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Old 11-16-2018, 04:35 AM
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Random thoughts

A few random thoughts as AW will, likely, be leaving in-patient therapy today for a "sober living" house.

1. It's been peaceful and quiet here. Oh, I've got a 4 y.o. so it's loud and full of noise (making car and train sounds); but no drama. To be sure, I sometimes feel a bit overwhelmed - a 4 y.o., an aging dog with a bladder issue, two cats (one a regular puker of hairballs), and my "drop in" 18 y.o. - and that "I didn't sign up for this single parent bs," but those moments pass. Not sure I'm willing to give up the peace and serenity.

2. I've tried to keep AW up to date on things going on with 4.yo. - sending her photos and video clips. Yesterday, for example, we had our first real snow in a couple of years - so took DS sled riding on the hill outside the house. He had a ball. Sent AW a video clip of him sledding. Alcoholic or not, she is still his mom. And, at a minimum, I want to show that *I* at least can "co-parent" in a way that helps *him* even if AW and I aren't living together.

(Please note: I'm not knocking on single-parents. I think we *all* thought having children we'd have a "partner" to help pick up the slack, etc. And, then, they're not there. And you go ... well, I wouldn't have a dog, two cats, and two kids (one 4 y.o.) had I remained single. Those aren't the choices I would have made had I *known* I'd be doing this all alone. It's just adjusting to it all. And, yep, I think about trying to find a new home for the dog - because I feel I just don't have the time to give him the attention he needs; but, ya know, the 4 y.o.).

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Old 11-16-2018, 06:09 AM
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I think you are doing a great job. It's definitely a day at a time.
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Old 11-16-2018, 08:43 AM
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Peace and serenity are beautiful things. When AW went on a couple of business trips, it was the best time in years with no drama.

You don't mention if/what the responses were from her about you sending the pics/vids? Did she even care?

Ya know, I would rather be a single parent (which I pretty much am anyway), than a 'co-parent' with an alcoholic in the house. The alcoholic drama far outweighs any assistance she can provide.
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Old 11-16-2018, 08:51 AM
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I hear you, MCS. Sometimes it bothers me when AH scurries over to his parents' house so he can drink upstairs and they can bring him food and baby him. (like he's doing right now)

And then it's like what you said - it's nice. No fighting, no drama.

I'm glad you are continuing to try and somewhat involve AW with your son. It's the right thing to do. And maybe (I'm an eternal optimist) she will be inspired to work towards change so she can be a better mother and wife. Even if she doesn't, at least you know YOU did the right thing. Sending hugs to you.
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Old 11-20-2018, 04:10 AM
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Originally Posted by CentralOhioDad View Post
Peace and serenity are beautiful things. When AW went on a couple of business trips, it was the best time in years with no drama.

You don't mention if/what the responses were from her about you sending the pics/vids? Did she even care?

Ya know, I would rather be a single parent (which I pretty much am anyway), than a 'co-parent' with an alcoholic in the house. The alcoholic drama far outweighs any assistance she can provide.
Update:

AW was released from in-patient treatment to a sober living facility at the end of last week.

CDO: Yes, she's thanked me for the photos/videos and she did call DS Sunday night at bed time. At first, he didn't want to talk to her - which I think is normal; but after a few moments he did talk to her.

She said she' call Monday night, but did not. However, I'm not about to attribute that to "not caring" - at least not yet. As I see it, as long as she IS seeking treatment for her disease that IS (and ought to be) her #1 priority. If she didn't call because she was "in treatment" (e.g., going to an AA meeting, talking to a shrink, or just feeling ****** from a bad day dealing with her own issues ...) - I'm ok with that. I wouldn't rag on her for missing a telephone call because she was in, say, chemo or felt ****** from a full day of chemo. Do you follow??

Don't get me wrong - it sucks for DS. I told him mom might call at about his bedtime and she didn't. His 4 y.o. brain can't really grasp that a sick person sometimes can't keep his/her promises - if she just "blew it off" that's different. But that's not what my gut tells me. When she's sober and on her meds, she is, in fact, a really, really good mom.

The hardest part is when DS says "I hate mommy." "Mommy is dead ... that was fake mommy." He sometimes even says he hates me and that "I'm fired" and "we're all fired" (including his older sister whom he adores).

Clearly he is mad at (well, pick the issue, right??) and he lacks the vocabulary to discuss his feelings. I mean *all* feelings and emotions are new and strange to a 4 y.o., right?? I mean, *I* have difficulty with my emotions sometimes and I've got 50+ years on him.

I just wish I had a better way of helping him. His daycare is offering free play therapy through a pilot program with a local university. And I'm in the process of getting him set up with that. Still, as a parent, you feel so lost sometimes.

Depending upon how I'm feeling, I just say to him one of the following:

1. DS, I still love you (which turns into a "no you don't" vs. "yes I do" 4 y.o. back and forth).

2. DS, what you say hurts my feelings (e.g., when he says he "hates" me), but I still love you.

If anyone has any other suggestions, I'm all ears.

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Old 11-20-2018, 04:25 AM
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MCE you can't say you love him often enough. You might say 'I know that's not true, and I love you'.
It is a worry when he's saying it at his age, even though it's just venting.
You're doing good.
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Old 11-20-2018, 06:10 AM
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You are doing great. I would definitely have a word with her not to tell him if she is going to call, let her tell you (and don't tell him). This way, regardless of the situation, there was no broken promise.

I too think you are doing great. How wonderful that he is being offered free play therapy. As a single mom who has spent thousands and thousands on therapy, see that as the gift it really is.

Sending you big hugs. You are a great dad and it shows!!!
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Old 11-20-2018, 06:54 AM
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Being a parent is hard under the best of circumstances. Each kid is so different, with their own set of gifts... and challenges. I think you are doing great all things considered.

I can remember my preschoolers saying things like what your son has been saying. Feeling angry at someone doesn't mean you hate them, but that's pretty ambiguous for a 4yo. Their limited vocabulary doesn't help.

Maybe saying things like, " I know you are angry (or disappointed, or frustrated etc) and I understand why you are feeling that way. I will always love you." It would validate that he is indeed feeling a negative emotion and perhaps help him identify it as something other than "hate", all while feeling secure that he is loved.

Good luck MCESaint. I also raised two children... while married to an alcoholic. I understand your dilemma from many angles.



Edit to add, Anger is almost always a secondary emotion, with the primary emotion being fear. It's just something to else consider when dealing with an angry child.
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Old 11-20-2018, 09:03 AM
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Yeah, I would definitely keep expectations VERY low in regards to what your AW may or may not be able to do as far as communication with your son. Better to "under-promise and over-deliver" than the other way around. I use this strategy in many facets of my life.
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Old 11-20-2018, 12:04 PM
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Maybe saying things like, " I know you are angry (or disappointed, or frustrated etc) and I understand why you are feeling that way. I will always love you." It would validate that he is indeed feeling a negative emotion and perhaps help him identify it as something other than "hate", all while feeling secure that he is loved.
MCE,
Thereís great advice here, and I second the above. In addition to helping him accurately label his feelings (a skill Iím still working on after decades), it also tells him itís ok to feel blank (insert negatve emotion) when bad things happen. I think that is an important message vs. the ďchin upĒ philosophy many of us were raised with.

Slightly OT, but you may find it useful...I was a social worker in a previous career and had a couple of clients who would have a new baby when the last started to toddle. They just loved that phase when they could project onto their infant, and found that developmental stage easier to deal with. I admire folks that are good with infants and young children, as it was something I had to always work at. I have enjoyed parenting DS more with each passing year as he has grown into his own personality, thoughts, dreams, and concerns. Relating to him as a budding adult is much easier for me than taking care of him as a helpless child. I say all this just to put it out there that for me, parenting grew easier and more fascinating with each passing year. You may find the same.

I think it sound like you are handling a difficult situation with lots of grace.

-bora
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Old 11-20-2018, 02:24 PM
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I also agree strongly with SmallButMighty: Maybe saying things like, " I know you are angry (or disappointed, or frustrated etc) and I understand why you are feeling that way. I will always love you." It would validate that he is indeed feeling a negative emotion and perhaps help him identify it as something other than "hate", all while feeling secure that he is loved.

This is huge, as boreas pointed out, to help children name their feelings accurately, to give them a full spectrum of specific choices, and I remember reading it is very important for little children so they avoid growing up with a limited understanding of emotions and end up confusing anger with sadness or frustration etc.

A great book that I learned so much from when my boys were little was Faber & Mazlish's "How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk." Their work is based on the work of child psychologist Haim Ginott - his book "Between Parent and Child" was also a game-changer for me as a single parent.

Nothing worse than recognizing that our children are suffering some emotional pain, especially when they are so small, but each hardship is a chance for us to teach them how to survive and thrive even when life just absolutely s*cks as it will at times throughout our lives. It starts with not trying to argue with their feelings but accepting them as OK, and naming them accurately.

Don't we all feel relief when someone we love recognizes our feelings...I think how differently it feels when someone says to me, "You sound really angry," as opposed to, "Don't be mad," or, "It'll be OK." The first response allows for an exploration or a conversation or at least just feeling validated...the other responses just make me angrier LOL!!

And I think especially in a family with an alcoholic it is beyond important to not deny reality, not the reality in front of our eyes nor the reality of our feelings.

Peace,
B
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Old 11-24-2018, 06:50 PM
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one thing about them being good parents when sober and on their meds. It's almost worse because of the lack of consistency. I would argue that from a child's perspective it's actually cruel for a parent to be inconsistent, on purpose or not.

When she's a good parent it's, "see what it could be?" And then it is ripped away and replaced by drunk mom. It's so, so, so ****** up. And so unfair to the children.
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Old 11-24-2018, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by CentralOhioDad View Post
Yeah, I would definitely keep expectations VERY low in regards to what your AW may or may not be able to do as far as communication with your son. Better to "under-promise and over-deliver" than the other way around. I use this strategy in many facets of my life.
agreed. I've learned it the hard way. If you say you might do something it's like a blood oath
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