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Moving on....

Old 10-10-2009, 10:42 AM
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Moving on....

I am new to this online group and haven't ever really participated in anything for ACoA or Al-anon before. Let me start out by briefly introducing myself. I am 27 years old, have 3 children (34 months, 18 mo., and 2 mo.) and am married to a supportive and loving husband. My AM has been abusing alcohol for 25 years or more. I have have been through many periods of not talking to her for various amounts of time and have tried everything to try to get her to change. She has been with my alcoholic step-father since I was 3 years old and he was physically, emotionally, and mentally abusive to me, my mom, and my only sibling (sister 5 years older) my entire life...anything ranging from casual blows to my head, to strangulation, to the list goes on...up until I was 20 years old when I swore to never vist home from college by myself. The last time I have visited my mom and step-dad was during Christmas of 2002 and i swore to myself I'd never step foot in their house again until things were different (to which I ever doubted they'd change).

Anyway, I was doing really good with separating myself from my family (by moving from the state of WI/MN all the way to WA) of origin until my first daughter was born. I gave in and called my mom telling her I was pregnant. I also let my sister know. Slowly and little by little, I was convinced to move back to WI because my sister wanted her two children and my children to grow up together. She had swore that she had changed and that she had been to counseling for her angry outbursts, lying and manipulation etc. (she had a horrible pattern of trying to pull me back into family dysfunction and never respected my no-hence why I had no choice but to seperate myself and move out of state).

Long story short, I have been back in WI for 2 years now. My children have only seen their grandma on 2 occasions (gma lives 2 hours away and won't get her drivers license--and being that i won't allow my step dad to be around my kids and he's the one who drives my mom everywhere...it complicates things). A year ago, my sister blew up at me because I confronted her about lying to me about something my husband did and she just freaked out from then on there and has treated me like royal dirt from calling me names to yelling and screaming at me. She disowned me and then tried contacting me via email to "work things out" without thinking she has to apologize for anyhthing. I denied her requests and insisted that she learn to respect me as a person, get counseling, adn stop lying about me to the rest of my relatives (which is a long story in and of itself). Now it's been up to a year and her and I haven't talked and we live 2 miles away from each other. It's been very difficult for me to go from living 2000 miles away from my sister to now being only 2 miles away from each other. I HATE it and it has been very painful, but I'm slowly but surely learning how to deal with it. It was particularly difficult when I had my 3rd daughter born in August...it's just been a long and hurtful process since I moved back to WI.
Moving further, I recently confronted my mother about her getting her drivers license to drive here to see my children herself and she insists that it's not possible and she has every excuse in the world as to of why she can't get a license. She expects other family members---including her elderly parents who live 4 hours away from me and 2 hours away from her to drive her here (they are in their 70's) so she doesn't have to get her license. I recently wrote her the following letter...which was very difficult to do...but my husband sort of helped me write it.:
Mom
I donít have much time to write this since I should be studying right now so Iím going to make this short. I havenít been avoiding your phone calls, but rather IĎve been contemplating the direction that my life is going and the relationships within it, including ours.
Iím not satisfied with the current situation. I moved here from Washington state with the promise that things would be different and to get right down to it, itís not. I literally threw many possessions of mine into the trash, that which couldnít fit into our station wagon, quit an amazing job with the most compassionate coworkers, and sacrificed much to come here. As much as I sacrificed when I moved here, I havenít seen the same reciprocated here. Not only has there been zero financial help, even during the travel from Washington and afterward, not only have I been gracious in giving you a second opportunity, but there has been little involvement with my children, as their grandmother.
Iím tired of the excuses, Iím tired of the lies, and empty promises. Iím tired of people assuming that Iím just going to get used to the situation and ignore it as if nothing is going on. Iím not going to ignore the gossip and lies that are circulating throughout our family, while everyone is virtually silent. Martin Luther King Jr. said that after our death, the lies of our enemies isnít what will be remembered, but the silence from our friends [and family]. Iím not going to pretend that it doesnít happen, because you and I both know that it does. These lies that have repeatedly wounded me [and my family]. I never got this kind of treatment in Washington and I certainly donít have to take it here. Iím no longer going to put up with it any longer.
Now, I am a wife, a mother of three children who is stretched so thin with responsibilities and Iím not in any position to help others, particularly those that have no interest in helping me, or even themselves. For starters, you and Jay, make much more financially than Reza and myself. Since you have no dependants [children], you are able to work longer hours, and your hourly wage is higher [I did the math]. Not to mention, by your own admission you havenít made a house payment in several months. If your bills outside of your house payment are so massive, then perhaps you should file for bankruptcy. However, I donít believe that this is an excuse to not have your drivers license after nearly two decades. I hate to be this confrontationalÖbut you leave me no choice.
Bottom lineÖyou cannot afford to pay your bills, to get your license to come and see your grandchildren [and children], but you can afford cigarettes and alcohol. This isnít my idea of ďchangeĒ. Heart to Heart, donít you see that you are sending the same message with your life that you were two decades ago? The message I received growing up back then was that alcohol was more important then your children. Today the message is the same, except that now instead of your children, itís your grandchildren. Iím no fool. I know that you drink every night [Iím often on the phone with you, as youíre drinking], I even have a receipt to prove it. If you want to drink and smoke and whatever else it is that completes your lifestyle, thatís your choice and your business. I donít live with you, and youíre entitled to your lifestyle. However, your lifestyle comes with consequences. With this in mind, Iíve made several decisions that involve you and my family.
- Iím moving back to Washington and there is little that can be done to change my mind.
- Even thou I donít owe it to you, Iím still going to be graceful and allow you to come and see Suhaila, but there is a stipulation. You are going to have to be an adult, get your drivers license and drive yourself to come here. Your parents are older than you and your daughters are younger, yet they all have their drivers license. In my opinion, it would be inappropriate for you to have your elderly parents and your younger children be put in a position that makes them go out of their way to drive you around for the sake of you and your lifestyle. Iím not at all comfortable with that sort of contribution. Youíre not fifteen years old anymore. Youíre 52 years old as of this year. I donít believe that this is expecting too much of you.
Just as you donít like paying your bills and prefer to drink, I, myself as well, would like to not pay bills and not have to work. However, I donít have that luxury. Once we become adults, we have responsibilities and from now on, Iím going to hold you to the same standards that I have for myself and everyone else. In my every day life, Iím making the decision to make the conscious effort to never once be dependant upon Naila for things that are my responsibility as her parent. It is not her responsibility to pick up the slack and never will I dictate that she do as such. I will never force her to do Raina and Suhailaís hair in the morning, make her get them dressed, potty train them, take them to school, prepare meals for them, do my laundry, clean up my messes, cook for my husband, among many other things. I am making the conscious effort to be fully present in their lives to the best of my ability. I will continue doing so for as long as Iím on this earth. I will never be dependant upon Naila to take responsibility for my actions. That would be extremely irresponsible and backwards. I will be sure to teach them responsibility by modeling it for them, and teaching them how to take care of themselves as is appropriate for each age. I also am saving money not only for them, but for myself so that I can be in a better position to help my children regardless of what age they are. Do you see the difference?
Itís true that there is less tolerance for driving while intoxicated today as there was several decades ago. This has been in effect as a result of the thousands of people have lost their lives to drunk driving and drunk drivers. If your drinking is what is keeping you from being responsible and getting your drivers license, welcome to the real world.
Did you know that most Muslims go through their entire lives never tasting a drop of alcohol? Itís forbidden in Islam, yet the numerous Muslim friends of mine are possibly the most happy women [and men] that Iíd ever met in my life. Iím sure you get the hint of where this is going, so Iím going to leave it at that and pray for you. Itís never too late to turn your life around.


I'm not sure that this letter was perfect, but it was all I can fathom doing. Of course she wrote me back with all the excuses in the world how everything that happened in my life was beyond her control and someone elses fault....while completely ignoring the main issue of getting her drivers license. She called me the next day leaving a message (i refuse to talk about it on the phone anymore or talk to her at all on the phone now) and partly crying about how hurt she was about some of the things I said..begging to talk to me. Then called me later during the same day with a rude tone of voice. lol--go figure, right--manipulation tactics I'm sure. Then she wrote me back the same day mentioning how she can't possibly get her drivers license bla bla bla. I just wrote her 3 lines back stating very simply that all she needs to do is get her drivers license and stop drinking...then she can come see my newborn daughter-Suhaila.

Anyway...being that I got the pathetic response from her and being that she supports the lies my sister is going around telling the rest of the family...and being that she herself is lying about things...I am learning how to move on and focus on my family only. It's a struggle to not feel like i did something wrong b/c I know that's how they see it and twist it. However, never once have they been concerned about my feelings and my opinions and input. I've never had a voice. Therefore....this voice is going to move on elsewhere and spend its time with people who will love it and listen to it.

Ending this for now,
thanks for listening. I've really benefitted deeply from reading other's threads in this group. It's amazing how easy it can be to feel isolated and criminal like...even tho it's far from the truth of reality.

God Bless You All
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Old 10-10-2009, 12:49 PM
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Hello reverse, and welcome to our little corner of recovery

You sound like you have a very good understanding of how alcoholic families twist the truth and guilt people into being enablers. Your letter is firm and to the point, but still respectful. My impression is that you have started a brand new stage in your life, one that is going to be free from these toxic people.

I had to break away from my own "toxic family", and I also did it geographically. It was crazy-making at first, but it got easier with time. Those feelings you mention are exactly what I went thru.

There's a great deal of literature to help us ACoA's survive and overcome this chaos. There's entire shelves at your local bookstore and table full's at al-anon meetings. You may want to browse thru some of those.

Congratulations on a supportive husband, on 3 little ones (Suhaila is such a beautiful name) and on starting your new life

Welcome again.

Mike
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Old 10-10-2009, 01:12 PM
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Thanks Mike for the encouragement and for sharing a little bit about your experiences. As sad as this sound, I have to be honest in saying that my life is honestly better and happier when I don't think they exist....almost as if they are dead. However, if I acidentally run into photos of them (like on Facebook for example), then I get really angry. LOL So i have to try to avoid those things. It's hard for me to move on and let go of the hope. Even though I know in my head what is the truth and that these people are happy with how they live their lives in dysfunction...I still hope for change. That's the part that kills me and is keeping me from moving on. But as long as I can recognize it, refrain from blaming myself (basically self-sabotaging), stop feeling responsible for hurting and telling someone the truth about how I feel, realize and remember that MY opinions DO matter in relationships, MY feelings are important feedback to others in relationships, the happier and the more functional I will be as an adult. It's interesting too b/c in my professional life (I'm a nurse's aide), I have worked with many nurses who have been able to support and teach me what is healthy and what is not. I'm lucky to have a career where others are supportive and also where I can see toxic patients (drug addicts, alcoholics, manipulators, mentally ill) in action as well and practice setting boundaries with them as well. If I won't put up with disrespectful behavior from co-workers, patients, and even friends...why on earth do and I should I ever have to put up with it from my family of all people? My husband tells me all the time....they are not ur true family b/c if they were...they would love you, respect you, build you up, and you would be able to have an open relationship with no strings attached.

Considering all that I've been thru...I'm very lucky for the life I have today thanks be to my husband (poor guy for his long suffering lol). he has shown me how to have a sense of humor, been honest with me to the point of it hurting...but helping, let me cry on his shoulder and every other good thing he has done. I'm very lucky.

Thank you for sharing those resources with me. Any books you may recommend in particular? I just might consider going to an Al-Anon meeting in the area. It's hard b/c I'm very busy with the kids, work, and going to school for nursing, but it's still possible.

Thanks again and best wishes to you in your endeavors.
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Old 10-10-2009, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by reverse View Post
As sad as this sound, I have to be honest in saying that my life is honestly better and happier when I don't think they exist....almost as if they are dead.
It IS sad, but I understand completely. I've had my parents (AF and codie mom) at arm's length for the first time in my life -- detachment, getting away from enmeshment/dependent relationship with my mom, who always wanted me to be her caretaker -- and frankly I've never been happier. It's sad that that's what it takes, though, isn't it?

It sounds like your head is in the right place. I would encourage you to maybe try some al-anon meetings. It may or may not be your thing, but there are some useful lessons you can take away from it. There are a number of books on the market about ACOAs, dysfunctional families, toxic parents etc. Some are better than others but they're all useful to some degree. I'd recommend "Toxic Parents" by Susan Forward. It doesn't all apply to ACOAs -- there is quite a bit in there about physical and sexual abuse -- but I found it extremely helpful nonetheless.

Meanwhile, focus on what you're already focusing on: Your family and your children. And remember the three C's: You didn't CAUSE the alcoholism (or the accompanying lies, excuses and behavior): You can't CONTROL it: and you can't CURE it.

And also please keep posting here and let us know how you're doing. I'm fairly new to this group but I've found it to be full of warm, friendly, caring people who understand exactly what you're talking about.

Hugs. Be gentle with yourself.
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Old 10-10-2009, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by takincareome View Post
It IS sad, but I understand completely. I've had my parents (AF and codie mom) at arm's length for the first time in my life -- detachment, getting away from enmeshment/dependent relationship with my mom, who always wanted me to be her caretaker -- and frankly I've never been happier. It's sad that that's what it takes, though, isn't it?

It sounds like your head is in the right place. I would encourage you to maybe try some al-anon meetings. It may or may not be your thing, but there are some useful lessons you can take away from it. There are a number of books on the market about ACOAs, dysfunctional families, toxic parents etc. Some are better than others but they're all useful to some degree. I'd recommend "Toxic Parents" by Susan Forward. It doesn't all apply to ACOAs -- there is quite a bit in there about physical and sexual abuse -- but I found it extremely helpful nonetheless.

Meanwhile, focus on what you're already focusing on: Your family and your children. And remember the three C's: You didn't CAUSE the alcoholism (or the accompanying lies, excuses and behavior): You can't CONTROL it: and you can't CURE it.

And also please keep posting here and let us know how you're doing. I'm fairly new to this group but I've found it to be full of warm, friendly, caring people who understand exactly what you're talking about.

Hugs. Be gentle with yourself.
Thanks takincareofme for your input and reminding me of the 3 C's. This group is the first time I've ever heard of that before and it does help tremendously. It;s amazing how much I"ve tried to bend and mold my life and my actions, behaviors, beliefs in order to get someone to change their harmful behavior. I've tried absolutly everything accept for taking care of me.

I think in the past I have read toxic parents before...the sections on physical/emotional abuse. Trust after trauma was another really good one as well as Healing the Child within. Those were pivotal. An amazing book on Boundaries was called exactly that...Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. Boundaries is written from a more religious perspective (christianity) and was a book I studied for a long time in my life when I lived out in WA.

I think I am going to seriously consider going to Al-anon or ACoA meetings. I did go to an al-anon meeting when I was 18 but disliked it b/c I was looking for solutions to cure my parents/family and didn't really understand at that point that it was beyond my control. Also, I was in need of serious counseling at the time and meetings like that didn't much for me at the time.

My husband and I made a song called "Alcoholic Doll" three years ago that's on a cd available to purchase online at Itunes or Cdbaby. If anyone is curious to listen to it let me know. It really helped put things in perspective for me at that time.

Take care and thx again.
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Old 10-10-2009, 09:00 PM
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Ok, so here is what my mother responded to me in an email tonite saying the following:

"You just do not get it do you, no mattter how much I explain, you fail to understand! You want to still paint a picture of this monster I am, and I am not so.I was really looking forward to seeing you all, but as you have stated I cannot see you untill I get my Liscense, wow, I would think you would be happy for me to come on a bus, as soon as I could! I am not going to play cat and mouse with you either! Either you want me to come asap or you do not want me to to come at all!! That is how I feel!!!"

So here's the deal. She insists now on taking a bus, and a taxi from the bus station (even though she doesn't own a cell phone, has never rode a bus, hasn't even looked into any bus routes, and just the other day was trying to swindle every relative possible into driving her 4 hours to come and visit me. She doesn't even know what the bus routes are like to my apartment. On top of that, my co-dependent and alcoholic step-father would have to go out of his way to drop her off at the bus stop which is 30 min of driving there and 30 min. back. On top of that, once she is done visiting us (which she claims she wanted to visit for 2 days here and 1 day at my sister's), she is going to have to get a taxi to go to my sister's house and then a taxi from my sister's house to the bus station which would be at least a 25 mile drive. So taking a taxi for a total of at least 50 miles, then taking a bus for over 2 hours (by car from her house is only a 2 hour drive...by bus it's almost always twice as long b/c of all the stops--I know b/c I've had to use a bus for transportation for a year when I didn't have a car). By the time she got here, her entire day would be shot, she'd spend way more $$ for a taxi and a bus than she would if she would just drive a car and travel independently. On top of that, I've begged her to get her driver's license since I was 13 and she has never been able to tell me exactly what she needs to do in order to get her driver's license back. She claims she has to take a driver's class, take the driving test, and all this other stuff---she can never keep her story straight and she never looks into it. She doesn't even try. She says it's literally impossible for her to get her license b/c she works 6 days a week.

Apparently I am expecting too much of her to get her license. Apparently I am at fault for saying I don't want her to come unless she do something that most normal adults can do...even 16 year olds.
So..this is what I wrote her back with :

guess you made your choice. Apparently, getting a driver's license is too much responsibility. It's not too much for a 16 year old, but you've made it very clear that it is too much for you to handle. I guess that's too bad.

Is it too much to ask someone that they get their driver's license? Good GOD! Please...I need reassuring that I'm not expecting too much. She always complains that she wants to see the grandkids and wants them to know her, but is never willing to make that happen. She has every excuse in the world as to of why she can never vist. My mil used to travel 2 1/2 hours just to spend the day with us. She would do that 2 times a month at least just so she could see our oldest daughter (the other two weren't born then). I really am starting to believe that she still wants everyone to do everything for her so she can stay either drunk or hungover 24/7. It disgusts me, makes me see red at times, makes my stomache burn and ache...and makes me so angry. Do you have any idea why I feel this way, even though I KNEW that this was EXACTLY what her response was going to be? I knew that she would put this on me...so why should I care? Why do i give a damn? I'm supposed to somehow elevate her efforts of trying to swindle relatives to drive her here, praise her for saving 2 of her vacation days for me, and praise her for her willingness to get a bus and taxi...all of which make everything harder than what it has to be. Sorry for ranting.
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Old 10-11-2009, 01:37 PM
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Hi Reverse and welcome,

I too have had to distance myself from the chaos in my alcoholic family of origin in order to become a healthier, happier person.

For me, I found it easier to establish physical and intellectual distance, it took a while for my emotions to catch up and I am still working on it, so go easy on yourself.

One of the things that I have had to learn to let go of was any expectations I had of how my alcoholic brother and codependent mother SHOULD behave. I have had to learn that I cannot control their actions and to let them go and concentrate on myself.

Can you see how your expectations that your mother should learn to drive are causing you pain?

Think, what would you like - you would like your mother to visit your children. Let her make her own decisions of how she gets to you - she is an adult, she can choose to get the bus, if she only gets an hour with you before having to go home, that too is her choice. If a relative decides to drive her, that is the relative's choice, let it go. When she gets to you, refuse to discuss how she arrived, after all she has travelled to see her grandchildren not complain about how she got there. If she doesn't make it to you then that too is her choice and her loss. Just keep concentrating on you, your hubbie and your kids.

A good book that helped me look at how I was unhealthily enmeshed with my alcoholic family was Codependent No More by Melody Beattie.

Glad you've joined us, IWTHxxx
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Old 10-11-2009, 06:47 PM
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Deep breath

Originally Posted by reverse View Post
So here's the deal. She insists now on taking a bus, and a taxi from the bus station (even though she doesn't own a cell phone, has never rode a bus, hasn't even looked into any bus routes, and just the other day was trying to swindle every relative possible into driving her 4 hours to come and visit me. She doesn't even know what the bus routes are like to my apartment. On top of that, my co-dependent and alcoholic step-father would have to go out of his way to drop her off at the bus stop which is 30 min of driving there and 30 min. back. On top of that, once she is done visiting us (which she claims she wanted to visit for 2 days here and 1 day at my sister's), she is going to have to get a taxi to go to my sister's house and then a taxi from my sister's house to the bus station which would be at least a 25 mile drive. So taking a taxi for a total of at least 50 miles, then taking a bus for over 2 hours (by car from her house is only a 2 hour drive...by bus it's almost always twice as long b/c of all the stops--I know b/c I've had to use a bus for transportation for a year when I didn't have a car). By the time she got here, her entire day would be shot, she'd spend way more $$ for a taxi and a bus than she would if she would just drive a car and travel independently. which make everything harder than what it has to be.
You know what?
If that's what she wants to do, if she wants to come and see you, that is HER choice, HER responsibility and HER problem. NOT yours. It's up to her to choose to do that. She's a grown woman. Don't make yourself crazy worrying about her.

That e-mail was a textbook guilt trip. I know, because my mother does the same thing to me. Take a deep breath and see this for what it is: Manipulation. You don't have to respond to it.

Hugs.
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by takincareome View Post
You know what?
If that's what she wants to do, if she wants to come and see you, that is HER choice, HER responsibility and HER problem. NOT yours. It's up to her to choose to do that. She's a grown woman. Don't make yourself crazy worrying about her.

That e-mail was a textbook guilt trip. I know, because my mother does the same thing to me. Take a deep breath and see this for what it is: Manipulation. You don't have to respond to it.

Hugs.
Thanks for your responses. My main reason for elaborating on her method of transportation was to point out that she really hasn't put much thought into her travel method (considering she's talked about it since July) and the fact that it would cost her at least 300$ to go bus and taxi route. I wanted to express how irresponsible she is...not that I worry about how she gets here. That doesn't concern me except for the fact that somewhere throughout her traveling process, she's going to say last minute...oh..oops...your step-dad decided to drive me instead (even though he is not welcome near my property given his history of violence with me my whole life), or she will say, I need you to pick me up from the bus station (which would require me to drive an hour out of the way when I should be at home w/ my 3 kids). I know how she operates and she will manipulate previous plans so that she doesn't have to do it. She's done it to me before...put things on me last minute and put me in awkward situations. Plus, i look at it this way. If a person is not responsible enough to simply spend one day obtaining their driver's license (which she knows how to drive by the way--that's not the issue), how on earth can I expect them to travel by bus, then taxi, and get to my place responsibly without any complaints or issues? Something is bound to go wrong and I dont' even want to have to worry about that so that is why I am refusing to allow her to come by bus and taxi. She needs to grow up like everyone else, get a clue, and get her license if she wants to visit. Because i'm not going to pick up the slack when she wants me to. I see nothing wrong me with me making that choice and it also protects me in the long run b/c I have absolutely NO trust that she can do anything on her own. She never tries to and will try to put it on me like it's my problem when it isn't. Sorry....just not interested in dealing with that. Plus...I'm not interested in allowing a loser like her to come into my house and spend a few hours with my children two times a year so they can go home and say "Look at what I did. I'm such a great grandma!" Nope. No more. Sorry. I dont' think there's anything wrong with that. Unless i'm missing something somewhere along the lines--but don't think so.
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Old 10-26-2009, 01:41 AM
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So, in addition to the emails from my AM, she immediately sent me a package of gifts last week for my newborn daughter who is almost 3 months old now. I still haven't opened it b/c of the fact that my mother has always tried to buy my love with things to make up for her abusive behaviors. I'm not buying into her game this time. Then after not hearing from me for two weeks, she suddenly writes me the following letter:


Checking out the bus lines, it is more difficult than I thought. Lamers Bus Line runs daily I am told, out of Wausau, the bus line to take is Jefferson Bus Line, and they are affliated with the Lamers Bus Line. She said the bus will be Leaving Wausau at 2:35 pm arriving at Hudson at 6:05 PM. So I assume I will have to take a Taxi from Hudson to New Richmond. I am supposed to call back Monday, I work the week-end. 715-241-7799 So I am going to call back Monday, please let me know, because I will have to reserve my ticket on my Debit card, and I have to let work know. So it looks like I will be coming this next week, whatever day is best for you, how long do you want me to stay? I have 3 days left, I told you, I will only stay one to three days, that is your choice.Let me know Amanda please, so I can plan my trip by you.Thanks Amanda, I love you all, and I am so excited to come visit, even if it is only a day, hope it would be longer, than just a day, then I could help you with things and spend time with the girls, and get to see Suhaila for the first time and spend time with her. I would like to be able to help you with wash, cleaning and meals and taking care of the girls! Give me the chance.Love Mom
Love to you all, Mom


Out of the blue she insists on coming and ignores everything I had said in my previous letter as if it doesn't exist...like I'm just going to suddenly let her off the hook and want her for company. At this point, I feel like it is yet another method of hers that she uses for intimidation and bulling once again. However, somedays it is hard for me to not give in to her b/c it is easier and b/c I feel guilty for not allowing her to see my daughter.

Why do I feel like I owe her something? I don't want her to see my daughter b/c I do not have the mother-daughter connection with her that normal families have. I feel like I am giving her a priviledge she hasn't earned if I were to allow her to visit...even for one day or an hour. I honestly don't want to see her face b/c all I see is pain and bad memories. This is a woman who is still thinking I'm going to make amends with a stepfather who strangled me, and forced me to sleep in the same bed as him from age 3 until 11 with my mothers knowledge (tho she always played the hero role as if she never knew what was going on and if she did know...she'd try to "rescue me" from him). Funny how she is still married to the guy until this very day. It's because he enables her to be a drunk and she does him.
I honestly don't feel like I should allow her in my life, but I feel responsible for not doing so b/c I know that's what she thinks...even tho she doesn't respect my feelings. *sigh I feel very torn right now.

Please share your thoughts with me. You support is much appreciated.
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Old 10-26-2009, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by reverse View Post
Out of the blue she insists on coming and ignores everything I had said in my previous letter as if it doesn't exist...like I'm just going to suddenly let her off the hook and want her for company. At this point, I feel like it is yet another method of hers that she uses for intimidation and bulling once again. However, somedays it is hard for me to not give in to her b/c it is easier and b/c I feel guilty for not allowing her to see my daughter.
That's exactly what they do -- ignore your boundaries, because once they've ignored a boundary, it's gone; too late for you to enforce it.

Since this isn't officially an ACA meeting, I can recommend my favorite "non-program program book," namely, When I Say No, I Feel Guilty, by Manuel J. Smith. It's all about systematic assertiveness therapy, which is a great tool for dealing with manipulative people, drunks and otherwise. Any used bookstore should have a paperback copy for a buck or two.

In this situation, AM is doing everything she can to make you look like the unreasonable, uncaring one. I get some of the same stuff from my Dad. When that happens, my stance is, "Screw it -- I don't care what the family thinks; I have to take care of myself here. Maybe I look like a heartless ingrate, but at least I'm finally healing. And you know what? The family probably understands this better than I think they do; they can see my Dad's the unreasonable one anyway."

They love to use guilt and shame -- it's the oldest trick in the book, for getting what they want... and driving us crazy!

T
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Old 10-26-2009, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by reverse View Post
So here's the deal. She insists now on taking a bus, and a taxi from the bus station (even though she doesn't own a cell phone, has never rode a bus, hasn't even looked into any bus routes, and just the other day was trying to swindle every relative possible into driving her 4 hours to come and visit me. She doesn't even know what the bus routes are like to my apartment. On top of that, my co-dependent and alcoholic step-father would have to go out of his way to drop her off at the bus stop which is 30 min of driving there and 30 min. back. On top of that, once she is done visiting us (which she claims she wanted to visit for 2 days here and 1 day at my sister's), she is going to have to get a taxi to go to my sister's house and then a taxi from my sister's house to the bus station which would be at least a 25 mile drive. So taking a taxi for a total of at least 50 miles, then taking a bus for over 2 hours (by car from her house is only a 2 hour drive...by bus it's almost always twice as long b/c of all the stops--I know b/c I've had to use a bus for transportation for a year when I didn't have a car). By the time she got here, her entire day would be shot, she'd spend way more $$ for a taxi and a bus than she would if she would just drive a car and travel independently. On top of that, I've begged her to get her driver's license since I was 13 and she has never been able to tell me exactly what she needs to do in order to get her driver's license back. She claims she has to take a driver's class, take the driving test, and all this other stuff---she can never keep her story straight and she never looks into it. She doesn't even try. She says it's literally impossible for her to get her license b/c she works 6 days a week.
Hi reverse, just wanted to pipe in: the crazy-making is habit forming. So like a bad habit, we have to both un-learn it and re-learn new healthier habits.

This whole paragraph speaks of habitual thoughts where you are struggling with taking responsibility for what your mom would need to do. Your mom replies right on par, reinforcing that you should be taking responsibility for her choices by listing every little choice for you to approve - so you can correct her if she's done something wrong, right? She's throwing out her hooks that bait your inner child (that part of you waiting for her to act like an adult so that YOU can grow up). She wants you to respond as you would when you were too young to know any better.

Before the anxiety can lift, you need to catch yourself when you go into this mental rant. Since you were a child you were trained to launch into worry mode because more often than not you learned that if you did not do this thinking, you would have to reconcile the consequences of your parent's actions. That was not fair or appropriate responsibility for a child to have to bear.

The good news is this strategy got you to adulthood. But the bad news is you're still stuck with this bad habit. Acceptance that your mother's choices are truly her choices and her responsibility will really help you when you start worrying. Then you can ask yourself is this really your responsibility to worry about and do all this thinking? What will actually be accomplished by the worry?
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Old 10-26-2009, 02:27 PM
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sending supportive hugs reverse..
Im in a very similar situation.. except i have to avoid my family in the same city.. it sucks.. but i cannot deal with their dysfunction or i would go insane..

just a thought about the dr. lisc.. if she is really drinking like you say.. as a citizen driver on the road with my son. I PREFER YOU MOTHER DOES NOT DRIVE,, and takes a bus.. for my safety... just a thought...
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Old 10-26-2009, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by soulsurvivor View Post
sending supportive hugs reverse..
Im in a very similar situation.. except i have to avoid my family in the same city.. it sucks.. but i cannot deal with their dysfunction or i would go insane..

just a thought about the dr. lisc.. if she is really drinking like you say.. as a citizen driver on the road with my son. I PREFER YOU MOTHER DOES NOT DRIVE,, and takes a bus.. for my safety... just a thought...

Hi, sorry to hear about ur situation. I think its difficult enough living in the same city (small city) as my codependent older sibling. I too would go insane if I had to be around these people. I am glad to be free from them, however, feel sad at the waste of life and lack of family. But life has to go on with or without them.

In regards to the drivers license thing. ...I totally agree with you. It would be scary to see my mother drive also. I don't want her to drive b/c I know she is always drunk. However, if she wasn't a drunk, it would be nice if she had her license to drive and visit. But, in the real world and normalcy of my alcoholic family, that would never be the case. I just wanted to give my mom the opportunity to try to get her driver's license and show some sort of responsibility for the sake of the realitionship. And just as I thought, there's no way she'd ever get her license. I dont' want a drunk on the road. I just wanted to assert myself with her instead of letting her always walk all over me...and tell her to grow up--for my own sanity--as weird as it sounds.
Thanks for sharing...it's much appreciated.
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Old 10-27-2009, 07:27 PM
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After I wrote her telling her that I don't think it's a good idea that she visit, she responded with the following:

Okay, Amanda, that is your choice, and of course I abide by what you say. When you do not let me into your life, how do you expect me to become closer to you and the girls? I am very sad and hurt. I love You all very much! Take Care, Love Mom

Not sure what to think right now. Once again its all about her....or am i wrong?
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Old 10-28-2009, 05:23 AM
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It sounds like she's still pitching it onto you - that her not coming is YOUR fault ("because you're not letting her into your life"), instead of her own fault for failing to take responsibility for herself. She's reinforcing the message that you have no right to have your own personal boundaries from her.

I just wanted to give my mom the opportunity to try to get her driver's license and show some sort of responsibility for the sake of the realitionship.
I hear ya, reverse. I've made many of these deals with my own alcoholic father. The problem that comes with it though, is that usually I'm the only one aware of this deal that I've made with him. To confront the alcoholic and say, "can't you see I'm trying to give you a chance here?" is only going to lead to disappointment and failed expectations. Seriously what do you think your mom would say if you said this plainly to her. "What are you talking about?" (denial) "Why would you do that to your own parent?" (blame, guilt) "What kind of daughter are you?" (shame) etc. etc. etc.

The thing you are least likely to get is, "This must be really important to you if you feel that our relationship is at stake." (acknowledgement)

Your bargain you have made alone will not change your mom or make her take responsibility. Why should she when she cannot see the consequence - namely you progressively withdrawing from her life.

A bargain like that is easy to make because it's side-stepping the real issue - that you are unhappy with her drinking. It's easy to make because you don't really have to let her know how you really feel (and then be directly punished for it). You don't have to face how much more important your mom's alcohol-conjured reality is to you. You're sheltering your feelings this way. And it's tough to fault you because YES it is f&*^king painful to face how alcohol has become so much more important to our parent than everything else - including you.

I've did this dance many times with my dad before I got off the merry-go-round. It was making me insane because I kept putting these expectations on him and he kept on failing. Nothing changed until I reinforced this deal - then things changed for me. I didn't cause it, I can't fix it, and I can't control it. No more one-sided deals in my life, as all they ever did for me was give me more grief and stress. It sounds like this "bargain" is doing for same for you.
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Old 10-28-2009, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by dothi View Post
It sounds like she's still pitching it onto you - that her not coming is YOUR fault ("because you're not letting her into your life"), instead of her own fault for failing to take responsibility for herself. She's reinforcing the message that you have no right to have your own personal boundaries from her.



I hear ya, reverse. I've made many of these deals with my own alcoholic father. The problem that comes with it though, is that usually I'm the only one aware of this deal that I've made with him. To confront the alcoholic and say, "can't you see I'm trying to give you a chance here?" is only going to lead to disappointment and failed expectations. Seriously what do you think your mom would say if you said this plainly to her. "What are you talking about?" (denial) "Why would you do that to your own parent?" (blame, guilt) "What kind of daughter are you?" (shame) etc. etc. etc.

The thing you are least likely to get is, "This must be really important to you if you feel that our relationship is at stake." (acknowledgement)

Your bargain you have made alone will not change your mom or make her take responsibility. Why should she when she cannot see the consequence - namely you progressively withdrawing from her life.

A bargain like that is easy to make because it's side-stepping the real issue - that you are unhappy with her drinking. It's easy to make because you don't really have to let her know how you really feel (and then be directly punished for it). You don't have to face how much more important your mom's alcohol-conjured reality is to you. You're sheltering your feelings this way. And it's tough to fault you because YES it is f&*^king painful to face how alcohol has become so much more important to our parent than everything else - including you.

I've did this dance many times with my dad before I got off the merry-go-round. It was making me insane because I kept putting these expectations on him and he kept on failing. Nothing changed until I reinforced this deal - then things changed for me. I didn't cause it, I can't fix it, and I can't control it. No more one-sided deals in my life, as all they ever did for me was give me more grief and stress. It sounds like this "bargain" is doing for same for you.
Thanks Dothi for your feedback; it truly helps. Yea, I knew that asking her to get her drivers license was going to go nowhere. Seems any expectation or standard i have goes no where fast b/c she can never do any wrong. I'm always the criminal the minute I don't do what she wants or let her get her way. Because I can't tolerate being in a relationship with someone like this who is supposed to be my mother, I feel very uncomfortable with just handing the title of "mother" and "grandma" over to her when she's done nothing to earn it. I still have feelings of guilt for not letting her see my newborn daughter, but I don't want to see her just so we can have a photo op and she can go home and brag to everyone about how great a grandma she is and live in this dream world. While in reality, she cares nothing about her family; only herself and her booze. I allowed her to see my first daughter when I lived in WA after not seeing her for 4 years and speaking very little to her. Then what does she do? She smokes in the hallway of my apartment (even tho she promised not to ahead of time b/c I told her I could get evicted from the landlord if that happened), she was complaing about people in the building, the laundry room, what size it was, spent most of her time there scratching lottery tickets and making meals, and to top it off...she took an entire bottle of my postpartum medication (oxycodone--why they prescribed it to me idk b/c it's a highly addictive drug--i only took it once postpartum b/c i was nursing my daughter and i didn't like how weird it made me feel--so the bottle had 11 pills left) and she deliberately told me she thought it was something else. I asked her...how do u take 11 pills in ONE DAY by accident? She just looked at me dumbfounded. To be honest...I don't think she deserves to even speak to me after all of the hell she has put me through since age 2. She is still trying to get me to reconcile with my stepfather who strangled me when I was 18 after I ran away from home and who made me sleep in the same bed with him from age 3 until 11. She's never been in her right mind so why should I be the "good" daughter and still allow her in my life when she is so TOXIC to me? It's disgusting.

anyway...thnx again for ur responses.
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