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Old 01-31-2003, 12:56 PM
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Lightbulb Jeepers Searching!

(...)he purposely pushes my buttons because he needs me to react like that so I remain the problem and he doesn't have to look at himself.
Searching wrote that in her response to one of delight's posts. I can't get over my fascination with it. Wow. Wow. I said, wow. I wonder why this never occured to me. It would explain what have up to now been unfathomable (to me) goading campaigns. Could it be those times I thought he was just trying to get my goat he was really trying to turn me into "the bad guy" when I was blissfully unaware that we were at odds over something? I thought I was being attacked out of the blue. Well, okay, I thought he must be high, because he's too smart to say stupid things like that if he isn't. You mean maybe he was trying to assuage his own guilt? I'm delighted. The times I kept my cool he remained feeling guilty? Good. I have two more words to say. SUF FER.

Ring them bells.
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Old 01-31-2003, 02:27 PM
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Smoke,

That post just made me smile. Searching's comment has often been true for me, and luckily I did catch on to that trick (I just wish it had been much sooner!).

hugs,
kate
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Old 01-31-2003, 02:40 PM
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Smoke,

It amazes me how we can pass the same billboard every day driving to work and then one day we see it!

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Old 01-31-2003, 03:04 PM
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And us codependents are the greatest at playing the part of the problem, we'll not only take the bait, we'll run with it, and then on top of it we buy into the fact that we are the problem. maybe not everyone but this is how I am. My H has the ability to get me so crazed with his ludicrous justifications that I literally start swearing, screaming, threatening divorce, slamming doors. I definitely turn into the crazed lunatic that he needs me to be. On top of all that he has me convinced that my behavior is so insane that I'm the problem and I start to believe it.

One time when we were dating H was so mean out of nowhere that I broke up with him. He had already relapsed but he wanted me out of the picture so he could openly drink. How convenient. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what I did.

Therein lyes the codependent addict dance that can go on for an eternity. Once we stop reacting they have no choice but to look at their behavior because there's definite problems but you haven't said a word. I did not try to stop reacting for my own sanity. I am not that strong. Only my vindictive side is strong enough to bite my tongue. Also knowing that it's all crapolla anyway, that helps too.

When we first saw the marriage counselor, my H started talking first about my anger problem. As the sessions progressed and we started talking about the reasons for my anger it became clear that he purposely tries to get my goat and he doesn't know why and that also he does it on a subconscious level. The counselor pointed out that it takes the focus off him. If you think about it the argument usually starts out with us being mad about something related to their using or addiction.

Ok one short story about reacting.....My H stayed up so late doing whatever one night that when the alarm rang in the morning he said he's not going into work. #1 he doesn't get paid when he doesn't go in and #2 it was like the second time that week.....well, let me tell you I went off. You can imagine the lovely things I was screaming at 4:30am and ripping the covers off him, calling him names, making him feel 2 feet tall. See at this point in his mind he now has to prove to me that he's not going to get in trouble it will work out fine. The struggle is with me and him now, not him and his job. If I step out of the way....he has to feel his own guilt or shame for the fact that he's screwing up his career because he stays up doing drugs. He didn't have to do any of the emotional work here at all. He didn't feel bad about not going to work, I was doing enough of that. Then he said he wasn't going to call in which sent me flying through the roof because he'll be fired for sure. As he acted like he didn't care I called in.

Like I said, he may be trying to push my buttons for his own
purposes, but as a codependent, I feed into it so well that it's not too hard to do. An addict is always looking for the easy way out and we hand it to him on a silver platter shaped like a welcome mat. Herein lyes the work. Why do they get to us so much? Why do we have to seek approval by everyone to know we're right?....even the person we are arguing against. I know I keep saying we. I mean me.....it just makes me feel not as crazy when you guys are with me.

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Old 01-31-2003, 03:11 PM
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OOPS......I am sorry Smoke, you got me all riled up. I forgot to mention you.....it's progress not perfection today. Anyway, first of all if I helped you realize something than I must really be getting better because you're one of the people who taught me everything I know.
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Old 01-31-2003, 03:13 PM
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Short story...

Ward fell and crashed a glass coffee table into smitherines. His MOTHERS coffee table! We were living there while we built this our house. I said nothing...not a word! I watched him try to repair the table and I stepped around him and went to work.

This would be a perfect story if he had taken responsibilty...but he allowed his mother to think one of our dogs did it.

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Old 01-31-2003, 03:13 PM
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(((((searching)))))

Of course we're all with you - none of us suffer from terminal uniqueness!

I'm getting good at not reacting. And let me tell ya, it totally freaks my husband out! If he's late and he calls home, you can tell by his voice he's waiting for me to go off - and when I don't, he keeps asking, are you ok? Are you SURE you're ok???? He's all set to have a fight or argument and when I don't comply, it throws him off guard. I think it actually scares him more than it does when I DO go off!

Another thing I've learned to do. Whenever my husband is feeling guilty for not doing something or whatever, he always comes to me with this pitiful expression and says something like, "I'm feeling bad." I'll look at him blandly and I'll say something like, "Look, if you're feeling bad, it's all on you - I haven't said or done anything to make you feel this way, so don't look for me to reassure you or pat you on the back and say there there now, it's ok." He hates that too b/c he's looking for me to let him off the hook. Well, I'm done with that too!


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Old 01-31-2003, 03:42 PM
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Fortunately, through all of the

messy times I had with my alcoholic, I recognized this behavior early on. HE wasn't EVER the problem. Neither was his drinking. Everything was my fault. (Or the kid's fault, or work's fault, or his brother's fault, etc.) At one point, when I had left the house because he was drunk, he called my sister and told her that "I" was an alcoholic. Her reaction was to laugh hysterically and hang up on him.
It is often hard to live through the insane accusation hurling and not stop and wonder if they are right. Three important things got me through these times. My self-esteem, my common sense and my sense of humor. Oh, and there was also the fact that I knew he would lie about anything to make himself look good and feel better. Once I truly realized that he was a "person of the lie" it got easier to see what was really going on.
Peace,
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Old 01-31-2003, 03:46 PM
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If you think about it the argument usually starts out with us being mad about something related to their using or addiction.
That's just it. We won't be arguing about anything. Suddenly we go from "The cat wants a bite of your turkey" to "YOU people think I don't care who I hurt." Or... the one that sent me for a loop... I was sitting in the comfy chair with my cup of coffee reading a script (work) and suddenly I was treating him like an idiot and lording something over him. I couldn't ever figure out what. But he kept at that one so long(and so visciously) that I lost my temper and told him to leave. In the turkey incident I thought we were having a perfectly nice time and in the comfy chair scenario, I was not even paying any attention to him... I was working. Generally these things stun me into silence. Then I'm being manipulative. Fact is I'm trying so hard to figure out where the explosion came from I can't form words.

Anyway this makes me feel better in a strange way. I've watched him point out other people's faults and figured this was a way of making himself look better by making someone else look bad? But I hadn't applied that notion to these weird attacks. It just seemed like he wanted to hurt me. I hadn't done a darned thing. So maybe he was trying to provoke me into some horrid behavior so he didn't have to feel so bad about himself. It still sucks but it sits a little easier. It all felt so "out of nowhere".

Sing it with me, now!

Put up a billboard, upon a hill
Because a billboard gives me such a thrill.
When I was younger, but just a child...
That crazy billboard drove me wiiiild.

(Anybody know the rest of that?)
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Old 01-31-2003, 04:19 PM
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Seems to me, the person sitting in the comfy chair was in a place called recovery and forgot that that same scenario a few yrs. ago served as the battle ground Dino needed it to be. Now he can't get a bite....and you've been getting better and better so much so that you didn't even know he was trying to get your goat. You were busy thinking about your own interests. Oh boy, I can't wait to get there. Do you realize you have graduated from jujubees......you don't need em....you are naturally living in a mode of recovery from codependency. Unbelievable......that is very inspireing. I am so aware that I'm biting my tongue when my husband starts with me, that it kills me. I can't wait for the day that I look at him and say, "where is this coming from?....maybe you're just having a bad day....go lay down and I'll take care of the kids tonight" OOh boy, I'm getting chills.

I wonder what happens when we stop participating??
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Old 01-31-2003, 04:37 PM
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The Beav and I had this conversation about how much it tic's him off when I don't respond to something he has said. Well usually I am so accustom to NOT reacting that I am often speechless. I feel like one of those Warner Bro cartoons....you can see the guys brain working furiously trying to process the information.

Smoke this is a little trick I have played for a long time. I KNOW it drives him crazy to get no reponse from his goading...that makes it all the more entertaining! I know it's mean...but what the heck. A girl has to get her fun where she can!

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Old 01-31-2003, 05:06 PM
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Smoke and Searching

I thank you both equally for this thread. I am one of those "Billboard" people too, who just takes a little longer to notice what is right in front of my eyes. Porbably comes from avoiding the elephant for so many years.

It was my sponsor who gave me the wonderful "you don't have to participate" advice, and I am forever grateful. When we don't react, when we don't join in or take the bait...it leaves an argument of one. One person can only argue alone for so long, then they get tired of the debate.

And JT - I think Ward should apologize to the dog. My son does exactly the same thing when something happens...he looks for anything or anyone else to blame.

"Not" participating can be a more eventful process than participating would have been. It sure puts some strange looks on their faces .
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Old 01-31-2003, 05:16 PM
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Not reacting is the solution. I just want to reiterate the key thing here that Smoke picked up on which is that the A deliberately pushes our buttons so that we are the problem so they do not have to feel so bad about themselves, look at themselves, or it gives them an excuse to use.....whatever it is, I know that it is VERY validating to me because I thought either he absolutlely hated me or I was just crazy. Turns out I'm fine, I just didn't know it.
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Old 01-31-2003, 05:25 PM
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Well.......not fine, but not as bad as I thought
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Old 01-31-2003, 05:30 PM
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LOL! Not as bad as HE wants you to think???
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Old 01-31-2003, 05:37 PM
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Oh man this is so true!

I am a recovering alcoholic new to recovery and living with my actively alcoholic mother and I can say that the most annoying thing in the world for her is when I ignore her attempts to get a rise out of me.

But when she gets over the annoyance, she is sometimes forced to look at herself and I can see the changes in her already. I know because I used to try to annoy people all of the time to take the focus off myself, though I didn't realise I was doing it at the time. It seems I needed to know that life really was horrible chaos and that everyone around me was as crazy if not crazier than me. I was validating my own behaviour.

It might sound like I'm trying to annoy her just for the sake of it, but actually I want to help her. Funnily enough, this was wrong thinking and the thing that helped me to detach was my switch in attitude. If I didn't concentrate on my own recovery I would end up miserable and so would she.

I still get annoyed, but I don't show it or keep it inside. I leave the house and go to a meeting or talk to someone about it. I know that I must try to keep calm at all costs no matter what but I can't fake it because she's so perceptive. It has to come from within so if my attitude doesn't change, nothing changes.

Obviously, it's impossible to stay calm all of the time. Trying is important to me though.

Just my thoughts

Edit: I got a little carried away! I hope I'm not out of place here in this forum. Or out of line with my comments. I don't mean to be.

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Old 01-31-2003, 06:03 PM
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That's perfect. I was reading your post thinking how great it was because I think I'm the only recovering addict that was in this thread before you and sometimes I get to ragging on the addict so much (because of resentment with my H) I start to think I am being too harsh and getting carried away you know, because I'm allowed, I am one. Like remember the Seinfeld episode where Jerry thinks that dentist friend of theirs just converted to Judaism so he could tell jewish jokes and get away with it. Then they were calling Jerry an anti-dentite.LOL

Anyway, we're one big happy family here. You can post anywhere you want!!!! Thanks for contributing.
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Old 01-31-2003, 06:27 PM
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Oh yeah I do know. I sometimes get the 'martyr' ego really bad, I don't know about you. It's so subtle that I find myself thinking it's ok to know what's best for her and before I know it I feel all holier than thou...I am not sure how exactly I come across in those moments. I can say now that I keep it to myself, but like I said she's perceptive. Obviously, it doesn't help my recovery either.

I haven't seen that Seinfeld episode although I still got the giggle. It reminded me of the "Serenity now" episode where George's dad and especially Kramer go crazy from demanding serenity every time they get wound up lol I have done this many times.

Thanks for making me feel welcome
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Old 01-31-2003, 07:42 PM
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Ooo that came out so wrong!

What I mean is that I think it's perfectly natural to feel I know what would help her and sometimes maybe I do, but I need to try hard not to act this way as apart from taking the focus off my recovery it just belittles her among other things.

For me personally, I got really annoyed often with people thinking they knew everything and I thought "May I never end up that ignorant" and I drank more thinking I had all the answers, ironically. So anyway, trying not to act this way means trying not to think this way. Now I find I kinda like her when I leave all the alcohol factor out of it. Which is still hard at times.

Ok, I feel better now

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Old 02-01-2003, 08:33 AM
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This thread has helped me tremendously. Thanks for putting me onto it, Searching & for your warm welcome. (I had posted a comment in another forum and "Searching" guided me here)

I had been struggling with the fact that the other people in my Al-anon group keep saying they're crazy, etc. I have a hard time with calling myself "crazy" because I was called crazy for years by my 1st husband and it took me a long time to convince myself that I wasn't.

But now I understand what they're saying...they're not actually saying they think they're crazy...they're saying their actions are crazy. Gosh.... Why is something so simple so hard for me to grasp! UGH Yes.....I can readily admit that....I have turned into a raving lunatic at times....I've been reacting to things in the wrong way...and that is my "craziness"

I just need to work on myself and if that means learning to not react in certain instances (for my OWN sanity) that's cool.

Thank you so much Searching...you have put a smile back on my face today!

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