Relationship Last ditch effort

Ronin

MyPTSD Pro
I often remind him what an amazing, selfless person he is and how much I love him. How do I know if I'm getting through to him though?

That's one of those Do it anyway, things... as in even if you *aren't* getting through right now, still matters you do it / have done it, as care thrown one's way consistently makes the hard mask and numb cave in with time. And if it doesn't, you still did not only your best, but literally the best you could.

Seriously echoing Sweetpea though - if it's taking too much out of you, it's okay to walk away. Your needs matter as much as his. And from the sound of it, you sacrificed daily enough, for years.

You deserve to have the gift you are cherished. Valued. Not exhausted till there's nothing of you left.
 

adrift

New Here
That's one of those Do it anyway, things... as in even if you *aren't* getting through right now, still matters you do it / have done it, as care thrown one's way consistently makes the hard mask and numb cave in with time. And if it doesn't, you still did not only your best, but literally the best you could.

Seriously echoing Sweetpea though - if it's taking too much out of you, it's okay to walk away. Your needs matter as much as his. And from the sound of it, you sacrificed daily enough, for years.

You deserve to have the gift you are cherished. Valued. Not exhausted till there's nothing of you left.

Thank you so much, both of you.

One question I really want to ask is - is an ultimatum ever a good idea?

I am getting close to walking away.

It seems that he often takes action only when something is at stake.

I have been tossing up the idea of saying: Okay, I am doing *this* to address my issues. I would like to give it another go, but only if you are prepared to try therapy (or another form of treatment).

The ultimatum seems to be a polarising concept - some people I know say it saved their marriage, and others tell me that you should never issue one under any circumstances.

Thoughts, anyone?
 

Sweetpea76

Moderator
Ultimatum... not so much. They’re all about trying to force a change in somebody else. Boundaries are a different story though.

You cannot control anybody’s behavior but your own, so that’s why boundaries work. They’re limits on your own behavior. It’s what you are or are not willing to tolerate in your life. It’s up to you to communicate them, and it’s up to you to enforce them. He can choose to respect your boundaries or not, but he cannot stop you from enforcing them.

So for instance, instead of saying to him “You cannot drink” or “You have to quit drinking if you want to keep me”, you would say “I cannot tolerate watching the man I love drink himself to death. I cannot be around you if you continue to drink. I will not spend time with you if you’re drinking that day” or what have you. Then it is up to you to enforce that boundary. So if he’s drinking that day, leave. Every time. If he wants to be around you he will eventually learn that he has to respect your boundary if he wants you to stay. If he doesn’t respect your boundary then you don’t want to be around him then anyway.

See the difference? Learning to set healthy boundaries is a game changer.
 

Never_falter2

MyPTSD Pro
I think that @Sweetpea76 s idea is great but that maybe you could also help himexplore something that helps him cope with the feelings that make him drink - for example you tell him you won’t be with him when he drinks but that you will help him explore something that reduces his stress (if stress reduction is what he is seeking from drinking). My guy not drink that much it he drinks. I cannot really compare because I do not think he is an alcoholic.

However he has asked me to join him starting something similar to MMA which exists in our country (like a mix from MMA and tai chi and it is done by both genders) - it helps reduce stress. Not saying everybody should do this but I think tai chi for example is recommended for people with ptsd.

He is also doing breathing techniques and watertherapy (something from my country that helps against ptsd and was traditionally used for ptsd before the word even existed).

And he likes to work out jog and so on.

May be there is some Sport or something that helps hinfanden he has nobody to come with him and he could do it with you.
 

adrift

New Here
Thanks for these perspectives @Never_falter2 and @Sweetpea76.

Sweetpea, the approach you describe is the approach I've taken all along. The problem is, it hasn't really worked. He has tried, but he is inconsistent. So perhaps, therein lies my answer.

Never_falter2, these are good suggestions, I have suggested some of them to him. I don't think he has tried them (as far as I know). I would love to exercise with him, but his health problems largely preclude this at the moment.

At the moment, I am giving him space. I need thinking time and maybe he does too. We are both at the stage where we have serious doubts that the relationship is still tenable.

But it has been very helpful to hear from others about this. It does make me more willing to give it another go.
 

Never_falter2

MyPTSD Pro
Might I ask which kind of health problem it is? I think Tai Chi is actually ideal for those who have health problems but I might be wrong.

what about another hobby? My guy likes to paint.

What about taking photographs. Whatever else he likes and helps him relax.
 

Sweetpea76

Moderator
Sweetpea, the approach you describe is the approach I've taken all along. The problem is, it hasn't really worked. He has tried, but he is inconsistent. So perhaps, therein lies my answer.

It’s not up to him. Boundaries are up to you. All you’re controlling is your own behavior. You have to really decide what you need, want, or can tolerate. After that it’s up to you to communicate your boundaries clearly and enforce them. If you say you cannot be around him when he’s drinking, then do not be around him when he is drinking at all, every time. If you cannot tolerate a relationship with somebody who refuses treatment, then leave... really leave. You have to mean what you say, and say exactly what you mean.

You’ll never be able to make him stop drinking, get treatment, or take care of his health. He has to want that, and be willing to do the work. You cannot love the alcoholism or PTSD out of him. You cannot say the right magic words or act the right magic way and fix anything. You can’t mother him or drag him by the ear to treatment or whatever. HE and he alone is the only person who can help him. You could hog-tie him and lash him to a therapist’s couch, but you cannot make him listen or work on his healing.

^^^ This is a hard thing to accept when you’re a supporter. We love them, we want to help, we want to fix. It’s heartbreaking to be helpless when somebody you love is floundering, but we have to accept that we are.

That’s why we have to take charge of our boundaries. They’re all that stop us from becoming codependent doormats. You’re allowed dealbreakers.

Honestly, what I would do in your situation is sit down and have a good hard think about what YOU need, not about what he needs. What do you need in relationship? What do you need to be happy? What can you tolerate? What are you willing to compromise about? What can you not tolerate? What is an absolute dealbreaker for you? You have to figure all this out for certain before you can set any effective boundary. Like I said before, you have to be certain, because if you waffle, your boundary is useless. An unenforced boundary is just whistling in the wind.

Decide once and for all if you can tolerate being with an alcoholic, or somebody refusing treatment for their mental illness, or somebody who refuses to take care of their physical health? Could you only stay if he was seeking treatment? For one thing or everything? Would avoiding alcohol on a daily basis be good enough? And so on, and so forth. Notice these aren’t questions or demands of him... these are questions you’re asking yourself.

For example, I have dealbreakers and other boundaries with my partner. He tends to lash out when stressed. Idgaf if he’s stressed, triggered or has an arrow through his brain, if he lays a hand on me it’s over. If he hurts my kids it’s over. Those are my dealbreakers. I cannot tolerate being yelled at, name called, being towered over or intimidated physically. I leave the situation every single time. He can holler at the wall, but if he wants to talk to me he can calm down first. He knows I will absolutely leave, hang up, and not engage, every time. I will let occasional snarkiness or minor asshole behavior slide without comment if I can tell he’s stressed or in a stressful situation. I’m willing to pick my battles if I can tell he’s trying to manage something stressful. Over time he has gotten much much better at controlling his reactions around me. I didn’t make him or “train” him though. I didn’t tell him his behavior expectations. I just communicated my boundaries (“I can’t stand here and get yelled at like this” etc), enforced them (leaving every single time), and then he chose to respect them. If he hadn’t I wouldn’t still be with him... but I wouldn’t want to be in a relationship like that anyway.
 
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Lucy Locket

New Here
I just wanted to say how sorry I am that you are going through this. Alcoholism is a terrible illness and is difficult to get to grips with. Even if the drinker wants to give up they can’t without medical help because the withdrawal itself could give them seizures and possibly kill them.
In 2016, my brother died at 39 of this disease. He was going to work everyday and acting pretty normal. His normal though was to be full of alcohol and you’d never even know he’d touched a drop. He was sober when he was drinking. It was so weird because he wasn’t slurring or staggering or anything, but he would isolate himself all the time and we couldn’t get hold of him for weeks. That was the only thing that was concerning and the fact he had put on loads of weight. His health was bad towards the end.
If I could bring him back and do it again (good old hindsight) I would get all my family together and do an intervention type thing and make him see that he was loved and he needed to go to therapy. Over 300 people came to his funeral, but he didn’t even recognise how much we all loved him.
We all just tipped toed around him because we didn’t want to upset him or make him feel worse. My dad enabled him constantly until he had enough of my brother making the same mistakes or not being grateful for the help ( my dad wants gratitude all the time). Eventually, they had a huge fight and I think that lead to his death in the end because he didn’t have my dad‘s support anymore. He felt he had nobody else to turn to because I was his little sister and my mum would just crumble. He didn’t speak to my for 2 years then he died, which was traumatic for my dad.
I think you can go round and round with this and not get anywhere. It’s not your fault, he needs proper medical help and all you can do is encourage him to go. Show him you love him, don’t let that waiver even if you have to leave him, reassure him you will help him to get the support he needs. Believe me, you can’t do it on your own, it’s impossible and it will just frustrate the hell out of you and damage the relationship you have. Alcohlism is awful for everyone involved. I am really sorry you are both suffering and wish you both well for the future. Lots of hugs to you and your partner.
 
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