I lived with and was married to a man who was/is a "borderline" paranoid schizophrenic. I use the term 'borderline' not in the same way a psychiatrist or psychologist would use it, but rather to say that he was able to get along fairly well in society - though he had a hard time keeping a job and there were other problems (some of which I didn't know about until afterwards!). I didn't get up the courage to leave until after I was diagnosed with breast cancer - and I won't even try to describe here in this column what it was like to go through a devastating illness while also mourning the recent deaths of both my parents *and* coping with paranoia and manipulative behavior/bullshit that he engaged in to 'protect himself.' What I will say is that *despite* what was happening to me - I felt tremendously guilty about 'abandoning' HIM. So, I understand exactly what you mean about the guilt. It's easy as hell to brainwash yourself into a guilt trip, especially if your husband is using that for his own benefit and you have any sort of feelings for him.
Please understand that your husband will NEVER change. He can't - not because he may not want to, but because the disease he has won't let him. Your children, and you, will be subject to the emotional violence of his rages (and emotional violence can be just as deadly as physical because it doesn't 'show') for the rest of your lives, while also living in fear that the rages will someday become physically violent (which would then place you and your children in peril of your lives)). Your children will grow up in a violent, unpredictable household - and life is tough enough without having to overcome that. You will also be resigning yourself to living in a violent and unpredictable household for the rest of your life, unless all the emotions and feelings and everything else you have to repress in order not to 'set him off' makes you sick to death. That's what letting guilt make the decision for you can get you. And if you think you feel guilty now - it won't be anything like what you will feel like later if anything happens to any of your kids. Now there is real guilt. Your kids have only you to protect them - you need to switch your focus from taking care of your husband to taking care of *them* and *you.*
The hard part of life is that people can be sick in ways that makes them lousy spouses and parents.
That isn't your fault and all the good intentions and guilt on your part won't change that fact - because it is a fact. Lastly, the stress of being a parent may actually be more than your husband can deal with - and it might be to HIS benefit as well if he is not having to be a full-time parent.
Leaving someone who is mentally ill and unpredictable is a touchy task (to say the least!). I've only read part of Angela's book, because my need is past - but I highly recommend that you get as many things in order as you possibly can and MAKE SURE that you have someone with you when you tell him that the marriage is over and you are leaving. I didn't do that and I went through 24 hours of pure hell that included him taking out his .45 , loading it and threatening to shoot himself with it. By that time, I found myself actually hoping that he *would.*
good luck... I hope that whatever you decide it works out for the best,