The Neighbors Know Now

Old 07-21-2008, 04:54 AM
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Location: Georgia
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The Neighbors Know Now

About a week ago my AH came home drunk and had an absolute tantrum! He starting yelling at me in the driveway about how the house was dirty, nobody appreciates him, quack, quack, quack. Then he went in the house and starting throwing things. This scared me and my son, so we ran to our neighbors house to call my mother to come pick us up because I was not going to stay in that environment (he hasnít had a tantrum like that in years). Well, while I was waiting and crying hysterically in front of our neighbor, I spilled the beans. Well, the whole can, actually. I told our neighbor about the last nine years of DUIís, the nights my AH didnít come home, the drinking every night at the bar, how my AHís accident involved alcohol, etc, etc, etc. My neighbor said he knew my husband wasnít around much, but didnít know exactly what was going on (I sense the neighborhood has been talking about us some). Well, I was glad to get it all out in the open. I know that everyone in the neighborhood will know now because this neighbor is the big mouth of the neighborhood and canít keep a secret. Today (a week later) I am really embarrassed that I was crying and acting hysterical in front of him and Iím afraid that everyone around here will treat my kids differently from now on and think that I'm a nut. But a large part of me is relieved not to live the lie anymore. My husband always put on the ďgood husband/fatherĒ mask for all the neighbors, but now they know the truth!

Well, my neighbor drove us to my motherís house and I was still hysterical and I was so done with the lies and covering up for him (I should have known better)! I called his mother and told her what was going on (they didnít know he was drinking again and are pretty much in denial about the whole thing anyway, and donĎt think outside help like AA or counseling is needed). The reason why I did this was because every time she calls I hear my older son lie for his father and telling her that my AHís is working late. That is not right to have a ten year old cover for his drunkin father and I am done with it. They can hear the truth! I donít want my kids to lie! Well, when my father-in-law got on the phone he heard a bit and hung up on me and my stepfather (who shouldnít have been on the other extension, but thatís another story). I still talk with his mother but his father (a former alcoholic and very verbally abusive man) is another story.

Well, the last time I left the house a few years ago I set a boundry that stated that my AH was not to drink at home anymore (because he gets obnoxious and acts like a bigger jerk). He has not broken that boundry since. Now I set another boundry stating that he was not to yell at me like that again or throw a tantrum in the house. If he needed ďventĒ he needed to do it out in his shop or somewhere else, not around us. If he has a complaint he needs to address me in a repectful manner. Iíll admit Iíve been neglecting the house for a while (been having fun with the kids), but that does not give him the right to talk to me like that! Actually, now I feel a lot stronger today because I have given myself a concrete plan for leaving and a timetable. I'm still embarrassed because I made a fool of myself in front of our neighbor, but I guess that's what happens when you keep things like this secret-they come out eventually. How did your neighbors react when they found out?
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Old 07-21-2008, 05:26 AM
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Location: Liverpool, Great Britain
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Do you know what, I have never actually told my neighbours the whole truth. However I live in a place where abusing drugs and alcohol is common place. Every day there is obvious evidence of this fact; drunks hanging around local pubs, people smoking cannabis on their door step, in front of their children, crack, cocaine, meth abuse. I know for a fact that my neighbours on one side regularly take cocaine. So it is not like I have lost any ''reputation'' around them!!!

There is still a couple of families that live on my street that have lived here as long as my family (30yrs or so) before the area had declined to the state it is now, but because I try to keep my daughter and I out of the chaos around us and out of the street, I hardly see them. I did tell my neighbour on the other side (one of the 30yrs+ crowd) that I had split with ex and he had been drinking alot, I think she probably guessed the rest as our houses are terraced and you can hear alot through the walls.

The combination of all of that means I feel no shame. Compared to some around me, heck my life is brilliant! Behind closed doors, we all have our problems, whether that be drink, drugs, abuse, money, etc. I'm doing what I need to do, I'm focusing on getting me healthy, good for me! I think my old neighbour, who saw me grow from a young child to having a child of my own, is probably thankful that I am doing better now, and that my home is peaceful!

Lily xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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Old 07-21-2008, 08:26 AM
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Please don't feel that you made a fool of yourself. Quite the opposite! It takes a lot of courage to be honest about what's happening to you. It's the best thing in the world that other people know what you're experiencing, what you're living with, and exposing the reality of your life is really the only way to do that. As long as everyone is keeping secrets, especially when kids are involved, the fantasy that your life "isn't really that bad" helps to keep you in denial. Good for you!
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Old 07-21-2008, 10:27 AM
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Letting other see your emotions is not equal to making a fool of yourself IMO.
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Old 07-21-2008, 10:27 AM
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Location: Georgia
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Thanks. I guess it is bad to keep secrets and put on a front. It just seemed to knaw at me because I was living a lie. We live in a suburb that is so conservative, but I know there are probably many secrets I don't know that other people are keeping. I'm glad ours is out in the open now, and that's a relief.
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Old 07-21-2008, 11:24 AM
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My husband has lived in his house for 25 years (me only 6) and our neighbors know what is going on too. You would be suprised that it has actually been a blessing that they know. They are actually supportive and even can help at times. There have been times when I have called them to let me know if my AH's car was there when I was at work and he told me that he was too. (lie) They also ask on occasion if he is feeling well b/c they have seen him acting strange or just not talkative. (AH can talk to anyone) I know not every neighbor is nice or supportive but everyone has secrets that they keep behind closed doors. If yours are have any kind of heart or decency they will not change and will even treat you and your children with more respect. As you did not do this to your family, your husband did.
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Old 07-21-2008, 11:57 AM
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Good for you for reaching out and asking for help! The following statement is true no matter who you are, where you live, or how you look.....You don't know what goes on behind closed doors!

A family can appear perfectly happy on the "outside", but when they are alone inside their home, it can be pure chaos....

I find that when I reach out to my neighbors and share my problem with them, I receive compassion, support and understanding, and a great sense of relief that I can be open and honest.

We are all human and we all have problems. Please don't be embarrased for showing your emotions. Please be proud for "being real".

I think it's wonderful to be able to share your "true self" without worrying about what others might think of you. You'd be surprised at how many of us are living with alcoholics, cheating spouses, etc. It's nothing to be ashamed of.....

I'm sending positive, healing thoughts your way today!

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Old 07-22-2008, 05:30 AM
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Location: Georgia
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Thanks all, this site makes me feel better because I know people here have been through or are going through the same things I am. Sometimes I feel like I've got a good handle on things, then something else happens. I guess that is just life, but life is so different and more unpredictable when you live with an alcoholic.
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Old 07-22-2008, 03:00 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: New Jersey
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You did nothing wrong except try to protect yourself and your child. If they talk about anyone it will be about him and what he put his family through. You should not be embarrassed for protecting yourself and your child. The neighbors will start to talk about someone else soon enough.
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Old 07-22-2008, 03:09 PM
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My neighbors could see it for themselves when he would stagger out of his car and fall. They also could see it for themselves when the police were called (several times). The way I see it is, it's HIM, not me, that's drinking and behaving that way, and it is by no means a reflection of me. As for you being hysterical, never apologize for that. You never know when an A starts throwing things what can happen next, and I commend you for getting you and your child out of that environment.
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Old 07-23-2008, 02:09 PM
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I have to say that since I have told a few people about my AH's drinking an enormous load has been taken off my shoulders.

I have told only a few of my good friends and my mother - but before I did this I was feeling the burden (and guilt) of having a secret life that no-one understood. Therefore I was having to explain with a lie why sometimes I would not turn up to parties (he would be too drunk to leave the kids with), why I could not go away at weekends (could not trust him not to get drunk with the kids) etc etc. I was also not really telling the truth and being true to myself; for example I would say to good friends that all was fine, when in fact I had spent the weekend with my partner in a drunken state, and me keeping the children out and about to avoid him and his anger/ drunkenness/ snoring on the sofa! So I felt like I was living a lie, and isolating myself from my friends, as they realised something was not right, and didn't understand why I was being stand-offish.

I decided to tell my mother when I needed to go away with work for 3 days and I knew I could not trust him not to drink. I had to tell her so that she would come and stay. I don't think she really understood: "Surely," she said, " if you just ask him not to drink when he's in charge of the kids then he won't." Well, as we know it is not as easy as that and I really needed her help. After I told her, I realised I could be honest with a few good friends, which I have been. After all, it is not my secret shame, it is a part of my life which I am not responsible for.

Having said that I don't spread it far and wide, and I do think that people wonder why we are not more sociable as a couple, when we always used to be, why we don't accept party invitations etc, but ultimately in telling some people, for example people who I work with, it is more detail than they (or I?) would be comfortable with.

At the moment my partner has taken the plunge, is going to AA and has not drunk for 3 weeks, and I am feeling more positive about the future, but whatever happens I don't feel I have to carry this burden alone, and that has made an ENORMOUS difference for me.
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