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People-helper needs help :(
March 17, 2007
9:17 pm
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CODA_Mom
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Ok, I am taking a big risk here, but have decided that I honestly need to start reaching out even if it opens me up to judgment. Somehow, I don't think that I will find judgment here at this site but if any of you feel you must be brutally honest go for it.

I am a licensed clinical counselor and in this capacity have counseled and have(hopefully) helped numerous individuals, couples, families and prison inmates. As far as my personal life, about 2 months ago my husband of 26 years took off without a trace for a week...left my 4 kids (3 teens and a pregnant 21-year-old) totally without a word. I should say without a word of truth because he had lied about where he was supposed to be. Turns out he had met a woman on the Internet from Florida and decided to hook up with her. Oh, and he also drove down there with another woman from his office. Not sure where she left off and the other one picked up.

My 21-year-old daughter did major hacking jobs into his computer (she is very computer savvy) at work which she accessed from our home and found that he had been corresponding with other women from singles and other sites (some porn sites).

Needless to say, there was a lot of gut-wrenching soul-searching done on my part while trying to help the kids sort through their feelings (never saw ANY of this coming). If I did not have my work to keep me busy and a strong faith in God, I do believe I would have had a total meltdown.

He returned a week later all apologetic, saying that nothing happened and that he needed to get out of the area for awhile. I need to mention that about 9 months ago he filed for bankruptcy because he had been opening up charge accounts on the side without my knowledge and charging them all to the max. I kept the finances for the household in good order and went over them with him from time-to-time to let him know how things were. He never volunteered that he had opened any credit card accounts, and (stupid me) didn't give it a thought that he ever would. Overnight, my credit rating went from A+ to zero because the federal government considers both spouses' incomes whether or not only one of them brought on the bankruptcy.

Anyway, after he left the first time, he wound up leaving twice more. One of those times he only made it 3 states away then decided to turn back. At present, he is gone again to "look for a job" in Florida without any word as to when he is coming back. Even though my kids are older, they are having a tough time with all of this. They do not want me to express any anger or even talk about leaving him. I love these kids to pieces and don't want to see them hurt anymore.

I guess I was just looking for a safe place to vent. Life "sucks" right about now and I feel like a total reject...I don't even know what I could have done differently, maybe I was too d*** trusting.

I know that in time I'll be fine but hard-pressed to ever trust another man again. Guess I'll focus the rest of my life on helping others and helping to raise grandkids.

Thanks for "listening",

A very hurting human therapist

March 18, 2007
6:57 am
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alycia
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I just finished typing a whole essay to you and i hit something and its gone..........i know that is no help but i was here and about to advise.

Talk to him, tell him how he has made u feel, what he has done and what action u both will take?

Maybe its a midlife crisis ...maybe its a bad reaction to filing for bankruptcy, trying to get work,

I will write more tommorow, i need to go to bed. i am sorry and i want to let u know its quieter here on weekends.

After 26 yrs i am hoping perhaps some counselling or something may help, talking to a priest perhaps, he needs to work out what went on upstairs for him to get on the net and do this crap when he has a loving partner and kids right in front of him.

Write more soon and i am sorry for the pain u are feeling ....

March 18, 2007
7:25 am
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CODA_Mom
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alycia,

Thank you so much for your response, it does mean a lot that someone took the time...you even wrote again after you lost everything!

Truth is, after he left the first time he was very remorseful and apologetic when he came back. He set up appointments with his doctor, got a referral to a psychiatrist (perhaps a mood disorder? bipolar?), we started talking and talking about anything and everything, we even went to our pastor for couples counseling.

We then started making plans for how to improve our relationship and have more "alone time" together. After all, having 4 busy kids makes for a busy household, in addition to work schedules.
(note: he has not been very involved with their lives so much of keeping up with them has been left to me).

I'm thinking that he wants to move down to Florida because of the weather (we live in New England) or because of this other relationship, and no matter what we do here it will not make a difference.

Thanks, again, for helping me to vent because it is getting it all out of my head and onto paper. If I try to write things in a journal at the end of the day I usually fall asleep.

Have a good day, alicia

CM

March 18, 2007
8:16 am
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ggfred4
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(((Coda Mom))) First, I am sorry you are going through this difficult time. I identified with you and wanted you to not feel alone. I have been married for 27 years and have 4 kids in college. That drew me to you. I have a neighbor who had almost an identical scenario after they had just celebrated their 25th anniversary. Her husband left her with again, 4 kids, for another woman. You are in a tough situation. She had to deal with the rejection and her kids not wanting her to end it too. But, it didn't take long for her kids to see the light and then their anger grew towards their dad. Now 5 years later, she is happily remarried and her kids have adjusted and gotten married. We attended a lot of weddings. It was tough for her, but support was very necessary. I wanted to tell you her story, because at first she poured all the support to her kids, but she left nothing for herself and she suffered. Finally, she reached out to friends and got some support that she needed. Everyone blamed what her husband did as a "midlife crisis".

I congratulate you for reaching out here and hope you have some support where you live.

Now besides me being married that long and having 4 kids, I too am doing some soul searching of my own. I am not leaving my h for another man, totally not interested, but my h thinks I am going through some "midlife crisis" or he is blaming it on menopause. When I turned 50 last year, I announced, to myself, that it was "my time"! My last child graduated from high school and I had devoted 26 years to the children who I just adore. Now, I had nothing, no hobbies, just work. I am now trying hard to work on myself and deal with my past that I had just threw in a closet.

Thank you for sharing here and I wish you the best. I have been on this site since last Sept. and I have learned so much. My thoughts and prayers are with you.....gg

March 18, 2007
9:44 am
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sad sack
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You come across as a very strong and wise individual. My immediate reaction when I read your thread, was that you need to separate yourself from this toxic person. HOwever, I realize that advice is way too simplistic. After all, you do have shared so much of your life with this man. And there are children involved. Do you feel that you want to continue in this relationship?
Has too much deception occurred for you to ever trust him again? Only you know the answer to those questions.

Your last line concerned me. You said you will just have to continue helping others (and help raise your grandchildren). Although it is admirable to help others, I do feel that you should take time and just focus on helping yourself and what you need. Do things for yourself.

I am curious. If one of your patients/clients presented a similar scenario in a therapy session, what would be your advice? Remove yourself from the situation, and try to think with your head, not your heart. I know it is easier said than done.

My thoughts are with you.

March 18, 2007
11:15 am
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Dear CODA,
I am glad for you that you are asking for help for yourself. Therapist ARE human too. Also remember, though there is great support on this site, you may benefit by asking for help in your community.
I think Sad really had a good point with asking what would you say to a client going through the same thing. I know it isn't easy stepping back when you are in the middle of the stuff... but it may be useful to detach and be an observer.
I appreciate you knowing you will get through this because you will.
I'll keep you and your family in my prayers.
SG

March 18, 2007
11:57 am
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CODA,

I am sorry to hear about this situation. I think it is a strength here that he did seek out the services of a psychiatrist, that he was remorseful, and that you were involved in some counseling and that there seems to be some communication going on here. I work with kids in a counseling/helping type of position and I think it is important that you take care of yourself and get the focus on yourself, see your counselor, and decide what is best for you. Counselors need counselors! I'm saying this because it can be very draining at times for work with others and mingle with their energy, especially if if is very negative. I wish you the best.

March 18, 2007
3:28 pm
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CODA_Mom
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Thank you, all, so much for your replies. As I read each one, I could not help crying and you know, it felt really good to be able to do so. I don't have to be strong all the time...I can sit at my computer and bask in the support from others who have been there. You are all awesome ladies, every one of you.

ggfred4 - Thanks for the story with a happier ending...we all need to do a bit of soul-searching on a regular basis. I can relate to the age where you are and having to make life adjustments. You are no longer "mother/protector/provider/taxi/seamstress/cook, etc., etc. I was at home with my kids for 20 years before beginning a career in counseling. Most of what I know about child psychology I did not learn in textbooks. All of the life experiences you have been thru so far will bring you to where you will wind up when you find out who you are, guaranteed.

sad sack - Girl, you are likewise full of profound wisdom yourself. After reading your post, I did exactly what you suggested (counselor, heal thyself?). I would pull out all of my counselee's progress notes and review them with her for a reality check...think with my head, indeed. I don't know you, but it sounds as if you have learned so much from your own brand of suffering.

spiritual girl - I may be kicked out of this site for saying this, but thank you so much for your prayers, God IS so good (may as well go out in style).

gracenotes - I agree that anyone who works with kids or even has their own needs outside support. It is hard for me to reach out for support, but I have come to realize that it is pride talking and it needs to go! Thank you so much for your support from one counselor to another.

Blessings to all of you,

CM

March 18, 2007
3:42 pm
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Rasputin
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(((CM))))

Good to see you again hon! You have been helping many of us wisely and spiritually when I came on here and I am grateful for that.

I am so sorry for all the pain you're going thru...you really don't deserve any of that.

Being a single girl who has never been married before...my take is difficult here, but I will try to do my best at least to communicate and say hi to you.

I like what one of the posters here mentioned that it could be mid-life crisis when it comes to your hubby. Many men get bored as years pass by esp. after so many years of marriage like in your case 26 years.

You are really doing the right thing by going to "couples therapy" which is very wise. I've been told that we all need therapy all our life, both married and single.

That's all I can give, unfortunately. I wish I could have more words and wisdom to offer you. However, I can keep you in my prayers.

Welcome back!!! Sweet Angel4u is back too! I hope hon you will find comfort very soon! {{{CM}}}

March 18, 2007
5:38 pm
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CODA_Mom
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(((Rasputin)))

To a dear, sweet friend with the name that describes you the least šŸ™‚

Thank you so much for your encouragement and kindness. I felt that I needed to come back for outside support, but will not have much time to get as involved as I was before. I am now working full-time+ in addition to functioning as a single mom/stb grandmother.

My husband and I went for couples counseling once...he did not make an effort to go back again or to look for counseling for himself. Right now, I'm not sure what he is planning to do, but I'm beginning to know what I need to do for myself and the kids.

Do you remember how I used to whine about my rebellious oldest child? Well, she is now 21 and presently 8 months pregnant and living at home. At least she is chemical-free and starting to settle down a bit and is actually nice some days! Our relationship has improved quite a bit even though she still has tremendous mood swings. I'm trying to focus on what she needs for the baby (btw, a boy).

If you happen to talk with Angel, please give her my warmest regards. Take care, dear "old" friend.

Blessings,

CM

March 18, 2007
6:06 pm
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Anonymous
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CM,

My life is a mess so I don't usually give much advice. But you will get through this you sound very strong. I will be thinking of you šŸ™‚

March 18, 2007
8:26 pm
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CODA_Mom
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oh feelinglost,

Let's say WE will get through all that we need to get through.

If you are feeling overwhelmed at the big picture of your life, try to break problems down into smaller, manageable pieces. Take one step at a time with one problem at a time; watch how other things then start falling into place.

Learn to let go of things that are out of your control and put the focus on what you can control; that is, yourself and what you need to do for health and sanity. And WE will do this one day at a time, ok? šŸ˜‰

Of course, allow time for crying and wailing but don't you dare stay there...gotta keep looking ahead. I've asked my co-workers not to express concern or pity or else I would be worthless (I'd start feeling sorry for myself), so they tease me instead. That works so much better.

I will be thinking of (and praying for) for you as well.

Take care, CM

March 19, 2007
12:05 am
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_anonymous
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Heres a hug. You are going through the old fashioned grieving process. Shock (I am sure that is how you felt when your daughter gave you the 411 on his online activities), Bargaining (talking about plans for the future, setting up psych appts), and I worry about you getting stuck in denial. When you fully realize that his issues are irrelevant to you and finally cut all ties you will be on the road to ACCEPTANCE. The fact that you have succcessfully delt with issues in the past is the best indicatior that you will succeed at dealing with this one. What bothered me the most about your husband was the fact that he was sneaky.

Destiny

March 19, 2007
6:43 am
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alycia
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I am glad people are here for you coda mum, you sound like a really lovely lady. I hope u guys can work it out.

I dont think florida is a good move hey...Too hot there anyway isn't it.

I dunno how old u are but i am sure on an episode of seinfeld, jerry said 'why do people move to florida to retire' Anyhow do you know what is gonna happen with u and hubby now?

Do you think he is still remorseful?

Keep posting... because that is another way.. one of the best ways to help what u are going thru...

March 19, 2007
8:51 am
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risingfromtheashes
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coda mom...when I came here a while back, I saw people reaching out to you and asking specifically for your advice....but you became absent.

now I understand why everyone reached out to you...you are a wise and strong lady.

I think that the best thing you can do is think with your head, not your heart, as someone else advised.

Your kids may not want you to leave him, but they are kids, they don't always know what is best.

This back and forth stuff is ripping you and your family apart...it's no fair to anyone, and you already have a full plate with four kids.

Above all else - protect yourself (given the bankruptcy thing, you know you can't trust him)...and work on you...and keep your eyes and ears open.

And remember - you teach best what you need to learn most. So, like someone else said...when you are stuck for answers, consider what you would tell someone else in the same situation, then apply it to yourself.

March 19, 2007
7:35 pm
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CODA_Mom
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Destinystar (LOVE that name)- Please don't worry about me getting stuck in denial...I'll admit I was in total shock after I found out about his computer escapades. Then I moved into anger real quick (does wanting to take a rifle to the Internet count?). Right now, I am vacillating among anguish, anger and acceptance. That's it for the a's...next will be the b's...lessee... bargaining and binging (on ice cream). My head knows it will all end in personal growth, but for now my heart really hurts.

alicia - In case you were wondering, I am 53 but I've been told I look in my early 40s(I'm small which people equate with being a kid). I like the age that I am because: 1) I don't have to worry about impressing anyone, I could care less, I'm going to be a grandmother; 2) I can have an attitude look on my face in public and not apologize because people expect older women to be cranky;
3) things that bothered me in my 20s and 30s just don't matter anymore.

risingfromtheashes - I know that I left this site awhile back, a bit of burnout was starting to set in and things were so busy around here. I also felt that this site was starting to change in a direction that I did not feel comfortable with at the time.
Thank you for remembering me, and for your kind words of encouragement...I think "ripping you and your family apart" says it all.

My husband actually called from Florida today and left a message saying that he loves me but does not want to live in Maine anymore. He is going on job interviews to find work. So what am I supposed to do? I cannot move down there with him, one daughter is 8 months pregnant and I will not turn her out; she has nowhere else to go. My son just got accepted to college an hour from here and needs help making the adjustment. Two daughters are in high school, one just got a job and they are both very much involved with friends and doing well in school. I am considering a legal separation in order to try to get some type of financial support to help with expenses.

Thanks, all!

March 21, 2007
9:35 pm
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red blonde
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CODA_Mom

Any update as to how things are going with you?

March 21, 2007
11:08 pm
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Here is another hug. Sounds like he has made a unilateral decision. You must be feeling like this relationship has turned into a spectator sport. If you follow him to Maine the message you will be giving him is that it is OK to treat you like you dont exist and that you will let him move you like a pawn on a chess board in his game called life. Sounds like he has a plan. You will need the support system of your children more than ever and will need to be in a familiar environment that you feel comfortable in which sounds like is exactly where U are at while u are putting up with this man reliving his second adolescence. Must feel like he is just another one of the kids trying to go through the process of forming his identity. You have a right to feel bad because he is not doing anything to promote the relationship or to keep the family together. It is not about you or in your best interest. Of course you have the legal right to make him responsible by going through the courts and to get whatever financial support you may have coming your way. As far as your relationship with him is concerned he has no allegience to you and the kids because he is in this self preserving mode. Sounds like he has quit and stayed. Get the boundaries back. Hire a Lawyer and tell your husband to call him or her about any matters that may arise. He tells you that he loves you to convince you that everything is business as usual. You know that the best thing is to pull out and let him hit rock bottom.

March 22, 2007
6:35 am
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CODA_Mom
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Destinystar,

Amen, amen, AMEN!! What you've said is exactly what the situation feels like (have you been thru this yourself?). I am going to cut and paste your response to help when I start to weaken.

Yesterday, he sent flowers to our 16-year-old daughter for her birthday. He also sent flowers to our 14-year-old ("just because") and Jelly-Bellies to our 17-year-old son; he also talked to him on the phone. I have refused to talk to him at all since he left because he has lied so much about everything, so I've been emailing him so that I can use my head (thank you, sad sack šŸ™‚ instead of my heart and really think about what I need to say.

He told our son that he couldn't find a job in Florida and that he wanted to come back but didn't think that I would let him back in (I can't stop him because this is his house, too). He insists that he did not go down to meet anyone this time, but has been going on job interviews and has not found anything yet.

At this point, I cannot trust anything he says so I will continue to have no phone contact. I am going back to using the "tough love" approach that I used when our daughter was going thru her rebellion...setting limits, no communications if it meant losing my cool, letting go of trying to control the situation, live and let live.

Have a great day!

March 22, 2007
6:39 am
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alycia
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Hey coda, saw u are on. Hope u are ok...how far is florida from where u are and why florida?

I am sorry for what u are going thru and wanted to extend a warm hug your way. Hope u are okay... somehow i think u will be, just a feeling i get as u seem quite strong..

March 22, 2007
10:39 am
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Warm hug. And smile for your good attitude. First I didnt like the fact that your husband was sneaky now I dont like the fact that the only reason why he wants to come back is because he cannot find a job in Florida. His reason for wanting back has nothing to do with wanting to be with you or the kids. The relationship that he has with the children are between him and the kids. He should not be using them as a go between. As far as the gifts were concerned besides the b-day thing I would have to question his intentions, timing is everything (Using them as an incentive to be welcomed back into the house). His legal rights and your rights as a human being are 2 seperate issues. Take the remote control to your life out of this mans hands. Who wants to be with a man who wants to live with you one minute then doesnt want to live with you the next? And of course this all depends on issues that have nothing to do with you like whether he can find a job elsewhere or not. He wants to come back? What about what you want? I would imagine to get this inconsiderate liar out of your life. If you cant or dont want to find a way to get him out legally you still have the option of removing yourself from the situation. Its the always feeling like you have to respond to everything he says and does that will drive you crazy. You'll have to go through the unpleasantness of withdrawals before you will loose the craving to respond to him. Even responding to e-mails is still acknowledging this self-serving mans existence which he is not worthy of. The fact that you would think of putting so much thought into responding to his emails tells me that he is still controlling your thoughts. When you block his emails and or quit opening them altogether you know then that you are on the way to getting on with yourlife. There is no upside to this situation. Controlling him is like controlling a tornado. You know that the right thing to do is to get out of his path of destruction.

March 23, 2007
9:34 pm
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CODA_Mom
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Thanks, again, Destinystar, I'm printing off another one of your very insightful replies.

CM

March 23, 2007
10:17 pm
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Florida seems like a good idea on the surface. But the housing is cheap and everything is cheap....but the house insurance. House insurance is way more than any other place making it almost impossible to afford the inexpensive things that Florida has to offer. It is damn decieving to retireees. Invite all these people but who can afford the skyrocket insurance to cover it? It evens out and is no better than any other place in America. Might as well move to DC area. Housing is very expensive but convenient and insurance much cheaper and well you get to see many sights. really it evens out I think.

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