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memories - can anyone relate?

Old 11-29-2008, 12:12 PM
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memories - can anyone relate?

Being given drops of brandy to help me sleep when I was a baby. [I don't have memories of that, have been told.] I have never touched alcohol since then. Ever. Note that back then it wasn't my choice. They just wanted to quiet an unhappy, anxious, insecure and colicky premature baby they were scared they didn't know how to care for. She was too fragile, see.

I do very much remember...

- Age 9ish... the nightly rows. Red wine from a knocked over glass spreading across the table. A table containing a TV, piles of bills, along with dinner and said wine glasses. My parents' wine glasses. My father's yells and terror-inducing threats. The helplessness.

- In my late teens.... the front room that was never used, but contained many bottles of wine and dry sherry.

- From age 10 - late 20s - 'holidays' with my parents to Belgium. Again, their drinking. Especially dad. Strong dry sherry as aperitiff, bottle of wine between them, then dad would have a strong spirit, especially brandy. If they had genever gin my mum would have some too. And his false conviviality with the restaurant owners. Loud. False. Embarressing. As an adolescent I was expected to sit through all this without complaint. Submissive. When I tried to persuade dad not to have brandy he would get irritable and cut me down.

My father's personaility changes terrified me too much.
But even though I've never touched alcohol, my parents' behaviours have effected me. And home life, along with the bullying at school has ironically resulted in post traumatic symptoms and depression that mirror my father's drunken behaviour. My father drank to cope with an unrelenting, untreated depression marked by paranoia.

At times I find it hard to see what is my own, and what is his/theirs. My mother's stubborn and nasty "You're just like your father" when I was adolescent didn't help any either.
Who the heck am I?
Well. I'm finding out now, with the help of therapy. I'm growing into myself, my intelligence, my creativity. Peeling back the layers of the submissive, internally seething child and teenager, to find an adult who is struggling to bloom.
It's hard though, and sometimes I feel so alone.
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Old 11-29-2008, 12:53 PM
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I hope I've not said anything wrong here. I'm sorry if I have. Please let me know, but sensitively.
It's just how it was for me.
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Old 11-29-2008, 02:24 PM
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I have similar memories, eleison. Strange pictures of things that didn't add up for a long time.

Like coat closets. I had this weird thing for coat closets for a long time, was frightened of them, and didn't know why. I remembered one day that my mother had used coat closets as one of her hiding places for booze, and I was forbidden (sometimes violently) to be in them when I was little.

Lots of bad memories. I try to exorcise every one when I can. I have my own coat closet now and try to keep it clean and tidy and friendly, for example.

And personal counseling REALLY helped me identify all the strange places where i couldn't see the line between me and the behavior they stuck me with. It saved my life.

Go forward without fear, eleison. It is your life, your body, your spirit, and you can clean out these things and build something better....one small step at a time.

Hugs
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Old 11-29-2008, 03:18 PM
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These memories are so difficult to deal with. I bury them only they resurface from time to time.
Memories of a drunken mother going outside and peeing in the middle of the yard. The neighbors were having a patio party with their friends and saw it all. They laughed and laughed.
Memories of a drunken mother getting up int he middle of the night and sitting on a chair and peeing all over it. The next day when I confronted her with the stinking chair, she refused to aknowledge it at all and insisted she did not do that!

Memories of whiskey being thrown in my face burning my eyes, then being pushed down the steps.

The worst memory of all. Being destitute with a little child. Living with her till I got on my feet. Being thrown out of the house baby and all one evening when she was drunk, and spending the entire night on a park bench with the child.
Having to give up the child at 2 years old because NO ONE would help me. I had no car, no money and no way to get to a job. It was horrid. I didn't know about welfare.

My memories of her make me hate her with all my heart. I despise her. My sister won't even talk to her after 10 years she hates her so much. She's been sober 30 years, and is a huge old timer in her AA group. Did she walk through the 9th step with her children? No! Why she acts as if nothing ever happened!

Oh well, I am venting here, but anyway, those are my memories. I don't like to dwell on them too long.


So, memories do not serve me well. I just keep plugging along with the 12 steps. I talk to my mom, but I no longer allow her to manipulate me in any way. If she doesn't like what I do or say, it's too bad!
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Old 11-29-2008, 05:31 PM
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I remember the distinct sound of the liquor cabinet opening, and the clanking of the bottles.
My most distinct memories are the yelling and screaming downstairs as I tried to study. The beach vacation when my father threatened, repeatedly over an hour, to jump through a plate glass window. The backyard party where my grandfather accused my father of ruining his daughter and turning her in to an alcoholic, and he just yelled back (my cousin and I sat on the lawn out of the line of sight). An the seething contempt he showed when I wouldn't hang out with the 'tough' boys in the neighborhood. And when he introduced me to all his divorced drunk friends at the bar, and I had to sit there and talk to them until he was ready to leave. One gets a really warped reaction to (otherwise valid) adult advice on 'life' when it comes from guys who can barely make it to the men's room.
Oddly enough a stressful year and SR has brought me more progress than years of therapy. Therapy, with meds, helped but I really had to stress the impact of all those years of watching and hiding.
I know that 'Stuck' feeling where you want to change but it feels like a hard and lonely road. You are by no means alone. You don't have to stay 'stuck' anymore. "Stuck" was a useful feeling that kept you more or less out of the line of fire as a child but you can move past it now. You have to believe that the road to recovery is clear straight ahead, and the HP flagman is telling you to move on forward.
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Old 11-30-2008, 07:36 AM
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Thank you.
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Old 11-30-2008, 09:10 AM
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The memories can not be thrown away or repressed. But if you can learn to hold them gently in your hands, to know that they are as fragile as you yourself felt when experiencing them as they happened, to look at them and say "I will comfort you, memory of mine, for we do not have to live like that anymore", if you can do that, they will cease to torment you and become a point of love for you. Rather than looking to your parents to love you, you are now an adult and can love yourself. By holding those memories gently and caring for them, comforting them, as you would a small terrified child, you can gain peace with them.

I doubt anyone on this forum does not have memories similar to yours. I am either blessed or cursed in that I didn't repress any of mine. I know exactly why certain things send me into emotional turmoil. I am blessed in that I have no hidden memories to pop up out of nowhere, so I can look those memories in the eye, and welcome them to be a part of who I am now. Cursed in that I can remember them quite clearly, and they are quite powerful at times.

You are not alone.
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Old 11-30-2008, 02:18 PM
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I have a lot of memories, and they confront me when I don't expect it. They're usually triggered by someone yelling at me (and I work with angry customers a lot, so I get flashbacks to my dad yelling at me whenever that happens).
My earliest ones are my mom driving my little brother and I to the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night, to pick up my drunk dad after he was abandoned by his drunk friends on the side of the road.
I remember him tearing down our Christmas tree and ornaments breaking everywhere (it's hard for me to look at a Christmas tree and not remember that).
There was a vent in my bedroom on the second floor of my childhood home, which my brother and I could look into to see the kitchen below. We would huddle there for hours while my drunk father screamed at my mother for hours, while she would just stand there and take it, and do nothing.
He didn't physically abuse us much, it was mostly verbal and emotional abuse. He would walk around with a sharp butcher knife, a menacing look in his eyes. He slammed me against the fridge once after I turned off the radio and told me he would kill me if I touched it again. He threw me on a couch once and beat my arms and legs until they bruised...the beatings had to be in places where they could be covered by clothing, so none of my teachers or others at school would see them.
Someone ratted on my home situation to the school counselor once, and I had to tell my mother that I had gone to her office. She told my father, who got drunk one night when no one was home but the two of us and made me sit in the livingroom for 4 hours while he screamed at me. He told me he wished I had been an abortion (my parents got married because my mother got pregnant with me). He blamed me for everything bad that had ever happened to him, and told me it was my fault that he was unemployed and that he drank. He called me all sorts of terrible names, and told me if I ever talked to anyone outside of our family about what went on inside the family that he would kill my mother. I was scared to go to the counselor after that.
Sorry if this is a lot...I needed to get that off my chest.
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Old 12-02-2008, 02:25 PM
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Thanks for posting Iamica,
:ghug3:
I have a lot of memories, and they confront me when I don't expect it.
I know how that feels!
This forum helps us all get these memories out in the light, to give us the tool of awareness (as in 'made a searching moral inventory') against living lives chained to the past. Biologically, we really can't just erase these memories but we can disconnect from the emotions that they inspire (I am using some Buddhist stuff here) or contradict the emotions (some cognitive behavior stuff). If you believe that nothing happens without a reason, that a higher power has a plan for us all, then we should not forget, because we, those who have endured such difficulties, are well qualified to give compassion and prayers to those who are suffering today.
And maybe we may just be able to put a stop to it someday.
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Old 12-03-2008, 08:38 AM
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Thanks everyone.
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Old 12-08-2008, 12:17 PM
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Interesting post - thanks all for sharing.

I have a memory from last weekend! Although, thankfully it isn't abusive, but still it's emotionally tormenting. Last weekend was my step-mom's birthday so I did the obligatory visit and stayed over at my dad's house. I beat him home from work and when he got to the house, he proceeded to yell at me about my brother, yell at the dogs for being excited, yell at my step-mom for letting the dogs be excited (he doesn't yell about my actions, for some reason he thinks I perfect). He poured his drink and he calmed down. It was actually a good night - no more yelling. Last visit - he passed out on the porch, so I consider this a success since he was able to put himself to bed. I hold back the tears and push it away telling myself it's his life and he knows he's killing himself.
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Old 12-08-2008, 12:35 PM
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My Afather never really yelled at me but I have big issues with being yelled at and can't explain it to my husband. Everytime he raised(es) his voice I go into an incredible panic. About two years ago my birthmother clued me in. Her mother (we lived with her family) and her brother would get into drunken screaming matches and were often physical and she said I saw it all (I was adopted out when I was 2.5). That is the reason she gave me up. I rarely yell, and I panic when being yelled at. Boot camp was miserable for me.
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Old 12-08-2008, 05:01 PM
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(((eleison))) love and peace to you. you are not alone, anymore.

memories often come up in the recovery process and some for me have been deeply painful, traumatic and some seem out of a horror movie but the feelings coming up are on their way out. with the help of my 12 step program (alanon for me) i have a support network as well as my higher power who fills the void that my upbringing left me.

the issue with memories for me is that its safer now, to feel the feelings taht i could not feel then to survive. i was innocent and a victim then but now i have the power to take actions and make choices on my own behalf. im not at the mercy of a drunken beating, im not powerless while my father and his friends rape my sister and all i can do i cry and sing nursery rhymes to repress my own feelings of failing her even if im only 8. theres plenty of tragic tales that accompany the family disease the break our hearts and how we lose so so much....yet hope lies in today, in recovery, in recovering faith and trust in a higher power who can help us to heal and begin to realise the fact we are still here. YOU ARE STILL HERE. despite it all....as we work the steps witha sponsor i am learning to find out who i am, where i begin, where my father ends, where my dreams begin, wehere my mothers dreams for me end, where god wants me to be and what i need to let go of, the hurt, the hate, the pain and feel it all deeply before it is released so that i find a way to live the best life ever, to feel at peace and to let go of the dream i had for my life so i an work with my higher power in bulding a new dream and reality that can be reached and where i can love and be loved for who i really am. this is my prayer. peace love and commendations to you for taking the path of honesty. courage!! xxx
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Old 12-26-2008, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Eleison View Post
At times I find it hard to see what is my own, and what is his/theirs. My mother's stubborn and nasty "You're just like your father" when I was adolescent didn't help any either.
Who the heck am I?
Well. I'm finding out now, with the help of therapy. I'm growing into myself, my intelligence, my creativity. Peeling back the layers of the submissive, internally seething child and teenager, to find an adult who is struggling to bloom.
It's hard though, and sometimes I feel so alone
.
You aren't alone.

I'm just beginning to realize how my dysfunctional family life has molded me. I'm in my early 30s and just beginning to figure out who I really am. But that is life, isn't it? Self discovery. Embrace your self discovery, Eleison.

And that is wonderful you have not touched alcohol. That alone gives you more power to find yourself. I'm thinking about you.
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Old 01-04-2009, 12:39 PM
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Boy.....Christmas day,1967. "mom" got me one of those woodburning sets- remember those? They had about nine plates, & I engraved them all in about three hours-ticked off "mom" , who had been drinking vodka since before the sun came up, BIG TIME. She proceeded to beat me. And beat me. And beat me. She must have done this about a DOZEN times ALL DAY LONG. Up untill about 5-6 years ago, there was not a more horrible day than Christmas in my mind/life.
Then there was the time when the neighborhood kid stole a puppy I had, & hid it in a barrel during a HOT July day. Needless to say, the poor dog died a agonizing death. As you might think, this would have a Horrible experience, especally (sic) for a eight-year old kid. It wasn't over yet. That night, as usual she got drunk. She made me get up & stand before her 6-8, times telling me how I killed my dog & how EVERYTHING was my fault.
It does me a lot of good to get this out- I have repressed these nightmares for SO long. She never remembered what she said or did (at least that's what SHE told me!) . I think I have forgiven her ( by the way, she was my Aunt.) But the real tragedy is that I don't love her & I don't know if I ever will. I turned into a cold-hearted, callous person who is just now learning how to have feelings of warmth forgivness, acceptance, & LOVE thanks to the good fortune of meeting a wonderful woman-I do not thank the Lord often enough for bringing her into my life.
But these experiences warped me. I will ALWAYS be warped, I guess. But I don't have to be a rampaging ass**** anymore, trying to destroy myself. I AM NOT the monster I thought I was, undeserving of love, affection, or respect. I don't have to been that scared-to-death little kid anymore who couldn't seem to ever grow up. I can RELAX. I can ACCEPT myself, warts & all. I can LEARN to be happy & allow others into my life. The Lord DOES care...Thanks.
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Old 01-04-2009, 02:18 PM
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The Lord cares and so do we. You were around monsters for so long that you came to think you were one. You aren't. It took some good counseling for me to finally realize that I too had taken on the characteristics of my bizarre, abusive family, and that I could put my foot down and choose to be something completely different, day by day, minute by minute.

So glad you found us, mikefreak! Your life can be anything you want it to be....you can't change the past, but you can change where you put your foot down next. Left.....right......repeat Good luck!
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Old 01-04-2009, 10:18 PM
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I have half memories of being locked in rooms that resurface from time to time. My sister doesn't remember anything like that and tells me that i'm insane and blathering on about nothing which doesn't help. Its confusing trying to find out whats real and what isn't. I suppose you just take things day by day.
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Old 01-20-2009, 06:54 AM
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I am the opposite, I don't remember much of anything. There is so much to my childhood that is blank, just a blank slate. I hear stories but don't know what's true and what's not.

But I can defitintely relate when you said you're mother used to say "you're just like your father." I hated that comment. That cut the deepest. How am I like my father? I don't drink and treat people like crap. I don't have children and then just say oh well I'm done with them, I'm over being the parent.
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Old 01-20-2009, 11:21 AM
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Oh Eleison, I so can relate to you. The 5 of us kids were beaten and verbally abused by my Father tremendously. Especially my one brother who has since been killed in an alcohol related car accident at the age of 20. I remember laying in the bathroom floor while my Dad beat the crap out of me until I pissed myself. My Mom never did drink and these beating always took place when she was at work 2nd shift. I don't know if I will ever get over the shame of my Dad being at the local bar most nights after work drinking himself into oblivion then coming home and raging out on us kids. I remember my sister and one brother and myself plotting to kill him when we were 13, 14 and 15 because we hated him so bad and what he did to us. Sad part of it all is that my Mom passed away at the age of 62 from cancer. She never did drink or abuse anything. My Dad did get sober for a few years (atleast that's what he said) after he got caught stealing money from work. They did not terminate him but instead offered him help with AA. That lasted a couple of years then back to drinking. Since Mom passed he has a variety of alcoholic and substance abusers in and out of his house. The result of his drinking is that me, my sister, and my other brother are alcoholics and substance abusers. The only one that has escaped so far is my youngest brother. I don't visit my Dad very often and I do not feel sorry for him. He has never apologized or acknowledged anything he has done and probably never will.
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Old 01-27-2009, 04:22 PM
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My memories were pretty harsh of my mother. Peeing in the yard, peeing on the furniture all while she was drunk out of her mind. Throwing a glass of whisky in my face burining my eyes.
There is not one single thing I can think of that is even worth remembering.
And to think that some endure much more frightening experiences.
She quit drinking a long time ago, but is still an alchoholic. Her very behavoir expresses this fact.
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