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Old 09-14-2010, 04:43 AM
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New here!

Hi all,

So glad to have found the forum, and after reading a few posts looking for some convenient way to slip in and "accidentally" introduce myself, I figured what the heck, may as well do it properly!

Been with my recovering alcoholic boyfriend for 10 years, and in that time had many wonderful years... and the occasional shocking periods of classic "dry drunk" behavior when he was under stress and felt he "deserved" to act out. For the most part, these have been very few, and far between enough that I've felt like, ok, this isn't my favorite, but I know what this is, we've both had hard lives and complicated histories, this hardly ever happens, and the relationship is great enough the rest of the time that I can handle the very infrequent behavior (thanks Alanon for showing me how!).

But this summer his mom died, and he's an only child, horribly abusive stepfather who's out of the picture, really damaged extended family; so of course it's been a very long, messy and painful summer. My mom committed suicide when I was 22, so I understand what it's like to lose a parent and have no problem with being around through that process and being supportive...

But wow. It's triggered the worst and longest episode of dry drunk I've ever seen, and for months now I've been miserable, feeling gaslit and silenced as I take more and more hostility and blame and walk on eggshells in the name of "supporting him while he's grieving". It's been so long since this has happened and I was trying so hard to be supportive that it took months for me to finally look at the dynamic between us and say: Hey, I remember this! (Duh.) Ironically, of course, it was when his grief finally started to lessen, his behavior started to improve, and the crisis passed... when I could start to breathe and look around me a little more.

So now he's getting better, and all my anger and hurt from the months of selfishness, rage and total lack of responsibility for hurtful behavior are surfacing. Yesterday I found the forum and finally started to detach and change my behavior. Within minutes the complaining and blaming were gone, replaced with kisses and "are you mad at me? What can I get you for dinner?" It was so predictable, like a puppy needing attention, that all I could do was laugh.

So I'm better, and I know I can handle this if I choose to. But the question is whether I choose to. So many good years, and so little of this behavior! but this time it went on for so long, and did so much damage to me before I saw the cycle; even with things going 'back to normal' now, I don't know if I can be happy and intimate in the relationship again if I never get acknowledgment from him that he behaved like a real sh*t to me for months. Any attempt on my part to get that validation from him is met with something along the lines of "I just wanted to get a free pass once in my life, and not have to apologize for my behavior when I'm grieving the loss of my mom" or "I'm trying to accept that you have your own flaws and can't support me as completely as I wish you could." (When I try to explain that um, I can't keep supporting you when you're being hostile and blaming everything under the sun on me, because I'm a person too and can't just keep eating your anger all the time... which is not me being unable to support you because I'm weak and flawed and selfish, it's me being unable to support you because you keep hurting me!) And in the meantime, of course, because he's feeling better, he doesn't understand my periods of hurt or distance... because he can't acknowledge his part in the behavior that led to the hurt in the first place.

So that's where I am... trying to see if I can go forward with him, wondering about going forward without him, and taking it one day at a time. I know I can accept him for who and what he is, but I don't know if I can continue to be with him after how much hurt I took this year, if he can never see it. On the one hand, so much time without this behavior and so much good time; but I don't know if I can get past it this time if he can't accept responsibility... and we all know what it's like to expect that

It's entirely possible after some more time and more of the grieving process has passed, he'll be back to where he usually is, able to see all of this with clearer eyes and take his part in it. But who knows when that will be and whether I want to wait for it.

So, feeling blessed that I remembered what the heck this all was and what I can do about it, and that I found the forum and you lovely people to help me remember and give me a place to speak where I know I'll be understood... and feeling very sad that a mostly wonderful relationship might be coming to an end... and just waiting and seeing, and taking deep breaths, with love for all of us.

thanks for letting me share
Julie
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Old 09-14-2010, 05:27 AM
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Welcome to the Family!

You will find support and information here. Loads of wisdom in the sticky posts (permanent posts) at the top of this forum.

I can see (read) that you are examining the future of your relationship. I encourage you to take the time you need, be gentle with yourself, and to listen to yourself.

Make yourself at home by reading and sharing as much as needed.

(((hugs)))
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Old 09-14-2010, 08:25 AM
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same planet...different world
 
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Welcome to SR !

Pealican already swooped in with some great advice ...

I only have one thing ...

what is gas lighting?

It's been mentioned several times lately....

Keep posting, and again - welcome!
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Old 09-14-2010, 09:35 AM
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... I don't know if I can be happy and intimate in the relationship again if I never get acknowledgment from him that he behaved like a real sh*t to me for months. Any attempt on my part to get that validation from him is met with something along the lines of "I just wanted to get a free pass once in my life, and not have to apologize for my behavior when I'm grieving the loss of my mom" or "I'm trying to accept that you have your own flaws and can't support me as completely as I wish you could." (When I try to explain that um, I can't keep supporting you when you're being hostile and blaming everything under the sun on me, because I'm a person too and can't just keep eating your anger all the time... which is not me being unable to support you because I'm weak and flawed and selfish, it's me being unable to support you because you keep hurting me!) And in the meantime, of course, because he's feeling better, he doesn't understand my periods of hurt or distance... because he can't acknowledge his part in the behavior that led to the hurt in the first place.
Thanks for sharing. Sounds to me like he is using the death of his mother as an excuse for his bad behavior. I agree and support you in your need for validation.

I have had to learn how to communicate my needs to people who I am in a relationship with. I also do my best to adjust to THEIR quirks, or accommodate their needs, as much as possible. I have had to work to find a healthy balance in this department. I have had to consciously examine things to decide for myself: at what point does accommodating others, and accepting that others do not respect my needs, turn unhealthy? At what point are they just plain toxic? Recently I have examined, at what point do I stop accepting and even welcoming into my life people who IGNORE my needs in the relationship? There are just some basic things that need to exist in any relationship and I have found that folks with history of drug and alcohol dependence who do not examine and work on themselves just do not HAVE those relationship skills.

I can be a very nasty person, miserable to live with, grouchy and all that. Those are times when I am just not happy in my own skin. But it is UNFAIR and UNHEALTHY to need or expect my spouse or significant other to live with or accommodate me when I act this way. It is MY responsibility to recognize what I need, which in all likelihood is a psychiatrist if I am spewing out negativity and toxicity all the time and cannot control it. Not fair to put my responsibilities for recognizing I need a therapist and/or psychiatrist to deal with this on a spouse or significant other. Not fair to expect a S.O. to tolerate my illness/issues or my continued neglect of my needs to get help.

In ALL relationships we ALL need boundaries. If I do not acknowledge this, I just ignore how what I am doing within and to myself affects others. IMO, in your situation, someone or another needs to work on boundaries.

And, IMO, taking nasty $hit off a person for months is just not your responsibility. What he describes to you IMO is a codependent type of "support" and I don't blame you for not wanting to be involved with someone who acts and thinks that way. I personally have gotten to the point where I cannot and will not accept or allow that type of person into my life anymore. I will give them a chance. If they spew their diarrhea mouth and attitude on me, I will ask them to adjust and tell them why it affects me. Without judgment, blame, shame or condescension I will tell them specifically what it is I would like for them to do or stop doing. And then, if they don't care to work on that, they are OUT of my life. This is how I have learned to maintain MY peace and serenity.
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:21 AM
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yogagirl I have a somewhat similar situation. stbxah gets angry at the entire world, holds it in until he is going to explode and then intead of talking to the people who may have caused his feelings and get some resolution he used/uses me and the kids as his whipping boys. stbxah though is in no way dry however he does share the characteristic of not taking responsibility for any of his behavior. It is always someone else's fault he acts the way he does. When I stopped taking the abuse he needed a new target and he selected our 9 year old son (who has mental health issues)-that is when I left.

No one should have to be the can in which they toss all their garbage-active or inactive in their drinking.

I got sucked back in recently. Until then my boundaries had been pretty good. But he back-doored me by using the kids to send messages--and it worked. But thanks to this great place, instead of staying and stewing like I have done in the past (or staying, stewing and then ignoring it and pretending like it did not matter) and let it go, restablished my boundaries and am trying to help my kids set boundaries as best they can at 5 and 9 years of age. I also went back to taking care of me-going back to that old adage that if you don't take care of you, you are not really fit to take care of others (not that I think you should be taking care of him AT ALL).

It is amazing how fast they can change their behavior when they think their enabler is going away emotionally or physically. It is equally amazing how they return to their previous bad behavior once we make ourselves available to them agian.

Welcome--I have learned a lot about myself here and am starting to heal because of it.
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