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Do our parents deserve "Love"

Old 02-15-2007, 10:37 PM
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Angry Do our parents deserve "Love"

One of our board members posted a poem to her father where she described her feelings to her father....at the end of the poem she said "I love you". It was very profound for me and inspired me to think about what I would say to my father if I got the chance. I am still living with him and subjected to his alcoholic and narsistic rages. I am working on getting my own apartment because I will never get healthy while living in a toxic environment. I thought about how much I would like to forgive him how much I would like to be able to love him......but part of me just doesn't think he deserves those things. Everyday it's a new hurt and I just can't bring my self to detach. I'm grieving and just so angry that I scare myself. I have been abused & unloved by him from birth. I often hear that forgivness is a part of healing but sometimes I feel that some things are just unforgivible. I mean if a street person came out of no where and brutally attacked a child no one would expect the child to forgive or love thier abuser.....my abuser is my father and my attacks have been brutal, life long, and with out mercy. I am wounded and broken, but my bruises are all on the inside. Part of me longs for my father to love me & for me to have a father to love...but another part of me despises the TRUE man and realizes that he is never going to be the "fantasy dad" that I want him to be. Where do you draw the line? When do you say enough is enough. When is "love" or "forgiveness" just not worth it anymore?
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Old 02-15-2007, 11:01 PM
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Hello!
Hmmm....Im guessing it might have been my post, huh? i just feel really obligated to comment here...becuase I have thought A LOT about that letter as well....since I have written it.
I have really realized a couple of things....For one, in the letter I kept saying, "I am not mad at you" and "I still love you"....and I am starting to think...was I in denial? Having done a lot of reflecting on this letter, I realize...I am very angry with him, even though I said I wasn't. In fact, when I really anlyze what I was saying here...it was like "Look what you did! Look what you did to me!" I wanted to tell him about the damage he caused--that he had no idea about!
So this also makes me second guess where I say, "I love you"....maybe I was protecting my abusive father (who I also continue to allow to abuse me today)? Maybe I was trying to be responsible for his feelings, as I always have? Or maybe I am protecting my own fear of rejection? I dont know.

This is so hard, and i dont have an answer, becuase I feel the same way as you--I want to love him so bad...but all of the abuse...how do you love that? How do you forgive that? Especially when it still continues today!! Its especially hard for me, as well as other ACA's-- I might be wrong, but I sensed you might feel this way when you said "where do I draw the line?"
Its hard for us becuase we have trouble distiguishing our REAL feelings...and what is "normal" vs. what is not "normal". For me at least...I have always been under his abuse, and I have NO knowledge base for knowing what love is, and what my feelings really are. Does that make sense?

But I CAN SAY THIS...I think it is a wonderful idea to try to get your own apartment. The longer you are subjected to his abuse, the worse it is....the longer you stay in that enviornment, the longer you are subject to his gulit, his control, his manipulation, his rage, and feeling responsible for his feelings--the harder it is. I can tell you, I have been in this same position many times--and it got to the point where I just said--I dont care what it takes, how much it costs, or what I have to do--I HAVE TO get out of here! I knew he would be SOOOO mad--and so I didnt tell him about it--I just got an apartment with a friend, and while he was gone I took my stuff & told him later. HE WAS PISSED....but let him be pissed. I was at least PHYSICALLY out of harms way...That was one of my brave moments in life, b/c I can usually never stand up to him...but I had no ther choice. I dont know how your dad will react--but I can tell you in my situation, he lost a little of his control over me that day. I stood up for myself, I left, I said "too bad" --whats done is done.....and he HAD to accept it, becuase he had no other choice. It felt good.

Thank for sharing-- I am able to learn so much from what others have to say--and I am so grateful for this :o)
With much Love & Support!!
Stephanie
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Old 02-16-2007, 12:33 AM
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Stephanie, Please go onto Amazon.com & look for the book Toxic Parents - Overcoming Thier Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life. In the end of the book it talks about confrontation. Placing the responsibility were it belongs. You are responsible for your actions & feelings but you WERE NOT responsible for you parents hurtful acts. They need to be held accountable for those acts. It also talks about boundries & emotional detachment & about "non confrontational language"....EXP "I'm sorry you feel that way but I will not allow you to speak to me in that tone/disrespect me " or "I can see your upset I will continue with this conversation at a later time"....this way you have controol of your emotions and aren't baited into an argument that will leave you emotionally drained. Its a good book. It brings reality to focus.
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Old 02-16-2007, 02:07 AM
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Mlynn, you bring up the exact question I've been asking myself for a long. While I haven't lived with my mother for six years, she has since been in rehab three times and each time has fallen back into the drink (this time isn't so bad, though).
I find I'm unable to have a decent conversation with her (even when she's sober), let alone want to give her a hug. Every day I fight the urge to just ignore my family (who think I just need to get over myself - they are much older than me and didn't experience what I did).
Exactly a week ago my partner suggested I search online for what i now know is ACoA. I can't tell you how much better I feel a week later. But I still don't want to deal with my mother. I could still quite happily walk away.
I've made a decision to be selfish and focus on healing myself for the time being, but after that, I really don't know if I'll be willing to move on with my mother.
Has anyone here actually walked away from their alcoholic parent(s)?
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Old 02-16-2007, 02:41 AM
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There are times that a MIL shows such wisdom. Let me share what she said.

My MIL when talking to her son who was using at the time...
I love you and always will but at this very moment, I do not like you.

Love and like are not the same. One is an action, the other is emotion controled.

Our parents... we are told to respect them.
But what about if they don't deserve it? ...We still should.
Respect can be... showing no disrespect.

If I walk about bad mouthing my parents and my actions are bad... people will just say... No wonder.
If I walk around striving to do my best in all things... I am showing respect for my parents by default and for those people who know my parents would say...Look how well he turned out in spite of his parents.
I gain the blessing in that case. I give away any blessing in the other case.
What we share among ourself is not a bad mouthing of our parents but is a sharing of finding answers. We still do so with respect and as we always should.
Our parents, we are commanded by God... respect your parents and when we do, we gain the blessings.

There are many of us who will say that we love our parents but over times of our lives, we did not like them. Till we find forgiveness, we could continue not likeing them as well. Forgiveness given towards them ... we get the blessing as well. Our heart becomes lighter and free.
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Old 02-16-2007, 06:48 AM
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I use as one of my daily affirmations, "I forgive my father and I protect myself." I feel enormous quilt that I don't "love" my abuser like I've been taught to do. But for now, the best I can muster is forgiveness and I protect myself in order that I not have to add to my list of things I need to forgive.
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Old 02-16-2007, 06:49 AM
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Toxic Parents is an excellent book. Another that has helped me understand my family's dysfunction is, "Trapped in the Mirror." This book is on narcissism which seems to be a condition a lot of "us" deal with in our families.
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Old 02-16-2007, 07:19 AM
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My MIL when talking to her son who was using at the time...
I love you and always will but at this very moment, I do not like you.
My parents use to say this to me when I was a child. Usually over something trivial. I burnt the dinner or cried or something like this.

So, while I agree with the direction you were going, Best, that is a trigger for me..so I will move along!

The way I love my parents is different than the way others may love their parents.
I love mine by forgiving them for their actions and seeing the good in their choices when I see good things.
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Old 02-16-2007, 08:30 AM
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Unlike the Greeks, we don't have a zillion different words for "love" that all have different connotations.

I love people in general. I feel a caring and nurturing feeling for strangers on the street. I like to cheer people up and do random acts of kindness that they aren't expecting (one guy nearly broke into tears when I bought him a newspaper....50 cents, not like I bought him a house).

I consider this to be a kind of love for my fellow human beings. I believe that all people deserve some level of love and compassion. I place my parents into that category of "people I don't know very well but still deserve some love and compassion".

This is different to me than, say, the deep love I feel for my husband or the heady love I felt for my first boyfriend or the kind of love that stems from knowing that person will always be there for you no matter what (ol' reliable).

Thus I can love my parents, without expecting anything in return from them.

Just my 2 coppers.
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Old 02-16-2007, 10:32 AM
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Another thing to remember is that forgiving a person does not mean you have to start up an intense relationship with them again.

Forgiving means to recognize their human frailties-we all have them in varying degrees-and to give yourself the gift of letting go of the rage, resentment and bitterness.

There can be forgiveness without forgetting. There can be forgiveness without acting as if the entire situation didn't happen and acting as if the person is trustworthy, when they are not.

It is perfectly fine not to trust someone who has proven himself or herself untrustworthy. You can still forgive them, and protect yourself by detaching from them. Forgiveness does not mean making yourself into a doormat again!

xx
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Old 02-16-2007, 08:50 PM
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One thing I have learned in recovery is that I cannot give what I do not have. That means that until I am able to love _me_ in a healthy way I will not be able to give a healthy love to anybody else.

In the 12 steps of ACoA the part about loving others is in step 12, it's called "carrying the message". The reason it's the last step is because I have to go thru the first 11 and a half steps _before_ I can "carry the message".

I no longer hate my parents. There was a time when I did, intensely so. I had to do a number of fourth and fifth steps, in program and in therapy, before I was able to stop hating _me_. Only when I stopped hating me was I able to stop hating them. The last two years I've been knee-deep in the eleventh step, which is about learning to accept and return the love of my HP. I'm doing good with that.

I don't love my parents yet. Someday I will, just not today. I do love me, in a healthy way, so I know I'll get there soon.

Originally Posted by Mlynn View Post
... I'm grieving and just so angry that I scare myself....
I think that you are doing the right thing to find your own place to live and separate yourself from your father. As long as you are in the middle of the "chaos" that alcohol creates you will not have the time or energy to devote to your own healing.

Originally Posted by Mlynn View Post
... Where do you draw the line? When do you say enough is enough. When is "love" or "forgiveness" just not worth it anymore?...
I draw the line in the present. If my father were hurting me _today_ then I would do exactly as you are doing and get out. Love and forgiveness come later in recovery. First you have to protect _you_ from any further harm. That's what the first step of ACoA is about, recognizing that we need to get out of the chaos.

_After_ you get out then you can start working on all the rest of the stuff.

So how are you doing on that apartment search? What do you still need to do? Have you found any that look good?

Mike
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Old 02-16-2007, 10:00 PM
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Mlynn,

As one who's been through what you're going through, I can tell you that detachment is approximately a quadrillion-zillion times harder to achieve when you're forced into close contact with the object of your detachment day after day, hour after hour.

The first step, imho, is to get away from the source of the pain. If you have your hand on a hot fire, you either yank your hand away or turn off the fire; you don't stand there and say, "oh god, when will this pain end?" right?

It was getting away, working my own recovery, and yes, detaching and separating from my parents completely for several years that finally made it so that I could see my addict/alcoholic parents clearly.

I'm not perfect. I could forgive (NOT absolve). I could love them for the good that was buried inside. I could see the good (tiny though it was) that they gave me.

I could not forget, and I never learned to like or respect them. That, in my view, is just tough luck. But love, yes, I stopped questioning whether they "deserved" it and just gave it. Love is a verb; it's something you choose to do or not do. I chose to do it, and a great burden was lifted from me.

But I could never have done it if I had to face their poison day in and day out.

Good for you for taking steps to get away.

Love,
GL
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Old 02-16-2007, 10:33 PM
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Thanks everyone for posting your advice. The apartment search is going ok. I am starting a new job in mid march but I am going to first pay off about 1k of debt(to meet credit checks), then save, then try and find an apartment that will accomidate me( I have pets that I cannot leave behind & cannot rehome - they are physically or mentally/behaviorly "disabled") so it will be sevral months.

When I was 19 I moved out into my first apt. I had been "living" with friends most days of the week for sevral months aleady and was doing really well. The only times I felt unwell is when I would come "home" to give care to the animals. After I signed my lease and my mother found out about my "perminant" move she had a breakdown. She was awful to me for a prolonged time until I finially caved. I gave up everything an apartment, a large financial investment, a job, and my health & moved back home. It was Partially because of a very real fear that I was going to fail( I was making a "terrible mistake") and also because of the guilt that I felt for being the "cause" of my mothers mental instability & grief. "Afterall what type of a daughter would leave her a mother behind with her abusive husband? "

I am coming to resent my mother. The closer she tries to become to me(she thinks we can be best friends) the more smothered I feel, the more angry I get, and the more I feel the need to push away.....which makes her hold on tighter. While she isin't the abuser her actions are every bit just as harmful...but any time I try to talk to her I hear "All i've ever done was love you and your making everything my fault, why don't you love your own mother, I did the best I could"
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Old 02-17-2007, 06:01 AM
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Sometimes it depends on where you are at in recovery and what you have worked through...I can let mine "go" with love...which I had to do for along time....Now I love honor and respect them..BUT mine have both have been sober for 26 years and work the program....Now me on the other hand...took me another 20 years to find recovery lol
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Old 02-17-2007, 10:08 AM
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I think where I am right now I equate love for my mother with trying every thing I can to help her. I know she is unlikely to help herself, so it feels like it's the only chance to save her. I don't live with her, and she never calls me to ask for anything, but I take it upon myself to call her every day to see how she is doing during this latest, terrible binge. It stresses me out to no end, but I think there's a good chance she won't come out of it this time, and I keep worrying that, if she dies, I'll feel guilty that I abandoned her if I don't do everything I can do to save her, or that she'll think I don't love her. Has anyone else ever felt this way?
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Old 02-18-2007, 11:26 PM
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"I'll feel guilty that I abandoned her if I don't do everything I can do to save her, or that she'll think I don't love her. Has anyone else ever felt this way?"

My exact feelings.
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Old 12-11-2015, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by GingerM View Post
Unlike the Greeks, we don't have a zillion different words for "love" that all have different connotations.

I love people in general. I feel a caring and nurturing feeling for strangers on the street. I like to cheer people up and do random acts of kindness that they aren't expecting (one guy nearly broke into tears when I bought him a newspaper....50 cents, not like I bought him a house).

I consider this to be a kind of love for my fellow human beings. I believe that all people deserve some level of love and compassion. I place my parents into that category of "people I don't know very well but still deserve some love and compassion".

This is different to me than, say, the deep love I feel for my husband or the heady love I felt for my first boyfriend or the kind of love that stems from knowing that person will always be there for you no matter what (ol' reliable).

Thus I can love my parents, without expecting anything in return from them.

Just my 2 coppers.
Excellent distinction between deep, reciprocal love and general compassion. These threads help for years and years.
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Old 12-17-2015, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by best View Post
My MIL when talking to her son who was using at the time...
I love you and always will but at this very moment, I do not like you.
My father loved to say this to me, except with this twist:

I have to love you because I'm your father, but I sure don't like you.

About 6 years ago, I had drawn the line over bad behavior. He and I were still on good terms, however, but he came to my house and among many other very hurtful and callous things, informed me--in my late 30s by then--that he 'didn't like the new [me].'

I realized in that moment that I didn't actually like a single one of my family members either. He set the standard. He told me it's okay to dislike my family members, and I realized I do.

More importantly, I don't see any reason ever to tell your own child you 'don't like' them. We may be upset or angry with behavior. But having been on the receiving end of those words for years, including as an adult, I hope I have never said that to any of my children. I think it's a controlling, hurting, devastating thing for a child to hear, repeatedly, from a parent.

As to loving our parents--I don't love mine. And I feel zero guilt about that. If all their other children die and they're old and alone and need a place to live, I'd take them in in a heartbeat, and I hold little or no anger toward them. I simply choose not to spend time with people who are toxic.

I see them as damaged, broken individuals. I don't hate them, but neither do I feel any obligation to 'love' people who have done a lot of damage in my life.
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Old 01-24-2016, 09:20 PM
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I believe there are evil, sick people in this world.

Becoming a parent does not make a sick or evil person well.

One does not get to pick their parent (s).

One does not owe a sick, mean, evil parent anything. Nothing.
It is unhealthy to care for/love a human being that harms you physically, emotionally, verbally & spiritually.

No one is guaranteed another's love and respect, it is earned. If your parent's have not earned your love and respect by treating you with love and respect,get them out of your life and fill it with people who truly care about you and want you to live your best life.

Do not feel guilty for it. Guilt implies you have done something wrong and you haven't. You have done nothing wrong by removing evil, toxic human beings from your life and never let anyone tell you differently. They are toxic as well.

At the very least, have no contact for one year, then re-evaluate.
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Old 01-25-2016, 03:41 PM
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I didn't realize I was reading such an old thread until I was halfway through it! Which makes it good for more of an open share than an advice thread.

I think everyone deserves love/compassion but that doesn't mean I have to love everyone.

My mother had a really difficult hand dealt to her, in terms of brain chemistry and traumatic life events. That's the truth. I feel for anyone who has gone through a lot in their life. Which is almost everyone. It doesn't make me responsible for the emotional health of almost everyone, or obligated to be the emotional whipping-person of someone because they gave birth to me. Nope. My mom used to say, when I still let her talk to me, 'you'd better be nice to me, because I'll be dead some day.' Well... it goes both ways doesn't it.

I told her when I went NC that I hoped she'd get better, and form healthy, fulfilling relationships. And I meant it.
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