Saturday, August 25, 2007

I Was Going Crazy

I was going crazy. My wife was having severe (maybe that word is overly dramatic - but at the time I thought it true) mood swings.

I am a professional. I have managed a large white collar workforce - and have had to deal and understand people for over 20 years. I consider myself smart (of course, who thinks they aren't?), and pretty successful. This is primarily thru people (It's called EQ - not IQ. EQ = Emotional Intellience). I read and study every day for 2 hours a day about people, negotiating, human behavior, motivating, persuasion. I have done this for over the past 20 years.

I only tell you this -to demonstrate that I KNOW people! HA! So I thought. Now, back to the point of this. AND maybe you can relate....

These mood swings would happen usually at 5PM or there abouts.

I asked whether she had eaten. "Have you eaten today?" "When did you eat last?" I came to believe that if she had eaten she was "better" or the swing of the mood would not be so large.

I thought she had PMS.

I told her she needed to go to her doctor and get so sort of mood swing disorder perscription.

Her mood was usually angry. She was angry at me all the time. Except at 7AM.

At 7 AM I would sit her down and ask, "Hey, what was that last night?", "What's going on?", "How come you are acting this way?"

I would get this look like "are you crazy? Nothing is wrong" ... and of course "You are what is wrong."

Here are some sample statements I would get at night;

"You are a control freak."

"You are never going to be happy until you get me to be like you."

"You aren't happy until you control everyone."

"You are an asshole."

In the morning I would get a blank stare when I asked; "What was that last evening?" The blank stare would accompany this pervading feeling of "You are imagining it, there is nothing wrong, only that you are wrong."

I could not believe it. I began to think I was going nuts. I was confused and frustrated. So what did I do? I started working in my office (I have a home office in my basement) more and more. I would start going to the basement even on Saturaday morning at 6AM and just search the internet or work until 11AM.

I was confused and unhappy. I considered divorce. I considered everything. Run away I said to myself. "But what about my daughter who is only 8years old? (or 7 or 6 or .... how long have I been like this? You see, this has been going on for years). I surely can't leave. And I am the bread winner. Why can't I leave? Why didn't I leave? Maybe no strength of character. Maybe I was too afraid of losing my daughter and the money I have accumulated. Maybe I was nuts and a jerk. This was my thinking. This was my daily operating mode.

It did affect me in many ways. I questioned the value of myself. Something I "fixed" a long time ago. Something I addressed by studying psychology and working on my self-esteem years ago and continued on doing this knowing this was a foundational need in order to be successful. But this was being torn down with self doubt.

I even started acting out at work. I was frustrated sometimes and said things I normally would not have said. I became "direct" and thought this was "good." I vocied my opinion to my boss. I became what my wife was calling me - "controlling" and perhaps, "an asshole." But I am really not either way - and I knew that then, deep down. But now I know that this was alcholism talking thru my wife, I now know, that I am not "controlling" or "an asshole."

Self-fulfilling prophecy. (See - Self-fulfilling prophecy.) Wow. If you don't know this concept in psychology (look up this and Dr Robert Rosenthal - Harvard School )- you absolutely should. And you should teach it to your children. The concept is basically simple and yet extremely complex. "You become what you think about." Or stated differently, "What ever you believe about yourself, you eventually become." Even better, "What you think about, with emotion, you eventually draw into your life." This is getting a lot of "play" today with the "Law of Attraction", but it is not usually understood, as it thought of some voodoo type of self-help hype rather than a scientifically proven principle of your mind blocking out (filtering out) information that does not match your ideas, ideals, values and beliefs, and only allowing in what you truly believe to be true (even if it is not). While this is a seemingly "diversion" to another topic, it is highly relevant to yours and my thinking and what you may be doing to actually undermine yourself and your family.

Okay. Back to the point; I did not know!! I was trying to solve problems for my wife to no avail. And, while I believe I am in the top 1% in smarts (yep - I think I am smart - but who knows) and in the top 1% in success (I hope I am not coming across as an ego-maniac), even I who was "SO SMART" (that is sarcasm), did not know. I did not know!!!!!

But now I know.

Next Post will be about "My Discovery". This "discovery" will be more on the episodes leading up to discovering how I found out.

In later posts I will tell you about:

  1. the effects on my 9 year old daughter;

  2. the effects on m job;

  3. the effects on my nice in-laws;

  4. the effects on me emotionally (me, Mr. Self-Confident! ha!)

  5. how I am finding help (I need to tell you right away - you must join Al-Anon. This is about you and getting YOU help. Al-Anon is a beautiful group of people who meet regularly and discuss their problems, openly, anonymously, frankly - but the beauty is; no one judges, criticizes and no one offers opinions. You have to find the "right" group for you. You will find this to be the most cathartic (self-healing) thing you can do for yourself. Because the people and circumstances are different, but the pattern is the same. You are not the problem. You are not crazy or bad. Join. Attend. Here's the link; Al-Anon.

  6. Books that I have come that have helped me and perhaps will provide comfort and guidance to you.

  7. AA - How to get help. How to "convince" your spouse or some other loved one to get help.

A couple of last points:

  • I am into this thing for the past 4 months

  • I used to drink socially too, but full disclosure; I have stopped. I have seen the effects on what it can do.

  • My father was an alcholic. I grew up with it for 20 years. My mother - God bless her - is alive and kept the family going.

  • My brothers and sister are a success. They turned out "ok" - although we are all not without our problems that life does throw at us.

  • My wife denied she had a problem for a long time (maybe not that long - but it seemed forever.

  • My wife is going to AA. It is helping.

  • I still follow my wife around. I am not doing this a lot. I did just do this the other day though to "see" - just in case - where she was going.

  • My wife was hiding the drinking from me. She would go out in the car and buy wine and drink it while driving. Before I knew this, she was drinking and driving with my daughter. And even as I type this, it pisses me off.

  • We are seeing a therapist or counciler or whatever you call these people. He is pretty good. I am a little impatient because I want "quick-fix" like everyone else does. But the progress we have made, over the past few weeks, has been truly amzing. My wife agrees she has a problem. Man o' man, she did not at first and for some meetings I thought we were burning money and flushing the buckaroos into the toilet. If you can find one, and afford one, I think they will help. He does recommend AA and knows it's prinicples and tenets.

  • I also still search the back of her car, the linen closet, the closets in the house, the bushes, the whatever-wherever one can hide the booze. I am not perfect. I am learning still, to try and let go of this. For this makes me more crazy, as you will learn too and sets you up for anger, thru frustration, thru a lack of control. And this contributes to the chaos that your child/children cannot afford to have in their little lives.

  • My wife's DOC (Drink of Choice) is wine. Seemingly innocuous. But trust me, it is not.

  • I believe we are going to experience an epidemic in alcoholism in the next 10 years due to the 60 Minutes program aired in 1993 about the French people's health due to perhaps, drinking wine. Wine is now the "in" thing. And there are more vinyards popping up all over the place that they are too many to even contemplate.

  • Full disclosure again: I am pissed off at the alchohol companies now. I do not "Blame" people for ways we behave ourself into, but these companies sure do glamorize drinking in commercials and ads. The ads say, "drink straight rum", "drink straight vodka" and you be "hip", "Cool", pick up beautiful women (or men). Sad. We all did this at one time ... hoping ...

There are probably more. And I will address these later.

Good Luck. Join Al-Anon. It is not a cult. They do not preach religion. The people who attend are regular nice people, struggling like all of us are. The one thing this will absolutely help you with is YOURSELF. And it is not necessarily focused on the qualifier (the alcoholic). It is focused on how you feel and how you can get better.

Again - Good Luck.

1 comment:

Pamela West said...

R u still out there. I am loving your blog!