B.D. asks from Houston, TX on July 18, 2009
At My Wit's End with Hubby's Behavior
Hello Ladies, I will try to keep this as short as possible, but that's always easier said than done. I have written in several times about a year ago about some of the problems my husband and I were having. One of the things that I inquired about was medication for depression/anxiety. Well, around Thanksgiving things were really spiraling downward fast. I had been seeing a very nasty side of my husband that I just couldn't stand anymore. He for quite a while was horrible to be around...always complaining, making rude, snippy comments, being very critical of everyone and everything and just setting a really poor example for our sons. I insisted that he go to the dr. and inquire about medication. The dr. put him on Pristiq, which is an antidepressant and Xanax, which is an anti-anxiety med. Well, wouldn't you know that something that was supposed to help, would also end up causing additional problems. My husband started over-using the Xanax and basically became addicted to it. His dr. refused to refill his prescription until he saw a psychologist. Well that lasted for all of two or three sessions before my husband convinced his dr. that he didn't need to see a psychologist. My husband is the king of denial and never takes responsibility for anything. It's always someone else's fault. Well, this week he got the Xanax back and has taken 8 extra pills over a 2 1/2 day period, on top of his normal dosage. On top of this, he drinks more than an average amount of beer while he is taking this medication. Plus, the dr. put him on a new med., supposedly because his BP was slightly elevated. Around 4:30 today, I noticed that he was starting to slur his words, walk slowly and had no rational pattern of thought. He refused to acknowledge anything that I was noticing and kept acting like nothing was wrong. Well, I just lot it. I was so infuriated that he was being so irresponsible and had such lack of self control yet again. He even left the house while I was in another room with the kids and didn't say anything at 9:00 at night. He claimed that he drove his car 4 houses down to see if a neighbor friend was home...that makes no sense...you can walk or use the cell phone. Before he left, I watched him shave very slowly...everything took three times as long, he was knocking things over, and then when he came back in from being gone, he shaved again. When I said something he gave me this blank look and then eventually made up something about missing some spots. In addition, several weeks ago he took two of my boys over to a friends house to swim and about 2 1/2 hours later, they drove his car home. He was totally out of it and blamed it on the meds. I was so embarrased. All in all, I just am not willing to travel this road with him. I have talked to him over and over about these issues and how they are affecting our family. I am basically numb to him and his needs at this point because of all of the problems that we've had. I have no respect for him and take everything he says with a grain of salt. I am so frustrated as to why a 40 year old man acts this way. He refuses to change his behavior for anyone, and apparently doesn't see the harm in it. His mom and I have both expressed a lot of concern over his drinking, smoking, and prescription pill problems. I am really ready to throw in the towel, but would be so afraid that if we did divorce that he would become worse without anyone holding him accountable. Most importantly, he would have our boys at times and possibly have these issues while they are with him. My boys are still little and I just wouldn't trust him knowing his history. Above all, my husband is setting such a poor example for my boys. At this point, I would be mortified if they grew up to be like him. I just am lost and don't know what to do here. I know that tomorrow he'll act like nothing happened and say that I'm over reacting. Anything to deflect taking responsibility. He even had the nerve to say, "Well, you're the one that wanted me to go to the dr." I never envisioned that my life would be like this. It's already stressful enough raising three boys and teaching, but then to have to deal with this. I will probably look for a marriage counselor and make an appt., but at this point, I would just be doing it for my kids. I've thought about divorce so much over the last two years, that I feel like that is just what needs to happen.
I guess, what I'm asking is if anyone has any experience with this type of situation or can give some advice. By no means do I want anyone to think that I am pretending to be perfect. I acknowledge when I have issues, but in this relationship, I feel like I've always been the very responsible, Type A person, while my husband is the complete opposite.
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So What Happened?™
I'm not really updating the "what happened", but I wanted to clarify what I feel might be a misperception due to my wording in some parts. When my husband left the house, he DID NOT leave with the kids. I was in another room with my kids and he went out back to smoke. When I noticed that he had not come back in, I looked out front and noticed his car was gone. If he had gone anywhere with my kids like that, I would have completely flipped out and probably called the police. Also, the day that he took 2 of my boys swimming, the 8 year old did not drive him home. My friends and one of their parents drove him home. Just wanted to clear that up.
S.S. answers from San Antonio on July 20, 2009
I have been there and done that and I highly recommend finding an Al Anon group and giving it a fair chance. These groups are wonderful for support and you would be amazed how many others are in the same boat--I was. There are also groups for children and teenagers to help them sort thru things and help them realize they are not the only ones living with these kinds of issues but more importantly that this is not "normal".
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K.A. answers from Austin on July 19, 2009
Take the boys and leave - by allowing him to drive around with them, you are endangering their lives. Look at him and know that your boys will grow up to be just like him - as far as they know, you support that behavior. They will also grow up to treat their family exactly like he is treating theirs (you and them). Document what he is doing, film it if you can and then take him to court. They will either rule that he has to take drug screens before seeing the boys, go to rehab or go through kids exchange where he is supervised - in other words, the courts will make sure they are safe and I am sure that is what you want. Then put the boys in counseling. If you do decide to stay, forget marriage counseling - everyone needs to go to counseling, you all are adults - it is the children that are suffering the most whether you see it or not. Just know that everything you see and feel, the children see and feel also in their own way (be prepared for the counselor to alert Child Protective Services though if she finds out that he is abusing drugs and alcohol and driving the children around). By taking them to counseling, the boys will know that you all recognize that everything is not OK and your husbands behavior will be discussed without them thinking that it is normal or a secret - it will be their saving grace.
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L.B. answers from Austin on July 19, 2009
Sounds like addiction. Call his dr and let him know and suggest AA to your husband, and then try alanon for yourself. There's a really good chance his behavior will get much uglier, try and take care of yourself.
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L.A. answers from Austin on July 19, 2009
Ditto, to all that has already been said. Your husband has an addictive personality. There is nothing you can do to "fix" him, he will need to find the strength from within to do something about this on his own. He will need to seek help.
I come from a family of alcoholics and drug abusers. It was very frightening and stressful to grow up around them. I did not know at the time that this was unusual, till I started playing at other homes and realized they had such different households. My mom finally saw that things were not going to get better unless she were to have my father leave. It was hard, but we were so much better without the chaos.
My father has totally turned his life around and we are very proud of him, but it took him a long time to realize, this was HIS problem, not everybody else.
You are the mom and you need to protect your boys. I will assure you this behavior will continue and it will get worse. Your husband will not admit to any of his behaviors, because he is in denial. I was also going to also suggest video taping him when he is under the influence.
His physician needs to be notified that your husband is abusing his medication by not taking it properly and drinking while taking these medications. Just call the office and speak with the nurse so that they can handle it on their side. Then I suggest you get someone close to your husband to help you speak with your husband about leaving your household till he can get himself into a program to help himself.
You must protect your children.
This is tough love, but I promise, this is not going to get better, till your husband can take ownership of his illness. Please also take care of yourself. Ask for help. Asking for help is a gift you give to others by allowing them to help. You know how much you love to help others? Well others are the same. Honor them by telling them you need them.
Do not let anyone blame you for this. I have read your past posts and this has been going on in all sorts of ways for a long time.You have been trying to keep him together, but that is not your job if he is not willing to admit he has this disease.
I am sending you strength. Please know that I am thinking of you. Any mom of 3 boys and a teacher, has my respect.
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K.C. answers from Austin on July 19, 2009
I am amazed by your strength, I don't know how you have manged all of this and teaching and a 2 yr old.
First, definitely find some help with the kids so you can go to AlAnon. If you are not yet ready to go public with this they have closed and open meetings. Closed are only for those involved with alcohol/drug addiction, open are for those who are or are not involved with alcohol/drug addicts and are looking for information. YOu don't have to speak until you are ready at either of them. At least make the call. Someone who has been there will answer or call you back soon. Talking to someone who has walked this walk will be so helpful.
RE: husband. I don't know why he was given xanax, it doesn't help with depression and often only makes it worse. Often alcoholics are depresives and are helped by anti-depressant medication. However, we are where we are. You have a husband who has been on xanax for a year. He cannot go off it cold turkey. He will need a medically managed withdrawal. By all means video his performance. Get the doctor to see it (he will be worried about malpractice about now). Tell husband you will notify pharmacies as I am sure he will then go to a new doc.(btw, I don;t think you can do that.) By now, he will have all the symptoms so the new doc won't be fooled. He will need treatment. If he doesn't want to spend for the treatment, the only outpatient way to do it is to reduce the am't of xanax by 25%, per week until zero. They often put it in a cocktail of juice so the addict is unaware of the am't of reduction. He can go get his daily or twice daily dose at the doctor's office so you are not in charge of that.
He can continue to drink and escalate his xanax use and that often ends in death, either due to injury or aspirating on one's own vomit. Neither ideal outcomes.
Bottom line: these kids have only you, so take care of yourself. And say this to yourself as many times as necessary, "THIS IS NOT MY FAULT". He chose someone who could be manipulated into caring more for him than he cares for himself. Don't continue down this very dangerous path.
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N.J. answers from Austin on July 19, 2009
Wow - I'm not sure what to say except I think you're a very strong woman. Based on what you've said, I have a lot of respect for the type of life you want, no demand, for you and your sons. I admire that and look up to you. I can't say that I've had these problems with my husband, although I can admit that we are so far from perfect. Because of that, I can't offer any advice except to tell you that I believe your thoughts for the boys are in the right place and you have a right to expect him to be the husband you married and the father he promised to be when your first son was born.
Hang in there! You have a lot of support on this board and I believe you'll make the right decision for your family!!
Take care, N. (mother of 2 daughters ages 22 mo and 3 mo)
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J.B. answers from Houston on July 19, 2009
First of all I am really sorry you are going through something so difficult. From your post, it sounds like while your husband was high he got behind the wheel of a car with your kids. That is so not ok or acceptable on any level. I think that separation is definitely warranted for those kids sake at this point, whether or not you go the divorce route, separating to clear your head and give him some room to figure out what he is going to do would probably be a good thing. If he will attend an AA meeting that would be great, but if he won't you can't make him. I agree that you are hurt from all this and really need some time to work on you but right now I see the situation with the kids as a real issue. If you do decide to go ahead and pursue divorce, you can fight for supervised visitation by addressing his addiction. That way your boys can see their dad, but he can't put them in harms way. I really hope he decides to get sober and that your family can function well and everyone can at least have a relationship but having kids around an addict is no fun and I am sure that living with one as an adult isn't either. I was the kid in the situation and my mom got us out and I really thank her for it today. I have no ill will toward my dad, but he was a real mess. My mom did attend Alanon for years and I attended Alateen when I was old enough. We learned a lot of good stuff but found that the best thing we could do was hold onto Jesus, the Word of God and let Him heal our hearts. I wish you all the best, hang in there, you will get through all this. I will pray for you and your family:)
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L.W. answers from Houston on July 19, 2009
B., Im updating to my response.......I just read your clarity of your request, I am Sorry, I am one of the ones (dont know who else did) that did misinterpreted what you were saying about who drove the car home the day he took them swimming, there fore I am deleting My response, you have read it by now anyway and that's all that was needed. Good luck in whatever road you choose & I truly wish you & YOUR FAMILY the best!
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D.C. answers from College Station on July 19, 2009
My heart goes out to you B.. I also have three boys and feel that my marriage could have become like yours. That age of 40 came up with me expecting some wild behavior but glad it turned out to be mild.
I apologize that I haven't read your entire story; I skipped to the bottom line. One thing I have watched with great concern is how much I have enabled irresponsible behavior from my husband. If he has always taken out the garbage when it's full, taking it out for him can give him the impression that it is okay if he doesn't do what is expected. This is just a tiny example, compared to your big problems.
I just noticed your note about hearing "well, it was you who suggested going to the doctor" and, believe me, your reply should be something like "I suggested a doctor for xyz problem, NOT for such a change in personality!"
Have you talked to his doctor? Does this doctor know what behavior you are seeing at home? I sure don't get the picture that this doctor is doing his job!
On the opposite note, I have had my sister divorce her husband (years ago, now) when my niece was 2 or 3-yrs-old, because it was a danger to their child to leave her in his care! and because he became addicted to back pain medicine and became quite an "animal", even to hurting her (my sister). Years later, (seven years now) my sister remarried with a very wonderful man.
Best of luck to you and I pray your kids stay safe.
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