Something I found surprising.

Old 09-19-2013, 06:52 AM
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Something I found surprising.

It was only this past summer that I really came face to face with my husband's alcoholism, that I stopped denying the seriousness of his problem, even though he's been drinking heavily for 10 years now.

It wasn't long before I felt like I needed to tell people - I didn't want to carry this secret around, I felt like I was lying if I didn't tell my friends and family what was going on.

I expected to get support and sympathy, but instead I got a big surprise: nobody, not even my parents, seemed to really believe me even though I only told them the tip of the iceberg. They seem to think I am exaggerating, and don't want to talk about it with me. I have told them about some of the abuse in emails and they didn't respond.

The most hurtful thing, was that a person whom I thought was my good friend, when I told her my husband was an abusive alcoholic, accused me of making it up because I just wanted an excuse to get divorced and find someone new!

My sister, I told only a little bit to and she was so shocked I decided not to tell her anything else because I don't think she would believe me either.

It makes me sad to think that the life I live every day is so messed up that "normal" people can't believe what I tell them is true.

I know, there is Al-anon, and places like this, where people understand. And that's good. But it hurts that my friends and family think I'm exaggerating when I tell them how much my husband drinks, or some of the abusive things he says and does. I just didn't expect that. I thought at least my parents would give me the benefit of the doubt.
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Old 09-19-2013, 07:14 AM
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BookNerd, I would be very hurt, also!!

Of course, it didn't help that you were in denial for ten years---they must have this "perfect image" of him.

BookNerd, don't cover up for him anymore. After a while, the real truth will come out.

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Old 09-19-2013, 07:22 AM
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BN, I'm sorry this happened to you; I understand how painful that can be.

One of my sisters seemed to take an attitude w/me, partly how could I NOT KNOW when/if he was drinking for all those years? and partly is it really that bad? She is the sister I am closest to by far, so this hurt. Two things happened to help here:
1. RAH talked to her (his own idea, I didn't know until afterwards) and said he had not been sober at a family function in YEARS, and was SHE able to tell? And of course she said no.
2. I had this realization: She herself has a VERY dysfunctional marriage, and I am sure she has not loved her hub in many years, yet won't leave and won't talk about it at all. Since she chooses to live like this, maybe she is threatened by the idea of my changing my life/marriage?

Also, a number of years ago I "came out" about childhood sexual abuse by my stepfather. My mother refused to believe me, as did his children. Eventually I was able to understand that here, too, they were protecting THEIR reality and it really wasn't about me.

Don't know if any of this provides any useful insights for you, BN, but maybe if you consider the sources, you'll see reasons. NOT that that makes it OK or less painful, but so that once again, you can see that the behavior is all about THEM and not really so much about YOU.

MTA: Just saw dandylion's post, and yes, you have helped to portray him as the charmer he wanted to be seen as, and perhaps all you have to do is stop covering up for him. The truth will come out eventually, right? Let him sink or swim on his own.
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Old 09-19-2013, 07:24 AM
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BookNerd,

I'm not surprised either. When I first started to tell my family, they thought that I was "nuts". You see he always had the perfect image to everyone else. It was only when he came home and no one was around that he could take his "mask" off.

I am now divorced for almost 3 years, and while my family now supports me, I still do hear from time to time, that he was the "perfect" husband, that he did so much for me, that he went food shopping, that he did the wash, etc....... and I just need to walk away from them then. I no longer try to explain anything. They don't do this often, I guess just enough for me to still be questioning my sanity though.

My friends do believe me, and do support me. Thank God for friends, oh, and also forums.
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Old 09-19-2013, 07:43 AM
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I'm so sorry for this! I would be very hurt and disappointed too.

You have us, anytime you need to vent or want thoughts and opinions. This is a fantastic place, full of experience and wisdom. I've learned so much about alcoholism since I found SR just a few months ago.

Please keep coming back, we really want to hear from you!
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:34 AM
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When I told my cousin that my boyfriend had a drinking problem, she told me "you should drink more, you'll notice it less."
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by choublak View Post
When I told my cousin that my boyfriend had a drinking problem, she told me "you should drink more, you'll notice it less."
Gosh, THAT was helpful of her....!
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:46 AM
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This was one of the more hurtful things for me. My family took it semi-seriously, and kept pressuring me to stay with him and wait for a miracle, while his did not, and treated me like a jerk for calling attention to his problem and dealing with it straightforwardly instead of allowing them to live in their bubble of ignorance and denial like they want. (Who's bitter?!)

I think most of the weird reactions from bystanders are born of ignorance or not knowing what to say. People who haven't experienced this have weird beliefs about addiction -- hell, think of yourself 3-4 years ago and all the things you told yourself about your AH. Additionally, there's the "it takes two" narrative around troubled marriages/relationships, and it's easier to believe that "b****es be crazy" than the possibility that the guy they know and respect has the kinds of problems you read about in medical journals. They minimize, excuse, and avoid the subject.

Also, mental illness in general, including addiction and substance abuse, still has a HUGE social stigma attached to it. If you've never experienced this, and you see the married guy in a polo shirt maintaining at family parties compared to the bum in the street that most normies think of when it comes to alcoholism, you're going to think that this is all dramatic and can't be reflective of reality.

Just last night someone was telling me about a mutual acquaintance who has a textbook case of addiction, including the crazy outbursts, and how he drank a bunch and did a bunch of drugs, got in a fight, broke some glass, and got cut up enough that the cops were called and he had to go to the hospital. I mean, dude drunkenly tried to slit his own throat with broken glass, and this is only ONE in a string of similarly dramatic events over ten years, and my friend STILL couldn't believe that the acquaintance might be an alcoholic who would be better off if he quit using. You know, maybe he could just cut back a little bit, or stop mixing cocaine and whiskey. Sure, maybe. *cough*

Long story short, if denial is a river, it runs deep.

I had to have another way to talk about this stuff, and I found SR.
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Old 09-19-2013, 09:05 AM
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Thanks so much, guys. Really.

Originally Posted by Florence View Post
This was one of the more hurtful things for me. My family took it semi-seriously, and kept pressuring me to stay with him and wait for a miracle, while his did not, and treated me like a jerk for calling attention to his problem and dealing with it straightforwardly instead of allowing them to live in their bubble of ignorance and denial like they want. (Who's bitter?!)
Yes, that's exactly how my parents are acting: They accept that sure, there's some kind of problem here, but it's not the end of the world, I should just carry on as usual, they will pray for me and surely God will fix this within a month or two. Seriously, I told my mom that I felt discouraged because I realized that even if he does decide to get serious treatment it could take years before he has his feet on solid ground, and she came back with "Oh, it might not take that long! If he goes to therapy he might be doing fine in a month or two." Sure he will.

And my dad, his advice was "Well, why don't you try talking to him? Tell him how you feel when he ignores you all night?" Thanks Dad. Because I sure haven't done that before...They just have NO CLUE. No clue how heartless and selfish an alcoholic's behaviour can be. How little he cares for how I feel! They think if I just be a nice wife, pray a lot, and have a good heart to heart talks, everything will be just fine in no time.

But then, they are the kind to hold their heads in the sand anyhow. When my baby sister told them she had been molested by my other sister's husband, they told her she was lying. They also rewrite history about what awesome, caring parents they were. So it's stupid of me to be surprised.

And then, as dandylion said, I denied this for years myself. I covered up for him, I made excuses for why he never went to family events, why he never got work done on the house, etc. So it's no wonder.

Thanks for helping me to keep things in perspective.

The person who told me she thought I was just making it up for an excuse to dump my husband though, is no longer my friend. The last thing I need in my life is one more person telling me what a scumbag I am. You know what I mean.
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Old 09-19-2013, 09:52 AM
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((BookNerd))

In our lives, we would love very much to be able to go to our family of origin for the help we need ~ but in reality sometimes that family is not equiped to help us.

We don't go to the hardware store for a loaf of bread - right? We have heard that said many times in recovery ~ we have to learned to quit going to the hardward store but have we learned to go to the Grocery store FOR bread?

It is apparent that your FOO is not equiped to give you the support you need, it doesn't make them bad or evil ~ it just is what it is ~ they can't give you something they don't have ~

Please don't let that stop you from seeking what you do need - love, support, acceptance, guidance and friendship from a family of choice ~

You may find that family of choice at an Al-Anon meeting, here at SR, thru personal therapy or however you seek to find your support network.

But don't give up seeking for the support you need - you deserve it!

pink hugs!
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Old 09-19-2013, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by MsPINKAcres View Post
((BookNerd))

In our lives, we would love very much to be able to go to our family of origin for the help we need ~ but in reality sometimes that family is not equiped to help us.
Yes. It is a truth that I learn over and over again, yet I keep hoping that this time it will be different, this time I will go to them and they will really care about me, they will take me seriously...but it never happens. Instead, every time I go to them I end up being hurt and feeling stupid. I am thinking of doing some therapy actually, to help me get over this. I seem stuck. I don't know why I can't just accept that they aren't that "type" of parent, and move on.
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Old 09-19-2013, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by BookNerd View Post
Yes. It is a truth that I learn over and over again, yet I keep hoping that this time it will be different, this time I will go to them and they will really care about me, they will take me seriously...but it never happens. Instead, every time I go to them I end up being hurt and feeling stupid. I am thinking of doing some therapy actually, to help me get over this. I seem stuck. I don't know why I can't just accept that they aren't that "type" of parent, and move on.
This is something I go through as well. Pink is right, not only are they not equipped, they are unwilling (for whatever reason) to actually take the time to learn about the issue to be able to relate to you better. Have to make peace with that.

Your time is better spent with people who truly understand your situation vs getting frustrated because the ones who are "supposed" to help but cant.

Nice job canning that girl, making room for better friends =).
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Old 09-19-2013, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by BookNerd View Post
Yes. It is a truth that I learn over and over again, yet I keep hoping that this time it will be different, this time I will go to them and they will really care about me, they will take me seriously...but it never happens. Instead, every time I go to them I end up being hurt and feeling stupid. I am thinking of doing some therapy actually, to help me get over this. I seem stuck. I don't know why I can't just accept that they aren't that "type" of parent, and move on.
I did not grow up with alcohol/addicted family members, but both my parents did.

I think part of what attracted me to my relationship with my loved one with alcohol problems was the familiarity of the relationship to what I saw in my family.

When I started to heal I started to realize I had a chance to heal from my relationship, but also from a lot of old, childhood stuff that I might not have gotten to without this relationship. In truth I dealt with the addiction (denial, downplaying, trying to make it perfect) in similar ways that I dealt with my family.

That is why my name is what it is....I am recovering from life....what a great opportunity.
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Old 09-19-2013, 02:26 PM
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Dear BN, a year from now you'll look back and won't be surprised at all by what has transpired. No one can truly understand the truth of living with an A unless they've walked in your shoes. Family and friends are not professionals, they are not equipped to handle it. Often times, they have their own hidden issues that can be challenged by what you share. It took you years to finally break your own denial, it will take them much longer since they're not confronted with it every day.

I found that friends either 1) blew it off or 2) kept after me to leave when I wasn't ready. Either way, it was hard. Family simply didn't accept it. I was really hurt at first, felt very alone. Yes, AlAnon is where I found kindred souls who got it. That's where I got the support I wanted from others. I learned that my expectations of my family/friends was unrealistic, so I let it go. I didn't cover/lie for my A anymore, I just focused on my own recovery. Slowly over the last year, they're starting to get it without my help.
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Old 09-21-2013, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by choublak View Post
When I told my cousin that my boyfriend had a drinking problem, she told me "you should drink more, you'll notice it less."
That's similar to what my friend told me to do when I complained about my AH to him, "why don't you join him drinking at home, then maybe he wouldn't feel so alone" !!!!! WFT!!!
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Old 09-21-2013, 09:33 AM
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Yes, I have had similar reactions. People just look at me and try to tell me that drinking at a gathering doesn't make him an alcoholic. That he works hard and having a few a night isn't a big deal.

Or they are just quiet and ignore my situation. Alcoholism is very weird socially, I'm learning.

But it IS a big deal! BEcause he just got lab work back requesting a liver ultrasound and a hepatitis test because his liver enzymes were elevated. Yea. So....wtf. I just speak my truth and if people can't handle that because they're too busy justifying their own issues with alcohol then so be it.

Hugs to you. It isn't easy. Just live your truth. Know what you know.
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Old 09-21-2013, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by ZenMe View Post

Nice job canning that girl, making room for better friends =).
Thanks. It was the first time in my life I've ever done that. She even sent me an email (after I told her I no longer wanted to communicate with her) reminding me how wrong I was to claim my husband was an alcoholic without getting a professional's opinion, first. I didn't respond, and I'm not going to. This is a huge deal for me. I have always cared so much about what others thought of me, always tried to keep every friendship going no matter what. No longer! From now on I am going to start doing something shocking, and start doing what is best for ME.
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Old 09-21-2013, 07:08 PM
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When I told my SIL that I thought that STBXAH was alcoholic, she told me we were all one drink away from being one also. We all drank together, but she didn't know what happened in our house--- the passing out weekend nights, the empty hidden vodka bottles.

Their parents were alcoholics--both died at early ages.

They can't handle the reality of the situation.
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Old 09-21-2013, 10:06 PM
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I am surprised more people don't record their AH/AW behavior, for both "No, honest look this is how last night was." and as evidence in court or even to those who would minimize what you've been through. We all have cell phones.
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Old 09-22-2013, 08:29 AM
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LOL. I don't have a cell phone. But, I know what you mean. I sometimes wonder what would happen if I had to prove to a judge that he was an alcoholic. It would be his word against mine.
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