The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)
Seeking support during separation
DEAR ANNIE » I have read your column for a long time now, and I always find that you give good advice and wisdom. I’ve been married for seven years and just recently became separated because my husband would rather be a playboy than a stable and reliable man.
I stood by this abusive and controlling man for years and lost all family and friends because of him. I was madly in love, which turned into sorrow and shame, and I was always asking myself, “Why does my husband have to cheat on me all the time? What’s wrong with me? Why was he doing this and destroying my heart?” For years, all of my questions have been, “Why me?”
In the beginning, my friends and family would tell me he was no good for me, and I never listened, even though he cheated and never changed. I’ve always tried to work on our relationship, but it always turned into an argument, and it was always my fault. I want to know, is there really anyone good out there?
Are there any support groups for abused women who have trust issues and are dealing with abuse in all the categories?
I’m broken and depressed and stressed out to the max, and I have been ever since I found him cheating the first time, and yes, I don’t know why I didn’t stay away. I don’t.
I loved him, but he didn’t love me. Now I’m back home with family to mend the relationship that we lost because of him. When I was with him, I was never able to contact anyone or tell them because I was being controlled on what to do and where to go. If I didn’t tell him, he claimed I was the one cheating. It’s just not fair that another human being can be this evil. Is there light at the end of the tunnel?
— Hopeless, Betrayed and
DEAR BROKENHEARTED » Yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Please know that you are not alone and there are many men and women who have been victims of a narcissistic relationship, and they have come out of them on the other side stronger. But part of getting stronger is saying goodbye to your marriage, grieving it and moving on WITH support. You are not meant to do this alone.
Go to https://narcissistabusesupport.com/narcissist-abuse-support-groups/. It shows a variety of support groups, and some are online with other survivors. Although you feel brokenhearted, the fact that you wrote this letter shows that you will mend. There is nothing wrong with you other than the fact that you just forgot for a while how special you are. You deserve to be with someone who knows that and promotes it in you.
Don’t try to understand WHY he did what he did. Instead, try to understand why you stayed for so long and the root of your depression. Seek the help of a professional counselor as well as support groups. Best of luck to you.
DEAR ANNIE » I’m a middle-aged single mom of two great kids. I recently entered into my first serious relationship since my divorce five years ago, and I love him dearly, but there is a huge problem. I found out that he has had an alcohol addiction in the past (which cost him half of his pancreas and caused liver issues).
Recently, his company closed after more than 20 years in business, and he started drinking again. One day, we had plans to see each other, and I couldn’t reach him. It turns out he drank so much that he blacked out and slept for an entire day. I was upset and really worried. So I confronted him and told him that I will not watch him slowly kill himself.
His health is failing again, but he swears up and down he won’t drink again and he wants a life with me and our kids. I want to help him, but only if he helps himself. My gut is saying he’s still drinking behind my back.
I’ve been through a lot and am perfectly comfortable being on my own. Do I take him at his word, or do I trust my gut and leave? It would break my heart, but I can’t be an enabler.
DEAR CONFUSED » While it is fine to take him at his word, it is even more important to take him at his actions. Is he attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or other support groups to help him with his addiction? Is he using the same tools that helped him get sober in the first place? Does he have a sponsor? All of these questions are worth a conversation between the two of you before any decision is made.
If you love him dearly, then attending Al-anon meetings will also help you to deal with him. Before any major decision is made, you need the help of professionals to manage your husband’s disease. You are correct that you want to help him only if he helps himself, and the only way he can help himself is if he stays honest with you from the beginning. That is where the action steps come into play. Sobriety has to be his number one goal.
“How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?” is out now! Annie Lane’s second anthology — featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www. creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.