Help please I don't understand

Old 05-25-2007, 05:22 PM
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Foley Alabama
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Angry Help please I don't understand

I wasn't raised in an Alcoholic family, so I found this forum in hopes that someone can help me better understand.
My husbands parents drink alot, while he was growing up. There was alot of hands on abuse, which they deny. My husband and is siblings almost got taken away by the state when they were young. He doesn't have memories of his parents watching him at his ball games or going to his school plays. All of his siblings have been effective by his parents doings. He has a brother in prison for drugs, a brother that his abused his wife that said he did because he was drinking, his children lived in a home that was dirty with rat dropping all over the place and human poop on the walls. He has another brother that lives far away and doesn't have much to do with his family. My main concern is my husband. I love him so much and I worry about him. His mom and dad have this self esteem control over him. He can be the happiest person but when he talks to his parents they bring him down. His parents haven't drinked in about 26 years. They go to AA meetings every night. His father is a self made counselor, for alcoholic's and drug users in our town. He has never been to school for this. His only think is he's and ex drunk that thinks he knows it all. I'm trying to understand his parents. They sit around an talk about the people at the meetings. They joke about one of their son's getting drunk and pooping on himself. It's also a joke about some one drunk and what they've done while drunk. They think that if you drink a beer while cutting the grass you have a drinking problem. The always tell my husband he's an alcoholic. We've gone to counseling and the counselor even said she doesn't belive he's an alcoholic. He's never had to have a drink, we goes days and weeks without a beer. We go out with friends and don't even drink while they do. We can have beer at the house and not even drink it for days. But some how his parents think and make him feel thats he's got a drinking problem. I think he's got issues to deal with because of his parents. They bring his self worth down. They didn't even go our wedding, they didn't even call him the day he got married. They don't like me, because I drink beer when I work in the yard or throw something on the grill, or go see a ball game. I don't understand his parents they go to AA meeting every night. They sit around their house and talk about the people at the meetings. His father runs a halfway house and he makes fun of those people. All they want to talk about is people and drinking. It's like they are addicted to the addcition. This isn't healthy. My husbands father even told him he wouldn't have a relationship with my husband if he drinks. What kind of parent tells their child this. The stack no clam in any wrong doing. At this point the fingers are pointed at me. His mom emailed me and said she wasn't going to allow her son to drink himself to death because of me. I didn't understand that, they scare me, because of how they make my husband feel. My husbands going to go to counseling to work on the isses of growing up and the abuse, he needs that badly. It pains me because when he is around his father it's like he's scared of him, and as for his mom it's all about her, she is selfish, cold and evil. But to her I'm the selfish one, because I stood up to them and told them they they are not going to call my husband a selfish drunk *******. What kind of parents do this and act this way especially parents that are suppose to work in the community and help people. They are fake to me you can't go and talk at meetings and act like you care and then go home and laugh and joke about someone's pain. And for his dad he runs this house to help people not abuse them behind their backs, plus it doesn't help that my BIL works at the jail so thats just more for them to laugh and joke about. How do I deal with them. How do I set boundries for them. How do I keep from pulling all of my hair out, or worst I just want to pinch their heads off.
rayzorfish is offline  
Old 05-25-2007, 07:08 PM
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Welcome to the forums rayzorfish.

I can tell the situation is causing you a lot of concern.

A lot of the things you say these parents do sounds rather unhealthy to me, but as dysfunctional as they might be and as deep as their control over your husband goes there is very little that you will be able to do to change that.

You can voice your concerns to your husband and positively reinforce him with your love for him but he is going to have to learn to stand up to his family on his own.He has a lot of work to do on himself to break the hold they have on him.

Shame and guilt is a powerful thing and they may still be using it to exert their control over him.

Attend a few sessions with him if you can. Don't be drawn into the dysfunction. Find out if their is an alanon meeting nearby that you can attend. Learn as much as you can about addiction and recovery and the ACOA syndrome.Keep posting and reading. Good luck to you.
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Old 05-25-2007, 08:00 PM
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: south florida
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man that is so mesed up. those are some wicked people.

do you think that after this post runs it's corse and if you print it out for your husband to read ,could it might help open his eyes to how it realy is for him and you, and to how big of butt holes them people are?

your post from start to finish wraped it up pretty good . for me it is harder to talk and get everything said at one time , but i can write pages.

i think it would be nice if you showed him that. maybe he would not be thrilled that you are talking about it on the internet? i don't kknow, people can be funny about stuff like that. you could just re write it and show it to him?
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Old 05-26-2007, 06:04 AM
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Welcome Rayzorfish.

I really feel for you. Honestly I do. If you haven't grown up around alcoholic parents with all the toxicity that comes with them, it must seem like these people are aliens based on their behavior.

Unfortunately, your in-laws' behavior is pretty common amongst alcoholic parents, and not uncommonly can be worse when they stop drinking (that's where the "zero tolerance" for drinking comes in - because they could not control their own drinking, they can not believe that anyone else could possibly just have one beer or keep beer in the house without drinking it).

More unfortunately, Peter is exactly right. You didn't cause it, you can't control it and you can't cure it.

So what can you do? Be absolutely supportive of your husband in his counseling. Print out the sticky at the top of the 13 common characteristics of adult children of alcoholics. Ask him if he would be willing to take it to show his counselor. It will help you to understand where your husband is coming from and help him understand why he is the way he is. Talk to him about boundaries - setting them, enforcing them - both for you and for him. Talk to him about always having an "escape plan" so that any time you or he have to deal with his parents, you always have a way to get out of the phone conversation/meeting. Let your husband know that you don't think he's crazy. Let him know that you understand that he has no control over his parents and you do not blame him for their behavior in any way (something many of us ACoAs struggle with regularly - the fear that others blame us for our parents' behavior).

You can't do much about the parents. They will be what they will be. But you can help your husband. Since he is in counseling and obviously wants to change himself for the better, support that completely and totally. Be careful not to push, he may not be ready to talk about everything with you, but knowing that you're there for him will be immensely helpful (from the 'been there, done that' files). He may initially decline to talk to you, then two hours later open up everything in an emotionally charged manner. Know that any anger or tears or feelings of unworthiness are not things that you can fix, but are things that you can say "While I don't really understand, I'm still here and you are still the most important person in the world to me."

I know your post was asking how you can do things to change your in-laws behaviors. I'm afraid you're stuck with those. But this problem has two sides - I like to think of it like a cell phone: if I call someone but they have no reception, no communication can happen. If you and your husband can get to where you are able to protect yourself so both of you no longer "hear" the messages that his parents are sending, then it ceases to be an issue.

It would probably be valuable (if your husband is okay with this) for both of you to go see the same counselor. You will get a better understanding of his parents and how to protect yourself and your family from it.

You have not described your behavior as anything remotely close to an alcoholic. They are projecting themselves onto you. Your husband has much work to do - be there for him and reassure him that you do not blame him for their actions.

I wish you the best of luck. Welcome to the board and I hope you will continue to post here through whatever problems you're having. There are a lot of us here who know what your husband is going through. While most of us only know it from his angle, we also know what our own spouses have been through while we deal with our own issues.
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Old 05-26-2007, 06:46 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Ohio
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I am so sorry that you are having to deal with you DH's issues. Sometimes we are tossed into the dysfunction ourselves when we get involved with our Signifigant Others. Please remember that your partners struggles are NOT your struggles. There is NOTHING that you can help your DH with. And you can NOT save your DH. Your partner needs to work through these issues emotionally. Being an ACOA is a process. He can only struggle through this process internially when he makes the decision to help himself. It seems like he is going in a possitive direction with counseling. Please remember that YOU can't work through these problems for your DH(this is a trap that guilt pushes us into sometimes). Try as much as you possibly can to detach yourself from the situation.

Setting boundries are difficult - agian this is a process - an internial emotional process. You are going to have to learn to build these boundries the same way your husband is going to have to learn to work his way through being an ACOA. You can support your DH through his process by all mean - but supporting him doesn't mean taking on responsibility for his problems. This responsibility lies squarley on his shoulders - and only he can decide when, if , and how he will get well. Like I said detach your self as much as possible from his problem. Drawn the line where you feel comfterable and not an inch closer or further back.
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Old 05-27-2007, 09:34 PM
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Hi and welcome. First off, might I suggest some paragraphs, that was hard to read.

I grew up in a home like your hubby's. The reality is though, my life is my own. I have free will and choices. I left home at 13 b/c the life there was more frightening that the thought of the unknown (i.e. living on my own).

I am a lawyer. Did it without help or support from parents and family... in fact, I guess you could say it was inspite of them. In short, I made choices.

I am responsible for my choices. The most important one I made was to disengage from my family. Your hubby will only change when he makes that choice.

Sorry to be so blunt, but the fact is a fact.

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Old 06-04-2007, 06:20 AM
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Getting out of my own way!
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There is so much good information here already.....The only thing I want to add which as been that it is so hard to understand the crazyness of an alcoholic home if you did not grow up in one. Maybe you and your hubby could go see a counselor that specializes in alcohol abuse...It might really help provide some insight
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Old 06-04-2007, 09:58 AM
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i don't go around my father often becuase he treats me like that
drink or sober. Nothing i did was never good enough for that man..
yeap..sounds so familer. I didn't approve of anthing I did or is doing..

Everytime I have contact with that man...I use to laid in bed for
days after having an enounter with's is 5 years after I'm sober.

I imagine if he ever dose sober up, he would probably tell me i'm working
my program wrong or not doing it right.

The man never actually raised me or gave me any living tools..he simply
just pionted out all of my fualts or punished me. i basically had to
try to figure everything out on my own or i constantly lived in fear.
He'll always tell me to straighten up or do the right think...The problem
was...i didn't know how and he never gave me any directions except
punishment or critiism.

I can write a piece of music and he will critisize me right off the bat.
he never attended any of my ball games as I was growning up.
He never attended any of my concerts.

But everytime , if you wanna talk about what's really up, he'll just
blow it off..
Well...I finally had enough courage to tell the man to go to fcuken hell.
He is in total denial of it..but he'll think twice before he starts going
off on me again...
I've have had enough of the abuse. While there's no pyhsical abuse
done to me as an adult..the mental and emotional abuse that man
cuase to me is something else.

it totally sucks...becuase it hurts me a lot to that to my father.
i love my father..but the thing of it is..he treats me like sheit.
he might treat everybody else nice or the cat good, but he still
treats me like sheit..

Well..i don't need that sheit, not anymore.
There was never a loving relationship to begin with..
I've been barking up the wrong tree all these years
and no, it's not what I though life would be, or how things are suppose
to is what it is..and i had to accept it.
I don't need him in my life anymore. I can do without it

I been spending a lot of my time and energy trying to reparent myself.
I choose to do it clean and sober becuase i hate my father...
I hate what alcohism has done to me..i want nothing to be like him.
He can take all of of his money, welth , title and sholve it up his ass..
maybe that's why he hates me so much..

but oh life is more important than trying to please that man,
which is imposisable me or coming from me...

abuse is abuse...drunk or sober, rich or poor..
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Old 06-23-2007, 02:35 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Sainte Genevieve, MO
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I can relate to what you are going through in so many different ways..

I was the child of an alcoholic Father and a very controlling mother. On a good day.. I was fed and left alone. I don't even want to talk about the bad days. No matter how your life turns out, there remains a big hole in your heart where a childhood should have been. Sorry but there is no fix for this. The only thing that one really can do is accept it.. otherwise a person can waste their whole life in bitterness, and escapes, trying to forget

I also am married to an alcoholic and I am a mother of a grown son.. Who is not an alcoholic

When my son became of an age where he could enjoy a beer with his Dad.. it really troubled me. I talked to him! I pleaded with him! I begged! I would have done anything to keep him from becoming an alcoholic! Yes, even after growing up with an alcoholic and being married to an alcoholic all these years .. I still react as a child. Thinking that I could do something. If I don't.. then its all my fault.

It took the words of my son to bring me peace. He looked me straight in the eyes, smiled that beautiful smile and said.. Its OK mom. I'm grown now. You don't have to protect me anymore. I am a man and can make my own decisions. I will never abuse alcohol, or allow it to abuse me. But now, I'm going to have a beer with my Dad.

I think your husband is the one who will have to speak up to his parents to get them off his own back, but I do not even know if that's possible for him. He will do it when and if he can. You can’t help him here. Please don’t push him or even give the impression that he is less because of his inability to stand up to them. One day he may get there.. But then again maybe not. You can not undo the damage they have done. Just be there! Those last three words probably don’t mean much to you.. But to a child raised in alcoholism, the thought of someone “just being there” loving you with all your warts - its heaven.

As far as you and the parents? Excuse yourself from the room when they start ridiculing people. If they start on you about having a beer... just say NO! Keep it simple and bitter sweet. It seems to me that alcoholics (drinking or not) like to put us on trial for our every word. The more words you say, the more ammunition they have to use against you.. so keep it simple. The best way to end their game, is to quit playing. Be strong - don't let them drag you in.

Most of all GOOD LUCK!!
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