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Below is an Interactive Board sampler. A fuller listing is found in the "Stories" menu above.

4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

3/23 Interactive Board: He's Changing... I'm Not...

3/1 Interactive Board: D/s Lifestyle

1/14 Interactive Board: My Purrrfect Husband

12/12 Interactive Board: What if He Could Have Changed?

10/23 Interactive Board: Quandary Revisited

8/24 Interactive Board: Quandary! What's Going On?

7/20: Dr. Irene on cognitive behavior therapy and mindfulness

6/12 Interactive Board: Unintentional Abuse

11/7 Interactive Board: Is This Abusive?

12/29 Interactive Board: There Goes the Wife...

11/4 Interactive Board: A New Me!

10/8 Interactive Board: Seeming Impossibility

9/8 Interactive Board: My Ex MisTreats Our Son

5/1 Interactive Board: I feel Dead - Towards Him

4/26 Interactive Board: Why is This So Hard?

4/19 Interactive Board: I Lost My Love...

4/7 Interactive Board: Too Guilty!

Death of the Dream

Death of the Dream

June 12, 2001

I have been married for almost 20 years to a man I considered my "soul mate".  He is out of the house again after another "incident", one of several in the last 5 years.  The latest is he came home 1 1/4 hours late for dinner, drinking on his anti-depressant/anxiety meds (something he insists is fine to do!), and was screaming at me, calling me a b#*ch, and everything else, because his dinner wasn't on the table.  Our 19 year old son pushed him away, after his father got in his face like a drill sergeant, screaming and spitting on him, and after asking his father to get out of his face twice.  Then my son called the police and his father left.  My husband came back after midnight, and took a hammer to our electrical panel, leaving 95% of the house without power.  Later in the week, even after securing a restraining order (which I couldn't have served because no one knows where he is), he got into the house, and stole every locking doorknob (?). Oh boy...

I, as well as he, have been going to counseling on and off for the past 5 years, since his first major outburst, which came right after he had to close his business down.  He let everyone in the world walk on him (employees, customers, etc.), and took it out on everyone in our home, instead of dealing with the real situations at hand (maybe that would ruin his "great guy" image?).Only in his head...  I am on the road to recovery, as I took the counseling seriously, and really wanted our marriage to work.  However, the more I stepped back from being an "enabler", letting him take responsibility for what was his, the angrier he got.  I think the big difference in what we wanted in the relationship, is I wanted to be with him, he clearly needed to be with me. 
While I love my husband, I cannot take this irrational behavior, and neither can our children.  We have done everything to give him the opportunity to get well, but he is clearly in a case of major denial.  As he said when he called, "you're the one who thinks I have the problem.  I am out taking care of my customers, and I'm fine.  I don't need to be on this medication now that I'm not with you."  Sure, non-intimate relationships, he's great.  Everything thinks he's such a nice guy!  He is such a Jekyll/Hyde it's scary.  However, after surfing your site, I now realize this is a common trait, and this has helped me know I'm not the "crazy one".  He's even said that I've changed, I've grown up, and proudly says he hasn't!  He wants me to file for the divorce, because he doesn't have the money to do so. I don't think he wants to take responsibility for asking for a divorce.

I am heartbroken, and can honestly look in the mirror and know I've done everything I can to save our marriage.  I can't fix what's not mine, only he can.  I cannot make him change, only I can change me.  For the sanity of myself, and our children, I must get out of this marriage. How unfortunate, but good for you for sticking up for yourSelf and protecting your kids This is the last place I wanted to be in my life, but here I am.  I have the love and support of many family and friends.  They told me "enough is enough" years ago, but in my throes of "co-dependency", I thought I could fix it.  He, on the other hand, avoids his true friends, who will tell him what he doesn't want to hear.

We have two great children who deserve more stability in their lives.  They have hated how he's treated me and them in the last 5 years.  I know now, I must end this, before it destroys us all.  I might add, I've made sure they are going to counseling too, because it's been a tough situation for everyone.  I've even told my kids that they have every right to even be angry with me, because I took him back every time he was doing well, only to have him start out well to get back in the house, and then go back right to the same old misbehaviors within months of being back.  However, I love them, and my husband, and really wanted to believe we would be one of the "success stories".  Clearly, this doesn't appear to be the case.  Did you also tell them they also have every right to feel angry with dad, even though he chooses to be unable to help it? 
I have been with this man over half of my life, and the death of the dream of "growing up and old together" appears to be gone.  I have repeatedly asked him to check himself in somewhere, either inpatient or outpatient, as this is bigger than him.  I've told him he's not a bad person, but has done some pretty crappy things, but it can be fixed if he's willing to work hard at his recovery.  This is the only way we can save our marriage.  He wants the divorce. So be it, though I don't believe him and think it's his stubborn ego talking. He wants to be taken care of, and he's mad that you don't want to do it. Telling you he wants a divorce without taking responsibility for getting it is, I suspect, his way of upping the ante to get you to take responsibility for him.
I have made the decision to move forward in my life, even though it's a difficult choice.  I still feel like I'm "abandoning" him, cause clearly he has some psychological/alcohol problems going on.  He's even told me, "if I'm so sick, how come my family is abandoning me?"  Probably manipulation huh?  Yes. When the divorce is finalized, he won't have any health insurance, as I've been the one carrying it through 90% of our marriage, with his numerous jobs and self-employment.  I guess this is what makes me feel the worst. Watch him try to use it against you!  Knowing that me pulling out is only going to make it harder for him to get help without insurance, if and when he ever decides he needs it. Worrying about the welfare of other people is what got you into this mess to begin with. If hubby wanted help, he would have gotten it. If he wants help down the road, he'll find a way.
Why do I still feel that I've failed, even when I know I haven't?  Irrational guilt. I still love my husband, but hate his "misbehavior".  While I miss him being around, and the many good times we've had, I will admit I don't miss him coming in the door, drunk and verbally obnoxious, turning our world upside down just as the trust rebuilds. 

I strongly suspect that hubby is an alcoholic, which is an illness, certainly a spiritual illness if not a physical and mental one as well. Nevertheless, hubby has free will. He may need to "hit bottom" before he asks for help. Or, he may continue doing what he's doing forever.  Whether he's sick or not, he is not your responsibility and you don't have the power to help him!  

I think you need to examine the irrational guilt you have about taking care of yourSelf. Look here and consider reading The Secret of Overcoming Verbal Abuse: Getting Off the Emotional Roller Coaster and Regaining Control of Your Life  and Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation and Guilt to Manipulate You You may also want to look into ALANON meetings, where you'll find too many alcoholics' partners who share your  issues. Also, look through the Codependency Pages.

Thanks Doc for your web-site and keep up the great work. L. Thank you for your kind words. We're cheering you on as you continue to heal.  Dr. Irene

Gang, any comments for L?


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