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to feel ashamed and disgusted? Should I be showing compassion?(Long - sorry)(527 Posts)
my DSis and I haven't seen eye to eye for quite some time - the last time I visited her house was in September 2009 when dd2 was a month old. Since then, I've given birth to DS1 - she didn't know I was pregnant with him as I asked people not to tell her. I didn't want her to know. The last time I had any contact with her was in August 2011 when she ruined my DD2s birthday party by starting a
massive row with my inlaws
DSis has 4 DCs, and I love them dearly. I have maintained contact with them even though I haven't had any contact with her.
At the beginning of the summer hols, DSis was admitted to hospital with some unknown illness. My parents begged me to make contact with her, and I did - for them, not for me or for her, but for my parents.
She was discharged from hospital (without a diagnosis) and we met for the first time in 12 months at my parents house. She met my DS for the first time and it was fine.
On Monday this week I took a trip up to her house as it was her DC3s birthday on Tuesday and I wanted to make sure the card and gift was on time. DSis was not expecting me and immediately upon entering her home I felt very uncomfortable - nothing I could put my finger on but very uncomfy.
Her DCs 3&4 told me upon my arrival that I shouldn't use the downstairs loo as mummy has been sick in there and it smells. DC4 also said that Daddy was still at work and he wasn't coming back.
Alarm bells started to ring, and I just felt that she wasn't herself. I thought she had been drinking, but talked myself out of that as I know how ill she has been. DCs asked if me and my DCs could stay for tea - DSis said we must and she would go and fetch takeaway. At this, I said we simply couldn't and had to get home.
I left after approx 45 mins.
On the way home, I called my parents and started off a whole chain of events which I'm devastated by.
I told parents that if I didn't know better I would say she was drunk - parents didn't believe me, so took a trip up to her house unannounced. The shit really hit the fan.
DSis denied drinking, but her whole attitude and demeanour gave her away. She attacked her DH, our parents and all in front of her 4 DCS who were screaming at their GPs to leave as they were making everything worse
It gets worse.
On wednesday, I got a call from DM to say I needed to pick her up ASAP and get to DSis' house.
On arriving there, we find, DSis sat in a heap on the floor covered in her own vomit. The living room floor covered in vomit with the youngest DCs playing in it and the family dog eating it <boak>
She was so out of it - sat there in just a bra, completely oblivious to her surroundings. This was at 5pm.
She had collected her children from school in the car in this state (but dressed) just over an hour before. Eldest DC had called her Dad to say they desperately so needed help as mummy was so ill. Daddy called GP and so on and so forth....
Dsis is fighting drunk. DCs are witnessing everything (and it was obvious by their reactions that they've witnessed it before).
Because of her recent stay in hospital, her DH and my DM thought it best to take her back to hospital - she is denying all the time that she has had a drink.
At 10pm last night, she was still twice over the legal drink drive limit - she wasn't fit to be seen by the MH crisis scene until after 2am.
She was vile to the hospital staff, DH, DM - everyone really.
It then all came out. She has been drinking in secret for YEARS. She has conditioned her DCs to say NOTHING by thereatening them with Social Services and telling them they would be taken away.
She has had numerous bumps in her car, and has been breathalysed on one occassion that we are aware of (obviously clear on this occasion). Her DCs finally admitted that mummy often mounts the kerb when driving and they have been covering up for her.
She also has major issues with dependency on painkillers. Again, she has denied this vehemently.
She was sent home from hospital soon after 5am today. She has a crisis team in place who will visit her daily at home. She is on a detox as she is severely alcohol dependent.
She missed her DC4s first day at school and her DC1s first day at Secondary school due to her drinking.
When she arrived home, her first concern was that she didn't want to see her MIL, and after that I received a call to ask if I had seen her iPad as she couldn't remember what she had done with it.
I dropped EVRYTHING last night to go to her and her DCs, and her major concern is updating her facebook status
I am disgusted, angry and ashamed of her. Right now I don't want to know her. I am livid that she has risked her children's lives and the lives of others by driving drunk on a daily basis for god knows how long.
I will do anything to make sure the DCs are safe, but I'm not sure I can see her without without giving her a good hard slap
Is this wrong? Should I be supporting her unconditionally?
AIBU for being this disgusted with her?
Where do I go from here?
She has some deep rooted issues which she had told everyone she was addressing and was getting counselling for - this was also a lie.
Sorry, I did say it was long.
could you all attempt for someone to be there most evenings, even if it is a neighbour or friend.
Im not sure how much support could be made availible. That depends if and what funding is availible along with what riosks your dsis is deemed to be presenting to her dcs.
It may be more of a Child protection measure they look at in this instance. It may be down to you as family to ensure a cover otherwise they may advice or ask that someone takes the dcs in full time and if not they may look at foster care.
it is difficult to make any guesses on a thread, but there are a number of options and social services will make you as a family very much part of them options prior to considering any other care measures.
It is too dificult make any predictions, but I would prepare for some decissions needing to be made as a family if social services make any requests.
in my experience it is not unusual for someone in AA to make an effort to offer a lift to another person showing an interest in attending but may be reluctant. agreed though it is not for the OP to be giving a lift.
i dont think supporting her to the extent that she has someone with her and the kids all the time is useful? for her. or the kids
I think the kids should be removed ASAP, until she has proved that she is committed to sobering up
The kids will be in a constant state of anxiety and ready and practiced at covering up and being the adult of the situation
can i recommend this book?
there are also lots of lovely ladies in the Relationships section who can give first hand accounts of growing up with an alcoholic parent
I agree ET but dsis needs to make that connection herself IMO
I agree she does of course but sometimes another person who has that conection already is the best person if any.
Im not suggesting any random mner does this, But I thought that if someone was in the area and could invite her to see what she thinks may be helpfull in her taking that first step. My family member does that very often, he does not make any emotional conection, he offers a lift hives his limited contact details and will offer a lift so long as it is wanted.
it makes me so and so
fucking alcohol, man
I don't think there's anything wrong with how you're feeling, and I think Devora hit the nail on the head about it being the alternative to being sucked in to an addict's worldview.
Don't worry about facebook. She probably won't get judged there. < Is bitter over watching friends listen to what they want to hear from people who mean well> [cross emoticon]
Already discussed options with parents, her MIL and DH about "spot check" visits, which will be daily for the next month at least.
I know we cannot rely on SS to check daily, that is beyond their responsibility.
i think you need to decide between you then, what 'the line' will be; and what will happen if it is crossed
And remember, she has successfully hidden her drinking from you for years
I too think the DCs should be removed ASAP as we cannot trust her not to drink. She has lied and lied and lied some more and yet she has convinced herself she is fine.
I would hope for this to be a short term arrangement, but who knows
Thank you for the book recommendation - I have ordered x 2 for me and for my parents to read too.
I also agree with the & wrt alcohol.
I drink, my DH drinks, my parents and DBro all drink.
We do not drink alone, we rarely drink to excess and never to a point where we are beyond control.
We enjoy a drink socially - that is all. And I get a terrible headache after more than a couple of glasses of wine
Poor you, Babylon, what a ghastly situation and I can totally understand your anger towards your sister and your protective feeling towards her DC.
I don't see how she can be left alone with them in the afterschool slot. I would try to get them or her out of the house in at last the short term. If she realises that she has in effect lost the right to be their parent it may be a wake up call for her. Sorry if that sounds judgey but having had a similar situation among one of my cousins, I find that it is the lies and manipulation of the children that is very hard to forgive and will impact them for the rest of their lives.
this is what i think should happen;
your dsis's dh should get a court order (Occupation/ Non-Molestation) to have her removed from the house/prevent contact, because she poses a serious threat to her children
She will then be homeless and be given a place in a hostel or similar. Where she can continue her detox and embark on AA or similar. Hopefully loosing her home and her family will be her rock-bottom and she will stop twatting about on Facebook and take her recovery seriously. After she has proved herslef to be sober and commited to staying that way, her dh can choose to remove the court order and have her back at home, or not.
Her dh can arrange child care (a nannny/ au pair perhaps); quit his job and downsize to look after dc; or you/other family members can take care of kids either in their home or yours
Protecting the children is the priority
Of course, even this may not be dsis's rock bottom and she may continue to drink any way
Thank you Saffron it is almost certainly the manipulation of the children I am struggling most with.
They are anxious, withdrawn, and they always looked to me like they were carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders - now I know why
MrD I am inclined to agree that it may take drastic action such as you have suggested to make her realise.
Her DH is not strong enough to do this and follow it through. IMO he has no backbone, however I am beginning to realise that he is completely controlled by her. She uses their children as emotional pawns and she thinks nothing of threatening to stop him from seeing them.
He would be frightened of her divorcing him if he initiated a court order against her. . He needs to man up, fast.
BabylonPI Oh god bless you. I'm rubbish at advice - just wanted to send you my best xx
Babylon, I'm too tired to read your thread properly but couldn't ignore it. First, well done for getting your sister seen to. Things are bad now and, if you hadn't done that, they'd already be worse.
Secondly, my overwhelming reaction to reading your OP was sadness for your sister. Yes, I feel a ton of compassion - more - but I have been in rehab. I understand how these things go, and why. Of course it's just all a bewildering puzzle to you, and of course you feel angry.
It will help you to get in touch with Al-Anon.
You seem to be feeling a very understandable desire to manage her and her illness. This isn't possible. Rule three: You can't control it.
Compassion isn't all soft and yielding, neither is it cold and hard. If you want to help, and I can see you do, get some insight from Al-Anon first. If you can, aim to support her (practical help, even listening if you can handle it) but don't try to change her or 'make her see'. She already hates herself, I can promise you that.
You're a good friend and sister!
I'll come back and read you properly in the morning
if you and other family members were not around/prepared to step in, and your sister continues to drink and he allows her to take care of the kids alone, they will both be deemed 'unsafe'. he would be failing his duty of care as a parent and the kids would be taken from them
his feelings for his wife and his marriage, and his fears for the future have to take second place to his childrens safety and welfare
you might be doing them a favour, to stand back and let this happen
if her husband is determined to hold the family together, he is unlikely to agree to you having the kids live with you? presumably he wants them to stay in the family home as a family?
Get him to Al-Anon
And buy him a copy of that book
Thank you again. I'm going to try and sleep now but will come back in the morning
YANBU... what you are feeling at the moment is completely normal and tbh I would be the same but as the reality of the situation sets in you will most probably find it easier to cope with these feelings, they are most probably a mixture of total anger at her for allowing her to get into this state causing massive risk to the health and well-being of her DCs and at yourself for not picking up on this ages ago (which you are definitely not to blame for as addicts are very clever at covering their tracks). Without being able to understand the reasons for her drink dependency it is very hard to feel compassion so do not bad about that. No one can help an alcoholic until they admit they have a problem
The children and her DH will definitely need unconditional support from as many people as they can get it from and a big hug to you for being there for them.
Why can't the children go to a childminder before and after school?
Was her primary concern updating her facebook status, or was it that she was avoiding facing up to what she has done to herself and her family? She will know somewhere in her mind that she is going to have to deal with that fall out and she may not be quite ready yet.
Poor woman, what on earth has driven her to drink to such an extent?
She and her family need all the help, love and compassion they can get.
Of course she said horrible things, but it wasn't really her talking was it, it was the addiction.
Babylon don't be ashamed of your feelings towards your sister. They are understandable. Do contact Al Anon though.
Al Anon were great for advice for me and help many years ago when my ex was an alcoholic. He had a daughter (not with me) and his drinking was so bad, he gave up seeing her because he hated himself so much. Sometimes he said he didn't care about her as she just got in the way of his drinking.
Al Anon helped me cope (as I found him not having contact with his daughter unforgivable and couldn't understand it) and learn to be supportive without enabling him.
It was hard and our relationship ultimately didn't survive, which was more to do with our personalities than his drinking in the end. But he did manage to start seeing his daughter again and is now a great, involved dad. I'm very proud of him for overcoming a very serious illness. So it is a very hard road but can have a good ending.
So don't feel bad about how you feel. Alcoholism is an awful destructive disease that makes people horribly selfish and irresponsible. But it is an illness. Hope things improve for you and your sister very soon.
One thing that you should bear in mind is that the children will back her 100% . She is their mum, they love her, they won't see you helping her, they will see you splitting the family up. And they will also view her going away (or them being taken away) as punishment for them for not keeping it quiet.
They really need someone to talk to, especially the eldest who (if she is anything like my friend's eldest) will have been holding the family together for years and will feel very responsible.
My friend's oldest hated her dad for a long time for forcing her mum to get help. It's only now, ten years later, that she can see that her dad was doing his best.
Their mum spent a lot of time brainwashing them, saying their dad was controlling (because he tried to stop her drinking), saying that he chose to be out at work (he didn't, she was spending a fortune that he had to earn), saying that she was under so much pressure looking after them all and that he couldn't be bothered, etc, etc. Their opinion of their dad and of other people was so skewed it took years to unbrainwash them.
I am not a saint. I had to deal with alcoholism in a close relative, too.
My gut feeling is to act on what is best for her children, keep that as my focus in all future actions. I could not find a well of compassion for her beyond that. She will suck your compassion dry if you take any other line.
Recovery is a life long thing. You can't fix her. You may be able to make a difference in her children's lives, though. That's not the same as interfering & deciding what's best for them; remember she's their mom & they want almost more than anything in the world for her to stay in their lives.
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