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Trust question- advice needed.

Old 04-09-2011, 10:04 AM
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Trust question- advice needed.

My AH has been asking me a lot lately what he can do to earn back my trust. What do I say?

I've told him that consistent actions that match his words over time will demonstrate that what he says can be trusted.

He doesn't like this much.

I get a lot of "If you're not going to accept what I say as truth there's nothing I can do about that" AND "If you're never going to trust me again what's the point". Even have gotten "I've started to care less about being honest since it seems you don't acknowledge any progress I make (he thinks that "lying less than before" is progress).

He asks me for specific things he can do to earn my trust and when I've given detailed specifics in the past it just becomes fodder to tell me I am controlling.

I guess I am wondering what the "best" al anon ish answer is to give an A who claims to be working on recovery (I'm not really seeing it) when asked "what can I do to earn your trust back"?

He doesn't seem to comprehend that it took him 10 yrs to destroy the trust I gave him and that it will take more than a few weeks to repair that.

There's lots of quackery that I know how to respond to-- this is one I get tripped up by everytime...

Thoughts?
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Old 04-09-2011, 10:10 AM
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Tell him to ask his sponsor for suggestions

It sounds like a smokescreen to me. Has he used the "Can we not just draw a line in the sand and start afresh?" line yet? I was asked the same and I answered "I don't know. I just know that I don't trust you. Be trustworthy is the only answer I can give." Surely a grown-up can figure that out?
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Old 04-09-2011, 10:14 AM
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Be trustworthy is the only answer I can give." Surely a grown-up can figure that out?
I'd always assumed so but I have begun to really doubt that he has the same moral code I do (and that most humans do). He has an exception that explains/justifies every lie/every wrongdoing so that it's never what it seems (in his mind at least).

I've wasted years of my life thinking if I just explained the concept of honesty and why it's the foundation of marriage, that he'd "get it" and figure out how to be trustworthy. But he still hasn't.

Thanks for the suggestion of telling him to ask his sponsor. If he had one that'd be a great place for him to start.
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Old 04-09-2011, 10:21 AM
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Maybe him having a sponsor should be a boundary. Having a sponsor means that he is actively working a program of recovery, not just not drinking. Trust is earned over time. No one can immediately trust someone, especially someone who has betrayed our trust in the past. He's going to have to accept that and you do not have to twist yourself into a pretzel to try and make him understand it.
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Old 04-09-2011, 10:22 AM
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I used to use the sponsor line a lot with my ex precisely because he didn't have one. Hey, I never said I was a grown up all the time.

Ah, fall in love with someone and then try to turn them into someone else syndrome. Yeah, got the t-shirt.
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Old 04-09-2011, 10:24 AM
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Anvil! I just pulled up a post of yours about potential to put on here, but decided it was OT. I'm gonna find a way to use it today, though.

I agree with what you say. It's all a bit square peg, round hole at the moment.
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Old 04-09-2011, 10:45 AM
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You know what I just realized ....

My H continues to TELL me how much he's working the program but all I see is that he's not at base camp (love the expression anvil). When I state that (or simply don't support his claims of how hard he's working) he tells me I am not seeing all his work and I've been believing it.

I've been letting AH define my reality for me instead of ME trusting MY gut that has told me despite what he is saying, that he is in no way invested in his "R".

I guess I've been feeling like in order for what I feel and see to be real, it has to be confirmed and agreed upon by my AH. Of course that is NOT going to happen. Duh. Why didn't I get that until now.

As for the sponsor boundary. I actually tried that a while back, he said he had one and would tell me he was calling him when he was really calling his brother.

How do I "measure" what he tells me about recovery? Some things you can't "see" so all I can do is blindly believe OR ?????
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Old 04-09-2011, 10:54 AM
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If it were me, I wouldn't discuss his "recovery" with him. That's HIS job and if he is truly working it, you will see the results without him having to tell you anything.

There is something I've been thinking about regarding your situation but wasn't sure how to put it without sounding critical. I guess I'll just spit it out and hope you take it in the spirit it is given. It seems to me like you may have physically separated from your AH, but not much else has changed. You still talk to him regularly, he still comes over whenever he wants, stays as long as he wants, says and does whatever he wants while there, and pretty much just continues to be his same old self, but just doesn't sleep there at night. You still allow him to upset you and you still worry about him and the whole point of a separation is to allow you to focus on yourself and your children.

It just appears to me that you still have way too much involvement with him and that keeps you confused. What can you do to detach from his actions? Have you started al-anon meetings yet? I think you would learn a lot about setting healthy boundaries and how to maintain your own serenity regardless of what you AH says or does.
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Old 04-09-2011, 10:57 AM
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Wow, now THAT's what I call a lightbulb!

You can't measure it, you know when you meet someone in recovery. You do now - think about your al-anon group, or about posters on here. You know it when you hear/read it, right?

Is his recovery enough for you, do you think?
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Old 04-09-2011, 11:18 AM
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Time. Actions. That's what trust is about. His words are meaningless now. Only time and actions can replace all the quacking.

And I do like the sponsor idea, but then again...its you forcing him. He is a grown up, he should figure this out himself. He shouldn't need to ask you these questions - he can google 'how to earn back a womans trust' and find lots of information at his fingertips.

It's a manipulation - because if you give him a set of tasks and he does them - he's got you cornered. If you kindly and gently put the responsibility ball back in his court, he is left to either pick it up and move forward, or not.

and here's the kicker with time - you may have a different window then he does. I've been coming to that realization...I am on a different life path here and it may be that in the end, timing never does work out for us. But that's ok. Then it wasn't meant to be anyway, ya know?! Trust your intuition on this one. Only you know what works for you.
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Old 04-09-2011, 11:21 AM
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I thought I'd mentioned this before but maybe I didn't or it was lost in another thread...

- I am attending al anon regularly
- AH is coming by regularly bc the T our young D's see said that as much as possible he should be around to see them daily (and I won't leave him alone with them bc of his history of drinking when with them)
- I apologize if it seems I am more concerned with him than with me-- I guess I am struggling to know what to chalk up to alcoholism, wondering what I may be over-reacting to, and trying to figure out the best way for me to interact with him for ME.
- I've tried to find a middle ground since with young kids it's really hard to say no contact; he is not getting the same reaction from me that he has for years and he is pushing every button he can. Rather than react to him, I have come here to get it out and it has been useful to learn that the behaviors I used to take personally, are actually very typical A behaviors.

My question about trust is not something I have read about or heard talked about at al anon-- so, I just wondered what everyone's take was about trust.
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Old 04-09-2011, 11:23 AM
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you know when you meet someone in recovery.
I actually don't know-- I don't know what it looks like in real life. My al anon group (there are 2 in my town and the other nearest one is 45 miles away and not an option) is largely beginners so there's a lot of everyone trying to figure it out at the same time.

I guess that's why I am asking what it looks like of people here bc I don't know at all...
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Old 04-09-2011, 11:25 AM
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sheesh. This is tough.

King Baby, though, and this impatience on his part is part of his recovery to overcome.
My RAH is doing the same, and I told him just the other day, you will probably be on the right track when you stop worrying about WHAT being trustworthy is gonna get you, and WHEN.

He kinda shut up. I figure he MUST be going to some meetings somewhere, because he seemed to really get that his growth and desire to move forward has to really not be about what its going to gain him.
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Old 04-09-2011, 11:29 AM
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I bet you do know, but you don't trust yourself yet. As Tuffgirl said, time is important. For you as well. In the next few months, you will begin to notice who is recovering in your al-anon group and who isn't. Can you fit in a few open AA meetings as well.

I can't really describe what someone in recovery seems like. Maybe a cup of tea will stimulate my brain cells. I think it's a lot to do with humility, at it's core. ETA And when his focus is on him, his drinking, his resentments, his amends, his responsibilities etc.
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Old 04-09-2011, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post
You know what I just realized ....

My H continues to TELL me how much he's working the program but all I see is that he's not at base camp (love the expression anvil). When I state that (or simply don't support his claims of how hard he's working) he tells me I am not seeing all his work and I've been believing it.

I've been letting AH define my reality for me instead of ME trusting MY gut that has told me despite what he is saying, that he is in no way invested in his "R".

I guess I've been feeling like in order for what I feel and see to be real, it has to be confirmed and agreed upon by my AH. Of course that is NOT going to happen. Duh. Why didn't I get that until now.

As for the sponsor boundary. I actually tried that a while back, he said he had one and would tell me he was calling him when he was really calling his brother.

How do I "measure" what he tells me about recovery? Some things you can't "see" so all I can do is blindly believe OR ?????
My experience: you should be able to "see" it. You see it through his actions and his words - he will become more sensible, responsible, calm, serene. The long-time RA's I meet have a different energy about them. I have found a few that I would just like to hang out with all the time- they have good energy. And they "get" life. Conversations with them make sense and are logical.

It's been coming up on 5 months in AA for my RAH. I am just now seeing occasional glimmers of the program coming out in his actions. Oh yeah, he talks the program really, really well! But walking it? That seems to be the hardest part, and what takes the longest. So now, when he asks me questions like you are getting about our relationship, I just say "I'll think about it" or "I don't know". I just don't want to go down that road. It's pointless this early in recovery, for both of us.
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Old 04-09-2011, 02:58 PM
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WTBH...how long has your husband been sober? And is he attending AA or therapy?
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Old 04-09-2011, 03:06 PM
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I had this long thing typed out with my experience, strength, hope, and a little ole fashioned straight talk about this thread. And then I read your last post, about how someone can "measure" someone else's recovery, as to it being genuine. I erased it all (turns out most of it was for me anyways). And in short, here's my answer.

If you died tomorrow, do you think he would continue on his recovery? Would he leave your funeral and go to a meeting, or a bar?

Just something to think about.
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Old 04-09-2011, 03:29 PM
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yeah, sounds like b.s. and deflection. YOUR problem, right?

good advice here. i'll just add: listen to that ol' gut.
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Old 04-09-2011, 03:42 PM
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Trust is one of those issues I give lots of thought to and I've concluded that we can only trust ourselves. Having faith is maybe a better way to put it.

I have faith in people if they show they are really trying hard. I trust until I know otherwise. I put myself in the other person's shoes. Have I broken people's trust before? Probably. Did I set out to do it on purpose, not at all. I had every intention of living up to my end of the bargain but my own weaknesses took over.

When asked the same question 'how can I make you trust me?', my answer usually is: There isn't anything you can or can't do to make me trust you. That is my process to work through. I know the risk I take in putting my faith in you. All I can hope is that you choose to do the right thing and hope that you do.

I don't want someone avoid doing something that may hurt me because they are afraid of my wrath, I want them to do it because it is what they know they need to do.
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Old 04-09-2011, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by sillysquirrel View Post
WTBH...how long has your husband been sober? And is he attending AA or therapy?
I have no idea how long he's been sober. He claims a few weeks. I think he was drinking on Sunday but didn't bother to ask or to think much more about it since it just irks me when I do. Prior to a few weeks ago he'd been sober for a few weeks. He strings a few weeks together but since the fall hasn't been sober for longer than 4-6 weeks.

He says he goes to AA. Whether he does or not is another matter. He also goes to therapy (only know that bc I get statements from our insurance). He told me last week that his T has offered his opinion on me and my issues so that tells me he's probably not taking much of his T too seriously.

To LISTEN to my AH talk one would think he was the star pupil of AA. And to the rest of the world he can play the role well and get by talking the talk without walking the walk but not me.

I don't think he's doing a damn thing he says he is and I've stayed relatively silent about this-- lately he's gotten good and King Baby mad about the fact that I am not giving him "credit" for the progress he's made.

It's been helpful to read here from many of you about what "real" recovery looks like (ie: NOT talking about it incessantly and asking for praise for it and instead just doing it). My gut told me that was the case before reading this but it's almost like he pre-emptively has known I might think this and has gone on a mission to tell me (even when I am not the one talking to him at all about his recovery-- he seeks me out and then looks for a response and gets mad when he doesn't get one) that I am hindering his recovery by not being supportive. So... I've gotten caught up wondering if he's right.

Thanks for setting me straight everyone.

I've NEVER trusted my gut-- not as a kid, not now and clearly that's my issue. I'm dealing with it with my T, but it's going to take a while to change nearly 39 yrs worth of behavior! Seems I've spent my life surrounded by people who had their needs met by convincing me I'm crazy/not to trust my judgement. I couldn't control this as a kid and bc of that (and the fact I didn't even know that was what I thought) I married someone who has done the same thing (and I have let it happen).

Now that I am taking steps to trusting myself more and him less and trusting my gut, it seems AH's main focus is trying to convince me I'm nuts and suck me back into the status quo.
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