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Am I Being Unfair? Feeling guilty

Old 09-28-2010, 10:14 AM
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Am I Being Unfair? Feeling guilty

I posted here once before and I got a bit of good advice. I am also planning on going to Al-Anon on Thursday for the first time because that is what some of you recommended, but for the time being I wanted to see if anyone had any insight. I have been with my husband for 10 years (married 5). We have two kids 2 & 5. He has always drank since I've known him, but when we met it wasn't much. Over time his drinking has increased and he would binge sometimes, but then he would also go for periods of time without so I never worried about it. Over the last two or three years, however, his drinking has progressively become an everyday part of his life. I think for a long time I didn't really notice and I thought we had a great life. I was distracted by my kids or my friends or any other number of things and him being drunk everyday didn't seem to phase me. Over the last six months to a year though I have started to see more and more problems come up that relate to the drinking. Lying about spending money, drinking at work, drinking in the car, drinking daily and drinking in excess amounts. At first I approached each problem very casually and he would make little changes, but then slip right back into old behaviors. I was seeing all the little problems (like that he was being risky by having beer in the car), but not the big picture in terms of that his drinking was slowly getting out of control. Then, at the end of July we had a huge blow-out while camping. It was two days of arguing in front of family and fellow campers. The argument started because we couldn't afford beer and the next morning after getting trashed drunk he was hungover (my mom got him beer because he was being so obnoxious about it) and we started arguing again. He was following me around yelling at me and being verbally abusive and wouldn't let up about some small issue (I was "naggy" when he asked if I packed a belt). That was the last straw for me. I was humiliated and angry at his treatment of me and I was worried about just how important beer had seemed to become to him. I also started to draw a possible correllation between drinking and some of the meanness that had popped up over the years. All the drinking became a problem for me in that one moment. Ever since then there has been a lot of tension in our marriage and neither of us ever expected that would happen. We have tried over the last couple months now to work on things, but I am fed up. He did cut down drinking for two weeks because I gave him an ultimatum to cut down or I would leave for a while, but since that time period ended he is back to his usual drinking. He claims he is willing to cut down, but won't give me an idea of what that means or follow through. I have tried distancing myself and setting boundaries (i.e. when you drink I won't hang out with you--I will leave the house or find an activity for myself to do), but now I feel lonely. I don't know what to do because it was a lot easier when I didn't see the drinking as a problem, but now that I see it's impact on my life I can't let it go. We were so happy before and now I feel lost and like I am a bad person who is destroying ten years of marriage because of one difficult weekend. I want to take things slow and work on things at a reasonable pace, but I feel a huge level of anxiety and that leaves me wanting to deal with it immediately. I am especially vulnerable because my father is a drug addict and I lived in the chaos of that growing up and I'm afraid of repeating that. Also, since I started evaluating things I have discovered other things about our life together and our dynamic that I am not happy about and I feel confused because I used to think everything was great. It just seems like out of the blue we have all these problems and handling them is starting to feel too big to handle. I decided a few days ago that I am going to spend 2 weeks at my parents house to relax and get away from the negativity for a while and try and sort things out. I'm worried because i'm not sure I am going to want to come back unless I see some drastic changes, but it just doesn't seem right to throw ten years down the drain in two months and I'm not sure what other options I have because living with addiction is not the life I want for myself. My husband is also quite upset because according to him he was blindsided by everything. He feels I have never really complained about the drinking and that he thought up until two months ago we had the perfect life. It is hard and I feel so guilty because he is right. I hadn't complained much and when I did complain I played it down. I feel a lot like the "walk away wife" that people talk about and I am worried I'm not being fair to him in my suddenness, but I don't know how to approach things at any other pace. Any advice would be helpful.
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Old 09-28-2010, 10:41 AM
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>>...He feels I have never really complained about the drinking and that he thought up until two months ago we had the perfect life. It is hard and I feel so guilty because he is right. I hadn't complained much and when I did complain I played it down...<<

Well, now he knows. And he knows how serious it is. What's he going to do about it?

You are being diverted into issues of fairness (you didn't tell him about your unhappiness the 'right' way and on a time schedule he approves of) and feeling guilty for something you have no need to feel guilty about, rather than focus on what is right for you and your children and standing your ground. This diversion is weaking your resolve with guilt and blameshifting instead of fortifying it by placing the impetus on him to take life altering steps to change his behavior NOW.

Well, he knows how you feel now. He knows how serious it is now. The call is 100% in his court.

You say it doesn't feel right to lose an investment of 10 years. Do you want to keep trying and throw away an investment of 15 or 20 years?

Move in the direction that works best for you, and challenge him to keep up (in sobriety) or find his own path in life.

Best of luck to you.
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Old 09-28-2010, 10:48 AM
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Ok, first of all, when it became a problem for you and you put 2+2 together you spoke up. When you didn't see what was going on, how were you supposesd to say anything..it's that nameless something wrong until one day we realize that substances are behind the issues. So, let that guilt go.
Does not sound like things were perfect, but have instead been getting progressively worse as substance abuse does. It's ok to speak up when there is a problem -for YOU regardless if it is a problem for your spouse.
Drinking at work, in the car, verbally harrassing you, demanding beer when there is no money, inability to stop the behavior..definately enough to make ME speak up.
Please do go to alanon. They are not going to tell you to leave or stay in your marriage, but will help you figure out boundaries for yourself and your kiddos.
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Old 09-28-2010, 11:47 AM
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it took me awhile also to put together that alcohol was behind our problems. in my case, mine was quite talented at minimizing, hiding and well, lying about it.

i agree with the advice above. it doesn't matter if he needs more notice. it is an issue NOW for you. you've communicated that.

who made him the referee for time restrainst on how long you have to suffer his drinking?

i think it's a great idea to get clear of him for a few weeks and clear your head. why not consider going no contact during this period of time so that he can't confuse you with his blameshifting.

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Old 09-28-2010, 11:53 AM
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I've just had to google the term "walkaway wife" having never heard it before.

It's a syndrome!

characterised by a wife who finding her emotional needs within a marriage communicates that, gets the brush-off, perhaps repeatedly and then understanding that she can't make someone else change their behaviour, and get her needs met within this relationship, makes a plan to leave and does it, perhaps not immediately.

the husband, is blissfully unaware that his wife's communications about being unhappy are a sign that she is unhappy, and is then "blindsided" when she actually leaves, at that point, promising to "change".

where-upon, a marriage counsellor steps in, sees a) "confused" husband and b) wife who is leaving the marriage and despite all the therapists efforts she cannot be dissuaded:

therapist can't fix it = syndrome.
how long before this is a personality disorder? a dis-ease is born.....
what a load of b*ll*cks.

I love labels.

his behaviour has reached a level that became unacceptable to you, this shone a light on your interactions, this is what happens in human relationships, we bumble along, until we are pulled up short, and think hey! is this what I want? you've communicated your difficulties, he has promised to address them, but crucially hasn't in any adult, ongoing way. some time to process your feelings sounds a good idea, whatever the outcome.
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Old 09-28-2010, 11:59 AM
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I'm worried because i'm not sure I am going to want to come back unless I see some drastic changes, but it just doesn't seem right to throw ten years down the drain in two months and I'm not sure what other options I have because living with addiction is not the life I want for myself.
You don't have to "throw everything away" in a split decision. Slow down and take some time to think. Deep breaths...break it down into chunks and it becomes less overwhelming.

Do think about this though. If you're not happy and he doesn't make any steps to change his behaviour, can you live with things as they are right now? If not, better to "throw ten years down the drain" than the rest of your life.
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Old 09-28-2010, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by crystal226 View Post
Lying about spending money, drinking at work, drinking in the car, drinking daily and drinking in excess amounts.
*snip*
He was following me around yelling at me and being verbally abusive and wouldn't let up about some small issue
And your hubby thinks you had a "perfect life"?

Hm. Really.

Well maybe it was "perfect" for him, in that he could get blotto and be reckless, you would go along with it.

Originally Posted by crystal226 View Post
We were so happy before and now I feel lost and like I am a bad person who is destroying ten years of marriage because of one difficult weekend.
Hold the phone. You are NOT the bad guy for finally shinning the light on what is a BIG problem in your marriage. Just because you came to a realization does not make you Bad Guy of the Year. Your AH is simply blameshifting because god forbid he point the finger at himself.

Originally Posted by crystal226 View Post
I decided a few days ago that I am going to spend 2 weeks at my parents house to relax and get away from the negativity for a while and try and sort things out. I'm worried because i'm not sure I am going to want to come back unless I see some drastic changes, but it just doesn't seem right to throw ten years down the drain in two months and I'm not sure what other options I have because living with addiction is not the life I want for myself.
You're being very honest here. You know what you don't want, and you've given yourself the gift of space, so you can figure out what to do next. Perhaps you should also give yourself the gift of time, and not rush coming to a conclusion NOW. When in doubt, do nothing. Perhaps after some reflection, you'll come to another realization...

Originally Posted by crystal226 View Post
My husband is also quite upset because according to him he was blindsided by everything. He feels I have never really complained about the drinking and that he thought up until two months ago we had the perfect life.
So, your husband who has shown himself to be abusive towards you is angry, at you, for no longer playing the role HE scripted for you, i.e. the role of the accepting wife who keeps her mouth shut?

Tough luck buddy.

If there's anyone who has any right to be angry, it's you.
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Old 09-29-2010, 10:23 AM
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Update

Thanks for the kind advice and support. I appreciate it and I'm feeling a lot better about taking a position, but it is still going to be tough and it is difficult facing the reality of that. I am packing some things today and going to stay over at my moms for a while starting tonight. I hope that some time away will give me further clarity into my situation and if nothing else some peace. It was very difficult last night being around my husband. He was being very pathetic and acting like there was zero hope left for us. It is really depressing to see how he has seemingly just given up on the idea of even trying to have a better life. He said to me that I was the most wonderful woman and he couldn't ever find anyone better than me and that everyone he had spoken with told him the same thing, but that I was asking him to give up so much of who he is and he didn't think he could do that. It is so hard to understand how asking him to deal with his drinking and start contributing more (another thing we talked about) is asking him not to be who he is. I guess I can't tell him who to be, but it is sad to see someone you love want so little out of life.
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Old 09-29-2010, 10:36 AM
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The Poor Woe is Me act is one of their favorites Crystal. Don't be fooled.
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by crystal226 View Post
I am packing some things today and going to stay over at my moms for a while starting tonight. I hope that some time away will give me further clarity into my situation and if nothing else some peace.
Please consider finding a recovery meeting while you're there. Has your mom has done her own recovery work? I ask because if not, she might complicate issues for you. My situation is not the same as yours, but my mom is the last person I need input/advice from and she's a certified substance abuse counselor. From what I can gather, she's just started doing some recovery work of her own and she's 72.

I agree with 2day about giving yourself the gift of time. It was kind of hard for me to learn to manage my most immediate and important needs. I had to figure out what they were first.
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by crystal226 View Post
but that I was asking him to give up so much of who he is and he didn't think he could do that.
You mean, the binge drinking, lying, reckless, verbally abusive traits in his personality make up "who he is"?!

Oh.

Puh-lease.

Where's my tiny violin? It plays such a lovely tune to accompany the "poor me" dramatics of those who refuse to acknowledge their responsiblity in the demise of their relationships.

Methinks it's not that he doesn't think he can give up part of himself, it's that he DOESN'T WANT to.

Don't fall for it. He's just trying to reel you in.

I'm so glad you'll be able to get away for a time and have some space to rest and think. I second chino's suggestion to find a meeting where you'll be staying (and keep coming to SR!).

You're doing awesome.
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Chino View Post
Please consider finding a recovery meeting while you're there. Has your mom has done her own recovery work? I ask because if not, she might complicate issues for you. My situation is not the same as yours, but my mom is the last person I need input/advice from and she's a certified substance abuse counselor. From what I can gather, she's just started doing some recovery work of her own and she's 72.

I agree with 2day about giving yourself the gift of time. It was kind of hard for me to learn to manage my most immediate and important needs. I had to figure out what they were first.
I agree and I am going to a meeting. I found one on Thursday evening I plan on attending. I am nervous to go, but I know it will be worth my time. And, no, my mom has not done her own recovery (at least not in any formal way). She did leave my father for a year when he was heavy into meth use, but she also lived with my fathers cocaine/crack addiction and the abuse associated with it for 10 years and I don't really trust her advice. My father is also living with her and he is sober, 5 years now, but that is also complicated for me. The problem is I don't have anywhere else to stay. I have been staying home with my kids for the last 5 years and I'm working on getting financial aid going and starting school again, but right now I don't have anything. All my credit cards are maxed and the money in the bank is just the bare minimum to pay bills. Fortunately, I have food stamps, but I am headed to my mom's with little else. It is difficult for me deciding to stay there, but I feel I need to stay somewhere because I can't seem to think clearly around my husband right now and I need to reset and be somewhere I can think for myself. Unfortunately, right now with my two kids staying with my parents is my only choice. I recognize, though, that if I choose not to go back to live with my husband I can't live with my parents either. I left home because of my dad's meth addiction...he and I have made amends and it has really been great the way our family has healed from the past, but I still know that I can't go back to being under their roof either.
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Old 09-29-2010, 04:01 PM
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hi crystal-

i'm delighted you are going to get a break. that's a wise move. i went to my mother's house for a month when in a similar situation. my advice to you, based on that experience is:

1. go no contact with AH while you are there. i didn't and i regret it because all of a sudden, mine became the most attentive, loving partner phoning numerous times a day. this was not helpful to me sorting out my own feeling.

2. go to meetings. i went often, just to keep my focus on myself and my recovery.

3. be open. i was an absolute wreck by the time i showed up at my mom's (3000 miles away) and all set to be absolutely miserable. the look of delight on my mom's face when i appeared was enough to cast all that away. we had a great time, making projects, clearing out her closets, even having a yard sale.

4. be prepared for all the emotions you have been holding in to come out. once i was in a safe place, i had the luxury of time to reflect without chaos, my emotions went up and down and sidewards. it's a process, let it unfold. you don't have to make any decisions right now...just take the time to clear your head.

who knows what your time with your parents will bring...

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Old 09-29-2010, 04:43 PM
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Can I just say? This is an awesome thread. Thank you everybody, it really helps me to witness such loving, kindness, caring and support in a world that seems to break my heart every day. You guys are just awesome.

Crystal, hon, you really sound like a person who has a good head on her shoulders, intelligent, and in control of herself. Thank you for sharing.
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Old 09-29-2010, 05:57 PM
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A break may just be the answer. Time to clear your head and make some good decisions for you and your children.

I may have missed something, but, does your husband work? Is there any income coming into the house? If you live with your parents can't you get a job to save money and get back on your feet?

Take care,
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Old 09-29-2010, 10:19 PM
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Quote; (( I was asking him to give up so much of who he is and he didn't think he could do that.))

You asked him to cut the drinking and help out more.....you didn't ask him to stop breathing, or have his heart cut out.

If he considers that being a raving drunk, abusing his family, lying and putting others at risk when driving, is something in his make-up to hang on to.....then he has a big problem.
He virtually said that tho he believes you are wonderful and blah blah blah, you are not worth him sobering up for, so do you believe he is really worth you giving him any more time to make you totally miserable?

Time away, attending Alanon, reading all you can, websurfing for info on alcoholism etc, and having a place to come like wonderful SR, can help you decide what you do want for you and what is totally not acceptable.

Keep coming back.
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