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Old 06-16-2011, 05:31 AM
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Does this fit here?

D5 had her last day of Kindergarten yesterday. Her teacher sent home all her work journals that she practiced writing in each day (about what she was thinking about, had done, liked etc...)

I thought I'd sit down after the girls were in bed and after laundry was done and after I'd done job searching and enjoy reading through them.

Instead I found myself bawling.

The Monday after AH went on a terrible bender over Veterans day weekend D5 drew an enormous RED sun with black rays pointing out like knives and wrote "I seed a sun making a loud noise". I am no art therapist but as soon as I looked at it I felt sick. It's a disturbing picture.

There are many happy low key pictures too but not a single one about doing something happy as a family. It's either I had fun with my mom or I like playing with my Dad and many many pictures of I was nice to my sister.

Something about the ones that she drew of she and AH bothered me too. There was this desperation/sadness in the things she wrote like she was writing what she WISHED was happening or what she longed for.

And then equally sad were the ones of she and I. I am drawn in lots of red and black (which my friend at work who is the school psychologist tells me is a sign of anger) and even though she's writing about happy things that we actually did together, I'm black and red. Now, granted I have black hair but still...

So, seeing that was a HUGE slap in the face about just how traumatized my kids have been bc of alcoholism in the home and it's all I can do to not sit here and bawl right now.
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Old 06-16-2011, 05:46 AM
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WTBH, ((((hugs))))

Yes this is the right place. I feel so sorry for you and your daughter and I don't have any experience with this. My wife didn't go alcoholic until both of my girls were in high school.

All I can offer is prayers and compassion. Knowledge is a powerful thing, find out what you can about the effects of alcoholism on young children. The ACOA forum my have people who can offer wisdom based on their own experiences. Just a thought but the red and black may not be her anger at you but the anger she is picking up from you towards your AH.

I'm sorry I don't remember but do you still live with your AH?

I wish you both the best.

Your friend,
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Old 06-16-2011, 06:11 AM
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Yeah, it's hard. My kids seem really happy and I thought I was doing a good job of shielding them, but my seven year old son's school Fathers Day poem about his Dad had lines in it like "My Dad likes beer!" and "My Dad wishes he were better." He also said something once about worrying about being homeless. It was awful!

Just keep loving those kids and being strong for them. I was raised by a single mom and to be honest, when she flipped out about her situation it was terrifying to me. I needed the security of knowing my one parent was in control. Not that you need to lie, I tell my son that money is tight right now and I don't want to waste it, or that it stinks that his Dad can't be here, but we will get through it and I will always take care of him and smile and give him a warm hug. It seems to help him.
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Old 06-16-2011, 06:23 AM
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LadyBug, very good post. WTBH, I guess you are separated. I was going to post something like what LadyBug posted except not near as insightful or good.

Don't beat yourself up. Let your kids know you love them, give them your time and attention and be there for them.

I grew up with an AH and a codie Mom. Seemed to me like no one ever had time for me.

Your friend,
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Old 06-16-2011, 06:57 AM
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We think we shield them, but they are like sponges, and they soak up every ugly emotion floating around from both parties.

The damage to my now 33-year-old AD being exposed to that insanity the first 8 years of her life was immense and deep.

That's something I have to live with the rest of my life.
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:09 AM
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I can blame and be angry with AH all I want but mostly I am angry with myself. I've been your codie mom. Putting the girls aside bc I've been consumed with worry about AH and I have tremendous guilt. I have no doubt that D5 is very angry with me. I am the one home, I am the rule maker, I am the one who AH tells her "made" him leave. I've snapped at my D's bc of the stress I've been under bc of AH and all sorts of other stuff like that...
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:27 AM
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Why be angry with yourself? How does that help with either your recovery or with your daughters? That was then, this is now.

One of the things I am getting from recovery is to live in the present. You can't change the past and you can't control the future so focus on what you can control, now. Remember one day at a time. Make some time for yourself and your recovery and some time for your daughters.

And no you are not even close to being my codie mom. She never had the strength to leave or admit what was going on. Your strength is far beyond hers and you should be proud that you have done as much as you have.

Recovery IS hard work but it is worth it. Your girls will appreciate what you did when they are older. They see what their AF is really like.

Your friend,
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:32 AM
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Unfortunately I've seen what AH was like for a while and kept wanting to make it work "for the girls" when I think maybe (though I did not realize this at the time) I wanted to make it work for me, for the dream of what I thought we'd have and bc I was terrified of being alone. That last part is still there. There are many fears that I have. But it's not keeping me stuck anymore.
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:40 AM
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Been there and done that. This is a hard road. I didn't separate from my wife until after my girls were moved out and married. I can't imagine what it is like to be trying this with children. But, you are strong enough. You made the first step and you will keep moving forward. I know you are worth it and deep down you do to. Remember to focus on your recovery first. I know it seems counter intuitive as a parent but if you do you will be much more centered and stable for your girls.

(((hugs)))
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:41 AM
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My daughter is 28 and the fact that I raised her while being an untreated al-anon is a big regret. But I cannot go about wishing the past to change. It was what it was.

I've made my amends to her and I continue to make living amends - not in a way that keeps me in guilt or shame, but in a way that shows her no matter what, there is an option, a choice to turn things around.

Yes, it is unfortunate that children are exposed to alcoholism, abuse, neglect, etc. I know that I was. One of the best things I can do for my daughter is ACKNOWLEDGE that it was real and that it happened.

That is my ESH. I hope you find some comfort in it. The good news in your story is that your D is processing some of it, in her own way.
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:47 AM
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My wife didn't go into her alkie phase until the girls were teenagers. Before that we were pretty much a normal family. I can still look back on the good days and see things that I would have done different knowing what I know now. Its all part of being a parent.

BTW, my girls and I are very good friends and I have a very close relationship with them and their families. Grandkids are great.

As my one daughter says Grandkids are your reward for not killing your own kids. (Joke)
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:13 AM
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The good news is that as you recover, becoming stronger emotionally and are able to let go of the anger, your daughters will see that.

They won't see you stuck in the muck that you are working out of.

You will teach them good healthy relationship skills...you will teach them how to love, and detach. You will teach them about this disease that their father suffers from.

This certainly must be painful right now...I know how it hurts, but, it can be the touchstone to greater growth.
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:20 AM
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Oh WTBH, I want to give you a Giant HUG right NOW.

I'm an ACOA and now a parent who just separated from exABF who was the sole father figure for my DS-10. For the same reasons you have done what you're doing.

I did the same thing. I gritted my teeth through DS's school journal just yesterday to see if there are glmipses of things that have affected him. Knowledge is power, right?

Now you know that she definitely notices. You and I? We have little Jiminy Crickets right here every single day. Sometimes it's a good thing to have these guys keeping an eye on what we do. Sometimes it makes us cringe.

I think of my mother, Queen Codie, who thinks her general apology for the 'way things were' is her amends when I'm dealing with DS. I make sure that when I make a mistake, I acknowledge his feelings, his experience in it, and let him know how sorry I am. I tell him that when we as a family make a mistake we will acknowledge the specific mistake and do our best to make it right.

Now, when I read about the red and black depictions of you, I shook my head at your friend's analysis of your DD's feelings. I specifically remember having to LEARN to be mad. Anger was not allowed by the children in our alcoholic home because Anger was SCARY. So, it's possible that she is expressing something that she doesn't even understand. What I think I remember expressing when I used BOLD colors is that the brightness wouldn't fade away into the paper, like I felt I was. The boldness stands out, like I wish I could. We children were completely forgotten in the midst of my bio-dad's one-crisis-after-another. It was like living at the Fire Station! My bio-dad yelling, my mom crying, my bio-dad leaving, my mom following him, pleading.

The difference in this, is that my mom didn't leave him until I was 22 years old and graduating from college.

YOUR DD can later look back and appreciate that you saw this early and corrected it as soon as you possibly could.

Lesson: We all make mistakes. Smart people utilize their resources.

Your DD will be empowered because her mother is.
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:39 AM
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Parent guilt. We all have it. Kids will experience dysfunction throughout their lifetime. Let your anger at yourself propel you into action to change the situation. You will feel better, and inevitably so will your kids.

I had a physical last week and shared my situation with my nurse. She laughed when I expressed guilt, and said "well now they will have something to talk about in therapy!" I have to admit - it was funny thinking about it that way. I mean, my parents weren't perfect, there's weren't either. We are all imperfect people doing the best we can with what we've got.

You've done the best you could have given the situation you were in. Believe in that.
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Old 06-16-2011, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post
So, seeing that was a HUGE slap in the face about just how traumatized my kids have been bc of alcoholism in the home...
No need to beat your self up for not seeing it sooner, heck I'm betting there are many more parents in denial than not.

Glad to know you see the truth about just how it effects the children. Good on you!

Awareness
Acceptance
Action


You'll do the right thing by your kids.
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by skippernlilg View Post

Your DD will be empowered because her mother is.


Love this sentence!!!!
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:01 PM
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Try and take it easy on yourself.
Remember that not everything in life is about you. Not to be snarky but you know what I mean? My boss can be a ***** to me but it's not because of me. It's because of something else.

My son is 2. He can try and strike out at me when he doesn't like something. Doesn't mean he's messed up. When he was 1, he used to try and bite. Didn't mean he was a cannibal. Somedays he likes blues and greens. Other days it's yellows and reds.

Edit: All that said, if you feel like crying, then cry. You know it's okay. You also know you're a good mom.
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:21 PM
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Here's how I see it: We know better, so now we do better.
And we can share the lessons from our own recovery with our children.
I'm working on teaching my children (isn't this ironic -- most parents would laugh...) to dare to take up space in the world and to dare express and maintain their wants, desires, and needs.

It's a sloooooow process. But we're moving forward every day we give them a loving place to land.
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Old 06-16-2011, 03:38 PM
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(((wtbh)))

I try to look ahead and not at the past and be in the moment for my kids, but it doesn't work all the time.

For a long time when I felt so overwhelmed with this disease I lashed out at AH and told him to leave. Went back to work and changed our lives dramatically.

What was missing was me being the mom that is there for my kids. My wake up call - my 10 yr old DS wrote a mother's day poem and in it he referred to my eyes as blue - well, hello my eyes are not blue but my 17 year old daughter's are. He shrugged his shoulders and said he didn't know what color my eyes were.

I took it personally and felt I wasn't being there enough for my son and smiling at him so he could look in my eyes and see what color they were. I've moved on from that day and try to do my best to be there for him. It doesn't always work but I'm getting better.
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