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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

Chris2107 Tue 22-Apr-14 13:27:34

It's taken years to out all this down so please understand this.
Husband says he is not malevolent and wants to try harder but I am on his case all the time which makes him give up as there's too much to fix so why try.

I took up learning to sail yachts with a girl friend 8 years ago as a way of gaining confidence in my own skills separately from him as he has always been action man and I have been his trainee being told 'you are perfectly capable' all along being shown how to do the different hazardous sports
- never starting at the entry level as that would be boring.

He then learned to sail and having been a pilot and a diver is a better boat handler so has undermined my confidence in this area by simultaneously berating me for decisions or ideas such that other people on yachts stare at him. He then pushes the hired yachts beyond what I think is safe and comfortable for us and the kids because he thinks he is perfectly capable of handling it - too much sail out In High winds is not nice, heels a boat over and risks damaging it plus the child/ man overboard risk.

He has just walked in and asked me what I want to do about lunch. So day to day it's not like I am being beaten up. Ok that's a bit weak.

Promise you - if you ever met this guy you would find him funny, flirty, interesting company and he can cook etc. it's how he has managed to pour the oil onto the problems and settle me down again but I call it a ceasefire or truce not an everlasting peace - because I give in. Jt am underneath seething which is why it looks as is it's not much to spark it all off again. I describe it as feeling like my needle is pushed to point 99 on the dial - well out of the range of 40/60 that most couple tolerate in exploitation and misdemeanours. Then when he does onE more thing my need hit 100 and my head falls off and I get angry.

I know this must just seem like a stream of rubble but it's helping me so much and I am thinking about your responses and they are helping. My DS and DD don't need a cross weepy mum who they know loves them to bits and who runs round fixing for them like she does for their dad

Grennie Tue 22-Apr-14 13:28:59

Sometimes depression is really anger turned inwards. That period of depression after your Husband treated you badly, was probably you very angry at him but you didnt know how to express it.

Grennie Tue 22-Apr-14 13:32:24

OP if a man treated your daughter the way your Husband is treating you, what would you think she should do?

MorrisZapp Tue 22-Apr-14 13:34:58

No really, I believe you. He's a selfish knob.

Nobody here cares if he's charismatic or polite. Those traits cut no ice when he's unfaithful, cruel, and unsupportive.

I think you know what you need to do, but you feel the need to explain it first. No harm in that, slag him off on here all day and we'll all listen and nod.

But you don't have to have some kind of watertight case backed up with multiple examples to end this empty marriage. You can take control and cut him loose. Then he can get off with his colleagues as much as he likes.

UptheChimney Tue 22-Apr-14 13:37:48

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

What's he done for you? Is he doing all the heavy lifting (quite literally) while you recover from major surgery? Is he stepping back in his career yo allow you to develop yours, so that you both have equal opportunities & financial security?

Being a young widow 20 years ago was tough, but reading this, I think I got off lightly (my DH didn't).

I've never written this before but LTB.

UptheChimney Tue 22-Apr-14 13:44:58

He has just walked in and asked me what I want to do about lunch

So he's making lunch?

No? I thought not.

Frankly, OP, from your description, I doubt I would find your DH a charming man on first meeting. He sounds competitive, macho, and sexist. That's not a reflection on you: it's perhaps to try to help you to see what the situation looks like to a complete stranger. To help you to disentangle.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 22-Apr-14 13:45:24

"Husband says he is not malevolent and wants to try harder but I am on his case all the time which makes him give up as there's too much to fix so why try."

You realise that's a fairly standard excuse from selfish, controlling people who have no intention of doing things anything other than their way? Like liars who say 'if you didn't react so badly, I wouldn't have to lie'... it's a big non-argument. He should be able to be a decent human being unilaterally and because it's the right thing to do. Not solely when you ask him to be one. hmm

I may be way off the mark here but you seem to think he's superior to you. Or at the very least he's some kind of exceptional creature for whom normal rules do not apply and for whom you (and others like children) have to make endless allowances.

The more I read, the more I think that there is emotional abuse going on here. Not so much in his actions but in your response and - by extension - in the response of your DS. Chronic stress, self-doubt, self-harm, low confidence, feeling trapped.... You are both displaying a lot f the traits normally seen in abuse victims.

wallypops Tue 22-Apr-14 13:46:54

Woman what are you doing? Who are you trying to persuade. No-one here is going to say stay in this marriage because it is quite literally destroying you, and if you could only be honest with yourself your kids too. Which of your behaviour as a couple do you want them to repeat? Your son would appear to have chosen the 180° option from daredevil dad - to drugged up waster. Your daughter seems to be repeating your role as an enabler.
Can you really not see that this is not working for you. The only person who will be surprised by you seperating would appear to be you. Honestly the kids are no longer dependent on you for their physical needs - you've done your time by anyones measure. Get the hell out, today if not sooner.

Offred Tue 22-Apr-14 14:12:53

What you said about if we met him reminds me of when abusive xp had just left and my women's aid counsellor was able to predict all his horrible behaviour and the magistrate and mediator saw right through him. I was totally confused by this as his abuse had me convinced that he was somehow beyond consequences and would wrap everyone round his little finger. In reality this was just about disempowering me and was something he had constructed by carefully controlling the environment we were in so it only contained people who pandered to him. When put in a situation he was not in control of his act was easily dismantled and I, about 5 years after the last contact with officials, am baffled by my inability to see that the stuff he did and said was so ridiculous no-one else in their right minds would find him agreeable.

Offred Tue 22-Apr-14 14:14:42

What you say about the boat is horrendous. As are the blaming excuses he gives you. What an utterly horrible little man he is.

Marche76 Tue 22-Apr-14 14:29:36

Wow, you poor thing. Here's my take on it - obviously I don't know you at all so some of it could be off but I do think you are in deep denial about your DH and the affect he's had on your kids. I would be to start divorce proceedings and work out how you can separate as quickly as possible. Your DH is coming across as incredibly manipulative, dismissive, controlling and quite scary. I think you have a very skewed idea of what a normal childhood and marriage is.

Your children will undoubtedly have suffered from growing up in this environment. Your DH may be charming - but that is a key trait of most abusers so don't be fooled by the good times - it's the fact that the very bad times exist at all that is the massive problem. Flip this around - if I was a lovely friend to you all the time but punched you in the face once a year would you consider me sane, rational and a good friend? I wouldn't!

The kid's are young, if you properly face up to this mess now you can help them. I'm reading that you poor teenage son is really messed up by his Dad - self-harming is a huge red flag for things running a lot deeper than you are appearing to allow yourself to accept. As I said above the good times do not erase the bad. You need to find out what he feels he is lacking emotionally so that you can help him to rebuild himself. In the immediate term if he is having counselling and it's not helping then can you try talking to him and saying what you think is happening (e.g. that your joint parenting of him has contributed to all of it in someway and you want to help him deal with that instead of carrying on pretending everything's been 'fine'?).

You need to give your DD physical and mental space to complete her studies - can you trust DH to do the right thing and move out now (cheap shared room in a house somewhere if necessary)?

Stop trying to reason with your DH, just stop the merry-go-round now. You have the power to make the kid's and your life a lot calmer. Get your head, finances and legal rights straight.

I really feel for you - you sound as you put an enormous amount of energy in trying to keep everyone's plates spinning but have lost sight of the big picture and are in fact enabling a really dysfunctional situation that needs to be stopped. Get yourself some counselling if you can - you need to work out what you want out of life and how to get rid of H with sanity intact. You have so much internal resource - you CAN direct it to a better life. Good luck.

bibliomania Tue 22-Apr-14 15:03:36

It's really good that you're starting to write these things done - it sounds like they've been surpressed for a very long time.

Can you do some reading as well? Lundy Bancroft "Why does he do that?" gets recommended all the time on here, and I think you would find it interesting.

Chris2107 Tue 22-Apr-14 15:12:53

Daughter is the peacekeeper and says she thinks dad will behave better if she brings a friend along on summer holiday - he wants to sail. I dont as if he plays up on a boat all my recovering with my hip could go down the pan if / when he throws the boat around. Also my kids are more risk aware and enjoy a bit of excitement - which may be far too much for her friend.

Both kids love their dad and are very proud of the business he has built. It is a good business and does good and is well liked/

He runs his business from home in 2 rooms and we had to get a mortgage to build the extension for his business - so he would find it hard to move out.

I earn much more than he does usually - but I work for myself as a contractor and currently have some critical illness money coming in due to not earning due to hip operation going wrong / providing for a slow recovering in Dec.

Its much less than my salary and fixed on how long it will pay out. We are paying private school fees for daughter and have 16 months left of this - it was a joint decision to do this when he was made redundant. It would be wrong to move her now. At that time he promised to use his redundancy to replace his salary - but after a year cut this by 75% which gave him much longer to make small contributions to the finances - also dropping the promise that if the business did not "wash its face" in the first few years then he would return to well paid corporate life.

I earn more than he does because I had to find work that paid well - moving away from sectors I enjoyed into well paid but not personally rewarding work which i had enjoyed prior to having a child career break and moving round with his previous career. 5 houses in 2 years across Wales and Englang.

So i think I need to get sorted by June next year and get counselling asap (call just made so thank you for those nudges).

I think it was having to take valium due to too many issues and then finding son nicking them that was my road to Damascus moment - how did a competent independent working mum with 2 lovely kids end up in this space with these problems with her kids?

Thank you again for listening. I am unpicking it - bit by bit.

Offred Tue 22-Apr-14 15:20:20

It would be very irresponsible of you to put someone else's child at risk from your husband's behaviour just to keep the peace. Can you see that it is ridiculous that your dc should be put at risk but that it is unforgivable that you might use someone else's precious child to help maintain your crap situation?

Why does h need so much space for his business?

Could he not manage in a house/flat of his own?

You should get legal advice about the assets I think as well as counselling.

Counselling can't make you feel better if you are feeling bad because you are still married to a dangerous arsehole.

Chris2107 Tue 22-Apr-14 15:28:40

Offred - I was kind of illustrating the stupidity of the situation because no way would i put any child esp not one of my own in that position. But for my daughter to suggest it shows the extent she is trying to be a peacemaker - which is awful.
His business needs the equivalent of 2 large double garages - one for storage and one fully insulated etc for working in and more storage plus a 4*3m workshop - which is what we built. Thats quite a big rental to cover at the moment

Offred Tue 22-Apr-14 15:32:02

Ah ok.

Could you go with the dc or have him rent somewhere else to live and come back to work?

UptheChimney Tue 22-Apr-14 15:34:07

Daughter is the peacekeeper

Haven't read your recent post past this.

Your poor, poor daughter. At 17, just what is she learning about relationships between men & women? Think about it. Your poor daughter.

Chris2107 Tue 22-Apr-14 15:34:45

Bibliomania - Will start reading that book now - thank you for that recommendation.
I go through my working life with the mantra - everyone's behaviour is rational if you can just see the world through their eyes. So I do need perspective. I think if you asked him he would say I am very hard to help and distant. I think thats just an excuse for not trying hard and then getting a poor reaction for a poor effort - but I may be being unfair. So I will read the book.
A few years ago he bought me an ipod i said I would never use - but hw thought he would try and loaded all my favourite music onto it and had a v romantic track ready to play when I opened it on Christmas day. Tickets also bought for going to see 2 my fave artists as part of the present. This was in the better times in the middle. Its this stuff you hold on to....and hope will come back

Walkacrossthesand Tue 22-Apr-14 15:35:40

Oh Chris - you ask 'how did a competent independent working mum with 2 lovely kids end up in this space with these problems with her kids?' - do you really have to ask? Would any of this have happened if you hadn't been bending over backwards to 'support' the man who is now off on an adventure holiday and irritating the hell out of his companions while you recover from a hip replacement; and also planning a sailing holiday during which your new and fragile hip will be compromised? Wake up, woman, please!

Offred Tue 22-Apr-14 15:37:08

All abusers do nice things. I think you know that it doesn't erase the horrible things. Even that thing about the iPod is not purely nice. It's controlling and arrogant - he's getting you a present you don't want and forcing you to like it and you think that's romantic?

MorrisZapp Tue 22-Apr-14 15:38:45

God love you OP. Really hope this is a major turning point for you, you're clearly very bright. You can do this.

AcrossthePond55 Tue 22-Apr-14 15:44:20

I understand wanting to stay put until DD finishes school, really I do. If that is a conscious decision you have made, so be it. BUT, that does not mean that you don't set the wheels in motion for separating from that horrible man the minute she is done. Make a countdown calendar. Separate finances immediately! And start to live a separate life emotionally and mentally, even if you are remaining in the same household. Move to a separate room if possible. Stop expecting anything from him and stop doing anything for him. Stop paying attention to his peccadillos & start paying attention to your own needs. Tell him to get his own damn lunch! You must begin to view him as that 'bad room mate' that you must put up with until the lease runs out. You must set in motion your own support system of friends & family. Find someone in RL to confide in. Seek counseling, emotional and legal.

Again, you cannot even begin to truly help your DS while you are in such a toxic emotional climate. The sooner you begin to 'divorce' that man in your head the sooner you will have the room in your head to concentrate on getting yourself, DS, and DD to a better place, mentally & physically.

Chris2107 Tue 22-Apr-14 17:18:01

Counsellor contact made - appointment for me next week. Physiotherapy appointment made for my hip - for this Friday. Son's counsellor briefed for session on Friday and I will go with him to see his psychiatrist tomorrow. Think the gods threw me a lifeline with a dodgy hip because at least I am at home to look after all this and maybe take the time to reflect and open up.

My parents are coming to visit for a couple of days - making monumental efforts to get down to help, given their infirmities. They bring bucket loads of food and unconditional love with them.

Offred Tue 22-Apr-14 17:20:18

Ok, but none of that actually sorts out the problem - h.

Can you get out to CAB? Does your local one do a telephone service? You could do with some advice about entitlements financially. What about a solicitor?

Offred Tue 22-Apr-14 17:21:58

If you get a good picture of your financial options it will help you think about your choices more competently and rationally and it may well help you feel better and more empowered to deal with things even if you choose to stay until dd finishes a-levels.

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