My husband and I have been married for 6 years. He adopted my 2 kids in 2011. Like most couples we have had our ups and downs. Both of us were married previously. I have 2 kids, he has 1. Our individual history is very complicated and confusing. But, basically, I have been in therapy for almost 2 years. I am working through Complex PTSD, Dissociative Depersonalization Disorder & Major Depression. My first marriage lasted for 11 years and was abusive. My kids do remember some of the abuse; they are 13 & 15 today. My current husband has been supportive to the best of his ability.
My husband's first marriage was also abusive (his wife towards him verbally) and ended in a very bad divorce when his son was 2. Up until August 2014, his ex-wife had physical custody of his son & we had weekend visitations with some holidays. The son was used as a pawn to control whatever she wanted; visitation, pick-ups, drop-offs, etc. She tormented my husband and my husband carries an enormous amount of guilt for not being able to be with his son as a father should.
During our marriage (myself and current husband) we have always struggled with different views on discipline, decision-making and overall parenting. We are one of those many couples who failed to discuss parenting BEFORE we married. Over the years, my husband felt like the "family" was not a "family" unless his son was with us. This meant we did not see a movie unless it was his weekend for his son to visit; we did not eat at the dinner table unless his son was with us, etc. It began to feel like our lives were on hold; completely dependent on if his son was with us or not and that depended on if my husband's ex-wife would allow his son to visit.
My kids left the home about 2 months ago. There was an event that set this into motion, but it was not the root cause of our current situation.
Why did I decide to go? Several reasons: 1. unequal treatment (especially discipline) between the step-son and my 2 kids; my 2 "lived with us and knew better, the step-son did not". There were excuses or exceptions provided as to why one child would not get in trouble and the others would.
2. Lots of yelling, name calling, accusing and demanding by both my husband and step-son toward each other and us. Typically, things were someone else's fault according to my husband as well as my step-son.
3. Neither my husband nor step-son took responsibility for their actions. They were more like "bullies" than family members.
Today, my husband and step-son both have been evaluated by a psychiatrist; my husband ADHD & depression, step-son-severe anxiety or maybe low end Bipolar. Each has started medication to help. I am not sure if either is participating in individual therapy, although I think my husband will be soon. We have begun Family Therapy (only me, my husband and my 2 kids; therapist suggests to wait to add in my step-son).
Obviously, the idea of Family Therapy is to get the family back together. We have major roadblocks and I am seeking advice, help, prayers, anything.
I don't know why, but I have begun to have major panic attacks around my step-son, around my husband and even when talking about them. Therefore, I can't return to the family home until I am able to resolve this.
My 13 yr daughter is fearful of verbal abuse and fearful of my step-son's intimidation. She does not feel safe unless she is physically next to me. She is suffering with moderate depression
My 15 yr old son is simply "done". He says that he has tried and tried and tried; no results, nothing changes. He is sick of always having to "deal with it" and "not having a choice". He currently refuses to participate in any family therapy. He is very angry. (He still has anger & resentment from his biological father.)
I understand how to work through my issues as I have been and continue to be in therapy.
What I don't know is HOW IN THE WORLD to convince my children to try again. I believe that my husband is making a very serious effort to admit and address his wrong doings. He is actively working to change. I feel like if God is working in his heart,than anything is possible.
I don't know where my step-son is in this process, but I am told he too is making efforts.
I will not leave my children (we are staying with my mom) and I will not force them to go home if they are not ready. However, there is a reason why my husband acted the way he acted. He is actively seeking help and learning new ways. There are now guarantees in life, but how might I be able to soften my children's heart to allow my husband to at least try? My son won't text, call, see or speak to my husband. My daughter might respond to a text, but not without talking to me first because she is scared.
What do families do who have hurt and are too scared of more hurt? How does a parent convince a child to try again? How long is to long or what is to short in "waiting"?
Throughout all of this, I have never stopped loving or believing in my husband. I have always believed God put him in my life. Maybe, it was the other way around? Who knows. Either way, I am desperate to follow God's guidance and do His will. I just don't know what that is yet.