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Old 09-14-2009, 04:10 AM
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Rant

Best give a warning that I'm p*ssed and this is going to be a major rant.

I've been browsing around the other forums on SR, dipping in and out of the Alcoholics forum and Friends & Family forum. The lesson that I have learnt is that I need to STOP doing this.

If I read "You are doing your best" one more time I will punch someone (and I am NOT a violent person.... although that could change.... guess I'll have to be happy with throwing some virtual punches).

Hey guys, there are CHILDREN involved here. What about raising the bar a little. They didn't ask to be born. They deserve so much more than they are getting - like life in a clean home where their needs are put first (remember they are children after all), where they are valued, loved and nurtured.

People post, you are doing your best when from the outside it is obvious your best is patently not in the best interests of the child.

And as for the analogy of being in an airplane where you are advised to put your own mask on before seeing to your children - I would like to respectfully remind parents that after they have put their own mask on they should turn to their children and put their masks on. All to often, we COAs are left gasping for air wondering what we have done to deserve being starved of oxygen.

It's the same when people say "It's the disease" or "it's the alcohol" NOOOO, it's the behaviour and actions of the individuals that do the damage.

I am so angry, I am raging. I want to scream WAKE UP. YOU ARE DAMAGING YOUR CHILDREN!!!

So what do I need to do. I need to not engage with other people's problems. I have to accept in my circumstances that I have every right and justification to feel this anger and rage. I need to let it go and do something healing for me.

For the minute my healing may need to be as simple as a few of these

I can't be the ONLY one who feels like this. Help me out guys, how do you deal feelings like these.
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Old 09-14-2009, 10:04 AM
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Hell no you're not alone, IWTH!!! It's hard reading those posts and NOT typing an angry, bitter scathing replies! The problem is that it's just going to come off as scathing and bitter, and the message will not be heard.

I definitely hear a lot of my mom on that forum (codie mom who still has not left my AF). She swings back and forth between acknowledging how much damage has bene done in our family, and "oh, it's not that bad."

Honestly, the codependents in these relationships are just as bad as the addicts. They also have to hit their bottom with the person they are addicted to. It is still on them to make the choice for change.

Unfortunately I cannot control my anger with my mom. She still adopts my AF's mannerisms, and you have to really catch her when she tries to suck you into the drama. I've told her many times that it's clear how much more important AF is than me - after all her complaining and crying about him, she hasn't left. Maybe she will, maybe she won't. All I can do is distance with love (and avoid lengthy conversations in which I feel triggered).

Do post on the Friends and Family forum, IWTH. I do too from time to time. Denial is such a big theme with parents. They just don't realize that as long as the addict is allowed to do as they please in the house, that the children are not free. They are not free to speak up. They are not free to express their feelings. And if you're a codie parent who is "trapped" because of the addict, then your children are not free to talk to you about it. They can see with their own eyes after all this time just how much you (the codie parent) has actually done about it. That's right - paying attention to actions, NOT words.

Yeah, I hear your anger.
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Old 09-14-2009, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by dothi View Post

Denial is such a big theme with parents. They just don't realize that as long as the addict is allowed to do as they please in the house, that the children are not free. They are not free to speak up. They are not free to express their feelings. And if you're a codie parent who is "trapped" because of the addict, then your children are not free to talk to you about it. They can see with their own eyes after all this time just how much you (the codie parent) has actually done about it.
Thanks dothi (((hugs)))

I find it unbelievable, at times. This denial has caused me to deny a lot of my feelings (stuff my feelings, I think you Americans say) for 44 years!!! - 44 years, h*ll's teeth, how did I manage to keep it in that long?

Looking at it another way - it took 44 years for me to be strong enough to able to let these feelings (and some supressed memories) to come to the surface. That's a lot of damage.

These buried feelings have taken such a toll in my adult life - I have experienced severe depression, anxiety, panic attacks, problems with anorexia and binge eating but my mother (who I always listened to and believed) always put it down to my inability to handle stress. Eventually, the doctors stopped putting it down as "reactive" and started digging deeper but I never really let them in until I got to the point that I was running scared for my life.

I always felt there was no anger in me, I honestly believed that I was one of those people who just didn't have an angry bone in her body - bullsh*t. Oh, am I angry, how dare my Mum and Dad (and now my brother) do this to me, I didn't / don't deserve this, I was / am worth so much more.

To end on a positive note - a long hour and a half walk with a good friend this evening has burnt off a lot of the anger - I can thoroughly recommend it.

Take care all, IWTHxxx

Last edited by Iwanttoheal; 09-14-2009 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 09-14-2009, 02:41 PM
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Hear hear

I agree, too, with both of you. My codie mom complained and wrung her hands and cried and bitched for years. Did she leave my AF? No. He eventually left her (and even though she hated him you'd think he ripped her heart out and stomped on it).

I've spent so much of my life being angry at her for NOT leaving him. I remember yelling at her as a teenager that I'd go live in a cardboard box somewhere before I would let my children grow up in this environment. I'm not sure I'd go that far, now that I'm older, but I'd go pretty close. I'd do what I had to do to keep my children safe.

I haven't explored this forum much beyond this group. Perhaps I shouldn't. "You're doing your best" may be intended as supportive but really it almost sounds like enabling to a point.

Anyway, IWTH, I know you have a lot of anger about your upbringing. I do too. We're both still grappling with it. If those groups make you angry, just try to stay out of there. Hang out with us instead. We're cooler anyway.
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Old 09-14-2009, 10:14 PM
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As they say, iwanttoheal, "welcome to my world."

It is difficult to talk to people who trigger all of our ACOA buttons by staying in relationships we know - from personal experience - are damaging the children involved. And "difficult" is a gross understatement.

Talking such people down from the ledge and toward better decisions is a very dicey business, and you'll see it handled lots of different ways, from "What the he** are you thinking??!!?" to the softer responses you mention.

Fortunately, we DO get through to some of them. Others, not so much. As Dothi says, "What are you thinking??!?" really doesn't do much good in many situations. Many of these people are in deep denial, and many are untreated ACOA who haven't yet realized why they are in the patterns they're in. So many members try to walk that incredibly fine line between saying nothing at all, and being supportive in a way that will punch through the denial. It's very hard, but people do try, bless them.

I always invite people to step over here to this forum if they're curious about how their kids are going to turn out. It has turned more than a few heads toward a better direction.

Glad you're allowing yourself to get angry. And yes, we ARE cooler
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Old 09-14-2009, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by GiveLove View Post
I always invite people to step over here to this forum if they're curious about how their kids are going to turn out. It has turned more than a few heads toward a better direction.
This statement saddened me because it made me think about the fact that having an ACOA for a parent is pretty awful as well.

My parents are both ACOAs who didn't drink at all when I was a kid and their children are both raging alcoholics (and in my case an addict as well). I'm new to SR, but I'm guessing this is probably a common pattern. It's like a generational pendulum that swings from addict to neurotic teetotaller and back again.
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Old 09-15-2009, 12:25 AM
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ACOA ... they are like the sandwich community...... get it from both sides *parents and children.

It's like becoming an addict/alcoholic when being an ACOA would be like taking one for the team - for the children.

I don't think so.

I have to agree about inviting people over here from codie land. I found myself in a ACOA meeting and was struck big time by the shares. My tolerance level of maintaining the relationship was based on what I saw in my children's level of corruption. Meaning - once I saw them becoming effected by it - the relationship was over. I then spent the summer off with them to ground ourselves again.

The boys who are 9 and 11 - they are talkative with me and it worries me that they are holding things back. My youngest shared with me that he is wondering who the "next man" is going to be. I think that just really sux... that my son has that to worry about. I put a positive spin on it - and we think up who it could be. I was posing for fake photos with spongebob's different faces on the garbage can in the end! We were all belly laughing. One thing is for certain - my boys are a striving force for me to get my codie under control.

My mother didn't leave her husband, my father, who was cheating on her. I knew to accept that decision - I casted no judgement. However, while I will put up with a hell of a lot- cheating I will not. Maybe it is because of my childhood experience ??? My boys know I was cheated on and that I won't be with a man who does not display integrity. It was his choice - I forgive him - but it's also my choice to stay or leave. As my oldest says - three strikes and you're outta here! We talk fondly about the good times and if they ever want to talk with him - they can. (I worry about that though - because I don't know how he will cope and if they will try only to be let down.)

OKay - well i've rambled on enough. This is the first thread I have read in this forum. Going to check it out here....
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Old 09-16-2009, 02:20 AM
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GiveLove, you have an amazing way with words and we are lucky to have you on this board, thank you.

Originally Posted by GiveLove View Post

Many of these people are in deep denial, and many are untreated ACOA who haven't yet realized why they are in the patterns they're in. So many members try to walk that incredibly fine line between saying nothing at all, and being supportive in a way that will punch through the denial.
Denial is an amazingly powerful force.

I can think of two instances where I have been in major denial in my life. The first is when my husband was having an affair. All the signs were right in front of my nose and I was refusing to accept them. It took a good friend who I trusted to punch through my denial on that occasion.

The second was when the counsellor I was seeing when I was seperated from my husband put it to me that I was an abused child. Again all the signs were there but at that point all I would admit was that maybe my childhood hadn't been as good as other peoples but hey, there were so many people out there who had it worse. My codie mother had done a really good mind job on me. The truth - on the known abuse scale, I reckon I probably come in the top half, maybe even as high as the lower end of the top third.

On this occasion, the counsellor didn't punch through the denial but she made a crack. It took eleven more years of emotional abuse from my codie mother and now alcoholic brother plus a steep escalation of that abuse in the last three months for that crack to bust wide open and for me to finally accept that abuse was taking place.

So I do "get" denial. I do understand where these people are. I guess my message to them would be, let it all in, yes it is extremely painful but there is a whole new better world on the other side.


Originally Posted by GiveLove View Post

Glad you're allowing yourself to get angry.
Part of the whole new better world is being able to experience truthful feelings again and that is good.

IWTHxxx
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Old 09-16-2009, 06:06 AM
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Denial is a tough one. IMO children need to believe they come from something good. Confidence builds on the belief that something about you is good. In an alcoholic home this is a just a recipe for disaster. You have parents acting like children with too much authority, and children sacrificing in the manner that makes sense to them in order to contribute to a more stable environment. That maybe if things finally get good, the drama will settle down and we can all finally relax and just feel good about ourselves. (Of course then adolescence hits and these children can't deny feeling their own needs any longer - hello depression or angsty rage!)

When my partner asks me how I put up with my family and growing up in that house for so long, I tell him it was denial. My siblings and I were literally trapped. AF had the only vehicle and we *incidentally* lived out of town. If you're going to stay "sane" you just can't think about it too much. Besides how do you even know it's that bad when you rarely see anything else? AF kept us very isolated and actively discouraged us from making friends! Why would you do that to your little girls? Another hallmark of abuse: treating women like second class citizens. There was minimal investment in women in my dad's family. The women in his family have previously grown up to become drug users and prostitutes. It's accepted that women aren't capable of making smart decisions for themselves, so you isolate them, talk down to them, keep their self-esteem low, and then that way they're easier to control. AF actually said to my sister once that he should have moved us further out of town. In environments like these I'm a HUGE advocate of how education is often the only way out for women.

I really hate thinking back and looking at all those years of opportunity wasted. My sister is in counselling now, and I believe her counsellor is addressing her socialization struggles.

Lie: I had a confident, loving father.

Truth: I had an insecure, controlling father. He actions fit the profile of an abuser, minus the physical. But I could not have survived that household if I had not continued to believe I had a loving father. Otherwise my life would have taken a very different path had he sensed animosity from me (like my sister gave him).

IMHO some parents have it stuck in their heads that this is how raising children is supposed to happen. You can talk to them until you're blue in the face and they won't budge. I've done this with my AF and he'll just deny any point I try to raise. Then what are you left with?

I am often grateful that I was born into a society where I was able to leave. We can't make things right for everyone, but we can support pathways for people to get out once they're able to, such as through career development and personalized counselling.
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Old 09-16-2009, 02:37 PM
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Denial is a tough one. IMO children need to believe they come from something good. Confidence builds on the belief that something about you is good. In an alcoholic home this is a just a recipe for disaster. You have parents acting like children with too much authority, and children sacrificing in the manner that makes sense to them in order to contribute to a more stable environment. That maybe if things finally get good, the drama will settle down and we can all finally relax and just feel good about ourselves. (Of course then adolescence hits and these children can't deny feeling their own needs any longer - hello depression or angsty rage!)

Yes! Indeed!

I believed that everything in my family was OK until one night when I was 13 years old. My dad was drunk and he and my mom were in the middle of one of their big doozy fights. My brother, who was only 7, was more than likely tuned out (he has some Lost Child characteristics).

I was in my room, and I said to myself, "Self, you are the sanest person in this family. That may not mean much, but it means something."

No one has proved me wrong yet. Brother does come close, though. :P
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Old 09-18-2009, 09:59 PM
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I went to AA for a while, as my ACOA group met only once a week, and I felt that I needed a meeting more often. One person in particular, seemed openly offended that I was attending ACOA meetings, and would ask me about it (more like interrogate). I thought he was genuinely interested in knowing about it.

I tried numerous times to explain to this AA'er (who turned out to be a 13th stepper in the most cowardly way--so take it as that) that ACOA was NOT about blaming parents, but about forgiving them, seeing them as fallible and healing from that, and I finally gave up, realizing that he had to demonize ACOA so that he wouldn't have to deal with the CRAP he put his children through.

I finally gave up the AA group, and my sponsor, as becuase of that jackasses 13th stepping attempts and utter denial of it, he was backed up by his peers, and I was left to flail (talk about bringing up the old fear of rejection and shunning by my peers!).

I used to get so angry--why did it have to take me SO LONG to come to recovery? Why couldn't I have come BEFORE my life was so frigged up?!? But then I realized, It could have taken me until I was 40,50,60,70, or never and I could have passed it on to yet ANOTHER generation of children living in fear of their parents, never knowing true intimacy.

My mother puts on a 'show' for anyone around (including the grandchildren, who cry and get upset, but she doesn't give a flying flip)...she picks and picks and picks and picks at my father (whose no saint, but he sure puts up with a lot of her SH!!), until father finally gets ticked and talks back to her, then suddenly, she plays victim cries, and goes to her room and slams the door.

I can't figure out why I'm the only one in my family who doesn't fall for it anymore. Poor Mom, Dad's cheated on her...yeah, he has. He's not perfect, but I'd have killed her, if I'd have had to put up with her for 40 years! Oh, wait, it has been almost 40 years. Scratch that.

When my sponsor said to me one night, seemingly frustrated with my constant disbelief in anything good about myself, "Someone sure did a number on you," it actually felt good to know that someone else could SEE it. But then I felt bad, thinking that I shouldn't feel GOOD about it.....ack!
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Old 09-19-2009, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by TheGirlInside View Post
When my sponsor said to me one night, seemingly frustrated with my constant disbelief in anything good about myself, "Someone sure did a number on you," it actually felt good to know that someone else could SEE it. But then I felt bad, thinking that I shouldn't feel GOOD about it.....ack!
But you felt good that someone else could see it, you felt validated. That good feeling is still somewhere underneath all the cr*p that we heap on top of it.

For so long, I believed the conditioning that I received as a child. I believed that it wasn't that bad, that actually we had it quite good, that there were so many people worse off than us, that my mother and father loved and cared for us.

When I got to the age to challenge my parents and ask if I had it sooooo good why did I feel soooo bad? I was then further conditioned - I was told and subsequently believed that I was over-sensitive and not very strong emotionally if I couldn't endure this "good" life. I had guilt-trips laid on me by my mother "You were only a child, what do you think my life was like?".

My childhood left me feeling weak, pathetic, ungrateful, disloyal, guilty, responsible, unworthy, unimportant, not deserving of better, unloved, uncared for and NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

Yip, as an ACOA, our parents sure do a number on us. My AF is now dead. My codie mother, a bit like your man in AA, can't accept responsibility for her part in the damage that my brother and I suffered. She has never once said, I'm sorry, we could have done so much better as parents. In her mind, there is nothing wrong with the parenting she and my dad provided and she still thinks of herself as a victim because now her ungrateful children won't step up to the mark and look after her and her house leaving her free to organise her holidays and her social life - poor her.

Oops this has turned into (yet) another rant. All I meant to post to say was it is good that you felt validated and I hope you touch that feeling again, IWTHxxx
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