Rant

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.
Hi gang

I don't know if this is in the right section of the forum but if not please move it to the relevant section. I need to rant as there is really isn't anybody I can talk to without sounding like a broken record.

My partner A has severe mental health issues, these can manifest when she feels like hurting herself, voices in her head telling her to do herself in, the same voices telling her that I don't love her etc. Sometimes she uses alcohol to sedate herself and other times she uses it as a crutch often drinking everyday and at times when we go food shopping she always finds herself into the off licence. When she does drink a lot she can become very difficult to handle and I have to use every bit of strength I have to restrain her from drinking more and reaching for a knife to hurt herself or me, our son or our 2 dogs and 2 cats. Other times when she has drunk a lot she becomes extremely suicidal and truthful. After one to many on Thursday night she told me what she got up while I was working in my hometown during the summer. This involved drinking loads more than she is used to and having sleepless nights, no doubt because the alcohol is counteracting her meds. I sat there dumbfounded and while I was working I only had 5 nights of sleep out of 55 as I was worried about her and of course I told her this to which she retorted I wouldn't have been able to work on low energy. Ironically I could do so but I was running on adrenaline for the most part.

Then a horrible thought came into my head if she is being truthful while drunk does she really love me as when she became very difficult 2 weeks ago she told me she hated me. Her drinking of alcohol is gnawing at my gut as I know she would be better off without it and as her psychologist told her she could have 1 or 2 which she has taken more on occasions. If I stop her she says I cant stop her as she is over 18 and will always get more when we go shopping, if she gets drunk I get the rough end of the stick and have to be strong.

While I was working I was earning a decent wage and saved towards getting her a Macbook as she loves her tech. I got next to nothing for myself, in fact when I am working or not I always get her something as a way to show that I am thinking of her. I asked her to come down with me for a week so she could get a feel of my hometown and see what I see but she refused, now I know the reason why.

A part of me feels very hurt but I know I technically can't stop her drinking but my birthday is coming up on Saturday and the only gift I would like would be for her to stop or even reduce her alcohol intake.
Being brutally honest, give yourself the best present ever, ditch her and get your freedom back. Do you think she can change? Unlikely? You sound a very kind and generous person, and it sounds like you are being taken for a ride.
Alcoholism is a nasty disease which hurts the families and carers more than the drinker .
The only one who can give it up is the drinker, whatever you try to do will fall on deaf ears.
You may find support and understanding through
http://www.al-anonuk.org.uk
but do think long and hard about how much abuse you can stand and how long for.
I tried to care for an alcoholic for many years and ended up feeling so used and battered that when they finally died I felt nothing but relief. I just wish it had happened sooner.
Don't let yourself be the same. If partner won't change, then get out of there. Love isnt fun if it's one-sided and the other loves a bottle more than they love you.
Probably not what you wanted to hear, you have my sympathy
Xx
MrsA
YG, there's only one person here who is REALLY important - and I think you know who it is. It's your son.

What is it like for him to grow up surrounded by this behaviour and tension? You don't mention his age, but unless he's a baby still, he is going to be horribly aware of the dissension and distrust and emotional trouble all, all around him, poor wee soul.

You say 'our son', but, forgive me how 'our' is 'our'? Is one of you his birth mother, or is he adopted? I only ask because the answer may affect any 'future custody' issues? I don't quite know how it pans out if one of you is the birth mother, and the other the adopted mum so to speak - but does the former have more 'claim' than the latter?

More 'darkly', there is, of course, also the very tricky issue of 'inherited MH', and if your partner is the birth mum, is there any chance that her 'demons' may have been passed on? I do hope not! (Personaly, I'm not sure they are 'inheritable' - I have a vested interest in saying that as my own mum had substantial MH issues!)

The 'problem' of MH + alcoholism is that it can be fuzzy as to which comes first. Does the latter cause the problem, or the former the latter? (Alcohol can, of course, be a 'coping mechanism' for someone with MH)

Whatever the situation ,I do think the FUNDAMENTAL question you must ask yourself is 'Am I harming my son by staying in this relationship?' Because HE is the FIRST most important person.

Wishing you all the best possible, in a very difficult and distressing situation. Kind regards, Jenny

PS I wish I could think of a relevant quote from WB, but not sure I can. He dealt with some dark stuff, and some 'doomed relationships' (think Maude Gonne), but I don't think he dealt with alcoholism...
Hi again :)
Hmmmm difficult. You mention her psychologist says it's ok to take a couple of alcoholic drinks. Which suggests to me she is not an alcoholic as such. Perhaps you can let her psychologist or MH team .....if she has one ......that you are concerned that the drinking is now getting out of control?
LOve? Dunno about that one!!! Only you can decide that. Perhaps you can start with do you love her? ENough? Sometimes, turning questions upside down can be more productive.
Also, have you considered contacting RELATE.....if it exists in your neck of the wood? Used to be called Marriage Guidance over here, changed its name yonks back. Experts in all relationship issues.
Looking forward to how ya doin, in due course.
Love isn't about whether you can live with someone. It's about whether you want to live without them by your side forever.
Hey,

Thank you for your replies and sorry about not getting back to ye until now.

OK here goes, while A has not been diagnosed an Alcoholic her drinking habits have been noted by our local Trust and the CMH team. It's just it has increased lately that has me concerned.

Our son is 19 and A is his birth mother and is a result of a previous relationship. He is very strong willed yet I do know what you mean about inherited mental health problems. He has a few anger management issues yet other than that he is doing pretty well for himself. When I said our I meant that I see him as my son and nothing less but he may disagree when I m constantly nagging him to death at times :D

Yes we have RELATE over here and I have thought about going but as it's a two way street it could undermine the therapy/counselling she gets from the CMH team etc.

Update: On Sunday night we had a frank discussion about stuff that is going on and trashed things out (no drink involved) and came to an agreement. It's something we are good at ie communication. I feel better having got things off my chest on here and my concerns being addressed and listened too.
Good to hear you are talking. Can I ask why you are "nagging to death" the 19 year old son? Is he working? At college?
It was said as a joke bowlingbun hence my :D

He is actually on an IT training course and is on work placement which he enjoys.
Ah, huge relief re son! At 19 he has 'made it through' (mostly!), and therefore far less vulnerable - or rather ,that ship has sailed etc etc. I was worried that he was a little kid, being exposed to a 'dysfunctional' family unit, because of your partner's MH and addiction/problems. So, a lot less to worry about to my mind. And if he can hold down his training course, and qualify, and get a paying job and become an 'independent grown up' that is great.

Only 'caveat' is the anger issues, and I'm sure that some appropriate counselling would be appropriate. I personally hold to the 'belief' that it is the 'unacknowledged' problems that cause the most damage. So, for example, if your son is 'angry' at things from his childhood, upbringing, relationshiops with his birth mother and natural father, etc etc then it is best to acknowledge them, face them, and, hopefully, address them and overcome them. It's the 'septic wounds' in our emotions and pysches that are dangerous to my mind!

By the same token, it's good that you and your partner are starting to communicate on this. That's essential. She MUST acknowledge her problems, and agree to 'deal' with them - with your support.

If you scan the MH section on this forum, you'll see quite a few posts about living with people with MH, and how to best 'succeed' at that. One of the KEY things to face up to is the difrerence between 'supporting' a partner, and 'enabling them'. The former 'moves them THROUGH' to a better future, the latter merely enables them to stay where they are, in the bad plac, without changing.

Personaly, I think the premise of a relationship with an MH/addicted person is that they MUST be 'in treatment' if they want the relationship to continue. If they refuse to acknowledge their problem, refuse to 'address it', and get treatment (not saying its ;curable, but at least minimisable!), then you 'walk'. Otherwise they just 'stay where they are ' - they get YOU tolerating the problem, and themselves indulging it!

But, overall, things sound healthier in your post now than they did in the former one! That's got to be good. :)