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I should have known better...

Old 12-31-2008, 02:42 PM
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I should have known better...

My family visited us for Christmas this year. First time we've shared it together in about 10 years. My AH husband was pretty good the first couple nights, but then started getting drunk and creating drama. He wrecked Christmas eve by getting upset about a conversation with his daughter and leaving the restaurant. Two nights later, after staying home and drinking all day, he thought it would be a good idea to demonstrate what a great protector he is and brought out the loaded gun from the safe.

It kinda went downhill from there. On the last day, he started drinking early. Thankfully my Mom left (after telling me to hide the brandy.) He found out that his son got a DUI the night before. He wanted to pick him up, but asked me to drive because he had too much to drink (by noon). I said I would, but thought it wasn't a great idea to get him while Dad was intoxicated. This was apparently the wrong thing to say, because I now became the incompassionate b*tch. He ended up picking up his kids, dropping them off and coming back 10 minutes later (buying alcohol?) He was clearly intoxicated and revving himself up over his son's DUI. When his son went to bed, somehow the DUI became my fault and the ranting about how awful I am ended when he finally started snoring.

Our plans were to spend this week at our cabin. The next morning I told him he wasn't going. I need a break from him.

He loves me. He's sorry.

I know.

After three days, I haven't caved and invited him up. I almost did last night and my girlfriend gently gave it to me. Once again, I show up at work with puffy eyes from crying.

I'm reminded that every member of my family and every close girlfriend I have has told me that I need to leave him. They can't stand his behaviour and how he treats me.

They were all so happy that I had the guts to kick him out this summer (6 weeks) and so disappointed when I let him come back. Of course, none of the promises to change, get help, take care of himself, etc., has stuck. He's resistant to recovery. At this point, I'm not convinced it's just the alcohol that's the problem.

He's panicking and desperately wants to come up to be with me. He knows it's serious this time. It kills me to hear his hurt voice. I love him so much. How can I love him so much? After all the tears on birthdays, vacations and anniversaries, after all the disappointments, drunk driving and all night rants...why do I love him so much? He was so wonderful to me when we got together. What happened?

He's my best friend and my worst nightmare. I told him that yesterday. He understands.

The sick thing is that I left my first AH, my kid's father, six years ago. Yep. This is my second time to the rodeo. I feel like such an idiot.

When I left him, I didn't love him anymore.

I'm so angry at myself for being in this position again. I'm 44. I'm too old to make this mistake again.

I can't stand the thought of a second divorce. Of course, I'm scared of the money problems, being alone, starting over, concern for him. And yet, the thought of living with the insanity that is my current life is unbearable.

I am in so much pain. How can I find the strength to do what I need to do? I go home Sunday...
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Old 12-31-2008, 04:50 PM
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Take a deep breath, let it out. Then another.

Slow and easy.

#1: Stop beating yourself up with the good-grief-how-could-I's. We all have them, and they're invaluable as learning tools.

Only you know what you need to do. Is it better to stay with him and avoid your fear of being alone (even though you cannot see the future)?

Perhaps you're looking at this wrong. What's wrong with some time apart, for both of you to reflect on your lives together? There is nothing saying any split has to be permanent unless you want it to be.

They were all so happy that I had the guts to kick him out this summer (6 weeks) and so disappointed when I let him come back.
Your friends are worried about you, and want you to be happy...but in the end, what they think of you is none of your business. You have to walk in your own shoes.
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Old 12-31-2008, 05:14 PM
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Thank you. And you're right about my friends. It's just so hard to hear again and again.

I think I'm panicking right now.

I'm brand new to SR and I can see that I have alot to learn.
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Old 12-31-2008, 05:15 PM
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I wanted to add:

We seem to be so very good at beating ourselves up, yet constantly letting others off the hook when their behavior isn't acceptable don't we?
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Old 12-31-2008, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by counselorK View Post
Thank you. And you're right about my friends. It's just so hard to hear again and again.

I think I'm panicking right now.

I'm brand new to SR and I can see that I have alot to learn.
Well welcome to my world, I've been in a panic for a couple months now. :P

What exactly is making you panic? The thought of leaving/separating? Of being alone?

Maybe if you can break things down into small pieces it will help you find some calm.
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Old 12-31-2008, 05:58 PM
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counselorK,

Take a deep breath. Nothing has to be done right now, this minute.

It sounds as though your friends and family have seen you abused a great deal. I understand why they would say what they say. The folks in our SR community here (including myself) sometimes want to reach through the computer screen and magically "fix" hurting people who come here. They give great advice. They point out the harm being done. They beg and plead for people to just wake up and see that life can be so much better.

The thing is, only you will know when you have had enough of this. When you're tired of being a wet nurse to your husband, tired of the drama, tired of the danger of a drunk handling firearms, tired of the verbal abuse, tired of your best never being good enough, tired of all of your money and time and love being sucked up into a bottomless pit of alcoholism, then you will finally save your own life, and not one minute before. I'm not being flip; literally, when you wake one morning weary as hell of it, or when you lose your home, or when you see a really great relationship and desperately crave "that kind of thing" for yourself.....sometimes, the day just dawns.

But from my vantage point, it appears that you are desperately in love with the man he once was. The great guy he was before. That man isn't in your life at this point. The guy who's taken his place puts your life, livelihood, self-esteem, and future in jeopardy. He abuses you verbally, lies to you, ruins cherished family time.......if someone came to you with this story, would you say it sounded like "love" to you? So often, we are in love with potential. I've done it so many times I could just hang my head.

At 40, I stayed with a man like your husband IS. I reasoned, "I'm 40, when will I ever find love like this again?"

The answer was: never. Because that kind of love is worth precisely squat.

But I did find something a thousand-thousand times better. It took counseling, Al-Anon, and a lot of work on my self-esteem before I could admit that I deserved better than the tiny scraps of potential, rememberd love I was surviving on. And before I could admit that what I was calling love was no such thing. Need, habit, fear, yes. Love? No. Love doesn't feel like that.

Take your time there at the cabin. Think about getting and reading Codependent No More (you will find yourself there). Think about finding an Al-Anon meeting. Think about what a better life would look like.

Love,
GL
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Old 01-02-2009, 09:35 AM
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Thank you GL. I'm working on breathing. I think I will actually go to an al-anon meeting this time. I almost made it to my first meeting this summer while he was gone. I was literally stepping out the door...when he called. He asked me not to go. I didn't go. I will go this time. I will read the book and I think I may need to find a therapist.

It's weird. I feel like I'm finally getting to that place, that morning of reckoning, that knowledge that I have to leave the relationship, but I feel kind of paralyzed to DO anything. I feel so overwhelmed. I really didn't expect it to hit right now.

Perhaps you're right. Perhaps nothing needs to be done right now, this minute.

That helps.

When I do go home, of course we will be talking. I intend to tell him how I'm feeling and where I am emotionally. Is that fair? Is it right-minded? Is it a mixed message if I'm not also able to tell him to leave?

Seeking guidance...
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Old 01-02-2009, 09:41 AM
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You are the only one who can determine when you've had enough.

I've been around the block twice on marriage, and ended up engaged a third time to someone I now know was a dry drunk the entire 15 months we were together.

I don't beat myself up over it anymore because I chose to use all those life experiences as learning tools.

I finally got serious about healing myself, and leaving relationships out of the equation for as long as it took.

I've now been single, without a partner, for almost 10 years, am enrolled in college full-time, and am comfortable in my own skin.

I am so grateful I finally gave myself the gift of recovery, and stood firm on getting to know and love myself.
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Old 01-02-2009, 09:45 AM
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For what it's worth, that feeling of being paralyzed and overwhelmed is one I experienced also.

Is he usually there for you emotionally? I mean, if you tell him how you're feeling do you expect to get something positive out of it?
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Old 01-02-2009, 11:37 AM
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That's such a good question Stillwater. He can be very tender, understanding and helpful. He can also be the polar-opposite. It just depends.

He's scared right now. I expect he would be open and supportive when I talk to him. (hey...maybe I'm starting to understand manipulation...)

I've been reading alot of posts and I see so much of my life in so many of them. Things that I didn't connect with the A. Things I thought were marital problems that seem to be so common here.

He wants to try again. He aknowledges that alcohol is a problem, and that he doesn't handle stressful situations well. He considers the main issues his stress and our relationship.

I don't know if he would understand if I tried to explain codependence (in the sadly limited understanding that I have of it.)

SR is helping the light turn on for me.

I wonder if there is any value in trying to get him to log on to SR?
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Old 01-02-2009, 12:02 PM
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the love i felt for my husband was tremendous.....and it kept me locked in tight to the drama and chaos. out of 8 years, we had about 6 good months. price was way too high for those 6 months of bliss.

he is sick. and until he seeks recovery and fully embraces it, the merry go round will continue, and escalate.
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Old 01-02-2009, 12:47 PM
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I wonder if there is any value in trying to get him to log on to SR?

I agree with anvil-- I like having SR to myself- a place where I can learn and share and I have no attachment to whether it might be "good for" someone else. It's good for ME!

Two biggies for me in early recovery:
#1 Accepting that I am powerless over other people - which for me meant just because something (an idea, a meeting, a book, a "program") was working for me or had spoken to me, doesn't mean it will have the same or ANY effect on another person- because we are all individuals and no 2 people will use the same bit of info in the same way.

#2 If I thought of it, if I found it, then my alcoholic brothers can find it too. They are adults. They know where to go for help. They will seek that help if and only if they choose to seek it. Has nothing to do with me. It is NOT MY JOB nor my responsibility nor is it even POSSIBLE for me to "help" someone stop drinking. My help is not what's called for. I can help myself. I can be compassionate and loving (from a distance if necessary for My mental health).

This is not to say that other people's recovery isn't inspiring - it is- but it can have no effect on another person's recovery until that adult comes and says - wow I want what you have - I am sick and tired of living like this - and then opens their mind and finds their own path to recovery.

I am recovering from codependence - it makes no difference to MY recovery if the alcoholics keep drinking or not. Codependence sux and is an unhealthy system for living and thinking -- whether people are drinking around me or not. When I truly accepted that I had my own major problem to get out from under and that I needed help to find a way to recover things got a whole lot better in my life.

I'm divorced too- I wouldn;t want to go through another bad marriage and a divorce again either - but please don't beat yourself up-- you did it before you CAN do it again and you seem inspired to reach out and get help for yourself so you won't find your way into that dynamic a 3rd time!!! That's what's important.

The past is gone. You are free in THIS moment!

Sending you a shot of courage and strength!
Peace-
B.
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Old 01-02-2009, 01:26 PM
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"You are free in THIS moment!"

Wow. Thank you.

I did do it before. I know I can do it again.

I'm just so flippin' exhausted!!!!!

I was just starting to breathe from divorce #1 when the histrionics from marriage #2 started.

I feel like I've been out of breath for years.

Oh no. If and when I find the strength to get out again...I won't go back for a third.

Thank you again. Everyone is so helpful.
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Old 01-02-2009, 01:32 PM
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counselor,

I forced myself to suffer through three consecutive relationships with alcoholics... my muscle memory just cringed at the word 'exhausted.' Wow, I know how that feels all the way down to my cells.

I too would consider keeping SR to myself, for my own healing (in fact, that's what I've done). YOUR healing is the one that matters here to you. Your husband needs to find healing for himself, and his presence here can influence your willingness and ability to truly be honest about how you feel, should you find that he's NOT as supportive as you're hoping.

In my experience -- sadly -- that mock-supportiveness lasts until they feel threatened, and then it vanishes so quickly we wonder what hit us. You might consider establishing a rational support system (al-anon, here, counseling) that doesn't have anything to do with him. Just my two cents.

I hope you can find a quiet, restful place inside yourself to make some rational decisions about what's best for the rest of your life.

Hugs to you in this tiring time.
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