My friend, Erin, divorced after 13 years. She and J was happily married with three (3) kids, at least that is what most people saw. Erin loved him, but he battled with alcoholism. When J was sober, he was a kind, loving, attentive husband and father, but when he drank, she wasn’t sure what the evening would hold. Even though the alcoholism was taking a toll on their marriage, Erin was committed to staying together for the kids.
Towards, the end, Erin started questioning if divorce was the direction she needed to go. She did not want to give up on him, but he was headed down a destructive path and taking her and their kids with him. Not sure if you have ever watched someone go through this, but it is very difficult to witness. Erin and I would talk often and she struggled with breaking her commitment to him and her family, divorce is not what she wanted.
The defining moment happened one evening. She was sitting at home, kids were in bed and her husband had been drinking. This evening, he was in a mood to argue and fight. He was not one to ever lift a hand to hurt her, but he did like to pick arguments and the words from him could get pretty mean and ugly. She had learned, that if she did not engage with him, sometimes he would just get mad and leave the room or go to bed. This is what her goal was for the evening. But that is not what happened.
A few minutes into his first rant, her oldest child (12-years old) came into the room to get a drink. Her husband was willing to start an argument with whomever would engage. This child was pre-teen and starting to test parent boundaries, so this was often an easy target for J.