Want to follow my blog?
Pick a way to do it!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Guilt and Anger

Guilt has been heavy on my mind for the past few days. I don't know what provoked it or where it came from, but I just can't seem to shake it.

In my head, I know that I am not responsible for my ex-husband's death. I know that it isn't *my fault*. But still, I have been overwhelmed with feelings of guilt.

Why should I feel guilty? I didn't force him to drink. I tried to encourage him to seek out the treatment that he needed. I tried to support him to the best of my limited ability. I kicked him out, I took him back, he got better, he got worse, and it just kept going.

I'll be completely honest - when I kicked him out for the final time on May 6, 2009, I was glad that he was gone. I felt relief, knowing that I wasn't going to have to walk on eggshells or pussyfoot around the house waiting for the next verbal assault to come out of his mouth and find its way to my heart. I knew that at least in the physical sense, my kids and I were safe from harm.

But even while all of this was happening, I still had that hope that he would straighten up, that he would get treatment and that he would get sober and stay sober. We had so many heated conversations about this very topic - he would swear that if I just let him come back, he would change. Unfortunately, I had heard it all before, and my trust was gone. Every time he got drunk and abusive, he always said that it would be the last time and it would never happen again, and I always believed him.

I didn't want to let him come back so that he would get sober - I wanted him to get sober and then come back. Even when I drew up the divorce papers, I put in there that he would have no visitation with our son until he sought treatment. I hoped that maybe, just maybe, that would give him a reason to get sober. But it didn't. Even his son wasn't worth it.

Did I try hard enough? What if I had let him come back? Would things have turned out differently? Did I make a mistake by not allowing him to come back one more time? Did I really do everything in my power to help the situation, or did I do more harm than good? Was I too harsh in our conversations after we separated for the final time?

What if....?

The eternal question.

Then there is the anger. Along with the guilt is an enormous amount of anger. I'm mad at myself for not trying harder. I'm mad at him for choosing booze over our family and ultimately his life. I'm REALLY angry with his family for just taking him back into the fold and continuing to enable his self-destructive behavior. His mother allowed him to move back into her home, provided him with food, lodging, and transportation. He could have gotten his license back after the one-year suspension for the DUI but he didn't. He could have gotten a job, but he didn't. He could have started to rebuild his life, but he didn't. Instead, he sat in his mother's house and continued to drink himself stupid, seemingly without a care in the world. In the meantime, 1700 miles away, our family was losing everything - our home, our transportation, our security. I admit that I was in denial for a long time and I made some poor choices - or stuck my head back under the covers and refused to make any choices at all - but I finally realized that I was on the verge of losing everything and I had to do something about it. I had to find transportation and I had to find a new place to live, and somehow I did. Somehow things have managed to work out and we are doing so much better now. Why couldn't he do the same? Why couldn't he want things to get better and do something about it instead of simply offering the same lip service that he had so many times before?

I am really mad at him for dying. In my eyes, he took the easy way out, whether it was intentional or not. He doesn't have to worry anymore. He doesn't have to sit and analyze every single emotion that he has to try to determine if he is "normal" or not. He doesn't have to explain to our son why he isn't a part of his life.

Even though I feel so guilty and angry, in my heart I know that he is at peace. I know that there is some bigger meaning in all of this, and that I just haven't figured it out yet. I know that everything happens for a reason. I just wish I could understand that reason NOW.


  1. 6 years on from this point, I finally understand only one thing Ames. It was never EVER up to me to decide my ex-husbands path. I am not responsible for the choices he made, I was not lacking as a wife. I have no ability to make decisions for others, only for myself.

    When I came to Ojar I was in the place you are now. SO damn angry. Furious most of the time. Unhappy, guilt ridden...but eventually over time I only ever came back to one answer. It was his choice.

    Thankfully your children didn't have to witness the demise that came, but it was going to come. You did what you needed to do to protect yourself and your children.

    You only have control of you. He made his choices and decisions. You have no control over that. You don't even get to control what he thought of his son, or didn't think of his son. (another thing I'm struggling with). You can't force them to be good Dad's or husbands. You can only be the best Mom and Wife and if that isn't enough, that is THEIR choice.

    Lots of love my friend. This journey will take a while to get through, but eventually you'll come to peace.

  2. Very well said Cheryl.

    Amy, he went back home because he knew that it was the place where he was able to do what he wanted to do. They enabled him. They also accepted his excuse to do it. He blamed you for all of his problems and they patted him on the shoulder and told him he was right. Alcoholics will use any excuse to drink. Junkies will use any excuse to use. Abusers will use any excuse to hit. Cheaters will use any excuse to cheat. On and on. You were his excuse after you split up and his family, ignorant as they were, allowed him to continue using that excuse. It's one thing to go out and tie one on after a breakup but it wasn't the breakup that made him drink. It was just him.

    If you had not met him, got married, had Shortshit, seperated and subsequently gotten divorced, guess what? He would have still died. There is nothing you could have done to prevent it. Only he had the power to vanquish the demons. He had the offers of help, he just didn't have the desire.

    I can understand your guilt and anger. You are a very caring and passionate woman. You want to help everyone that you can. But I think that the reason you are angry is because he betrayed you and Shortshit. He cheated on you. Not with a woman, but with every bottle of booze that he came across. He had a mistress. He had something that he would turn to instead of you. It became more important to him than you. Actually, it didn't become, it always was. It was there before you, during you, and after you. Your mad that instead of turning to you, he turned to it. It had a stronger hold on him than you did. Hell for that matter, than anyone did. Not his family and not even Shortshit. Your mad that he not only refused your offers of help but that he turned your love for him against you, turned it into an excuse and used that excuse to eventually kill himself.

    Thats a whole lot of shit to be angry about. But guess what? it's not your fault. Just like it's not the fault of someone when they get cheated on by their spouse. They will use every excuse to place the blame and try to get as many people in their corner that they can. Then they will cry on their shoulder and try to garner sympathy. How many times would you allow a cheater to come back home only to find him cheating again? There is no difference here Amy. Only the form of the mistress.

  3. I know. You guys are both right. In my head, I know that it wasn't my fault. It's my heart that isn't convinced yet. And it just makes it even harder when I feel like everything is just fine and I'm dealing with it and life is good and whatever, and then suddenly out of nowhere *wham* it hits me again. I know it's only been 2 months - but for the past few days it seemed like I was living through it all over again.

    I know that the rollercoaster ride is far from over - and for the most part I think I'm handling it ok. There are things that I will always regret, and I have to just learn to accept them and move on. I want to get on with my life.


I have only two rules - don't reveal anyone's personal information, and be respectful. It's not difficult, honest. Now, go on and play.