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how to manage today

Old 03-19-2011, 10:24 AM
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how to manage today

I need some thoughts and advice...

Last night, my AH was no-show for the younger three girls' birthday party (twins born on 17th, 2nd dd born on 18th). (He does not currently live in our home). I could not reach him. Worried. Didn't make sense. (Although of course it made perfect sense since he is actively drinking/using.) Felt like I was emotionally suspended in mid-air. I did not know what to do or think. I cleaned the house, shopped with the girls and did the library, wrapped the presents, hung the streamers, baked the cake and made the icing. Then ordered the pizza Daddy wasn't bringing over. Then said, "yeah, maybe so" when my oldest wonders where he is and supposes innocent things like maybe he has a flat tire or something.

I was scared to ask the cops to do a well being check on him in case he was just being mean or was wasted but alive; scared he would get angry with me. But the night before I had dreamed he was having seizures and in our 18 years together, I have seen him nearly die a few times. It was a possibility I could not get out of my head.

I was on the phone with a friend for a while (her mom was an alcoholic and got sober and stayed sober when she was about 16 or 17; she said it was like suddenly having her "mom back again"). Then by the time it was 11ish, I was texting with my brother (1 yr sobriety); he said I have nothing to lose by asking the police to do a well-check. Totally nerve wracking. I did it and got the kids to bed; it was just after 11 when I called the police. Regardless of how emotionally manipulative, cruel and passive-aggressive he is toward me, it doesn't make sense not to show up to celebrate the girls' birthday. That made me fear something was wrong.

It was hard to fall asleep but I finally did, only to be woken by my oldest (8) whimpering and crying. I asked her what was wrong. She answered very angrily and would not let me talk to her or help her in any way. I finally got out of her that she was very angry about Daddy. Then big heaving sobs came out. We talked about feelings, about anger... it took about an hour for her to calm down. She had a LOT of emotions pent up. Just kept sobbing.

Then the landline phone started ringing at 1 a.m. It was AH. He wasn't leaving voice mail. My heart started racing and thumping out of my chest. I did not pick up. He started ringing again. He did it three times, one right after another, then once on my cell phone, then again on the landline. I did not pick up. I was shaking from head to foot. I texted my brother and said I was scared, my brother said he was probably either intoxicated and was calling to hassle me about having the police check on him, or possibly in jail trying to make his one phone call, or maybe stuck at the hospital. I did not pick up; if I was his "one call" I was not going to volunteer. Let him call someone he has lied to, someone who thinks all is well with him. If he was calling to hassle me, I was definitely not picking up. I was already shaking and thought my heart was going to bounce out of my body and onto the floor. I could not get to sleep for a long, long time. Kept hearing noises and was scared he was going to show up. Felt around for the rolling pin at the head of my bed.

It's all so ridiculous. So after all of that, I call the police this morning and yeah they checked on AH and he was "fine". This could mean he was drunk but they can't haul him away for being drunk in his own home. This could mean he was perfectly sober and being extremely emotionally cruel to me AND the kids, and if he was sober, I'm sure he gave the cops a big lying earful about our situation. Obviously he was not in any physical danger, nor did the police observe or find anything drug-related (of course they may have just been standing at the door) to arrest him. I have to confess I am disappointed and now I am scared, I do not want to see him this weekend (he usually "visits" the kids on the weekend.) My daughter is angry with him. I feel like if he showed up, my daughter would act out because of her tremendous anger, and / or be ultra giddy with him, trying (pitifully) to win his heart and get a sense that he really does care, etc. I hate watching this play out from one weekend to the next as it is. I don't want him over here. I am tired of him coming over with his hands shaking, smelling like dryer sheets; it would seem he is either under the influence or just freshly off the influence of something whenever he is over here with the children. That creeps me out. But if he hasn't been physically intimidating or threatening, doesn't it seem like a protective order that prevents him from seeing any of us (kids included) is over the top? What does "no contact" mean? Is that through a protective order or just a mutual understanding between two people? What are my options? What would be my best course right now, for today (not talking eventualities concerning our relationship, just talking about his anger, post-police check; his "rights" that he talks about concerning seeing the kids, my feeling intimidated, what can I either say to him, say to the police, or put in place so that nothing escalates further, and that the children and I aren't emotionally yanked around (amazing how he can do this remotely!?))

I don't know, I feel like I can't do anything right and even calling last night not to rat on him but because I was telling my brother I was scared he was dead or had a seizure, seems to have backfired and only created more anger and contempt on his side. I doubt myself sometimes, but sober or not, there is nothing "normal" about him just not showing up for his own childrens' birthday party. And it is like the "Emporor's New Clothes" -- he has absolutely no capacity right now to look clearly at his own actions, to see how he is affecting his little girls, or me. The delusion is complete. He seems to get angrier with me precisely because he does not see anything odd, weird, inappropriate, sick, twisted, distorted about his dealings with his own family members.

At the moment I am considering that if I hear from him today and he is in any way intimidating, that should be enough for me to call and inquire about protective orders. I am really distressed and disappointed that last night's step on my part has done nothing but intensify his anger. It just didn't make sense to me that he would skip out on his daughters' birthday party.

I'm going to take the girls to the pet store and a craft store and maybe take a walk in the spring weather. Advice much appreciated; thanks for reading.

~emp919
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Old 03-19-2011, 10:43 AM
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Hi!
I can, in no way, speak to the legalities.

What I can say is that I can see you are very worked up.
First thing to do is put on your own oxygen mask. What I mean is, try to step back from yourself and see your anxiety. You wondered how he could cause so much emotional turmoil remotely. He ISN'T causing your emotions to rollercoaster.
You are.
He is the catalyst, to be sure. But the good news is YOU HAVE THE ABILITY to self soothe. So that is the first step.
Breathe.
Try to catch your racing thoughts and fears and let them go. Be in the moment.
Breathe.
Find your loving self parent and have her have a little talk with you, "You're okay. You are safe. The kids are safe. That's what is important."
When you catch yourself obsessing on him - if he's dead, if he's mad, if he's drunk, if he cares, try to remember THAT IS NOT YOUR JOB.
That's just extra stress you do not need.

You're okay. One step at a time.
Use this stressful situation as an opportunity to practice (1000 times a day, if necessary) to take a step back and breath. To calm yourself. To soothe yourself. To accept his wonky behavior and let it go.

All my love
peace
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Old 03-19-2011, 11:21 AM
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I understand you're scared and feeling panicky, but you are engaging in all kinds of "what-ifs" that may not even occur.

You have no idea why he was calling last night--he might have been feeling angry, or guilty for missing the birthdays.

You have no idea whether he will show up today, much less how he will behave or the kids will behave.

Breathing is excellent advice.

I suggest you talk to your lawyer about your options in terms of what kind of limits you can put on contact with the kids. You won't be able to get a domestic violence restraining order unless he has at least harassed you (depending on your State's definition of harassment), but you still might be able to get a civil order that will give you some peace and the kids some safety.

If you can't afford a lawyer, see if you qualify for legal aid or for some other kind of nonprofit services.

You will have a tough time barring him from time with the children without SOME kind of order in place.

Hugs, keep us posted on what happens.
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Old 03-20-2011, 10:13 AM
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thanks

Thanks for these replies. I do practice prayer and self-soothing throughout the day, but I need to really stay on top of that when he turns it up a notch.

I think it is understandable to feel worried about someone you've cared about for a long time. I think a lot of my fear-thinking comes from real "unthinkable" stuff, like so many others on this forum; the sort of things that you would never in a million years have conjured up in your head as a possible scenario playing out in front of your eyes. When the "unthinkable" happens time and again, it can leave a person a little skittish, though perhaps that response is in part attributable to the illusion of control and the false sense of security when you think you are controlling something outside yourself. Or maybe it is just a natural conditioning response. I don't know. Still working a lot of things out in my head.

Also thank you for the reminder that it is all his deal, there is nothing I can do or not do that will change what is not mine to change to begin with. As with the expression, "bad news will find you in the jungle" (i.e. you don't need to go hunting it down), I guess I need to just learn to let go and allow, and remember that I cannot determine the outcome for anyone's life but my own, as much as I would yearn to secure something good for someone I care about. Turns out he was calling in the night because he was livid; sent me a text message that was intimidating, said the police "know all the details now", as though he told them something derogatory.

I sent him a text that was calm and detached and very brief, which was a big accomplishment for me, relatively speaking. Then I got lost in a parking lot, trying to find my way back onto the street! His intimidation is really disconcerting to me.

Thanks again for those who posted. I'm focusing on staying clear and calm today.

~emp919
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Old 03-20-2011, 10:43 AM
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LOL, yeah, now the police know "ALL the details". Careful, there are probably "wanted" posters with your picture on them going up all over town.

I wasn't trying to be dismissive of your "skittishness"--I TOTALLY understand, as does everyone else here. It IS natural, but just because it is natural doesn't mean it helps.

I still suggest getting some legal advice re the limitation on contact. You can start, though, by limiting your own contact to that which is absolutely necessary concerning the children.
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Old 03-20-2011, 10:58 AM
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Yes on all points...! thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and I will be seeking out some advice on contact issues...

It's really so surreal to find the person you thought you knew and loved has become, through his anger, blame, abuse and alcoholism, a complete stranger, unrecognizable in every respect but the physical (although even that is shifting with substance abuse)... and who seems completely unable to recognize you for who you have been to him, unable to recognize what you have/had together, what you've built together, what hangs in the balance now. It brings up a full sweep of emotions. It's crushing.

I hope he gave them a flattering shot of me for the posters. In the meantime, I will be donning my Groucho Marx glasses-nose-mustache disguise before heading to the grocery store. Just in case.
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Old 03-20-2011, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by emp919 View Post
I hope he gave them a flattering shot of me for the posters. In the meantime, I will be donning my Groucho Marx glasses-nose-mustache disguise before heading to the grocery store. Just in case.
Attagirl.

Hey, a sense of humor is ESSENTIAL to survival, IMO. There is plenty of crazy stuff they do, and we do, and having a laugh now and then is very healing.
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Old 03-20-2011, 11:19 AM
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Thanks for putting it into humorous perspective for me! My recovering brother did that as well when I texted him all upset about AH's intimidation attempt. This forum is helping so much; I'm appreciative that it is here. I'm taking baby steps but hoping to learn to walk the [Groucho] walk.

~emp919
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Old 03-20-2011, 02:38 PM
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Sometimes all we have left is the ability to find the humor in the ridiculousness of the disease. You guys made me laugh, too. Thanks!

Remember, you make decisions with the best information on hand, and with the best of intentions. His response is not your problem.
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