I then married potential Crazz. I stay in a relationship with potential Crazz
But are you seeing actual potential?
What, to you, qualifies as potential?
That's why my question was are you willing to accept current sitch as his best, because, what if there IS no potential? What if the only potential that exists is your idealized version of CRazz that he might possibly never realize?
It was like reading my life in B/W and I suspect much like yours too
Pin him down on his confusing the issue to save his skin. When he says, ‘You know how I say things I don't mean.' Confront him with ‘How do I know which half? When you give me mixed messages I get so confused that I don't feel loving and close to you.'
ARGH!! didnt realize this was PA
me (WW/BS): 48
4 kiddos in mid 20's
“Follow your intuition. Be smart, be brave. Tell the truth and don’t take any shit.”
The potential is in his verbal commitments
I'm too stupid to get the guerilla currency reference but don't we always preach on here that actions matter over words?
It's like, I have an easier time letting someone in who I know is going to hurt me.
I then married potential Crazz. I stay in a relationship with potential Crazz.
I'll chime in about him needing a new therapist: would he work with a male therapist!
It sounds like he is good at using charm as a way to manipulate - he might not be aware of it! It is usually an unconscious reaction. Women tend to nurture, he might feel more comfortable with that approach. He might need to have a therapist deliver goal accountability instead of nurturing toward a goal.
Just a thought.
Sending hugs and prayers.
would he work with a male therapist!
This totally!!! HL only works with male IC's now, kind of a boundary issue.
What potential do you see in Crazz that he isn't fulfilling? (i.e. what specific behaviors?)
Passive-aggressiveness could, in fact, be due to ADD. Is Adderall really doing the job that needs to be done? Or is something else needed besides speed - frequent coaching, behavior mod, an entirely different pharm approach, etc., for example. Look for a shrink who specializes in psychopharmacology instead of ADD to get a choice wider than just drugs advertised for ADD (stimulants/Intuniv/etc.).
Blowing through boundaries could also be due to ADD - ADD really makes it difficult to build habits, and makes it very easy to forget one's commitments.
If Crazz commits freely to changing his behavior, R is still possible, since you're still hooked on him.
Note: I'm not saying you need to excuse the ADD. I'm saying that IMO it's too early to quit if C freely commits to learning to control the downsides of his ADD.
Crazz also has to drop his rebelliousness very soon. He simply can't become autonomous unless he does. He needs to recognize and accept that his current behavior is keeping him from getting what he wants.
He needs to know he's the prime beneficiary of his boundaries. He's the prime victim of his boundary violations. He's got to shift to welcoming the boundaries for what they do for him ... the discipline of working sucks, but it enables the necessities and good things in life.
He needs to freely decide to build his boundaries. If he does that, I think he'll become a prime candidate for R. The commitment will take a lot of work, but he can do it. He might need a new IC, but he can do it.
Have you considered a joint session with his IC to see what C's goals and progress are? You can also use a joint session to enlist the IC and C in the boundary-building mission.
Look, some people are clueless about raising kids. I could be pretty good now, but I wasn't when my son was 4.
Have you tried truly detaching from Crazz's personal healing and *only* concentrated on you?
I ask because it sounds like you guys are stuck in a pattern where you are issuing demands and he is pouting like an angry child. He hasn't ever bought into the boundaries, but goes along to pacify you. He offers up enough to quiet the storm, but no more. God do I know how crappy that feels. The cycle has to stop, and it sounds like you are in a far better place to stop it.
It seems like you are stuck a bit in the caretaker role. You can love Crazz and have a positive relationship with him without being responsible for him. KWIM?
Maybe leaving is the answer, or maybe the move doesn't have to be so extreme. Maybe try letting go of some control, detaching from the p/a cycle, and watching. Please don't read this for a moment as me calling you controlling. I mean letting go of controlling outcomes(e.g. creating a soft place for Crazz to land). It took me communicating that he had not done enough for me to stay; but leaving the changes he would make from there up to him. It seems like you are headed there. (((JRazz)))
Re: Guerrilla currency - it's like, heat of the moment bartering knowing that you may or may not shoot the person you're trading with at any given moment. I made it up - it just sorta came out of my fingers.
Crazz does have severe ADHD. He is on Adderall for it, and Lexapro for his anger. Still, there is a world outlook that formed from his having it and going most of his life undiagnosed.
As for seeing a male counselor, it's an option, but I have to say... he's as good at charming men as he is charming women. He doesn't do it on purpose - except for where he knows he has a need for everyone to like him. I guess what I'm saying is that while it's not deliberately deceitful, it is a protective mechanism rather than a genuine characteristic that just comes naturally. If that makes sense. Regarding men, if he doesn't care what you have to say he will ice you out with a blank stare and two deaf ears. If he wants you to like him, he will smile and laugh and his blue eyes will sparkle and regardless of orientation people are hypnotized by his charm... and something to do with an innocence or "simplicity" that he radiates. Babies love him. All of them. Love at first sight.
Does he have any idea that you are getting this close to the end of your rope?
Putting all of these issues together that he has, the bottom line is, he is going to have to want to change in a big way. And from what I have seen, and from what you have said, I don't see that yet. It may take you leaving, or you two may have to D before he gets that his behavior has consequences. Or he may never get that. At some point you will have to decide when enough is enough for you. Living with this is very hard, I know.
When they do decide to change, they go big. Ask HL.
When they do decide to change, they go big. Ask HL.
I didn't want to give anyone the impression that p/a behavior is hopeless. I've seen first hand that's not the case either. My husband is less p/a than I am now. He hit his rock bottom and knew he had to change.
Hope Crazz will find that too.
[This message edited by DixieD at 2:33 PM, May 1st (Thursday)]
Also, about a year ago Hard Lessons gave me some incredibly insightful advice on dealing with my highly conflict avoidant and p/a husband. I am looking for the thread now to post here.
Nonetheless, the topic has already gone in the direction of the main question I wanted to ask you: Is this p/a?
It certainly sounds like it to me. You will have to ultimately decide because what changes between just an unremorseful WS and a p/a one is the payout from the behavior. They're both manipulative and crazy making but the reasons/motives are entirely different. (And how you respond to them is different as well.)
Let me start by saying something that's probably going to incite the masses: I understand Crazz's point. I also think it's valid.
That doesn't mean he's conveying it effectively.
Nor does it mean that his boundaries are good.
It just means that he may be coming from a totally honest perspective within him. Misguided? Yes. Lacking intimacy? Yes. Dishonest? Yes - but he likely isn't aware of that.
Does that help to explain any of your confusion? Your mixed feelings for the relationship? Your mixed feelings for him? If I may suggest, shelf that for now. That sense of pressure to either leave the relationship or make it better is what is causing YOU to ride the rollercoaster. If you can change your perspective from a participant to an observer, you will find your entrance and exit from the ever moving jump rope. (And since I have harped on it so, and speaking from personal experience - I assure you that this is a place you can find your own personal growth. )
I live with a very p/a man. They're odd birds because they can be the sweetest, most thoughtful people. They can also do things that make you absolutely nuts and bring out the absolute worst in you. You will likely never have a true and deep intimacy with them. That doesn't mean NEVER...it just means that it won't be a level that you achieve. It's something you appreciate when it comes and you let go when it leaves - kind of like owning a pet butterfly. For some people that idea would be intolerable. Due to logistical circumstances that strongly encouraged me to have to accept this, I actually now feel quite enlightened by the experiences. I found more freedom by not having to strive for the ideal - something I realized that I had been doing all my life. Of course you'll have to decide that for yourself, Jrazz...but I do believe that it will come to you.
So in the interim, let's talk about how to just observe p/a behavior...
The nature of the p/a is to not take responsibility for their feelings. In fact, it doesn't even occur to them that they have any control over their feelings. They hardly can even see or understand that those feelings actually belong to them. So they do things to get you to express what they are feeling.
Think back on your most recent interactions. Did you feel almost provoked? I know that you didn't respond in the manner you would have preferred when discussing the weekend childcare. Do you feel that you were set-up? How many times do you feel Crazz's "attempts" are misguided - hey, I'm at least telling you about the female co-worker - yet internally you know that there is just no way this charming man could then be so...well, stupid. All roads lead to rome - yet none of the pieces really fit.
When you find yourself here, feeling this - this is the first sign that your strings are being pulled. This is the internal alarm to shut-down reaction systems and instead become just an observer.
Crazz: I think I'm going to work in the garage this weekend. Baby Razz will be fine.
Jrazz: Really? You must feel like you have a lot of things that need to be done.
Crazz: Well, yeah. I do. I didn't get to do it last weekend because I had to work.
(Maybe he's mad about not having time.)
Jrazz: Could you do it Sunday instead? Baby Razz and I will go to the park and you won't be interrupted at all then.
Crazz: No. I want to do it on Saturday. What's wrong with Saturday? You're just worried that I cannot take care of Baby Razz.
(Ok...maybe it's a parenting issue that has him upset.)
Jrazz: Absolutely not. I think you're a great dad. How would you supervise Baby Razz?
You get the idea. Getting to the heart of the matter is like peeling an onion...something he will likely be willing to do so long as he has the emotion unexpressed. However, the moment YOU take on the emotion - ie, I cannot believe that you would leave Baby Razz alone in the house while you are outside working with loud power tools!! What in the world would make you think that would be ok??! - he is satiated. (See...she never lets me have time/trusts me with the kid/listens when I talk/(fill-in-the-blank). You, on the other hand, are a whirlwind of emotions...none of which really make any sense to you.
If he is p/a, he WILL (1)set you up to (2)express what he feels.
The key is to not take the bait.
You have to be prepared to LET HIM CHOOSE.
That sounds like you aren't. It's not that. It's that he's creating a situation where he doesn't have to. Don't let that happen. Make him own it fully; it's the first step toward him having to also accept responsibility for the resulting feelings.
So, if he stands firm with wanting to work in the garage while he's got the kid, either let him manage it or make other arrangements. (And the absolute truth in that matter is that you either do trust him to supervise Baby Razz - regardless of what he's saying to you now - or you don't. If it's the latter, you need to have made other arrangements anyway.) Let him go with the female co-worker - because if he does think that's a good idea then that's telling you more than you putting a stop to it anyway. Don't give him if/then scenarios. Don't talk him out of it. Offer alternatives where appropriate (ie, Sunday garage instead of Saturday) but otherwise simply say, OK. In fact, when I am feeling my strings pulled, OK has become my first response - even when it's not ok.
If this does fit and you choose to go this direction, be prepared for things to get worse before they get better. That day he came home for lunch? Yeah. Times 10. Times 100. When you start forcing him to own his choices, it gets rough. (Forcing = you not taking them on.) When you stop expressing his feelings for him (by becoming an observer rather than participant), it gets really rough for a while. A true p/a will up the ante - pulling even crazier stuff. I DO believe there is a tipping point but it can take years to get there. And a lot of hurtful things can happen that make it sometimes hardly worth the effort. Again, logistics played a large part in my situation. It also helps that when H isn't in an "avoidance of emotion" that he's also a genuinely nice guy. I love him always - and I like him most of the time. I also strongly felt that life was bringing this lesson to me; it was something I just intuitively knew I needed to learn. So I very much felt that changing my situation would really be doing nothing more than changing logistics - that the lesson would just come in another form. The one good thing is that the more skilled I became, the less the subsequent antics bothered me. There were many times that my ego felt I was putting up with shit that I shouldn't be putting up with - but my spirit was saying, Eh...not really that big of a deal. Most of the time I really like having a pet butterfly. It thrills me when it shows up - and when it leaves, it reminds me that I am not to cling. And somehow in that, I think I've found the safety that I was once thinking I could only find in intimacy.
So I am slowly learning to let go of feeding him his line, and I can see because of his...um, lack of maturity that he will not make the most appropriate decisions until the bottom is either hit or near. When it comes to the marriage, I'm willing to let him choose to jump in the shark tank because I completely get that I can't be his hall monitor for boundaries. If I let go and he ends up with another trollicorn, it would be a relief on some level that I'm not crazy and he can't be trusted and I'm justified to move on.
He is a true p/a, the most p/a I've ever seen in a human. Ever. So much so that if I've pointed out his p/a that day, he will call me p/a at least twice within hours to try and throw it back at me.
Me: "Can you hand me that towel please?"
Crazz: "What, are you saying I need to dry something? NOW who's p/a??? GEEZ."
At this point I actually just laugh at that. I've stopped explaining the difference between addressing something directly versus indirectly. It doesn't matter.
A true p/a will up the ante - pulling even crazier stuff.
Like I mentioned, I'm willing to lay the marriage on the train tracks. I am less willing to lay my daughter on the train tracks. I can't be like, "Ok buddy, I'm going to leave you alone with her and you do whateverrrrr you want. Bye!" just to test the theory. She has gotten hurt - REALLY hurt - because of his accidental negligence. When she was 4 weeks old I had to throw a bridal shower for my sister. (Love her but the timing was pretty awful) The day of the shower it was 98 degrees, and the place we were throwing the shower didn't have A/C so Crazz offered for her to stay home with her in our A/C. I left for 6 hours, and he took her in her carrier out in our garage and worked on his car.
To this day he will still not accept how horrifying that was. Their little bodies can't regulate temperature, and it could have been a disaster.
Then there's the time when she was 2 and he let her close a heavy metal gate on her own at the park and she lost the tip of her finger while he was playing with someone's dog.
She fell off the couch ALL the time before she was 1 because he was really into what he was watching while he was watching her while I was grabbing two seconds for myself.
So yeah, really shitty precedent of putting her life in accidental danger. I will be his fucking mom if it means protecting her. I'm just trying to find the balance between never leaving her alone with him ever, which isn't feasible, and making a 4 page list that he is not to deviate from that I will check in on every second I'm away. As she gets older she will hopefully learn her own boundaries for safety, but you can't expect a 4 year old to do that. Jesus.
[This message edited by Jrazz at 10:51 AM, May 2nd (Friday)]
God, truthsetmefree, are you available as a counselor?
Learned this all pretty much the same way I learn everything - the hard way. I'm glad if some of it is resonating with you.
Ok, the issues with the baby - potentially two different things we are talking about here.
Some people just aren't good caretakers - even with the best of intentions or a vested heart. If that's the case, that sucks for you at this time because you must bear the sole responsibility. Do the lists actually work? That's a serious question. Because if they don't, then that needs to be addressed because no matter what, they have a cost. A cost to this p/a interaction for sure, but potentially a cost for your daughter.
In answering that question - and please don't flog me - let me give you another question to merely ponder. I don't know the answer...I'm not making a "subtle" suggestion to you. It's just a genuine question because I've only got your side to base my impression on and I certainly don't want to give you one-sided (and subsequently, bad) advice: Are some of your issues with Crazz's parenting having to do with he doesn't do it the way you think it needs to be done? I'm not talking about how he cuts her hot dog - I anticipate those differences. But is he genuinely not reliable for her safety? I ask because you love and concern for her is readily apparent - so I cannot imagine you leaving her at any time in a situation that requires a "four page list" (yes, I get that you might have been sarcastic ) for her safety. Just something to think about. The good thing about this is that often P/As actually have a valid point in their thinking/feelings. They aren't necessarily just selfish, manipulative, crazy-making Mr. Hydes. But because they are really crappy in talking about stuff as it's a problem, it does fester and goes so far off track from what it originally was that it's hard to see any validity. Underneath all the layers, there was stuff that my H. was absolutely right to feel angry/hurt/upset about. There was stuff that I was absolutely wrong in doing...stuff that I needed to change. It was eye-opening to say the least.