Dad In Need Of Advice
by Sad Dad
My wife and I have been together for over 15 years. She has always been up and down mood-wise as if she bi-polar, especially since we had kids. There are constant ups and downs and she gets angry over the littlest things.
Her expectations are that everything should be perfect - the kids need to be perfectly behaved, the house has to be spotless and nothing out of place, etc. Any time there is something she doesn't like she goes off the deep end. She is very confrontational and argumentative with anyone and everyone including me, our children, her parents, my parents, my siblings, her siblings, etc. She will confront anyone if she thinks they're wrong or if they don't treat our kids as well as she expects when it comes to being equal, visiting enough, etc.
I've been the one constant and have to worry about defending her or tolerating and accepting all of the abuse I've endured - physical, emotional, verbal, etc. For the littlest thing she may hit me, swear at me, call me names, etc. For years I have simply tolerated it. I may get upset for a few hours or a day, but I always forgave her or forgot about it, even though most times she didn't even do as much as apologize.
Over the years, in addition to all of the other types of abuse I've endured, I also have been taken advantage of financially. Every time it's that "I don't make enough money" despite the fact that I've always worked hard and made decent money. The income is never enough to sustain the constant shopping sprees, whether it be the grocery store, Walmart, Target, the mall, etc. We've amassed pretty substantial amount of debt which is probably over $75,000 now.
Nevertheless, I've tried to take control of the finances as of late as I wasn't quite aware of to what level of debt we're in. She recent started working part time and was doing fairly well for herself. She
wouldn't contribute any money for anything for the household - it was considered "her" money, so it wasn't for bills or anything but what she wanted to spend it on. When she used her account she would transfer money from our account to her account at such a high rate that it was much more than I even made per month. If I didn't intervene when I did we probably would have possibly lost our house.
Of our children, she only spends time with one child and all of her friends, so 3-4 days a week she's with that child and their friends for hours at a time, meanwhile I'm home with the other children who aren't able to have such a lavish life. I'm at my breaking point now due to the years of abuse and mistreatment. I've cried myself to sleep many nights and sometimes have to remove myself from the situation to cry and let my emotions out.
She has no sympathy for me and doesn't care if I'm upset. The reason she says she mistreats me is "my fault" because I've always allowed it.
So, as I said, I'm at my breaking point. I usually let things blow over after a few hours or the next morning, but I'm getting tired of it and feel as though there has to be more in life for me than the constant ups and downs and abuse.
I've always been scared of divorce and the implications on the children, but I don't know if there are any options at this point. It's a never-ending battle and it's not getting any better.
How do situations like this usually play out with regards to separation/divorce? I suspect that I'd get full custody of 2 kids and she would get custody of 1. I've always wondered how it all would play out though as she's not employed and we don't have enough money for 2 households, plus paying off the debt, etc.
I look forward to hearing back.
Eugene Kayser, lic. Marriage & Family Therapist