As I mentioned in another post my ex-husband burned our family down. He burned me down. He burned us down. There is literally nothing left of me or our family except ashes. Just when I think there is nothing more he can do to destroy our family any further, he finds another way. There isn’t any end to his nonsense.
Since I went “no contact” with him, he has turned his attentions to torturing our adult children. Our oldest daughter asked him to break up with his girlfriend so he could turn his attention and time to healing the damage he has done to them. It seemed to be a reasonable request to me because it is basically the same request I have been making of him for the past two years; to turn all of his attention and time to me to heal our relationship. This is what a normal person would do. They would gladly do everything they could to heal the breach, especially before “moving on” to ruin some else’s life. Someone who does this to their family needs serious counseling in how to develop healthy relationships. But apparently, he wants to move on now, keep his girlfriend and have his adult children be ok with it, not just be ok, but to give their blessing to his bad choices. (I don’t even want to discuss what kind of idiot woman wants a man who is this messed up?)
His insistence that our children be ok with his decisions was met with a strong boundary for him, “You need to spend your time healing the damage between us before you move on with any other relationship, or we cannot have a relationship with you. Period.” But rather than understand or respect the requested boundary his children gave him, he kept insisting that they do it his way. It’s not unusual for him to want it his way. Most of his responses in the past dozen years or so are very selfish. But this serves as an example of how Addicts do not respect boundaries. They do not respect what their loved ones need. Most of the time they don’t even have a clue how to figure out what their loved ones need! It’s all about them. Wisdom and common sense would dictate that when someone destroys another persons wellbeing, they would want to do whatever was asked of them to repair the damage they have done. This is what healthy people do. And if they are not healthy they would, or should, want to GET HEALTHY! First. Before they do anything else.
I can only speak from my own experiences. It’s what I know. It’s why I write – to share my experiences to, hopefully, help others. The purpose for sharing this situation is not to vilify my ex-husband, but the purpose is for a concrete, instructive situation that both the addict and their family members can understand:
Unhealthy people with unhealthy relationships cannot form new healthy relationships without learning new patterns of behavior that allow the addict to repair and restore the damage they have done. First! There is no “moving on” until the addict chooses to act in healthy and responsible ways. These new patterns are learned in the 12 Steps Program. This should be a basic place for the addict to start to repair relationships.
Choices and accountability matter!
In his present mindset, my ex-husband’s prospects for healing his relationship with his children seems as abysmal as his chances for his healing our relationship. He hasn’t made the choice to do the hard work of real repentance. He hasn’t chosen me. He hasn’t chosen his children. He hasn’t chosen God. Until he makes the right choices he will continue to feel the adverse consequences of his choices.
And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil. And the law is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever. 2 Nephi 2:5
The consequences for his most resent choices are that his children now want nothing more to do with him until he can make better choices. His children want him to CHOOSE THEM! Just like I wanted him to CHOOSE ME!! For now, he has chosen the girlfriend, not his children. I cannot fathom this choice! Just like I couldn’t fathom his choice to not choose me. Somehow this seems worse to me though – they are his own flesh and blood! What kind of monster does this??? If I were in this same situation, of course I would choose my kids! Of course I would choose my family! I would have chosen our relationship in the first place. But that is me thinking with a non-addict brain. Who the hell knows what he is thinking???
In order to come to this decision to have no contact with him, our adult children met with a counselor to get advice on how to handle this situation. They discussed the disrespect their father has for them by refusing to honor their requests of him. They talked about when is it appropriate to cut off contact and for how long. When does a relationship become so toxic it requires cutting off the relationship? (Google the ‘no contact rule’ it is a thing and it makes a lot of sense!)
What it boils down to is this: Hitting Rock Bottom
Addicts will not change until the pain of what they have lost because of the addiction becomes greater than the “high” they get from the next hit of chemical dependency. In bottomline terms; what does it take for the addict to hit rock bottom? Hitting rock bottom is different for everyone. Some can hit bottom just by being horrified at themselves for what they have done. For others, it will mean losing everything; job, marriage, children, family,community standing, religious excommunication, self-respect, and some go so far to lose even basic freedoms to live in society.
As it turns out, cutting off a relationship with an addict may be one of the best things you can do for them if they will not come to terms with their behavior on their own, because it requires them to face their own demons on their own. The enabling of the addict stops. He has no one to blame but himself. Hopefully, he will be forced to hit bottom faster. As the addict loses more and more of the things that matter most to him this serves as a wake up call. At some point the addict needs to wake up one day and say, “Gee, maybe I am the one with the problem!” Only when this happens will the reality of the addicts behavior begin to set in:
Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples before them; and the sobbings of their hearts ascend up to God against you. And because of the strictness of the word of God, which cometh down against you, many hearts died, pierced with deep wounds. Jacob 2:35
What will it take for him to see the sheer magnitude of pain his choices has caused his family? Who knows. We can only withdrawal to a safe distance until he figures himself out. Nobody can do it for him. Helpless. That is how we all feel. It is anyone’s guess how far he will have to fall to hit rock bottom. After 3 years of hell, he still isn’t there.
The challenge we face now is to figure out how to rise from the ashes in spite of him. It is clear he doesn’t want to assist in the healing. So it is something we must do for ourselves. This much I know, we had a great family. He walked away from one of the best families a man could ever have. Our children are great! I was a great wife and mother! If anyone can do this, we can. We can and we will succeed in our own healing. We will, like the Phoenix, rise from the ashes of our lives.
Upon completion of its life cycle, the famed firebird builds its funeral pyre. After setting itself alight, it burns until nothing but ash remains. From that ash and flame, the Phoenix Rises!
Note: What do you think ex-husband’s reaction was to his children telling him that he cannot have contact with them for now?
It was blame.
It’s ALWAYS about the blame! He blamed me. (And I am not even around him anymore!) Never mind that our children are all grown adults who can think and act for themselves. But still…It was all my fault. I brainwashed them all against him. I love how he phrases it too; “I see you have decided to follow in ‘Your Mother’s’ footsteps and….” Doesn’t he know how offensive this is to his grown children? He is outright discounting that they have a single brain between them and that one brain that they all share is controlled completely by me! How offensive can he be???
What he should have said is, “Gee, I guess you are really serious about how you feel. I didn’t understand that it meant so much to you that I break off this relationship with Girlfriend. I thought you were kidding, it appears that you are not. So after rethinking things I have decided you are more important to me and I will break up with her, no contact at all for the next 6 months and spend that time just on you guys to try to rebuild our relationship. I won’t even talk to you about her. In six months we can revisit this subject and see where we are at that time. Does that sound ok to you?”
This is just way too healthy a response for him though!
This is just another witness in a long line of examples that denial is alive and well and has found a home in him, a host parasite that sucks all the brains and common sense right out of him! He couldn’t possibly have anything to do with it.
His denial disgusts me. I don’t want to feel this way, but there it is.
Be Strong, Stay Sweet! (Or try to, anyway.)