Problem Drinking Bind
My client came because she is having problems in her relationship with her husband. This is making her feel very bad about herself. This is a follow on from our previous session. She originally came because of problem drinking and couldn't control it. I now learn that her husband has depression and is blaming her for everything goes wrong in his life. She is reacting to this tirade of blame by drinking.
And when she drinks she is saying things back to him. He is then taking the things that she says, and throwing them back in her face.
And the process is deteriorating. He is deep in depression and throwing out any kind of insult to her that will make him feel better. He is only interested in how he feels right now. He is unhappy, nothing works, he is fully depressed.
Problem Drinking Bind
He is attempting to trap her by saying "I can only change once you have changed". Then he makes it impossible for her to change. He says that he won't change until she stopped drinking, but she is drinking in reaction to his behavior in the first place. They are busy building a negative circle. They are in a problem drinking bind. The more depressed he gets, the more he hurts her, and the more she drinks to escape it. But drinking makes her lash out at the unfairness of it all, and he feels justified in blaming her for that. He won't change until she does, and she can't change because of what he does.
So now she is reacting to what he is saying by blaming herself. He is triggering feelings from her childhood. Growing up, she got beaten for no reason, and nothing that she did was right. So these unjust accusations are sending her into panic mode. Reliving all these feelings are making her drink at night. And so the cycle continues.
The way out of problem drinking
I told her that she had done nothing wrong. Her husband is a victim and she is a victim. She needs to stop reacting to him with intellectual analysis. She needs to start putting up a shield project to protect herself from all the things that he is throwing at her in his pain.
I told her that perhaps the best way forward is to get some sort of pharmacological solution. Not for her, but for him. He needs to get some medication to help him deal with the pain that he feels. As soon as he is begins behaving rationally again she can get into the pentathlon of exercise, diet, thinking challenges, socialisation and planning. That is the way out for her.
She knows how to do that. But she has been so focused on her own pain that she hasn't really thought about how to get out of this thing.
Sometimes the way to fix yourself, is to fix somebody else.