Blogs


Notices

What to do??

Old 10-04-2009, 06:22 PM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: California
Posts: 51
What to do??

Hi, I just talked to my brother and he has said our parents are still acting strange. In other words they are not warm and friendly over the phone like usual. They are more guarded, not cold, a little cool maybe and trying to be in control of their emotions?? You probably know what I mean, but it is weird. I find I too am acting guarded with my Amom because I don't know what she might say next.

To recap a bit , about a month ago my mom called at night and was quite intoxicated asking me what I was doing, what we had for dinner on and on... I just listened but I could barely understand her at times. At one point it seemed that she was about to pass out. I told her to please go lay down and I eventually got her to go. Later that night I called my dad to see if she was alright thinking she was asleep. Well, I called in the middle of a huge fight between them and found myself trying to calm them down. A few days later my mom called to say some unkind things to me and I got defensive and she hung up. I let a couple of weeks go by and called to see if she was okay. She started to apologize for her words but blamed them on my dad and his treatment of her. Always blaming others.....I have now been going to Al anon meetings and learning about this disease online etc... The lies, the blaming, the behavior....

One good thing that's come out of it is that I am learning to take off my blinders a bit to see things differently. I have some tools I can use now and I don't have to believe everything she says or get involved with their drama. I can keep loving them at a distance and not be a doormat. I need help to know that I can do this...I can be strong and not falter. I feel so weak sometimes especially when I am there or when she calls. My brother lives near them and tries to keep his distance. I live a few hrs away. He says you gotta know your escape routes. He has learned to protect himself but even he gets caught sometimes. I think because things are getting worse with my mom's drinking ( hiding it, starting at 10am, picking fights, putting others down, passing out etc..) I and my brother are learning to speak out and not deny what's going on and they notice it. But it's so hard.

It's getting to where I don't even want to visit them anymore. When I am there visiting and there are some harsh words said, a doozy of an argument explodes and I get caught in it. I find myself trying to calm everyone down, fix things etc... I see that this sometimes makes things worse because in the heated moment I start yelling too so everyone is yelling and saying horrible things to each other. What do you do when things get out of control or even before that. What are the signs and can I tell when they start. I have heard of the uncomfortable factor. I'm not sure how to tell if it's really uncomfortable or just normal for my family. We are argumentative sometimes without major blowups. But the blowups are happening more often.
Goldberry is offline  
Old 10-05-2009, 09:32 AM
  # 2 (permalink)  
Member
 
GiveLove's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Stumbling toward happiness
Posts: 4,706
Blog Entries: 2
I'm sorry you're going through this, goldberry, but it sounds like you may need to detach even further from their drama and chaos if you're going to be happy.

I had to stop visiting my parents and A siblings for a while. And I set a boundary that, if they phone me and they have been drinking/using, I will say "I do not wish to have a conversation with you when you're drinking." and hang up. (I often use Caller ID to screen their calls to avoid confrontation....the messages they leave tell me well enough whether they're drunk or not)

If you want peace in your life, you may have to back further away and focus on building & enjoying your own life, far from their addiction. If you have grown up thinking that fighting and conflict and chaos are normal, this will feel strange at first, like something is missing. But it was the best thing I ever did...and nowadays we can have civilized relationships because 1) my boundaries are clear, 2) I always have an escape route (smart brother!) and 3) I have rooted out the thing in me that fed on the drama.

GiveLove is offline  
Old 10-05-2009, 10:20 AM
  # 3 (permalink)  
Member
 
dothi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Anywhere but the mainstream.
Posts: 402
I hear you, Goldberry. I remember visiting with my parents (AF, codie mom) at a nice family restaurant. Who knows what started the bickering. I just remember watching the passive-aggressiveness escalate, and people glancing at our table in response to the sharp angry comments. I remember thinking, "I never want to be here again." Not a good feeling to have in the company of your own family

Whether it's normal for your family or not, what's important is whether it's normal for you. Is listening to grown adults a normal part of your day-to-day life?

I sat in that restaurant and asked myself, "is this what I want to be normal for me?" What if I have kids? Is this fighting going to be "okay" because these people happen to be my parents?

I agree with your brother - have an escape plan. By that I mean has the means to leave when things escalate. As soon as the arguing starts, get up and walk away. Resist the urge to take control. Resist the urge to fix. There is nothing wrong with coming over to visit and realizing that the situation is uncomfortable within minutes of walking through the door. You do not have to endure the fighting just because they are your parents. Rehearse saying your boundaries with a trusted friend, so that it will come more naturally when you say it before leaving. Something I've said to my parents before is: "I am NOT spending today listening to you fight. If you cannot be more civil, then I am leaving." That's it. Walk away if your boundary is not respected. And oh boy did I ever get ragged behind my back at what a demanding b*tch I had grown into - all for asking two grownup people to behave in a civil manner. I figure if strangers can be more polite to me than this, then aren't I better off hanging around strangers?

FWIW I swear at times my parents visited me because they missed having an audience. They missed having the kids around to pull into the fight and throw around their, "See? See? Dothi does/doesn't agree." It's all to feed their drama. Plus I think they feel safer from each other because they know the other won't say/do certain things if the kids are around. When people divorce you hear all the time: don't fight or badmouth the other parent in front of the kids. There's no good reason why this should not apply to "functional" marriages too.

Originally Posted by GiveLove View Post
1) my boundaries are clear, 2) I always have an escape route (smart brother!) and 3) I have rooted out the thing in me that fed on the drama.
This is really good advice - especially the 3rd point.
dothi is offline  
Old 10-05-2009, 01:15 PM
  # 4 (permalink)  
Member
 
takincareome's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Georgia (the state, not the country!)
Posts: 108
Agreed. Remember that you can always extricate yourself from the situation. Get off the phone. Walk away. Leave. It's much, much easier said than done but it *does* get easier. A possible bonus is that when they realize you aren't going to stand for it, they might stop dishing out this behavior as often.

Hugs
takincareome is offline  
Old 10-06-2009, 01:24 PM
  # 5 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: NJ
Posts: 197
Originally Posted by GiveLove View Post

If you want peace in your life, you may have to back further away and focus on building & enjoying your own life, far from their addiction. If you have grown up thinking that fighting and conflict and chaos are normal, this will feel strange at first, like something is missing. But it was the best thing I ever did...and nowadays we can have civilized relationships because 1) my boundaries are clear, 2) I always have an escape route (smart brother!) and 3) I have rooted out the thing in me that fed on the drama.
Goldberry, all I can say is that I agree 100% with GiveLove - detaching is also the best thing I ever did. Yes it was hard-going at first but it gets so much easier with time. The clarity that you get with distance is a wonderful, liberating experience.

I know that my future relationships will also be civilized (and minimal for me) because if they are not, I will be gone - I will no longer tolerate anything but polite, surface interactions because that is what I need to keep me healthy.

IWTHxxx
Iwanttoheal is offline  
Old 10-06-2009, 11:47 PM
  # 6 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: California
Posts: 51
I so appreciate all your advice. You are wise counselors!! You really understand what I mean because you have gone through it too. Thank you GiveLove for your advice about, among others, routing out the thing in me that fed the drama. It is so true and I believe dothi has said it. I do have the urge to take control and fix it when things get out of control. I just needed to hear it and when you said that it made sense. I don't like conflict and really I get caught up into it too easily, trying to calm people down, telling them to stop saying mean things etc... I have even asked my parents if they are fighting more because I am there. At first I felt like I was the cause of their arguments. My mom said No this is how we are all the time. I say that is not normal or healthy. But she says it's nothing; they're just crouchity in their old age. I don't believe that now. I believe it is something and it's not good. Maybe it is the drama that they like or crave whether they are by themselves or have an audience.

A few weekends ago my husband and I went to visit my older son in So. CA and I didn't want my parents to know. So we went right past their town on the freeway and I did not want to stop, even to eat lunch on the way or get gas for fear someone would see me and tell them. Silly huh. Especially when there are millions of people there. I was being paranoid. I have never felt like this before. Normally I would have called them and gone to see them for a few hrs. Not now since all this has been happening.

Yes, my brother is smart, unfortunately he has had a lot more practice dealing with them than I have. I also need to put into practice my escape routes and put my foot down on what I will tolerate, like you said IWTH. Thank you for words to practice and things to apply. I do need to detach further I think because I still find myself worrying and thinking about what my mom is going through today, is she okay (she has already broken her ankle while drunk and she breaks out in stress hives frequently), what will be next?... After I talk to her on the phone and I can hear her voice sounding shaky I feel so helpless and all I can do is pray for her. She sounds ill most of the time now and not happy. But.... I know I can't help her unless she wants it. I just wish she did. Right now she doesn't care anymore, wants to do what she wants and tells me not to interfere. That's hard for me to hear. But I hope, as takincareome says, that if I do my part they will stop this destructive behavior.

Thank you all for your support. I am going to print these out so I can have them readily available.
Goldberry is offline  
Old 10-07-2009, 06:44 AM
  # 7 (permalink)  
Member
 
GiveLove's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Stumbling toward happiness
Posts: 4,706
Blog Entries: 2
Good job, goldberry. It takes a lot of practice - practicing small actions and statements over and over and over again until they become your NEW second nature.

I can't recall if you've read "Codependent No More" by Melody Beattie? Many of the feelings and behaviors you describe are in there. A great read.

Try to remember: She is on her journey, and you are on yours. It is not your job - or your right - to shape the path hers takes, and since you are an adult, it is no longer her job to shape yours either.

Hang in there
GiveLove is offline  
Old 10-08-2009, 12:11 PM
  # 8 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: NJ
Posts: 197
(((Goldberry)))

Codependent No More by Melody Beattie has been a great help to me. It really helped me to look at myself and to stop defining myself in terms of other people eg I would be fine if my mother did this, if my brother did that...

I made a list of what I wanted and anything that was dependent on or in response to another person was struck off the list. I slowly started to shape my life in terms of what I wanted. It felt strange at first but for me, it has been a snowball effect, it just gets better and better.

That feeling of being a "naughty girl" when you drove past your mother's town will disappear the more and more you choose to do things independently. I used to worry that people would think I was "pathetic" that I worried so much about what my mother would say or think. With distance I can now see that I was being bullied by my mother (I submitted because that was what I had always done) and I can now see how completely enmeshed and unhealthily entwined or lives were.

Give Love told me it gets better and easier with practice and guess what, it does.

Take care, IWTHxxx
Iwanttoheal is offline  

Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:38 PM.