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Confused with mixed feelings

Old 10-29-2009, 02:25 AM
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Confused with mixed feelings

I read a thread posted earlier this year about the following concept:

"I am not entitled to the family member I "should" have, I am only entitled to the one that I've got."

I joined this online forum a few weeks ago and have found some things to be very encouraging and insightful. However, there are definitely a few things that I find to be perplexing, i.e. the quote I included above.

I have learned that some people still choose to stay in contact with their alcoholic family member and codependent members, while others have chosen not to. I have been told many times growing up and recently that "You just need to ACCEPT your mom for the way she is otherwise you're always going to be disappointed. Either have absolutely no contact with her at all and stick to it or accept her for what she is."

The truth is, I have a myriad of mixed feelings when it comes to my family of origin. There is a long history of pain for over 25 years now..ever since I was a child I was abused, taken advantage of, forced to take responsiblity for everything--even doing my parents laundry, making my step-father meals, coming to his first call immediately like I was a dog or I'd get my butt whooped. I waited on them hand and foot, cleaned up their messes, mailed their bills at the post office, would get groceries for them and if I got something wrong or forgot something on the list I would get hit on the head several times, pushed, shoved, slapped, spanked, punished...and anything u can imagine. My step-dad forced me to sleep in bed w/ him from a young age, would wake me up in the middle of the night all the time to cook for him while he was drunk when I had school the next morning....I was used to my drug/alcoholic parents sick benefit. I had to get my step-dad's uniforms and lunches ready for him before he'd go to work every day and if I didn't I'd get hit and punished. He would make me retrieve beverages from the refridgerator and get him ice water whenever he was thirsty. He'd never do for himself. When he'd take me to appointments (which was rare), he'd be so angry that he had to do it that sometimes he'd hit me on the head right before dropping me off at school. From the age of 2 and on, I had no feelings, emotions, or thoughts. WHY ON EARTH should I feel ENTITLED to continue FURTHER communication with people like this? It disgusts me to even consider it? Why should one feel compelled to continue communicating with someone who molested them growing up simply because they are "FAMILY"? That is dysfunctional. Why is it that they should be excused because they are "an alcoholic" and they can't help it? Nonsense. Just because they drink, does not mean I will not hold them to the same standards I woudl anyone else. Why should I lower my standards of respect for myself simply for their sake and b/c they are too intoxicated to know better? Would that not be continuing the dysfunction? Seriously?

Sorry...I just had to get out my frustration b/c that is sometimes the message that I'm getting. Not sure it is correct, but it sickens me to think I owe my parents ANYTHING when they have done NOTHING but hurt me and cause me grief since DAY ONE! Dont' I have that right to protect myself?
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Old 10-29-2009, 05:28 AM
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Originally Posted by reverse View Post
From the age of 2 and on, I had no feelings, emotions, or thoughts. WHY ON EARTH should I feel ENTITLED to continue FURTHER communication with people like this? It disgusts me to even consider it? Why should one feel compelled to continue communicating with someone who molested them growing up simply because they are "FAMILY"? That is dysfunctional. Why is it that they should be excused because they are "an alcoholic" and they can't help it? Nonsense. Just because they drink, does not mean I will not hold them to the same standards I woudl anyone else. Why should I lower my standards of respect for myself simply for their sake and b/c they are too intoxicated to know better? Would that not be continuing the dysfunction? Seriously?
You're not compelled to continue communicating with dysfunctional relatives -- on the contrary, you have the right to cut them off. In my case, when I'm griping about my Dad (my current "qualifier" for these programs), I sometimes say that if he and I were the same age, I would have no choice but to kick him out of my life -- stop answering his phone calls, never go by and visit, and just not communicate in any way or have anything to do with him. As it is, I am not doing that -- I'm just running the clock out on him, which is possible because he's 89 and I'm 46. At this point, I don't need to win the battles, all I need to do is tie.

As for the "alcoholism is a disease, they can't help being *******s" line, which you frequently hear at Al-Anon meetings, I think this is a fundamental misunderstanding of the disease concept of alcoholism. It is a disease in the sense that there are physical reasons why some people become addicted to booze and some don't. They process alcohol differently -- for physiological reasons that have been identified -- and they react to it differently from the way "normies" do. In that sense, alcoholism is a disease. But that does not, in any way, shape, or form, excuse their behavior, and anyone who tells you it does is full of beans.

The disease concept is a good thing to keep in mind when you're dealing with someone who is struggling with his/her own life, wants to get better, and is having trouble with it. That would include my original "qualifier," who I'm married to. She went to treatment, got healthy, and has continued to work at it for upwards of 13 years now. When she was struggling, it helped to understand that alcoholism was a disease. But when you're dealing with abusive parents, no way are they excused for abusing you, just because the alcoholism part is a disease.

Or at least that's how I look at it.

T
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Old 10-29-2009, 08:30 PM
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Hi there reverse

Originally Posted by reverse View Post
..."I am not entitled to the family member I "should" have, I am only entitled to the one that I've got." ...
That line is for people who are trying to _change_ their family member, which obviously you are not trying to do. There's another line that says "Take what you like, and leave the rest", which means that the program of recovery needs a little fine-tuning to fit each of our specific needs.

Originally Posted by reverse View Post
...Not sure it is correct, but it sickens me to think I owe my parents ANYTHING when they have done NOTHING but hurt me and cause me grief since DAY ONE! Dont' I have that right to protect myself?
Sounds perfectly correct to me

What works for me is to see my parents as the biological accident of my creation. In my case, they didn't do for me anything I could not have got at an orphanage. Like yours, I would have been treated better at an orphanage. They were just the sperm and egg donors, nothing more.

I have found other folks that are kind and decent, and we've sort of "adopted" each other. They are my "family of choice", and the ones I do love and respect.

All of which is my long winded way of saying; yeah I agree with you.

Mike
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Old 10-30-2009, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by DesertEyes View Post
Hi there reverse



That line is for people who are trying to _change_ their family member, which obviously you are not trying to do. There's another line that says "Take what you like, and leave the rest", which means that the program of recovery needs a little fine-tuning to fit each of our specific needs.



Sounds perfectly correct to me

What works for me is to see my parents as the biological accident of my creation. In my case, they didn't do for me anything I could not have got at an orphanage. Like yours, I would have been treated better at an orphanage. They were just the sperm and egg donors, nothing more.

I have found other folks that are kind and decent, and we've sort of "adopted" each other. They are my "family of choice", and the ones I do love and respect.

All of which is my long winded way of saying; yeah I agree with you.

Mike
Thank you so much for clarifying those things for me. It's weird because I was so wrapped up in the manipulation tactics of my mother that often times, I couldn't see it for what it was, i.e. the guilt trips, lying, excuses, etc. It's difficult for me to not allow her to come see my newborn daughter-especially since I have no friends or family. I have a few friends that i work with, but i don't know them well enough to invite them to a b-day party or things like that. I just don't want my kids to be lonely, but I def. don't want to see my mother. Anyway..thx again, Mike.

-Amanda
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