With a lot of input, from me and working with a therapist, my husband has been able to recognise he has been emotionally abused as a child by his mother and it has impacted on the way he sees himself and the way he behaves towards me.
I always felt it unwise to ask him to choose between me and his mother, but had to speak up when he was more than willing to do her 'dirty work'. His mother would invent stories about me and he would then lay into me on her behalf. He hoped that she would in turn praise him and give him the love and attention he craved, all in vain.It caused terrible rows and scenes. My husband says he is deeply ashamed of his part in what happened but he felt then he had no choice but to protect his mother against imagined threats. She in turn held out the carrot of "I might love you if you do this".

He still has issues with guilt and perceived criticism, but at least we know what we are dealing with now. He has distanced himself from his mother now and limits contact. He no longer rises to her bait. It has been a long journey and there is more to do, but he is happier in himself and says he is starting to understand his own emotions. This is a man who three years ago said he could not describe love or happiness as he couldn't feel them or understand the concept.