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Can you respect the alcoholic?

Old 04-23-2014, 08:53 PM
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Can you respect the alcoholic?

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?
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Old 04-23-2014, 09:09 PM
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I respect a rattlesnake, tiger, bear, and other things that could cause harm to me. they amaze me, but I respect their power, abilities, and danger. so I look at them from a distance but don't get in their way because i'm aware they could harm me.

same with the alcoholic that was in my life.

respect is not something that is demanded.....it is earned.

I learned through al-anon to respect my XAH decision to drink....that was his choice. i then had to decide if i wanted accept his decision to drink and how that affected my life.

most importantly, i lost my own self respect during the struggle to keep our relationship intact.

working my own program of recovery helped me regain my self respect and to save myself.

i respected his choice to continue how he wanted.

hope this makes some sense to you....it's a difficult question to try to answer.
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Old 04-23-2014, 09:10 PM
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I think it's hard to respect someone who doesn't show themselves respect, is self loathing and self destructive.

But I do feel compassion for them.
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Old 04-23-2014, 10:07 PM
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I have always believed if you want respect be respectable. I choose to respect recovery.
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Old 04-23-2014, 10:19 PM
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I agree with DB. It's really difficult to respect someone who treats their own body and life with such disdain and carelessness.

My husband used to quack that same nonsense when he was actively drinking too, BTW. I always just told him that respect was a 2 way street in a marriage. If you want my respect then you need to treat me with respect.
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Old 04-23-2014, 10:54 PM
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I don't think you're being disrespectful.
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Old 04-23-2014, 11:37 PM
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I respect xah. He is brilliant, capable and gifted.

I also find his behavior and his corresponding narcissism abhorrent.

During fights Towards the end of my marriage, I even told him that his behavior disgusted me. Interestingly, his mother used to say this about how he was when he still lived with her as a child.

When you find yourself repulsed by your husband, time to exit the relationship.

I would say the same is true if you don't respect or trust someone.

Otherwise, you are going to find that you start feeling and behaving in reproachable ways yourself.

Plus, your AH is quacking.
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Old 04-23-2014, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by DoubleBarrel View Post
I think it's hard to respect someone who doesn't show themselves respect, is self loathing and self destructive.

But I do feel compassion for them.
This. Respect is earned, not demanded. Not given simply because someone bears the title of husband, wife, president, whatever. There are different levels of respect, though. You can respect his work accomplishments if he is doing well there. Or like Pippi said, if he has a brilliant mind or creativity. In the sense he's talking about, heck no. He doesn't earn your respect. He's quacking and gaslighting you. If you didn't do xyz, then he wouldn't be this way. Quack.
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Old 04-24-2014, 12:21 AM
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
he thinks I'm being rude and disrespectful. He sees my detachment as inconsiderate and passive aggressive.
Consistently being under the influence while married and expecting to be treated like it's a sacred relationship is not merely rude and disrespectful, it's delusional.
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Old 04-24-2014, 12:55 AM
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Respect - a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements.

Liz, that is the thing about respect. Your A has an active role in your attainment of deference to him. Double barrel - great comment!

My A went to rehab last year. He has been sober a year. He struggled to get a new job and did not drink. He kept busy with all kinds of tasks around the house. I respect him for systematically trying to stay sober and fill those hours that he used to sit and drink. I thank him for many of the tasks that he does acknowledging that he out out effort. RAH started a new position on January. So now he is living with working sober too.

Sadly for me that is not enough. I want to rebuild our marriage and he does not have anything left to put into that kind of project. No intimacy and an obstinate door that his drinking did not impact me or DS.
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Old 04-24-2014, 04:52 AM
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Originally Posted by embraced2000 View Post
I respect a rattlesnake, tiger, bear, and other things that could cause harm to me. they amaze me, but I respect their power, abilities, and danger. so I look at them from a distance but don't get in their way because i'm aware they could harm me.

same with the alcoholic that was in my life.

respect is not something that is demanded.....it is earned.

I learned through al-anon to respect my XAH decision to drink....that was his choice. i then had to decide if i wanted accept his decision to drink and how that affected my life.

most importantly, i lost my own self respect during the struggle to keep our relationship intact.

working my own program of recovery helped me regain my self respect and to save myself.

i respected his choice to continue how he wanted.

hope this makes some sense to you....it's a difficult question to try to answer.
This really expresses my feelings better than I could articulate. Thank you! To own my part I related to him in very destructive ways as a result of all that and I would not want to repeat that in another relationship. Leaving earlier would have been kinder to both of us but hindsight is 20/20.

I am separated from my ex and really never talk to him anymore. He reaches out in a lame way once in awhile and I ignore him. I feel bad about that sometimes but honestly, I just don't have the energy to be nice anymore and I don't have it in me to re-visit that relationship. It is sad and in my past now. I also do not trust myself to not try and 'fix' a bunch of things if I get to close so I stay clear. Specifically the relationship (or lack of) between the boys and him. I want to fix that for the boys, not for him, but it isn't my relationship to fix.

Currently I have respect for his struggle with alcoholism, his recovery (which he is in I think) and his ongoing struggles with his anxiety. I have no respect for other choices he's made when it comes to where he lives, his lack of parenting, his lack of child support, etc.
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Old 04-24-2014, 05:10 AM
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Did you respect him earlier in the relationship? I could not respect someone who shows no or little respect for me, himself or life in general.
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Old 04-24-2014, 05:13 AM
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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?

Okay. He can demand a lot of things. Good luck with that, buddy.

Liz, what point of his is there to see? You've bent over backwards to give him changes and make allowances for his disgusting behavior towards you. Eventually the bent reed breaks. I'm thinking of you -- because you deserve better than this quacking abuser in your face making demaaaaaaaands.
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Old 04-24-2014, 05:40 AM
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My A says the same thing when he is drinking; that I don't respect all the things he does, and I do nothing (by the way, he's saying this while I'm doing dishes from cooking dinner, after I've bathed and put the baby in bed, and he's done nothing but sit on his john boat in the driveway....).

Also, if he offers to do something normal, which in his opinion is something nice and special, he expects me to give him unlimited thanks and praise. (like take the trash to the dump, or mow the lawn)

I see your point, that detachment can make you feel as if you are disrespecting them or being passive aggressive, but what if you aren't detached? for me, not being detached means constant arguments and letting him disrespect me.
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Old 04-24-2014, 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by DoubleBarrel View Post
I think it's hard to respect someone who doesn't show themselves respect, is self loathing and self destructive.

But I do feel compassion for them.
I second what DoubleBarrel said.

My AH is currently passed out on the couch after his binge last night.(didn't come home til after midnight) The living room wreaks of second hand vodka. He'll be blowing off a couple of customers today, he's going to screw up this business he's worked so hard to build and is so proud of. This happens once or twice a week now. He doesn't show much in the way of concern for my feelings anymore. Doesn't care that he leaves me with the brunt of household chores and responsibilities. I feel like a single woman most of the time because he's either out on a binge, or spending 2-3 days on the couch recovering from one. I'm "lucky" if we have one good day a week together anymore.

So ya, respect is a pretty difficult thing right now. Don't know if it will ever come back because I don't feel confident that he will do what's necessary to earn it back.

Mostly I just feel disgust and pity.
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Old 04-24-2014, 06:18 AM
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This is my answer--for me--and each may interpret as it works or doesn't work for them--
I am currently thinking back on my life. I am remembering a time when I had the utmost respect for myself. I know I am *lower* than I used to be. This makes me feel that I am spinning my wheels, and am "losing" the day to day and year to year struggle to be happier and have self-respect.
I think when life gets worse instead of better, or just gets a little better from horrible but nowhere near a past time of happiness, and we remember a time when life was A LOT better, that we can be helped by looking backwards to that time, and assessing what is different within ourselves.
Hopefully everyone has a time that they can look back to where they felt sure of themselves, or this idea is useless, and in that case each has to build themselves from the bottom up to a *new* person.
What I'm trying to convey here is my thought process about respect, and I find it is anchored WITHIN, not in circular debates with another person.
When I can feel self-respect, or, lacking that, remember when I had self-respect, the question of whether or not I am respecting others is crystal clear.

When my boundaries are strong, I don't need to second guess myself. With self-respect there is no question of whether I am respecting others, because my personal boundaries and personal respect being intact shows me the truth, the path, and I need not question myself this way.
And when I have that self assured thought process and my dignity intact, I can simply say BS! to bogus claims from somebody else not getting what they want.
I KNOW then whether I am respecting someone else...here's a key...when I have self-respect- respect for others is part of that package, because there's no separating my self-respect and the action of respecting others.
Part of HAVING self-respect is the action of respecting others, in that it is a natural occurrence that we respect others when our own dignity is intact.
Where's your internal anchor? Rock within?
The goal for me is to work on lifting myself up until I am SO SURE of my own self-respect, therefore my respect for others, that it is beyond question most of the time...and it would be-- under those circumstances-- an unusual occurrence that my respect for another would come into question.
There was a time when I didn't question myself, and I was happy, and I look back and yes-I did respect others also. I was not confused. I was strong, others thought so too and told me so, and others looked up to me. I have lost some of that. I am going to get back to that place.
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Old 04-24-2014, 06:27 AM
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O yes, I went through this too. When I began to detatch XAH threw fits about how I was not respecting him.

I calmly told him that respect is earned and maybe he needs to think that over. Not because of alcoholism, but because of who he is as a person, I will never respect him.

I have to remember this about my kids and myself too. If I want others to respect me, I have to earn that.

XXX
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Old 04-24-2014, 07:03 AM
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Red flags arise from me whenever I hear anyone say something to the effect of, "This is what I need YOU to do in order for me to do/get/feel better."

This says to me that the other person is absolving their responsibility for their own well-being, as well as for the relationship between us.

This says to me that the other person is trying to control me.

This says to me that the other person wants to make their problem, my problem.

This does NOT say to me, "I deserve your respect."
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Old 04-24-2014, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Blossom717 View Post
My A says the same thing when he is drinking; that I don't respect all the things he does, and I do nothing (by the way, he's saying this while I'm doing dishes from cooking dinner, after I've bathed and put the baby in bed, and he's done nothing but sit on his john boat in the driveway....).

Also, if he offers to do something normal, which in his opinion is something nice and special, he expects me to give him unlimited thanks and praise. (like take the trash to the dump, or mow the lawn)

I see your point, that detachment can make you feel as if you are disrespecting them or being passive aggressive, but what if you aren't detached? for me, not being detached means constant arguments and letting him disrespect me.
I can relate! I don't thank him for doing the dishes or helping with the laundry anymore because he has always helped with those things and because he doesn't thank me for much of anything, either, except for cooking dinner. Honestly, sometimes I think we're too polite on the surface and try very hard to stay out of each other's way but under the surface we both have all these unresolved issues.

Right now, he is in therapy and reading all these self help books. He is simultaneously reading books called, "The Anger Trap" and "The Happiness Trap"; I find that ironic to say the least.

He keeps saying that we're not allowed to talk to each other because I end conversations now and that it's disrespectful to disengage like that. And, of course, when he talks about this subject, I end it quickly too, LOL, so we never get anywhere. I have to end the talking or else I'll wind up like you stated above: it will allow him to disrespect me or lie or deny or minimize, quack quack quacking. I figure I'm doing him a favor. What's really sad is that I do respect his ability to do his job and earn a living and I respect his ability to play tennis and I respect his right to drink or do what he wants with his time. I'm not a nag, never have been and he knows it.

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.
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Old 04-24-2014, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by DoubleBarrel View Post
I think it's hard to respect someone who doesn't show themselves respect, is self loathing and self destructive.

But I do feel compassion for them.
I totally agree with DoubleBarrel and what I feel now for my ex is compassion and pity. I had to leave the what ifs of our life behind me.
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