You are trying to be all things to all people and although you are one of the most amazing women I have had the honour to ‘know’ you are not super-human.
I have just opened my ‘Ell Box’. It is a delicate box packed with goodness, love and strength. There are 3 businesses in the box – they are demanding and need Ell’s attention. There is child in the box – a child who will grow to appreciate her wonderful mum but who also wants Ell’s attention now. There are in-laws in the box that are good people but a bit demanding. The most difficult thing in Ell’s box is a CG – one she loves and who loves her but who is not able, or ready yet, to give Ell the help and support she *****. There are ugly lies and debts in the box that are making it muddled and heavy to carry. There is a brother in the box who is kind and good and I am glad to see him there. There is silence in the box where there should be laughter.
It is a complicated box and one that I open with trepidation because although it is strong it is fragile. To me it is incredibly important that the box is protected, that the lies and the debts are taken out, making it easier to carry and leaving room for laughter.
I think dear Ell that there is nothing I could tell you that you do not already know – you have a capacity for understanding your husband and his addiction that leaves me awe-struck.
It is my belief that someone like you can and will come out stronger and that you will win. I believe you can handle your situation because you are doing it, you have done it and I think you will continue to do it. I think you need to pour out your feelings as you are doing but you need to know there are listening ears who understand.
I know you are not punishing your husband – I hope I didn’t imply that you were. I believe, as I think you do, that he feels he is being punished and he cannot see that this is the only way you can hold all your boxes together so you do not drop them.
I think you see your situation very clearly – your understanding of your husband’s addiction is terrific – his understanding of you is not but he can learn.
I can only offer you my ears, my thoughts and my earnest desire that you come through this valley of tears with your head up. Your husband has not betrayed you but you know that. Your silence is taking him further away and he is frightened but at the moment you cannot change that.
Is there a day during the week when you don’t work? Is there any time in your life for you? Is there one hour that you can sit and eat with your husband alone and communicate your feelings?
There is no ‘must’ about standing up Ell. I want you to stand up because you are a mature person but I want you to stand up for you first. CGs do lose their loved ones because they cannot cross the void between them that their addiction created – you do not ‘have’ to be the one that understands everything.
I want you to look after the person that is carrying my Ell Box. I will support you as much as I can but I want you to look after you.
If only it was so easy to open and shut the boxes in our lives. You need time for ‘you’ Ell. Keep writing your thoughts. Writing helped me close my boxes that had been splitting open and spilling out – making a terrible mess. I coped because I poured myself out in writing as you are doing. I never went back and read a word that I had written – the writing had done its job.
Some time ago I heard about a woman of 85 who had, had an unhappy life with her husband and he had ****. She was consumed by anger that he had hurt her so badly. She wrote all the things he had done to hurt her on pieces of paper then she took them to the top of a hill on a windy day, she read each one individually again and then screwed that piece of paper up and throwing it into the wind saying out loud ‘I am letting this memory go ’. When she had finished she went home and booked a holiday on a cruise ship and that was the last I heard of her.
I believe this is a true story but whether it is or not I think that writing pain down and then destroying the pages can give relief. I destroyed all the pages that I had written – I burnt some and shredded some. Your words are printed in this forum but you can lose them one day when you are ready. What you say in the group doesn’t leave the room. I also believe in saying things out loud to yourself, so that you can hear your thoughts – silence does not allow that you do this. Perhaps if you break your silence with yourself it will help you break it with your husband. Thoughts go round and round in our heads and I believe they need an outlet.
I hope somewhere in all this you may find something that will give you some support. Your husband’s addiction has hurt a very special person far too much – whatever you do I will understand.