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    Old 07-04-2005, 02:57 PM   #16
    ScruffyGuy
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    Re: Just how much attention is enough?

    VERY glad you are already in some group counseling. GREAT to hear. Also, you can always give Al-Anon another try in the future if you want, but I understand if the first few "beginner" meetings were chaotic. That's a shame... these should be more structured. After all, dealing with an alcoholic is chaos enough!

    Anyway, I don't have any further great advice to give you, but I Do have some hope for the future...

    This SHOULD be over soon. The court date is bothersome and will extend your current mental state, unfortunately, if you have to testify. The legal aspect of all this sure brings it to the forefront and forces you to think things over more than you might like. So, yes... I can see why it SEEMS that you are being obsessive -- and maybe you are, a little bit more than you SHOULD. But at the same time... I understand that this is a PROCESS you must go through and it has ups and downs and thinking about it all right now is simply something you have to do.

    You seem to have your head on straight, so that's good news.

    More good news: once you've got his stuff OUT of your place and your life -- you WILL start to feel better. The "packing up his junk" process IS quite difficult and DOES dredge up a lot of memories. But it will be over soon.

    You also did EXACTLY the right thing by re-arranging your apartment to make it "yours." I would have suggested that, in fact. I WILL further suggest that you go ahead and spend a few bucks of "mad money," just a little, when you have it to spare, and buy a few little things that are JUST yours and yours alone -- cool decorations or whatever to place here and there. If you can go out and buy these things with a good friend or family member, you'll have a great memory of that day you spent with someone you love when you look at the object. And if you want to buy something ALONE -- that's great, too -- you will have an object that represents your new life and new perspective. Doesn't have to be expensive -- just a trinket that is YOURS and that makes you happy.

    Here's a secret -- I did these EXACT same things myself. I got rid of the "stuff" and created a whole new apartment, made it MINE. It worked, too. It FEELS like MY place now -- and, in fact, it IS.

    This will take time. Prepare for several more months of unsteadiness. It will pass, I promise.

    If you find yourself having bad dreams -- that is normal, too. They usually end in six months, getting less and less all the time.

    You are on the right track -- and I wish you great luck and success in the future.

     
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    Old 07-04-2005, 07:06 PM   #17
    Gianna2
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    Re: Just how much attention is enough?

    Thanks ScruffyGuy,

    You really do give good advice and have much insight to offer with respect to 'picking up the pieces' again.

    I guess progress is a mixture of several steps forward and sometimes a couple of steps back. I guess it is normal to some extent and the most important thing is I don't want to go back with him. But, I must confess a little secret......if God could guarantee me that my ex would NEVER do those horrible behaviors again, I would want him back. I miss the good in him that much.

    BUT, since that guarantee will NEVER HAPPEN, I am better off, and of course much safer without him.

    A relationship should be a warm soft place, a shelter in the storm....it shouldn't BE the storm!

    I may not be as experienced in picking up the pieces as I would like, but I really believe that I will know what the warning signs are in the next relationship. However, I won't be in another relationship for a long, long, long time! I've got that much healing to do and positive changes to make in myself first!

    Thanks again....you have helped more than you know!

    Gianna

     
    Old 07-05-2005, 09:09 AM   #18
    Ruth6:11
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    Re: Just how much attention is enough?

    Gianna, I haven't been able to respond to your thread until now because even though I've shared some of my past here, until your post no one had ever described the way my life used to be for 3 years, and I was overwhelmed with everything I wanted to say.
    And then found that the words weren't there because the pain returned.

    I'm not sure how much detail I can go into without ripping the scabs off of wounds that I've tried to keep healed for the past 27 years -
    But for starters, John had alot of anger. Going back to childhood abuse & adoption issues. He was possessive & jealous to the nth degree. If I was 3 minutes late home from work he was on me for hours about who I was blanking. He would turn on the radio full blast when I was trying to sleep so I could work (he wasn't working). He locked me out of my own apt. when I went downstairs to call my parents (no money for a phone but we sure managed that case of beer). He was an alcoholic cross-addicted to drugs and he had huge blackouts where he would want to act out every odd act one can from his "magazines".
    He managed to cut off all of my friends (who urged me to leave him) and kept my family at an arms length for the most part (I always knew they were there for me).

    Was he totally evil? Of course not - What no one accepts in relationships like this is that the Love we feel for these men is real. This DOES NOT mean that we should stay with them.

    It took me along time to trust that a man would not mistreat me. And there are mental & emotional scars still that stand in the way of a full relationship the way other women can enjoy them.
    But what I want you to know is that it happened to me. It was years after my relationship with John ended. But he's the best man I have ever met.
    Does that mean I didn't love John? Of course not. Does that mean I love Mr. Ruth less than I loved John? Of course not! How do you compare loves?

    John died last fall. I went to the funeral and felt oddly like an ex-wife in the front row.
    I sat with his family as if no time had come between us.
    Most of the other people there were from NA and had no conception of the John that I had loved and feared in the mid to late 70's.

    The bond that we had since I was 20 seemed to stop there. I have no sense of him spiritually like I do my father who died in 2001. It's odd that someone who mistreated me so badly was loved by me for 30 years. My life went on, I have the best husband on the face of the earth and would not return to life with John even if I could.

    There are so many other things - I didn't mean to go off on my own story, but I guess I wanted to tell you that you're not alone in how you feel.
    In many ways it was a nightmare. In other ways it was amazing to have a bond so deep that you KNEW when someone needed you.
    I would "show up" at his folks house many times - just in time to head off a fight between him & his dad.

    There is nothing - I repeat nothing - wrong with loving someone. But when that relationship becomes one that diminishes you daily as a person it is time to break away and love that person without being with them.


    By the way - I also mastered the art of sleeping on a 3" strip of the bed farthest away from someone. To this day I cannot stand the smell of beer on someone's breath.
    Your post was one that just about socked me the gut - and I'm so glad you wrote.. Don't expect too much from yourself for awhile - and don't worry about relationships for awhile either unless it's someone you feel totally safe with from the gitgo...

     
    Old 07-05-2005, 10:45 AM   #19
    Gianna2
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    Re: Just how much attention is enough?

    Ruth,

    I'm so glad that you were finally able to write about what happened to you here. I'm sure it must have been hard for you to do, but, I'm hoping it served as somewhat of a release for you.

    I totally feel for your previous situation. You're right, many people who haven't been in a violent situation like we have seem to have a great deal of difficulty understanding that we still love him. I will ALWAYS LOVE my ex. I have no doubt in my mind. Because like you said, they're not ALL BAD. However, for me, and I think you probably agree - the bad far outweighed the good. It was dangerous to stay with him on many different leves.

    I'm wondering though, and I guess this is something I still need to reconcile in my head.....I'm wondering if the person he is with now is making him happier and therefore, not drinking as much, and therefore, not abusing her at this point in time. For some stupid reason, I'm thinking that if I knew he was just as bad now as he was with me, that it might someone help me feel better...that it really wasn't my fault. I don't wish anyone else to be in harms way, but it's just my stupid thinking that wants to know. I know deep down inside that it's not my fault...again....just my stupid thinking! UGH!

    I guess the stupid, vulnerable part of me still believes, or fears, that I was the reason he drank. He told me this was so on soooo many occassions. He even parked his car outside of an AA meeting that I was attending and drove by me and shouted "You make me drunk even when I'm sober". Many AA people heard this. Then he refused to go back to AA because he said I ruined it for him" "I took his sobriety away from him".

    To make a long story short, in addtion to me going to Al-Anon meetings, I also attended open AA meetings with him to show support. He wanted me there....This particular night I mentioned above, he decided not to go, but a member of the group that had lost her license needed a ride, so I offered and stayed for the meeting. I was trying to be helpful. He thought I was there to flirt with someone!

    Anyway, I need to constantly remind myself that I'm not a bad person...I'm not a perfect person, but I'm not a bad person. I've actually started sticking stickies on my walls with messages on them, like....STOP, THINK, ACT...Don't REACT!.....I didn't cause it, I can't control it, I can't cure it!, etc.

    I admire you for all that you have done to pick up the pieces to your life and find someone that treats you well.

    And I also admire you for wanting to help Celine on her post. Again, I hope I wasn't too harsh with her, but if it helps her to look at her relationship for what it really is, then it will be worth it. I hope she reads our posts and continues her dialogue with us.

    Hope to see you posting again soon.

    Gianna

     
    Old 07-05-2005, 11:59 AM   #20
    Ruth6:11
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    Re: Just how much attention is enough?

    About your boyfriend's accusations??
    Keep remembering that part of being alcoholic is denial. Denial that there is a problem along with a need to find anyone else to blame.
    Remember - their first Step is "We ADMITTED we were powerless over alcohol".
    That part of your boyfriend is classic alcoholic - he is unable to admit that it is HIS problem - that he is powerless over his drinking. Far easier to blame us!!

    Here are the odds. He is probably still drinking. He is probably still the same person. The odds are that he may be in the "honeymoon" phase of a relationship for awhile and that the same pattern of abuse may emerge - and don't forget that he may go thru a few people who don't fall in love with him and aren't vulnerable to putting up with the abuse. Who will tell him exactly where to get off when the controlling behavior begins.
    Even after John quit drinking & drugging, the controlling, possessive, angry & jealous part of him was still there.
    He never did marry.

    I guess that I came out of this with one thing, and I do hope the same for you.
    A conviction that NO one will EVER treat me like that again. I admire you for going ahead with the legal aspects of his abuse. I didn't have the strength to go for a rape charge and any stalking he did wasn't obvious.
    I would have healed better if he had been held accountable.

    As it was, two weeks before he died (he was 48) he called me, and asked me to visit him in the nursing facility he was in. AA Step #9 has them make amends to me for the harm they have done. He made amends after almost 30 years And he cried at what he had done to me even after all these years.

    Gianna, I think it's wonderful that you're reading other posts and helping others with your experience. There is something really wonderful about being able to tell someone "I've been there & I understand." That's something that may just turn around and end up helping you as much as any responses from your own thread!

     
    Old 07-05-2005, 12:27 PM   #21
    Gianna2
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    Re: Just how much attention is enough?

    Wow....he made amends to you 30 years later! That's incredible! I can't even begin to imagine what that must have meant to you or, even what that might have felt like. I'm so glad for you. It must have added to your already hard earned serenity!

    What I find interesting is that it seems as though you kept in touch with him one way or another during that time. You must have had more strength than I do. I can't have my ex in my life in any way shape or form. It's just too dangerous for me and my well being.

    As far as other members here, if I can, I like to try and help as I so appreciate those that try to help me. Sometimes even just listening, or in this case reading, can help.

    And it has helped, because you know what I just figured out?.......the reason why all of these thoughts are bombarding my mind now, aside from the fact of a pending court date and packing up his stuff, is.....

    .....because it's safe to feel now!!! I have the time and the energy to devote to 'just me'. Instead of spending each and every day walking on egg shells and trying to keep him happy to keep me safe, I can actually feel all those feelings that I put on a shelf and ignored for so long. I'm not saying these thoughts are pleasant, but they're important and need to be dealt with for once and for all before putting them away for good, I hope!

    I didn't realize just how much I ignored my own well-being, I mean, aside from being choked, punched, shoved, etc. I actually am thrilled that I'm feeling again, as uncomfortable as it may seem. I guess I've found the silver lining to the situation.

    It's so true when they say that when you are feeling pain, it's good to try and help others!!!

     
    Old 07-05-2005, 05:08 PM   #22
    ScruffyGuy
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    Re: Just how much attention is enough?

    Ruth: I don't have time to comment in detail about your story, but just wanted to say thanks for sharing that with someone who really needed to hear it. Takes some guts and a strong character to step up to the plate and expose one's own personal problems.

    Gianna: I think I can safely say that you are on the right track here. I only wish there wasn't this impending court date to deal with, but... you will get through THAT, too. Lots of folks post and then become highly defensive about the responses. You did not -- a sign of a mind that is thinking clearly and objectively. Additionally, your recent comments indicate a strong sense of REALITY -- you have not forgotten what you learned in Al-Anon, etc. and you know that NOW is the time to focus on YOURSELF for a change. There is no better way to get through this than by loving and forgiving yourself and you are well on the road to doing that every single day.

    Those moments of doubt and sadness are normal and not to be confused with "backsliding." Your human emotions are a GOOD thing, as long as you never let them interfere with your logical mind.

    Your correct, too -- and so is Ruth -- very few people are actually "evil" individuals. Of course you know alcoholism is a disease -- but it is hard to NOT "blame" an alcoholic for what he's doing to himself and to those who love him. It is even harder when the alcoholic blames YOU for his own problem. But you KNOW this is a PART of the disease and it is NOT your fault. Years of being told over and over that it IS your fault, by someone you love, can make it very difficult to believe anything else.

    It is very hurtful to know that someone IS good inside and yet they have ruined themselves in some way: drugs, booze, sex addiction, gambling, whatever. We LOVE that person, because of our love we can see the GOOD in them... but we are powerless to CHANGE them. We feel helpless -- and no one wants to feel that way. Helplessness drags us down; we feel worthless and powerless and out of control -- even when it is the OTHER person who is out of control.

    You will come to realize that you CAN remember all the good things about the guy and also know that you are NOT a bad person because you cannot deal with abuse and alcoholism. Turning away from someone who NEEDS our help can be one of the most difficult challenges in life that we ever face. But you know very well that you CANNOT help him, you cannot magically remove his alcoholism. All you can do is learn day by day that you are a good person who at least TRIED and that it is NOT your fault that your efforts went unrewarded.

    I suspect you feel as though you "failed" in some ways -- but deep inside, you know this is not true, either.

    From experience, I believe that probably you will always love him -- and that's OK. You will also probably end up feeling pity and sadness FOR him. This is OK, too -- though it isn't a wonderful feeling. But it is probably the only feeling you'll be left with, after some time passes.

    Forgive YOURSELF and realize that none of this is your fault -- you are well on the way to doing that now.

    Pity him if you must -- don't be afraid to feel sorrow for him if this is what you feel.

    It is not possible to tell you to dismiss his memory from your mind -- that won't happen. You CAN, however, dismiss the BLAME he placed on you and you MUST free yourself of guilt.

    You will experience melancholy and KNOW what the word means, very soon, from an intimate point of view. You'll reflect on things that happened and be bombarded with both GOOD and SAD emotions and thoughts. You'll WISH things could have been different but you'll ultimately realize that nothing you could have done would have made it so.

    You see a pair of shoes in a store that you fall in love with -- these are the best shoes you have ever seen in your life. You'd look great wearing them, they are made well and would last you many years. You have clothes that match them perfectly. But the shoes are discontinued and they don't have your size. You could buy them and they'd hurt you to wear them -- they'd blister your feet and make every step you take agonizingly painful. You might look good, but you'd FEEL awful.

    Or you could simply walk away, shake your head and understand that those shoes just aren't for you.

    Continued good wishes -- you'll get through this.

    I'm very glad I was of some help.

     
    Old 07-06-2005, 09:12 AM   #23
    Gianna2
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    Re: Just how much attention is enough?

    ScruffyGuy,

    Thanks again. You have such a soothing tone to your posts. It helps!

    I've rewritten the first of the 12 steps to read....

    I admit I was powerless over 'his' alcoholism....my life became unmanageable because of 'his alcoholism'.

    I have this hanging on my wall right now with a few other messages as well.

    Maybe some people might object that I re-wrote it, but, it was an important step for me to take. I'm at the point where I need to distinguish what was his fault and what was mine. This is my first step in turning my thought process around and placing responsibility where it should be.

    The only thing that concerns me a little is, because it was so easy for him to blame me for everything due to his inability to look at himself, I also fear by blaming him that I won't look at myself either. However, in this particular example, I am not responsible for his alcoholism, and all his bad behaviors associated with that.

    Again, it's just a first step for me. May not sound like much to most, but it seems to be important for me.

    Thanks again for your support. I don't mean to pry but it sounds as though you are extremely knowledgable on the subject. Thanks for sharing your insights.

    Gianna

     
    Old 07-06-2005, 09:36 AM   #24
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    Re: Just how much attention is enough?

    Hi, Gianna I first want to congratulate you on making the biggest move in realizing that you are not responsible for your ex's actions and how he treated you. You're rewritting the first step in AA is a wonderful start. May I suggest you enlarge it in a 60+ font in boldtype and post it where you will see it most during your day. That way it will be a visible reminder to you of what you have learned and each baby step you take in the direction of the life you truly deserve. AA and it's wonderful guidelines remind us all how vulnerable we become when we love another person and see the good in everyone.

    You may benefit greatly from resources that discuss codependency. Alanon is the closest form of support....I wish I knew of some network that addresses codependency and the support available within our community in order to better direct you. For often in life's situations we become codependents of one's habits without even realizing it and there are many books that offer support in how to best deal with this issue. Perhaps a visit to a bookstore will provide you with some support in this area.

    Ruth describes so well how it is possible to love someone and yet not sacrifice your own happiness by doing so. It is quite clear on how you truly care about your ex and his welfare and you can still do so, so long as you realize that in order to do so you must have a healthy life outside of his. This may not be possible....having experienced abuse in my past I was unable to do this and am amazed at the strength of character & integrity my dear cybertwin Ruth possesses in order to have been able to do so with John. Ruth, you never cease to amaze me with your strength and beautiful soul.

    Anyway...I just wanted to tell you, Gianna, that having been somewhat in a similar situation the best thing you can do is seek out some counselling to answer the questions that you have which may also help you gain some insight as to what had occurred within your relationship with your ex. I, like you, often questioned whether or not it was something I did or didn't do that caused the ultimate failure of the relationship when it had everything to do with the first step you quoted from AA.....we were powerless over their problems and as a result our lives became unmanageable, that is, until we freed ourselves enough to take control of our lives & happiness once again. That's what's key....you made the decision to leave in order to be happy again and to find the love that you truly deserve. My congratulations to you on that ~ Goody

    Last edited by goody2shuz; 07-06-2005 at 09:43 AM.

     
    Old 07-06-2005, 10:11 AM   #25
    Gianna2
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    Re: Just how much attention is enough?

    Hi Goody,

    Thanks for your post.

    I hand wrote the changes I made to the first step so it's definitely large enough. It's hanging on the door right by my tv so I can't help but see it.

    I also hand wrote another sign which is hanging there as well. It reads....

    His heart is dead to me now....death by alcoholism!

    It's not saying that my heart (my feelings for him) are dead, but rather 'his' heart (his feelings for me) are dead.

    It just says it all to me. When he had periods of not drinking, he was the most wonderful man I've ever known. Kind, sensitive, loving, giving, helpful to me and others...the list of his good qualities goes on and on.

    But that murdering, poisonous, blankety-blank alcohol possessed his heart and soul and destroyed all of that.

    I truly hope for his sake that his heart and soul are still hiding somewhere in his body and will one day fight the biggest battle of his life and will restore and release the alcoholic ties that bind him for he really is, or rather was, a beautiful man!

    But, that's his battle. I can't allow myself to be taken hostage any longer. I will always love him, but now it must be from a distance.

    Ah yes! Co-dependency! Melody Beattie has become a very good friend of mine recently. I'm reading 'Beyond Co-dependency' and finished reading her 'Playing it by Heart'. The last one really explained a lot about her life and how she struggled so. She explained both sides of the story and is my new hero....just below my Higher Power!

    I also have 3 Al-Anon books that I read from first thing every morning for almost a year now. For some reason though, they don't have as much impact on me as they used to. I find the co-dependency books and posting here seem to have much more of an impact on me. But I am grateful for what ever tool my Higher Power puts in my life to help me.

    Thanks for your input and good suggestions. It sounds as though you speak from experience as well. I always cringe a little when people share their stories because I hate to see anyone suffer pain. But it also sounds like you, and Ruth are survivors! I guess we all suffer at some point in our lives. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger.

    Thanks again and have a great day Goody!

    Gianna

     
    Old 07-06-2005, 06:10 PM   #26
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    Re: Just how much attention is enough?

    Just a quick response for now to satisfy your curiosity -- yes, I've dealt with alcoholics in my life, though admittedly NOT to the degree of severity (abuse, etc.) that some others, yourself included have dealt with.

    My uncle died at age forty-six -- he drank a quart of vodka daily. He developed heart disease and liver failure. My father found him dead in his bathroom after he didn't answer the phone for a day. He had open heart surgery at one point, triple by-pass, was told by the docs (naturally) that he'd be dead soon if he didn't stop drinking. He didn't. And he died.

    What's scary is that the man was actually a GENIUS (measured IQ). Just goes to show you what booze can do to the smartest of people. He had a wonderful job and he traveled the entire world for many years -- but the alcohol ended all of that.

    I also dealt with someone else who was a "social" or "weekend" alcoholic. This is a much longer story and not something I care to get into at the moment, except to say that this individual is no longer involved in my life.

     
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