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Early Recovery: 1 step forward, 3 back!

Old 04-19-2011, 07:57 AM
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Early Recovery: 1 step forward, 3 back!

Yesterday I had a moment of clarity. An epiphany. My RAH can't take my feelings into consideration because he is just now beginning to recognize his own. How could he possibly understand and empathize with mine? In the years of our relationship, I have been allowed one emotion - happy - and if I was anything else it was unacceptable and my fault. His emotions were drowned out by copious amount of alcohol and pot.

Anytime I would try to discuss my "feelings" about something in our relationship, he would explode! Especially if it was conflictual...man it turned into WWIII. Separating has helped a lot, as has Al-Anon with keeping my hurt feelings in check and to myself.

Yesterday, I said something I now realize I shouldn't have and it opened a can of stinky worms between us. It was tax day, and I am still smarting from the tax stunt he pulled which stuck me with close to $2,000 in liabilities to pay. On top of trying to buy a new house. I made a comment about my hurt feelings and as usual - he exploded. I was talking about ME, not him. That my feelings were still hurt. And as I was talking, he began to shout over me and told me off. Said I was demanding and manipulative and pushy until I got my own way. Always after my own way and relentless about attaining it and always having to have it. Then he declared he was "detaching from this madness" and walked out of my house.

I looked around my new house. Really? This is me getting my own way? I didn't seek out this life - I wanted to be married. I wanted the promises he made me way back when of the life we were going to have together. I wanted that. Instead, here I am, trying to salvage what I can and put the pieces back together and take care of myself and my daughters in spite of this disaster I got us into.

Realized last night that I am better off this early in recovery with having very little, if any, contact with him. Neither of us can help slipping back into old, comfortably miserable patterns of interaction. I continue to treat him like he's a loving, caring husband and get my feelings hurt when he acts like he always acts (like an alcoholic/dry drunk) and he continues to treat me like I want to be his Mommy (oh how I hate that personification, and have learned it is him that tries to take me there). My feelings, to him, are a manipulation to get my own way.

*SIGH*

Beating myself up a bit this morning for slipping off my own path but at least I know where his head still continues to be - this man still blames me. 5 months into recovery and he still blames me. Jeeze this is getting so old. I am so much better off staying away from him.

Just had to vent this am - missed my meeting last night and am feeling it today!
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Old 04-19-2011, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Tuffgirl View Post
My RAH can't take my feelings into consideration because he is just now beginning to recognize his own. How could he possibly understand and empathize with mine?
This is a big discovery. Thank you so much for sharing it, because it is helping me through some other things (my parents).
Not that they are/were addicts, but they live in a world of facades, and no true permission to exist as themselves. They expect me to buy into this, so they can build up the facade of being a perfect little family where nobody has a single thought of their own except to be with each other.
Not for me, but sometimes I wonder why they can be happy living like this.
You've made me realize that they're not. They're just taking what they think everyone else has, taking what society says they should have, and trying to play make believe that they've got it.

I don't think you're going backwards.
I think you made a mistake, and learned something big from it.
Hooray for you!
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Old 04-19-2011, 08:27 AM
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Man Tuffgirl... you have just described EXACTLY my marriage and the way we have interacted for 10 years now.

The only difference - my AH is just a plain old active AH. I am stepping out of the path of the tornado now. And reading your post is good for me to see that even if AH suddenly has an epiphany... it's going to take a LONG time for each of us to develop better habits. There's no putting a marriage back together until the parts/pieces are repaired.

I think you're doing a great job... it was a small slip... and you're already back on the path with one foot in front of the other. That's good stuff.
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Old 04-19-2011, 08:32 AM
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Yes, those are good revelations! Thanks.
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Old 04-19-2011, 08:33 AM
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So sorry you are feeling this way but look at the valuable lesson you have learned.
I too thought that we could be "friendly" and that no contact was an extreme that was unnecessary. But when we went for months with no contact I realized how clearly I saw myself and could see his crazy as separate from my crazy. It has been recently that we have had some contact that I can really see how sick he is and can interact without expecting him to be the husband I want. The one I used to have before the alcoholism progressed.
I have been able to set a boundary with him-he was not happy.
Speak to him without engaging in his anger-I cut the conversation saying "It does not sound like this is a good time for us to talk."
I tend to just speak about whatever financial stuff we must deal with and seldom bring my feelings into things. It is futile and it seems to make him uncomfortable.
Recently I started feeling angry again and actually had a physical reaction to seeing him-heart racing, shaky, nauseous. My body is trying to tell me what my stupid brain keeps trying to deny. CONTACT IS NOT HEALTHY FOR ME!
Of course this can change in the future as I progress in my recovery. I hope it does for the sake of my family. I never want to put the kids in the position of "we can only invite 1 parent over for the holidays".

Said I was demanding and manipulative and pushy until I got my own way. Always after my own way and relentless about attaining it and always having to have it.

BTW-my husband said the same thing to me. Funny- I always thought it was what we wanted. I guess I did not realize that all he wanted was to have no responsibility and sit around and drink all the time.

Hugs-be strong. I'm having kind of a rough morning. SO grateful to have SR .
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Old 04-19-2011, 08:42 AM
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Tuffgirl I can relate on many levels.

I still remember last year my XAH storming out of our house, flinging open the back gate, roaring off in his car in a fury. Why? Because he exploded when I mentioned that I felt like booty call sometimes when he came over (during our separation) - I would try to just have a nice, easy tv-watch on sofa...he would immediately begin pawing and avoiding any conversation. So when I decide to meekly bring up "my" feelings? Bang, boom, roar...gone...off. And now? we are divorced, my life is calm, no more explosions :-)

Feels good to be out of that tornado. Someone else can have it!! Hang in there!
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Old 04-19-2011, 09:16 AM
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Thanks, all. Amazing how you just barely scratch the surface of their facade and WHAM the anger explodes all over the place. I forget how angry this man is because on the surface, he is Mr. Nice Guy Charming. I get complacent in those moments when he is being funny and nice. I NEED to remember that there is a snake inside him and even though he keeps telling me he won't bite me, he is still a snake, after all! And quit being so surprised and hurt when I get bit.

The saddest realization is that I really don't like this guy very much. And I am not sure I ever will. He's shallow and surface only. There is no depth to him that isn't a pit of anger and victimization. I still think he's got one foot behind him, propping the alcohol door open, just in case.

But I made a promise to not do anything drastic the first year of recovery and I can see why that is a valid thing. But when I have these moments, the dissolution papers that are completed and waiting for filing seem like a beacon of a new life and new opportunities.

And Jamaica, I too am recognizing the physical signs that I am uncomfortable. I used to call it anxiety. Now I know its a sign from me to do something different.

4 days until MOVING DAY, and after that - there is no longer any reason to communicate. These will be the longest days of my life! ; )
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Old 04-19-2011, 09:52 AM
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I can totally get the whole"they just need to get sober" fallout.AFTER my daughter completed 30 days was when I went 99% no contact.I couldn't take the selfishness and entitlement..I thought that would end with the using!Well, duh was i wrong..BUT, I did get to establish much needed new boundaries with her.. now I no longer get whiny,complaining phone calls because i established that I was going to end the conversation..I do not live her and that is a good thing for both our recoveries..even thought I love her more than anything, we have a pretty sick history together and it's going to take alot of time time to heal up..
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Old 04-19-2011, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Tuffgirl View Post
Amazing how you just barely scratch the surface of their facade and WHAM the anger explodes all over the place.
How true!
They're like balloons with smiley faces drawn in marker on the front and blown up too full of hot air.
There's nothing useful inside, and heaven forbid you bump one against any hard surface or corner, even gently, because it will explode.
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Old 04-19-2011, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by StarCat View Post
How true!
They're like balloons with smiley faces drawn in marker on the front and blown up too full of hot air.
There's nothing useful inside, and heaven forbid you bump one against any hard surface or corner, even gently, because it will explode.
Oh that's a great analogy - I am going to draw a picture of it and hang it in my new house, just to remember how fragile that facade really is. Thanks, StarCat! But I think I will put fangs inside the smile.
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Old 04-19-2011, 12:17 PM
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Said I was demanding and manipulative and pushy until I got my own way. Always after my own way and relentless about attaining it and always having to have it.

BTW-my husband said the same thing to me. Funny- I always thought it was what we wanted. I guess I did not realize that all he wanted was to have no responsibility and sit around and drink all the time.
This is my life with my AH and has been forever and I've believed that he was right; that my feelings, or disagreeing or expressing an opinion or wanting something different than him ='d me being unreasonable, unbending and selfish.

It sure worked to his advantage bc until recently I was afraid to say anything. I thought if he saw how unselfish I was he'd treat me better and then I'd be able to slowly speak up for myself again. How insane is that? And at other times I decided that doing what he wanted was easier than dealing with the wrath and mean accusations that followed speaking up for myself...
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Old 04-19-2011, 12:25 PM
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@Tuff...i am so glad you TESTED the grounds ...now you know HIS side (so to speak)...Now you know....its not worth it...waste of energy...you work on you...
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Old 04-19-2011, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post
I thought if he saw how unselfish I was he'd treat me better and then I'd be able to slowly speak up for myself again. How insane is that? And at other times I decided that doing what he wanted was easier than dealing with the wrath and mean accusations that followed speaking up for myself...
Boy do I relate to this.
If he ever loved "me" at all, he's in love with who he thought I was, who he thought he could turn me into.
He's in love with a shadow of himself.

But it's not me anymore.
I'm going to walk in the sun from now on.

Thank you for this thread, Tuffgirl.
I keep coming back, I keep reading and learning here too, so this thread is for me as well.
<3
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Old 04-19-2011, 01:15 PM
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Keep It Simple

Tuff, I commend you for seeking help for yourself at Al-Anon and suggest one on one therapy as well. You need to take care of you. I am a recovering alcoholic with a little over 3 years of sobriety and wish my wife would try Al-Anon but she refuses and I have taken her to open meetings. Your husband is in early recovery and he is a work in progress and I hope he is availing himself of a sponsor and even individual therapy as well as he is just getting to know himself and just because he is dry does not mean he is thinking with a sober mind yet. All you can do is take it a day at a time and continue your recovery. We all know its a family disease.
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Old 04-19-2011, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Singersal View Post
Tuff, I commend you for seeking help for yourself at Al-Anon and suggest one on one therapy as well. You need to take care of you. I am a recovering alcoholic with a little over 3 years of sobriety and wish my wife would try Al-Anon but she refuses and I have taken her to open meetings. Your husband is in early recovery and he is a work in progress and I hope he is availing himself of a sponsor and even individual therapy as well as he is just getting to know himself and just because he is dry does not mean he is thinking with a sober mind yet. All you can do is take it a day at a time and continue your recovery. We all know its a family disease.
Thanks for that - Singersal. I try to remind myself that 5 months is only 5 months, compared to the 25 years he has been using. I just don't like the mean and cruel attacks. It's like communicating with my 13 yr old...everything I say gets taken WAY out of context and turned back on me to make me the bad guy or the crazy one. Hard to maintain one's serenity in those conversations. So its probably not a good time to have conversations at all.
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Old 04-19-2011, 02:10 PM
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There was a Recovering Alcohlic who used to post here..

...who said that when he was in the depths of his disease his priorities were as follows: alcohol, sex... and that was it. His wife and children weren't even on his list.

Having said that, before I was in Alanon I avoided actual conversations with my wife like the plague. This was unrelated to drinking on either of our parts. I was simply so selfish, and so fearful of conflict, that my MO was to talk only superficially or not at all. Sex, food, sleep, and work were several of the tools I used to avoid having actual conversations.

Even today, while I always speak meaningfully with my wife, I sometimes have to force myself to do it, and often feel very uncomfortable while we are doing it.

Take what you want and leave the rest.

Cyranoak

Originally Posted by Soph View Post
Tuffgirl I can relate on many levels.

I still remember last year my XAH storming out of our house, flinging open the back gate, roaring off in his car in a fury. Why? Because he exploded when I mentioned that I felt like booty call sometimes when he came over (during our separation) - I would try to just have a nice, easy tv-watch on sofa...he would immediately begin pawing and avoiding any conversation. So when I decide to meekly bring up "my" feelings? Bang, boom, roar...gone...off. And now? we are divorced, my life is calm, no more explosions :-)

Feels good to be out of that tornado. Someone else can have it!! Hang in there!
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Old 04-19-2011, 03:52 PM
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Some really helpful stuff here. So guess being apart from the newly recovered "bf" is a blessing in disguise or I'd be dealing a whole lotta crazy?

I don't even live with the guy and I go batty with the changes he had. I can't imagine living in a marriage with all the fluctuations.

And the part about realizing that protecting their feelings is sabotaging your own well being also really helps. Last night I had this thought: Aren't I worth better treatment than this? Why is it so hard to stick to knowing what I am worth both to him and myself?

I am so scared of 'upsetting the recovery!', or being 'too much' or 'demanding' just for expressing some things that I really really struggle with.

This is a good thread.
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Old 04-20-2011, 09:47 AM
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I understand in the Big Book that the family is to allow the alcoholic in recovery the license to make mistakes and to not expect too much and so on... but that chapter on "wives" really gets me some days. Especially since it seems to be more of the same "walk on eggshells to protect the fragile little person" and continue to stuff your needs, thoughts,opinions, feelings down. It makes me look at myself and say "why, tuffgirl, are you interested in this person at all? you wouldn't accept this behavior from anyone else in your life, why him?"

Because I still haven't truly found acceptance. That is a daily process, not a destination. I had a mental image of marriage in my head, and my head is still struggling to wrap itself around the reality of today and the ideal I was working off of for 4 years.

I found a quote in Courage to Change II that I am going to carry around with me for a while; thought I'd share it here today:

"...when we long for life without...difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure" Peter Marshall

Today looks to be a much better day..thanks SR friends!
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