Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Words of Wisdom and Hand Holding needed please (tw alcoholism)(19 Posts)
I just want to start off by saying that my sense of rationality and logic is warped at the minute and I have no idea what to.
I have loved someone for a long time - almost two years now. He recently admitted that he loved me too but circumstances have not allowed us to give it a go until now. He lives in a different country to me.
I have come over to see him, only to find that he is in the middle of a bad alcohol relapse. Basically non functioning - given up work, drinking all day, barely eating. This happened last year too, but he managed to get himself sober again. I have been to see him, and he was lovely and sweet, just like he is when he's sober. However, the day before last, he asked me why I looked so sad so I tried to speak to him about how watching him struggle is hard, and he got angry, and handed me my bag, telling me to leave. So I did. I left him to it. This was around 4pm, and at 9pm he sent me a horrible text ("you're a depressing cunt. you don't laugh we don't sleep together so what the fuck are you doing here") I was shocked because the day before he'd said to me there was no pressure. I didn't reply. The next day he sent me a couple more texts along the lines of don't fucking contact me and fuck you and your sick ways. I have absolutely no idea what he is talking about. I don't know what sick ways I have when all I've done is love him and try to understand what he's going through. I sent him a text saying that - I'll be there for him if he wants it and that I love him.
I'm so confused with what I should be doing. I'm here for another 10 days, realistically I don't know what I can do in that time. I feel so incredibly guilty for not being stronger, maybe if I had of stayed when he kicked me out he wouldn't have been so horrible. I feel like it's all my fault. I don't know whether I should be going over there to help him regardless of what he says or just leave him alone. I don't want him to feel like I don't care but I'm struggling with him being so horrible to me when I've done nothing wrong, and when he was so lovely before. I'm so far out of my depth
The fact that you feel that this is all your fault is more than enough reason for you to stay as far away from this person as possible. How could an alcohol relapse, that started before you arrived, be anything to do with you? How could a bunch of abusive texts, some of which don't even sound like they were about you, sent by someone pissed out of his head, be your fault?
You think you can rescue him - that's why you haven't already packed your bags and gone home. You absolutely cannot. The 3 Cs are:
- you did not cause this
- you cannot cure it
- you cannot control it
If you need to be supported in understanding how futile this situation is, Al Anon is available to help you.
He knows what he needs to do - he's been sober before. But it doesn't sound like he ever committed to his sobriety and until he does, and has been sober for a number of years at least, there is no hope of you having a positive, stable, loving, nurturing relationship with him - all the things that you deserve.
Furthermore, he needs to understand that his actions have consequences. If you go running back there anxious to help you are teaching him that he can treat you like crap. You need to value yourself more highly than that - and then maybe one day he will too.
There is honestly nothing you can do to help him. Can you reach out to his friends so they can at least check in on him? You are too invested in his recovery to act as a dispassionate friend towards him. But more importantly, what about you? Do you have any friends nearby you can lean on? If not, honestly I would go home to where you can get some support and a shoulder to cry on. I'm sorry your hopes have been crushed this way.
tribpot speaks wisely. It's nothing to do with you. Even the curses and imprecations are talking about him and not you.
You can't help anyone who doesn't want to help themselves. He is an adult and not your responsibility. run as fast as you can in the opposite direction x
Please don't be tempted into continuing this relationship, OP. It's always a gamble having a relationship with someone in another country and having a relationship with an alcohol can be soul destroying.
Where are you staying at the moment? Did you think you would be staying with him? Can you afford to stay elsewhere? I am worried about you all alone in another country - are you okay?
I sent him a text saying that - I'll be there for him if he wants it and that I love him.
May I suggest sending another one that says "Whoops, sent to wrong person. You can drop dead, you mardy fuckface."
Can you change your ticket and go home sooner?
Is there something in your life (your parents' marriage perhaps) that makes you feel it's your responsibility to fix him?
I doubt very much that you love him; you are codependent and over invested in him instead.
Co-dependency often features in such types of relationships and you come across as co-dependent. You are putting his needs way above yours at great cost to you. You learnt how to be co-dependent from someone; likely one or other of your parents. What example of a relationship did they show you when growing up?.
As enabling is a form of behaviour that seeks to protect, fix, though not helpful as a response to problem drinking, it is the extending of this behavior over time that may lead to codependency.
"Codependency is an unconscious addiction to another person's abnormal behavior."
It is a condition of a dysfunctional relationship the codependent has with others. The codependent may see themselves as the only one who can fix the other's problems. This is known as a "Messiah Complex", "only they can change or fix the problem by protecting the person at all costs". Due to many factors mostly low self esteem, the codependent needs to be needed. The other person may become needy as a result of this relationship.
You CANNOT rescue and or save this person, he is not and has never been your project either to rescue and or save. Do not waste any more of your life on him; you are completely ill equipped and you are infact the last person who can help him here. He does not want your help!!. What you have tried has not worked and it is more than ok to walk away from this before you become even more enmeshed, over invested and unhappy.
It is NOT your fault he is the ways he is; you did not cause him to act like he does.
Make alternative travel plans now for your own self and come home early.
He does not want to be rescued and or saved. You can however help you by properly now addressing your co-dependency issues and save your own self from further misery and pain.
Thank you tribpot. The thing is - it all makes so much sense and I would be saying the same thing to someone in the same situation as me. I do know it isn't my fault, but that doesn't stop me thinking it's my fault, if that makes sense. I'm just so sad, and I know it sound pathetic but I've wanted this for so long, and this was going to be our chance. I was moving out here in October. We planned Christmas
I know that I should run and never look back, but how do I stop myself from loving the person that I know he is underneath? The person that told me he's never letting me go and that he wants me to stay for ever. I can't get my head around it.
Thank you cozie and peanut.
Imperial, don't worry about me. I am in a country I know well, my parents have a house here (that's where I am staying), and I do have family here but we are not close enough to discuss this kind of thing in any great depth.
pocket, honestly, I know it sounds so lame that I've sent that to him, but in the past we have had many conversations about his baggage and insecurity issues, I feel like I can't just be another person that fucks him over. I've played a long waiting game for us to be able to be together, and I can't stand the idea of letting him down when he needs someone. It would so much easier if my brain could stop thinking about all the lovely things he's said in the past, and how I know that he's still in there. It's frustrating.
I can't think of anything big like that that would make me feel this way. I just feel like love is the biggest factor in me wanting to "fix" him. How do I just walk away from someone that I've loved for so long?
in the past we have had many conversations about his baggage and insecurity issues
Groan. Of course you have. So now you're enmeshed and feel that protecting yourself means letting him down. Look again at the content of the text messages he has chosen to send to you. You are being a great deal more careful over his feelings than he is over yours. The Al Anon phrase is 'detach with love'.
how do I stop myself from loving the person that I know he is underneath?
By accepting that he is an addict. Which means that the person you know is only a facet of him, because he has always been an addict since you have known him. This is also him, this dark, awful version. There's no magic wand to make it go away and there is nothing you can do to make it happen. It will always be there and it will always be a part of his life.
You do need to look hard at your rescuer fantasies and what might be behind them, and whether co-dependency is also an issue, as Attilla says. I'm dreading to think what the long waiting game was - I'm guessing waiting for him to finish another relationship. I hope not.
"I can't think of anything big like that that would make me feel this way. I just feel like love is the biggest factor in me wanting to "fix" him. How do I just walk away from someone that I've loved for so long?".
You are completely and utterly over invested and I would also suggest you read up on the "sunken costs" fallacy that can happen in relationships. That has also basically caused you to make poor relationship decisions. I would also argue that you do not know him at all; this LDR has been a smokescreen all along and you have seen what you wanted to see.
He does not need anyone and if you stick around any longer you will again be abused by him. He does not want your help and you are the last person who can help him. You cannot love him better either, its a fallacy to think otherwise.
You can really help your own self here by addressing all this properly with a counsellor. If you truly love him as you state you do, you will let him go.
Am sorry if this is blunt for you but the truth of this is staring you in the face here and you need to see this for what it really is. You're wasting your life and time on this person.
Attila, can you be codependent on someone that lives 2000 miles away? I have seen him for a week or so every other month since last year. All of those times he was sober, this is the first time I have seen him drunk. I didn't know he was a recovering alcoholic until two days ago either.
My parents are definitely not codependent, they are loving and stable and happy. I won't deny the fact that I have low self esteem, and perhaps that is a factor here, though I have always put everyone else's need above my own, I do like to help people, and see them happy, if I can.
I am aware of enabling. I've done a lot of research in the past couple of days. But as I said, this behaviour is not something I have seen before, so I can't be addicted to that, iyswim. I also don't feel like I'm the only one that can help him, but I would like to help him, if he wanted it, that's why I sent him the text. I needed him to know that I'm here if he does, but I will respect what he wants if he doesn't. I would never go chasing him, I haven't text him since. And he's sent me a bunch of random drunk nonsense since, so to me that suggests that he does still want contact.
I appreciate your post. I genuinely don't think I am codependent, but I will definitely do some research into it.
...I didn't know he was a recovering alcoholic until two days ago either...
Then there's a lot he's been hiding from you I suspect.
Yes you can be codependent from afar (LDRs are risky even at the best of times) and you have spent a lot of time, money and effort on this person. You did not know him as well as you thought and he has not been honest with you either has he?.
Re your comment:-
""My parents are definitely not codependent, they are loving and stable and happy. I won't deny the fact that I have low self esteem, and perhaps that is a factor here, though I have always put everyone else's need above my own, I do like to help people, and see them happy, if I can".
Where do the roots of your own low self esteem lie?. You need to deal with that now for your own sake going forward.
Your second sentence is extremely telling; that overall emotional state has put you in the position you are now with this man. You're a people pleaser and put others before and above you. You are trying to meet some unmet need within you. With an alcoholic that is a surefire recipe for disaster and that has been borne out. People pleasing is unhealthy; we all like helping others and that is good and healthy but there comes a point where such behaviours become unhealthy. You're doing this now at the expense of yourself; you're burning yourself out.
The intense need to please and care for others is deeply rooted in either a fear of rejection and/or fear of failure.
Fear of Rejection is the underlying feeling that, “If I don’t do everything I can to make this person happy they might leave or stop caring for me.” Fear of Rejection can come from early relationships in which love was conditional or in which you were rejected/abandoned by an important person in your life (parent left or was emotionally unavailable or inconsistently available).
Fear of Failure is the underlying feeling that “If I make a mistake, I will disappoint people and/or be punished.” Fear of failure can arise from early experiences with severe punishment for even small mistakes. People who had highly critical parents may develop a people-pleasing pattern. Early experiences with harsh criticism or punishment can lead to significant anxiety upon attempting a task. Even though the parent or other important person in your life who doled out the criticism may no longer be in your life, anxiety is an emotion that can live on for a very long time. To deal with that anxiety, we do everything we can to get things right, finish the job, and make sure everybody is happy.
Block his text communications as of now; you do not need to see them. Cut him off completely.
Concentrate on rebuilding your own self esteem and worth through counselling if necessary. You can certainly help you. You deserve to take care of yourself, it is nothing to ever feel guilty about so never feel guilty about that aspect.
And he's sent me a bunch of random drunk nonsense since, so to me that suggests that he does still want contact.
No. It means he is drunk.
The fact that you didn't even know he had an alcohol problem until 2 days ago says a very great deal. At best he has enjoyed the pedestal you seem to have placed him on. All those long conversations about his problems and what a wounded soul he was ... and yet this small matter of his alcoholism didn't crop up?
I feel so stupid . I have been living in a dreamworld, but I'm not blind. I do love him and have wanted to believe him, and have put my own happiness aside. And yes, he has never been particularly careful with my feelings even when he's sober.
The thing I find difficult to comprehend is why he would have said any of the things he's said. He's never gotten anything (I mean sex wise - so he can't have been manipulating me for that) from me yet he continued to say things like "I know I don't fall in love easily but if I do I know it will be you" etc etc you can imagine I'm sure. What was the point? That is the other reason I held on for so long, I don't understand why he would say all those things if it wasn't true.
I really don't know why my self esteem is so bad. There have been no issues in my family whatsoever. I have been this way since I went to high school, I attribute it mostly to bullying but I have had counselling and could never really move past it.
Even though I can admit that what I've been doing is stupid, I still can't shake the feelings of letting him down. I'm so angry with myself for letting it get this point when I should have walked away ages ago.
clipper im so sorry you have found yourself in such a sad situation. what i would advise is seen as tho you have a choice is to cut all contact with this man. he will be saying those horrible things in drink. he will be a completely different person when sober. unfortunately, if he is an alcoholic you will never have a sober person all the time.
my dmil was an alcoholic. when sober she was the most wonderful woman in the world. this wasnt the case when drunk. she too went through phases where she was constantly drunk then pretty much sober. we loved her so much but it was very difficult and the worst part of it all being, an alcoholic brought her life to an end far too soon and that was the saddest thing to see. if you have a choice i think thats a good thing and you should take it.
What was the point? Can you not see what an ego boost it was for him to have you on a string? I know I don't fall in love easily but if I do I know it will be you is a breathtakingly manipulative thing to say - it implies that if you just try hard enough, wait long enough (and what were you waiting for all this time?), ask nothing of him, be patient and saint-like eventually you will be rewarded.
Sounds great if you thrive on drama and feed on other people's emotions. It sounds like you've let him know repeatedly you don't think you deserve to be treated better.
I don't understand why he would say all those things if it wasn't true.
This phrase crops up depressingly often on MN. People seem to want to believe that everyone is nice and does nice things and are fundamentally good. But some people are not. Don't make the mistake that just because you wouldn't play with someone's emotions he wouldn't either.
You don't stop loving the person you just accept they are flawed and you live with it but you have protect yourself. I know from bitter experience both my parents were alcoholics x
"I don't understand why he would say all those things if it wasn't true."
There's an early episode of Friends in which Monica sleeps with a man who lies to her about being impotent ("only you can cure me!") She's astonished he's lied and asks why to which Ross replies something along the lines of "Do you need an answer other than 'To get you into bed'".
The whole "no pressure" thing is also a good way to get someone to have sex with you.
Join the discussion
Please login first.