HI. this is my first post here but I have read a few others and it seems like you guys give some really sound advice. So heres my long story. If you have time to read it and give me your thoughts I would really appreciate it, as I have no one else I can bring this too. Thanks in advance for your time.
I started dating H when I was 15. He was a cpl months and a grade yonger but right after he graduated, by the time I was 19 we were married. Now I am 24 and have a 4yo, 2yo, and #3 is due in august. He is my soulmate. I love him more that life and he is the one I want to grow old with. He feels the same about me and truly is a really great guy at heart. Hes one of the few. But it couldn’t be that easy could it? Hes sick. The easiest way to explain it is that he has bipolar. But the truth is they don’t really know what it is. He also has a rage disorder. Characterized by flying of the handle for little or no reason and causing thousands of dollars worth of property damage. Hes smashed our jeep into a tree, smashed a $600 contract cell phone, and flipped couches, and tables (with glass on them) among other things. All while yelling at me and the children and making them cry. He has even pushed me up against walls and prevented me from, leaving. I don’t think he would ever seriously hurt us, deep down, but the way he carries on would be enough to make anyone wonder and be afraid. The one thing he has going for him is that hes willing to try anything to get better and make us ok. But you know they safe there is no true torture without hope, and I have come to know that’s true. His shrinks have put him on lithium and it seems to have helped him control 90% or so of his outbursts. Hes been on med after med. Each making him worse until this one. Now hes a little closer to being human but his emotions are worse than a teenage girl in puberty. I cant say anything without making him angry or causing him to go off and pout. He used to be my rock but now I feel like im carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. I wish I could be strong for him but there is not much left of me. I used to be a very happy person. Now I am depressed, hopeless, felt trapped and even suicidal. Hes made me miserable. Theres probably some verbal abuse in there, but mostly I think it’s the years of walking on eggshells. I am no longer the person I want to be, I don’t like who I am anymore. Im not the patient mom to my kids anymore that I once was. Not to mention if I wonder if I am really doing them good by leaving a “father figure” in their life or if I am just that mom that didn’t have the strength to do what she needed for her kids and get them out. Despite what we once had, and that when he is well we are perfect for each other, I would get out, if it weren’t for those damn pieces of hope. The times where I see the real him. Sometimes its every few days sometimes a few hours a day. Times when he is his old self. Where the children adore him and we have a peaceful life together. That’s all I really want. Peace. And the meds are helping. They can even give him more. Am I a fool to wait around and see if he can be again the man he once was?
Even if I wanted to leave it would be a hard, nearly impossible road. Im sure considering my story u wont be surprised to hear that I was three semesters short of my bachelors when I had my son. And so it would be nearly impossible for me to get a job that I could pay childcare and the bills with. H is an engineer and we are almost 40g (including a vehicle we had to buy and living expenses while he was in school that ended up an credit cards) in debt and can barely pay the bills now and that is without childcare cost. We have no family support. (my moms broke, dad left her 2 years ago for a girl younger than me, etc..) I have tried to get h to see our financial problems and help take some responsibility but he ignores them. I am currently trying to find a job at a gym childcare center where I can take my children with me to wrk for free so that I can actually keep the min. wage I will be making to pay bills.
Anyways. That is my long story made (a little bit) shorter. I have made a new years promise to myself that no matter what it takes, I will not be miserable by next year. So here is my attempt at finding the clarity or perspective that I think I am lacking looking at my own life. I would be the broke 25yo single mother of three. I have no illusions of ease or even of ever finding another partner. I accept that I would be living the rest of my life alone in difficulty. That is a hard fact to accept. The question is, would it be worth it just to have peace?
Yes, in that situation, I would leave. It does not sound like a safe place for you or your children, emotioanlly or physically.
If he is truly 100% committed to treating his mental illness, I would not rule out holding out some hope of reconcilliation after he has proven that he is seeing doctors on schedule, taking medications on schedule, and has some sort of plan as to what to do if his symptoms should return. However, I freely admit this may be terrible advice as I have never been in a relationship with somebody with mental illness, so maybe somebody else can chime in on the wisdom of holding out hope in this relationship.
Those few hours of peace are not worth all the rest. I know you say you don't thnk he would hurt you, but frankly it sounds like he is not himself (or the person you knew and fell in love with) enough due to mental illness that I doubt he has that kind of self control left. He has already gotten physical by pushing you up against a wall to keep you from leaving-very scary!
I read on another thread on MDC some great advice: Do what you would want your daughter to do in the same situation.
Something needs to change... a you need to start looking after you so you have energy to care for your three little ones and yourself too.
Oh, mama. I feel so heartbroken for you. You need to gather support around you because you can't count on him. You need to take care of yourself in all of this. And by doing so, you will be giving your children a gift. They need you.
I want to share a bit of my story. It's nothing like yours, your story is uniquely yours. But I have lived through a marriage of violence (not nearly as frightening as yours, but violent nonetheless). I have 3 children; 3 boys. My oldest son experienced a lot of his father's rages and saw me experience it. All 3 saw me experience it. That kind of trauma does not go away. It sticks. It bleeds and its invisible and often silent. But the wounds are real and they manifest in different ways with different children. The kids have inherited genes riddled with mental illness. My oldest son is struggling the most. He rages, just like his father, except he's worse. It's frightening. He's threatened to kill me, his brothers, and himself. I was told by his psychiatrist of 2 years in May last year that he is a likely candidate for suicide, substance abuse, and extreme violence as an adult due to the fact that he continues to experience his father's rage. I had stayed with him through 15 years 'for the sake of the kids' only to be told that I was actually possibly killing my children by staying. Each day I see signs of his wounds and also signs that the other 2 are hurt too.
My children's father has accepted some responsibility, but very little. That means there is little hope that he will change. If your H is fully accepting responsibility, understands how he is affecting you and the kids, and is committed to treatment, then there might be hope. AND this means he will understand that you can't live with him until he is healthy. If he is truly committed and he truly cares and has true awareness, he will understand that you can't live with him until he is healthy. I can't stress that enough. It's true.
If he is not willing to ensure you and the kids are safe (emotionally, psychologically, and/or physically) by not living with him then you have to take a deep breathe and start to consider the likelihood (certainty) that his rage is dangerously rooted in an abusive mentality. Consider his family of origin and their dynamics. We act out our learned behaviours from growing up. You sound like a very very caring, open-hearted, open-minded, and empathic mother and wife. It's so hard to even consider going down this route and to even consider that we might have to reframe our realities. But please don't dismiss this possibility. If he is not willing to allow you and the children to live peacefully until he is healthy, please spend an hour or two talking to your nearest women's shelter/crisis line. Stay open-minded and consider what you hear. Do this for yourself, but more importantly for your children.
This kind of violence scars for life. Please take care and get support. Most shelters have counselling. Even if you don't think it's abuse, you can access their counselling for free. There's no harm in going and spending some time talking to a caring person. We all can use a judgement-free listener even in our best times.
Take care. Keep posting. I wish you clarity and strength and safety in your journey. xoxo