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Shipwrecked....

Old 04-16-2016, 11:46 PM
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Shipwrecked....

Hello everyone,

This is very very long...................

I will introduce my self.

I am a single mother. Divorced. I do not smoke or drink regularly or do drugs. I work for a government agency that provides help and assistance to those in need. I lead a relatively calm life.

There is so much to say I don't know where to start. So I think I will give you a quick run down of the last 6 years of my life. Which has me completely frazzled and feeling pretty wrecked to my core.

2010 my sister committed suicide. She was diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder and smoked marijuana on a daily basis since she was in her early teens. She drank plenty as well but this was not her main drug of choice. Not sure if her mental disorder was brought on by the marijuana use or if her smoking and drinking was just a way of self medicating (probably both) either way she ended her life by taking prescription drugs, marijuana and alcohol. It was a tragedy to say the least. She was a very successful women who owned her own business. She was highly intelligent, extremely artistic, very witty and naturally pretty. (and I'm not just saying that...lol.. she really was all those things) I've had 4 years of therapy to come to terms with her loss. I learned a lot about mental health issues and self medication and how the two spiral out of control if the underlying issue is not dealt with properly.

Since her passing I sometimes feel like the gates of hell opened up in my life... really scary and crazy things have happened since.

I will need to make this brief as each story is a novel on its own.

But since the death of my sister this is how my life went....
(no exaggeration here... if anything I have to leave out plenty in order to not have this blow out.

2010 (Dec 21st) - my sister dies- I travel home to NY, USA (I live in Australia for last 18 years) I spend time with my family and start the grieving process.

2011- I arrive back in Australia after 5 weeks with my family. My neighbour is in a crisis of her own (her husband left her unexpectedly). I was never friends with her just always neighbourly. To make this very short... she leaned on me (or tried to ) and in the process became fixated and obsessed with me. It was horrible, scary and a very unstable situation. She had two very young children. Lots of scary things happened. (I seriously should write a book about it) In the end I had to move. The police were involved many times as she started to get very spiteful and crazy towards me because I started to reject her as I slowly realised she was extremely unwell. (after she bought all the same furniture as what was in my home (I mean everything) she followed me places (even and hour drive away). I would come home from work and she would be sitting on my driveway, we were held hostage in our home because she wouldn't leave my front door (the police to an hour to get there)... etc... anyway the local Mental Health team finally got involved and assessed her with a Mental Health disorder and protected the children from her (that took a looong time) as scared as I was, I was more concerned for her small children in her care. (there is so much to this story) so, I moved to a lovely new home in the next town (for the record she up and moved there as well)... straight out of a horror movie. (but it is in the past now.. ) It went on for about a year gradually getting worse and worse. During this whole time I was in deep grief for my sister and still dealing with and trying to cope with a long and drawn out divorce from my husband... it was real crazy town...

2012ish - I am just settling into my new home and feeling somewhat safe (the police were very kind and informed me that my neighbour will be getting treatment and they suspect she may be also self medicating) but, then I get a text message from a girlfriend about one month after moving in to this place. (she lived around the corner at the time). She told me that she was struggling with DV from a boyfriend and she needed a friend as she is getting out of the situation. (prior to this I knew she left her husband- who adored her and she ran off with a guy who was a heavy drinker but I didn't know was violent) I was very surprised by this and didn't know she was going through this. Of course I would see her and try and be supportive. She asked a lot of me... but I did my best to be there and be supportive. (she also has children)
To make this story short as well. She was diagnosed with Borderline personality disorder and tried to kill herself. I visited her in hospital many times and did what I could. She was doing very well when she came out and was cleaning up her life so to speak... She had admitted that she was drinking heavily still and was using Meth prior to her time in hospital. I could not believe it.. never would I have thought she would do that. She is a wonderful person and she also had an amazing job and family. Anyway... she asked me to go out to a function with her one night. (it was a nice event) and she said she really needed a friend. So I go with her. She started drinking a lot and then went to the bathroom. (I believe now she may have taken Meth because of what happened next) It was time to go home (I was driving) she completely changed and started to rage in the car when I was taking her home. She called her XH and started to abuse him and then yell at me. I got her home quickly and made sure she got in o.k. She seemed to have calmed a lot and I asked her is she wanted me to call anyone to stay with her. (I couldn't) She said no and I went to use the bathroom. While in the bathroom she self harmed severely and I walked out into another horror movie. Long story short I got the police there and ambulance and she spent more time in hospital. This cycle has repeated itself many times since but I know not to put myself in a dangerous situation again and I never have since that night.

2013-14 Not a bad year... but still coming down from all the stressors and creating calm in my home and life.

2015- After years and years of not being with anyone romantically I meet a guy and start a relationship... It moved slowly at first but then very quickly. I started to think something was up as he never wanted to go out anywhere after about 7pm and would frequently stay home. He would cancel plans at the last minute etc. We bonded nicely and were having fun but I still had a feeling that something wasn't right but I was enjoying the attention so much and loved having a 'partner' again. Slowly but surely I realised he was drinking a bit and in the back of my mind wondered if this was why he didn't want to go out at night. Well things sped along and he revealed he had $ problems. One thing led to another and he moved in with me. (talk about moving quickly!!) It became extremely obvious that he was an alcoholic when he lived with me. He drank every night... lots and lots of wine... tried to switch to beer then back to wine. He would get these huge casts of wine and nearly finish one a night. never seen anything like it He was a loving and funny drunk and I really loved him but could not cope with that. I became very anxious. My son noticed his drinking and mentioned it to me more than once. I felt horrible.
I got a call from home. My father was gravely ill. (I knew he was very unwell and he had congestive heart failure and now liver and kidney failure...he was dying) I took my son and went home again and spent my father's last week with him and my family. The doctors kept asking him if he was a heavy drinker. He always said no but he liked a drink. (I had to wonder if he was in fact a heavy drinker... but kept it hidden) I was a mess from everything. I arrived home to my XABF saying he has no interest in intimacy any more and is feeling horribly depressed and the death of my father brought up all unresolved grief from the death of his father... I was like are you kidding me?... you are going to do this now? (He has had issues with sex - impotency frequently and now I know its due to drinking- he kept saying stress...) He did not grieve with me or support me during this time. He showed a very selfish side and we argued. He and his brother are both alcoholics (actually there is this drinking culture in his family- his father was an alcoholic )and his brother likes to gamble on top of it. One night they went out and my XABF lent his brother $200 to gamble with (our $- my $!) that was it and he moved out. I sold the car I bought him (for us) and took a break. We got back together for another go around and things were ok. but the drinking was still very bad and I encouraged him to take Naltrexone prescribed from the Dr. He would never take it. Made promise after promise after promise.. he took and took and took from me. Never gave much in return including his time. Our relationship turned into I guess a sort of friends with benefits over time. Then when I started to stop enabling him so much he would withhold sex. (Not that I ever really pushed for it) but he would make sure I knew he controlled that area of our relationship. I told him I had enough of the mind games after a number of incidences and we should go no contact as I need to separate myself from him. He was angry and tried to humiliate me on Facebook.... really?? He's in his 50's. It was awful and embarrassing but I forgave him... (because he was drinking when he did it- yeah I am that ridiculous) I have seen a side to him I am glad I have escaped from. He was getting angry frequently and I think he was violent once with his x wife according to a family member who told me a little something... I dodged a bullet but boy I feel very grazed by it... not doing very well and missing his company. Being without a partner for such a long time and then this crap... I kept rationalising that its better than nothing.... Amazing how gradually self esteem gets chip away until there is not much left... We do not talk regularly at this point but he wants to be best friends... I don't think so... no... but I feel vulnerable and would like to see him. So many plans down the drain... time wasted.

I feel drained an exhausted from the last 6 years and I sit here saying WTF ... but I've managed to raise my son, keep a great job, get up, get dressed and keep putting one foot in front of the other, .... some days not so easily but those days I ask God to move my feet.

I have learned so much through every traumatic relationship/event. I have learned that Mental illness frequently gets covered up by substance abuse and the person is as much a victim of their illness as are those they distress or abuse. I understand they are my decisions and choice to stay or leave. Whether that be a friendship or a lover (I am lucky I am not married or have children to him) my decision is much much easier than others. I completely understand why some can not leave or decide to stay. It is complex and not as straight forward as some would like to believe and I can see that clearly from this site. I've learned to love but not get emeshed with the person so much that I forget myself , my needs, my wants, desires and my right and my childs right to safety.

I've had counselling for all of this except my XABF... I think with the help of SR I have found an endless bucket of wisdom, help and self discovery. I will still be looking for support here to maintain my limited or no contact with my XABH as I feel sometimes powerless to his spell...

Thank you to everyone on SR for your courage, advise and such care. x
P.s I've just completed my diploma of counselling and would like to take further study to become an Alcohol and drug counsellor. I feel like I have heaps of life experience behind me now! but need further training...
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Old 04-17-2016, 01:18 AM
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Hi frazzled - great name BTW - I was riveted by your story, and by your descriptive way of telling it. It seems to me that you had a stable childhood because of the way you've come through all this shaken but fundamentally stable. You're learning from you past, I can't say mistakes because who wouldn't help a neighbour, your past traumas, stayed on the rails and are even planning to make the most of everything by becoming a counsellor. I hope your career choice doesn't expose you to the negative aspects of your past too much.

As a recovering A (4 years now) I've found SR to be a wonderful resource, and a constant reminder what could happen if I get too complacent. Because it's well moderated I recommend it to others and have told my doctor about it.

All the best for the future. I know it must be hard being so far away from your family, but at least you've chosen a great country to settle in
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Old 04-17-2016, 04:09 PM
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Thanks FeelingGreat

Yes I have had a good childhood but not without its ups and downs... family issues etc.

I started to take an interest in taking a counselling course after my sister passed. Really to just give myself a better understanding and foundation into helping others and learning more about human frailty and how to remain compassionate and understanding and most of all helpful and not reactive. For me it is was part of my healing process. (I was doing something constructive with my grief) It will be years away and further study before I actually decide what area that I want to try and help in but right now I'm interested in Drug and Alcohol counselling and not for the person who is the addict but for the family and loved ones closest. To help with grief. They need lots of care I don't think I would be qualified to help and addict recover as I think the best help is from those who have gone through the addiction themselves.

From what I learned from my XABF and from SR is that I can not help him stop drinking. I do not understand how his brain is working as I have never been addicted to anything (knock on wood)... however I was addicted to XABF for a while... I can see that now from reading SR. (I am still trying to break the habit ) I realised how co-dependant I was and trying to help him get better... and it wasn't entirely for his benefit but for mine. I wanted a clean and sober BF and a happily ever after... I realise now that I could not in any way shape or form control what was happening to him.

I have gone through all common phases (which I had no idea was common)... "the love bombing, I want to marry you, you are the best thing that ever happened to me... the him trying to get me to drink with him (if you can't beat him , join him mentality)... the ways of enabling him I did I never realised was enabling behaviour... I went through him over valuing me, devaluing me, discarding me at least 3 times... it really made my head spin... but amazingly love remains.... go figure Love from a distance now though...

I just want to add my friend with BPD is doing quite amazing now... she has worked her butt off finding the right docs and medication to support herself. She is now working for a Mental Health Service as a peer support coordinator... Fantastic. She is a shinning example of someone determined to help herself and never give up... she is now giving back to the community what she has learned from her own experience and help those suffering from similar ailments.

I keep the faith that one day (I hope soon) XABF will take a similar road as her...

Thanks FeelingGreat... love your name as well
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Old 04-18-2016, 08:30 AM
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Welcome, Frazzled. We are here to listen, and to share what we've learned. I'm so sorry that you have had years of difficulty from other people's dysfunction and tragedies.

Reading and re-reading your post, a couple of thoughts come to my mind. First, it is clear that none of this is your fault, and you are not responsible for other people's bad behavior and tragedies.

Leaving aside your sister's suicide, which must have been an immensely difficult event to understand and learn to live with, my thoughts turn to a couple of other questions.

The common denominator in the other situations is you. You did not cause any of the dysfunction, yet you got deeply involved in the other people's struggles to either deal with their situation, or to let it become worse. From looking back at your role in their lives, you might be able to ask yourself some questions that will inform your future choices.

Most of your initial post is about other people's lives, and the profound and destructive influence on and presence in your life their bad choices had. Your focus is outward on how their difficult, even crazy, actions escalated in destroying your own life.

If this were me, my question to myself, in retrospect, would be: in each situation, what were the multiple pivot points where I could have chosen NOT to participate in the other person's dysfunctional life, and escaped with my own life intact?

My second question for myself would be: what deep unarticulated beliefs allowed me, what inner assumptions motivated me to get so deeply emotionally involved in someone else's life?

My third question for myself would be: what responsibility and accountability do I have for the health of my own life, and how does that balance with my actions to help and fix someone else's life?

I've asked myself these questions, having left, over 3 years ago, a 20 year marriage with a then abusive alcoholic narcissist man who I had dearly and deeply loved.

When I was married to him, without much self awareness, I believed that my job was to fix his life because that was more important than living my own life. After the initial shock of leaving him suddenly, and realizing how devastatingly destructive his behavior had been to me, and how damaged I was, and how much blame he deserved, I went into a second stage of introspection.

I began to look at my role in the devastation of our marriage, and, while he still owned his bad behavior, I began to understand my own contributions to our downfall, and to own my own assumptions, beliefs, behavior, and results.

I believed I knew better than he did how to "fix him".

I believed he NEEDED to be fixed.

I believed I had more authority over how he lived than he did.

I believed I owned the results of his dysfunctional behavior as much as, or perhaps more than he did.

I believed that living my life in service of fixing him was a worthier goal than living my own life as best and fully as I could.

In short, my dedication toward his health rather than my own was misguided arrogance on my part.

I had - and have - no right to try to control and amend his behavior. He was and is an adult and he had - and has - the right to choose to live anyway he wanted, not matter whether I thought it was healthy or not.

My only right about HIS life was to choose to stay with him or to leave him.

If you look at my earlier posts, you can follow my path through the thicket of coming to terms with the realizations above. It was extremely difficult, despairing, humbling, and finally freeing.

Alanon says about your partner/friend's dysfunction:

You didn't cause it;
You can't control it; and,
You can't cure it.

Those were the words of freedom for me, once I integrated them into my life.

You might want to read CoDependent No More by Melody Beattie. It is kind of the "Bible" of co-dependency.

What I've learned is that we only have the right, the accountability, and the joy of living our own lives, no one else's.

This is written with great empathy, take what you want and leave the rest.

ShootingStar1
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Old 04-18-2016, 08:50 AM
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hand waving from Wisconsin Frazzled.. wow just glued to your page.. could life throw you anymore of a curve ball. ekekekekek
so many of us have had problems just like that and then not as bad..
there is a blog area here on your private page.. go to it and write. its record and will help you clear your mind and heart so you can see things better. I do that every so often...
prayers Dear Lady so many prayers and a hope for a better tomorrow. ardy
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Old 04-18-2016, 07:02 PM
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ShootingStar xx
Wow... lots of food for thought here... thank you so much for your reply and for sharing your journey with me as well.. I will catch myself up with your story for sure. You make so many important points about co-dependency and sharing your lessons learned just reinforce my 'healthy' decision to back away ... favourite quote I've seen on SR was " back away and keep your hands off the addict".... lol... that made so much sense to me and brought humour to a really un-funny situation. (Humour is so healing) and your questions are so vital for my recovery (and everyone struggling with getting enmeshed with others issues too deeply- losing one self in another's turmoil- the WHY we do that is so very important to explore and acknowledge. Hopefully giving us an awareness about ourselves that might need some adjusting!

You said:
“The common denominator in the other situations is you. You did not cause any of the dysfunction, yet you got deeply involved in the other people's struggles to either deal with their situation, or to let it become worse. From looking back at your role in their lives, you might be able to ask yourself some questions that will inform your future choices.

Most of your initial post is about other people's lives, and the profound and destructive influence on and presence in your life their bad choices had. Your focus is outward on how their difficult, even crazy, actions escalated in destroying your own life.


This is very very true (common denominator) I have often thought to myself what is my role in all this? I have taken the time to do the gruelling and ugly work of searching myself, my beliefs, my conditioning, my personality... everything I thought necessary to come up with honest answers that will help me make better future choices.

I have come up with that I was naïve to what mental illness really is. That there is sometimes not enough inner strength that a person can draw on solely to fix a chemical imbalance, deep childhood abuse, long term addiction or whatever it is that has either caused the dysfunction or contributing to it.. (and some people are just born sociopathic) I believe in learning from experience and because I could not feel the great depths of depression or other illnesses I was of the mindset that you should be able to pick yourself up and keep moving. (yes very naïve) After experiencing deep grief/anxiety and pure panic. I NOW understand. (experience is everything)

There is no doubt that the death of my sister and the events that followed opened my eyes to this. GUILT is a major factor in why I got enmeshed in many of the situations. I always thought that my sister was partying too much... and her decisions and choices were what was making her life unravel... boy did I get a rude awakening... mental illness certainly contributed to her poor decision making, choices and self-medicating. I got to see this up close and personal in the last 6 years with the other people who did not necessarily destroy my life but certainly destroyed my peace drastically for a time. It was an intense time of learning and I don't think I would have learned a damn thing if these events did not happen to me. I survived them gratefully and have no regrets for my involvement I am still learning to love, be helpful but do not get sucked into anyone's vortex again. Refer, refer, refer others to professional help and step away... but with loving concern.

The neighbour situation was dreadful... definitely an experience with a true sociopath/ in addition with other disorder. My first experience after my sister. This woman played or preyed on my vulnerabilities big time. I learned a lot about manipulation and how people can play with your feelings of guilt and fear to their selfish advantage. Sucky lesson to learn. I was so naïve to everything… my role in this situation was I was terrified of not helping more with someone that was in crisis. (yes directly related to the loss of my sister) guilt, guilt, guilt at play here… this neighbour knew this and took advantage of my vulnerability… I didn’t even realise what being vulnerable meant… but now I know…

My friend with BPD was a by choice decision (I’ve known her for a very long time and yes there was some guilt playing out as well but mostly I cared very much for her wellbeing.) The incident that happened was unlucky for me to witness but I don’t think I was anymore than being a friend to her at that time. (again this was an eye opener to the depth of how mental illness plus drugs and/or alcohol can distort a person’s reality and decision making so deeply to want to harm themselves and inadvertently harm those around them.) I definitely wasn’t trying to fix her and wasn’t greatly enmeshed with her recovery however I was a part of it. She did call on me lots and tried to get me more involved than I allowed… (I was slowly learning to back away with love) I am happy to have been a friend to her during her crisis/s and to see her thriving now (not without occasional relapses) it’s a real hope that we don’t have to completely walk away from those causing us distress. Learning to be mindful of personal safety and mental wellbeing for ourselves first. This incident has left its mark on me for sure but it has also given me a better understanding of my sister and her lack of control. I can’t possibly be angry with her and I know that nothing I or anyone else could have changed her mind in the state she was in. What she needed was urgent hospital intervention. Nobody in a healthy mind set would do that and a healthy mind would have the foresight to know the devastating ripple effect a decision like that has on loved ones. My BPD friend told me the same thing about herself after we talked about it and she was properly medicated.

My XABF is a different story however many of the same behaviours at play still on my part. Love is blind…. I do understand that now. Romantic Love can cover up a number of human faults… I adored him and was in denial that his issues were something I couldn’t handle (or control in some way) and because they were revealed slowly it was harder to just go wait a minute I’m out of here… lol… I still adore him but can’t be with him if he is not in recovery or even trying. (thanks to SR and people on here that confirm this to me) I wanted a BF/partner and was willing to look away for a while… denial… selfishness (because me buying him things, paying some bills, driving him places and comforting him was NOT helping him, it was me buying a BF- ugh sad and honest truth… sigh … not even one that was capable of reciprocating… ) He has a lot of potential and its heartbreaking.

ShootingStar you said this-
“When I was married to him, without much self-awareness, I believed that my job was to fix his life because that was more important than living my own life. After the initial shock of leaving him suddenly, and realizing how devastatingly destructive his behaviour had been to me, and how damaged I was, and how much blame he deserved, I went into a second stage of introspection”

Everything you have said after that was incredibly familiar. I did the same but for only 1 ½ years and how quickly I did that is boggling. 20 years for you! xo It’s not an easy journey to self-awareness and how confronting it can be when we realise that we may actually contribute to our unhappy realities.

Admitting we have a contributing problem too is a good first step to recovery for ourselves.

My upbringing and childhood influences no doubt play a large part here as well… but I would be writing forever explaining that…
- SORRY THIS IS SO LONG AGAIN!
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Old 04-18-2016, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by ardy View Post
hand waving from Wisconsin Frazzled.. wow just glued to your page.. could life throw you anymore of a curve ball. ekekekekek
so many of us have had problems just like that and then not as bad..
there is a blog area here on your private page.. go to it and write. its record and will help you clear your mind and heart so you can see things better. I do that every so often...
prayers Dear Lady so many prayers and a hope for a better tomorrow. ardy
Hey Ardy

I will take your advise about the blog... didn't know there was an area for that! xx
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Old 04-19-2016, 08:15 AM
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Frazzle.. I had a neighbor that moved into the upper flat next door.. did not know he was there until one night my daughter(at 9years of age) said Mom someone is watching us.. and we went about our evening as usual.. but dressed my older son in a wig and one of Mellys night shirts to see what was really happening.. nope not interested in the little girl. but the Mom.. I am a Lady Clown.. no kidding.. he would sit in that big window and just watch our house and windows for hours. my Oldest son sat point.. for several days.. and made a blog. on the nut.. when he went to work came home and when he took up the chair to sit in the window and when did he really become different . when I was in clown costume.. yep ..ekekekkekek
so one Sat I baked coffee cake and took it over and kids were photographing every move he made in the windows.. I had a stalker. yep. and he was a drinker.. I had been dating and he was upset that I would not go out with him.. did the reverse .. got a bunch of my single lady friends together.. sorted them out and introduced him to one at a time.. and bing go.. hahahahah found the lady that hit it off with him. they married and she found all of the stuff he had in storage that was about Holly the Holiday Clown.... tossed the lot.. wow he had been collecting stuff from my first gig..
and then my friend got mad at me for teasing her new hubby really Gale Really.. ekekekekek. well she had to have a better house.. not a flat a real house.. they were gone gone gone.. my kids and I had a safe house and my clown could go from house to car in peace. so to speak. hahahahahah...
kiddo sometimes we just can't win... Now Officer Christmas from the Oak Creek Police Dept ... well that is another story all together. hugs and hang in there. love and prayers ardy.. just a Mom...
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Old 04-20-2016, 03:21 AM
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Yikes Ardy! - Lady Clown

So so glad you don't have to deal with that anymore!

All I can think of is .... your poor friend ...

I hope he has gotten some help like psychological counselling, alcohol counselling and possibly medication... If he is a real sociopath... it is a behaviour that repeats over and over with or without having a partner. (in his case a wife) ... Thank God he took the attention off of you though for sure! Nothing scarier than a situation like that... and good on your kids for all the support they gave you
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Old 04-20-2016, 07:39 AM
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Hi Frazzled... yep life in the fast lane.. thanks for the good wishes.. hope today is better for you as well.. hugs and prayers ardy
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