As the saying goes, “hope springs eternal” and I think that must be no more truer than with the wives of alcoholics.
We hope and try again and again and again.
Not because we are stupid or weak or “enablers.”
Not because we like the emotional discord and turmoil.
We hope and try because that’s who we are.
As human beings.
We’re caring, giving, loving women and so, even when it comes to our alcoholic husbands, we hope.
Last night I hoped.
To have an honest conversation with my husband, which talk about an oxymoron, honest conversation with alcoholic husband is one for sure. He kept trying to ratchet it up with yelling and blaming and I kept trying to bring it back down. I tried to appeal to him as a partner, not the problem. Finally I said,
“Sometimes it feels like you don’t have a singular warm feeling or emotion for me.”
And he said?
“Why should I?”
Yes, why should he.
Of course the answer is becasue I’m his wife. The mother of his children. A pretty nice human being as human beings go, if I do say so myself.
Now, as horrific and cruel as that comment was – cause it certainly was – the intention behind it wasn’t what it would appear to be. He didn’t say that in an effort to win asshole-of-the-year. Maybe a nice, accidental by product but that wasn’t his intention.
His intention was to shut down the conversation and head off any danger of real communication.
The alcoholic just can’t…
Can’t, can’t, can’t, can’t look too deep into himself.
It’s a dark, scary, seemingly bottomless pit of despair in there and if he peers in. If he tiptoes up to the rim and peaks over the edge…he might fall in. He might be swallowed up. He might see and hear and feel things he has spent many hours drinking in order to not see and hear and feel.
I use to wonder (really, I did. I pondered it, thought about it, tried to figure it out) why the alcoholic was so selfish. So mean. So self-centered and seemingly impervious to the rest of the world, its needs, feelings and even existence.
Well, after many, many years of living with an alcoholic (and the above-mentioned pondering) I think I have figured it out.
The alcoholic is in constant survival mode and what threatens his survival the most is himself. And so he shuts out the world.
Not to avoid the world.
But to avoid himself.