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#379246 - 12/13/11 03:47 PM For Me: Tools to grow
Airmid Offline

Registered: 12/02/11
Posts: 95
Loc: South
In the week I was away, I discovered so much.

I've always known Hubs avoids via work and food. The internet argument resulted in his rage. Three days later, we sat down and talked, and I owned my own poor approach (and my own CSA having been triggered by his avoidance). I also stated in no uncertain terms that I remembered him telling me that his AA sponsor and therapist both had told him that threatening my security by raging that he was kicking me out was beyond unacceptable. Even though I would ultimately go to a shelter, I am prepared to leave if he does it again. No more blaming my words, as the three times he has raged with that threat were all under different "provocations" or "attacks" from me, two of which didn't have to do with sexual acting out issues. My own family is non-supportive, as my own parents are all kinds of triggered and wanting me to protect and care-take them this holiday season, as well.

Hubs is also near shutdown, I think: the over-work, barely participating in the family, non-existent sex life...all these things are common, I know, and completely in line with affects of the abuse. But he will not let me in. I'm a representation of the happy life, a comfort to have around. That hurts. I also know it provides an excuse for him to stay avoidant, and I'm sad for him. (ETA: he totally took over an ARD meeting for one of our sons yesterday, and I when I thanked him for sharing after got home, I also told him I was uncomfortable with the meeting's volume level and was afraid to interrupt him to say more than I did. He shut down again and said he just won't go next time. *sigh*)

My AA sponsor is of the "get over it" camp and reveals little-to-nothing about her own marriage or experience, which is needed in a sponsor/sponsee relationship. (ETA: the revealing is needed, not the poor attitude.) I asked a long-time friend to be my new sponsor last night, and she said yes. She's gentle, yet deeply committed to recovery without sarcasm, she's open about herself, too. I'm taking the risk and letting another woman in instead of choosing "hardasses" to be in my life. I'm choosing gentleness! smile

I have been given very few tools via therapy. I'm angry about that. I had to go online to find basic sensory grounding tools (using scent, touch, observation to return to and stay in the present). These are tools I feel my therapists should have addressed individually and in the group I'm in that's for survivors who are also partners. (ETA: my own recovery began in 2007.) I'm finding that talking isn't the only thing I need, nor is journaling; I need concrete action-based solution ideas.) I'm finding that just because the local DV counseling center offers programs doesn't mean they're strong programs. How can I ask for something I don't know I should be asking for? Ya know? So I'm getting a job so I can pay for clothes for the kids and better therapy for me, while saving $ to move (or have a reserve, should Hubs begin moving along in his healing instead of remaining avoidant and not breaking his cycle.)

So that's what I see. I have a few positive actions I'm taking. It's a start to get back into loving me and breaking the caretaker apron strings that bind Hubs to me. I can walk next to him, but only when mutual respect exists. So I'm doing my part to respect me first.

I still struggle with daily depression, and with anger that I've "arranged" the dynamic of "Airmid's the go-to for support and caring" in my family. My mother isn't speaking to me because I declined to "help" her with one of her over-commitments this coming weekend, and I'm almost okay with that. Her gifts generally arrive with strings attached, or with shaming, and I'm not welcoming that into my life right now. My kids will arrive home from school to find new chore charts and gaming limitations; it's time they become more involved in maintaining the home in which they live, too. (They did agree to this this morning, as well. I'm proud of them!) Hubs' belongings that he expects me to follow behind and clean up after him will now be piled daily onto his desk. It's not my job to mother him. I'll gladly care for him and walk with him on this journey, but I weaken me if I carry him.

How have you other supporters drwan boundaries without them coming across as ultimatums? growing up, ultimatums (or total acquiexcence) were all I knew, so this is new turf for me. I'm not concerned with "what will others think" or "at this time of year? You're so mean to do that!" I just want to make sure my motives are fair, loving and allow Hubs to do for himself what I have been doing.

How do you all approach you spouses when they are in complete shutdown? I thought I had been giving him space to heal, when in fact, I gave him space to stay sick by not gently confronting some of his "stay sick" behaviors. That's a fine line. What has worked for you?

(ETA)Sometimes I need to bring up concerns or behaviors of his that (in the case of the school meeting) affect me and others. How do I do that without being the bad guy?

Being true to myself is vital, regardless of the timing for others. As long as I've been over-caretaking and carrying them, it's shocking to the people around me to see me saying "no", for me to ask for help, for me to take action and not feel sorry for myself. They're angry.

Edited by Airmid (12/13/11 03:57 PM)
Edit Reason: clarifications

#379259 - 12/13/11 04:25 PM Re: For Me: Tools to grow [Re: Airmid]
Airmid Offline

Registered: 12/02/11
Posts: 95
Loc: South
Ooo! Know what else? i've re-committed to baking one day per week, just because it makes me happy.

This week I did commit to 80+ cookies for three different school classes. My house is going to smell so good!

Hope is ok to have.

#379269 - 12/13/11 05:17 PM Re: For Me: Tools to grow [Re: Airmid]
Gretta Offline

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 240
Dear Airmid,
I want to say that I have felt and do feel everything you are currently saying. As far as boundaries go, I like to call them non negotiables. In healthy relationships I would like to think these are givens. I have asked him not to drink, he has done pretty well with that, but he has had a glass of wine here and there. If he drinks to the point of no control, he has to leave. I can't live in fear. His emotions are so raw right now and drinking only makes it worse. I would be most happy if he didn't drink at all because I stress over the 1 glass, is it going to be 3, 5, 10?

I have also stated that if he acts out again he has to leave. That was a given. Didn't have to say that too loud. He really doesn't want to leave our house so far so good.

Have fun baking, I enjoy it too.

#379379 - 12/14/11 05:15 AM Re: For Me: Tools to grow [Re: Gretta]
Airmid Offline

Registered: 12/02/11
Posts: 95
Loc: South can throw more clues to me that sitting still is good...

Hubs' daughter called tonight, and her mom's drinking daily and threatened to kick her out tonight. The kid's 14. We're setting up a plan of action now and making plenty of phone calls in the next few days.

My excuses for not going back to work (other than not being able to get interviews) are being removed.

As we were talking about the situation, I gently let him know that when his walls are up, it's hard for me to love him, not because I don't want to (I do, very much), but because if I can't get in, I don't get that opportunity. We talked about fight-or-flight, how I'll find a new therapist, how he feels about his own progress and how unique is our marriage: two survivors, together, sober, with a huge family that likely will increase by one more disabled kiddo soon.

Some days, the ride is really gentle, but amazing. I wish every day had good awakenings and communication, without a crisis knocking us into it. Small steps...

Gretta, have you ever gone to Al-Anon? It's an amazing program, especially if the group(s) you choose are strong.

Edited by Airmid (12/14/11 05:17 AM)

#379404 - 12/14/11 10:59 AM Re: For Me: Tools to grow [Re: Airmid]
Dar Offline

Registered: 11/15/11
Posts: 170
Loc: Missouri
hang in there Airmid and fight for your marriage. If my wife had not put a fight I would still be lost and losing the battle that I am now winning. She was stronger than I was and for that, it made me a stronger person
Now we feed off of each other and we are both much happier for it. Be strong but keep your eyes open and keep looking forward.


"I would be most happy if he didn't drink at all because I stress over the 1 glass, is it going to be 3, 5, 10?"

Beleive your feelings on this one. You know him better than any one else. For most drinkers it does turn into 3, 5, 10.
Drinking for me was a way to go to another world. That other world was not good. I know now, that if I allowed myself to return to the drink, it wouldnt be long before my world would come crashing down again.
OLD Sayings are true: Once smoker always a smoker, once a drunk always a drunk.
One will lead to another, it is only human nature.

All I ever wanted was a hug.

#379866 - 12/17/11 10:35 PM Re: For Me: Tools to grow [Re: Dar]
mmfan Offline

Registered: 09/25/11
Posts: 115
Hi Airmid,
Re. drawing boundaries without it being like an ultimatum, I've struggled with this, as my guy is very sensitive to rules/control and also to rejection or threatened rejection.
I'm not sure if this is at all like your situation but this is an approach I've worked out through trial and error (with some spectacular failures in between):
I try to sandwich the boundary between caring statements. I.e. for instance, I was shouted at as a child during my abuse, so shouting is uber-triggering for me, and is a "non-negotiable". So I said something like, "I care for you very much, and always will, no matter what happens. But shouting is not ok with me, and next time it happens I will need to hang up the phone, so you will need to find another way to express yourself. I care for you very much and want to hear what you have to say, and I can hear you better when you're not shouting."
Yes a lot of words for a simple boundary but it seems to reassure him that it's being done out of love and not control/power/rejection.
Then the hard part was following through, next time he started shouting, I had to find the willpower to say gently, "You are shouting, and if you don't stop, I'm going to have to leave." He acted a bit petulant that I would "walk out on him" but actually he pulled it together pretty fast and seemed to have more respect for me.


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