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Post Info TOPIC: Walking on eggshells


Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 30
Date:
Walking on eggshells


11 days sober for AH and I feel like Iām the one about to crack. Thereās been very little communication between us aside from general pleasantries until Friday, when we did have a real conversation - nothing alcohol related. Then back to nothing much yesterday. Thereās a huge wall between us and even though itās early in his attempt to stop drinking, and even though I know itās normal for things to be rough for a bit, it was beginning to feel insurmountable. But then we were intimate this morning and it felt like *maybe* we were getting on the right track again. But as soon as I started to exhale (just a little - way, way too soon to completely let it out) I said something that he apparently took offense to. It wasnāt intended that way by me and was in the course of a friendly conversation we were having with our kids while out shopping this afternoon. Itās a long story so I wonāt go into details, but suffice it to say I can see where heās coming from. On the other hand, he jumped to a conclusion about what I was trying to express and never let me finish my initial thought. Anyway, he called me out on it a little bit later when we had a few private minutes at the store. I apologized for the way I approached it and tried to explain my point more clearly, which got me no where, fast. He just wasnāt having it. He was short and cold all night and finally when he was getting ready for bed, I tried talking to him again. All I got was āIām done fightingā. Which just infuriates me because thatās been my go-to line with him for a while now. Only when I say it, itās always in the context of āWe can TALK about this, but Iām done āfightingā about itā. As in, we can discuss it calmly and try to really hear each other and try to come to a solution, but Iām not sitting here while you yell at me and refuse to let me get a word in edgewise. That wasnāt his approach. His was more āYou upset me and Iām not willing to talk it over. I WANT to be mad. The conversation (that never even really happened in the first place) is over.ā :sigh: Iām just not sure where to go from here. Iām walking on eggshells around him every.single.moment of every.single.day. Weāre only 11 days in and Iām already feeling like I canāt take much more Iām planning on going to marriage counseling (by myself - heās already said he wonāt go) just to learn how to be the best partner I can be and deal with some of the baggage *I* bring to the marriage, but thereās a part of me thatās ready to throw in the towel now and save myself the grief of trying to save a marriage that Iām not even sure he *wants* to save. I love him desperately but am I just fooling myself to think that thereās any possibility of us getting through this if our communication is so bad that heās not even willing to talk to me?

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~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 2173
Date:

((((((Twinkles))))))

I can honestly relate to your frustrations.

For me the early days of sobriety were the toughest for many of the same reasons that you describe here. I would find myself relaxing a bit, letting my guard down a bit, really wanting to connect. I really wanted to let this man know how I felt and to be accepted by him. All natural and good feelings really.

I would then say something, my AH would feel defensive, as if I was having a go at him, I would feel hurt and discounted and either cry or shutdown. Communications were in some ways worse than when he was drinking because I would forget that he was on a very private and perhaps confusing journey of his own that couldn't really include me yet. That made me feel sad, frustrated, hurt. After all we'd been through and still I felt excluded!!!

I still have not really managed to sort this one out, but I do take AH's responses less personally than I used to. Learnt that he doesn't have to give me my answers and now I try to keep anything I say short and preferably sweet. However, I don't want to deny myself connection with my own feelings and I have a lot of hurt to work through so as my feelings unfurl I choose others to confide in and sometimes journal. I try to listen to my own body, how it feels - how tense, how relaxed and think about when I feel relaxed and then do more of that. I try to accept that AH isn't the right place right now for me to unload my own feelings. This sometimes makes me wonder if I am denying myself levels of intimacy that I would appreciate in my life, but then there are other times when I think ok, be patient!! Perhaps, for you, your time with the counsellor could be a safe place for all you've been through? Well done on finding and exploring a new avenue for yourself - I know that I found counselling a good place to let off steam and to hear myself think. I tried to use the early days as a time to concentrate on my own healing and learning more about myself and what I wanted to do with my life. I tried to accept that this was a big change for both of us and take it one day at a time.

I try to keep in mind a Robert Redford movie called The Horse Whisperer and imagine that I am living alongside a wild horse - how do I deal with that? I figure that the calmer I am, making no demands on this timorous beastie, the calmer my own life might feel and the more space AH would have to do his own thing. I think that my husband has always struggled with closeness and I benefit from respecting that he needs to find his own path. Who knows what guilt and shame and regret gets in the way! I'm sure we would both like to be open and accepting, but perhaps finding ways of accepting oneself needs to come first.

PS . I did also rather enjoy thinking about the scenery and Mr Redford as well when that movie came to mind!! Small treats ((((Hugs)))))



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Veteran Member

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Posts: 30
Date:

Thank you so much for that post Milkwood - I needed to be reminded that this is not abnormal and that Iām not alone. I guess I just need to take a deep breath, think about my own reaction to things and whenever possible, take the lead on keeping tensions under control. It helps to be reminded that this is complicated stuff for both of us and that we need to figure out how to tackle it as individuals before weāre ready to tackle it as a team. Your thoughts have brought me some peace this morning and I needed that desperately right now ((((hugs))))

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Senior Member

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Posts: 485
Date:

Hi Twinkies
The concept of the 3 C's comes to mind when I read your post. You didn't cause it, you can't cure it and you can't control it. That concept helped me with stopping the walking on eggshells with my AH. The more I really took these concepts in from my group and from the readings I learned that walking on eggshells doesn't help anyone. My AH is going to do what he is going to do regardless. I can't control it, cure it and I certainly didn't cause it. My AH used to get frustrated with every little thing I did that he felt was wrong. I used to try so hard to be the best partner for him but it never worked. No matter how much I walked on egg shells I couldn't make him happy or make our marriage work. I just felt more and more miserable and resentful. That was because I was living my life for him not for me. I eventually started to learn to take care of myself. They often use the analogy of the oxygen mask on an airplane in the Al anon literature. You can't help others until you help yourself first. So that's what I started to do. I started to take care of myself. by doing that I became a better mother and a better wife. I also learned how to trust myself again. Turns out I'm a pretty great person with a lot to offer. Turns out that I wasn't always wrong. The more I started to trust myself and my decisions the better life got at home. In my opinion of my situation the more I walked on eggshells and acted like his mood was somehow my fault the easier it was for him to believe that I was responsible for his mood. When I learned to detach with love it helped me to separate myself from him. He is responsible for his mood and his behaviour and I am only responsible for my own. I slowly learned to let go of the responsibility I was feeling for how he was behaving. WHen I did that I didn't walk on eggshells so much. In my situation although I loved him very much I had reached a point where I could no longer live in our relationship the way that it was. That is when I finally stopped walking on eggshells. I hope that you find some peace. What do YOU need right now and how could you get that for yourself? Keep coming back.

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~*Service Worker*~

Status: Online
Posts: 9052
Date:

(((Twinkies))) - all that you feel is typical - there's no doubt about it. I recall hoping for adult conversations when the substances were set aside and it's been 10 years and that's still our biggest challenge. I can sit and guess why but the reality is ... that keeps me stuck and affects my recovery, moods, attitudes, expectations and outlook.

When I can just accept that my A is __________________ (crappy, distant, grumpy) and that it's not about me - it's about them, I am better able to move forward with my own day/recovery. For an unknown reason, I came to recovery believing I was responsible for other's emotions, actions, etc. I heard in recovery that's not reality and it's not healthy.

Al-Anon has given me the tools of choice - I can choose to take things personally or I can leave them lay. I can choose to leave the room or I can choose to stay. I can choose to detach or react or not. It's a choice to JADE or not (Justify, Argue, Defend, Explain). All of this was foreign to me as I was a right-fighter when I arrived and allowed the words of others to determine my emotional state and more.

What was really most helpful when I arrived was, "It's so not about me..." I kept that front and center in my brain. I have jokingly suggested in recovery at first and then later to my A(s) that I am allowed one question per day before the defensive drama starts so I need to make it a good one!!! As crazy as it sounds, it's true. Unfortunately, after a long while in recovery and even with 2 of 3 sober at the moment, this still applies.

The phone numbers I got when I first arrived really helped me early on. Being able to call another who understands and reminded me of tools was very helpful. Great that you're aware of how this affects you - that's forward progress even if it doesn't feel like it. (((Hugs))) - keep coming back!

__________________

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

 

 



Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 30
Date:

Thank you all for your insight and for sharing your experience. I think the hardest part for me right now is not knowing - I donāt know where is head is regarding his drinking (is he actively trying to quit or is he just trying to prove that he doesnāt *have* to have it and has no plan to quit permanently?), I donāt know where his head is regarding us (is he resentful of my boundaries to the point that heās considering throwing in the towel himself?), and I donāt know how much time I should let pass before I press him for answers - Especially about us. If heās considering divorce I need to know sooner rather than later. Iām a SAHM and us separating will leave me in dire straits financially. I could be proactive and just start looking for a job now, but with the mental health issues of our kids and the fact that along with his job, we own a business together that I run, and whose hours are unpredictable at best, I canāt seem to establish a schedule that will allow me to do that. I canāt get a job without dissolving our business and having him take over some of the appointments for our kids. If I do that, heāll immediately assume *Iām* considering divorce and even if *heās* not, it might push him closer to that. :sigh: Iām just confused about everything right now.

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Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 288
Date:

My XAW did much of what you describe and it is a bummer. The feeling of "walking on eggshells" is familiar. Wondering to myself why the need for all these little mindgames and non-fight fights. Never knew what was going to get me the silent treatment or the badger treatment. Even now that we're split I still find myself trying to understand her motivations and plans. I do this less and less though because I have realized that it is futile and even when I can guess right it doesn't help me to know what she's thinking. Its just anxiety wrapped in manipulation and slathered with lies with a side of alcohol. The best I can do is keep the focus on me. Tend to my side of the fence, set boundaries when needed, and hope that she continues in her recovery.

I suggest you keep working on you. Do something that makes you happy. If you think you might divorce you may just want to speak to a professional to get some info. I did when it seemed things were going that way and it was probably the smartest thing I did last year. Much less anxiety.

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Senior Member

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Posts: 394
Date:

((((((Twinkies)))))))))) sending prayers your way.

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~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 3180
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I really recommend the book Getting Them Sober, Toby Rice Drew (Toby Drew Rice, I flip the names .. LOL), don't let it fool you it's about you, what you want, what your needs are because the bottom line is it doesn't matter if he drinks or doesn't drink .. I still have to deal with me and that applies to my whole life. That book is serious alanon and I call it the jack hammer of alanon because TRD doesn't mess around in talking about alcoholism/addiction or exactly the truth of how powerless people are over their loved ones. I am currently reading it again in dealing with my newly transitioning son and his situation. He is absolutely going to do what he's going to do .. it doesn't mean I don't have choices, it doesn't mean I don't have a part, it means I am not required to participate and I can lovingly detach and allow him to do him while I do my best to stay on the sidelines being a silent cheerleader.

I am sorry that this is overwhelming and trying to guess what he's going to do is pretty much like hop scotching through the day and in doing so I can guarantee you will miss out on your own life. So I hope you get a hobby, find some peace and just let him do what he needs to do because you aren't going to corral him into treatment or sobriety and that's just are the facts.

Big hugs S :)

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"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



Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 75
Date:

Walking on eggshells is exhausting. Be kind to yourself. ((hug))

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