Thanks everyone for your responses. I’m trying to read and re-read them and let them sink in….today has been an especially tough day. Everything everyone said is poignant and exactly right and there are a couple things that stood out to me that I want to respond to specifically: the serenity prayer – I have worn it out and it plays as a mental mantra several ***** throughout my days..and today especially it was something I really started thinking about.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (him) to change the things I can (me) and the wisdom to know the difference. That’s how I’ve always thought about it, but today for some reason I came to the conclusion that I can’t accept him anymore. Its not just the gambling. Its what the gambling has turned him into.

You are all exactly right. Mental abuse and control is not acceptable and its not something I would allow in the lives of my children so why should I allow it (or accept it) in my own? I came to the decision today (after a particularly nasty episode where I calmly asked about the bills that were or were not paid and he launched into a verbal ******* on the phone) that the best thing for me to do is leave.

As soon as I find a job, I’m going to find a room to rent or an affordable apartment on the bus route, and just go. For now, I’ve moved to the other side of the house, I caught him in a few lies today, and instead of blowing up, I calmly made dinner, cleaned up, and took my book into one of the extra rooms on the opposite side of the house from him and closed the door. The couple of ***** I came out for a drink, he made some sarcastic comments, and I waited until he was done and calmly let him know I will be moving out as soon as I find work. I let him know that I will help him place an ad for a roommate if he ***** my help. He didn’t respond. He decided to take out another payday loan today, before any of this happened, so all of his focus was on his next fix. I doubt he even heard me and if he did, he doesn’t care.

The lies have gotten so out of control, I can’t even keep them straight anymore. At this point, I’ve been **** to so much that everything seems suspicious, even if its not. Just like NoMore’s husband said, my CG’s only real friend is the card table. Everyone else that’s in his life is there by either biology, as a parent / child relationship, or a coworker. He’s talked so much trash to his children and step children about me that their opinion of me is skewed and I’m the "evil **** talker" that ***** to leave.

Madge, as much as I hate to truly accept it, you’re exactly right. Its not love. This isn’t my first experience with an abuser and I’m more mad at myself right now than I can be at anyone else because I’ve again fallen for the typical "everything’s perfect in the beginning so I can trap you and show you my true colors" game. Every definition of a sociopath fully fits the behavior that I’m experiencing from him..and that I experienced with every man in my life before him.  Each time, thinking "this one is soooo different"..and each time being proven completely wrong.

I’ve always known that the answer is to get on my own two feet, forget about relationships and focus on what I need to do for myself, but the trainwreck of a set of circumstances of a life that I’ve created for myself have inevitably kept me dependent on others and short of a financial windfall that affords me an attorney to get the state to stop taking half of any paycheck I make for child support, I’m afraid I will be perpetually dependent. Unlike most people, I don’t have a single family member or friend that I can stay with, and the women’s shelters near me are only there for people who have been physically harmed and are in danger.

Still, I know I can’t continue like this. I do deserve better. Out of 3,000 dollars, I did not get so much as a card, a flower, or a note that said "I love you" because the truth is, he doesn’t.