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frustrated and terrified
November 1, 2006
2:04 pm
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katiescarlet
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I'm new to this board. I found it after surfing the web for info on codependency. My husband of 13 years is recovering from alcoholism and has 9 months sober. As much as I see changes with him regarding our 3 children, he just seems to revert back to his old ways with me. I never seem to be enough for him and I just can't seem to get past his infidelities. I am slowly coming to the realization that I don't want to live like this for the rest of my life. However, I am terrified of ending our marriage. How do you know when its over????

We get along pretty well but it seems that as soon as I disappoint him, particularly when it comes to sex, he reverts back to blaming me for our problems. Am I ridiculous that I haven't gotten over the infidelity in a mere 9 months and I have difficulty feeling intimate with him? How do I approach this without hurting his feelings and for that matter why am I still worried about hurting his feelings? Am I the only reasonably intelligent woman who turns into a pathetic codependent with a man who has treated me shabbily for 17 years? I feel pretty alone right now and could use some advice/support.
Thanks

November 1, 2006
2:20 pm
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justhinking
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Welcome Katie
After being with someone for 17 years of course it is scary to move on but only you know what you have to do. Dealing with his alcholizm for so many years and now being sober for 9 months and he still insults you when you are intimate is quite insulting and surely brings down your self esteem, however, hurting his feelings should not even be an option when yours are not even considered.
This is a good site to find if not answers, definetely comfort, knowing you are not alone.

November 1, 2006
2:23 pm
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ScaredinMichigan
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Honey you aren't alone at all. A lot of us here have put up with people, men, friends, family, whatever treating us like crap forever...You are safe here, and you are NOT alone. You will find much comfort around here, and many people who know your pain. This one (infedelity) in particular I don't honestly know well what that is like. I do know what it is like to be codependant though, and I KNOW that you are not alone there either. Stick around here a little while and people will start popping up and talking to you about it. Rest assured you are not alone, you will be heard here, and you will be told that your feelings are validated...

One quick question though...DO you want your marriage over? Are you looking to save it or do you REALLY want it over with?

Scared

November 1, 2006
2:27 pm
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lovingmom
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katiescarlet - I don't have any real great advice concerning your situation, but I just wanetd to let you know even though you feel alone in your quest for answers, you are not. You have come to a great place with a lot of people who are really helpful and knowledgable about codependency and relationships in general. I believe that to get over infidelity is a huge thing to do. If you are having trouble letting it go, I don't blame you. When I first came to this site a couple of months ago I was seeking answers to questions about my 8 year marriage (13 years together). I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. Now that I've been here a while I realize it's not just me. I have been verbally and emotionally abused by the man I thought was the love of my life. I've had to dig deep inside of me to find the answers to some of my questions and still struggle on a daily basis with the confusion of it all. I started counseling on my own after my husband refused to go. I have found that very beneficial and look forward to each and every appointment because of how free I feel to express myself there. That might be something you would want to look into if you haven't already. I'm now learning that I have to work on me and I can't be responsible for my husband's emotional well-being any more. It's hard, really hard and I'm still learning. I'm so glad you decided to post here. You'll find a lot of insightful and caring people here. To answer your question, no you are not the only reasonably intelligent woman who turns into a codependent with a man who has treated you shabbily for 17 years. I left out the word pathetic because I don't think you're pathetic at all. We all have a right to be happy and live our lives as we want to (that's something else I've learned here). Take care of you. Keep posting and asking and learning.

November 1, 2006
2:31 pm
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jastypes
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katie,

Let me encourage you to take things one day at a time, and to seek support and help for yourself. No, 9 months is not a long time to get over infidelity and abuse that accompanies alcoholism. I have been married to an addict for 21 years. He has, thankfully, been clean and sober for almost 2 years now, but we still have issues. That's natural and to be expected.

A group called Celebrate Recovery has helped me tremendously. It's a Christ-centered 12-step program. I believe Al-Anon and CoDa meetings are also just as helpful to people in our situation.

My husband and I also participated in marriage counseling for a short period of time. I had gone so far as to draw up the divorce papers about a year ago, but have hung on, hung in, and managed to continue with my own recovery from co-dependency. Our counselor told my husband that the only way to rebuild trust is with CONSISTENT days, weeks and months of respectful and honoring behavior. My husband is getting there. I think I wrote last year that he couldn't put 2 minutes together! Now he can get a whole week in. We actually do not live together during the week, but only on the weekends, mostly because of his job situation. That works for me. It's given us some much-needed space.

You'll find your own way, but I do encourage counseling and support groups. You may change your mind a million times back and forth about divorce. That's okay. One day at a time, sweetie.

November 1, 2006
2:44 pm
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lovingmom
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I should also add, when I read your comment, "I am slowly coming to the realization that I don't want to live like this for the rest of my life. However, I am terrified of ending our marriage. How do you know when its over????", my heart just went out to you because this is exactly what I've been saying to myself for months. It's hard to know. I still don't know. I would feel so guilty tearing our family apart (2 kids). I also think my husband is an alcoholic (although he doesn't think so and will never admit to this) and needs to address this problem for things to work between us. I am only sharing my own story because I know when I first came here and heard others' stories, especially ones similar to mine, I felt much less alone and scared about all of it. Hope it helps.

November 1, 2006
3:48 pm
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atalose
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Welcome katie,

Change happens when the pain of holding on becomes greater then the fear of letting go.

It doesn't sound like your husband is going to be the one to change, so that leaves change up to you.

Have you though about or gone to any al-anon meetings? Even though he is sober now, his behavior is still alcoholic.
I would also suggest reading "Codependant no more". The more you learn about alcoholism and co-dep the more you will understand how to make changes for yourself.
Glad you found this site, there are some wonderful people here with great wisdom.

Atalose

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

November 1, 2006
5:46 pm
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katiescarlet - i am sorry for you that you are hurting. Drawing the curtain of your marriage back and not knowing what you´ll find behind the facade, must be pretty terrifying.
The question is ... can you really keep yourself for another 13 years or so from doing it ?

"when (as soon as) you can be enough for (to) "you" ... then you´ll know it´s really and finally ... over ".

November 1, 2006
6:14 pm
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katiescarlet
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Thank you all for your words of wisdom and support. I have purchased Codependant No More, and see myself in the first few pages. I have tried AL-ANON but I don't think the group I went to was for me and it's hard to shop around when you have 3 young children and the hubby is always at work or AA.

I guess my biggest problem is figuring out how to change my own behavior. I still become a ball of anxiety whenever he is in a mood or I am feeling negatively about something. The whole, "don't rock the boat" thing.

I am also so ashamed of myself at the same time. I have a college degree from a prestigious university, and by all appearances, people consider me an intelligent, strong woman, yet for years I have allowed myself to enable his lousy behavior. It's hard to look in the mirror and admit what I have let myself become. I actually believed for years that if I was just a little thinner, or a little more fun in bed, or a little more whatever else he complained about that he would be the husband I wanted him to be. [email protected] mentioned pulling back the facade of my marriage. I feel like I am pulling back the facade of myself and it is very ugly.

I am determined to be the woman I can be proud to be. I want to be an example for my daughter. I am just so scared that it will end my marriage. I don't think my husband can handle a me who is not a doormat.

November 1, 2006
6:26 pm
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lovingmom
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I can definitely relate with the doormat comment. Any positive changes you try to make for yourself will be met with negativity on his part, right? I know that so well. I've tried explaining to my husband that I just want to be the best person I can be so that maybe we can have a healthy, happy relationship. He doesn't want anything to change because he gets what he wants this way and if I "rock the boat" (to use your words) then he acts like a scolded child and I get the silent treatment for 3-4 days.

Your determination to be that woman you want to be will take you far. Just believe in yourself, be kind to yourself and be strong.

November 1, 2006
6:43 pm
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atalose
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If you don't want to be a doormat then you have to make the choice to get up off the floor.
Resistance is the defense to our offense of standing up for ourselves.
I was married to a very controlling man, when I began to change, his moods and behavior became worse. But that too passed, I no longer allowed his moods to direct my life. The first time I stood up for myself and did not back down was empowering to say the least. It gave me drive to continue to live for me instead of for him. My children were being scared by his behavior even though I was thinking I was keeping things as normal as possible. How normal is it for one person to control everyone around him wtih his moods? How normal was it that daddy didn't talk for days at a time? How normal was it for me to think things were normal!!
I did not want to see my boys repeating their fathers ill behavior, I did not want my boys to treat there wives with such little respect. I though that by telling them it was not nice to act that way, they would grow up not acting that way, but, it becomes learned behavior. Think about how you feel and then ask youself if that is what you want for your children to feel when they grow up.
That's what got me off the floor, my kids and there future.

Atalose

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

November 1, 2006
7:46 pm
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lovingmom
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atalose - I loved your last post. I know you've responded to my situation before and you've always had good advice. I can relate very well with not wanting our children to learn this behavior. I do want my daughter to have a wonderful, healthy life free from abuse of any kind and I want the same for my son. I want them to know how to treat the people in their lives with fairness, respect and true love and receive all of that in return. I feel that what I have with my husband is far from that at this point and we're teaching them that this is all okay. That makes me sick. I have to do something about it and that's what I'm so focused on doing now.

November 1, 2006
8:27 pm
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lovingmom
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katiescarlet - Another thought here. You mentioned that your biggest problem is figuring out how to change your behavior. Your're right; this is tough! Even when you start to learn how to change the behavior, you meet many obstacles, which is where I am now. I've read a few books and learned how to approach things a little differently and I either get "your counselor told you to say/do that" or "aren't you the smartest b____ now that you're learning your therapy talk" or something along those lines from my husband and it is frustrating to say the least. He's so conditioned and has me so conditioned in the unhealthy ways of our relationship that any change causes him to be very defensive. I'm struggling with this, but am determined to keep moving forward. I can't stay where I am and definitely can't go back to where I was. Good luck to you. I hope you can start moving forward too. Actually, opening up here was a big step forward, so hooray for you!

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