My separated AH is suprisingly honest!

Old 07-14-2012, 12:26 AM
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My separated AH is suprisingly honest!

I am not dealing with a separated AH who lies to me, he awkwardly tells me the raw truth, which is no easier to accept. He literally says he has an awareness and knows what he is. He said he knows what he is doing and he feels so much guilt about his choices in the past and the fact he is still choosing to live in his active alcoholism.

He said he fell of the wagon after 9 months of sobriety because as he became more vulnerable, he didn't like the person he was becoming. He said he is not comfortbale being vulnerable and staying vulnerable. He said he is deeply disturbed and continues to be traumatized by the abuse he suffered as a child and he believes he will never let anyone in. He said that he has lived so long with the shield up because that's how he survived his childhood abuse, that living without a wall up he is anxious and uncomfortable. When he was in recovery, sober, working his intensive outpatient program, he cried daily and never let me know.

So now it is up to me what I do with all of this information. Unfortunately, this information is not something that excuses his behavior. I feel sad for him because I know he is in pain but I can only feel so much empathy for someone who has abandoned me, our children, our family...He is perpetuating the same broken family that he had to endure. I see through his honesty that this isn't about me, it is about him being ill which I cannot control! I am glad he is honest, but it doesn't make it better the coward way in which he has chosen to handle reality. I am a different Sweetteewalls now...I am getting over the sadness and moving into the anger portion of this journey. To hell with him if he has an awareness of how unhealthy his behavior is and continues on the way he is. This info helps me see that I do not want to live his way, avoiding reality...I would rather be alone.

Thank you SR for always being there.
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Old 07-14-2012, 05:07 AM
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I see through his honesty that this isn't about me, it is about him being ill which I cannot control!
You are so right and what a blessing to finally realize this...right? How long did it take you to realize this one simple truth? It's the key to our jail cell as codependents.

It took me so long to ACCEPT...I mean really and truly accept in my heart and mind....that alcoholism is a disease. My exah (who I have a child with) has been in and out of rehab 4 times...and in and out of locked psych wards 4 times. Each and every time, he went right back to alcohol (and drugs) in no time at all. He is currently living in a trailer with no hot water, no furniture, no phone, no food, no job, no family and no hope. Neither his family or I are going to rush in to 'help him' this time. No more forced rehabs. No more psych wards. You can't help someone who won't help themselves. So every day I say prayer for him (sometimes hundreds of little prayers a day) that God will relieve my exah of his suffering and that He will give me the strength I need to raise our son on my own in a healthy and stable home environment.

I think my exah and all active alcoholics are tortured souls. Although some find recovery, many don't. The disease progresses until they are institutionalized or dead. But we can't do anything to change the course of events because this is THEIR disease...THEIR life...THEIR choice to seek recovery or not.

I understand the anger. Anger is a valid and useful emotion. Use it to make changes. Get whatever strength you can out of it. Just don't get stuck there for too long.

Your kids are BLESSED to have a strong, loving mom in their corner. Don't forget that!!

Hugs and total understanding......
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Old 07-14-2012, 06:28 AM
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I read his words as manipulation and self-centeredness, sweetteewalls.

If he wants to be the center of the universe and the one with the Major Childhood Wounding, let him do it in a counselor's office and not with the woman he has regularly abused.

How many ongoing days have YOU "cried regularly?"

I have seen this tactic before in alcoholics (men who batter their wives also use it), and it works every time to keep people off their backs and excusing their resistance to treatment and accountability.

The only childhood that matters in your family's life is that of your children.

I think he he is very devious and I would not give him five minutes of your listening time.

Stay angry. That is the normal emotion when one is being abused and when one witnesses a grown man put himself ahead of his children, thus abusing them.

Stay angry. You'll be able to do what needs to be done.
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Old 07-14-2012, 06:59 AM
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What you interpret as honesty is actually Manipulation. You approach this person as though he lives life with a normal brain and normal feelings. If anyone would confess this kind of thing to you, you would rightly feel empathetic in response. But you are not talking to a person with a normal brain, you are talking to a disease. It is his disease talking to you and you need to forget what he said. He wants you to feel sorry for him. He is hooking you and you know it because you are allowing your emotions and normal reasoning to overpower objectivity.

Detach from your feelings of empathy. Detach from your strong desire to have the love, kindness, and happy family that you once had. Look within for your strength and if you find it is spent, get to an Al-Anon meeting and borrow some of the strength you find there.
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Old 07-14-2012, 07:03 AM
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I'm not so sure I'd jump to the determination that this is manipulation or "woe is me" on his part. The big question is what will HE do with this information, and that is totally up to him. It sounds like he's coming to some big realizations about himself, his choices, his actions, and his issues. Being able to admit these things to oneself (and to someone else) is a step. Only time will tell what his next steps will be. You're right, none of this excuses his behavior or his past choices. I just hope for his sake and for your family's sake that he makes healthy choices about those next steps.

stay strong
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Old 07-14-2012, 07:04 AM
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PS It is NEVER your place to act as his sounding board. It is never your place to hear his confessions or his deepest admissions. Let go of the feeling of responsibility you have towards him. The proper place for him to reveal and work through these issues is with other alcoholics and addicts, and a therapist. NOT with you. Ever.
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Old 07-14-2012, 07:58 AM
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I don't feel it is manipulation, I believe its honesty. Manipulation, to me, is when he is telling me with an intent to sway my mind, thinking, get something in return. He is just telling me. He is not excusing his own behavior, he is not trying to come back. I am not concerned about what he's going to do now that he has this awareness, I can't control it. Therapist encouraged me to set my boundaries and I have. He's not crossing them right now and when he does, I won't entertain a conversation.
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Old 07-14-2012, 08:27 AM
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I'm glad your therapist will help you navigate all this.

I wrote from my own experience, as my abusive AH many years ago would launch into his terrible childhood and terrible parents and his low self-esteem and his pain and his sorrows while he continued drinking and continued inflicting his emotional violence onto every member of his family, absolutely destroying every one of us.

So I haven't much patience with poor-me addicts who are refusing treatment unloading their issues onto the people they are simultaneously destroying.

I am advocating for you. You can expect him to be accountable for his issues, to seek treatment and ongoing counseling, you can expect him to grow up and be a decent man. When he opens his mouth with the childhood stories and how wounded and vulnerable he is, you can instantly say, "Not my problem. Get some help."

When he sobers up for a significant period of time, then you can place some merit on what comes out of his mouth. Today, in my opinion, it's just the disease talking.
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Old 07-14-2012, 01:27 PM
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There is always an excuse but never a reason to relapse. This is what he chooses to do with his life. I hope you don't get sucked back in.
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Old 07-14-2012, 01:42 PM
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I am not sure what I said in my post that is being conveyed like I am even en route back to reconciliation. My intention in posting was just with what he has said has actually reassured me that I am making the right choice in staying separated. Sometimes when you're insecure and have been abused, you don't have a confidence in your choices and now his words have affirmed my decision. That is all I was saying.

I read so many posts about how the significant others are still living with the irrational behavior or considering counseling when the A is still immersed and not acknowledging their problems and I know it can be worse. Separated AH isn't making excuses for abuse or behavior, he is explaining the internal battle that goes on in his mind which shows me that he is owning his issues and I need to stop taking on what he needs to do himself.

I had never really experienced anything negative on a post until now. This is the kind of thing that makes me reluctant to post in the future.
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Old 07-14-2012, 01:57 PM
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I did not feel you were conveying any reconciliation at all.
The point I got was in the last sentence.
I agree, reality is the best place to be.
Thank you for sharing what is going on with you.

My experience with my ex was somewhat like yours, but he would not admit to childhood abuse. I knew something was "off" and finally while in rehab, one of his counselors approached me and said "Beth, he cannot face reality. He will not face it and accept it, so he will never get well." Well he used his psychologist talk, (highly unlikely he will recover) but the message was clear, without reality, you cannot face today and take responsibility for what is happening to your own children.

I had to face it. It sucked bad. But, I lived. And, hopefully I stay in reality.
My anger at my ex was bad too. How dare he sit there and pity himself about 30 years ago when he had two children who were living it now?

I think I understand what you are going thru, you will make it, because you can see it.


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Old 07-14-2012, 02:04 PM
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I didn't feel I personally was being negative. You will see what you need to see when you are ready to see it.
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Old 07-14-2012, 02:19 PM
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I hear you, sweetteewalls, and for myself I am sorry if what I wrote sounded like a criticism of you. It was not at all intended to be. It was a criticism of him.
You have made courageous decisions that have been really tough and very painful and you have stuck to them: you are still living separately from him and you are taking care of your children alone and holding a full-time job and all the while in terrible emotional pain. You have had to draw on strength of character and enormous inner resources to get through this. You deserve great respect from each person who meets you, here or in your personal life.

The disease is so cunning and we are quick here to watch out for any fragile spouse who is perhaps being manipulated by an active alcoholic toward his own selfish ends. Please don't give up on us if we do it in a clumsy way. We, too, have our own stories and challenges, and like you, we can also be manipulated and deceived by the addicts in our lives. We try here to help each other not be tricked. The disease is so powerful and we are at its mercy on our own. That is why we are in ongoing recovery. Every day I myself have to regroup emotionally and not get lost in a fog regarding my exrabf. I still feel great pain and times of confusion about the addict I love. I need help as much as anyone else. And I am here to offer help, too.

So please stick with us. We need your experience and want to support you with ours.
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Old 07-14-2012, 03:26 PM
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sweetteewalls, thank you for sharing your story. I hope you keep posting.

Your separation with your AH is most definitely different than mine. It's interesting to hear(read) about because my separated AH is so far in denial and unable to own any of his issues or address them. He's spent the last six weeks trying to convince me he's not an alcoholic, and has since refused to see his substance abuse counselor. He's running a lot, working a lot, golfing a lot- which apparently are cure alls because he "feels so physically and mentally well, better than" he ever has. And it really really bothers him that I think he has a drinking problem!
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Old 07-15-2012, 06:01 AM
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And I thought I was the only one!

My XABF is BRUTALLY "honest" about all of his past and present behaviors. I remember when we first started dating and it was gushing out of his mouth: how many (many) women he had slept with, alcohol, drug use in college, bar fights. You'd THINK I would have walked away then...not exactly romantic "first date" talk.

When his drinking got to his very worst and his behavior was out of was almost like he would drop a confession bomb...and then stand back to see what I would do. I guess I should have "taken shelter" when the first bomb hit. Instead, I commended him for his "honesty" seemed better then hiding things. But like you said, its no easier to take.

He is now back in AA and says he's going to a therapist....although its hard to see much change. The brutal "honesty" continues. I too need to be more assertive about what is for his THERAPIST to hear....and what is for me to hear.

I've really learned a lot from everyone about how this "honesty" may actually be manipulation. I hadn't considered that.

I often point out his "pity parties"....but its true...once the story telling heart softens. I need to be more watchful....
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:06 PM
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Hi Sweetteewalls, I can also relate to your recent experience with feeling angry despite (because of?) the honesty of my STBXAH soon after he quit initially. He was working through a lot of feelings with his therapist that he had previously been completely unaware of. He was remembering more about his childhood, which I took as a good sign that he was actually ready and willing to work on the roots of his issues.

I had (have) a lot of anger toward him, and I knew that we both needed to get a lot more grounded before we could hope to have reasonable interactions again. I wanted us to give each other more space, but he wanted to share with me all the new things he was learning about himself, I think to show me how much effort he was investing and how much progress he was making. The problem that I saw was that he actually was not aware of his own behaviors as much as he thought he was. His MO for months was typical A - manipulative blame shifting. I don't think he really understood how much that continued. He would tell me about some time in his past when he felt his parents were emotionally unavailable, and then explain that he got a similar feeling from my behavior because I had left him. He failed to see why I hadnt yet forgiven him the abuses and abandonment he had put on me. In the past, those kinds of words would have made me sympathetic and challenge me to make his world better again. It hasn't worked on me now for months, and he finally gave up trying.

I see from your post that you are not yet hearing the guilt-tripping or blame-shifting side of his honesty. I'm very glad. But, I think that it may be really common for recovering As to manipulate that way, even if they are not consciously aware of it. And, it seems to me, that some of the previous posters were pre-emptively warning about that possibility.

You are sounding really clear-headed in your recovery. It's wonderful to read. Keep your focus and your peace.

All the best,
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