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  1. #1
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    Mar. 12, 2006
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    Default Crazy behavior - how long before you leave

    A very good friend of mine has a husband that gets really bizarre when he drinks. For years I've listened to her describe some weird, weird things about when him when he has been drinking. The sad part is he used to be a great guy, but over the years his drinking seems to be doing something to his brain.

    She and I have been close friends for over thirty years, but I think I've hit the limit of dealing with him. She knows he gets weird when he's drunk, yet it's like she feels she must defend his actions. "Oh, you know Jim gets like that after a few drinks".

    I love her like a sister, but I no longer visit her at their home and I haven't invited them here in years. Should I back away all together? It's difficult to even meet her for lunch anymore because she talks about his "antics".
    "All top hat and no canter". *Graureiter*



  2. #2
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    I think that silent support would be the way to go. Perhaps you are the only person that she can talk to without feeling ashamed about his behavior, since you are so close.

    I had a friend whose husband used to get really strange when he drank, never dangerous, but weird. She too, was quick to justify his actions as "Oh, he's always like that when he's drunk." I think it made her feel better when he was acting like a weirdo, by letting people know that that wasn't the norm.

    I wouldn't walk away from her all together.
    Quote Originally Posted by MistyBlue View Post
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  3. #3
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    Jul. 21, 2006
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    I guess it depends on whether or not you're still getting anything out of the relationship.

    I agree with Superminion, you may very well be the only person she can still talk to about her husband. But that may be because everybody else got tired of hearing about him years ago.

    I think it would be wearying to have a friend who never gave anything in return and only wanted to use me for a sympathetic ear. It'd be different if anything were going to change, but geesh, after thirty years? I'd be pretty tired of hearing about Otis by now.



  4. #4
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    It would be hard to walk away from our friendship. Geez though, sometimes my jaw aches from holding my tongue! One time I said something negative about him and she cried, a lot. It's hard to understand how/why a person would deal with a drunk in the first place and double hard when you know he isn't a "happy" drunk.
    "All top hat and no canter". *Graureiter*



  5. #5
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    Maybe she needs to hear the truth from you, that his sort of behavior is NOT normal and she doesn't have to put up with it. Suggest she goes to Al-Anon.



  6. #6
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    Mar. 26, 2005
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    Gestalt;
    I could have posted exactly the same question, in mirror-image.

    My friend of nearly 40yrs has an alcoholic, verbally abusive husband.
    For years, whenever DH & I went out with them we vowed "Never Again!" each time we got home.

    Her modus has never been to defend him, but rather to vent against his drinking, spending habits, etc ad nauseum, whenever he was not there.
    In his presence she is passive/aggressive, takes crap from him that sets my teeth on edge & even - IMHO - baits him a bit.
    Surely after 20+ years of marriage she knows what the triggers are?

    Now he is in treatment for CA and having problems with recovery and suddenly she is The GoodWife.
    I'm still listening, still her friend, just recognizing their issues are not fixable by me.
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009
    Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009



  7. #7
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    May. 17, 2010
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    Where humidity isn't just a word, it's a way of life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gestalt View Post
    It would be hard to walk away from our friendship. Geez though, sometimes my jaw aches from holding my tongue! One time I said something negative about him and she cried, a lot. It's hard to understand how/why a person would deal with a drunk in the first place and double hard when you know he isn't a "happy" drunk.
    Sometimes that hardest part of being a good friend is not holding your tongue, but helping a friend face reality.

    At minimum, let your opinion be known and let her know you are happy to help her if changes need to be made (if you are), but if not, you are not going to be her only-good-feelings sounding board about him and continue to hold your tongue, so that topic needs to be off limits if she doesn't want you to express your true feelings.

    You can be a shoulder to cry on and express your opinion too, but it's not easy. It depends on whether the friendship is worth it to you.


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  8. #8
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    Feb. 25, 2012
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    That is so hard! I agree that you do not necessarily have to hold your tongue though (mine would get tired too!)

    you could tell her that listening to her is hard, because you love her and its hard to hear about a situation that is causing her pain and not be able to fix it! I would tell her that of cousre I have opinions, again because I love her, and am not sure if she wants me to share my concerns or just listen. Then, if she says, just listen, I feel better. I can do that, just listen, know that's all she wants. But she might want to hear my concerns, and I would put them in a way that she knows she can continue to share if she wants to, and I willcontinue to share my feelings, so its not like she has to leave now or see things my way in order to satisfy me! Change is not required!

    We never, ever know what actually goes on in someone else's relationships,what the glue is, what reinforces the connection. can be very surprising!



  9. #9
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    Jan. 4, 2007
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    Depends on what your friend wants from you.

    When I hear someone complain as your friend does, I just listen and go mmh, non-commital, don't offer an opinion, I am not being asked for one, just a handy ear to vent, none of my business, so I leave it be.

    If I am asked directly, well, you will get an ear full and I am kind of direct about it, not very diplomatic.
    I try not to be asked, as many times that too is just part of venting and if given a straight answer, the venter tends to then get defensive or even get mad at me.

    I say, stay out of it and if it interferes with other you do with your friend/s, change friends, because you can't or even should try to change people.
    We are who we are, for good and not so good.



  10. #10
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    You need to tell her how you feel. She needs a touch of reality paired with some boundaries. She needs the lightbulb moment That she is alcoholics wife and every moment that she tolerates that she enables it.
    If she were my friend I would tell her so and then I would tell her that I am not going to participate and be a part of it. Id probably also tell her that I'm not going to be a part of her life until she starts to care about herself enough to do something about the situation that she's constantly Making excuses for.
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble



  11. #11
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    Jul. 31, 2007
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    The crucial question is how much the alcoholic's "weirdness" hurts your friend or you.

    You have refused to go to their place. If it bugs you to listen to her telling essentially the same story about his drinking, decide whether or not your ear is enabling her to stay. Or, more properly, how much does is "cost" you to be involved in this way?

    As for her? She needs to start with absolute limits that are ranked-- say, the guy never gets to hit her, then cheat on her sexually, then financially screw up her life. IMO, she needs to be wiling to leave or leave until he gains his sobriety and materially changes if he crosses the lines she thinks are important.

    If, on the other hand, she gets enough benefits from staying in the marriage and being able to vent to you is part of the package deal, then that's her decision and her deal. You can say Yes or No to participating.

    I guess that if someone complained about his/her SO who did things that were seriously wrong, then wouldn't leave but would regale me with his/her shit, I'd start to feel used. How can you have a 2-way, supporting friendship when the topic of conversation is always the latest crisis manufactured by an alcoholic you didn't marry and can't control?

    Yup, I'm a hard-a$$ when it comes to co-signing the BS of someone enabling an addict at my expense. Oh, and Alanon was the program built for people in your friend's predicament.

    Best of luck to all three of you.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  12. #12
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    Jul. 22, 2012
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    I grew up with two alcoholics and as a result have remarkably little tolerance for this kind of sh!t...

    It sounds to me like she needs a reality check. If he's abusive, there's no way to justify it. If he's making her miserable, there's no way to justify it. If he's destroying her life financially, there's no way to justify it. And she needs to decide if she values herself and her friendships and her life more than she values her bum of an SO. If he's all she talks about, clearly there's a problem. It sounds like she feels trapped, which is normal, unfortunately.

    I would tell her all this, and walk away. Offer support if she decides to change something, but don't continue to subject yourself to a "friendship" you're no longer enjoying. If she feels the friendship is worth saving, she'll move heaven and earth to do so. If not, well...nothing you do will make her change, and that's that.

    It's always hard. Good luck.


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  13. #13
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    My suggestion would be this:

    The next time she contacts you complaining about him or working overtime to defend his actions, offer to go with her to an al-anon meeting. It will open doors and windows of support for her so you are no longer her go-to and listening to others share heir stories will likely be the wake up call she needs and you escape being the bad guy.
    Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.


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  14. #14
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    Mar. 12, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_red_ottb View Post
    I would tell her all this, and walk away. Offer support if she decides to change something, but don't continue to subject yourself to a "friendship" you're no longer enjoying. If she feels the friendship is worth saving, she'll move heaven and earth to do so. If not, well...nothing you do will make her change, and that's that.

    It's always hard. Good luck.
    Crap. This is it in a nutshell. It makes me cry thinking about the outcome. I'm sure I will lose my friend, but as you say "is she feels the friendship is worth saving".
    "All top hat and no canter". *Graureiter*



  15. #15
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    I think she needs to hear how you really feel about this situation. Nothing like speaking your mind to help you make a decision. If you truly need to back away, at least she'll be able to understand why.
    Yes, I smell like a horse. No, I don't consider that to be a problem.

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  16. #16
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    Jul. 19, 2007
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    Well, define "weird." Weird as in hitting her, getting out the guns and making noises about 'processing the meat' when they don't own livestock? Or weird as in getting confused and microwaving socks or having arguments with the TV and thinking it's really answering?

    Ultimately I would take Bluey's method--listen and make noncommittal noises unless asked for an opinion, then if you are let her have it with both barrels.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gestalt View Post
    Crap. This is it in a nutshell. It makes me cry thinking about the outcome. I'm sure I will lose my friend, but as you say "is she feels the friendship is worth saving".
    She's in a hard (and predictable spot): She needs to choose between your friendship and whatever makes her marriage to the alcoholic work for her.

    Don't do things that make you sad. But ask yourself if you are willing to go on with your friend as things are forever.

    And take heart that you don't necessarily need to lose her as a friend forever. What you will be losing is the version of your friend that is enmeshed with her alcoholic SO. If you can be patient and do your best to walk that fine line between refusing to enable her while offering support to her for her taking care of herself first, you'll get the good version of your friend back. But that's not in your hands. If/when/how that happens is her deal.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  18. #18
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    Jun. 12, 2011
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    I've been on the other side of this.

    My partner was not alcoholic (as far as I know...) but was certainly abusive. My friends NEVER, NEVER talked about it.

    Except one of them. She didn't say "oh he's abusive and you're dumb for being with him" -- that helps no one and almost certainly will make her more defensive. She said "you don't have to live like this, and you can come stay with me if you have nowhere to go." I KNEW my partner was abusive. But until she said that, I had NOWHERE ELSE TO GO, and I didn't have the confidence to leave -- I thought I deserved to be treated like that.

    Just my $0.02. Many women in abusive relationships know they are in abusive relationships, and they are not stupid. Your friend may be waiting desperately for someone to validate her desire to leave.

    I second the suggestion to go to an Al-Anon meeting. I grew up with a sibling who was (and still is) a drug user, and Nar-Anon meetings have helped me a great deal.


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  19. #19
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    Yes, she has to choose to leave, and maybe telling her she has support from you will help. However, she might never leave, and you have to accept that too.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  20. #20
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    I would still try to support her. I just broke it off with someone over alcohol-induced craziness and violence, and it's NOT pretty. The last straw was him nearly breaking my wrist. He didn't used to be this way four years ago, the alcohol does seem to have changed him. I would suggest letting her know that you're around to help.
    Quarry Rat



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