Blogs


Notices

Can someone explain "white knuckling" to me...

Old 09-17-2010, 11:02 AM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 35
Can someone explain "white knuckling" to me...

I just finished Codependent No More. I cried through the whole book. You may remember some of my prior posts. My AH had been sober for many many years and now is back at it again (I've known about it for about a year), and we had a lovely encounter by four state troopers at our door. It was a near miss for him as he was not arrested. I "thought" that was his rock bottom. Come to find out he is at it again, he is not a falling down drunk (yet!), as I know this is progressive disease. I've read the book, I'm doing my best to detach. I've detached from my 16 yo daughter and it is working quite well she is up on her own in the am and her grades are largely improved from last year (when I looked over her shoulder every minute as a codependent). Since the second realization of his drinking after I thought he had hit rock bottom, that was the knife that turned into my heart and realized that I have some major decisions to make. However, I am taking this slowly and not obsessing about what he is doing. Although I have to say my anger creeps up and I'm re-reading to book to make sure I work the steps. We are like roommates passing in the night. It's surreal, we NEVER fight even in the worst of times, and I've clammed up because anything I say will be passive persuasion and conveyence of guilt on him. I do wake up in the middle of the night with a panic (which I think is white knuckling as some have referred to on this site). How do you work "through" these issues. I'm focusing on getting what I need to get done at this house. We have a beautiful home but it needs some work, much of it my AH is readily able to do. He spent last weekend taking our $3,000 Rainbow play set back from Michigan (he had taken it apart because our kids didn't play with it at our primary house and he was going to reset it at my Mom's lake house for all the kids to play). He never did it. Instead, he dragged it back here, and helped his coworker build it in his yard (they have younger kids). I really felt sorry for myself that 1) he didn't rebuild it in Michigan and 2) I could tell he had a few with his friend while he was over there. Meanwhile my 10 yo son kept asking what time he was going to be home. I really need to work out my resentment of him. This family deserves this playset as he has helped my AH many times on projects. But I need to be more "assertive" not aggressive in terms of what I need. So, today I spent the day (again I suspected he had a few last night, and broke out the book and cried from 4 a.m to 6 a.m), telling him what I needed done at our house. One of which is the bathtub that needs a simple faucet replacement that is a "10 minute job" according to him. The tub has been out of commission since my 10 year old was a toddler. Baby steps I will not get angry with him if he doesn't do it, I'll simply hire someone to do it and be happy that it is done (and trying my best not to be passive). I'm so beyond depressed and sad that my AH doesn't wake up. I have though and I think I am about to step forward and truly grieve about the marriage so I can move on and focus on my kids and myself. that said, we exchange pleasantries and that's about it, so this whole polite roommate situation is maddening...help....how do I stop white knuckling if that is what I'm doing - as I don't know what that means.
Joslyn is offline  
Old 09-17-2010, 11:29 AM
  # 2 (permalink)  
Member
 
nodaybut2day's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Quebec
Posts: 2,708
Seems to me, just from reading your post (can you please separate it in paragraphs next time? It's awfully hard to read the big block of text), that you are working very hard on not controlling your AH. That's awesome.

However, I wonder what your next step will be. From where I sit, the situation is slowly becoming intolerable. I've lived as roommates with my XAH. It was sad. I never knew what he was doing, and I tried my best to avoid him because I knew that our contact would quickly devolve into conflict.

At some point, you may have to decide if you want to continue living your life like this, avoiding him, co-existing as virtual strangers, while your children grow up alongside you, seeing this dissociation. It can't be good for them. It's obviously not good for you, seeing as you've got so much anger and resentment inside you...which will need to come out at some point and be resolved.

So, tell us...What do YOU want for yourself? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? How do you want to get there?
nodaybut2day is offline  
Old 09-17-2010, 11:31 AM
  # 3 (permalink)  
Member
 
Bernadette's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Boston
Posts: 2,819
I guess white-knuckling is when you are just gritting your teeth through suffering instead of actively transforming it. When I try to change something radically, like stop doing something that I have been doing habitually for 10+ years whether it is a physical or mental habit, and I try to do it with no more support or plan than "just do it!" I will be white-knuckling through the pain and the change usually fails to take hold!

I find it is good to make a plan and stick to the plan. And to set myself up for success by getting help and support. AlAnon worked wonders for me, so did one-on-one therapy.

It is not easy to change!

That roommate situation you describe is deadly! God I hated that - went through that same feeling with my exH. For me it was a period, an unhealthy period, that I had to experience to spur me on to make some real changes in myself and figure out what I REALLY wanted my life to look like and more importantly to feel like. I hated who I was becoming, I hated the constant feelings of resentment, the knots in my stomach, the walking on eggshells, etc.

Your bathtub faucet story is one I can totally relate to. We once had no sink in our main bathroom for 9 months! For 9 frickin' months I kept asking exH and building up resentment and watching and testing and seeing if he would do what he said he would, all the while seeing it as further evidence of how he didn't really love us, was so self-centered, was blah blah blah whatever!! All focused on him and all related to my obnoxious expectations! I learned this: if I want something done I make it happen. Zero resentment, zero drama! I was using things like that in the sickest way in my mind. If what I really wanted was a sink in my bathroom I could have figured out how to do it myself, or just bought a sink and hired a damn plumber!


I am embarrassed when I look back on that behavior now. My BIL finally couldn't take it anymore and he just fixed it for me one day! The whole drama had gone down in my mind - I had these serious codie ways of thinking learned in childhood that were poisoning me.


My exH was not an alcoholic. I grew up w/ an A father and have 3 A brothers and a super codie mom (she taught me everything she knew!!!) - I set myself up for an unhealthy miserable marriage by marrying someone who I wanted to fix. I thought I was being clever because I didn't choose an A -- ha ha -- the sad truth is that it is my codependency that made me sick - it is my had habits of mind that will destroy my relationships and what is good in me!

It's great you are reading Melodie Beatty - that is usually a real eye-opener for most people who love As. Can you get some outside support? AlAnon? Therapy? Can you make a little plan each day that moves you towards your goals, dreams, resolution of your problems?

Glad you're here--
Peace-
B
Bernadette is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Bernadette For This Useful Post:
HoopNinja (09-17-2010)
Old 09-17-2010, 11:38 AM
  # 4 (permalink)  
Member
 
wicked's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Waterford MI
Posts: 4,202
Blog Entries: 1
Originally Posted by Joslyn View Post
I just finished Codependent No More. I cried through the whole book. You may remember some of my prior posts. My AH had been sober for many many years and now is back at it again (I've known about it for about a year), and we had a lovely encounter by four state troopers at our door. It was a near miss for him as he was not arrested. I "thought" that was his rock bottom. Come to find out he is at it again, he is not a falling down drunk (yet!), as I know this is progressive disease. I've read the book, I'm doing my best to detach. I've detached from my 16 yo daughter and it is working quite well she is up on her own in the am and her grades are largely improved from last year (when I looked over her shoulder every minute as a codependent). Since the second realization of his drinking after I thought he had hit rock bottom, that was the knife that turned into my heart and realized that I have some major decisions to make. However, I am taking this slowly and not obsessing about what he is doing. Although I have to say my anger creeps up and I'm re-reading to book to make sure I work the steps. We are like roommates passing in the night. It's surreal, we NEVER fight even in the worst of times, and I've clammed up because anything I say will be passive persuasion and conveyence of guilt on him. I do wake up in the middle of the night with a panic (which I think is white knuckling as some have referred to on this site). How do you work "through" these issues. I'm focusing on getting what I need to get done at this house. We have a beautiful home but it needs some work, much of it my AH is readily able to do. He spent last weekend taking our $3,000 Rainbow play set back from Michigan (he had taken it apart because our kids didn't play with it at our primary house and he was going to reset it at my Mom's lake house for all the kids to play). He never did it. Instead, he dragged it back here, and helped his coworker build it in his yard (they have younger kids). I really felt sorry for myself that 1) he didn't rebuild it in Michigan and 2) I could tell he had a few with his friend while he was over there. Meanwhile my 10 yo son kept asking what time he was going to be home. I really need to work out my resentment of him. This family deserves this playset as he has helped my AH many times on projects. But I need to be more "assertive" not aggressive in terms of what I need. So, today I spent the day (again I suspected he had a few last night, and broke out the book and cried from 4 a.m to 6 a.m), telling him what I needed done at our house. One of which is the bathtub that needs a simple faucet replacement that is a "10 minute job" according to him. The tub has been out of commission since my 10 year old was a toddler. Baby steps I will not get angry with him if he doesn't do it, I'll simply hire someone to do it and be happy that it is done (and trying my best not to be passive). I'm so beyond depressed and sad that my AH doesn't wake up. I have though and I think I am about to step forward and truly grieve about the marriage so I can move on and focus on my kids and myself. that said, we exchange pleasantries and that's about it, so this whole polite roommate situation is maddening...help....how do I stop white knuckling if that is what I'm doing - as I don't know what that means.
Hello Joslyn,

I am Beth, a recovering alcoholic and still learning about codependency.
White knuckling to me means gripping onto something so tight that the knuckles in your hand will turn the skin white. Try it right now, make a fist, or grab something you can grip and hold it very very tight, then look at your knuckles....the skin is so tight it becomes white.

I bolded some of your statements about your anger, fear and pain. You are trying to hold yourself together when you have so many resentments (rightfully so).

Reading Codependent No More is an excellent idea. But, I think you should go to Al Anon and get some face to face support. Trying to do it alone (white knuckling through life) will bring on stress related illnesses.
You will need help to let go, relax your grip, and slowly, one by one release your fingers until your hand is open all the way.
When your hand is open, your are open to receive recovery.

I hope this did not come off as preachy as it sounds.
Take care of yourself Joslyn.
:ghug3
wicked is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to wicked For This Useful Post:
Bernadette (09-17-2010), HoopNinja (09-17-2010), HurtingAgain (09-17-2010)
Old 09-17-2010, 11:40 AM
  # 5 (permalink)  
Member
 
Bernadette's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Boston
Posts: 2,819
from wicked: You will need help to let go, relax your grip, and slowly, one by one release your fingers until your hand is open all the way.
When your hand is open, your are open to receive recovery.


Love this! Thank you!
B
Bernadette is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Bernadette For This Useful Post:
nodaybut2day (09-17-2010), wicked (09-17-2010)
Old 09-17-2010, 03:14 PM
  # 6 (permalink)  
Member
 
HoopNinja's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 693
I always thought of white knuckling as when stbxah would try not to drink or get high for a period of time for one reason or another (when he was doing his Master recital-hard to do some of that music when your brain is mush OR when I threw the huge co-dependent threat-stop or I leave). Yeah, like I left. He even went to treatment for a month-then he started again. Empty threats.

As soon as I started to work on me my white knuckling stopped. I had not even realized what a white knuckler I was. We co-dependents can be just as bad as our alcoholics at trying to hang on to something as hard as we can-like we will fall off the face of the earth if we do not control our A's every movement. Then one day-we discover we cannot even control ourselves!

I agree with what others said-what are you going to do now that you have read Co-Depedent No More and know that you are co-dependent?

wicked I also liked what you said--it is a good visualization of slowly letting go of what we cannot control and opening ourselves up to let go and let God.

Sometimes it will feel like a freefall and it will be scary but HP is your parachute so hang on.

I lived your existence with 2 young boys-it was not good for them. I really did not want them growing up thinking this is what marriage is. This is what life is. I am also an ACoA-it is not fun to not learn what is normal.
HoopNinja is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to HoopNinja For This Useful Post:
Bernadette (09-17-2010), TakingCharge999 (09-17-2010), wicked (09-17-2010)
Old 09-17-2010, 04:10 PM
  # 7 (permalink)  
A jug fills drop by drop
 
TakingCharge999's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 6,783
"HP is your parachute" that is so true!!
I actually skydived once-free fall was a rush of adrenaline, but once the parachute opened - I just felt suspended in the middle of the sky- the horizon was beautiful, the silence was incredible - landing was smooth.
TakingCharge999 is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to TakingCharge999 For This Useful Post:
wicked (09-17-2010)

Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:45 AM.