I cheated on my boyfriend at age 17, three years into our monogamous relationship, with an older (22?), married, boss of mine, that I became infatuated with after he started coming onto me. Even though I know now that he crossed boundaries he should not have crossed, I too, knew the difference between right and wrong and I could have and should have said no and didnít. It wasnít until 30 plus years later that I understood the magnitude and ramifications of what my choices and subsequent lies did to the emotional health of my husband.
At age 21 and a year after we married, he began to question me about that time. I was petrified and didnít know how to deal with it and so I told him almost everything but lied to make me not look so bad. That lie continued until 2006 when he found SI and I found the article ďInfidelity through the tear stained eyes of the BetrayedĒ in his briefcase. We had been in terrible withdrawal in our marriage. That article hit me like a ton of bricks. I finally knew the gravity of my choices and we began the long road of trying to heal his brokenness from this as well as deal with my shame and guilt of it as well. He felt I had just left him there and in my ignorance I thought we had dealt with it for two months when it first came up as he began to act like he was okay. He tried many, many times to tell me how he felt through song lyrics but I didnít hear the words. I did leave him there, not on purpose I thought but as he acted like he was okay as a WS you never want to bring it up so I didnít. Another huge mistake I made along the way.
He had been suffering so in silence and stuffed his feelings down for all these years because I was unable to face myself and him and deal with it properly. That came at a very heavy price for both of us. He had poured himself into his work to avoid his feelings.
I worked very hard at learning what I needed to do for him and I did all the things that a WS is supposed to do. I took the posts and the articles to heart, read books and did the very hard work to try and understand the whys of it all and the damage I caused. NC wasnít an issue as it had ended 40 years earlier yet when I told the final truth it brought it all back for him and for me. I searched my soul and we talked and talked. I typed him an 11 page letter detailing the whys and what was wrong with me that I could do this horrible thing. Hundreds of emails as well professing my love and my sorrow and my remorse.
He is very black and white, Type A, right is right and wrong is wrong (Catholic upbringing too) so this became a pull at his very core because he is also very in love with me that he just cannot reconcile the two. The shame and guilt for him runs very deep. He has had many other physical traumaís, betrayals in business and then the death of his parents in 2006/2007 that were his breaking point, but none more so than what my infidelity has done to him.
This brings me to my current dilemma. He never was a drinker but around 2006 he started drinking to excess to manage the physical pain from all the surgeries and the emotional pain from all the emotional baggage he was carrying around and now 7-8 years later is a blackout alcoholic blacking out every time he drinks. I do feel partly to blame for this because I didnít deal with it properly, if I would have maybe he wouldnít be here now. How much better could our marriage have been had I just been honest in the beginning but neither of us knew how to deal with it until he found SI in 2006.
Unfortunately he turns into a Jekyll/Hyde personality when he drinks which is all the time now. His verbal abuse of me over the last 7-8 years that we have been dealing with this has been horrible yet I have taken it as part of the process of him healing because I lied for 30 years and didnít deal with it so I thought I had it coming but now it is just flat out abuse. He has sent hundreds of vile emails all going back to my infidelity when he drinks. The contents of the emails have not changed in 7-8 years nor does his emotional distress when he drinks. He doesnít remember anything when in a blackout and is mortified at what he has said or done. Yet nothing I do is ever enough it seems and when he drinks he becomes obsessed with my infidelity and accuses me of having more infidelities which I have not. Recently there have been a few instances of physical abuse too and it makes me afraid of what he could do to me in a blackout. This is usually when I take his keys to keep him off the road when drunk so now I just donít put myself in a position where he can hurt me and the consequences he will have to bear.
There have been many good emails too telling me how sorry he is and that is not the way he really feels and that he totally forgives me but lately he doesnít even apologize because he is so shamed that he canít stop drinking. Yet the bad behavior continues and never gets any better. His alcoholism has rendered him unable to do much of anything and he will drink 24/7 for days/weeks on end with only a few days or maybe a week of sobriety at any given time. He has been to multiple treatments and has relapsed after each one.
We worked heavily through my infidelity from 2006 to 2010 trying very hard to reconcile. We have fought our way and he has told me so many times that I have done all I can do and the rest is up to him to work through with our therapist and to work on trying to be a little more grey and not so black and white so that he can understand and find some acceptance in all of this. It has been determined that he has delayed onset PTSD over all of the traumaís heís been through and is getting help with our counselor and EMDR when he isnít drinking but he doesnít go enough for it to have a positive effect because of the drinking.
There are certain things in those articles and posts that WSís must do and also things that BSís need to do in order that healing can begin for those that are able to reconcile. I completely understand and have been very sympathetic to my H through all the stages including the anger phase. Yes, I screwed up many times as I learned but I got there eventually. I have sincerely repented and been remorseful, open and honest but none of that seems to matter when he drinks.
I guess my question is, after years of me finally doing the right thing and doing everything on the list of things a WS needs to do and then some, what if the BS continues to be very abusive 7-8 years out and does not do the things they need to do like being understanding, having some compassion, having empathy for the work the WS has done to help him heal, learning acceptance and learning how to truly forgive and doing his hard work of working with a counselor on his deep seated emotional issues so that he can find peace and happiness in his life.
What am I supposed to do at this point and what should I expect of him? They say it takes 2-5 years and I realize that his alcohol addiction has hindered this process and is the main problem and has to be dealt with first and foremost but if he refuses to get the help he so desperately needsÖ.Iím absolutely exhausted from his relapses and abuse so I now refuse to discuss my infidelity when he is drinking at all and Iím not responding to his abusive emails. Iíve told him I will be happy to discuss anything when he gets sober. We have been together since we were 14 and have two grown children. 42 years is a long time of a pretty good marriage when really only the last 7-8 years have been made more difficult because of the drinking. We have had many good years and a lot of fun in this life too which he acknowledges when sober too. I love him so much but I can't take the abuse much longer and I need him sober if he is ever going to be able to heal and work on his issues regarding my infidelity. I would welcome advice please for both myself and my BS.
[This message edited by CloudyBlue at 3:05 PM, March 2nd (Sunday)]
I'm so sorry you find yourself in this situation. It must be very distressing for you so sending lots of strength ((((hugs))))
You made mistakes for a long time by keeping your infidelity a secret from your husband. I'm not going to go into why this was wrong, you have had more than enough time to process everything and I can more than feel the remorse through the words in your post. You have made a huge effort to R your marriage and support your husband in more recent years.
As great as all your hard work and your attempts to R are, you must put your safety first. You cannot R with your husband while he is in the grips of alcoholism. He must first seek help, go into recovery and become well. Then and only then can you begin to put the pieces back together again.
You don't mention children. Do you have any? If so, are they safe when your BH is drinking?
Your infidelity was wrong but that does not mean your safety should be threatened. No one deserves to be physically punished. Have you got any friends or family who could help you? Perhaps offer a place to stay or help your BH to see he needs help to control his addiction?
I'm so sorry this is your life right now. Please keep posting here, you will find sources of huge support from the members. Stay safe.
Chin up. Unwavering. Fight. We can do this.
About a year in WH started drinking heavily. When he was drunk he would call me a whore and say that everything bad that happened to him the last 20 years was my fault. He lost two jobs from being drunk at work. He would become blackout drunk most weekends and was useless, the kids and I lived around him. He did become violent several times during blackouts. He was arrested one time. Another time a neighbor called the police and I told them it was me that was violent so he would not get in trouble. Being arrested was fun. He went through detox twice. The second time he was sober almost 10 months - until he had the A and fell off the wagon hard for a week. Then dday hit and he has been sober since. He has been sober because he knew I would leave him, and I will, I will not live that way again.
In one MC session I was talking about the resentment I had built up during the heavy drinking times - all the excuses and covering for him that I had to do to help him. And he said "how was that helping me?" Holy lightbulb moment. I had been enabling him because I felt guilty for the cheating so long ago.
Stop enabling him. Put the guilt aside and tell him that it stops now or you are gone. And mean it. Don't wait for him to have an A of his own to drawn that line. You are not helping him or yourself by allowing this. And the sad part is you can't control what he will do - but you can stop helping him.
I guess I'm a little confused as to why, if he didn't know about the infidelity, he was on SI and was printing out articles. Was he that convinced that you were lying the entire time? Or did he know of the infidelity, but not all of the details. Forgive me, you detailed quite a bit but I don't seem to be able to tell which is the case.
what if the BS continues to be very abusive 7-8 years out and does not do the things they need to do like being understanding, having some compassion, having empathy for the work the WS has done to help him heal, learning acceptance and learning how to truly forgive and doing his hard work of working with a counselor on his deep seated emotional issues so that he can find peace and happiness in his life.
These are 2 issues. I'll start with the latter, being what the BS 'needs' to do, because it's the easier of the two. Some of this list, imo, isn't necessary. Some of the list will help him, and some just isn't required. I, for example, have no real empathy for the work my fWH has done. I appreciate it, but it took several years for me to get to even appreciation. I hope you don't take offense to that, but when something is broken, the person that broke it should be expected to work to fix it. It's appreciated that my fWH cares and did the work, but I think that's the extent of it.
Now, none of that matters in your case. You are being abused, and you are in a dangerous situation. You cannot fix this, and it's not your responsibility to try. Nearly 8 years of abuse is WAAAAAAY too much. We've had many discussions on the BS forums about hitting, or name calling. It happens in the early days, unfortunately. We all agree its wrong, but in those early days, particularly the name calling does happen in many situations.
8 years later? No, unacceptable. Your H is using you as a punching bag, both verbally and occasionally physically. Unacceptable. His drinking is out of control. Unacceptable.
Many a BS has turned to substance abuse, either on a regular basis or occasionally, to reduce the pain. It's not a healthy choice, but it happens. It is our responsibility to see that it's not helping, it's hurting our own lives, and it solves nothing. Here you are, 8 years later, with a man that not only did not accept that his drinking was solving nothing, but allowed it to escalate out of control. Unacceptable.
Please CloudyBlue, do not allow any guilt you may or may not feel for your actions at 17 years of age to cause you to stay in a world of daily abuse at the age of 57. Murderers do less time than this. It's completely unfair. I am sorry that your H has had several negative things happen in his life, but the reality is we all have. It does NOT give us a free pass to be abusive, controlling, and dangerous. It simply does NOT.
You are correct - 42 years is a long time together. 20% of that now has been filled with alcohol and abuse. If he is now 57, How many more years of this abuse do you want to take? None, I think, and you shouldn't.
Your children are grown. Your H has a support group, and there are many, many groups that can help someone with severe alcoholism. You do not need to stay with someone that is abusing you, period.
As far as blacking out - people in black outs kill people. They destroy homes. They set homes on fire. They hurt people. Not every time, but often enough. It is not safe for you to stay with him unless he gets help. You are in danger. No offense, but as you age, you will become more and more frail. We all do. He, at this rate, will become more and more drunk daily. You simply cannot risk it. Please, if nothing else, think of your grown children. Do you want their reality to be that Mom is dead because Dad finally killed her?
There are a thousand problems with drinking to excess for your H, but I won't get into those. He doesn't care enough about himself to change for him. If he won't change for you, then I would leave. I'm sorry - I know that isn't the best outcome, but it's really your only option other than staying, being abused daily, and being at serious risk. If push comes to shove, and you tell him it's the booze or you, but not both, ever again, its in his court. You cannot control the outcome of this. You can establish your boundaries and decide what you will and will not accept in your life. If he chooses to not live within the parameters you've set, then that is his choice.
You quite simply do not deserve this, no matter what you've done. I'm terribly sad for you. I know first hand the frightening things alcoholics do. It's not something anyone should have to accept. You've done so for 8 years because of a mistake you made as a teen. Yes, you knew right from wrong, but at 17 a great many of us choose wrongly. I'm not completely excusing the infidelity, as all infidelity hurts, but to be abused in your 50s for a decision that was made at age 17? No, no one will say that makes sense.
Please, get to safety. If that is your H in sobriety, outstanding, If not, I'm sorry, but your safety and mental health is very important. You aren't going to get a new body, or a new mind. Don't allow his choices to destroy these precious things.
Through Al-Anon Iíve learned that I canít control any of what he does and he has to be the one to address not only his alcoholism but his deep PTSD issues as well and if he doesnít, nothing will change and then I will need to make a decision as to how long I can put up with this. Iím not going to live in fear of my husband regardless of what I may have done. Probably the best thing that could happen is that he gets another DUI so he will go to jail but the monetary implications of that are huge for us right now as we are facing a very tough financial situation very soon and he needs to get back to work. Jail may get him sober but Iím afraid it wonít help his emotional state, he needs professional help working with our counselor and he needs to put the work in just like I had to do as a WS. He needs to trust in the counselor to work on his own guilt and shame and learn to let go of his feelings of unworthiness because heís had bad things happen to him. Shit happens and you need to get back up, that is life and he is not living now at all. Since his parents died, heís lost all coping mechanisms and all of this was happening at the same time so itís been very hard on him, I know. Living in the present and seeing the positive in life versus the negative keep him where he needs to be but it never lasts and he always goes back to using. Since 2010 the longest he has been sober is 5 months, most times only a week or a few days and the relapses are too many to count.
I have most definitely been enabling him, hell Iíve even bought him booze to help him detox down many times. And the feelings of resentment, excuses and covering for him are huge for me too so Iím working with our counselor on the damage he has done to my psyche as well. Time will tell I guess. Iíve told him Iíd rather live alone than live like this. I know he hates this too and wants to quit drinking so badlyÖthen he needs to just do that. Life can be good again and when he is sober it is good, really good. The sadness over this is almost unbearableÖthanks for listening.
So we built a life and had kids and lived life and every few years it would come up and it just didnít get dealt with because I swept it under the rug, another huge mistake made. He started looking for information on infidelity in 2005 and found SI and other sites and that is when he realized his deep feelings of betrayal and loss were normal. We were in deep withdrawal in our marriage from many other bad things that had happened to us, business problems, problems with kids, etc. We were living separately but together basically. One night he came down and asked me to be with him and I knew something was different so I went looking and found the article in his briefcase and in January of 2006 we started working on recovery.
Unfortunately the years that it went unattended took a heavy toll on him and we just realized this year that he was suffering from delayed onset PTSD from this and 25 other traumas in his life. So I do feel responsible for this trauma as it is the worst but I know that he is at a point where only he can be the change to turn his life around. I cannot. Lord knows Iíve tried and tried.
I take no offense at all with what you wrote and I donít expect empathy from him I guess, itís just that after years of doing the work to fix what I broke and him telling me countless times that Iíve done all I can possibly do and that the rest is up to him I guess I expect him to actually do ďthe restĒ in order that he can learn to let go of this for his OWN benefit and move forward with his life, with or without me as Iíve told him many times. If he deals with it then I benefit from it too. Iíve told him he canít have it both ways and that it is not right that he punishes me for years on end for something I have atoned and repented and asked forgiveness for.
I know I am being abused and so does our counselor. She is trying desperately to help him and does so without judgment but he has to show up and do the work and he doesn't, same with his drinking. When he is sober, NONE of this ever happens but it ALL goes out the window when he drinks. So the answer is a simple one in my opinion Ė DONíT DRINK EVER AGAIN. Luckily he has never hit me but has threatened and has pushed me a couple times. The name calling and verbal assaults are almost worse. They cut like a knife and hurt so much especially when he swears he doesn't feel this way when he is sober. And I did expect it in the early days too but to go on like this is just NOT normal behavior and I know he is need of a lot of help. But he must be the one to seek it. I know I canít do it for him.
So now I am working on taking care of me as best as I can and hope he hits his bottom soon and seeks the help he needs. I know the concerns you write about and it is just those things you mentioned, what he might be capable in a blackout that scares me. And you are exactly right, he doesnít care enough about himself to change for him and he obviously isnít willing to change for me or our kids either. Until one of those things matters, nothing will change. It is taking a toll on them too even though they donít live with us. They see the damage it is doing to me and to their Dad and it saddens them both so much.
I canít thank you enough for validating me Painfulpast. I really needed to hear from other BSís and how they feel. I know men many times have a harder time with this than women but ultimately both men and women either need to learn to accept and forgive so they can create a new life going forward in reconciliation or realize that they are not capable of acceptance or forgiveness and they divorce. But he wants to have both and feels justified when he drinks and you are right it is not fair. I know the pain of infidelity hurts the same whether you are 17 or 57, married or not and Iím in no way excusing my actions. They were and always will be wrong. There does come a time when you have to look into your own soul and say ďThis is not the way the story is going to endĒ and you do something about it for your own sanity. And that goes for both me and my husband. Thank you.
You mention that your H has had 25 traumas in his life. I'm not sure if this is an exaggeration, or a real number, but regardless, it doesn't matter if it was 25, 2, 0r 2,500. Abuse is wrong. He doesn't like himself for being a drunk, and he's abusing you because of it.
Before I begin, I am NOT looking for sympathy. I'm telling you this so you can see the trauma my life has contained, and that I still don't use these as an excuse to be abusive. I am a realist, and some think I'm a little too blunt (others really like that in me, so go figure), but I don't see a lot of value in sidestepping an issue.
OK, here goes:
At the age of 3, my father cheated on my mother - with my aunt. His younger sister told my mother what the third sister was doing. My mother threw my father out. HUGE uproar.
My aunt that informed my mother was babysitting my sister and I shortly after she told. She was around 13. My father showed up, drunk as a skunk, grabbed a hockey stick from the coat closet, and swung it like a baseball bat, smashing her in the ear. She needed to go to the emergency room. The police were called. My father was screaming all kinds of obscenities and was arrested. My sister and I sat on the couch and watched the entire scene. I still remember it, vividly.
My mother took my father back, trying to work it out for my sister and I. From the age of 3 until age 5, my father would sit in my parents room, get drunk, emerge and beat my mother, calling her names, laughing while he beat her. My sister and I watched, every single episode. She would throw him out, and then he would beg, cry, and lie, and she would take him back. At age 5 she finally threw him out for good.
From the age of 6 on, my mother, who previously had been applying for mother of they year I think, decided she deserved a life. She'd been with my dad since the age of 17. She was now 26, and it was the mid-70s. She went out, a lot. We spent weeks with friends, my grandmother, etc. Weekends with my dad. This went on until I was about 9. My mother met a man, and they began dating. He moved in. He was a great guy.
At the age of 12 he moved out. Just wasn't working I guess. I was crushed. This man WAS my dad. Yes, I saw my dad every weekend, and he loved my sister and I, but this man was the best. Made us drink our milk, wash the dishes, etc. Taught me about football, drove me and my friends to rollerskating, the works. His leaving devastated me as much as any 'real' father leaving would. The difference is he wasn't my dad, and he soon left the area. I haven't seen him since I was 13. I still miss him.
When he left, my mother went thru a string of boyfriends, some moving in very quickly. There were probably about 5 in a 2 year period. A few ignored me, one was nice, and one treated me horribly. Calling me names, laughing at me if I was upset, etc. Never in front of my mother. My grandmother HATED him, but my mother wouldn't listen. His name was Mike. I hated Mike, passionately.
At the age of 14, my mother met someone new. Nice guy, quiet. Biker, but VERY nice, as were his friends. Most bikers are, btw. They just look scary. Anyway, she really liked him, and that made her realize that Mike wasn't the one. Because my Dad had cheated, she never would, but she did as Mike to go. He wasn't happy, and during several 'drive bys' before the term existed, Mike would drive by at odd hours and 4 times through bricks through windows, once my mother's room and once mine. The other two were the windows. When the brick came through my window, he screamed that I was a (c word). First time anyone called me that. But, I heard him, so finally we had enough to go to the police and have them do something. Before that, no proof it was him existed. Of course, he said I was a lying bitch to the police. That really didn't endear him to them. We never heard from him again.
My mother married the nice guy. He is a very nice guy, and he loves me and I love him. He's not like the first man I mentioned, however. The first one was like my dad. Hell, he was my dad. This one? He was like the cool uncle. He generally stayed out of everything, I guess feeling like it wasn't his place. It wasn't for lack of caring, but he had no kids of his own, and just felt it wasn't his place.
Through all of this, I saw my dad on weekends. He'd go through periods of drinking, then not, then drinking, etc. It was always something with my dad. He would work night shifts, so he slept a lot. He lived out in a really nice house, in the woods??? so we would spend many days in the woods chopping and hauling wood. There are a lot of stories, but none that make this list.
As you can see, my childhood was not the greatest. In addition, we were poor. Really, really poor. My mom was working, always, but she had no real skills, so she was a cashier at a grocery store. We had nothing. For years, we had no car. Our phone was always getting shut off. We were broke. My dad's child support was to pay the mortgage on the starter home they'd purchased when they got married. He would help with clothes and whatnot, but never money for mom. We had a home, always, but otherwise, you never knew.
Now, for my own issues:
My first long term boyfriend just would not be faithful. We were teens. He had lots of cars and whatnot that were left to him by his deceased dad. When I was 16, him mother moved, and since the house technically belonged to his grandmother, he stayed. 3 of his friends moved in and paid him rent. I thought it was great - cute guy, cars, nice house, etc. He just wouldn't stop cheating. I called it when, on my 17th birthday, I went to his house unexpectedly. He was upstairs with a girl. I'd had enough.
My next long term boyfriend was emotionally abusive, and a very nasty drunk. He would push me, restrain me, say horrible things, etc when drunk. Generally I stayed away when he'd been drinking. One night, at the age of 19, he asked me to come to his place after I went out with some friends. I did, and he was asleep, or so I thought. I went to lay down, and apparently I woke him up. He'd been drinking. He nearly killed me. He punched me, kicked me, dragged me up the stairs and controlled me in general by pulling my hair. It was so bad, at the end, I literally had had about a third of my hair ripped out. I had a bald spot in the back of my head that was about 6 inches by 4 inches, and several other little spots. He threw me down the stairs. Thank God it was a split level, so it was only about 6 stairs, because it wouldn't have mattered to him if it had been 60 stairs. He was laughing throughout. He had left a phone somewhere off the receiver, so I couldn't call anyone. I didn't know which phone it was, and he never once stopped beating me so I couldn't find it. He put his boots on and kept kicking me. He choked me several times, to the point that one time I passed out. He wrapped his legs around my waist, and squeezed so hard that he squeezed urine and feces out - like a tube of toothpaste. This went on for nearly an hour and a half. Thankfully, a neighbor heard me screaming and called the police. When they arrived I was a bloody, urine and feces, half bald, black eyed pile of nothing curled in a ball, and, he was kicking me again. They screamed and he lunged at them. They sprayed pepper spray in his face and he never slowed down. It was a blind, blackout rage. I easily could have died. It was very, very bad. If the neighbor hadn't called the police, I'm certain he would have killed me.
My next long term relationship was with a good guy (finally) but he had issues with drugs. Nothing major, nothing horrible, but he did spend a little too much. Oh well, no one is perfect. We married and had two kids. When my kids were very young - pre-kindergarten, he was diagnosed with cancer and died 10 days later. No life insurance, no nothing. We were still quite young.
Enter my H. Things seemed like heaven for the first 2 years. Never one fight. I thought I was being rewarded for the hell I'd been through. I was in school to make a better life for me and my kids. He loved my kids, and they loved him. A total dream. His family was a nightmare, but I didn't care. He was perfect. Gorgeous, smart, funny, charming, loved me, my kids, my family, he was a great lover, and he spoiled me. About 2 years in, things changed. He began raging. His mother had warned me, but he'd always told me his mother was a drunk and a liar. She warned me that if he started raging I should leave. Well, he did, and I didn't. The verbal abuse was horrific, unlike any I'd ever seen or heard before. Such cruelty, using my every weakness against me, etc. I was in complete shock. How could my dream man do this.
Well, long story short - he's a bit high on the NPD spectrum. For years it went on. I kept trying to get back my dream man, and he would get worse the more I cared. We nearly split when I couldn't take it, and he got help. Things got better, and then he cheated. You know how that goes.
So, here I am. Sorry for all of that. I'm sure I'm leaving things out, like best friends turning on me, etc, but these are the bigger ones. I'm not trauma free, and I do NOT get piss drunk daily. I don't abuse people. I don't blame others for all of my misery, and I do actively try to improve myself constantly. Your H is drinking because he's a drunk, not because of traumas. Your H won't stop because he won't. Millions of people have stopped. He won't because he's got no incentive to stop. I'll get back to this.
If you think about the boyfriend that nearly killed me - this is why I worry about you with someone blacking out. He had no recollection of any of that. Not a second. He woke up in jail and thought I'd lost it and called the cops on him. They had to show him the bad filled with my hair, and then show him his jeans with my blood on them before he even knew he'd hit me, let alone nearly killed me. I was told, based on how bad the beating was, he would most likely go to jail for 4 years and be charged with either aggravated assault or attempted manslaughter. I actually felt bad that the punishment would be that severe and wouldn't cooperate. I never went back to him, and I told him the only way I wouldn't cooperate was if he went to rehab, counseling, joined AA, something, but he HAD to stop drinking, and I knew his sister, so I could know if he hadn't. He did, for about 7 years actually. His guilt made him quit. I still never went back to him, but at least he made an effort to improve himself.
You are in danger, each and every time he drinks if he is blacking out. I'm not being overdramatic. I knew my boyfriend, just as you know your husband. Yes, you have a lot more history, but my boyfriend was not a violent person and he didn't beat me. He had a nasty mouth, but that was it. When he drank, he changed. I stuck around one too many times.
Please, don't think this can't be you. It can. My father rarely remembered hitting my mother. A mean drunk is a mean drunk, and they don't get nicer with time. You should not risk your life.
As you mentioned, the verbal assaults are worse. Yes, I agree. My current H was horrible for several years. Just horrible. Not in front of my kids thank God, but he certainly killed my spirit. I had been nearly killed by a prior boyfriend, and the verbal assaults are worse. I know exactly what you're saying, and this is another area that you don't need to be there for. You do NOT deserve 8 years of verbal abuse. Yes, hiding the truth was wrong. Yes, rugsweeping was wrong. It was 40 years ago. Things were different. Everyone rugswept. And as a new bride, afraid and in love, I'm sure not coming clean was all you could think to do. Again, different time.
So, here you are. At about 32 years, you came clean. 8 years later, you are still being abused, daily. You are still dealing with rage, and hate, and guilt. At this point, it's not about you or infidelity. Your H hates being a drunk. He feels like a loser, and he is abusing you to make himself feel better. I would bet money on that. There is no point in abusing you, and yet he can't abuse himself AND keep drinking. Just as a cheater 'creates' a bad spouse in their head to avoid being the bad guy, a drunk creates a bad person to avoid the drinking being the problem.
*I ONLY USED THE CHEATER COMPARISON BECAUSE WE ALL UNDERSTAND THAT - I am not trying to insult anyone*
So, what can you do? I'm sorry, and maybe I'm overstepping bounds, but you can leave. Or, you can have him leave. You do NOT need to give the rest of your life to someone that is drunk and abusing you. That is no life, even if it was just the daily blackouts. Add the abuse, and it becomes utterly intolerable. You've done it for 8 years. Please, for yourself, for your sanity, for your kids, stop. No more. He is an adult. He's been told by the world he needs to stop. You are in danger, and you are just killing time because your life, as I'm sure you know, is not a good one, not with a drunk at your side and abuse at every turn.
So, please, get away from him. He may actually get help then. It sounds sad, because you would like to think that your sadness and hurt should be enough for him to stop, but it isn't. To go back to a comparison of infidelity, often the WS won't be honest, or remorseful, and won't give details. They tell the BS 'get over it' and whatnot. In short, they will not help with the healing. The BS begs, and cries. The BS goes to counseling alone. The BS reads books, comes to SI, etc. The BS gives the WS every tool in the world to help, and the WS won't. The WS is hiding the truth, whatever the reasons. Finally, the BS leaves. Suddenly, the WS realizes there are consequences for actions. Suddenly, not being upfront and helping with the healing isn't a waiting game, hoping the BS will tire and just move on. Suddenly, they realize that the BS means more to them than hiding and not helping the BS heal. The WS changes, gives transparency, goes to counseling, etc. The WS didn't even realize the damage that was being done by not helping to heal, and only thought of themselves and the discomfort of discussing the A with the BS.
Think of a child. You tell him to stop jumping on the bed. He stops, for 30 seconds. You tell him again, stop jumping on the bed. He stops, for 20 seconds. You tell him he better stop, or you're coming upstairs. He stops, for 30 seconds. You scream to stop jumping. He stops for 15 seconds. You again warn him he'd better stop jumping. Now, what has this child learned? He's learned that he can keep jumping on the bed, because he likes that more than he dislikes being told to stop, so he just ignores the next 10 yells to stop jumping. The only lesson for the child is that if he can deal with ignoring the directive, he can do anything he wants. Not a bad deal for a bed jumper.
Next child, same age. Mother says stop jumping on the bed. He does, for 30 seconds. Mother again says stop jumping on the bed. He does, for 20 seconds. Mother arrives in his doorway, sits him down, takes his Nintendo system, tells him he has lost if for a week for not listening and for doing something he knows is wrong, and that if he continues, he will lose his bed and sleep on an inflatable air mattress that he will have to inflate each night, and then make the bed, and then in the morning unmake the bed and deflate the mattress. This child has learned that he should listen, and that it is not a never ending plea to behave. It is simple - for this child, actions have consequences. For the WS above, his lack of helping the healing had consequences.
For your husband, there have been no consequences, for 8 years. You leaving may finally show him that he cannot keep everything he loves AND keep drinking and being abusive. He must choose. If he chooses sobriety, he gets his wife and happy home back. If he chooses drinking, he gets all the booze he wants.
So, what if you leave and he kills someone. Well, you don't need to abandon him. He is a danger, however. I would take his keys, and even the cars if necessary. Tell him that you will bring him to any store he wants to buy anything he wants, provided he is sober when he asks AND when you bring him. Beyond that, he will not be able to get behind the wheel and kill someone. Also, with no one to abuse for hours on end, when he reaches these blackout stages, he will probably just pass out. That's what most drunks that are alone do.
I'm honestly shocked I just wrote this all out. OMG, sorry. OK, I think you know what I'm saying.
CloudyBlue, what you're living through isn't ok, at all. You don't need to accept this. This isn't because of something that happened 40 years ago. Yes, infidelity is bad. It's painful, and it hurts. That is NO excuse to be abusive and an alcoholic for years and years.
He told me last night, as he was detoxing down yesterday, that I was having bad dreams. And I was. What you told me has me on edge totally and you are right, I should not have to live like this and I have put up with this behavior for way too long. I do need to start thinking about my options which unfortunately are few right now due to our financial situation but I do need to step back and figure out what I am going to do if he doesn't stay sober this time.
I told him last night that if he drank again I would be moving back into the 2nd bedroom permanently until he can retain sobriety on a consistent basis.
You made a good point about him not suffering consequences for his drinking, he gets his booze and then he gets his wife and his comfy home too and he continues to not change one thing - My resentments and sadness runs deep. I have tried so hard but I realize it is not mine to do. This is an inside job that only he can do and he has to quit trying to do it all alone as he needs to admit that he needs help and take the help that is there for him. All I can do is support him as long as he is trying.
He would never in a million years cheat but he is cheating with the bottle and booze is robbing him and me of our lives and it must stop. Anything that changes your personality so much and causes so much damage has no part in our lifes and he has to wake up from the fog he is in. He is having his cake and eating it too and has much work ahead of him.
The guilt I have felt for years on end keeps me coming back for more because I felt I owed him but my debt has long been paid. This is the validation I have received from you and the others so I am glad I posted as I was worried about his reaction. I'm hopeful that what he has read here will help him to see just how much trouble he is in and what needs to change within him to move his life in a positive and forward motion.
I have forgiven myself and I know that God has forgiven me. He says he has forgiven me so maybe it is himself that he hasn't forgiven which is where he needs to start. I told him last night its the booze or me but I am not going to continue to live like this. So we'll see what he does. It IS way past the time that he deal with and face himself and HIS issues.
I was hoping by posting I would get the responses I have received but was taken aback a little at the intensity of the concern but you have lived this and know what can happen. I have to realize that something like this could happen to me. I certainly don't want to believe that it would but the fear that I feel when he is in a blackout is that gut feeling that I need to pay attention to. I guess I knew all this before but being validated by complete strangers when I can't seem to get that validation from the one I love the most makes me sit up and take notice. I've told him so many times that he has the power to quit every single day and that millions of people do just that. Those are the ones I can respect. Out there and honest about where they are at - I'm an alcoholic and can't drink period or I have PTSD and I need to take measures so MY life can be better. He can be one of those too and he just has to make that choice and commit. I just don't understand how any of this is acceptable to him. I am so sorry for all you have been through in your life. Thanks for taking the time!!
[This message edited by CloudyBlue at 7:22 PM, March 3rd (Monday)]
Thanks, but you don't need to be sorry. I'm not the only one with battle scars, and honestly, they helped make me who I am, along with the many, many good things that have been in my life.
My point was simply to point out that we all have our problems. It's how we handle them that matters, and your H is choosing to not handle them.
Please, let us know how things go for you.
That is what is so very scary about blackouts. They remember nothing or at the very least they may only remember faint glimpses but certainly not enough to piece it together or wrap their heads around the terrifying people they turn into because there are just black holes in their memory. You are lucky to be alive and I applaud you for making your life positive in light of all the negatives you have faced. You are a survivor and concentrate on the good in your life. That is all I'm hoping for my husband too. That he can rise above and not be defined by those things that have happened to him because as you said everyone has stuff happen to them, some way worse than others. It is how he handle things going forward that will give him his life back.
[This message edited by CloudyBlue at 9:15 PM, March 3rd (Monday)]
Please don't be afraid that some BSs won't think too much of you. We all risk that every day, in every aspect of life. I will say this - It was a very long time ago. Your H has been abusive for nearly a decade. You have been suffering far too long because of your teenage antics. I'm not making light of infidelity. I am saying that teenagers do know right from wrong, but that doesn't mean they always make the best choices. No excuses, but definitely understanding.
CB - if you would like more responses, I really suggest posting the same question in 'General'.
Reconciliation will work too, if you prefer. Both have BS and WS, although you may have the WS portion covered here in sofar as answering your original post. Another member may say something that starts a dialogue.
I think it would be a great idea to get in touch with a Mod to see if they advise and/or can help with a move if you are interested in this post being elsewhere. I've sent a note up to the staff, but starting a thread titled "Mod Please" here in Wayward or General will also get you some help as soon as someone is available.
CloudyBlue, if you have a question, please PM a moderator.
[This message edited by SI Staff at 10:19 AM, March 4th (Tuesday)]