Really bad situation

Sharkdiver262December 15, 2013

First time poster:)

A little background...I have a mental illness. I had a complete breakdown and was hospitalized a few years ago. My husband was a rock...he took care of everything, and moved us away from a toxic environment to protect me and the kids.

However, that mean that he was out of work for a bit, and when he did finally find a job it was extremely low paying...lower than since he was 18 and he is almost 50, with a family of 6 to support. The last year, he has gotten several "almost" job offers, even to the point where they tell him he has the job, just give them a couple of days to get the contract together, then...nothing happens. He has become increasingly more despondent, more hostile, and intolerant of the kids doing stupid normal things like teens trying to dress innapropriately or questioning things that I say if I don't say it exactly right.

I KNOW he is under extreme stress. He is currently up for a huge job and they've been taking their sweet has been "hurry up and wait" for over a month...and I want to be as supportive as possible. I try to do nice things for him, welcome him home after work with no problems, ect, but the other morning things got really bad.

14 year old daughter was again trying to sneak out of the house wearing leggings as pants which I HATE. I started questioning her and I admit I'm the one that got mad first. Then he wanted to take her phone...I suggested that isn't the best idea because i need to get a hold of her after school, she had cheer and it was unpredictable. He starts yellling at me, and about many things...some things didn't even make sense. I asked him why he was yellling at me? He kept doing it, and I got up, walked away, and told him that I don't appreciate being talked to like I'm one of the kids and he owed me an apology (by the way, this was all IN FRONT of them). He got up, starting throwing stools around the kitchen, grabbed me by the arm and shoved me accross the hallway into our bedroom, slamming the door and telling me I need to stay in there and "think about it." I opened the door and he did it again, while I'm screaming that he is hurting me and to to let me go. He shoved our 14 year old when she was trying to help me and yelled at our 19 year old and to get the "F" out of the room. Fortunately our boy wasn't home and one daughter shoved the 8 year old into a bathroom so she didn't see.

He said many other things...but long story short, he hasn't really spoken to me since (3 days) and when he does he is snarky. Last night after a shower I realized the extent of what happened...the back of my arm is fully black and blue, huge marks...and I am heartbroken. I think he has reached some kind of limit. He has never done anything like this in the many years we've been together, but I can also tell that he is not sorry he did it. I'm so lost, I don't know what to do. This isn't HIM, but I also can't let that happen again...especially in front of my children. It has been like a cold war here, with him only being nice to the 14 year old boy and the littlest girl. He stood by me so much...I want to help him, but I can't even talk to him at this point.

My father in law, who I did turn to, told me that he finds out one way or the other if he got this job in the next couple of days. I am terrified he didn't, and I doubt he did, because for several years nothing has worked out well for us...what happens then? I am 2500 miles away from ANYONE. Sorry this was so long.

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Oh dear, I am sorry to hear of your situation. It does sound like he is very stressed.

It sounds like you can talk to your father-in-law so that is good. Perhaps you could keep talking to him and at least talking will make you feel a bit better.

I am not sure if you want suggestions - or you just wanted to vent.

Perhaps you DH needs to see a doctor for a check-up.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 10:14PM
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Like Popi, I don't know if you want suggestions or just to vent.

If you need to vent, my heart breaks for you in your situation. I haven't been in your situation, but I have had one family member with substance abuse issues, one family member with depression, and another family member with head trauma. In every one of those cases, the outcome for my family member either has turned out great or appears to be turning out great. Still, it was so very hard for both the family and the person with the issue. It's hard, and everyone in my family carries some scars and baggage from those times, but we grew and became better people as well, so there's hope.

My first suggestion is that you find a chapter of NAMI near you, or whatever they have that's similar where you live. If they have any support programs for spouses, it would be great if your husband would go, and your kids, too.

You shouldn't feel guilty for your mental illness or your breakdown. However, you and your family might need some help understanding the trauma that everyone went through and how to deal with it constructively.

The next thing I'm going to say is in regards to him wanting to take the phone and you don't. I'm saying this from the perspective of someone who has sort of been in your husband's shoes. I was mom and dad both for awhile, responsible for keeping the family together during a horrible time. It's hard to put that toothpaste back in the bottle. It won't kill your daughter not to have a phone, and if your husband is this frustrated and stressed perhaps it would help him to be able to make this decision without argument. If you have come back from your breakdown and are doing fine, it's understandable and fair to you and your hard work that you slip back into your normal mom role. But they are not the same people they were before, and you may not be able to slip back into that role in the same way, even if you deserve to be able to do that and would be good at it.

Another thing I would say, and only because it's an easy thing to address. It's certainly not the most important thing. Are you sure you want to fight that battle with a 14-year-old and the leggings? Is it something you hate or is it not allowed by the school? Pick your battles. There are family dynamics that change when a parent has a mental breakdown or an injury that changes (even temporarily) a parent's ability to reason.

I say this with all the compassion in the world. You have no idea how much. As much as you can, use this situation to teach your children how to cope and overcome overwhelming circumstances. If you can keep from getting angry, getting overwhelmed with guilt, stay calm, etc., then do it. Remember that everything doesn't have to be addressed right then. Let's think about it and discuss it later is almost always an option.

For example, if your daughter is going out with leggings. This is not a life-threatening and in my opinion morally threatening situation. If it's a tense time, you can always say nothing to your daughter at the time. Then later, privately, when you and your daughter are calm, you can discuss this with her calmly. Talk to her about why you think what you do, hear her out and give her a chance to talk to you about her thoughts. If you decide to continue holding this position, set consequences. Make sure your husband is on board. Then don't argue about it with either of them. When she sneaks out with leggings, enforce your consequences.

When the family situation is tense and difficult and there are teens in the home, as much as you can stay calm, logical and consistent and deal with problems when things are calm, it's my experience that's best. If she's about to get in the car with a drunk kid, it can't wait. That CAN'T be decided later. But if she tends to go out with inappropriate clothing, then discuss that with your husband during a calm time, discuss it with her at a calm time, set your consequences and enforce them calmly.

I know that it seems crazy when all about you is crumbling. And sometimes we moms just can't stay calm, no matter how hard we try.

My thoughts are with you.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 6:10PM
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