An addict's worst nightmare is a person with boundaries. - Anonymous
One of the boundaries I put in place this last time in lieu of my husband moving out or me and the kids leaving the state was that he was to find someplace else to be on Sunday after church and lunch until bed time. I didn't care where he went or what he did - but he needed to leave.
My main reason for the boundary was so that I wouldn't have to play 'happy family' all day Sunday. It already sucks that I have to put on a happy face for the service - though I've made sure the kids are sitting between us every week. We don't really do much after church other than nap or read or go for walks. I just couldn't stand having to stare at him across the room in silence knowing everything I know on a day that's supposed to be for family. My attitude just couldn't take that insult.
I say insult because this man has never really been inconvenienced by this addiction. He goes out and gets his needs met when he wants it and then comes home la de da forgetting every sick moment and choice - and honestly (and sadly) there are no real consequences for his actions. He just plays like nothing is wrong in the world and expects life to be rug-swept around him. And I've played into it. He's come to expect my acceptance of his stupitidy and trysts and my backing away from him to protect myself is just what the addict wants. I leave him alone, he leaves me alone. Addict is happy. Since he's not sober it's a perfect scenario.
In the mean time I'm now displaced from my bed again for months and so is my daughter now sleeping on the trundle. I've also been fighting depression and the lack of interest in work or keeping up the house. I spend long sleepless nights while he snores away with my gut in knots trying to make sense of this and figuring out how to move forward without him. It pisses me off to no end. He acts out - stuffs the shame - plays all nice - and the rest of us suffer while he turns a blind eye.
The kids are feeling it too. It is freaky how the topic of divorce comes up randomly and frequently - not from me but from them - and I've tried hard not to say a word to them about any of this. Last week the topic of conversation on the way home from school was about how my son has this plan. He wants to move back to his grandmas house with me and his sister while his dad stays here and works, and that he's ok if he changes schools and if dad only just comes to visit us once in a while. He said we could finally get a house with a bedroom just for me and we would be happy there. An 8 year old said this unprompted! The 7 year old also threw me off the day my husband confessed last month by randomly asking me that morning if people could still be friends after a divorce. These kids know something isn't right in their world and they are expressing that they aren't happy either.
I honestly hoped that this consequence would not only help convict him as a reminder of what he's so completely broken but also give him time to really contemplate and focus on his recovery. It's time for him to be by himself without us around him 'approving' of his crappy lifestyle and actions. He has to face reality that life is broken and he broke it.
It seemed like a win win - but whiney him can only see the punishment.
The first sunday I had to remind him to leave after lunch. He went reluctantly, but it was so much more peaceful here without him. I thanked him for giving us space. He left the next sunday after screwing around for an extra hour. I kept my mouth shut, but my glares were enough. The third sunday he went in to sleep and I kicked him out after I realized what he was doing. He stormed out of the house slaming the door behind him. Last sunday he begged me to let him take a nap. I told him I had no control over him, but that he could sleep in his car and that I'd asked him to stay away. He threw a tantrum then went in to take a nap anyway. I confronted him with my reasons for wanting him gone. The addict was in control though. He went back to sleep and then instead of leaving after he sequestered himself in the kitchen until bed time. He washed the dishes out of guilt, but he ignored my need to have him out. No clue what next sunday will bring.
I've come to realize that this boundary is potentially the best one I've ever put in place. It's the first one that has ever really effected him emotionally and physically. I can see that it will be a good weather check for me every week to see if he willingly and kindly gives me space or if he tantrums and continues to damage my trust. This one needs to stand and I need to defend it to the end.