07 March 2012

The Tables Turned

It's strange how in my new place of peace I have been so confident that Pete's addiction would not destroy me again.  Sure, I expected disappointment and hurt, but not like the heart-wrenching anguish I've known in the past.

And then, I was blindsided.  But it wasn't Pete's addiction to blame.

I think it's because of the progress I've made that I was able to listen to Pete with an open mind and heart.  I was not feeling defensive, I didn't know I needed to be.  I've been sitting on such a high pedastal these last few months, and particularly these last few weeks.  I was so sure that I was a saint for being so patient and loving.  Just today I commented on a blog post about how accepting and forgiving I've become toward my addicted husband.  It never occurred to me that I had need of such acceptance.  It never occurred to me that Pete might have his own disappointments.

Tonight in a quiet and serene conversation, with no anger or blame, Pete expressed his disappointments to me.  I can even say that I think the Spirit was present as he disclosed his own hurts.  He said he felt like jerk.  But an individual's needs and longings go beyond a loyal and patient spouse.  I think we can all attest to that. 

Then came that fear, that awful muscle-tightening gut-wrenching fear.

I really am inadequate

Let me be clear that this was not an argument.  Pete was not lashing out, hurling thoughtless accusations.  He was calm, he was thoughtful, and he was genuine and honest.  He was telling me something he's tried to tell me before and I was too defensive and accusatory myself to hear it. 

I know that Someone is trying to keep me humble.  And I know that for a few piercing moments tonight I could feel what it must be like for an addict.  To have my personality flaws exposed and to see the way they have afflicted someone I love was excrutiating. 

I am hopeful that I can use my sorrow as motivation to be better, to be less self-absorbed and more attentive.  And I am also hopeful that sitting on the other side of the table, Pete can accept me, despite his disappointed hopes and unrealized expectations. 


  1. I feel like I have been at this place a number of times throughout my marriage. And the better I have gotten at dealing with the addiction, the more my eyes have been opened to my own flaws and the strains my actions are causing on our marriage. It is humbling and painful and (once you get past all that) incredibly enlightening and helpful. I'm still working on a lot, but it has been hard for me to sit back and accept the ways in which I've hurt my husband over the years. I think it's an important lesson for all of us to learn. Sending my love.

  2. I can't seem to get there. I still feel a lot of anger and shame and blame. The pieces don't add up...i'm still trying to answer all the unanswerable questions, how? why?

    1. Give yourself time. Learn about addiction, that helped me answer the "why". The "how" was much harder for me, I'm still working on it.

      Be kind to yourself because your feelings are real and deserve to be considered. You'll get there.