tears, begging and an ultimatum

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-1999
tears, begging and an ultimatum
4
Mon, 10-08-2012 - 1:36pm

I am so afraid of change.... but like DH keeps saying, "if you keep doing what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got". This is so true and I know it. I see it and have seen it. I know I need to make changes of my own but I don't know how. Either I don't know how or I just haven't accepted that my fear is blocking me. Either way, things are at a cross roads in my house and I am very depressed and want to fix it.

Tears - I have spent the last month crying and arguing with DH about my lack of control with my kids. It sounds extreme but this is 8 years of build up. DH10 has social/emotional problems and I have been advocating for him for the full 8 years. During the first half I fought an uphill battle against ex-H and DH since neither one agreed there was a problem. But I knew it and kept at it. Eventually they got it. DH has changed his tune and attitude over the last few years. However I have burnt out. Like DH keeps saying to me, why is it that if I know DS10 has problems and needs extra help/attention/guidance, why don't I give it to him? I really think I'm burned out. I'm exhausted, frustrated and even have my own (I HATE to admit this but I'm being honest here) I even have resentment towards him. Why is it that I can treat DS5 the same way and get results? DS10 is such an exhausting child. Don't get me wrong, I love him dearly but I am so tired and worn out.

Begging - DH was begging me last night to work with him, to be on his team. I agree with him on how to do things, I say I want the same things, I say I would like to go the same places (goals) as him, etc but I do NOTHING to act on it. Sometimes I do make some changes, but they only last a week or so, maybe a month if I'm lucky. Then I fall back into old routines since it's easier, since I'm tired, if I'm feeling depressed or don't "have time". I don't know how to get out of my own way. I really really REALLY want to make these changes but historically always fail. It's almost as if I don't think it's worth it since "I'll fail anyway".

Ultimatums - My heart is crushed but maybe this is the motivation I need. I am very disappointed in myself that it's had to get this far. DH is sick of hearing me say I'm gonna do these things but never do. Actions speak louder than words and it's time to act. He said to me that if I am not stepping up and parenting with him by the first of the year he is going to leave me. He says he doesn't want to, that he'll regret every single second of making that decision but he can't keep coming home to the chaos that is happening here, a lot of it I contribute to.

Two weeks ago he called out of work "sick" for a whole week. This was for his mental health as he has been so stressed about our family life. This isn't the family life he had envisioned (nor is it mine). Since he is self employed that was a whole week of pay that he missed out on. As a result, we are struggling more this month financially (obviously). He is a carpenter and when we first got together he did side work on the weekends. He prided himself in being able to work hard for a short period of time to be able to get a decent paycheck to help us out of some kind of rut. Those days were great. About 5 years ago he stopped pulling in side work because I was so stressed and frazzled with DS10's behavior issues. He started staying home on weekends as his presence helped keep DS10 calm (we don't hit our kids but DH is a big man with a deep voice that can be intimidating to a child). Over the years DH has passed up many opportunities for work (and we need the money) because he didn't want to leave me alone with DS10. (Keep in mind I was also being hit and choked by DS10 in his younger years so I also have been scared of the "what ifs" even though he hasn't done that in 4 years.) The "slap in the face" for DH was two weeks ago when I went in to work on a Saturday for a few hours and he stayed home with the boys. He could have done a side job in the same amount of time and pulled in twice as much as me. But instead he was home with them. No wonder the resentment....

DH was begging me to make these changes. They are simple little changes and this is all something that can realistically be done. Why is it that I have never been able to change on my own? Why is it that DS10 hasn't been motivation enough for me to change? Why haven't I been motivated by seeing things in my family are not how I want them to be? Why is it that the only motivation to get me off my a$s is an ultimatum from my husband saying how alone he feels, that he wants us to be a team and if I don't step up to the plate he's going to leave?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 10-09-2012 - 10:47am

I don't think it would be terrible or abandoning your DS to have him live w/ his dad if his dad is willing to do that.  I also think that the fact that your DH is not his father adds to the issues.  I've been in a 2nd marriage where we both had kids from the 1st marriage and honeslty, people don't feel the same toward their stepkids that they do toward their bio kids--the Brady Bunch family where everyone gets along perfectly is a myth!  Is the 5 yr old your DH's child?  If so, does he treat the 2 kids the same? 

I wonder what you are afraid of if you discipline your son?  You said that he stopped hitting you years ago, so what's the worst that would happen?  Would he throw a tantrum, be mad at you, call you names?  then you send him to his room until he can act civil to you.  It probably would take some drastic measures to change his behavior if he has been used to just getting everything he wants--but it's also not good for him to be raised that way.  Certainly in school he's not allowed to do whatever he wants--the teachers have rules.  When he grows up, he won't be able to do whatever he wants in a job, so you're doing him a favor by setting limits now because he needs to be able to control his behavior.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-1999
Mon, 10-08-2012 - 7:39pm

DS10 has spent the weekend with his dad & I have spent the last few hours panicking over how I'm gonna do this, how I'm gonna be strong and consistent. DH & I wrote a simple list of expectations: appreciation (please & thank you), respect (no back talk, walking all over me) and to get over his being "entitled" to everything- stuff gets earned. He can't bully his way with me to get everything. These should be easy, right? So why do I just shut down out of fear? I need to put my foot down & keep it there, not just for a week. I am so overwhelmed by DS10 & now the possibility of losing my family....

I just talked to my dad who even suggested I send DS10 to live w/his dad. That way I keep my husband (who has been more than supportive & accomodating over the years) and still see DS10 on weekends. DS10 always says he wants to be there anyway (it's more fun). I just feel like I'd be a failure as a mom & that DS10 would feel I abandoned him. Because otherwise I risk losing both DH & DS10.... at a later time.

I just want everyone to be happy. I love DS10 w/all my heart.... it sucks to know that most times when I pick him up I have some anxiety over what will happen, how our interactions will be, etc. He's been spoiled w/this behavior for so long I don't know how to break it w/out drastic measures.  the sad thing is, when I spoke to my dad earlier about this he told me he wasn't surprised and he'd been waiting to see when this would all come to a head.... how long it would take before our marriage was strained. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Mon, 10-08-2012 - 5:44pm

I don't know exactly what your Dh says that you should be doing that you're not doing but I agree w/ ashmama that counseling is in order--for yourself & w/ your DH.  I haven't had any kids w/ issues so I don't have experience raising a difficult child, but it needs to be a consistent family approach to raising that child from what I've seen on these boards.  What exactly is your 10 yr old's issue?  Does he have behavioral problems/ emotional problems/ mental illness?  Exactly what are you not doing that your DH thinks you should be doing?  I could really see why if your child requires a lot of help you'd get tired of putting in the extra effrort--I think that would be normal & you shouldn't beat yourself up about it. 

You have a lot of negative talk to yourself about failing.  It's like a person who wants to lose weight but won't go to the gym since "it wont' work anyway>"  Of course nothing will work if you don't do it.  But say you were trying to lose weight--you don't realistically start off by saying that you're going to go to the gym for an hour every day when you haven't been exercising at all--you have to make your goals manageable, like you say I'll try to exercise for 1/2 hour every other day & build up from there--and if you skip a day, you don't just quit the whole program & think you're a failure, you say "oh I missed a day, but I'll keep going anyway."  I wonder if these goals you talk about are really your goals or you're just going along w/ what your DH wants and that's why you don't keep up with it cause you don't really buy into the plan.  I know I'm going back to weight loss here but that's one of my issues--when my exH would tell me that I should go to the gym because HE wanted me to lose weight, I'd just be resentful and not go.  After we got divorced, and I mean years later, when I decided to join a gym, it wasn't an issue--I was going because I wanted to, not because someone was telling me that I needed to do it.

I think you can really only get the answers to the questions in your last paragraph by going to a therapist & really delving into them.  From your recent posts, I am very concerned about you, so I hope you keep posting for support.