Advice: Cross posted from Adult Children.

Old 02-26-2011, 01:00 PM
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Advice: Cross posted from Adult Children.

I was born to an alcoholic, single parent. For the first few years of my life, my grandparents cared for me because my mother was doing drugs at the time. She went into rehab, quit shooting heroin, and started to drink. When I was four or five my grandparents relinquished custody because they thought it was important for a daughter to grow up with her mother. I am 22 years old now.

My relationship with my mother has been one of caregiver. I was the adult in our little duo, our "Girl's Club", as she called it. I have always been the responsible, loyal, smart kid that could fix up the apartment before the landlord got there, or who knew how to lie in order to keep the family from asking questions.

I have little to no ability to feel for my own self-preservation, even today as an adult.

Things between my mother and I have always been very, very caustic. She was emotionally, mentally and occasionally physically abusive to me since I began living with her as a child, and every time I would boomerang in between her home and my grandparent's home, her sense of urgency to control what I said, and did, when and where became much more dominant. I always felt like she was trying to keep a lid on her behavior, like she didn't want people to know. Although, I'm not entirely sure how they couldn't.

Growing up being told I would never be good enough, or pretty enough, or smart enough, being told I was worthless, and being constantly lied to by the one person in the world a little girl is supposed to trust, her mother, has, I realize, taken a profound toll on how I view myself as a person. If I am incapable of finishing a task, today, I feel like a complete failure. I've always been very smart, book-wise, and had a 3.98 GPA in two-year college, but when I failed to qualify for loans that I didn't have to pay back until the end of the rest of my schooling (thanks to the awesome dip in the economy), my mother, who I had only had the guts to move out from under a year before, told me I should kill myself, my life was over, and that I had not only ruined her life, but had become the failure and disappointment she knew I would be. At the time, about a year ago, I knew I shouldn't have paid heed to what she said, that my own sense of self-worth should be high enough that I knew I was better, and smart, and funny and pretty, even without her approval. Instead I fell into a crippling depression, because I hadn't just failed myself, but I had lived down to the expectations of the one person, who God bless it, I shouldn't ever listen to.

Long story, and I'm getting to the relevant part, I promise.

For the last five years I've been in a relationship with a person who is not an alcoholic, but nonetheless, requires my constant care due to his impulsivity, irresonsibility, and who has a tendency to put me down. We were engaged. I quit my very good job in order to pack us up, but I've known for the last year that I really didn't want to be in this relationship.

We broke up about a month ago, and continue to live in the same apartment since he will be moving out of state by the beginning of April. I still cannot find another job, as my old job has no positions left. I have no money because I was always the one who paid the bills. If I can't find a job by the end of March, I might have to boomerang back to my mother's house, and our relationship is still very tenuous, as she is still an alcoholic.

I've spent every day, six hours a day, filling out applications at every crap job I can think of. I've gone to a handful of interviews and 3 positions outright have told me I've overqualified for the job. I really don't know what to do. My options seem to be: If I can't find a job, move in with an abusive parent, who, even if I am an adult I know I will buckle under the thumb of, or suck it up and get back together with a man I don't love anymore.

Any advice would be great, and I apologize if this is not the perfect place for a thread like this. If I could afford therapy, I'd definitely be there.


I am with a temp agency and have made steps toward looking for a roommate.
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Old 02-26-2011, 01:54 PM
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same planet...different world
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Hi Ennui and welcome to the forum!


Were it not taking place in another century,
your post could easily become mine at your age.

As it is I'm probably older than your mother.
Because you're a decade younger than my sons.

SO I'll throw on the Grandmother shawl
and welcome you to SR.

You sound as if you have a great start on the self awareness.

I'm so sorry the economy has driven you to what may be inevidable
have you considered finding some support in your area?

like an AlAnon or ACOA group nearby?

It'd be a great way to buffer what might be about to happen.

There's nothing wrong with having a plan
both for escape and for the next step.

A support circle of people
who know what it's like
is am amazing weapon to have in yer quiver.

I hope you'll make friends here
who can help you as well.

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Old 02-26-2011, 02:13 PM
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I was in an Alanon group for about a year, until the group leader, a man who was sober for 18 years, came into a meeting tanked. Pretty much turned me off of the local group. Yikes.

I'll look and see if I can find an ACOA group though.
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Old 02-26-2011, 02:16 PM
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same planet...different world
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What's the status on your student loan stuff?
I mean, it's filing deadline tuesday
can you factor in rent when you reapply for FAFSA?

The Al Anon thing
is a great support circle.

Just tossing ideas for the moment....
don't feel you have to jump every time LOL
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Old 02-26-2011, 07:50 PM
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Would you be interested in being a caregiver for children or an elderly person in exhange for room and board? At least until you can find a 'real' job?

That environment at your mother's sounds so very toxic I hope you can find a way to be on your own.

Welcome to SR, by the way! We're glad you're here.
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Old 02-26-2011, 08:13 PM
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What a wise young woman you are! You sure have your head on straight for as twisted as that childhood was!
My opinion is avoid mom and exboyfriend AT ALL COSTS. They are not good for your well being.
Do you have extended family or friends you could stay with?
Can you use the career services department of your college to help look for work?
Have you considered a temp agency?
I work in a park and concessions companies in parks almost always have openings, but it means isolation, which can be awful for some people.
Being a live in caregiver or nanny is a great idea, if your own mental health is stable enough.
Most counties have a jobs center you might utilize.
Don't give up. You're worth it.

Hugs, peace
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Old 02-27-2011, 05:09 AM
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Ditto other posts. Welcome to SR, you have a good head on your shoulders and hopefully you will find support and suggestions here. This can be a temporary condition if you continue to work on taking care of you. Look for a meeting too.

When I "escaped" to college - I was able to take out loans to pay for housing but I understand when my son went to college that things have changed a lot these days. And I had to take out loans because they determined I had enough income through SS and VA checks not knowing that my mother (the A) kept the money and didn't give any to me.

So, I did find college work study jobs. Also, found ppl who either took in students for cheap living rates or as live in child care. Knowing I was a student, ppl expectations were very reasonable. And sometimes I took weekend jobs to babysit while parents did get aways for a change of scenary or house sitting.

I was also crafty and stumbled one time upon a new business opening up that agreed to sell my handmade stuff as a side line. And I liked baking so I took orders for Birthday, Anniversary cookies and cakes. Self taught the icing decoration to launch this one.

What are you good at doing?
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Old 02-27-2011, 06:00 AM
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Lots of good ideas here.

I'd suggest you avoid, at all costs, moving back in with mom. Imagine she isn't living--what would you do then? Do those things. As long as you get a roof over your head and food, the rest will work out. It may be very tough, and very tight for awhile, but worth it in the long run.
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Old 02-27-2011, 06:13 AM
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Yes, you do sound very smart and witty. You'll do just fine and you'll become successful and happy in your life. I promise. :day6
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Old 02-27-2011, 06:43 AM
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Welcome Ennui,

I echo what Lexie said- just pretend your mom is not an option. IMHO, she does not deserve another minute to abuse you. You seem to have gained a lot of strength from the hard knock school you attended. Take that strength and run away from any who would even try to demean you, in any way. You deserve happiness, bless you. I lived with an abusive mom,who was an a, also.

something will come along, and you have had some great suggestions. I would rather see you take two crappy jobs, in order to get yourself on your feet, than to take another moment of abuse. that way, you dont have her stuff holding you down emotionally. and getting to a meeting will be great too, and give you some "contacts" who may have some good suggestions, too..
perhaps you have a distant relation or someone you know who may have a spare room ? someone safe, and trusted.
prayers for the best for you. put the bad crap in the rear view mirror and look ahead to what you can give to yourself. you sound very bright and capable. you are only responsible for you, and that is manageable

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Old 02-27-2011, 06:35 PM
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Hi Ennui,

It's nice to see that you have a good awareness of what has happened, and how it has affected you. I think you are fairly well positioned for good recovery.

I will tell you that there is, in theory, no such thing as a permanent group leader in Alanon, so it's likely there's a different leader now. I'll also encourage you to not let one event like that disengage you from Alanon. People are people, even in Alanon. Once is an anomaly, several times is a trend.

I'll gently suggest you go back to ACOA or Alanon ASAP, continue coming here, find yourself a new roommate and whatever job will get you by, and restart your life from there. It can and will get better if you let it, despite your mother.

Lastly, take what you've learned from this and let it inform your future decisions. You'll be glad that you did.

Take care,


Originally Posted by Ennui View Post
I was in an Alanon group for about a year, until the group leader, a man who was sober for 18 years, came into a meeting tanked. Pretty much turned me off of the local group. Yikes.

I'll look and see if I can find an ACOA group though.
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Old 02-28-2011, 12:06 AM
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HUGS and I agree with everyone here, mom or ex partner are not the only options, there are more options than those 2. Please don't go back there. You deserve a new beginning with people that do not add stress to your life.

You are very strong. I am 28 and have lived with roomies/alone/rented rooms in family houses, certainly has not been easy but let me tell you all those times were WAY better than sharing a place with an Ex who was alkie/abusive, and with another Ex that always wanted to take advantage in many aspects.

It also helps to realize things are temporary and what is vital is to have enough space/silence to get stronger, get , perspective, clarity and yes, even hope and joy... that is how it has been like for me... I have been so desperate the last couple of years (itsMeAlice can tell you LOL) and today I am renting a small apartment inside a family home.. I am watching the Oscars... I got my 2 cats with me... the closet is ALL mine... my mess is mine and no one cares... and I finally start to feel relaxed, healthy and able to think clearly about what I want to do and where I want to
live... and who I welcome in my life...

Let us know how you are doing !
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Old 03-27-2011, 08:10 AM
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I wanted to thank everyone for their advice and words of encouragement. I was so very down when I posted here, and I'm glad that, instead of wallowing in hopelessness, I came to you guys for advice.

The good news is; I have been hired by a major business and will be receiving full time, full benefits, and within a year, reimbursement for going back to college - something I have wanted since the day I stepped out of college. Technically, they haven't made a formal offer yet, because the background check isn't over, but I have 0 criminal activity in my past. The background checking company has made a huge deal of having a copy of every W2 for the last 5 years, but I remain hopeful that not having a few of them will not hinder my ability to be hired.

As a back up, I did take a crappy part time job at a local electronics store, just in case the big, nice, shiny job fell through. What can I say? I prepare for the worst.

As far as living situation goes, I finally opened up to a close friend of mine about what was going on. This close friend of mine had moved to Arkansas, so I figured telling her was "safe". Unfortunately (or, really, fortunately) she got on the horn to our mutual friends who haven't gotten married and moved or gone off to the AF or college, and she found someone who is actually contented with paying just under half the rent, every month, for staying in my apartment during the week (since he lives an hour away, but works in town) and buying groceries. My lease is up in 3 months, and we've talked about looking for a two bedroom apartment after that.

I'm a cynical person, I don't really believe good things happen, especially not to me. But, for once, things have turned around, and I am so thankful to you guys for your reassurance, and words of advice. It might seem silly, but it seemed to screw my head back on straight, for a little while, at least! I didn't resolve myself to staying with my mother, or with the ex, and that worked. Thank you!
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Old 03-27-2011, 08:43 AM
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Thanks for the update--hope the shiny new job comes through! Either way, it sounds like things should work out OK for you. Keep breathing, keep putting one foot in front of the other.
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Old 03-27-2011, 09:25 AM
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You sound much older than your age.....thats a complement.
you seem very much like me.........everything to everyone.

I'd say you are the the ACA family Roles,
The Family Hero: The family hero, usually the oldest child, is the perfectionist. This child believes that if he or she is perfect, the substance abuser will be cured. Perfectionism can range from school achievement to relationships with siblings and even cleanliness. The hero is usually an excellent student, involved in several extracurricular activities at once, and is sometimes the "teacher’s pet." On the outside this child appears to be highly successful, self-sufficient, and well-adjusted. Underneath this facade however, the family hero feels inadequate, because no matter how "perfect" he or she is, the substance abuser continued to drink or use drugs. The family hero shouldered the responsibility of taking care of everyone. Their self-worth required the approval of others. It was their job to make the family look good. And when they fall short, they feel like they have failed.

Just a suggestion.........keep coming are worth it.micealc.
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Old 03-27-2011, 12:26 PM
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Ennuui--are you sure that name fits you From what I've read so far you are just the opposite of ennui! Welcome!

When I read you post I have to admit my first feeling was frustration that people who we should be able to count on to support us are the very ones who bring us down. My mom was extremely abusive. She had 4 children and we all took separate paths in our adult lives. I thought I was "better" because I did not engage with her anymore but I fell into the codie state of mind because it was what felt nice and cozy (though it was not). It took coming here for me to really break some of the destructive paths I had continued to put myself on-even when I stopped listening to my mother's constant denigrating garbage.

I am happy that you are finding you are the gem you are and happy to hear about the new jobs--both of them. A safety net is never a bad thing-when you don't need it anymore you can get rid of it.

You are obvioiusly a "get it done" person. Not surprising being an ACoA. We can be ambitious overachievers and that can come in handy I was happy to read your post and see you are moving forward and not back in with the people who pull you down. You have pulled yourself up and that toxic place can sometimes bring us back down-even if we are there for a short time.

I have to say I went from GRRRRR to YAY from your first post to your last. I am happy you are taking care of YOU!
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