Venting alert: Detachment, or not giving a damn?

Old 02-21-2015, 10:08 AM
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Venting alert: Detachment, or not giving a damn?

Thought of the Day: Balancing detachment and disinterest and (not) giving a damn.

RAH has been sober for 16 months, has a new job he loves after several years of ones he hated (during which occurred the serious A episode that finally got him to AA), and predictably is his happier, pleasanter self these days. The other day he texted me that he wants to know why I have been distancing myself from him, and he expects talk, not an email, because he *is* available.

Oh. Really?

Maybe I've been protecting myself since his alcoholism became so obvious, and maybe now I've made it through the initial months of rage and disgust, and maybe I have been distant because I'm trying every day to balance AlAnon detachment and the essential perspective it gives, against the louder silence of not giving a damn any more.

Maybe I've been distant because neither of us is good at owning up to our faults even if we can identify them easily. Because I haven't worked through my own issues of pride and insecurity and independence and wanting to "fix" things and wanting things done my way. Because the marriage pattern of workaholic AH working long hours in his profession and codie W "supporting" him while working my own full-time job plus taking care of the kids and their needs and activities all these years follows the exact same damn pattern as my own parents' ultimately failed marriage: wifely "support" over a foundation of increasing resentment with little expectation of realistic communication. And according to each of us, the poor communication is the other's fault...but even the kids can't understand what he means when he speaks, he's so oblique and inexpressive.

Well, between our work and home obligations there hasn't been time to discuss this in the way it requires, but I asked his LCDC for the names of some marriage counselors with experience in A spouses, and he's willing to go, so I just have to make a call -- because he said that was *my* responsibility. But I do know that I've been distancing myself from him not just in recent years as self-protection from the alcoholism while taking care of the kids, but for many years because he is emotionally unavailable (imagine that, in an alcoholic) and verbally uncommunicative with me and the boys. Not with his co-workers, not with neighbors and friends, but with his wife and children.

So often I think that if it weren't for the horrendous damage a divorce would wreak on the kids -- one a college freshman, the other in 9th grade and very, very sensitive with diagnosed anxiety and depression -- I'd take the relatively easy way out and ask for a divorce. Then I remember how my own parents' divorce at that same time in their children's lives screwed us kids up so deeply, and put that thought aside. RAH's parents just observed 70 years of marriage to each other, and he loves and respects his mother (as do I), so at least that's one of his relationship models.

Bleah. Thanks, everyone, for letting me rant and vent.
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Old 02-21-2015, 01:25 PM
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Oh yeah.

You know how far to get distant (detach), right?

When you are out beyond the pain boundary (watch your heart and feelings -- like a dashboard gauge). When it stops hurting THEN you are far enough out.

Whether that is too far out for an A to be able to Shout, Yell, or otherwise direct you how to serve them better . . . . oh well, not our problem, is it?


He is doing AA? And actually REALLY doing it? Not asking you to watch HIS program, but IF he is . . . here is the REAL DEAL -- (just saying this because I have studied and watched this for the last few years . . . ) YOU are likely going to have to do the FULL ALANON Program.

This stuff has developed and exists not as a fad, but rather because it ACTUALLY DOES WORK -- IF . . . .

Let me try a bigger IF . . . it is a BIG IF:


IF You both work YOUR Own Programs Fully, you will BOTH come out rather well. And on the other hand IF Not, Then Not.

But we/you/I cannot do ANYTHING about the other/AA side.

However, we/you/I CAN do EVERYTHING about OUR side.

So. How is YOUR side going?
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Old 02-21-2015, 02:12 PM
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Thanks as always, Hammer, for your wise counsel!
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Old 02-21-2015, 07:55 PM
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Hello Cathair,

The emotional lack is likely a side effect of the disease. This site linked below goes into quite a bit of detail about emotional processing issues and addiction. My RAH is pretty emotionally backwards still. Drives me bat sh--- crazy sometimes.

Alexithymia might be interesting to read up on...

This Emotional Disease | The Alcoholics Guide to Alcoholism
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