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Old 04-08-2011, 06:30 AM
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Struggling

RAH and I had a "couples counseling" session yesterday.

I'm irked at how he was spouting crap to her. It was mostly a check-in session. Where am I, where is RAH. Where do I feel he needs to be, etc.

I don't know if I'm just in total shutdown now or what, but I just kept saying "I need to figure out my crap and I need to figure out if the person he is ... if that person is someone I want to be with."

I don't want him to temporarily change for me only for us to have to repeat this same pattern in six months or a year or whatever. I don't have the energy for it.

It's almost like he's two different people. I think the most frustrating thing is him hiding everything. I go to use the computer, and I go to the history so I can find a website, and he's cleared out the history. Or he's doing this volunteer opportunity thing, and he told me he didn't want to do it anymore because he "wasn't feeling appreciated" (welcome to my universe buddy!). He told his therapist something completely different about why he wasn't doing it anymore. I called him out on it and she stated to him "you volunteer so you can feel good about yourself ... so you can pay back your community for the drunk driving, etc." Yeah, not sure he was buying that.

He also apparently has told his therapist that he has been doing everything he should (going to meetings, talking with a sponsor, etc.). She asked if that was true and I said no. 90 meetings in 90 days does not mean 4-5 meetings a week. And he doesn't have a sponsor so him saying that he's been talking to him is quite funny.

He asked if things had been different since he got home. In some ways, sure. He doesn't go into total shutdown mode if I bring up some emotion, which is nice. On the other hand, he's still selfish and manipulative. He's not working, yet finds it OK to spend money on stuff, like driving 20 miles each way to a volunteer opportunity and then spending money at Wendy's when a) there's so much stuff for him to take care of at home and b) for the love of all that is holy there is food at home. But go ahead, spend more money. Or the sentence that came out of his mouth about 2-3 times last night ... "all you do is get mad at me when I share ... so is that going to make me want to share more or less?" 1) We're not even talking, so I don't understand how you think I always get mad, 2) Always is a pretty strong word, and c) The whole statement is such an exaggeration.

I know all of this petty, but it makes me annoyed and I just need to get it off my chest.

The therapist told him he needed to not worry about me but to worry about himself. Hoping he gets it. He didn't talk to me for the rest of the night and would physically move himself into a different room if I entered a room, so that's fun.

He wasn't in bed at 3a when I woke up randomly. He did clean out the basement room downstairs. At this point, I don't know if he's trying to martyr himself or he realized he really is being a dick. Guess I'll find out when I get home if he's talking to me or not.

I know I know ... can't control it, can't cure it, etc. But these are the things I'm thinking about when I'm trying to figure out if I want to be with my husband or not.

I just kind of want to be angry right now. Is that OK?
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:09 AM
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It's perfectly ok! You have a lot to be angry about and denying that emotion isn't going to help you.

In your shoes, I'd continue on as usual, focusing on myself and my own recovery.
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:16 AM
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Sounds like he is still acting like King Baby.

Not feeling appreciated for doing volunteer work is pretty adolescent.

I once volunteered at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving, and had a plate of food thrown at me by a homeless man. It sucked, but, hey, I am bigger person than that, a saner person, and I had a family and a lot to be grateful for. He was in a soup kitchen, for Gods sake.

Also, when he says that you are angry when he shares...this might be something to look at.

My RAH hs had moments of true clarity and recovery. Not as fast as I would want, or as fast as I think I would progress...but he has them. I started to notice, when he pointed out that it seemed like nothing he would do would impress me. ..He might be right. I would be rolling my eyes right away, not really listening, because I had conditioned myself to be defensive of his quacking.

This is a tricky, slippery slope, because they do =quack so darn much!

But, I am finding, just as with my six year old, if I really, calmly acknowledge the good stuff, without overdoing it...with a genuine gratitude and appreciation for it, I get more of that.
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:23 AM
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what worked for me is to realize that even if he wasn't here, i'd still have to get up every day, go to work, clean the house, empty the trash, do laundry, etc. ans so i just plugged along doing what i needed to do and tried hard to look to him for things he just wasn't able, capable or WILLING to give. i was not always successful! but the less i expected from him, the less opportunity i had for disappointment.
I agree and disagree with this. When I first started Al-anon 6 years ago, I realized that I had high expectations from my AH and was really nagging and controlling trying to get him to meet them. So, I made more realistic expectations (ie. lower the bar so to speak), and sure... everything was calmer and more peaceful around the house. And ya know what? AH used THAT against me... said, "See! She's the reason things weren't going well! Doesn't have a damn thing to do with my drinking!"

So, I took it on the chin... for years. I was the placating wife. No nagging, no yelling. Just an attitude of gratitude and went on my merry way. Well, at least until the proverbial $hit starting hitting the fan again. Then I gradually slipped back into my ugly tendencies...

and Viola! Here we are again! He's pointing to me as the problem, and again, saying it has nothing to do with drinking.


So, I take issue with the whole "making more realistic expectations" concept. To me, that screams, "Lower the bar and accept the unacceptable!" For me - "Hell no!" I am a good person, worthy of being treated with respect, and having a partner who works with me, not against. And for me, the marriage I have isn't giving me what I want/need... so the proper thing is to end it.

Sorry for that little diatribe... but I guess that post hit a raw nerve for me. Something I should probably sit with and think about.
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:40 AM
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He asked if things had been different since he got home. In some ways, sure. He doesn't go into total shutdown mode if I bring up some emotion, which is nice. On the other hand, he's still selfish and manipulative. He's not working, yet finds it OK to spend money on stuff, like driving 20 miles each way to a volunteer opportunity and then spending money at Wendy's when a) there's so much stuff for him to take care of at home and b) for the love of all that is holy there is food at home. But go ahead, spend more money. Or the sentence that came out of his mouth about 2-3 times last night ... "all you do is get mad at me when I share ... so is that going to make me want to share more or less?" 1) We're not even talking, so I don't understand how you think I always get mad, 2) Always is a pretty strong word, and c) The whole statement is such an exaggeration.
Just wanted to tell you that NONE of what you are writing about is petty. And boy do I get the spending money and wanting credit for doing what is expected and all the other narcissistic tendencies of A's (or of narcissists).

One thing that jumped out at me and I didn't know if it'd make you feel better or not to hear this (sometimes when I hear that others have similar experiences as me I feel less alone and can take it less personally) is this:

Or the sentence that came out of his mouth about 2-3 times last night ... "all you do is get mad at me when I share ... so is that going to make me want to share more or less?"

My AH says the same thing. What they want is to be able to do whatever they want with no consequences/responsibilities/obligations (that the rest of the world live by). My H has justified his lying and deceit sooooo many times (to himself and out loud to me but I don't take it anymore) by saying this exact phrase. Exact. Here's what I have figured out: he apparently thinks that "sharing" (aka being honest) things means that he should have no limits placed on what he wants/what he does and if there are limits (due to budget, time etc... other family needs) then it is about HIM and it is an affront to his personal freedom. A's just don't get the concept of not being able to have what you want when you want it 100% of the time. For all that my AH acts like a martyr he doesn't have the 1st clue about what it means to sacrifice or weigh out wants vs needs. To him, every desire is a need.

I am so sorry you are living with this. It sounds like your MC is on to him and won't accept his crap and that's a plus for you. Hang in there and do what you need to do for yourself...
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:50 AM
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Thanks.

Yeah, he kept saying last night "but I shared that I had anxiety earlier ... but I shared that I was nervous about job searching last night."

Great. You had anxiety because you had too much coffee (which is exactly what the sentence was "I'm anxious." "You OK?" "Too much coffee."). I sure as hell didn't hear you say you were nervous about job searching. All I heard you say was "I guess I'm going to have put on a collared shirt" ... sorry I didn't give you the pat on the back for that. You said you'd get a job in October. Deal with it.

I wish I could talk to the counselor (also his individual counselor) and get her thoughts on stuff, but I'm not sure she'd be honest with me about everything either. She seems to play both sides a little bit which makes me uncomfortable.
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:50 AM
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Or the sentence that came out of his mouth about 2-3 times last night ... "all you do is get mad at me when I share ... so is that going to make me want to share more or less?"


Oye! I meant to comment on that too!!! AH gave me the silent treatment for 4 weeks! And then, when I finally got him to talk this past Sunday night - he went full on postal to me! Took my inventory and shredded me! Ack. It hurt, and I got mad, sad, etc. His response? "See and that's why I DON'T talk! You just get mad at me!"

Well, no... you don't talk because you just want to avoid and deny that anything is wrong. Because if you actually admitted something was wrong - OMG, you might actually have to admit you're part of the problem... and if YOU are part of the problem... OMG, you might actually have to do something about it!!!!!!!!

For me, the talking is good. Gotta get things out. Gotta know where the other person stands. Even if it hurts to hear it, at least I know.... and then I can make an informed decision on how to move forward. No talking = nothing changes.

(Boy oh boy, I'm a ball of nerves this morning, eh? )
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:01 AM
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Well, no... you don't talk because you just want to avoid and deny that anything is wrong. Because if you actually admitted something was wrong - OMG, you might actually have to admit you're part of the problem... and if YOU are part of the problem... OMG, you might actually have to do something about it!!!!!!!!
Wow- exactly what goes on in my house. To a t.

For me, the talking is good. Gotta get things out. Gotta know where the other person stands. Even if it hurts to hear it, at least I know.... and then I can make an informed decision on how to move forward. No talking = nothing changes.
Yup, this is exactly, verbatim what I think/say... But our A's know this and that's why they don't want to talk. They can lie to themselves much much easier if they don't hear anything other than their own lies in their head. They get nasty toward us when we say things that challenge their lies. Doesn't make the nastiness any easier to deal with when it happens but slowly I am finding myself able to remember this in the moment and not take the bait (sometimes!)
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by putmeontheair View Post
I wish I could talk to the counselor (also his individual counselor) and get her thoughts on stuff, but I'm not sure she'd be honest with me about everything either. She seems to play both sides a little bit which makes me uncomfortable.
I wanted that to. I wanted sooo badly to get into AH's head. I wanted to know, "What the HELL is he thinking?" I tried talking to his sister, his family, his friends... digging around trying to see what he was telling them.

Know what it did? Screw ME up. Next time I do that will somebody please...



Going to other people isn't going to give you the answers to your questions. The answers are within YOU. Focus on you, and your recovery... and more will be revealed.
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:24 AM
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I can relate to all of these posts, I have gone round and round on this stuff until I was blue in the face and frustrated as hell.

Here's what I know today... true recovery takes a long time. And a lot of work. I quit counseling with him because at a few months into AA, he's just not even close to be "there" yet. We still aren't speaking the same language. He is still super angry and in denial to a lot of his own choices. We could have stuck it out but I didn't feel it was a good use of time and money right now. Maybe in another year or so.

So I have planned to stay separated indefinitely...give this some more time...see what happens...knowing that I can move forward with my life without his recovery being a noose around my neck.

I can also focus now on my recovery and side step his anger and blamestorming (most of the time; sometimes it catches me off guard). I realized I do not need his input to make informed decisions for myself. He didn't ask my input about his drinking.

Anger is normal - let it propel you into action in your own life. It'd be a shame to waste that energy on something non-productive.
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Old 04-08-2011, 09:09 AM
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Tuffgirl -- did you end up physically separating from him or are you still in the same geographic location?
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Old 04-08-2011, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by putmeontheair View Post

I wish I could talk to the counselor (also his individual counselor) and get her thoughts on stuff, but I'm not sure she'd be honest with me about everything either. She seems to play both sides a little bit which makes me uncomfortable.
How about you find your own counselor?
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Old 04-08-2011, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by anvilhead View Post
what worked for me is to realize that even if he wasn't here, i'd still have to get up every day, go to work, clean the house, empty the trash, do laundry, etc. ans so i just plugged along doing what i needed to do and tried hard to look to him for things he just wasn't able, capable or WILLING to give. i was not always successful! but the less i expected from him, the less opportunity i had for disappointment.
This only works so far.

XABF did not help with anything around the house. He wouldn't do laundry, he wouldn't vacuum, he wouldn't dust, he wouldn't make the bed... He used to cook, in the very beginning, but stopped doing that after a week. He would occasionally do dishes, but the whole time he'd be yelling at me about how I take too long so he has to do "women's work" and when they were done they still had chunks of food all over them and I'd have to redo them. But heaven forbid I use the dishwasher, that wasn't allowed.

What he would do is decide to hang more things on the wall (and I had to hold the hammer, and his chair, and keep his pants from falling down), or rearrange the DVD's for the third time this week (and then complain because he'd get completely out of breath doing that - lung disorders and alcohol don't mix), or sit at the dining room table handing me things and telling me me where to put them, or just sit there reading the paper while I did everything.

My life was one chore after the other. I had no expectations of things he would do, because he didn't do anything. I actually wished he'd do less, because all his "doing" involved much more work for me than it did for him. I worked all day, I came home and did chores, he'd yell at me that I wasn't going to bed at the same time as him, and I wouldn't take a shower for a week because I couldn't squeeze that in between all the other things he demanded I had to do.

So having no expectations really can go too far the other way. I didn't expect him to do anything, I did completely everything, and it was a rare night when I didn't contemplate jumping off the balcony of my third floor apartment.

Zero expectations stinks.
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Old 04-08-2011, 09:28 AM
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Thumper -- have one and am working with her weekly. Also attending Al-Anon.
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Old 04-08-2011, 09:43 AM
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Great Thread!

Though my H is still drinking (moderating...ha) I also struggle with this. When I'm angry/frustrated/worried/frightened, I second guess myself, trying to figure out whether I'm preventing his recovery (because I'm minimizing consequences by pretending everything is fine). In the end, I find myself tiptoeing around anyway, because I just don't have the energy for a fight.

But then I read "nothing changes, if nothing changes" and I don't know what the heck to do. Outside of work on me.
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