This is the seond part of a long article, much longer than most but, because the content and the story are critical, I’ve not edited it down but published it in two parts.
The author is a friend I’ve met on the Internet and her story is compelling.
Part One can be read at http://justaguymuddlingthrough.com/dementia-abuse-divorce-part/
This agony all came to a head on New Year’s Eve of 2017 while my oldest son was staying with us briefly. This son had suffered with severe PTSD for years after three deployments to combat zones while in the military and struggled with alcohol and drug abuse. He and his father started drinking around 1:00 that afternoon and it continued well into the night. They hung out in the basement shooting pool, listening to loud music and getting staggering drunk. My grandson had spent the night with a friend and I was thankful he was not home. The situation was getting worse by the hour and it felt like a run-away-train. I went down into the basement several times and pleaded with them to stop but to no avail.
My son was prone to terrible melt downs due to his PTSD and would frequently lose control when he drank alcohol. Now I had two unstable drunken men on my hands and no way to deal with it. I tried going to bed with a loud fan and even turned on the TV to drown them out but I could hear them over top of it. I lay in bed with my door locked in absolute fear not knowing what to do. At about 2:00 in the morning I realized I had to take control over the situation. I mustered up as much courage as I could, marched into the basement and yelled at them both to go to bed and sleep it off. I grabbed their beer bottles and poured them down the bathroom sink and took away their box of wine. I directed my husband toward the stairs and managed to get him to his bed where he quickly passed out. I made sure our son was in his bed and then spent the next few hours in a fitful sate of trying to sleep but not really able. I got up with the sun and took my coffee on the front porch and rolled over in my mind the nights events.
I knew I could no longer allow myself, or our grandson, to live under these kinds of conditions anymore. I was under tremendous pressure by people around me to care for him but I could no longer do it.
I had reached my end and decided to remove my husband from the house to protect my grandson and myself. It was the clear and obvious choice but the hardest one I’ve ever had to make.
My husband packed his bag and went and stayed at his father’s empty lake house with our son. Eventually they rented trailer and moved about twenty minutes from my house. The night after they left, and especially the next night, I slept better than I had in months. Within three days I kicked a cold that had plagued me for more than a month. My grandson and I could finally breathe and rest easy. It was like a calm after a terrible storm and I began to think clearly again. But it wasn’t to last very long.
When my husband realized I wasn’t letting him come back home he slung a load of insults at me and again slandered me to the public. He once butt dialed me and I overheard him viciously cussing me to one of our children. Every opportunity that presented he would either beg me to let him come home or sadistically torment me.
He convinced some of our mutual friends that I had kicked him out over a few petty incidents and that I wouldn’t give him any money, which was false. I still paid all his bills and gave him credit cards and checks but he still spread the lies all over town. He would still walk in the house at all hours and I would frequently come home to find the garage doors up and the entry doors wide open because he forgot to shut them.
I tried to maintain some kind of family time and would invite him to dinner so he could visit with his grandson. He would always berate me in front of our nine year old boy and one evening my grandson yelled at him to stop talking to me that way. I put a stop to the dinners when I saw my grandson ball up his fist after his paw paw laughed at him.
It was at this time that my husband began to speak about divorcing me and consulted with various local attorneys. This forced me to hire my own attorney and seek legal counsel. We kept coming back to the same question over and over: do I seek for guardianship or divorce him? My attorney was slow about giving me personal advice but after I pressed him he said that if I were his sister he’d tell me to get a divorce. And to get it soon while he still could. I also spoke with several other unbiased people and they all said the same thing.
I feared being dragged endlessly through the courts system by a demented man with a greedy, asshole attorney. I sought dissolution and used every tactic I could think of to get him to agree. I was manipulative and underhanded in every way. I did a great deal of bluffing to convince him to settle with me out of court.
After ten months, and much angst, we have finally come to an agreement on the division of assets and custody. The papers should be filed within a few weeks and the divorce finalized within a couple of months. I never, in a million years, imagined myself to be where I am at today and the life that I now have.
My father passed away four months ago and after cleaning out my parents’ house I am finally able to mourn their passing. I have no feelings toward my husband other than sadness and anger. I am sad because I realize he will eventually crash and burn and I’m angry because he has left me alone. He recently moved into a camper he bought and set it up behind my son’s office in town.
My son and his employees all keep an eye out for him and my husband seems pretty content to be there. I am seeing a counselor to help me deal with the after effects of the abuse I suffered. I hope that one day I’ll be free of the fear and anxiety that still plagues me from time to time. I’m learning to maintain my car, clean out my own gutters, operate a zero-turn mower and many other challenging things I’ve never done before.
My handsome boy is almost ten now and he’s thriving in school and looking toward his future. The things he has faced were not easy and stirred up many questions that most boys never think about at his age. He asked me one day if dementia was contagious because he had been forgetful and feared he was coming down with it. He’s also had anxiety that he would suddenly lose me too and questioned what would become of him if that did happen. He is also in counseling and I am hoping he grows into a happy, healthy man. We are still facing many challenges and hurdles and our future is certainly unclear. But at least I’m in control of it. I plan to sell our house and move into something more manageable. I’d prefer moving to another town, if possible, to put some distance between us and the small town gossip. My marriage of thirty years will soon be over and I will begin to build a new life for me and my grandson.
Hearings are moving along.
I wasn’t allowed to say that I was a domestic abuse survivor because my ex had dementia and “didn’t know what he was doing”.Tell that to my mental health and wounded soul
Tell that to my ten year old who still struggles with it.
How wrong and dismissive to those who have suffered.
Is that ok?
That I said I suffered?