Thanks for the reality check, guys. I know the way he treats me when he is manic is not okay, not normal, not acceptable. The problem is that I let it get too far, right at the very beginning of our relationship, and now trying to re-write the rules and set boundaries is so difficult. When I try to set limits about what behavior is acceptable, he says I'm being a control freak and trying to dictate to him.
He doesn't seem to "get it" that he is NOT autonomous, he does not live alone on an island, that there are two of us in this relationship -- more than two, if you consider the kids as well (I have three adult sons, the youngest just turning 18). If his behavior only affected him and him alone, then that would be completely his business. But it doesn't. Almost everything he does affects me, too. I feel like there are so many things I've given up, bent over backwards for him, changed the way I do things, just to TRY to make him happier, to avoid making waves or causing trouble. But now that I'm standing up more now for my own feelings and wishes, he says I've changed, I'm distant, I must not love him anymore. Trying to re-define the rules at this point is so hard. And I can only talk to him about it when he is in the lull between mania and depression -- and even then he doesn't like talking about our relationship, he gets irritable, he changes the subject.
I do love him -- and that's why I've stayed with him this long, and keep trying to keep our marriage from breaking. When he is being "normal", acting like the man I met and fell in love with, he is funny, brilliant, fun to be with, loving, and kind. When he turns into Mr. Hyde, I just wish he'd go live in a cave far away from me.
I don't want to leave or give up my home. And I don't ever want it to get so ugly that I feel like I have to demand that he leaves. We have a significant amount of debt that I'm working to pay down. I'm so grateful that he works and has been faithful to give me money for the bills -- I've talked to women who's husbands have ruined them financially cashing out CD's, retirement accounts, big ticket impulse purchases, etc.