Sand dunes

© Copyright Roger Pagram (creative commons by-sa 2.0)

The summer holidays are drifting off like sand into little dunes of achievement, joy and confusion. Today, another day out – this time to the south of the island. I promised Rosie I’d take her to the beach this summer so it didn’t matter that it took several hours (about four: one bus, two tubes, one train and one more bus) to get there.

Ben came, too. It would have been impossible with just Rosie and me. With three, one person can always look after the bags. Ben and I took it in turns to take Rosie into the sea. Despite the throngs, we had a good time: jumping waves, playing badminton, building castles in the sand, searching for sea shells.

Of course, we means Rosie and me, not Ben. Yet again, I made the mistake of asking him if he’d enjoyed himself. “I never come out for me,” he said. “It’s for her.”

I think he thinks he’s telling the truth when he says these things. Perhaps he doesn’t come out for himself, but he isn’t immune to having fun. He certainly looked happy enough holding onto Rosie in the sea.

Closed doors

Fast forward to night time. Rosie’s tucked up in bed, I’m emptying out bags. The first thing Ben does is ring his friend, whom he has been helping for several months now. His friend recently relapsed (again),  tried to commit suicide, then decided he was going to have himself sectioned under the mental health act.

Ben took him to hospital on Saturday, having spent the night at his friend’s place, making sure he didn’t try to top himself again.

Now the guy is in hospital and Ben rings him regularly to see how he’s doing. All good, of course. At some point during their conversation, I hear Ben say a very strained ‘yes’. He says it a couple more times before closing the door, so I can’t hear what he’s saying.

I look at this act in two ways. 1. He just wants privacy. 2. He wants privacy to talk about me. I’m guessing it’s 2. I can just imagine what he says to him about me. I understand that we all need someone to moan to about things that go on in our lives, but I can’t help but feel he’s being unfair. He is the most unpleasant person to take on holiday/trips out, so friction between us on those outings is almost inevitable. I only do it for Rosie. So, I suppose, the feeling is mutual.

But Ben talking about me to this guy (whom I’ve met, by the way) feels like such a betrayal. Why? Because I stuck by him when he was a drunk.I did what I could to ensure he got the treatment he needed. I went to the courthouse with him after he was arrested for a DUI. I tried to keep his family updated on his progress or lack thereof. I found the detox and rehab centre he eventually used. I worried about him day and night.

And what do I get back? Bitching behind closed doors.

It’s pathetic and disappointing.


19 thoughts on “Sand dunes

  1. Are you absolutely sure he is talking about you? We family members are good at pointing the finger at ourselves. It is a better mind set to just let it go (mind our own business) and focus on ourselves (as hard as that is).
    I love that you had a day at the beach!
    Blessings, Joanne

  2. It might be about you – but it may not be. It may be about himself. It may be about the guy he’s helping. It may be about Rosie. If it bothers you – you should talk to him. Let him know that it makes you feel uncomfortable and like you’re the topic of conversation. I’m not sure where in your relationship you are right now – and perhaps talking to him about your feelings isn’t something you’re interested in doing…
    Also, I’ve suggested this before, but alanon meetings might prove to be helpful to you. They have them online. And in person. Ben could stay with Rosie for an hour…If you’re like me, you’ll make a million excuses about how its not for you, or how you can’t possibly fit it into your schedule. All the same – the position you’re in right now, the position Ben is in, the position Rosie is in…none of you are charting new territory – many people have been where you are right now. It might help to hear that you’re not alone in this – and how to best take care of yourself and your feelings.
    The beach is my favorite place. I’m glad you got to go!

    • haha – you’re right, I was already thinking up excuses as soon as I saw the word ‘al-anon’. I don’t think we can talk about feelings – well, not mine anyway. He seems very uninterested in anything to do with me. I’ve become quite jealous of his relationship with this friend, largely because he invests more emotional energy in him than he does in me. When I think of everything I’ve done for him… I don’t know. It feels very unfair, but I know I’m being childish. Yes, I’m glad we made it to the beach, even if it was thronging with half of England. I’ve never seen so many people on a single stretch of sand.

  3. It’s interesting, what you’ve written about. Not long after I began writing my blog, my ex told me he felt betrayed by the fact that I was writing about him and our break-up. To this day I don’t know why that is because my blog has always been written anonymously so no one who reads (save for a couple of people) know who he is. He also never told me why he felt that way. Speaking as the person that did the writing I can only say that I felt what I felt and it didn’t matter how helpful anyone was to me. I felt awful and I let it out through my blogging. It’s possible that Ben feels the same and feels it’s easier talking to someone other than you. Maybe he’s not talking about you in a bad way. Maybe he’s talking about how he feels in general. I can only guess, much like you. I would suggest that you try not to think it’s bad, what he’s saying. Maybe he just feels more comfortable talking when you’re not around. I don’t know. I could be wrong. But it was just a though.

    Hope things continue to get better for you.

    • Yeah, I remember thinking I was betraying Ben by writing my blog, but I reasoned (quite reasonably, I think) that given it is entirely anonymous, I’m not really betraying him. What irks me is that he is always so negative about everything we do as a family. He frequently and inevitably says something to denigrate what we’re doing and rarely if ever demonstrates any appreciation for the efforts I make to ensure that our daughter has a pleasant holiday. I know that much of that negativity stems from his depression, but it’s hard to have to listen to that all the time. And I just know he’s saying similar things to his friend. Oh, who cares, really, right? I can’t control what he says, nor should I. If he doesn’t appreciate what I do, then more fool him. 🙂

  4. We can all only speculate. A pure guess is all we have. Only Ben knows his truth… if he allows himself that much. My own guess would be that he feels the two of you are broken beyond repair (or maybe he even acts hateful or angry towards you because he feels you don’t deserve him? That could be his way of pushing you away to your own safety.). Either way, he could feel that if he pours all of his time and effort into his friend, it is giving him a purpose and giving you an escape from him. Or in a completely different theory, maybe he actually does “hate” you… after all, you are the one that forced him to face reality and that reality is scary, that reality is hard, that reality is ugly… In truth, your finding him somewhere to detox and rehab, and your diligence in making sure he was doing well and attending as he should, has saved him-saved you all-from what could have been much, much worse. At least now he can say he’s doing it for his daughter. If he had continued down the road he was on over a year ago, would he even be around to say that now?

    • It may be a mix of both. It is true that he probably blames me for a lot of things – he probably still blames me for why he became an addict in the first place. But he also resents me for being the one who helped him in the end. Some very persuasive thoughts in there, Cakes. Thanks. 🙂

  5. You have your outlet here, whereas Ben has his outlet with his friend. At least he is doing things for Rosie and not walking away from you both, so there is hope for you as a family. I’ve learnt that there are some things we have just have to let go of and it sounds like Ben talking to his friend is one of them. Ben talks to his friend, you talk to us here and at times (I must state here that you do have just cause) you’re really not painting him in a good light. All three of you are in a difficult place at the moment and really need people to talk to who are outside of the situation. I hope that you will talk to one another and be a happy family one day and since Ben is still doing family things then there is hope for that.

    • Thanks, MM. Yes, I am grateful that I’ve got this blog. And I know his only outlet must be his friend. It just irks me that I have met the guy. I wish I hadn’t. That way it would be an equally anonymous exercise. On the other hand, he is not someone I expect to socialise with, so I need to let go – as so many of you have advised both here and in the past.

  6. Pingback: Digging shelters | married to an alcoholic

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