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new here: Drug addict brother, codependent/enabling mother

Old 05-12-2011, 06:10 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Hello Bikerchick: Welcome to SR. I have not read all the responses to your original post, but I wanted to comment on your last paragraph where you state you are going to stop giving your mother the chance to vent to you.

This realization is HUGE. I remember when I was deep into my enabling (AKA being the victim of an addict), I would call my friends and vent all the gory details. Because I got all that off my chest, when I hung up I was somehow freed up to go back into the situation and get in the muck and mire of the drama of another's addiction. What I found when I quit calling my friends for venting was that the negative emotions would build up inside me which caused me to hit my own bottom quicker. Something I would do when I was calling my friends like that was to focus on what they said back to me that I did not like and use that as justification that my situation was not "that bad."

You are absolutely doing the right thing here. But it does take a lot of courage. Please continue here at SR and Alanon and/or Naranon meetings - not just for a little while but for a long time. This problem did not happen over a short period of time, and it will not go away in a short period of time.
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Old 05-12-2011, 06:11 AM
  # 22 (permalink)  
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Hello Bikerchick: Welcome to SR. I have not read all the responses to your original post, but I wanted to comment on your last paragraph where you state you are going to stop giving your mother the chance to vent to you.

This realization is HUGE. I remember when I was deep into my enabling (AKA being the victim of an addict), I would call my friends and vent all the gory details. Because I got all that off my chest, when I hung up I was somehow freed up to go back into the situation and get in the muck and mire of the drama of another's addiction. What I found when I quit calling my friends for venting was that the negative emotions would build up inside me which caused me to hit my own bottom quicker. Something I would do when I was calling my friends like that was to focus on what they said back to me that I did not like and use that as justification that my situation was not "that bad."

You are absolutely doing the right thing here. But it does take a lot of courage. Please continue here at SR and Alanon and/or Naranon meetings - not just for a little while but for a long time. This problem did not happen over a short period of time, and it will not go away in a short period of time.
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Old 05-13-2011, 11:51 AM
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Sojourner

Thanks for the affirmation Sojourner, I needed that. Mother's Day was horrible for me, but I didn't cave and I didn't call her. I guess my "bottom" was when after I reminded my mom that she was the one that had called me and admitted to me that my sister was an addict, my mother said I was a liar, that she never said that and I was putting words in her mouth. It was at that moment that I realized my mother was just as mentally screwed up as my sister, if not worse.

My mom used to vent to me on a regular basis and then if I would suggest that perhaps getting a job might be useful for my sister's financial problems or that maybe Mom should sell the house if my sister living there was too much for her, she would come up with a million reasons why "that just couldn't happen" and then turn on me and tell me she couldn't "be as cold-hearted as I was."!!!!!!!!!!

I never understood it, but your post makes perfect sense! She was using me as a backboard to bounce her excuses off of and make me the bad guy so she could feel more "saintly" and "christian" about her sacrificing her retirement, her marriage, her relationships with her other children, etc. so she could do this dance with my sister.

She even told me once that her Sunday school class took up a collection for my sister. A class of elderly, widows took up a collection and she sent it to my sister and said "Now spend this wisely"!! How screwed up do you have to be to take money from little old ladies at church and hand it to a drug addict?

Then of course, there's the time my sister was in withdrawal and mom drove her to the dealer's house and went inside with her to purchase pills. My mom actually participated in purchasing Schedule II narcotics illegally, which in their state, carries a minimum, mandatory, first-offense sentence of three years in prison. If that's not the bottom for an enabler, I don't know what is.

Thank you so much for listening. It is helping. I'm starting to be able to emotionally get back on my feet and the longer I am not being dragged into it on a daily basis, the better I feel.
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Old 09-11-2012, 12:28 AM
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Support for siblings affected by addiction in the family

You might like to check the sibling support program online . It's a great online resource for siblings affected by addiction in the family
Take care
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Old 09-11-2012, 07:10 AM
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KindEyes said it best" So.....what can you do for your mother? Nothing unless she asks you to. Why? Because the offering of unsolicited assistance will be met with resistance. But you CAN give her gifts occasionally in the hopes that she'll read them. Books like Melody Beattie's "CoDependent No More" and Naranon literature. If she reads enough of it....she'll start to get it. But that's about all you can do.

In the meantime, as painful as it may be, she will continue to enable your brother and he will continue to use.

Detaching with love is a healthy way to deal with anyone who is addicted. Your brother is addicted to drugs. Your mother is addicted to her son."

My goodness do I know this is difficult.....but it is so true. The only thing you can do to help your mother is NOTHING. Not for now anyway. Trust me, the day will most likely come when she needs you and realizes the extent of her enabling (hopefully); but that appears to be a ways off and you can only do you (so to speak). Let them be. Be relational with your mother, but not particularly intimate, if that makes any sense. I am so sorry you are going through this. But know you are not alone! We understand.
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Old 12-22-2015, 11:30 AM
  # 26 (permalink)  
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Hello All,
I am new to the website. I want to thank all of you for your thoughtful insights. I am a worried sister of an "adult" substance/alcohol abuser. He lives with our mother. My other brother and I have tried numerous times over a number of years to talk to our mother and our brother. He is extremely manipulative and refuses to continue with any treatments he has ever begun. The latest is that we are quickly approaching Christmas and we are so sad/frustrated with the situation. We have stopped talking to our mother because we cannot tolerate it anymore. When we try to make suggestions/offer help, we become "the enemies"... It's so hard to watch the train wreck that has become their life... Our mother's siblings (aunts & uncles) are angry and frustrated as well. Unfortunately, anyone who tries to talk to our mother is shut down/shut out. She says she can't just "throw him out into the street." He has full VA benefits. He claims he has PTSD as a result of being incarcerated during his very short time in the military...he was caught dealing drugs at the time... Thanks for listening, it does help to know we aren't the only ones in this boat.
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Old 12-28-2015, 06:03 PM
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I feel your pain. My situation is similar to yours. Readers' Digest condensed version of my story is: My mother is now 90 years old and still a full blown enabler. My father died 8 years ago. My 61 year old drug addicted brother has lived with her (them) for 10 years (even though he has a separate home near her but is "scared" to stay by himself most of the time). He draws SSI, lays in bed a lot and complains constantly about how bad he feels (except when he wants to go somewhere, possibly to see a woman). All his current drugs are supplied by legal dealers, i.e. medical doctor prescriptions. Mother suggested he go see a medical doctor a few years ago because it was about the break her financially to give him money everyday to buy street drugs. She does all the cooking, housekeeping, etc. She still drives and will drop everything and drive to the store to buy anything he desires. He is paranoid and shows signs of dementia. She has always been mentally sharp but lately has been showing the first signs of age related dementia. My dilemma has always been how to show respect/love to my mother but not become an enabler to them both. I repeat the Serenity Prayer daily and pray it will really take hold in my life. I dread the day I may have to step in and take legal action. I wish you well in dealing with your situation. It is tricky trying to keep your sanity while acknowledging how dysfunctional your closest loved ones are. One more fact - my sister took her own life several years ago, she had severe depression, but only in part because of the brother/mother situation.
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Old 05-29-2016, 04:51 AM
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From a Mom's point of view

The last thing your mom wants is for you to get mixed up in this merry go round. She is so consumed with helping the addict that she forgets to tell you how proud she is of you! What a relief it is that you are managing your own life and she didn't fail with you. I have no advice for you. I'm only writing because I to have 2 sons one was doing okay the other is a addict and I am enabling. My son that I thought was okay is lying in a hospital from a drug overdose brought on by depression meds fighting for his life with every breathe. The addicted son says I have abandoned him for his brother's foolishness. I don't have any answers but I'm sure going to try to find some. I have to heal myself first.
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Old 11-28-2016, 12:39 PM
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I am new to this site and so glad I found it. I apologize in advance for the length of this but feel there is alot to process. I can really relate to most of these stories. I too have a mother that enables my brother. My mother is 73 and my brother is 44. They are both alcoholics.
My brother has been difficult for as long as I can remember but the last two decades have progressively gotten worse. I have spent the last many years trying to save my mother from him and save him from my mother- if that makes any sense. I feel like she has made him this way by her incessant enabling and the endless chances she gives him with empty threats and no consequenses. He is extremely irresponsible and emotionally & verbally abusive. In the last 10 years he has lost his marriage, lost custody of 2 of his kids (to me, his sister), his car, his drivers license (dwi's), 3 or 4 (i've lost count) more girlfriends he has lived with have kicked him out, he has walked off at least 5 jobs with no notice, and has rocky relationships with all people in his life. He has stolen from me in the past and has stolen and pawned things of my mother's. He has damaged her property when he gets mad (threw her laptop accross the room) and i am not sure that he hasn't even pushed her. (There was some vague talk abt it that got "swept under the rug."). Everytime his significant other throws him out he moves right back in with my mom. She too says, "well I just can't throw him out on the street!" She lives on only social security and is a widow. She can barely survive on her own and at one point when my brother wasn't living with her I moved her into our house that we don't live in, rent free, and asked her only to pay the electricity and water. I did this to help her save some money so that later when we would put our house up for sale she would have gotten caught up and be able to afford deposits and live more comfortably. She was only there about 3 weeks before my brother was thrown out of his girlfriends home and had nowhere to go. And it just so happened to be 2 days before Thanksgiving.
My mother asked if he could come to my home that she was living in. My husband and I lived out of town. Because this is a regular pattern with my brother I knew if I let him go there he would never move out unless I "threw him out on the street". Also our furniture and tools and things were still in my home and I worried he would steal stuff to pawn because he was an addict with no job. When I said No he couldnt, my relationship with my mother changed. She couldnt believe that I would do that to my own Brother and I became an enemy for a good while. The day after I told her no, she went out and rented a 2 bedroom apartment for her and my brother that cost only abt 100.00 less than her entire social security check (her entire income). He had no job, no car, no furniture, only the clothes on his back. He didn't get a job for months afterward and it almost killed me not to bail her out financially. I had done so many times and nothing ever got better. It seemed to only free up her very limited resources to help my brother more. (Enabling the enabler). I couldn't do it anymore and my husband was at his witts end with it all. My brother has lived with her and my dad (before he passed) more in the last 17 years than he hasn't. He is verbally abusive when he drinks and the last two times I came to visit my mom he got drunk and impossible to deal with. When he does finally get a job after mom nags him for months he gets some part time job and my mom has to drive him and pick him up all different hours. She cant see bc of old corneal transplant and cataracts and really cant see at night.
The latest issue is that he recently met a girl online who came and picked him up from 2 hrs away on his day off and he decided not to come back and just quit his job and move in with her. Thats good to get him out of moms house but he will be back like always. Because he was not there my husband and I decided to go do Thanksgiving at her house. His kids, who now live with their mother, wanted to go with us and see their grandma. When he found out we were bringing his kids he wanted to come (which he didnt before). I said i didnt think it was a good idea because he gets ugly after drinking and frankly my husband and I can't deal with it again just yet after the last two visits. My mom reluctantly agreed with us but my brother has turned it into that i was keeping his kids from seeing him. They are 16 and 17 and understood my reasons completely because he does the same to them everytime he is around them. Now my mom keeps telling me "we were wrong to not include him just because of past problems. We are still a family." When I try to explain my feelings to her she usually wants to quit talking about it. She keeps telling me its her last dying wish to get her kids to sit down and work out our difficulties with one another. (She's not dying) . Which i feel like I have till I am blue in the face and cannot reason with an addict.
I toggle from standing firm to feeling guilty and cant seem to concentrate on much because all this chaos seems to take over my mind much of the time. My mom is very depressed and all alone and its hard for me not to worry about her. Thank you for listening. Any input would be appreciated.
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Old 11-28-2016, 05:29 PM
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JM75, I'm so sorry you're going through this. My dad and I also have the same conversation about my sister.

I would strongly suggest starting your own thread about your own situation if you want to receive more responses, since this is an old conversation. You'll find people in SR are more than willing to help.

It took a long time for my dad to see that there was a problem. Heck, it took a long time for ME to see the problem. Unfortunately, the eye opener for us both was when my mom, then he, got cancer. They needed both our help, but my sister bailed out.

One question that I often ask myself as a parent... "Am I doing this to make myself feel better, or is this truly better for my child? I posed that question to my dad during one of our arguments, and he couldn't really answer.
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Old 12-01-2016, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by PuzzledHeart View Post
JM75, I'm so sorry you're going through this. My dad and I also have the same conversation about my sister.

I would strongly suggest starting your own thread about your own situation if you want to receive more responses, since this is an old conversation. You'll find people in SR are more than willing to help.

It took a long time for my dad to see that there was a problem. Heck, it took a long time for ME to see the problem. Unfortunately, the eye opener for us both was when my mom, then he, got cancer. They needed both our help, but my sister bailed out.

One question that I often ask myself as a parent... "Am I doing this to make myself feel better, or is this truly better for my child? I posed that question to my dad during one of our arguments, and he couldn't really answer.
Thank You Puzzledheart for your response. I will post a new thread. I do think my mom is starting to see the problem but isn't strong enough to implement the "tough love". Which imo keeps this circle of dysfunction going like a merry-go- round. Thank you again and I am so sorry you have dealt with this too. It's hard!
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