Ok, that's fine.
There are some books available to help you get things in order before you leave. A few of those; Getting Free by Ginny NiCarthy, The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize it and How to Respond XXXXX XXXXX, Violent Voices: Twelve Steps to Freedom from Emotional Abuse Kay Porterfield. Some of these are dated but the information provided is eternal. They will help you sort through what is happening and how you choose to deal with it.
A few other things to start getting together: copies of you and the children's birth certificates and social security cards, immunization records for the children, extra car keys, some extra money put back, change of clothes. Put these is a bag somewhere that you can get to on the drop of a dime. I know he has not been physically abusive but when he is breaking things and verbally and emotionally abusive, this is always a possibility. If this happened you would want to leave as soon as possible.
If you believe he will fight you tooth and nail, you may want to also have some support. Many times, people like this have isolated you from family and friends, and done so for a reason; to keep you under his thumb so to speak. It may not be a good idea to go to a family or friend's house if you feel he will follow you there and cause havoc. It may be a better idea to go to a domestic violence shelter. I know, these sometimes have negative connotations, but consider the positive. They are free housing, utilities, food, counseling, and you are safe from him having the ability to talk to you when he wants, harrass you with phone calls, coming by "just to talk," etc.
If you decide not to actually go there to stay, they all have support groups, there is a legal advocate who will assist you by explainng what to expect from the court system, and the legal battle of child custody, and many more services that can help you. In many cases, they will also help you with finding an attorney, and will go to court with you. And most or all of these services are free. Here is the website for your state: www.mocadsv.org
If you will click "services" it will give you the county list to see which one serves your county. They will have a phone number and are usually a wealth of information for other needs as well.
This is a complicated issue for you with the four small children, but as I'm sure you know may be the best solution. The children are like little sponges, in that they soak up how relationships work and how people interact from their parents. Your boys are watching their Dad and your girls are watching their Mom.
They are also aware if there is anxiety
or tension in the home even when there are no bad behaviors. This can create anxiety and sadness for them also. Some mental healt professionals believe this can create a form of PTSD in some children if they are afraid of a parent, or see another parent feeling threatened. Please don't feel sad
or ashamed about this yourself, it is part of the battered women's syndrome. The constant put downs and emotional abuse really do a number on self esteem and make you feel you can't make effective change, and of course he probably reinforces this as well. Just work on this when you are able to do so with a counselor.
A few words of caution. I am not an attorney, so before you take the children to another state, get some form of legal document to do so or at least talk to an attorney about the repercussions. Some states have strict laws about this.
You can also expect your husband's bad behaviors to either increase or decrease if you leave. He will do what he thinks will get you back. He may even escalate to physical abuse and threats. So if any threats occur, or God forbid, physical abuse, complete a police report on every incident and get the report number.
This will guarantee it has been completed, and they will be able to find it on file.
I know, some of this infromation may seem outlandish and you may not believe your husband could get this bad, and I hope he doesn't, but the information is here if you need it. Please let me know what other questions you may have. Gina