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Codependent/Enabler/OR just depressed?
April 8, 2004
1:05 pm
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petitefour
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Hello, all. I am a new member. I have been married for 4 years to a man with a drinking problem. He is also verbally abusive and controlling. I am normally a very easy going, nurturing working Mom of three (3), but have been feeling very sad, withdrawn, depressed and cry alot lately. I have tried to change the way I react to my husband's remarks and criticisms over the past few months. Some days I can successfully keep from reacting (which only makes the discussion/agrument escalate), but sometimes I cannot like, for instance, last night. He WILL not ever allow me to have a point of view, an opinion or a say. Its his way or the highway when he is angry or drunk. I love him, but my mental condition and my self esteem is so low that I have resorted to reacting in a physical way when he gets angry or drunk. I am worn out from nights of crying. I don't want to leave him, I just want a way to cope and keep my sanity. Does it sound like I am a codependent/enabler or am I just depressed? Can anyone provide advice???? HELP!

April 8, 2004
2:07 pm
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CAMER
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sounds like you are "coda" i was involved with an active alcoholic for 3.5 years and he kept drinking and we kept fighting...alot..its not fair to you. See if he can honestly try to sober up on his own, and for you to
put up with the pain is not healthy for you, maybe trying to go to a counselor...alot of alcoholics do
have "control" issues with their loved ones. Speak up to him and be honest how you feel....my thoughts are with you.

April 8, 2004
2:23 pm
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Anonymous
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The number one lesson for me was to accept that the only person that I can control is me. You could go to ALANON or CODA meeting and learn more, but he has to recognize that he has a problem and seek help on his own. Unfortunately, that usually dosen't happen the person hits rock bottom. He could take you and your family down with him.

Ignoring the problem and keeping the peace is enabling.

MILO

April 14, 2004
1:00 pm
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zuzuspetals
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Petite Four-
I am in a similar situation. My husband is an alcoholic, but recently went into recovery. He is a raging beast when he drinks, but when sober is a pretty great guy. Believe me that even when you take the alcohol out of the alcoholic the behavior does not vanish. It has nothing to do with you, it is how they feel about themselves, and want to project it onto you so everyone feels as miserable as they do. I believe someone suggested Al-Anon, it is a great group. Loving people all in the same situation as you.
I know what you mean when you say that even when you ignore him it escalates. One thing that helped me during these drunk rages was to just look at him when he is done raging and say "you might be right" and then leave the house or the room. It is very hard to say that to the drinker, but I found that it bought me alot of peace. There are some great online AlAnon meetings if you can not physically get to one, and they also have some that have babysitting available. I wish you luck in your journeys, and pray for peace in your life.

April 14, 2004
5:48 pm
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Wanttobewell
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ZuZu is exactly right one with this one petite. I've been reading your other posts. You sound as if you're married to my husband's twin.

This is my third marriage, married for 5 years. No young children involved. He's an alcoholic. Appx. 2 years ago, I was in the floor crying and screaming and could not stop. I felt as if I could just lie there and cry forever, and I didn't care, and I didn't know what to do. This was a Saturday. I work at home now and had just started the job. He was drinking, and I was trying to work. I do medical reports at home, which means I have to concentrate, listen very carefully to the doctors' reports, get them right and be fast in doing so.

So he's drunk, in an ugly mood, making fun of me, my kids, being really ugly, me trying my best to tune him out and work, but then I just snapped, started crying. He was mocking me crying,,going "oh boo-hoo,,boo-hoo-hoo,,,is that all you can do." Well, that did it, I just lost it. I was crying and screaming for him to help me, to do something. Apparently something got through his alcohol fog. He asked me what he could do. I don't remember what I said Petite because quite frankly at that point, I truly was over the edge, where I had never been before, and don't care to go back. You know what he said after that though? He said for me to go to the store and get him some more beer so that he could "think." At that very moment, my tears dried, I looked at him and said that I could not believe he would actually send me out in that shape to go get beer, that that proved he didn't care at all about me, he didn't love me, and that our being married was a mistake. I then got into the truck and went to the store. I felt that I wouldn't make it without having a breakdown in the store, and I go in there all the time. Can you just imagine? This is a small community, too. Somehow I kept it together long enough to get back in the truck and brought him his beer.

It was at that point that things began to change. I realized that if I didn't do something for myself, I would end up in the truck with the garden hose from the exhaust pipe into the truck with me in it, and that was exactly what I had planned to do. I just could not take anymore ugliness from men who professed to love me. Well, instead I went to the doctor, broke down in her office, a new patient for her. Don't you know she was just tickled to death to have to deal with this obviously disturbed person? But she was quite gracious and got me an appt within the next couple of days with a psychiatrist, also a lady,,,who prescribed Effexor as an antidepressant and Klonopin for anxiety. She asked me to go for some counseling to deal with him, and I did. The counseling helped me to see that I didn't have to put up with or enable him and his ugly rages. I got to the mail first and hid the notices that the insurance company sends telling what they've paid, etc. Then I just up and told him I was going. I made up my mind that I could not and would not be afraid of him anymore. He is not God.

Petite, I've seen him practically explode into a snarling, nasty, ugly beast, and it used to frighten me so much!!! Before I went to the doctor, I was in really bad shape. Gradually, I started detaching from him emotionally. I had to for my own mental state. I didn't stop loving him, but I did detach,,started having more contact with my family and friends than I did before (as I had practically shut everyone else out because I was ashamed for one reason), and let him drink and watch porn or whatever he wanted to do. But I made myself busy elsewhere. Now I'm here,,he's still drinking, but I realilze that I have choices, as hard as they are, I still have them. Just getting that little bit of outside help made all the difference. I really can't go to AlAnon either, so you're not alone. But you can read.. You can get on the computer and read if you don't want him finding the books, etc. Mine would come home and look at the history of where I had been on the computer before I got smart enough to delete the trail. He would see sites I had visited on alcoholism, domestic violence, emotional abuse, etc. and actually have the nerve to ask why I was looking up things like that?

If he gets out of hand, just as ZuZu says,,I stay calm (unless I'm hormonal), and detach myself from what he is doing and just watch him be ugly and not get drawn into his crap. He doesn't even remember it the next day anyway!!! I was getting physical too, so I know what you're dealing with.

I'm not stupid though. If he's really getting out of hand, I get in the truck and go, quickly. That's only happened a couple of times in the last 11 months, but that's too many times. The difference now though is that he knows I'm not afraid anymore. He knows I'm a good wife, although he still has some issues because of the other wife, they don't rear their ugly head as often as they did. Petite, they know when you've had enough. They know when you're weak. But they also know when you have resolve and inner strength and family and friends who care about you.

You don't say how old your kids are. That's one thing you're having to deal with that I didn't have to. I can't imagine what I would have done in that case. But it has to be affecting them too.

I did read your other posts about the taxes, etc. We went through a similar situation also. I just told him that this was supposed to be a marriage, not a roommate situation,,you pay your way, I pay mine. That's ridiculous. I told him he had not done me any favors by "allowing" me to live in HIS house. I was fine before he came along and would be fine again if need be. Petite,,,when he's sober,,is there any way you can get through to him? Are you ready to tell him that you just can't live like this anymore? What do you think he will do if he realizes he's going to lose you?

My situation is far from perfect. I still have tough situations to deal with. But you are just going to have to deal with him for your own good and your children's good. If you have to leave,, then you have to leave. Go stay with your family if you can. I don't know what state you live in but just because your name isn't on the house may not mean that it isn't half yours unless you signed a prenup. I've never said that to my husband because I'm saving it in case I have to later on.

It isn't right for him to put you in that type of financial situation, abuse you emotionally and treat your kids and you like crap!! Who the hell do these people think they are? Please,,,talk to somebody you can trust,,,get some help,,,don't think that this is it, that you don't have any choices because you do, and he needs to know that too. Might make him think a little.

Petite,,,I hope this helps you some. This is what I did, and it helped me tremendously. I'm not where I want to be in this marriage, but it's a far sight better than what it used to be. Stand up to him (when he's sober),,get the help you need,,,don't let him run over you, and leave if you need to!!! That's it!!!W.

April 15, 2004
11:15 am
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zuzuspetals
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Want-
Wow that was an awesome post. An inspiration to women and men who live with and love an alcoholic. Kudos for you for realizing that you can love the alcoholic but you do not have to live with him/her. Something that was said in my meeting last night was this "There is a big difference between caregiving and caring" It is like having a child and you do everything for that child- you are a caregiver, when you continue to do this for the child even though they are capable of doing it themselves you are robbing them of a chance to do it themselves, to learn how to do it. They will grow up to be children who expect others to do everything for them. I realized last night that I do that alot for my youngest. He is 5 and I am constantly doing things he can do himself. It really struck something in me last night, I just wanted to share with you all.

I really got so much out of your post-it reminds me that I too have a choice in this situation. It is good to be reminded.

April 15, 2004
6:23 pm
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Wanttobewell
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Hi ZuZu,,It really helps me to post it and read it for myself, too. It's just so easy for me to fall back into the old patterns, that it's good I tell it sometimes. I try not to make everybody sick of hearing about me, but thought Petite might get a little comfort.

At least you're catching yourself while your child is 5. I'v realized that my 17-year-old daughter has had too much done for her too..has gotten her way too much from me because of my guilt that father is just plain out and out, no good!!! I'm sorry to say that about another person, but it's the truth. Anyway, she's running into situations now that are difficult, like advanced classes at school (she's smart,,not dumb like me), and she doesn't want to work hard to pass her classes..barely knows the meaning of the word "NO" and when she hears the N-word,,she gets very withdrawn, pouting? Also, her first true boyfriend, first love, been in the relationship just a couple of months, but he's going back to New Orleans Monday. She cried so hard she made me cry yesterday. Lord just get us through this one!!!

I'm glad my post did some good for a change. I wish we would hear from petite. I've got to go back to work,,I'll be typing like a crazy woman until midnight (work). W.

April 16, 2004
8:14 am
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petitefour
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Zu, Twinks and Want -
Thank you for all the wonderful insight and suggestions!!!! I feel so much better knowing I have your support.

In fact, I tried some of your suggestions last night, he was drunk again. After jumping my 12 year old son about a few kernels of dog food on the back porch, he then came to me and starting yelling. All I said, was "I understand you are upset, I will ask my son to clean up better after himself when he feeds the dog, excuse me I have some laundry to do-- Your point has been taken". Then he slurred, "I suppose I am the ONLY one who cares what this place looks like." I said, "NO......I acknowledged your concern and I agree. Lets move on." He finally stopped yelling and stumbled off.

Even though I felt bad for my son to have to hear his rantings over a few kernels of food left on the back porch, I knew that I had salvaged an evening that could have had a minor issue turn into something MUCH bigger. I felt I was the bigger person for not allowing myself to become defensive and angry over his issues.

He is getting worse with the drinking (It happens more and more lately). In the past, he would and I would have excepted the blame for this increase in drinking,but I am becoming smarter!Another change I have made is that I plan to do something with one of my daughters this evening and her boyfriend (I also have a 19 year old and a 17 year old daughter).

Therefore, my husband will be home alone with his two children (14 year old boy and 11 year old girl). I am certain that when I return tonight (after picking my son up from a birthday party) he will be drunk or passed out. In the past, I would have not gone out and done something I wanted to do, for fear of what he would/would not do (while drinking) and stayed home to watch out for his children's interests. His own children appear to be blind to all this. I suppose this is normal. I did not grow up in an alcholic home. His children do not understand how my children feel about my husband/their father's drinking. They feel we are all just picking on their father. I feel badly for them, this is all they have known. His first wife left him for his drinking and his lies.

I am trying. I am trying really hard not to allow his drinking and anger problems ruin my days. I am trying.

ZuZu, Twinks and Want-- angel kisses to you all!!! Please know that I have been deeply touched by your honesty and willingness to help me with your suggestions. This is SO great! :0)

April 16, 2004
10:12 am
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zuzuspetals
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Petite-
Way to disengage and detach. Good for you to get out of the house. When your behavior changes for the better maybe he will slowly come around and become aware of his alcohol problem and you will continue to become stronger and healthier. I know what you mean about the weekends are the worst. I began dreading the weekends, because there was never any peace. Only anger and fighting and drunkeness. The kids suffered and honestly my daughter blamed me for a while because she only got the part that I was angry and walking in the door starting a fight with her daddy. Even though he would belittle both of us. Now that he has been sober for a little while he has realized the pain and damage he did to not only himself but his whole family. Alcoholism -the family disease. I don't know if we are allowed to post good books to read on here or not. I know a great book that can help anyone in a dysfunctional family or that came from one. Let me know if we are allowed to post info like that. Keep up the good work and stay strong. Remember whatever he is saying that is negative about you or your kids is really how he views himself. He just can not deal with his feelings. I will check the website periodically this weekend. Keeping you all in my prayers.

Want- I love reading all of your posts. You are really together girl. Please post often because I really get a lot out of what you are saying.

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