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RE: Are you happy living alone?

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Message 21 of 59

In Response to RE: Are you happy living alone? by LeilaLW

Now that I think about it; you're right, Leila; I was always on "guard".. and when he finally left it was such a relief.  Yet the one family member that I had thought I'd be able to provide a "soft shoulder" instead told me that I should have just, "stuck it out and not rocked the boat; he was a "good guy" .   I guess my mind had to work thru it somehow.. and as scary as those nightmares were they also strengthened me.

 

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RE: Are you happy living alone?

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Message 22 of 59

It is interesting that you started having nightmares after he left.  The same thing happened to me, and I concluded that it was my subconscious allowing me to face up to my fear of him when it was finally safe to do so.  Reading your message definitely reminded me of why I got out of my first marriage of 17 years.  All I knew was that I was under constant stress, and that it was unbearable for me.  I never actually realized that I was so threatened by his anger until the nightmares started.  They ended quickly, however, and I never looked back.

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RE: Are you happy living alone?

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Message 23 of 59

  I don't consider myself "living alone".. I'm single, living in my house with my dogs... and was married for 33 years.  And I'm very happy in my "singleness."   According to him.. I was to blame for everything that he perceived as wrong in his life; he had no friends, because he said nobody liked him because it was MY fault.. (?) his feet hurt all the time..my fault again, (nothing to do with the extra 100 lbs he packed on), it was MY fault he'd fly into rages and punch holes in walls, throw lamps, dishes, etc.. (I shouldn't have "upset' him"..yeah,,righto,buster!)                  

    A few weeks after he finally moved out the nightmares started; I'd wake up panicky and sweating; the image of his red angry face and his voice screaming at me,,"It's all YOUR fault."  And I'd get up and turn on lights and check locks.. with two dogs glued to my sides..protecting me from the evil dreams.  They got me thru it..not just knowing they'd protect me physically but how they'd each cuddle next to me and let me feel their reassurance.

   At times it hasn't been easy; but the fact is, I was putting so much effort into not "rocking the boat" that I lost total control over my life and what I wanted.  I knew one thing.. I wasn't going to spend the rest of my life cleaning up his messes and dead cold silence in between his rants.

   I'm busy and happy; friends with varying interests; sometimes I feel as if they're aren't enough hours in the day to do everything I'd like to!

 

 

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RE: Are you happy living alone?

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Message 24 of 59

In Response to RE: Are you happy living alone? by boydlemon

Congratulations, boydlemon!

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RE: Are you happy living alone?

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Message 25 of 59

I'm so excited.  My publisher just released my memoir, "Digging Deep: A Writer Uncovers His Marriages."  It is about my journey to understand my role in the destruction of my three marriages.  After a 40-year career as a nationally recognized attorney in my field, I followed a deep calling, and began the life of an artist as I neared retirement. Following my heart led me to face a painful past, and re-invent himself as artist and writer. Once I started, my passion, combined with years of discipline as a professional, gained the notice of world-renowned writer and teacher, Natalie Goldberg, who invited me to her prestigious year-long workshop for writers in Taos.

 

I lived on the cusp of the moralistic generation that grew up in the 1940s and 50s and the next generation that embraced sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, as well as equality and independence for women. The transition rocked all pretenses of my working class upbringing.

My hope is that revealing the path of my own struggle to clarity and peace will lead others to their own clarity and peace, as so many modern couples and individuals deal with understanding and defining the new order in relationships, as well as facing in their own past.

You can read the first chapter for free (as well as buy the book) on my website.  http://www.BoydLemon-Writer.com.  It is also available on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com in a print and Kindle edition.  Or you can order it from your local bookstore.


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RE: Are you happy living alone?

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Message 26 of 59

In Response to RE: Are you happy living alone? by marcianoren

Marcianoren - Love, love, love your last point! That higher power is the only thing getting me through my days.

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RE: Are you happy living alone?

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Message 27 of 59

In Response to RE: Are you happy living alone? by PattyDiane

Patty, I am with you on all counts! When a spouse presumes to deny you the right to buy strawberries, is that a sign of controlling behavior or what? For one adult to say to another, "you don't need those, you can get by without them" is demeaning. Emotional abuse is more subtle than physical abuse, but just as deadly. It kills the human spirit, flattens our sense of who we truly are, confuses and maims our ablity to function in healthy ways. CODA (co-dependents anonymous) provides anonymity and a means of interacting with others who have stood in your shoes. I read many books on co-dependency and broke the chains that had kept me from being true to myself for the first 25 years, but continued to live in that marriage for another 10 years. When he complained about my independence I said, "You are not my higher power; that place is already taken." I rely upon a power greater than myself to sustain faith. Will power is not enough.

 

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RE: Are you happy living alone?

4,976 Views
Message 28 of 59

In Response to RE: Are you happy living alone? by kaytoy

Your letter really speaks to me because it sounds so much like I was.  I don't know what I can do to help other than tell you a bit more of my story.

Leaving marriage #3 was the hardest thing I have ever done.  On the surface I had everything I had ever wanted.  My husband was the TV news anchor in our mid-sized city at the most popular of our 4 channels.  He was the face of the MDA telethon on Labor Day and after the first year he was involved I worked with the organization too.  We went to Las Vegas to meet with Jerry Lewis and the crew before the telethon.  I didn't have the necessity to work a full time job and had the time to concentrate on art and writing, which had been what I studied in college.  Most importantly, I had 2 step-children that I dearly loved and was very aware that if I left their father, I would have a hard time continuing a relationship with them.  That alone kept me in the marriage during the last 2 years while my stepson lived with us and attended junior college.  Last, but not least, I kept thinking "3 strikes".  I thought if I failed at this marriage I was a total loser.

My husband's employer had a therapist on staff for the use of their employees and their families.  I am totally convinced that this was the work of God, my Higher Power, the Universe or whatever else there is.  This therapist was an expert in addiction.  It was my husband who suggested I go and actually made the first appointment since I was the one with the problem.  At the time, I considered this a put-down but I had to admit I was miserable and desperate and I went along with my husband who presented me to the therapist with the message that he should fix me.  At the time I was hoping that I could be fixed.  After the first visit the therapist suggested that I come alone the next time.

At my first visit alone, he suggested that I keep a journal, which was something I had never done.  I had decided I would do everything he suggested since I really didn't know what to do.  For me, this was hitting bottom.  After a few visits he asked me to write a bit about my childhood and growing up.  I showed up at his office the next week with about 50 pages I had written on the computer.  I think he expected 2 or 3 pages but the words just kept pouring out of me, things I had never talked about or even thought about.

I was totally shocked when he suggested that I go to a support group called ACoA (Adult Chidren of Alcoholics) as there was NO alcohol in my home growing up.  My parents were strict Presbyterians and my father was an elder in the church.  I thought "Great, I've gotten me a crazy therapist".  Even though I was pledged to do what he suggested I didn't go for the first 2 weeks.  I was always the student who did her homework in school and it was hard to show up to my session the first time and say I had not fulfilled my assignment.  The 2nd week I drove to the meeting place but couldn't get the nerve to walk through the door.  When I had to confess my "sin" the therapist and I had a very good discussion about what I feared and finding the courage to walk through it.  This led me to my first tool for helping me to survive what was to come.

When I finally went to the meeting it was the most amazing thing I have ever seen.  When I walked through the door there was a table containing pamphlets, etc.  One of them was a list of characteristics of an adult child.  When I read it I thought someone had seen into my soul.  I almost ran back out the door because there were things there I wasn't certain I wanted to look at, never mind having someone else know about them.  My therapist had asked me to pledge to attend 6 meetings and told me just to listen.  I didn't have to open my mouth.

At the time, I think I was in my mid-forties.  There were about 25 people at the meeting with the age range from 18 up.  I think the oldest person there was probably in her 60's but most were in thier 30's.  I was amazed at what people were talking about.  I was amazed that so many people had the same stories.  Times and circumstances might be different, but the stories were the same and most of them might have been telling my story. 

I learned there is such a thing as a "dry alcoholic", which is a person who has addictive behavior without the substance.  Both my parents fell into this category.  Growing up in this way had opened me up to not only choosing the wrong people to trust but to then try to first please them and then to try to change them.  I learned a lot, most importantly that the only person I can change is me, which is both good news and bad.

Most importantly I llearned that there are many people who have similar issues as I have and are finding or have found ways to deal with them.  Some, like me, left their relationships and others have not.  What they have all learned is that their wants and needs are important.

A friend who I met at that first meeting reminded me last week that it was almost 20 years ago.  We have been friends ever since and have supported each other though a lot of changes since then.  We agreed that this last 20 years has been the most exciting adventure that we could never have imagined.

That first meeting led to other meetings and other groups: CoDA (Co-dependents Anonymous) and Al-anon as well as church groups, and other interest groups.  We were so lucky to have entered "recovery" at a time when the entire topic of addiction and co-dependency was new and so popular.  There were Oprah shows featuring books on the subject as well as PBS series by John Bradshaw and others.  There were programs at addiction centers on Co-dependency.  There are still lots of books, tapes, etc. around.  There are very few programs available now since insurance no longer covers it.  In many cities there are still meetings and there are now on-line meetings as well.  There's even CoDA on FaceBook.

But whatever path you choose to follow, you have already taken the first step.  You are talking about it!  You are sharing with other people and allowing other people to share with you. 

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RE: Are you happy living alone?

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Message 29 of 59

In Response to RE: Are you happy living alone? by PattyDiane

Patty, I'm so glad things have worked out for you. I can understand why we strike the same cords. I've been married for 35 years. I've just gotton to the point where I don't know who "I" am.  I hate the way my life is.  I've done everything to please him and keep a "happy" chord in the home, but it's all me. I feel that I give, and give, and give. It's weird..he has never been physically abusive...I would say it's emotional abuse.

He's always been a hard working man, does more than his share around the house, but everything is money to him. It's like he worships money.  But in our 35 years, we have NEVER argued over money.  We both have worked and had what we wanted. Until last September when I traded my car. He went ballistic and demanded we split all the money and "you have yours' and "I'll have mine". 

Money is not that important to me. Yes, I want money, have to have money, but family and religion and friends are so much more important. We as a couple have no close friends because he's so tight with his money, he doesn't want to go anywhere or do anything with them. We go to buy groceries, he will buy the bare necessities that will get us through the week. I will maybe pick up some strawberries..he'll say "you don't need those, you can get by without them." I love to cook large Sunday dinners and have family over. I can't do that now because he doesn't want to spend the money. Sure, I have money and could spend mine, but then he wins, if that makes sense. We never go anywhere or do anything because it costs money. I hate living like this. When I say something about it, he replys, "Go where ever you want...spend your own money".  The thing is, we're not broke. We are "comfortable".  I just can't live like this. 

I want a husband who will be active in church..who does things like go fishing on the weekends, ride to the coast on a Saturday, etc. Just enjoy life. Not sit at home day after day after day when we are not at work.

How do you take that step of faith?  How do you just close your eyes, throw all fears aside and walk out?  I want to do it, but I don't want it to be my fault. If I leave, and fail, it will be my fault. I will have to live with that guilt. 

Thanks for your reply. I've never used a chat room before, but I've gotton so much from those of you at this site. Thank you.

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RE: Are you happy living alone?

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Message 30 of 59

In Response to RE: Are you happy living alone? by dan62iel

Wow. I mean really wow. I love the way you think. The part about the coin was really awesome. You've given me a lot to think about. And it makes so much sense.  Thanks so much.

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