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Book suggestion for those dealing w an abusive alcoholic

Old 03-24-2011, 08:42 PM
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Well, I realized right away that he was dangerous to me. Maybe dangerous isn't the right word... obsessive? weird? concerned with arbitrary things? It was a weird time because it was during a lot of upheaval. But as soon as he "won" me he lost interest in me and only noticed me in the house if I threw a complete fit or if we had company. My NPD also had a lot of paranoia issues that played out in weird ways, like video taping his car every night? He was obsessed with his car because it was an extension of ego, still is. It's weird. I'm going to say weird a lot. He was great with our son when he was little though (small children are excellent narcissist supply) so I always said, as long as he's good to DS I should let it go, do what's best for DS, etc etc. We were together about a year and that time with him completely crushed my self-esteem. It was like I was invisible. The evil of living with NPDs is that you're always mind-f***ed, over and over until you can't trust yourself anymore.

I don't know, I was naive. We had an epic custody battle where he accused me of the craziest things, none of which were true. We had to present a guardian ad litem with character witnesses and I brought out every friend and family member I had, college transcripts (I was a great student), letters from employers, teachers, landlords, I would have brought the kitchen sink if they asked me. He accused me of everything he could think of but forgot to build up his own case, so all he showed up with was an unemployment check and an ex-roommate. Whoops! That was my fault too, of course, and he's never forgiven me for it, and continues to try to guess what crazy lies I told them that would keep him from winning custody.

The picture got clear when a few things happened. I got married and his animosity towards me increased tenfold (injury). He got married and the wife and I were friendly and he squashed her like a bug (injury, betrayal). They had a new baby -- and remember that small children are great supply -- and he began to treat our son like he once treated me, he only notices DS if he throws a fit or if they have company. My son said he feels "invisible" at his dad's. I started to do some research and got us into family therapy with some maneuvering. The therapist told him that some of the rules at his house were exploitative and abusive towards the children and he Flipped. Out. It was, as always, my fault. The next time I saw the therapist, she said she didn't have enough time with him to make a real diagnosis, but if someone put a gun to her head, NPD it was.

This was about a year ago. It has been 12 years since we split and he is as hateful towards me as he was then (which is a great indicator). I have my son in some counseling to mitigate the damage his dad has done, and the damage I did when I tried to manage it by ignoring it, and we talk about it relatively openly (without using psych terms) when things go wrong during his visitation time. Now that I think about it, I tell DS that he didn't cause it and can't cure it, so maybe I have more A-A in me than I thought!

I could keep going with the stories forever, I tell you. They're nuts, they're halfway hilarious, and they never end. It would be funny if it weren't soul-crushing to the people around him. I haven't even told you about the time he got a job with me and the incompetent a**es in HR let him keep it!
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Old 03-24-2011, 08:52 PM
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Good lord, more and more similarities show up. XAH had/has no problem going out of his way (sometimes literally 100s of miles out of his way) to help 'friends' that he'd met a couple times, but helping out with something at home (ours or his dad's even) was a huge imposition and my even asking earned me a weekend or weeks of silent, angry pouts.
Wow- are you married to my H?! Seriously-- he will drop everything-- his kids, me, any responsibilities where he doesn't get public credit to go do something for someone who he has fooled he is a saint-- not bc he wants to help but bc he LIVES and breathes for the praise... He actually has told me for years that my telling him I appreciate him is not sufficient-- he needs and deserves PRAISE and I do not give it to him. And do you know what? I took it seriously until recently and believed he was right and that I ought to be praising him profusely and should have been if I'd been a good wife.

SICK SICK SICK (me that is)
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Old 03-24-2011, 09:41 PM
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examples of tools that help? urgent help needed.

Originally Posted by Buffalo66 View Post
She also gives excellent step by step advice for protecting yourself, for extricating yourself from a Narcissistic attack or manipulation. ......to gain tools for extricating myself from the toxic dynamic.

I don't mean to hijack this thread, so I'm sorry in advance if that's what I'm doing, but can you or anyone on the thread give some examples? My AH is becoming increasingly verbally intimidating this week, I would like to know how to deal particularly with an emotionally/verbally abusive AH; I know there is a thread about that abusive men book; I've read it. My AH is trying to keep me in a state of fear; he does this by saying things concerning the kids. Because there are no physical threats or violence, various sources have told me I'm still in too much of a gray area to seek an order of protection. Things are escalating, though and it is making me nervous.

As a "for instance", I told him I was not comfortable with his being behind the wheel of the family car driving any of our children anywhere, because he is probably keeping a blood alcohol level above limit, and doing other drugs besides; his behavior is erratic (didn't say that part to him, only said I questioned his sobriety; he is not living with us), he used the vehicle aggressively on two occasions to demonstrate his anger toward me, while the kids were in the car. So more recently he told me that he has talked to the sheriff and police and they told him they will be happy to escort him into our home at any time, and happy to escort the kids into the car so he can drive away with them at any time. I went into a panic of course (not to his face) until I could talk with the social services unit of the police dept and confirm that the police would never promise this or do this for someone, particularly since there is no custody order or visitation stuff in place. We are not separated or divorced. I kicked him out mid-January after a major relapse and he has elected not to return home so he can keep using.

He seems intent on portraying a picture to others (including law enforcement) that I am "keeping him from seeing the children." When I responded to his email about the police escorts by saying I was aware he was trying to intimidate me, and that I'd already been advised on the matter he spoke of (driving with the children), he completely dismissed his intimidation and made it come across like I was keeping him from his children, which I never have. "I'm not intimidating you. I just wanna see my kids."

When he lived here, I felt like a psychological hostage of sorts; now that he is gone, I still feel like one. I feel like he believes he can just keep "this life" in a holding pattern while he uses, lies, etc and at the same time feels entitled to encroach upon it at his convenience and upon his will and against my own. Everyone keeps telling me I'm doing and saying the right things, and just to keep putting up boundaries that protect the well-being and safety of the children, and every time I do it, things escalate.

Anyone have any suggestions or tools on how to deal with the verbal intimidation? This isn't just an A blathering nonsense or quacking; he is trying to scare me. Unfortunately, it seems to be working. The utility man came to our door while I was nursing my youngest and so I stopped and came to the door and I was shaking for about five minutes after he had left; its the whole knock on the door thing. A part of my brain literally thought my AH had gotten the sheriff to come collect the kids!

Will definitely take a look at this recommended book; also want to read the "why do they do that" book too.

~emp919
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Old 03-24-2011, 10:16 PM
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so if not detach with love, then what?

Originally Posted by StarCat View Post
Like how "detaching with love" doesn't work with an abusive relationship. Trying to detach was something I had control of, and while I recognize that his reaction to it was wrong, and that whatever he did it wasn't my fault, I also began to recognize that certain things I couldn't allow myself to detach from, because his reaction would be so much worse for me in the long run.
StarCat, so what do you do if detaching with love makes things worse? That's where I'm at. My AH has been out of our home for two months, he does not want to live with us because he is using. In his absence, my mental health has slowly started to return (long way to go) and I got to a point about a month in, where I felt detachment for the first time... ever. And it helped me SO much when he would come over to see the kids. But it seems like it has **infuriated** him. I think it incenses him that I am not giving him any attention (negative or positive); that I was seeming unaffected by his very presence. And it **has** ramped things up quite a bit; he is getting nastier and nastier, making ridiculous attempts to intimidate me and belittle me, etc.

It seems like it requires a crazy amount of mental gymnastics just to deal with these people; like anything you learned about human relations from being on this planet for a few decades does not apply and you have to unlearn all the "normal" ways of interacting and replace them with being some sort of psychological samurai. It's exhausting.

~emp919
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Old 03-24-2011, 10:33 PM
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Thank you Buffalo. It sounds extremely interesting. I have added it to my Amazon "list" for my next order.

I appreciate that you shared this here. Anything that gives me more 'tools' I am willing to spend the money on and the time to read and put the suggestions into practice.

Love and hugs,
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Old 03-24-2011, 10:59 PM
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emp, may I suggest, to protect yourself and the children, that you at least do up "legal separation" papers, giving you legal custody of the kids? I say that because it kinda sounds like he's gearing up for something. I mean, is he also being manipulative and playing mind games with you, but it could lead to something more. And if you could set up visitation at a neutral location, that would probably help out too.

I'm a little sensitive about this stuff right now, a local news story is about a murder/suicide, the man was an alcoholic who was supposed to be in a halfway house a few hours away, wife did have a protection order out against him.
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Old 03-24-2011, 11:07 PM
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That is scary.

That's the thing, protection order doesn't always protect. It scares some off, but would only incense others. I will find out about legal custody; I worry he will contest everything, make everything difficult. Though in his case it is a toss-up. I feel like because of his power/control issues, he would wrestle and fight on the custody stuff but because of his addictions in full tilt and his growing ambivalence toward any amount of parental responsibility, the last thing he would actually want on his hands to "deal with" would be four crying children who are mad at him and asking where's mama.

Thanks for the advice; I will see what I can find out about custodial stuff since he is out of the home and I am their full-time parent anyway.

~emp919
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Old 03-24-2011, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Florence View Post
NPD is the evil of absolutely not caring about you, because you don't exist to a Narcissist unless they can use you. I used to pray that the babydaddy would develop an addiction or haul off an hit me so at least I'd have something to point to when I claimed he was abusive. I can't even begin to tell you the evil that I and my son continue to endure dealing with this man, and it's absolutely nothing in comparison to what I've dealt with with my AH.
This brought back haunting memories of my ex-husband. He never was officially diagnosed, but he fit the profile at about 90% He was a screamer and a rager, and God did I ever pray too that he would up and lose it and just hit me so I could have a solid reason to just LEAVE! He could have me feeling so worthless that I'd be curled up on the floor while he raged over top of me. I'd be chanting in my head, kick me, kick me kick me, just do it you S.O.B!

After going through that hell, dealing with alcoholism doesn't seem so bad, on the surface at least.
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Old 03-25-2011, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by emp919 View Post
StarCat, so what do you do if detaching with love makes things worse? That's where I'm at. My AH has been out of our home for two months, he does not want to live with us because he is using. In his absence, my mental health has slowly started to return (long way to go) and I got to a point about a month in, where I felt detachment for the first time... ever. And it helped me SO much when he would come over to see the kids. But it seems like it has **infuriated** him. I think it incenses him that I am not giving him any attention (negative or positive); that I was seeming unaffected by his very presence. And it **has** ramped things up quite a bit; he is getting nastier and nastier, making ridiculous attempts to intimidate me and belittle me, etc.

It seems like it requires a crazy amount of mental gymnastics just to deal with these people; like anything you learned about human relations from being on this planet for a few decades does not apply and you have to unlearn all the "normal" ways of interacting and replace them with being some sort of psychological samurai. It's exhausting.

~emp919
It is a crazy amount of gymnastics just to deal with them.
And the more distant they sense you're getting, the more they try to reel you in. They'll alter tactics trying to find something that will work, and unfortunately frequently that includes escalating the abuse as well.

Each person is different, so I can't provide a recipe for success, the most I can say is that you need to find a way to detach emotionally for your own mental health, without him feeling your true level of detachment.

I was fortunate in that XABF was in rehab when I was finally starting to figure things out on my own - he couldn't get to me, but he kept trying to control me over the phone - and I did change the locks (the apartment was in my name, his name was never on the lease, and his address was never legally changed).
I didn't have to try and juggle my fully-detached-self with his presence, since the one time I saw him during that was in rehab during visiting hours (and besides, he was too busy bragging about how I was his girlfriend to listen to a word I said, so he didn't notice I was distant, or that I grimaced after he kissed me).

Is there a way you can "act" like you're still doing what you used to always do, without slowing down your own recovery, or making him feel it's okay to move back in?

It's a tricky situation, unfortunately, and I wish there were an easy answer.
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Old 03-25-2011, 08:06 AM
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It is a crazy amount of gymnastics just to deal with them.
And the more distant they sense you're getting, the more they try to reel you in. They'll alter tactics trying to find something that will work, and unfortunately frequently that includes escalating the abuse as well.
I see it like this: When you were in that relationship you were tied together by a number of feelings and circumstances. You're trying to untie that rope. He is tugging the rope to see if you're still there, and as you don't tug back, he's yanking it harder and harder and harder to get your attention.

Emp919, what worked for me: Calling his bluff. The police probably won't protect him (they hear this crap all the time and it's usually crap), do not hesitate to get the police there to breathalyze him or otherwise get a feel for his state of mind before he drives off with your kids and get some of this stuff on record in case you need it later (it sounds like you might), and do whatever is necessary to NOT get yanked around on that rope if you can avoid it. He will see everything you do as an escalation, but try not to be intimidated.

My ex had me so traumatized after we finally split that I had to do some PTSD therapy afterward just to keep my footing whenever I dealt with him. There's no shame in needing it if you do. :ghug3
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Old 03-25-2011, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by emp919 View Post
**infuriated** ~emp919
well, remember this is still HIS problem not yours...and keep telling him that and yourself...remember he is not allowed to walk all over you IF YOU LET HIM...


Originally Posted by emp919 View Post
It seems like it requires a crazy amount of mental gymnastics just to deal with these people; like anything you learned about human relations from being on this planet for a few decades does not apply and you have to unlearn all the "normal" ways of interacting and replace them with being some sort of psychological samurai. It's exhausting.

~emp919
yes AL ANON helps in this....exhausting? yes...but breathe and say...i dont need to deal with this rite now...."this too shall pass" attutide...

does the hubby need to come to your home when seeing the kids? start maybe doing this in public...cuts down on all the behavours...(dunno...but still worth a try) i would say, do not welcome him into your home...YOU set boundaries and if he dont obey (like a bad little boy) he dont see the kids.... i think if this helps, you may see sunnier days ......just my 2cents...take it or leave it
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