Dear Helen, I do feel for you and for your children. This sounds an intolerable situation. I know it’s hard – and I’m sure your self-confidence has been worn down In recent months - but please don’t feel you must accept it.
Having incurable cancer and being on HT is life-changing and beyond hard – but it isn’t a ‘get out of jail free card’ which means that abuse is allowed. Tell him, ‘Please don’t talk to me in that way,’ or ‘I’m sorry you feel that way’, and leave the room. Don’t stay around to soak it up.
There is support available for him including : counselling through his GP or through Macmillan; antidepressants; support for depression through SANEline, mental health helpline – ‘… offering specialist emotional support, guidance and information to anyone affected by mental illness, including family, friends and carers … open every day of the year on 0300 304 7000’ (www.sane.org.uk); CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) – www.thecalmzone.net, which focuses on supporting men in crisis (0800 58 58 58); PCUK specialist nurses; this forum; Samaritans ……. None of these can change his diagnosis but he can get support and know that he isn’t alone.
BUT you can’t do this for him. It’s a well-used phrase but we can’t change others’ behaviour, only our own. His illness isn’t your fault and you need to look after yourself and your children.
As I understand it, you hadn’t known him for long before you married (?) and it could be that he has an abusive personality which pre-dates your relationship and his diagnosis. He has repeatedly said that he wants a divorce - so arm yourself with information. Many solicitors who practice family law offer a free half-hour consultation and it would be empowering for you to know where you would stand. See www.resolution.org.uk, whose members ‘follow a Code of Practice that promotes a non-confrontational approach to family problems. [Their] members encourage solutions that consider the needs of the whole family - and in particular the best interests of children.’
Whether you pursue this route or not is up to you, but do get informed. I feel so strongly that your life and the lives of your children are just as important as his.
As Lyn says, you can also get support and advice from Women’s Aid helpline (0808 2000 247, www.womensaid.org.uk). Another source of advice is Rights of Women (www.rightsofwomen.org.uk) who offer free and confidential legal advice to women. Call: : 020 7251 6577.
You can find a safe place to talk this all through and be heard by calling Family Lives (0808 800 2222, www.familylives.org.uk).
This is a really hard situation for anyone and I think some counselling help would be good – as with your OH, perhaps through GP or Macmillan.
Do your best to have an independent life that will give you pleasure and strength. Remember you are your children’s role model. I’m not saying it’s easy.
Walking is good, running is great. You can start as a complete beginner with www.parkrun.org.uk. Find out what’s going on in your area through www.meetup.com.
Sorry for the long post. Pick out the bits that seem useful and ignore the rest.
Thinking of you and hope this helps.