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Moment of blinding clarity...

Old 07-16-2011, 11:34 AM
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Moment of blinding clarity...

So I've had some time to think alone, long and hard lately and have become a lot more honest with myself (which is weird bc I didn't think I was being dishonest or in denial earlier) but anyway...

Last night I was having a conversation with AH about selling the house. Of course he wanted to make it into a talk about how I'm to blame.

I didn't argue or defend. Instead I let him talk and said okay and he puttered out pretty fast.

Then I had this coming together of a bunch of stuff that just kind of blindsided me and this is what it was:

When AH and I met he behaved in the same ways then that he does now. He was unpredictable, undependable, didn't commit to things or to me for a long time for that matter. He took risks, didn't respect rules, was "charmingly" arrogant and angry all in one. He has continued to be all these things. When we dated, were engaged and first married I WAS bothered, hurt, saddened by these behaviors and how he treated me. But I was also very sick (in the head!) and I was afraid to tell him I deserved to be treated better bc I thought he'd leave me (the thought of me leaving him never occurred to me).

I didn't say this this bluntly to him. What I did say was that I felt and had been talking about in T (which is true) that I have changed. I changed my expectations, I changed what I wanted, I changed what made me happy. I told him that I've realized that I lead him for years to believe that one set of ways of interacting together was fine and then suddenly presented him with a different set of wants and said that I recognized that was unfair. I lead him to believe I was happy with the uncertainty, the lack of committment, the dangerous behavior and that I was charmed by it all initially. But over time I changed and wanted more certainty, predictability etc... and for the first time ever I really really understand how he has felt like I expect too much from him. If I were AH and had been lead to think that who I was and how I was was fine and then all of a sudden started being asked for very different behaviors, I'd feel resentful too.

I don't know that I am explaining this well but it's really been eye opening to me to realize that the person who has changed the rules of the game has been me, not him. I've blamed him for not being who I wanted him to "turn into" with me as I changed when I ought to have been seeing that my changing didn't mean he had to. In fact I have to admit that in a way, I deceived him. I let him think that not returning calls, cancelling plans, drinking too much and driving and on and on were all things I was more than okay with. And the truth is that I was never ok with it but I acted as if I was so that he would not leave me. Sicker still is that I also thought (had no awareness of this at the time) that if I was "cool" and "low key" and put up with these unacceptable behaviors that he'd love me and think I was great and then once we got married (or engaged) that my love and his loving me would make him want to be the man I hoped he'd be.

I don't have a clue what brought this awareness/thinking/realization on but boy was it a moment of blinding clarity last night and I've been thinking about it all day.

My expectations were based on my fairy tale, my wish list and NEVER based on what AH promised me, showed me he'd do, etc... I really feel as if I owe him apologies bc I had no business marrying him... I went into this marriage hoping things would be diffferent once we were married-- that's not okay...
Thanks for letting me share....
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:42 AM
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Boy, do I understand where you're coming from!

This is where blaming (ourselves, the alcoholic) gets us into trouble. Both sides start off in a state of denial. When you're in denial (and denial, BY DEFINITION, is something you aren't consciously aware of--you're in denial that you're in denial, so to speak), you don't see things clearly, you can't accept because you CAN'T accept, and you both go round and round with nobody actually SEEING what is really happening.

So it's much better, more satisfying, to let go of blaming ourselves for what we were incapable of knowing, and to let go of blaming the alcoholic for what he/she is incapable of knowing. Somebody has to make the first move, or nothing changes.

I think you are progressing by leaps and bounds. We are gonna have to start calling you "flying squirrel" instead of "scaredy".
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Old 07-16-2011, 01:02 PM
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Wow, you sure have come a long way in a short amount of time!
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Old 07-16-2011, 01:52 PM
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WOw... You sound SO SIMILIAR to me in what I am realizing myself too. In the beginning of our relationship, we were both so young, and growing and learning and I was okay with all the drinking because thats more acceptable when you're young or in college, but then more and more things happened as we went along in our relationship, engagement, then marriage that I just wasn't happy with. I always wanted him to be different--- predictable, reliable and trustworthy. Who was I kidding? He was NEVER those things when i married him and suddenly I expect him to be someone else? I realize I was kidding myself too and blaming myself for ever getting wrapped up into it. I did love him and we had two wonderful little girls together but all the while, I realize, I wanted better for myself and I now hope that can happen. One day.
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Old 07-16-2011, 02:41 PM
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WTBH,

That is an amazing realization. It's just so easy to keep blaming them for their part and not even look at our own. Thank you for sharing this. I recognize a lot of my own behaviors in what you wrote.
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Old 07-16-2011, 03:52 PM
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I thought (and had been in fact) I'd been looking at myself a plenty... but this stuff that I am sorting out (not sure whether I'm sorting it out or just opened my eyes and seeing what's been in front of me quite clearly for a while) is the real deal... I'd been focussed on the smaller, day to day and over time in the relationship specific "things" I'd done and have been more than happy and willing to take responsibility for that stuff for a while now. But I never realized that all that "stuff" really boiled down to me expecting AH to be someone I knew damn well when I met him that he wasn't.

I can't expect him to change and in many ways he's been the one who has been clear from the start about who he was. Yet I DID expect him to change. I expected that the natural course of events was that we both would grow up. And I had a plan in my head of what his growing up looked like. When I sit here and say this I am astounded at how SICK that is on my part.

To realize that I, not he, am the one who has changed and who therefore ultimately is repsonsibile for either accepting things as they are and NOT expecting anything other than what is OR moving on and doing so because of me... not because of him.

TBH this "realization" is making me question my plan to want to file for divorce based on the grounds of habitual drunkeness (one of the fault based reasons in my state). He's no more at fault in many ways than I am. I entered into this willingly, knowing what he was like. I didn't like a lot of it and I Cinderella'd myself into thinking that my love or his love for me would make those negative things change.

AH said to me recently that when we met I provided him with what he'd never gotten as a child; constant appreciation, praise and unconditional (pathetic) being there for him no matter what. What that told him was that I was happy to be a doormat. And he told me that his resentments toward me are largely centered around my changing and not being that same loving person. I've said to him at these times that I haven't stopped loving him, I just started asking for some stuff from him in return and wasn't so desperate anymore and that it really wasn't ever my place to fill the void in him left by his parents... Kind of a sad realization that we've both come to see that we came together largely bc we both represented things that we hadn't had or hadn't been able to "fix" as kids. I gave him an ego boost constantly and he gave me the sense of feeling like I was trying to "save" or "fix" him. Quite a pair we were...
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Old 07-16-2011, 04:01 PM
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Yeah, I was a "great" wife too and I realize now it's because I was constantly concerned with his happiness (although he was rarely happy) and always trying to please him. It was a good setup for an alcoholic that's for sure! I have had a lot of thoughts like yours lately, I guess it's just part of growing up, starting to realize you have needs too.
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Old 07-16-2011, 05:00 PM
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WTBH--Adding my thanks to you for putting those feelings into words.

I don't think we're asking too much for them to "grow up" over time. I don't know if it's true that As are somehow frozen emotionally at the age when they began to drink heavily...I've read that. I do know that from his 27 when we married to age 54 when we divorced, I became more and more his "mommy" and less and less his wife. That included driving myself or the family when he wasn't able, making all the plans for the family, arranging for all work done at the house, locking the doors at night, and on and on. I already have 4 kids and didn't need another one. I did expect him to be an adult in our relationship, and he just wasn't capable. He's the one who left me, making all of it easier.

Here's to knowing who we are, what we deserve and being honest with ourselves and others.
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Old 07-16-2011, 06:20 PM
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New Chapter- great points-- thanks so much for sharing... I guess it does boil down to my expecting him to be an adult-- expecting him to adapt as I did (bc I wanted to and it was a natural thing to do) to the differences in lifestyle once we were married, homeowners, parents, professionals etc... He's remained 23 yrs old, just out of college, frat boy partier and I've become a 39 yr old mother who has a whole different set of priorities than those I had when I was a 25 yr old enamored with my "bad boy" boyfriend... Sigh... I do very much feel I've become (and he's wanted me to be) his mother in many ways-- take care of him, make decisions for him but then he also resents me for all of this even though he wants it... My head has been spinning trying to make sense of this for 14 yrs-- I'm done trying to understand. All I need to know is that this is not making me happy, we are not on the same page with what we want and the life we want to live and we both deserve to be happy or at least live life the way we want and doing that together does NOT work. Sad but true...
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Old 07-17-2011, 06:31 AM
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WTBH, congrats and hugs.

Its really hard to take a close look at yourself and realize that you were part of the problem also.

You are doing a great job of walking your path.

Your friend,
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Old 07-17-2011, 06:34 AM
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This is great stuff WTBH -- thanks for sharing. What's really magical about getting to this particular place is that now real forgiveness can happen (at least on your side of the street) and you can move forward in peace, having gained a whole boatload of wisdom in the process. Your daughters will benefit greatly!! XOXO
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Old 07-17-2011, 07:03 AM
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WTBH, I want to thank you again for sharing this.

It planted a seed and I ended up doing an unintentional step 4. Your comments were so right on. I had gone from my AW had a problem to we had a problem and kind of stuck there. I reread your post, really looked at myself and finally accepted the fact the the problem was all mine. Her drinking wasn't the problem at all, my reactions to it were.

Thank you again sooooo much for that post.

:ghug3

Your friend and student in recovery,
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Old 07-17-2011, 07:38 AM
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thanks mike...

oddly enough I have gotten some good practice trying to remember and put into practice all that i wrote here... my mantra for the past few hrs has been "he is who he is, he is who he is..."

this morning ah cancelled plans to take the girls to the park bc his brother (also an A, mentally ill and unemployed and enabled by mil and AH) "needed him". turns out that AH decided he is the only one capable of helping his brother out of the funk he is in, that no one else understands his brother like him and as I listened to ah justify his blowing off of his kids and rattle on with his jesus complex i was stunned to find that he sounded just like me 14 yrs ago... i thought i was going to "fix", "save" etc... ah when we met and seeing how sick it is as i hear ah say it all out loud shows me just how sick i was and how far i've come.

but instead of being happy about that right now i am sad. i am sad to see ah so caught up in the enabling (and avoiding of his own problems by focussing on his brothers). i am sad at what i thought we'd be and what we've been and that it took me 14 yrs to get here...

and to be completely honest, i am sickened by how much my in laws and ah enable my bil. ah actually came over to tell the girls to their faces that he'd be blowing them off and explained to D5 that he had to go help uncle J "learn how to be a grown up" and that he "needed him (ah) more than they did". i wanted to cry when he said that. the girls are learning that being a needy, sick individual gets you attn (at least from daddy).

i feel a bit like i'm in a bad dream... i'm standing on the side lines listening to crazy talk (ah talking about teaching his brother to be a grown up with ah isn't yet one?!), talking about what a bad place his brother is in and how he needs help when ah is simultaneously saying he's figured out all the reasons he drank and now knows he can be a social drinker (this being said the same weekend i found an empty beer can at the foot of D3's car seat in ah's car when i got the girls from him)...

i still stick by all i've said earlier in this post-- i have known this is who he was, but that expression of 'more will be revealed' is really really making sense to me now... i used to see ah as not put together but rationalized it by telling myself at least he wasn't as bad as his brother.... now i'm not so sure. ah still thinks this is true but when i look at the 2 of them i see them both as spiraling out of control-- ah just hides it better and it scares me bc i think he's the one likely to lose everything sooner bc of the fact that he hides it so well...

sigh...
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Old 07-17-2011, 07:46 AM
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Yup, there is a lot of sick stuff going on. Don't overanalyze it. You will hurt your head, because none of it really makes sense, in a logical way. It's all people not seeing the truth. You can't MAKE them see it, even though you see it.

I remember trying to make stuff out of those "Magic Eye" optical illusions. Even when I knew what I was SUPPOSED to be seeing, I couldn't see it. Until, one day, something "clicked" and I could suddenly see the hidden picture.

The only way to move forward is to detach from all the people who are seeing stuff through their own distorted lenses. You don't have to be stuck with that anymore. Go forward, with your eyes open. Ultimately, you will get where you are going, even if the destination isn't totally clear to you right now. At least the path is well-lit.
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Old 07-17-2011, 07:58 AM
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WTBH, I think you are doing a great job. By becoming strong for yourself you are providing your girls with a wonderful example of how to live a healthy life.

Your friend,
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Old 07-17-2011, 09:10 AM
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WTBH, you have taken the time to write, very succinctly, some of the processes my little brain has gone through in the last several months.

What I found out recently was very close to what you're saying about the 'growing out of' those stages or phases in life. The partier, to the Family Man evolution thoughts you might have had.

Well, I'm at AHEM-age going back to college right now. I'm seeing young men going through phases or stages in their lives and young men (and women) who are focused and driven. I observe a whole lot and I think now at my AHEM-age, I can pretty much discern those who will probably find success, those who really are going through stages and phases, and those who just really will turn out with spouses and loved ones who will be posting on this board someday. Not judging, just observing.

What I found out is that my thinking was wayyyyyyy off my first time in college. I figured EVERYONE went through the same kinds of stages and phases of partying or drinking and then everyone just magically grew up. I thought everyone felt the way and acted the way I did.

Duh.

I'm *just now* understanding that I was not picking correctly because I was not thinking correctly. Coming out of the fog I've been in this long is helping me become more confident with my decisions.
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Old 07-17-2011, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post
i am sad at what i thought we'd be and what we've been and that it took me 14 yrs to get here...
Often my periods of greatest growth have been tinged with a lot of sadness too. I think that's a normal reaction.

I know for me it's usually been much like you, seeing things as they really are and not the delusions I held for years. It's like saying goodbye to an old friend, albeit a dysfunctional friend!

You're doing great gal. Don't beat yourself up over the last 14 years. It serves no purpose. Things happen for a reason.
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Old 07-17-2011, 09:37 AM
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WTBH, Great thread! And so important when it comes to letting go...accepting personal responsibility for our own expectations. Getting to the place you've landed requires a lot of introspection and some painful realizations...it was cathartic when I got that point and found the strength to forgive myself in the process.

You've come a long way, WTBH! I hope this clarity gives you peace and forgiveness, as it did me. I never thought I'd be where I am today and I am so grateful for it. Makes me realize the true meaning of being exactly where I am supposed to be and the lessons I am to be learning by having had these experiences, no matter how painful they have been.
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Old 07-17-2011, 03:49 PM
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Thanks everyone-- I'm glad this is a thread that resonates with others but I've gotten so much from reading what you've all shared too in here so thank you...

AH said to me tonight that he misses the woman he fell in love with and instead of blaming him for changing I told him I was sorry bc that woman wasn't real. That woman was someone who was afraid to say what she wanted bc being needed and thought of as a martyr mattered more. I told him that who I am now is who I've always been, I just didn't show it and that he's right to be confused. I told him it was not intentional to "fool" him but that I understood if he felt that way. I think that while I'm grieving not having what I hoped we'd be (which was something healthy), he's grieving realizing that the doormat who worshipped him is most definitely NEVER coming back. He'd be okay with me reverting back to being the delusional full on codie, enmeshed, sick person he married and I'd just as soon be water boarded before I'd start acting like that again...

I think for a while I thought that if I could stop being so angry I'd feel a lot better but I don't. I'm not angry so much anymore with AH but just so so sad and it hurts a lot more I think than the anger did... I guess that's to be expected huh? I know as a kid I tried to hide being sad and that manifested itself as my coming off as angry a lot of the time... I guess I felt anger was safer somehow and apparantly have continued to think this as an adult... Here's to hoping that moving through the sadness means that it will lessen the more I move through it. I can't imagine it getting more painful than it is right now...
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Old 07-17-2011, 06:34 PM
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Thank you for putting all that into words - it's taken me years to not rage, but to feel instead. You really got it for me!

- Sylvie
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