Newsflash: My husband is IMPERFECT

23 09 2009

So far this week I have gone to an ACOA meeting Monday 7:30, and Alanon Meetings Monday and Tuesday 11:00 am and Weight Watchers Tuesday 9:30 am. I know it’s alot of meetings, I feel like a damn meeting junkie. But I really think this is what I’m supposed to do, so I will perservere. I can tell you though, the more meetings I attend the more I am beginning to think that my husband is a workaholic.

Don’t think I’m just saying this because I’m going to all these meetings and want my own -aholic to love. It all kind of came to a head last night when I was reading the Hurting Person’s Handbook that I talked to you earlier about, and read this passage to him, “In assessing the presence of addictions and codependencies, we frequently ask the following simple diagnositc question: Is the dog wagging the tail or is the tail wagging the dog? For example, the conscientious workaholic may have strong values concerning the primacy of home and family life. However as the workaholism progresses, the workaholic does violence to those values by diverting increasing amounts of time and energy into work pursuits.” (Pg 217)

Whoa. That is totally terrifying and yet at the same time comforting. I have thought our whole married life, what on earth does this man see in me, he’s so PERFECT. He’s a hard worker, he’s sweet, he’s not lazy, he’s a good provider, he’s kind and moral, loves family and home… etc. I on the other hand am a total mess. I always wondered how someone so PERFECT could fall for me when it feels like I have so little to offer him. I know that he’s always had a low sense of self worth, but I just blew that off as being hurt in past relationships, not childhood, because his mother is so warm and loving towards him. As I go through these meetings, and this literature it is becoming clear that my husband is just the other half of my sick coin.

Where I get my self-worth from him loving me, he gets his self-worth from how hard he is working at his job and school. He always feels guilty when he’s not at work or school, and even when we’re spending time together “relaxing” he’ll be thinking of some complicated engineering problem in his head for some class. His down time is froth with frustration and anxiety that he’s not being productive and his heart is always in turmoil that he should be doing more. I always thought I just didn’t understand his drive because I was lazy, not recognizing it for the sick behavior it actually is. Our only fights come from me complaining that he’s not spending enough time with me, and he always telling me, “it’s only till _______ is over, only till__________ happens, then I’ll stop.”  This has been going on for five years. It is very easy for me to see now, but so many people admire his drive and achievements it’s not difficult to see why I would have mistaken this for a good thing.
Don’t get me wrong, I am so thankful that my husband is a good provider and a good honest hardworking man. It’s great on paper, but the fact is it is so hard for us to have a life that is worth living. We have a home that he has no time to take care of, dogs that he doesn’t get to see, and a wife that is unhappy because he is gone so much. He always says that this is for us, for our future, so I can stay home with the babies, so he can make more money. I do believe that to a certain degree it will benefit us in the future and that his working and going to school is necessary. Having said that, it has done damage to our family life to the point where sometimes I wonder what is the point of our life together if we can’t really have one.

Anyway, back to the passage I quoted earlier, when I read that to my husband he got really uncomfortable and quiet. Then he asked me not to read anymore. He says it really does sound a lot like him, what he’s going through, but he doesn’t really see any way of changing it right now and he had to go do homework. I don’t know what recovery would look like for him, since he really does have a lot on his plate. It’s not like alcohol, where he can just go cold turkey. What is he going to do? Quit his job? Quit school? I don’t know. But It feels good to know that I wasn’t crazy and selfish, but really hurting and that this addiction of his is NOT ok. It feels like me feelings were validated, and that is very powerful to me, because my whole childhood was being told that this______ behavior is normal and this is just how families behave. When you truly believe that, how are you ever going to get better? That my friends is called D-E-N-I-A-L.

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