Help with Mother

Old 06-21-2019, 10:07 AM
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Help with Mother

To be honest, I don't know if this is the right place to talk about this, but I don't know where else to say it.

My father has a history of alcohol abuse. My sibling and I didn't know until we were in our early teens, when it got worse, but we did know eventually. My father is now alcohol-free for about 5 years.

Our mother came from two alcoholic parents and married into an alcoholic family. She drinks too much herself, but not to the point where I'd class her as an alcoholic as well.

The problem is, since dad's recovery, she's obsessed with alcoholism. Like, really scarily obsessed. No one wants to visit around her or attend events she's at because she will count the amount of drinks each individual person has and start lecturing people if she thinks that number is too high for her own liking. Doesn't matter how closely she knows said person, the event, etc. She'll go off to anyone.

I've suggested that she not allow alcohol at events held at her home, but she doesn't like that. TBH, I think she WANTS to see a problem.

I thought it would go away after dad's recovery reached it's a certain mark, but it didn't. And I thought, to be honest, that she'd realize the hippocracy that she still drinks while policing other people. Didn't happen either. She's pretty convinced that, because she's the wife of a recovering alcoholic and not an alcoholic as well, that she can't drink too much because she'd know, of course.

I know I can't control her anymore than I can control my father, but I just don't know what to do. She's losing friends left and right, and I'm starting to worry that it's more to do with her own mental health than the alcoholism in the family. No one wants to be

I really benefited from al anon (was too old for alateen when I started), and I've suggested al anon for my mom, but she doesn't want to go, and I won't force her to go. But other than that, I don't know what to do.

I just graduated undergrad degree, and I had a cousin politely tell me she didn't want to come to my celebration because my mom makes her uncomfortable. Then I had two more people tell me the same thing.

I want my mom to be able to have her boundaries and protect herself from the nasty side of alcoholics. But I'm afraid she's being too obsessive about it.

Tldr; My mom had an alcoholic spouse (my dad) and now is obsessive about alcohol despite drinking herself. It's starting to have negative affects on the family. What can I do?

I just need some advice. I want her to have the ability to live her own life without the obsession, but I know it's not my job to do that for her. I want her to have the freedom al anon gave me, but she won't go and I'm struggling with how to keep relationships with the people she's hurt without controlling her life.
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Old 06-21-2019, 10:20 AM
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I had a cousin politely tell me she didn't want to come to my celebration because my mom makes her uncomfortable. Then I had two more people tell me the same thing.

What does Mom say when you tell her stuff like this?

Ugh, what an awful and strange situation! Maybe tell Mom you're not going to invite her to celebrations because she makes people so uncomfortable. But, I know you know, you cannot change her...but you can protect yourself from this nonsense by holding your own parties. But yeah, this is a lousy situation.....

Peace,
B.
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Old 06-21-2019, 10:25 AM
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I agree with Bernadette. Tell mom when people comment on it, then don't invite her and you can always leave or hang up the phone when she starts in on this behavior, with the comment, "Mom, I am not going to be around when you start acting like the alcohol Police. Talk to you later."

Keep doing that. You won't have to hear it, and maybe she'll think about it. It would be great if everyone in her life said and did that, but it's a start if you do.
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Old 06-21-2019, 10:58 AM
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TBH, I usually avoid telling her when people comment. She has a hair-trigger for insults and I'm afraid of hurting her, or worse, hurting her recovery from being the SO of an alcoholic.

I guess if I don't tell her, I'm not allowing her to make an informed decision about how she acts, and that's not right. But man, I really don't want to hurt her mental health more by telling her this stuff. Starting to treat herself better and stop worrying about my dad 24/7 was a huge process for her, and I don't want to force a step back by telling her she might be going too far in one direction.
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Old 06-21-2019, 11:31 AM
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Well that hair trigger? You aren't helping it by treating her like a child who can't handle her own emotions.

Or is it that you can't deal with her getting upset at you?

Sounds like you have to make a choice. You came to this forum with a problem. It's your problem. So you've decided to just continue on in the name of not rocking the boat? That's one approach and a perfectly valid one.

Your cousin and at least two other people have chosen to not be around it. That is another valid solution.
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Old 06-21-2019, 12:01 PM
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She has a hair-trigger for insults and I'm afraid of hurting her, or worse, hurting her recovery from being the SO of an alcoholic.
Nothing about her behavior says recovery at all. But it says a lot about her growing up with alcoholism all around her. Maybe she has not hit her own bottom yet, not lost enough friends yet, not alienated enough family yet and it doesnít help her by coddling her.

Why not just live the recovery you wish she could and become the example. Set your own boundaries, stop enabling her, stop accepting unacceptable behaviors or making excuses for her.

You said you benefited from al-anon maybe itís time for you to go back and work on the things YOU can control.
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Old 06-21-2019, 12:30 PM
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I think you're right. Al anon helped me a lot with learning that I can't control other people's lives. It's just...hard when I can relate so much more to my mother, you know? I've felt that crazy before, and much as I'm trying to apply what I've learned to this situation, it just doesn't make as much sense to me because I feel like she has the right to be a little crazy about alcohol!

But I suppose if I've only learned to apply separating my control from the alcoholic and not from the world/people in general, I have a lot left to learn.

You're right, I should go back.
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Old 06-21-2019, 12:33 PM
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killjoy...….the following is just for the sake of our discussion....the group, Adult Children of Alcoholics might be the most appropriate group for her, given her family history. Of course, she will probably reject that idea, also....
But, since you, yourself, are, technically, an adult child of alcoholics, also....you might look into that for yourself...and, mention , to her that you have done so. It might plant a seed.
I do think that you are, now to the point of walking on eggshells around her....
so, in a sense, she is controlling you by her temper...or temperament.
It is good that she is taking care of herself, better than before...but, she is drinking quite a bit, herself....according to what you have shared....perhaps, a bit of self-medication?
Your mother's management of her life, is ultimately, in her own hands...as you already know....And, what you say or don't say is not going to "destroy" your mother. She might get mad...but, that won't destroy her....
Coddling her, around this situation, won't help her, in my opinion....that is shielding her from reality....she, like ever one of us, has to manage to live life on life's own terms.
She will have to learn, somehow...that taking other people's inventory without their permission is a sure fire way to drive everyone away from her....

This is a tough situation for you...and, you have my empathy, for sure....

***You can find the literature for the group "Adult Children of Alcoholics" on amazon.com.***
You might enjoy reading it....
You might, also, benefit from attending some meetings, also, if there are any around you...or, check out meetings online

By the way....I think that continuing alanon would be a good thing for you....the two groups are not in conflict with each other
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Old 06-21-2019, 12:58 PM
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I really don't want to hurt her mental health more by telling her this stuff.

Remember the AlAnon three C's: You didn't Cause it, can't Control it, can't Cure it.

I also learned in AlAnon that by shielding people from the consequences of their behavior I am enabling.

I can totally relate to your feelings of walking on eggshells around her...unfortunately we learn that behavior and are terrified of upsetting the apple cart and getting our own needs met when we grow up in an A home. I sure learned those lessons thoroughly. I learned to be so attuned to what I thought other people were feeling and I always used to try to manage situations and information and on and on so as not to get people around me mad, etc. UGH such a burden and a lot of emotional work for me - for ZERO payoff LOL. It also led me into unhealthy adult relationships - where I would put up with unacceptable things for a long time - all the while being miserable and squelching my own needs.

Guess what? The world did not end when I stopped walking on eggshells and dancing to everyone else's drummer. In fact the world opened up - I didn't do anything wrong by stepping off the crazy train....I was sick and tired of being afraid of my mother!! (and like you, my Mom was the codie - Dad got sober and truly recovered and became easy to talk to honestly).

I love the AlAnon saying "Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don't say it mean." I found I could be honest with people while still maintaining my own integrity and kindness which mattered to ME! If I can't be authentic and open and feel safe with the people I am supposed to love and be loved by, then what is love? What game am I playing at???

Yeah, that change took a lot of AlAnon and one-on-one therapy too. Once I really worked on myself the whole sky just opened up with possibilities - and difficult people, like my Mom, and my alcoholic brothers, became just clouds in my vast blue sky...I could let them just drift on past and not rain on my parade LOL.

Keep reaching out and accepting help! Your life can and will improve!!
And CONGRATS on your graduation!! Woot woot!!!
Peace,
B
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Old 06-21-2019, 02:05 PM
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I myself may sit her down and try to say it very, very kindly. Be honest. If it's not well received, hands off.

That is just my two cents. I agree with all the wonderful input you have received.

Welcome to SR!
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Old 06-21-2019, 03:05 PM
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Q: What are you most concerned about, Mum?
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Old 06-21-2019, 08:21 PM
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I have an aunt like this, only not with alcohol, but food. She’s been pretty much eating disordered her whole life, and when it rears it’s ugly head, she not only gets super restrictive with herself, but with anyone in her circumference. She starts making comments about what everyone is eating, how much, answers for people when someone is offered something, etc. The way I handle it, is by taking her aside, and giving her some feedback about how she’s coming across. But also, if she tries to do that to me, I just let her know I’m good and can decide for myself (or when anyone tries to get all weird about what people are eating or not eating, I just don’t allow for that to be open for discussion). I don’t drink, but if I did, I’d do the same thing.

As far as her losing friends and stuff, well you gave her some feedback, and offered a solution (which she roadblocked), so if she keeps it up she’ll just lose more friends. In my opinion, you can maybe discuss something with someone once, but if they choose not to take your feedback, well, the natural consequence will be that she’ll just turn more people off. It sounds like people have already figured this out, and adhering to their own boundaries by not subjecting themselves to her to begin with. Sad to watch this happen, I’m sure, but that’s what happens when people behave that way. :/
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Old 06-21-2019, 10:42 PM
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hi Killjoy, you love your mother and feel compassion for her. It's hard to get tough with someone you love, even when it would help them in the long run.

There may be some angles you can take concerning your own gatherings, like negotiating in advance that she will leave if she can't hold back, or having a separate small dinner with her, but not asking her to the big celebration.

You can be low key with her about having your boundaries when she's at your place (made clear in advance), but you can't control how she acts in her own home. OTOH you don't have to stay.

If she's determined not to seek help, you can decide not to be around it. Make it very matter of fact and without judgement, don't argue. The feedback she gets from you may be what she needs to seek help, as long as she's the one to think of it.

I'm curious about where your father stands in all this? Has he said anything to her?
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