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I can see the patterns. How do I break them?

Posted by BreakingPatterns on 20 February 2018.

The problem, the cause of all the problems, had been the job- had been for a while now. And it was true the environment had been toxic. There were awful people at that awful job. There was a lack of
communication, a lack of good people management, a lack of organisational control which hadn’t helped him to be productive but had, she suspected, helped him over the years to remain employed.
He saw “them” as a homogenised group. He took their incompetence personally and he took their concerns regarding his behaviour as a personal attack. It may be considered possible that his tendency to turn up late and half-cut, hung over, high from smoking and shoving his prescribed and non-prescribed medications up his nose, his thinly veiled and continual abuse of substances throughout the day, his aggressive outbursts, the time wasted because he was wasted, the
emergency leave he’d taken on medical grounds so that he could spend the afternoon in the pub – which was opposite the office. It may be considered possible that all of this had not endeared him
to his managers that may have contributed in no small way to why his behaviour had been questioned and why he had not progressed.
It may be considered possible, but not by him. No, for him it was all about how much more other people got paid and how they were just not interested (a criticism thrown at anyone whose main
concern was not for him and his needs at all times) and how they prevaricated and procrastinated and how not one of them could predict the future and therefore must be deliberately hiding things
from him.
This was the cause of all his woes, the reason he behaved the way he did. He felt stifled and exposed. It was the job, the people at the job - that made him behave – in his own words- like a big
drunken toddler. That’s what made him selfish and vicious. This was why he was controlling. That’s why he drank to excess, smoked to excess, and took whatever he could get hold of whatever time of
the day or night he felt like it. It was why he had acted like he had no respect for his wife, why he could not get it up except with strangers online. It was why he bullied and manipulated her, why he
blamed her and became angry when she retorted, when she cried. It was his reason for doing nothing around the house but making more mess and getting annoyed that it was messy. Why he had shut himself in the lounge for hours and ignored her apart from to impart to her just how much her existence annoyed him. All the things he did not like about his behaviour – it was down to the job.
He said that if he quit the job he’d get another in time. He’d first take a moment for himself, be in the house. He’d be free of the job and the things he didn’t like about himself would stop. He’d do all
the housework. It seemed only fair as she had worked the same hours as he for a couple of years and had done the lion’s share of housework by herself. As cautiously, as silently, as apologetically as possible when one of his moods was upon them both.
Oh yes the moods. They were all caused by the job too. It was irrelevant that they seemed to always descend around the second day of a bender and then would last  all week. No, it was obvious to him that he became incandescent with rage because of her selfishness at making a noise in the early evening opening the back door to bring the washing and not because he was 26 hours into a being awake and tanked up, paranoid and angry.
And when he quit the job he would not need to drink as much, he would sleep better. He had been doing a bottle and a half of wine a night and a couple or five of beers or ciders, he would do a
month’s worth of medication in a week- bragging that it saved him a fortune on coke and whizz- and then the terrible come-downs.

He harked back to the days when all he had needed was a smoke and a couple of beers of an evening, when he hadn’t kept finding himself where violence happened to be starting up out of nowhere (Of course the taxi driver had been trying to do him out of something, of course that man who had greeted him on that morning on holiday must have meant something obnoxious, subversive and the only possible response had been to be extremely, embarrassingly, unpleasant to her all day, shouting all her faults at her at breakfast- including her desire to not spend time with him in that mood).
And so he quit the job. He felt better. He behaved better. She felt better. He smiled at her and acted as if her feelings and needs counted for something. He did the washing up and cooked most days
and even used the hoover once or twice. He quit the medication- formally this time telling the doctor to stop the prescription- not as before in a drunken rage of burning medical letters and
throwing the stuff in the toilet -ranting at how the medication had been the cause of all his woes,  had made him drink and act in a way of which he was not proud, had made him feel stifled and expose.
Afterwards he had regretted his hasty actions, but had spoken of the time before the medication, when he had only needed a drink or two a night and a smoke.
He had sought her out rather than ignoring her and had apologised for this and for that. He had said his behaviour towards her in the past had been appalling- closer to a proper apology than the
previous quarterly “sorry I’ve been a bit crap lately “. He had always moved quickly onto how difficult everything was for him and ended in a rant about the job- about how the job had made him
like that. At these times, he would say how he didn’t know how she had put up with it- all the things the job had made him do and how grateful he was that she had. He said how things would be
different now and for a couple of months he was a joy to be around. Things looked up.
Then he started to do less and less around the place, it became messy again the mess annoyed him. She annoyed him . She wanted to selfishly use clean crockery each time she ate or drank, the washing she had hung up was in his way and the kitchen she had cleaned on her day off had become messy again as time had passed. Her comings and goings became an issue again. He had moved to a box of wine a day and some cider and some beer, the frequency of
his friend’s visits had increased as he dropped off expensive medication substitutes two or three times a week.
The first night of the latest bender, he had talked openly to her for the first time in over a year. He had seemed genuinely sorry for things he said the job had made him do, had almost acknowledged
how it may have affected her too. He moved quickly on to how difficult it had been for him and finished with his final rant about the job.
By the second day he was sleep-deprived and nothing she did was right, he sniped at this and at that, she sighed and tried to calm the situation down, by the third day she was sleep-deprived too
and more than a little irritated and by the fourth she had risen to it. The argument had been fairly short-lived. It started, it stopped. Neither one put much heart into these anymore. What would be
the point? The whole thing really was a bit tired. It ended when she apologised for the things she had said in anger, careful not to mention that she found him unreasonable, not bothering to draw
once more the connection between how annoying he found her and how many hours he had been
awake, tanked up, angry and paranoid. He said it was OK.
Maybe he would apologise at a later date for a specific insult, a bout of particularly unreasonable behaviour or give a more general over-arching list of excuses, but tonight he would go straight into
how woe was him, how difficult everything was for him and how little he was understood by anyone, how his intolerance of her and everything affected him. He ranted on at her, shouting her faults at
her, telling her how her concerns regarding his behaviour were to him a personal attack, how she lorded it over him that she was cleverer and earned more money, how she made him feel he was
not good enough when she was kind. He explained how this was the source of all his anger, his sub-prime behaviour, his not sleeping, his ignoring her or hounding her with nasty texts if she dared to
leave the house, the reason he felt he needed to control her with his anger, the cause of all the drinking, all the smoking, and all the sniffing. He explained that he felt stifled and exposed and that
if only she would stop all of this he could go back to needing no more than a smoke and beer or two a night and everything would be fine as it had been when he had had the job.


Icarus Trust
27 Feb 2018

How very sad it is to read your post but thank you for writing your situation so eloquently. This must reflect how many people feel having to cope with the addictions of a partner.
If it would help to talk with people who understand, please contact The Icarus Trust. We are a charity that provides support for people who are affected by a loved one's addictions. May be talking to one of our experienced trained volunteers will help you to find a way forward.
You can contact us on or visit the website
All the best to you.

5 Mar 2018

Whilst it is good to know that I am not the only one living this hell, it is also scary how familiar this post sounded, except there was no excuse, it wasn't the job, the kids, it just was.  How do you break the patterns though?  I moved out with our son and the 2 dogs in the New Year and am now reliant on a friend's generosity whilst he is living in our 4 bed house, unwilling to make any changes, or any decisions about how we can move on.  I made the break and nothing has changed.  I wish he could stop and we could be happy again.

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