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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 5:19 pm 
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 665
Puffin, sounds like my marriage. Our MC tells us to "mirror". After I say something, my husband needs to repeat it. He gets it wrong 90% of the time (which is an improvement), and like your experience, he makes up something completely I didn't say; doesn't hear some things; adds harsh judgments and assumptions. It's maddening. I am the eternal enemy which he used as fuel to justify his acting out.

None of this is true. My MC is working REALLY HARD to make my husband see I'm not the enemy, but I'm not sure he can get there.


PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:24 am 
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:38 pm
Posts: 515
Recently I did talk with my husband about where he's at and the effects of his addiction on me. I wanted to update this thread because what I experienced demonstrates how communication can evolve, depending on the mindset and relative maturity of the person in recovery and where they're at in their recovery process.

My approach was not as structured and calculated as I had planned on, but I was authentic. Basically I broke down in front of him and told him I felt I had to distance myself from him because of the content he's been viewing and his return to compulsive processes. I wasn't angry or aggressive, mainly because I was so tired and spent that my communication reflected that. It was a quiet, sad statement of my reaction and the effects of his choices on me--simply put, me speaking the truth.

Notably, my husband did not shut down. he did not move into a defensive mode in any way. He came over to me, he hugged me and said "I know. I'm sorry. I've been trying but not doing well."

He wasn't seeking sympathy. He did not place any blame back on me. He took full, 100% responsibility for his choices. In the hours that followed, he was reflective, open. He also said he knew the stated consequence of his choices was, basically, the end of our marriage, and that he'd leave by the end of the day. (or that he'd understand if I left). HE asked me how we can move forward from here — not to save our marriage, but how can we move forward in a way that protects my health and brings me stability. His primary concern was restoring my heath.

I have chosen to not employ the consequence of ending our marriage over this, or a physical separation. I've adjusted this because the man who showed up in this conversation is very different than the addict in denial from 3-5 years ago.

My husband said he finally (in the past few months) realized that he has an addiction. Full stop. He is now at the point where he hates the addiction, and would change for himself, not just to save our marriage or for me. He is frustrated that he cannot logically work his way out of his addiction. He noted that he realized he no longer can blame any external circumstances for his choices: that he's effectively addressed most of his life stressors and none of those prompt him to act out. Instead, he describes it as a compulsion he cannot seem to make go away, even if he's having a good day and has strengthened his values through meaningful things in life. He always thought it was something he could control through sheer will and he sees now that is not the case.

important in all of this, especially for partners who are new to discovering their's partner's addiction is where my husband is at is not what I would have ever expected of him in early addiction or before he agreed to recovery. His capacity for reflection and insight into how much this addiction controls his life, nearly 24/7, shows a level of maturity that was not present early in his recovery or when he was acting out without a care in the world.

Because my husband showed personal responsibility, no more pity parties, and the capacity to talk about his choices (and their effects on me) I can reassess communication with him. I can see there is possibility for ongoing, mature conversations with him and less of a need to protect myself in such conversations.

I've adjusted my boundaries and consequences, too. We learn in our workshop that sometimes we adjust boundaries because it's a choice we make in awareness. I have discussed this with him, and he feels some sort of direct consequence is in order so I encouraged him to decide if he wanted to enact a consequence to himself, and he did and is enacting some limitations in his life accordingly. We also discussed how I will protect my boundaries and health moving forward, and that I will need to adjust them again if boundary violations become a constant, repeated thing or I'm not seeing continued growth and self awareness on his part. He was 100% supportive of that--not in the desperate, "I will do anything" sort of way, but in the thoughtful "how can I support you" way. The reaction has evolved from one of selfishness to one of concern for me. That's a significant change in someone with addiction.

I write all this because often here in this forum we deal with early recovery issues and/or addicts in denial. It’s challenging to find stories of people who are IN the process, in somewhat gray areas, and trying to work through that with their partners. What happened here, and my boundaries and communication are very relative to this relationship. In another relationship, a partner leaving or separating may be the right decision. Our challenge as partners with someone in recovery is to navigate the nuances, to assess our partner’s sincerity and make the right decisions for our health and values accordingly.

In solidarity,

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