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Can you respect the alcoholic?

Old 04-24-2014, 08:52 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Yes,I respect him.
Because I see him every morning in the mirror.
He's gained my respect as he's realized that he had a problem with alcohol.
Struggled to overcome it,fell on his face a few times ,but,got back up.
And now coming up on 9 months and feeling great.

This could not be accomplished without the love,caring and support of my family.
Perhaps this is why Alanon sometimes helps in some situations.
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Old 04-24-2014, 09:01 AM
  # 22 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
To answer a question above about whether I ever respected him. I think I did at one time but I know there was always my own passive aggressive thoughts towards him for years once our son started into toddlerhood. I never dealt with any of it and I allowed myself to mother my AH and enable him and in the end, I wound up not being able to find respect for a man who sat in front of the TV from 3 PM to midnight and expected to get laid after I took care of everything else and was exhausted by 8 PM. Things eroded a long time ago, probably years before our son was born, I just was in my own denial and didn't see it.
An older woman friend of mine told me that in order for a marriage to survive and thrive long term there needed to be mutual respect and admiration for one another. (She has been married three times and the third is ongoing to a former childhood love. Lots of experience there.) She told me this when I was with my exA and struggling to come to terms with his alcoholism and immature ways.

In my current relationship I respect him as a person much more than my ex. I also respect and admire what he has achieved and continues achieving.

Did you two decide who has what duties in the relationship or did it evolve de facto? For example does he see his work and paycheck as him meeting his responsibilities in the relationship, but you are responsible for all home stuff? Did you guys agree to that set up if that is what happens?

We (me and current bf) talk through who does what and what we each want/need. Both of us are pretty independent so when we came together we already were taking care of ourselves completely (I think this might be something more common in later in life relationships).
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Old 04-24-2014, 09:15 AM
  # 23 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by MissFixit View Post
An older woman friend of mine told me that in order for a marriage to survive and thrive long term there needed to be mutual respect and admiration for one another. (She has been married three times and the third is ongoing to a former childhood love. Lots of experience there.) She told me this when I was with my exA and struggling to come to terms with his alcoholism and immature ways.

In my current relationship I respect him as a person much more than my ex. I also respect and admire what he has achieved and continues achieving.

Did you two decide who has what duties in the relationship or did it evolve de facto? For example does he see his work and paycheck as him meeting his responsibilities in the relationship, but you are responsible for all home stuff? Did you guys agree to that set up if that is what happens?

We (me and current bf) talk through who does what and what we each want/need. Both of us are pretty independent so when we came together we already were taking care of ourselves completely (I think this might be something more common in later in life relationships).
It started out as me just taking care of all the house stuff, even when we were dating I somehow took over mowing the lawn at HIS rental townhouse. He used to tell me how I was vacuuming wrong and the pattern wasn't going the right way or how I didn't know how to make the bed and then he'd show me how to do hospital corners and then expect me to do it his way(I don't do that anymore, FYI, LOL). He was older, I was young and naive and I just capitulated and did what he told me to do.

I worked full time as a broker for a while and got a lot of accolades at work for my work ethic and how I handled our clients, etc, but I'd come home and feel like I was Cinderella. When I complained or asked him to help out, many times he would act put upon or whine so much while doing the task that I finally just stopped asking. I took care of everything: the pool, the yard, sometimes the grass because he was spending days locked in his office depressed. He would make such a scene or act out when he did tasks for me, that I felt like I was unfairly burdening him with these 'mundane life tasks' so I took it all on and became superwoman. I tried to talk to him but it always wound up becoming a rant from him about how hard life is, how work is pressing in on him, how awful his childhood was, etc. Basically, any time I expressed MY needs or MY feelings, it got turned around to his own pity party and we'd be 3 hours into this conversation with nothing resolved and me just exhausted the next day. Honestly, this was for the first 15 years of our marriage. Over and over again, until I finally shut down and stopped communicating about my needs and my feelings and I just started doing everything. The Christmas lights and decorations, getting boxes down from the attic, changing the air filters in the house, taking care of cleaning the pool and monitoring the chemicals(I have a pool guy now because our new house has a complicated system, but I did this for years before), fertilizing the plants, trimming the plants, pulling the weeds or spraying, the vacuuming, the dusting, the toilets, the mirrors, the windows and doors, the cabinets and counters, the floors, the bedding and towels washed, the cars, medical appointments, all the help for my son and his appointments...blah blah blah....I could go on, LOL. And, he wants respect because he has a job and does the dishes every once in a while and helps with the laundry?

After typing that out, I wonder what the h*ll is wrong with me?
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Old 04-24-2014, 09:37 AM
  # 24 (permalink)  
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Liz I could have written what you wrote and I too asked the same question "what the h*ll is wrong with me?" I did all you did and also worked a full time job and took care of our two kids, ugh. Resentment just kept building up year after year that now that I'm almost 3 yrs out from the divorce I'm still unraveling all the resentment I kept inside.
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Old 04-24-2014, 09:41 AM
  # 25 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
My AH claims one of our big problems is that I don't respect him. I don't show him respect and since I won't communicate with him (other than stuff about basic living and house stuff), he thinks I'm being rude and disrespectful. He sees my detachment as inconsiderate and passive aggressive.

Honestly, I can see his point so I know I need to look at myself and take that opportunity to be a bit more introspective. And, to be honest again, I don't respect him and I don't trust him but I think it all comes down to respect.

What is your experience with respect and the A? What did they have to and what did you have to do to get that back? Of course, some may never find that respect again and that's part of what life looks like with an A, right?
When I first met my husband's family, I wondered why we were treated in a certain manner (just to let you know that I moved thousands of miles away from home). I perceived it as a total lack of respect, they absolutely ignored what my husband would tell them (even if it was 100% truth), and his mom treated us like little kids, absolutely disrespecting everything. It was almost like she would do on purpose what my AH would tell her not to do specifically, like out of spite. When he complained once, she even told him, "It is all about you!" And I thought, "of course it is all about me, lady! I have left my home, and this is what I get?" At that time, I had no idea what was going on, I had no idea what codependency was, or detachment, or Al-Anon. I knew there was a "drinking problem," but it simply never occurred to me we were dealing with detachment, which actually looked hideous from my perspective. The family never wanted to show me around, or take me shopping, or introduce me to new foods, new customs. Nothing. And they thought they were entitled to patronizing.

Anyway, my husband's alcoholism got worse over time, and I started detaching myself. And guess what? I got the same reaction from him. He simply did not understand what was going on. At one point, he even suspected I was seeing someone else. This is when I had to tell him that I was looking into Al-Anon, and that it is not about the lack of love (or respect). I told him that he could do what he wanted, but that I had my rights too. I know that I do not owe explanations to anybody, but hey, he thought I was cheating.

But I still find it fascinating how they think they are entitled to our love/respect no matter what they do and how they treat us.
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:04 AM
  # 26 (permalink)  
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Lizatola- Have you ever heard the phrase "It's hard to see the forest for the trees."?
I think you just got an aerial view of your forest.
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:18 AM
  # 27 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Florence View Post
He disrepects you, your work, your home, your son, your pets, your feelings, your sexuality, your friends, and your time. But he wants to demand respect from you?
^What she said. I read your OP in this thread as him using a different tool to accomplish the same manipulation.

I can see his point so I know I need to look at myself and take that opportunity to be a bit more introspective
I totally disagree with this Liz - every single attempt he makes at therapy, counseling, sobriety always ends up with him pointing the blame (however small, however indirectly) back at you. You DID respect this man once upon a time (if I remember old posts correctly, you spoke of a sober man dedicated to his faith in a way that you found inspiring before he started drinking again?); but respect erodes as it is continually beaten against & never rebuilt. How could you respect someone that perpetually lies (to himself & you), openly mocks you & your son, your sexuality, your choices, etc, ad naseum? You have done so much counseling, al-anon, self-help that it's absurd to think that you NEED to do MORE on YOUR side of the street in order for HIM to unknot his panties.

I know you have your reasons for staying & I respect that you know what is right for you & your DS. But for your sanity you have to stop letting him spin your head like this.... until & only when sobriety is his ONLY & #1 objective in life everything else is just quacking.
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:59 AM
  # 28 (permalink)  
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I spent a long time really feeling badly about my part in our dysfunctional marriage. I still feel bad - I mean I would not want to repeat that behavior in another relationship - but what I have come to realize is that what would be appropriate for a typical relationship does not apply to an alcoholic relationship. You can not solve dysfunctional by adding functional - you have to remove the dysfunctional. What is dysfunctional in a typical relationship might simply be optimum self-preservation in an alcoholic relationship.

Liz - your husband does not have to accept or understand that for you to accept and understand that.
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Old 04-24-2014, 11:22 AM
  # 29 (permalink)  
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But for your sanity you have to stop letting him spin your head like this.... until & only when sobriety is his ONLY & #1 objective in life everything else is just quacking.
^^^
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Old 04-24-2014, 11:29 AM
  # 30 (permalink)  
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I think respect is something you either have or you don't. And respect is earned. If I don't trust and respect someone it's impossible to continue in the relationship. If I've been hurt by an alcoholic they have to earn my respect and trust, which may never happen. Trust and respect are based on my experience. Odd your husband is insisting YOU start respecting him ........ he must earn your respect by cleaning up his act.
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Old 04-24-2014, 12:32 PM
  # 31 (permalink)  
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I try to treat my XAH with respect. I try to treat everyone the way I would like to be treated. To me, detaching with love, is respectful. It doesn't mean that we sometimes don't have uncomfortable conversations (like when I have to cancel his access with the kids because he's drunk), but it does mean we move on afterwards. It doesn't mean that I like the bad choices he makes, but it does mean I don't let it affect me. Am I disrespected by him and others sometimes? Yes. So, I adjust my boundaries as needed to protect myself.
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Old 04-24-2014, 12:41 PM
  # 32 (permalink)  
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(speaking generically here, not specifically to OP)

I think when you respect YOURSELF, you behave respectfully towards any other person. This is not to say subserviant, but rather with the absence of abusive or manipulative behavior.

Therefore, you can be detached, or even unresponsive, if you are doing it respectfully, such as without eye rolling, sighing, toxic staring, stomping off, etc.

And you do NOT have to respect the other person to behave respectfully yourself.

Respect is earned from the other person. Respectful behavior is a standard you set for yourself, because you respect yourself and do not wish to tarnish yourself by behaving abusively/manipulatively toward ANY other person.

JMHO

CLMI
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Old 04-24-2014, 12:46 PM
  # 33 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by catlovermi View Post
(speaking generically here, not specifically to OP)

I think when you respect YOURSELF, you behave respectfully towards any other person. This is not to say subserviant, but rather with the absence of abusive or manipulative behavior.


CLMI
This is what I was saying...and I think it gets us back to what is the real question here?
I think when we focus on the drinker, we get side-tracked.

There's only one question for me...and it's not "do I respect the alcoholic"...the question is:
Do I respect myself?

Then everything else falls into place.

So I'm going to turn it around.

Do you respect yourself, Liz?

If not, do you remember a time when you did, and can you get back to that place?
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Old 04-24-2014, 03:18 PM
  # 34 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by BlueSkies1 View Post
This is what I was saying...and I think it gets us back to what is the real question here?
I think when we focus on the drinker, we get side-tracked.

There's only one question for me...and it's not "do I respect the alcoholic"...the question is:
Do I respect myself?

Then everything else falls into place.

So I'm going to turn it around.

Do you respect yourself, Liz?

If not, do you remember a time when you did, and can you get back to that place?
Thank you for that question and I have to truthfully say that I do not respect myself. I have been beating myself up for even marrying someone who showed red flags from the very beginning. I beat myself up for being so naive and stupid to think that people grow up and change. I am NOT in a good place this week, though, so please know that I may be able to have a better perspective next week, lol. It's just that this week has been depressing for me. My brain is reminding me of all the ways I let others control or manipulate me and how I put myself in those positions because of my own lack of self worth.

A lot of memories are creeping in...sigh....it sucks today.
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Old 04-24-2014, 03:27 PM
  # 35 (permalink)  
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I have been beating myself up for even marrying someone who showed red flags from the very beginning. I beat myself up for being so naive and stupid to think that people grow up and change.
Very familiar thoughts. In addition, I felt like because I had been naive and stupid, I had to ride it out no matter how hard it got. Because I'm a big believer in accepting the consequences of your actions.

(And then it got to the point where I was like, never mind what I believe about taking responsibility for your choices -- I would like to live, not just survive, thank you very much...)

I lost all respect for AXH long before I left him. Your story is painfully familiar. I think your AH is right. You don't respect him. He has given you absolutely no reason to.
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Old 04-24-2014, 03:45 PM
  # 36 (permalink)  
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I'm sorry you are having such a tough week Liz. Don't beat yourself up too much - remember that you were a different person way back when too...not nearly as enlightened as you are now, lol.

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Old 04-24-2014, 05:03 PM
  # 37 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by FireSprite View Post
I'm sorry you are having such a tough week Liz. Don't beat yourself up too much - remember that you were a different person way back when too...not nearly as enlightened as you are now, lol.

Bwaaahhhaaa, I'd hardly say I'm enlightened. A scared ostrich who finally took their head out of the sand, yes, but enlightened? Probably not there yet, LOL! Thanks for the words of encouragement, I need them. I'm supposed to be sharing my story at a large Al Anon meeting tomorrow, I was asked to be the guest speaker and I agreed. I'm not even sure I'm qualified at this point but I know I have a story to tell and I know there's been growth: it's just been small steps in progress, not perfection, right?
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Old 04-24-2014, 06:06 PM
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Don't sell yourself short Liz, you are made up of much more than you are giving yourself credit for right now. Small steps of "progress not perfection" is what we are all aiming for... good luck at the meeting!
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Old 04-24-2014, 06:43 PM
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Good luck speaking and sharing your ESH!
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Old 04-24-2014, 08:19 PM
  # 40 (permalink)  
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What an awesome question.

It's akin to the Alcoholic saying 'respect my position and who I am(and/or what titles I have), not what I'm doing'.

To answer your question, No, I can't respect an unrepentant alcoholic.

I can feel lots of things about them, depending on how distant I am from that person, but to respect anyone who chooses drugs over their spouses, children, family members, friends, job, God: no.

As for those who are battling addiction(making the decision to stop and doing something about it, getting help), different story.

From everything I've ever read/heard, recovery for the addict is a fight for life, for a lifetime.

How can anyone not respect someone who is willing to go through that?
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