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Old 09-07-2012, 07:11 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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I realize this and when I spoke it in the therapist's office I stated that I wanted him to get mentally and emotionally healthy for himself and asked him if he wanted that. He does, but it was pretty obvious by his body language and his attitude that he doesn't really think that's possible nor does he want to try.
Liz, just a different perspective. Maybe he doesn't think he needs to change? In his mind he may well consider himself to be mentally and emotionally healthy. Therefore he sees what you consider to be valid request as attacks and more dominance games.

It's not just us codies who have denial issues.

Your friend,
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:21 AM
  # 22 (permalink)  
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I'm amazed at how different the world looks to me today versus one week ago.

I was so determined that we had to have a plan and we had to solve the issues and and and... yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesh.

I have to be able to function and be happy without worrying about what wife does. She knows what my hopes are for her and luckily for me she shares them and hopefully she will but it just became so clear to me that the only thing I can do to make that more likely is to just stop ramming it down her throat, take a breath and focus on me.

...because then I will be less tense and less paranoid and well, I will be happy and have a good life. That makes for a better environment for her recovery. It sure would be easier for anyone to get their head on straight around a spouse who is loving and happy and not nagging them all the time, right?

Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying that if I am not perfect she will drink. She can't drink whether I am a saint or a jackass but we're all happier if I can just drop the rope, quit struggling against her and work with her where she is now, praise her for the good and mention the other along the lines I learned reading Gottman without blame or guilt.

Again, this crap sure does force one to grow up :-) Whaaaaaaaaaaaaah!
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:38 AM
  # 23 (permalink)  
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Liz,
I think there are some very helpful comments here. I don't claim to have the answer for you. I was forced into a choice by AH's serious threats to my life. But I wanted out for a long time and thought of every rationalization of why I hadn't done it yet. I want to share with you something that I read regarding divorce generally when I was trying to find the courage to get out.
It was a blog on the Huffington Post I think. A person who was struggling with their spouse while their marriage was on the brink of dissolution was asked a question by a concerned friend. That question was:

Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?

[COLOR="Black"]When I read your posts, sometimes I get the sense that the very normal desire to be right may be getting in the way of taking the steps you really want to take (deep down) to be happy.

I offer this only because it made an impact on me. Again, I may be right where you are in my marriage if my STBXAH hadn't done something so drastic that pure survival instinct took over.

That being said, I will offer no qualifiers when I say this "You deserve to be happy, loved and treated with respect - especially by those with whom you share a home.
Hugs,
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:47 AM
  # 24 (permalink)  
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There were many times I felt marriage counseling was not going to do anything to help my marriage but every time I went I got something out of it, even if only to make me more aware and sometimes even accepting of the reality.

It sounds like you came out of your session with more clarity, even though it might not be what you want to see.

It's funny but now that my AH is not drinking we are taking a break from marriage counseling. What I think it did for me was help me communicate a little better, be better at setting boundaries and focus on taking better care of myself.

It may have done same for my RAH and so there is a better dynamic between us when he is not drinking. Lately, I have come to suspect that he is having some trouble abstaining and the counseling has helped me better step away from making this into a blow up. (LOL not expecting any "I told you so", just know I am married to an alcoholic who is doing "his" best at recovery.)

I have come to understand that our marriage is light years away from ever being what I dreamed it was or should be. Right now I am taking one step at a time to decide what my future will look like.

(((HUGS)))
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:36 AM
  # 25 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by m1k3 View Post
Liz, just a different perspective. Maybe he doesn't think he needs to change? In his mind he may well consider himself to be mentally and emotionally healthy. Therefore he sees what you consider to be valid request as attacks and more dominance games.

It's not just us codies who have denial issues.

Your friend,
Mike, at first I didn't agree here but I realize that you're probably right. He's always thought that everyone else needs to change to fit his mold. He also made it very clear to the MT that he thinks all humans are stupid and that he is better than everyone else. The MT challenged him on it, but AH stuck to his guns and seriously believes that people just don't get it. He probably thinks that HE IS the healthy one and that everyone else has the problem!

So, the question still remains: if I give up my defending myself against his verbal attacks, if I give up my desire to be right, and if I strive for happiness; will I still be able to stay married to someone like this with or without alcohol? He is so threatened by all thebpositive stuff I am doing, too, and he's constantly attacking me about it. Makes recovery even tougher for me because I defend my Al Anon meetings and sponsors, etc.
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:57 AM
  # 26 (permalink)  
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WOW Eight Ball, AWESOME post! Thank you!

Originally Posted by Eight Ball View Post
You both want different things - your AH wants to drink and you want a relationship with someone who can operate sober. Its a battle.

Life for me was a battle with my AH of 24yrs.

My AH ended up telling me that he wanted to drink and he was going to drink for the rest of his life and if I didnt like it, I could leave.

This really was a blessing as I now had a choice. To continue to remain married to him, which meant that I had to learn to live with his drinking and ignore it, for my own sanity and peace OR I could leave.

I did try to 'live with it' for a while, hoping that I could, so that I could remain married to the man I loved (80% of the time), and keep my family intact. I attended Al-anon and listened to a few ladies who had continued to live with their active alcoholics and appeared to have found calm and serenity.

I personally couldnt find calm or serenity. I was still stressed, filled with anxiety on my way home, treading on eggshells and the woman who had found serenity at Al-anon did so, by leading their own busy, active lives. I too, got a busy, active social life of my own but I needed to have a relationship with someone who was loving, caring, thoughtful etc and I knew I deserved that.

Following 18 months of SR and Al-anon, 12 months of therapy, I eventually waved the white flag and surrendered. I told my AH that if he wanted to drink for the rest of his life, it was his life and if thats what he choose to do, that was fine, but his choice didnt mean that I had to choose the same thing and live my life with an active drinker.

I told him I was leaving and did about 6 weeks later, when I managed to find a rental home of my own. I have never regretted leaving, its hands down the best thing that I have ever done (much better than marriage councelling).

If your AH was to tell you lizatola that 'he was going to drink for the rest of his life and if you dont like it you can leave' - what would you do? Like it or leave?

AH's can go all round the town and houses with marriage councelling, telling you want you want to hear, arguing etc but at the end of the day what they are really communicating by continuing doing - is to keep drinking.
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:58 AM
  # 27 (permalink)  
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One thing that helped me make some decisions was reading about Gottman's Four Horsemen of Marriage. It hit me like a 2x4 because all four horsemen were alive and well in my marriage by that point (especially stonewalling, oh boy...), and I was told that once this happens, the marriage is most likely unsalvageable.

Are you dealing with any of the four horsemen in your marriage?
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:02 AM
  # 28 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
It's funny that you mention Gottman because this was exactly the guy who our therapist used. The MT kept calling my AH out on the sarcasm and telling him that it was a form of contempt(AH was getting sarcastic with the MT, and also with me) and my AH just couldn't see it. He's so used to sarcasm, it's part of his MO and couldn't understand why people just don't get his so-called jabs and humor and can't NOT take it personally.

I used to complain to my AH about stupid little stuff with him. YOu know, like you left your shoes out for a few days or you forgot to take the trash out, etc but he always saw them as being serious attacks on him and I wound up feeling crappy from his backlash so I just started doing everything around the house by myself. It was just easier than awakening his dragon within. I learned very well how to keep the peace and, in turn, I loaded myself up with resentments and unmet expectations.
I remember learning in college, in a Marriage and Family class, that the most accurate predictor of success or failure of a marriage is whether or not there is contempt. Not trying to doom your marriage or anything, but maybe research that and figure out your odds?
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:02 AM
  # 29 (permalink)  
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Start at the beginning.

Can you accept being verbally attacked by your husband/housemate/banker/anyone?

The question of defending or ignoring verbal attacks is assuming you are accepting them.

See?

If the answer to the first question is "No" the second question is not how to handle them but how to protect yourself from them to begin with.

More ways then one to answer all those questions. 'No' doesn't automatically mean leaving/separating but it puts things in a different perspective. It changes the options.
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:08 AM
  # 30 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
Yet, Trilogy pretty much summed it up for me: I feel I have to try EVERYTHING so that I can say that I tried EVERYTHING. It also gives me a very good perspective of how sick my AH's mind is. You know, I brought up the rapist comment thing and he still is sticking by it. He said, "You don't know what it's like to be a man. We walk around thinking we're going to get accused of rape all the time." I looked at him and said, "I'm your wife. What in the hell do you think I do? Sit around looking for ways to get you thrown in jail?" To which he replied, "All you gotta do is call a lawyer in the AM and I'm screwed." UGH, I should have known better than to even bring that one up. The MT just sat there and was shaking his head because my AH kept going off about lawyers for about 5 minutes which, AGAIN, got us off topic. Sometimes I wish we could record our sessions and I could put it up on youtube, just for entertainment value because if you weren't married to him, you'd actually find him quite entertaining in his paranoia.
No, walking around thinking you are going to get accused of rape is not normal! This has nothing to do with "being a man." All men do not walk around thinking this! There is something seriously wrong with this person you are married to. YOU are the one who was raped and YOU are the one who needs the support and understanding. But this sicko actually has found a way to make YOUR rape HIS issue. It is ALL about them. I swear to G it makes me sick.
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:11 AM
  # 31 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
Mike, at first I didn't agree here but I realize that you're probably right. He's always thought that everyone else needs to change to fit his mold. He also made it very clear to the MT that he thinks all humans are stupid and that he is better than everyone else. The MT challenged him on it, but AH stuck to his guns and seriously believes that people just don't get it. He probably thinks that HE IS the healthy one and that everyone else has the problem!

So, the question still remains: if I give up my defending myself against his verbal attacks, if I give up my desire to be right, and if I strive for happiness; will I still be able to stay married to someone like this with or without alcohol? He is so threatened by all thebpositive stuff I am doing, too, and he's constantly attacking me about it. Makes recovery even tougher for me because I defend my Al Anon meetings and sponsors, etc.
Ruh-Roh Raggy.

No, you do not have to defend your meetings and sponsors (assuming female sponsors). You have to simply be willing to do what you need to stay sane, period. That is a healthy boundary (I just doscovered those, really cool huh?)

How many of these describe him? The ones I bolded sound eerily familiar to a past spouse of mine...

Feels grandiose and self-important (e.g., exaggerates accomplishments, talents, skills, contacts, and personality traits to the point of lying, demands to be recognised as superior without commensurate achievements);

� Is obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance, bodily beauty or sexual performance, or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion;

Firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people (or institutions);

� Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation - or, failing that, wishes to be feared and to be notorious;

� Feels entitled. Demands automatic and full compliance with his or her unreasonable expectations for special and favourable priority treatment;

� Is "interpersonally exploitative", i.e., uses others to achieve his or her own ends;

Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with, acknowledge, or accept the feelings, needs, preferences, priorities, and choices of others;

Constantly envious of others and seeks to hurt or destroy the objects of his or her frustration. Suffers from persecutory (paranoid) delusions as he or she believes that they feel the same about him or her and are likely to act similarly;

Behaves arrogantly and haughtily. Feels superior, omnipotent, omniscient, invincible, immune, "above the law", and omnipresent (magical thinking). Rages when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted by people he or she considers inferior to him or her and unworthy.



Just curious as to how many of those you would check and whether you would only check the box when he is drinking. Funny how alcoholism can mimic other disorders...
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:13 AM
  # 32 (permalink)  
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I give you the utmost credit for at least trying to go to counseling with your AH and trying to make him better.. I begged my AF to go to counseling for years and he would never do it until 6 weeks ago when I packed up everything that I owned including my 2 year old son, cut the power and water at my house and just left him there by himself with nothing.. He was forced to go get a job, find shelter and to make his life better. Since I have done this he has gone to counseling, AA and other meetings that I begged him to go to for the last 6 years.. Sometimes you have to let them hit rock bottom before they see what they can lose... He is attempting now to get back with me and I can't do it as I am still too angry at him for having to pack up everything I own and move my son for him to realize he was an alcoholic don't know if I will ever be able to forgive him.. Don't get down on yourself though as it is not your fault we can only truly take so much before we ourselves will hit rock bottom
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:19 AM
  # 33 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
So, the question still remains: if I give up my defending myself against his verbal attacks, if I give up my desire to be right, and if I strive for happiness; will I still be able to stay married to someone like this with or without alcohol? He is so threatened by all thebpositive stuff I am doing, too, and he's constantly attacking me about it. Makes recovery even tougher for me because I defend my Al Anon meetings and sponsors, etc.
The answer is Yes, you CAN still stay married to a person like this. My mother has done it for OVER 50 YEARS! But she expects, and gets, NOTHING from my father. NOTHING but grief, dysfunction, un-warranted contempt and anger, and continual harm to her health and well-being. She lives her life completely alone, and has for pretty much all those 50 years. She has her own interests, her own hobbies, her own friends, and her own activities, and stays busy and involved with those things, by herself, as much as she can. She is over 70 years old and has to stay away from her own home most if not all of the day.

Your spouse is going to get WORSE. Just Google stages of alcoholism and you will see. What is tolerable now will change to intolerable in the future. Do you really want to go there? There is so much more to life. Really.
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:23 AM
  # 34 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
Mike, at first I didn't agree here but I realize that you're probably right. He's always thought that everyone else needs to change to fit his mold. He also made it very clear to the MT that he thinks all humans are stupid and that he is better than everyone else. The MT challenged him on it, but AH stuck to his guns and seriously believes that people just don't get it. He probably thinks that HE IS the healthy one and that everyone else has the problem!

So, the question still remains: if I give up my defending myself against his verbal attacks, if I give up my desire to be right, and if I strive for happiness; will I still be able to stay married to someone like this with or without alcohol? He is so threatened by all thebpositive stuff I am doing, too, and he's constantly attacking me about it. Makes recovery even tougher for me because I defend my Al Anon meetings and sponsors, etc.
((((hugs))))

Sorry Liz, I don't have any experience to share as I didn't start Alanon and begin recovery until after I had left.

One thing I have learned in my recovery is the 3 A's.

Awareness, Acceptance, Action

They don't have to happen all at once. I can be aware that something is happening but that doesn't mean I am ready to accept what is happening and all of its consequences, and I am using acceptance in the recovery way here. To me is simply means accepting the reality of the situation as it it, it doesn't mean approval or agreement.

Also, just because I have accepted the situation doesn't mean I am read to act on it. A favorite Buddhist saying of mine is when in doubt, wait. I found it is not only OK but it is usually the smartest thing to do at the time because if I am not sure I am just reacting to what is going on around me and repeating my old habits.

I know when I am doing the next right thing because it simply feels right. It doesn't always feel good or safe but it does feel right.

Your friend,
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:29 AM
  # 35 (permalink)  
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Liz,

I understand what you want him to do--become mentally and emotionally healthy. Yet at the same time, I realize just how vague that may seem to him. I think as long as you are going to MC, you should write a laundry list of what you think mentally and emotionally healthy is --for all people. Define it, and give as many concrete examples as possible. I think that will make it clear to him exactly what you want, and will no doubt make it clearer to yourself what exactly it is you are looking for, and whether your requests are fair and do-able, or whether they are setting him up to fail you.
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:34 AM
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Hmmm... wow.

OK, alcoholism and codepency are new to me and I am learning all that I can as fast as I can but I get the stuff you are describing very very well.

Verbal attacks are especially insidious, bruises heal quickly but verbal attacks last a long time.

Kinda curious about your thoughts on my last post. One key question: does he have empathy for other people? In other words, once you have communicated that what he said hurt you, does he seem contrite and remorseful or contemptuous and scornful, i.e. - he is annoyed by your hurt feelings and attributes them to a defect in your character as opposed to a normal and appropriate response to being attacked?
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:54 AM
  # 37 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by PohsFriend View Post
Feels grandiose and self-important (e.g., exaggerates accomplishments, talents, skills, contacts, and personality traits to the point of lying, demands to be recognised as superior without commensurate achievements);

� Is obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance, bodily beauty or sexual performance, or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion;

Firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people (or institutions);

� Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation - or, failing that, wishes to be feared and to be notorious;

� Feels entitled. Demands automatic and full compliance with his or her unreasonable expectations for special and favourable priority treatment;

� Is "interpersonally exploitative", i.e., uses others to achieve his or her own ends;

Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with, acknowledge, or accept the feelings, needs, preferences, priorities, and choices of others;

Constantly envious of others and seeks to hurt or destroy the objects of his or her frustration. Suffers from persecutory (paranoid) delusions as he or she believes that they feel the same about him or her and are likely to act similarly;

Behaves arrogantly and haughtily. Feels superior, omnipotent, omniscient, invincible, immune, "above the law", and omnipresent (magical thinking). Rages when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted by people he or she considers inferior to him or her and unworthy.
Unfortunately, for many alcoholics/addicts, these behaviors do not disappear when one stops drinking. It's a habit, a defense mechanism, and often, a personality that has been long standing. Denial for the addict is very hard to give up, and as I have been told by many old-timers in AA, 12 step programs take years to become ingrained. To ask someone to become "emotionally healthy" is a tall order, as someone else here has already said. It's essentially asking him to change fundamentally, and that can take a long time.

Just my humble opinion...
~T
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Old 09-07-2012, 10:05 AM
  # 38 (permalink)  
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Is it really fair to demand that someone change to meet your expectations? Do you think it's fair that he demands you meet his?

From where I sit, I see two people who are basically incompatible, trying very hard to force the other to "get back in line." I am familiar with this dynamic because I have lived it. It didn't matter that we were once compatible and on the same page, what mattered was we had drifted apart on our paths. So far apart, in fact, that there was no coming back together.

Finally it occurred to me how arrogant I was being. Giving him "yet another chance" to conform to my ideals. Who was I to decide how he should live his life?

L
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Old 09-07-2012, 10:13 AM
  # 39 (permalink)  
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I'm with LTD.... I read your posts Lizatola... and they are all about HIM. What he needs to do. How he needs to change. Him. Him. Him.

Who's to say he needs to change? Maybe he's perfectly happy with himself the way he is? If who he IS doesn't work for you... well, that's YOUR problem. Not his.

I HATED... absolutely HATED coming to terms that I was part of the problem. I HATED when I realized that every time I defended myself from his nonsensical attacks... I WAS PICKING UP THE ROPE!!! I was participating...actively... by my own choice. Ugh. I was keeping the merry-go-round spinning.

What set me free was - "What other people think of me is none of my business... especially including my darn AH!!!"

Stop picking up the rope.


P.S. What helped me was a little visual my therapist came up with. He told me to picture the words coming out of my AH's mouth as a baseball... I had a choice. I could catch the ball and throw it back (ie. participate in the game) or I could let it fly by me. It really helpe to SEE that I had a choice to engage or not. After I figure it out... I realized that 80-90% of the crap coming out of my AH's mouth... was NOT worth catching!!!
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Old 09-07-2012, 10:15 AM
  # 40 (permalink)  
Just livin' the dream
 
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: In my sanctuary, my home
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I may have said it before, but if not, I thought it. I don't think drinking is the main problem here. I believe, as la-tee-da said, that you two are just two totally different people and aren't really compatible. There is also the fact that he treats your horribly and shows you almost no respect at all.

As far as wanting to feel like you have tried "everything," there is always something else you could try. Actually, staying with him for the rest of your life is something you would have to do in order to have truly tried everything.
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