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Old 09-06-2019, 09:55 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Guilt


What is it with this guilt thing that is constantly popping up? I feel bad for leaving and I would feel bad for staying.
When he is around at kids functions he makes me feel as if I have completely abandoned him. It is tearing away at my resolve but my heart keeps saying to continue on my path.
Maybe its because of what we had went through with his health? Maybe because we've been together so long?
I actually feel bad for enjoying my peace and freedom. Why?
I love him with all of my heart but I even feel guilty for making him fend for himself.
Then a part of me thinks I shouldn't feel bad at all because of all that I have dealt with, but then I feel guilty about that and feel like I think I'm holier than thou!
I think I'm a hot mess here!!
Gonna be a long road!!! Thanks for listening!
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Old 09-06-2019, 10:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
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HealingbeginsÖ...Is it possible that you have not read "Co-dependent No More".....because I know you have been here for a long time...and, it is the most recommended book on this forum...lol...
If you haven't, I really, really, recommend that you read it, now. If you have already read it--this would be a god time to read it again.....
I think it will help you, and it is an easy read.
I hope you live near a city....if there are any alanon meetings around your location...begin going. You need the ongoing support....it can carry you through the times of your self doubt.
A counselor will also help you with your own issues (we all have issues!)Ö

The feeling of guilt (false guilt) is soo common...Ö
No reason to fight it when you get this feeling. Let the feeling come....and let it go on past you.
Imagine you are like a mountain...and the fog comes and surrounds the mountain top--temporarily--then, floats away.....
Your feeling will work like that , if you will let it.
Just because you feel it--doesn't mean that you have done anything wrong....and, doesn't mean that you should reverse your decision. Feelings are real, sure, but, they are just feelings---not necessarily fact.
When you feel this feeling---repeat to yourself that you have nothing to feel guilty about---counteracting this self talk. if you do it consistently enough, will help you get this "guilt monkey" off your back.....

You have worked too hard to get w here you are, now, don't let self sabotage trip you up......
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Old 09-06-2019, 10:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Maybe the healing is just beginning? So your username is very appropriate!

Setting boundaries isn't necessarily comfortable. Taking care of yourself as a priority might not come naturally to you (yet). I think it is perhaps unrealistic to think it will, although it can become the norm pretty quickly.

I think it's especially hard to get comfortable with it if you have a person or persons around you that are used to you being self-sacrificing. It sounds like you are used to being and now you are moving away from that, looking after yourself and hey, you were this great caregiver and now you aren't! What is your role here anyway?

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I have completely abandoned him
I even feel guilty for making him fend for himself
If this were read out of context, I would think you were talking about a child or a puppy.

But you're not. How old is your Husband? Are you responsible for him or is he responsible for himself?

That's where the guilt is. You somehow think you are responsible for him. Why is that?

Regardless, perhaps it's time to shift the focus on to yourself and your teenagers, they need you much more than he does. You need you much more than he does! You are not the world's caretaker.
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Old 09-06-2019, 10:41 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Itís my belief that many of us who end up in these relationships have an oversized sense of responsibility for the happiness of others as well as a deep nurturing instinct that becomes dysfunctional.

We see someone suffering...we want to fix it. Even though we canít and even though trying comes at a huge price to ourselves.

Youíre an empathetic, compassionate person and in this relationship, that is weaponized against you.

Try to remember: he is an adult person who makes his own choices. You are not responsible for fixing that.

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Old 09-06-2019, 11:23 AM   #5 (permalink)
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You did a powerful thing for yourself and for your kids by leaving. Enjoy your peace and freedom. You deserve it from all that he has put you through. It is a long road that you must take one step at a time. I have been attending AL-Anon group for about a month now and they really help. I feel allot better after the meeting. Knowing that other people are dealing with the same things as me and sharing is very comforting. Just keep on the path you have chosen. It's the only one that will bring you true happiness. It won't happen overnight but it will happen.
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Old 09-06-2019, 12:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I literally posted something similar last night. I have no idea why it comes up , they say and do the most awful things yet we still care about them and have those doubts .
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Old 09-06-2019, 01:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Sleeper.....the roots of overdeveloped sense of responsibility for others (and the associated "guilt")...can most often be traced back to a person's growing up years....and the messages that they received, back then...either spoken or unspoken....
Although one may not be consciously aware of these childhood messages.....over time, through self reflection, therapy, study----gaining more personal knowledge and insight as to "what makes us tick"....one can uncover the roots.....

although I seldom use the word "co-dependent"...Ö.my favorite definition is this------"Co-dependence is not so much about the relationship with others, as it is a LACK of relationship with the self"...Ö

Healingbegins----I think that a lot of your healing process will be in discovering the roots from your growing up...Ö.
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Old 09-06-2019, 01:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Healing...The guilt really does ease over time. It's also important not to listen to others (e.g., neighbors, family members) who make guilt-inducing comments, such as 1) how could you leave a person who is so sick and helpless, OR, 2) why in the world did you stay so long?

No one knows what it's like to live with an alcoholic...except the good people on this forum and others who've endured the nightmare. Trust your gut, especially your maternal instincts that told you, wisely, to get your kids out of that situation.

Give yourself a few months. The FOG will lift, and you'll feel much better about your (very necessary) decision to save yourself and your children.
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Old 09-06-2019, 04:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I can relate. I felt horrible guilt when I first left but it subsided after a while.
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Old 09-06-2019, 05:44 PM   #10 (permalink)
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No advice, but I feel you. Iím almost a year out from leaving and unlike you I donít love my XAH at all, but still I struggle with the guilt. It is absolutely an overdeveloped sense of responsibility for someone else. I am that way in general, even more so w family, and itís absolutely from my upbringing.

But the guilt is just noise. The reality is the alcoholics are adults and we are not their moms and we are not responsible for how crappy their lives are. You save yourself, you protect your kids, and you live with self respect. Thatís all anyone can really do.
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Old 09-10-2019, 12:16 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Just a quick note to say how much I appreciated this thread. The guilt is overwhelming at times. My AH is alone, white-knuckling sobriety. I keep thinking that there's things I could do to help him. But reading these posts helps me to remember that I need to stay in my lane and get out of AH's way.
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Old 09-10-2019, 01:32 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by righttheship View Post
Just a quick note to say how much I appreciated this thread. The guilt is overwhelming at times. My AH is alone, white-knuckling sobriety. I keep thinking that there's things I could do to help him. But reading these posts helps me to remember that I need to stay in my lane and get out of AH's way.
Isn't it tough!

You see this person you care for struggling and KNOW you could make their life more bearable. That is 100 percent true, even from a physical living area point of view.

The thing is, that's not the help they truly need. You could clean their apartment or house, take out the trash, put healthy food in the fridge and cook them a meal every night, all that does is pretty up the picture.

It's very sad but maybe thinking about it that way will help a bit. The help they need is something you cannot provide. An alternative to white knuckling it is going to AA, his choice.

So while it might seem like you are not doing anything you are, as you mentioned getting out of his way.
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Old 09-10-2019, 02:15 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I can relate to the feeling that thereís something wrong with you enjoying your own life while a family member is suffering. One that that helped me was remembering that my life and their suffering were completely independent. They didnít suffer more if things were going well for me, and they wouldnít suffer less if I were miserable too. My happiness/peace/bright future was not something I was achieving at their expense, it was all my own. Totally separate. This is a variant on not taking unwarranted responsibility for someone elseís life.
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Old 09-11-2019, 03:50 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Hi, I just wanted to say say how much I also appreciate this dialogue on guilt. I have also sure struggled, and continue to struggle, with it. Guilt and the feeling that I was after all mistaken and wrong in my decision to leave. Right or wrong, I did it, and I try hard to honor the decision I made. In action, I stay true to my decision; but in thought, itís a struggle. I appreciate the reminders that the guilt will subside with time. I think it might be happening a little the more I focus on my life now.

This discussion seems to reveal how common it really is which, though I wouldnít wish it on anyone, feels somehow comforting. Knowing that itís a common phase of the journey and that it wonít last forever.
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Old 09-12-2019, 07:53 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I read a quote the other day that gave me pause: "Help is the sunny side of control." (Anne Lamott via Brene Brown) I spent a lot of years trying to "help" my husband. But what I was really doing was trying to control the situation (e.g., throwing out the alcohol, walking on eggshells so he wouldn't have a reason to drink, blah, blah, blah). That impetus to "help" hasn't gone away now that we're separated and he's struggling (!) with sobriety. I feel guilty all the time that I'm not helping him. But I keep reminding myself that my help is really about me wanting to control the situation. If I just help AH, he won't relapse. If I just help AH, he'll be a better father. And on and on. I gotta let go of that thinking. These are his consequences and his problems. I couldn't make him stop drinking. And I can't stop a relapse.
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Old 09-12-2019, 09:29 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
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"Help is the sunny side of control." (Anne Lamott via Brene Brown)
I personally don't see that as helping - I just see that as pure controlling, but I get the connection of course. If I am dumping out alcohol and reprimanding someone for drinking what I am actually saying is you are not good enough just the way you are, you need to be what I want you to be. Doesn't mean you don't talk about it. I might say, I don't like you drinking this much, that's not working for me and apparently not very well for you either. Period. I have said my piece.

But, I do understand why people do it, if feels like you are helping.
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