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Thread: Being broken up with by a relapsing alcoholic

  1. #1
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    Being broken up with by a relapsing alcoholic

    Here I am again after so many years. I’ve been single for most time but half a year ago I met my current partner who is now breaking up with me.

    I won’t go into too much detail about how we met, but she was a recovering alcoholic and I am a caregiver. So there was much ado about our relationship as we started it, but I want to be clear that we had had no professional contact whatsoever. It just happened to be that I am a medical doctor.

    I thought I met the love of my life. She was so kind and understanding through many of my own issues (i grew up with a personality disordered mother, developed severe perfectionism and quite a rigid lifestyle being a doctor, not a lot of free time) and I really loved being around her, very charismatic personality. She has in fact been a caregiver herself and a musician.

    We had our issues, mostly being me having not so much spare time and could only spend 2-3 nights a week with her, had to work on school (still in residency) and she apparently did not understand at all and took it as personal rejection despite my efforts to communicate about this.

    She was sober for around five months and even had a job and was living a normal life again, we did not live together but she was rebuilding her life.

    Fastforward to two weeks ago: job get’s really stressful, she cannot admit it and all of a sudden goes out for a bottle of wine and drinks the entire bottle. We did not even had an argument before and I was completely surprised I did not see this coming.

    For the past few weeks she drank again 1-1,5 bottle of wine and became a completely different person.

    Where we used to talk on the phone a lot now she ‘did not feel like it’ and canceled dates with me lastminute. She called me in a drunk state two times and blamed me and our relationship for everything that went wrong. When sober she would go back to being kind and sweet, but would still ocassionally put the blame on me.

    She canceled a big date last week with a message she needs to think about our relationship and when I was too baffled to know what to reply to her text blocked and deleted me instantly (after only 1 day of non-communicating).. I convinced her to talk, it was all good but I was being actively punished for having so little time to invest in her/ other priorities..

    The day after she lost her job after her boss emailed with a whole list of complaints. Since then she got completely cold on me. Stating how she doesn’t deserve someone as me, how she has failed. I assured her I loved her as I had been doing these past few weeks. But she keeps pushing me away. She ‘cannot be in a relationship right now’ and ‘i should install tinder’ and ‘get a pretty blond girl because that is what i like’ (i have never ever said that at all.. she is making up stuff to push me away)

    I am desperate and my emotions are all over the place. When I would be compassionate with her even when she was blaming me and calling me bad stuff, she would say that I shouldn’t try to be a martyr or a saint, I then stated I take responsibility for my mistakes and do not want to act like a saint but I’m worried about her.

    But everything I say or do is turned against me, and I am so confused. She turned into a completely different person and is now extremely cold and distant.

    I suspect I might be the one standing in the way of alcohol and that being the reason she has to push me away, but the blaming all made me feel extremely guilty and ashamed..

    I’m looking for people who had similar experiences, or broke up with an alcoholic for advice on how to heal.....

    Thanks for reading..

  2. #2
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    I'm sorry you're going through this.

    Reading your post—and you might not like hearing this—I don't see a story of a woman who became a "completely different person" once she started drinking. No, I see a woman who, with a little booze in her system, became just a slightly more magnified version of the unstable, manipulative woman she was from day one.

    Where's that coming from? From what I see as the big red flag here: the fact that, even when things were good, your main "issue" was that you could only see her 2-3 times a week and she equated what you were doing on the other days (being a freakin' doctor) as "rejection." That's not an "issue" in a healthy relationship with a healthy person.

    So that there, to me, was where you should have been seriously questioning this woman and your compatibility. She could not see you, or appreciate you, for who you are: a doctor, a dude with a busy life pursuing his passion. No, she basically "blamed" you for that, made you feel "bad" for being, well, you.

    In other words, the dynamic that feels brought on over the past two weeks of her drinking has been there the whole time.

    This does not sound like a woman who can stand on her own two feet, even sober. Can't hold a job. Can't go four days on her own. Clearly hates herself. All that blame-shifting you're frustrated by? That's her self-hate weaponized and redirected at you. That's all it is. It's what parents put up with with teenagers and, well, what doctors might put up with with patients. But it is not the stuff of romance or a sustained romantic connection.

    The thing to do here, in my opinion, is to remove the lens from her and examine yourself a bit closer. She is onto something when she calls you a "martyr" and "saint," because it seems you want to play that role, that you're using romance to irrationally atone for some sin you haven't really committed. Once you can see what that sin is—and see that it is not a sin, but you, the thing that should be cherished and celebrated—you won't find yourself drawn to cases but to people who can support you as you can support them.

    I know that's hard to hear, but from what you've written she's doing you a major favor right now. She is being honest—about herself, about that she has nothing to give and is no good for anybody. Time to work on why you're so quick to metabolize someone treating you poorly as affection and connection.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Edit to say: apologies for my knee-jerk heteronormative lens above. I glanced at your other posts and realized my mistake. Doesn't change the tenor, but just wanted to say I see you.

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    Platinum Member reinventmyself's Avatar
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    The perfect storm.
    You are a caregiver and you found someone who needed caring.
    She in turn signed up for someone who, right or wrong couldn't meet her needs.
    Therefore she has an excuse to drink and someone to blame it on.

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member ThatwasThen's Avatar
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    I think that you should read the link below and learn to realize the difference between caregiving and caretaking. Caretaking is the dysfunctional opposite of caretaking and it is a symptom of codependency.

    You don't mention that she was in any sort of rehab, therapy or 12 step programme so the chances of her relapsing were great. You don't realize it right now but you are better off without an alcoholic that isn't doing everything they can to stay off the booze. She was simply what you call a "dry drunk" if she wasn't getting the support she needs to stay sober. You are not equipped nor should you even be trying to be the professional support nor the support of those who have been in her shoes.

    Feel better soon.

    [Register to see the link]

  7. #6
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    Originally Posted by reinventmyself
    The perfect storm.
    You are a caregiver and you found someone who needed caring.
    She in turn signed up for someone who, right or wrong couldn't meet her needs.
    Therefore she has an excuse to drink and someone to blame it on.
    This is very insightful, thank you..

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    Originally Posted by ThatwasThen
    I think that you should read the link below and learn to realize the difference between caregiving and caretaking. Caretaking is the dysfunctional opposite of caretaking and it is a symptom of codependency.

    You don't mention that she was in any sort of rehab, therapy or 12 step programme so the chances of her relapsing were great. You don't realize it right now but you are better off without an alcoholic that isn't doing everything they can to stay off the booze. She was simply what you call a "dry drunk" if she wasn't getting the support she needs to stay sober. You are not equipped nor should you even be trying to be the professional support nor the support of those who have been in her shoes.

    Feel better soon.

    [Register to see the link]
    She has been in therapy for two years and was succesfully treated.. but she then found a job, went to live independently and therapy reduced to once every few weeks.. I have seen her slip away these past few months and have tried to convince her multiple times to talk to her therapists.. she would perceive it as me not believing in her, when I clearly saw she was heading for a relapse.. I never named the elephant in the room, always avoiding the alcohol topic, but now there it is again.. wrecking her life.

    Unfortunately what she has been doing is pushing away every friend or relative that was involved in her life, got totally isolated and then pushed me away as well.. and this past week she has changed her mind around 6 times about the relationship.. sometimes even within one night.. going from “we are too different”, “i dont deserve you”, “i consider friends with benefits”, “ i am going to stop drinking and choose the relationship”,...

    I now tried to set boundaries and firmly state I won’t even consider continuing a relationship with her in this state of completely destructing her life. But she really has no one (partly due to pushing them away) and is heading for disaster so I find it hard to remain firm..

    I know that boundaries need to be set, but am afraid she will harm herself further if I do this.

    Ps I’m a woman and this is a lesbian relationship we’re talking about.. i’m in my final year of medical residency.

  9. #8
    Platinum Member ThatwasThen's Avatar
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    Well, anything but remaining firm and then going no contact will mean you are enabling her to be a drinker who blames you for her issues.
    have tried to convince her multiple times to talk to her therapists.. she would perceive it as me not believing in her,
    Typical alcoholic mentality... their crappy life is always everyone else's fault but their own.
    She needs to hit her rock bottom before she's going to take her sobriety seriously. You being her soft place to land is enabling her not to have to change.

    So: You don't enable her and if you are afraid she will harm herself then call the police or a mental health authority in your area and tell them that she is a threat to herself and let them deal with it.

    Thank you for clarifying your sexual orientation but it makes no difference to what I'm saying. You would do well to attend some al-anon meetings so you learn about enabling, codependency, caretaking and how to stop doing all of those things.

    Caretaking is the dysfunctional, codependent opposite of caregiving.

  10. #9
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    Originally Posted by ThatwasThen
    Well, anything but remaining firm and then going no contact will mean you are enabling her to be a drinker who blames you for her issues.
    Typical alcoholic mentality... their crappy life is always everyone else's fault but their own.
    She needs to hit her rock bottom before she's going to take her sobriety seriously. You being her soft place to land is enabling her not to have to change.

    So: You don't enable her and if you are afraid she will harm herself then call the police or a mental health authority in your area and tell them that she is a threat to herself and let them deal with it.

    Thank you for clarifying your sexual orientation but it makes no difference to what I'm saying. You would do well to attend some al-anon meetings so you learn about enabling, codependency, caretaking and how to stop doing all of those things.

    Caretaking is the dysfunctional, codependent opposite of caregiving.
    Thank you as well for your insightful comments! I’m certainly going to read them. It is shocking to discover that by being forgiving I am actually enabling her addict behavior. It feels so wrong to have firm boundaries to a person who says to be miserable and can’t cope without me.. who blames every one of her behaviors on me having “commitment anxiety” when I all I have are ‘some’ boundaries..

    I am so confused.

  11. #10
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    Originally Posted by bluecastle
    Edit to say: apologies for my knee-jerk heteronormative lens above. I glanced at your other posts and realized my mistake. Doesn't change the tenor, but just wanted to say I see you.
    Thanks!
    And I actually might be a martyr or a saint.. i should look up what that means exactly in psychological tearms ..

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