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Woman worried that husband's questionable parenting stems from his PTSD. AITA? UPDATED

Woman worried that husband's questionable parenting stems from his PTSD. AITA? UPDATED


When this woman is concerned about her husband and son, she asks the internet:

"My husband was Bullied In High School & Now I'm Worried He's Taking It Out On Our Teenage Son. AITA?"

I (46F) didn’t know this until after we started dating but my husband (46M) got bullied by the “popular kids” at his high school for years. It wasn’t simple teasing but intense bullying and it really affected him for years. He went to therapy but stopped after we got married.

Anyways, my older two kids are on the quieter side and are very well behaved. My youngest (Jordan-17M) is a whole other story and always has been. He’s very social and gets into more trouble than the other two. Nothing bad thankfully but it wasn’t easy raising him.

There was always a bit of a wall(?) between Jordan and my husband communication wise and they do tend to struggle when connecting considering they have nothing in common but they both make an effort which is lovely.

However, recently I’ve noticed that my husband complains about Jordan ALL the time. Over every thing. He’s also always upset or angry with him over innocent things. I’ve noticed, based on all this, that he sees his bullies in our son. He also straight up tells me this too so I’m not pulling this out of my ass.

While I sympathized with my husband at first and reassured him that Jordan isn’t his bullies-I reached my limit yesterday.

Jordan came home at 8:30 instead of 8 and my husband blew up on him and began interrogating him. I told him to stop considering it’s winter break and it’s normal for kids to get side tracked when hanging out with friends.

It’s also only thirty minutes. But my husband told me to stop defending him as that’ll only encourage Jordan to get into more trouble.

I asked him to clarify what he meant by “more trouble” considering the worst Jordan has done is skip class or drink a bit of alcohol (aka normal teenage things) and he said “what if he’s out fighting other kids” and he wouldn’t be surprised if he was.

Jordan got mad at that comment and asked him why he always thought the worst. I was upset as well so I told him to stop living in the past and that he needs to grow the f up.

He went quiet and left the house after telling me that was uncalled for because I know what he went through and that it isn’t that easy for him to think about.

Like I said though, I sympathized with him until he started projecting his past onto our SON. I said this to him as well but he told me that he couldn’t do this and left.

My eldest said I shouldn’t have gone that low because it’s a heavy topic but Jordan and my other son are on my side. Jordan is especially relieved.

My husband then texted me saying he’s staying with his brother for a day or two which I don’t agree with either as he’s running away from the problem but he told me that he didn’t need my “careless input” anymore.

So now I’m wondering if I am the asshole in this situation? I don’t think so but I don’t know for sure.

Before we give you OP's updates, let's take a look at some of the top responses:

palemeal writes:

NTA. Your husband is a grown man, he should be able to not project his past experiences that much onto your son. It seems they both have different personalities (and that's ok)...

and that your husband was a different kind of kid. That isn't a bad thing, but your husband is being way too harsh on your son because he isn't the same kind of kid his dad was. From what you said, your son seems like a good kid.

Sure, he might get into a bit of trouble, but kids are bound to make mistakes. Your husband obviously hasn't gotten over his experiences in high school, but he needs to recognize that your son isn't the enemy because your husband thinks he is acting like his bullies from his past (which it doesn't seem he is).

High school was nearly 30 years ago for y'all. He shouldn't be projecting the fact that he got bullied for 4 years onto your son/allow it to affect his relationship with him.

I also want to add that if your husband is having trouble with these experiences and they are causing issues with his personal relationships...

he should likely seek some sort of professional help to work through the trauma he experienced that is still affecting him. He shouldn't be projecting onto your son if he is mentally well, but if he is projecting, it's a sign he might need further help.

And now, OP's update, 3 weeks later:

I wasn’t sure if I was going to update but a lot of you were concerned for my son so I thought I’d give you all some piece of mind. Besides, making that post helped me a lot.

I ultimately decided to apologize to my husband. Not for defending Jordan but for bringing up his past in a very insensitive manner. I did tell him that we needed to have a serious conversation when he got home though.

While my husband was away, I spent a lot of time with my kids and we talked a lot about everything. I firstly apologized for not putting a stop to his behaviour in the first place. I‘m not blameless in this situation and foolishly believed that since my husband had me that he wouldn’t need to see a professional.

I then asked them how they felt about their dad and basically told them to talk to me about anything and they ranted quite a bit. Jordan especially. I asked them how they wanted to proceed and all 3 said they wanted to talk to dad themselves.

My husband came home on Christmas and a lot happened. My husband didn’t say much while my older two talked but I could tell that it was affecting him.

Jordan was a bit scared but I helped and he said a lot. The thing that I think really struck my husband was when Jordan asked him why he hated him so much.

After the kids went to their bedrooms, we had that serious conversation. I explained to him what a lot of you guys commented on. I mainly tried to get the fact that HE was becoming the bully into his mind.

I told him that while I sympathize with him, the projection and the paranoia was too much. We talked about therapy and although he was hesitant, he agreed.

He has a virtual appointment early Jan. As of now, everything’s been okay. Not perfect but not bad. My husband isn’t complaining although I can tell some things still bother him.

Jordan’s not going out as much and is talking to both of us-not just me-now. We also went ice skating as a family a few times (Jordan’s favourite activity). Hope you all had a wonderful holiday and thank you for the comments.

What do YOU make of OP's story? Any advice for her?

Sources: Reddit
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