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Providing non-judgmental and non-criticizing support for family and friends of end-stage alcoholics through one-on-one coaching, support groups, blog posts, workshops and public speaking.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Riley "hearts" Riley...

Occasionally, there is some truth that comes out of Riley’s arguments and attempts at getting me to see his point of view. Today it was that he doesn’t believe that his womanizing or drinking has ever been a real problem for him. The fact that it has destroyed two marriages and ended many potentially great relationships has no bearing on anything to him. He states that was not his problem, but the problem of the women in his life. It was their problem because they would not have the advantage of his companionship or sexual prowess. Hummm… it must be that big d***k thing again.

He went on to tell me that he has NO moral values as far as women or sex is concerned. He felt that it is almost an obligation to have sex with any woman who would want to participate in that activity with him. He says he would not, could not, did not, or ever want to say NO to any woman if she said she was interested. For him, friendship with a woman must be sexual. He has no interest in any woman he isn’t having sex with or if there is no potential for sex. In fact, he really doesn’t like women very much – just the sex part of it. That explains a lot.

I asked if he felt a sense of loss for not having these women in his life. His answer was it was their loss and not his.

Per Wikipedia, Riley is displays classic narcissistic traits:

NARCISSISMAn unrealistic sense of superiority; pursues power at all costs, lacks normal inhibitions in its pursuit; Concerns limited to expressing socially appropriate response when convenient; devalues and exploits others without remorse; lacks values; easily bored; often changes courses.

Well… there you have it. I’m disturbed that I loved this man for so many years and never saw these traits until late in our marriage. He must have lied to me every single day when he said he loved me. Did he lie to me when he wrote those incredibly beautiful love letters during those long deployments? I just don’t know and I don’t think I want to know if the answer is YES, he did lie.

I know just about the exact time frame when Riley began drinking alcoholicly. It was just about the time when we began having some difficulty in our relationship. What had once been easy and genuine became difficult and suspect. I remember my mother telling me that I must work harder at the marriage if I wanted to keep him around. I remember being told that marriage was not a 50/50 partnership, but rather a 70/30.

I listened and I tried harder. I would strive to be a better wife, lover, companion, mother and anything else I thought he needed me to be. I tried to be more accepting, more open-minded, but it only caused me to be upset with myself because I was going against my own value system. Riley had friends that I did not care for, yet I extended my hand in friendship over and over again while knowing these friends did not really like me. I waited for Riley to do the “right thing” and admit that he didn’t want me in his life.

He never admitted that to me. He kept me hanging on by making small changes and trying to placate me. But in reality, all his attempts at “working” on our marriage were just more ways of lying to me and keeping me around because I was a guarantee of sexual satisfaction.

When Riley was forced into retirement by the Navy, he finally confessed that our marriage was not really about love and commitment, but rather about necessity. He portrayed a better image as a married man with a family than he did as a single man. It made it easier for him to bed down his friend’s wives who shared his moral values. He could easily take time off work because his wife or child was sick, had an appointment or some other fabricated need. He further explained that he liked having sex with me and he knew he could have sex whenever he desired just by keeping me in the same residence.  The day that I told Riley I wanted out was the happiest day of his life because without the Navy he had no real need for me.

I’m very sure that most of what he said was true. But, I am totally convinced that it was not that way from the start. I believe Riley loved me deeply at the start and for many years after we solidified our relationship. But, I also believe that the alcohol damaged him and altered his way of thinking into one of a narcissistic ass. He is – in fact – brain damaged. Maybe he was always narcissistic, but it just wasn’t as obvious.

I feel sorry for Riley. I have known the joy of love so strong and so unconditional that even a separation from the person cannot diminish the feeling. I have loved enough to let someone go in spite of how much I wanted him to stay. Riley, I believe, has never had that feeling. In spite of the fact that at one time, I believe, he loved me deeply, he has never experienced the reward of putting someone’s needs above his own. Oh – there are little bits of and pieces of it. But, there was never anything major.

I hold on to the bits and pieces in my memory because to do otherwise is just too painful. I promised to stand by Riley in better or worse – this has been the worst. The trick is holding onto the good memories of a sober loving man while dismissing the narcissistic babbling of a brain damaged alcoholic.

My advice for other wives in my position – just keep repeating the mantra – he is brain damaged.


Syd said...

Alcoholism is a self-centered disease. Most alcoholics, whether end stage or not, think about themselves. And many have some underlying condition such as ADHD or bipolar disorder. In AA, service is stressed and that is a way of getting outside of yourself and helping others. I know of a 5 star Admiral who has been sober for over 30 years. I remember seeing him picking up cigarette butts after a meeting. He has talked about how that is humility.
I am sure that Riley loved you in his own way. Alcoholics can be very co-dependent. Maybe he still loves you in his own way. But I don't know that active alcoholics and those who are "dry", understand how to love or have a relationship. Hell, neither did I, until I learned through recovery that it was possible to have a relationship that was balanced between head and heart.

jo said...

who knows...you have to understand everyone has their own definition of love..and to them they prob do love us. of course it isnt the good--or even useful-- kind of love, and since they cant love themselves, i seriously doubt they can love another until they are willing to learn how.

addiction is totally self centered. that is obvious. until death, it will want its way. unfortunately, it has nothing good to show for it, only jail or death and pain.

and sex is one of the more common things i hear everyone say about their A. its all they think about..besides their drug or drink..and its a all consuming thing. life is about nothing more than body organs. sex is, also. basic instincts...more brain damage, i suspect. how much they have lost in this life. how sad. they wont have a clue.

lol...riley did them a favor. wow gold plated,eh? too funny.