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Am I Handling This Okay?

Old 04-16-2011, 05:40 AM
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Am I Handling This Okay?

AH is quacking A LOT this morning. He's not here now.

Here's what I'm wondering about...

This morning he got fixated (bc he was caught in a bold faced lie) on "what are you doing for your recovery?" and telling me "I have NO idea what you're doing for your own recovery and maybe you believe you're doing things differently but your words and actions don't match" (it hasn't been lost on me that he is using precisely what I've said to him about words vs actions and projecting that on to me).

My response is what I want feedback on: I told him I wasn't clear on how he was saying I was not focussed on my recovery when he's the one obsessing about what I am and am not doing. I left it at that. He told me that he's not going to be "held accountable" for his recovery if I have no accountability. I told him I wasn't holding him accountable for his recovery and that all I was holding him accountable for were the clearly laid out expectations if he was going to be at the house.

He claimed to forget what these were and I told him I needed a break and he should think about it and we could talk later. He told me I was controlling. I walked away.

My gut tells me that giving him a list that he is asking for outlining the things I am working on in my recovery is a BAD idea. If he were sane, not an A, not an a$$ etc... maybe this would be a good idea but all this seems like to me is a trap. Anything I list he will obsess about and tell me I am not doing.

What do you think?

Oh, he also told me this morning that he was going to start leaving his cell phone at work (tells me this out of the blue) and when I said, "okay- is there a reason for that?" he told me he didn't want me reading texts or listening to messages from his brother and friends. I told him that if he has nothing to hide/be ashamed of then he wouldn't need to be secretive. He asked me "well who am I supposed to talk to about you and how much stress you cause me?". I told him perhaps his sponsor (who I don't think he talks to if he even has one) or his T. He told me "I prefer to talk to X (bil name) bc he knows me and comforts me". Translation: Crazy bil tells AH it's right to resent me and that I am the cause of all his and their entire family's problems. I simply responded and said that was fine and he should do whatever he wants but that that mentality was not compatible with what I find acceptable in a marriage and I'd be making my own decisions about my life based on what works for me and he can continue to do the same.

Then I was told I was toxic and he left. Good riddance.

Oh, before he left I thanked him (and I was calm the whole time remarkably) for making my decision about moving to MA clear as day.

Last night he got back here trying to talk and seem nice and I knew it was a scam and asked to be left alone. Sure enough, this morning I find out he's been lying about a few things and when I "dared" to say something about it and the status quo was challenged, the a$$hole I know he is came shining through.

Perhaps my favorite line of the morning was "you expect me to be perfect- I am not a saint". I have informed him for years that the only one who expects him to be perfect is him but that for as long as he wants to convince himself that I expect that it will provide him with all the excuses he needs when he "falls off the wagon".

A BIG part of me hopes he goes out and drinks today bc that's a lot more predictable than this fake sobriety crap.

Provided something better doesn't come up in NH job wise, I am 100% decided I am going to MA.

Thank you lying, weasel, jerk AH. It's the best gift you've given me in a long time- just being your charming self helped me see clearly that putting one more second of thought into having you in my life is a colossal waste of time.
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Old 04-16-2011, 05:59 AM
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Sounds to me like you took the bait and engaged in another unproductive conversation about who should be doing what in your respective recoveries.

You both now have your respective resentments to nurse.

Whether you can see it or not, you ARE both doing the same thing, it seems to me. You're talking detachment, but you are still engaging.

Who cares where he leaves his cell phone, and why? How is it your business?
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Old 04-16-2011, 06:07 AM
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This is why I am asking. I guess when he came out of the blue this morning with "what are you doing for your recovery?" I should have ????? I really don't know.

I don't care where he leaves his cell phone... Did you read accurately what I wrote? He told me he was leaving it at work... I asked why bc I didn't see this as the trap it was-- I thought maybe he needed to tell me this for something legit... I didn't ask him about it- he told me. I know it's not my business & he knows it too and is, as you've all said, far more manipulative than my brain will ever be. Now that I'm not going to ask when he demonstrates he's being sneaky, he finds ways to tell me he's being sneaky and with the cell issue I did take the bait since I didn't see it that way.

It'd be great if there were a "big book" for how to deal with the bs that A's pull. Hopefully he'll go back to drinking- he's far more tolerable that way. And when he winds up in jail that'll solve both our problems.

I'm not actively trying to suck him in and derail him and it's hard enough trying to stop reacting to him period without having him make it his GOAL to suck me in.
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Old 04-16-2011, 06:09 AM
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Sounds to me like you took the bait and engaged in another unproductive conversation about who should be doing what in your respective recoveries.
I thought I left his recovery out of it? Where did I tell him what he should be doing? If I'm not seeing it I really do want someone to clear this up for me...

I guess I don't see holding him accountable for the boundaries I set for him being here as being the same as worrying about his recovery.

Sometimes I wish I were the A since there seems to be a wide berth for doing pretty much anything they want and calling it "early recovery". Must be nice. Maybe I'll come up with an excuse for my behavior and call it a "disease" too. If I'm doing something wrong by saying here's the boundary and I'm sticking to it then I guess I will be glad to keep doing something wrong. Far as I can tell this is precisely what my T has encouraged me to do. AH's adult tantrum isn't my responsibility.

I just wanted to know whether I ought to take his request of a list of what I am doing seriously? My guess was no but I really wasn't sure...
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Old 04-16-2011, 06:12 AM
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LexieCat is right, and I can only say that because I have been doing the exact same thing for months! I keep saying I have had it and I get sucked back in and engage him. My AH acts like his old self for a few days, makes lots of promises and plans, and then decides no one is giving him enough credit or something and says "screw it" and goes off on a bender. He is currently sleeping on friends' couches and I am sure he will call me in a couple of days when he exhausts his welcome and wants somewhere to sleep. He will call me sweet as can be and the second I say no he will turn on a dime and start cursing me out and telling everyone who will listen that I am an evil b*tch.

I did take a step though, I am putting the house on the market. I can tell this isn't going to improve with him. I am glad you are considering moving. Right now you are mad and determined but just be aware that once the anger wears off you will start to reconsider, especially if he's nice for a couple of days...
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Old 04-16-2011, 06:16 AM
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I agree with you though, there seems to be no right way to handle the AH because if I detach it seems to him that I am giving him approval and that he can do whatever he wants and I am not mad about it. Then he starts to get overly affectionate with me because since I am not yelling at him I must be okay. But if I am talking to him about his problems I am a bad guy. That is why I am starting to realize I just can't talk to him anymore at all and as soon as we can get the house sold and custody arrangements set up (I am praying he will get no unsupervised visits!) I will be going no contact. He is too mentally ill and no one can get through to him.
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Old 04-16-2011, 06:21 AM
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Anything short of "whatever you say" or "okay" and walking away is engaging in the insanity.

The only way to win is not to play.

What you are missing is that stating your rules and telling him he has to live by them is controlling him. He is rebelling.

Those boundaries are for YOU. Not for him. They are to tell YOU when you've had enough, not rules for him to follow.

You were making an accusation when you thanked him for making your decision easy for you. That was a crappy thing to say and if he said it to you, you would be seething.

The whole interaction is why we have been saying to get him out of your house. It is impossible for you to think CLEARLY about the decisions before you when he is around, pulling you into his madness.

Does this make sense?
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Old 04-16-2011, 06:25 AM
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It does sound like you are on his ride, more than he is on yours.
And really, he should, if he is in recovery, be discussing these options, ideas, and issues with his sponsor, and his group.

You are discussing these things with us, and with him.

he is trapping you into games, baiting and switching.

HOnestly, it does sound like leaving would be best. You could clear the haze, the girls could get some consistency...

I know it is easier said than done, but...Maybe he needs to be ALONE for awhile. If he falls off, and drinks, then its his. Will he blame your leaving? Probably!
If you stay and he falls off and drinks will he blame your controlling(boundary making)? Probably!

I am having codie feelings for you---I want you to get some peace, and if moving away gets that for you, maybe yes, its the best thing...

And remember this is coming from a person who is also still engaging with my RAH, however less day to day.
HE calls...He wants to come by (usually his offer to come by is when son is gone, or asleep!?)...

It just sounds like such a drain, when you, by all rights should be able to lessen your anxiety about losing your position at work by focusing on it, and taking action.

He is throwing sticks in your spokes, big time!

I am sending you strength to make a decision, and feel strong. EITHER WAY>
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Old 04-16-2011, 06:30 AM
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Glad to hear you've made a decision about the job. I am betting that a breather from this day to day stuff is just what you need.

Why would you give him lists of anything unless it's to do with the kids? Speaking of the kids, how would you get in touch with him in the case of an emergency if he's left his cell at work? Big deduction in Good Dad points for that.

Given that you've made your decision about the job move, is there any benefit in engaging with him beyond discussing the kids and the move? Everything else can be kept on the level of "Hmm" and "What a shame" as if you were making casual small talk with a store clerk.

Speaking of stores reminds me of this post http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...oundaries.html
It really helped me when I realised that I was trying to win every verbal exchange with my ex (or anyone else I got into a disagreement with). It was very wounding for me to feel beaten in an argument, when it was my need to win that was wounding me. That was a bit of an off topic ramble, but might help.
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Old 04-16-2011, 06:53 AM
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A really well tested member of Alanon and AA once said at a meeting..."if the alchohlic is drinking..when he/she opens their mouth to speak it is usually a lie.."
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Old 04-16-2011, 07:30 AM
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Bolina, that was not an off topic ramble, it was spot on.

The only way my ExABF could get into my head was if I let him. This was the easiest and quickest way, and he knew that: Start and Argument. And he got inside your head rather easily, pushing the right buttons, because he knows where they are (you might want to move those, btw) and got you to question your sanity.

"Oh, he also told me this morning that he was going to start leaving his cell phone at work (tells me this out of the blue) and when I said, "okay- is there a reason for that?" does the reason really matter? He knock at the front door with this comment here, and you flung it open and rolled out the carpet. Don't ask a question when you know you won't like the answer.
"he told me he didn't want me reading texts or listening to messages from his brother and friends. I told him that if he has nothing to hide/be ashamed of then he wouldn't need to be secretive. This is manipulation, on your part. You are expending energy trying to change him, with backhanded comments. Have you read his messages/listened to voicemails before? If so, than with this comment, you are justifying your past bad behavior, by blaming him for it.
"He asked me "well who am I supposed to talk to about you and how much stress you cause me?". I told him perhaps his sponsor (who I don't think he talks to if he even has one) or his T." None of your business who he talks to, whether he has a sponsor, whatever. His recovery, not yours. If you don't think he has a sponsor, and you suggested he talk to one, that's manipulation into getting him to "realize" he needs one.
"He told me "I prefer to talk to X (bil name) bc he knows me and comforts me". Translation: Crazy bil tells AH it's right to resent me and that I am the cause of all his and their entire family's problems. This is your translation. If you aren't there for the conversations, you cannot assume what is said. It's none of your business what crazy bill says.
"I simply responded and said that was fine and he should do whatever he wants but that that mentality was not compatible with what I find acceptable in a marriage and I'd be making my own decisions about my life based on what works for me and he can continue to do the same." I'm sure you guys have had this argument before, and covered this part already. Repeating the same things over and over because you aren't getting the response you want is expecting change. If he cared what you thought was acceptable in marriage, well, you wouldn't be here, so why lecture him on it?

Some of us are sicker than others, an A told me that once. So ours is not labeled a "disease" per say, but the way we have been programmed to respond, to survive in an A relationship is deeply ingrained in our psyche. Knee jerk reactions, even when we are trying so hard to change them, can surface and take over when we least expect it. These reactions are familiar to the A, they thrive on familiarity, so any chance he has of bringing it out of you he will. He didn't suck you in here, you walked in. But it's okay, we have all done it. Every time we slip, it makes us more aware of our surroundings, and what we need to work on. I have alot of trouble with this, saying 'i dont know' when i really do, or saying 'i dont care' when i really do. But in the long run, it's better for me to say these things, and leave it at that. The more I say it, the more I believe it, the more it becomes the truth.

You sound very bitter in your post, especially towards the end. You have alot of resentments towards this man, and rightfully so, but for your health I think you might want to start letting some of them go. Resentments are like pebbles in your shoe... the longer you carry them around, the more pain they cause, and the only one they hurt is you.

Keep your eyes on the prize, please don't let him get in your head like this!
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Old 04-16-2011, 07:36 AM
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"Don't try to make sense out of their nonsense"

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Not bragging about my own mental hygiene but I firmly believe that close engagement with an active alcoholic/addict is detrimental to my healthy mental hygiene.

It does rub off.
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Old 04-16-2011, 08:35 AM
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How about telling him that in your recovery, you are learning to mind your own business.

Then smile, and walk away.
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Old 04-16-2011, 08:37 AM
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Hiya WTBH!

I know how you feel, and I could have written that post word for word so many times bc of my marriage. It's the dance... And not a fun one. We get sucked in because we know what we know, and we want others to know that too.

I always picture my AH throwing me a rope... I have a choice. I can pick it up and we can play tug of war to see who gets control... Or I can leave it there and walk away.

I so badly wanted my husband to get sober. It was going to solve all our problems. For years, I helped by monitoring his behavior (ie. Acted like his damn mother). Then about a year ago,i wanted him to just admit he was an alcoholic and join AA.

Guess what? I'm actually grateful he didn't... Because you know what would have happened?!? I would have stuck my damn nose in that too. I'm just not strong enough to live with active alcoholism. I have to go cold-turkey. Step away from him and let him be who he needs to be and get on with taking care of me. For me, given my legal and financiL concerns that means a divorce. It doesn't mean I've stopped loving him... Quite the opposite actually. In fact, I think I love him more now that I can see the forest for the trees.

I don't know what "detaching from him" will look like for you... Only you know how best to protect and take care of you. But I agree with the previous posters. Get the focus back on you and what YOU can control.

Please keep posting... Because we DO care, more than you may feel right now!
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Old 04-16-2011, 08:51 AM
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Old 04-16-2011, 10:07 AM
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I totally feel your frusteration, wanttobe.

It's hard when you are still living with your A, and they are so deliberately manipulative. The way they can twist words, turn things back on you--my STBXAH is an expert at that. He still tries to incite arguements about my male friends, who don't even live in this city, and whom I rarely have any contact with. He tells me he is convinced that I am having affairs with these people. Projection, much? HE'S the one who has been having late-night texting marathons with someone, not to mention a secret email account. It's usually the thief who accuses everyone else of stealing, as I like to say!

Calling you controlling, calling you toxic--just another great way to get the focus off of him and back on you. Crazy-making, isn't it? No point in arguing that with him--he NEEDS to see you that way, so he can feel justified and full of self-pity. You know who you are. You know what your life experience has been with him. Don't let him tell you otherwise. You don't need his validation for your reality.

And remember this--keeping you spinning keeps you right where HE wants you---taking care of him. FRUSTERATED--but still there. ANGRY--but still there, making a home for him and making his life fairly comfortable. If you're arguing, you're still there, right in front of him. When you detach, you can walk away and start letting him take care of himself.

The cell phone thing? That would be a total red flag to me. And as his wife, I have to say that it is very much your business what goes on with his cell phone. Keeping it where you can't see it would tell me that he has something to hide. I don't agree with the others here saying that it isn't your business--if you are in a relationship with someone and suspect cheating, it is your right to know the facts so that you can make an informed decision about where you go from there. And if you are at the point where you have to snoop, then there is a trust issue there, and usually a reason for it. Maybe even some gut feelings. I know that is how it works for me. I couldn't count of my STBXAH to tell me the truth about anything, so I had to go snooping. This is why we will be getting a divorce. I couldn't trust him, and yeah--he was hiding the dealbreaker from me.

But from the point of view of your recovery? You may find more peace, and more space to recover, with him out of the house. It's hard to focus on ourselves when they are there, stirring it up, and it's hard not to get drawn back in when we are early on in our recovery. It takes time to learn how not to react. Sometimes I still slip, like when I got into a text battle last night with the STBXAH. But when I felt my blood pressure rising, I realized that I had been caught up yet again, so I turned off my phone and went to sleep. He wasn't going to see reason. He was determined to hang onto his projections, because they are all he has. They are what gives him an excuse to lie to me, and fool around with other women behind my back. But I din't have to engage, because I was feeding his sense of righteousness.

Also? No, it isn't his business what you are doing for your recovery. He needs to worry about his own, not yours. The fact that he is worrying about yours tells me that he likely isn't worrying about cleaning up his own yard right now. And waiting for some list just sound like a way for him to start using your own words against you. Something more for him to fixate on about you, so he doesn'ht have to look at himself. Sounds pretty manipulative, IMO.

So take it as a gift--the sense of frusteration, of being fed up, of that voice inside of you telling you that you were NOT put on this earth to be consumed and used up so some broken dude can thrive and evolve. You were NOT. You have gifts , and talents, and goals and this is your shot--this life right here. And it is your RIGHT to live it as fully as you can. If this isn't the life you want, then drop the dead weight and misery and find the one that you do. And there are lots of other people in this world. Lots of lovely healthy people who will enrich and enhance your life instead of depleting it.

I'm right there with you--ready to move to a city I love, and put this unfortunate chapter of my life behind me!
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Old 04-16-2011, 10:28 AM
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To paraphrase from another post:

ALL ABOARD THE TRAIN OUT OF CRAZYTOWN!

FIRST STOP ME!
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Old 04-16-2011, 10:48 AM
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Am I Handling This Okay?
In all honesty? NO.

Kittykitty had some great examples.

The 'trick' here is NOT to engage at all. Goods answers are:

hmmmmmmm

i'll have to think about that

hmmmmmmm

No thank you.

and walk away.

In your mind, put a piece of duct tape over your mouth and you can only remove it if a SPECIFIC question is asked about the kids, and maybe not even then if it is an absurd question.

You know sweetie, you can't change him, no reason to respond at all. When he asks what he can do to help you (yeah right) just answer 'no thank you.' Walk away.

This too is part of 'detaching.' We know we cannot change them. We know that whatever they say is going to be 'off the wall' or a 'twist' on our words, or 'something' that will push our buttons. You have to mentally put an 'out of order' sign on your buttons and mentally put the duct tape over your mouth.

It is WASTED energy on your part to 'engage' in any conversation with this man. Save that energy for your children.

J M H O

Love and hugs,

ps I know some of these mental 'pictures' may sound crazy but they do work, at least they have for me.
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Old 04-16-2011, 02:08 PM
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It sucks so bad when we get caught up in the dance again but it does happen. Keep focusing on YOU and eventually it will stick and the less and less you will get dragged back in. I am just starting to stop the dance and it feels good but trust me it did not happen OVERNIGHT. Just like you I engaged in the dance way too many times.

Just this morning, he tried to get me to dance. We were talking about the upcoming sale of the house and moving. I was trying to keep it light and joked about which kid and boyfriend (they are always at my house) did he want and he says "I want to keep all of us - together that is and you are the one breaking us up". I could have said no, you broke the family up by not taking recovery seriously and stopping the drinking. I decided not to dance and told him "that is not true" and to go read my letters. I wrote 2 letters regarding my decision to split. I love referring back to these letters so I do not have to repeat myself anymore or Dance.

You will get it, Trust me. It takes a while but it does eventually sink in. Don't be so hard on yourself either because when I did that it did not help me move forward.

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Old 04-16-2011, 03:59 PM
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"Oh, he also told me this morning that he was going to start leaving his cell phone at work (tells me this out of the blue) and when I said, "okay- is there a reason for that?" does the reason really matter? He knock at the front door with this comment here, and you flung it open and rolled out the carpet. Don't ask a question when you know you won't like the answer.
I didn't realize it was a trap and didn't realize what I was walking into. This was a "new" tactic. I have learned to not ask questions when I know it's a game and I didn't recognize this as being that at the time.

"he told me he didn't want me reading texts or listening to messages from his brother and friends. I told him that if he has nothing to hide/be ashamed of then he wouldn't need to be secretive. [COLOR="Red"]This is manipulation, on your part. You are expending energy trying to change him, with backhanded comments. Have you read his messages/listened to voicemails before? If so, than with this comment, you are justifying your past bad behavior, by blaming him for it.[/COLOR
]

Manipulation? I think that pointing out that I know he lies to me is a fact and I'm not going to put my head in the sand and pretend not to know. Yes, I listened to voicemail and looked at texts while he was passed out drunk and going through withdrawal symptoms pretty badly for 2 days after a bender in Jan. And I did so another time after he missed an event for D5 and claimed a family emergency came up and in fact he'd been out drinking and I found "proof" of that. Not healthy on my part.

"He asked me "well who am I supposed to talk to about you and how much stress you cause me?". I told him perhaps his sponsor (who I don't think he talks to if he even has one) or his T." None of your business who he talks to, whether he has a sponsor, whatever. His recovery, not yours. If you don't think he has a sponsor, and you suggested he talk to one, that's manipulation into getting him to "realize" he needs one.
Are you missing that he ASKED me a question? And I didn't answer and told him he should figure that out himself and he asked for my opinion and I gave it. I'm not making it my business. He is. I wasn't manipulating him either- he SAYS he has a sponsor and maybe he does so I gave him the benefit of the doubt and suggested, as has been suggested on here, that he talk to his sponsor.

"He told me "I prefer to talk to X (bil name) bc he knows me and comforts me". Translation: Crazy bil tells AH it's right to resent me and that I am the cause of all his and their entire family's problems. This is your translation. If you aren't there for the conversations, you cannot assume what is said. It's none of your business what crazy bill says.
#1. I do know the context of their "chats" bc I get vile emails/texts from bil that give me a pretty good sense of what his attitude is. BIL also forgets which phone he is calling fairly often and leaves messages here that he THINKS are on AH's cell and they're accidentally left on our home acct. So, in fact I do have a pretty good idea of how toxic he is. You know how they say in AA that you ought to cut people loose from your social circle who are still using/and toxic etc... Well, this is one of those people. And AH tells me that one day and sees it and then when he's pissed off he runs to his brother to get the resentment fuel he desires. It's sick.
#2. It IS my business when the last bender my AH went on was funded by, encouraged by and lengthened by my bil. My kids suffer bc of the impact he has and I feel it is well within my right for as long as AH wants to be a father, to state facts about what is harmful to this family. Whether he likes it isn't my responsibility.

"I simply responded and said that was fine and he should do whatever he wants but that that mentality was not compatible with what I find acceptable in a marriage and I'd be making my own decisions about my life based on what works for me and he can continue to do the same." I'm sure you guys have had this argument before, and covered this part already. Repeating the same things over and over because you aren't getting the response you want is expecting change. If he cared what you thought was acceptable in marriage, well, you wouldn't be here, so why lecture him on it?
Actually I haven't had this conversation before and for me this was a new line in the sand and I have made some decisions today that I don't intend to back away from. Not sure why you'd assume we've had this conversation before. That's kind of a huge assumption, no?

Some of us are sicker than others, an A told me that once.
One who was clearly not worried about themself I take it and was saying this to you to play therapist?

You sound very bitter in your post, especially towards the end. You have alot of resentments towards this man, and rightfully so, but for your health I think you might want to start letting some of them go. Resentments are like pebbles in your shoe... the longer you carry them around, the more pain they cause, and the only one they hurt is you.
I am bitter and I am fed up. I wish I'd never married him or had kids with him. I wish I could re-do the past 14 yrs.
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