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Alcoholism and Objectification

Old 09-16-2011, 12:33 PM
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Alcoholism and Objectification

I was talking to my T about this several months ago and again recently when a handful of remarks from AH made me realize that there was a pattern to his behavior.

So, sparing you the details I'll say this: AH began about 9 months ago telling stories and talking about women and treating me in ways that made it blatantly obvious he views women as objects. He actually told me a story of how a colleague was spoken to by administration (not convinced this wasn't actually him it happened to) for how his crude sexual remarks in the office outside of school hours were making female colleagues uncomfortable. Then he proceeded to say that the women who'd complained were nuts and needed to loosen up. Following that (and I made it clear I found that thinking appalling) he started a campaign of groping at me (while I was sleeping a few times) and acting like it was funny, demeaning me with words and saying things like "it's a shame our marriage is ending bc you're so f'ing hot naked" and then telling me that that was a compliment and that he won't compliment me every again if I can't take it (I told him that'd be great!).

So, in my AH I have observed that the man who used to behave like a gentleman (even if it was just very surface level stuff) has become a crude, objectifier of women, particularly his wife and it's really disgusting.

I'm just curious more than anything about whether anyone else has seen this occur with their A spouse or SO? I guess this falls into the category of alcoholism being progressive and impacting a person's character? Of course AH doesn't think this at all (months and months ago I idiotically told him I felt he'd turned into a different person and he went nuts on me so that told me all I needed to know about how he perceives himself...
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Old 09-16-2011, 01:11 PM
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When you ingest a drug daily it changes your body chemistry, whether the drug is caffeine, nicotine, antidepressants or alcohol. I've observed personality and cognitive changes in my AH that, coincidentally, has emerged and gotten more pronounced as he has descended further into alcohol abuse. It took me a long time to connect the two but now that I have, I can see that the increasingly offensive and annoying behavior was at least in part due to his substance abuse (and perhaps the rest was just him turning into a real *******, who knows).

I find it helpful to sit and think about it all and try to sort it out in my head, but at a certain point beware of sliding down into that dark hole, because in the end not much makes real sense. Sometimes you just have to shrug and move along.
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Old 09-16-2011, 01:16 PM
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It's possible that alcohol "turned him this way." It's also possible that he was an abusive jerk before and just covered it up better. Who knows? I think a lot of times alcohol gets too much credit/blame for bad behavior. There are plenty of alcoholics who aren't misogynists, and plenty of abusive jerks who don't drink. I don't think there is a cause/effect connection to be made here.

All that matters is whether his behavior is acceptable to you. What if he stopped drinking and still behaved the same?

L
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Old 09-16-2011, 01:22 PM
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I think it's probably always been below the surface and he exercised better self control for a long time and now can't.

He told me years ago (just recently remembered this) that as a kid he had a friends Dad talk to him about his temper bc he used to explode all the time. I remember being shocked by this and thinking he'd really done a lot of work to deal with it since when we met he was overly calm and aloof and rarely reacted to anything- good or bad. Now I think he just was stuffing it all and clearly it had to come out at some point.

At this point even if he stopped drinking I believe he'd still be a misogynist. His anger is intense. And I am often compared to his siblings and father who he has intense anger toward but won't ever let them know that. AND he has a super controlling manipulative mother who he has placed on a pedestal but I think deep down has huge resentment toward her. Much easier though to direct that anger at me rather than her.
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Old 09-16-2011, 01:38 PM
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I remember the first time XABF did something very off-kilter like this...
We were on a date, he was driving, and there was a red light. A woman wearing shorts was crossing at the crosswalk, and XABF oogled her and shouted out, "Look at the legs on that fox!"
He was in the middle of further comments when I turned to him and said, "Excuse me?" To which he replied, "I'm sorry, I thought you were Tommy."

I don't know which bothered me worse, the words he said or the fact he claimed he was confused and thought that he was taking his friend he hadn't talked to in 10 years out to dinner instead of a date with me.
I wish I had the guts to do something about it back then, because it only went downhill from there.

Alcohol doesn't trigger me, but women wearing tight shorts and too-tall stiletto heels do, because that is what really hurt my self esteem. At least when he was drunk I could tell myself it was because he was drunk, but this behavior he did more often when he was sober...
I mean, seriously, what kind of a guy compares his girlfriends' legs to his daughters, implying that his daughter is "hot" and his girlfriend is "frumpy"? I wish I had the guts back then to acknowledge how creepy that is.
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Old 09-16-2011, 02:36 PM
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As the disease progresses I believe that they become more unable to control their inner demons. It all rises to the surface, as one the reason they are alcoholics or drug addicts is because of their mental underlining mental issues. What came first? The chicken or the egg? I know not.
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Old 09-17-2011, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post
he started a campaign of groping at me (while I was sleeping a few times) and acting like it was funny, demeaning me with words and saying things like "it's a shame our marriage is ending bc you're so f'ing hot naked" and then telling me that that was a compliment and that he won't compliment me every again if I can't take it (I told him that'd be great!)
This is my AH all over. He does the same thing, as well as smacking my ass, and saying "you know you like it." and then the whole, "I'll never touch you again then!" thing. Ugh. So annoying.
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Old 09-17-2011, 09:11 PM
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My vote goes to DOLLYDO!
Perfect answer to a T......

I agree. I agree. I agree. I agree
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Old 09-18-2011, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by StarCat View Post
I remember the first time XABF did something very off-kilter like this...
We were on a date, he was driving, and there was a red light. A woman wearing shorts was crossing at the crosswalk, and XABF oogled her and shouted out, "Look at the legs on that fox!"
He was in the middle of further comments when I turned to him and said, "Excuse me?" To which he replied, "I'm sorry, I thought you were Tommy."

I don't know which bothered me worse, the words he said or the fact he claimed he was confused and thought that he was taking his friend he hadn't talked to in 10 years out to dinner instead of a date with me.
I wish I had the guts to do something about it back then, because it only went downhill from there.

Alcohol doesn't trigger me, but women wearing tight shorts and too-tall stiletto heels do, because that is what really hurt my self esteem. At least when he was drunk I could tell myself it was because he was drunk, but this behavior he did more often when he was sober...
I mean, seriously, what kind of a guy compares his girlfriends' legs to his daughters, implying that his daughter is "hot" and his girlfriend is "frumpy"? I wish I had the guts back then to acknowledge how creepy that is.
That's at the heart of what I think I found the most upsetting too. He did this both when drinking and when stone cold sober. And when he was drinking I could blame it on the lack of judgement from the alcohol, but over the past year it became more and more obvious that this was his character- drinking or not and having him sober, treating me like a piece of meat, telling me to "lighten up" (for not finding lewd behavior amusing as if I were a guy buddy) or telling me that women are so f'ing sensitive and no man would ever think his behavior was a problem (ummm, wrong!) ... well, seeing him turn into someone unrecognizable and frankly, a total dirtbag-- that just hurt deeply.
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Old 09-18-2011, 06:10 AM
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WTBH, ((((hugs)))) from a guy who isn't a dirtbag. He is an A and he learned this from someone probably his father. My MIL is a super Codie and a master of using guilt and subtle putdowns as a way to manipulate people around her. This behavior has come out in spades when my wife started her path into becoming a full fledged A. Her father was an A and I believe he was nasty when drunk. He didn't pull that much with me because I was a lot bigger and a former Marine so I think he was intimidated by me, even though I am a real sweetie. That behavior came out as she drank more also. So, I guess what I am saying with this rambling post is you should't be surprised with different personalities showing themselves as he looses more and more self control.

As I have been going through my recovery I have been surprised at the buried issues that I have dug up. I am willing to bet that if I was descending into alcoholism more and more of them would have started to surface. So, I don't believe that alcohol caused these behaviors, it simply unlocked the cage door.

Your friend,
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Old 09-18-2011, 10:04 AM
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Hey Mike,
Please don't take my rant about AH's misogynistic behaviors as thinking all men are dirtbags-- I definitely don't!

And yes, I agree that he learned this somewhere. His Dad was a passive drunk (in his bedroom passed out all the time except for when he was beating his mom and brother). AH has his mom on this sick pedestal (my T suggested that AH and his mom appear to have an emotionally incestuous r/s and when I read about it that's precisely what it is) but bit by bit I've heard him in recent months talk with a great deal of anger about how controlling she was of him and how much he resents how he has always tried to please her (of course he still does it!).

So, I think a lot of his rage and dirt bag behavior toward women (even if it's not overt, his remarks have grown increasingly vile) comes from a place of anger toward his bitchy mom who he doesn't dare express anger toward. That's my pop psychology analysis at least!

Anyway, I think deep down I knew all along this wasn't just bc of the alcohol-- it's just been a hard pill to swallow to see all these demons coming to the surface and realizing that I ignored a LOT of red flags for a long time and really should have seen this all coming long long ago.
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Old 09-18-2011, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by dollydo View Post
As the disease progresses I believe that they become more unable to control their inner demons. It all rises to the surface, as one the reason they are alcoholics or drug addicts is because of their mental underlining mental issues. What came first? The chicken or the egg? I know not.
I concur.
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Old 09-18-2011, 07:01 PM
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Hi WTBH...

I agree with Dollydo - its tough to tell which comes first. I will not excuse it as happening as a result of being drunk. The person said the words - not the alcohol. Alcohol only lowers the inhibitation - allowing the crap to flow, IMHO.

Unfortunately, I had an incident two weeks ago with my AH - he was drunk, and objectifying me. All I can say is that event made me ramped up my work on detachment and my exit plan. My AH is clearly progressing in his disease. His ability to filter his mental garbage is rapidly eroding... and I'm his target. No good.

There is nothing I can say or do to make him stop. And to be honest, I've given up on trying to understand why he says/does what he does. Hell, I've got my hands full just figuring out why I do what I do!! I grew up with a dry drunk father who objectified women... so it's really no big surprised that I ended up married to the same freakin' thing - at least that's what my therapist tells me.

I'm sorry that you are dealing with that behavior. I know first hand how badly it can undermine your self-worth. I know that I am a smart, strong, successful engineer - but the slightest comment about my looks, my body, the way I dress, etc... and I become a spineless, whimpering mess. It sucks. I feel like it is done to me as a means of "controlling" me and knocking me down a few notches - in essense, it's about the other person's fears... not really about me. I try to remember that logic... and it helps me not show my hurt, on the outside anyways... it's still there on the inside.
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:56 AM
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WTBH, your marriage sounds so much like my parents' marriage.

"AND he has a super controlling manipulative mother who he has placed on a pedestal but I think deep down has huge resentment toward her. Much easier though to direct that anger at me rather than her. "

Sounds EXACTLY like my father's relationship with his mother. They have what I've heard referred to as a "magical marriage."

He bitterly resented his mother's controlling him, yet he never would break away. She enabled him from the time he started drinking until she died; cleaning up his messes, finding him jobs, etc.

He lived less than three years after her death. He died from cirrhosis of the liver, caused by drinking. He was less than 50 years old.

I heard someone say in a workshop, "If somebody is controlling you, THEY are not the problem." Definitely true in his case, though my mother and one sister used to talk as if his mother was the problem.
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