23 August 2013 at 7:52 am #1339pinkfloyd78Participant
The Other Woman
He was seeing her before we started dating, which should have been a red-flag right from the start, but back then he assured me their relationship was casual. As the days turned into weeks our “like” for each other turned into “love” and I boasted to my friends and family about how I’d finally met someone so different.
Coming from a string of bad relationships with men who had drinking and drug problems, who were abusive and immature, who loved to watch me suffer and take the blame for their actions, he was a breath of fresh air. A softball coach. A family man, recently divorced after a marriage of 10 years from a wife who cheated on him, he had raised well behaved children, he had a great paying job, he had a good head on his shoulders and most importantly – he loved me.
In the beginning, we did what all new lovers do, went to dinner, to the movies, sat by the water, listened to music, made sweet love, and enjoyed silly talks all day on the phone while we were apart. We were inseparable, lived to hear each others voices, dedicated songs to each other and spent every waking moment with each other that we could.
It wasn’t long at all before we both decided we would move in together, work on getting my children back (I’ve been going through a 12 year long custody battle) and have a great future. As for the other woman? He even took me to meet “her”. And for a while, I enjoyed sitting right behind him, while he spent time with her. He was proud to show me off to the other people so in love with her, and he was proud to show me what a great “relationship” he had with her and how he knew how to treat her just right.
In the beginning, I wasn’t jealous of her. She was a mutual friend (or so I thought). She kept him company, she made him happy, she relaxed him, and she only frustrated him every now and then when she didn’t pay him the money she’d “promised” to pay. In her defense, she never made any promises, he just had the “gut feeling” she would give him this money, and when she didn’t, she must have assured him she’d pay him next time, because he kept going back to see her..but, I digress..
I can’t quite pinpoint an exact moment when she went from a “casual friendship” to “the other woman” in our relationship….and maybe she always was and I just didn’t see it. But I can tell you, I knew when I realized she was a problem. Things just started feeling “off”…stories that didn’t add up..a sudden need to snoop…a feeling that a secret was being kept…a lowering of my self esteem…all began to culminate. Anxiety began to eat at me like a constant feeling of dread as payday loomed around the end of each week…
My interest in accompanying him to visit her quickly dwindled as I realized I was just going in order to get the attention from him that I was losing at home. I liked the games she played too, and used to play them myself, the few times he would let me, only it was a breeze for me to lose a game and get up and walk away. When I realized she kept them there against his will and better judgment, She and I didn’t see eye to eye. She had no control over me, and I had no interest in her once she took my money.
…..I tried to let it go. I gave him a chance to decide what was more important – me or her. He still hasn’t decided. I threatened to leave. Twice, packing my belongings, it only “forced” him to go spend more time with her. I cried myself to sleep night after night wondering why I wasn’t good enough for him anymore and wondering what she had that I couldn’t give. I took each blow of the words “it’s your fault” from him and I went so far as to stage a suicide attempt as a scream for help..paramedics..the whole works. Never in my life had I behaved so out of control, I just needed him to love me again and I was willing to go to great lengths to get his love back.
She went from someone he just went to visit, to living in our house and sleeping in our bed. No matter how close we physically get to each other on the rare occasions we do…she is always there. Right in the middle. She has taken over his finances (none of my business, I’m told), she has taken over our weekend time together (trying to catch up, I’m told). She talks him into lying, sneaking off, hiding money, verbally abusing me, tearing me down, and constantly sleeping 90% of the time that he’s home.
The “funny” thing is, I do all of the laundry, cleaning, cooking, scrubbing, trying to be pretty, sexual favors, and suffering – yet she gets all the reward. While I get criticized and raged against for any perceived slight, she gets by with dragging him through the mud, tearing apart his whole life, ruining his relationship with me, and taking up all of his free time. Does she ever suffer because she kept him out all night and made me cry? Never. She’s rewarded for it.
He’s worked diligently all this week at his well paying job. Got up on time, got to work on time, got his dinner from me on time, got his laundry done by me on time and slept his 11 hour days and nights on time, every day this week…but tomorrow is payday. Tomorrow is Friday, the beginning of the weekend, what should be a respite from all the time I’ve devoted to his happiness and the running of this house…but tomorrow is hers. He’s in a better mood today, because he knows he will see her tomorrow. He smiles a little more, laughs a little more. Sleeps a little less…and we were even “intimate” earlier this evening.
Tomorrow, I will wake up and go about my day trying to force away the silly hope that just maybe this weekend will be the one weekend he devotes to us…takes me somewhere special…maybe a nice picnic..or a fishing trip…or……….
No…tomorrow is hers..and so is Saturday and Sunday. She’s someone I have to tolerate, because I love him and I know that she does not make up the entire person that he is. I know that the loving, gentle, caring, dedicated, strong, handsome, doting man that I met is still in there and I love him too much to let her win. She has her filthy claws in him now and she’s using him and abusing him, but one day he too will know her name as I do and call her out for who she is..
She is Gambling Addiction.
Thank you for letting me vent.4 September 2013 at 4:21 am #1340
Thanks everyone for your responses. I’m trying to read and re-read them and let them sink in….today has been an especially tough day. Everything everyone said is poignant and exactly right and there are a couple things that stood out to me that I want to respond to specifically: the serenity prayer – I have worn it out and it plays as a mental mantra several ***** throughout my days..and today especially it was something I really started thinking about.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (him) to change the things I can (me) and the wisdom to know the difference. That’s how I’ve always thought about it, but today for some reason I came to the conclusion that I can’t accept him anymore. Its not just the gambling. Its what the gambling has turned him into.
You are all exactly right. Mental abuse and control is not acceptable and its not something I would allow in the lives of my children so why should I allow it (or accept it) in my own? I came to the decision today (after a particularly nasty episode where I calmly asked about the bills that were or were not paid and he launched into a verbal ******* on the phone) that the best thing for me to do is leave.
As soon as I find a job, I’m going to find a room to rent or an affordable apartment on the bus route, and just go. For now, I’ve moved to the other side of the house, I caught him in a few lies today, and instead of blowing up, I calmly made dinner, cleaned up, and took my book into one of the extra rooms on the opposite side of the house from him and closed the door. The couple of ***** I came out for a drink, he made some sarcastic comments, and I waited until he was done and calmly let him know I will be moving out as soon as I find work. I let him know that I will help him place an ad for a roommate if he ***** my help. He didn’t respond. He decided to take out another payday loan today, before any of this happened, so all of his focus was on his next fix. I doubt he even heard me and if he did, he doesn’t care.
The lies have gotten so out of control, I can’t even keep them straight anymore. At this point, I’ve been **** to so much that everything seems suspicious, even if its not. Just like NoMore’s husband said, my CG’s only real friend is the card table. Everyone else that’s in his life is there by either biology, as a parent / child relationship, or a coworker. He’s talked so much trash to his children and step children about me that their opinion of me is skewed and I’m the "evil **** talker" that ***** to leave.
Madge, as much as I hate to truly accept it, you’re exactly right. Its not love. This isn’t my first experience with an abuser and I’m more mad at myself right now than I can be at anyone else because I’ve again fallen for the typical "everything’s perfect in the beginning so I can trap you and show you my true colors" game. Every definition of a sociopath fully fits the behavior that I’m experiencing from him..and that I experienced with every man in my life before him. Each time, thinking "this one is soooo different"..and each time being proven completely wrong.
I’ve always known that the answer is to get on my own two feet, forget about relationships and focus on what I need to do for myself, but the trainwreck of a set of circumstances of a life that I’ve created for myself have inevitably kept me dependent on others and short of a financial windfall that affords me an attorney to get the state to stop taking half of any paycheck I make for child support, I’m afraid I will be perpetually dependent. Unlike most people, I don’t have a single family member or friend that I can stay with, and the women’s shelters near me are only there for people who have been physically harmed and are in danger.
Still, I know I can’t continue like this. I do deserve better. Out of 3,000 dollars, I did not get so much as a card, a flower, or a note that said "I love you" because the truth is, he doesn’t.4 September 2013 at 4:54 am #1341
I cut myself off before I was finished because he came in and stood over my shoulder for a few seconds, and I immediately tensed up and quickly switched to something else. I know I shouldn’t hide it. He should see my true feelings, but any mention of his issue to anyone else, and he plays the victim and sees it as a license to talk about me to everyone else.
I didn’t think I would admit this when it happened, but a few days ago, he did get physical. Granted, we were being sarcastic "half joking" to each other and my remark before he put his hands on me was "no one is scared of you". He rushed over and grabbed my face in his hand – hard. And squeezed. I tried to physically push him away, but he was standing over me and I was sitting. He was laughing. I was not. I was kicking and trying to push him off of me, but he held my arms down and kept laughing. My lip was split, but not bleeding, he walked away and sat across the room in his normal spot and then belittled me for half an hour about how I have no sense of humor and can’t take a joke and I’m no fun and he didn’t hurt me on purpose. The truth is, he has a history of domestic violence that I wasn’t even aware of until about a month ago. His excuses are of course that these women falsely accused him and claimed he had hit them, but I can see now that he’s completely capable of physical abuse, and its just a matter of time before it happens to me.
Of course, when I bring that up, I get the whole "Oh my GOD I’m not abusive, my ex wife even told you so". I’m rolling my eyes so hard right now.
What I don’t get is why things like this happen to good people. I consider myself a good person. 99 out of a hundred *****, I will think of the ***** of others, before thinking of my own…and I get **** on. The simple solution it seems, would be to stop thinking about everyone else and learn to be selfish, but I genuinely doubt my ability to do that. Its just not in my nature. I’m a Pisces, A mother, and a sister who raised two siblings without a father in the house and with a mother who was barely there because she had to work 3 jobs to take care of us. I see these narc***istic abusive men that stomp on people’s feelings and treat people like garbage, and things just seem to magically work out for them. People say that "everything happens for a reason" but I’m starting to feel like the truth is that the world is just a ****ed up place! I used to believe in Karma, but in my own life, so far the only karma has been that I’m good to people and get treated badly in return.
I feel like such a cry baby for writing all of this out. It must seem like I have my head stuck deeply up my own ***. lol I guess it just is what it is…tomorrow’s a new…however predictable…day..and maybe a great job offer will come in so I can leave yet another failed relationship behind. :/ Ugh. Thanks for listening.4 September 2013 at 6:36 am #1342san250Participant
Hi Pinkfloyd, There is no way you are a cry baby!! Dealing with an abusive person, in whatever form, is very tiring. My ex husband was an abuser, verbal, physical and mental with narcissistic traits. I don’t want to go into detail here, it’s not the place and by going over it, it drags it all back. I just wanted to say you are not alone and you can turn your life around. To attract a different type of man it is strongly recommended to do some work on yourself. Make yourself aware of what your part in all this is. I was completely ‘lost’ and had no idea how to turn my life around and indeed deal with this unreasonable man! I found this lady https://www.facebook.com/pages/Melanie-Tonia-Evans/137377772251?fref=ts and with her help, nearly three years on, I am with a new man, in a new country with a new life and totally different. It’s my son who is my cg, I believe a by-product of my abusive marriage. I always tell people never to underestimate the effects of abuse. There is a lot of information on the Melanie Tonia Evans website and she explains how to leave an abusive relationship too, it ***** planning and to be aware the abuse may be ‘upped’ when he gets wind that you are going to leave him. Everything does happen for a reason, it’s just at the time we don’t always know why, but that reason will unfold in due course. As you are dealing with an unreasonable man where reason doesn’t work, i would say arm yourself with as much information and tools as you can. I read on here to write down your feelings, great advice, however, when I did this, there was no way I could do this on paper without fear of my ex finding it, so I emailed myself all my inner feelings that were for me only. Unbeknown to me he set up a ‘spy programme’ on my computer and gained access to all my passwords and read all my notes … so be careful. There is another life out there 🙂 and decent men! One day at a time. “You cannot travel back in time to fix your mistakes, but you can learn from them and FORGIVE yourself for not knowing better. Leon Brown”4 September 2013 at 6:54 am #1343moniqueParticipant
Dear Pinkfloyd. What great posts you have just written. Yes, it is very difficult stuff and you are making tough decisions, but you write with clarity, focus and determination. I wish you well as you continue to work through things and establish a better life for yourself. Monique4 September 2013 at 11:09 am #1344
You have made an informed decision and you have done a lot of work on ‘you’ since you arrived in the forum – terrific – give yourself a gold star.
Physical abuse is not symptomatic of the addiction to gamble and from what you say I would consider that your partner is an abusive man. If a CG steals to feed their addiction and then changes their life and controls that addiction, they will no longer be a thief. If a thief becomes a CG and then controls the addiction, they will (probably) still be a thief. I suspect the same applies with a physically violent person. The addiction does worsen unless it is treated and if an abusive man’s addiction is thwarted then I suggest he resorts to his natural instincts. You are thwarting your partner’s addiction.
Do you feel relieved having made your decision?
As a site we deal with the addiction to gamble and not physical abuse so I am pleased that San has written to you with her knowledge.
I certainly don’t hear a cry-baby but tears are totally acceptable, understandable and natural.
I never do ‘what if’ or ‘if only’ but I have answered my own ‘why me’ with – ‘why not me? I am not hard Pink and I have always had a tendency to put the ***** of others before my own, being selfish will never come naturally to me nor do I want it to. I am not selfish when I say I will not let the addiction to gamble into my life again – I am protecting all those around me by doing so and yes, that includes me.
You are not being selfish retiring to a part of the house where you can be quiet and not abused. You are not being selfish getting a job that removes you from an unhealthy relationship. You are looking after you and ultimately that will be the right thing for everybody around you.
You believe you see narcissistic men stomping on others and treating people like garbage and for whom things magically seem to work out – but do you see a happy people? I think not. CGs are not happy. They neither asked for nor wanted their addiction – they want to be like others and gamble responsibly but they can’t.
I believe the way we change Pink is by being determined that life will not screw us up. It is by taking the bad experience and allowing it to educate us not hurt us any more. It is by being ‘calmly’ resolute.
I believe you are on a site of good people – in both forums. Our CGs are trying to change their lives, facing terrible demons and regretting the behaviour caused by their addiction, our F&F are trying to change their lives for the better by learning about what bought them here and trying to make a bit of sense out of the most senseless thing that has ever happened to them. Everybody ***** a little selfish time to come to terms with who they are and what they need to change if they want a better life and that is why you are here.
Keep posting, keep learning, you are doing well. You haven’t got your head stuck up your backside or you wouldn’t be seeing things as they are not as you wanted to believe they were. Tomorrow is not predictable and today is the only day you can live at one time – what you do today determines your tomorrow.
Accepting the things we cannot change is the hardest part but you doing that – well done.
4 September 2013 at 11:55 am #1345trulyshiParticipant
((((((Pink))))))) Wanted to let you know that there is light at the end of the tunnel if you do decide to strike out on your own. Yes, I am a CG but I was also in a very emotionally abusive relationship. My partner was an enabler and was not supportive when I entered recovery so that I would continue gambling and he could control me. He was a hoarder, used me financially and was also a *** addict. I stayed in the relationship far longer than I should have because I was afraid of change, afraid of the future and had no resources. He ended the relationship on my birthday and threw me out of his house when he realized that he could no longer control me, I was finally coming out of my gambling fog and seeing things for what they really were. I ended up moving back in with my ex husband and son for 6 months until I got back on my feet and was able to afford to rent an apartment and get the things I needed. I love my freedom now, I can make my own decisions and enjoy coming home to my little place – because it’s MINE. I met a wonderful man 3 months ago but am taking things slow in order to make sure it’s the right thing for me. I will never be a victim again, I am worth so much more. Whatever decision you make, do what’s best for you. Fear of the unknown can hold us hostage and so much of this wonderful life slips away from us. Take care of yourself, Pink, you deserve better. Debbie5 September 2013 at 2:57 am #1346
Well, I went to sleep last night in the other room, he knocked on the door a couple ***** and made some sarcastic comments, but for the most part, he ignored me and I eventually fell asleep sometime before the sun came up today. I woke up to a text message that he had bought me coffee creamer and a pack of cigs “even though I’m not talking to him”. I wrote back “thank you” and there was no more conversation between us until about 2PM when he finally called.
I stayed calm. Told him I really feel like I have to do what’s right for myself and for my children and that the way things are right now is not how I can live any longer. He asked if I would be here when he got home and I said yes. I told him that there is too much life to live, too much fun to have, too many memories to make, and we were not participating. I said that if I’m going to feel invisible, I’m going to do it alone. Not next to someone that claims to love me. His final response was that I needed to do what I think is best for me. Being near the end of the upteenth book I’ve read in order to occupy my mind since things got to this level, I asked him if he would mind taking me to the library. We went on a pretty wordless trip there and back, went into our separate rooms and since then, he has ignored me completely.
I’m not sure if its pouting, if its him trying to show he doesn’t care in hopes that I come begging for forgiveness for whatever perceived slight I’m apparently guilty of, or if the truth is that he indeed is not affected in the least. All he’s doing is proving to me that my observations are spot on correct. That I deserve better than this and that things are not going to change until he sees himself. I’ve had to stop myself from trying to open up a dialogue, from my own desire to want attention from him or from making my own smartass comments – I’m trying my best to be strong.
This is only Day 1 of my Mission for Change. (I think that’s what I’ll call it. I have to breathe life into it. I have to keep reminding myself that I’m doing the right thing, I can’t be weak. This is for the best.) The hopeless romantic in me keeps picturing him walking into the other room, sitting next to me and spilling out his feelings. Telling me he can’t stand another minute without me and that he’s going to commit to recovery. My silly imagination.
San, thank you for the suggestion. I added her page to my facebook and I also went online and took a narcissist test to see if maybe I’m the one with the problem. I failed. I scored extremely low and according to that test I don’t have any fun diagnosis at all to blame this on. :/ I hated it though because most of the things I could answer no to for myself, were resounding “yesses” when I applied them to him. I don’t want that to be so. I want the person I met to come back and prove to me that I’m completely wrong.
With all the ignoring that’s going on right now, thoughts and fears that I’m “doing this” to a good man and “hurting him” for no reason keep creeping up in my brain. I’m trying to fight those thoughts. He’s been snoring and eating for 6 hours since he got home. The man is not suffering TOO bad, obviously. Funny you should mention a “spy programme”. That’s the kind of **** my last husband pulled (very early in our relationship) and stupid me..I married the guy anyway. My CG knows very little about computers. No worries there. A huge part of me wants him to know every word I say. Really its nothing I haven’t said to him. He just doesn’t care. If he’s hearing me at all, he’s not showing it.
Velvet…If I’m completely honest with myself, I have to admit a large part of me does feel some relief. Telling him the truth (I don’t trust him) and making a promise that I will no longer say a word if he gambles himself into a mountain of debt – it’s now solely on his shoulders is DEFINITELY relieving. I can sense that he can see that I’m being very serious. This isn’t an empty threat this time, and I believe he’s testing the waters to see if I’ll give in..so while its relieving, it also feels fragile. I’m trying to relay a no tolerance attitude to someone while living under the same roof, remaining calm, and ignoring my loneliness. I miss the guy. I can’t help it.
I have no fear that he will ever try to physically harm me. It was an isolated incident and I think his impulse control has been ruined by his addiction. Separation from him physically – even across the house has taken away a majority of his control and I’m truly not concerned about him ever putting his hands on me in anger. He hasn’t gambled all day and all night since he’s been home. I’m sure its more to try to prove some kind of a point to me than anything else. I guess he really doesn’t get it.
Debbie, thank you. It sounds like you’re headed in a good direction yourself. As funny as it sounds, having my own “half of the house” feels a little liberating in and of itself. I hope things go well with the new guy you’re seeing. I miss the initial stage of “love” very much, and I envy those 30 year marriages where two people are even more in love today than they were when they first met. That’s what I want for myself. And that’s what I truly thought I found this time. A real future…
But I digress..today is only Day 1, as I said and so far, I’ve been strong. Maybe this little mission of mine will be what it takes to start an actual change…maybe not. No matter which way he goes though, I can no longer let him drag me down with him. I love him enough to let him go and learn on his own and I am beginning to have a little bit more love for myself. All is not lost.
Thank you all again for listening and giving me such great feedback. This place truly is a God-send.5 September 2013 at 4:18 am #1347
I found this on a website called Top 10 Survival Tips for Loving an Addicted Person and I really feel like I need to see it every day. I’m posting it here so I can read it. (Right now I feel like memorizing number 7 especially) In Particular:
As an adult, it is your job to determine what your ***** are, and you are the only one responsible for meeting them. (My new mantra)
1. Come face-to-face with reality.
Learning how to deal with reality is the most important first step in “surviving” when you love an addicted person. Although it may seem easier to stay in the “fantasy space” where you can continue to believe that things are going to magically get better, there is no such magic. Things will not get better just because you wish they would.
Coming face-to-face with reality means accepting that parts of your life may be out of control as a result of loving someone who is engaging in addictive behaviours. These addictions can include mind-altering substances such as ***** and alcohol, as well as mood-altering addictions such as eating disorders, compulsive over-spending, smoking, being “glued” to the internet, gambling or codependency in relationships.
You may be feeling a constant, gnawing worry that you live with every day. You may find yourself being asked for money often, and feeling guilty if you say no. Perhaps you are watching everything you say and do, in order to “keep peace” in your home and not make the addict angry. Or you may be asked to do favours for the addict on a consistent basis, such as watching their children or doing their errands, and you may not know how to say no.
Whatever your particular situation is, acceptance of what you are dealing with in your life is the first survival tip for loving an addicted person.
2. Discover how to love an addicted person — and stay healthy.
There are effective ways to deal with the addicted person in your life, just as there are ways that are not only ineffective but can also be dangerous. Learning to distinguish between them can save you a lot of time and can also produce much healthier results for you and your addicted loved one.
For example, learning how to set and maintain appropriate boundaries is a very important skill. You may need to explore the reasons why you have a problem doing that, and then learn some assertiveness techniques that will help you say “yes” when you mean yes, and “no” when you mean no.
Another way to keep yourself healthy while caring about an addicted person is to make sure you are looking after your own life and keeping a good balance with such things as work or volunteering, supportive friendships, fitness and good nutrition, and time for the fun activities that you enjoy.
Choose to practice the healthier ways of loving your addicted person.
3. You cannot control or “fix” another person, so stop trying!
The only person you have any control over is yourself. You do not have control over anything the addicted person does. Many people choose not to believe this, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Once you can really grasp the reality of this concept and live by it, your life will become much easier.
The Serenity Prayer can give you a helpful gauge to see whether you are trying to control people and situations that you simply cannot control.
God, Grant me the Serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Cultivate your wisdom, so that you know the difference between what you can and can’t change, and stop trying to control or “fix” anyone other than yourself.
4. Stop blaming the other person and become willing to look at yourself.
As easy and tempting as it may be for you to blame the addict in your life for your struggles and suffering, there is actually more value in exploring what you may be contributing to this situation, since that is the only thing you can really do anything about.
Even though the addict has undoubtedly contributed his or her share of the trouble, in some way you also have a part to play in what is going on. For example, you might be keeping the “drama” going by lending money to your addicted loved one. Or perhaps you are always willing to be there to listen when they tell you all about the problems they are encountering as consequences of their addictive behaviours.
These kinds of actions on your part will not help your loved one in the long run. It is your responsibility to recognize and “own” your unhelpful behaviours, and to get professional help in doing this if necessary.
Understanding why you choose to behave in unhealthy ways is the key to making a change. Become courageous enough to be willing to look at yourself.
5. Learn the difference between “helping” and “enabling.”
Just like most people, you might think that you need to help your addicted loved one. You probably fear that if you don’t provide help, he or she will end up in a worse predicament. When you try to “help” addicts by giving them money, allowing them to stay in your home, buying food for them on a regular basis, driving them places or going back on the healthy boundaries you have already set with them, you are actually engaging in “rescuing” behaviours that are not really helpful. Another term for this kind of unhealthy helping is “enabling.”
When you can be as truthful as possible with yourself about your own enabling behaviours, you can begin to make different choices. This will lead to healthier changes in your addicted loved one as well. For example, you might decide to tell the addict in your life that you will no longer listen to them complain about their lives. However, you can let them know that you are very willing to be there for them as soon as they are ready to work on resolving their problems.
Once you stop your enabling behaviours, you can then begin to truly help your loved one.
6. Don’t give in to manipulation.
It has been said that the least favourite word for an addict to hear is “No.” When addicts are not ready to change, they become master manipulators in order to keep the addiction going. Their fear of stopping is so great that they will do just about anything to keep from having to be honest with themselves. Some of these manipulations include *****, ********, blaming, raging and guilt-tripping others, as well as becoming depressed or developing other kinds of emotional or physical illnesses.
The more you allow yourself to be manipulated by the addict, the more manipulative the addict is likely to become. When you hold your ground and refuse to give into their unreasonable demands, they will eventually realize that they are not going to get their way.
Saying “no” is an important first step toward change — for you, as well as for the addict.
7. Ask yourself the “Magic Question.”
It is important to understand that you might be just as “addicted” to your enabling behaviours as the addict in your life is to his or her manipulations.
In the same way that addicts use *****, alcohol and other addictive behaviours to avoid dealing with their shame about feeling unworthy and unlovable, you may be focusing on the addict’s behaviour in order to avoid having to focus on living your own life. Your enabling behaviours toward the addict may be helping to keep you busy and to fill up your life so that you don’t have to see how lonely and empty you are feeling inside.
Ask yourself the question “How would my life be better if I wasn’t consumed by behaviours that enable my loved one?” Allow yourself to answer honestly, and be aware of any feelings that come up.
Although it may be scary to think about giving up behaviours that have formed your “comfort zone,” it may be even more scary for you to think about continuing them.
8. Know that “Self-care” does not equal “selfish.”
Too many people get these two ideas confused: they think that if they practice healthy self-care and put themselves first, they are being selfish. “Selfishness” basically means that you want what you want when you want it, and you are willing to step on whomever you have to in order to get it. That actually sounds more like the behaviour of the addict. If you try to take care of someone else before taking care of yourself, you will simply become depleted and exhausted.
“Self-caring” means that you respect yourself enough to take good care of yourself in healthy and holistic ways such as making sure your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual ***** are met.
As an adult, it is your job to determine what your ***** are, and you are the only one responsible for meeting them.
9. Rebuild your own life.
The best way to come out of your own “addictive behaviours,” such as enabling and people-pleasing, is to focus on your own life. If your life seems empty in any areas such as career, relationships or self-care, begin to rebuild your life by exploring the kinds of things that might fulfill you. Would you like to make a career change or go back to school? Perhaps you would like to develop different hobbies or activities that would help you meet new people.
Rebuilding your life so that you feel a greater sense of happiness and self-fulfillment is your most important over-all responsibility. Enjoy!
10. Don’t wait until the situation is really bad ~ reach out for help NOW!!
When those who love people with any type of addictive behaviour finally reach out for help, they have usually been dealing with their situation for a long time. If you have been waiting to see whether things would get better without professional help, please consider getting help NOW, before things become even worse.
If this situation is just beginning for you, it is best to get some support as soon as possible, so that you don’t make the mistakes that could make things more difficult.
The sooner you reach out for help, the better it is for everyone concerned.
Candace Plattor, M.A., R.C.C.13 September 2013 at 1:43 pm #1348
I’m ready to give up again. I’m so tired of this emotional roller coaster. This is just not the life I signed up for.13 September 2013 at 6:08 pm #1349adeleParticipant
Of course you didn’t ask for this life! Who would? But we love them (our CGs) don’t we?
When I’m sick, sick, sick of the rollercoaster, I go back and read my whole thread again. It buoys me up and reminds me of where I’m going.
Just don’t give up on yourself Pink. Remember – that’s what this is all about – taking care of you.
Read that #9 again on your list …
You’re doing great! Velvet is right – you are feisty, and you can get through this.
"… should I give up or should I just keep trying to run after you when there's nothing there?" Adele on writing Chasing Pavements29 September 2013 at 5:28 pm #1350
In your last message you were; understandably, ready to throw in the towel. I think that Adele’s line in her last post ‘but we love them (our CGs) don’t we’ is not necessarily the bottom line in all relationships and of course this addiction can (and does) push many people to draw a line and say ‘enough’. I want you to be sure that whatever decision you make, or have made, will never be judged on this forum.
We are all individuals when all is said and done. Your top tips for loving an addicted person have possibly triggered a line of thinking for you. This forum is designed to support those who love CGs, to help them to find themselves again when the addiction to gamble has buffeted them around destroying their confidence and self-esteem.
Not every member has the outcome they wanted when they first posted. If, however, every F&F member who passes though, moves on with their head held high, ready for a future that is not over-shadowed by the addiction to gamble then this forum is a success. I always hope for more though than just a ‘moving on’ – I fervently hope that everybody who passes through ‘gains’ from their experience both with the addiction and from going through this forum.
I am a great beli ever in stripping the addiction of it’s victory. The 10 survival tips and all the repli es you have had from strangers, who care, are things you can use to make a better life for yourself.
Success is not the results of spontaneous combustion,. You must set yourself on fire first.
Velvet18 December 2013 at 2:32 pm #1351
In the hope you still glance this way I want you to know that you are remembered. It would be great to hear from you
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