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Post Info TOPIC: Not feeling heard


Veteran Member

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Not feeling heard


Hi all! Just looking for a venting board. My husband has been sober for almost 6 weeks. (I dont keep track, he just tells me). I know thats brand new in the life of a recovering alcoholic. I am struggling as i feel that not only was he selfish in alcoholism, hes now selfish in recovery. Im not referring to the actual time required for AA & reading, etc. Im talking emotionally selfish. Last night an argument ensued because i told him i just dont feel appreciated. Could be a girl thing. I dont really know. He got super defensive & of course I engaged in the argument. I was trying to explain what i meant. He reverted to his old habits of defense, cutting me off, twisting words, & bullying the conversation. When I started to cry, he said There you go, crying to get out of a conversation . This morning i got an apology text. The problem is he will not come home from work today & try to listen. He will say he apologized & thats it. I know Al-Anon is about focusing on myself & not him. How do i move past the fact that I believe I need to be heard & validated. I wrestle with detaching vs. being a doormat with no voice. I was not attacking him. I was not bringing up the past. I was trying to explain ive never dealt with alcoholism & I dont know the right things to do or say to support him. That Im trying. I know hes dealing with a lot, but I try to support him. But I feel like Im also dealing with a lot but am being forced to deal with it on my own. Its selfish in my opinion. I feel like the expectation has always been for me to carry a full load of responsibility & emotional support because hes sick, but that Im not allowed to have any of my own. Thanks for listening.

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Cath

2HP


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I hear you! and so understand. Long before I stayed w al-anon, I remember feeling he should be more available to me now. I had put up with his crazymaking for so long and now he's going off to NA meetings with celebrities, getting free backstage passes, going to concerts...

And meeting new people calling him all times of day and night. He was just as absent if not more so.

I felt very resentful.

Many years later (20+) I crawled back into the rooms of Al-anon. within a few short weeks, I began using that "call list" given to me at my first meeting, even though I felt afraid to "bother" anyone. Within 6 months, I had a sponsor.

My husband loved the immediate relief. Much later in recovery, I realized the weight of my clinging on him. when I made amends, he cried and cried when I apologized saying that I understand now that I am responsible for ME and my own happiness.  I was being selfish, wanting him to meet my needs while he was desperately trying to figure out how to live in the world

...without a crutch. (we were both using crutches.)

Bill W. summed it up rather well for me: "Nothing can be more demoralizing than a clinging and abject dependence upon another human being. This often amounts to the demand for a degree of protection and love that no one could possibly satisfy. So our hoped- for protectors finally flee, and once more we are left alone either to grow up, or disintegrate."

Even in early recovery, whenever my sponsor wasn't available, I still thought I would "disintegrate." She taught me well though, telling me those were perfect times to "go direct" and tap into Higher Power, throw everything at His feet. to me, that had become the real meaning of "you are not alone."

One day at a time.


I know many couples who enjoy life in recovery, although it can't happen overnight.  there is no automatic button we can push, it just takes time.  I remember feeling so envious of the couples where one would to to the AA meeting and the other to Al-anon across the hallway.  Then they had "date night" afterwards, sometimes with other couples. That looked soooo FUN.

Better days are coming!  until then, keep coming back (((hugs)))  you are not alone



-- Edited by 2HP on Thursday 14th of May 2020 06:07:44 PM

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~*Service Worker*~

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  smile Thanks for sharing, Cath...aww...

        listening, and being heard- is golden... aww ...



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A Universe that Creates Flowers : Has to be Trustworthy.



~*Service Worker*~

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Crmns, He's newly sober and still finding his way. People who are newly sober at least from my personal experience aren't usually a treat to be around. There's alot of irritability. We get that way too of course. Irritability isn't exclusive to alcoholics. Not being able to get to in person meetings is hard on all of us. We go, we see others who get us, give and get a hug, hear some good stuff, share and typically I feel better afterwards than when I got there. With that said, these things are not a replacement for physical and emotional intimacy from the person with whom you're spending your life. Right now you're emotionally available. He's newly sober so he really isn't. He's still trying to get comfortable without booze. He's likely thinking about that most. Not that that means he's going to drink again. But think about it, it was like his best friend who got him through so many things and now he has to face life head on without it. That's a scary deal. All you can do on your end really is to keep going forward with your own recovery. It can help. If he does his end with AA and a sponsor, keeps sober, he'll begin to feel better and likely respond in a more appreciative way. I don't see you as dependent on him to have your needs met. Having healthy emotional interdependence as a couple is what separates intimate partners from roommates with a marriage license. If you can be patient and practice a bit of detachment concerning his manipulative behavior, with time and his program his behavior may change for the better. For right now, you may need to be patient and accept where he is at. That doesn't mean accepting nasty words or behavior. It means letting go of expectations that he can show up one hundred percent right now. Hang in there. Keep sharing. It can get better with time. (((hugs)) TT

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Faith unsticks fear.



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Crmans- Wow- this resonates with me so much! Im going through the exact same thing right now. I feel for you and understand your anger and resentment. I feel the same way. I was just thinking today how before he decided to quit, it was all about him, and how now its all about him too- if not more. Im furious. Its like, hey!!! What about ME???? I dont know what to tell you. I have no advice as I am going through the same. Im sorry you are going through this. Thankfully we can turn to these boards for some advice and venting. Im even angrier today because I discovered that hes not sober and has been lying and making this huge ordeal with new drs, meds and the whole bit while starting up again. Hopefully you can find serenity....

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a4l


~*Service Worker*~

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Yes this resonates. I hear you, selfish is an Ism of this disease which can literally be maddening. It can create martyrs and victims without recovery and oh my I've lived it like many of our members. Keep coming back, up your meetings and readings and exercise. Take care!

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Veteran Member

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Thank you to everyone on this post. Being heard here is such a huge help! I appreciate every one of you. Tired tonite..... Having healthy emotional interdependence as a couple is what separates intimate partners from roommates with a marriage license. YES! Thank you for this!!!!!! I couldnt find the words. And the reminder that hes irritable is a good reminder for me. Im really working on myself & healing & being very mindful to give him the space he needs to heal, also. Im very thankful I found this board. H.P. has always opened the best doors for me :)

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Cath



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Elabella......Im so sorry for what youre dealing with. Thank you for responding & letting me now you hear me, too. A41.....yes. Its so hard some days. I love that I can come here & vent with no judgement. I know I need it, & it takes the pressure off my husband. 2HP..,.thank you for your message of hope. I will be looking for a sponsor ASAP! Quarantine has sure messed things up! One day at a time.....

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Cath



Senior Member

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Being a couple is pretty hard anyway. Being a couple with addiction issues is a big deal. Al anon brought the focus back to me and to stay on me. One of the reasons I feel I rescued was that I felt needed and important. I dont really like the term #enabled# because it seems to shift the blame to someone else. My efforts to rescue was misguided not #enabling$ An alcoholic/addict is going to drink and use whatever I do. That choice is theirs. I never poured the drink down their throat. For some of us the program really helps to take the focus off the rage and injustice that is normal for any one to feel around an addict. Many people get to feel that rage and sense of betrayal finally when their #partner# goes into recovery. That is a valid feeling. However an alcoholic early in recovery does not have the emotional skills to hear and validate anyone. They get some of that by immersing themselves in a program or rather they have it modeled for them. Meanwhile what about you? Of course you have resentments and anger you are human after all. My expectations about relationships were way off. My expectations around a relationship with an addict were almost #magical# in nature. I know when I was immersed or rather completely submerged in the alcoholic's life I felt justified. However the al anon program helped me to focus back on myself that is despite living in the chaos created by the addict. Those tools have helped me immensely. So has being part of a program where I can feel heard known and accepted That heloed me to live a better life. That is what we all want when we are in a relationship a better life, a connection and a sense of belinging Al anon has helped me with a lot of those desires which I think I did not feel I really deserved. I hope it will for you too.

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Veteran Member

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Maresie......thank you so much. Youre so right. Hes so new in recovery its unrealistic to expect validation when he can hardly just deal with his own emotions, let alone mine. Having others who just know, like the people on this board, how crazy this life is, & being able to be heard here is a relief. Others just dont get it. Ive never dealt with alcoholism. Having ESH here is vital. Thank you :)

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Cath

Bo


~*Service Worker*~

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Crmans, I read your post and it immediately brought me back in time. I can't tell you how many times I used the words "I am not being heard" or "I feel not heard" to not just my wife, but I used those words with friends and family TRYING TO EXPLAIN what was going on in my household and life. What I learned through my experience is that trying to explain it to others is very difficult at best, more frustrating at worst, coupled with irrational, illogical, and unexplainable at times. The disease of alcoholism is a very unique, enigmatic, confusing, baffling, cunning, insidious, and decimating disease...and that is often for US, not just the alcoholic. As time goes on and the alcoholic and alcoholism goes on...we become impacted, and yes, sick, and often we don't even know it.

I too felt very alone, not heard, and that I was seeing and feeling a lot of "selfish" and "selfishness" during the drinking and during recovery. Now, some alcoholics will come here and tell you it is, it isn't, why, and so on. I don't buy that. What I see as selfish is not going to be explained to me by the alcoholic -- not during their drinking, and not early on in recovery. I don't feel it's objective. Now, if someone from alanon, who has been in program a long time, has worked the steps, etc. -- that is a perspective I can and want to hear. Trying to figure out the alcoholic and why they do what they do, why they say what they say, and figure out any of it...the more you do that, the more you will drive yourself crazy. You cannot apply logic to an illogical disease. You can not apply rationale to an irrational disease. The alcoholic's thinking has become corrupted and so has ours!

I had no problem with the time spent going to AA, talking to a sponsor, etc. That's great. Staying sober, one day at a time, just for today...must be the most important thing in the world. It must be the focal point. I admire and respect that. I was proud of her -- finally admitting she had a problem, wanting, yes, her wanting to get help, and all of the other appropriate behavior and actions that went along with sobriety. But even when the alcoholic stops drinking, starts recovery -- real recovery -- in my experience, they still have "the 'ism's". It's the behavior, what has become innate, the edginess, the still illogical thinking, and so on. The 'ism's are still difficult to deal with. So, I detached. I didn't contribute or enable. I didn't participate. But, yes, "emotionally selfish" and the coupling of not being sensitive to my feelings, what I am doing, my support. OK, I get it. I accepted that.

But, I will say this...I didn't accept unacceptable behavior before, I didn't accept threats, bullying, the lying and the manipulation before... I am not going to accept it now. Now, that's just me. For me, trust, openness, honesty, and integrity is non-negotiable. You had it before. If it doesn't return, and that's the cost of 20 years of drinking, OK. So be it.

Yes, alanon is about focusing on ourselves. In all my years in the program, I have seen that morph into accepting unacceptable behavior. I've seen people collapse "how important is it" with accepting unacceptable behavior. That is sad. I've seen people confuse acceptance with accepting unacceptable behavior. Sad.

My feeling, my experience...one should be heard. One's feelings should be counted as important so that the other is sensitive to their feelings. One should be treated with respect, compassion, and understanding. If you aren't, good luck with that. Change your definition of "happiness" so that your standards are low enough to not be unhappy, not be disappointed, and so that you can convince yourself you are "happy" in your life.

I agree -- it is easy to collapse and confuse acceptance, detaching, how important is it, and more of the like...WITH...unacceptable behavior, being a doormat, being unappreciated, being taken advantage of, being bullied, and more of the like.

In the end...it will all work out...and if it doesn't...it's not the end...LOL.

__________________

Bo

Keep coming back...

God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 



~*Service Worker*~

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Cath - I am so sorry that you feel you are not being heard. I also can not ignore the victory or miracle of your husband gaining sobriety and trying to work his program and stay sober.

Speaking from personal experience, he is probably holding on by a thread. The best way you can support him is to just smile, avoid asking any important questions and work your own program. An alcoholic who stays sober and practices recovery will not have clarity of mind for at least 12-18 months. I'm not suggesting you walk on eggshells, but I am suggesting that one day at a time you 'get heard' through a sponsor, a program friend or other.

My sponsor made me find 3-5 things each day about my A that I appreciated. That was hard, so very hard...simply because I had spent so much time blaming them for EVERYTHING!! I could write a list with 1,000 things I blamed them for - I was full of anger and resentment. This exercise helped me remember why I loved them, that they weren't bad, they were sick and I gained tons of empathy, compassion and understanding.

I was allowed one question per day, and if it was more deep than, "How was your day?", I had to talk it out with my sponsor first. It took me a long time to realize that expectations are truly nothing more than resentments premeditated resentments and practicing One Day at a Time with all people, places and things helped me get centered around being a kind, patient, supporting family member.

Breathe, breathe and breathe again. Practicing the pause helps me greatly. If he's anything like me, he's probably never 'adulted' without mind-altering substances, and is terrified. I know I was so afraid of screwing everything up when I got sober that I ended a relationship, moved closer to an AA hall and literally spent more time there than @ home. I had to learn how to converse, live, love, exist without my crutch and it was painful, difficult and awkward as could be.

In Al-Anon, I had to also learn how to converse, live, love, exist without conditions and expectations. I had to let go of perfectionism and find out how to unconditionally accept the good, bad and indifferent. I had to learn how to stop wanting what was or what I dreamed could be and find my joy/peace no matter what anyone else was doing or not doing. Learning how to be an equal in my marriage and practice unconditional acceptance and love as I believe my HP desires is a blessing like no other. That slogan of Let it Begin With Me has been a big gift!

I will also share, that in my experience, men and women process very differently. There's no doubt that his apology does close/end the conflict. I see that here often. It's not that mine don't care, they just have no need to hash/rehash it all. I have stopped expecting them to 'love me' as I define it and accept their 'love' as they choose to show it. I had to let go of having 'things my way' and just finding the good - it's there, I was just closed to it because of obsessing over 'what should be' or 'what was'.

You are not alone and early recovery is difficult for everyone. In the AA Big Book, there is a whole chapter to the Wives - https://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_bigbook_chapt8.pdf.  It was written long ago, so bear with the writing!  It might be worth a read...

Keep coming back - there is hope and help in recovery.  I'm glad you reached out and hope you'll find a way to be heard that's perhaps new, different and even healthier than past patterns!  I know I did and the deep conversations I've had with my sponsor and trusted program friends have brought me more learning, strength, insight and peace!

 

PS - this post was duplicated with no responses.  I went ahead and removed the other topic!



-- Edited by Iamhere on Friday 15th of May 2020 05:08:37 PM

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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

 

 



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Bo & Iamhere......thank both of you so much! Ive read your replies multiply times. Such great insight, validation, & encouragement to recognize what I can do for me, & in return how that will help shape the days, months, years to come. I have not shared with family or friends, as Bo stated, they dont get it. They cant. I had a high school best friend who has walked this road with her ex-husband. I dont really have to say much. She gets it. Her ex never attempted sobriety. Iamhere....I had a very nice conversation with my husband before reading your reply. He said almost verbatim what you said. He said Cath, Im 40 years old & have never dealt with anything sober. Hes quit drinking before, but never worked sobriety. I will reread all these replies many times I believe in the coming weeks. Great grounding. Im so glad I decided to post. Thank you all

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Cath



~*Service Worker*~

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Cath - I'm glad you posted too! In my home, it's been so, so easy to continue to walk on eggshells with the disease - whether my loved one was active in disease or attempting sobriety. For me, embracing Al-Anon and what it suggests really helped me give them the space, respect and kindness they needed - not necessarily always 'deserved'. As time goes by, I allow others to be who they need to be and make the best choice for me - sometimes it's to not respond and other times it's to take a walk and respond later. I do not have to attend every fight I'm invited to!

Relationships are so, so difficult in general - ups, down, good times, struggles, etc. Add this disease, and it's just crazy-making and insanity so often. I had no issue jumping into all that with both feet -- until I practiced different choices, suggested by others who came before me in Al-Anon. JADE was a game changer for me - Don't Justify, Argue, Defend or Explain - helped me keep my mouth shut and respond instead of react.

I see real hope in his ability/willingness to be honest with you. Speaking only for myself, getting sober and staying sober was the hardest thing I ever did in my life. Sending positive thoughts and prayers that you both keep working your recovery for yourselves and find common ground when possible! Love and light to you both - no matter what happens, I always hold onto hope!

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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

 

 

Bo


~*Service Worker*~

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Cath, for me, the feeling alone was a major obstacle for me.

Early on, when I wanted "to be heard" and talked to my sponsor, I started venting a lot. But I also was analyzing what she was doing, why, how, what it meant, etc. I was trying to figure it out...and that's when I learned that the more I tried to figure it out...the more I drove myself crazy!!! I got frustrated, felt a great deal of despair, and the desire to jump in there was creeping back in to my head and heart. I did beat that back immediately! LOL.

My wife had many explanations. My sponsor said they were also excuses. I had to decide where I was going to be in this. Where I landed, was, "I am sure you'll figure it out" -- and that's when she told me she was cutting back, trying to quit, had quit but "just had a glass of wine" (and finished the bottle in the bathroom, so that didn't count, LOL), and so on. But when she just decided to drink -- and not quit -- that's when I went back immediately to my program. First, acceptance, then surrender, then let go...and then I detached. Acceptance did NOT mean I accepted her behavior, or how she treated me. I still had my major boundary which was I would not "engage" with her or get into a discussion while she was drinking.

He's dealing with a lot. No doubt. That can be met with being there, in a healthy and supportive way. It can be met with compassion. But for me, I made sure I didn't get my hopes up, I made sure I didn't go into a place of denial, and I also didn't buy into her excuses. But, that's just me. I had to make sure, that while I was focusing on me, I didn't allow that to make me a doormat! My sponsor used to say...if you are sick and tired of being a doormat, then get up off the floor!!!

What shapes the next days, weeks, months, and years to come...for me...always started and ended with...One Day At A Time.

I always keep my head, my thoughts, my thinking, where my feet are! I don't do stinking thinking...not anymore.

__________________

Bo

Keep coming back...

God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 



~*Service Worker*~

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Hey Catherine, I can relate to your share. I dont rely on people who are emotionally unavailable to validate me and to listen to me, I first have to do that for myself and then I come here and two meetings and I fellowship with my recovery mates in church or on the boards here and I get the validation and the ears that I need to proceed on and get through the day. Emotionally unavailable people are just going to be emotionally unavailable and to expect anything more, Is to purchase resentments. Keep coming here, we are listening and we hear you

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Rose, a work in progress!!!

KEEP IT SIMPLE_EASY DOES IT_KEEP THE FOCUS ON ME

Bo


~*Service Worker*~

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Excellent point Rose...my alcoholic was emotionally bankrupt...and emotionally and spiritually unavailable. Thanks!

__________________

Bo

Keep coming back...

God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 

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