Crazy Making Morning

A little bit of back story, I'll try to be brief... DH and I separated at the beginning of this month, by my request. I told him a minimum of 6 months, that we neede this time to figure things out before making any big decisions. Because of the car situation (see the other thread I made) we are still working out the logistics of things and he has had to take my car some days for work, which leaves me without transportation for my 4 kids and I.

Last nite he came over after work to read with our oldest daughter before bed, then told me he was going to tow his truck that night to where he's staying. It was past 10pm and pouring rain, but I didn't say a word. He tried to get ahold of my brother to help him, but that didn't work out, so he said he would be towing it this morning at 9. He was out in the carport until 2 am doing stuff (who knows what?!), then came in and told me he was going to sleep on the couch and get up in the AM to tow the truck. This morning comes around, it gets to be 9, 10, 11, 12, he's still asleep on the couch, snoring away. He has to be at work at 2, so I knew that at this point it wasn't going to happen. I woke him up and asked him if he would please go, as it was obvious he wasn't going to be towing the truck today, and that it was making me angry having to have everyone work around him and tiptoe thru the living room so as to not disturb his sleep.

He gets up in a huff, saying I'm on a power trip, etc etc. He starts to gather his stuff, then comes into the room where I am and announces that he is taking the car today, and will bring it back before he goes to work. I said that I needed to run to the grocery store before that and would be right back. He said NO, that I was (again) pulling a power trip, that he was leaving RIGHT NOW, and walked out and took the car.

I sat down and thought about the situation and why I continue to allow him to have the rights/benefits of certain relationship dynamics, without having the responsibilities that come with those rights. I'm in the process of re-establishing boundaries, and every time I try to do that, he seems to throw fits and I have to push them back even more. I wrote up this to give to him when he dropped the car off before work.

 

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Since you refuse to talk to me and continue to walk away, I have no choice but to communicate my feelings to you this way.


This is the 2nd day in a row that you have been here, caused chaos, and then left. The whole point of this separation is to avoid these situations and stop the cycle of damage it does.  I am trying to get into a healthy emotional state so that I can take care of the kids and I, and every time these situations come up, I am knocked back a few steps in the process. 


I am having a hard enough time dealing with my own stress level, anxiety and emotional state to add on the turmoil that results every time these situations happen.  I refuse to allow these situations to continue to happen, where I have no control, recourse, or way to address what is coming up.


The only way I can see to totally avoid these situations is to limit and structure the interaction that we have and thus avoid the possibility for conflict.


These are my thoughts/needs:
- You need to get your truck towed by Monday. If you can’t/won’t, I can get it done, in  which case you will need to move all of the tools/etc in the carport so that it can be moved


- I am not willing to be without a vehicle when I have the kids. I will figure out my own transportation on your weekends when you have them, but you will have to either get your truck fixed or figure out how to get to/from work without taking the car


- Your debit card will be here within 7 days, as soon as it arrives I will cancel the other card. You need to let me know how much $$ you need on there for the rest of the month and I will transfer it over. After this month, I will put the agreed upon amount in each paycheck.


- I need to know if you will be here Monday after work or what time on Tuesday morning you will be here for your weekend, so that I can plan accordingly. I will be at the house at 12 on Thursday morning.


- On your weekends I won’t be available to watch the kids. If you need to go to appointments/etc, you will need to find someone to watch them. I will not expect/ask you to watch the kids during the week, and will figure out my own arrangements during that time.


- The girls need to be to school on time on your weekends.


- I am creating a schedule for the kids and I, and will go over it with you this weekend.  If you have input on how that needs to be structured for when you’re here, let me know.  In order to keep their schedule/routines stable, I’ll need your agreement to stick to the schedule and hold the kids responsible for their tasks/etc.


- If you are going to be doing your weekends here (and at the new house when we move), there will need to be an agreement on the state of the house before and after your weekends. I will not clean up 3 days worth of mess after each of your weekends.  I can get a list of basic things that need to be done daily, if you need.


- If you want to have input in the bill paying/money process, we will need to decide on a time to meet and do that, otherwise I will assume you are fine with whatever I decide.
- Until we are in a place where disagreements don’t lead to an escalation, we need to minimize contact between us. I need to know which nights you would like to be here to read with Lilly, and/or any other time besides your weekends that you will be coming over. 


If you want to figure out some of the logistics of this stuff together, let me know, otherwise I will assume that you’re okay with whatever I figure out for the schedule/etc. If you have a problem, question, input, whatever on any of this, let me know, otherwise I’ll assume that you’re in agreement and we will go with this plan.

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I wanted to say much much more, but I know it wasn't constructive, so I printed it out and left it by his cell phone. He got back and came huffing thru the house, found the note and read it, then crumpled it up and threw it in the trash, saying, "You never were any good at writing" (What the heck does that mean anyway???, I'm assuming it was an attempt at an insult??)

He proceeded to storm thru the house, I asked him once as he walked by if he was in agreement with what I had said, he laughed and mumbled something about me not getting to hold all the cards. He then said that he WAS taking the car to work, that he didn't have a ride otherwise. I said that's not my problem, he proceeded to argue and basically said screw you, I'm taking the car. At this point I accepted the fact that unless I really wanted to escalate things to a huge level, I would have to let him take the car today. I said that I'm assuming he's in agreement  with me about everything, unless he lets me know otherwise and would he be brining the car back tonite. He said nothing, then left the house.

I am so tempted to get a ride out to his work and take the car, leaving him to find a ride home, but he is a totally reactive person, and will BLOW UP if that happens and it will get ugly, I'm sure. I am going to get the note and give it back to him tonite and reiterate that unless I hear from him otherwise, I am assuming that he's okay with everything I said.

I've gotten to a point that I think the only way to deal with him right now is to minimize and remove any and all situations where he has the power to disrupt my day/emotions. I am an emotional wreck every time we go thru these dramas, and it leaves me unable to cope with things, which is not acceptable, as I have 4 kids that need my attention. I have been trying to be accomodating and allowing him to come back to the house to get things, see the kids, helping out if he needs to use the car, etc, but I think that's just more of my old pattern of enabling him and not allowing him to feel the weight of his choices and deal with the consequences without rescuing him.

I am half determined and half terrified at this point. Determined to fix myself so that my kids have at least one stable parent that will not allow their world to be in constant chaos, and terrified that, in the end, he really won't fix anything, and will choose to allow his ADHD/etc to override everything else and destroy our family. He has multiple people willing to help and support him in any way he needs, but if he doesn't reach out he will just continue to sink. I think I've finally realized, though, that I don't have to let myself and my kids sink along with him. I can't make him save himself, but I can choose to not drown with him.

Thank you for reading this far if you have made it through. I just needed a safe place to express these thoughts so I can move on with the day.

I'm sorry you're having to

I'm sorry you're having to deal with this.  I agree that getting the car today might dangerously antagonize your husband, but I also agree that separating is a good idea.  Chaos is not good for you or your children.  

We're here for you!

two cents

Irrelephant, having gone through a separation with children involved myself, I am sorry that you are having to go through this. When I initiated ours, my spouse began acting out in every way imaginable. And you are right--it sucks. Don't expect it to stop anytime soon. You cannot control his emotions or much of his decision making.  What you can do is ask yourself, what is your goal here? It sounds like you want some peace, stability, and space. I did. I get it--I was on my way to being an inadequate mother and shell of a person because I was under so much stress all the time with the chaos and dysfunction around me. If this peace and space is what you want, then for now, you need to let go of wanting him to "get" it.  

You can do this, but you have to decide that your goal is the separation, the space. The talking and feelings and therapy may come later. Him understanding you may come later (and you him). Let that go for a while so you can clear your head. Because letting him sleep on the couch, writing him a letter full of your thoughts/needs when he doesn't want to hear them, and saying you will not tolerate something when in fact, you aren't going to back it up, is still continuing to participate in the dysfunction and co-dependency. I say this with sympathy and the utmost respect--and I only say it because I did the same thing for so long.  

Here's the great thing--you don't have to be mad or upset. I know it is SO hard, but also--it isn't. You can even feel relieved. And then you get time to think. My advice? Go to an attorney right now. Right now. It is not an act of aggression--it is an act of clarity. An attorney will calmly list out everything you addressed in your letter and set those boundaries, but without any emotion. So that everyone is clear. The amount of money he gets is clear. Who pays what and what days and times there is visitation is clear. It can be very civil. It doesn't have to be final--it is a separation, not a divorce. It took me two hours and a few hundred dollars and that was it (and it has saved me way more than that since). The day I did this was the day I stopped being mad. I politely and calmly and cheerfully communicated with my ex. I said, "Hey, I saw an attorney, and started listing some things that will help us determine parenting and finances. You are welcome to get one as well, or just read mine and write down what you want. When he got mad or yelled, I said, "I have to hang up now," or, "I need to leave now--I'll talk to you later when we are calm again." It was a tough month or two, but then--it worked. After asking for the moon he backed off. I got some space and became a person again. I stopped making it my problem to make the separation easier for him. Our children have some structure now (at least more than they did before, lol). We are actually polite and are on pretty good terms now. 

I urge you to consider this. The last thing you need is him showing up and upsetting you with your kids around. It is bad for them and you. And you are right--you are enabling him. He can't fix his truck. It was his decision. He needs to deal with it. Let him get rides until he figures out a way to get a vehicle. Period. Be consistent. Be kind. Do not waver. Your children need you to be a stable, calm parent. Our agreement specified that the person moving out (me) had to have my belongings removed by such a date. You could calmly do that with the truck if it's still there. I hope you don't mind my suggestion. It's just that I wrote letters like yours to my spouse for years when he wasn't in the space to hear them, and I wasted years wishing he would. I have never been happier than when I realized and accepted that it wasn't working, and that since maybe he never would "get it," I had better figure out what I needed to do so that I didn't need him to. I saw a therapist, which helped immensely. And I stopped needing him to and worried about myself. 

My very, very best to you. Hang in there. Sorry for the long post.