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How it impacts the kids to stay w an A

Old 11-20-2013, 07:11 AM
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How it impacts the kids to stay w an A

If you're here, have kids, live with an A and wonder if it can work I just wanted to share my experience...

When I first came here and for well over a year after I arrived (probably longer even) I had the following responses about why I stayed when some wiser members told me in no undertsin terms that I was harming my kids by staying.

It's disturbing to me now to see how my excuses and those I hear others saying sound a lot like the excuses our A's make to maintain their addiction status quo... Of course I wasn't aware of that then and I judge no one who is in the same boat I was but I've become keenly aware of this recently and seeing a post from Anvil & Suki to Lewis (the same posts I didn't listen to for a long time . ) made me think that I wanted to start a new thread. Maybe something I say will help someone else and even if not, it helps me to get it out...

- It will disrupt them more to leave and upset the apple cart... Now isn't the right time
- I have a plan... There's a deadline (rarely was this true or did I intend to stick to it when it was)
- I can protect them better being here instead of sharing time w them & having them elsewhere w their dad (this one I still struggle with)
- My situation is unique- you don't understand
- I'm in al anon and aware of whats happening & have it as under control as I can
- I can't afford to leave
- What if this is the time he takes his "r" attempt seriously
- I'm afraid to be alone

Anvil & Suki among others gave me a advice I now find myself gently giving to others about thinking about ones kids first and grasping the devastating impact of living w an A for them.

When I was given that advice I got defensive, had every reason in the world why I had it under control and knew best what was best for my kids.... I couldn't stand to think that I was not in control of keeping my kids safe by choosing to stay w AH. I'm their mom and I've got this was what I believed.

I never knowingly intentionally put my kids in harms way BUT by staying w an A, no matter how much I went to al anon or took them to therapy or didn't fight w the A THEY WERE HARMED.

My 8 yr old has significant anxiety, executive functioning deficitis, difficulty w friendships, trust issues, issues w afrection and tolerating expression of emotions. She's a mess. To the outside world she seems ok. But I see a shell of the heathy happy girl she ought to be and the more she opens up in therapy about what she has worried about and thought and felt and feared the more I hate myself for staying w her dad. The silent tension that we lie to ourselves about and say doesn't impact the kids DOES.

My 5 yr old has serious anger at home and is withdrawn at school. She has stomach issues constantly and tells her dad how she feels when he upsets her and he has all out rejected her. D8 plays the baby role w XAH so he likes her still. D5 is feisty so he has pushed her away.

My kids are going to be ok w therapy and love and time BUT I can't make up for the years of their childhoods that they had to worry, be angry, deal w tension, be more responsible than they should have had to be, be ignored bc I was preoccupied w xAH etc....

Deep down I think I knew staying wasn't EVER going to work but I wasn't willing to give up my hope, my lifestyle, my familiarity, my routines etc... So I had all the same reasons I hear many of us giving for why "my situation" was "unique" and that I had it under control.

While I argued that point my kids were being hurt and I hope if one person reads this and can be a better parent than I was and leave FOR YOUR KIDS SAKE sooner than I did, then it will be worthwhile having said it.

And even if it impacts no one, it's helpful for me to get it out and to give Suki and Anvil the shout out they deserve for having been right all along... Just wish I had been able to hear it sooner.
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Old 11-20-2013, 08:18 AM
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Thanks for sharing this wanttobe...
my 16 yr old has some serious problems...I worry and wonder all the time if they are due to living with an alcoholic for 12 yrs. I left because my 2 older boys were out of the house and the youngest (ours together) had reached the age where I thought enough was enough...like it hadn't effected him earlier..now he has serious problems controlling his anger and he doesn't know why, he cannot make friends. He is a good looking funny kid and has NO FRIENDS. He lies, steals and says often " I don't care!!" and then beats himself up for it. He is so insecure about himself and worries constantly about his looks ..I know some of this is normal teenage stuff..but theres an underlying current to it that scares me. He has been in therapy since I left XRAH, he started cutting himself right after we moved out, we got it under control I thought ..his dad was in recovery and doing AA...then the whole affair happened and S16 went off the deep end again. I would love to hear how the situation has effected other kids...most of the time I feel very alone with all the stuff going on with him. No one understands.
I should have left waaaaay sooner then I did..I see that now.
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Old 11-20-2013, 08:19 AM
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Wow, I read such incredible growth in your post, WTBH. I see you on the road AWAY from being everyone's punching bag and scapegoat, into a much, much better place.

Sending much encouragement,

CLMI
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Old 11-20-2013, 08:33 AM
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WTBH, great post with a lot of wisdom in it.

For parents out there wondering how much of an impact it's having on your kids all I can say from growing up with an AF is that I don't remember a lot of my childhood but I do remember my favorite wish was "I wish I was dead."

Your friend,
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Old 11-20-2013, 08:39 AM
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Mike,

You know how you sat you recall almost nothing of your childhood?

My xAH remembers nothing of his childhood w an AF except avoiding being home, and hiding in the woods a lot... but remarkably after his dad died a year ago suddenly the whole family started to rewrite history and now you'd think he grew up in the perfect family. I guess dealing w real memories is too much so he and his toxic clan have all just created an alternate reality. Seeing that scares me for my kids when they spend time w them. I just hope my girls grasp on reality and truth telling can be stronger than their collective insanity.

I should've added that to my list as excuses why I stayed "desire to protect my kids from being around XAH's family w out me". That's still a hard one to deal with.
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Old 11-20-2013, 08:44 AM
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Thank you so much for posting this...its come at just the right time for me. My AH left the family home 6 months ago as I had put a boundary of no vodka allowed in the house in place. This was after his stint of rehab. To be honest I was dreadfully upset that he had walked out and worried about how I was going to cope financially with 2 young children (from a previous relationship). I loved him just hated the vodka. I think I still love him.
He has recently been sending me text messages asking for forgiveness, friendship again etc. I have kept him at arms length but have been wondering if we can somehow make it work, maybe by having an unconventional marriage whereby we don't live together. Your post has reminded me of the potential consequences an A has on innocent children. You have strengthened my resolve again to keep him away from us so thank you again!
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Old 11-20-2013, 08:52 AM
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Martina you are so much stronger than me and I'm wowed by your resolve. I put my xAH and my desire for our r/s to work before what was best for our kids (not consciously I don't think) so many times. So it's wonderful for your kids sake that you're where you are and are consciously putting them first. They're lucky you're their mom
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Old 11-20-2013, 08:56 AM
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Dear wanttobehealthy (scaredy squirrel), I am so glad you wrote this. I wish every newbie on the forum could read it.

I know it has taken courage for you to "own" this. I think it makes it easier to go forward in the future and do thing differently, though.

sincerely,
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Old 11-20-2013, 09:04 AM
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I wrote it primarily dandelion bc I found myself frustrated w posts that sound a lot like mine a while ago. And I decided that my frustration was better spent looking in the mirror and seeing where my story fit into why I was feeling frustrated. It's apparent it's bc I am seeing myself in others making the same mistakes I did and I didn't need others advice when I should have and now have to live seeing the repercussions for that daily.

I think in truth those who say their kids are ok it s probably bc like my kids, theirs are hiding their emotions and keeping up appearances as they haven "learned to do".

I keep thinking things will start to improve w D 5 & 8 emotionally but their therapist tells me that their struggling actually IS improvement bc they are finally letting it all out bc it's safe to do so.

I don't think anyone realizes how many excuses they're making or that they're even making excuses when we are doing it.

I wish folks who are doing what I did and staying and have every reason under the sun for doing so would take the blind faith I wouldn't and just trust that the kids would be so much better off apart....
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Old 11-20-2013, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by catlovermi View Post
Wow, I read such incredible growth in your post, WTBH. I see you on the road AWAY from being everyone's punching bag and scapegoat, into a much, much better place.
I completely agree!!!!

What an AMAZING share, WTBH. Thank you so much!
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Old 11-20-2013, 09:12 AM
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I agree with you , scaredy squirrel.

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Old 11-20-2013, 09:55 AM
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- I have it as under control as I can
- What if this is the time he takes his "r" attempt seriously
- I'm afraid to be alone
^^^ These were my reasons. The biggie was "I have it under control, I'm just venting."

The thing that someone said to me that sat like a brick in my stomach was, "Your kids only get one childhood."

I looked at my son and the last few years of chaos he'd shouldered through, and how I was turning him into a miniature codependent by staying with his step-dad, and I looked at this darling one-year-old baby who clinged to me like a barnacle and was already experiencing anxiety and difficulty self-soothing, and I knew I didn't have it in me anymore to pretend everything was fine or make these kids live through more craziness just to keep myself from feeling bad feelings because of thin reasons and what-ifs.

I only get one chance with them. I was tired, I was not being a great parent, and I firmly believe I had no chance to be a good parent until AH and his drinking, lying, and excuse-making was out of the home.

Since I made him leave, our lives improved tenfold. Twentyfold!
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Old 11-20-2013, 10:12 AM
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I haven't felt at all strong scaredy squirrel...in fact I felt like I was falling apart completely and it was my fault and my stupid boundary. My deepest heartbreak ever is actually what led to me googling and onto this site which has been such an incredible support. I wish that I despised him but I dont Grrr!

I hope that you and your children keep going in the right direction in your recovery and its sounds like you are doing all the right things with counselling. Things can only get better
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Old 11-20-2013, 10:49 AM
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As the old saying goes . . .You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink it.

I have shared many times my deepest regret is how living 16 plus years with my now ex AH greatly affected our daughters ~ not only HIS behaviors but mine also.

That I am the one that taught my daughters it was ok to accept unacceptable behaviors, to not be treated as an equal by your partner, to be in a relationship that was not mutual beneficial, that your mate doesn't have to be self supporting and help support the household, and that crumbs are ok - we are not deserving of the very best from our partner.

That's just what I taught my daughters in that dysfunctional home ~ not to mention all the things AH & the disease of alcoholism & addiction taught them

Yes the children know what is going on
No you are not hiding it from them
Yes they see the tears, hear the arguments especially the silent ones, the resentment in everyone's voice
No they won't just forget about it

I didn't when my parents did it and neither will my girls

I made my amends verbally & now making my amends in my actions by being a better mother & grandmother. I can't undo those years of pain for them ~ but I can show them how life can be better today.

Thanks WTBH for sharing your e, s, & h ~ wishing you & your girls a better life - One Day at a time.

pink hugs
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Old 11-20-2013, 10:56 AM
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What children grow up with, they become attracted to as adults. When children grow up with violence, addiction, and unacceptable behaviors, they become attracted to it as adults.

We get to decide how much we expose our kids to, and influence their futures, and their kids' futures.
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Old 11-20-2013, 11:09 AM
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Another thing that hurts kids which I dislike hearing about occurring is parents who vilify the A to their kids. My kids know their dad is an A and have seen him be abusive BUT Ill be damned if I am going to make my kids listen to me or anyone else put their dad down.

My kids will form their own opinion of him. They don't need to be saddled w my issues w him and I watched the severe damage it did to my brothers for my mom to vilify our father to them so that's something I think about a lot too.

The A's behavior and our reaction to it and our part in the dance is all harmful to kids and then there's the stuff that is squarely ours such as this denigrating the A (which I admittedly DID do in the past and have made a huge effort to fix)

I guess as I am trying to change a lot of unhealthy angry things in myself I am seeing those things in others and kind of taken aback wondering if I appeared the same way to others.

In my regular face to face al anon group is a dad who talks down about his AW and laughs about how their teenage son and he basically poke fun at her behind her back as therapy of some sort. He seems to think he has it all together and is a know it all & I have stopped enjoying being there bc his behaviors make me uncomfortable. I dislike how he speaks about his W but mostly I feel bad for his son and wonder if there's any gentle way to suggest he let his kid make the choice how he sees his mom? Probably not.
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Old 11-20-2013, 02:10 PM
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WTBT - maybe you could chair a topic meeting on Respect?

The Daily Reader ~ Hope for Today has several reading on that topic that covers various aspects of Respect - including respect for self, others and the alcoholic ~

Maybe like many of us in the beginning ~ he just hasn't had his "aha" moment and by others reading these pages in a meeting & sharing their e, s, & h ~ his HP may show him another way.

Just a suggestion ~

Pink HUGS !
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Old 11-20-2013, 03:03 PM
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That's a great idea Ms Pink! Thanks!

I know we aren't supposed to concern ourselves w others but it's kind of heart wrenching to imagine a kid being alienated from their parent bc of the other parents anger. I get being angry but it pains me to think of the kid being hurt in the process.

I have all the reason in the world to be angry at xAH but I still would never intentionally alienate our kids from him. I watched my mom do that w my brothers and our dad and they are all a mess as adults bc of it. I guess its a subject hitting close to home and when I see it happening I have a hard time w it.

Parents taking their resentments out on their spouse by using kids as pawns is just wrong.

I may need to take a break from that meeting or maybe try harder to remind myself that we are all at different stages. Probably I should have sympathy for the guy rather than be annoyed.
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Old 11-20-2013, 05:32 PM
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I am at the point now where There is Only one thing i tell myself that keeps me staying and that is the "time" and i have it "planned" out holidays make it worse. I feel like i keep pushing back when that time is BUT i have told myself every single one you listed and i read your other post about co parenting.scares me as well.
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Old 11-20-2013, 05:41 PM
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Co parenting and sharing time w someone who doesn't have the ability to care for ones kids is scary. No doubt about it. And it sucks.

But it sucks less than knowing my kids who only get one childhood, are living in a war zone and that's what it was when I was w their dad.

I kept waiting wanting a choice c bc I didn't like either staying or leaving as options but finally I decided my comfort had to not matter and something, no matter what it was, had to happen to get my kids away from the toxicity.

It's not easy to decide when that will be. I've been where you are and just the fact that you're thinking about it is good....

Hang in there.


Originally Posted by thislonelygirl View Post
I am at the point now where There is Only one thing i tell myself that keeps me staying and that is the "time" and i have it "planned" out holidays make it worse. I feel like i keep pushing back when that time is BUT i have told myself every single one you listed and i read your other post about co parenting.scares me as well.
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