Lost, Broken, Confused
After almost 3 years of trying my wife and I are calling it quits. She's had enough, I've come around to her point of view. So many issues of money and dissimilar values and intimacy and lack of intimacy and jealousy and and and... It goes on and on. Just a completely violent, chaotic mess.
I'm in therapy for myself now, and 3 months after I started therapy my therapist gave me a book about love addiction. This cleared up a lot of questions. But it offers help if you're still in the relationship, or want the relationship to continue. This is brutal! I'm willing to let her go, happily, too, if it'll bring her happiness, but I want to at least promise myself that I will not let this ever happen again with me, and I can't stop obsessing over it!
When we were in the midst of it, I was begging, can we PLEASE go to therapy, and we did, twice! I looked into local Anger Management, and the therapist just told me that I've got to 'hold it in'. I saw him twice and he told me the same thing.
Nothing helped, it just got worse. Money ran out. My anger escalated. She found excuses to stay away. There was substance abuse, legal troubles for both of us. I totally stopped using. She resented me for it. I gave too much money, and she resented me for that, and resented me for her having to get a job, even though we were clearly completely broke.
I resented her for having friends. I tried to keep her from them. I resented the time she spent with her kids. At the same time, I pawned my kid off on her! So she started being more and more secretive, for good freakin' reasons! And on and on and on.
Is she bad? Am I bad? Is either one of us worse than the other? Do I deserve to feel like this? Shouldn't I? I can't seem to stop trying to assign blame, to one of us or the other. As soon as I think I've got it licked (yup, I'm the one at fault), I flip around 180 degrees and recounting over and over again the nasty stuff that she pulled.
So now I'm trying to simply hold onto the fact that it was just a horrible, toxic relationship, we both had massive anger issues, we weren't even mad at each other probably, we were mad at the people who had let us down earlier in our lives, but that doesn't help!
I can't stop thinking about it, its insane! The only thing I want to do is find her and beg her to give me another chance, but I know perfectly well that's a really BAD idea. I don't have a right to talk to her anymore! I'm not an idiot! People DIE in these kind of relationships!
I want to find some kind of support group where I can at least have somebody keep me honest, and help me sort it out, help me let her and her kids go, besides my loyal-but-tiring friends, but that kind of help is nonexistent, it seems.
I know I have massive anger issues, I think that's at the heart of it. I need rest, I need healing, I need nurture, but I'm so unbelievably sick of myself and ashamed and guilty, I don't even want to ask! I can't live like this anymore!
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Bob, and thanks for telling your story here. I can tell you're having a very hard time. I will try to help.
Nobody is bad. I agree with your assessment, that your relationship became very toxic. I also agree that you are responsible for your anger and your actions. Your thinking seems clear, and that's a good start.
Do the exercises you will find described on this FAQ page. These are deep and thorough processes, but they will only help if you do the work with commitment and focus on a consistent basis, for at least 6 months or more, then tapering off as you see progress.
I hope you can find some support in your area. I know how important that is. Find out if there is a CODA group (Codependents Anonymous). While it's not ideal, I think you may find some things in common with those folks. Since you have had drug abuse issues (it sounded that way from what you wrote), you may also consider NA as a support group.
None of this will work if you are still using. Being completely clean and sober is essential if you're going to make any progress in healing your anger.
It will help you read this page on relationships:
I hope this helps, Bob. You are worthy of a good life and good relationships. Make your health and sobriety your top priority.
My very best to you,
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