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Old 03-06-2011, 03:41 PM
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Unhappy At the edge, hoping to make it across not down!

Hello,

I'm an older mom (almost 49) married to someone emotionally and now physically abusive. We have two children, now 9 and 7.

It's an odd and sometimes scary place to be - trying to start a new and emotionally happier life - in the midst of chronic and deeply entrenched anger, resentment, etc. - for the most part on my husband's side. He is one of those "angry men" - he's had two previous marriages (no kids however). In 2001, he lost a good job that he had held for about 10 years. It wasn't his fault. However since then it's been one thing after another - a DUI, abruptly losing several jobs (I suspect his fault some of the time based on the chronic complaints against his co-workers and bosses), an almost new car lost due to careless driving in bad weather (no alcohol involved probably).

I finally realized that life on the edge of poverty would be better than staying together as a nuclear family. (Actually we are close to the edge anyway.) I really didn't want to do this - but feel that I have no choice. The counsellors I consulted in the past - going back several years - always advised me to leave. (Although they did not meet him ever. He refuses all counselling.) Anyway, to avoid an epic story.... I am finally realizing that my two options are: leave asap; or stay - experiencing misery and shame on an ongoing basis - not to mention exposing my children to an incredibly toxic environment.

I just see no other way. I try to be reasonable, rational, non-reactive, firm (e.g. "I only want to discuss this if there is no shouting.") In the past I sometimes have tried to outshout him. He's says highly offensive things and when I respond he puts his hands over his ears and dashes away going "La-la-la-la..." (Kind of comical in retrospect but also sad. He is in his mid-fifties.) Anyway it's very difficult to be reasonable or "philosophical" about this behaviour. It wears a person down.

(I am kind of jealous of those who divorce because both parties agree that it just isn't working anymore. Of course, my ideal is to have been married to a decent, reasonable man who still knows how to play a little.)

Unfortunately, my situation is even trickier because I've been a stay-at-home parent for 10 years. In September 2009, I began looking for work in my field and out - I've only been able to secure a temporary, part-time, retail job. In September 2010, I began a program at the local community college - but, as my husband reminds me weekly - I may not get a job after I finish.

He works one weekend shift at a survival job. He began a few weeks ago. We live off a loan against this house. Not good for me, as this is the only shared asset that will help me begin a new life. Our one vehicle is going to die any day and we live on the outer edge of suburbia.

I am almost in my 50's myself. I have no family - only distant relatives - in other parts of the country or the world. Only one friendly neighbour. (I didn't grow up or go to school in my current city of residence.)

I remind myself constantly that it's not the load you get, but how you carry it (a paraphrasing of some famous person I think). However, after one of his harangues .... it's difficult ... as mentioned above...

Tomorrow after class I am going to call a few lawyers and begin the formalities.

Thanks for letting me put my load down here for a few minutes. And good luck to everyone out there - trying to do the right thing or at least the best thing - under the circumstances.

PS If you made it this far.... any advice to keep my old lap dog safe? My husband is directing a fair amount of hostility towards my pet. I don't think he'd kill him, but maybe kick him or put him in the cold and dark garage when I leave for my classes.
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Old 03-06-2011, 05:07 PM
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Wow! I'm going to be very careful not to give you advise as I am not qualified, I am a 47 year old single Dad, oldest in university, two others with me at home, wife reliving her youth on her own. I'm patiently (2 yrs) waiting for her to come home, so far no Divorce papers in the mail.
Do you love this man? Do your kids love him?
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Old 03-06-2011, 07:19 PM
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Love is irrelevant - you can love someone to the ends of the earth and still have things not work out. Eventually you have to decide if you think there is a possibility it will change. If it's been this long and things have not changed, chances are they won't.

You are in avery difficult situation, sjandme, however your biggest struggle on your own looks to be financial. Money is money, you can make more or less or spend more or less based on the choices you make. Happiness is something entirely different and a successfull marriage is a two way street - not something you can fix on your own. Your choices there are tough it out for the financial stability - which doesn't seem to be that stable - or get out and make your life what you want/need it to be.

If you are seriously concerned about your dog, you should probably do something about that. Find it a new home, even if it's just temporary until you get things sorted out. This doesn't sound like a healthy situation for any of you, including the children.
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Old 03-06-2011, 07:53 PM
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Thanks for the thoughts. It's good to know that I'm not THAT alone.

RE: LOVE STILL...
Well, love certainly does not conquer all. Also, contempt has crept into my feelings. But, yes, I DO have some love for my husband. Or at least compassion. My children must love him to some extent. They don't know any other type of fathering. I am acutely aware that they are connected to him for all time - to insult him is to insult them - in a way. However, both my children have been deeply disappointed by their father - also hurt and frightened. My youngest, who is a boy, seems to have an especially difficult time trusting the guy.


RE: THE NEXT THING...
Well, I am on my way to the next step. I really will do what I can to help my husband stay connected with his kids. It's kind of a counter intuitive thing. I guess, in my case, I am going to have to stop accomodating him too much. It'll be so much easier when we are apart - so I imagine/hope.

I will get advice about my dog from the lawyer and a counsellor I hope to meet soon. Unfortunately, my only friend around here is not a dog lover. She's willing to help me with the kids in an emergency though.

Thanks again!
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Old 03-06-2011, 08:11 PM
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The best advice I can offer, difficult but neccessary and nobody I know can claim to have managed it 100%, is to shelve the emotions and approach it like a business arrangement. Don't let every decision to be made or situation that occurs draw you into an emotional reaction. You'll never survive it.

Move your communication with him from verbal to written, email is great - let him yell at the computer all he wants. Document EVERYTHING, all your finances, all the incidents and any threats he makes. Take steps to seperate your finances. I believe there is a seperation checklist in a post here somewhere, do a search for it and get your ducks in a row.

Whether you end up divorcing or not, you NEED to get your finances straightened out. Your current lifestyle is not sustainable. Perhaps you will divorce, perhaps you taking steps to straighten out your life and seperating will be the motivation he needs to seek change and make your marriage work, who knows but one thing is certain, if you do NOTHING, then nothing will change.
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