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If your live with an Alcoholic and have children in the home.

Old 02-09-2012, 04:49 PM
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I did not grow up around alcoholics, and I do not have children. So I have no experience to share on this topic. But I do want to say to Willybluedog I am so sorry for what you had to endure. And to others with children-I know it must be difficult but please do whatever you have to do to make a safe environment for you and your children.
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Old 02-09-2012, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by skippernlilg View Post
Bill, I remember the Island of Misfit Toys, and I also thought I belonged there!! You and I have had much of the same experience. I, too, may come across very passionately about this subject, and I wish I could apologize for my passion on this, but I just can't.

Denial never got my family anywhere. Either then or now.
Wow! The Land of Misfit Toys. I was sure that was me, and I could not fit in any where normal.
Since I was the first born, and I think my fathers "favorite" I remember a lot of stuff. Even certain smells can take me back to the days where I was terrified every single day he was home.
He kept all four of us at a distance from him and each other. It was every man for himself in my house.

I was told by more than 1 psychiatrist that I have PTSD from those spending those early developmental times in a constant state of fear. I still have trouble trusting men because so far, I have made some bad choices.
I am 52 years old, I remember being scared in playpen. So, I have a very hard time when someone says the kids dont know, or we dont argue in front of them. They know because they have not lost their capacity to FEEL the illness in the room.

Rambling, sorry...

Beth
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Old 02-09-2012, 04:56 PM
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On second thought, even though I did not grow up around alcoholics, my partner did. And though he didn't marry one, he became one. Hmmmm.....food for thought.
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:12 PM
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I'm not discounting in any way the memories you have all recounted, your feelings about what should have been done, and your feelings about what would be the right thing to do today in a similar situation.

It is important to point out however that more then sometimes, a dysfunctional family can be far better then a broken one...and that a lot of families are dysfunctional. It is important to know that fighting, tension, and emotional hurts in childhood are more common then uncommon. It is important to point out that people are far from perfect, and that parents who manage to keep a roof overhead and food on the table while not physically abusing thier children could have been a lot worse.

A mere 150 years ago children were property to be seen and not heard, were working in sweatshops thorughout the Western world, beaten by bosses and strangers alike, and with fewer protections against inhuman treatment then even animals. This is the world my (European) forefathers came from...this is the world my parents strove to transend. If I hold them to the standards of modern child services, I could make them out to be pretty darn bad I suppose...but when I hold them to historical standards and remember thier humanity is no less then mine, they look pretty good.

I choose to remember the good things, to downplay and accept the bad, and to be a good person in the here and now. Its all I can do.
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:22 PM
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more then sometimes, a dysfunctional family can be far better then a broken one...and that a lot of families are dysfunctional.
I disagree. I really believe it's better to have a harmonious, functional one-parent home than a dysfunctional two-parent one. And I'm 100% certain my children agree.
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:31 PM
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I am glad that for you and your kids, that it is good. For me, if my parents had split up on top of everything else, i think it would have been bad...

point was, the answer depends on the circumstances and details of the situation, its not an automatic yes/no...
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:45 PM
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Wicked,

The smell of cheap cigars causes flashbacks for me, I am there at 4-5-6 years old, Walter Cronkite on TV, and I am tiptoeing around looking for the boot or belt, or verbal attack that I know is coming.

The EMDR sessions with my therapist have really helped me.
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:47 PM
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Scrambled, we will just have to agree to disagree, I would have much rather my dad took us out of that situation, my mom is still an acid tongued, self-absorbed witch, and he is still there enabling her, if he had left with us she would either be better or dead, and either one would be fine with me.
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:48 PM
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There is a grand canyon of difference between "dysfunctional" and "alcoholic."

My two cents,
L
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Old 02-09-2012, 06:05 PM
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guys, I am not saying that your decisions were in any way wrong. I'm pointing out that different families in different circumstances might not have that same solution as the ideal. I said "sometimes, a dysfunctional family can be far better then a broken one."

that only meant don't assume a broken family is *always* the way to go.'

Oh, LaTee (love your photos!), point taken. I guess thats my "nice" word for all the wonders alcohol brings us.

you guys have a great night~~~
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Old 02-09-2012, 06:26 PM
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I have strong feelings about this thread and resonate with most of the posters here.

I stand for people who endured the unendurable. May you have peace and comfort in your heart and home.

I vividly remember the rare moments when an adult was kind to me, seemingly with an understanding of what was *really* going on.

I edited because I want to be kind more than I want to be right.
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Old 02-09-2012, 06:29 PM
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I'm reminded of something I heard once and I agree...It's better to come from a broken home than to live in one.
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Old 02-09-2012, 07:45 PM
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Scrambled,

First, thank you for the compliment. My thanks button doesn't seem to work on my Windows7 computer.

I agree that there is no one solution that fits all situations. But, I do have to mention that I spent years minimizing the problem. "It's not THAT bad." "It could be worse." "Everyone has flaws." "Nobody's perfect." I also used "nicer" words and euphemisms rather that speaking the stark, ugly truth. The rationalization and justification game I played in my mind allowed me to stay in a bad situation much longer than I probably should have. The thought process I was using at the time was not rational because of the conditioning I received as a child. Part of that conditioning included divorce=failure, so I had to find a way to avoid failure. Fear was in control, not my higher self. Just my perspective, looking back in hindsight.

L
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Old 02-09-2012, 09:14 PM
  # 34 (permalink)  
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I am not an ACOA nor have children but from having

-a physically absent father
-an emotionally absent mother

I agree with posts above about the danger of minimizing toxic behaviors.

Abandonment is also emotional abuse. I consider it violence: teaching the kids they do not matter, teaching them they do not exist. Making the kid more prone to problems in her future like addiction, codependency, eating disorders, lack of self worth, vulnerable to toxic relationships, etc. I can only imagine how much worse it is when you add alcohol to the abandonment equation, but through the few years in SR reading many of the stories I realize it is hell and I do not know why anyone would deserve to grow up in an environment where getting OUT the house is the safer bet. Someone has to end the abusive cycle thus I commend all the people here who have healed internally and see there is a different life out there and a way out of the madness that was familiar for too long.
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Old 02-10-2012, 07:08 AM
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…we arrive at places like this ill equipped, desperate, messed up in our own right the majority of the times or really would we even be here…

Hindsight…

I am not the product of alcoholic/addict parents. I had a loving albeit codependent dad and an abusive controlling mother who was way more normal if she happened to drink … and I was the one using drugs so of course it was all my fault and I asked for the beatings and made her do it and I will always come back to what did I do so wrong before the drugs to be deserving of … it really makes so much more sense now since I worked on me…

I didn’t leave, I stayed, and will not say if it is right or wrong. As I see it now I did the best I could at the time and grew from there…

But surely we were all effected, how could you not be even without abuse present….but that doesn’t mean that the children will stay that way and are incapable of growing and learning and just doomed for life to repeat our cycle…

I don’t find anyone all that healthy when it all hit’s the table. And I do still believe in leaving or staying not meaning much of anything if you don’t back either up with working on yourself…There is no way around it we must work on ourselves!

It is so obvious who is still struggling and in all those cases they haven’t committed to finding why they are as they are, still so compelled to make sense of why the addict is as or what I did for a long time trying to make sense of why I was beat as I was … holding on to the pain for far to long, but then that pain, those memories always served to keep me in bad place. I can’t speak for anyone and won’t, but I was sick, and I changed that, and everything changed…everything.


That is one gift we can give to our children that will carry a lifetime, getting healthy, healing our scars, forgiving for our soul, and sanity…that seems to be the only thing that brings change and helps break the cycle.

I do advise all parents who stay to make sure their children know exactly what is going on in the home and give them a voice, be open, honest, no secrets, no lies no cover-ups…and if they want the addict in the home out, then make it happen.

Everyone take good care and love yourselves because you can’t truly love anyone else until you do.
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Old 02-10-2012, 08:05 AM
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There are no easy answers here. I work with kids with substance abuse problems and have known several who were angry at their mom's for taking them away from their substance-abusing parent. Even though it probably wouldn't have been better if they had stayed together sometimes we all want to blame the options we didn't choose for the way we feel today (not sure if I worded that well).
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Old 02-10-2012, 09:12 AM
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Thlayli,

I think that later on they will see the decision as the right one, maybe the cannot do that now, with a childs parent centric focus, and maybe it will take them hearing stories from friends about the "bullet" they dodged.

Of course it is all a matter of degrees, kids who live with a happy drunk who works a job comes home and sits in front of the tv drinking until he just goes to sleep may see it much differently to one raised with screaming, fighting, gaslighting, sexual abuse, as their normal.

I have kind of a twisted take on it.

If my mom was sober:

My mom and dad would not have fought, tension would have been lower.

My mom would have not talked to me like she would a mangy stray dog.

My mom could have better protected me from my dads severe physical abuse.

If my dad had left with us, we would not have to listen to them fight.

If my dad had left with us, we would have been protected from my moms esteem draining acid tongue.

If my dad had left with us, maybe he would not have beat me so often (this one may be wishful thinking on my part)

I believe in my heart that if my mother had been relatively sober, she would have been a good wife and mother and our house would have been peaceful, my long worked long hours and took good care of us financially but came home stressed, my mom only added to that stress, she was to drunk to engage in any kind of intimacy with him, she badgered him about things out of his control, she complained incessantly about some minor slight at the grocery store or in traffic, so they fought constantly, the tension level in our home was near boiling all the time.

I was happiest staying at my grandparents house.

They were both at fault, they never tried to get help, and they never attempted to fix the problem, they took out their misery on me as well as each other.

I would have chosen divorce or at very least separation, but that's just me.
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Old 02-10-2012, 09:24 AM
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Lateeda- I just wanted to offer this perspective with regard to your statement that there is a world of difference between dysfunctional and alcoholic...

I didn't grow up in an alcoholic home BUT both my parents grew up in homes with parents whose own families had rampant alcoholism throughout. Both my parents grew up with what appeared like dry-drunk behavior constantly and they brought those issues to their marriage.

A few yrs ago my mother was hospitalized on the psych ward (a regular occurance growing up and continuing) and at a family meeting prior to discharge, the staff psychiatrist took a look at my siblings and I and said that whether there was drinking or not in our family we were all a textbook case of how alcoholic families function. After he said that I started reading up on ACOA's and what alcoholic households are like and where I'd always just labelled my family as "dysfunctional" I feel like alcoholic would fit it far better.

It's hard for those of us who did not grow up with anyone with a drinking problem to define what the dysfunction was. I don't feel like I belong anywhere. I'm not technically an ACOA and yet EVERY SINGLE characteristic of ACOA's fits me and the dynamic between the alcoholic and the non alcoholic is my parents to a T.

My father was absent (his drug of choice was affairs) and my mother raged at me most of all when he was not there and when he was home my sister and I were put in charge of our siblings and were totally abandoned emotionally bc my parents were too self absorbed, fighting, to deal with us.

So, I just wanted to throw out there that there are some cases of dysfunction that I think are on par with alcoholic family dynamics.

I have PTSD bc of my upbringing and my marriage and I remember trying to be perfect enough to avoid criticism by my mother and when I wasn't perfect enough then I tried to disappear. Her love was erratic. If she was being paid attn to by my father then she was kind to us and then the next instant she'd fly off the handle.

And what breaks my heart most of all is that I repeated so so so many of these patterns in my own life with my daughters bc of staying in an alcoholic marriage so long. My D6 is so so so angry and resentful and defiant of me and frankly is more upset with me (bc I was the angry one for so long while AH was drunk and silly) than she is her absentee father. And the only person responsible for this is me...
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Old 02-10-2012, 10:24 AM
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Willy - thanks for posting this.
I didn't grow up in an alcoholic home. In fact alcohol didn't feature in our lives at all to be honest.
That is why when my AH drinking became a BIG problem, it was all so alien to me. I felt alone but when I found this site I knew I was not.
You all have given me the strength to do many things and for that, I will always be grateful.
I don't post much here but I do read a LOT.
Thanks
M.
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Old 02-10-2012, 10:26 AM
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WTBH

If you read The Big Red Book from ACOA they basically say (I am generaising & editorialising) that alcoholic and dysfunctional behavior cause virtually the same outcomes in children raised in these homes) and the 12 step treatment is the same.

I am sure Desert Eyes can articulate this much better than I am attempting to do here.

I think all of the stuff we have been discussing can be thrown in a giant vat labeled dysfunction.

In my opinion the inconsistency and ticking time bomb nature of my relationship with my parents was the really hard part, if they were always mean or always decent I probably could have handled that better.

It is like someone who pets a dog, then kicks it, and then pets it again, that dog wants your love and attention so bad that he comes back, he may cower and slink back, but he comes back because he is a creature that craves your love so much that he will take the chance that you might pet him over and over again.
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