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 Post subject: broken boundaries
PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 9:01 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2006 1:57 pm
Posts: 94
Embarrased to say I've been "at this" for 20 years. I've known about and made use of RN resources since before Jon named it RN. We were one of Jon's original couples that helped him write the couples workshop. So this stuff isn't new to me. I FINALLY established firm boundaries in 2011 and told him to leave exactly 3 years ago this week. He is the love of my life. It was cripplingly Devastating and heartbreaking for me to lose him. Our divorce was final almost a year and a half ago. He moved to another state. He lives buried in isolation and alcohol. He says he's not doing the SA "women" thing at this time, but his particular brand if addiction shifts like the wind. As long as he can isolate and numb.

We have a daughter who I thought would be devastated but she barely shed a tear. She's fine with seeing him whenever. Another daughter is so mad at him and he struggles with keeping contact. He isn't good at keeping up with his kids. But my oldest got married in May and I lost a job a year ago. Since then he stepped up and has come to our aid. Helping with things around the house, offering additional funds to make ends meet, playing huge role in planning and orchestrating the big wedding event. His main addiction these days is alcohol. This last year, seeing him in this light reminded me of the man I loved.

So I caved. 100%. I knew what I was doing was probably going to end badly and hurt like hell but I did it anyway. I have been so, so unhappy without him. I'm embarrassed to admit it. I know it is supposed to destroy my self respect and sort of proves I am that enabling co-addict/dependent I have been absolutely defiant about being. I am still happier with him than without him. I hate what that says about me as an individual. As a woman. As a mom. I feel like my kids think I'm NOT a good example for them. He and I reconnected intimately after the wedding. It was me. I pushed it. Like an addict I needed to feel validation that what we feel together wasn't a fabrication of my mind. We're In a honeymoon phase now like we used to have post disclosure.

I know I should end this. But I'm happier with him. I hate that he's an addict. But I love my time with him. I love how we are as a team either at the grocery store or in the Kitchen or paying taxes. And in the bedroom. I also remember what being cheated on feels like. I remember how it feels when he chooses addiction over me. He still does that when he leaves here after the weekends as a family to live alone in is addiction isolation cave. Then he comes back.

Advice. I'm 50. I'm trying to date and find real and healthy men to share a life with but these guys have more NEW baggage than I want to address. If I have to address baggage maybe it should be the baggage I'm familiar with. Or maybe I should be alone. For life? Who's gonna a hold my hand if I get breast cancer? Or as I grow old. Isn't an addict that I love better than alone?

In a bit of a wrecked state. Messed up and unsure if I should tell him tonight to go home and do not come back or tell him I'll live with him being my weekend husband...until his addiction starts creeping into the weekends too or until my resentment for his slips back to isolation on Mondays consumes me.

I know the "right" answer - the one professionals and society says is "Right" but I am not thrilled with going back to the unhappiness I felt 3 years ago when he left. So many of you on RN are liberated after you establish the boundary and ask them to leave. It was suffocating for me. Living with him was drowning though. It's all bad. I know I know. Find your own value based living Julie. Yes...but I do. I try. I have friends and hobbies and family. But I feel empty. And broken.

Thanks all for letting me vent.

J


Last edited by newlifewife on Fri Aug 28, 2015 3:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: broken boundaries
PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 11:17 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:43 pm
Posts: 83
J,

I'm way too new here to be of much help, but I can tell you simple facts that have nothing to do with recovery.

We find and choose these broken people because we're broken people. We find solace and comfort in that brokenness, it reminds us of whatever dysfunction brought us to where we are today. Being broken isn't a good place, it draws in more broken people. Get healthy and you will find yourself drawn to other healthy people. I think it's why Jon figured a couple who could work through this would be awesome together. It's a combination of having all the history, the victory of defeating your demons together and being healthy together at the same time must be euphoric.
Address your own brokenness, embrace it, understand it and then realize that it's not who you are, it's just part of what brought you to today.


We can slip back into a dysfunctional relationship because we know where everything is....like walking around your own house in the dark. Armchair on the left, sewing machine on the right, make sure you don't stub your toe on the sewing machine before turning to head down the steps.
Knowing where everything is might be comforting but is it good for you?
Prisoners know where all the corners are that they might stub their toe on in the dark but I don't think a prison is a good place to be.

Age is a number, you are an individual, you obvious possess a wonderful heart because you considered the feelings of someone who hurt you terribly. That wonderful heart is still there, there are men out there in that same predicament, divorced, single or widowed because the person they met weren't right for them.
It's better to be healthy alone than unhealthy together.

Keeping in mind I have no basis of knowledge to give advice.....
If you feel empty and broken despite having a life full of loving daughters, friends and hobbies it's because something inside you is missing. It sounds like you're seeking something outside of you to fill it. I hope you find the thing inside which is missing but until then it's always nice to have company even if it is under these horrible circumstances.


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 Post subject: Re: broken boundaries
PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 11:33 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2006 1:57 pm
Posts: 94
Thank you so much hadenuff for taking the time for such a nice reply to me.

I KNOW in my head that healthy alone is better than unhealthy together. My heart is another matter. I guess I just haven't experienced a healthy alone yet. I have tried very hard for 3 years. I love my girls and the rest of my family. I enjoy my hobbies and friends very much, and I have a strong sense of what I am and who I am but maybe I am just delusional. I still can't help feeling that I am missing out on not having that special person in my life who is "my person." The one you call when you see a funny billboard, or an awful thing happens at work, or you remember a joke. The one who will be there when you have a nightmare and find you if you slip and fall in the bathroom in the middle of the night. Yes, I know I should learn to be satisfied alone. But I cannot help but consider it a huge loss. I am grieving it like a suicide almost...but he's not gone permanently (yet- it's a matter of time I believe). Jon told me that in a phone call many years ago. I think of it often. He said that when I make my decision to leave -if I make that decision, he will very likely not "make it out alive. He's self destructive. It's like a suicide - you are pissed that he made this conscious decision to die (choose addiction over me) but you grieve their loss because what was good about the union was good. Then you start to bargain with God that if ONLY you have one more chance to say what you need to say or feel him in your arms. It's like I've been given that chance and it's hard to shove him back out the door. Thanks for listening. I know I am babbling.


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 Post subject: Re: broken boundaries
PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 12:00 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:43 pm
Posts: 83
Babble on, it's healthy to get it all out.

I see a lot of the same problems I'm having in your writing...I want my partner to get better so we can have the amazing life I can picture us having. However, I don't control that, I don't even have a say in it. What I control, what I have a say in, what I can influence is how I survive this situation. If my partner can't get sober, I will never see my partner again, I will never see my partner's daughters again. I can't imagine that concept right now but I know that it might be a reality if my partner doesn't wake up and take control of their life. I also know I will get pulled into my partner's swirling nightmare if I stay with someone who refuses to be sober.

That happiness for you needs to be addressed instead of the emptiness of not having that dysfunction in your life.

You can do this, you can be happy, you have an extremely wonderful full life already. Take the time to inventory what you have and see if perhaps after that list is in front of you if there is a greater appreciation for YOU....not for the people in your life, not for the inventory....all the healthy things in your life are also about you. Everything else falls into place on its own once you see how wonderful you are as an individual.


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 Post subject: Re: broken boundaries
PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 1:14 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2006 1:57 pm
Posts: 94
Thanks again hadenuff.

I'm feeling pangs of heartbreak when I hear your concerns about your own circumstance. I remember the days of developing those initial boundaries and developing action plans on how to handle myself should I decide to make the choice to live apart from my husband. I don't envy you. It was the hardest thing I have ever done telling my husband that I found something new and today is the day he needs to pack his bags and tell our children goodbye. After 17 years together. My action plans were a Godsend. There was no mulling over what I was to do next. I went into auto pilot. I had reviewed and tweaked these plans for a long time. The bank accounts were ready, the initial divorce agreement was already thought out, the visitation boundaries were set... I am so thankful to Jon's guidance in preparing me. I surrounded myself with positive and healthy friends and activities.

What Jon didn't prepare me for was the intense grief. Far worse than any disclosure...and let me tell you I'm not proud but I may hold the record on the number of horrifically painful disclosures I endured and kept coming back for more. I grieved hard for about 1 month for every year we spent together - about 18 months. Then I stopped crying everyday. I still cry sometimes. It was like a death. Kind of. I grieved the loss of the person I loved and enjoyed being there by my side, but I also grieved that my fantasy of how great life would be if he JUST recovered was dead.

Then stuff like this happens and my brain got all screwed up again. At least I knew I was walking into fire when I waslked in and I have no-one to blame this time but myself for the heartbreak I'll feel when I do the healthy thing and tell him to move on. He isn't ever likely to recover. I know this. I know I don't effect a change there and have never motivated him to any authentic recovery in that vein. This little love affair was my weird little addicted fix. I see it for what it is and acknowledge I do this for a respite not only from feeling alone and sad but also it was a little like that one chance you see in the movies about an opportunity to tell a dead lover the things you never told them and a chance to love them and be intimate knowing it is only for a brief and final time. I also know as good as it feels in this moment... eventually it will feel awful.

Has anyone else on the forum had a few years away from their spouse and had a bit of a "relapse" themselves from the healthy boundaries? How do you learn to completely let go?


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 Post subject: Re: broken boundaries
PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 11:15 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2015 8:55 am
Posts: 59
I had the experience, 20 years ago, that I had to leave my first husband because he could not/would not stop his sexual promiscuity. It hurt sooooo much! It was actual severe physical pain of loss in my chest for many months. Felt like my heart was literally ripped out and the tears were too many to admit to. Eventually - maybe 18 months, the pain became more tolerable and reality a little more liveable but I missed so many things about us as a couple and memories as parents. We got back together after 2 1/2 years ( my prompting ) and found I had grown out of him(and he'd had another relationship the whole time we were back together). My almost grown children were not happy that we were back together. In about 3 months we separated for good. - a few weeks of severe pain, a few months of some pain and then I survived. I met someone new and unfortunately here I am on recovery nation 6 months after his D day.
Just wanted to let you know that you are not alone in your experiences! I did a lot of family of origin work and co-dependency in the past and am on lesson 35 here. What I think I'm learning this time, as well as boundaries, is that my fantasy of a relationship fulfilling my need to be loved, valued, special is indeed a fantasy that is just as devastating to me as sex/love addiction is to my partners. Until I can truly realize and deal with this I will only repeat the pain in one way or another. I need to deal with my fears of abandonment, loneliness, unworthiness, etc. in other ways. Whether I stay or leave this partner, find another or not is irrelevant to whether I will live a healthy fulfilling, not pain ridden life- it is up to me.
I hope reading of my experience is helpful in some way to you. None of us on this site deserve to be hurt this much and specially repeatedly. Warm hugs to you!


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 Post subject: Re: broken boundaries
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 4:44 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2015 10:30 am
Posts: 95
Newlifewife, I'm brand new to RN and don't have any advice to offer, but I just wanted to let you know how strong and self-aware you sound in your posts... I hope I can be like that some time in the future, even though I know you are going through so much confusion and pain at the moment. I think you know the answers yourself.. you just need to accept them.
Wishing you the very best of luck.
x


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 Post subject: Re: broken boundaries
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 5:09 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2006 1:57 pm
Posts: 94
hopeful.9 - oh boy does your experience sound familiar. My children who also love their dad/step dad also are very concerned that I would even consider this. I'll be honest. if they weren't in the picture I would go for it since it makes me generally happi.......er than I feel without him in my life. But there is all of this pressure to do the "right" thing and be a "good" example for our kids. The two situations- with him and without him are different but equally draining kinds of stress. Is it even possible to live with an addict and just accept that he is an addict? Doubtful. So why is it so enticing? Why is having that companion so important? I've survived alone-ish for 3 years. Rarely happy. I don't want to just survive. I like love. I like partnership. I like my independence too, but enjoy having someone I love to come home to. We have a long history. He was my first boyfriend 36 years ago. the lost touch after high school and reconnected after our first marriages ended. I actually like him. When he's sober and clear - he's a pretty great guy. When his head is where the sun doesn't shine I tend to get hurt.

I cannot imagine getting over a separation/divorce like the one you went through only to meet someone new with the same affliction. My heart truly goes out to you.

I've been trying online dating to meet someone new. But it scares me...for the very fear of what you are experiencing. Do I want to go through all of the pain and suffering of separating from what I know and love only to end up with the baggage of someone new? I work from a home office so I have so little opportunity to get out there and meet people organically...and I'm finding the triggers online are pretty intense. (I want to warn readers in advance that this is a vent - a generalization and simply a description of my experience. please don't take offense.) On these websites, my boundary is that I remain anonymous until after I've met someone. I will not exchange phone numbers or email addresses. I am a single mom and it scares me. Period. I don't want alternate solutions or to be manipulated out of my final, educated decision. I will meet in a public coffee house though. You'd think they guys would be all over that idea. But what I've found is 98% Men on these online dating sites have no understanding of a boundary or of how to respect a lady. Example: Just yesterday, I engaged in a text conversation with a guy I thought I had enough in common with to try to meet for coffee. I politely explained my boundary to him after he sent me his phone number (though my profile explained all of this already). He then proceeded to tell me I was crazy and to to shove my boundaries up my ass. Nice huh? So people wonder why I would pick back up with my addicted ex. At least his baggage is familiar...and there is so much I love about him. crazy crazy I know. But honest feelings nonetheless.

I hope you find what you need here to develop a strong sense of what you value and how to protect that. You sound well on your way. I do not envy your road ahead. I don't look forward to mine either. I so appreciate you taking the time to share with me. It is good to know there is always a place after so many years to express my feelings without having to explain this junk. It is horrific to outsiders and it is so traumatizing to talk it through to someone unfamiliar without feeling like you are almost justifying the behaviors...it is just tough. I am talking to a counselor tomorrow to see if maybe she can offer advice on how to move forward, but I expect it will just be another waste of money telling this person these scary tales and watching the jaw drop just before the 50 minutes are up. I'm feeling deflated so I thank you for being here! All of you. Beechcomber - you too. So nice of you to chime in.


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