So, I won't go into great detail, but my situation is that I just met with an attorney to file for a separation from my ADHD spouse of 12 years (who also has a host of other mental health issues and has been verbally and emotionally abusive for years). We have two elementary school aged children and all still live under the same roof. Here is my issue. He is very, very angry with me (even though I warned him and gave him ample opportunity to seek counseling and get help) and is acting like a complete jerk. He is doing some of it in front of our children and does not seem to care that they are hearing it. He is playing the victim like crazy, accusing me of keeping him around and using all of his money until he got very sick, then throwing him out of the house when he is too sick to take care of himself. (The reality is that I have always made almost as much money as him, that I have been asking him to seek counseling for five years, and that the only reason I have remained married to him for the last year is because I have been so worried about his care-- he is on disability. He may have bipolar disorder and narcissistic personality disorder in addition to ADHD). 

I don't know why I expected him to behave in a reasonable manner or in a way that is best for our kids when he hasn't really done so over the years. Why am I surprised? And how can I get through this until he finally gets out of our house? I am stuck with him here in our house with us until I can get the paperwork together and him to move out. Being angry with me, I guess, is understandable, but the way that he is expressing it in front of our children, and trying to make me nuts, is not ok. This morning, he was in the next room and yelled loudly, "You are making me move out and leave our children!" We have not told our children yet and I  know that he is using this as a weapon to lash out at me. I mentioned that our children were in the next room and he yelled, "I don't CARE!" They looked at me with big eyes, and I thought, here we go. Scorched earth is in effect. And no, we have no family or friends anywhere nearby who can or will take him in and help--I asked his brother and he just can't, or won't. 

He has had violent tendencies in the past (smashing phones, etc.) and my attorney assures me that I have enough info to get a restraining order. I could have him forcibly removed and make it very difficult for him to see our children. I am trying to do what is best for my children and really don't want to put them through any more trauma or heartache than they need. Spouse, of course, thinks he should be able to live here with us, continue the status quo, because he is sick. He is not altogether a bad father--they love him and need him in their lives if at all possible. There is no way in heck I am going to change my mind, but I don't want to have to keep him away from the kids if I don't have to. 

What is the line between me being patient, just dealing with the fallout, keeping my eyes on the prize, and hanging in there until I can get him out and get some peace; and, me being a doormat who should stop putting up with this crap? I know him. I was hoping to do this separation the easiest way possible. He has threatened to take me to court, and to "bury" me financially trying to get the house and custody of the kids. There is no way he will win, given his history and inability to physically take care of them, but I am sure he would have no qualms fighting any first move I would make. It would be awful, and the kids would suffer, and it would take all my money and health. I want to avoid conflict. Trust me, I am being reasonable, and he will definitely have an easier time of it financially than I will afterward. I will have a house that he trashed trying to renovate it. He started a million things years ago and never finished them. I am living with a gutted kitchen and drywall. I will have a ten year old car and no money and bad health care. He will actually have a decent apartment and visitation with his kids. I don't even care-- I can deal with it. I just want him out. 

So yeah, if it is just words, and him acting like a jerk, even if our children witness it, should I just try to avoid him and ride it out? Am I being a doormat or the reasonable one? Why can't he stop acting like an angry five year old for even five minutes? Even as I told him today that the kids were hearing him, all he could do was talk about himself and the way this was going to affect him. It is always, always all about him. Ugh. 

Thanks, anyone, for listening and I do not know what I would do if I could not vent here. 

I think you should get all

I think you should get all the information and paperwork together for a restraining order and have it ready to go in case you need it.  Watchful waiting is OK, but the fact that your husband has been violent in the past concerns me.  He should not be in your children's lives if you have any fear that he might harm you or them.


Thanks, Rosered. I have been following you for a long time on here and appreciate your reply. Yes, I have the info together already. 

The reason you are leaving

Try to look at all his bad behavior as the reasons you are leaving. I would write down as much as I could because you don't want to end up with the short end of the stick if he CAN make it look like you are deserting him in his illness.

The restraining order could be the best way. Why prolong the agony? If you are really carrying through with it, now is the time to tell the kids. The more they know, the more they can mentally prepare and can at least understand his increase in outbursts. If he is living elsewhere, you will be able to talk to them rationally and answer their questions in peace. Spare them the chaos he is bound to create.

Other than that, it is not likely to be easy at first. ADHDers are known for trying to get revenge in a divorce. My ex got equal custody of his 3 kids (another wife). He took them for a week, then she took them for a week. Talk about difficulties for the kids adjustment! On his weeks, the kids would do all the laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc., and he would lock himself in his bedroom most of the time. I don't think he really wanted them -- just wanted to make life more difficult for her.

And keep in mind that leaving an abusive spouse is the most dangerous time for you. Let others know what you are doing and when -- and let him know that lots of people are aware of what is going on. Set limits on when and where he sees you and the kids. On the other hand, if you can be generous with the kids, it may help everyone. Not always possible though, I know. I was as generous as I could be letting son's dad see him -- but when he acted badly I would give clear, unambiguous consequences, i.e., "Because you did ______ last week, Johnny will not be seeing you this week. If you will change this behavior, you can see him again next week, but this behavior is harmful to him and you will not be allowed to hurt him in order to get to me."

If you want to avoid conflict, you can do ALL communication by email. Be fair -- answer everything as quickly and as fairly as possible. But once he is out of the house, don't give him your power again. Take charge immediately of your life and let him know your personal affairs are not up for grabs anymore and he will be on his own, to take care of himself however he sees fit. Best to get these ground rules established right away.

It will be hard, but eventually, you'll be able to take that deep breath and relax, knowing you are once again in charge of your kids and your own life.