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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:56 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:13 pm
Posts: 27
My SA left for Rehab in December and will return to the area soon. The kids and I have had a nice break from the chaos of living with covert addiction, though I hear them tell me that they
miss their Dad and want him back home. As part of his process and prior to his re-integration plan, I attended a couples workshop. Overall, it was helpful to both of us, and re-established connection
between us. He is talking a different talk after spending time in rehab. He felt different to me as well....and then at times, I felt the former patterns (communication, way of being, etc.) slipping in.

I received my birthday card in the mail about a week later. This has generated some confusion for me, as I am aware that some shifts have occurred for him and I want to support them. At the same time, I can't believe that
he included some things in the note in his card.

It started out with how much he appreciated me, as we had shared appreciations during our couples workshop. It basically said he could fill a couple of hours with appreciations for me. I noticed there were not specific appreciations mentioned. This seemed a bit odd....and then I read this,

"I do want to be present for you and the kids. I've thought about what it would be like with another woman, both before and at times while at rehab. It just doe not feel right, I still want to be with you, with all my heart. I know you have seen and felt a change in me since I started rehab. I want you to feel a continuing deeper and stronger change in me in the coming months. And this is the best [birthday] present I can give you...."

Incidentally, his commitment to rehab and effort to recover was also my Christmas present this year...
So here are my self-honest reactions to this:

One of the challenges for me in working through partner's work (here and elsewhere) has been discovering my over-tolerance for goofy sh%@, creating a sense of hope for myself regarding our relationship and then feeling horrible when he cycles into another depressive episode or acting out. It's like I get pulled down the rabbit hole. I don't seem to get pulled as far in to the rabbit hole now and I've definitely become more pragmatic about all of it over time, but it still hurts to receive a birthday card in which he talks about having thought about being with another woman. Maybe this is a discussion for couples counseling or with his individual counselor....but in my Birthday card???!!! And is his recovery a birthday present?? A Christmas present?? :pe:

After this internal reaction dies away, I look at the card and say to myself, "maybe this is just immaturity and he is finally expressing himself openly, though clumsily, and I should let it go. remember that he is also
at rehab and not exactly able to comb the gift shop for a perfect item...and he did send the card." So where is the balance between expressing how I truly felt upon receiving the card and taking the chance that my comments may yield a blow to his newly developing self-esteem?

I'm clear that I could begin a conversation with some appreciation for his card and effort to let me know how much he loves me. I'm clear that I could use "I" statements to express how I felt when reading the note.

There is a set of guidelines that I picked up from a 12-step book that go something like this:

1) Is what I'm about to say true? [If it isn't true, don't say it. If it is, ask the next question]

2) Is what I'm about to say kind? [If it is true and kind, say it. If it is true and unkind, as the 3rd question]

3) Is what I'm about to say necessary? [If it isn't necessary, don't say it. Yet sometimes, it is necessary to say something that is less than kind. do your best to find a compassionate way to say what needs to be said and say it.

And finally, also watch what you say to yourself. Are you kind to yourself?

Speaking my truth about my feelings passes the first criteria.
Speaking my truth about my feelings may or may not be kind. Kind in the sense that it could help improve communication and change our dynamic if he hears and understands the impact of his own words on me. Unkind in it's rejection of his attempt to state his feelings openly, the best way he might have at this time.
And is it necessary to tell him (for me?) Given my propensity for high tolerance of crazy sh%@, maybe it is necessary that I say something.

And finally, taking my own heart into account, it seems that being kind to myself includes standing up and saying, "Wow, I appreciate that you took time to hand-write a note to me for my Birthday and I look forward to trying to work on our relationship in honesty. I'm really struggling with sadness and anger over having you give your recovery efforts to me as both my Christmas and Birthday presents, and having you bringing up having considered being with another woman in MY birthday card."

So what are your impressions, partners? Is this a good-hearted person with an immature, clumsy approach to connecting? Or is there a deeper thread of self-centeredness here that is unlikely to change?

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