Thanks everyone for your responses, I truly appreciate it. Some good things to think about and look in to.
So, I often feel overwhelmed, scared and trapped by what I'll need to do to get out of this situation and when things are going ok it often seems easier to put my head in the sand and pretend everything is ok, and just tell myself it's not that bad, maybe I'll just stay...what I want to do if it won't bother anyone is just log why I want to go so I can remember when the going gets tough, that I need to do this. Even if this is only for me to revisit, I think it will help.
I've had many moments that I felt complete clarity that I MUST get out of the relationship, and I tell myself whatever I do, do NOT change your mind...a few of those I can think of...when my son told me he hates himself, he's ugly, nobody likes him and his dad hates him. STBX is very, very hard on DS and constantly criticizes him, its very hard for STBX to find good in anything DS does, he always says he should have done better, could have done this/that, etc. He yells at DS, calls him a baby (DS is 8) etc. DS has also very recently started talking to me in a very disrespectful way and treating me like STBX does, I had a lightbulb moment that a) STBX will completely crush what is left of DS's confidence if I can't get him out of this situation soon, and b) DS is going to grow up thinking it's ok to treat people (me, girlfriends, wife) like STBX treats me, and will therefore probably never get married or will be divorced if he does.
Another moment of clarity was when he left me the threatening message on my voice mail. Nobody should speak to anyone like that, let alone your wife and children's mother. His hatred of me was clear in every word.
He says he changed so I won't talk too much about older issues, but he is such a downer at Christmas. It's my absolute favorite time of the year, but he gets so miserable around Christmas, he is grumpy and sulking most of Christmas day, last year was the first time in 8 years that he helped me put out the gifts/stockings etc., (we were trying to reconcile last Xmas) he complains if I get the kids more than 1 gift yet has a list of a zillion things he wants. All he talks about Xmas day is how spoiled the kids are, and tells them that repeatedly all day and the days following Xmas (I pay for all of the gifts). He complains that there is wrapping paper everywhere, he complains that there are boxes from opened gifts, he refuses to put anything together or batteries in anything so I do it all, he often just leaves and goes for a nap for the day, then wakes up wanting to know where dinner is. He's just generally a bummer to be around.
He refuses to mow the lawn or do anything to help take care of the yard or property.
He is very lazy and helps out very little with the house, kids, etc. I hired a tutor as my older son is failing at school and he refuses to help pick up my younger son so I can take my older son to the tutor, demanding that I make dinner instead and says the tutor is a waste of time.
I don't even ask him anymore to do anything for me, (i.e. can you pick up milk on your way home, etc.) because he won't.
We haven't had s*x in 3 1/2 years (well, we've been technically separated for 2 1/2 of those years so maybe that makes sense). He took his own room even though I asked him not to when we moved in to our new house 3 1/2 years ago and he wanted to make appointments for s*x.
When we were first married and had a pretty good s*x life, I told him about a time I had been s*xually assaulted as a teen, (I had never told anyone and was starting to cry) his response was "well, you better get over it because I don't want it interfering with our s*x life" and then got up and left the room. After a counseling session where we were supposed to tell the other person how we feel, I told him "I feel like there is an empty hole inside of me" his response was "I've got something I can shove in that hole". This was pretty typical. I've learned not to trust him with telling him things that are either imporant to me, or that scare me/are hurtful because he throws them back in my face later - or uses them against me. (He's brought up the fact that I was sexually assaulted many times in the context that I'm damaged, I have a problem, I'm abnormal, etc. etc.).
We were still married and had an ok marriage when I turned 40. He did nothing for my 40th birthday, not even a grocery store cake to sing happy birthday with the kids. Not a card. Nothing. For his 40th, I gave him a huge trip of a lifetime, rented a winebego, sent him on a cross-country football trip with all of his cousins from Canada and the U.S. that tooks months to coordinate. This was one of the times when it really hit home how little he cares about me.
When I was pregnant, he used to ask me to rub HIS feet - seriously. He used to get mad at me when I was throwing up because I was taking too long in the bathroom. He cooked all the foods that the smell made me nauseous (i.e. fish and ground beef) because "he wanted them" and didn't care that they made me sick. Never wanted to feel the baby kick. Refused to put the crib together or help set up the baby's room. Didn't help with the baby even though I was bedridden for nearly 5 weeks after his birth. When I had my stitches fall out and get infected and was lying on the table in agony being re-sewn up, all he wanted to know from the doctor was how soon we could have s*x again. He used to get mad if I didn't want to have s*x in the last month of my pregnancy b/c it was really uncomfortable.
When my 2nd was born, he did not get up in the night once to help out, even if I was sick or if the kids were sick. Never. And even when I had to leave for work at 8am and he didn't have to leave for work until 1pm and had a nap every day for an hour beforehand.
He had never put the kids to bed until this past September when I had to travel for work, my kids are 5 1/2 and nearly 9years old. He has given them a bath maybe twice in their whole lives. I changed poopy diapers alone, I clean up barf alone, I sooth kids coughs alone, I deal with fevers and other ailments in the night alone. Asking him to go to the drug store to get medicine for a sick child (or myself) you'd think I'd asked him to solve world hunger. Once I had both boys barfing, was covered in barf myself, both boys were crying and I asked him to get up and help, his response was "JUST DEAL WITH IT!". I don't even ask anymore because it's so upsetting.
He talks about how smart he is and how there is nobody smarter than him, even members of Mensa. He puts everyone else down and criticizes everyone and everything. He is totally adverse to hard work or anything that might inconvenience him in the slightest, or that disrupts his routine in any way. Everything he does, he does with the mindset of "what's in it for me"? And he wont' do anything unless there is something worthwhile in it for him. I actually feel like he doesn't have the capacity to care about another human being. And when I look up the definition of narcissist, it describes him to a "t". (This makes me really sad, as he's my kids father, I wish I had done better for them, they don't understand that he isn't capable of truly caring about them, they think it's them).
He makes fun of me for believing in God. He makes fun of my taste in music. He criticizes me for helping needy families. If I try to talk to him about the kids or an issue (i.e. my son being bullied or failing at school, teachers calling home because of a problem, if I have a problem at work, etc.) he gets very impatient, and says "I have things to do" and leaves the room, just acts like he could care less and we are all greatly inconveniencing him for being in his life.
He is very disrespectful when he talks to me, ordering me around, criticizing me, demanding dinner, that I didn't empty the dryer right away (instantly the second it is finished), that I left my coffee cup on the counter or some other menial thing...why did I leave the lights on upstairs (b/c I'm going right back up?), he'll blame it on me and get annoyed at me if HE forgets something. Pretty much everything that happens is my fault, and if anything I do isn't up to his perfect standards, the criticisms start. I feel like I walk on eggshells around him wondering what he'll find fault with next.
He has never bought the kids a birthday gift (though he says he has an Xmas present for them this year) and always asks if he "has to" be there for their birthday parties. I bought them bikes, put them together and taught them how to ride, I get their sporting equipment and take them to their sports and other activities. I do all the typical "dad" stuff. (I carve the turkey, put batteries in toys, assemble the sandbox, etc. etc. b/c he just refuses to).
I had the flu so bad last year that I was bed-ridden for 3 weeks, during the first 2 weeks I could not stay awake or barely lift my head or talk and had a fever. We have separate rooms. He would get up in the morning, have breakfast, watch tv, take a nap, run an errand and leave for work at 1pm and not return home until 11pm and then go to bed and not check on me once in 24 hours. I had to howl to ask him for water. He brought me food begrudgingly. I know we were separated but I'm still a human being. I ended being hospitalized for dehydration. Even when I blacked out, and couldn't stay conscious and had him call an ambulance, his attitude was "oh, she's fine...". And he brought it up for weeks and kept saying I should be so grateful to him for bringing me food and water.
I had a breast cancer scare and STBX had 3 things to say, 1) the first words out of his mouth were "I hope you have insurance", 2) followed by "who's going to take care of the kids"??! and 3) Now you know how I feel! (He had tennis elbow at the time). Not even remotely worried about me, but more concerned that it might interfere with his life or inconvenience him.
(Oops! Okay, I guess I am going to bring up old stuff...lol).
He doesn't drink excessively, he doesn't do drugs, he doesn't smoke, he's never been in jail, he has good ethics (doesn't steal, cheat, etc.), he doesn't lie or womanize or go out to bars. He always tells me where he's going and calls if he'll be late. He has a steady job (though low paying and unambitious), he's reliable (does what he says, but just says he's not going to do much - lol). He's fiercely loyal (at least to his mom and brothers). He's very organized. He will sometimes play catch with the kids outside or take them for bike rides to the park. He'll occasionally say things like "thank you for the nice dinner". He'll eat anything I cook and isn't fussy. He's sometimes helpful with things like changing lightbulbs, putting up the Christmas tree, and he takes out the garbage every week... Wow, I was trying to list his good qualities because when things are "ok" temporarily, it doesn't seem that bad but this list is really lame...
But it actually helps me realize that I've been living as a single mom for years now actually, even before we separated. I just have an extra set of hands (now and then when he feels like it) and his small financial contribution.
Thanks for listening! This is a good reminder for me! :)
Edited by monkeybum - 12/13/12 at 9:50pm