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Can you respect the alcoholic?

Old 04-24-2014, 08:31 PM
  # 41 (permalink)  
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Spinner you hit it spot on.
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Old 04-24-2014, 08:38 PM
  # 42 (permalink)  
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Liz-

Great question, and some great answers.

I feel like you have put yourself in an untenable position.

"I choose this relationship so I should love and respect him," and "Somehow there is something wrong with me if I don't love and respect him."

Either way if feels like to me that you are once again a scapegoat in this situation.

Recently (very recently) I am starting to understand that I NEEDED my struggles and challenges with my loved one that struggled with alcohol....so I could learn the skill set of boundaries, self-care, self-respect etc. I probably would not have learned them any other way.

One of the things I continue to struggle with is putting myself in continuous Catch 22 situations like I think you are describing....whipping myself because I am in it and whipping myself because I could not "be/do" what he wanted.
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:04 PM
  # 43 (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?
What an excellent question!!!!

I personally find it impossible to give people respect they do not deserve...

Depending on the relationship - personal (and just how personal), professional, family, etc. - I can be polite/professional/cordial or whatever the situation calls for so that the drama factor does not get out of control (who wants extra drama???). I can even have empathy and compassion for them - but that does not mean I excuse their behavior or think I should put up with it. I will say that LIVING with my husband does present the biggest challenge to me maintaining politeness. I am not always polite with him. I am not always nice, to be real.

Respect is something that I base on how someone treats not just me but people in general. I have no respect for people who are consistently bullies or abusive or disrespectful/inconsiderate to others for no apparent reason other than just being too self absorbed to be any other way.

That goes for anyone, not just alcoholics.

This is the short, simplified version of what I think about this topic.

Peace.
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Old 04-25-2014, 07:32 AM
  # 44 (permalink)  
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My AH claims one of our big problems is that I don't respect him.

sigh. why do you still give so much weight to what HE SAYS? once again, he's making it your fault. what you are doing wrong. not him, never him!

same guy who a couple weeks ago was planning to visit 5 countries in 8 days, AND drag the boy with him???
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Old 04-25-2014, 07:54 AM
  # 45 (permalink)  
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Honestly, Liz---your head is so chock-full of him--there literally is no room, at all, left for for YOU!

His head is completely filled with HIM (narcissistic). Your head is completely filled with HIM.
Neither head has any space for YOU. Two heads for him--none for you. That means that two people are living for him. Just how fair does that seem?????

This is just what I "see" when I look at your situation form my vantage point.......

dandylion
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Old 04-25-2014, 08:05 AM
  # 46 (permalink)  
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I RESPECT the A's who work and live the Program.

A lot. A WHOLE LOT.

The Rest? Not so much.

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

btw, just so you know what that would sound like . . .

Instead of "My AH claims one of our big problems is that I don't respect him."

You would saying, "My beloved RAH claims one of our big problems is he has not fully earned my respect, but can see he is working on that, and I love him anyway, and I am busy on becoming a better wife to him."
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Old 04-25-2014, 08:13 AM
  # 47 (permalink)  
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I heard somewhere that Men seek respect and women seek love the biggest problem on getting what we both need is that alcoholism seems to stand in the way!
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Old 04-25-2014, 08:22 AM
  # 48 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by dandylion View Post
Honestly, Liz---your head is so chock-full of him--there literally is no room, at all, left for for YOU!

His head is completely filled with HIM (narcissistic). Your head is completely filled with HIM.
Neither head has any space for YOU. Two heads for him--none for you. That means that two people are living for him. Just how fair does that seem?????

This is just what I "see" when I look at your situation form my vantage point.......

dandylion
That is such a good way to put it! Two heads filled with him. No heads for you.
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Old 04-25-2014, 08:23 AM
  # 49 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by AnvilheadII View Post
My AH claims one of our big problems is that I don't respect him.

sigh. why do you still give so much weight to what HE SAYS? once again, he's making it your fault. what you are doing wrong. not him, never him!

same guy who a couple weeks ago was planning to visit 5 countries in 8 days, AND drag the boy with him???
I forgot about your ah/rah crazy world wide vacation nightmare. Yeah, I would not take him seriously.
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Old 04-25-2014, 09:18 AM
  # 50 (permalink)  
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I love what dandylion said!

Your situation is very familiar to me in many ways. I determined that he was not the kind of man I wanted as my husband, so I decided to give him a chance to change. He didn't like me the way I was either, so he decided to give me a chance to change. Neither one of us took the "opportunity" to change into what the other person wanted. And neither of us was happy being married to the person we were married to.

Sound familiar?

L
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Old 04-25-2014, 09:20 AM
  # 51 (permalink)  
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How can you respect someone that doesn't respect themself? I suppose you can respect the facts as they are (which is more acceptance), but that is very different then respecting the person. You can respect his actions if he acts in a way that is respectful. But really, my guess, those kinds of actions are far and few between.

Sounds like manipulation by way of semantics to me.

Only thing that changes any of this is a consistent change in behavior.
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Old 04-25-2014, 09:29 AM
  # 52 (permalink)  
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I have been thinking a lot about how to lift myself up. I have realized that I have lost some respect for myself over time.
It doesn't matter what my H does or doesn't do. Whether I have respect for myself lies solely within me.
If I don't separate the way I feel about myself and the actions/words of another person, then I lose the connective thoughts that reveal to me how and why I don't feel about myself as I used to. I have to separate myself and look inward, and look deep, and pay very close attention to the emotions I have about myself that are an undercurrent.

The answers we seek about the way we feel about ourselves are not found by studying the alcoholic.
But they are found from introspection. I'm not saying the manipulation that you Liz might be dealing with is not an issue. It is simply not the way to find yourself by studying it.

I am writing lists. 1) How do I respect myself. 2) Opposite page-how do I not respect myself. Another page for 3) What do I believe deserves respect. This goes back to childhood, because this is ingrained. The thing about childhood molded beliefs is that they often need to be studied, recognized, updated, or let go. They will hang on forever without this study within.
4) What ways then after the above study, do I need to change to respect myself more. Some are small. Some are life goals, and hang over our heads if not accomplished.

Maybe for me, I believe self-respect must be intact for all, or that life loses its value and meaning, until it is restored. All else seems less important comparatively. We can all imagine a famous and rich person who seems to have won all the lotteries in life, but we also know instinctively that if they don't respect themselves that their other accomplishments mean little and are superficial.

I truly believe that by seeking and achieving self-respect the question of whether we respect others becomes moot, because it naturally falls into place that we respect others to the degree they deserve when our own self-respect is intact. There is a barometer of sorts that does the right thing, and that barometer learns with maturity to have compassion for, and show respect, to those who have not achieved their own self-respect and disrespect others. (Yes there may be those with personality disorders that do not have a normal give and take balance with respect.)
So again I say we have to take the focus off the alcoholic and get back to being balanced people ourselves, with our self-respect strong.
The past is the past Liz and that you married him is simply a fact. However how you have kept or not kept your self-respect intact since that day may be what hangs over your head.
It's really NOT about them...it never was.
This is how you separate yourself from the actions of another long enough to take a look at who you are.
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Old 04-25-2014, 10:07 AM
  # 53 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by LaTeeDa View Post
I love what dandylion said!

Your situation is very familiar to me in many ways. I determined that he was not the kind of man I wanted as my husband, so I decided to give him a chance to change. He didn't like me the way I was either, so he decided to give me a chance to change. Neither one of us took the "opportunity" to change into what the other person wanted. And neither of us was happy being married to the person we were married to.

Sound familiar?

L
I like how you quoted opportunity! My AH is trying to get me to 'change back' yet he knows there's no going back. And, yes, it sounds very familiar.

I like what Dandylion said, too. You know, I've been in tears on and off this week and my Ah asked me if I was Ok because he saw that I had been crying. I'm still fascinated that he even noticed or even cared to address me about it but in reality I told him I was fine. I wasn't about to tell him the depth of what I've been going through and feeling, even though he seemed to care at the time. And, of course, he asks while our son was standing right there so I wasn't about to open up in front of both of them! What I realized is that my dad would lay into me if I started to cry and my AH used to accuse me of using tears to manipulate him or guilt him. So, for years I wouldn't let myself cry. It's weird how all of a sudden now, I can't seem to stop.
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Old 04-25-2014, 12:26 PM
  # 54 (permalink)  
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Yeah I got another reminder today why I am right in not respecting an actively abusing A whose sole purpose in life these days is to be a royal PITA from his throne (which is these days under a bridge) by filing endless court documents that the BS courts keep taking up and I now believe the main beneficiary of my last will and testament will be my lawyer.

Respect is earned. You don't do anything to deserve it, you don't get it.

</rant>
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Old 04-25-2014, 12:59 PM
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And, of course, he asks while our son was standing right there so I wasn't about to open up in front of both of them!
Narcissists are always willing to mirror humanity and empathy for an audience. How is he when there is no audience? Don't get too fascinated with it.
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Old 04-25-2014, 01:02 PM
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Narcissists are always willing to mirror humanity and empathy for an audience.
Going on my fridge. Thank you, Florence.
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Old 04-25-2014, 01:03 PM
  # 57 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Florence View Post
Narcissists are always willing to mirror humanity and empathy for an audience. How is he when there is no audience? Don't get too fascinated with it.
See, this is pretty much what I thought!
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Old 04-25-2014, 01:55 PM
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Liz, it might help for you to learn more about narcissism and what it looks like in relationships. I used to struggle with it because it felt like we were talking about the big bad wolf, and my ex and my mom are not that. It's actually much more low-key and banal, but still cutting and hurtful for their victims, usually the immediate family and coworkers. My mom is a neglect and emotional abuse kind of narcissist. My ex was the "I'll destroy you" kind of narcissist, and very scary. I survived him by always interacting using an audience.

This is my favorite site with comprehensive and illustrative information about NPD. When I found it I read every single page and was stunned, just stunned. I hope the mods are okay with me posting it.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) : Traits discussed
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Old 04-25-2014, 04:26 PM
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Florence---A true Narcissist is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

I used to have one living under the back porch.....

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Old 04-25-2014, 09:26 PM
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When Alcoholics start demanding respect, it's been my experience that they don't actually give a fig about respect.
No, they want adoration. They want applause, and lots of it, for their achievement of not being an a$$hole in that moment (the next moment? Well, that's still in the future). They want a full-ego massage that helps them feel special, entitled and superior.

He probably just got mad because you treated him like a full-grown adult who could carry his own weight without complaint, and forgot to give him a trophy. Keep treating him like an adult. His recovery, if he persists in it, will bring self-respect into his life, and end the demands that you do it for him!
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