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I'm new here, struggling to understand

Old 12-05-2010, 03:08 PM
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I'm new here, struggling to understand

I'm new here... please advise me if I'm in the wrong place.
I have been dating a Recovering Alcoholic for 2.5 years. During that time I found she had a severe inability to face confrontation of any kind. Rather than deal with a problem she would deny, deflect, lie over and over... but not deal with the issue. She'd had an affair with her married boss, which despite "breaking it off" when we met, she insisted on flirting, teasing and leading him on at work.
I caught this behavior several times during our relationship but never caught her in a physical act. It destroyed my trust in her. I'd confront her, she'd apologize, make excuses, lie, and promise it wouldn't happen again. I'd give her another chance but my trust was repetedly betrayed.(I began spying on her email etc to get the truth.)
Over the last several months I struggled to understand her behavior, give he another chance, etc. But I was moody, angry, cold... she'd lied too often.
She too became distant and I got the feeling she was just giving up.
She has "cut and run" (as her AA sponsor called it) and refuses to talk with me. I'm sure she has left... again, she doesn't want to confront this. Apparently this is how she always ends a relationship... running away and refusing to talk.
I've read alot online about Addictive Personalities... it seems like she was replacing her alcohol addiction with needing attention from men (I saw this on several levels with old boyfriends.)
Has anyone dealt with anything like this? I need advice... if nothing more than to help me move on. But I do still love her and I'm looking for answers.
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Old 12-05-2010, 03:55 PM
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Hi Solo and welcome to SR.

I hope you find the companionship and wisdom here that you seek.

We try to support each other here,
share our pain, who know from experience
what others are feeling.

I haven't any quick fix answers, but wanted to make sure you feel welcome.


Welcome!
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Old 12-05-2010, 06:09 PM
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Welcome to SR!

During the 2.5 years you were dating, did you attend Alanon meetings? Alanon is a 12 step support system for friends and family of alcoholics, even if the alcoholic is no longer drinking.

We are here to support you too.


I came here looking for answers to fix my alcoholic. I came here looking for reasons for certain behaviors. I came looking for common symptoms and guaranteed solutions.

What I found here, and at my Alanon meetings, was a better solution. A solution that lies within me. I needed to shift my focus from the alcoholic to myself.

Have you considered spending time looking within for answers?

What are you looking for in a relationship?
Is honesty important to you?
Why have you spent 2.5 years in a relationship with someone who does not treat you with honesty, openness and mutual respect?
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Old 12-05-2010, 08:58 PM
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Thank You for the reply, Pelican.
I went to AA meetings with her to try and understand AA's roll in her life. In hindsight I should have gone to Alanon once these problems surfaced.
You ask important questions, and I agree I have to look inside myself.
When we started to date I stressed that truth was VERY important to me. As we fell in love I asked her never to lie to me. I also stressed that if we were being intimate and exclusive I didn't want past boyfriends "in the wings", remnants of old relationships emerging from the shadows, etc. I explained I'd been burned by that in the past and couldn't tolerate it. We agreed leaving ex-lovers in the past was important to both of us.
Ironically she lied from the very beginning and kept her married man "on the hook".
Why did I continue to date her?
She was divorcing a sociopathic husband when I met her, had a 3yr old daughter... and I guess I was trying to be the White Knight. She was sexually abused as a young girl. I suppose I wanted to be the best guy she ever met. I understood she had alot to deal with from her past and I thought I could help.
In the process I guess I lost perspective (love is blind?). She had alot of qualities I looked for in a mate all my life. Wonderful qualities. But I'd never dealt with anyone who could be so together in some aspects, yet have so many problems in others. She was very adept at deflecting blame, denying, and willing to lie repeatedly. Anything except admit to a problem and dealing with it. I suppose I wanted to believe she could change if I just gave her a chance. She goes to a psychologist. In hindsight I suspect she lies to him as well.
I've been trying to look inside myself for answers and not dwell on her and her problems. (It seems I've been dwelling on her behavior for a long time.) I agree that the answers have to come from within me as to why I held on, why I tolerated lies when trust is so very important to me. I appreciate your input and would welcome any input with regard to resources for helping me look inside myself for the answers. Thanks.
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Old 12-06-2010, 05:01 AM
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Thank you for sharing more of your story, Solo.

I am a fixer/rescue-er. I have a strong urge to swoop in and attempt to "save the day". I am able to expend all my energy trying to rescue others from heartache and negative outcomes while putting my personal needs aside. I thought that was one of my best qualities!

Then I read a book.
Codependent No More by Melody Beattie.
I have read and re-read that book many times over the past years.

I am codependent.
I allow other's behaviors to affect me and I sacrifice my needs in an effort to control other peoples behaviors.
I wish it were easy to put my "rescue cape" in the closet and leave it there, but I continue to try it on hoping that this time will be different.

Alanon meetings, SR, and self-improvement books have been helpful in putting me back in control of my own life. I have also had the good counsel of a trusted friend who works in counseling.

Let us know how we can assist you in your recovery!
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Old 12-06-2010, 06:21 AM
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Solo: my ex was a male version of your GF (ex).
He stopped drinking in 2008, but wasn't working any program. I was with him for 5 yrs and it took a few years to see he was also addicted to female attention.
I finally left because I caught him cheating. He also swore on his kids heads he would never lie or cheat and do to me what my ex's did to me, but he did to it to me, but was even worse than the other ex's.
We even went to couples therapy and he told the therapist I needed to stop this mistrust because he wasn't cheating nor would he ever and that my mistrust was making him want to leave me <---- this is called gaslighting. A CRUEL form of mental abuse!

Solo, in cases like this, I've learned, this is deeper than an addiction, this is a deep and serious personality disorder. The addiction is just the mask to their mental disorders.
Whether her abuse/conduct was caused by past abuse is really not your problem and you are not in ANY way obligated to help her with it.
She needs to step up to the plate and find help.
Many people in this world suffered horrible things from their past, and not all of them are liars, cheaters and addicts.

Getting yourself to an Al Anon meeting to learn to focus on you and to learn to detach is your safest route.
There is no happy outcome to your situation unless you both get help.
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:05 AM
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Thank you all for your continued replies and advice. It's helping me alot to read your input... and makes me feel less isolated and alone in this. I'm very thankful to have found this site and all of you.
I reached out to her once in an email about a week ago... wanting to talk.. saying her silence is like a void. She responded with an email saying she'd think about my words and reply... but has not. I still have this desire to help her... but I know (and your words have reinforced) that she has to help herself. In the past she has always "cut and run" when relationships faultered. I doubt she'll ever address any of this... even for closure. I can't make her honestly look at herself or her behavior.
I'm searching within myself, trying to understand why I tolerated her behavior, why I still feel a need to help her. I'm struggling to be objective.
I'm abit confused about "co-dependency"... where is the line between the self sacrifices a person makes for someone they deeply love, struggling to help... and being "co-dependent".
Also... is Alonon an option even if I'm not in the relationship anymore? Do people go even when the relationship with an addict is in the past?
Thank you all your continued input. I feel horribly alone and isolated and this forum is helping alot.
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:37 AM
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Hi Solo and Welcome to SR.

I wanted to chime in to tell you that Al-Anon continues to help me though I am no longer married to my alcoholic. I have no laid eyes on him since May, and I plan on keeping it that way. However, I realize that codependency lead me to engage in destructive relationships for most of my adult life, and I feel the need to address that. So I continue to go to Al-Anon, to post and read here on SR, and I go to individual counselling as well.

For me, finding Al-Anon was like finding the key to myself. I felt like I had within me an unresolved dilemma that was affecting every aspect of my life: how I perceived myself, how I related to others, how I saw my "future".

I continue to learn how to listen to myself and how to care for myself before I sacrifice for someone else. What's more, I have a young child now, so I'm forced to consider how my actions will affect her. I'm constantly thinking about the type of behaviour I'm modelling for my daughter, and I think it's helped me realize that she needs to see a strong, fulfilled mother, who has self-respect and the ability to say "no" when the need arises. I hope she is able to avoid the traps I fell into over and over in my adulthood. Then again, what happens isn't in my hands. I've also learned to give it up to my Higher Power and accept that what's meant to happen will happen for a reason, even if it's not clear right away. I strive everyday to learn from my experience and those of others.

I hope you keep coming back here and posting/reading as much as you need.
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:52 AM
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Dude. Dude. Dude...

...As somebody who has been in a relationship with an alcoholic woman for several years, I can tell you the best thing that ever happenned to you was this woman leaving you. No matter what it feels like, you lucked out.

However, the trick now is to not replace her with another woman like her. Trying to understand an alcoholic by going to an AA meeting is not how you do that. Trying to understand yourself and why you choose women like that, and still love and stay with them despite the things they do and she did, is what you need to do next. You are not Prince Charming, she is not a princess, and you can't save her. You are a dude just like me, and she is an alcoholic just like my wife. You can't "romance" your way around alcoholism on their part, or codependancy on our parts. Love does not mean s**t in this context.

How do you do that? By going to meetings that are for you, not her. Those are Al-Anon meetings and you can find one here if you are in the United States. At least six different meetings before deciding if it is for you:

How to find a meeting in the US/Canada/Puerto Rico

Be smarter than me. Save yourself.

Take what you want and leave the rest.

Cyranoak

Originally Posted by soloquest2 View Post
Thank You for the reply, Pelican.
I went to AA meetings with her to try and understand AA's roll in her life. In hindsight I should have gone to Alanon once these problems surfaced.
You ask important questions, and I agree I have to look inside myself.
When we started to date I stressed that truth was VERY important to me. As we fell in love I asked her never to lie to me. I also stressed that if we were being intimate and exclusive I didn't want past boyfriends "in the wings", remnants of old relationships emerging from the shadows, etc. I explained I'd been burned by that in the past and couldn't tolerate it. We agreed leaving ex-lovers in the past was important to both of us.
Ironically she lied from the very beginning and kept her married man "on the hook".
Why did I continue to date her?
She was divorcing a sociopathic husband when I met her, had a 3yr old daughter... and I guess I was trying to be the White Knight. She was sexually abused as a young girl. I suppose I wanted to be the best guy she ever met. I understood she had alot to deal with from her past and I thought I could help.
In the process I guess I lost perspective (love is blind?). She had alot of qualities I looked for in a mate all my life. Wonderful qualities. But I'd never dealt with anyone who could be so together in some aspects, yet have so many problems in others. She was very adept at deflecting blame, denying, and willing to lie repeatedly. Anything except admit to a problem and dealing with it. I suppose I wanted to believe she could change if I just gave her a chance. She goes to a psychologist. In hindsight I suspect she lies to him as well.
I've been trying to look inside myself for answers and not dwell on her and her problems. (It seems I've been dwelling on her behavior for a long time.) I agree that the answers have to come from within me as to why I held on, why I tolerated lies when trust is so very important to me. I appreciate your input and would welcome any input with regard to resources for helping me look inside myself for the answers. Thanks.
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:57 AM
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Al-Anon is more important than ever for you...

...especially because you are currently single. Buy the fire extinguisher before the next fire, not during or after it.

Al-Anon is the best thing that ever happenned to me in my adult life. I will always go regarless of my relationship status. I'm happier because I do.

And, for the love of Christ, quit contacting her! Good God Man! Really?!? Why the he** do you need closure? It's not about her, it's about you! You are responsible for you, SHE is responsible for her. Let her go, let it go, and focus on you!

You're killing me my friend.

Take what you want and leave the rest.

Cyranoak





Originally Posted by soloquest2 View Post
Thank you all for your continued replies and advice. It's helping me alot to read your input... and makes me feel less isolated and alone in this. I'm very thankful to have found this site and all of you.
I reached out to her once in an email about a week ago... wanting to talk.. saying her silence is like a void. She responded with an email saying she'd think about my words and reply... but has not. I still have this desire to help her... but I know (and your words have reinforced) that she has to help herself. In the past she has always "cut and run" when relationships faultered. I doubt she'll ever address any of this... even for closure. I can't make her honestly look at herself or her behavior.
I'm searching within myself, trying to understand why I tolerated her behavior, why I still feel a need to help her. I'm struggling to be objective.
I'm abit confused about "co-dependency"... where is the line between the self sacrifices a person makes for someone they deeply love, struggling to help... and being "co-dependent".
Also... is Alonon an option even if I'm not in the relationship anymore? Do people go even when the relationship with an addict is in the past?
Thank you all your continued input. I feel horribly alone and isolated and this forum is helping alot.
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Old 12-06-2010, 10:12 AM
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Again... thanks for the support all. (and the "slap upside the head, Cyranoak!)

In looking back over my posts one thing I didn't mention is that she has been in Recovery for 15 years without a relapse. (obviously she still has problems... I just want to give the whole, true picture to all of you.)

I located an Alanon meeting that meets on Monday nights nearby and I plan on going. Are the internet meetings effective... just as an option?
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Old 12-06-2010, 10:20 AM
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It's different for everybody...

..for me I need both. In-person meetings are critical to my happiness, and the internet is a way for me to stay in touch with recovery when a meeting isn't available (and to put my thoughts into writing).

Speaking only for myself, the only time I think it's best to do online only is when you have no other choice because of geography, health, or you've been to a ton of local meetings and just don't like them. It doesn't work for everybody, but it works for most if they let it.

All I know is I'm a happier person when I go to in-person meetings (of course, the abundance of needy women who are in pain in meetings makes me attracted to damn near all of them, and makes me want to save them-- I have to manage that all the time-- it's part of my challenge with codependancy).

Regards,

Cyranoak


Originally Posted by soloquest2 View Post
Again... thanks for the support all. (and the "slap upside the head, Cyranoak!)

In looking back over my posts one thing I didn't mention is that she has been in Recovery for 15 years without a relapse. (obviously she still has problems... I just want to give the whole, true picture to all of you.)

I located an Alanon meeting that meets on Monday nights nearby and I plan on going. Are the internet meetings effective... just as an option?
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:52 PM
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Solo, she's been 15 yrs sober or in actual recovery? As in steps and continuous AA meetings?
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Old 12-06-2010, 01:58 PM
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She has been going to AA for 15 years. Her father is also an alcoholic in AA for 28 years. her Ex (sociopathic) husband has been in AA for 20 years. So she was well versed in the program... but seems to be addicitve in other areas of her life.
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Old 12-07-2010, 12:47 PM
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I spoke (informally... not an appointment) with a psychologist at the local health dept and he suggested Alanon as well as a place to start.
He said that many Alanon members have had to deal with living with an "active" alcoholic, an in my case I never knew my gilrfriend when she drank, but he felt Alanon would still be beneficial.
I posted the info about my Ex girlfriend being sober for 15 years... going to AA etc. That having been said, and the fact I never actually dealt with her actively drinking, do you folks agree that Alanon will still be beneficial for me? (I assume it will)
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Old 12-07-2010, 01:55 PM
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Perhaps some of the RA"s from the other board can offer their insight on this here as well, but my opinon is, yes al anon will still help since she's still an addict that just doesn't drink.

Because she's not drank for 15 yrs, doesn't mean she's in recovery. It means she doesn't drink. Unless an addict is working their steps and staying active in recovery, they still have the traits.
Addiction is the symptom to an underlying mental issue, so unless she's dealt with that, then she's not really in recovery/
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Old 12-07-2010, 02:11 PM
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Hello there solo, and pleased to "meet" you

Originally Posted by soloquest2 View Post
.... She has been going to AA for 15 years. ....
The amount of years is completely irrelevant. What matters is the _quallity_ of her life. In AA meetings they say "Don't look at the _length_ of sobriety, look at the _depth_" The counting of years is only to show newcomers that it is possible to live without booze, nothing more.

Originally Posted by soloquest2 View Post
.... do you folks agree that Alanon will still be beneficial for me?....
yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes

Did I say "yes"?

Go. Today. And then go to six other meetings so you can compare. And if there are meetings of CODA in your area check them out too.

Originally Posted by soloquest2 View Post
.... I'm searching within myself, trying to understand why I tolerated her behavior, why I still feel a need to help her.....
Because you are an "alanoid" just like the rest of us. Welcome to the club

Originally Posted by soloquest2 View Post
.... where is the line between the self sacrifices a person makes for someone they deeply love, struggling to help... and being "co-dependent". ....
When you do something that they are perfectly capable of doing for themselves, it's "enabling / co-dependency". When you do something that they are physically incapable of doing for themselves, _and_ they ask you to do it, then it's "helping".

Originally Posted by soloquest2 View Post
.... s Alonon an option even if I'm not in the relationship anymore? Do people go even when the relationship with an addict is in the past?....
Yes. If you want to avoid getting hurt the same way again, then go.

Al-anon is the best thing I ever did. Not only did it answer all my questions ( which, by the way, were exactly the same questions you asked ) it also helped me correct a number of "character defects" that were messing with my serenity and my life. I still go. Like Cyranoak said, I still love the sorry little waifs that are so desperate for a prince charming to come rescue them. Al-anon helps me remember that they're only sorry little waifs in my imagination, in reality they're sick people who have no need of me or my good intentions. Every time I try to help one we _both_ get hurt.

It's like walking into a mine field thinking those little mounds of dirt are tasty mushrooms to collect for this evening's soup. Then I wonder why I keep getting emotionally "blown up".

Mike
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Old 12-07-2010, 03:07 PM
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I look at it this way, if the alcoholic were able to deal with issues head on, they wouldn't be escaping to the bottle when things got stressful. Far easier to do that than deal with your issues, problems and how they affect others.

Recovery means having to look in the mirror to face oneself. She can't face others until she faces herself.

I try not to be baffled by the behavior of the RABF. Usually there are personality disorder issues lurking about but it is a chicken and egg thing.

All I can do is not let his oddball characteristics get me down or suck me dry. In your case, maybe it is a blessing in disguise.
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Old 12-08-2010, 05:36 AM
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Thank You ALL again for your kind and helpful words. Your support is helping me so much!
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Old 12-11-2010, 09:20 PM
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I find it fascinating when others or myself say, "S/he did blah blah and I was crushed or devestated or I can never trust her again" I am just blown away.
Why?
I do this, too!!
When my AH lied Ithe first time I know of) and I caught him it did not OCCUR to me...
to walk away.
It did not OCCUR as a big concern and red flag.
It did not OCCUR that I even had the option to walk. Or that this was the beginning of more lies and denial and hiding. Or that I had a sane response to being treated awfully and that is to NOT PUT UP WITH IT.
None of it occured.
We spend years more doing the same things and feeling frustrated at their behavior.
It doesn't occur to us that that is unacceptable behavior and we don't have to take it. Or that it would do us good to walk. Or that we deserve more. Or that we don't have to wait and hope but can expect respect NOW.
I doesn't even occur.

I wish you all the best.
You deserve more and you can walk away from situations in which you are disrespected. Even if it means separating and the long process of divorce (as in my case)!

namaste
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