I am so down...

vivian31August 19, 2007

I have been married to my husband for six years now (second marriage for us both), and have two great stepkids--girl (16) and boy (13). I've been a part of their lives for almost 10 years now. They're great kids and I have NO complaints about them at all.

In February, my husband had what amounted to a panic attack at his job. He ended up at the ER at the local hospital. He (my husband) attributed it to job stress. I certainly was aware that he "hated" his job but really didn't give it much thought. Lots of people do. I had discussed it with him many times and told him that I thought maybe he ought to change jobs if he hated it that much. He chose not to do it and ended up stressed out and (so he felt) unable to return to work. Long story short, he spent a few months at home on disabiltiy visting various doctors, counselors, etc., eventually quit his job and is now trying to be in business for himself doing tile setting and other home improvement stuff.

My problem is that I feel resentful and put upon and just plain old damn tired. Since February, I have worked the equivalent of two full time jobs just trying to keep bills paid around the house. I'm angry because he chose to have his little dramatic episode instead of being a responsible man and simply finding another job when that one became too much for him. I would've FULLY SUPPORTED that decision. I have no free time or time to myself. There's no time for me to do ANYTHING that I used to love and want to do. I can't. I have to work. (I work a full time job at the hospital and I also have a thriving home-based medical transcription business) I begged him to go back to work earlier this summer. I tried to get him to take a full time job that offered some benefits--like health insurance, vacation, etc. while he built up his tile business, but he refused. If he would take a full time job, I would be able to let one of mine go, but he shows no interest at all in it. Meanwhile, I get more tired and more angry--even though I don't show it. Getting angry with him doesn't accomplish anything. I've tried it. I've tried reasonable conversation, but he doesn't hear me or he's just not all that interested in the way I feel. I cry all the time and he doesn't know. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about leaving--knowing that life shouldn't be like this--but leaving him costs me everything--my whole family. (I have very little of my own left) I don't care about the material things, but I do care about the kids and the rest of his family that I've become close to over the years. Him I can leave, but the thought of leaving the kids KILLS me.

I don't know if there's a solution. I don't know that I'm even ready to do anything. I just know that life shouldn't be drudgery/sleep/drudgery/sleep and that there should be some joy in life--even a little. I feel really stupid to putting myself in a financial position that even requires two incomes but neither one of us separately makes enough to support the family--unless of course, I work two jobs. Lucky for me I've been able to keep our heads above water.

Thanks for listening. I need to get back to work now...

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I would tell your hubby how you feel and then tell him that your cutting back on your hours at one or both jobs. Tell him that your on the verge of a "panic attack" yourself! Tell him you cry everyday and have no time to yourself. Maybe he just doesn't understand how much pressure your under and how miserable you are.

If that does not work:

Then I would open a seperate bank account and put any money that is not going towards mortgage and necessary bills YOU need to pay. If it is not in your name, and you do not need it to survive, then don't pay it! Do not hand him money for gas, his personal hygiene products, do not buy his favorite foods at the grocery store-start buying Aldi brand everything. Turn the air conditioner off. Cancel cable. And get rid of any other "luxuries" that you can live without. Tell him that is all you can afford. Also, do not buy anything not necessary for the kids, if they want brand name shoes & clothes tell them there is no money for it. If your hubby pays child support let him know that he will have to get a job to pay it, it is not your responsibility to pay his bills and be miserable while he refuses to work. Maybe that will all motivate him!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 4:11PM
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I admire you for being so resourceful in doing two jobs, and one being your own business. This is quite an achievement and you should be very proud of yourself. I also admire you for being so loyal, to your SK's and looking after their best interests. You are a gem.

I think you need to talk to hubbie. No more of this private sobbing, and continual build up of resentment. Its just making you miserable, isn't it ?

Think about what you want to change, if it was all changed, would you feel happier, would you feel like you had a happy home life, then ?

Talk to hubbie without getting upset, just simple plain statements about how you are feeling, about how you want to work less hours. Make "I" statements.

I have had a panic attack, its not pleasant and I find I have to work really hard at improving my thinking so it doesnt affect me in other things.

All the best to you, I am sure things will get better, and when they do you will be smiling.


    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 10:48PM
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I've read many of your posts on the StepParenting forum and know you to be a kind and wise woman -- So please know that my answer is coming from a place of respect, not criticism.

Believe me, I can empathize with your situation and feelings, but your DH did not choose to have a panic attack. It isn't a sign of weak character or unmanlyness or anything else. A panic attack will scare you to death! And make you realize that you're mortal, that life does not go on forever, and that if you do not make a change, you may have a real heart attack some time in the very near future. It's a 'preview' of a not-very-pretty potential reality - the ghost of Christmas Future. It's a loud and unpleasant wake-up call, and your husband is wise for hearing it and changing his life. But before he had his panic attack, he pressed on to support you and his children, and he persevered longer than he was humanly capable of doing.

And now, you're doing the exact same thing. Please remember, when you hide your stress, your anger, and your tears, that you are doing something very similar to what he did -- so try not to be too hard on him for doing it. And more importantly, recognize what you're doing and make your own change.

You need to communicate more with your DH about what you need him to do as well. You need to let him know that picking up all the slack has put you into that same position he was in before his panic attack. It IS possible to live on less money -- perhaps not in your present house. Or perhaps he can come up with a way to make more money doing something that won't kill him. But you'll never know unless you discuss it --

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 11:00PM
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Oh, believe me, I know he didn't choose to have a panic attack, but he did choose to let the situation get to the out-of-control point where he did have one. He complained constantly for years before it happened. I cannot tell you how many of the "get a different job" conversations we had over the years. Hundreds, literally. He did choose not to help himself or take control of the situation. That in and of itself makes me angry. I can even pinpoint a conversation about one year before it happened where he even "foreshadowed" his own panic attack--actually stating that he was going to have to have some sort of "event" in order to get to the point of changing jobs. WTF? Just change jobs! It's not that hard... But no, he had to have the "event" and put us all through six months of ungodly stress and kill any respect I had left for him, not to mention run up $3000 in medical bills that I am STILL wondering how to pay.

He is *sort* of working now. He has had a few jobs, although the income isn't steady and I cannot count on it. His child support comes out of anything before I see it. At least he hasn't gotten behind on that--although it is where all of the money from his disabiltiy payments and most of what he's earned so far has gone. What was wrong wtih working for someone else WHILE you build up your own business? I begged him not to hang me out to dry, but he did anyway. These are not things he doesn't know--because I have told him. I could talk until I'm blue in the face about those things that I want, that I need him to do, but unless it is something that he himself wanted it wouldn't mean a thing. Yes, he'd TELL me what I wanted to hear, but I know darn well that when it came down to it, he wouldn't make the change. Been there, done that--LOTS. It's why I don't believe much of what he says. He uses words to placate the situation at the time, but then never acts on them. And it is absolutely why I don't feel a great need to discuss what I want with him anymore. There's no question that I would be ignored because I think that he should do the one thing that he does NOT want to do.

These are not guesses. These are things that I know.

Besides, at this point, even if he turned around and finally did the right thing, I don't know if it really matters. I've been through too much this past six months.

We don't live like kings, and actually live in a place with a very low cost of living. I TRIED to get him to sell the house this past spring. I was worried about trying to keep up with maintenance, payments, etc. but in the end, we decided not to. So far it's been okay, but I'm feeling the crunch again. Our small town has a huge glut of houses just sitting at this point and an unstable employment picture, so it is really not the best time to sell. Still, it totally freaks him out if I start talking about selling this house and buying another. He's been in this place 20 years.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2007 at 4:14AM
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Vivian - No profound words of wisdom from me, but do yourself a favor and talk to a family law attorney to see where you stand, just in case, and for sure: open your own savings account. Don't tell him, just do it. Many family law lawyers will give a free consultation.

I was in your position, tho for different reasons, and those two actions were positive things that gave me the confidence to eventually make the decision to get out.

It took a long time (too long), but by the time I was ready, I had a fair amount of $$ saved which put me into my own apartment.

BTDT and 35 years as a legal assistant.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2007 at 6:23AM
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