Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché,
I have been reading your blogs about “soft abuse” and I have realized that my husband is a bully. For the last 14 years I have tried to please him but he is constantly on my case. It has been so hard. He keeps going off his methadone and relapsing and I did what I could to keep the family together. Lately things have been really deteriorating. He blames everything on me. He has even been teaching the kids that I am crazy and I feel he is turning them against me.
The kids are all I have and I am sorry but all I can think is that I hope he dies during his upcoming hip replacement surgery. I know it will once again lead to a relapse and again it will make my life unbearable.
Am I a bad person?
No, you are not a bad person but you are a passive one. Waiting for god to end your problems only enables your husband further. Besides, even if he did die you would only berate yourself with guilt and self-blame. It takes two to play the persecutor/victim dance; and indeed, you two will teach this dance to your children. It will not only be you whom they abuse and neglect.
Your children need parenting and it appears so does your husband. If it is all just verbal abuse then he is simply being a six year old and more than likely, if sober, will respond to unyielding self-confidence and back down. If he has been physically abusive then that is beyond bullying and a different story.
You need a self-defense class, a women’s group and Alanon. Your husband needs Narcotics Anonymous, therapy and an ultimatum.
Seek outside help immediately! Illness of any kind is not an excuse for bad behavior.
Dr. Brilliant Cliché
Granny says: You aren’t a bad person at all. Just from reading your letter, I have my fingers crossed that the old bastard will kick off during surgery. But have to say- you are also a freaking’ idiot.
If you are strong enough to hold a family together while your husband is messing with drugs, you are strong enough to make it on your own. Why have you let this clown ruin your life?
Granny understands- human beings are creatures of habit, and your way of life is a habit which you are having as hard of a time breaking from as your husband is having breaking from drugs. What you need to remember is that a habit is a habit. If you form new, better habits, it will soon be as difficult to break from them as it was to break from your old habits.
How do you learn new habits? Get help. No one can change on their own, it would be like a surgeon trying to remove his own appendix. All of the options that Dr. Brilliant mentioned are excellent. But now you have to give yourself a good swift kick in the ass and get moving. The first step is the hardest. Once you are in motion, you will tend to stay in motion.
You don’t necessarily have to throw out your whole life… but you need to throw out your inner mythology. It’s amazing how different the same world can be when you look at it through new eyes and begin acting through a new set of skills.