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Old 04-13-2013, 05:34 PM
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Open communication

After realizing that our marriage therapist had had enough of AH and pretty much validated me and my issues and seemed to have the same frustrations of dealing with him, I decided it was do or die time, LOL. I realized I have nothing to lose. I wanted to start calling him on the carpet on his behavior, how I feel about the things he says, being direct and letting him know that what he says is demeaning or condescending, or whatever. It feels like a weight is lifted. I was so tired of walking eggshells and holding onto protecting his ego that I couldn't figure out what I felt or didn't feel.

Ah was pretty shocked that the therapist wanted to stop working with us, so I gave him the guys card and said that he can meet with him individually for a final review(suggested by the therapist to both of us, of course).

I just sent AH an email telling him that when he said the words 'vaginization of America' that I was offended and that it was demeaning to women. He was referring to men getting pedicures. He also had said it in front of our son and I wanted him to know that it was inappropriate. In the past, I'd just let it go. Then, we had this conversation today:
me: Check out my scratched up legs, those brittlebushes are really brutal out there.(I had been doing some yard work to pull the desert bushes away from my fence line in preparation for adding chicken wire to the fencing).
AH: Well, then, why didn't you just wear pants?

Now, that may seem innocent to most people, but this is normal conversation for him. Instead of validating my feeling (silly as it was) he chose to tell me how I should have done it better. This is a common theme for him and I finally hit a wall today. I realized that he could have said something gentler, been more sympathetic, or just commiserate a bit. Nope, I felt ready to go into defensive mode and explain why I didn't get around to putting on pants. And, hence, I'd find myself on the merry go round again. I'm tired of defending every stupid little thing and I'm tired of trying to live up to his standards.
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Old 04-13-2013, 06:05 PM
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When my wife was in rehab, we had a couple of joint sessions with a counselor. With a referee in place and some gentle guidance, we had the first "honest" conversation that we'd had in a long time. No a long conversation, but honest things were said.
Afterward, I spent the night feeling highly anxious. I took the counselor aside the next day and said "I'm afraid that what I said to (her) broke her." The counselor just laughed lightly and said "You can't break her." To me, that was an epiphany...like, duh!
I totally get that feeling of walking on eggshells. Three years into recovery, I can't say that I feel completely free to speak my mind, but I can and do speak my mind and that's a better place for me to be.
I used to feel defensive all the time. My ego and my wife's ego were firmly intertwined. A zig on her part always resulted in a zag on my part. If she was up, I was up. If she was down, I was farther down. (At some point I realized that I'd made my wife my higher power).
I don't know how I learned to detach, but I did. I do know that Al-Anon played a big part, but I'm not saying it's simple or easy, I just know that if I hadn't learned to detach I'd still feel pretty crazy most of the time.
Now, if she feels like crap, I can commiserate, but I feel no need to fix the situation. I'm not responsible for her happiness (and she's not responsible for mine). Instead of feeling defensive, I can just listen with compassion. I no longer have to react.
Reading what I wrote, it sounds kind of selfish, doesn't it? I think that recovery is fundamentally selfish--we "fix" the only person we can fix, ourselves.
I realize I'm not offering advice, I'm just sharing my experience and hopefully the idea that our relationships can get better. (And "better" can take a lot of different paths).
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Old 04-13-2013, 06:33 PM
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What is that old saying, "you can't get blood from a turnip" or something. Your husbands feelings are cloudy from the booze that he continues to drink. The sad thing is that he may never believe that he has a drinking problem.
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Old 04-13-2013, 06:45 PM
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I don't know -- it doesn't sound like you have been able to have your feelings validated from him for a long time. No bread at the hardware store, right? Hugs, Liz.
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Old 04-13-2013, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by SparkleKitty View Post
I don't know -- it doesn't sound like you have been able to have your feelings validated from him for a long time. No bread at the hardware store, right? Hugs, Liz.
This is what I was going to say Liz!
Instead, I just lost my long and boring post.

Leave the hardware store, or get some tools while you are there.

Okay, I thought this was a little funny, get tools recovery tools.
yeah, and if i have to explain it, it aint funny!



Beth
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Old 04-13-2013, 08:41 PM
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At some point, you come to realize that you can state your needs, ask for validation, and speak your truth till you are blue in the face. If he isn't getting it, he isn't getting it. Like the post you made where you told him he could either come with you to the home improvement store and buy the things you wanted or you would spend a lot of money hiring someone to do what you want. Forcing him into compliance with your agenda may gain you a temporary victory, but in the long run, do you want to spend your life coercing him into doing what you want? I found it exhausting, personally. That's not to say that I didn't try it for a while, though...

L
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Old 04-13-2013, 10:33 PM
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I guess I had the whole Al Anon saying in my head: You can say what you feel, just mean what you say, and don't say it mean. I am so tired of ignoring his comments(especially when they're in front of our son) and just blowing it off and letting him think it's acceptable. I guess I felt that at least I got some of it out there and I am hoping the resentments won't build inside of me.

Unfortunately, AH is in a depression again and decided to not go to a party with me tonight. As soon as I came home, he went to bed and ignored me and wouldn't speak to me when I addressed him. I got frustrated and said, "Hello?? I was talking to you!" Yeah, probably not the best thing to do but that damn silence treatment kills me when I try to tell him that a friend of his wanted me to pass on a message to him. I'm assuming he didn't like my email very much.

I totally get what you guys are saying but I have to find some sort of approach where I can address the hurt quickly, express my feelings like an adult, and move on. I buried my feelings for so long and stopped feeling them that I'd like to figure out how to deal with them right now and deal with them like an adult Why is that so wrong?
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Old 04-13-2013, 11:16 PM
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Liz, I know many wont agree with this suggestion but....if you are going to stay anyway....have you ever asked your husband to do the Love Dare Challenge with you? It is only 40 days and is amazing. If he can't commit to 40 days, well....that will speak for itself.

Even if things don't work out with my husband because of a relapse, I am still learning how to love in a healthy way. So I see it as a chance for me to help with my own recovery.

Just a suggestion. We are only on day 18, we repeated a couple of days because I was sick and we both failed a particular day. LOL. Honestly, I am amazed at how dedicated my husband has been.

P.S. There is a movie called Fireproof based on the book. It is not the greatest movie but has a great message. The book is available on line as well.
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Old 04-14-2013, 04:56 AM
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Dear Liz, I agree that direct communication and not stuffing feelings would be a good thing for you--in the long run. But---I will gently point out, that, as I interpret it--You didn't actually do a direct communication (and, also didn't honor a stated boundry). I seem to remember that you were going to hire the fence work done--and, yet, you are out there doing the yard work yourself and exposing yourself to the rattlesnakes. I'm just saying......

I think your approach was very passive-aggressive--almost, dramatically marterish (sp?). Direct would have been: "I am angry that you are not helping me with this fencing work." Instead, you pointed out how doing the work yourself got your legs all scratched up (very indirect, hidden hostility). I think his response was also indirectly hostile, also!! Both of you sounded--to me--like spewing indirect hostility.

I realize that I am coming across as very picky--because I am being--to make a point. That point is: Passive-aggressive communication is really not very efficient--if direct expression of feeling is your personal goal.

Perhaps more practice needed, Liz??

sincerely, dandylion
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Old 04-14-2013, 06:30 AM
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Liz, it seems like your ego is very tied up on what your AH thinks about you.

In other words, your ego and sense of self is tied up in what a mean, narcissistic, alcoholic emotional abuser thinks of you.

What a losing situation! You're looking for emotional validation and stability from a mean and unstable person. Consider him by all means insane. Stop looking for sanity and support in him. You don't get it. That ship sailed.

I'd be happy he didn't attend the party. Hopefully it gave you a minute of peace away from his deep toxicity.
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Old 04-14-2013, 06:30 AM
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Liz, just one thing to consider, maybe his drinking isn't the real issue, maybe your husband is just an ass. By focusing on the drinking you have your own denial smokescreen that keeps you from dealing with his simply not being a nice person.

Looking back on my relationship with my AW I can see a lot of that was true in my relationship.

Your friend,
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Old 04-14-2013, 07:45 AM
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couple thoughts...if I came in from yard work, in shorts or capris, all scratched up, I can see very pragmatic hank making a very similar comment. where are your pants woman? he'd be less than sympathetic for "injuries" I could easily have avoided.

the issue here is you KNOW what he's like...cool, distant, remote, does NOT engage in any way that has ever been satisfactory to you, so WHY do you keep acting like he WILL and then getting upset??? when somebody is giving us the SILENT treatment, that's a very CLEAR sign they do not want to TALK. yet you kept at it.

speaking up for ourselves is not a conversation - it can be as simple as saying "that is an unacceptable comment" and then removing yourself from the person. if he was a restaurant and you didn't like the food, would you keep going?
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Old 04-14-2013, 08:06 AM
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Communication, of any kind with an alcoholic seems almost impossible to me.

You have been beating your head against the wall for a long time and yet nothing has changed-sounds like your AH will be a PITA, whether he's drinking or not....
Only you can decide when to get off the Merry-Go-Round.

Seems there are 2 choices here:
1. Stay in the present situation, and hope something will change OR
2. Leave the present situation and know something will change.
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Old 04-14-2013, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
I guess I had the whole Al Anon saying in my head: You can say what you feel, just mean what you say, and don't say it mean. I am so tired of ignoring his comments(especially when they're in front of our son) and just blowing it off and letting him think it's acceptable. I guess I felt that at least I got some of it out there and I am hoping the resentments won't build inside of me.
First, it doesn't matter what HE thinks. If it's unacceptable to you, it's unacceptable. As far as your own resentments go, they will keep building whether you state your truth or not--as long as you are expecting something from him. See, the resentments don't come from your emotions (buried or not), they come from your expectations. Saying what you feel is one thing, expecting him to do things differently is quite another.


Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
I totally get what you guys are saying but I have to find some sort of approach where I can address the hurt quickly, express my feelings like an adult, and move on. I buried my feelings for so long and stopped feeling them that I'd like to figure out how to deal with them right now and deal with them like an adult Why is that so wrong?
Nothing wrong with feeling what you feel and dealing with it. Trying to get him on board is the part that will exhaust you and make you crazy. At least that was my experience.

L
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Old 04-14-2013, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by dandylion View Post
Dear Liz, I agree that direct communication and not stuffing feelings would be a good thing for you--in the long run. But---I will gently point out, that, as I interpret it--You didn't actually do a direct communication (and, also didn't honor a stated boundry). I seem to remember that you were going to hire the fence work done--and, yet, you are out there doing the yard work yourself and exposing yourself to the rattlesnakes. I'm just saying......

I think your approach was very passive-aggressive--almost, dramatically marterish (sp?). Direct would have been: "I am angry that you are not helping me with this fencing work." Instead, you pointed out how doing the work yourself got your legs all scratched up (very indirect, hidden hostility). I think his response was also indirectly hostile, also!! Both of you sounded--to me--like spewing indirect hostility.

I realize that I am coming across as very picky--because I am being--to make a point. That point is: Passive-aggressive communication is really not very efficient--if direct expression of feeling is your personal goal.

Perhaps more practice needed, Liz??

sincerely, dandylion
We chose to go buy the fencing fix ourselves when I told him I would hire someone to do the work. He was working on another project at the time(touch up painting the stamped concrete walkway) so I did the starting work on the project myself. There was no hostility, we had agreed to do each project separately at first. I wanted to get a start on it instead of waiting for him to finish because it wasn't at the hot part of the day. It was already getting to 85 degrees, hence my shorts instead of pants. I wasn't pointing out how scratched up my legs were to make him feel guilty or make myself a martyr. I was in the house blotting the bleeding with a towel and he walked in. I simply stated the fact: "My legs got scratched up by those bushes, I didn't realize how think the scrub brush cover was over there." There was no guilt, there was no overt communication other than just trying to make conversation with another human being who walked into the room and saw me blotting my legs.


And, what LTD said is so true: it's my expectations! I needed a slap in the face about this one. The marriage therapist told me that AH is the most difficult person he has ever had in his office. His words were, "I tried 6 ways from Sunday to get through to your husband, but nothing I tried worked. He was a master at changing the subject, gas lighting, using his anger to manipulate the conversation,..."
Honestly, I got more validation from that 1 hour alone with our marriage therapist than from anywhere before. I was able to say: it's not just ME! Someone else was subjected to the craziness and gets it, they have heard it and have seen it, and are still sitting there scratching their head, too.

And, yes, the party was lovely last night but I got tired of people asking me where AH was, LOL. I am actually writing down Anvilhead's response and putting it in my wallet. I need to use that instead of explaining how I feel and beating the subject to death. It's obvious that that will get me nowhere. Lesson learned: don't send emails about serious feelings to AH, and don't have expectations that he will be different than whom he has ever been. When am I going to learn?
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Old 04-14-2013, 08:36 AM
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Oh, sorry, Liz--the whole context had not been explained.

"When will I learn?"----When the pain of remaining a catapiller becomes greater than the fear of becoming a butterfly.

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Old 04-14-2013, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by dandylion View Post
Oh, sorry, Liz--the whole context had not been explained.

dandylion
((dandylion)), you know I love you anyway, right??? It's hard to tell an entire story here. My fingers would be cramped from all my typing, LOL.

Hey, I saw that you are from WV. I'm going to be in your neck of the woods in a few weeks visiting my mom in Northern VA! I'll wave at you!
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Old 04-14-2013, 08:54 AM
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Dear Liz, yes, I was born in the mountains of West Virginia, raised in the big city of Charleston, but, now, have been a long-time resident of Northern Virginia, myself!!

As you know--the weather is georgous, right now!

sincerely, dandylion
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Old 04-14-2013, 09:45 AM
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Well, my AH responded to the email. He made the assumption that when I said I was disappointed 'it' didn't work out that I meant the marriage, not the counseling. He asked me if I told our son and he said he's not in a position to try to change my mind if I chose a new path for happiness. I almost opened up my email and typed: What on earth are you talking about?, but I refrained.

I clarified that I was disappointed in the counseling being unsuccessful. I told him that the only plans I have right now is to be in God's will and that I had felt convicted in my heart to express my feelings and that maybe my approach was wrong. I told him that now we just can't hide in the marriage counseling sessions when we want to address something, we're on our own and that's why I wanted to see if the email was a satisfactory tool for communication.

Obviously, it was not. I went back and read my words and nowhere did I mention divorce, separation, time apart, kicking him out, etc. All I said was that I was angry that the counseling didn't work out. He made his own assumption. Now, the question is: did I get caught in a trap of defending myself? Were my intentions good and in my HP's plan for us? Soooo confused these days.
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Old 04-14-2013, 10:48 AM
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Personally, I think your HP has shown you the reality of who you are married to over and over and over, in many different ways. The marriage counseling is just the latest. It's you who refuses to accept it.

Just my humble opinion,

L
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