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My husband, well he calls himself my husband however we

My husband, well he calls...

My husband, well he calls himself my husband however we never legally wed. We've been together over 22 years. Anyway, he is a hoarder. I manage to keep things somewhat liveable but that is not my major problem. Since we have been together two of my sons have lived with us. My youngest son was here for maybe 4 years until he was able to get his own apartment. During that time my husband (I'll just call him that) complained and griped and criticized almost constantly however he also worried about him, bought him things he needed... without being asked... and obviously cared what happened to him. Since he moved out my husband has seen that he had pretty much anything he wants even buying him a newer model Camry recently and paying cash for it. After that son moved out his older brother fell on hard times and moved in. He has been here more years than I realize and is in his mid 40's. He is a musician very talents but the breaks have not come his way so recently he began making amps and repairing them and works at odd jobs fixing cars and doing maintenance work however he doesn't make enough to afford his own place... yet. My husband has also spent tons of money on him and will seek out things he feels he needs or would like to get for him. Obviously my son has free room and board as well and my husband won't allow him to pay rent. Lately and especially today the simplest of conversation will escalate into a huge screaming match with him pointing out all he has done for my family and how he and I can't communicate beause I always take their side etc. No matter how remote the conversation is he will bring it around to this and we end up in a battle. I hate this. My husband has a sarcastic, critical way about him anyway altho he is also funny, sweet and incredibly considerate of me as well as others. I am not a young chicken being in my 70's... my husband is in his late 60's... and have no desire to be out in the single world again. How do I resolve this situation to benefit all concerned. I am not of a mind to "kick" my son out since he'd end up on the streets and maybe in an alcoholic stupor... he had a problem with drinking at one time but being here he has cleaned up and goes to church and does not drink at all... to my knowlege anyway. Please give me some ideas I really love and appreciate this man but I don't think he believes that.

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Answered in 15 minutes by:
2/19/2013
TherapistMarryAnn
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5,896
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.
It sounds like your husband is able to be generous and kind to your son (and your other son as well when he was with you) as long as it is on his own terms. And it appears that the more needy the person, the more he feels ok about helping them. That is ok, but it does say a lot about how your husband views the situation.
For one, your husband seems to be alright with your kids living there. These are not his children, which may affect him though it is not clear how much. He takes on his "parental" role by giving them what they need through monetary means. This makes him appear to be generous (which he is) but often with generosity comes some control. Your husband gets to pick and choose how much he wants to give and how "deserving" the person is. Because of this, it may be that your husband has more control issues than he lets on. The hoarding is part of that. Hoarding is a way to not "let go" and let someone else have control over your belongings, no matter how much you don't need them.
The arguments between you sound like they could be an extension of your husband's feelings about your sons. He may feel he is not part of your family unit so he gives them both things, but it still doesn't make him feel a part of things. This may bother him to the point that he lashes out at you for the slightest thing and blames you for being on their side. He obviously feels deeply about the situation but is unable to voice what he feels so he takes it out on you.
In order to deal with this, it would be ideal to see a counselor as a family. It would allow the family dynamics to be recognized and talked through. So your husband would have a chance to voice his feelings and talk through whatever is bothering him about the situation. And you and your son could also voice your feelings regarding your husband and the living situation.
If that is not possible, you may want to talk to your husband about what is really bothering him. Acknowledge that he is very generous with your sons and that you appreciate it, but that you want to know how he truly feels about the situation with your son living with you both. Encourage him to be open with his feelings and let him talk. He may or may not be able to initially, but just having the chance should help. If he is able to talk about it, then offer to come to a compromise, letting him have some control over how things work out.
Also, help your son move towards a goal of getting his own place. He can try to sign up for classes, apply for assistance or find other ways to support himself. Even if he moves into a low rent apartment and you and your husband help him until he gets a job, it will at least mean he is on his own and not with you both. He can also contact the local mental health community center or United Way for assistance and support.
I hope this has helped you,
Kate
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Your points are well taken. I have seen this control issue thru the hoarding and other issues. He expects others to accept his ideas as to how their lives should be lived while objecting to any plans they might have.

I doubt he will be open to counseling as I have suggested that in the past and my son is so much like him it is scary.

My husband has said he feels he is doing their real father's heavy work and that is true. Their real father and my ex husband was abusive and went out of his way to hinder any progress they (and me too) attempted to make in the initial months/years after the divorce.

This led in part to the son living here now not going to college or being able to get work. While it may sound impossible I know to be true my ex had us followed and any attempt made to obtain work he messed up. How do I know that... I was told by prospective employers. He is a private investigator (and a very good one) and has the means to do that.

Now here we are with this knight in shining armour along with his

seeming growing resentment of the situation.

I appreciate your input. If this give you any other ideas i am open to them. Thank you.

I'm sorry to hear that your ex was so abusive. Abusive situations can be so destructive and to have your ex destroy his own son's attempts to make a life for himself is very sad.
I agree with you, it sounds like your husband is trying to make up for what your ex did and it is kind of him to try to fill the parental role as he is doing. But it may be that your husband confuses being loving with controlling the financial gifts he provides and expecting something back for them. That is not so much love as it is a give and take situation.
If he will not go to counseling, that may mean he doesn't want to change. That leaves you little choice but to try to cope with the situation and manage your stress as much as possible. You may want to consider counseling for you and your son so you can find new ways to deal with the situation and make it more manageable for you both.
Kate
TherapistMarryAnn
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5,896
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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