Blogs


Notices

Anger/Recovery

Old 11-27-2010, 07:21 PM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Midwest
Posts: 26
Anger/Recovery

My husband is a spending addict. This is something I have finally accepted, in the last couple of weeks. He's started attending Debtor's Anon meetings, handed over the family finances to me, given me his debit card. He's trying to recover - at least I think so. Of course, there is a huge, huge part of me that doesn't trust him.

I have read that to help him through his recovery, I have to be supportive. Okay, fine. But how do I do that when I'm still so, so angry at him? I don't want him to touch me, don't want him to tell me his problems, don't want to hear if he's had a rough day. I want him to be sorry, and show that he's sorry. I want him to acknowledge that he screwed up big time, and that he knows I'm PO'd, and that he has a lot of ground to make up. (He says the words, but it's going to take a lot more than words to convince me.)

How do I reconcile those two things? I know he needs support, but when do I get to have my feelings count? Because of his debting, there is no $$ for private counseling. His DA group only has 4 members (including him), and there's no spouse or family meetings, like Al Anon. I have a very poor support system - only child of two alcoholics. I feel like I'm suffocating, just stuffing all these feelings down.
SarahG is offline  
Old 11-27-2010, 07:33 PM
  # 2 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: PA
Posts: 985
Hi sarahg,

welcome to SR... sounds like you are having a challenging time... given you are an adult child of alcoholics, you could start getting support from alanon.

I would suggest reading info here at the top of the forums called "stickies".

It may be that your family influences are stronger than you realize and a support group is important part of learning how you got here and how to get yourself to a better place.
Kassie2 is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Kassie2 For This Useful Post:
barb dwyer (11-28-2010), Live (11-28-2010)
Old 11-27-2010, 07:38 PM
  # 3 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Midwest
Posts: 26
There's no Al Anon meeting available to me.
SarahG is offline  
Old 11-27-2010, 07:45 PM
  # 4 (permalink)  
peaceful seabird
 
Pelican's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: floating
Posts: 4,822
It's okay not to trust him.
It's okay not to support him.
It's okay to be angry.

These are your feelings.
They are valid.
You are important and your feelings matter.

I am sorry that you are not getting face to face support in your community.

We are here to support you as you try to put your life back on track.

Can I ask you a question?

Are you just angry at him, or are you angry at you?

I thought I was only angry at my Alcoholic. After I put down my magnifying glass that kept me focused on him and his behaviors, I picked up my mirror and looked at what I had been accepting in my life. I looked and saw time after time I put up with unacceptable behavior. Then I really started to get mad, and I was mad at me!

I had to stew in my anger for some time. I still get upset when I remember certain events. There is a difference now, however.

The difference in my life now is forgiveness. I had to forgive my A for not being what I wanted him to be. AND I had to forgive myself for not taking better care of ME.

Please let us know how we can help you through this time of frustration.
Pelican is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Pelican For This Useful Post:
coffeedrinker (11-28-2010), kudzujean (12-08-2010), Learn2Live (11-30-2010)
Old 11-27-2010, 07:51 PM
  # 5 (permalink)  
peaceful seabird
 
Pelican's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: floating
Posts: 4,822
I have been sooooo angry at my A that I saw red. It was dangerous.

I learned about expressing my anger in healthy ways that did not harm others.

Some of the steps that have helped me were:

punching pillows

screaming while punching a pillow

cursing

and my favorite is to get in my car and turn up the stereo. I then can scream and curse and punch the passenger seat.

(I really don't like the hitting - makes my hand sore after one pound of the fist and I think "well now your hand hurts too")

Scream!
Pelican is offline  
Old 11-27-2010, 07:54 PM
  # 6 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Midwest
Posts: 26
Originally Posted by Pelican View Post
Are you just angry at him, or are you angry at you?
Both. I'm angry at him for obvious reasons, and angry at me because I have had my head in the sand so long, I was a sucker to marry him in the first place, I'm stuck because I'm pregnant with small children (and I feel trapped - can't get a job because I'm pregnant, don't want the kids in daycare). I'm angry at myself because I let myself be vulnerable - emotionally, financially. I've put up with a lot of crap, and let myself be a doormat. I have prided myself on the boundaries I set with my parents years ago, but here I am in a similar situation of my own making. (Yes, I know: didn't cause it, can't control it, can't cure it. But I walked right into it! )

Epiphany: perhaps I want him to be "groveling" because it will help me feel some measure of self-worth? That if he acts like I'm valuable to him, I'll feel valuable? I'm going to have to think on that.
SarahG is offline  
The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to SarahG For This Useful Post:
bookwyrm (11-28-2010), freefalling (11-30-2010), Learn2Live (11-30-2010), Pelican (11-27-2010), wicked (11-28-2010)
Old 11-27-2010, 08:00 PM
  # 7 (permalink)  
peaceful seabird
 
Pelican's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: floating
Posts: 4,822
Originally Posted by SarahG View Post
, and angry at me because I have had my head in the sand so long, .
Wow, that is exactly what I said when I woke up to the financial mess we were in!

Please be kind to yourself. You can forgive yourself and take small steps to recover. You are already taking positive steps to help yourself and your family.

Three A's of recovery:
Awareness
Acceptance
Action

You are Aware.
You found Acceptance
You are taking Action

Good on YOU!
Pelican is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Pelican For This Useful Post:
freefalling (11-30-2010)
Old 11-27-2010, 08:05 PM
  # 8 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Midwest
Posts: 26
Originally Posted by Rayn3dr0p View Post
I'm not sure if the same tools apply with partners of alcoholics and spending addicts, but doesn't supportive mean detaching with love? Can't you support him by taking care of yourself and allowing him to pursue his own recovery? I don't see why you necessarily need to support him by having conversations that fill you with so much rage. If he wants to talk about his problems and his bad days, he can do so in his group sessions. He has a luxury that you cannot afford for yourself, so it seems only fair for you to detach with love.
He has said many times in the past that he felt he could not come to me with his problems. That his spending, and the secrecy about that spending, was because he felt he could not ask for help, could not depend on others. I have been there for him, and been there for him, and been there for him. I have listened as much as I can (we've been together 20 years), and still it seems to not be enough for him to feel that he can come to me. I know that his insecurity with talking to me comes from HIM, not me, but I don't want to make it worse by saying, "You know, I have enough on my plate right now. Go talk to your sponsor." To me, it seems cold-hearted. Like now that he's finally trying to turn around, I'm pulling a fast one. "Yeah, I know that I said you could always talk to me. But that was before you started getting your life together. Now that you're in recovery and no longer debting/spending, I don't want to hear about your bad day at work, or your temptation to spend that you avoided." Especially that last bit - I have told him that though the spending is the obvious problem, the lying to me about it is what hurts the most, and what I will not stand anymore. How can I tell him that he has to be honest with me about his spending, if I don't want to hear what's going on with him?

Did any of that make sense?
SarahG is offline  
Old 11-27-2010, 08:24 PM
  # 9 (permalink)  
peaceful seabird
 
Pelican's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: floating
Posts: 4,822
Originally Posted by SarahG View Post
He has said many times in the past that he felt he could not come to me with his problems. That his spending, and the secrecy about that spending, was because he felt he could not ask for help, could not depend on others.

Did any of that make sense?
Yes, it made perfect sense! It is just like living with active alcoholism.

He said: blame shift, blame shift, denial, denial.

His spending addiction was his responsibility. He made these choices as an adult.
Pelican is offline  
Old 11-27-2010, 08:44 PM
  # 10 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Midwest
Posts: 26
I'm 100% in agreement with both of you: the spending is HIS responsibility. It's HIS problem, HIS action. I am not responsible. I totally get that he's trying to shift the blame to me ("I felt I could not come to you with my problems") - I'm on board with what both of you are saying.

The crux of the problem is just that I feel this disparity - he can talk to me about what's going on with him (because I'm supposed to be supportive, to help his recovery - again, I know I'm not the fulcrum upon which success or failure rests, that's him, but he IS my husband, and I don't want to sabotage him) but I can't express how angry and hurt I am, because that's not supportive. I don't feel like that's a "requirement" that he's putting on me, but that's one that I'm reading over & over & over, when I read about recovery for spending addicts. That the best thing a spouse can do is be supportive.

How can I be supportive of him (and his recovery), and still express that I'm hurt and angry?
SarahG is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to SarahG For This Useful Post:
Pelican (11-28-2010)
Old 11-28-2010, 05:28 AM
  # 11 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Midwest
Posts: 26
Yes, I think you're on to the solution. That in order for this to be a healthy recovery (and a healthy marriage!) I need to be able to express what I'm feeling. It shouldn't be a one-way street. Thanks for listening!
SarahG is offline  
Old 11-28-2010, 03:57 PM
  # 12 (permalink)  
Member
 
Bernadette's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Boston
Posts: 2,812
Hi SarahG,
Welcome

This sentence stuck out for me:

I have prided myself on the boundaries I set with my parents years ago, but here I am in a similar situation of my own making.

I grew up w/ an A father and a codependent mom and it took me the better part of my late teens and twenties to come to terms with that damage and get myself healthy.

Well, I thought I was healthy, but I ended up marrying an irresponsibiliholic! Money, appointments, promises, jobs, the kids, nothing was ever dealt with responsibly by this man. Thought I was being so smart because he didn't drink! But I perfectly recreated the dynamic in my parent's marriage, the one I learned as a child. I found myself playing a role I thought I had given up years before....and what I discovered was I hadn't really freed myself from the bad habits of mind I learned in childhood.

More Al-Anon, more therapy, and a divorce got me & the kids to a healthier place.

It has taken hard work and discipline to change my mind, but the difference now is unmistakable - I just don't make the same mistakes and the dynamic of that marriage is just not the one that turns me on anymore!

Believe me, I know how hard it is to find cheap therapy and to find the time when you have babies in your life. But it is a lifesaver - in fact it made me a much better parent and I feel I have made strides in breaking the passing down of that unhealthy relationship dynamic to my kids. I found a mental health center that had a sliding scale, and at one point I went to therapy through the local university - they paired me up with a grad student, overseen by a Psychologist.... I know none of it is ideal - but your recovery is your responsibililty - just like hubby's is his. And all that rage is a good starting off point for some self-reflection with a therapist.

Glad you're here - good luck-
Peace-
B
Bernadette is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Bernadette For This Useful Post:
Learn2Live (11-30-2010)
Old 11-28-2010, 04:33 PM
  # 13 (permalink)  
I'm no angel!
 
dollydo's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: tampa, fl
Posts: 6,728
Your situation is a difficult one at best. It is very difficult to dig yourself out of debt. It requires a total committment to not spending. Easier said than done.

Being supportive in a relationship is a two way street, hence, it is not all about your being supportive of him, he too, needs to be supportive of you. You seem to be over analyzing his issues.

Your first priorty is getting your finances back on track, for your children, to keep a roof over their head.

As for your hubby, this is his problem to resolve, he has an addiction that is hurting the entire family. You are showing your support by trying to keep the family finances in check. If you cannot express your feelings and concerns to him there are more issues than just spending.
dollydo is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to dollydo For This Useful Post:
SarahG (11-28-2010)
Old 11-28-2010, 05:19 PM
  # 14 (permalink)  
Member
 
wicked's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Waterford MI
Posts: 4,202
Blog Entries: 1
Epiphany: perhaps I want him to be "groveling" because it will help me feel some measure of self-worth? That if he acts like I'm valuable to him, I'll feel valuable? I'm going to have to think on that.
I want to tell you how much this helped me tonight SarahG.
Oh, I have some thinking to do on this subject too.

I believe you are on the right track to taking care of yourself Sarah.
It is tough to be furious and supportive at the same time.
This thread has been great!

Beth
wicked is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to wicked For This Useful Post:
freefalling (11-30-2010), Learn2Live (11-30-2010), SarahG (11-28-2010)
Old 11-28-2010, 05:30 PM
  # 15 (permalink)  
Member
 
coffeedrinker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: minneapolis, mn
Posts: 2,762
oh, sarah, it's really tough.

i think anger this big takes a long time. if you're at all like me, you wanna know exactly what to do right now, and then "it" will all go away. it just doesn't work like that though.

can you do 12-step work yourself? the steps are terrific, and it's so easy to find.

you see when you read through them, that making ammends come quite a ways down the road. of course you want repentance and remorse, and maybe a little groveling. but if he's going in order, he is not at the ammend-making place yet. it doesn't mean he can, and shouldn't, be sorry to you, and i'm sure he is.

i think what might be helpful, is to try to not force anything (for yourself) and with loving patience, healing will begin to take place.
coffeedrinker is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to coffeedrinker For This Useful Post:
SarahG (11-28-2010)
Old 11-28-2010, 06:32 PM
  # 16 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Midwest
Posts: 26
Originally Posted by coffeedrinker View Post

can you do 12-step work yourself? the steps are terrific, and it's so easy to find.

you see when you read through them, that making ammends come quite a ways down the road. of course you want repentance and remorse, and maybe a little groveling. but if he's going in order, he is not at the ammend-making place yet. it doesn't mean he can, and shouldn't, be sorry to you, and i'm sure he is.

i think what might be helpful, is to try to not force anything (for yourself) and with loving patience, healing will begin to take place.
I've been working through the 12 steps from the perspective of an ACOA (if you read waaaay up there, on top of being the spouse of a spending addict, I'm also the daughter of two alcoholics, neither of whom ever embraced recovery.) The lightbulb moment of realizing my husband's addiction was when I started asking myself where my anger was coming from. I'm 36 years old - moved out of my parents house YEARS ago, have boundaries with them that work for me, accepted long ago that I can't control/cure/change them, don't expect anything from them but a headache. I just puzzled and puzzled about WHY I was so angry.

In the past 20 years, my husband has taken money from employers (and has felony convictions to prove it), spent waaaaay beyond our means, charged mountains of debt, and I've always gotten us back on track. Our credit is excellent because I am wicked about paying bills - but a couple of weeks ago, as I sat down to draw up a new budget, I wanted to get a real handle on our debt, get some solid numbers to work with. I had a general idea, but I wanted specific numbers. (Husband had been taking care of the bills since June, when I went back to school for a second degree to get us out of another mess.) I found a credit card (that I thought he had closed) with $4k of additional debt on it. Looking at the transactions - they were stupid things: video games, coffee from Starbucks, etc. Four thousand dollars worth of nickel and dime transactions. That's when things came to a head. Big argument, me saying ugly things, him being defensive and telling me he spends when he's under pressure, to make himself feel better - and the lightbulb above my head came on.

stress + shopping = feeling better, but with guilt because he hides it
Aha! Folks, we have an addiction!

And that's when I got it - I'm not mad at my parents anymore. That anger has burned itself out. Water under the bridge. They annoy me, but don't really make me mad. My husband, on the other hand - THAT was the source of my anger. It took that big argument and the realization of his addiction to make me see it. All the numbers add up - the shifting of blame, the constant subterfuge about money (vague answers about any direct question about money), the justification of unnecessary purchases, the inability to look forward and see the effect of his spending - not only financial, but the emotional effect it has on me and the kids. All of it pointed to a screaming neon sign that said, 'ADDICT!'

So now I'm trying to find my way through all this, and keep coming back to the thought that the people in my life who are supposed to be the biggest support to me, the people who are supposed to love me unconditionally, love the focus of their addictions more than they will ever, ever love me. That's a hard pill to swallow. I mean, my husband and I were high school sweethearts. He was the first person I "let in" on my life - that my parents were raging drunks. He was the knight in shining armor who saved me from that household. He really understood how awful it was - he saw it for himself. He's always, always been in my corner when it comes to dealing with my parents. And now, to have that person turn out to be "One of Them" - that is just devastating.

I "know" that the addiction doesn't have anything to do with me, that his behavior is not a reflection on me or any failure on my part, but knowing it in my head and knowing it in mySELF are worlds apart right now. I know that my anger stems from the huge hurt I'm feeling. I just have to pick myself up, dust off, and get back in the ring. I'm just so incredibly tired of not having anyone to lean on - there is no one to trust. That. Is. Hard. And talking to friends about it? Holy cow - I've just now started talking about my parents being alcoholics. Think about how secretive people are about money - even more so than alcoholism. I don't know that I WANT to let anyone IRL in on this one. Being an ACOA and the wife of an addict doesn't exactly make me the kind of person that gushes out my problems to people. I'm usually pretty buttoned-up. I'm definitely the 'perfectionist' kind of ACOA. That's a tough habit to break - and not one I'm ready to tackle yet.

Well, that was a novel!
SarahG is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to SarahG For This Useful Post:
HealingWillCome (11-28-2010), Learn2Live (11-30-2010), wicked (11-28-2010)
Old 11-28-2010, 07:03 PM
  # 17 (permalink)  
Member
 
wicked's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Waterford MI
Posts: 4,202
Blog Entries: 1
I'm just so incredibly tired of not having anyone to lean on - there is no one to trust. That. Is. Hard.
Oh My God. Yes, I have really really really gotten tired, Sarah. So tired, I have been weepy this weekend and I, like you ( me - an ACOA, recovering alcoholic and still trying to get this codependent thing worked on), would rather chew glass than let anyone know my problems. Asking for help seems out of the question.

I don't know that this is helpful to you at all, but your realizations have really made me take a look at what is going on with me. I was counting on someone to be the one to lean on, the first time I really trusted someone (I think in my adult life and I am 51) and he has disappeared, no response to emails.

Trying to separate what I "know" from my feelings is a struggle, because I am tired.
Another perfectionist here Sarah, and still, I think since I was such a wonderful person (to this guy according to him) that I am owed something?
Yes, my expectations grew and it has left me sad and tired.

dammit.
wicked is offline  
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to wicked For This Useful Post:
freefalling (11-30-2010), HealingWillCome (11-28-2010), Learn2Live (11-30-2010), SarahG (11-28-2010)
Old 11-28-2010, 07:18 PM
  # 18 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Midwest
Posts: 26
Originally Posted by wicked View Post

Trying to separate what I "know" from my feelings is a struggle, because I am tired.
Another perfectionist here Sarah, and still, I think since I was such a wonderful person (to this guy according to him) that I am owed something?
Yes, my expectations grew and it has left me sad and tired.
Ah, yes. The expectations. It's so hard for me to let those go. I try not to get my hopes up about so many things, because I feel like my life is just a constant battle of "waiting for the other shoe to drop." And then I get my hopes up anyway, and then after the big letdown, feel stupid because I let myself be "suckered" again. That's a hard balance to find - being hopeful and optimistic against waiting for the hurt to come. I don't want to be some jaded old woman (that's my mother), but I don't want to be vulnerable, either. I don't want to constantly go through life so guarded that I'm scrutinizing the intentions of everyone around me, but I just can't keep putting myself out there to be a doormat, either.

And I haven't really gotten to the place of separating what I "know" from what I feel. Right now they are one in the same. I can talk a good game as an ACOA, but walking the walk is proving challenging. I hope that I can do that sometime in the future. Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one who feels like this - sometimes I feel like the only sane person in an asylum.
SarahG is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to SarahG For This Useful Post:
HealingWillCome (11-28-2010), Learn2Live (11-30-2010), wicked (11-28-2010)
Old 11-28-2010, 07:27 PM
  # 19 (permalink)  
Member
 
LaTeeDa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: behind the viewfinder...
Posts: 6,278
I always wanted someone to lean on, someone I could trust, someone to take care of me. So, I spent my life taking care of others, being trustworthy, letting them lean on me. In my mind, I was earning "my turn." I figured if I did all those things for someone else, they would eventually do them for me. You know, tit for tat and all that.

What I never realized is that I was building up expectations the whole time. That I felt entitled to some care in return for "all I'd done for them." It made me insincere and needy. Needing someone to be there for me actually worked against me. It set me up for disappointment and heartache. Not surprisingly, this need went all the way back to needing my parents to be there for me--and they weren't. You may believe that this has nothing to do with being ACOA, but I believe it has a lot more to do with it than you think.

The difference between needing and preferring has been a huge thing for me. I trust myself. I take care of myself. I don't need anyone to lean on.

I prefer to have someone in my life whom I can trust. Someone who picks up the pieces when I drop them. Someone who takes care of me when I need taking care of. I return those things because I want to, not because I am compiling some credits to be redeemed later. If the things I prefer aren't forthcoming in a relationship, I have the choice to accept what is, or walk away. Neither is devastating anymore, because I have changed what I thought were needs into preferences.

Maybe this sounds like simple semantics, but the words we use when talking to ourselves really make a difference.

L
LaTeeDa is offline  
The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to LaTeeDa For This Useful Post:
bookwyrm (11-29-2010), freefalling (11-30-2010), HealingWillCome (11-28-2010), johnnymau (11-28-2010), Learn2Live (11-30-2010), SarahG (11-28-2010), wicked (11-28-2010)
Old 11-28-2010, 07:31 PM
  # 20 (permalink)  
Member
 
wicked's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Waterford MI
Posts: 4,202
Blog Entries: 1
And then I get my hopes up anyway, and then after the big letdown, feel stupid because I let myself be "suckered" again. That's a hard balance to find - being hopeful and optimistic against waiting for the hurt to come.
I have a major depressive disorder (being treated successfully, but I need to talk to the doctor) but I am the most optimistic depressive ever! I can find good things in my life.
Yeah, I can talk the talk too. I am doing it now. LOL
The balance seems impossible now.
I am in the middle of a big letdown, and man, it sucks. Really sucks.
Feel foolish right now.

Beth
wicked is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to wicked For This Useful Post:
freefalling (11-30-2010), HealingWillCome (11-28-2010), Learn2Live (11-30-2010)

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 11:45 AM.