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Feeling a bit scared and overwhelmed today - hope I'm doing the right thing.

(29 Posts)
OverwhelmingHairflip Mon 22-Apr-13 12:08:38

DH and I had a conversation last weekend where we pretty much concluded that our marriage has been dead for years and that it probably won't improve.

We left it that we'd go off and think about it - DH works away and is only here every other weekend, so we've not discussed it further. We've talked briefly on the phone since - he is playing his cards very close to his chest. I was honest and told him that I think we've gone as far as we can go, but I want us to still have a decent parenting relationship for DD's sake (she is 6).

I know I can't go on in this relationship - I've tried so hard to make it work, but I keep getting hurt and I just don't think I can do it anymore. It's like a shutter has come down and won't lift again to let any chink of hope in. Financially it's going to be a disaster though. I have MH issues (OCD). I haven't had a proper job since DD was born 6 years ago. I did try having my own business for a couple of years, but lost money on it. DH is on quite a low wage - got made redundant over a year ago, and has recently started a job on the other side of the country not earning much, but good as a stepping stone for a new career. We have a mortgage. I don't know how I'm going to survive - what DD and I are going to do, but I can't stay with him just for that.

The relationship has sucked away a huge amount of my self esteem over the years - it's only now he's hardly here that I seem to be getting myself 'back'. I keep seesawing between grief and elation - but today I'm just scared

OverwhelmingHairflip Mon 22-Apr-13 12:33:24

He's barely touched me sexually since we got married (the fact that I conceived is a miracle - or possible due to us having sex therapy at the time and the sex therapist banning us from having sex - he doesn't like being told what to do). When we have had sex, it has been the roll-on/roll off type, and I've not wanted to complain about it because I know if I will do we'll have even less intimacy than the 3 times a year he's inclined to do it. I ballooned in weight and stopped making any effort in my appearance after a while. I've since lost weight and he has acknowledged I'm looking much better, but we still don't have a sexual relationship.

We don't have a proper friendship. We don't have anything in common anymore. When my illness was really bad, he dealt with my panic attacks by ranting in my face - to the point that DD would ask him why he was being horrible to mummy sad

Most of the time we've managed because we've been polite to each other and I made the decision years ago to treat him as a house mate that I have shared child rearing duties with.

Having said that, he has worked hard to bring money into the household, I am very difficult to live with when my OCD gets bad (unfortunately his simmering anger made my anxiety worse though - so it was a vicious circle). I've not brought any money in, I'm rubbish at housework and the house had "no go" areas because I was convinced bits of the house were contaminated, which was very hard for him. Since he's been living away, I'm actually getting better at the housework though.

Lueji Mon 22-Apr-13 12:38:08

Since he's been living away, I'm actually getting better at the housework though.

There you go.
I hope it goes smoothly enough.

Take as much advice as you can, from CAB, local council, CSA, etc.
I'm sure you'll be ok, and will feel more confident when you do the budgets.

Would you be able to start childminding, for example, to make some money?

OverwhelmingHairflip Mon 22-Apr-13 12:42:08

Thanks Lueji

I would love to childmind. The trouble is, I've done the childminding course twice, and both times it has set off my OCD again while I've been in recovery.

The childminding course seems to be very little about doing nice things with the children and lots to do with how things in your house could potentially kill/maim etc a small child, how there are dangers everywhere you go, how you must wash your and their hands a zillion times, how your home must be spotless etc etc - so both times I did the course it set off a relapse. Don't know if I'd have to do the course again as it's over a year since I last did it. I still have areas of my home which feel "contaminated", though I'm slowly working my way through them, so reckon that wouldn't last forever

I love the company of small children though - so the idea of being with the children themselves is lovely...

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 22-Apr-13 12:42:52

What are you scared of exactly? Clearly the life you have is miserable and you know that for definite. But what is scaring you? The 'unknown' element of the future? It's very common for people in unhappy relationships (and yours sounds like it was never genuinely happy) to think they have MH issues or even develop genuine MH problems when, in reality, it's the stress of living that is causing them to blow a circuit. Anyone would be anxious in the situation you describe and your OCD symptoms could have been a desperate attempt on your part to regain control of something. I'm sure there's nothing wrong with your approach to housework.

If it is the future that is bothering you the best advice is to get informed. Talk to experts such as your GP for your health, solicitors for legal & financial advice, CAB for benefits, your housing authority about accommodation perhaps, CSA about child-support. If you have friends and family willing to support you take advantage of their help.

Good luck

OverwhelmingHairflip Mon 22-Apr-13 12:48:09

Thanks Cogito.

I'm scared I'll lose the house because I'm not bringing in an income. I don't know what job I could do or who would have me. I am 41 years old, and though I'm bright and have lots of abilities - I never got my shit together to get a proper career.

OCD has been an issue since I was 18, but I wasn't suffering from it too badly when I got together with DH - I'd say it started coming back a few months before we got married and kicked in properly when DD was born. I definitely think it is connected to how I feel in my life

I have dealt with bullies all my life - was verbally bullied right through school. Got verbally bullied in some of my workplaces, been bullied by my husband, and when I'm not being bullied enough, I create a bully in my head to bully me some more.

I've always been very bolshy about sticking up for myself, but have always believed deep down that the bullies were right

OverwhelmingHairflip Mon 22-Apr-13 12:49:52

I try and look at all the legal stuff about my rights etc and it all becomes a blur in my brain. I just don't feel as if I understand any of it - I don't know why because I'm not a stupid person - but I always feel as if everyone else understands this stuff and I have no common sense so I don't

OverwhelmingHairflip Mon 22-Apr-13 12:54:34

DH is in charge of all the finances at home. We never had a joint bank account. He's always paid housekeeping money into my bank account by DirectDebit at the beginning of each month, which I never minded because I thought it meant I wouldn't get muddled up about what was being spent and I could budget with what I had been given. Part of not getting a bank account together is that DH was declared bankrupt about 10 years ago and I didn't know if it might cause problems financially for us (though now I think about it, that doesn't actually make sense). I don't feel like I have a sense of the how the money works in this house (though DH has given me budget spreadsheets in the past, so hasn't been secretive).

Now we've said we're splitting up, I don't know if DH will pay the mortgage this month or give me any housekeeping and I'm already overdrawn. I know my parents will help me - but I'm a middle aged woman - I shouldn't be going to them cap in hand

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 22-Apr-13 12:57:50

A house is important and it'd be an emotional wrench to leave but, ultimately, it's just bricks. There are other places to live that might be just as nice but more affordable and more relaxing to be in as a result. I'm sure there are lots of jobs you could do, even if childminding isn't suitable for the reasons you mentioned. You're only 41 and, if you're intelligent and resourceful, there's lots of reasons to be hopeful. If you check the benefits checker that might give you some idea what a small income could potentially get topped up to.

The bullies are never right BTW... smile

OverwhelmingHairflip Mon 22-Apr-13 12:59:28


CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 22-Apr-13 13:00:04

"we've said we're splitting up, I don't know if DH will pay the mortgage this month or give me any housekeeping and I'm already overdrawn. "

This is where people like CAB and solicitors can be really helpful. If you're finding it all a bit of a blur at the moment it's understandable. I'm sure you are intelligent enough to know how it all works normally but, when you're emotionally stressed because you're going through a break-up, it's really difficult to think straight. That's why I asked about friends and family. Can anyone help you with the practical stuff?

Lueji Mon 22-Apr-13 13:01:52

Regarding a job, you could start at the bottom somewhere and work your way up.
Freshen up any qualifications you have, even?

Even cleaning houses would be a start towards your financial independence and in some places you could get a decent wage. I know in London you could get more than £7 per hour.

OverwhelmingHairflip Mon 22-Apr-13 13:03:27

I think I'm scared too because DH is still "thinking about it" in terms of splitting up - he asked me where I was with it on the phone a few nights ago and I was honest, but diplomatic, but won't talk about how he feels about things as he wants to think about it because he doesn't want to make the wrong decision.

Maybe that's what he's doing and I should trust him, but he can be quite a spiteful, angry and vindictive person, and I'm worried in case he's thinking of a subtle way to punish me (like in the past when I was ill, if I complained about being unhappy in our relationship he would do something major to spike my OCD and throw me into a huge panic attack - though he always denied intentionally doing this).

OverwhelmingHairflip Mon 22-Apr-13 13:07:18

I can type and have secretarial skills. I'm really creative and did a PGCE over 10 years ago, but never got my QTS so can't really do anything with that. In reality I want to do something creative - but I guess I need to take whatever there is. I worry about going into fulltime work, because DD is used to me being there all the time. She wouldn't be able to go to her after school clubs anymore if she was in childcare, and her life would be turned upside down anyway when she finds out Daddy isn't going to come back to live with us. Don't want to screw her up sad

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 22-Apr-13 13:09:09

Being blunt, does it matter what he thinks now? If you want it to be over, say so. No point being diplomatic and prevaricating because all it achieves is a kind of emotional no-mans land where no-one's being honest with each other and nothing progresses. If he's spiteful, angry and vindictive, even more reason to take the initiative and not let him start working on you...

OverwhelmingHairflip Mon 22-Apr-13 13:09:11

Still got to work out how we're going to manage DH coming back to visit - he's not due to come down until the weekend after next - but we can't afford for him to stay anywhere else, so he'll have to stay here. Don't know whether to be here too and sleep on the sofa or let him stay here and go elsewhere for the weekend. Feel a bit weird about him being in the house for the weekend on his own now though - which I know is bonkers

OverwhelmingHairflip Mon 22-Apr-13 13:12:08

Cogito - don't really care what he thinks of me - main thing is that I want to keep it as civilised as possible for DD's sake. Her little world is about to fall apart - she adores her Dad, and the one decent part of our relationship is we always co-parented consistently/backed each other up in front of her etc, so I want to still work in partnership with him as far as DD goes - if it wasn't for her I'd cheerfully never set eyes or ears on him again

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 22-Apr-13 13:12:12

"She wouldn't be able to go to her after school clubs anymore if she was in childcare, and her life would be turned upside down anyway when she finds out Daddy isn't going to come back to live with us. "

Children who have a bad experience of divorce and separation tend to be the ones who take second place whilst their parents are too preoccupied with themselves. If you are considerate & approach this positively, not about the things she stands to lose but the things she'll be gaining, then you could even sell it as a good thing. She'll get a happy Mum and a happy Dad all to herself for whatever access arrangement you come up with between you. Has to be better than what's currently happening, surely?

OverwhelmingHairflip Mon 22-Apr-13 13:20:07

Maybe - dunno. In the main part, for the last year things have on the surface seemed much better between me and DH - we've had a pretty civil relationship - I'd even say things were improving and he has been making an effort since he started working away - just a Skype call when he was dismissive of me when I was having a tough day (after I've poured out loads of sympathy to him because he's been finding it hard being away from home) and it was like a shutter came down and i thought - no more - and I must have no energy for it - I was so hopeful - I can't allow myself to keep building my hopes up and getting hurt.

DD I think finds it hard with her Dad being away. It's a bit awkward at the moment because she doesn't want to talk to him on Skype or on the phone most evenings - she will a bit usually, but it'll be a quick chat and she'll get bored, or she'll say she's not in the mood - which I guess is hurtful for DH - I don't know if maybe she's angry with him for not being here (when he comes here for the weekend she's always delighted to see him though). I think she might get more angry and remote from him if we split up - though I would always encourage her to have a happy positive relationship with her Dad

OverwhelmingHairflip Mon 22-Apr-13 13:22:30

I don't know how conscious she is of the fact that my relationship with her Dad being unhappy. I do know she is having problems making friends, and I do wonder if that's because she's seeing a supposedly loving relationship modelled in front of her that is cold and remote (though both DH and I are very close with and affectionate with her)

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 22-Apr-13 13:36:16

Children notice a lot of things. In the absence of experience and/or good information they can take the things they notice, put two and two together and either get 'five' or make things up to fill in the gaps. You should probably ask her how she feels because, in the absence of information on your part, you're doing the same thing... If she's struggling to make friends, talk to her about that. You know all about bullying, for example. Maybe she's being excluded, it's got nothing to do with what's happening at home, and she needs your help there.

OverwhelmingHairflip Mon 22-Apr-13 13:49:37

I try to talk to her - but can't really get a straight answer out of her. In terms of how she gets on with other children, she's a really loud, gregarious little girl. She's what many people refer to as "a bit of a character" She has it in her head that she's girly and likes pink etc, when in reality she's obsessed with Horrid Henry, plays chasing games and gets in arguments with boys - a lot! Trouble is she'll go up to them and wind them up, but she can't take the consequences. It's something I keep talking to her about and trying to give her strategies for, but so far it just doesn't go in.

I've tried to talk with her teacher and get support from school - but her teacher dismisses my concerns and tells me that things that I know are happening aren't... I'm monitoring the situation and I'm thinking I might go to the head of KS1 instead.

Doesn't help that DD is a bit of a drama queen, known to have theatrical crying fits if she doesn't get her own way, and is a terrible loser, so she does stand out negatively for those things - I do try to help her with things, and I think things are slowly getting better, but it's not an easy process.

I don't know if that's just the way she is, or if negative behaviours she has witnessed between me and her Dad have informed the way she behaves

In terms of talking about how she feels about her Dad being away - she never wants to talk about it or about why she doesn't want to talk to him often, but I don't want to push and magnify the issue, so it's not something that I broach with her very often

OverwhelmingHairflip Mon 22-Apr-13 14:13:00

Shit - I just feel so panicky about everything - and angry - I just can't think straight today

OverwhelmingHairflip Mon 22-Apr-13 14:14:14

I keep thinking maybe I should have tried harder.

Sorry, I know I'm going on and on - it's just I've got so much bottled up I need to get it out somehow and I'm not sure how

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 22-Apr-13 14:38:07

A word on thinking you should 'try harder'. I could stand in a room with Tom Jones, 'try really hard' and he still wouldn't pledge his undying love..... <sigh> Which is my cockeyed way of saying that there are some situations in life where no amount of effort and trying hard is going to make a jot of difference to the outcome. Personal relationships benefit from some care an attention, of course, but it's a two-way street. When it gets to the stage where one person is having to 'try hard' in an vain attempt to get the other person to behave like a decent human being then they're on a hiding to nothing.

There's also a social pressure on women particuarly .... stock phrases like 'make a go of it', 'take the rough with the smooth', 'stay through thick and thin', 'try a bit harder', 'for better for worse' .... which all boil down to the same thing i.e. sacrifice your own hopes and dreams, keep everyone else happy and stop moaning.

Be under no illusion. Splitting up - even if it's exactly the right thing - is very, very stressful. But it is not as stressful as living in a situation where you are repeatedly knocked back and hurt.

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