HELP-Son's Marriage is Toxic

Old 02-21-2014, 09:03 AM
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Angry HELP-Son's Marriage is Toxic

My son is one week into recovery from Alcohol. He has been an alcoholic for many years. His wife is a drug addict but denies this and makes my son out to be the source of all their problems and bad consequences. He is definitely half the problem. No question. But he has very intense abandonment issues related to his dad's suicide when he was a teenager. He married this woman quickly and she honed in on his weaknesses and vulnerabilities and has systematically over 3 years broken him down to nothing. As he was filling out the questionnaire to admit to rehab she was leaning over him telling him to change his answers. Finally he simply stopped trying and looked at her for each answer. Not wanting to add any stress or drama to the situation, I sat quietly and acted like I didn't notice. The problem, he is only on a 7 day inpatient program and while he is not having overt physical withdrawal symptoms at this point, he is weak, broken and empty and he is mostly addicted to her. She is very toxic. Very controling. I believe she is a sociopath as she displays no empathy, does very vindictive things and even brags about orchestrating harmful plots agains people she feels have made her angry. She laughs delightedly at causing other people pain and wields power over my son with glee. It serves her purposes to keep him down, depressed and dependent. I feel like I am watching someone slowly kill my son and all I can do is watch. No matter what she does, he says he deserves it because he is a bad person. My question to those of you with more experience than I is this- What can I do? Do you have any advice? Must I let him hit rock bottom with her? I am actually confindent that he will stop alcohol but I know he wont be done with her at this point. I don't think she is helpable because she lacks empathy but regardless she wont get help because she doens't think she has any problems.
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Old 02-21-2014, 09:09 AM
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All you can do is let your son know you love him and that you're there for him. He's an adult and will do what he wants to do. I'm so sorry this is happening. It must be very painful to watch.
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Old 02-21-2014, 09:14 AM
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How painful. I don't know that you can do anything. Pray for him, I'll pray for you.
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Old 02-21-2014, 09:21 AM
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My ex took up with and married a woman exactly like you describe. He actually left me for her and I never could figure out why or the attraction. Some people need/want that control by another. They never really grow up and take responsibility for themselves so the controller even though really bad and toxic sort of has the parental/caretaking role in their life along with the responsibility. These situations are very sad and difficult to watch.

I do not think there is a thing you can do other than be there for your son as needed and support any efforts he makes towards sobriety or emancipating himself from her.
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Old 02-21-2014, 09:23 AM
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The biggest addiction one can have is an addiction to another person. I am sorry.

Encourage him to be as honest as possible with the counselors there, and let him know you support him. That's all you can do.

Let Go and Let God.
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Old 02-21-2014, 09:39 AM
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This confirms what I feel too. There is no way to rescue him. His brothers have told me that but for a Mother it's really hard. I'm not normally the type to rescue my children from their consequences, but at this time he looks so bad and so broken and like he could actually die. I just hope so badly that they can help him while he is inpatient and away from her. Thank you to those of you who replied. Wish us luck.
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Old 02-21-2014, 09:52 AM
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I have great empathy for you, timeflies.

My oldest daughter has made some horrific life choices.

Countless, sleepless nights, I've replayed her life, trying to figure out how, when, where, her life took such an unacceptable turn.

I searched my heart, certain, as her mother. I must be responsible for her choices, after all I am the one who raised her.

There was a point were she did not speak to me for over two years, during this time, I continued to care for her 3 beautiful little girls that she abandoned. My heart was breaking for all involved.

We have recently reconnected in the past 6 months, our current relationship can only be defined as; she does what she damn well pleases, and I keep my mouth shut, otherwise there would be zero communication.

And now, for the reason I shared my messed up story.

IT'S NONE OF MY BUSINESS in how she CHOOSES to live her life, She is an ADULT, and she has to figure it out for herself.

If there is an aspect of your son's life that needs to be addressed, HE has to do it.

I so miss the day, when my kids were little , and I could kiss their little boo-boos and make the hurt all go away.

I understand, as a mother, you hurt for your child, and our instinct, as mother's , leads us down the "fixer" / supporter path.

Best I can offer, continue to educate yourself about addiction, learn all you can.

Knowledge, of this horrible disease, gave me the coping skills to manage my own daily life.

Sending you tons of support, friend.
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Old 02-21-2014, 09:58 AM
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Welcome, Timeflies, I'm sorry for what brought you here but glad you found us!

First, how wonderful that your son is seeking treatment for his alcoholism! It sounds as though he came to this decision on his own, and you sound confident in his resolve to move into recovery. I hope & pray for his success.

Second, while I'm not a parent myself, I see this kind of mother-son-DIL struggle with my brother (he & his wife lived with us for an extended period of time so I saw the issues firsthand). There is nothing you can do to extricate your son from his marriage and any attempts in doing so will only divide him from you. The best thing you can do is to be supportive of him and let him know that you love him and will always be there for him. Be kind & respectful to his wife (even though you may not want to ) and hopefully you will not be driven away from him by her.

I'm not sure what recovery program your son will be working, but I suspect that if he is able to fully commit himself, work through his past hurts & build his self-confidence, he may eventually see what you see in his marriage. That is completely and totally up to him, but being in recovery increases his chances of eventually getting there. And who knows, she may change as he works his recovery, too.

I hope you continue reading and posting here. There is a wealth of information and support on this site.
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Old 02-21-2014, 10:19 AM
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Just wanted to add, the description of your daughter-in-law, ( minus the drugs) fits my daughter to a Tee.

The toxic, controlling, evil, ever plotting, must get even, over powering , when she uses you up, she simply discards you, and moves on to her next victim, yep that is my daughter.

There is a reason my daughter is so very good at her job, she is one of them.
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Old 02-21-2014, 12:09 PM
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While I agree that as an adult, the decision to end the toxic relationship with his GF is his decision, having made my way out of an abusive marriage, I know concerned family members and friends don't need to just sit there and wait. There are things that helped me while I was still in the thick of it.

1. Remind him of his great qualities. She's beating him down. When I'd get to see my mom or dad and younger sister, they'd all point out what a great momma I was / am to DS. What a great aunt I was / am to my nephews. My mom would reminisce about how amazing I did in school. "Do you remember, TU, when you made the Chancellor's list while still holding a job? And how often you did that? Chancellor's List is getting 4.0's, right?" My dad would remind me of how strong and courageous I am, of when I stepped between a high school friend and her abusive stepfather when he started in on her while I was there (and then of how glad he was that the guy dropped his arm as I stared him down).

2. Remind him that he is loved for who he is. She's imposing her vision of who he is on him. If she's like AXH is, she's probably convincing him, in very subtle or not-so-subtle ways, that she is the only one who could put up with some one as flawed as him. Continue to show your love for him.

3. Listen to him, to his opinions. All that matters in his toxic relationship is her opinions. AXH would constantly tell me that I was stupid. I wanted to be a writer and he'd scoff that no one would want to read what I had to say. My family would discuss current events and if I was quiet, they'd ask what I thought, I'd often start with "AXH thinks..." They'd listen but then ask, "That's what he thinks, what do YOU think?"

4. Encourage him to do stuff outside the relationship. I didn't get to do much besides take DS to my Dad for daycare duty and go to work and be at home with AXH. My sister would show up with her kids in tow and take DS and I to the museum or sledding. They'd tell me about events coming up at the Museum or park strips. They'd ask if I'd reconsidered the writing program at the university or law school.

5. Don't shame, blame or guilt him. He gets that enough from her. I got it from AXH in heavy doses. Don't tell him "I don't know why you stay with her. You just need to leave." Let him know you understand he loves her, but you're concerned and ask how you can help him. Focus on facts. Don't be surprised if he gets defensive and don't respond with anger or put your own defenses up. I defended AXH over and over and over. My sister simply stated what she'd seen or heard and that she was concerned for my happiness and well-being. I may not have and probably didn't respond well to it, but I remembered.

Remember, just as the toxic relationship affects him, it can also affect you. If you feel you need help dealing with it, please remember that you have a right to your own support system, too.
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Old 02-21-2014, 09:30 PM
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Thank you so much theuncertainty for all of your words of wisdom. I will do exactly as you said. Ive done that already but it just always feels like its not enough.
Thank you ALL for your words of advice and support. I really want to behave in a way that is helpful and not run my own agenda. I will do my best. ❤️
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Old 02-21-2014, 11:21 PM
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Sending hugs, Timeflies. It is enough. Love and support is pretty much everything. I hope he's able to keep working towards recovery despite her. ((((hugs))))
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