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Going "No Contact" with grace?

Old 06-22-2011, 03:41 PM
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Well, I got an email this morning with the dissolution paperwork attached and completed. He said he was doing this because he knows it is what I want. He gave me a list of terms along with this, and then said basically the ball is in my court. I printed out the paperwork, took it to the notary at lunch, and left them on his doorstep with a note that I will not file at the courthouse nor will I pay the fee. Divorce is not what I wanted nor sought when I married. I won't force anyone to have a relationship with me, but I won't go along with someone wanting out and trying to blame me for it.

It may sound like I am being passive-aggressive, but I view it differently. I am holding him accountable for his choices.

Oh, he also said that all of this "conflict and strife" will cause him to relapse. And that I am living in the past. And he can't have me continually living in the past and blaming him. It was amazing to read. AMAZING! But very validating. We can't have a relationship because he won't let it happen. Ok. Easy enough.

So that's that. I did the best I could. I loved him, I honored my vows. I know I was a good wife. I know I was not all those terrible things he said I was. I know I am not controlling and domineering, nor am I a passive-aggressive manipulator or a liar. Today I know these things about myself. Today I know this is HIS stuff here, and I am just tangled up in it. Today I know as long as I continue this I am volunteering. I am not a victim. I know my choices, my options, my worth.

Today I know that I did the best I could with what I had to work with. I married under false pretenses. That alone is grounds for divorce. But I hung in there, repeatedly offering therapy. Not marriage counseling...the therapist would only see us if he saw us alone for at least 5 sessions, in order to work on our own stuff first. Even he was able to see the barriers between he and I were much deeper than Jack Daniels.

Today I have peace. I feel a sense of relief standing my ground. I showed up for this marriage. I held him accountable, whether or not he believes in that. I can look myself in the mirror and feel good about what I see. I have no more amends to make. I can move on with grace.

P.S. F**k his terms, btw. I live life on my terms. ; )

P.S.S. I did add the filter to my work email - that's how he got through. Damn it, forgot that address! No more contact. Ever.

Thanks, SR friends.
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Old 06-22-2011, 04:23 PM
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Old 06-22-2011, 08:05 PM
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Sorry that he projected all of his shortcomings onto you. It's a self-protective lie so he doesn't hate himself consciously as much as he does sub-consciously. You nailed it in the end. You tried. You tried really hard. He didn't. And I agree, F**k his terms. He's not in control of you anymore...YOU are in control of you. Give yourself a hug from me. And when you're feeling all better and are ready, I'm sure you'll find a unicorn who truly is a unicorn.

P.S. I wonder how much experience your therapist has with addicts. Because that sounded off to me. And if you handle yourself IRL like you do in your posts, there is NO WAY IN H*LL that you are passive-aggressive.
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Old 06-22-2011, 08:33 PM
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I have found it impossible to go No Contact with grace because my STBXAH doesn't hear anything I have to say! I would tell him I didn't want contact but then he'd call my home phone a dozen times while my kids were trying to sleep so I'd get it and get hooked in to a conversation. Or he'd call and say he had an "important business matter" to discuss. Or my children would call him and he'd bug them to put me on the phone. Like a total sucker, I got hooked in a half dozen times or so.

I finally got it, I have not talked to him at all for about ten days. It's been great! I blocked the phone, blocked the emails, when he makes the kids hand me the phone I gently take it from them and hang up. He is very mad. He is not used to not getting his way at all. So, I guess my point is even if you try to handle it gracefully the alcoholic is still going to take it badly, so it doesn't really matter what you do. Do whatever makes you feel better.
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Old 06-22-2011, 08:48 PM
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To me, a lot depends on why you are cutting off contact, and the type of person you are dealling with. For someone abusive I wouldn't hesitate in just going on full ignore. OTOH, if it were just for my own well-being or to get a break, and the other person wasn't deliberately malicious, I would probably feel the right thing to do is to tell them what I am doing (and, only if appropriate, why). It just seems like the right thing to do. How I would want to be treated if the shoe were on the other foot. The civility of telling the other person would not seem too costly, and it's good karma.
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:10 PM
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You are a good person and you are hurting yourself when you get drawn into it all again. You owe yourself peace of mind. Mine isn't getting it either, he calls and calls but I know I need to work on myself and he needs to work on himself. I starrted going to family meetings and found that by me answering the calls it wasn't hurting him just not allowing myself to detach so I can heal as well. Check out some info on codependants; I'm still learning and still occationally get sucked into his dramatics too. It's one day at a time for us, just like it is for them. Stay strong in your convictions and know that everything happens for a reason and you don't have to "answer" to anyone except your higher power.
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Old 06-23-2011, 10:39 AM
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I've been away from him long enough now to see the patterns in our communication. Like many describe here - RAH just doesn't hear me. He doesn't want to hear me. He doesn't (can't?) answer my questions directly. He talks in circles, often contradicting himself in the same breath. My sponsor read the emails between us yesterday and pointed out how fractured each one was...my side and his side...she said none of it made sense in a logical conversation style. I said one thing, he said something completely different. No wonder communication with him is so hard...we're not communicating! No wonder I get so frustrated and defeated - it wastes my oxygen.

When it reaches a point of being uncomfortable, he accuses me of "arguing and living in the past". It's become the standard shut down tactic. The man is a conversational terrorist and he is very good at it. Conversational Terrorism: How NOT to Talk! is a good read for those interested in conversational terrorists.

And thank you Bella, you are right, no one in my lifetime except the RAH has called me passive-aggressive!

I hate alcoholism. Have I mentioned that lately?
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Old 06-23-2011, 10:49 AM
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Tuffgirl,
When I sat down with the lawyer a while ago, he asked me if I wanted to file for dissolution of the marriage or legal separation.
I like closure. I like results. For me, I knew that because we have a child together, we'd always have to work things out divorced or not. There was no end. I'd have more peace but I knew conflicts could continue over parenting issues. To me, legal separation meant even less closure and I didn't want that either.
Tough spot to be in. I've often wondered what the differences between being separated, legal or not but still married would look like.
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Shellcrusher View Post
Tuffgirl,
When I sat down with the lawyer a while ago, he asked me if I wanted to file for dissolution of the marriage or legal separation.
I like closure. I like results. For me, I knew that because we have a child together, we'd always have to work things out divorced or not. There was no end. I'd have more peace but I knew conflicts could continue over parenting issues. To me, legal separation meant even less closure and I didn't want that either.
Tough spot to be in. I've often wondered what the differences between being separated, legal or not but still married would look like.
Good questions, Shell. I know having been divorced once already that we were very wise in choosing post-divorce counseling to determine how we would handle the kids. We have become friends over time, and great co-parents given the circumstances. Yes, I will always have to deal with him, because he is the father of my children. I chose divorce over separation because I know I could not love him and respect him and have a relationship with him that would ever be satisfactory to either of us. I just didn't have those feelings for him. And we were on separate paths in life. Just completely incompatible.

My soon to be ex RAH...we have nothing between us, I never have to see or talk to him again. I want nothing from him in a divorce. For us, a dissolution is super easy. But the thing is - I love this man (or who I knew him to be early on) and I offered numerous times over the last 6 months to work on this - through counseling with a professional. I considered it learning new skills like AA and Al-Anon teach us...no difference. Al-Anon can't get specific about marriage, but the skills I have learned there are invaluable. We needed a professional to help us begin to communicate effectively. The RAH doesn't want this. He has made that clear. He needs to blame me right now; maybe forever. He needs this to the point of ruining a family over it. For me, dissolution is the only choice as long as he has that need, because I can't participate in this madness anymore. A legal separation is meaningless for us. But for you - with a child in the mix - it may be the better choice.

I know your wife is really working hard right now - know that it may take a long time. Loooong time. But I hear from others than women (no offense guys) tend to make faster progress in recovery because we have an easier time accepting our failures and making the changes in our behaviors. An old-timer told me it was about ego...
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Old 06-23-2011, 12:21 PM
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There is a difference between no contact and avoidance. Avoidance (from a therapist's perspective) can be seen as passive aggressive.. it is a form of emotional abuse. To leave someone spinning and wondering. Sometimes people do that just to illicit that reaction. Which is equally as unhealthy.

But that is different than protecting yourself from the other person's emotional or physical abuse. Emphasis on abuse and not just discomfort. What your therapist says should support you, I think he was just trying to prevent you from actually perpetuating the drama and pain. By telling him you aren't retaliating or expecting a response, you are giving the ex notice and then you go no contact.

I personally see that as much healthier for the person going NC (again assuming they are not victims of the other person's abuse) then to disappear. I couldn't go NC. I may step back or far far away but if I were to cut someone from my life, I would definately tell them that I will not be responding or communicating. Then they will have to deal with it and I will walk away knowing that I didn't leave the door open until I chose to open that door. It is about regaining control and not just continuing an impasse to me.

Letting the other person know isn't about expecting them to honor it. They may or may not, you have no control over that. But it places you back in the driver's seat.
My AH is very emotionally abusive and passive aggressive and does things like those described above to torment and hurt me and for a long time it worked.

That said, I don't stoop to his level and act similarly just bc I dislike how he treats me. I treat him the way I'd hope to be treated and even if he doesn't treat me the same, it gives ME a sense of peace to know that I did what was right according to my own moral code...

And to the poster who asked if answers would be different if it were a parent.... My answer is no.
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