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Old 01-11-2014, 08:40 AM
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Help me put this thought together

After responding on another thread, I realized that I struggle with this particular issue in my own recovery from codependency. I am working very hard to take the focus off of my AH. I am so ready to fix myself and all those nasty pesky character defects. Some days I am brought to tears when I think of how far I still have to go.

Yet, what bugs me the most is that I still share a life with my AH and that his actions/inactions still affect me. If he is nice, I enjoy the fact that he's being pleasant but I always suspect that there is an ulterior motive. I am constantly suspicious and on guard when it comes to him.

So, why is that? I would think it would be easier if we were divorced or something, because then I truly could just focus on my recovery. But, living in the same house with someone and trying to have some sort of relationship/friendship with them while working on recovery is something I'm finding difficult. I am not ready to work on our relationship, but when will I be....if ever?

I mean, how much work will the poor guy have to do before I'm ready to open up emotionally and physically to him? There's a HUGE part of me that just wants to cut ties and run and just start over. Then, there's the other part of me that says: well, he truly does seem to be changing (different from all the other professed changes from the past), he is putting in effort where I've never seen him do so before, so if this positive change continues when will I be ready? And, the other question remains: what if I'm not ever ready?

I know this is totally future tripping but to some degree it bothers me that, although I am compassionate and do have some tenderness towards him when it comes to seeing him struggle, I also don't trust him and there are times that I fear that trust has been eternally broken. I just don't want to be one of those b*tchy people who never trusts, who never opens up to humanity out of fear of being hurt again, etc. What kind of life am I setting myself up for if I don't let people in? Does any of this make sense?

FYI: I took myself off birth control pills this month, maybe that's where all my emotional crud is coming from? LOL, I swear I'm on the verge of tears nearly every single day, tearing apart my every motive and every thought and berating myself for being such a pain in the a** to ME.
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Old 01-11-2014, 09:21 AM
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From Courage To Change: The most loving form of detachment I have found has been forgiveness. Instead of thinking of it as an eraser to wipe another's slate clean or a gravel that I pound to pronounce someone "not guilty", I think of forgiveness as a scissors. I use it to cut the strings of resentment that bind me to a problem or a past hurt. By releasing resentment, I set myself free.

That paragraph has always stayed with me and I often picture those scissors snd cutting that string that binds me.

I was able to do that in the past with my ex for many resentments I held onto regarding his using behavior. Unfortunately his past history, which kept repeating itself only caused those resentments to become recycled and I no longer wished to continue the relationship. I really had no business being with someone who I had to totally detach from and constantly work on new and recycled resentments.

I needed to get off that sinking ship in order to save myself. Do I have resentments today, sure but they really do not involve him at all as much as they do with me and my past and are very manageable.
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Old 01-11-2014, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
Some days I am brought to tears when I think of how far I still have to go.
Some days I think I've come a long ways in my program and am I'm in a pretty good place. Other days I think that my defects of character are hopeless.
I'm not much of a "higher power" guy, but I hold onto the belief that my higher power loves me unconditionally. Unconditionally. No matter what I screw up today, it's OK. Warts and all, I'm loved.
So my higher power loves me...and my job is to learn to love myself. That's hard. I'm am not there yet.
You've heard the expression: "you can't give what you don't have?" Until I learn to love myself I can't (truly) love others. I can't fully love my children or my AW or my friends or anyone. I can try. I can do my best. But until I learn to love myself, unconditionally, of course I'm going to have relationship problems! Relationship are hard.
I could have left my AW. God knows I was ready. Really it wasn't until I was absolutely ready to leave my AW that I got her into rehab. Weird, huh?
Of course then I figured I'd stick around awhile, support her recovery, wait 'till she got her feet under her.... It didn't quite work out like I planned it (and I'm grateful for that).
I could have left, and I wouldn't have had to deal with all the continuing relationship issues (including intimacy). But spiritually, I think I'd still be stuck in exactly the same place I was 3 1/2 years ago, before rehab. And that would be a tragedy. Running away from my problems does nothing to solve my problems. It just sets them aside.
Be grateful for the difficult people in your life, they help you grow.
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Old 01-11-2014, 03:45 PM
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So, what you guys are saying is; cut myself some slack? Maybe I just don't love myself enough at this point? I'm just feeling very down right now and frustrated with everything. Picking apart all my friendships, analyzing my own shortcomings to the point that I cry, etc. sometimes I just hate who I am, and some days I'm at peace with it. Today is not a peaceful day.
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Old 01-11-2014, 04:10 PM
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I think another way of "loving" oneself is to have an awareness that our feelings are legitimate and are important. We cannot to put our self asunder--neither can we allow any other person put us asunder.

That is how I have come to l ook at this....

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Old 01-11-2014, 05:41 PM
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Good question. Because this:
I mean, how much work will the poor guy have to do before I'm ready to open up emotionally and physically to him?
tells me that your focus is still on HIM. Not YOU getting healthy, but the fact that you-not-getting-healthy-fast-enough is affecting HIM negatively.

Breathe. Pray. Live.
Your recovery.
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Old 01-11-2014, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
So, what you guys are saying is; cut myself some slack? Maybe I just don't love myself enough at this point? I'm just feeling very down right now and frustrated with everything. Picking apart all my friendships, analyzing my own shortcomings to the point that I cry, etc. sometimes I just hate who I am, and some days I'm at peace with it. Today is not a peaceful day.
How about "hey, life has been kicking your ass, no need to join in"

Ya know how much better you feel when he shares his honest feelings with you? I wonder if he would feel that way if you told him that you see and appreciate his efforts and you are mad at yourself for not always responding but you do appreciate it and you are trying and you are worth waiting for so please be patient?

It takes a while to unwind a mess that took years to make, you are BOTH making progress - BOTH ... Holy crap, how cool is that! How awesome are you for working on yourself rather than trying to fix him?

Wait, I'm sorry - was I supposed to pile on and kick too so you could rest that leg? Hang in there my friend. I checked the rule book and there is no rule that says you can't smile.
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Old 01-11-2014, 08:36 PM
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At an Al-anon meeting today, I was reminded that people have to earn your trust. For some reason codepentens (myself included) think trust should be given freely. It's ok not to trust now, but it could happen with enough time and consistently you could trust him again.
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Old 01-11-2014, 09:25 PM
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I'm still having a hard time trusting my husband. I know I don't have to but I am trying. Things get better and maybe it's not as fast as he or I would like but I'm not at a stand still and that means something. I had to quit focusing on it, it was controlling my life. So I gave up on trying to figure out how to do it and why I shouldn't and if I could. Today he didn't mess up, and even if he did there would be nothing I could do to stop him. I think I get in trouble thinking about us, I get more positive results working on us. What is going to make me feel better with him right now. A talk, a hug, space...

I don't want to spend my life doubting him, so I try not to. I don't want to think he's hiding something so I quit looking. If something is a miss I will know in time so why drive myself crazy in the mean time? I trust myself to make the right decision when it comes to him. Have I always? No but I learn something new every day.
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Old 01-12-2014, 04:28 AM
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
FYI: I took myself off birth control pills this month, maybe that's where all my emotional crud is coming from?
Um. This scares me, if I'm trying to help you put this thought together.

You don't need to take them, your relationship is not physical. That, I understand.

One little slip is all it will take. Only one time. Once.

Are you prepared for that? Ready for that?
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Old 01-12-2014, 06:53 AM
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Honestly Liz I stay very confused reading your situation. Had to review I have been gone a couple of months.

Its always a tug' o war - you get to the point of moving out then you stay. He's and ******* then he is nice. He says he will change, and does for periods of time, then reverts.

No wonder you are confused. You stay on a constant roller coaster at 70 mph. There is nothing that seems to be consistent other than the inconsistency that exists in your marriage.

You need to somehow find something that remains steady in your life - not about your AH. Just continue to work your own recovery, must get to the point where you trust your own self.

Hopefully AH will continue on the path he is on now as well.
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Old 01-12-2014, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Lulu39 View Post
Um. This scares me, if I'm trying to help you put this thought together.

You don't need to take them, your relationship is not physical. That, I understand.

One little slip is all it will take. Only one time. Once.

Are you prepared for that? Ready for that?
I know! I had a scare with a blood clot a few months ago. The doctor suggested that I should get off of them. I've been on them for 14 years now. I had asked my AH many times over the years to get a vasectomy but he refused so I stayed on the pill because I trusted it's efficacy over other options. I was having deep calf pain and so my OB suggested I take a break from the pills. I did have an ultrasound and it came back fine, but I really had to think about my health and age, etc.
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Old 01-12-2014, 08:12 AM
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Lizatola, the biological drive to reproduce is very powerful and independent of conscious thinking, so please be careful. Hope it all works out for you.

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Old 01-12-2014, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by redatlanta View Post
Honestly Liz I stay very confused reading your situation. Had to review I have been gone a couple of months.

Its always a tug' o war - you get to the point of moving out then you stay. He's and ******* then he is nice. He says he will change, and does for periods of time, then reverts.

No wonder you are confused. You stay on a constant roller coaster at 70 mph. There is nothing that seems to be consistent other than the inconsistency that exists in your marriage.

You need to somehow find something that remains steady in your life - not about your AH. Just continue to work your own recovery, must get to the point where you trust your own self.

Hopefully AH will continue on the path he is on now as well.
And, what you said is exactly where I get stuck: trusting myself. I don't trust myself and I'm trying to figure out how to do just that.

Technically, I'm the crazy one in this relationship and I never would have said that a few years ago. I've allowed myself to spiral downwards and I'm just so damn tired of trying to claw my way to the top. I feel like I do all the right things when it comes to my recovery: attending Al Anon meetings, calling friends from program and not isolating myself, working on improving my friendships, communicating and being brutally honest with my sponsor, journaling, praying, and praying some more. Learning how to meditate and quiet my mind and spirit, etc. Maybe I'm just frustrated because my timing is NOT supposed to take this long and I'm at my own self-constructed wall. Quite frankly, I'm just tired of ME.
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Old 01-12-2014, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
So, what you guys are saying is; cut myself some slack? Maybe I just don't love myself enough at this point? I'm just feeling very down right now and frustrated with everything. Picking apart all my friendships, analyzing my own shortcomings to the point that I cry, etc. sometimes I just hate who I am, and some days I'm at peace with it. Today is not a peaceful day.
Not like I am anyone to say things in this regard . . .

I have been in (out for a while) and back in with a passion . . . all across 4 years.

Without doing the Steps Work . . .

BUT. Are you working the Program? I mean really working it?

Sponsor, Steps, Meetings. Readings. ALL THAT and a Bag of Chips.

Like they say at the closing -- It Works If You Work It.

But that is a mighty big IF -- probably should be:

It Works IF You Work It.

At least that is how things have been for me.

Now that I am getting serious, things seem much better for me.

Dunno about My Little A. Her side is Her problem.
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Old 01-12-2014, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Hammer View Post
Not like I am anyone to say things in this regard . . .

I have been in (out for a while) and back in with a passion . . . all across 4 years.

Without doing the Steps Work . . .

BUT. Are you working the Program? I mean really working it?

Sponsor, Steps, Meetings. Readings. ALL THAT and a Bag of Chips.

Like they say at the closing -- It Works If You Work It.

But that is a mighty big IF -- probably should be:

It Works IF You Work It.

At least that is how things have been for me.

Now that I am getting serious, things seem much better for me.

Dunno about My Little A. Her side is Her problem.
Did you read my last post, LOL? EVERY SINGLE DAY. I get up and read my Courage to Change. I take notes on it, I meditate on the reading if I think it fits me or applies to my life. I do my step work (currently moving through 8 to 9). I spent so much time on steps 4-5 that I felt stuck there, too, for a while because I picked myself apart back then too. It was very easy for me to write down my character defects. I know I am missing something, my freaking brain is not wired for this stuff or something. I did not set out in this marriage to become a martyr or a victim, but that is exactly where I am at and I do NOT enjoy it.

I need a nap.
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Old 01-12-2014, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
Did you read my last post, LOL? EVERY SINGLE DAY. I get up and read my Courage to Change. I take notes on it, I meditate on the reading if I think it fits me or applies to my life. I do my step work (currently moving through 8 to 9). I spent so much time on steps 4-5 that I felt stuck there, too, for a while because I picked myself apart back then too. It was very easy for me to write down my character defects. I know I am missing something, my freaking brain is not wired for this stuff or something. I did not set out in this marriage to become a martyr or a victim, but that is exactly where I am at and I do NOT enjoy it.
Oh so sorry. Probably had the text window open over it.

Yeah, that DOES seem whacked. Not you, per se -- Just the lack of "Happy, Joyous and Free" showing up in your head and heart about now. Maybe after 9? Truly dunno. You are ahead of me.

One thing that keeps my wandering compass aligned on True God North is prayer stuff. Guess you may have heard my ignorant pride and competitive story about that?

I was annoyed with the Muslim guys I work and have gone to school with. They are all better "Christians" than I am. So I studied (and studied) the difference. Only real difference I found was that they prayed 5 times a day, and most I did was pray morning and night.

So I set my phone alarm for 8 am, noon and 4 pm. Now I pray 5 times a day, and the funny thing was other folks would hear my alarm go off, and ask about, I would tell them the goofy thing I was (still am) doing, and they would start praying with me, too.

======================

Now I have like this "spiritual bug-zapper" going in my head. [yeah I know this sounds crazy . . . but it is totally for real] It seems now every time I am getting the beat-down or negative or low-self-esteem stuff, I hear (yes, actually really hear) this "Angel Voice" go off in my head . . .

"Yes, but God loves him."

Just boom and zap and that is it. Anymore, I do not even see or comprehend what the bad thought or low-self-esteem thing is or was before it is shot right out of my head.

So maybe pile in some bonus rounds on the prayers stuff?


I need a nap.
Always a good thing. Maybe some Step 11 prayer type stuff on the way.

Yunno, Pray Only for Understanding and Knowledge of His Will in Your Life.

Take your nap and see what you see.

Earnest Prayer does not return Void.
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Old 01-12-2014, 01:22 PM
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Liz, I think you do need to simply be easier on yourself. I get the impression that you are your own worst critic. There also seems to be a general consensus that your husband has traits of NPD, and quite possibly is a full blown narcissist. I think living in a situation like that only exacerbates your tendency to be self-critical, because the narcissist is right there with you, crazymaking, gas lighting, and manipulating. Having lived with and worked for one for only about 5 years, I still catch that little voice inside my head telling me I'm a failure, not good enough, crazy, this is why no one likes me, etc etc. These are all things my "friend" would say to me whenever something I was doing didn't fit into her plan. Sometimes it wasn't even that blatant, but I would walk away from the situation feeling extremely manipulated and the end result was the same.

I think as far as your question about trusting your husband goes, the old adage "more will be revealed" applies. In my opinion, I think there is a reason you don't trust him (he has shown himself to be untrustworthy and often cruel again and again) and I don't think trust is something that can or should be forced. With my narcissist friend, it got to the point where I couldn't share anything vulnerable about myself because that vulnerability would be used against me and thrown in my face as a way to manipulate me to do what she wanted. At that point, the break in trust was irreparable and our friendship ended shortly after. It was incredibly difficult, I gave up my family of horses and dogs and so much of my stuff, but I never regret it.

I think you have made amazing progress in the time I've been following your story. I think it's easy not to see it when you're in it, but speaking as an outsider, I think you're doing a great job. I hope you can find a place that will take your dog, because I think living in a separate space will offer you more clarity on the situation, both in how he reacts and how you feel about it without him there to fog up the situation. Pun intended, I mean FOG as in fear, obligation, or guilt. How much of your desire to trust him again and rebuild the marriage comes from one of those things?

Just some food for thought, take what you want and leave the rest. I think you're doing an amazing job being self-reflective and finding your part in the situation, but remember to also be kind to yourself.
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Old 01-12-2014, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
And, what you said is exactly where I get stuck: trusting myself. I don't trust myself and I'm trying to figure out how to do just that.

Technically, I'm the crazy one in this relationship and I never would have said that a few years ago. I've allowed myself to spiral downwards and I'm just so damn tired of trying to claw my way to the top. I feel like I do all the right things when it comes to my recovery: attending Al Anon meetings, calling friends from program and not isolating myself, working on improving my friendships, communicating and being brutally honest with my sponsor, journaling, praying, and praying some more. Learning how to meditate and quiet my mind and spirit, etc. Maybe I'm just frustrated because my timing is NOT supposed to take this long and I'm at my own self-constructed wall. Quite frankly, I'm just tired of ME.
I am curious Liz what you do or what is in your life other than your recovery that brings you joy?

It sounds like most to all of your time is focused on actively working on it or thinking about it.
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Old 01-12-2014, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by redatlanta View Post
I am curious Liz what you do or what is in your life other than your recovery that brings you joy?

It sounds like most to all of your time is focused on actively working on it or thinking about it.
I just got back from a 3 mile hike, I attended my sons' tennis tournament this weekend and spent time with friends(other tennis parents I've grown close to since our kids have been playing each other for 4 years now), I play on a recreational women's league once a week and have practice once a week as well. I read for enjoyment. I knit. I cook and like to research healthy meals and try various recipes weekly. And, I am very into natural and herbal health treatments so I am a distributor for an essential oils company and sometimes attend seminars or continuing education type meetings for their products.

I also homeschool our son so I will be putting his weekly lesson plans together tonight and reviewing his grammar assignments from the past few days. I am involved in our homeschool co-op and volunteer there, as well.

So, honestly, I don't think all my time is devoted to recovery. I sleep very well at night because I'm usually exhausted, LOL. And, I wake up refreshed and ready to start my day. I don't wake up depressed or anxious, I just tackle my day as best as I can depending on what we have going on. Recently, I just feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders so now it's time for a shower so I can get dinner started.

And, yes, all those things above bring me joy! I love homeschooling, I love cooking, I love hiking and tennis and yoga. I love the things I do in my life, including attending meetings and serving there, too.
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