15 December 2013 at 1:53 pm #2799moniqueParticipant
Just logged back in and see that you have got some great replies now. Still thinking of you and hope you are feeling some of the care and concern here for you and that you will be able to really ‘take in’ the messages you have received.
Monique17 December 2013 at 11:46 am #2800
I have read your post from start to finish and did attempt a reply the other day but failed abismally so sorry for that. I would like to put your husbands addictions on one side for a moment if that’s ok. What I hear when I read your posts is almost a gurgling as you try to keep your head above water in all the day to day practicalities of life – being all things to all people until the life has been sucked out of you, an endless stream of stress and pressure. The whole picture is just to big Madge to take on in its entirety. I know because I have been in a similar position.
I have run around doing everything for everyone, trying to make it right and burning myself out into the bargain feeling that if everything was right for them then in some way it would be right for me to. If you were to ask me, who was the fool, me for doing it or those that let me, then the answer would have to be me!!
Looking after you is important and does not have to be a grand affair it can be something as simple as turning your back on the dishes or putting something in the shopping trolley once a week that is just for you. It is not selfish it is sensible and self preservation, but it can be hard to do. Saying no without feeling the need to justify it and explain your decision away is the start of you believing in you.
If you have to have a battle choose it wisely – is it worth it? and still I am not talking about the addiction just day to day stuff. I got into a battle in a similar situation with my son at school which finished in me taking him out and him going to a new school – best thing I ever did at least for him, its not throwing the towel in its just focusing on what the outcome needed to be ( even though I confess to taking a certain amount of delight in bullying the obnoxious head master considerably more than he ever bullied my son !!) but it didn’t help, there was no point in the battle nothing could have changed as long as it continued.
Dishes can seem like an incredibly big issue and indeed an important one, strangely when ignored for long enough they seem to do themselves and if they don’t what is the worst thing that can happen ?
Small things become big things and big things become too big to look at objectively.
I would like to see you get rid of the small things one by one in order to give yourself a more sturdy foundation from which to work. Very simple boundaries that help you to regain a sense of stability within you. Sit back and watch the mayhem around you and ask yourself what is really important and necessary to do at that time – bit by bit the answers will come.
I don’t know how but this post has suddenly gone into the wrong order but I hope it makes sense so far !!
So then the addiction/s on the top of everything else – same rules apply (in my oppinion) Choose your battles, focus on what’s important. You cannot win this battle as its not yours to fight, like the obnoxious headmaster, it squeals like an excited old hen, when its poked hard enough running around quacking nonsense in its attempts to protect itself, blaming everything else but itself ! It can indeed be that beast in the corner but it fears you, it snarls (quacks) and is best left alone to be with itself.
I too would be very surprised if you were able to be close to your husband after all that has happened and maybe a little worried. Again try to be a little more gentle with your expectations of yourself. You are harsh on yourself , something somewhere tells me it should be the other way around. Time will tell how this will play out for you but you are in charge of life, life is not in charge of you
Jenny x18 December 2013 at 3:47 pm #2801
I am blown away by all the love and support – thank you all so much – San, Velvet, Monique Jenny – Thank you for hearing my cries – you advice is so helpful and gives me stuff to think about as i go thru my day, reflecting on the words of people who are many miles away but so close in others.
But I wanted to say: Jenny: your post was awesome – you hit the nail right on the head and I felt you really “get” where I am coming from – please write more! 🙂
Your post really helped me – I decided today I will eat one meal sitting down at the table – yes, it is that bad. I usually grab a bar while I am driving my kids 4hrs plus all over the earth, and I never hardly sit at dinner bc I am serving others or cleaning. So today – TODAY I will sit down and eat a meal. And try not to feel guilty about it. That sounds so stupid, i realize, but you know how life sometimes just gets away from you and you turn around and can’t believe where you ended up?? That is how it is for me.
I am harsh on myself. You are right. My life feels like a series of score cards on every activity that I do – as if the Olympic judges of life are following me around and my every act is graded by holding the score cards up: “and she scores a 6, a 5 and 3”. I do this to myself – but not intentionally.
As for my daughters school – Yes! They are obnoxious and yes I have tried to fight them every step of the way. But they are broken and I I don’t want them to break her. I just worry about switching schools mid-year, if that will be the right choice, if I’ll “screw up” again by making the wrong choice (the judges again).
As for my CG – he is supposed to come back Friday nite – I am sort of happy he is (I need the help) but sort of unhappy he will be back – then I will have to deal with whatever mess he may or may not bring. I agree there is nothing I can do about that – Right now I feel (like Jenny said) I am just trying to keep my head above water. Thats all I can do – do what needs to get done daily, deal with my kids and their needs, and hopefully sit down and have one meal at the table for myself. That would be an improvement.
Gotta run – more to do – more later-
love and hugs to you all..
M19 December 2013 at 10:36 am #2802
One meal at the table is a very good start, I always feel that making that one stand and sticking to it, although an effort is the start of replacing old habits with new ones and you show to yourself and others that you are important, life then, if you build more of these small changes in day by day suddenly becomes more ordered as you take back control of you.
Like you I struggled with whether it was a good idea to move my son and the outcome was unknown. But to me school is different from education in life. I thought one day, do I really want these idiots to teach my son ? apart from the fact that he wasn’t actually learning anything in his lessons, I felt he was being given a wrong lesson in the education of life. My conclusion was that they were not good enough to ‘teach’ my son anything that would benefit him in later life – although for some a bad experience can turn in to a positive one. Within a fortnight of him moving he was a changed person in many ways, new friends, no more outbursts, improving on his grades etc etc. He had nothing to lose and neither did I, the stress was awful and now as its falling away life is happier. I think the deciding factor was that he wanted to leave. How does your daughter feel about where she’s at?
You have not screwed up Madge from where i’m sitting – if anyone has the school has by employing incompetent staff who are not ‘fit for purpose’ if they think its ok to bully their pupils – don’t shoulder the blame for everyone else’s mistakes.
You are one woman!! with enough on your plate without carrying around the issues of others. What’s there stuff is their stuff, and theirs to carry around, some people will let you carry it around for them – certainly doesn’t mean you have to.
In my last lot of counselling I learned about the hooks, the way I got sucked in to situations that were bad for me ie. doing too much for other people and not enough for me, if you can spot the hooks dangling in front of you with a large lump of bait on them then you have a chance to consider what your action will be. An example of that could be someone else huffing and puffing over the fact that you have not done the dishes or the house is not immaculate all of the time – if you see the hook you maybe won’t feel the need to jump up and do them to suit others. My kids have finally realised that if they do not put their washing out it doesn’t get done and if they have a problem with that then they know were the washing machine is and now they have even learned that it doesn’t switch its self on either !! amazing really just what teenagers can do when they have to !!
Your CG may or may not come back with a new mess but if he does, will he be expecting you to sort out his mess? and it is his mess. Sad if he does but the consequences of what ever his actions may have been are his responsibility, yet I feel for some reason that he will try and hook you in to doing his worrying for him along with a lot of sorting. These are the things that weigh us down and make the lives of others a little lighter.
You have your head above water and that is where it is staying other people will do what they do regardless, if that is their mind set but if you begin to change a few of your reactions then you will get a different response I feel.
Show the olympic judges the door, who are they to score you but based on your last post I think they would have to agree you’ve made a cracking start just by changing one thing in your day for you. I really hope you can keep it moving Madge you deserve to be as happy as the next person and I for one look forward to reading about many more little changes that you are about to make.
Jenny x21 December 2013 at 7:26 pm #2803
h i Jenny. Thank you so much for your wonderful post. This is just a quick note before I run out but wanted to get it in before forgot again. My c_g is back and for Whatever reason I guess I thought that he would be different. He is still the same. But I’ve decided that I am not going to take the” hooks” as you suggest. He still expects me to do all the picking up and care taking that I have always done but I just don’t want to do it anymore. I’m distancing myself a little bit and I am not sure if that’s a good thing but it feels better to me then always being the one doing things and receiving nothing in return….he expects to have some sort of relationship with me while virtually putting nothing into it. We haven’t seen him for over 2 weeks and after he doled out the presents (which was very nice ) he sits down on his computer and just ignores everybody. Does this make any sense to you?
I started to feel angry and frustrated like I always do but decided (and told him) that he has to decide the type of relationships he wants to have with everybody in the family. And then I left. and I have to say it feels really good to not take the hooks as you call them. It feels really good to draw the line and say I need to take care of myself and your mess is your mess. You have helped me see that and I’m grateful for that. For whatever reason you seem to really understand where I’m coming from and I’m so happy and grateful that you are able to show me the light in some way.
As for our daughter, I’m not really sure what to do about her school. She feels ambivalent and so do we. Part of her wants to stay and part of her wants to leave. I don’t want her to feel disrupted in the middle of the year and this is also the only school she’s ever known. It would be a big adjustment also since she’s never been in a public school – we’ve only done Montessori education so it would be a huge change for her. That being said her teacher is horrible and mean was openly hostile to me in our last meeting. My daughter does very well academically but is a little hyper and sometimes talks when she shouldn’t be talking -that’s the worst thing she’s done. Apparently the school thinks this is Code Red and can’t deal with her. They just think she’s a troublemaker. Which she is not. One of the other teachers talked about how much “negative energy” she brings to the social group. I know you don’t know my child but she is the happiest most bubbly person around. She definitely has a lot of hyperactivity energy but definitely not negative energy……unfortunately that’s how they see her. It’s a horrible situation and I know something has to change.
I realize the unknown is difficult and sometimes you just have to make a leap. That seems to be a common theme in my life. I don’t like change.
All for now…
M22 December 2013 at 1:37 pm #2804
Yes it all makes perfect sense to me , I have not updated my own thread for months but briefly I have singley raised three boys on my own now aged 21, 16 and 15. I work full time and always have and have coped with an ex husband who is an alcoholic and my ex partner for 7 years who is a CG so I guess I have a sense of just how overwhelming life can be at times !!
What I pick up in your posts is the sheer stress of it all, I am not totally out of the woods yet, but I am getting there bit by bit. The support I have had from here over the last 6 years I think it is now, has been amazing (6 years I am a slow learner!!)
Looking after you I think Is a bit of an alien concept and at first it feels wrong, selfish even but it isn’t it is one of the only defences possible when faced with the addiction to gamble or any other addiction in my oppinion.
I used to think what are they all on about – go and have a bath, do something nice – how is that helpful how does that solve my problems. But now I see that it does, and you are seeing it to.
Boundaries of what is acceptable to you are beginning to appear in your posts and little by little I see you beginning to think – hang on a minute I have needs to!!. More importantly I see your focus beginning to turn away a little from the addiction and you considering what is best for you and your child.
The addiction seems to have a knack of throwing a smokescreen across what is really going on and the distance that you allow yourself will help to let the fog in your mind settle. You have made it clear that he needs to look at the type of relationship he wants with you and the rest of the family and I think that was quite a good way of putting it across to him without having a head on collusion with a squarking addiction.
Your daughter sounds like a bright intelligent girl and the comments you are recieving about her sound remarkably similar to ones that were made about my son. Negative energy in a social group sounds like someone who has been unable to mentally interest or challenge your daughter and has looked in the “Guiness Book Of Labels” for one that appears to fit.
You know what your daughter is and what’s really going on there and she will hang on to the fact that she has a mother that believes in her.
I get what you say about not liking change, I don’t like it either at times, I guess i’m getting old and stuck in my ways a little bit !! But now I look back on a lot of stuff and think, was that really me ? I dare say I will look back on a lot more and ask myself the same question in years to come as well.
Now I quite like being stuck in my own ways, it’s better than being stuck in someone else’s ways.
Keep sitting back, keep spotting those hooks and above all keep looking after you Madge, you may not feel it right now but at some point you will feel a difference.
Jenny x23 December 2013 at 2:00 pm #2805ellParticipant
You are a strong woman madge and when I read your posts I can see the light and your improvement .I can see a woman a wise woman. You are doing so well madge , your strength every day becomes bigger and bigger . Im so glad that you now eating on the table and that you are starting thinking more your self and your needs . Don’t stop .
Sometimes the phrase :focus to your self sounds so little but I can say that this is the key for everything . Give power and knowledge to your self , give your self the respect he needs and you will see that day to day something will always change with a better way.
You have so much on your plate madge but you are doing so good my dear.
Im sending my best wishes to you and your family ,
With th all my love ell27 December 2013 at 12:46 am #2806
Thank you Jenny X and Ell for your love and support –
Jenny: you sound like you have been thru so much – did you even wonder how you ended up attracting men with addictions? I am starting to wonder what I did “wrong” to end up with my husband – what did I miss?? he wasn’t like this when I met him! – really, he wasn’t. He loved kids, I thought he would make a great Dad – He was kind to me, attentive, sweet thoughtful – now?? Not so much…He is trying , but I feel like given *everything* he has done, i can never know what to expect from him. Did I ever think when I married him he would lie to me for **years**, gambling, sneaking away from work, spending our money, “lending to “friends”? DId I ever think he would try to take advantage of me sexually in my sleep? Repeatedly? Did I ever think he would be distant and disconnected from our children (ignore them basically) and not participate in our lives?? NO! No – I never thought it would be like that -SO, I wonder what I missed all those years ago? Or what is wrong with me to end up with someone like him???
I then tried to explain to him given that he has acted in numerous ways that I never ever, ever thought he would, I now can’t know what other things he may do – like he is a chameleon and I have no idea what color he may turn – any moment…I don’t know him any more..today he was saying to me: “remember when you drive around in your new Mercedes who pays for that..” I was like “what”??? since when do you talk to me like that? I am a prostitute ? Like if i don’t sleep with you, you will use intimidation to get what you want?? My husband was NEVER like this EVER – who is he turning into??? He apologized after this incident but it just makes me wonder who he is turning into…
This scares me and leads me not to trust him. He is trying to be patient with us not being intimate but subliminally has the attitude of “oh, just get over it!” – He has been pressuring me sexually and I keep telling him *NO* – “oh come on, just give me a kiss…” he’ll say – while I try and push him away – but he doesn’t seem to get it – how he has violated my trust, destroyed our relationship, blew up our lives. Yet some how I am feeling bad that I can’t just “put this in the past”. I keep telling myself it does no good to re-live all these things, but I simply can’t just “get over it” or forget it – his lies, deceptions, his violations of me – I think he should feel lucky I am even here at all!
I am not sure this makes any sense – I was just trying to say how I am fighting for my self preservation yet I am getting push back from him to do what he wants and I guess I feel a little guilty (? – is that weird?) for not just moving on with our lives intend of being stuck in the pain and betrayal –
When do you let that go???
As for doing stuff for me – today was “do nothing day” and even though I did a few things (dealt with our gutted condo, financial end of year work, spoke to kitchen designer, fed/took care of kids, dishes, laundry…wow – I guess that wasn’t nothing….) but for me I guess it is nothing compared to the break neck speed I usually go about my day and the number of tasks I usually cram into a day. Funny how on my “do nothing day” I still did a lot –
The point of all this is I am trying to be mindful and take time for myself to do what i need to do to survive, not just make sure every one else is ok and forget about me (which is what i usually do).
I feel like I am rambling but I hope I have made a little sense. I do hear all your love and support and am really trying to carve out time for me (eating for one) and just saying NO when I want to say no.
And to not rescue him either – I tend to do that – whenever he is messing up with the kids I used to try and protect everyone (like if he was supposed to play with the kids but fell asleep instead I would protect him and say – “oh, daddy was just tired” – now I realize the kids see him as he is no matter what I do. And yes it is sad if they have a crappy father, but there is nothing I can do about that – I can’t create nor fix that relationship and if he wants to wreck his relationship with them then that is up to him. My kids know I am there for them and can always count on me. If he blows it with his kids, it is all on HIM.
I think these are healthy steps for me – I know that all my loving friends on GT have helped me get here. I know I have miles and miles to go, but I am going…..
love to you all
M27 December 2013 at 2:02 pm #2807
To answer your question, yes, i’ve wondered about it in the past and if I thought about it for too long now I would be unlikely to speak to anyone again !!
That was the crux of the matter for me not so much why did they do it but why did I tolerate it in what was once quite a self sacrificing way. They did it because I let them, is the short answer but the reasons behind all of that were deep within me and nothing to do with them.
If and when you are able to let it all go is more likely to be when you do not have active addictions in your life whose behavior serves on a daily basis to remind you of why should protect yourself from it all. You will let go when it is right for you. No guilt is required !
Trying to be mindful of your own needs is great as is trying not to rescue him from all the situations he creates for himself and far more beneficial for both of you, he can learn from his own mistakes and you will have a lot more space in your weary mind to start putting in there some of the nicer things in life.
Good one Madge keep it up
Jenny x28 December 2013 at 11:54 pm #2808
Is it possible that I’m beginning to see a little bit of light? It feels that way although I don’t want to feel like its false hope. I feel even the tiny steps that I’m taking… & I do mean tiny.. Are helping me to distance myself from the addiction and really value myself.
We have this ridiculous game we play where I ask my husband to do something and he then turns around and asks me how to do the task….Basically asking me to do what it is that I have already asked him to do. Like he is helpless and couldn’t possibly sand the driveway unless I gave him direct instructions on how to do so.
So now when he turns around and dumps it back on me I say something like “well I don’t know” or” I’m sure you can figure it out “and I just walked away. & I let it go. Which is sort of a new thing for me because it’s hard for me to let go of anything.
This feels like progress to me. I know it’s such a small thing But it allows me some distance and makes room in my mind, as Jenny you suggest, for other things. So I don’t have to feel like I have to control everything. And if I don’t then probably nothing is going to completely fall apart. I make sure the children are safe of course but I need to not care so much about everything else.
Especially my CG. I feel even this tiny shift had given me room to breathe. …much needed room.
My CG is working on “keeping his side of the street clean” as he says and I need to work on keeping myself safe And keeping myself from worrying so much about everybody else’s problems.
Thank you all for teaching me that.I’m hanging in there and hoping for a better 2014.
M29 December 2013 at 1:18 pm #2809velvetModerator
It only takes a little bit of light to make a enormous difference to what you can see.
‘You have turned a ridiculous game into a positive step and each tiny step will take you closer to your goal – even if are not 100% sure what your goal is yet. You are moving in the right direction. This new behaviour is doing something right for the right reason – great.
In many ways the F&F has a similar road to take to the CG when they want recovery. They have to tip old behaviour out of their clouded minds, leaving room for new thoughts that lead to new behaviour. It takes others to support in the tipping and there is no shame in that. The more we listen the more we learn to tip and the more clarity comes to our over-worked and sadly distorted brains. How well you describe this when you say ‘I feel even this tiny shift has given me room to breathe…much needed room’.
It is difficult to draw back from everybody else’s problems when you are the mother and wife in a family with so many problems in it but in my opinion, if we take on everybody else’s problems we over-load and help nobody. I used to think of myself as the foundation on which the whole structure of my family depended – eventually the foundation didn’t just crumble it imploded and turned to dust. There was a lot of debris flying around for a while, quite a long while in fact and I couldn’t see through it – but then as it began to settle and I saw light through the haze I saw my family not just managing but succeeding – they were supporting themselves.
I don’t believe there is a necessity to implode; I think that tiny steps towards keeping the foundation in good repair are what is needed. It seems to me by standing back and letting your husband work something out for himself has helped you repair a little.
The light you can see will only be false hope if you blow it out. Fan the flames M, a little at a time – success is not the result of spontaneous combustion, you must set yourself on fire first’. Once you have taken a step forward don’t look back but let the success of that step fill you with renewed hope and then when you are ready (and not before) take another step. Nobody can judge the speed you should go at – whatever feels safe and liberating to you is right.
I don’t wonder why it took me so long to ‘get the message’ or how I ended up in the middle of a cycle of addiction – I am just relieved that I came through it in the end. While we are analysing the whys and wherefores we often waste time thinking of ‘today’ and that is all that really matters.
You can rest assured that those of us who are willing you on will hold your hand and rejoice at every step.
V3 January 2014 at 1:31 am #2810
Thank you V for your support as always – loving and kind and leaves me with food for thought.
Trying to “keep the light going” but it is so hard. I had a vulnerable moment with my CG tonite when I told him I finally understood that sometimes when he doesn’t say anything during an important discussion (with the kids or me) it is because -I realized – he doesn’t know what to say. I thought this was insightful, supportive and open. His response (after a beat) “You see? Even someone Perfect learns something once in a while”. How hurtful!!! When I confronted him he said (as usual) “oh, it was only a joke” – Not a joke. and I was trying to offer an olive branch..only to be slapped in the face.
I told him he needs to look at why he is so angry at me and why he is so hostile….then I walked away…no retaliation, no yelling, just left. But why? why is he still putting stumbling blocks in front of our relationship?? It is so frustrating.
I will continue to not take his bait and not allow him to walk on me but every time i feel like we’ve made an inch of progress my CG seems to hurl us backwards a mile….
Sorry.. just venting..venting and crying..and another day tomorrow to be spent together in the house during a snowstorm..
Pray for me..
M3 January 2014 at 11:43 am #2811
Just because you have made some small changes in how you are looking after you doesn’t automatically follow that you will gain positive responses from him in between. In fact as his addiction sees you change and you are not so familiar and predictable then it may well ‘up’ its nasty behaviour in an attempt to bring you back under control where you will be the more pliable person that you once were (once were !!)
Madge I also thinks that although someone may not be gambling the behaviour that grows up around the addiction does not diminish over night, deep seated things can be very difficult to shift.
Lets face it – causing rows appears to be a very common theme on this forum
He can only take you back if you allow him to, he can hurl you back no further than you are prepared to go. The important thing is Madge that you retain your focus on you and what you have decided is important and from where I’m sitting that is not him and his hurtful remarks.
I am not praying for you Madge, I am sitting here knowing that you can rise above the screeching, chicken like noises of the addiction and I am quietly urging you on.
Thank you for your lovely reply on my thread as well
No tears today, just careful thought !
Jenny x3 January 2014 at 12:51 pm #2812velvetModerator
I am not a CG and therefore unable to read the mind of a CG but I do remember thinking that I understood why my CG had behaved in a certain way when he walked away from me. I thought he was giving me the chance to breathe, that he had done enough damage and could not bear to take me down any further. In recovery he told me that he walked away for himself because as a pathetic blob I was of no further use to his addiction – it had nothing to do with love or regret for me. It was tough lesson but it taught me that thinking we have insightful moments is probably not our best thought.
I think you found words that made sense to you and they make sense to me but I don’t think they would have made sense to your husband, wrapped up, as he is, in distortion. What you did say was supportive and open and he chose not to listen, or he couldn’t comprehend your intended meaning. I see his remark as less of a desire to hurt but the usual desire to blame.
I cannot tell you what to do Madge but personally I wouldn’t offer olive branches to a person whose addiction was still hurting me. Olive branches are to be extended to someone who you have disagreed with – it is a symbol of peace. You have not disagreed with your husband nor brought a fight to his door; he is a CG and in simple terms the usual methods of sorting things out are not available.
I realise this is somewhat negative but acceptance of what you are possibly facing is, in my opinion, so important to you.
What exactly is he doing to change his life? What therapist, counsellors is he seeing and how often? I cannot know why your husband is still putting so many stumbling blocks in front of your relationship but I do question the effort that he is putting in to changing his life. Your husband is apparently not tipping any of his illogical thoughts out of his mind at all.
I wish I could dry your tears but the only person who can do this is you. The snowstorm will pass just as one day you will emerge from the nightmare you are living. You cannot control the snow but you can control your life.
I am urging you on with Jenny –
Be strong – the most important weapon in the hands of an aggressor is the mind of the oppressed. Rise above it Madge – you can do it.
V3 January 2014 at 5:38 pm #2813moniqueParticipant
Like Jenny and Velvet, I too want to urge you on. You have been learning a lot and it may feel like there’s no end in sight to what you still need to learn, but you WILL see progress as you gradually put things into practice.
Jenny and Velvet have both offered such wisdom and support, I really have nothing specific to add right now, but wanted to join with them in encouraging you along on your journey.
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