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Multiple issues - help to untangle

(111 Posts)
Chris2107 Tue 22-Apr-14 01:26:54

Son dropped out of a last minute attempt at uni with depression, self harming and strong weed habit and lost all healthiness and put on 3 stone in weight in 1 term.
Hubby took redundancy 7 yrs ago and set up own business just at point we had agreed I go self employed contractor to allow me to work flexibly. His income dropped by 75% leaving me to work long hard contracts to make up income difference. We had agreed I contract and take a break due to a number of previous issues of his making that had resulted in depression for me then an affair by him in response. His redundancy has been used to fund his business - circa £100k invested and I earn good money but see v little of it due to family needs. I work long hours and hubby does 8 days a week wfh which means I pick up all domestic duties and every time my back turned any time day or night he is back in his office.
Just needed a new hip and lost contract as a result due to poor recovery. 19 yr old son stealing my strong pain killers and Valium ( never used before but needs must). Daughter a poppet at 17 doing AS levels. Her bf family going through huge issues and am trying to help. disabled mother 130 miles away and complex physical and mental issues and dad struggles to help. Can't drive due to hip to see them and when working its a strain but I manage to do visits and the SOS calls when there is a crisis.
Hubby just taken an expensive and 12 day holiday as he "needed a break" leaving me to deal with all of the looney son, hospital appts for me and him and read out his work emails to him. I was never asked if it was ok to go away and if we (ie my wages) could afford it - answers would have been no
Why am I sharing this?
Because I want reassurance that if I get cross and shout it's to be expected. I need better coping strategies (dh always been adrenalin junkie and we used to do more together). Even his best mate has criticised his behaviours which I want to cut down to stress.
But have retreated to spare room for a month and removed wedding bands. I am looking for a restatement of why we want to stay married as we did so initially after the affair for the kids sake and they are now 17 and 19 and with the financial burden on me for so long I feel so resentful I can't be kind or generous to him - even though my friends would characterise me by these traits. So I can't be kind to him anymore and resent him for making my behaviour towards him less kind than for anyone else. Can't detail the big bad issues which triggered my behaviour but they were bad bad bad and would have made for a v difficult divorce if revealed to the court - nothing perverted but just overly adventurous given age of kids
Did try Relate at one point 7 years ago but it was when he was having affair and I didn't know and he left the room and called mistress and told her everything we discussed so I find it hard to contemplate that route again.
But I am at the end of the line of confrontations which lead to a ceasefire but not real peace because inevitably he will do one more thing of great selfishness and I will lose my head. Married for 23 years.
I have just about enough insight to know he must be feeling bad too but am too involved to resolve any of it so suggestions please would be v welcome.
Signing off now as can smell drugs son is smoking - that's the university dropout one with clinical depression

fidelineish Tue 22-Apr-14 01:39:02

What do you want to tackle first? What feels most urgent, least bearable?

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 22-Apr-14 01:44:25

Not all these problems are yours. Certainly not your DD's BF's family.

OP, can you list the three most pressing issues, giving each one sentence only?

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 22-Apr-14 02:06:01

Have re-read your OP Chris.

Things you can do that will have an immediate beneficial impact:
1. Hide your medication.
2. Forget DD's BF's family. Not your business and really nothing you can do.
3. Tell DH to you will not check his e-mails. Tell him what you need, then feel free to scream at him when he does not fulfill your needs. If he continues to be a dick while on holiday, change the locks and engage a divorce lawyer.
4. Forget "domestic duties". Altogether. You have neither the time nor the energy.

eightandthreequarters Tue 22-Apr-14 02:21:27

Wait up. Your 'D'H just went on a two week holiday without you? WTF? Has this happened before?

I think you were within your rights to leave him at any point after he rang his mistress during your Relate sessions and told her all. I'd be contacting a solicitor and divorcing this man.

But not immediately.

For now, I would ignore all other problems and focus on the medical issues for the moment. How is your hip and the recovery? You need to be really kind to yourself and heal. As much rest as possible - and do you have physio appts happening?

Your son needs help, too. Defo hide your meds, in a locked safe if need be. Try to clear out his stock of smoke-ables, too. What sort of medical intervention is happening for him?

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 22-Apr-14 02:40:51

Can you get your DS into residential rehab OP?

Oh and one other thing: if you and DH have joint finances, separate them. Transfer your assets and income into an account in your name only. Arrange a joint account that you will transfer a set amount of money from each account to cover domestic bills.

AcrossthePond55 Tue 22-Apr-14 03:15:39

Get well and get OUT. You can't help your son until you help yourself get to a better, healthier place. Your H does nothing for you so there is no reason to keep him around. Sort your finances and separate them completely. See a solicitor ASAP! Life is too short to live in unhappiness and pain.

temporarilyjerry Tue 22-Apr-14 06:17:35

How about some individual counselling to help you to find your way through all this?

HexBramble Tue 22-Apr-14 06:35:01

Can you be certain that your H is travelling alone?

FabULouse Tue 22-Apr-14 07:56:27

looney son hmm

Nice

CogitoEggySometimes Tue 22-Apr-14 09:06:46

I think the person to untangle is you. You're sick, stressed, and you need to take care of yourself first and foremost. So take a big step back, detach a little, look at the people around you and prioritise.
- Your husband sounds like a major source of a lot of the stress and I think you'd cope better with the other issues if you didn't have him around.
- Families of boyfriends are not your responsibility.
- Your DS clearly has some serious MH problems and I hope he's in receipt of medical treatment. Both you and your DH have a responsibility there to make sure he gets appropriate medical treatment but you need to recognise your limitations and also understand that, as he is an adult, he has ultimate responsibility for himself.
- Your DD sounds like an innocent bystander and deserves your attention.

Good luck

Chris2107 Tue 22-Apr-14 09:37:48

Thank you for all of these comments. I have hidden my drugs and going to follow through with physio as was back in hospital on Weds for manipulation under anaesthetic by consultant. He reckons it could be another 6 months before I recover
Son referred urgently by GP in Jan to see psychiatrist. The NHS wait time for counselling was 18 weeks for assessment then 4 weeks - so he would not have had any help between Feb - June so we went down the private counsellor route which is costing £400 per month plus follow up private psychiatry at £280 a month. We also need to pay rent on private room he took on at uni at £369 PCM til July. We knew what it might cost and signed on to using long term savings. Husband now suggesting private guys have vested interest in stringing it out - which undermines the support he needs to give.
Son's Counsellor recommended a book which I have hard copy and on all kindles. Hubby not got past foreword in 6 weeks - prefers to play racing car games on phone when at rest.
Had I left him for the reasons all those years ago had then my solicitor said if I gave these reasons then the courts would have restricted his access to kids due to the inappropriate adrenalin activities he had done which he exposed them to and if I did not tell then he would have free access to do whatever he wanted with them on his weekends - I did not want the abnormality of the former for the kids as that seemed to punish them - or the risk of the latter - where I knew he would do stuff just to prove it was safe - so I stayed.

The trigger for seeing a solicitor was that I was out on a v low key work function. He was off ice climbing the next day in the Alps for a week. Unbeknown to me his 2 seater micro light plane was due for testing and if he left it until after his week ice climbing then it would have cost a lot more time and money to test. So instead of getting the girl next door to babysit (as regular) or ask me not to go out he took the kids down to the farm strip and told them to wait in the car. He then went flying with an instructor up to 50 miles radius away from the farm strip for 1 hour 45 mins. The kids were 7 and nearly 9. Of course they got out of the car. Other people - strangers fly from this farm. At any point the instructor could have asked him to land elsewhere and the weather or mechanical issues could have prevented him from returning. I got so upset at this neglect that I saw solicitor and then felt so trapped by the rock and hard place options I was in I got severely depressed. That's when he got a girl friend and was inviting her on holidays to the alps whilst at the same time coming away with me on a lets try to put this behind us trip to Italy
We have muddled along since then, had some better times with the kids who now are old enough not to need mum around to protect them. My mum and dad always said the most amount of happiness would be gained if we tried to stay together.
But forgive and forget is hard when the next problems come along and his reactions are to retreat into his work and run away on holiday or play stupid games on his phone. I end up being a nagging harpy and have to take the Valium just to stay calm. Meanwhile son is deteriorating and I can't stop it. We can't live off the money he brings in - he sold the plane recently for £7k has had to use half of that that to subsidise his monthly salary payments.
On a fairly regular basis he has to work away and with female colleagues. He has lied to me about this once about 17 months ago and all of the trust I had started to rebuild after the girl friend stuff just crumbled. I hit him with a plastic coat hanger on his chest in my fury and distress - not hard and not something I have repeated. I then took to spying on his emails and phone trying to check that he was telling the truth about other trips. That made him v cross. Last thing I found was in Feb this year - when I was still on crutches from op - was to his regular travelling work companion where he put "am now going to delete" at the end of the message. This regarded a day trip out and to visit a factory up north on a Friday. He had told me he was going alone and I said I would cook a nice meal for his lonely return. On his return he told me that he had travelled the long way back via the Peak District and visited all our old climbing haunts, forgetting to mention that he had this same companion with him, eaten a good pub lunch and was even later due to diverting to take her home. Her hubby beats her up and turns out done it again recently and she has left him. Hubby and she have plenty of long car journeys and overnight jobs together to become friends who share complaints about their partners- which he says is as far as it goes. But I feel undermined and driven into behaviours I hate in myself due to anxiety feeling unloved, not put first.

Last summer he knocked a wall down and ripped out large parts of kitchen and we need to sort it out - which I am trying to do but it's hard as enthusiasm low - can't drive to see kitchen places and rest of house messed up as a result.

If you met my husband you would find him charming, friendly, practical, even tempered - he can cook, will shop and lay fires. I know that if you provide the right environment for things to grow then this happens and that I can't seem to use this knowledge to make it work.

We have different interests as well as shared ones - but unlike in the past werarely go away together on shared stuff -due to his work - and given the choice he will go motor biking with a mate who lives 50 miles away. Even when we do it starts off with arguments usually started by me - as he says there's so much in the swamp that anytime something else happens like the Peak District lie - then all the other related bodies come out of the swamp. So he uses this - my argumentativeness as reason for not going away as well as not trusting son to be left. Any advice on how to be nicer company when you are seething mass of resentment? (Recent things which trigger the swamp -yet again you got me to the hospital late, picked me up late from my operation, couldn't be bothered to get me breakfast before 12 so I could take pain relief after hip replacement, why do you only take me out to Aldi and to nowhere else when I have been stuck in my village unable to drive since December ?). It all sounds trivial - but I guess I feel unloved and uncared for and then react by being unloveable

I am trying to break it down into chunks by working on hip fitness and son stuff - tho feeling undermined by husbands attitude.

I am strong ( there's too many other scary tales to bore you with) - but I would like to know if there are other folk out there who have got through this level of stuff and how?
I can't run away as I have got to get son straightened out, hip sorted and daughter through her AS and A2 exams - she wants to be a vet. So need some coping strategies please for next 18 months.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 22-Apr-14 09:50:03

Has it occurred to you that, growing up in such a dysfunctional family could be one of the reasons behind your DS's anxiety and depression today? Watching the pair of you fake it all these years, seeing you swallow your self-respect and sink into depression, knowing all is not well, can really screw a kid up. Children tend to blame themselves. They see unhappiness around them and they can feel responsible & overcompensate. They also copy the examples set. It isn't protecting kids to make them live like that.

You talk about 'coping strategies' when you should really have rejected the behaviour out of hand. You still seem to be planning to stick around and you refer to 'running away' as if it was some kind of irresponsible act. If you decided it was over I think everyone would heave a sigh of relief rather than be troubled by it. Delay and you'll never get out.

Chris2107 Tue 22-Apr-14 10:13:37

I have had mum with strokes, BH, psychosis, sectioned twice, MS, epilepsy and a non coping dad, all running in parallel to main story line. Working 50-60 hours a week to keep the money coming in, handling calls from son school about his performance for 7 years. I sit down at 10 at night. I am not a wimp just too exhausted to think straight. Frightened by the wreckage of divorces I have helped friends through and seen what that has done to those kids. Saw it took 4-5 years to recover from a divorce so chose to put those years in to my marriage instead.
It's the past 2 years where we have fallen apart as a family due to husbands long hours and 2 long motor biking holidays 17 days and 13 days putting pressure him when he returns, as well as long business trips.

I am not a victim - tho I think the comment about losing self respect due to having to put too much behind me is fair. I am in work and by nature a Fixer Upper
I have good friends who are there for me but are too close and diplomatic to give perspective I need. Most have previously said could not have managed to stay and point out that I am above average intelligence, am employable and reasonably well preserved for age.
Counselling is best next step for me - thank you for your astute observations and kind words.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 22-Apr-14 10:24:53

"Frightened by the wreckage of divorces I have helped friends through and seen what that has done to those kids. Saw it took 4-5 years to recover from a divorce so chose to put those years in to my marriage instead"

The 'wreckage of divorce' is relative. If the divorce has come as a shock thing out of the blue with traumatic revelations about affairs etc then it can take several years to recover. If the divorce is your own initiative and is therefore an assertive act, it is still painful but arguable shorter-lived. What is truly miserable is being trapped in an unhappy marriage or - in the case of kids who have no say in the matter - trapped in someone else's unhappy marriage.

It goes without saying that you are a strong, capable and intelligent woman that sees themselves as a problem-solver or fixer. Women like that have a fatal flaw i.e. tenacity. They persist flogging a dead horse long after someone else would have given it up as a bad job because they don't like to admit defeat. Don't compound the error by planning to give it another 18 months to avoid bad timing. Kick the can down the road and there will be something else that makes it a bad time to act....

Offred Tue 22-Apr-14 10:40:59

Good lord you are worrying about the wreckage of divorce but can you not see how you marriage has destroyed you and your children?!

Ten years ago was the incident of terrible neglect by your husband and you say there is more, yet you chose to protect your marriage over your children?! Against the advice of a solicitor?! Do you not understand how bad it must have been for a solicitor to advise that the court would want to protect your dc from your h?!

You've gone completely wrong IMO, you absolutely need to leave and to start focusing on getting yourself and your son well and your daughter through her a-levels away from your poisonous husband before it is absolutely too late.

UptheChimney Tue 22-Apr-14 11:36:24

Why are you still married to this man?

You are recovering from major painful surgery, and he goes on holiday? Alone?

You poor thing.

Chris2107 Tue 22-Apr-14 12:47:39

We DH and i have always worked as a team - it's where we started off in life as a climbing team. I helped him leave his family business working for his dad, get through a full time Cranfield MBA, into corporate life and then out via redundancy. Like many women I found my career pulled out of shape after kids - but retrained into something I could work on a contract basis. I have helped him grow his business and when we are close and work as a team it works, as a couple and as a family we get along it is good and we used to be well known as the family that did lots of stuff together and we can still make some happy times with the kids.That's why I stayed in the hope more of those can come along and to try to show kids that just cos things go wrong doesn't mean you can't fix them. He overstepped the mark with me on some stuff - but the big ticket items stopped after the airplane incident. There was a 2 year period of bad stuff up til then, then the affair. Big period of depression for me as a result. Then time we needed to mend as a family. Then some better times. The past 2 years of conflict have been driven by husband working 7 days a week and joining us for Sunday meals or at 9 on Friday and sat night after working and then bathing and returning to work emails even after eating.

Last night after I posted my son was so out of it on drugs he has vomited all over his bedroom - which I recently cleared so as to spot any new drug paraphernalia - broke a couple of plates in the process. It's not the mess it's the awfulness of it all. He lies in bed his fit body now a bloated mess of stretch marks and fat. No ambition, no hopes no joy. Just belligerence.

Btw hubby recent holiday was an adventure trip - with paying guests run by one of his oldest mates who was so pd off with my husbands behaviour he rang his wife who is my BF to complain and say all other guests also complaining about him. Only caught a bit of the conversation but he was really cross. Says husband has become more selfish - is this age, personality or is he cracking under pressure of it all inc. his business and I should be more compassionate about his behaviour?
His father is not a nice man and was a cruel dad and boss when husband worked for him for 12 years then ratted on him, his parents tolerate each other. Mine are a bit over sloppy affectionate but rowed a lot and I was attracted by the more level headed ness of my husband- wanting a more peaceful family life but with the warmth and affection and putting others first of my own family. So that explains a bit about why I am here and that I am no angel - not sure if there is a Geiger counter shouting measurement tool for under pressure mums with teenage kids that we could use to measure and comfort ourselves with the fact that we may have shouted but it was low on the score or if this time the needle moved really far and we were out of order.

Off to call GP to get more help for son.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 22-Apr-14 12:57:50

"That's why I stayed in the hope more of those can come along and to try to show kids that just cos things go wrong doesn't mean you can't fix them"

But nothing's 'fixed' from what I can see. Simply endured and tolerated at the expense of your mental health. Don't you think you'd be a mum significantly less under pressure if you weren't stressed about your unfaithful irresponsible partner? No-one's an angel but no-one ought to be a martyr either.

Offred Tue 22-Apr-14 13:00:25

You seem like you are using this thread as a way of releasing the pressure but your posts are so full of excuses about your husband's behaviour.

I'd be very surprised if your son's problems are nothing to do with his experiences growing up in your marriage and I think it will be hard to help him if he is still living in the same environment.

Offred Tue 22-Apr-14 13:01:26

And I can't see from your posts where you and dh are a team.

It seems he's pathetic and irresponsible and you run about behind him cleaning up his messes.

Offred Tue 22-Apr-14 13:02:11

I think you and the dc deserve much better than this,

MorrisZapp Tue 22-Apr-14 13:12:53

This marriage has become unsaveable. Is your dh currently seeking help and advice about how best to make his marriage work?

Is he fuck, he's shagging his colleague in a cosy b&b while you take on the problems of the world.

Nobody here will advise you to prolong this awful situation or to give it 'one more chance'.

Dont be a victim of the sunk cost fallacy. The effort yoyou've put in already does not make it any more worth 'fighting for'.

Get rid, and restart your own life.

Driveway Tue 22-Apr-14 13:21:50

I think everyone would be happier if you and your DH split.

bibliomania Tue 22-Apr-14 13:27:15

Does your H currently make your life better in any way?

Or is it just that you think he could do if he, you know, totally changed character?

It's not a sign of weakness to stop trying to achieve something that can't be achieved. You can't will a good marriage into being.

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