Adult Daughter of Alcoholic Father and Codependent Mother

Old 10-21-2013, 12:43 PM
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Adult Daughter of Alcoholic Father and Codependent Mother

Hi everyone,

I am usually over in the Friends and Family forum regarding my own recovery and my XABF (who is also the father of our toddler). Since we are currently in a custody dispute, I have focused much of my time/energy on understanding the impact that alcoholism has had in our co-parenting relationship and even our former romantic relationship which, predictably, ended very, very badly.

The beginning of the custody dispute (which I initiated) and my ex's continued unacceptable behavior was finally my "rock bottom" and I sought help, with counseling, SR, and reading Al-Anon and other recovery materials. As I fought to protect my little one, most of my focus remained on my XABF and our terrible relationship. However, since then, I have slowly been waking up to the fact that I am the adult daughter of an alcoholic father and a codependent mother. In the books I have read, this is called "emergent awareness." And DAMN, does it HURT!! These emotions are overwhelming, especially because I have gotten "numb" to the abuse over the years.

Things I have repressed about my childhood for years----my father's rage and sometimes physical abuse against myself and my siblings, helping my mother pick out my father's empty beer cans from the recycling to help "cover" for my dad when we took our items to the recycling center, the deep shame I felt when my mom wrote letters to my teachers asking for monetary help for the fees for fields trips even though my dad always had money for alcohol, my father's abuse toward my mother. I tried so hard to deny the craziness in my father and in my family that it seemed natural to me to get into a relationship with an alcoholic because that's all I knew, that what felt normal to me.

Even after my mother filed police reports, they are still together (mostly due to financial reasons because my mother currently doesn't have an income or any savings because they are very poor). The thought makes me stomach turn. I have moved away from the family home and I have not visited in months, but I cannot even handle speaking to my father on the phone. How terrible is it to admit that not only is your father an alcoholic, but he is also abusive and a terrible human being? It makes my heart hurt so much. I just can't deal with him at all. As a child, a "perfect daughter," I was the one who excelled in school and made the family look great. My father always expressed how proud he was of me. But now, understanding the nature of his alcoholism and craziness, his "approval" of me makes me sick to my stomach. I don't want anything to do with him at all. I feel like everything in my childhood was a lie and I lived in denial for so many years that I didn't even have a clear grasp of reality.

Now, I am safe. Now, I am finding more resources and making a commitment to my recovery process. I will do what is necessary to protect my son from his father's alcoholism and break the cycle. It is hard, but I know I can do it because I am a survivor.
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Old 10-22-2013, 07:14 PM
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Hello butterfly, and welcome to our corner of recovery

Originally Posted by butterfly2013 View Post
... In the books I have read, this is called "emergent awareness." And DAMN, does it HURT!! These emotions are overwhelming, especially because I have gotten "numb" to the abuse over the years....
Yes, it certainly does hurt. We know all about that in this forum, you are in good company

Originally Posted by butterfly2013 View Post
... I tried so hard to deny the craziness in my father and in my family that it seemed natural to me to get into a relationship with an alcoholic because that's all I knew, that what felt normal to me.
...
Been there, done that, for the exact same reasons.

Originally Posted by butterfly2013 View Post
... How terrible is it to admit that not only is your father an alcoholic, but he is also abusive and a terrible human being? ...
My father was just the biological accident of my conception. I did not choose him, so it is no reflection on me. Since I started recovery I have learned how to make _healthy_ friends and have made my own "Family of Choice", and replaced my "Family of Origin".

Originally Posted by butterfly2013 View Post
... I was the one who excelled in school and made the family look great....
Around here we call that the "Hero" child, it's one of many "roles" we assume in order to survive the insanity. I was mostly the "Problem" child with a bit of the "Peacemaker" mixed in.

Originally Posted by butterfly2013 View Post
... I will do what is necessary to protect my son from his father's alcoholism and break the cycle....
Sounds to me like you already broke the cycle.

Originally Posted by butterfly2013 View Post
...It is hard, but I know I can do it because I am a survivor. ...
Yes you are. Now you have this bunch here on SR to cheer you on and be supportive whenever you need us. I am glad you decided to post, I hope we can be helpful to you as you travel with us on the "path" of recovery.

Mike
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Old 10-22-2013, 10:58 PM
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I don't have any great advice for you, but I do have a ton of (((hugs))). I've been where you are with an AM and codie, enabling family. I've played every role in the ACoA handbook. I'm finally getting to live MY life at 30. While getting here is hard, it is absolutely amazing to be on this side of things. Getting healthy is so great. You will get there in time. Keep coming back.
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Old 10-23-2013, 12:22 AM
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Welcome. It's amazing how many of our parents stay together even after all the havoc they caused. It's great when you can step away from the "crazy". There is no value in the crazies approving us, I figured that out too.
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Old 10-24-2013, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by butterfly2013 View Post

Even after my mother filed police reports, they are still together (mostly due to financial reasons because my mother currently doesn't have an income or any savings because they are very poor).
I wonder how many of us have been there. My clearest memory of my junior year in high school is of being chased through the snow, barefoot, by my father, so I could reach the neighbor's house and call the police, as he'd ripped the phones out of our own walls when my mother tried to.

Then, of sitting with a police officer, being 16, and thinking, "This guy is too young to be a cop and dealing with this." Pathetic, huh?

Like your mother, however, she was right back with him, and now, at 72, 'still thinks she's going to have a good marriage someday,' according to a friend of hers.

You're not alone. Unfortunately, I have no advice, except to say, Learn from their mistakes. It's about the best I feel I can do with what they gave me, but I have done it.

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Old 11-05-2013, 08:33 PM
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Thank you, everyone. Your kindness and understanding brought tears to my eyes. Although our childhoods were full of pain, I am so grateful we have this space to help each other recover, heal, and affirm each other in healthy ways. Tonight, I am thanking my HP a million times over for leading me to such a wonderful little corner of the interwebs
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Old 11-05-2013, 09:17 PM
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Yes isn't it a great forum? One thing I have found really helpful is the here on the forum. I found it so helpful to write out my memories. I removed the commenting capability just to keep it like a diary, but I have posted much of what I blogged anyway.
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