Friday, June 22, 2012


About 2 weeks ago, Mr M and I got in a fight and he purposely shut off the TV, turning off a movie I was watching (long story, but I hadn't even wanted to watch it, but he'd turned it on then I had gotten interested and was enjoying it and whenever he wanted to talk about a work project we were doing, I asked him to please pause it.  This bugged him so he turned it off to punish me)... the TV had been "paused", so the show was not 'live'.  It was neither recorded nor live, so by turning it off, he was causing me to not watch it any more.  It was such a purposely mean gesture that I burst into tears.  In our marriage, I have never really been a cryer.  I would get mad or yell or storm out but not usually cry. I am TRYING to be more vulnerable.  He has recently been saying that my sad doesn't look sad and my scared doesn't look scared... they both look mad.  So I thought I would try allowing my sad to look sad.  Also, since I am working on attachment stuff in therapy, I am very fragile and vulnerable, so it was easier than normal to let my tears out.

Me crying did not evoke compassion or love or comfort in my husband, it evoked anger.
I have always deluded myself that the reason I don't get comfort and compassion is because I don't let people in... I am not vulnerable... I don't "ask" for it. But when I did, I got nothing. This made me sad because it kind of made me see that that is a story I have been telling myself since I was small so that I don't have to feel sad or alone or disappointed. If it is my fault, then I control it, and I am in control and therefore powerful, not weak and alone. If I WANTED care & comfort, I could ask and get it, but I don't so it is my fault. This means others haven't let me down... I am the problem so I have the illusion of control. Asking Mr. M and having him deny me shattered my illusion.

I tried ASKING him to hug me and comfort me but he couldn't and WOULDN'T. He said that if I was sad about something a family member or friend had done to me and was crying about that, he would comfort me, but because I was crying about HIM and something HE had done, he had too much anger and couldn't hug me and never would... I could never expect that from him. Ever. He couldn't - and worse, didn't WANT to - do that for me.

Honestly, I was heart-broken. I felt very alone. I don't think I was ANGRY. I was sad... fragile... broken... and have been ever since. We have been acting like ships passing in the night. Two hurt people hurting each other in our pain and loss.

Father's day was ok. Mr. M slept in and I got him a watch (he ADORES and collects watches). We went and saw a 'dude' movie and had dinner. When we got home, we got in an argument. Annoyed and bothered, he started to leave the room. He has been doing this a lot lately... I am not WORTH arguing with. And again, my hurt came out about the fight 2 weeks ago. I want care and comfort and am heartbroken he committed to NOT EVER meeting my needs etc. He is exhausted from living with a hurt and sad and anxious woman who is supposed to be strong and confident and run the whole world while HE gets to fall apart and abandon us whenever the going gets too tough (this has been our agreement for 24 years). He wanted to leave the room, but he didn't. He stayed. I tried sharing how I needed him to hug me and be there for me. He was pretty unresponsive. I thanked him for listening and told him he could go watch TV in the other room if he wanted. He did not leave and asked a question. I talked a little more. He was unresponsive. I thanked him again (sincerely, both times) and told him he could go.

He got up and came over and wrapped me in his arms and hugged me.

I has to SO fight the urge to push him away; embarrassment, fear, shame, pride (how I acted when I was little tiny, and my parents always went "OK" and left me - again, I - at 18 months old - was responsible for not getting care and comfort). I forced myself to allow myself to be hugged. He was trying to give me what I was asking for. Could I make myself stay and receive it?
So I did. I laid there and cried and cried in his chest and let him hug me. And you know what? It met my need. It did.

I thanked him for doing that for me. I told him I was going to push him away. He said assumed I would (we know each other so well) and had geared up to keep trying to hug me anyway and push through my rejection. I told him I felt very loved. he said "You are."

The 'glow' lasted all the way til the next morning.
I saw him and my heart swelled with love for him. (And I still felt very loved and cared for.)
I told him so and went over and hugged him.

This was a victory for both of us and for our relationship.
It is these things that keep us hanging in there.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I just got an anonymous comment on an old post that I thought something she said was worth delving into.  She said "I have been married 20 years, and my husband has been a drunk for the past 8. The loneliness, loss of friends, financial meltdown, anxiety, and sense of rejection ...took their toll on me.  I tried to develop a circle of female friends but the ones I made ended up relocating."

I thought of friends -  same-sex friends - these are SUCH a huge part of recovery and healing and not being alone.  
I think SHAME can keep us from inviting others into our world.  I understand the embarrassment and the shame.  I understand we might want to protect our spouse from the negative opinions of others.  I used to tell myself that when he got sober and this was all "in the past", I didn't want people to judge him and not want to be friends with us.  (This was before I experienced Mr. M's recurring cycle of relapse... and that he might never actually BE sober for more than a few years here and a few years there... I deluded myself into thinking it would "end".  And hey, it still could, but it if the saying "The greatest indicator of future behavior is past behavior" is true, then it is MORE likely he will keep relapsing.)  Also, I was afraid people wouldn't want their kids to be friends with my kids or come over to our house.  I was afraid that people would judge ME since I was married to him... like we were ALL "alcoholic losers" (how I thought they would view us because so many people don't understand the disease).  AA has a saying that "You are only as sick as your secrets".  I deeply believe this and have tried to live by it for MOST of the last 24 years.  AA is an anonymous program -   Mr. M goes by his first name and last initial in the program.  Celebrities are not supposed to say they are in AA.  However, and might be a point of contention and many might disagree with me, and that's OK; I do not have to keep Mr. M's secrets.  He has abandoned us over and over again.  I have needed a lot of help over the years - financial, emotional, spiritual, physical.  If people didn't know our struggles, they wouldn't know I needed help.  I would suffer alone and so would my kids.  It has been EXTREMELY helpful to have people bring dinners for a couple weeks here and there.  One year people anonymous dropped Christmas at our doorstep (decorations, a tree, gift cards etc.).  People have done toilet paper and milk market runs for me when I was desperate.  I try to be kind and compassionate in how I present Mr. M's struggles.  I am after all still married to him and he IS my kids' dad.  I don't want to destroy him in everyone's eyes... I just try to let them in on our struggles.  I think it has been helpful to have the kids see people's love and care and compassion.
Yes, we HAVE been judged by some, I am sure.  And yes, I am sure some people probably DIDN'T let their kids come over to our house to play or spend the night.  But overall, I have mostly experienced GRACE and love from people.  Many are eager to understand the disease element and ask LOTS of good questions when I give them the chance.  (I ALWAYS point them to the Big Book of AA.)  I can't tell you how many spouses and parents and siblings and children of addicts have called me for help over the years.  Mostly, they don't love what I have to say... they want advice on how to fix their alcoholic.  (I try not to laugh!)  I always point them in the direction of Al-Anon.  Period.  They usually don't go.  That's ok.  They will when they get sick and tired of being sick and tired.

That is what I would tell anonymous; get to an al-anon meeting.  Period.  You will find life and friends in those rooms and yes, a few special people might move away, but the FELLOWSHIP can be your family and the Fellowship as a whole will not leave you.  You will begin to feel at home and "part of" in those rooms if you "keep coming back".

Friendships are invaluable. I have found SO MUCH LIFE in my friendships.  Laughter and community are life-giving.  We were not meant to suffer alone.
Mr. M keeps trying to convince me to move to the Caribbean with him.  This sounds glorious on so many levels.  But when I really think about it, I can't ever do it.  He is deluding himself by thinking if he pulls a "geographical", as the program calls it (moving to get away from yourself - never realizing that "wherever you go, there you are") things will suddenly be better.  He thinks living in a favorite vacation destination will mean he will have the peace and joy and rest he experiences on vacation, every single day of real life.  ("But Honey, you won't be on vacation... we will have to work and pay bills, and cook and clean...").  I can't leave because he is living in 'magical thinking'.  I also can't leave because I cannot leave my support system.  I cannot let him isolate me.  

Currently, I walk 3-5 miles almost every day with a friend: ML & KD on mondays, DH on tuesdays, DP on wednesdays, JD on thursdays, SA on fridays, KB on the weekends occasionally.  These are not mindless chatting walks... these are wonderful, high-caliber friends who are honest and real and full of love and wisdom.  Most of them have been through deep personal struggles from a cheating husband to a child getting assaulted to children struggling with mental illness etc.  Two of them are therapists (getting their masters and hours in mid-life).  All are great listeners and honest share-ers.
I am in a Bible study group 1x a week with earnest, loving, honest women.
I am in a "whole hearted" group 1x a month with another group of women; pastors' wives, therapists, authors, speakers - all of whom have known DEEP pain.
I have different levels of connectedness to each of them but I value every one.
I will not let Mr. M take that away from me.
I choose to not live in fantasy... "reality is my friend" (as one of my therapist friends would say).  And reality is that I cannot trust my husband enough to leave my support system right now - if ever. 

I KNOW friendships can be painful and we can sometimes be bitterly disappointed when people let us down.  (One of my longest & dearest friends seems to always be in crisis when I am having big family moments.  For example, she missed Hacker's wedding and she just missed Bub's graduation party.  She let me down and that is tremendously sad.  At the same time, I know she loves me the best she knows how and I also know that she would give me the shirt off her back, even if it harmed her.  But she is a HUMAN and she is flawed - as am I - and she WILL let me down... and sadly, I will let her down.)  But it is STILL worth investing in and continuing to pursue.  We were created to do life together.  So Anonymous, don't give up. And get yourself to an Al-Anon meeting.  And then another one.  And then another one...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Anxiety in Spades

I am doing a tad better emotionally the last couple of day, but am experiencing a LOT of anxiety.  I am not sure why. I have cut out all supplements and a lot of caffeine.  Must just be feelings - haha!
Today is the graduation party for Bub.
I guess there is always at least SOME anxiety with entertaining.
Girlie isn't doing well emotionally... I know that causes anxiety for me.
Drummer's band had a show the other night and someone overheard some people making fun of him/them and THAT gave me anxiety.
I chose to go to Drummer's show (because I haven't been in a long time) and I missed Bub's last improv comedy competition.  (I asked if his feelings would be hurt if I went to Drummer's show -he said "no".)  Apparently Bub was HILARIOUS and did SO well and had SUCH a great time (best match ever!).
Mr. M was supposed to go to that and chose to stay home and watch TV.
I have guilt and anxiety that I missed it.  (I apologized to Bub and told him how hard it was to have to pick - I went to his Senior Drama goodbye and Thursday night and his award presentation on Tuesday night - and I said "I probably should've gone to yours since it was the last one ever and Drummer will have more shows" and Bub said "Yeah, that's what my girlfriend said." - Aaaaaarrrgggh!)
Hacker's wife's parents are in town from out-of-state... first time EVER in our state - and I have been so busy with all this stuff (and throwing the graduation party) that I haven't seen them ONCE!  It was terrible timing for their trip!  (But no one asked me - haha!)  THAT gives me anxiety!!!!!!!!!!
All I can figure is that I have been pushing down so many feelings for so many years (living in an alcoholic marriage, but also before then - from my childhood) and now that they are surfacing, they are just overwhelming.
Well, on with the day...

Friday, June 8, 2012

Season of Grief

I've been feeling down lately.
I am sure it is largely in part to what I have been dealing with in therapy and all the feelings around that, but there is just a LOT of pain coming up.
Bub is graduating and preparing to go across the country to college and this is sad and painful for me (even though it is wonderful and exciting - I am just going to miss him AND it is the grieving for the end of a season).
Hacker recently told me that he & wifey are looking at moving to the South for him to work on a Masters.
Drummer is engaged and will be married in December and move out.  He is a DELIGHT, but a tad hard to have at home, so this is AWESOME, but it is still a transition and i love him and love having him here and will miss him too.
Girlie has been struggling with anxiety and depression.  She wants to homeschool (heaven help us!).  She says she doesn't want to get married or have kids.  She doesn't want to go to college or pursue her dreams because she knows she won't achieve them.  It is SO sad and I don't know how to help her.

Mr M and I have not been doing super well.  We just have SO much baggage and pain and hurt and our past together is so big - and the knowledge that the future could very well hold more of the same is so ever-present - I don't know if we can recover and not keep punishing each other.
I am not proud of my behavior, but the other day, in our fight, I literally got down on my knees and clasped my hands in front of me and BEGGED that we consider calling it quits.
I feel paralyzed and trapped.  "Can't live with him/can't live without him."  We are not happy and we are hurting each other.  Yet there are benefits to staying together: finances, having a partner in some activities, having someone who knows how to fix stuff and is sometimes available to share the work & kid load, having someone to hug, having a person to have sex with, having someone who will drive you to the hospital at 3AM, having someone to zip that pesky zipper or (gross!) pop a back zit (not that i EVER have those - haha!).  I don't WANT to be single.  I only ever wanted to be married.  If we divorce, there is no guarantee anyone will ever love me again... I have to be ok being alone.  I would have to share the kids on holidays.  I don't want the KIDS to have to go through that either for holidays or at their graduations and weddings and baby births.  And don't even get me started if Mr M finds a new wife to hold and love and do life with while I am alone.  GAWD, I would DIE!

I get down on myself and ask "Am I just having an extended pity party?"... but I am trying to be kind to me... I am grieving - on so many levels.  I am just plain old sad.  And after 24 years (yes, we just had our 24th anniversary last month) of love and loss and ups and downs, I am tried and broken-hearted and paralyzed - not wanting to end it but not wanting to go on like this for ANOTHER 24 years...