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|04-07-2008, 11:43 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2008
In love with an ACOA
For the last 15 years, I have been married to a wonderful, brilliant, gorgeous man. I adore him. I still get excited when he calls or walks into a room. Sounds wonderful, right? Not really... we started our marriage young, had 2 boys and other than blindly loving him and wanting to spend the rest of my life with him, we've been - for lack of a better word - miserable. And until recently, for no real reason, and a million little reasons all at once. About a year and a half ago, he finally told me he wanted a divorce. Our financial situation (and my utter shock!) has us still together and trying to work out the "details", such as selling our home and telling the kids. I've been in therapy for most of the last year trying to figure out how and when I messed up. He's never been happy with me, finding fault in nearly everything I attempted to do for him. He cringes at the thought of emotional intimacy (telling me once that romance makes him feel ill). He's obsessed with his physical apprearance (weight lifting and dieting constantly), yet NEVER happy with how he looks. He is uncomfortable in social situations, getting annoyed and angry with my outgoing personality - to the point of jealousy and suspicion. No matter what he, or we, managed to accomplish in our lives together, he was miserable; claiming that every choice was somehow a mistake - that the road not taken was the one he should be on.
Just last week, I told my therapist that I couldnt figure out why he didnt love me. I told her that I wished he would go into therapy and maybe find some way to be happy - even if it meant being without me. I wanted him to find a way to accept himself and love himself, even if only a fraction of how much I love him.
And then I told her - "he had a rough childhood. his father was an alcoholic".
It was the first time in 17 years of knowing him that I said those words and got the reaction that I received from her. She began to ask me questions about his behaviors and in doing so, seemed to describe him perfectly. Almost textbook.
So... now what? I absorbed the realization that my husband's father has actually had an affect on him and after a few days, told him what I had been told. Sadly, he was so stunned by it. He is 32 years old and has NEVER put his behaviors together with his childhood.
We are living separately now and I am not sure what to do for him. I dont want to push him to seek help, although he said that he now sees there may be a need for it. Does this mean that we may be able to work together to save our marriage - or do I step aside for him to recover on his own? I still love him dearly and want him to succeed.
I have been on an insane search for any information I can gather just to start to help myself to understand him. Can anyone here tell me where to start, what to do or say... anything?
|04-07-2008, 01:10 PM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: Mar 2008
Welcome and sorry you're going through this rough time. Most of us find this sight when we are in a lot of pain, there are lots of experienced people here who will offer you support and wisdom.
I'm divorced but was not married to an ACoA. But I am an ACoA, and I know that one of the reasons my marriage did not succeed was because of issues I still had not worked through in relation to my codependent behavior and my warped ideas about relationships.
But I don't really look back and think...well we would still be together if I had gotten healthy sooner, etc. I accept that I had to go through what I had to go through to get where I am....and so did my ex-husband. It is tough with kids - but I know it is probably better for them to have 2 calm sane parents living apart than to be enduring a lot of fighting or tension in the house.
One of the greatest things I learned through AlAnon and education about alcoholism AND therapy is that I cannot control anyone elses behavior. I can work on the one thing that I CAN change and that is myself. So instead of looking for ways to help your husband my advice is to put down the magnifying glass and look in the mirror. He may be facing his ACoA issues now. He may not. In the meanwhile you have to focus on you and what YOU want.
"We are living separately now and I am not sure what to do for him. I dont want to push him to seek help, although he said that he now sees there may be a need for it. Does this mean that we may be able to work together to save our marriage - or do I step aside for him to recover on his own? I still love him dearly and want him to succeed."
Only you really know your husband and only you can decide how to deal with your marriage but I would say option B: step aside and let him do what he has to do. We learn it as part of our recovery from an alcoholic childhood and you can read all the threads in Friends and Family here on SR and find endless variations and hear endless struggles with this concept of letting go and focusing on ourselves. Because it ain't easy!! But I've seen, with time, it is the only way to live a full healthy life...
I wish you luck and send you strength - take it easy - be gentle with yourself as you figure out how to move forward...
|04-07-2008, 01:15 PM||#3 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Stumbling toward happiness
Blog Entries: 2
There is a lot of information on ACoA traits and behavior on the Web, and I hope some of it is helpful in understanding your husband. Being ACoA is obviously a burden, but may not be the magic key to his behavior that you're seeking.
This is really a forum of help and support for people who are trying to recover from the effects of having been exposed to alcoholism and addiction in their lives.......your husband really has to seek help himself, and he would (it sounds like) be a good fit for this group. I think you're wise to seek counseling for yourself as well, to determine why you want so badly to stay in a relationship in which you've been treated so poorly. Your husband has to help himself, and make his own decisions about whether he wants to work on your relationship; I'm glad you're helping yourself too, because your life (and those of your kids) need to come first, no matter what he decides.
Have you ever read the book "Codependent No More" by Melody Beattie? You may find it enlightening. Many of the people in this "Friends & Family" section of SoberRecovery swear by it, including myself. It explained so much.
Best of luck to you
"Tell me, what are you going to do with your one wild and precious life?" --Mary Oliver
"Action is the antidote to despair." --Joan Baez
"False hopes bind us to unlivable situations, and blind us to real possibilities." --Derrick Jensen
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