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Estranged adult child of alcoholic mother

(10 Posts)
laraeo Tue 16-Apr-13 15:46:14

I just got an email from someone who keeps in touch with my mother saying she needs to talk to me about a matter of some urgency.

I don't see my mother and keep minimal contact - 2 calls a year.

Last year she was thrown out of the house she'd been living in with her only local friend. This after a 40+ year friendship.

As far as I know, she is loving in a low-income apartment (we're American). She had told me she had a part-time job but she's a liar so I don't know if that's true.

I'm an only child with no contacts in her home town - I severed all relationships when I left for university.

I've emailed her friend back - friend not local to my mother - saying I'll call this afternoon once I drop DS off at preschool.

I am dreading this. I do NOT want to have to deal with this. I guess I could just use a bit of hand holding.

I know alcoholism is a disease - God knows it's on both sides of the family, but all the other alcoholics in the family have gotten help and are now sober. She is the only one that refuses to see her problem.

She has no other family, BTW. Just me. And my DS who I don't want anywhere near her.

Last year I sent her a lengthy email when she had the falling out with the friend she lived with.

I am just so afraid of what this call is going to bring.

twentythirteen Tue 16-Apr-13 15:50:59

That sounds really tough OP, would it help if you set your boundaries before making the call? YOu can't fully anticipate what she needs to say but you can think about where you need to draw a line to keep yourself ok. You don't have to agree to anything, and you can end the call when you need to.

Why didn't she contact you directly? Why go through someone else?

laraeo Tue 16-Apr-13 16:03:59

No doubt my mother doesn't know she's contacted me. She didn't know the other ex-friend had contacted me either until I told her.

My mother is a consummate liar and always has been.

I've often wondered why her friends weren't concerned when I was growing up with a drunk. Probably because she was still a functioning alcoholic then. But the functioning boat has long sailed.

It was sad, but also amusing, to get their phone calls trying to gently tell me my mother has a drinking problem (20+ years ago) and me being a bit more blunt about things.

You're right, though. I need to keep boundaries. I feel guilty keeping a distance but I think I'd feel worse getting sucked into her problems.

bobbywash Tue 16-Apr-13 16:53:29

As you say, keep your boundaries. From personal experience the distance thing is essential, even to their own children alcoholics will lie and cheat.

However always be polite and as you say don't get sucked in - you can't. It was the calls from others that were the hardest to deal with, they really do not understand the pain you've already been through and don't want to go through again.

towicymru Tue 16-Apr-13 16:54:22

I had (have although not seen for 26 years) an alcoholic mother. She was a consumate liar. I think alcoholics lie to themselves which is why my mother came across to the rest of the world as telling the truth. Not sure if your mother is the same but be wary that she could be lying out of her backside even though she seems genuine.

I would make notes during the phonecall - it's amazing how people contradict themselves and you might not pick up on it at the time!

Whatever her issue is, she may need to reach absolute rock bottom before she can try and work her way back up. It's not your problem. Focus on your DS x

GeordieCherry Tue 16-Apr-13 17:04:53

Have you ever been to Al-Anon?

It helps me to stay boundaried with my own alcoholic mother

You don't have to make this call til you're good & ready

laraeo Tue 16-Apr-13 18:20:34

At this point I'm meant to call the friend at 4pm which defeats the purpose of waiting to do it when DS is at school.

I need to get it over with, though.

My mother lies to everybody. I know enough not to hopefully not get tangled up in her BS.

Last year, when she got thrown out of her friend's house, there was a good deal of back and forth with me in the middle. The friend is a bit kooky, but she held down a good job & retired last year so I figure she can't be too bad.

She said she'd found my mother passed out on the stairs/landing. Also there are additional medical problems related to years of drinking.

The friend I'm meant to call later is in Florida - mother is in Pennsylvania and I'm in Virginia.

My DH tries to be supportive but he has little to do with his parents (not similar at all) and has 4 siblings. DH has also seen how much my mother can upset me - even with the little contact I have with her.

I haven't gone to Al-Anon. I probably should. Last year when we were in California, the meetings were at bad times and I had no childcare for DS.

If nothing else, the house will be very clean - that's my outlet. Cleaning.

Thanks for bring supportive.

Springdiva Tue 16-Apr-13 19:12:13

Email again and say that you are not prepared to take on your mother's problems, sorry.

Please, for your own sake.

NothingsLeft Tue 16-Apr-13 19:12:26

Just wanted to add my support. Really hope the call goes ok. I agree with the others, try not to sucked into whatever the problem is. You sound like you have good boundaries in place.

My mother is an alcoholic and I know how crap it makes you feel, getting involved when you don't want to. Good luck with it.

Springdiva Tue 16-Apr-13 19:13:35

I mean email - 'I am not prepared to take on my mother's problems, sorry'.

In case what I put wasn't clear.

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