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Do I really need therapy??
May 26, 2009
9:22 am
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Cici
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I used to post here many years ago. I'm back again, with different problems. I really need some help or at least support right now, please, if you read this...

I'm having a rough time in my life. Right now my fiance and I seem to argue all the time, every morning it seems. I feel like I am fighting back tears most of the time. I am definitely depressed, but I don't know if it's due to my situation or if I really need to take medication again.

Here's the deal. I have a 10.5 month old son and I stay home with him. I love him so much, but it can be hard to be alone with little adult contact. I do go to play group and play dates and I visit with my Mom and older sister who both live in town.

My fiance is a recovering alcoholic. Never drank every day, he would just go on 24 hour binges. He refuses to go to AA or see a therapist and has been "white knuckling" it for the past 2 months, so he hasn't been the most fun to be around. He is a great father and a nice guy, but sometimes he can just get mean and snappy for no reason out of the blue. He has an 11 year old son from a previous marriage (I met him 2 years after he got divorced) and there has been a custody battle going on for the past few months - whenever they have to talk on the phone about exchanging their son they argue about child support and who gets to have him when...it makes me uncomfortable. It makes me upset, sometimes. Finally, though, it seems like some kind of resolution is in place and his son was supposed to move in to my house this week (the house belongs to my family, I lived here for several years before meeting my fiance).

To top it all off, I've had to end my friendship with my best friend of 20 years recently because of certain choices she has been making recently. I still care about her, but I just have to take a step back for now - and it hurts, we used to talk all the time and I feel very alone.

So that's it in a nutshell. I'm feeling really sad and depressed. Earlier today I ended my relationship with my fiance as well. He told me that I have serious issues and that I need to get help...

But I feel like I have a lot on my plate right now, and I have been asking for a little extra support. I've been to therapy several times in my life, and I have a degree in psychology. I have a toolkit, I can go to it and if I have some time for reflection, reading, prayer, meditation - I can always get back on my feet.

It's just that everything has sort of dropped onto the top of my head all at once (it feels like) and I can't get my footing. I need some perspective. Some uninvolved parties to bounce ideas off of...

May 26, 2009
9:30 am
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Cici
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I have to get some of this out of my head while my son is still taking a nap and I have free hands....

I think I am always angry at my fiance, all the time. I don't think about it a lot, but it surfaces quickly and easily. I'm angry for all the times he left and turned off his phone and came back the next morning smelling like booze and feeling sorry for himself. Then I would always have to take care of him the next day - angry the whole time that he had left me, that he wasn't at work being responsible...that everything my family had said about him was right.

Then he would always get right for a while. We'd pray together, have dinner every night and coffee in the mornings before he went to work. He'd be loving and sweet, and he'd knock off a few things on the "honey do" list.

Then, inevitably, it would happen. I could feel it - really. Like a cloud passing over the sun before the storm. I knew he would be going off the drink, I have no idea how I always know...and I get frantic, you know? Because I know it's coming, and I'm so scared and I don't want it to happen SO BADLY....but I end up being a bitch or being sensitive or being clingy, and he goes off and does it again....and I zig zag from angry to sad to depressed to self righteous to guilty to just plain numb.

I'm not a good mother when this happens. I cry too much. My son will crawl to me and pat my face and try to make me smile and it breaks my heart more because he shouldn't have to see this and I should be stronger than this. I should be able to hide the tears and the anger from him. I should be able to put it aside to be his mother completely. Sometimes he starts crying, too, and I have to put him in his crib and walk away to sob in the corner until I can get a hold of myself enough to be there for him in a proper manner - and those are the worst, darkest times. They kill me.

May 26, 2009
9:58 am
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atalose
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(((Cici)))

Welcome back, glad to see you got your tool box out and opened it up!!!!!!!!

Do you feel you have truly had enough of this un-healthy relationship to keep it ended for good?

You made a healthy choice to end your long time friendship of 20 years, you’ve only been with this guy a few years right? He doesn’t seem to want to stop drinking for good, so again I ask you, have you had enough. Did alcohol play a part in the demise of his previous marriage?

Remember, history doesn’t repeat itself – people repeat history.

You do have a crystal ball of sorts for your own future. Look hard and deep into his previous and current interactions with his ex-wife and his child because no doubt he will repeat the same with you and your son.

Keep posting………

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

May 26, 2009
10:11 am
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Cici
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Ah thank you, it's nice to just have someone listen for a bit. Like a breath of fresh air.

He seems like he really does want to quit drinking - but he doesn't want to get help or anything like that. I've even asked for us to see a premarital counselor, but if I don't do all the legwork we'll never go and it seem symbolic to me - if he won't even participate in finding a therapist, will he actually participate in the therapeutic process?

Anyways, at this point I have ended things with my fiance. I just have this jumble of unresolved blech to deal with.

I feel guilty about his older son, who really loves his brother (my son). I wanted to be there for him, and not leave like everyone else has - and I won't be allowed to do that, not with things the way they are with my fiance.

I still love my fiance, even though things are such a mess. What kills me is that I see that we are both good people, who have suffered and who have weaknesses - and you know, if it weren't for those weaknesses, we could be together. We could be good to each other. And the fact that we can't sticks in my craw. It makes me feel powerless and out of control.

This morning I felt so crazy. I was angry - the thing is, I have this simmering rage at my fiance, I feel like he mistreated me and he OWES it to me to get better. So I lord it over him. That he owes me, for taking care of him. For sticking with him. For hiding his flaws from his coworkers and family.

It's a sick dance of emotional blackmail. I've even said before that he needs to kiss my ass for what he's done. It needs to end.

But I feel so bad for my son. I wish things could be different for him. I wish he could have two parents who loved each other and themselves enough to stay together. I feel guilty for bringing him into this world and not giving him that.

For all their flaws, my parents loved each other deeply. It's something I draw strength from - that my existence is the expression of such a deep love. It's something I wish I could give to my son, too...

I grew up being spoon fed the idea that happy endings are a right. They are not. You struggle for them, and ultimately endings are always bittersweet.

May 26, 2009
10:54 am
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atalose
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For a long time, I thought I knew what I wanted in life, it always HAD A HAPPY ENDING. I wanted a dedicated loving partner, a nice house, children, pets, secure retirement, etc. As my recovery has progressed, I have slowly realized that maybe what I thought I wanted in life was too specific. I think it was more about control and what I thought I "should" want in life, rather than what my heart and soul really wants.

In order to find out what I really want in life, I had to experience some things that I, for sure, know without a doubt, I DON'T want in life. One of those was being married to an explosive, controlling alcoholic. But, there are others, too.

I don't really have a lot of control over what life sends my way. I do, however, have control over what I embrace and what I reject. That's what I mean about being too specific. Rather than insisting life gives me what I want, I can only choose from what is available. For example, I am not powerful enough to fabricate a dedicated, loving partner. I can, however, choose whether or not a particular person fits in my life.

All this is to say that maybe it's more important to recognize what we don't want in life, than to itemize the details of what we do want. Acceptance is the overriding principal that keeps me balanced these days. I tend to explore and pursue the opportunities that "feel right," while avoiding or minimizing situations that don't.

I am really only along for the ride in the grand design of it all, but I can do some steering. And one of the greatest joys of acceptance for me has been the realization that uncertainty is just part of the adventure. Looking at life in this way has helped me to embrace my fears, knowing that whatever I experience will only make me stronger and wiser.

I do believe most of your frustration is coming from attempting to control him, his behavior and his addiction, something you will never be able to do. You said “he seems like he really does want to quit drinking, but, he doesn’t want to get help or anything like that. Up until today, him wanting to quit on his own without any help just hasn’t worked has it other wise alcohol would not be a problem in his life which then effects the lives of those around him.

I think you made a very wise yet painful decision to end things with him. Nothing says that there is no future for the two of you if you both do some work on yourselves but attempting to make him come along for the ride into pre-marriage counseling isn’t the way towards that. He needs to WANT to seek help on his own and all of his actions say he doesn’t, sorry. So you work on you, al-anon may be a good place for you to check out as well as continuing to post here.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

May 26, 2009
11:07 am
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Cici
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Thanks so much. Your words moved me, likely because I was in a position that allowed them to move me. My son is awake and playing next to me and seeing him gives me more perspective.

I'm reading Dr. David Burns' "Feeling Good" - a do-it-yourself CBT primer that helped me immensely 3 years ago when my father passed away and I was struggling with a deep depression. It's helping me to let go of the anger, at least for the moment. Anger can motivate you to actually do the deed (like end my relationship with fiance and friend) - but after the deed is done I need something more stable to fuel my self work.

Anyways, there will always be another mountain to climb. I used to wish that I could just be at peace and not have to fight for happiness. Maybe it would be better to look at it differently and find happiness in the journey, even if it only for a few moments sometimes. My son just climbed onto me a smiled and reminded me of how happy I was when he was born.

May 26, 2009
11:08 am
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Cici
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I was feeling really desperate and had some crazy thoughts there for a few hours...thank you so much for being here to help me.

May 26, 2009
11:18 am
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Dear Cici -

I was a little bit puzzled by your initial posting in which you described your fiance (and the father of your son) as a "recovering" alcoholic. In what way is he seeking and actively pursuing recovery?

He seems like a classic, "binge" alcoholic with no desire to change. When he wants to binge, he does so. Period. End of story. And he does not care how that impacts you and his child. That is the selfishness of an alcoholic/addict, still in active use and still denying the need for treatment.

As far as YOU dragging him off to therapy? As a professional in the business, you know that doesn't work. I remember my former psychologist sharing with me that he would not allow wives/girlfriends to make appointments for their husbands/bf's. Why? Because that meant the wife/girlfriend needed treatment...and the husband/bf probably needed it, but was not ready for it and didn't want it. Bottom line: nothing would be gained. He required that EACH individual seeking counseling contact him directly. Makes sense when you think about it.

I am hopeful that you will remain apart from this man and not consider marrying him. You expressed your enjoyment of being a stay-at-home-mom with your infant son. Please don't stay with this man, simply for financial reasons, either. By all means, explore every legal avenue for child support for your son, although it doesn't sound as if this man is very reliable in that department. However you see him treating his exwife and child is what you can probably expect in your own situation.

You do seem educated and intelligent enough to provide a reasonably good living for yourself and your baby boy. Unfortunately, it appears that you will probably have to do so.

Most of the wives/partners of alcoholics whom I have come to know well have found themselves in a similar situation because so many alcoholics are very poor, inconsistent providers.

Please keep posting and let us know how you are holding up to all these difficult changes and deep disappointments. I know you are grieving. You had such hopes that he would turn away from the booze and get the support he needs. However, he is the only one who can make that choice.

You have done all that you can possibly do.

- Ma Strong

May 26, 2009
11:38 am
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Cici
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Argh. Thanks for that, though. I need to hear it, over and over again. He often tells me that I "always turn things around to make them about his drinking."

I sometimes do feel like I am just going insane. Totally crazy. Like I have intense weird thoughts - thoughts of suicide, even. I won't act on it, but I am acknowledging here that I have thought about it. Is it me? Maybe I am too sensitive. I over react. I get so angry at him, so so angry. I put him out of the house a hundred times, but he would just go binge while I tried desperately to work through things and cried and prayed and researched.

Whenever he comes back I feel paralyzed. Helpless, like I can't do anything but let him back into the house. I think about what he would do. He doesn't take care of himself. To most people, that would be something repulsing and disgusting. To me, the codependent...well it's not NOT disgusting, but I am compelled to help nonetheless.

God, let me work this out of my system. Help me to exorcise this.

May 26, 2009
1:39 pm
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atalose
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Cici,

You are experiencing the classic codependent – alcoholic relationship. The alcoholic goes about his life drinking and blaming and twisting and turning things around on you taking the focus off his drinking. The codependent becomes obsessed with fixing and repairing the alcoholic so HER DREAM LIFE WILL BECOME A REALITY FOR HER, remember the happy endings!!!!!

We make every attempt to force the square peg into the round hole bringing about our own insanity. I think al-anon would really help as another tool for yourself.

Thinking about what he will do without you…..umm with that kind of thinking we convince ourselves that we are their ONLY hope, their ONLY salvation, the ONLY ONE who is EVER there for them when we do that we just waltzed into the jail cell, closed the door, reached our arm thru the bars, locked the door and tossed the keys as far as we possible throw them. We need to take a real good hard look at OURSELVES….and ask are we really “helping” them or are we enabling them to continue on their road to destruction dragging us along for that ride.

Something I learned a while ago……alcoholics don’t have relationships, they take hostages………………

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

May 26, 2009
4:26 pm
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Cici
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I do feel like a hostage. It's my house - I've lived here since I was 7 years old. But he won't give me my key back. He's come and gone just now..."showered and hauled ass" as he likes to say.

A sane person would leave it alone and take a step back for a few days but he just stops by to throw me for a loop. I told him that this needs to stop, if he wants me to be a good mother and be available for my son...he doesn't care.

I am codependent, I have been that way for years. When I was in therapy this last time, the years before I conceived my son, though, my therapist loved my fiance. Thought he was the bees knees. Encouraged me to stay with him. I have spent the last few years convincing myself over and over that he is good for me, I am crazy and oversensitive and neurotic and controlling and obsessive.

I have my negative self talk on an endless loop repeating in my head.

I'm going to be honest right now, and truthfully I haven't been honest even with myself in a long time.

I did want to kill myself this morning. I got so far as to call him home from work. I just left without any explanation. I said I had to leave and I wasn't going to be back. I tried to write a letter to my son, but my fiance said he wouldn't give it to him anyway. So I just left, with two bottles of tranquilizers in my purse and no shoes on.

I drove aimlessly for an hour. I thought about my son. I couldn't leave him like this. I knew then that something had to change. I needed to do something different or I would die. And I knew that during this process of separation my fiance would make me feel like I wished I was dead - probably several times. But I have to climb this mountain.

When I got back he was gone, our son was gone. I called him and demanded that he bring back my son - I don't know where he was. He did bring him back though. That's when I told him to get out.

May 27, 2009
10:59 am
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atalose
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Cici,

I am so very sorry that you found yourself so overwhelmed by your emotions that thinking about taking your own life seemed to be the answer.

Are you in therapy now? Do you feel the need now to go back and get your emotions under control?

You stated that you know you are oversensitive, neurotic, controlling and obsessive. Do you feel that what you did yesterday morning was really an attempt to control your fiancé into being more sensitive to you and your wants and needs? Have you done things like that in the past to gain his attention?

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

May 27, 2009
1:41 pm
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Cici
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Oh no, I wasn't trying to get his attention - he doesn't even know what I was trying to do, still doesn't. He assumed I was just leaving and ditching my responsibilities as a mother.

I am actually NOT oversensitive, neurotic, controlling, obsessive. I was saying that I convinced myself that I was all these things, because I wanted to put the blame on my shoulders. I didn't want to think that I was really just unhappy with my situation because it is a sucky situation.

Psychologist Viktor Frankl, who created the concept of logotherapy, was a concentration camp survivor. He's my favorite theorist. He says that when you are in an insane situation, it is perfectly sane to have an insane reaction. It would be a little odd, in my estimation, to be confronted with insanity and not feel like you are going crazy, or that the world has turned upside down.

Living with an alcoholic, though, can make anyone second guess themselves.

I think yesterday morning was a turning point for me. I felt like I had two options, only - kill myself, or get the hell out of this relationship. Because I cannot handle this anymore, and that is not exaggeration. If I have to go through one more endless, stupid conversation about how I am oversensitive and crazy and he is not an alcoholic and he doesn't need to get help, I do....

What the hell have I been trying to preserve? I don't want my son growing up and seeing this and thinking it's OK to treat a woman like this, that it's OK to live your life like this.

I've spent the last 24 hours feeling so sad. Last night I felt OK for a bit, but today - just endless conversations that hurt me. He says I need to get tough and learn how to handle what he says.

I went by his work today. I brought our son during his lunch hour so they could visit. My fiance asked me if I wanted anything to drink, and I kind of jokingly said, "Yeah, a beverage."

He got pissed off immediately, because he hates it when I say vague things like that. I tried to tell him that I was just kidding, and that I just wanted him to tell me what I had to choose from. He is so severe and insistent about how I say things. Like I don't speak in what he considers to be an appropriate manner.

He kept going on and on about how he would offer me a brick or a piece of concrete to drink next time and I just stood up and put the baby in the car and said, "I have to go."

I left. He called me while I was driving home and went off on how I should have just sucked it up and stayed. Why am I so weak that I can't handle the way he talks? Why does it seem like he is harsh and mean with me?

It's just that....I went out of my way and drove across town so he could hang out with his son and he can't even just be civil with me?

May 27, 2009
2:29 pm
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atalose
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I guess I am confused cici, yesterday you told him to get out and it was over and today you drive across town so he can hang out with his son?????

Was he at home last night? I know you mentioned him coming there to shower or something but did he spend the night?

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

May 31, 2009
8:37 am
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Cici
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Just because he and I are over, I am not going to keep his son from him. Give me a break, that would make me a huge bitch. Our issues are between us - not between him and his son. I don't want him at the house, so my only choice is to drive to his work - neutral territory as far as I'm concerned, because we're surrounded by his coworkers and he is afraid to act out publicly.

I think that's a mistake a lot of women make - they try to keep their children from their father because they are mad at the father. That's just stupid. My son is attached to his Dad, and beyond all OUR issues he is a very good father.

May 31, 2009
10:03 am
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atalose
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I was looking at the situation viewing your codependency and how that plays into NOT being able to detach emotionally from this man for yourself.

Neutral territory is a safe way to keep yourself from his rants and acting out so would allowing him to take his son for a day or a weekend, without YOUR personal involvement. After all if the real goal is for him and his son to bond and spend time together there is no reason for your presents in those situations, it would then be about your son and his father.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

May 31, 2009
11:07 am
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Cici
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My son is only 11 months old and is still breastfeeding. He gets about 75% of his calories from breastmilk, which is perfectly normal and fine with our pediatrician.

He stopped taking a bottle about 2 months ago, so I sort of have to be around him because he needs to nurse and doesn't eat much solid food yet (I do baby-led weaning, which does not involve a lot of spoon feeding, he has to develop more manual dexterity to feed himself more than a handful of food).

A day without me would be out of the question, much less a weekend.

I don't know what else I can do. I just spoke with my ex briefly on the phone and told him that he will just have to deal with not seeing his son for a few weeks and he was not happy about that at all.

I don't blame him, I would be pissed off too.

June 1, 2009
1:39 pm
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FWIW, I have agreed to go to family counseling with my ex. Whether or not we continue our relationship, we will need to learn how to interact peacefully and co-parent more effectively. It's not the most pleasant prospect, but I made the choice to reproduce with this man. He loves his son and wants to be in his life. I need to learn how to get along with him without arguing all the time, even if we don't pursue a romantic relationship.

Thanks for the support and input.

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