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expectations and boundaries

Old 07-17-2009, 08:20 PM
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expectations and boundaries

Just a quick question......ok......well it has been a bumpy road, and I finally felt we were making progress. Of course as always, he said he could drink 1-2 beers and I believe he could. Over the past week it has become a pitcher and then tonight a pitcher and a few shots. I tried to just now say anything, but then he asked what was wrong and I told him. Of course, again I am controlling, I must want out of this marriage etc.....I told him if he didn't stop that it wouldn't work because I do know that I am not going to fight this battle forever. He seemed a while ago to understand and have an Aha! moment, but apparently it was just to appease me. He scoffed now at the idea of going to a counselor, and of course he isn't drunk from 5 beers and a couple shots of whiskey - but, seems to me it is headed in the SAME old directions as before. It seems to wait til I'm not looking and slowly sneak up, until it is out of control and I can't take it, then we repeat the process -t his would be the 3rd time if choose to stay. OK so here is the actually question......Just because he isn't drunk doesn't make it ok right? In my head I know that.....but, I had said drinking and we seperate...so...is that to much to ask?
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Old 07-17-2009, 08:48 PM
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I have come to realize that I have struggle with setting and defending boundaries in all of my past relationships. I have been inspired by the discussion of boundaries, deal breakers and deal makers on SR.

So, I set out to actually right down the things that mattered to me. What are the non-negotiables in relationships going forward. Here they are...

My declaration of independence (from co-dependence)

1. I deserve to be accepted as I am. I do not “need to be changed or fixed.” I will not be in a relationship with someone who does not accept me for who I am.

2. I am worthy of being treated with respect and dignity at all times. I will not be in a relationship with someone who is disrespectful to me, or anyone else.

3. I am worth of being loved unconditionally. I will not be in a relationship with someone who does not love me and show me that I am loved on a regular basis.

4. My feelings and my needs are mine. They are what they are. No one can tell me what to feel or what I need. I deserve to have my feelings and needs respected and taken into consideration. I will be in a relationship with someone who does not respect and value my feelings and my needs.

5. Abuse in all its forms (physical, verbal, and emotional) is unacceptable. There is no possible justification for abusive behavior. I will not be in a relationship with someone who is abusive.

6. Integrity and trustworthiness are essential elements of a successful relationship. Lying (outright and by omission), deceit, and manipulation have no place in a relationship. This includes lying about past relationships, addictions, and marriages. I will not be in a relationship with someone who lacks integrity and is not trustworthy.

7. Infidelity, in all its forms (physical and emotional) is unacceptable. There is no possible justification for infidelity in a monogamous relationship. I will not be in a relationship with someone who is unfaithful.

8. Being in active addiction has no place in a relationship. I will be in a relationship with someone who is in active addiction.

9. Untreated bi-polar disorder and other mental health issues cause chaos in the home. I will not be in a relationship with someone who does not actively manage their mental health issues under the supervision and guidance of a psychiatrist.

10. Making a relationship and a family work is a 2 way street. It requires both individuals to be partners, not spectators. I will not be in a relationship with someone who does not carry their fair share of making the family and the relationship work.

I welcome any comments or feedback... this has been a really healthy exercise for me. Now is just have to follow through on what I have written.... sigh....

In direct response to your question... I have come to the conclusion that it is impossible to have a healthy relationship with someone who is in active addiction. Just because he isn't drunk doesn't mean he isn't in active addition. Imagine him saying, "I'm not that bad, it has been 3 weeks since I slept with someone else... I only had oral sex with those other people." Would that be ok? (Sorry for the somewhat graphic example.)
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Old 07-17-2009, 09:03 PM
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Bottom line is, he's going to do whatever he's going to do. Doesn't matter what you say, what you do, what your expectations are, what your boundaries are. He's a big boy who makes his own choices. The only thing you control is your own choices. It really helped me to start thinking in terms of myself, my life, and my children. Take the focus off him and decide what you will accept and not accept. Stop trying to control him and start taking control of your own life. You won't regret it.

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Old 07-17-2009, 09:10 PM
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M-

I think an alcoholic has the uncanny nack of finding any loophole in our boundaries. I tried 'no drinking around me'...ABF drank on the porch and wouldn't come in the house until he could barely stand. I tried 'no being drunk around me'...he would get wasted outside the house then sit in his truck until he was sure I'd gone up to bed. He'd come in the house and pass out on the couch.

I went through years of this. Set the boundary, he'd cross it, we'd fight. I set another, he'd cross it, we'd fight. Everytime we had built some sort of trust or he'd have some sort of epiphany and slow down his drinking, we'd have a good spell where I thought things were going to get better. Then the drinking would slowly get worse, I'd lay out the boundary...you get the idea.

When I finally came here, I learned that boundaries are useless if they require an action by the alcoholic. You cannot control them with words, with actions, with ultimatums...nothing. The only thing you can control is you, right?

The boundary I finally set with my ABF was laid out this way..."I will not care if you drink or seek sobriety only you can make that choice for yourself. What I care about is how am I treated. I will not be treated angrily, aggressively, bitterly, violently, or disrespectfully. No discussion, no highway option. If I feel I am being treated this way, I will leave the room, leave the house, leave the state..leave you whaever degree I feel is warranted."

He knew what the consequences would be if I felt my boundary was threatended. He knew that alcohol was almost always the reason the boundary got threatened and yet he would complain that he spent more and more time alone when he was home.

All I could tell him was, in all sincerety, that it was sad indeed. A pickle only he can resolve for himself.

I think the key to my recovery thus far has been that boundary. The boundary affects only my action, but ultimately experiencing the consequences or not is entirely his choice.

For an alcoholic, "no drinking" is the hardest thing to ask.

Alice
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Old 07-18-2009, 03:48 AM
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mentally exhausted-

a pitcher and a few shots would be a drunk for me, you? i think that's a lot of drink and that's only what you saw. i find with A's, the minute you turn your back or go to the bathroom, it's a couple more doubles down the throat.

so, you said no drink or you'll separate? and then he drinks and you're still there?

i don't think it's too much to ask him not to drink if he wants to be in a relationship with you.

if you continue to set boundaries and then permit them to be crossed, what message are you sending to your A?

why don't you just leave for a while and send him the message that you mean what you say?

enough is enough. your freedom and peace of mind are yours for the taking.

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Old 07-18-2009, 04:22 AM
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Boundaries. Uggh. They get so muddied and trampled in addictive/codependent relationships. Its tough sorting them out, getting back, and STAYING on the healthy side of them. Messy stuff and it takes time...
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Old 07-18-2009, 05:10 AM
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Thanks for all your replies and YES naive...a pitcher would probablly do me in...forget the shots!! Anyway, I guess, now that I have slept and have clearer picture....I'm left with this. Do I want my children do thing this is acceptable? Alcohol makes him very aggressive....that scares me....he is verbally VERY mean when he drinks. Of course when I was upset last night he said all kinds of horrible things about me, and when that happened I questioned...really? Again? We're going to do this again? What about how you understood your behavior? What about you being sorry for all that happened? When we talked I ONLY talked about alcohol being the problem and he attacked everyother part of me.....I KNOW I can't walk on egg shells forever, and hold my breath that maybe he won't get angry this time.
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Old 07-18-2009, 05:49 AM
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What I have learned from 22 years with an A is that you may as well have been talking to the chair as to him. Your mouth was moving, but he did not hear the words. I talked. I wrote letters. I talked to his mom. I worked every angle I could imagine to get him to see how all of his pain was hurting everyone around him.

I stopped talking to him. I went to Alanon and counseling and started talking there. I got a whole bunch healthier and filed for a divorce. Now he is just as angry, even though he is not drinking. He never owned up to or apologized for any of the horrible verbally/emotionally abusive things he did. I'm not holding my breath I'll get that apology, and I'll be just fine if I don't. He still spews vile and angry things at me every chance he gets. I thank God every day that I have removed that toxic waste from the lives of my children and myself. And I pray that he will find recovery and peace in his own skin. He may, he may not....but I get to control my own destiny and that feels pretty good!
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Old 07-18-2009, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by mentallyexh View Post
When we talked I ONLY talked about alcohol being the problem and he attacked everyother part of me.....I KNOW I can't walk on egg shells forever, and hold my breath that maybe he won't get angry this time.
Alcohol is only a symptom of the problem. Alcohol was my solution for years because I was so uncomfortable in my own skin that I never could stand it for long.

Just abstaining from alcohol isn't the solution. For me, it's a threefold solution-physical, emotional, and spiritual. Otherwise I am nothing more than a miserable dry drunk.

Spouses have the mistaken idea that if their A stops drinking, then everything would be okay. That is not the case. Alcohol isn't the problem, it's the A's solution.
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Old 07-18-2009, 06:58 AM
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Until you finally realize that until he gets help he will probably trample all over your boundaries its going to be an endless cycle.

You are not going to change his behavior, only he can do that. The only thing you can change is your behavior and what you will accept.
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Old 07-18-2009, 09:34 AM
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When a normie tries to talk and reason with an active addict, this is what the addict hears: "whine, whine, blah, blah, blah...."

When the active addict tries to answer the normie and explain their behavior, they are saying: "quack, quack, quack, quack..."

This is not effective communication. It is a cycle that keeps repeating. I've tried communicating from the active and recovering side of the fence. It is wasted energy.

Remember the slogan - Nothing changes if nothing changes.
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Old 07-18-2009, 10:29 AM
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Hi-I think your screenname says it all. I can relate to feeling mentall exhausted.

Let me ask you this:

1) do you LIKE being with someone who breaks their promises on a regular basis?

2) do you have even the slightest bit of trust for your AH?

3) do you feel like you are losing your self-respect because you're letting someone manipulate you and transgress boundaries that you have identified as important?

I ask these questions because I was in the same position as you with xabf

In the beginning with my ex, it was about cocaine, but that's only because I was choosing to deny the extent of his problems with alcohol (even tho I kept him out of jail once, and he smashed my phone and his computer..all when drunk). He promised not to do coke. Broke thaat promise twice (when drunk, of course). The last time he did coke, he knew he had pushed me too far, so he "admitted" he had a drinking problem.

I made him promise to stay sober for a month to prove to me he was serious about changing. He couldn't do it.

I don't care--one beer, two beers, then binge drinking...it's still alcoholism if someone can't stay sober, or can't avoid having alcohol affect their lives negatively.

I realized I was losing my self-respect by allowing him to get away with breaking his promises. I no longer wanted the stress and pain the drinking caused into my life. My trust in him had eroded to ZIP. I had no choice but to hold tight to my boundaries and walk.

What you do now is up to you. But I would caution that he knows now that your boundaries and your rules mean nada, because he has broken them so many times and gotten away with it. You might as well stop making him make promises-in my case, it kind of became a farce after a while.

Originally Posted by mentallyexh View Post
Just a quick question......ok......well it has been a bumpy road, and I finally felt we were making progress. Of course as always, he said he could drink 1-2 beers and I believe he could. Over the past week it has become a pitcher and then tonight a pitcher and a few shots. I tried to just now say anything, but then he asked what was wrong and I told him. Of course, again I am controlling, I must want out of this marriage etc.....I told him if he didn't stop that it wouldn't work because I do know that I am not going to fight this battle forever. He seemed a while ago to understand and have an Aha! moment, but apparently it was just to appease me. He scoffed now at the idea of going to a counselor, and of course he isn't drunk from 5 beers and a couple shots of whiskey - but, seems to me it is headed in the SAME old directions as before. It seems to wait til I'm not looking and slowly sneak up, until it is out of control and I can't take it, then we repeat the process -t his would be the 3rd time if choose to stay. OK so here is the actually question......Just because he isn't drunk doesn't make it ok right? In my head I know that.....but, I had said drinking and we seperate...so...is that to much to ask?
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