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Post Info TOPIC: Control Issues


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 675
Date:
Control Issues


Hi all, sorry for the long post. I'm really stewing over this one!

I had a conversation with my AW last night at dinner that just isn't sitting well with me. I'm stewing over it, and I think I've put my finger on why it isn't feeling right, but I hope some of you can give me some ESH so I can think more clearly about what I want to do. 

My AW and I have been together for about a decade, she's been sober but not in program for close to three years. My parents have often pointed to her behavior as being controlling, and when she was actively drinking, I would now agree. I thought that the control issue was related to her disease, and needing to have constant access to alcohol, but now I don't think that is the case. 

I have been trying to be more engaged in self-care and building friendships. AW felt really supported when I started going to weekly meetings on Sundays. She didn't like when I added Thursday night meetings, and really didn't like when I added a few hours in a coffee shop by myself after Sunday meetings. I'm about to add Tuesday to work with my sponcee. That conversation, I predict, is not going to go well. She was pouting and upset Tuesday when I got home because I said I thought I would be out for "a couple" of hours, and I was away for three. 

A friend from work invited me over for a meal and cookie making last November. I started the foreshadowing then. (So-and-so has invited me over. We haven't picked a date yet, but I am planning to go.) We settled on later this month on a Sunday, because that is already an established pattern for my wife of me being away, and it would make the conversation easier for me to have with her. I had coffee with another friend from work yesterday, and she invited me over to her house to look over some of the projects she wants to do and to meet her new-ish dog. (I like home repair and home projects - she is inexperienced with them.) We settled on a Sunday in early March. 

Over dinner, I told my wife I'd run into this friend, and that she'd invited me over to help her with some house projects. The conversation didn't go well. Basically, what I heard (perhaps not really what AW said) was that she is worried that I am going to cheat on her with my straight female friend because I once said I liked her hair. She doesn't want me to go, she is letting me go to the married co-workers house, and she doesn't like that either. Also, I was uncomfortable with her lesbian friend staying over at our house, and she doesn't see that friend anymore. I should give her the same respect and not see this woman. Also, if I really want to go, I should take her with me. 

A side note about AW's lesbian friend - I don't feel like this is the same situation because I was out of town for work, AW was not living in MY house at the time - she was just staying over to care for the pets while I was away with her PO's permission, I did not know ahead of time that this woman was invited to stay over at my house, they were both in a jail diversion program for substance abuse, and this woman was relapsing, not following the rules, and getting violations nearly weekly. 

The thing about the conversation that isn't sitting well with me is that it feels very controlling. So I did some googling, and read up on signs of emotionally abusive relationships, and I feel like there is a pattern that I am just now noticing in our relationship that results in me having a very low self-esteem and very little to no contact with friends or family. When I think about it, I had 5 very close male friends when I met AW, and without exception, I am not in close contact with any of them anymore. 

I am thinking that I need a few new boundaries at a minimum - maybe starting with: 

- I am not going to be in touch via chat or messenger all day when I am at work

- I am going to have friendships with people, and it is ok if you do not like them. 

- I am not going to discuss my friendships with you. 

- I am not going to feel compelled to tell you whenever I run into someone. 

- I am going to make plans with others, I will tell you about them, but I am not asking your permission. 

I don't know, I guess I'm pretty sure that my relationship is emotionally abusive, and my first response is not: I better get out, or I need to make this stop, it is "I am probably doing the same thing to her. I better work on this myself and make sure I am not being emotionally abusive to her." - I don't think that I am, and I know that AW is a champion gaslighter. This is just another observation I am making about how I am in this relationship. 

Anyway, I've rambled on long enough. Thanks for sticking with me through this long post. And thanks for any ESH you have! 

Today, I am focusing on Thursday. Thursday has always been my favorite day of the week! 

 



__________________

Skorpi

If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present. - Lao Tzu



~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 15991
Date:

(((Skorpi))) It certainly sounds as if you have thought this through and researched the subject well. I do agree with your stated boundaries as they sound reasonable and self loving/caring.

I too abandoned myself in a relationship and inadvertently lost my self esteem and self. It sounds as if you are discovering who you are and what you like without jeopardizing your primary relationship. Good job
Thanks for sharing the journey.

__________________
Betty

THE HIGHEST FORM OF WISDOM IS KINDNESS

Talmud


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 8450
Date:

Skorpi - I am sorry you are wrestling with 'this'...What popped into my mind is what you are considering - self-care, boundaries and healthy choices. When I have to go through the resistance of my boundaries, I am reminded of the easy responses I learned first in recovery, "I am sorry you feel that way." and/or, "I don't see it like that." I am also reminded of JADE.

Having friends is very important to me - sexual orientation is not a part of the 'who'. I have friends from all walks of life, male and female. Recovery gives me many option as does softball. Once in a while, my AH raises a jealous eye or insecure voice. I do not placate to it as if I am not trusted after my input/contribution to our relationship, there's nothing I can say/do to change his outlook/opinion. I do offer the same in reverse - and try to 'do unto others....'

I am reminded that we can't help another who doesn't want to be helped. Recovery is about growing, changing, healing and loving life again. I have outgrown friends because they appear 'stuck' in their lives and I am not any longer. In our situation, as I've grown and tried new things, my AH has gone thru stages of curiosity, questioning, complaining and then acceptance. It's been necessary for me to set fair boundaries and stick to them to get to his acceptance and this processing he does seems to happen at a faster pace than before.

I am also reminded of, "Say what you mean, mean what you say and don't say it mean." I often have to talk with my sponsor before returning to my AH when I am left uncomfortable after an exchange. She does a good job of grounded me to my truth and helping me stay on my side of the street. I hope you have an awesome Thursday! (((Hugs)))

__________________

Practice the PAUSE...Pause before judging.  Pause before assuming.  Pause before accusing.  Pause whenever you are about to react harshly and you will avoid doing and saying things you will later regret.  ~~~~  Lori Deschene

 

 



~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 3023
Date:

Hugs Skorpi,

I wanted to add something along this lines .. first off I totally had controlling behavior that was overt in my relationship with my XAH .. my XAH his control issues were overt .. and there would be snide comments, put downs and so on. I didn't see that side of the dynamic until after I had left and realized yes .. I totally have control issues however I was not alone .. I just was not as manipulative.

I second what has been shared the biggest issue is that what feels right to you. Say what you mean, mean what you say and don't say it mean. I like the responses of I am sorry you feel that way. Or hmmm that's an interesting thought. I have used repeating myself back with this I heard your concerns and I understand however this is what I'm doing .. I love you. Usually when I get there the conversation for me is done. I continue with my day. OMGOSH .. your wife would have field day with me .. I have been known to go out with a girlfriend to catch up and literally 6 hours later I'm coming back in the door .. LOL .. needless to say it's been a long visit. For me that is part of my self care and that is part of me honoring my friendships and making sure I don't loose contact with them.

You keep doing you and what that means to you .. spreading wings is part of that process and growth is imperative.

Hugs S :)




__________________

"I cannot learn other people's lessons for them.  They must do the work for themselves, and they will do it when they are ready." - Louise Hay



~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 582
Date:

Hi, Skorpi, I'm sorry for the inner turmoil. I just wanted to say that the boundaries you identified you needed seem very reasonable. I don't really have much in the way of ESH as I am still just beginning to see how I have been manipulated and let myself be controlled by my ex-abf for very long, and I'm still pretty confused about all that although the fog is slowly, slowly beginning to clear. Keep doing you! :)

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~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 675
Date:

Thanks everyone! I really appreciate your esh!

__________________

Skorpi

If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present. - Lao Tzu

bud


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 1785
Date:

Hey Skorpi, I can relate to your post. Great job identifying the issue and defining boundaries!

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~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 3536
Date:

It's difficult figuring out boundaries and what's appropriate and what's not, for sure.  And scared or unhealthy people often grip tightly and try to control things in ways that aren't good for the relationship.

That said, if I understand correctly, you were going over to someone's house for a meal and cookie-making - and I gather this friend was a woman?  A single woman?  And you were going over for a meal and cookie-making with this woman, just the two of you?  I have to say that if my partner/husband were doing that with a single woman I too would be concerned.  And then you are going over to another single woman's house to do house repairs for her?  The man-doing-house-repairs-for-a-single-woman situation is almost like a "Come up and see my etchings" scenario for stereotypical hanky panky.  I'm not saying you're getting up to hanky panky or intending to.  But to me, as a woman who has worked hard at identifying healthy boundaries and behavior, those would be worrying situations for me.  If my partner did not see why I was worried, I would conclude that we were on very different pages about what is appropriate in a relationship.  I would also agree that it's a situation where I'd be okay if we all three were hanging out, but not just the man and the single woman.  So in this situation, my own view is that those concerns are not extreme.  Not that either the man or the woman has to have bad intent.  But just as alcoholics are unwise to walk into bars, if men and women get too cozy in certain situations, things can happen, and it's wisest to draw a line to keep temptation from happening. 

So those are my views, but they don't sound as if they're your views.  One question that might be useful is "What is my motivation?" 

Those are my thoughts.



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~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 13681
Date:

 

 

Mattie turn in  your top secret cryptographic clearance, You cannot have one for being sooooo honest (LOL).  I found myself after reading your post doing an inventory and wondering at what stage of your ESH i was at.  Of  course you are right on...you are at that "I know and know that I know now and must pass it on" stage.  Great honesty and courage...Thanks for you.  Of course I "use to do that stuff" and will not even think about it today because of your post.   ((((hugs)))) wink



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Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 311
Date:

I have to say I had tremendous boundary issues with the now ex A  He was someone who was boundaryless  He had a friend who actually asked to move in rent free for a year   He made me the bad guy  

One thing I do when I feel insecure is to become demanding and controlling  Another is to seek more contact when I really need to back off.  I know for me a friendship is a very big deal. 

Building a friendship takes time   I have only so much time to build these relationships.      

Personally I would be pretty upset if I were inn a committed relationship and everything changed   I have been down that road. It is pretty  common for an alcoholic to want to spend all their time with other alcoholics. There isn't much balance in an alcoholic relationship    For me relationships used to be intense   After a lot of years of al anon the intensity has diminished  I am better at problem solving

I can't advise you what is and what isn't a reasonable boundary in a marriage  I know when I stopped arguing with the now ex A I felt empowered   I also know that I felt so alienated from the now ex A that any attention other people have me felt really good   I was a little too vulnerable to that attention. 

My boundaries today are very very different from that they were     Boundaries evolve   I did not get anywhere personally by proclaimations   I don't have #show downs#   The #show downs# were a couple of times a day in the relationship with the ex A.    They went nowhere. In al anon there is a suggestion of #mean what you say but don't say it mean# 

One of my former neighbors used to talk about patrolling his boundaries  I didn't really get that drift.  Now I do   Implementing boundaries is hard work.  I find it really rather difficult around alcohol8cs because their concept is pretty different   Nevertheless to me these days the whole issue of boundaries is empowering. When someone crosses my boundaries it is a way for me to look at my self care. I also have to look at how much people pleasing I do. 

 

I know al anon has helped me a great deal with my boundaries  I was in therapy for a very long time.     I didn't get far with boundaries 8n therapy even in couples therapy  I did the showdown method then   That really didn't work for me  

 

These days there are certain points in boundaries where I will divest myself from a relationship   I can do that a lot more easily these days    For me there has to be a give and take and respect in a relationship.    I don't know that in An alcohol7c relationship I had that  I had all give.  I also felt for me at certain points the respect evaporated on both sides 

 

I don't find boundaries to be #fixed#   They are a lot more fluid  Nevertheless there are some relationships I have from a distance.  I stopped investing in them   Whenever I can I try to be cordial.   If I can't be cordial I try not to say much overtly 

 

 

 



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Maresie


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 257
Date:

Hi Skorpi. Being by a dry drunk is what finally got me back in here due to the intensity of controlling. I totally lost me. I thank God for Alanon. I do love your boundaries:)

In saying this though, I totally agree with Mattie. She said what I first thought reading your ESH. The opposite sex in friendships while married is a set up for disaster if not in a public place........ Not saying you would fall for anything but these things happen.

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~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 744
Date:

this is a good thread; thanks for sharing with us. Reminded this morning in alanon to take what we like an leave the rest. there is never advice only esh .. from a recovery view only, one thing that comes to mind when i read this is our recommendations for sponsoring. it is 'suggested that men sponsor men and women sponsor women (sometimes the love (attention on deeper layers) we find in recovery can be emotionally confused for more) .. we're only human and we're powerless .. It came to me through reading of the marriage and spending time in a private setting with single even married others with recovery. (no judgment in this whatsoever)

i am reminded in reading this of the difference between walls & boundaries . boundaries don't keep others out build a 2nd wall or harm myself or others (including my marriage more than it was is or what have you) if as a married wife I were meeting with men whether married or not i would need to include on my 4th when having resentments with my insecure hubby that i had a part in making him feel unsafe and then i would be asked to make an 'amends (change in me)

If i look and say i only did what i did because he a b c ... it's possible i am having a slip through once again excusing and justifying me and 'my' own disease possibly slipping back into denial (don't even no i am lying) ''unaware'' .. these are areas in me i am reminded of so merely reflecting out loud in this which is good for me. reminded the next right action is for us .. and it begins with searching deeper with absolute honestly our own inner 'motives

there will always be different perceptions when it comes to recovery; the more step work we do the more we will grow the understanding which will forever be changing (deepening). if my hubby wanted to come with i would need to also ask myself what my real motive is for not wanting him present unless he were creating a crisis which often happens. at the end of the day i would want to be sure my own boundaries weren't carrying my own secret motive or attempt to take back control (which isn't the same as power) .

whatever you do an however this works for you sending you lots of heart-felt alanon hugs and wishes for much serenity. Lord knows it isn't easy to live with or love an alcoholic without the spiritual discipline and guidance of higher power in meetings and the fellowship of others .. what helps me in times like this is to keep sharing with sponsor, attending meetings, reading literature, and remembering 'more (guidance and solutions (aware) are on the way .. sometimes it is So hard for me to sit with patience .. i want a Speedy recovery with instant answers to difficult problems that grew over time.



-- Edited by MeTwo2 on Saturday 10th of February 2018 01:33:21 PM

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~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 744
Date:

I appreciated your share, Mattie very clear an insightful ..



-- Edited by MeTwo2 on Saturday 10th of February 2018 01:50:06 PM

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Veteran Member

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Posts: 34
Date:

i do identify with Mattie and her experience on the topic. But i also struggle hardest with the interpersonal relationship/love/emotional aspect of what we've been through and what makes *me* happy, it's a complicated web. Good job to work through your feelings and ask for an ESH on such a topic. i hope our feedback has helped. And remember how you feel about things today may not be how you always feel.

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