When do memories stop hurting?

Old 05-24-2011, 09:46 AM
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When do memories stop hurting?

My bday is on the 31st of this month and for the past 12 yrs AH, some of my siblings and I have all gone to this rustic home on a lake belonging to my mom's bff way the heck up in Maine. Months ago we all decided for a number of reasons that this wasn't going to happen this year and it was for more reasons than bc AH and I aren't able to be around each other in a healthy way.

Anyway, as the long weekend approaches I've been hit by how sad I feel.

I'm thinking about how nice this weekend has been at that house for so many birthdays, how the 1st year I invited AH (who was just a friend at the time) up there with us all was kind of the start of our falling in love, and have been remembering all the amazing, fun, laughter and love filled times we had together up there and am stunningly sad.

I didn't expect to be this sad. I figured- hey, I'm not upset about it, guess I won't be even as it approaches and I'm feeling caught off guard.

The memories are all happy ones and honestly, they are harder to deal with right now than the sad ones. At least the sad/angering times I can be angry about and move on. The happy memories remind me of what I wanted, what we HAD, what we don't have and I just feel down today...

I'm going to have dinner/drinks with a few friends this weekend one night and just plan to have a nice long weekend with the girls, but honestly, right now, I just kind of want the weekend and my bday to come and go and be over. I'd like to have a mini Rip Van Winkle experience and fall asleep and wake up on Tuesday!

Thanks for listening...
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Old 05-24-2011, 10:21 AM
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Happy memories are difficult for me too, sometimes it seems there's so much good, and it leaves me hunting for what went wrong and how it all went bad.

Then I remember all the things that happened around that good memory, all the things that I'd been trying to forgot, and how I clung to even earlier "happy memories" during those memories, longing for things to just go back to the way they were, and I realize that I'd been falling off that cliff for a lot longer than I'll admit to myself.

And then I realize that I can enjoy or be miserable as I decide. I can concoct happy memories out of things that I remember weren't happy at the time, and so why can't I take a situation that right now feels depressing and decide that I will make the best of it and enjoy it for all it's worth.

I don't remember exactly what I did for New Year's Eve this time around. XABF and I were always going places (he was VERY picky about what to do New Year's Eve, he didn't want to go anywhere that served free all-you-can-drink alcohol, of all things, because he didn't want to pay the inflated prices), and this year I remember I stayed home and didn't go out at all. I don't think I stayed up until midnight, either.
I do remember it was so liberating, just not doing anything, no fanfare, no expensive dinners we couldn't afford, just staying home, curled up on the sofa, watching something on television. (I don't even remember what it was - I think some mystery series DVD, maybe Hart to Hart?) And I drank milk like there was no tomorrow, because with XABF it was never in the house because he couldn't drink it (so I wasn't allowed, even though he always made sure his mother bought it for me when I stayed there).
Best New Year's ever.

I think some of my memories with XABF will always hurt. Over time, though, I've come to accept that these lovely memories I have... They're reminders of things he was capable of, reminders of a man who doesn't exist anymore, and sometimes reminders of how desperate I became to whitewash everything to convince myself I was happy.

Now it's time to make myself some new memories.
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Old 05-24-2011, 10:53 AM
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Breaking traditions that are enjoyable is so hard, especially traditions that happen on special anniversaries, like your birthday.

I am no expert on Normal , but my guess would be, that feeling sad is normal in your situation.

Someone in a recovery group told me, years ago, "The only way out, is through." So maybe you can just walk through your sadness and you'll come out great on the other side.

Happy One Week Before Your Birthday.
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Old 05-24-2011, 11:14 AM
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I was struggling with this,too. And then, last night, I had trouble sleeping. When I did sleep, I had this horrible nightmare that merged some memories into a Future World, and none of it was pretty.

I'd like to think my HP was showing me what my life will be if we stayed the course we were on. That nightmare convinces me we have done the right thing by separating. The nightmare was extremely vivid and detailed, and it was indeed very scary to me.
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Old 05-24-2011, 11:21 AM
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WTBH I do understand why you are feeling so down. It is okay to feel sad, just know you will get through it and it will be okay. You are grieving a huge loss and you need to be able to deal with and walk through all the emotions that come with this. If not you would only be trying to tough it out and that in itself can cause harm too. You have made some plans for your bday, keep yourself busy, maybe start a new tradition for you and your girls. Pretty soon the weekend will be over and you can put it behind you.
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Old 05-24-2011, 11:41 AM
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I just wanted to chime in and say you are not alone. I still get waves of sadness sometimes if I spend to much time with past happy memories. I'm glad they are there. It was 16 years of my life and it would be terrible to not have any good memories, but I can't spend to much time on them. They were a long time ago. Keep moving forward. Slowly but surely the weight of the world is lifting and I am making more happy memories in this life. It takes time, more time then I was expecting, but that is OK. I'm learning that I can dust off the day and the weight of alcoholism will slowly lift. Actually it feels more like I'm squeezing out from underneath it but whatever, lol.

I'm freeing myself one happy newly made memory at a time. That is how I'm going to think about it from now on. I talked myself right into that. Thank you for the thread
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Old 05-25-2011, 03:41 AM
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I truly had some of the best times of my life with my XABF. My sister told me early on that she had never seen me happier - and it was true. First six months were wonderful and the next six months so awful that it was really hard to reconcile the two.

After we broke up I found a lot of reminders, anniversaries and familiar places incredibly sad. I tried wherever possible to avoid situations and places that had been "ours."

And I really grieved. But I was grieving for something that by the end of the relationship just wasn't reality. So I made a list of all the absolute worst worst times - times he had lied, or withdrawn, or gone missing for two days only to have resurfaced after a stay in the drunk tank. When I really got stuck thinking of the good times, I pulled that list out as a reality check.

No matter how great it was in the beginning, it didn't outweigh even one incident on the worst of worst times list. It's ok to grieve for the good times - normal and healthy and part of the process. For me, keeping a written record of how things actually were by the end and how it was affecting my life really helped me to put the good times in perspective.


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Old 05-25-2011, 04:15 AM
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It is so hard when the great memories pop up but I find that if I do not dwell on them for too long they pass. For me, if I think about them for too long it just makes me sad and I am afraid I will backslide (that is what I have done in the past). I enjoy them for the moment and try and move on. I try and think of my future and the new great memories I will make because I want my memories(our happy life together) to also be my current life and with an active A that will never be. It sucks, but for me it is time to move on and those memories can keep me stuck (past experience). Although, I will always treasure them and he will always have a special place in my heart. We just were not meant to go the distance and I feel this awful disease did that too us.
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Old 05-25-2011, 04:37 AM
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The first year after my divorce I couldn't go camping or to the beach because it was stuff we did together. I didn't want to go on a boat because we had had a boat. The feelings fade. Now 4 years post divorce I could do those things. Give it time. The first year after my divorce I was miserable on our wedding anniversary. Now I don't notice when they come and go. This too shall pass. You will have new memories. It is sad. The disease is sad. Alcohol is a solvent. It takes everything away.
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Old 05-25-2011, 05:04 AM
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I hear you. I don't know how to deal with that either and it is happening to me as well. It's just heartbreaking and that is all there is to it and grief just has to run it's course. I'm finding that the only thing that helps me is to reach out for support (as you have done in this post) and hear other's perspectives. I'm sitting here crying as I wait for the movers to come in 29 minutes. The memories of the man that I fell in love with surround me.....he is behaving in ways that he use to behave (loving and sweet). I have to remind myself it is only because he feels that he is losing me. It would be more of the same if I was invested in my relationship.

I know that these feelings that you are having are valid but that they will also pass eventually. You will create new memories, things will sort out, and better days are ahead. I'm learning that the only way is through it - no going around it.....

sending you gentle hugs...Donna
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Old 05-25-2011, 07:55 AM
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Hey, good news... He showed up last night, drunk, verbally abusive, threatening, called INCESSANTLY until I unplugged the phone and I am so angry and fed up that there's no room for being sad.


I guess he thinks that behaving this way will change my mind about divorcing him?!

I know I am supposed to hate the disease and not him, but right now, today, at this moment it is HIM I hate...
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:00 AM
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just goes to show you that if you wait long enough you will be shown the is easier to detach when they are acting horrid.

I am going through the same sort of stuff right now - only mine is temporarily in the sad and remorseful stage. The movers are all but finishing up as I type and we are heading out in a minute.

Hang in there's all coming together for you.
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:52 AM
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Aw I am still hurt by some memories of XABF

And also for me: one single incident or drunken night, and NONE of the good altogether would ever make up for the pain.

So I learned to tie XABF with images of myself miserable, I just can't go there in my mind, it was too painful.

We are human beings that's all, and its ok even not to have any plans for new memories, and its ok to have sad days or sad weeks or sad months.. the idea of moving forward and creating a new life, etc has also been overwhelming for me and I also think I am failure for not having this wonderful life without him or many new friends or whatever BUT I have learned to find peace, contentment in the things I do... it is not what we do, but how we do it that matters... when I go about my day with self compassion and remembering I am who I am-that I do not have to be something else- I can open my eyes and see all the good and beautiful things.

I keep on rambling but Zen books also help me, literature that talks about how everything is temporary and the like... coming back to the present moment I find a lot of peace and joy. I go to the past or project to the future and I will find reasons to feel bad... AND I think we all deserve a break..

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Old 05-25-2011, 09:00 AM
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Truly amazing...his bad behavior was a gift to you from your HP...will make this weekend much easier and happier for you.

I cherish my good memories, they are a part of my life, but I wouldn't trade where I am now for anything. This is where I belong.

I wish you a wonderful birthday surrounded with those you love and who love you
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:12 AM
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I've decided to take the girls and go away for a night so I am going to look at some options and pick something fun to do and enjoy myself...

Yes, in a way AH's being a huge ass once again really truly is a gift from god bc my sadness is definitely gone at the moment and it's replaced by reality and the fact that he is a sorry excuse for a human being.

Plenty of alcoholics aren't abusive and cruel and he is and for yrs I explained it away to myself as being part of the disease but in reality he is just abusive-- alcoholic or not-- the alcoholism just makes him that much bigger of a jerk.

Already this morning the emails are pouring in and I have them in a "smart folder" on my mac and will fwd them off to my lawyer. At least he's still stupid enough to be sending things in writing!
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:05 AM
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You are not alone. MY birthday is coming up June 6, and I MET my exabf right before my birthday, 4 years ago

So yeah, this is a tough time for me too. Last night I was in the kitchen and I had this memory flooding back of him holding me and hugging me while I washed the dishes. And I remembered all the meals we shared toggther at my kitchen table, just talking and laughing. I used to love to cook for him and he was so appreciative.

UGH. Then I tried to replace those memories with bad ones. Like the time we got into an argument and he took an entire plate of food I cooked for him and chucked it at my couch. I should've made him clean it up but I felt guilty, like I had provoked him, and cleaned it up myself. I thikn the back of my couch still has a stain on it from that incident.
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:17 AM
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Anger is helpful at times isn't it. My house gets really clean when I am angry. It is a huge motivator. I honestly feel the strongest when I am angry. It is when I know that I can handle change and in fact desire it.

Going away for the night sounds like a great idea! Have fun with your girls. You all deserve it.
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