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do they ever realize??

Old 08-12-2011, 01:58 PM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by yorkiegirl View Post
I used to get angrier and angrier for each time my husband (or parents or people in general) would not apologize for what they had done to hurt me, to make amends for each "wrongdoing" and for them to not forget that they hurt me. . . (I was such a martyr!) The more I sought an apology the more my husband would withdraw. (He probably felt badly deep down inside but rather than "feeling" regret or remorse, especially during his active alcoholism days, it was probably better to just blow me off and continue to "not feel.") I would push and push for the acknowledgement and apology. When I didn't get it or got it without changes of behavior to accompany the apology, I would just feel worse. Because one thing I could count on was that he would do something (for certain) to hurt me.

Yes, for the sake of the addict/alcoholic and any human being who has hurt another, it's a spiritually cleansing thing to realize what we've done wrong, do our best to make amends and to work at never repeating (if possible) those wrongs. However, for me as a family member of A's and a codie, it's important to practice "letting go." I am human. I do need sincere, honest acknowledgement from others (especially those who've hurt me). On the other hand, I am learning to accept the actions of renewal and amends from those who hurt me. They may not always acknowledge or apologize the way I would like them to, but I am trying to learn to accept that what someone else can offer (even if it's not enough for me) is enough. If it still hurts too much for me or is unacceptable for me, I must walk away. I must do the work at forgiving those who hurt me. I am the only one who can really do that for myself, not anyone else. People can only acknowledge, give, and realize what they can acknowledge, give, and realize. Nothing more.

Lillamy wrote in another post about "forgiveness." (I loved it!) It's important for me to focus on "forgiveness" whether or not the A's in my life realize all that they've put me through. (I have to take responsibility for myself and recognize I also allowed it. I am responsible for what situations I put myself in and how I respond).

I still l remember I had bought a brand new truck years and years ago. I let my husband (who was my boyfriend and an active addict then, using and abusing many substances not just alcohol) use my brand new truck. I didn't/don't smoke anything. Right away, I found a burn-hole on one of the seats (from a cigarette or joint or something drug-related). I was so angry. I kept picking fights with him, demanding an acknowledgement (for years). He kept brushing me off and saying he had no idea how that happened. I continued to let him use the truck. Years later, the truck was in embarrassingly awful condition (from his use and abuse) inside and out. We had to pay someone to take it from us (couldn't even sell it). It used to be a brand-spanking new , shiney, beautiful truck. I blamed him and his addictions for ruining everything, including my truck.

The other day, I saw a black spot on one of the blankets (it wasn't a burn-hole) but it triggered my memory to flash back to that time when I found the burn-hole in seat of my new truck--a time I was deep, deep in my own illness. I started feeling anxiety, panic and anger. . . I had to calm myself down (calling on Alanon tools!). . . I had to remind myself that was a different time in which addictive alcoholism and active co-dependence were operating in our lives. To this day, my husband has never acknowledged or apologized (maybe he doesn't remember or maybe his mind wasn't even fully there when the burn holes "appeared" or maybe it's embarrassing to remember. . . I don't really know). I had to tell myself that it just doesn't matter anymore. I had a huge part to play in all of this. *What was I thinking,* allowing an active alcoholic/drug addict to take my brand new truck that I had just bought? I continued to allow him to drive and use the truck, even after he thrashed his own vehicles before. I did this with everything. I continued to *trust* him with our belongings, with our lives, etc. even though deep down inside beneath the fog of my co-dependence and "alcoholic-thinking" I really did know that he wasn't to be trusted (He probably couldn't trust himself either). I dated and married him as an active alcoholic/addict. I had to really examine myself.

Today, my husband is sober, in recovery. He still doesn't acknowledge and apologize right away, but he does. This is new. In addition, he tries to change his behaviors. I see those changes. They are small, but they are *huge.* I have to see and recognize this. These changes in *behavior* mean a lot. (So, it's my turn to realize and acknowledge his changes). He doesn't always have to acknowledge, apologize or realize *on my terms.* I also have to check myself and to see what part did I play? What part do I play? It was easy for me to "blame" and point my fingers at the person who was so sick and so out of it for all the wrongs he committed and all the hurt, pain and embarrassment he caused me and our family.

What about me? I wasn't the one who had pumped mind-altering substances into my body (my mind was supposed to be clear) but I sure acted just as insanely and irrationally.

When there is honest, rigorous recovery, I do think they "realize." The challenge for me is for *me* to realize as well. . .

Thank you for this post. I was just thinking about this!
great post, I double like this one :-)

I too have to stop myself and think it's not about them apologizing but about where I have to look at where I did wrong. My ex made amends, but there is no doubt in my mind he would have come to me on his own to make them. I had to contact him to tell him I wanted to make mine, then he did his.
Addicts biggest fears are to be vulnerable and saying sorry is a pretty vulnerable state
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Old 08-12-2011, 09:47 PM
  # 22 (permalink)  
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All the posts help me, thank u. I feel a little less crazy reading things knowing that its normal to wonder if my separated RAH will ever know the extent of the pain he has caused and continues to cause. Thank you SR for making me feel like I'm not alone!
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:10 AM
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Someone in true recovery knows and finds it very hard an painful to think about. Some do the steps faster than others so it may take quite a while to get any type of amends. I was sitting around 'waiting' for mine and nada. I still think it will come but mine is a tough one for him because it dealt with deeply personal stuff between he and I. The last thing he wants to deal with fresh out of rehab! Ha.

Then I read something that people who hurt us do so because they are in pain and the goal is to understand why one is hurt (or both) rather than to 'even the score'. Shaming them because of the hurt they caused isn't good either.

Patience. Patience.

I'll chime in with the forgiveness part. It is HUGE and took a weight off my shoulders. It also helped me see him as a vulnerable and overwhelmed person and reminded me to be compassionate. I lost my compassion due to lots of anger. I didn't like the anger or resentment building. It hurt only me. When I forgave, I felt my kinder nature returning in general.

This thread has helped me understand too, particularly the ones who have been through recovery.. thanks for sharing your experiences btw.
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