It has been over three years now since I reached the end of a very frayed tether and stopped living with my husband. He drifted off into the irresponsible life of a teenager, fully financially supported by his family and occasionally dipping in and out of the children's lives. While I got on with the business of being the parent, making sure the children were ok, while feeling certain things within me breaking apart with the effort of 'bearing it'. I work freelance so it was terrifying financially as well, and in a hyperstressful field where I have to react quickly to new stuff and new people all the time. The fear of failure hangs over me, and I just bear it. I am 55 so being that flexible is even more exhausting. Luckily I don't really look 55 I think, although I may be deluding myself.
What is really difficult for me to understand is the thick high walls of denial. He simply says exactly what he likes and gets away with it, because his family support him. He has now found a girlfriend - he told me I could have him back as long as I did not continue to ask for changes, or he would go off with her. I told him this was unacceptable, so he went off with her, and took the children to see her and started integrating her into his family. We are not divorced.
And now it is Christmas, and putting on a brave face is vital. But I am exhausted, sad and troubled about my own ability to keep going and going, while I watch him relax and live the life he wants of no work, no responsibility, no consistent acknowledgement of his parenthood. One of the denials is that he has ADHD, but not a day goes by when he does not prove that he has - his impulsiveness led him to have a very serious accident. Both boys have now been diagnosed, separately (one is an adult) and both are successfully medicated. The youngest is 12, and the turnaround at school is near miraculous, with his teachers describing him as a revelation. And yet my husband cannot see the very same issues in himself which have led to this point in our lives. Even his younger sister now has a diagnosis, and has been tracking the traits up her family tree.
My feeling is that if he got help with his ADHD and still chose the life he lives, with all the hurt for me and my children, then I would accept it. It is knowing that ADHD wrecked my marriage (not the least my own increasingly angry reaction to being let down colliding with the menopause) and that the other party in this mess refuses even to accept the possibility, which is causing me so much pain now. I know people say I should 'move on' and 'be brave' and 'get counselling' but actually none of that helps. Only the knowledge that I brought us through (me and the children) and we have made some progress and they are ok (I hope). I am not ok and don't know how to change that. I feel used up and abandoned.