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Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Specializing in mental health counseling
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Am I overreacting? My husband was off from his job about a

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Am I overreacting?
My husband was laid off from his job about a month ago, after working as an appliance installation tech for a year. (that was the longest he has stayed with a job the entire time I've known him) As some background - he spent his last paycheck on ammunition to fire away at the shooting range. Not for competition or anything... just to play.
He did find another job fairly quickly, but he has to commute 40 miles each way in order to get there... it's only part time... and he's only being paid $10/hour. To top off that lovely cake, he pushed his car much harder than he knew it could handle (his admission) so that he could get a better car for commuting (which ended up being financed in my name... a much more expensive and nicer car than he just blew the engine on.)
I told him that this job MIGHT work out as a temporary solution, only because "it's better than nothing" but that I really need him to contribute at least enough to cover the expenses my salary won't cover + his own car payment. (I already cover the mortgage and all utilities, health insurance, etc...)
His former boss called him yesterday and offered his job back... but he refused and says he just wants to stick with what he's doing, because he "enjoys doing it". Regardless of how much he enjoys it, he's not getting PAID for it! Not enough to live off of. Not enough to support his child. If I were to leave, he wouldn't even be able to pay JUST the mortgage on our tiny house (which is much less than any rent in our area).
I can't seem to explain this situation to him in a way that he understands. He does not care about our finances, and he does not care what kind of job I'm doing as long as I pay the bills (I took my current job 4 years ago as a "temporary fix" to pay OUR bills because I was laid off from my Dental Assisting job. I have stuck with this Tech Support job because I have to provide for my family whether I enjoy the work that pays the bills or not. I went through a very rough time at work while he was unemployed, and he still refused to even look for another job... he stayed home neglecting our son and playing xbox all day/night until his sister recommended him to his most recent former employer - the Appliance Install Job)
He does not contribute to the budget, and feels entitled to every penny he makes if he's working. He even opened a separate checking account that I don't have access to, so I couldn't use the money for bills. If I do pay a bill using money he gives me (more like money I beg him for) he guilt trips me for weeks saying things like, "well, there goes MY shooting season! I might as well just get rid of all my guns since you won't let me shoot them..."
He is obsessed with guns and leaves them lying around the house everywhere. I have even taken a pistol from MY TODDLERS HANDS. TERRIFYING! If I put a gun out of our son's reach, he yells at me because "it's not where he left it".
He constantly belittles me and tells me how dumb I am. For example - On an all expense paid trip to Hawaii, he screamed (in front of my parents) "I treat you like you can't do anything right, because you CAN'T do anything right! You can't even pack a f**king bag!" because he thought he could fit more into the bag I had packed (while he was out with friends the night before). When I reminded him that the bag needed to weigh less than 50 lbs for our flight, he just slammed things harder. We ended up having to unpack and repack the bag at the airport because he packed it 20 lbs over the limit.
That is a normal interaction with my husband. Everyone walks on eggshells, because you never know what will set him off. A bag that he perceives to be packed too lightly, forgetting to take the trash out, nothing at all, it doesn't matter. If something is wrong, he finds a way for it to be my fault. (ex: he has not been on time even ONE time for his new job. Yesterday, I tried to wake him up so he would be on time by saying, "Honey, It's almost time for you to go..." he grunted his acknowledgement and then rolled over and went back to sleep. About 2 minutes later, his cell phone rang and it was his new boss telling him, "I need you here earlier than you usually show up, because we need to get to a customer site". As soon as he hung up, he yelled, "Thanks for f**king jinxing me!!!" and then started punching the wall repeatedly saying, "you f**king jinxed me!!!"
I feel like I'm at my whit's end. I don't want to stay here, and keep my son in this environment... but if I try to remove him from that influence my husband will make my life hell... and "fight to the death" in court over custody for our son. I can't let him do that to our innocent toddler. I just want a safe place for him.
Am I overreacting? Is it normal to feel anxious all the time? Is it normal to be afraid to go home because of the fight that is undoubtedly coming, even though I don't know what the fight will even be about?
Is this normal??
Hi there,
I do not think you're overreacting at all, to be completely honest with you. It seems to me that the burden of responsibility lies entirely on your shoulders - not only financially speaking, but in terms of child care, (including ensuring the safety of your son) and maintaining your household. It's funny that you mentioned that you feel like you're walking on eggshells, because I was going to suggest that you read the book of the same title by Randi Kreger. I can't say for sure but it does sound like your husband displays some of the signs of borderline personality disorder (read here if you're not already familiar with the symptoms, but I have a feeling you are:
The book is called "Stop Walking on Eggshells"- in it, she talks about how to handle being in a relationship with someone (and how to end it) with borderline personality disorder. You can check out her website here:
I can't provide you with any legal advice (you can direct a question to one of the legal experts here, however) in terms of how to handle your situation if you are thinking of separating or divorcing him, but I will say that you're only 27, and you have your whole life ahead of you, and it would be shame if you have to feel like this for another year or five, let alone much longer - not only for you, but for your son as well. I do realize you're stuck in a difficult situation. But to answer your question, it is normal to feel anxious in a situation like this. You're not overreacting, and it's normal that you fear going home because of the impending fight - but it's not a normal situation.
I wish you lots of luck. Please let me know if you need additional assistance.
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