I haven't been on here in a few months, but I'm happy to report that things are going well with my H. I have done a lot of work with myself these past six months and feel like it has made a big difference in my marriage so I wanted to share. I hope that some of you will find these insights helpful as I have found so many of yours in the past.
Step one set draw my lines about what I will and won't put up with and then stand by them. We talk about this a lot and for me it wasn't easy. My husband drinks to deal with uncomfortable feelings. I hate it when he goes out and doesn't come home till 3 or 4 am. But I would still help him to bed when he got home and take care of him if he was sick thinking that I was being loving. WRONG! All it did was build resentment and hurt in me and give him a comfortable place to come home to after he went on a bender. SO....new rule. I told him that he needed to act like a husband and not run off with his buddies to drink all night. This behavior is childish and destructive. However I realize he is a grown man and I cannot make him do or not do anything. Therefore, if he chooses to go out with his friends and get smashed then he can sleep on their couch when he is finished just like 21 year old would do. Watching him destruct with alcohol was too painful and I would not longer be a part of it.
I made this clear to him and to my surprise he didn't go out for awhile. A few weeks later he had a really hard day and went out to get hammered with a buddy. He promised he would come home soon (like always). It got to be 1 am so I called him and could tell he was drunk. I stuck to my guns and told him to go home with said buddy. He got very angry, and so I reminded him about our talk and how painful it was for me to watch him hurt himself. He had no reply and stayed at his friends house and also told everyone at the bar what a b^&%$ his wife is. Well later when all the crap he talked about me got back to me I calmly sat down with him and asked him why this pattern of blaming all his issues on me. He admitted that I was the closest person in his life and that is why I get scapegoated. I told him that this is unfair and to knock it off. I pointed out that if alcohol was such a great way for him to deal with his issues then he wouldn't me blaming other people for them. I told him that I won't be married to an alcoholic who won't take accountability.
He hasn't gone out since.
Step #2 Be nice
This isn't easy when you have been married to a survivor who dragged you through the mud but it is so important. I've taken up meditating for an hour each day and it has made a big improvement in both my love and compassion. I'm much more able to let little things with H go and I'm not critical of him like I used to be. I make a point to always comment when I see him honor the good inside himself by bring kind to others or even just helping me around the house. On nights when I can tell he wants to drink but chooses not to I offer to help him relax by cooking him something yummy or giving him a back massage. I don't nag him to talk about it and I don't make his mood about me.
Step# 3 look for the good
This has been huge for helping me change my attitude. I use to always talk about my marriage and use word like, difficult, painful, unstable. I decided to try something different. What if I woke up each day and told myself that I have a great marriage to and wonderful man and that we are healing together. I started to focus on the things that I love about my relationship and H instead of all the rough spots. Instead of waiting for H to do something that would upset me I looked for the nice things he did and then made a point to tell him how much I appreciate him. I quit trying to manage him and started managing myself. I started seeing my challenges with H as chances to grow my patience and compassion. When H does things that annoy or sting instead of becoming defensive and starting a fight I just ask him if he is upset about something. He usually is and it usually has nothing to do with me. The times when H seems to get defensive and remind him that I'm on his side and we play for the same team. This seems to help a lot. I wonder if maybe H has always felt like it was him against the world and he didn't have anybody in his corner.
So I did and am doing these things and here is what is happening.
H is much more relaxed he seems happier and when he is having a bad day or something is bother him he starting to come to me for positive encouragement which makes both of us feel closer.
We are rebuilding the trust and it feels great.
H has stopping scapegoating me and instead has started to give me more credit for the things I do. He has also started to want to spend more time with me and we have started doing projects together that we both enjoy. The more flexible I am the more flexible he is and I'm finding that both of us have become much more forgiving with each other. He asks for my opinions on things more and seems to want my advice now that I finally quit forcing it on him.
Through changing my attitudes and reactions to H he in turn has changed his towards me. In the past when I took his behavior as an attack and the attacked back all I did was start endless battles. It has been amazing to see the changes. Our friends are even noticing a big difference in how we treat each other.
These changes have been so worth it. I feel so much lighter not being sad or worried all the time. I've finally gotten to that place of believing that everything is okay no matter what happens. I'm sending good vibes to all of you and wish you peace as you heal. It feels great!
Everything comes from within