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...just a little moral support this morning if you could--I feel like I'm going to hurl
January 9, 2007
12:17 pm
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gofigure
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Hi all,
I am feeling very nervous this morning. An old friend of mine (he and I dated for 4 years about 20 years ago) is coming to town in a few days. I've seen him a few times in the past year, but he's out of the country much of the time. I've been separated from my husband for about 11 months, but it's been very tumultuous to say the least. He (H) seems to be very dependant on me for his emotional well-being and I've played into that way way too much. There is nothing going on with this friend of mine--we kissed, but nothing more despite the fact that had I wanted to, more would have been just fine with him. It was refreshing not to have been pushed which is what I've been used to for the latter part of my marriage. Anyway, I am going to tell my husband about this visit but I'm really pretty scared about his reaction. Anytime he feels threatened he gets loud and angry or pitiful and dejected. I'm afraid he's going to make a terrible stink (he won't care whether anything is going on or not; he'll imagine it is and think I'm trying to cover up for myself, regardless of the fact that he's the one who has been caught lying to me over and over again). There have been times when he has called me in an evening so many times that I unplugged the phone. When I did that he showed up at my door. I don't want that sort of drama, but since I am always too afraid to lay down the law I'm really concerned about what he will do.

Can anyone give me some pointers on how I can handle this with him? Aside from not wanting to put my friend through any of this crap, I am concerned about my daughters and them feeling caught in the middle. I have every intention of telling him that my friend is visiting since not saying anything would be worse. I know I can't control what my husband does, but if I can react in a way that won't make things worse, that would be a start.

January 9, 2007
12:23 pm
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mj
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Hi gofigure,
Sorry to hear that your separation has been tumultuous. Are you planning on reconciliation in the future with your husband?

My husband always points out for me to put myself in his shoes in a similiar situation and that usually helps me put things in perspective.

January 9, 2007
12:23 pm
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reachingout
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you are seperated correct?couldn't you tell him after the fact so that your friend will be gone and won't be subject to any after math of this just a thought

January 9, 2007
1:26 pm
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gofigure
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Hi mj--there is no hope of reconcilliation. Too many things have gone on, and if there had been any hope before the separation, the things that have gone on since then have cemented my decision to leave. I try to put myself in his shoes, but frankly his neediness exhausts me. he is trying to get clean form his enormous cocaine habit and I respect that. He wants me to be one of his few modes of support (there really are only maybe 5 people left who he hasn't completely alienated), and I am pretty sure he will take this visit as something I've concocted to mess with him, or at the very least he will think I shouldn't entertain the idea of seeing this person because of how it will affect him. I have spent a good part of the last 14 years doing what he wanted to keep the peace: no reading before bed, the light bothered; went to bed when he did-he wanted me there next to him, regardless if I had exams to study for; couldn't read during football because I wasn't "with" him etc etc., and am loath to continue this pattern. Maybe I keep choosing the wrong time to assert myself, but I need to take my opportunities when they present themselves I think. I don't know--maybe I'm just justifying myself.

reachingout--good thought, but he'll find out. If nothing else from calling and finding out what I'm doing, but also because I won't ask my kids to lie about this. Good thoguht though.

Thanks you guys!!

~go

January 9, 2007
1:52 pm
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mj
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So basically you are being held emotional hostage by your husband that you don't divorce because he needs you? What is stopping you from filing for a divorce so that you can have a clear consequence in pursuing all that life has to offer for you and your children?

January 9, 2007
2:01 pm
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mj
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(((GF))))

I reread your thread again and I want you to know that you can empower yourself again. Its your life. You have choices to make. You know yourself and you know what is best for you and your children.

For me, marriage is a commitment. Until you get divorced, you are still in a marriage. How will you ever feel in charge of your life if your estranged husband is allowed such control over when you answer the phone and your door. Introducing your old friend back into this equation may spell disaster with your children. Children are always loyal to their birth parents in my experience. As long as you are married to their father then it truly may create guilt for you. I hope you know that you are worth having and living a full life. Best to YOU

January 9, 2007
2:10 pm
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Loralei
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Why did you even bother to separate at all? You are acting like he is still your husband and that he still has a major say in your life. What's stopping you from filing for divorce? You need to put an end to this so that YOU can have a life!!!

You are an adult. You don't need to inform anyone, not even your children, where you are going or what you plan to do or see. You don't need to "report" to anyone. And if anyone pressures you about your whereabouts, act indignant and tell them that it is none of their business. All you have to tell your children is that you are going to be out for awhile and won't be back until ______. Give them an idea of when to expect you and that way they won't worry. If you tell your estranged husband that you are seeing anyone, no matter how innocently, he will use it against you and possibly harass your friend. Don't give him any ammunition that he could also use in the divorce. Stand up for yourself for a change and quit acting like a doormat.

January 9, 2007
2:20 pm
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lettingo
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gofigure,
Maybe I missed something but WHY do you need to tell your husband at all? I'm not sure I understand especially since you do not plan to stay together and he might fly off the handle?

January 9, 2007
2:44 pm
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reachingout
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Figure,

I hope you are reading all these comments carefully they all make a lot of sence read and then read again saying each one out loud...You left him...Seperated from him...Time to make a stand.Best of luck to you whatever you do

January 9, 2007
2:47 pm
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atalose
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I agree that you are allowing your soon to be ex husband to keep you as an emotional hostage. You have spent 14 years attempting to keep the peace for him, not you. Are you willing to continue that for the rest of your life?

Isn't it time to let go? Why do you need to tell your soon to be ex husband anything about your meeting with this man? And if you feel that strongly that you do, then maybe you need to re-think your seperation because it doesn't sound like you are seperated at all.

Atalose

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

January 9, 2007
3:16 pm
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Loralei
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One more thing. YOU are the one who has been allowing your husband to totally control you. YOU have the power to stop it. When you call his bluff and stand up to him, he will back down. The less you say to him about ANYTHING, the better. If you think he's going to show up at your door, LEAVE. Or don't answer the door! He doesn't own you. You are separated. He has NO RIGHT whatsoever to do what he's doing. Tell your lawyer that you are afraid of your estranged husband and that you need a restraining order.

Until you stand up for yourself, he will continue to walk all over you. You are behaving as if you are still living together. Change YOUR behavior in order to change your circumstances.

January 9, 2007
3:25 pm
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gofigure
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Oh you guys give me alot to think about. I have been trying so hard to work on boundaries now that I've finally figured out what they are (i'm still working on personalizing them!)

mj: "How will you ever feel in charge of your life if your estranged husband is allowed such control over when you answer the phone and your door." Nail on the head!! I spoke to a counsellor about this and while talking to her it occurred to me that I am still afraid of him. He used to get physical with me when he was still drinking. Now he only needs to raise his voice and get angry to intimidate me. He's very good and I obviously have a long way to go to quit being the doormat Loralei mentioned. As for my children, my friend and I are just friends--anything more right now is out of the question and that's that. As for filing papers I have been putting it off, it's true. At first I couldn't figure out what to do as far as the parenting plan goes because I wanted to give him access to the kids and give me a day here and there to breathe. But he rarely did anything with them and then the amended the parenting plan I was writing to essentially include the caveat that he must complete drug treatment before he could spend time with them. He (I think and according to him) is seeking treatment at the moment, and I guess I've just frozen. I don't want to be with him, but I can't get over the feeling (and his constant "reminders) that I am responsible for him, regardless of the fact that I know, I know, I know this is ridiculous. These days all I want to do is lie down in a corner somewhere and be left alone. I haven't and I can't, but in the meantime all I manage to do is what is absolutely necessary. But I digress.
atalose--I think I'm afraid he's going to find out (even when I have nothing to feel guilty about, I have a guilty conscience), and if I tell him up front he can't accuse me of hiding something. I don't know why I allow him to have so much control over me even though I have physically separated. He is very good at using the: "you claim to want to be friends. Friends don't treat each other so coldly or with such contempt" And I am very good at accepting his truths as my own when in the midst of a conversation with him. He confuses my mind to the point that I feel I have no point. Oh my God, I don't know what I'm doing anymore.

January 9, 2007
4:15 pm
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atalose
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gofigure,
I can understand how frightening he must be to you especially if he was physically violent with you. That has got to send chills up and down your spine when he gets angry with you still to this day. I understand you wanting to keep him from his angry outbursts or the fear of it turning physical. I hope you can really work on that in counseling because I do know you can get beyond your fears of him so your life belongs to you once and for all.
Active addicts are great at manipulating others and always twisting things to their advantage, i.e. him telling you “you said you want to be friends”. As you said friends don’t do that to each other. He also sounds like he has a major control issue.
You have set a habit or pattern with him and you will need to work on breaking some of those habits, counseling can help you figure out what habits keep you tied to him even if
You don’t see them right now, those patterns will begin to show and you’ll realize them and find better ways to cope and handle him.
Have you ever though about going to al-anon or nar-anon meetings in your area? I went to al-anon years ago and then recently began going again because my fiancée relapsed after 8 years of sobriety and began taking pain pills which caused his addiction to re-surface.
I have learned so much in al-anon, many ideas are shared about ways to handle situations with addicts/alcoholics. But mostly it is a way to learn about yourself and learn better more peaceful coping skills for your own sanity.
Posting here is also a support system for you, support systems are so important, it helps us reach our goals and become healthier and happier.

Atalose

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

January 9, 2007
4:34 pm
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gofigure
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Thank you atalose. I have thought about alanon (as well as alateen for my 11 & 12 yr olds), but never manage to get there. I do have an appointment with my dr. to se about getting back on antidepressants which I hope will help with this extreme apathy and desire to just let it all go to Hell. I have heard miraculous stories of alanon and I will make a concerted effort to go. I'm sorry to hear about your fiancee--relapses come as such a shock, but hopefully it is a wakeup call to him that he has work yet to do. I appreciate your kind and caring post. My heart is racing with all this. I just want to be able to hang on to my own truth and self and not be rocked about by every manipulative/controlling comment. I tend to see it for what it si AFTER the fact, but in the midst I'm like "you're right, I'm wrong"

Thanks you so so much!!
(((((((((((((())))))))))))))))))

January 9, 2007
4:36 pm
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mj
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(((((((GF)))))))))))

Its okay to take it slow...Be Gentle with yourself. I recommend a book on Boundaries by Townsend and Cloud. It really help me to understand the boundary issue I was having. I am sorry you feel so terrorized that you want to curl up in a corner. Another big hug and love sent your way. You will get through this dear. You are an Amazing Human Being and YOU are not alone. Recovery is a life long process. Do something kind for yourself.

January 9, 2007
4:43 pm
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risingfromtheashes
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I agree to meet at a public place, AWAY from the kids and your husband...and tell them you are going out to dinner or shopping with a friend, and can reach you on the cell in an emergency.

Then go out.

and then if you feel the need to tell the husband, you can THEN tell him.

The kids can't tell him anything they don't know.

Better yet, have them sleep over a friend's house...so they won't even know you are leaving the house.

It sounds sneaky, but if that's what it takes to circumvent his nastiness right now.

In the end, you know you need to address the control YOU GIVE HIM, the power you allow him to have over you.

But in the meantime, this could be the only way to have a peaceful visit, without interruption.

and turn your cell on silent and check it for the kids, but don't answer the husband calls while you are out.

January 10, 2007
10:05 am
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gofigure
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Thank you mj. I will look for that book. Feels like it should be my bible!! And I appreciate your gentleness toward me. I feel like such an idiot so much of the time over this.

rising--well, already flubbed it. I told my husband last night about the visit because when he asked me what was going on this weekend, lying to him makes me shake so I just told him. My kids already knew about my friend coming, so...

The thing is, I don't feel like I'm doing anything wrong. This is an old friend. We have a romantic history, but my husband is friends with ex-girlfriends and I have never expressed any desire for him not to see them. Granted the situation is a bit complicated with the separation and all. Oh, I don't know. H wants to talk today--about "our early realtionship". Now whether this is about how in love we were or whether he wants to bring up a particular issue that I've already "paid" for with him, I don't know. Of course anytime I bring up our past to illustrate why I feel the way I do today, it's unacceptable--he wants to talk about the present. Why is it I feel so unable to cut him off significantly?? I keep caving in to his requests to take care of his fragile self--I'm sure I fail miserably much of the time-he's told me as much, but I really feel I do try. I feel sucked dry and when I tell him this I am selfish and am concerned only with myself. Ahhh...I've got to run (late again). Maybe my thoughts will be more coherent later.

blech

January 10, 2007
11:11 am
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feelingfree
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Hi Gofigure~

Oh boy, did your story bring back memories for me!!

My ex-H and I were separated for 3 years. During that time I felt the need to tell him ALL of my business in fear of.. who knows what I feared.. him being 'mad' at me? LOL
I constantly had a guilty conscience, no matter what. So, needless to say, dating during that time was a joke- he would show up at my home during the date, leave notes on my car, call me before and after with all kinds of accusations and guilt-ploys.. it was a mess.

I came to the conclusion that I was only hurting myself by not setting clear boundaries with him and acting as if we were still married (guilt). I eventually told him that my life was my own, and that he would be told NOTHING that did not have to do with our son. And if he continued to harrass me, I would get a PFA order. He didn't like it, but it worked.

You are separated and have a right to your own life. There is nothing to feel guilty about. He is a big boy.. you don't have to protect his feelings (I had a problem with that myself!)

Good luck- and have a good time with your friend!

January 10, 2007
11:47 am
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mj
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Growing up in a dysfunctional home, I didn't have any boundaries. I didn't even understand that I had any rights. Through the years I am learning to trust myself and know when something feels out of whack, it is. I am glad that you trusted yourself and did what you felt was right for you today. I am learning that sometimes I have unearned guilt as well. Life is a journey, a day at a time. Learn to cherish yourself. A friend shared with me how harsh I am with self judgements. I am practicing replacing this self criticism with loving thoughts and stopping the negative ones before I continue buying into those false beliefs. A long time ago, a counselor gave me a sheet that had Rights on it. I didn't know I had any. I will try and find it and post it for you. Enjoy your day and if it doesn't feel right when your husband talks with you then Stand UP for YOURSELF. You know what you want and need to take care of yourself. Just listen. ((((gf))))

January 10, 2007
12:02 pm
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atalose
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Gofigure,

I don’t mean this in a bad way at all, but you are equipped, you don’t have the proper tools yet to continue to have talks like this with your separated husband. Especially if he is going to dreg up the past. It’s funny how the past works as a weapon to those choosing to hurt us, yet when we use that same weapon against them, they combat it with wanting to stay in the present.

Maybe you could agree to just talk over the phone, not in person if you feel strongly that you must talk to him. This way you are setting a boundary, you won’t feel overwhelmed by a person to person confrontation and could possible build a little more strength over the phone. Just a though…..

Atalose

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

January 10, 2007
12:12 pm
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atalose
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I meant to say NOT equipped, sorry....

Atalose

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

January 10, 2007
5:09 pm
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gofigure
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It does me good to know I am not the only one out there who feels so responsible for an Ex. I have felt like such a freak and a failure because I always end up doing what he wants in response to his personal pity party and then when I embarass myself by being snitty and all passive-aggressive I feel guilty and like a horrible person and then feel even worse when he does something nice. Why can't he just stay a selfish prick instead of being kind sometimes?? rrrgggggggggggggg.

I need to realize that I don't "owe" him anything, even though I've told him I would try to be kind and gentle with his feelings. It keeps getting all twisted--all the crap that's gone on that has made my love die a slow painful death coupled with the fact that on some level I do still care, added to the fact that all my buttons have been fully exposed to him in the past. When I am feeling so manipulated I start wondering if this is all a creation in my head. That maybe **I'M** the crazy one here and he really DOES know what he's talking about. How do they do that? I am not a stupid woman, but I don't seem to trust me as far as I could throw me.

On a more positive note, just the fact that I am recognizing some of this lets me know some sanity is present. Guess I'm rambling because I know we're going to have this conversation today and it will either be accussatory or gentle and I'm trying not to project too much. it seems just when I am ready to tell him off is the time when he backs down and lays off. I wonder if he has any awareness of this??

crazy-making

January 10, 2007
5:35 pm
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Hi Go,

I really feel for you - I understand the feeling of being an emotional hostage. You're not - and on paper that's easy to read or say - but it sounds like you've been living that way for years and things won't change overnight.

There's a letetr somewhere on these threads from "an addict" - does anyone remember where? It's a mock-up explaining that the addict is unable to love or be whole because the addiction is all consuming and means that the addict is totally self-centred. It really hits the nail on the head.

My Mom drank, heavily, for years and my family did a lot of tiptoeing. Let me ask you this - did any of your tiptoeing (how can you be "with" someone watching the football?! He made you come to bed with him so he wasn't alone??) ever stop him using? Did it ever mean that he stopped being physical or intimidating? I'm guessing not. You didn't cause this - you can't control it and you can't cure it.

He's "fragile"? Does that mean that your behavior dictates whether or not he uses? There will never, ever, ever be a "right" time for you to start looking after yourself. Never. Until he's in serious recovery, he will always manufacture a crisis or play the guilt Period. Pandering to his every need and walking on eggshells, believe it or not, isn't doing him any favors. This might be the first time that you've shown him that his actions have consequences. He has lost you. You will not be emotionally and physically available to him 24/7. Why? That's for him to work on, figure out and address.

You. Are. Not Responsible - and this: "you claim to want to be friends. Friends don't treat each other so coldly or with such contempt" gives me the shivers. Familiar stuff. That means you've drawn a healthy boundary - every time you hear it you should give yourself a pat on the back. Do friends call repeatedly and violate each other's privacy by showing up unannounced and barging into each other's homes.

You can't control his disease or behavior. Maybe he can't either - but that's no reason for the unaccaptable to be acceptable to you. He can try to make his disease all about how you let him down - but it's a catch 22 - you can't produce a list of the ways his disease has affrcted you in case it "tips him over the edge". But he is over the edge - he has been for some time - it's not your fault and he needs to figure out a way to start real recovery. You can support that recovery by setting, and keeping good boundaries and letting him know that his behavior has consequences.

I know that it feels unfamiliar - but the phrase "killing him with kindness" applies to people with alcohol/addiction in so, so many ways. the best thing you can do for -both- of you is concentrate on you and the kids. Al-anon is fantastic and you'll find great support and understanding. You have no cause to feel guilty for looking out for yourself. It may take a while to really feel that's true but it is.

I wish you all teh luck in teh world,

Hugs,

h

January 10, 2007
5:41 pm
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healintime
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P.S. On some level is he "aware"? Absolutely. You're having a gentleman caller and he wants to talk about your "early relationship" suddenly? Hmmm. If you can possibly push the conversation back until after the weekend, I would. Sounds like he's arranged to meet with you either to talk about all teh reasons you fell in love or to try to make you feel guilty about your weekend plans. Will anything productive come out of this talk? For him? For you?

You have every right to re-schedule. Sounds like making an appointment with an emotional firing squad - you just don't know whether he'll be firing nostalgia, guilt, or accusations.

January 10, 2007
6:06 pm
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gofigure
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healintime,

Wow. That was an awesome post-I printed it to keep these reminders near me. Thank you so much!! I allow myself to get too distracted by him and his words. Nothing I have EVER done to appease him worked long term. And these days I end up doing it to keep the peace. But the only peace I keep is temporary, belongs to him, and really only leaves me roiling inside. So indeed, it only ends up having the opposite effect. I have been making baby steps toward some independence and freedom from him and his behaviors. I'm ready to take a giant step here and there. Your post helps that resolve and I think will help me not get so caught up in the pity parties he throuws for himself and wants me to join. I will try to bring what I know to be true in my head into my heart and finally start living it.

(((((((((((healintime))))))))))))))

~go

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