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Ataxia Support Network

I just don't understand


#1

It has been awhile since been to this site. I probably shouldn’t have left. I have been dealing with something with my life partner that I just don’t get.

We have been together for 27 years, and with the exception of the past 6 years, we’ve been doing fairly well. This is not to say it was smooth sailing, but my love for him, his love for me, and our respect for each other got us through.

About 6years ago, around the same time I started having serious back problems, our area was struck by hurricane (super storm) Sandy. Our area experienced heavy damage. We lost both cars, and our basement which contained the boiler, watetr heater, my art studio and 20 boxes of my dad’s rare books. Fortunately we sustained very little physical damage to the house. Friends of ours fared far worse- some loosing their house. Starting that night and contiuing today, my partner drinks every night until he’s tipsy. He is not nice when drunk. He doesn’t become physical, but belligerent, nasty, and mean. I and his medical doctor have tried to get him to stop, but like most addicts, he doesn’t think he has a problem.

Ok, to try and shorten this story…over the course of the next 5 years my mobility, and with it my independence, has gotten worse. Basically he seems to blame me for getting sick and ruining his life; that I don’t display enough gratitude for all he does, because in his mind I survived Sandy because him - which is just not true. In 2014, when I finally got home after having back surgery, I broke down and told him how grateful I was that he was with me. To this day, he constantly brings up that moment. He says that I never loved him, that any other man would have left me by now, and that I’m the cause of his problems. Then in the very next breath, he says he loves me, feels obligated to take care of me. Every day it is this seesaw ride. I’m confused, angry, hurt, saddened, etc. I think our relationship is ending, and I just don’t understand why. After all these years together, I thought we could weather any storm. Guess I was wrong. So now I can’t live by myself, but it looks like I might.


#2

I can’t say for sure but it sounds like your partner may be suffering from another disease, alcoholism. Like your disease, alcoholism gives its victims absolutely no control over the disease progression. If this is the case, you can’t do anything to help him except to learn as much as you can about the disease and go to Alanon meetings for help and support for yourself. You are very affected by his drinking and to stop being affected by it will actually be the best thing you can do for you both. Alanon will help you do that. Any emotional issues you have between you are contaminated by the drinking to the extent that until drinking is dealt with, everything else is difficult to sort out. The disease treatment has to come first. If he sees you doing well, growing and happy, he may want to go down a similar path and accept help. But if not, he will notice the change in you and it will likely help your relationship. My mother, my father, my sister and my children all have this disease. What I learned in Alanon helped me a great deal when I was diagnosed with SCA. There are good life lessons there.


#3

Good advice. Isn’t there some sort of AA that is for caretakers? Not only for the AA individual.


#4

Alanon is a wonderful organization that hascelped many cope with what they face when dealing with loved ones who are alcoholics. The alzheimer’s association has great support for caretakers, even though that disease is not our issue. The local hospital or senior center may offer support groups, too. Do people ar the Ataxia Foundation have suggestions?


#5

Thank you all for the suggestions, especially Maryseas. I’ll look into Alanon. Unfortunately, my partner does not believe in groups or counseling- unless, as he says “they’re qualified to counsel him”. Having been in counseling myself, I’ve tried to explain what counseling is about; and that it can take some time to find the right therapist. I’ve even suggested couples therapy, thinking my presence might help. I know I can’t do it for him, which makes me feel helpless and sad. After all these years together, I’m not quite ready to give up, but frankly between my physical condition, issues with my mother, and trying to keep up with work - I just don’t know how much more I can take on.


#6

I am a former drug and alcohol therapist, so if you have any questions, I would be happy to try to address them. The qualification of the counselor is just an excuse to avoid treatment. Yes, there may be therapists one connects with better, but all are educated and licensed and it is possible to learn something from anyone.

You should not feel bad for getting frustrated with him. Living with an alcoholic can be hell for you and your kids. You would probably find Alanon to be very helpful. There is an Alateen program for teens in case you have any,


#7

I’m so very sorry for your situation because some days just knowing my husband will be with me until the end is all that gets me through the day. One word really popped out and that word was “obligation”…I don’t know what I’d do if my husband said that to me and quite frankly I’d tell him to go to hell and take half of everything we own!! That word would have sent me right over the top!!! I don’t know if you need this “man” (I use that term very loosely!) for financial reasons but you shouldn’t have to put up with that!!! Having this awful disease is enough without someone blaming you and only sticking around out of obligation.
I hope you can work things out, I really do :blush: