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Is this the right way to go?

Old 10-04-2010, 06:06 AM
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Is this the right way to go?

My wife and I had a text conversation Saturday night. She was mad that I was still mad about her lying to me about where she was last Saturday. I told her I was having a very hard time forgiving her for it and didn't know if I'd be able to. She was mad that I wasn't "acting like I loved her". I told her that until I was able to start forgiving her for a lot of things I wasn't exactly going to be eager to be lovey to her.

She kept insisting she would go to counseling to show she was working on things. I told her that simply going isn't going to mean anything to me, especially when she's essentially telling me that she's going just to make me happy-it's going to be her actions that mean everything. She wasn't able to vocalize exactly what my issues are, other than she needs to help out more around the house but insisted that she was going to go to counseling to "fix herself". I told her until I knew that she understood the issues and committed to working on them I didn't think there was a chance that counseling would work, much less that our relationship will last.

So now I'm having this constant war between my mind and my heart. My heart says that she at least wants to try and to forget about leaving for now. And then I remind myself of the bottom lines: she's lied and never apologized for it (without me pointing out that she hasn't when she gets on me for continuing to be mad about the lie), saying to me that she doesn't think she did anything wrong. She's chosen alcohol over the kids and I over and over in MANY ways. She has demonstrated that she doesn't have the sense of responsibility befitting a grown adult. Until I start to see changes I have to remember that NOTHING has changed as yet, all signs point to everything reverting back to the way they are now if things do change, and I need to stay in the same situation of making arrangements to leave. My gut's confused right now-it isn't telling me anything one way or the other right now.

Am I doing this right? I feel like I have to make sure I'm not letting my guard down because if I let my guard down I'll get sucked into it again. I also feel like I'm being sort of unfair, as I tend to hold grudges and not forgive, but I also try to remind myself that I've given her 4 years of chances and things have gotten worse, not better.
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Old 10-04-2010, 06:43 AM
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Am I doing this right?
Are you aware of what exactly you are trying to do?

I feel like I have to make sure I'm not letting my guard down because if I let my guard down I'll get sucked into it again.
This sounds like you are trying to protect yourself and your feelings. And trying to keep from being manipulated back into a relationship that is not working for you. Getting sucked back in is very easy, IMO (it's happened to me so many times). You may want to consider going No Contact. This means no texts, phone calls, emails, talks, visits, spending the night, etc. What No Contact does is ensure that you cannot get sucked back into the sickness. When a person is unwell such as an alcoholic or addict, the way they THINK is unwell too. And usually, talking to them makes me unwell. I can avoid this by not talking to them or letting them in my house.

I also feel like I'm being sort of unfair, as I tend to hold grudges and not forgive, but I also try to remind myself that I've given her 4 years of chances and things have gotten worse, not better.
IMO, holding grudges and refusing to forgive are ways to protect yourself from further damage from another person. I don't know how healthy or unhealthy doing these things are, but it has worked for me in the past. It is a way to reject someone who is hurting you, or who has hurt you. As for feeling like you are being unfair, the way I see the concept of fairness is that it really has no bearing on reality. Fairness is a construct, an idea, a way of thinking, a perception. When in reality, there really is no such thing as fairness or unfairness. Things are simply what they are. People who are unwell, such as alcoholics and addicts, like to use concepts such as fairness and blame to point fingers and to be "right." It is easy to fall for that kind of thinking and reasoning. IMO, you are not being unfair, you are being smart. It is unfortunate that she cannot accept that her behavior is affecting you and that you are not willing to subject yourself to her lies, abuse and mistreatment any longer. But you do not have to go along with her refusal to accept.

I think you are making the wise choice. I hope that you can see how communicating with her is making you doubt and question yourself. Because that is what trying to discuss these kinds of matters with alcoholics and addicts seems to always do, make those of us who try to relate with them doubt ourselves, feel badly, feel guilty all for trying to take care of US. I refuse any longer to feel badly, wrong, unfair, guilty or whatever about doing the right things for me, making the right and healthiest choices for my life. I hope you soon refuse too.

Be good to yourself. Don't listen. Try to find what it is you think you Need from her when you try to communicate with her. Then try to determine whether you really do Need that from another human being. See if you can find it within yourself.

(((hugs)))
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Old 10-04-2010, 06:57 AM
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One of the things that used to stand in the way of my leaving was the idea--that XAH reinforced--that if I left, it was the END of the world. It really wasn't, for me at least. For me, it was a new beginning. It began a period of rediscovering myself, gleefully I might add, and of finally feeling a huge burden lifted off my shoulders.

Evenkeel, from where I sit, you're doing immensely well in identifying elements in your wife's behaviour that are damaging to you. I've seen a lot of people here at SR who waver for a much longer time than you have, and who are still unable to see through the b.s. and false promises. So, kudos to you for this!

I understand the need to be "fair"...for me, it came down to the need to be the "Good girl" in my XAH's eyes (and perhaps in the eyes of others). But in this case, she has been UNFAIR to you and your kids for the past few years. Also, who the heck cares what other people think of you and your marriage? They are not the ones who have to live with a spouse who is DEEP in her addiction and DEEPER in denial. It's a horrible rollercoaster ride and you deserve to get off! So, let the rest of the world suck on their opinion of you...you are doing what you feel is best to look out for yourself and your children.

IMO, you should keep looking at alternate living arrangements. You can always back out later if things change. But realistically, they won't for a while, so you need a SANE place to home come to.
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Old 10-05-2010, 04:24 AM
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Thanks to both of you. I can't really come up with a good, black-and-white picture of what I want right now. I also haven't identified precisely what it will take to say "Okay, that's it, I'm definitely out of here" or "okay, now we can give this another try". I think what I'm aiming for here is getting a sense that things can and are changing before I'll stop making plans to leave.

I know that I can't reason with her and she has to do this herself. When I told her my issues and how I feel I did so with full knowledge that it probably wouldn't do or mean anything to her. It makes me feel better to have said it out loud to her, though. It's helped me get to a place where I'm closer to feel like I've done everything I could do and if it didn't work then it's time to leave.

I think she might have paid attention to some of it as, even though she wasn't feeling well yesterday, she got up and did "her" chores plus a little extra. Any other time she would have used the excuse of "my nose is stuffy" to stay in bed the whole day and ignore all of the things that normal adults have to do even if they're not feeling 100%. Of course, I had to listen to her complain the whole time "I feel like crap" but reminded myself that this is the way it SHOULD be. I didn't react to her whining and helped her with the extra stuff. I refuse to be very encouraged by this, but at least it shows that maybe she can change.

Things might are shifting in the household anyway. I started a new (employer-imposed) work schedule this week that cuts our evenings together down to 2. Her schedule is probably going to change at the end of the month to give us back the 3 evenings but I'm not optimistic that she'll actually stay home instead of going out on the majority of them. Then, my ex is making noise about canceling his weekend this weekend and due to circumstances this may become a long-term thing. We'll see how all THAT pans out this month also.

And I'm still working on leaving. I will be receiving a commission check near the end of the month and she's slated to be out of state for work for the first two weeks in November. That would be the perfect circumstances in which to physically get out if I work things right. If I do I'll go no-contact. In the meantime I'll hold on to the fact that what I say or do is probably going to make little difference, that now I have to keep only my and the kids' best interest in mind and not to get sucked back into her madness. I think I can do that.
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Old 10-05-2010, 04:55 AM
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Originally Posted by nodaybut2day View Post
One of the things that used to stand in the way of my leaving was the idea--that XAH reinforced--that if I left, it was the END of the world. It really wasn't, for me at least. For me, it was a new beginning. It began a period of rediscovering myself, gleefully I might add, and of finally feeling a huge burden lifted off my shoulders.
I'm working on this angle. I wholly embrace the idea that, mentally and emotionally, things would be so much better without her right now. The big issue is financial. I'm not a stranger to the resources available to a single mother after having been on my own with two kids twice before. This time I'm in a much better place financially and in going over the numbers, it wouldn't be terrible but it'd still be a problem. I also know from experience that I'd be trading one set of problems for another and I'm not too eager to do that if I don't have to. My world wouldn't end but it sure would be made more difficult than it would be easier. I think the key word is "have"-if it comes down to that I "have" to leave for whatever reason I'll deal with it, just like I've done it before and come out none the worse for wear.

I am bothered by the idea that the world just might "end" for the kids. It occurred to me that if I didn't have kids I would have moved out a long time ago. I don't know how I feel about this. On the one hand, I believe in doing everything possible to maintain stability for the sake of the kids and thus far this hasn't really affected them. On the other hand, I don't really understand why I've been willing to put up with so much crap "for the kids". I keep thinking about what it would be like for them if I left her. They love her and she's as much of a parent to them (in their eyes) as I am, and more so than their father is. They don't need to lose another parental figure in their life. I feel really guilty about doing that to them when the reasons for leaving her when the current circumstances don't affect them. I know I'd be doing it to avoid the eventuality that circumstances WOULD affect them, but it's hard to use that as justification to turn their world upside down NOW.
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Old 10-05-2010, 06:55 AM
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Here is my personal experience.

I had told my husband that I wanted him to move out for 6 months. Work his program, make the changes he promised he would make, and I'd agree to go to marriage counseling at 6mos if he was living the life he promised he would. My demand was to not be drinking at all. In my head I wanted to see some other things (job, responsibility for self and family etc) but the drinking was a deal breaker. He didn't go for that and in the end I relented and it is a huge regret of mine. If only I would have followed through and upheld that boundary/request I think things would have been much less tramatic. We also have kids. They would have been better off had we lived apart that 6mos also. In our case, living together through a seperation (one he did not agree with) caused the lid to blow off my husband's behavior. Crazy things happened. Things that never happened before I wanted the seperation and I deeply regret the tramatic 6 months my children had. I'm sure it will be etched in their brains forever and I could have prevented that by being a stronger person.
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Old 10-05-2010, 07:51 AM
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This is JMO, but I feel like a lot of couples stay together in the name of stability despite huge conflicts because they believe it would benefit their children...A lot of people still cling to this fantasy of the perfect family unit--mom, pop, 2.5 kids, dog, white picket fence, etc--and are willing to subject themselves and their children to a great deal of suffering simply in order to keep the illusion alive. In actuality, the children of such families are already unconsciously and sometimes very consciously aware of the chonflict existing in their homes, and wish nothing more for their parents to separate.

Something my mother told me years ago rang very true when I finally left AH. She, being 1 of 6 children, wanted her home to be a *haven*, a safe, quiet, clean and comforting place to come home to after a long day. Her childhood home had been rather chaotic and she did everything she could to make her own home nothing like it. My home with AH was nothing like the childhood home my mother had created for us, despite my best efforts. Even after a good week-end cleaning, the atmosphere in the apartment was still brittle, just waiting for the next conflict, the next drama, the next burst of tears, shouts, or profanity. It was not a safe place. I could never relax there. There was always something I had to arm myself again, and there wasn't even any escape in sleep.

I saw the effects of this on my stepson, who was a nervous, withdraw, often angry young boy, always ready to JUMP whenever his father yelled his name. Add adolescent hormones into that mix, and there were often explosions...When I saw my infant daughter display some of the same behaviour, it dawned on me that she was becoming like her brother. As much as I loved him--and still love him, I didn't want that for my daughter. It's part of what helped me leave.

Yes, I agree that your children will experience a loss if/when you decide to move out. However, this situation will also become an opportunity for you to dialogue with them about addiction and boundaries. In a lot of ways, I wish it was a discussion I had had when I was younger...
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Old 10-05-2010, 09:11 AM
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Something my mother told me years ago rang very true when I finally left AH. She, being 1 of 6 children, wanted her home to be a *haven*, a safe, quiet, clean and comforting place to come home to after a long day. Her childhood home had been rather chaotic and she did everything she could to make her own home nothing like it. My home with AH was nothing like the childhood home my mother had created for us, despite my best efforts. Even after a good week-end cleaning, the atmosphere in the apartment was still brittle, just waiting for the next conflict, the next drama, the next burst of tears, shouts, or profanity. It was not a safe place. I could never relax there. There was always something I had to arm myself again, and there wasn't even any escape in sleep.
WOW. Thank you for sharing this noday. I needed to read this today.
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Old 10-05-2010, 02:13 PM
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The sad truth is that in my situation my children did not have a chaotic home. My husband was not a chaotic loud man as long as I did not rock the boat. He did not become a lunatic until I filed for divorce. When the status quo was threatened, he went into overdrive.

The raving lunatic in the house was me. They were losing a mother to bitterness, unhappiness, inflexibility, outbursts, misplaced anger and frustration. It showed in their behavior. I was the one creating instability and that was a very hard pill to swallow. There was no way for me to mentally survive in the current situation. The drama created by the alcoholism was behind the scenes for my very young children. Dad sleeping separately was their normal. Not eating with us was normal for them. Dad 'falling asleep' at 7pm every night did not cause drama. It didn't bother them because he was there for them at other times. He was around and what he didn't follow through on or do, I did. They didn't know about finances, social situations, the lack of friends, the messes, the adult stuff. They did not understand and I still don't know if they do but they have excepted it. They also have stability and a mother that loves them and shows it. A mother that is able to create the environment she wants.
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Old 10-06-2010, 05:55 AM
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See, that's my problem. I was going to say again that her drinking doesn't affect them but I have to amend that to say that it affects them very little *so far*. They know that she will drink when we're at a family function (as does her entire family) and have seen her very drunk. I think they see that as the "norm", especially when my mother tends to pull out the wine and beer when we visit her (though I generally turn it down). She's had to take care of them the morning after she got drunk. The time that she should be taking advantage of one-on-one time with them she spends recovering, sleeping on the couch while they do their thing. They've recently learned what a hangover is and became aware of what it does to a person, thanks to mother-in-law and wife explaining why grandpa is the way he is after the boys voiced concerns.

I know the kids pick up on tension. If I'm upset with her I go out of my way to make sure I don't take it out on the kids in any way. But in the current situation I understand that there's a potential for a lot of tension and too much tension is impossible to hide. The boys don't need to be subjected to that.

I just don't know. She was taken off the schedule to work out of state next month. Some bills have come up that HAVE to be paid with my commission check, bills that will affect my credit and my ability to leave if I don't take care of them. It looks like, at least for this month, leaving isn't really an option. That's okay, though. If it needs to happen I'll find a way. She told me she wants to go to a movie this weekend, just us if the boys are gone or all together if they aren't. We'll see if and how that actually happens for a number of reasons but I cautiously accept that as another sign that she's trying.

I have other stresses in my life that I know will just take time to resolve and accept but don't exactly pale to the issues with my wife. I'm trying really hard not to sink back into the deep apathy I felt last week. I'm focusing on letting go and waiting for things to resolve how they will. I feel like I've done too much of that in my life and I'm sick of it. I'm a bit of a control freak and have come a LONG way toward not letting that be a stumbling block in mine or anyone else's life. That doesn't mean that when I have absolutely no control, when there's absolutely nothing I can do to change or expedite things I don't struggle badly.
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Old 10-06-2010, 06:56 PM
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Yes, I too was the raving lunatic in the house and my AH did not effect the kids it was me very much same as Thumper. We are separated 8 months now and I have gotten my sanity back.

I do not concern myself with how AH will change, I only look for how I can change. This has made life so much more peaceful for me and my kids. I have asked my higher power to help my AH and to help me focus on what I need to do for me.
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