ACOA needing help - mom relapsed

Old 05-08-2014, 09:53 AM
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Unhappy ACOA needing help - mom relapsed

I'm new to this site and I hope someone can provide me with guidance or support. I feel very alone. My mom is an alcoholic, spent years in/out of rehab when I was a kid. She also suffered from anorexia and very recently I've come to suspect that she may have borderline personality disorder or narcissistic personality disorder. She has always been very difficult to deal with.
She was sober about 20 years and I figured out a year ago that she had relapsed - though I had a lot ofif denial about what that meant and how bad that was. Apparently she actually relapsed 3 or 4 years ago, and my brother and extended family knew and didn't tell me or try to help her. In the midst of all of this, my non-addict dad was dying of Parkinson's disease.

By this last Christmas I'd figured out that she was drinking in front of my dad. I wanted to confront her but I stupidly backed down to my brother's repeated request that I keep my mouth shut about it while my dad's condition further deteriorated. I was incredibly pissed that she was not only drinking, but doing it in front of my dad and in front of her grandkids.

I confronted my mom about the drinking in early February, tried my best to be calm but blunt. Told her I won't stay at her place when I'm visiting, she should never do that in front of the grandkids, etc. All I got from her was a smug-sounding, "I'm sick and tired of apologizing for my life." Flash-forward, my dad passed away in March and my mom basically acted like I didn't exist at the wake and funeral unless she needed me to do an errand.

Since then, she has been trying to act like the confrontation never existed,, back to her same old manipulative garbage, claiming she doesn't understand why I won't stay with her. I pretty much hate myself every time I get off the phone with her. I'm not sure that I even want her in my life. I'm having a hard time grieving the tremendous loss of my sweet father when I'm having to deal with so much of my mom's ridiculous behavior. Does anyone have advice on the best way to handle this with her, even if the rest of the extended family sides with her? Am I obligated to have this person in my life just because she gave birth to me? I love my mom on some basic level and I feel terrible that she has been widowed but I'm so burnt out with her drinking and constant needless and manipulation. I feel so lousy.

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Old 05-08-2014, 10:16 AM
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You are not obligated to have anyone in your life who makes you miserable.

Your mother has the right to live her life the way she chooses, even if you don't agree with or even understand her choices; that's a truth all families of addicts struggle to accept and wrap their heads around. The bright side is that you have the same right. Life is too short to spend it waiting for others to see what their choices are costing them. You have an opportunity to be an example to the rest of your family on how to live the kind of life that doesn't involve constant manipulation, secrecy, and denial. It just might not include them, unless it's on your terms.

Sending you strength and courage.
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Old 05-08-2014, 10:33 AM
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I will only speak about my own experience
as there are quite a few members who have
similar situations to yours and have found
help, support and program to give us strength,
love and care when dealing with family members,
relatives, friends that are sick or suffering.

Im an Alcoholic in recovery for 23yrs. as
well as an ACOA. I can't take my moms
inventory today because she is not here
in person to defend herself. I had to cut
all ties with my family of orgin mainly
because it was and is a sick inviroment
for me to place myself in.

Once I became sober and began to get
heathier in many areas of my life, I didn't
want to subject myself to the sickness
that I once was in yrs ago. As sad as it
may sound or be, today, my recovery,
sobriety is extremely important to me,
my body, mind, and soul.

Placing myself back in a sick inviroment
would mean Id remain just as sick as
they are.

Take care of you doing whatever you
need to do to to stay healthy and keep
the illness from spreading within your
own little family. I know I did even
divorcing myself from the ones that
brought me into the world.
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Old 05-08-2014, 11:49 AM
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My dad is an unapologetic alcoholic. There's nothing I can do about it. He's an adult. Adults have a right to drink themselves to death if they choose to.
I have a right not to interact with someone who is making that choice.
It is very upsetting and stressful to watch a parent making a self-destructive choice, and our natural instinct is that we want to interfere and save that person. But you can't save people from themselves, however much you love them.
What kind of support do you have, if your family isn't supportive of you? Have you tried any type of therapy or maybe an Alanon meeting? Those things have helped me a lot. The best thing to do is take care of yourself. If that means limiting contact with family, then those are the consequences they get for mistreating you, however much they try to make you feel guilty.
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Old 05-08-2014, 12:56 PM
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Thanks, everyone.
AASharon,, I agree wholeheartedly on your point about keeping the illness from spreading further in my family. My brother and I agreed a ling time ago that this crap should stop with our parents' generation (we come from a long line of alcoholics on both sides of the family.) I can't control what my daughter does later in life but I'm sure as heck not going to enable this any further. I see now just how entrenched the culture of enabling/denial can affect whole generations. Scary.
My husband is being supportive and seems proud of me for asserting myself. My brother avoids the topic with me. And I've been going through a rough time socially, so I really don't have much support or acceptance. (Ironically, I think a big part of my social issue is that I was hanging out with people who value drinking a bit too highly .......) I have a beer maybe a few times a week, not much of a drinker.
I've been going for runs and getting a ton of use out of my punching bag! Have been seeing a therapist about 1x month.
I'm really not sure how to address this with my mother. I'm completely out of patience and I'm afraid I'll just scream and blow up.
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Old 05-08-2014, 01:06 PM
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My mom stopped talking to my grandfather at some point when we were very young. She tried to do it to make him hit bottom, or something. It didn't work, and he kept drinking, and she kept getting angry about it.

Especially right now, I finally realize how angry she is about it.

She was wrong-she should have done it for her, not him. She should have done it because she made a decision to NOT have him in her life (or ours) while he was drinking, not because she wanted to force him into rehab. Because guess what? At the end of the day, not having us around (and we weren't around all that often to begin with) was more of an excuse to drink.

My mother is not the alcoholic-her bottom is not his bottom. Does that make sense?

Don't say anything to your mother. If it will cause an argument that you would rather not have, then don't do it. Let her do whatever she is going to do, and you can be uninvolved in her decisions. Keep looking out for you, and if she decides she wants your help, she knows where you're at.
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Old 05-08-2014, 01:11 PM
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For me, it was through my dad and siblings
that the word got back to my mom. I suppose
I had had enough of her control and all I could
do was share my fedup feelings of her to them.

I decided enough was enough and focused
on my own recovery, my little family and
no contact with parents or sibling.

Im 55 yrs. old and my parents im sure
are very well in age with of my siblings
to care for them.

Today, I have placed my family unit in
the hands of my Higher Power for care
which unloads any kind of worry or stress
I may have of them off my shoulders and
on my heart.

There is just nothing left for me to
do but stay in acceptance for them
and continue living happy, healthy,
grateful for my own 2 children who
have grown into loving, caring, talented,
educated, addiction free adults that
I help raise with help and guidance
from the Man upstairs.
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Old 05-08-2014, 01:23 PM
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Wow, do we have the same mom? My mother, too, is a narcissist and possibly borderline and in the last 10 years or so, has become a full blown alcoholic. My father is a heavy drinking enabler.

It is so sad to watch someone you love (in the only way you can "love" a family member like this _ it is a big garbled bag of emotions, fear, guilt, obligation, longing for true unconditional, nurturing love that we will never have, etc. etc.) self destruct and basically throw it in your face and laugh at your concern.

After a couple of drunken horrible moments that unfortunately my children even witnessed, (I turned these into teachable moments, as I want this family legacy to end, too) my husband and I insisted that there be no alcohol at family events. Well, it became clear from the "get go" that both parents would have chosen alcohol over the family, so we decided that we would no longer drink any alcohol with the family and if things became anywhere near "out of control", we were leaving with our kids in a hurry. We had to do this more than once to make it clear that this was a boundary we were sticking with. My parents have kept their drinking in check and well hidden while visiting with us. Never having more than 1-2 drinks that I see, and never getting drunk. I know that there is a heck of a lot more going on behind the scenes and when we are away, but I have come to accept the can't control it, didn't cause it, can't cure it mantra.

My boundaries are working pretty well so far. I try to have a "tea party" relationship with my parents, very surfacey. I refuse to engage in mean, drunken, battles any longer and I delete any mean, confrontational messages from my phone without listening to them. I read recently that we shouldn't accept behavior from family members that we wouldn't accept from friends, acquaintances or strangers. They do not get a free pass. We are adults now.

I have a lot of underlying resentments that I am trying to work through. I read books about boundaries and narcissism and healing my inner child. I post on SR about this topic from time to time, just to feel "heard." I vent to my husband and my sister and my best friend. I went through about a year of therapy dealing with my FOO issues in my twenties. I am considering revisiting some therapy since my parents are living closer to us than they have in years.

Unfortunately, I think whether we choose to have them in our lives or not, is a very personal decision. I try to choose what works best for my personal mental health and since my fear of guilt overtaking me is there, for now, I choose to keep them in my life with a big old self-imposed wall of nice around me! I wish the best for you. I understand how painful this situation is for you. The good that has come out of it for me, is a much healthier family than I came from, a much better marriage than my parents', and I chose sobriety for fear of turning into my mother and it has been an incredibly self esteem boosting decision in my life.
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Old 05-08-2014, 03:14 PM
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My therapist recommended that I read "Stop Walking on Eggshells" which is a book about dealing with loved ones who have/may have borderline personality disorder. I'm getting a lot out of it so far and it's good to have the validation that I don't deserve to be treated like a worthless person.

My mom is so off-the-hook centered on herself. My dad was dying in a nursing home and she 1) Basically made every conversation with doctors/nurses about *her* and how much she did for Dad, instead of letting the docs focusing on him and his needs, 2) Fought away/blew off repeated attempts by others to bring in hospice care for him (because, you know, then she'd have to admit that she can't do *every single thing in the world for him and be absolutely everything he could ever need* 3) Left him _alone_ in the nursing home after he had a bad fall and was in very bad pain in his hip, so she could go make a downpayment on services at the funeral home for him - turns out his hip was fractured, had to be transported to the hospital in agony and died the next evening, and 4) The same night he passed away, not an hour after we got home she made a point of saying that Dad had been "a tyrant" in years past and it's important to remember the bad things, too. Yeah, kick a man when he can't even defend himself anymore - in front of his grieving kids.

WTH, lady. Sober, she's almost unbearable. Drunk, she's abhorrent.
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Old 05-08-2014, 03:31 PM
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I held on to resentments for many yrs. and
drank over them, then just wanted to end
my misery of feeling like a failure.

Recovery has taught me to let go of those
resetments because they would surely
kill me in the long run.

I also had to learn to not let negative
thoughts of those who hurt me rent
space free in my head. Them taking
up all my thoughts completely drain
me, weaken me.

Today, they don't live rent free in my
mind because I wont let them. They
don't get that satisfaction to do so.

It's my choice and a healthy one.

I love my dad, but my sick mom took
him away from me. Took any kind of
a father daughter relationship we could
ever have because she was jealous that
I was going to take him away from her.

Sick Sick Sick

If you loved your dad, what would he
want you to do in this situation? How
would he console you? My dad always
gave me good advice and he never steered
me wrong, even when my other siblings
thought he was preaching to them.

Honor your dad in some special way. Maybe
plant some flowers in ur yard that would
attract butterflies and pretty birds. I have
a lovely back yard with pretty flowers that
attract birds and butterflies and when im
outside amongst them, I often believe it
is someone special to come talk to me or
keep me company.

I will probably continue to think this way
when the day my father passes on. Till
then, he is in good hands with God watching
over him in his own home.
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Old 05-08-2014, 04:03 PM
  # 11 (permalink)  
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You might want to check the ACOA fellowship, i found it very enlightening indeed.

Welcome to Adult Children of Alcoholics - World Service Organization, Inc.

Obviously this fellowship deals with the effects of growing up as a child with alcoholic parent/s. This will be of great use to you as opposed to other fellowships that seem deal with having an alcoholic in your life as an adult. As a child you had no choice.

Please check it out.
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