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Can't do this anymore :(

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Soooo. I'm just feeling so alone and burned out. I don't know what to do. I have 3 kids (ds 8, ds 5, dd 2) and I'm 8wks pregnant with #4. I homeschool because ds1 has special needs, I have severe morning sickness (currently taking zofran but still sick 24/7) and I'm really struggling with just keeping the kids clothed and fed and shuttling them to their appts etc. Oh, and I have 3 dogs, was going into a partnership with this poodle breeder as a way to bring in some money, and it turns out one of the dogs she gave me is going to have puppies in a few days here. So I'm up to my elbows in sh*t and I have not 1 person to lend me a hand.

I've only been single for a year and a half, I was married to the dad of the first 3 and he was an amazingly supportive husband and involved dad... unfortunately he had sort of a mental breakdown and he's not there for me or the kids anymore. He was my best friend and it's hard enough to have lost that.

The dad of this baby first demanded I get an abortion, then came back and said he wanted to "make it work" but acted like he didn't, and now he's going to North Dakota for 2 months to try to find work. He's not a very good man, not supportive, not a good dad to his own 4yr old, and lately has not been kind to my kids either. He SAYS he wants to be a family, but he doesn't ACT like it. When I met him he was working and we had a really great thing going. Then he stopped working and became this loser stoner grumpy insensitive guy I don't like at all. I guess I'm hoping when he's working again he'll get better? Pfff I don't know. Really I'm just afraid to be completely alone with no people whatsoever.

I tried to talk to my brother's girlfriend (no kids, goes to "school" and is supported by my brother, also she recommended I get an abortion when I confided to her I was pg in the first place ha!) and she told me to watch a documentary on a 3rd world country, quit my negativity and "buck up little soldier".

That was kind of the last straw... I serously feel like I want to crawl in a hole and not come out for a few years. Every day is a battle for me to just get through and make it to bedtime and I can't get any HELP. I don't know how I got to this point in my life but I've never been more lonely, scared, or just plain burned out.  I know people have it worse. I do understand that. But today that doesn't make me feel any better about my lot here.

I just don't know what to DO. I feel like my heart is breaking, I just don't want to live like this anymore guilty.gif

post #2 of 11

First of all you are not alone.  I know it feels that way sometimes but you are not alone!   How many kids are you actively homeschooling? 1 or 2?  Are you part of a homeschool group?  Don't let your DS needs discourage you from joining groups!  There are lots of single mom's in homeschool groups and lots of kids with needs in the groups too.  Homeschoolers are a great resource to have!

 

Honestly, I would see about getting rid of the poodle gig.  I know pet owners love their pets and I love my dog but I can't have my dog with me and she lives with a friend for now.  Are all 3 dogs yours or do some of them belong to an ex?

 

From what you wrote I would distance myself from this baby's father. He does not sound like a positive influence on you or the kids.  As for your ex, I would give him distance as well and re evaluate when he is healthy again. 

 

You need space to make sure YOU are healthy, both physically and mentally. Surrounding yourself with positive, healthy, happy people is the first way to do that.

 

I've also found free activities for my kiddo at the library and found great friends there too.

 

Do you have mental health coverage?  Sometimes finding someone to talk to in person makes things better as well.

 

grouphug.gif

post #3 of 11

Hi Sprout 1 ... let me first say that I sympathize with you .. I was a "single" parent for the entire 15 years I was married. The first HUGE mistake you are making is thinking things will get better "when ...(this or that happens) ... in this case, you are hoping his going back to work will "change" him ...  You need to see him change BEFORE you start reconsidering staying with him. The things you describe will not get "better" with employment (not being a good dad, not being supportive). His first thought was for you to get an abortion ... now he wants you to keep the baby and "work things out." Well, I question the motive behind his change of heart. You're absolutely right that he's "not a good man," because what "good" man hears he's going to be a father (either for the first time or again), and his initial reaction to that is, "get an abortion"?? That thought would not cross the mind of a "good" man. And a "good" man does not treat children badly - regardless of whose kids they are. If he's mean, nasty or rotten to ANY child, that tells me he is not a mature man, and is acting-out in this passive-aggressive manner due to some underlying "anger" and/or "resentment" issue - like, maybe deep down he resents having to be a father and "being forced" to support a family (perhaps because he feels inadequate, or maybe he just doesn't like the pressure/burden of it). He might never SAY he resents it, but as you stated yourself, regardless of what he says or doesn't say, he doesn't ACT in accordance with his words. That's being passive-aggressive, and the root cause of passive-aggressiveness is underlying (hidden) anger and/or resentment which the person (for whatever reason) won't or can't say what's REALLY bothering him. Sometimes they don't even know the cause of it, themselves (quite often it began years ago).

 

Secondly, you said, "he stopped working." Why? Was he laid-off or did he quit? And how long, exactly, has he been out of work (and been allowed to remain at the house to lay around and be a grumpy stoner)? Or was/is he not living with you and the kids? Your "instincts" are dead-on - a "good" man would NEVER quit one job before he has another - especially when he has a family to support. He's obviously having trouble finding work and sounds like he's going to another state to find work ... in this economy, why in the world would he just "stop working" without the assurance that he had another job lined up?? To me, it's a glaring defect in character when a man doesn't think about the consequences his family will have to pay when he makes his choices. And a person's "character" is something that doesn't change with "outside" circumstances (like getting a job) ... it only changes when a person realizes on the "inside" that he has "flaws" in the way he thinks and behaves (that he's "wrong"), and that those things need changing. Quitting a job before another one is lined up also indicates a lack of ability to "plan" for the future.

 

You need leadership in your house (that which is equal to or better than yours alone) ... and from what you've observed already, you clearly are NOT getting it from him. He's obviously not working yet (and don't know for how much of the past year and a half he's been unemployed), so what has he been doing?? If he's not working and not helping you in the house, WHAT PURPOSE IS HE SERVING IN YOUR LIFE?? HOW IS HE CONTRIBUTING AND MAKING IT BETTER?? That's right - HE'S NOT.  He is an extra thing you have to worry about, an extra 150 or 200 pounds of DEAD WEIGHT (or whatever he weighs) that you are carrying around. WHAT MAKES YOU THINK HE'S GOING TO CHANGE AND THINGS ARE GOING TO GET BETTER?? He has already established a pattern of negative behavior - you need to INSIST that he changes and has remained that way for at least a couple of years - NOTHING LESS. Or just admit to yourself right now (like you just did) that you have serious doubts about your ability to RESPECT him as a person - If you don't truly and deeply respect a person, you can't truly and deeply love him or follow him as a leader. You WILL defect that relationship, sooner or later ... because it cannot survive or grow in that environment. If you attempt to stay in it, YOU will be the one with anger and resentment issues.

 

Next, you need to RESPECT YOURSELF. You said you do not want to be "completely alone, with no people whatsoever." You have no other family near you? Besides the sister-in-law who is insensitive and obviously lacking in common sense?? What about the brother she's married to? And you have no friends? Do you belong to a church or anything? If not, now is the time to reach out and find some people who will support you - that is why there are "support groups." You WILL find one somewhere near you - you may have to do some searching - but don't give up. Even if it's not a group specifically for single parents - find something to belong to. I know you are tired and feel like you have no time to be part of a group. But you need to FORCE yourself to do it - I am telling you this from my own experience - I isolated myself - I went to work and came home - day in and day out ... Never went anywhere or did anything FOR ME ... I sat home and sunk deeper and deeper into depression and despair - I was "emotionally absent" from my kids for a period of time. I even stopped going to church altogether (not because I "lost faith in God" or anything - mostly because "being alone" became a bad habit. You will not be any good to your children if you are emotionally absent. You need to TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF EMOTIONALLY ... this guy is not supporting you, so you need to go find that support somewhere else (and not with another man, yet). Surely you can find a babysitter for one night a week for a couple hours. If not, call the support group and tell them you NEED to attend or you'll lose your sanity, but you have no child care, and would they be able to help you come up with some. It's worth a try, right?

 

Also, because you are having such a hard time letting go of this relationship (trying to hang onto to it for all the wrong reasons), I suggest you read the books, "Boundaries" and/or "Boundaries in Marriage" by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. Larry Townsend. Those books really opened my eyes to the fact that I lacked the ability to establish clear personal boundaries with others. If you don't set boundaries, the relationship will break-down. People think they can make excuses as to why their relationship lacks intimacy (like yours, "hopefully when he's working again he'll get better") ... but when the problems "get fixed," the person who you couldn't find love or intimacy with still remains. A clear boundary says, "it's not acceptable for you to be unemployed and not help support your family financially." You can make an exception when it's because he got laid-off (unless it was due to him not being a good employee, or if he truly is out there looking for work every single day, and doing his very best to find it). Sometimes it's true that the circumstances are out of our control. But you need to be able to do that (distinguish what's out of our control and what's not) - so you can set the boundaries regarding work and support. You have to let him know it's not acceptable for him to sit around all day, doing nothing, and you won't tolerate it. You are not someone to be used. You need someone who will contribute and be a positive influence . . someone who cares enough about you to be there for you and support you.

 

You've already demonstrated that you CAN parent without him. You've been doing it for a year and a half, right? You cannot stay with a man that you have doubts about. I learned the hard way that you don't "marry first, wait for the change to come after." I waited for 15 years. He "changed" a little and made progress, but sooner or later, he always went back to his old habits. Please be wiser than I was ...Believe me, if there's strife in your home, it WILL affect your children. I didn't want to be alone, either, yet I was for 3/4 of that 15 years.. I didn't think I could do it ... and I truly had some very hard times ... but I learned that I could do it. I won't lie - it's hard, it's scarry, you'll have anxiety and worry ...The key is doing it one day at a time  ... The absolute worse thing you can do is stay with him because you're afraid of being alone. You're already alone! So it won't be much of a jump!  You'll see how resourceful you'll become. And you will see that it's all going to be fine. My kids got along without their dad here, just fine.

 

I hope I gave you a little food for thought ...I had to learn it the hard way ... hopefully you'll do it right

post #4 of 11

If it were me I would get rid of all the dogs, try and find a school that can accomodate your sons special needs and stop homeschooling, go to your doctor and see what kind of help you can get. There are services that offer respite care for parents of special needs kids, also cleaning services etc.

 

I would also get rid of current BF. He is bad news, esp if he is starting to be mean to your kids, that is completely out of line.

 

Also try and find a support group for single parents or parents of special needs kids. Anything that will help you build a support network.

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Just to clear a couple things up- we've only been dating for 9 months, we don't live together, and he's a self-employed carpenter so his work is naturally job to job and slow in the winter.

It doesn't really matter at this point, he blew up at me and left a couple days ago. I've been trying to end it for a while and he keeps saying he can't leave but acts like he's gone, so now he's really gone and it's over.

 I do need to get out, I need a support system but I'm horrible at making friends. Meanwhile I've been isolating myself and pushing away what little friends and family I do have.  I at least realized this and took the time to apologize and talk to my people... It didn't take long there's only 3 lol.

The dog had her litter- 11 puppies! I'm pulling it together, I have to. It's really my only option for an income right now.

Sooo I guess I'm going to have to get out and find a group or something. Maybe my midwife would know of something?

post #6 of 11

Sprout 1 - I feel for you, really, I do. I know what it's like to be alone. First I will encourage you to PLEASE do one thing for yourself - make yourself find support or a support group somewhere. Don't fool yourself into thinking you'll be able to do all this alone. You have gone through a lot already - especially the loss of your "best friend" (children's father) to a mental breakdown. You need someone who is strong and stable - it doesn't always have to be a someone who is older than you, but "age" helps - because older people have been through more in life. And it must be a female, not a male. I am a very strong Christian who was very involved in my church - I did a lot of things and LED a lot of things - unfortunately, I had no one in my life who was older and stronger than me - and when I started slipping, as strong of a person and as "spiritual" as I was (as close to God as I was, and still am), because I had no real, close friends or "mentors" in my life, I kept sliding - down and down and down - the more I refused to try and find support, the more I thought I could "handle all my own problems all by myself," the further down I went. I spent several years in isolation - just seeing my kids and my family. I saw my family, but I never really talked with them about how I was feeling ... I never told anyone how lonely I was, never asked for help in dealing with emotions, etc. I worked full-time (still do), and never really said anything to any of my co-workers, either. I always put on a happy face, and the outside world thought I was fine. When I did talk a little bit about things going on in my life, I did it with a big smile and that "Oh, it's not so bad ... God helps me with everything ... I'm fine" attitude. Then I would cry to God and say, "No one cares about me!!" It's true that God does help us through things, but He created us to be social beings ... He created us for relationships ... He created people to need other people. God can't be here "in the flesh" - that is why He gave us other people to "be with" down here. I was SO mistaken to think "God and me, alone can handle everything." Sometimes life is so depressing that it's hard to force ourselves to seek support ... but it is SO necessary. If we never let anyone know we're hurting and need help and/or support, they will never know ... and we'll never get that help and support we so desperately need. It took me a long time to get it into my thick head that "people are not mind-readers" - and most people say, "is there anything I can do?" and/or "if you need anything, just let me know" just to be nice, and because it's what we're "supposed" to say to others when they tell us they are going through something. You have to be SERIOUS about getting support - and go out and SEEK it. I always felt like I would be a burden to people, and that if I DID say, "okay - I'll take you up on that offer" that I would be "putting them on the spot" because I didn't really think they meant it. Since I felt that way about the acquaintances in my world, I should have went to a support group or something - where that's the whole reason they are there. Then you KNOW you're not "putting them out." YES - ask your midwife - tell her you are DESPERATE to find support - if you act like it's just an option you are thinking about, she may not try very hard. People only know what you tell them. Most people cannot "see" your pain or know it exists unless you are crying, or something. They are not insensitive, they are just not "that intuned" to others.

 

Secondly, if that guy trys to return to you - DO NOT take him back - he needs to prove to you (over a period of a few years) that he has changed. I know what the construction field is like - my brother did it, as well as my ex. But if that guy got all depressing, and a stoner and all those things you said, when he had no work, that is NOT going to change about him overnight. He will continue to be like that when he has no work. I took my ex back over and over and over, because I was afraid of trying to raise my kids alone .. I wanted the company as well as the financial support. Unfortunately for me, I didn't "wake up and smell the coffee" until 15 years later ... when I realized that I had nothing to fear, as I had already been financially supporting myself and my kids for years, with no help from him ... he always added more problems and financial hardships to my life ... almost every single time I took him back. I'm telling you - I was the biggest idiot alive. On the occasion that I did get "advice" from others, I listened and nodded my head, telling them "yes, you are right" ... then just did what my "heart" would tell me - I would always think, "things are different with us, though" or "my situation is not QUITE like that, though" ... or "he's changed this time, for sure, I know it," etc., etc., etc. .... blah, blah, blah. I never listened to anyone, always thinking my situation, him, "next time" everything - was "different," and my outcome would be "different, " also. But it wasn't. Every time he left I'd think at first, "that's it ... I'm never taking him back, ever again ... I've had enough of this ... I'm not letting him fool me again" ... etc. But after a few weeks or a few months, when I was feeling tired, stressed, lonely, broke, etc .... I'd give in and take him back. Sometimes I'd force him to change, and he would ... but only for a period of time. It never failed .... he always went back to the way he was, and he never changed, because I ended up accepting it, or, if I made him leave, I didn't stick to my guns like I should have, and always let him come back. After a few times of this, he knew I was a bleeding heart ... I was too kind, he knew I wanted my kids to have their dad, etc. He KNEW I'd let him back ... so he did just enough to appease me at first, and make it SEEM like he had changed or was TRYING to change ... and I honestly believe he did try to change sometimes ... but he was not tough enough on himself, and me, the soft-heart, was no help, either. Someone had to be the one to be using "tough love" ... but neither of us did or would. So it always failed ... and continued to fail ... until he died at age 39.

 

You are in a hard, difficult situation ... I really feel for you. I am praying for you ... and I hope you can be stronger than I was. PLEASE find some support ... don't quit trying to find it until you do. I will pray that you find support, also. I know how difficult it is to get up, get out, and look for a friend or some support ... I used to feel like a freak - I didn't fit in with the "singles" people and groups, yet I didn't fit in with the "marrieds," either (because my other half was always gone, or because he was an unsociable alcoholic, he never wanted to do things with other couples). I felt so lost all the time because of "feeling like I didn't fit in anywhere." It's so hard, I know. But things are a lot different now ... back when I needed it, "single mothers" were not so prevalent, as they are now. When I had my first child in 1987, I was the first "single mother" in my entire church - no one knew what to do with me!! (I didn't marry my daughter's father until a year and a half later).  I hope you take my advice and make yourself do it .. and don't stop until you find it somewhere. If you keep searching, you WILL find it. God bless you, Sprout.

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

Well I'm still here, over 12 weeks along now and starting to feel a little better.

These dogs are almost more than I can handle but within a month they will hopefully all be out and I can move on to other things.

I'm getting the ball rolling with school for the kids, my oldest will have an IEP hopefully within a week or two and I'm just hoping and praying I can find a program that works for him and he can be happy. It's heartbreaking to see a child who is so smart and can make friends easily outside of school, but is nothing short of a nightmare in the classroom. So I've entered them into a couple charter school lotteries, and am seeing about a nearby private school if all else fails.

The baby's dad has been in N. Dakota for a while, apparently he left the day after I last saw him, that I mentioned in my last post. He left me alone for about a week then just started sending emails like hey what's up? I was so pissed. Then he started sending messages about how he's crushed and dying and can't take the pain, all he wants is to be a family with me, he will do anything for another chance. I told him he needs to SHOW me things can be different and he was all for it, but for some reason he didn't connect that I'm not going to be "there" for him until he gets back here and starts doing it. Several phone calls a day, sobbing crying, pathetic emails... his behavior is beyond my comprehension.

Before he left I was so sick I needed an IV at home from my midwife. He was supposed to watch the kids for an hour so I could sit and get the IV but instead he got stoned and fell asleep (while watching his own son). Afterwards he said I shouldn't have needed help for that anyway.

Then he leaves me, knowing I had nobody else, and expects me to hold his hand because he's lonely? Seriously? He gave me no choice but to get through, and I did so just barely. I don't know if I could forgive him for that.

I told him I'm done with the relationship unless he comes back here and shows me things can be different. I offered to go to counseling to help us figure that out. He can't handle it and acts like I stabbed him in the heart or something. How can he act like he hates me when he's here, and now I'm supposed to pretend it's all ok and hold his hand? He's proven several times that he's all talk, and it so pisses me off that he's doing this to me. Yes I'd love a big happy family but it's a fantasy with him. I mean he literally sobbed to me that he knows he's a great dad, he can be there for all the kids because ALL they need is love and everything will work itself out. He has NO idea what parenting is and will probably never step up to the plate and be a real dad (the kind who can say no or give structure and boundaries, provide a positive example etc).

Argh sorry for going off there but it seems like there are some people on this thread who understand his "type" and can support my feelings. I feel very guilty about turning my back on him but I don't feel like I WANT to or need to say what he wants to make him stop crying. All I ever hear from him is I want I want and I'm sick of it. I'm furious with him actually!

Anyway, thank you for your advice, I am looking for a support group and have tried to get closer to a lady I know but it's really hard. I feel like my heart is mostly dead except for my love for my kids and unfortunately for my ex as well. I'm just hoping that by the time this baby is here I'll have it somewhat together.

post #8 of 11
I'm really impressed you're recognizing all that so early- good for you.
post #9 of 11

I know this is a horrendously difficult time for you.  I'm sorry that you have so much on your plate.  This is definitely not going to be a popular opinion; but, have you considered adoption for the baby you are pregnant with?  That may not be the option that's right for you, but it may be an option worth exploring so that you can form your own opinion.  A close friend of mine was in a strikingly similar situation to you.  When she unexpectedly became pregnant with #5, she realized that she was not in a position to provide a loving and secure home to that new baby or to her current children if another child was added to the family.  So, she decided to place the baby for adoption with a religious-based adoption agency (she was not a member of any religion, but liked the ideals that the religion upheld).  It was terribly difficult.  The other children knew that the baby was not going to stay with them, but were all still very excited about the arrival.  That was about three years ago, and just a few days ago she was talking about how she still feels that was the right decision for that child, even though her life situation has since improved.  I'm not in any way saying this is what you need to do or that it is the best option for you.  I'm just offering it up as one (of many) options.  Good luck!

post #10 of 11

To be brutally honest, it sounds like a dead-end relationship that is only going to bring you more stress and pain. I so understand how you are (were) feeling in your first post. I have said and felt and written most of that truly word for word, even the "I know people have it worse but I am beyond my breaking point" type of thing. Those are the hardest times. Those are the times you have to just hold on until the storm settles a little. I know you don't want to be alone and believe me I know how hard it is to do it all completely by yourself with no outside support ever. But I can guarantee you that is not a good person or relationship for your kids (or you) to be around ever. Simplify where you can (like you're doing with the dogs and getting support with your kids' education) but just know that you can do it on your own. It's never worth being treated like crap and having a bad example around your children. Hang in there.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Adoption isn't an option... even if I would want to go that route (which I don't) he would have to agree. Judging by his obsession with this baby at this point (he's convinced it's a girl and she visits him in his dreams) I doubt he'd go for it, and I won't just give the baby to him.  

I'm now pulling out of the really bad, hopeless helplessness that I think was mostly stemming from the hormones and sickness of early pregnancy. At this point I have no interest in talking to the baby's dad, and he's backed off since I kinda went off on him about needing to pull himself together and do the work that he went out there to do. I clearly said (again) that I'm out of the relationship unless he can show me things will be different, and he finally got it this time. I don't know how he could possibly prove himself to me, but I guess we'll see.  

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