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Painful decisions...

Old 11-23-2012, 09:21 AM
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Painful decisions...

...but most necessary!

My Mom is mentally ill. Severely bi-polar and in the midst of a major manic episode. When she gets manic like this, she drinks like there's no tomorrow, and it makes her even more irrational and mean. I told her on Wednesday I was not picking her up and taking her to Thanksgiving dinner at my sister-in-law's family's home. That she was not welcome to ruin our holiday by belittling us and embarrassing us in front of this family. That being "crazy" was her choice, not ours, and we didn't have to subject ourselves to her choice if we don't want to.

Right thing to do? Yes. Painful to say to one's Mother? YES! Ok, so I know she's sick, and I try my best to have compassion, but I had to set a boundary and follow through with it. As long as she remains un-medicated and drunk, she is not allowed in my life.

She sent out a hate e-mail, to my siblings and some random "friends" that she somehow finds when she's manic, even though she is also severely agoraphobic and hasn't left the house but a handful of times since late August.

So I have choices here. I can not react to any of it, stand my ground, and let go of the guilt of feeling as if I have done something wrong. Or I can wallow in it and take it all personally.

Thank God for my recovery. I am choosing the former. And every time I start to trash talk myself for being "mean" to my Mother, I stop, rewind, and turn off those voices in my head. It's a physical act, deciding not to buy into this kind of crap anymore. To not be upset by it, or feel responsible for it somehow. I make myself do it; it is an action I take to protect myself and my serenity.

You see, we don't just magically "get better". We make ourselves, through our commitment to not live an unmanageable life anymore. To accept reality as it is and not fight it as if we have some power to change others. My Mom is mentally ill, and most likely alcohol dependent at this point in her life. She won't get better until and unless she chooses that path. The only control I have over this is limiting my exposure to it.

The moral of my story today: following the theme of some threads here this week, it does get better, when we choose to make that happen. When we can decide for ourselves what is good for us, and not worry about anyone else. To decide what others' think of us is none of our business. That we are our own best friend. To treat ourselves with respect, regardless of what others' do.

My Mom may or may not get through this. I accept that, even with a sad heart. For today, this is my reality, I've done the best I can, and the rest is in God's hands. It really is that simple. And what a good feeling it is to let that go! My life is waiting...!

Peace to all today,
~T
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Old 11-23-2012, 10:06 AM
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we don't just magically "get better". We make ourselves, through our commitment to not live an unmanageable life anymore. To accept reality as it is and not fight it as if we have some power to change others.
Thank you for this.
I'm in the middle of a kerfuffle with the new man in my life -- we can both see that we're reacting not to the present but based on past experiences; he's going overboard (I think) trying to prove to me that I'm important to him; I'm second-guessing his choices in that regard as if he wasn't an adult capable of making them himself. But understanding it and getting your feelings to cooperate are difficult animals.

We were discussing Christmas, and I was disappointed he wouldn't be able to spend it with me and my kids. And I voiced that. By saying "I would really have liked to spend Christmas with you, but I understand that you prioritize your elderly parents at Christmas. I would, too." Which he interpreted as "You're not prioritizing me enough and therefore, I will make your life a living hell unless you change your plans." So without discussing it, he changed his plans so he could spend Christmas with my family. And now I'm fighting feeling guilty because he's abandoning his elderly parents for Christmas.

You're right. We're as healthy as we allow ourselves to be.
it does get better, when we choose to make that happen. When we can decide for ourselves what is good for us, and not worry about anyone else.
And I'm also learning how important recovery is, again. Because the behaviors don't go away with the alcoholic. No matter how much we wish they would.
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Old 11-23-2012, 11:29 AM
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Lillamy, although it was not what you intended, the fact that your man chose to spend Xmas with you and the kids speaks volumes to his character.

My now-ex didn't make the same choice last year, and instead made it very clear he preferred his family of origin over me and the girls. For T-giving and Xmas. It hurt all of us, and the sad thing is he acted as if I was unreasonable for thinking he should spend Xmas with his family of creation. So he goes home to his parents, all the while telling me he can't cancel these plans because his siblings were joining him, except that his siblings didn't arrive until the day after Xmas day. So my request to spend Xmas with us and fly out the day after would have made sense, given his siblings' choices to spend the actual holiday with their own family of creation. *SIGH* Huge red flag I also chose to ignore at the time.

So maybe you didn't intend for him to change his plans, the fact that he did shows how much he cares and prioritizes you and the kids. I admire that; he sounds like a good man.
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Old 11-23-2012, 12:31 PM
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He is a good man. I just need to learn to understand that sometimes, actions like his are expressions of love, not manipulations intended to create guilt...

I think it's got to be terribly, terribly difficult with a parent, though, and it speaks volumes of your recovery and insight that you are able to choose to not dwell on the guilt, but set healthy boundaries and abide by them. I hope you had a good Thanksgiving!
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Old 11-23-2012, 01:05 PM
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Parents, kids, spouses, friends...I am not sure if one is more difficult then the other. It's all hard, having to set tough boundaries. It really sucks, and I have found my anger becomes directed at these people for forcing me into this position to begin with, ya know? Especially knowing they would NOT tolerate this behavior from ME.

I think I still have a ways to go before I would be able to determine effectively expressions of love vs. narcissistic manipulation! ; ) Obviously, although I have come far, I still have a full set of baggage banging around behind me! That's ok, progress takes time, patience, and faith.

I had a lovely Thanksgiving. Lillamy - my "extended" family bought one of those new homes on the bluff at Government Hill, with sweeping views all the way from Earthquake park to the star at Alpenglow. It is gorgeous!! I am so jealous - my view is into my neighbor's backyard! ; )
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Old 11-23-2012, 01:29 PM
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Oooh, that sounds gorgeous! And the weather was so crisp and clear, too! My view is not very impressive either, but I had a lovely walk in the woods (with only a certain amount of whining from the children I forced to come with me... )
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Old 11-23-2012, 04:15 PM
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Red face

Dear Tuffgirl, I just want to tell you that I can appreciate what you are dealing with. My husband had 2 relatives with bi-polar disorder and I have been with the family when they come off the meds and had full-blown mania. (I have also worked in psychiatric units). I've also know several families that had bi-polar members.

It is heart=breaking when the alcoholic is also a family member---parent/child. I am the mother in my situation. My own mother (92yrs. old) is so neurotic that I have never been able to have the kind of relationship with her that I would like.

We can't detach and leave the relationship with a parent or child in the way we can with a romantic partner or spouse. You can't get another mother; you can't trade that child in for another. The heart simply doesn't work that way.

I know that you are doing the only thing left for you to do. I know you have to let go and let God.

Tuffgirl, please know how many of us are walking in your same shoes and we understand--truly, we do.

very sincerely, dandylion
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Old 11-23-2012, 05:01 PM
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Just offering ((hugs)) and good thoughts your way Tuffgirl. Yes indeed, all we can do is let go. Life itself is a huge lesson in letting go. Both you and your mom are in Godīs hands. I too am thankful for SR and for recovery. Keeping our inner peace is priceless.
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Old 11-23-2012, 06:15 PM
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I can identify with your situation. It took me years to set boundaries with my mother and to learn how I could love her and hate her at the same time without going crazy. I acknowledged her faults, and learned how to judge my own feelings at any given moment when I was with her. Like an internal monitor if you will. When the needle ran high, I would tell her point blank I couldn't be around her right then. Objectively, it wouldn't necessarily be anything she was doing right then, but it was subjective on my part. When I could take her, we were very close. Over a period of years, she learned to pick up on my signals, and she would accept that I was walking away because I couldn't take her right at that moment. There were so many things to admire in her and so many complications.

I think parents present a difficult situation as compared to spouses or significant others. The later, you can cut bait. The former, you can cut bait but your still attached, even if its just on a psychological level. I don't care who you are, you got your parents in your head somewhere. So, you can leave or distance yourself, but you got to figure out a way to live with that person whether it's in their physical presents or just the impact they have on your life. Very tricky stuff.

I ended up having a very healthy relationship with her after many years of trying, and truly enjoyed her. It's is true that others can only do to us what we let them do, it is up to us how we respond, how we feel, and who we are. Thank God for that too
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Old 11-23-2012, 06:57 PM
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Hey tg... right there with you... my mother was sick/addicted too - the day of my greatest freedom AND the day I felt I was "myself" in the relationship was the day I choose guilt over duty.

I learned that it was sooo much easier to deal with guilt feelings for me than it was to have to "play" the perfect daughter. From that day on I had a relationship with her that I could manage and though she wasn't the mother I wanted - I gave that idea up and accepted what I had.

That took me to the end of her life and in the last year of her life - we had the relationship we both always wanted - too little to late - no - it was a miracle to me to have that time. I am now able to remember the good with the bad and feel grateful I got good at all.

I believe we all have different lessons and journeys to attend to. We also get to deal or not deal with it. I "chose" to do my part.

I am glad you came the decision you can live with - it makes all the difference.
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Old 11-24-2012, 09:34 AM
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Dear TG-

Thanks for this post. It helped to remind me that though I am no longer with the man that got me to this board, Al-Anon etc; I am still on the recovery journey.

Sometimes, because of the grounding/healing I have done due to the alcoholism in my life I realize that I am more open to seeing reality around me. I spent the holiday with extended family where three of the four members have used/abused alcohol in the past and may/may not be active. One family member in particular has a number of other concerns as well.

I spent last Xmas with this family also and though I was aware that stuff was going on, I struggled to not take it on as my own.

This year I was able to understand that it had nothing to do with me, and I had an enjoyable (and not stressful) holiday.

It also helped me to realize I am not traveling to them for Xmas this year.

Sometimes it is hard for me to balance that with the growth I am experiencing there does come serenity but there also comes a different level of responsibility....to myself.

Thanks for demonstrating (and sharing that). It helps to see it in action.
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:50 PM
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:03 PM
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klbelieve, I think you have to have a certain number of posts before you can use the PM feature. You can always start a new thread, if you don't mind everyone else can see it, too. In the meantime, I will send you a friend request which I believe you can accept. So keep posting!
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:45 PM
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Sorry I missed this one...

...I haven't been around lately. Wife is just off a a major bi-polar manic episode. She's still alive, but her car isn't. Thank goodness it didn't hit anybody as it rolled down the street with her blacked out in it. Her only injury was a burn on her thumb from the airbag, and she blew half the legal limit so it's not a DUI (Dang it!). It is, however, Criminal Negligent Driving (yay!).

Same story as always-- stopped going to meetings and working the program, started drinking, drinking reacts to her bipolar drugs, insanity ensues. She never learns.

Neither do I apparently-- I'm still with her.

Take care,

Cyranoak

Originally Posted by Tuffgirl View Post
klbelieve, I think you have to have a certain number of posts before you can use the PM feature. You can always start a new thread, if you don't mind everyone else can see it, too. In the meantime, I will send you a friend request which I believe you can accept. So keep posting!
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:46 PM
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She was in a blackout and only blew half the limit? Wow.

Do you think she was REALLY in a blackout or do you think she's just saying that? I'm only wondering because that's a really unusual BAC for a blackout.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:24 PM
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Oh Cy, I'm so sorry. My Mom is still super manic; this episode is a very bad one. We haven't spoken since this thread was written - the only person she will talk to is my sister-in-law. Still drinking like a fish, too. Jeeze, its painful to watch.

Prayers,
~T
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:28 AM
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Cyronoak - so sorry and glad she didn't hurt anybody...yes not a good mix with booze and bipolar meds. Saw that with my husband when he relapsed went into a manic episode (he is BPII so not a bad one) until one night.....not so much.

Take care my friend.
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:49 PM
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Blackout, asleep, not much difference to me...

...it was highly likely a combination of mixing alcohol with bi-polar meds, and most certainly fatigue mixed in as well. What the accident report shows is that she hit the ditch at an estimated 40 mph, vaulted across the Cross Street, and landed on a hillside. When the deputy arrived, wife thought she was 15 miles from where she actually was, and thought she was just up the hill from our house. Here's what I know for sure-- she wasn't legally drunk. That's the only thing I know for sure.


Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
She was in a blackout and only blew half the limit? Wow.

Do you think she was REALLY in a blackout or do you think she's just saying that? I'm only wondering because that's a really unusual BAC for a blackout.
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:16 PM
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OK, that makes sense, if other meds were involved, plus she got banged around. Sorry you are all having to deal with this.

Hugs...
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