Posted 2/22/2018 11:55 AM (GMT -7)
This has so many side streets and subdivisions I can hardly keep up with it all.
It also reminds me too much of my marriage to really want to get into, knowing there's no way out.
In your case, there is a way out, you can leave. I was in an emotional (bipolar) and financial (couldn't hold a job) bind that didn't lend itself to walking out and into a $500 a month rental situation, so I felt like I was nailed to the wall. I took it for 34 years.
You seem to be able to make it on your own, so you do have a choice, it 's just that you're choosing to stay in a horrible situation. So never forget whose choice this is.
You say, "She's had some traumatic events that she's never dealt with, some from her childhood, some from when we first got married (death of her father)."
My wife had childhood (sexual) trauma also, and couldn't control her libido from there on out, and cheated outrageously.
You said, "I've been through suicide attempts, an affair (I'm almost certain there's been more than one but she lied about the first one for 8 years so how would I know), physical violence, fear of violence while I'm laying there pretending to be asleep, etc.
You said, "I can't function if she's out all night or I don't know what she's doing and I'll literally unravel so I figured leaving her with the kids (you said, 12 and 7) would give her some sort of stability (and it has). She loves them very much and is a great mom (when she's not manic or too drunk.)"
So, it sounds like out spouses were identical.
What's also identical is our responses to that behavior, or as you said, "I would always forgive and forget but were 15 years later and I'm stuck in another, "she's unloved, she's unhappy, I don't pay attention, she wants to divorce cycle."
We're similar in that, they are aggressive and we are passive. They are sadistic, and we are masochistic.
So we match up real great with abusive females. One of the things which kept me coming back for more abuse was that as bad as the abuse was, it was better than being alone.
With all she's done, you ask, "That begs the question... AM I the problem" which shows you've got it bad, as I did.
They are very convincing, whether saying they haven't been out all night having sex, or that we are the problem, they are very convincing, and we are very gullible.
There are just as many reasons for staying (the kids, the house, etc.) as there are for leaving, so it's a situation that may never get solved. My wife died 8 years ago of a long illness and I can't believe she's not railing at me right now.
You say, "I'm afraid the outcome will be that I will likely, once again, become the "father figure" that is controlling her life. Instead of a partner who is supportive." And, "necessary. We keep ending up in the same cycle perpetually and I KNOW that it's because of the alcohol but she is very adamant that she uses alcohol because of the underlying issues in our relationship."
You said, "When it's good we go on dates, tell each other we love one another regularly, have fun, do things together but then in almost an instant she'll be distant, drinking more, staying out all night, and I'm the reason for all of it."
The childhood trauma I've read could have led her ego to divide, keeping the trauma on one side and her self at that age on the other, as she fights to handle that difficult situation.
So the fact that she can be verbally and physically abusive, and a short time later be loving and going out on dates with you, is no surprise.
Also the fact that she sees you as a father figure, shows she's still a little girl, and it also allows her to explain her behavior to you and to herself, for you are her father, and her boyfriends are her boyfriends.
You said, "I'm in the process of really talking to her about this now. Previously, I would drink with her to either try and preserve her want for a normal social life... or in more severe detrimental cases, to consume half of the alcohol so she couldn't drink it all."
The fact that you have had some drinks when she was drinking, shows you are willing to take the pain for her ills. It could lead to your becoming an alcoholic, cause I've heard of that.
When my son at 13 walked into one of our arguments (I had protected him from that since he was 3), the cat was out of the bag, and I couldn't stop when he asked what the problem was, I was caught in the middle. Do I keep protecting her and hurting myself, or do I tell the truth and hurt him?
I knew in a way it didn't matter, it would be the same amount of her, his or mine.
I told myself, I don't want to start drinking or have heart problems from internalizing her problems into myself, and protecting our child, so I'm just going to tell the truth, and said, "She tried to have an affair."
Well, as predicted, it destroyed him. He, in turn, basically destroyed me. So, that pain bounces around like a pinball, and everybody is affected. As in, matter is neither created nor destroyed. Once pain starts, it doesn't go away. It just goes from person to person.
You're in it now. You're like me, you write extensively about this. Emotionally, we're going 100 mph, but we're not moving an inch towards the door.
Five years from now, you'll be writing the same thing.