The back story: my daughter eloped 13 years ago at age 19, with her husband whom she'd mostly had an online relationship with for 6 months. He was in the Navy at the time, and they'd met twice before when he came home for long weekends. Both of them were very naive and had no education outside of high school.
She got pregnant right away, having their first baby at age 20. They had their 2nd child in 2010. Their relationship has always been turbulent, and my daughter has had to "leave" him a few times, due to his temper, verbal abuse and moodiness. As far as I know, there has not been any physical abuse, other than him "grabbing or shoving" her.
In spite of my extreme dislike and distrust of him, I have been generous with my time and money, helping to support them in times of stress and financial hardship. My daughter almost died in 2013, having a ruptured appendix with gangrene, and complications after the surgery. Because of her being in the hospital, I lived in their home for about 3 weeks to take care of the kids while my son-in-law worked.
I have never felt loved or appreciated by my son-in-law. But, what can I expect from someone who is so immature and detached? When I've visited, I have done everything I can to stay out of his way, and not interfere with the household. I focus on my time with the grandkids, and having fun with them.
Three years ago, he was diagnosed with PTSD - although he has never seen any battles or have had to handle guns, etc. He was on a battleship and worked in the radio shack. He has been in counselling ever since (with 2 different counselors), and also marital therapy with my daughter. He's obtained a therapy dog, and has been put on multiple antidepressants, sleeping pills, anti-anxiety medications. I have seen no improvement in any of his actions or behavior in spite of all of these treatments.
He continues to treat my daughter and the kids poorly, calling them names, putting them down, and is very controlling in the household. Everyone walks on eggshells around him. He isolates her from her friends and family.
In the spring, she told me that she's had enough, and wants to leave him. I was trying to support her, encouraging her to build a plan to leave. She has now totally back-stepped again. I am at my limits with his behavior, and no longer want to be around him at all. His disrespect to my daughter is now rubbing off on the kids, and it kills me to witness it. They are turning into whiny, smart-mouthed kids, just like him. They are all demanding of my daughters time and attention, and she gets no rest. I find myself becoming angry and needing to constantly bite my tongue. My stomach is in knots, and my anxiety rises. I worry for their health, their safety and their future.
I have decided that it is not healthy for me to be in this environment, and that I am setting new boundaries for myself. If I am to visit with my daughter and the grandkids, I will only do so when my son-in-law is not around. I made this decision about a month ago, and have not heard from my daughter since then. Last week, she posted a quote on facebook, priding herself for being such a "strong woman", as she stands by her man.
I see this road as continuing to be long and circular. I am just wondering if anyone out there in the empath community has ever gone through something like this? How did you stay strong in your commitment to yourself, to keep your sanity and inner peace?
updated by @evolving: 02/05/17 11:09:07PM