Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

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 Mon 28-Apr-14 14:35:29

AcrossthePond55 - good advice on all fronts. Thank you. I send you one of my hugs that I have invented - here it is - (8) - the brackets are my arms and the 8 in the middle is the motherly boobs.

AcrossthePond55 Mon 28-Apr-14 14:09:59

Rant away. It's good for the soul. But come back & read it when you've put your 'sanity hat' back on.

You & he are just at cross purposes & probably have been for years. You've probably rubbed along well enough but now both of you have been rubbed raw. And sounds as if neither of you really knows what to do about it. Counseling sounds great & if he won't go, go alone. right now you need to concentrate on yourself & figuring out what you want.

And I think you should avoid old BF like the plague. Not that you would cheat, but just that you don't need another complication/distraction in your life.

Chris2107 Mon 28-Apr-14 00:20:30

Just Some Rubbish to download - am now defined as the unreasonable one because no one else would have soaked up what he has had to over the years - and I am capable of verbal agent orange when provoked -Irish Catholic rhetoric with graduate language - perhaps someone better to have on your own team - and not always happy with the cheap shots I throw his way - and therefore described as "hard work". But I don't fight with anyone else - he says I am hard work but I didn't set off to be like that - just he won't do a fly past saying big fat sorry, I understand and will try harder. Just had a half successful evening cooking roast dinner - but when he started micro managing my gravy prep and interrupting funny story by querying my storing of leftover food I threw strop as it was him just taking back control and dulling down a light hearted convo.. V childish of me to strop as - cos I became unfriendly - so kids fled. It's DD's AS levels coming up and he is blaming me for making a crisis out of nothing, but going off on hols leaving me to soak it up with DS and own bad hip - was not nothing. I did do counselling after big ticket stuff which calmed me down but don't think it works unless both parties understand need to change - I calmed down and that was it - tho the protagonist he took no help at the time. In my case I am going back again for counselling but he thinks he may just need a tweak here or there and doesn't see the point in him seeing someone as I will just stay being hard work. Vvv hard to be better behaved during AS period - must try harder

Perhaps if DD ends up needing help too he will realise he is common denominator. Aaargh he was a good man and lovely when we married but has hardened up.

Other subtext - my most significant old v successful financially solvency but perhaps too doting single ex uni bf ( ie 20+ yrs of friendship and 5 of dating) telling me I can go stay for r n r no strings attached. Distraction. Greener grass. Am not adulterous by nature So no funny business and who'd want to take a 51 body to someone who last saw it at 23 ? - that's my dark humour btw - so no lectures please. But all the poetic bits of my life which are totally neglected in my home would get a chance to come out. Just venting here - but you can see my confusion - I just want to belt remorse and changed behaviour into hubby and that's a tall order in any circumstance- even without our background and my verbal heavy weight punches so am going to end post by childish frustration by saying bum, botty, poo, wee, potty cos it makes me smile and stops me wanting to let bad articulate unconstructive sentences out of my mouth into his ears. I do hope mums net posters see that sometimes we need to be able to treat it like a padded cell where you can say and fantasise about stuff - and that is itself is fantastic.
I did DH his website which grew his businesses enormously at 10% cost and provide all IT equipment and when I get really cross I threaten to remove it. This is really crass of me - as he feels threatened and I just say well that's what it felt like when he threatens me by being a neglectful plonker. Then his sense of feeling threatened blocks progress on any front.
Roll on 6th May counselling and I shall resist ex bf offer til end of AS levels ...
Today he helped our friend loads cos her hubby is getting a divorce and being a rat bag and she needs bucket load of help on finances and hubby put himself out whilst at same time feeling v uncomfortable that my help to her was enabling me to prep for self - it wasn't. So like everyone else he has better sides. My dentist says I grind my teeth - anyone else got that problem? :-) signing off with willy, bottom, poopoo, peepee and all those other naughty words kids want to say in order to vent. I have a picture in my head of grown women across the uk yelling out similar expletives as a way of releasing frustration. To paraphrase Dave Allen " Good night - and may your frustration release expletives go with you" :-)
Not expecting much response from this post - using it as a wAy to stay a bit sane and behaving for AS levels til counselling. Also getting bum massaged twice a week by physio - so bum and bumps getting sorted

oldgrandmama Thu 24-Apr-14 19:12:49

Thinking of you, Chris. Your kids sound brilliant, bless them. Please let us know later how you are.

UptheChimney Thu 24-Apr-14 14:53:40

Good luck. Remember the almost unanimous response on this thread:

You are not being unreasonable
Your husband can be dangerous
There are ways to protect and nurtrure your children without staying in a damaging marriage

AcrossthePond55 Thu 24-Apr-14 14:16:57

You are in my prayers, Chris. There is a lot of mental processing to be done, isn't there? Remember that your children have given you permission to leave your abusive relationship. And given your DS's problems, his being able to come out of his own pain to try to help you deal with yours speaks volumes about the young man he could be, given the right circumstances!

Listen to them. Listen to yourself.

Please do update us. And remember that we are behind you.

Sherlockholmes221b Thu 24-Apr-14 13:27:44

Good luck Chris, so pleased your kids have given you the green light to extricate yourself from this messed up marriage. Children's love of a parent can be just as unconditional as a parents for a child, however abusive the relationship becomes, and the fact that they are both supportive of you separating says a lot.

bibliomania Thu 24-Apr-14 12:36:14

I do get where you're coming from, Offred.

bibliomania Thu 24-Apr-14 12:33:36

Best of luck.

Offred Thu 24-Apr-14 12:07:37

That's very good, take the time you need. I think he's really done a job on you and I really hope the counselling can help you confront your fear of him.

Chris2107 Thu 24-Apr-14 12:04:05

Prob time for me to stop posting for a bit as the buried memories are rising up and swamping me and I am losing ability to docus on kids and visiting parents.
You are right - I need to focus on future. So posters here - I will let you know about my counselling which is on 6th May and may stay away til then. You have been brilliant at shining light into my head thoughts so thank you.

Offred Thu 24-Apr-14 11:44:37

You can be free of him op and he does not have any power unless you give it to him. The fear he has created in you of him is not keeping you and dc safe it is directly harming you IMO.

Offred Thu 24-Apr-14 11:43:10

Can you see what I mean? Saying yes she would not have been able to protect them if she'd left is just saying to her 'your fears are correct he really does have ultimate power over you and the dc'?

Offred Thu 24-Apr-14 11:41:18

I think it is important because you're still in the mindset that he has the power to decide everything tbh and you aren't going to get free of this or him or protect your dc while you are still bogged in that thinking or having that thinking confirmed as correct.

I'm not trying to change the past or tell you you should have left ages ago, it is a moot point because you couldn't and didn't. It's about the future.

Your h would not have been allowed to take your dc on those trips at all if you had split and been able to take steps to protect them and I think it is obvious from your story that it is outsiders stepping in who prevented you from doing what he said.

It's worrying and yes it is his fault but if you split and you are able to fight for it (or could have done then) he would not be able to put them at risk, it would not be up to you to try and desperately protect them while he put them at risk. He just wouldn't be able to do it. The more you accept that he has ultimate authority and all you can do is minimise the risk the longer you'll be stuck with him and I don't think you should be blamed, that's not my aim, but I do think you need to see these decisions as controlled by him and that you have other better options.

I think you should get in contact with women's aid really because you're living in such fear of him.

Twinklestein Thu 24-Apr-14 11:38:53

I agree woulds or shoulds about the past are irrelevant now, the focus should be on the present.

What can posters here do to help you OP?

bibliomania Thu 24-Apr-14 11:34:07

The past is the past, so I think you need to avoid getting bogged down in whether it was the right decision or not back then. Time for that later. For now, it's much more important to concentrate on your next few steps.

Chris2107 Thu 24-Apr-14 11:18:33

Offred - I know what he would have done because on the one opportunity he had to holiday with the kids before the plane incident he was stupid with them and whilst it was not dangerous they basically ran out of food because at 6 and 7 they could not carry enough. This happened without my knowledge when I went on my sailing Holliday. Why did he do this with them? Well the summer before the running out of food trip with the kids - before the plane in a field - we had met up with friends in the Pyrenees. He wanted to do a 3 night camping linear mountain walk across peaks. I was not keen as ambitious, linear walk with no early escape for kids down off it and weather been unpredictable and due to late planning It was highly not possible to get booked into mountain huts so we would have to camp and take all the stuff with us. On set off day kids too tired so he went on and said I should bring them up the mountain pass - and remember to bring food and water for 3 days just in case. I struggled to pack rucksacks for the kids and me with one change of clothes in case the weather was stormy as it had been. I pu the sacks on my kids backs and they fell over backwards and that was without my sack being loaded up with food and water and I was scared that I could not supervise them safely and get them up the mountain. My friends hubby and wife who couldn't have kids walked into hotel room at that point to find me in a pool of tears surrounded by rucksacks. Her hubby scooped us all up and got us moved into a hotel. There were storms in the mountain overnight and H retreated. He blamed me for us not setting off together as the previous day we had done an enjoyable walk which had left the kids tired. My friends were appalled. The 4 day walking trip "travelling light" win the kids the following Easter was to make the point that they could travel light. At worst they had to live off bread and swizzle sweets for a couple of days. But the point is he would do stuff with them if if was. To there and do it his way just to make the point that "they were perfectly capable" - his fav phrase. So stop please telling me I should have left years ago because I have prevented many things from happening by being around to control the excesses and still some stuff has got passed me and I feel awful about that but it's better than it would have been. Even the solicitor advised against social worker involvement as it was hard to escape from - what she did was tell me the logical outpace if I revealed the stories.

bibliomania Thu 24-Apr-14 11:03:54

I'm not advocating the merits of staying, Offred. I'm saying why I understand the OP's logic in the past. Believe me, I'm in favour of leaving a dangerous relationship and dealing with contact issues as they arise.

But the point is that there's no value right now in discussing what OP should have done x number of years ago. What she needs to concentrate on is what to do now, and I think that's a better use of her energy than having to defend long-ago decisions.

Offred Thu 24-Apr-14 10:58:03

But yes I see that this is part of the thinking you have when you are with an abuser. It is more about cognitive dissonance and difficulty breaking away than it is about a rational choice to protect dc.

Offred Thu 24-Apr-14 10:56:27

"I did not go with solicitor advice to have separation and social workers involved for v good reasons -as this would have been v abnormal for kids and my father in that line of work for 39 years advised against it. So tbh staying put and keeping guard was the safest option for the kids."

I'm sure that's an accurate representation of what happened but there are a number of fallacies in there IMO. I don't think your father's advice was helpful there.

Keeping your children in an environment where they are put at risk is not the safest option, it has not transpired to be the safest option. What risk do you think appropriate support for your family from social services to keep their damaging father away or keep them safe when he saw them would have done?!

I have to say that I disagree with bibliomania, I accept it is sometimes difficult to protect children from a NRP who has not yet done anything abusive or neglectful to the dc but in this case there are numerous incidents where the op's h has endangered and neglected the dc and in those cases it is not difficult to get steps put in place to protect them like supervised contact, indirect contact, restrictions on where he can take them and what he can do with them and contact being withdrawn if he breaks the rules.

It is ridiculous to think it is safer for the children to stay.

Twinklestein Thu 24-Apr-14 10:39:10

You don't need to be loved by this man to be ok. You have just got dependent on his approval. I'm not sure that he can love in any meaningful way, he's totally self-oriented.

You must not berate yourself for shouting at him. You have not 'set the relationship back' by doing so, he is the cause of all it. You are simply reacting to his extreme antisocial behaviour, and manipulations - his holiday strategy is a case in point. He says he wants you to take a long holiday but he knows you won't leave the kids, & so much money goes on his holidays that there's none left for you. He says one thing and does another, you're so impressed with his apparent reasonableness that you don't notice you've been had.

Chris2107 Thu 24-Apr-14 10:22:51

In the end once recovered from hip I will be solvent and less busy. ATM I spend my days in exercise for hip, chasing up medical appts for son and me.
Not an adrenalin junkie for husband at all - just trying hard to be loved and then repeatedly when I shout because of the latest - repeatedly - piece of nonsense take most of responsibility for creating relationship set back by shouting. Kids have seen and heard too much and I feel v bad about that as it's been my shouting - husband says it's cos I am naturally combative and he doesn't want to fight. I think he just wants it all his own way. He said to me he would support me if I wanted to go off and do things like long holidays but the point is by the time I have done all that needs to be do e there's no time or money for me to do that. And if I did then there would be no time together or as a family. So from his perspective turns sounds fair and reasonable - take turns - buts it's an empty offer for he knows I would not leave kids for my own holiday - especially whilst all this has been going on.
But when you are the shouting one it's easy to fall into the pattern of feeling like you need to make the peace - so you just stop shouting without anything being resolved. Life is hard but less busy than in 10 years so only now am I getting my head round it all. Been trapped by practical work/home/ kids circus and desire to want to make marriage work. But not addicted to him - frustrated to hell and back by him and shout about it. I never shout in any other circ - so don't think I am a shouting addict either .... Just had a bit too much practice and worry I could make same mistakes again with someone else.

bibliomania Thu 24-Apr-14 09:34:26

You've come a long way in 4 pages, Chris! I think it's unanimous that this marriage isn't worth saving.

I really like Twinkle's post yesterday about trauma bonding. I do understand why you felt it safer to stay when the dc's were young. Just because your solicitor felt contact should be restricted doesn't mean you'd actually be able to get that arranged in practice. Similiar things have been said about my ex from time to time, but it's not always realistic to think you'll get contact stopped on the basis of feared harm in future, as opposed to harm that has happened already.

Anyway, thankfully that's irrelevant now. What's stopping you, woman? You're in a great position! Financially solvent, not child contact issues. Your life is going to be so much better without him in it. I think you'll be amazed at how soon you'll be able to throw away the Valium once he's gone....

Lancelottie Thu 24-Apr-14 09:16:22

Yes, Oldgrandma, it sounds like the plotline of one of Agatha Christie's lesser works.

Hope you aren't insured in his favour, OP.

Your children are telling you they want out. Sounds like that's what you need to do for them -- and this time don't let your father's 'advice' put you off. Surely no 'abnormal' separation could be as weird as your life with him has been?

UptheChimney Thu 24-Apr-14 09:10:10

I hate reading about children -- particularly daughters -- who have to turn into parents. It damages them terribly.

This thread reminds me of one (in the other place eventually) of a woman who suspected she was going to be forced into an unwanted 4th (?) pregnancy, whose husband required her to give up well-paid work to be a SAHM to support him, but whose husband controlled her finances, and the safety of her home. Rooms in their house were unsafe for their small children, the washing machine didn't work, and he refused her "permission" to buy a dishwasher to ease the burden of housework with 3 small children.

She was clearly being abused but just couldn't see it. But she eventually did, and got away with the help of Women's Aid. She was formerly an independent, well-paid professional woman. I hope she is once again, just as I hope you become so, once again.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now