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What do you want from them?

Old 05-27-2012, 12:12 PM
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What do you want from them?

Hello folks,

We were wondering what people want from their 'A'. I mean it in terms of when you've sussed them out and confronted them, what do you want from them? An admission of their problem? An apology? An explanation?

I ask because as many are aware, my stepdaughter wrote to her mum 3 weeks ago now telling her she doesn't want to see her or speak to her. This has come about after 10.5 months of being lied to, let down and generally messed about and the kid has really, really had enough. Mum didn't respond for ages, but sent a text on Friday morning saying 'have a good day at school, I love you and want to speak to you because I miss you. I also want to see you soon because it's been too long'. She tried calling later, SD didn't answer her phone, so she phoned my husband's phone and asked to speak to her daughter, but SD refused to speak to her and my husband told her this. She started to shout down the phone at him, but he hung up. Heard nothing since. My husband asked his daughter yesterday if she's heard anything further from her mum, and she said 'no, and it's a relief because I really don't want to hear from her. She has nothing to say to me'. We asked her what she wants from her mum, thinking she might say that she wants her mum to write to her maybe, tell her she's sorry and that yes, she does have a problem and will try to work it out, or that she's not ready to deal with it yet, but she just said 'the only thing I want from my mum is for her not to be an alcoholic'.

Sadly, we feel that's an unrealistic expectation, but wondered if we should tell mum that's what her daughter wants? Mum obviously thinks that giving it a couple of weeks after the letter was sent would cure everything, make it all okay. She will probably try again next week because she doesn't 'get' why her daughter is so angry with her, so disappointed in her and why her daughter wants her to keep away. Her contacting SD on Friday just made SD mad, and we don't want her to feel mad.

I hope this post makes sense! Some input from recovering A's would be helpful, as they would at least be able to understand it from SD's mum's point of view.
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Old 05-27-2012, 12:30 PM
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SD has learned there is nothing she can do or say that will affect her mother's drinking so she smartly pulled away. Saying she wants her mother to not be an alcoholic is said in jest because she knows that isn't going to happen. Mom, the self-centered, self-involved alcoholic that she is has no interest in what her daughter wants. It's about me, me, me. And, active alcoholics want codependents around because it helps them drink, gives some self-esteem, whatever. But daughter is healthy and wants nothing to do with it.

Why are you getting involved? It's between SD and her mother. Did either of them ask for your advice and help?
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Old 05-27-2012, 12:36 PM
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Because SD is only 13 years old & lives with my husband & I. She asks us for support, help & advice, and I admit to being fairly ignorant to the ways of an alcoholic (although am learning).

It's not about helping mum, its about helping a child.
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Old 05-27-2012, 12:49 PM
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Just my two cents: I don't think you should tell the mom anything. She knows why her daughter is avoiding her, even if she won't admit it. If SD doesn't want to speak with her mom, that should be respected by all concerned. Of course, the mom won't play by the rules, but you and your husband can shield your SD from her mom simply by not asking SD if she want to talk to mom when she calls. Just keep repeating to the Mom that SD does not wish to speak with her. Be consistent.

Of course SD wanting her mom not to be alcoholic is unrealistic, but it's still what she wants. I'd stop asking her about whether or not she's heard from Mom and just leave it be.
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Old 05-27-2012, 12:49 PM
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Alateen could be a great support to your step daughter.

I am certain the girl is hurting, perhaps counseling could help her sort thru her troubles.

Good on you, for stepping up to the plate and being a real mom to her.

Please continue to educate yourself about addiction. It will help you in helping her.

Hugs across the pond)))))
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Old 05-27-2012, 01:14 PM
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Thanks both of you. My husband feels that if mum rings to speak to SD, then if she's around he should ask her if she wants to talk to her, simply because she herself (SD) might actually want to. That was the first time since the letter that mum has called though, so if she does call again he will just say something like 'I don't think she wants to speak to you, so try her phone and if she doesn't answer then that's up to her'. Can't really do anymore than that can he.

We fully support her decision, and it is not one that was reached lightly. There is a lot in the UK press recently about the flaws in our current child law, and its being banded about that all children should have a relationship with both parents, which we agree with except when the absent parent is causing harm. What I'm trying to say is that we are both advocates of this, and I guess feel a little guilty about supporting such a huge decision and supporting a child cutting a parent out of their life.

Alateen is practically non-existent now, and there is no Alateen locally. She has counselling at school & we took her to Al-Anon. It was good, and helpful but she didn't want to go again.
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Old 05-27-2012, 01:39 PM
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Because SD is only 13 years old & lives with my husband & I.
Oooops, I apologize. I had a mental picture of someone in their 20's. Of course it involves you. It sounds like SD has a good head on her shoulders, enough self-esteem to not let her mother play alcoholic games with her. I'd offer to be a sounding board if she wants to talk about any of this. This is only about a young girl in a painful situation taking enormous steps to be healthy. You're handling this well -- just tell mom that SD will contact her if she wants to.

When I was 11 I moved moved to my grandma & aunt's farm. My mother wasn't an alcoholic but she was schizophrenic and not someone who could deal with children. I stayed there until going away to college. Many years later my mother and I mended our fences, when her mental illness improved greatly. My life would have been totally different if I hadn't been raised in a healthy environment with people who genuinely loved me.
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Old 05-27-2012, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by NikNox View Post
Thanks both of you. My husband feels that if mum rings to speak to SD, then if she's around he should ask her if she wants to talk to her, simply because she herself (SD) might actually want to. That was the first time since the letter that mum has called though, so if she does call again he will just say something like 'I don't think she wants to speak to you, so try her phone and if she doesn't answer then that's up to her'. Can't really do anymore than that can he.
Well, you have to do what you think is best, but I have been through this before and I was just giving you my own experiences. My daughter went on to completely cut her dad out of her life when she turned 18. She changed her last name from his to my maiden name, which I went back to after he and I divorced. My daughter would get angry if her dad called (which he very seldom did) and asking if she wanted to speak with him was just an invitation to a dreadful evening.

Perhaps just tell your SD that until you hear further, you will continue to tell Mom that SD does not wish to speak with her. If SD changes her mind, she can let you know. Then again, it's your decision.
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Old 05-27-2012, 02:03 PM
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Suki, that is a brilliant idea! Just ran it by my husband, & he thanks you too.

I had a bit of a textathon with mum a couple of weeks ago after she sent me a text blaming my husband and I for SD's decision, and she swore she will resolve things between her and her daughter. I replied saying that I hoped she could eventually resolve things, but that resolving things rested on her shoulders, not her daughter's, and advised that she should let SD be and allow her the space and time she wants. I told her I was sure SD would contact her if she wanted to. So, your suggestion is my husband reiterating to her what she's already been told. Brilliant!
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Old 05-27-2012, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by NYCDoglvr View Post
Oooops, I apologize. I had a mental picture of someone in their 20's. Of course it involves you. It sounds like SD has a good head on her shoulders, enough self-esteem to not let her mother play alcoholic games with her. I'd offer to be a sounding board if she wants to talk about any of this. This is only about a young girl in a painful situation taking enormous steps to be healthy. You're handling this well -- just tell mom that SD will contact her if she wants to.

When I was 11 I moved moved to my grandma & aunt's farm. My mother wasn't an alcoholic but she was schizophrenic and not someone who could deal with children. I stayed there until going away to college. Many years later my mother and I mended our fences, when her mental illness improved greatly. My life would have been totally different if I hadn't been raised in a healthy environment with people who genuinely loved me.
No apology needed
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Old 05-27-2012, 04:59 PM
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thanks for sharing your e, s, & h ~

we are raising our 8 yr old granddaughter and right now she still wants contact - but I know it won't be long she will go thru periods of not wanting to talk to her dad, because he goes long periods of time not talking to her due to his disease ~

reading here helps me get ideas of how I will handle it when the time comes for us ~

prayers of comfort for your step-daughter & all the family

PINK HUGS,
Rita
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Old 05-28-2012, 10:08 AM
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Interesting question - what do we want from them?

My husband is the alcoholic in my life (aside from a family member and a dear friend). What do I want from him? I got an apology, recognition of the devastation of the drinking on our family (sort of), but no sustained change. He still thinks and reacts like an addict - the world revolves around him. It is very difficult to have a relationship with someone who thinks this way. I understand your SD wanting to draw a hard line with no contact. I imagine she feels her life is unmanageable if she doesn't. Just like the rest of us.

I don't want anything anymore - just to be left alone so me and my girls can heal and move on to the next chapter of our lives. Maybe that is where your SD is at, even at her age. My youngest is 14, and I know she has had enough drama. She made that very clear!!

I know this is a young age, but I think we grown ups tend to be more jaded than the younger folks, and they see things more clearly then we do. Respect her wishes, and drop the subject entirely unless she brings it up. She may be 13, but obviously she is a bright, in tune with herself young lady. And she has you and her Dad to thank for that someday - for giving her the stability she doesn't get with Mom.
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Old 05-28-2012, 10:21 AM
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You aren't stopping the child from having a relationship with her mom. It is her choice. Counseling may help. Alateen is still listed in the internet. http://www.al-anonuk.org.uk/meetings/

Know you have the best interest of the child and are doing everything you can to help her.

Peace, love, & hugs,
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Old 05-28-2012, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by MsPINKAcres View Post
thanks for sharing your e, s, & h ~

we are raising our 8 yr old granddaughter and right now she still wants contact - but I know it won't be long she will go thru periods of not wanting to talk to her dad, because he goes long periods of time not talking to her due to his disease ~

reading here helps me get ideas of how I will handle it when the time comes for us ~

prayers of comfort for your step-daughter & all the family

PINK HUGS,
Rita
Thank you Rita, for your prayers and hugs of support. They are extended back to you also, with sincerity. I am so pleased that you are raising your granddaughter, and supporting her wish for contact with her father. She will go through periods of not wanting to talk to him, as she grows older and understands the mechanism of alcoholism more. At 8, she is still very young, the same age in fact as my SD's half brother, who now lives with his dad as he had to be removed from mum. He doesn't understand, but is irritated by his mother and finds it difficult to see her because all she does is, to use his words 'make me work' (she gets him doing all the chores when she has contact with him, whilst she 'sleeps' on the settee).

It probably will get harder as time goes on, and realisation sets in, but at least she has the stability of a loving home to carry her through any dark days in her future.

You are doing the right thing, and I wish you all the very best.

Nikki x
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Old 05-28-2012, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by sugarbear1 View Post
You aren't stopping the child from having a relationship with her mom. It is her choice. Counseling may help. Alateen is still listed in the internet. http://www.al-anonuk.org.uk/meetings/

Know you have the best interest of the child and are doing everything you can to help her.

Peace, love, & hugs,
Thanks for that and I checked. The nearest one to us is 45 miles away which unfortunately isn't doable due to our work etc. She is having weekly counselling sessions at school, so hopefully that will be sufficient for now. We found a hand indentation on our fridge door the other day, and as it wasn't either my husband or myself, or my 19 year old son (I asked him, and I know when he's lying because he just cannot do it!), so it must be SD taking her anger out. We haven't confronted her with it because we don't feel we should, although perhaps a punch bag in the garden would be a better place to vent!
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Old 05-28-2012, 01:08 PM
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I wanted to let you all know that my husband received a text from SD's mum this evening. We asked her, about 2 weeks ago now if she could let us know where she was born because we are renewing SD's passport for a foreign holiday we're taking in August, and she sent a text with that information at the beginning. She followed it by saying that SHE wants to see SD and that she wants my husband to 'do some work on her your end, when she's calmed down'! He replied, very simply, and said that she is calm and comfortable with her decision, which we both fully support, and that he suggests she leaves SD alone and if SD ever wants to contact her, she will. Haven't heard anything back, as yet.

We haven't mentioned this text to SD, and will not mention her mother to her again and will only discuss mum if SD raises the subject. We think that's best.
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Old 05-28-2012, 01:13 PM
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It probably will get harder as time goes on, and realisation sets in, but at least she has the stability of a loving home to carry her through any dark days in her future.
She is so lucky to have you there to support her during these hard times.
When I was her age, I wanted my father to stop drinking, tell me he was sorry, tell me he was proud of me, and most of all tell me he loved me. He never did.
You can tell her this is just out of her bio mom's realm of feelings, her feelings are gone except for her alcohol and how that effects her moods. Anything she says that is lovey dovey is hooey to make a show. Let stepdaughter stay away, and not play that part that mom has for her. Make her the star in her own life, and the need for mom will lessen, not really ever go away, but she has you and your husband there to take up the slack. You are working so hard on that. I appreciate it, even if the 13 year old can't say it now, I will. Thank you for being there for her and her brother.

Beth
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Old 05-28-2012, 01:17 PM
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perhaps a punch bag in the garden would be a better place to vent!
great idea! especially if she can damage the fridge.
any kick boxing classes around? karate? excellent ways to diffuse that energy and direct them in a positive way.

Beth
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Old 05-28-2012, 01:50 PM
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Well, in market research we have an interviewing approach called "laddering" which is when a person answers a question like "What do you want from your alcoholic mom" and they say "I just want her not to be an alcoholic anymore," then you would ask "Why?"--because saying she doesn't want her to be an alcoholic is just the tip of the iceberg. So that first answer may be unrealistic, but you/your DH may be able to address some of those deeper things she's starting to share with you.

I remember when my mother told me that she was remarrying when I was 13. She had dumped my dad because of his alcoholism. She had promised me (not too wisely but i understand why she did it) that when "Daddy gets better" she'd remarry him and I could be the bridesmaid.

So, when I collapsed in sobs and sadness after I learned she was marrying a guy that I actually really liked, she asked me why I was upset and I told her that it was because she'd be excommunicated from the church. Of course, that was hogwash--but even I didn't know it. Of course it meant the end of my dreams of my Dad getting better and living happily ever after with us.

I agree that the only useful reason for you to ask her that question is so that you and your DH can understand her better but know that the real answer may be buried within.

As it pertains you playing "telephone" between SD and her mom, I agree with Suki. Let it go. She is lucky to have such a kind, supportive, understanding stepmom. BTW, my stepdad, after I got over crying about it, was the best thing that could have happened to the family.
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Old 05-28-2012, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by wicked View Post
great idea! especially if she can damage the fridge.
any kick boxing classes around? karate? excellent ways to diffuse that energy and direct them in a positive way.

Beth
She used to do a martial arts club when she was living with mum, although she rarely went and mum only arranged it because it was on a Friday evening (there was also a Monday evening choice) and interfered with my husband collecting her for weekend contact as it finished an hour later than his court ordered contact started! He would sit around at work (he works half way between mum's home and our home, so when he had contact he would drive straight from work rather than come home and then go over, due to the mileage) to leave at 6.30pm (he finishes work at 5.30pm) to get there for 7 to collect her from her club, and more often than not, she would text him when he was on his way, around 6.45 to say SD wasn't at the club so he would have to collect her from there. Why on earth she did that we have no idea, but it certainly wound us up (guess that was the intention). Sorry, I went off track! Anyway, she enjoyed that so we asked her if she wanted to do similar here but she didn't. She has however just started athletics and trampolining as after school clubs. Hopefully those will expel some energy, positively!
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