My husband and I married 18 years ago. He suffers from a particularly difficult personality disorder which has become more pronounced with time. We have five children, aged 8 - 17.
As he became more abusive; specifically, name calling, insults, constant monitoring of everything I did, making sure I had no access to money, putting me down in front of our children, friends and strangers, I found it harder and harder to cope.
But I don't see divorce as an option, as he does not abuse the children, who are very settled in their schools and environment and doing well in all areas. Divorce at this point wouldn't be a case of a couple breaking up; but a whole family, and the ramifications for the children unknown.
For two years I 'escaped' every few weeks for a few days, but always came back.
But when I started having panic attacks at the thought of him coming home, I knew I had to leave. I moved to an apartment in the same building, and came home to the kids when he was at work.
I was 'away ' for nine months. During which time, I regained my self confidence and being outside allowed me to see objectively that he was the sick one, and he can call me all the names in the world, but it is exactly that, him calling me names. It has nothing to do with me. He'd do it to any wife.
I became less and less scared of him, and now see him as nothing but a sad accident. I moved back home a month ago, but my relationship with my children is on the rocks. They are decidedly frosty, even hostile towards me and ignore me completely when he is in the house.
What pains me the most is that my baby, who at seven still clung to me like a baby monkey, now sees my 13 year old as her security, and is scared to be left alone with me.
There is no outright cheek or verbal abuse from them, but they basically make me feel unneeded and unwanted. Before I left, I had a good relationship with all of them. I am pretty sure my husband has been alienating them from me while I was away, and probably continues to do so.
I feel like the children I cared for and brought up have been stolen away from me. This is emotional agony. And no, there is no way my husband will leave. Is there any hope of me getting them back?