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Spouse abusing me while in recovery from depression and alcohol for seven years.

For the majority of my 24 year marriage, iv struggled with alcoholism and depression and now seven years sober.  My husband belittles me daily in front of our three teenagers bringing up my past drinking behaviors (I only drank light beer but it changed my personality to carefree) always telling them to ignore me that this is his house and I have no say.  My 18 year old called me a drug addict yesterday for being on welbutrin, called me a lazy c## t, to leave cause it's dads house and money.( iv been on leave from work for three months for panic attacts by dr. Advice while finishing grad school in marriage and family therapy.  Although I know it up to me to change is there any laws or rights to protect me from verbal and psychological abuse while being in recovery from alcohol and depression.  He threatens I will never see kids or have anything if I leave and I believe it. I tried eight years ago when I left to get sober once and for all and his family money bought everyone and everything.  Even my attorney told me I'll never win.  Do people have rights or laws to protect them like in the workplace.  He brainwashed our children to disrespect me and they need me more than ever now.  What can I do.
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973741 tn?1342346373
COMMUNITY LEADER
Hi hon.  Congratulations on 7 years sobriety!  So often depression and alcoholism go hand in hand---- it becomes a viscious cycle.  And then a recovering alcoholic will still have bouts of depression that will need treated and they have to find new 'coping' techniques that do not involve drinking.  It is really hard work and is a daily lifetime task.  Good for you for sticking with it!!  That takes guts and comitment.  

What often happens in a relationship with one alcoholic and someone that lives with them is that a dysfunctional relationship is formed.  It is called codependency.  When someone gets sober, it really rocks the boat as a couple had been chugging along with this codependent bond they had.  Some couples do not survive it.  The sober partner wants their spouse to get sober and when they do, they don't handle it well.  This is when we know they were codependent and their partner's alcoholism was feeding something within them.  Maybe some of this was going on with you and your husband and the aftermath of sobriety is this man being cruel to you.  You tried to leave when you got sober and he fought you tooth and nail----------  keeping you 'stuck'.  This says something about his codependence.

Okay, so fast forward to today.  I really believe that deep down kids want healthy parents.  This turning on you by your kids probably really hurts.  I don't know if it is residual anger but it has been SEVEN years of sobriety for you.  They would have been young children when you were drinking and most kids are pretty forgiving of parents.  Yes, there are scars but years have past now without you drinking.  So because of this, I do agree with you that there are other dynamics influencing them.  (and I was very close to an alcoholic who hurt me deeply-------------  I was beyond thrilled when they got sober.  I had hurts that I told them about . .. but what I really wanted was for them to be healthy and forgiving them became quite easy to do.  That is my experience anyway).  

Your husband absolutely is wrong to bring up your past drinking.  Part of family week involves giving a partner time to TELL the person what they did to them that hurt or was terrible.  It is hard on the alcoholic to hear it but it is healing.  But that is it . . . it is for healing purposes and not to hurt someone.  Your husband is trying to hurt you.  Keep your back up and tell him every single time---------- that was seven years ago, let's talk about the present.  Every time----- say that to him.  

I would try to break through with your kids a bit.  Take the most gentle of them and talk one on one.   Tell them that you are so sorry if you ever hurt them emotionally while drinking and because of them, you were able to get sober and stay that way all these years.  I would just keep that kind of conversation going.

But---------- any kid who called me a lazy C word would be on my S list.  I don't care what I've said or done------------- you do not treat me with disrespect like that.  I am afraid you feel guilty and hence, don't look at it that way.  Whichever kid said that to you should have been told right then and there that "okay, guess what?"  and then take away X,Y,Z.  And dad should back you up.  He sounds like he wouldn't, but as far as you are concerned-----  you still take away x, y, and z.  (no driving to where he needs to go, confiscate keys if they are driving, no wii/xbox, etc, no computer, no cell phone, etc. . . . heck, no dinner if you have to.)  

What kind of support do you have for yourself?  Do you belong to a church community?  I'd find some women's groups (bible studies are a good place to start) and get to know the members.  I'd stay close to your family.  I'd work on your friendships.  You need to feel less alone and trapped.  

And remember, you are getting your masters.  This is great as I assume that means that future, more lucrative employment is in your future.  This will give you more options down the road if your husband continues on this path of pain in your home.  I suggest that he has some kind of problem.  He very well be hurt over your drinking.  Alcoholism is a family disease that really causes great pain to all.  But you have been sober for a long time now.  His behavior now seems more to do with controlling and hurting you than that.

Keep up with your psych appointments and stay on top of the anxiety, panic and depression.  Talk therapy and medication combined is the best way to overcome this.  Keep going to your AA meetings.  

I do wish you peace and luck and will pray for you.  
1415482 tn?1459706314
am sorry to hear that you are going through all of this and I must commend you for trying to change your life around, it must have been difficult. I do not think however that your husband has brainwashed the children, I think they are just very angry with you. They have been hurt by ur years of drinking and felt as if they have been put through alot of pain and heartbreak and so they lash out on you. Even though u r trying to change and come around they find it extremely hard to forgive and forget, they may have felt neglected. Now that u r at home ur husband feels that he is in charge and he may feel stressed and pressured as he feels he's the only one pulling weight and here comes the disrespect. Your family is very upset.

Try hard to gain back their trust and respect because this is what it comes down to, they no longer see you as a wife/mother and you have to change that. You are not to resort back to the way you were before simply because things are not working out, the aftermath is actually harder than the before. You are now going to prove to ur family that u r back and worthy of respect and kindness again. Speak with them, do not argue sometimes a soft answer is the best answer u can give. The next time ur daugher belittles you and calls you names ask her "why is that honey? Why am I c***t? Why should I leave?" when u receive ur answer then leave her be, walk away when she is calm, talk to her. Deal with ur husband in the same way and let him know that you are aware that u have put them through alot but u r trying and would like to be given a fair chance.

If ur husband cannot give you a shot and is not willing to try then I am afraid there is no hope, but do not stop trying with ur kids because as tough and cold as they act, they do need their mommy. As far as the legalities go I cannot be of much help as I am not equipped with the necessary knowledge to advice you, visit an attorney and have them assist you,

I will pray for you, best wishes and hugs!

Anna ~
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