Time for Change - can't keep my family together anymore
I've been lingering in a situation for years now. I am a male, father of 3, wife. I will try to summarize briefly (difficult). I am and have been a one-man dedicated loyal family man, sacrificed everything for my family. Supported, provided, and involved and active father in every step of my children's lives since the day they were born. Limitless hours of home videos even shows that. When my wife was ill, I was there every step of the way, and gave up work to be by her side.
House & family life, now very toxic environment. Wife picks fights w me every single day, about the same topics, and now drops the D (divorce) word like every hour. She is a drama queen that needs an academy award recognition. You see I was in it until death do we part, and I feel NOW in retrospect, my wife planned for this escape hatch so not to end up like her mom.
Monster MIL, angry, divorced, and lived in my house for 3 years (has own apt), and comes and goes as my wife pleases with no regard to my feeling. MIL was basically reliving her failed marriage thru mine, determined to give her daughter the divorce she never had. Somewhere along the line, my wife fell in line w/her mothers brain washing, and created a bogey man monster out of me. Wife's wonderful grandma passed some years ago, was a breath of fresh air, and quite literally my own grandma and best friend (next to my wife). She knew of her daughter's erratic behavior, and tendency to butt in where she didn't belong. Now there's no one left to enlighten how far she has gone off the marriage reservation. I don't recognize my wife any more. It was supposed to be for richer OR poorer, better OR worse, etc. She only thought rich and better.
MIL has done irreparable damage, actively encouraging a break-up, and telling me I'm not a man or a father. She is not mentally well, but has totally infected my wife. They are inseparable besties that spend all their time together and developed IMHO a co-dependent, unhealthy relationship (since grandma died) - or maybe I just realized it. Her grandma raised her since the divorce from 16 until she met and married me. I remember my wife as a free-spirited, kind, loving, independent woman, and BARELY saw the MIL, only at parties. Now, I see a totally dolly sheep clone of her mother.
My oldest teen, possibly on the
spectrum, but definitely troubled, who I literally put my life into (so exhausted) to keep in the family and try to put him on the right path, and even advocate for him, when the rest of the family basically voted him off the island. Residential was a consideration, but IMHO not right for him. But his behavior can be taxing, and increasingly difficult to deescalate. Very smart and manipulative and knows expertly how to play mom, dad, and MIL against each other.
Now, I feel I have done almost EVERYTHING to keep my marriage and family together, even taking a beating to my self esteem and self respect. My wife now treats me as her servant, and 3rd class citizen in my own home, behind the royal MIL, kids, and the dog. In efforts to keep the peace, I'd not react, stay low profile, not answer in kind (hope you die, and those are the nice words). Every conversation breaks down. I feel I need an intervention by some wise person that just never materializes. It's gotten to the point where she threatens me on a daily basis she:
- will run away and take my daughter
- have me arrested
- divorce me
- financially ruin and bankrupt me
- weaponize my kids against me
- have mommy back her up w/twisted lies
- abandon me
- get another "REAL" man
- curse me to get sick and die
Then of course, asks and expects me to do things for her. I am unfortunately, between jobs, did well in the summer, but struggling to get back on my feet, and would be nice to have a foundation to stand on, not quick sand of threats my wife hurls at me. What happened to behind every successful man is a supportive wife. She is the opposite. I still have some, but fading fast, feelings for my wife. Intimacy is scarce (and I'm longing for that too) My kids see dad always miserable and disrespected (and then sometimes they jump on the bandwagon) so what kind of example am I staying in a marriage where it seems i'm emotionally abused.
I was always a sunny, optimistic light-hearted person, but feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. I could go on, but basically looking for a reason to stay in my marriage, at least for the kids a few more years, but I really wanted to have a friendship/love w my wife. It just may be foolish to think it will ever happened again. Please advise.
Eugene Kayser, lic. Marriage & Family Therapist