I registered here a long time ago but then hesitated to share my story. I am sorry if this is lengthy but I have been holding out for so long. I was not ready at the time. I eventually forgot about this site. Fast forward to today, I am here and ready to share with others my journey of healing from physical and emotional neglect and abuse/trauma. I will skip over the emotional, psychological and physical abuse episodes themselves as else I will be be typing away forever. I will only share what I believe is relevant to this forum.
My husband is an ex afghan US war veteran and he came back broken from the war. He has been diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), mild TBI (Tramatic Brain Injury), and has SUD (Substance Use Disorder) and has an addictive personality. He is retired and as a result does not work.
I personally work full time. The routine is pretty much: I wake up, get ready and go to work. Once I am back home, I am cooking and cleaning and at the end of the day, I barely have time for myself. My husband is a game addict and we do not have children. I consider the latter a blessing in disguise at the moment. I have autoimmune hypothyroidism and multiple allergies. Dealing with all the stress has deeply affected my health as well. We have had very nasty arguments and altercations throughout the marriage and it would have been a very unhealthy environment to bring children into. We even separated for a while when he had his psychotic break over his drug use. He is clean now, but dealing with all this on my own has been overwhelming. I have had enough so here I am - ready to embark on a journey of healing and learning to take better care of myself.
To elaborate on why I am here, I came because I got tired of my husband's selfish behavior that started impacting on my own well being. I felt like I needed to seek help wherever I could find it.
In my particular case, my husband's loud gaming at night would prevent me from sleeping. We live in a small condo and I am a light sleeper. After pleading with him many times, I finally lost my patience with him and made it very inconvenient for him to game at this ungodly hour. I imposed no loud chatting or typing frenetically on the keyboard once I retire to bed. I work late shift (11 am to 7 pm) so imposing that he quits being loud after 11 pm or at most midnight is not exactly me being unfair. We would argue so much that he finally caved in and gave in to my requests. I was starting to show signs that I was going to walk out on him (after four years of dealing with his selfish behavior). He did not want to lose me, so he chose to co-operate. He still games past my bed time at times but he refrains from chatting on mic or keyboard chatting. He basically games quietly.
Lack of sleep would cause me to be so irritable the next day that he knew better than to keep me up. It was affecting my performance at work as well. I did not even want to be intimate in any way after being so tired and my husband's only way to show intimacy is physically. That, I believe, played a role in him refraining as well. In the end, he did not want to deal with the consequences of me not sleeping. Also, me voicing and making arrangements to up and leave stirred him into action. I think it is a combination of all that I mentioned. I have read accounts about gamers overspending and my own husband used to spend a lot on games as well. Being the analytical type, I kept track of his expenses and reminded him every time he complained about money. This constant reminder has somehow helped. If he ever complains of buying something for the condo, I would just point out how $5000 was spent on ingame currency not long ago or how he lended thousands of bucks to people who never paid him back. Nowadays, he does not spend that much. Thank God for miracles eh. If he wants to buy an ingame item, he tells me how much it costs and if it is okay for him to get that item. I consider myself very fair so I would either say yes or no. That much, he knows.
Where are we at today? He is currently working on moderating his game time and asked me to write down a draft/schedule for him. I did not want to in the beginning (I was wondering if that would be considered enabling) but since he is ex army, I figured making a rough draft is worth a shot. They like structure and since he has been out, he has had no structure at all. I basically gave him a sort of time table, with assigned fitness activities, chores/tasks to do and even scheduled in play time with our pets. He trusted me enough to give me the option to do that, so I, out of grace, did include 4-6 hours of game time split throughout the day. I believe personally that the best way to minimize a bad habit is to slowly replace with other healthier habits.Now I have to see if he will follow through.
Another boundary I set for our marriage is that I would not tolerate inappriopriate behavior toward women in game, I have, in the past, caught him making inappropriate joke/conversations and being the blunt person that I am, I confronted him. The shame he felt himself after when I confronted him many times might have shaken him up a bit but he would eventually just go back to his old ways. So I changed my tactic. I finally got family and friends involved. I know of many women who play blind to flirtatious ways online but I refused to be in denial. I am not going to sit and watch him make conversations with women online when he barely has time to ask me about my day after a long day at work. He denied, denied, denied and when he could not anymore, he would get angry but then is that not all part of the grieving process? I understand the pain of his parents' nasty divorce, of seeing his baby sitter dead, of having to - at a young age - take care of a dying aunt (pancreatic cancer), of losing his best buddy at war, of himself going through a divorce prior to us getting married, and on top of that he got blown up. Though I understand his pain, I have learned through therapy that he needs to eventually go through the stages of grieving and come to acceptance and escaping in the game is becoming a hurdle to his recovery. My life was not easy either. It involved lots of moving, and I too went through a horrible divorce prior to meeting him. Like I mentioned already, my health is not the best either. He recently agreed his behavior ingame was out of place which to me is a step in the right direction.
For four years prior to me starting to impose rules and consequences, I just threatened and that obviously did not work in my favor. He would just brush me off. This year, I imposed no drinking at the condo where we live- he had started taking up drinking again - this was following a stressful move to another city. I found out later he had fallen asleep one day, drunk, and almost set fire to the place; he had left a pot full of water boiling on the stove and set off the alarm. He was not happy with that decision but ever since, he has not had any alcohol in our condo. I made him choose between me and alcohol. I hate using ultimatums but in that situation, I had to. He has also agreed to go to AA this coming week. A neighbor of ours goes but he did not go with him as he keeps expecting the other person to remind him or notify him rather than making the effort to go on his own. I told him he had to do it for himself and not expect others to drag him. He recently promised he would go even if it means going on his own.
Anyway, I myself took the decison to seek psycho-therapy recently (for fear of developing secondary PTSD) and even though I always believed I was not codependent - I mean I do confront him and I do not prevent him from reaping the consequences of his actions, etc. However, it turns out that my desire to "fix" him is the issue and I live in the hopes that he will change somehow someday. I had a hard time with boundaries in the beginning years of our marriage. I would set them but not enforce. There were no consequences or I just did not go through with them. This made my husband very comfortable - My husband, like I mentioned earlier, suffers from anxiety, PTSD, suicidal ideation, depression and has an addictive personality. I am working with the psycho-therapist right now to ensure I take care of myself. I burned out not even 2 years into my own marriage. The VA was of no help. We went to one couple counseling session and the therapist could not make a connection. My husband basically said, "He wanted to be left alone" and I tried to act cool throughout all this. I acted tough then broke down after the session on our way home. It is a constant push and pull with my husband - which I find draining. I am now trying to set personal boundaries as well as he has not respected that in the past.
How did I go from surviving to now looking forward to thriving? Praying helped and still does. I personally go to church and I find it healing. Rather than make my husband an idol or even my marriage an idol, I started looking to something beyond to make me feel whole and content. I like the serenity prayer as I find it very empowering and humbling at the same time. Everytime I am faced with my husband's selfish behavior, I remind myself that I cannot fix him, and as I am a believer, I inwardly tell myself, "Only God can". I also tell myself that it is his responsiblity to seek treatment for himself and not my responsibility to "fix" him.