absuive men in a second marriage. very sad. yes choosing is tough but most certainly choosing children over men makes more sense.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 11:39AM
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THank you all so much for your words of wisdom. He is a nice guy with a rough exterior in general - but I do think he thinks I "baby" my little boy. I used to but have cut way back.....but isn't that what mom's are for? His mom was never the warm fuzzy type so he doesn't get it. I've suggested counseling and he thinks its stupid. He ALWAYS apologizes about 24 hours after acting like an idiot....but you can only hear so many apologies without them sounding hollow. My ex (the biodad) has recently moved nearby and does spend every other weekend with him. His first 8 yrs didn't spend much time with him as we divorced when he was a baby. So far they hang out and play video games....... as long as he doesn't try to manipulate my son (emotional abuse etc) I'm not concerned. I haven't mentioned anything about my husband's temper to anyone other than this forum. He's just a big crab that can be a real sweetheart too.

I don't know if I mentioned it, but he doesn't like the idea of counseling. If anyone has anymore ideas, I'd really appreciate it. It's breaking my heart because I don't want this to fail, but, want my son to grow up to be all that he can be without feeling stifled in any way. thanks everybody :0)

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 11:51AM
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Perhaps you could talk to a counselor about helping you deal with this. I think people will keep acting the way they want unless you make it clear it is not acceptable. Perhaps the next time DH starts yelling, take your son to the libary or a friend. let dh get his own dinner. Dont let DH intimidate you into not being a good mother, it sounds like you have a done a great job.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 11:58AM
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I say go to the counselor alone. If your hubby wants an explanation tell him YOU want to come to terms with his style of parenting, having a counselor help you understand him :)
I bet my bottom dollar he will not be able to stand not knowing what the counselor is talking to you about. He'll start out asking in a "casual" way "so what did you talk about today"...tell him a snippet, but nothing to inflame him. I mean that part, no matter what the counselor says in agreement with your concerns it is NOT to come from you. (and it will be extra hard not to, but this is important)
After a couple of sessions it's almost a guarantee your DH will be at the counselors with you, just out of sheer curiosity if nothing else.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 4:28PM
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While your DH may not like the idea of counseling, your son probably doesn't like the idea of being his verbal punching bag. Tell the man to grow the hell up and get a handle on his anger NOW, or get the hell out! No child should have to walk on eggshells because his step father has a hair up his ass!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 5:15PM
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my husband yelled at me one time for no reason except for his bad mood after we were married a few months and i set him straight right then. i told him our marriage was over if he yelled at me again. he never did again except one time when he was into Alzheimer's. no telling how bad he would have gotten if i had not stopped it.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 5:24PM
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wanted to add to the above post. my husband's son yelled at his wife all the time and at his kids. i had witnessed it myself and wasn't going to live the rest of my life being verbally abused.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 5:26PM
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Isn't apologizing the next day what all abusive people do except they forget all about the promises made during those apologies then next time something irritates them? Apologies without changes are just hot air and add to the problems to me.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 6:25PM
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Some one told me once....."Just because you raise your voice at me doesn't mean that you are getting your point across any clearer." I have never forgotten that.

I was raised in a home where my mom yelled and cursed. Hard habits to break for me when I had my own home. It creates such tension and that stress is bad for everyone. Your health situation is fragile. My SIL has sorry to hear that you have to deal with that but glad that it is in remission for you.

I think what your husband is doing is really damaging to the entire family but especially heart breaking for a young child. I hope that you can convince him to tone things down and to not have your son be the whipping post for his frustrations. It sounds like DH is using a defenseless child to pick on. No disrespect intended towards your DH but that isn't very "manly". That is being a bully and abusive. I could understand if once in a great while DH yelled over something big but this is way to much for you and your little guy to take.

I have a saying with my kids that they don't even listen to me unless they see the veins popping out in my neck! LOL I have a DD20, a DS16 and a SD10 all at home. I have yelled at SD10 for a couple of things in the 3+ years that DH and I have married. I confess. I won't go into the circumstances now but I have done it.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 7:20PM
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Some truly wonderful advice, all of which I agree. Thanks for being here. I'll keep you all posted :0)

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 7:32PM
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"He ALWAYS apologizes about 24 hours after acting like an idiot"

That's what abusers do, along with
"scaring everybody even the dog",
using threatening body language & physical size to intimidate & bully & frighten,
refusing to go to counselling (they don't have a problem, it's everybody else who has problems!), etc.

don't know what you've found to "love" in this terrifying individual, but it isn't worth it;
This is abuse, & abuse *always* gets worse;
your son is the chosen scapegoat & victim...
& you're the only mother he's got.

Get him & get outta there.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 1:37PM
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What about getting in his face and telling him to stop behaving that way with your DS. There is no way in hell I would allow my husband to speak with my children that way. No matter what the cause of your husbands behavior whether it be of ethnic or other origin the fact is you don't like speak up and tell him that you won't tolerate it anymore. sometimes you have to speak the language folks will understand.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 2:34PM
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When DS was 3, I met and married a man that had two children of his own EOW. His personality was a lot like your husband's but did not come out so much until after we were married or I just managed to make excuses for him even then. It took me 8 years to quit making excuses for him and leave him. The breaking point was not over issues with my son but it was one of the reasons that I decided that I needed more than a separation this time. He had a different set of expectations for my son compared to his own kids that he only saw EOW. He was so hard on DS and believed that every word out of DS mouth was a lie. It was not until I left that I realized from talking to DS how this had been affecting him and how angry it made him for a long time afterward. I always tried to relay the apologies and make excuses for his upbringing that was completely different than mine or what DS had been used to from me or his father. But I found out later that all of the excuses in the world would not make a difference as to how he was affecting my son. I say that you either need to get your husband in counseling and let him know that your marriage depends upon it or you need to get out before he scars your son as emotionally as my ex did mine after eight years.

As some have advised here, I also began to yell back at my ex like he did at my son but then I began to realize that I was not like that. I did not like the person I became when I was with him. I did not want to have to resort to yelling and screaming to be heard. You should not have to change who you are because your husband will not truly listen to you. He is the one that needs to work on change as he cannot continue to jeopardize the emotional well being of a young boy--look at how that life has continued to affect him after all of these years. Counseling will help if you can get your husband there and stick with it but your son will also need someone to talk over with his own feelings about his SF and how he is treated.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 3:23PM
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almost...I didn't say that she should change her personality and become a yeller and a screamer...I just suggested that she put a stop to the behavior by being more assertive about the situation that is damaging her son...and sometimes the way to do that is to directly and firmly let her feelings be known.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 3:50PM
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I have a feeling that this man grew up with being yelled at and he will not respond to her yelling at him like that. A dose of his own medicine so to speak is exactly what he is used to which is why he is doing it to begin with. He grew up that way, sees nothing wrong with the way that he is now, and will believe that the only way to raise a child is exactly the way that he was raised--especially a boy that he thinks is being babied by his mother too much. He thinks that he is the only one there to toughen him up because everyone else in his life babies him and lets him get away with everything. The next morning SHE will feel bad and be the one apologizing because SHE is now the one yelling and she knows that is not her personality. At the end of the day, she will be the one that is constantly changing herself to be heard but yet she will not change him because she is doing things exactly the way that he does and has grown up with. She will be changing herself to fit into a lifestyle that he is already comfortable with.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 8:47AM
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she can get her point across to this man not by Yelling but by being firm and assertive...there's a difference. Not by stooping to his level but by calmly and firmly stating that she will no longer put up with this bullying behavior. There's a difference between being aggressive and assertive.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 8:57AM
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He is emotionally abusive. He apologizes the next day because that's what abusers do. You should not make excuses for his bullying. Some of the biggest bullies are the "nicest" of guys, except behind closed doors.

This is not fair to your son at all. He sounds like a great kid with a lot going for him. It's sad that he has to walk on eggshells around his stepfather.

My 10-yr-old has developmental delays and behavior problems. My partner doesn't understand all of my parenting strategies and my son's behaviors can be quite disruptive at times, but my partner actually helps me out. He never yells or raises his voice. He will even listen to my son's very long and rambling silly stories.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 12:33PM
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My husband is a little mexican guy and he is the same way to my son who is half Latino he's all the time yelling at him and punishing him. My little boy is almost 2 and doesn't really know better but I feelike he hates him. I am also pregnant and due in April . The worst part of the situation is that if I say anything it causes my husband and I to fight he says he loves him and has told me he doesn't wish for the real dad to be in my son life. I don't want to choose but I don't want my son to be treated bad what do I do?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 7:28PM
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The questions are
Why do you stay with someone who mistreats your son?
Why did you get pregnant to someone who already mistreats one child?
Why does your husband think he gets to choose if your son has contact with his natural father?
Your husband sounds like a controller and if you were my daughter I would suggest you get out of that relationship before it gets any worse. If he starts off being horrible to a tiny baby as you son must have been when you first married I doubt he will get better. Unfortunately now you are having a child with this man you will never be entirely free of him.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 12:53AM
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"I don't want to choose but I don't want my son to be treated bad what do I do?"

You cannot just decline to choose, you have to act.

Your son is being abused, & you're his mother.

Get out of there & protect yourself & your child.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 3:15PM
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I have two sons from a previous marriage. And i raised my boys on my own. and they are great Growm boys. One is 31 and the youngest is 29. And there step dad hit them from day one. I tryed to control that, that he isn't allowed to touch my kids.Well my youngest and my husband fight all the time, the cops are here now and then, and my husband can't get along with him, he thinks that i spoil my son, but i don't i am just a good mom that can listen when he needs me to listen,but he can't understand that. He gets so jealous when we laugh and have fun play yard games. we try to get my husband involed but wants no part of it. Every morning i am getting ready for work, i am trying to get dressed he gets in my face and starts yelling at me about what my son didn't do around here, and that he needs to move the f-out. i said that you have a serious problem why can't you get along with people. I am a people person, and he even gets mad at me for talking to others, i can't even have my girlfriends over, he says i don't like her and so forth, i lost half of my family cuz of him. and my friends, and he wants my kids out of my life to,i really want to leave but i am affraid of starting all over, i have a house, and most of all i have a pet dog, that i love so much. alot of places will not take dogs. I have been physically abused by him. and every day mentally abused by his mouth and actions.please give me some advice, i can't afford to see a counseler, nor do we have insurance.Thanks for reading. So affraid of what is going to happen in my life.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 2:18PM
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If my DH hit my son from Day One, I would have been gone on Day One..How Long have you been with this beast Sharon? Are you saying the 29 and 31 year old still live at home?????? Time for them to fly a long time ago...You re still calling yourself a good mom and playing yard games? You may be a bit unrealistic on what a good mom does, which is encourage some independence...Not keep grown men at home and spoil them...Therapy for you and an exit plan...Dont waste another minute...

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 3:09PM
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Leave him!!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 11:15PM
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Hope this is resolved by now, if not: Don't wait until your son is out of the house. Speak up for him - calmly and firmly - no justifications, just the facts; "You need to stop right now. I will not permit you to speak that way to my son, it's demeaning". Say it to the bully in front of your son.

Children can actually suffer more due to the lack of protection from the 'nice' parent than from the identified abuser. You may not enjoy hearing this, but it's true.

A note of caution, if you think that speaking up directly for your son in a clear, firm, respectful manner will cause your husband to escalate his violence, just take affirmative action on your son's behalf and leave the house with your son when the bully screams. Get counseling for yourself and for your son. Leave the marriage if necessary.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 12:14AM
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