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Advice on strengthening a relationship.

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posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 08:38 PM
One of my dearest friends has alchohol/addiction problems although as far as I know he stopped drinking some time ago.

He became a much nicer person after he stopped drinking, far more reasonable in his behaviour and willing to listen to other peoples' point of view.

If it worked that way for him, I imagine the difference in your behaviour and attitude is very noticeable to other people too. So even if no-one says anything, many will be appreciating you already.

Also, you make a good point that there is no hiding your 'sins' - it's all out in the open, so before others judge you it might be an idea for them to stop and think how they'd feel if some of their less savoury moments were exposed for all the world to see.

If this helps, the main issue I had with my friend was trust - or the lack of it. Drinkers can be very sly because so many of them go to great lengths to hide their drinking. And the more they drink, of course, the more obvious it becomes what they have been doing. Except, because they are under the influence they fail to see how obvious it is and they can become aggressive if challenged.

And I suppose they are within their rights to insist that it is their own business what they do, IF they don't care what impact their drinking has on those close to them.

So, building up trust is the most important thing you can do. And don't be too disappointed if you are not trusted straight away, you need to prove that you are now an honest person. In some ways the lies are harder to cope with than the drinking for the friends and family of an alcoholic.

Besides wondering all the time why someone thinks it is ok to treat you as if you are stupid, it is very, very wearing to be constantly suspicious. It makes one very unhappy. That and the worry that one day your friend might be genuinely sick and you might just write it off as the effects of their drinking.

I've explained all this because I don't know how easy it is for an alcoholic to understand how deep-rooted the trust issue goes and why it is so important to be absolutely straight in your future dealings with those you love.

However much one loves a person, if they can't be trusted one can never relax and be happy in their company. Every time they go out the front door there is no knowing what state they will be in when they get back or how long they will be away. I imagine your wife still feels immense relief every time you come home sober?

I think the important thing is to tell the truth and never be defensive if someone questions something you say. If you go out, just say where you are going and what time you're likely to come home.

If you're going to be late, phone home and give the reason why you have been held up.

If you say you are going to do something and then you find you can't do it, tell the other person. Just apologise and give the reason.

That's good advice for anyone, I think. But in your situation it should help a lot.

Well done for all the efforts you are making to get your life back on track. I know that what you're doing isn't easy - don't forget to tell your wife how much you appreciate anything and everything she is trying to do.

Remember, she will have some baggage too. She is trying to be strong for you, but there must have been some awful times in the past that she is having difficulty in getting over. It can be hard to forgive, I know that. And sometimes it's hard to be the one playing second, or third fiddle.

In your life together you are the focus of attention because your problems are so huge, and it might be easy for her needs to be pushed to one side because there is no time or energy left to cope with them. I don't know if this is the case, but the danger is always there.

It might be hard to hear, but maybe you could encourage her to talk about the hurt and be as strong and supportive for her as she is being for you.

I hope things work out for you.

posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 12:00 AM
I greatly appreciate your advice I really do. Thank you for taking the time to write me. I don't go out anymore, all my friends were drinking buddies...When Im not working and at home I just clean and cook. I also gave up going on a third tour. I have no doubt on top of all of this it would have broken if I got sent over again. Im too fked up mentally now to do it anyway as the doc thinks. Im much happier sober and im sure she is also. She used to cry alot. At the time its like your so callus its hard to explain. And on top of PTSD of course its a bad combo. Im just trying to take it as it comes. Im lucky to have people like y'all.

posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 02:40 PM
reply to post by MarineSniper12Kills

There are a lot of positives in your post. You say your wife used to cry a lot which implies that she doesn't do it any more, so you are making progress if she is so much less upset.

Although the things she said to you weren't what you'd like to hear, it suggests that she now feels that you are in a condition to hear what she says, whereas in the past she may have felt her words fell on deaf ears.

You've given up seeing people who might be a bad influence, (very well done for that), and you've got responsibilities that you're taking seriously.

And since making your first post, you've made friends here, talked about your feelings and are three more days into your recovery.

It sounds a bit morbid to live each day as if it is your last, but if you can make each day a good one it amounts to the same thing

Make yourself a list - all the things in a day that will make you and your wife happy. Keep it to the basics and then, each day, add a little extra to the list to make that day a little bit special. Recognise that you (both) have some making up to do for the past, but it can be fun. You can enjoy your time together and making each day the best it can be soon becomes a habit.

I spoke to my friend and asked if he had any advice and he said to watch out for any feelings of resentment towards your partner. Because you've been identified as the 'bad' guy, you may feel that you're not allowed to criticize her, because she's the 'good' one.

I can understand that because I've been on the receiving end of that resentment and it can be crushing to be picked up on tiny things, like a slip in speech, because someone is so angry and resentful that they 'leak' hostility and jut nitpick because they don't feel they can tackle something that they see as a real issue. Your wife will know that she isn't perfect, that she's just as flawed and fallible as everyone else, so don't hold it against her when she's making an effort. But, of course, do speak up if something important needs to be addressed.

My friend also said that it might be a good idea to find yourself a sponsor at the AA meetings. Someone you respect and who seems like they might be in a position to help you through.

You might have thought of most of these ideas already, but we both want to see you do well so were prepared to put suggestions forward in case there is anything new we can add

edit on 4-2-2011 by berenike because: tidy up post

posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 06:25 PM
reply to post by berenike

I greatly appreciate everything you have said. Used to I would come home, drink, black out, and wake up at a friends house. Sometimes I would wake up and find out she slept over at my sisters because she was so scared. It really blows to even think about everything that had happened through clear eyes. She is alot happier now though. Watch movies together, I cook her dinner, sent her flowers, and listen to everything she has to say. The intimate part used to really blow, I could barely get her to hug or kiss me, and we hardly slept in the same bed together cause I was in the other room drinking. Now she hugs me and kisses me constantly, and I lay down with her every night even if I can't sleep. I guess its hard for me to talk to her about it because I want her to forget it happened. I know this is unfair and totally ridiculous, but I guess just some of the stuff is so shameful? I don't know, I go back to the psychiatrist on the 13 though so looking forward to that.

posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 07:29 PM
reply to post by MarineSniper12Kills

It sounds as if you two really have a great chance of working things out. I'm glad she loves you so much and you're both prepared to put in the effort.

Yes, she won't be likely to forget anything too soon, but talking things over with my friend yesterday reminded me of a couple of dark feelings I had forgotten so I know that, with time, it is possible to move on and let stuff go. Be optimistic and just think that if you two could live through those things then, if you tread carefully, you should be able to talk about them too. Baby steps

If this helps, I don't have much trouble recalling some of the more hair-raising events but, mercifully, it's my feelings that I forgot about. So, after the reminder, I know that I'm in a different place now mentally and am able to look back and see it as a very distant time and place. It really makes me appreciate the present time when I compare then to now. I hope that your wife will feel a similar way.

Good luck for your future.
edit on 4-2-2011 by berenike because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 5 2011 @ 12:51 PM
reply to post by MarineSniper12Kills

While your wife maybe ashamed of past behavior, she should be proud of present behavior. There are a lot of men and women who would wish their spouses cared enough to accept their problem and receive treatment.

Marriage is in sickness and in health. You weren't healthy, but now you are doing everything possible to get better.

Did she ask her family's permission to marry you? So why does she need their advice to leave you? It sounds like they are interferring in your marriage. They sound elitist to me. But I don't know them.

People make mistakes, even big ones. It is what you do about those mistakes that matter.

posted on Feb, 5 2011 @ 11:57 PM
reply to post by berenike

I really appreciate everything you have said. I too think my wife and I can talk about everything eventually as well. She is already trying now, but I guess I am a pansy because I can't. I have not told her anything about Iraq other than a close close friend of mine which was killed in Fallujah. I just get really depressed to even think about stuff I did under the influence as well. When she tries talking about them I ask her to drop it. I know its selfish and not right but it is shameful as hell.

posted on Feb, 6 2011 @ 12:09 AM
reply to post by nixie_nox

Thank you for your input nixie. It means alot. I have had problems with her parents since day 1. When I first met her, her parents mentally and emotionally abused her. Her mom is psychotic and her dad let's her mom abuse her. She in turn moved in with me because of that situation and really all hell broke loose with her parents. Her dad would show up at my house at three in the morning telling me his daughter was going with him etc etc and yes at this time she was 21. Six years ago. She is 27 now. Long story short their is not a good relationship between her parents and I.

In sickness and in health...your so right. I look at marriage as a permanent commitment and I know their is always exceptions. I was lucky to have parents who have been happily married over 30 years. I have seen them argue and work through their problems numerous times and that's what I want to do. I just went too deep over my head in a substance I used to" heal" pain.

posted on Feb, 6 2011 @ 01:05 PM
reply to post by MarineSniper12Kills

I have in laws like that. They love to interfere in our marriage. Dealing with psychotic people is like trying to convince a brick wall its a banana. I know, I live it everyday.

You have to remind your wife that she needs to take care of the family she created. What her parents needs and wants are not the key focus.

posted on Feb, 6 2011 @ 02:08 PM
reply to post by MarineSniper12Kills

You're nowhere near being a pansy -

Take your time and talk about things when you are ready to, but just explain carefully that you need that little bit more time. Anybody would feel the same, and often about things that are hugely trivial compared to what you went through.

I'm exactly the same when something's bugging me. I need to work it out in my own mind and get a handle on it before I'm ready to talk. And I know that, without meaning to, someone can sound quite aggressive if they insist on knowing what is bothering you before you feel able to discuss it.

Maybe you'll be better off talking over things in your everyday situation and then as you grow more confident and comfortable in the stability that your wife is trying to give you, you'll find it easier to open up.

Although, she may not be the best person to talk to about everything that went on in Iraq. Maybe you can start with talking about some of the more positive things, maybe tell her about friends that you made and had less stressful times with? It's surprising how far you can go when you start out gently.

I'm sure your wife treasures you and it's good for her that her marriage stands a chance of making her so much happier than she must have been with her parents. And that's something you can take credit for now.
edit on 6-2-2011 by berenike because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 6 2011 @ 11:55 PM
reply to post by nixie_nox

Im sorry you have to deal with that nix. Your so correct though, it is something I cannot really grasp ahold of. My wife wants me to have a relationship with them but yet they disrespected my family and myself. Her running and telling them about my problems doesn't help the situation either. It is like it almost gives them an excuse to come in between our relationship.

I have tried talking to her about it multiple times but here recently when I bring it up, it always falls back on me. Somehow I created the issue. I also get remarks such as" you must not have taken your medicine today". This medicine is 20mg Lexapro (anti depressant). Remarks like that make me want to explose so I just end up walking away from it.

posted on Feb, 7 2011 @ 12:12 AM
reply to post by berenike

I swear man you all must be therapists lol. Everything you say I relate to so much. I guess a large part of it is my fault for holding stuff in. My wife and I.....our communication lacks alot. In arguements I always have to reach out first whether its my fault or not. When I try to talk about things to her, especially serious issues, she blows it off. Just like with the belittling comments about the medicine I take. It doesn't really hurt my feelings but makes me angry. I used to go into nursing homes and visit with people. It was like my stress reliever. 1 guy in particular, we called him Cowboy. He always wore a cowboy hat and claimed he used to be a cowboy lol. I would sit all day with him and just talk with him about personal problems and emotional problems. I told him things I wasn't supposed to tell anybody. He never judged me, he never belittled me, and he always understood everything I was saying. Since he passed away I haven't been able to really open up to anyone about everything. It is hard to relate to people I guess.

posted on Feb, 7 2011 @ 06:00 PM
reply to post by MarineSniper12Kills

My husband suffers from a mental illness. Trust me, there isn't much I haven't been through, or experienced. I can be a psychologist.

If you need any help, feel free to IM me.

posted on Feb, 7 2011 @ 06:43 PM
I don't have many suggestions to help with the in-laws, I've never had to deal with that sort of problem, but if your wife wants you to confide in her you need to explain that it makes things more difficult if she doesn't treat what you say as confidential.

I'm not sure about the comments about your medication. If she is being unkind then that is totally out of order but could she be asking out of concern?

I ask this because when my friend was drinking he could be really mean. Hard to explain but selfish, distant, dismissive that sort of thing. So if he acted badly I'd wonder if he'd been drinking, because it was hard to accept that he could be mean when he was sober because his real personality is kind, warm, humourous and helpful.

Is it possible that your wife has a somewhat rosy idea of you as she remembers you in the past, so if you act in a particular way she finds it hard to accept that 'real' you would be that way? So she wonders if you've remembered your medication because she's looking for an excuse for you?

Either way, it's not helpful to you. The implication seems to be that you're not allowed to have (or show) negative emotions because you've got pills to dampen them.

I wonder, next time she asks about the medication if you could ask her if she's serious and what you did to make her think you'd forgotten it. If she's genuinely concerned, you've given her the opportunity to say what made her think that. And if she's being mean, then a genuine enquiry from you might pull her up just enough to realise that she ought not to make fun of you in that way.

You could even make a point each day of taking your medicine in front of her so that there can be no question that you had it.

I wonder, too, if the reason that she wants to know about your war experiences so much is that she is trying to find the reason, maybe the one thing, that brought you home in your current condition?

It sounds as if she is struggling to understand and from what you said about her parents, they are probably not able to be very objective, or supportive in any way that would be helpful to her.

You both might have a different perception of what's going on between you. For example, sometimes my friend shouts at me and I complain. He then says that he didn't shout and 'don't put that on me'. Then I feel bad, as if I'm in trouble for trying to defend myself.

In reality, I am extremely sensitive to noise and can't bear raised voices. So probably he didn't shout, but he did raise his voice enough to upset me.

So we're both wrong but we're both sort of right.

Perhaps you and your wife could examine a particular incident and see what actually happened as opposed to what you both think happened. Probably, you can meet half way with a little honesty and good will.

I hesitate to suggest this as a way to help you through your communication problems, but my friend and I bicker a lot. It's like a safety valve. You and your wife have some hostility, I think, that you're struggling to resolve in a safe way. If you can have silly little arguments that you can turn into something humourous it might help.

Of course, both of you need to understand the game you are playing

I remember how polite and careful I used to be with my friend, bottling things up when he was mean, until one day I called him a git. It doesn't seem like much, but it helped me turn a corner.

Its a silly word, not too offensive, and just expressed how I felt. It evolved into GOG - Grumpy Ol' Git - and now we quite merrily send each other up. He put his tongue out at me the last time I grumbled about something and I feigned horror when he put it back in his mouth.

All extremely childish, but you can get so much negativity out if you play and make a joke of your less worthy feelings.

And far better than taking too much negativity from someone when there is the danger of really snapping because you feel that you are expected to take everything that is thrown at you and you're not even allowed to complain.

I've felt like that a lot in my life. I've known so many people who behave outrageously and then say 'Don't' when I try to speak up for myself. It's like they think they can walk all over me and then deny me the right to protest about it.

That's because people have a hard time accepting that they've behaved badly or thoughtlessly. It's easier to blame the other person for being over sensitive. And most of the time, most people can get away with that.

Compare that to your situation. You've been forced to own up to bad things you've said or done. You've been given no place to hide. You've shown a sort of bravery that most people aren't capable of, and you are being asked to show even more.

You're being asked to do a lot to accommodate the people around you, but you have to not lose sight of yourself.
There's more to you than someone who is recovering from trauma end excess.

Real you is still inside. A person with heavy burden to carry, but the burden isn't you. Make time to have a little chat with yourself. Remind yourself of what you think is important. We talk so much about how you relate to other people, but how are you relating to you?

posted on Feb, 9 2011 @ 10:52 PM
Thank u so much again for your help and advice. I have been doing alot better....still sober. Im still figuring out who I am. I don't know if that is bad or not. After five years of callus bs, I don't know what I am. I know what I want to be so that's what Im shooting for right now. Its hard to explain.

I have been trying to talk more with my wife but now she's hardly listening. I don't know if she is scared? It is like she wants to put it off and change the subject. I know I used to get infuriated talking about it so that mayy be why.

posted on Feb, 10 2011 @ 05:24 PM
reply to post by MarineSniper12Kills

I hope I'm being helpful. I just chuck in everything but the kitchen sink in the hope that something might be useful to you

It may well be the case that your wife is worried about talking too much in case one or both of you get upset. Are you able to have ordinary mundane conversations? Chit chat about nothing in particular? Do you have much fun?

I don't know where you live, but getting out and about in the fresh air and just enjoying nature can be a very healing thing. And something two people could enjoy together and keep the mood light.

I know it can be a daunting thing to talk about traumatic situations. You dredge up a memory, talk about it for a bit and then what? You can't just put it back.

I would feel as if I was in my living room with 'stuff' taken out of the drawers and cupboards and left on the carpet in the middle of the room. And I was sitting there in all this mess and vexed that I couldn't put it all away again.

I've given some thought to your situation, and have a suggestion. It may work for you or it may not be the good idea I think it is
But let me put it forward and you can decide if it would be helpful.

As I said, you are a man with a burden, but you are not the burden. Somehow, you need to reduce the weight of that burden so you have more free energy and you're not buckling under the weight of it.

Can you imagine that the burden looks like your kitbag (sorry if I got the name wrong, but I'm sure you know what I mean) ?

Inside the bag is all the equipment that you had as a serviceman. When you feel able, you could imagine taking out a piece of equipment and remember the situations where you would have used that item.

Let's use a water bottle as an example, There might be good memories associated with that, how it would come in useful, if you used it during a break with your friends, that sort of thing. You could give as much time to remembering it as you felt able to and then, when you had spent long enough on the memories, you could put the bottle back in the kitbag. By now, it will be lighter by so many memories, so your kitbag will weigh that little bit less.

This can be a long process and it's an exercise you can do whenever you feel up to it. But each time you take out an item, anything you feel comfortable with, and remember the situations and people connected to it, you will be lessening the burden you're bearing.

If you choose an item with heavier memories, you could think about any use of it that you are comfortable with, but if the memories started to get too difficult, you could just put it away again until a time that you felt better able to deal with it.

And each time, importantly, you have somewhere to put the items associated with your memories so they are not 'out' influencing your state of mind in a negative way.

It will take a little visualisation, but that's an easy thing to do.

Anyway, that's an idea and I hope you can use it or adapt it some way to help you feel better. I should say that you can just think about things, talk about them or write them down. But always, when you're done, put the item back in the bag.

It's encouraging that you know what to aim for in being the person you want to be. So many people don't have a clue. I don't know if you've read my signature, a quote from Quentin Crisp, who was a very wise man, although extremely eccentric.

It helped me a lot once. Sadly I'll never be a dancer, but I don't have to bend myself out of shape living an entirely unsuitable life either

posted on Feb, 11 2011 @ 12:38 AM
I don't know if you'll read this, but I want you to know I hope you find some sort of peace. I'm glad to hear you stopped drinking the poison, and are trying to improve things with your wife. Just remember to have fun during the healing process. If all you do is try to work out problems, you'll both be a drag on each other. Nothing helps a relationship more than doing fun things together and with friends. It's those little things too, like leaving her a love note occasionally, or making her breakfast in bed on a Sunday. The strength you gain from those times will help you guys get through the rough stuff you need to work out.

Do some stuff to help others in a positive way, like volunteer at a soup kitchen once a month or something. Every good thing you do will eventually push the bad things back just that much further away. They'll never leave your sight, but they'll get closer to the horizon.

Thanks for serving your country, and sacrificing so much at such a young age.

posted on Feb, 11 2011 @ 12:44 AM
reply to post by harrytuttle

Thank you so much for your advice. Ya I have been cooking her breakfast every morning lol. Got her flowers the other day. Your right it really does help. Hell even my dogs are happier lol. Im just taking it one day at a time, and luckily I have alot of people on here who hold my hand throughout the day.

posted on Feb, 11 2011 @ 06:03 PM
reply to post by MarineSniper12Kills

She may be scared if you used to get mad. It can take a long time to get over these things. The only thing you can do is tell her that you want to earn her trust back, and talk about that. It means keeping your cool no matter what happens.

posted on Feb, 12 2011 @ 01:35 AM
reply to post by nixie_nox

Thank you nixie. Im marine btw. This name makes me laugh so I stuck with it. I kept a journal while overseas. I burned it today. My wife got kind of upset I did, but I guess she doesn't understand. Im starting to open up more to her so time will tell.

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