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Very frustrated ...how do I respond?

Old 08-29-2019, 01:04 PM
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Very frustrated ...how do I respond?

So I'm stressing out today. I'm not getting sleep. Maybe this is too minor to be stressing about, but I keep replaying it in my head.

This past weekend, a very weird thing happened. Every Saturday, I get up at 5:30 and do work, invoicing, mailing, etc, and my AH gets picked up for an AA meeting at 8:00 in the morning. When he gets home, we plan out our day with the things we both have to accomplish (work errands, food shopping, and some fun stuff, like estate sales, lunch, antique shopping, visiting my mother who has dementia and who is in assisted living, etc, etc), and I sort of make a list and map it out. That's what we did this past weekend.

This is just one example of what happened. First stop Saturday, Post Office. Earlier in the week, the newbie postal person made a mistake. Later in the day, I caught it, went back to the post office, had it all corrected, and everything was fine. On Saturday, when we went in, he started YELLING for the Postmaster to come out of his office so he could complain about what happened, and whether Ms. Newbie is going to be retrained, what he's going to do about it, what their policies are for people who make these kinds of mistakes, can she be fired, etc.

I was standing there mouth open, mortified. I go to the post office three times a week and am friends with everyone there. He's friends with them, too. They are super helpful. I tried to diffuse the situation, calm everyone down, apologized for his behavior and left. He said nothing to me, but I could tell he was fuming.

This is a new behavior for him. He has never ever been like that before. EVER. He's always been polite. I can't remember him raising his voice like that ever. He didn't appear drunk, just agitated. He used to work as a customer service manager and would always take a worker's side.

Saturday, everywhere we went, he did the same thing. Home Depot (why don't you carry these light bulbs any more? I want to speak to the manager), AT&T store (Why do I have to wait an hour to talk to someone), the bank (why are you holding this check until Tuesday), the food store (Why can't I use an expired coupon), estate sale (why won't you drop the price?), the assisted living (where is that CNA? She should have been here ten minutes ago), the restaurant . Each time I was horrified and very uncomfortable. It was like, What the heck is going on?? When we got home, he spent an hour calling the 800-number for the chain restaurant to complain that his salad wasn't fresh, and what were they going to do about it?? Sheesh.

I told him later I was upset about his behavior that day, and he said that's my problem, not his, because he was in the right. This is also something out of character for him to say to me.

So anyway, this is my question. If this happens again, do I say nothing and let him rant and rave? Just walk away and go to the car? Interrupt him and drag him out the door? Do I try to diffuse the situation (was that wrong)? Confront him and ask him what is going on (would he even say -- probably not)? Do I just go home and say, Forget it, I'll do all these things myself? I'm not sure what I should have done. I am so very flustered and frustrated.

I feel like I need time away. I dread the upcoming weekend. If I could, I would go away, but the friends I've called are either away or have relatives staying with them. I can't find a hotel that's not outrageously priced because it's a holiday weekend. To make things worse, it's his birthday Sunday, and also the day I met him 40 years ago. Ugh.

This particular behavior is so out of character for him, that it's giving me anxiety. I'm not sure why it's happening. Should I care why it's happening?

What do you guys think? Respond, don't react. Right? But exactly how do I respond to this behavior?

Thanks for listening.
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Old 08-29-2019, 01:25 PM
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Ugh that sounds extremely unpleasant.

If it were me, I would plan on running errands separately in the future.
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Old 08-29-2019, 02:00 PM
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He may be starting to experience neurological consequences of his drinking...or dementia or both. A sudden personality change can be a symptom. He should probably see his doctor, but that suggestion may not go over well?

Things may be starting to escalate quickly. How much of this do you want a front row seat for?

In case it helps...here is the link to all your thread going back to May. It might help to reread them?

https://www.soberrecovery.com/forums...archid=8672570

I’m sorry, sweetie. It sounds awful.
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Old 08-29-2019, 02:23 PM
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FWIW, my alcoholic ex got like that too - hair-trigger temper, would get very angry seemingly for no reason - and he too used to be mild and laid-back (and certainly not rude to frontline service staff). I think it has to do with either a lowered threshold for impulse control (no more stopping and thinking before going off on someone) or anxiety (something is WRONG in this situation and I can’t control it and it makes me crazy!).

When this happened (before I left him), I found the most useful response was to disagree with him politely but firmly (“I don’t think the price they’re asking is unreasonable”). This is also indicates to the person he’s berating that they are not the problem here.

Ultimately, unfortunately, the only way to not be embarrassed by a volatile alcoholic in public is to not go places with them.
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Old 08-29-2019, 02:40 PM
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My A father used to do as you describe. Seemingly came from nowhere. It was horrible. He would verbally suddenly attack people working in shops or often a family member in public.

I dealt with it by not going out in public with him. It was as he got older, my feeling was it was due to brain damage from the drinking. I just visited him in his home where there was no audience.

My mum did it too, which resulted in me no longer seeing her.

MY AH started to do it some years ago, so I stopped going out into public with him too!

I am so sorry you have this going on. Sending understanding and support.
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Old 08-29-2019, 03:15 PM
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This is only my two cents and nothing more, but it smells like a relapse in the making. My dad would get exactly like this when he was about to pick up again.
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Old 08-29-2019, 03:15 PM
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Ugh. How terrible.

I think I would politely let him know that sort of behavior causes me anxiety so I cannot go with him to complete errands. Then I would go alone.

If it continues I hope he sees a doctor.

Big hugs.
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Old 08-29-2019, 03:25 PM
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I would do two things.

I would ask him to go to the post office and apologize - you have to do business there and you don't want that hanging over you. I assume you have some kind of business that requires these regular mail-outs? He shouldn't be jeopardizing your business relationships (well none ideally - but perhaps he will see the sense in that).

If he won't, then I suppose you will have to?

Other than that, nothing you can do. You can't make him not be aggressive just like you can't make him not drink. Out of your control.

I married an angry man. No amount of arguing, being hit, defending myself, arguing some more made one teeny bit of a difference. I did tell him to stop hitting me, and he did, but he didn't need to as the threat was always there.

So the only solution is to go out alone. I mean even if he saw the error of his ways, you will always be waiting on eggshells for him to blow up in some encounter again.

Originally Posted by sheepherder View Post
Should I care why it's happening?
It won't help anything. You mentioned that the behaviour is totally unacceptable to you, there is nothing more to do there. Perhaps your only decision is what is your boundary here.
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Old 08-29-2019, 04:05 PM
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Sheeoherder…..my first thoughts are.....either drinking....or wanting to drink and getting ready to relapse.....

As for yourself...If it were my husband (which it isn't, lol)….I would be so angry that I would tell him that if he were to behave llike a Neanderthal in public, with me again, he will have Holy H*** to pay...from me! And, I wouldn't go in public with him, any more....
If you make a boundary, though. you have to be willing and able to enforce it...otherwise, they learn that your words are hollow....
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Old 08-29-2019, 04:14 PM
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Sounds like the last year of my marriage..

He had relapsed at that point but was only drinking twice a week. His whole family argue, complain so I think it was a combination of poor upbringing, bad manners and the need for alcohol. I literally couldn't go anywhere with him.. He blew up over everything. My laid back hubby was loooong gone.

It's nice not to be tarnished with the same brush.
Like every one has said, could be he's relapsed, he's about to relapse or something physiological.

You won't know.. Until you know sadly.
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Old 08-29-2019, 04:25 PM
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That is not a little thing.
If it is a sudden change and out of character, I would definitely get him to a doctor. Could be a variety of things going on there - infection, neurological, psychiatric, psychological etc.
But getting him to do that is easier said than done.
Establish your boundaries, and stick to them. At the very least, take part of his audience away - ie you.
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Old 08-29-2019, 04:41 PM
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My husband would get this way, I think when he was hungover. One time, I took him aside. "Either act like an adult, or go out to the car, but you can't bully elderly people because they don't shop fast enough."

After the first incident I would turn the car around and head home. Drop your husband off, and do errands alone.
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Old 08-29-2019, 05:30 PM
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Yes, I do see I'll have to do things by myself unfortunately and see if this behavior continues.

I got home from work today, and he was obviously drunk in the garage.
He came over to help me with my equipment, but I brought it in myself. I don't want him to drop anything.
He then accused me of being cranky.
I said nothing. I'm trying not to say anything about it and figure I'm saving money on rolls of duct tape lol.
He came in later and went upstairs to sleep it off.
Then before he left with his ride to work tonight, he came in my office and said, "You're just like my mother!!"
(What an insult. Really. The most abusive person I knew, but not an alcoholic. I had to take a deep breath.)
Me: "Gee, thanks."
Him: "See? You're just trying to control me!!! You always want me to change!"
Me: "Doh. I do admit I hope you change, my dear, but it looks like you're not going to. What a bummer."
Him: "Now you're trying to get me to feel guilty! I refuse to feel guilty!"
Me: "Great. Don't you have a job to get to?"
Him: "Every time I say how I feel, I'm ignored! Everything is about you and your feelings and how I hurt you. Nothing is about me!"
Me: "Yes, that kinda is my priority now, how I feel. Go figure."
And with that, he left. What a jerk. I burst out crying when he was gone.

Maybe he's getting upset that I didn't react to his drinking today? I don't know. It's still very stressful.







Omg. His mother wasn't an alcoholic, but she was very abusive. She constantly told him (until her death in 2013) that she was disappointed when he was born because she wanted a girl. She wouldn't agree to buy him glasses because "no one in our family wears glasses."
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Old 08-29-2019, 05:39 PM
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I'm sorry this is happening. It sounds horrible. Alcoholics are selfish people in active addiction. And as you say, it's stressful. I've been around friends and family that have become entirely different people when drinking. The uglies roll off of them in waves. Negative energy. And it drains people. Keep yourself out of that radius as much as possible. You can't keep him from being a d**k, but you are certainly entitled to protect yourself from it.
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Old 08-29-2019, 06:32 PM
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I'm sorry you are at this point too, where you two are miserable.

It's a terrible situation to live in.
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Old 08-29-2019, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by sheepherder View Post
Yes, I do see I'll have to do things by myself unfortunately and see if this behavior continues.

I got home from work today, and he was obviously drunk in the garage.
He came over to help me with my equipment, but I brought it in myself. I don't want him to drop anything.
He then accused me of being cranky.
I said nothing. I'm trying not to say anything about it and figure I'm saving money on rolls of duct tape lol.
He came in later and went upstairs to sleep it off.
Then before he left with his ride to work tonight, he came in my office and said, "You're just like my mother!!"
(What an insult. Really. The most abusive person I knew, but not an alcoholic. I had to take a deep breath.)
Me: "Gee, thanks."
Him: "See? You're just trying to control me!!! You always want me to change!"
Me: "Doh. I do admit I hope you change, my dear, but it looks like you're not going to. What a bummer."
Him: "Now you're trying to get me to feel guilty! I refuse to feel guilty!"
Me: "Great. Don't you have a job to get to?"
Him: "Every time I say how I feel, I'm ignored! Everything is about you and your feelings and how I hurt you. Nothing is about me!"
Me: "Yes, that kinda is my priority now, how I feel. Go figure."
And with that, he left. What a jerk. I burst out crying when he was gone.

Maybe he's getting upset that I didn't react to his drinking today? I don't know. It's still very stressful.

"
I'm so so sorry you are going through all of this...! I just wanted to share that this entire conversation you've laid out here sounds verbatim to what my xABF would say to me. He would say all of these things! It's amazing the similarities. It's almost like these are very primal defensive responses that come out once the brain has been damaged enough and lost the ability to control impulse, adjust to new perspectives, read emotional cues, etc. Very tragic.
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Old 08-29-2019, 07:11 PM
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My husband is flipping upset tonight. I am drinking a glass of lemonade with ice in it. The ice sloshing around in the glass is upsetting him.

What can I do? I can take a deep breath. I can realize it isn't about me. I can realize this man will find fault with any thing. I can decide whether I want a continued front row to craziness. I can realize no matter what I say or do it will be thrown back at me for more craziness. I can sympathize with people who are having a bad day but it's not my amends to make. I can stay on my side of the street. I can enjoy my life without him.
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Old 08-29-2019, 07:14 PM
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so if he was drunk when you got home, he certainly was not SOBER when you had that convo OR when he left for work. you were not having a conversation with a sober rational person.

and now you know. his out of character behavior followed immediately by drinking.

think not about how things might be......someday........look hard at how it IS today. this is not someone on the cusp of lifelong sobriety. this is someone still firmly entrenched in addiction and in no hurry to get out.
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Old 08-29-2019, 09:00 PM
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Sheepherder...….you ask what he was "upset about"...and said you were like his mother....
Two of the biggest defenses that alcoholics use to protect themselves and their drinking are-----Denial and Projection....
If they can take the spotlight off of them selves and put on someone else...that switches the focus off of themselves. Seems like he was doing a major refocusing of the spotlight onto you, tonight.
Plus, he knows that calling you his mother would be like a knife in your side.....
And, it worked.
When they are spouting garbage like that...around here, we have a word for it...called "quacking".....Picture a little duck just quacking it's head off!!
All sound and fury and signifying, basically nothing (of value)…..
In the face of quacking...the less reacting, the better....so, you did good in that respect, I think....
Still, you are left in tears.....

If a person is in an environment that is harmful to their self...it is better to remove one's self from that harm...than to attempt to adjust to the harm within the environment.....
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Old 08-30-2019, 06:48 PM
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What helped me make difficult choices was my sponsor asking if I trust and respect him. The answer was no and I realized that wasn't going to change. Alanon can be tremendous support and I recommend it.
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