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Strange Question

Old 10-12-2012, 08:31 AM
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Strange Question

OK this is hard for me to write cause I feel like I'm being selfish, but I have a question that I'm wondering if anyone else is struggling with.
Background: My husband and I have been together for 6 years married for 2. He has been hospitalized 14 times since our marriage for alcohol related health issues. And has been a nightmare for the past two years. I'm sure I don't have to go into specifics as that part is not unique.
He has a daughter from a previous relationship who is 19 years old, has her own car, own job and has started college, she lives about 90 minutes away. She NEVER came to see him while he was in the hospital. The only time in the past year that she did come to see him was on Father's Day.
Well fast-forward, I told my husband he had to go to rehab or we were done. He went inpatient rehab for 40 days. He got home 2 weeks ago, and so far so good....still expecting the worst but praying for the best and so far things have been really good (honeymoon period I'm sure).
So here's the question. He drives down to see his daughter today, and tells me that he wanted to go today cause she was off and he didn't want to spend the weekend away from me. I said thanks I appreciate it, and he says "I'm sure my daughter would appreciate me spending time with her too. "
She's 19, she has two jobs and goes to school, she has her friends and her social life. She is a great kid. And I have no problem with him spending time with her. I do have a problem with the fact that she couldn't be bothered to come up and see him for the past year while he was literally dying. She has always lived with her mother. He talks to her daily, but hasn't lived with her in 10 years, way before I came into the picture.
He stated that he is conflicted about wether to spend time with her or with me.
Ummm I'm the one that has been dealing with this front row center for the past two years, I'm the one that has been wiping your ass and your tears, I'm the one that goes to work everyday to pay for the roof over your head and the health insurance that has kept you alive. Me, all me! Our marriage is the thing that needs to be repaired.
The other part is there is nothing from stopping her butt from getting in her car and driving her ass up to spend the weekend with him. In OUR house as part of OUR family.
I guess I'm venting, and I guess I'm being selfish, but I'm pissed. He would have a stroke if I left him at home for the day so that I could spend the day with my kids. But god forbid I say anything about the "golden child who walks on water".
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Old 10-12-2012, 08:44 AM
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I guess I am wondering what her relationship was like with her father 10 years prior. As someone who had to detach from an alcoholic parent a long time ago, I am sensitive to her situation, but I'm not sure I have all the info here.

But I guess...I'm not sure how much it matters. You can't control her behavior or make her choices for her any more than you can for your husband. And you can't control how your husband feels about his daughter. If you are feeling unappreciated for all you have done for him, fair enough! But I'm not sure what your step-daughter has to do with that.

In the end, though, what you're feeling is normal, and you have every right to it! Please feel free to vent away!!!!
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Old 10-12-2012, 08:44 AM
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She's 19, she has two jobs and goes to school, she has her friends and her social life. She is a great kid. And I have no problem with him spending time with her. I do have a problem with the fact that she couldn't be bothered to come up and see him for the past year while he was literally dying. She has always lived with her mother. He talks to her daily, but hasn't lived with her in 10 years, way before I came into the picture.
He stated that he is conflicted about wether to spend time with her or with me.
Ummm I'm the one that has been dealing with this front row center for the past two years, I'm the one that has been wiping your ass and your tears, I'm the one that goes to work everyday to pay for the roof over your head and the health insurance that has kept you alive. Me, all me! Our marriage is the thing that needs to be repaired.
I'll be frank. A parent's relationship with a child should be prioritized over other relationships, including your marriage. That he's been an active addicts says that his child is probably pretty annoyed with him, or traumatized by him, and that the ball is in his court as far as repairing that relationship.

She has her own car, job, friends, and social activities? GOOD. She has the trappings of being a normal child instead of being paralyzed as the (barely) adult child of an alcoholic.

Perhaps you could find some therapy or attend Al-Anon so you can explore this anger and competitiveness.
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Old 10-12-2012, 08:54 AM
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It's entirely possible she has good reasons for how she acts regarding her dad. She sounds like a pretty level-headed young woman. Why are you making it a competition for your husband's attention? She's entitled to her feelings.
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Old 10-12-2012, 10:49 AM
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I'm not making it a competition at all, my husband is. He says he is torn between spending time with me and spending time with his daughter. There is no need to be torn. We have a house where she is welcome to come. She has a room in our house. And her and I are cool. There is no need to be torn. I'll pay for her gas, come on up, spend the weekend, hang out with your dad. I work 50 hours a week, go spend time with her during the week or have her come up on the weekend.
You're right though, I'm not sure what her feelings are about his alcoholism, he was always a functional alcoholic, that is until the last 2 years, when his alcoholism became full blown, in your face, fall down drunk pathetic. She never saw any of that. But I'm not sure what her experience was.
She is very level headed, she's a really good kid. I just feel that there is no reason to chose between her or I, once we got married we became a family. Our house is now the family house. There is no need for separation or her vs. me, come and be part of our family.
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Old 10-12-2012, 10:55 AM
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I read my post again, and I sound like a whiney b***h...hehe. Not my intention. My nerves are just so raw right now after everything that has happened. I am in counseling and hopefully these feellings will pass. I'm just angry about EVERYTHING right now. And anything sets me off.
And yes I do expect gratitude from him, I kept him alive (literally) and I got him to go to rehab which no one else was able to do for 20+years. I want him to freakin acknowledge all I've done....and I know this may never happen...hence the therapy.
Sorry for coming across so self-absorbed. Thanks for the advice. And for listening to me vent.
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Old 10-12-2012, 11:05 AM
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I do have a problem with the fact that she couldn't be bothered to come up and see him for the past year while he was literally dying. She has always lived with her mother.
Well... What I've learned is that having a spouse who is an alcoholic is a very different experience from having a parent who is an alcoholic. When I left AXH, the kids were relieved. And then they became angry. And then they veered in different direction and have expressed pretty much every emotion known to man and then some.

Having a parent who's an A is difficult. Often, you hate them for the abuse they've put you through -- yet you never stop hoping that they will turn around and express their love for you like a "normal" parent. You're pulled between those two extremes the entire time.

Some kids react by becoming uber-codies and waiting on their A parent hand and foot and hating the non-A parent for "abandoning" the A. They sort of step into the non-A parent's role. Some kids make a clean break and refuse to have anything to do with the A. Some kids are torn apart on the inside because they don't know how to stop wanting the love of a person they hate. And some kids react in other ways.

I think when you're talking about addiction, you have to drop all your expectation of any relationship being "normal." I know that my "normal" friends who have never experienced alcoholism up close and personal have reacted in many different ways to my leaving my AXH -- some judge me for "abandoning" him; some think I'm exaggerating how bad it really was; some think it's really odd that I have no contact with him other than about kid logistics. And that's OK. Other people are on the outside of your relationship and don't know what it's like. Just like you are on the outside of the relationship between your AH and his daughter.

I know it's easy to judge. To think she doesn't love him. But you have to trust that she is able to know what she can handle as far as her AFather goes. You have to leave that to them.

About your AH: Going to see her sober is probably very frightening to him. It's probably much more within his comfort zone to stay home with you -- because you guys have hashed through what his drinking did to you, and to your relationship. He probably hasn't done that with his daughter. He's probably terrified of her bringing up past offenses and wondering how he'll handle that sober.

Just my five cents.
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:25 PM
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It sounds to me like...

...you are codependent upon your husband and jealous of the daughter. Her behavior is completely normal for the child of an alcoholic and, frankly, what she does and her relationship with her father is none of your business in any way.

You are your business, he is his business, and she is her business.

Please consider some Alanon meetings if you haven't already. It will help you a great deal IMHO.

Take care,

Cyranoak
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:57 PM
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If he wants to make his relationship with his daughter a priority in his life, he'll go see her. Not a priority over you - just a priority.

I suspect he has some repair work to do with her if he wants that relationship to grow.
As the parent he'll have to take the first steps, and IMO that is the way it should be even though she is 19.

I think your feelings about what you've been put through are totally valid.

I'm having a hard time relating to either one of you getting so bent out of shape by taking one day off to go do something on your own much less to go see your own children. That doesn't seem all that unreasonable. I suppose each couple is different and each individual has different needs in that regard.
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Old 10-12-2012, 01:03 PM
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As the divorced single mother of 3 daughters, reading your post took me down memory lane. May I ask you if you have a relationship with his daughter? I'm not referring to the father and step mother dynamic, but do you have a one on one relationship with this now woman child? Have you ever?

And I do not ever recall hearing in ANY marriage vow saying to forsake your own kids. You have every right to spend as much time with your kids as you can/want. AND without GUILT.
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Old 10-12-2012, 01:31 PM
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I'm going to be honest here. At 19, I wanted nothing to do with my dad, he was a mean alcoholic who had put me through h*ll as a teen. I felt abandoned, neglected, and although I never expressed my hate for him, I felt it deep down and felt guilty for it because he was my father.

My stepmother said the same exact things you said. My dad said the same things your AH says, too. Their relationship is what it is. She's only 19, and a lot of the stuff she went through in an alcoholic home is yet to be revealed to her. Believe me, I'm 42 and still working on the crap from the fallout from having a dad who was an alcoholic. I just recently told my stepmother some of the things that went on in our home as children(she married my dad when I was 18) and she had no idea. My dad wasn't going to tell her all the problems we had, or how he behaved, or how he was too drunk or asleep to attend our graduations or birthday parties.

Also, when my dad was dying I didn't go visit him either. I loved him but I didn't trust him, I needed to love him from afar. The pain was too great and I never knew how I would act/react. There was a lot of emotional baggage to deal with and maybe I did things wrong, but it was a way to protect myself. His daughter may be OK talking to him on the phone ( I know I was OK with that, and I was relatively close to my stepmother, she even got me a summer job at her company the summer I turned 19), but she may not feel comfortable with close quarters, with true intimate adult parent/child relationships. That is where I struggle today.

I don't know if this was helpful at all, everyone's experience and relationship issues are different and the dynamics can change over time.
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Old 10-12-2012, 01:32 PM
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An alcoholic's priorities are on his drinking, whether he's 'functioning' or not. The effect on children and family members can be profound, whether they live in the same house or not. I imagine his daughter has some pretty complicated feelings about her dad and has distanced herself.

My own husband was 'functioning' and did a decent job as dad to our kids (now teens) but in the wake of our separation I'm seeing a lot more clearly how damaging it was for them to have a dad who's an alcoholic.

Work on yourself and let the chips fall where they may. You have no control over your husband or his daughter. Have you checked out Al Anon? I found it really helpful. Also reading a lot about alcoholism. A great book is "Under the Influence" by Milam and also "Codependent No More" by Beattie. You may have a better understanding of your stepdaughter by learning about the family disease of alcoholism and how it affects everyone. It's like a play, with the alcoholic as the star and others in supporting roles, which all vary. Al Anon has some great free pamphlets that address this.
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