Stay or go – When mental illness destroys a family

First things, so far so good with the sobriety. Last month I only drank on 6 days, which is great. This month I am going for even fewer, none would be great – Dry July! But I don’t consider a drink now and then a failure. All in all I feel so much better not drinking. So that’s my big success, Yay me!

I do wish I didn’t crave alcohol to help me ignore my stress, because my life is not letting up on the stress. It makes it even harder to stay sober each day, and my life is so stressful and messy and it seems to get worse every day. Now I am separating from my husband. He has a personality disorder and cannot or will not stop engaging in destructive behavior that harms me and the kids. He has been arrested more than once in the past few years. He has had over a year since his diagnosis to get help, but he has not done it. I know they can’t cure him, but they could help him to learn not to destroy people. I told him if the behavior continued we are over, and it has continued and gotten worse. His lies are getting more and more elaborate. Even when confronted with proof of his lies he makes excuses. This week I got out of the shower to the dogs barking. My car was being repossessed. We own my car. It is paid off. The title is in his name. He took out a loan on it without my knowledge and just decided he didn’t have to pay it back. First I knew about it was my car getting towed off by the repo man. This isn’t the first time he has done this. He has been talking about a lawsuit he filed for an unlawful termination for two years. He supposedly received his settlement. He showed me the check. He showed me his bank balance. Turns out it was a lie. The check was fake. The bank balance fake. He wrote a check for my daughter’s wedding gift from his account and it bounced. He tried to blame it on a bank error. He deposited 4 bad checks into our joint account leaving me with almost no money.

Right now, we are having to share the house, but have separate rooms. We cannot afford anything else. I know leaving and going back to my hometown where I have family and friends would be the best thing for me, but what about my kids. Leaving means they change schools and leave behind their friends, that I can get over. But it would also mean leaving their pets. My parents aren’t willing to take in their pets. We have 2 dogs, 3 cats, and 8 chickens that my kids adore. My credit is ruined, thanks to my husband, so I can’t buy a place. I probably can’t even rent a place, if I could even find somewhere willing to take my menagerie. Is it ridiculous to stay because of the pets? The man has destroyed me and I don’t see myself getting better around him.

Also, if we stay here, the kids stay with me. But if we leave there is the chance that they could choose to stay with him to stay at their school and with their pets. Yes, I would seek custody, and probably get it, but it would be a battle.

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