Please help

I have been living in emotional and verbally abusive conditions for a year now. I have been married for 19 years and have 3 kids with my husband and 2 from a previous marriage. Our 3 children still live at home. My husband has been emotionally absent. He suffers from depression and will often go into periods where he walks around with a forlorn look on his face and does not speak to anyone. He is constantly negative. He has been on medication for his depression for years, which has helped, but our recent home/kids circumstances have caused him to emotionally withdraw. He does not parent…period. By his own admission he avoids conflict, and thus does not deal with the kid’s wrong behavior. He allows them to be disrespectful to me and does not say a word to defend me. If they do not do what they are asked to do, he does nothing. He does not support me with giving any kind of consequences. If I try to give consequences, he will often undermine me in front of the kids. He either sides with them or turns a blind eye. He has verbally bashed me in front of them also. The kids do not respect either of us. The burden of parenting is all mine. He has tried to be the their friend rather than a parent and has made me out to be the bad parent for trying to do what is right. The kids have full control of our home. I have tried implementing some strategies recommended by our church counselor and by parenting professionals but do not get support from my husband. I feel like a single parent and wonder why I am married. Oftentimes I feel like they all hate me. I know I am doing the right thing, but it has been so difficult to do it alone.

Our daughter, is in her early 20s and has been back and forth on her own on multiple occasions. Each time, by my husband’s insistence, we allow her to come home. We have drawn up in writing our standards for allowing her to come home, but my husband does not enforce those conditions so nothing ever changes. She has emotional/anxiety/stomach issues and has been unable to hold a job for longer than 2 months. She carelessly spends any money she makes. She is not fulfilling her financial obligations that we established in writing such as paying her medical bills, rent, car insurance, etc. She sleeps all day and does not help with chores. Her promiscuous behavior has led to her now being pregnant and does not know for sure who the father is. I will most likely be the one having to raise the baby, and I’m sick about it.

Our 18-year-old son has attempted suicide twice since 2008. He is manipulative, disrespectful and defiant. He is verbally abusive to me and tries to bully me and his sister. He has severe anger issues and has kicked his bedroom door in and broken things. My husband did not make him buy a new door. I removed the door from the hinges, but my son rigged up a satisfactory alternative, which my husband has allowed. Our son has dropped out of school. He talks of killing others and himself. He refuses any kind of treatment, whether it be for drugs, anger issues, or mental health. He has been in trouble with the law for shoplifting and has stolen from our family on multiple occasions to buy drugs. He was also charged with possession. He actually participated in a drug deal right in front of our home in broad daylight with no consequences whatsoever. My husband did nothing. Not surprising, our son still continues to use marijuana. Though he does not use drugs at our home anymore, he does go off several times a day to smoke. He will not admit he is addicted and refuses help. My husband refuses to force him to leave.

Our 16-year-old son can also be defiant and disrespect but for the most part is otherwise a very pleasant kid and the main reason why I stay. He too, however, has been smoking marijuana on occasion. He failed school last year and is not doing well in school this year so far either.

All three kids have a deep sense of entitlement. They expect others to do for them what they should be doing for themselves. Our house is a mess all the time, and I am tired of cleaning up after basically 4 other adults with very little help.

The strife and division between my husband and me has been unbearable. I am so sick of this viscous merry-go-round. I am feeling used and devalued as a wife and mother. I have been wanting to leave for a long time now. I have been out of work for almost 6 months so leaving now is not feasible, but I don’t know how much more I can take. I have been earnestly seeking work every day but no luck. Prior to being unemployed, I worked from home for 10 years. I chose to stay home so I could be home with my kids and raise them myself. I have been a dedicated wife and mother and now feel like an enemy in my own home. I have no family in this area and only a few friends here.

Can someone please help? Thanks for listening.

Where are your parents or a sister? You may need to leave, they all sound like horrible, awful people. 16 year old smoking pot and failing out of school!?! 18 year old still at home and being abusive and bullying? Why are you there? Pack your stuff and go be with a relative, however far away, and reestablish yourself. Your post made me so very sad for you!

Please don’t take this wrong, But get counseling. Professional. For yourself to make sound, well thought out decisions you need to make. If your done with the marriage then move forward on getting yourself together. If you have that small voice inside saying to give it one more try, then family therapy is needed. That will take time. Don’t expect results in a month. Talk with an attorney on how to leave the marriage and home before you leave.

Thanks for your input. I’m still here. Still haven’t found a job, though one may pan out for me hopefully by next week (praying).

As for family support, both my parents are deceased and I have no other family nearby. My nearest sibling lives in NJ, and we’re not that close…not close enough that she would take me in. Everyone has their own lives. That’s why everything hinges on me finding a job.

Since my last post, my husband and I did go to counseling…about 3 sessions. It wasn’t going well at all. I felt the counselor was not right for our situation. She was not interested in addressing any of the important issues going on in our family. Then we started parent mentoring sessions with a couple in our church. We had about 3 meetings, and things seemed to be going well.

Then about mid December, I discovered that my husband had resurrected his porn addiction. He was involved in this early on in our marriage and again several years later. At my insistence back then, he attended a men’s weekend workshop. I didn’t really know what to expect when he came back. We talked very little about it, and when I pressed for more information, he said he wasn’t ready to talk about everything yet. He went to work the following week and emailed me expressing some of the things that took place - the great men he met and how great the conference was - iron sharpening iron, etc. He apologized to me in the email and never did show any remorse or brokenness to me in person. I let it go and now wish I hadn’t. So now 11 years later here we are again. I gave him the ultimatum to tell our mentoring couple or else I would. He did call the husband and met with him briefly. When he got back, I asked him if we could talk. He refused, saying “I don’t have to talk to you, this is between Tom (not his real name) and me…man to man.” That was 2 weeks ago. Since then we have barely spoken other than small talk like, did you feed the dog? The mentoring sessions have been put on hold at his insistence, which is probably for the best since this issue goes well beyond this couple’s parent mentoring skills.

I plan to sit down with my husband this weekend and find out exactly where he’s at…what his plans are. Enough is enough! All cards must be on the table. He needs to know that things cannot go on like this…that we cannot continue to hide the elephant under the rug and walk around it. I cannot be an enabler any longer, and I will not go down with a sinking ship! I need to know what is going on in my home, what he plans to do, and whether he wants help. He needs to include me, and he needs to be accountable. I need to see a change. Depending on how this meeting goes is how I will base my decisions to proceed from there.

Hopefully by the next time I post I will be able to say I got the job!