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My alcoholic mother is being made homeless. I've distanced myself but had a call for help.wwyd?

(104 Posts)
BriansBrain Tue 18-Jun-13 20:12:27

I've had a thread on here before about what a nightmare my mother has been in the past due to her ill health and alcholism and received lots of support.

Sad to say I'm back again.

I'm married with DC, full time career and moved away from my/our home town 15 years ago because as selfish as it sounds she is such hard word, lying, threatening suicide, lying. I couldn't take to any more.

We used to speak on the phone but she would tell me constant lies.

The house was unkept to the point where I couldn't visit with DC because of the smoke and alchol and general state of it all.

She would be hospitalised, I refused to visit every time because nothing changed.

I know I sound selfish but I like to think of it as protective of my little family.

No dad, grandparents just me and then my mothers sister who lives hours and hours away.

She lost her house and the last I heard she was doing fine in residential care and waiting for assisted housing (all of these words are new to me and mean nothing) I have text but not had any replies or just "I'm fine" replies.

Mothers sister calls today, mum is suicidal and the assisted housing has fallen through,social services have said she needs to leave residential and offered her a flat with no assistance and in an area she doesn't want to live in.

She is saying no so SS are saying its the flat or homeless your choice.

Sister wants me to swoop in. And save the day because mother is rock bottom again

Sorry it's so long and I've kept it bullet point to keep my emotions out because I have had this for many many sad years since a child myself and every is great and now this.

I k ow this is my mother but I can't let the DC k ow what's going on, youngest doesn't even know who she is.

I'm going to finish putting DC to bed and hope someone an help me figure out what I am going to have to do.

BriansBrain Tue 18-Jun-13 22:21:10

So full of pity I forgot to say thank you for your help - all of you thanks

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Tue 18-Jun-13 22:28:52

Look at it this way.

If you DO swoop in and help your kids will have the privilege of seeing, their alcoholic granny every morning, all day and every night. There she will be drinking, while they try and do their homework. When they want their friends round, she will be sitting in the corner. They will grow up with you and their Dad arguing about her. She will be there for them modelling co-dependent, manipulative, emotionally abusive behaviour.

Do you still feel guilty?

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Tue 18-Jun-13 22:30:10

What I mean to say is you are doing the right thing flowers She is not your problem.

Xales Tue 18-Jun-13 22:33:53

Your mother isn't rock bottom. She is being offered a place to live. Her choice to accept or not. She is not homeless unless she chooses that.

Stay strong you are helping her more by not helping her.

NotSoNervous Tue 18-Jun-13 22:34:17

Tbh I wouldn't do anything. She's a big girl and will stand on her own two feet. Social services aren't going to let her sleep on the street.

BriansBrain Tue 18-Jun-13 22:34:48


You just summed my life as a child up in one post.

Mummy always looked after granny because if she didn't god forbid go on a family holiday Granny would attempt to set fire to her flat.

Daddy hated seeing what it did to mummy so he left after many many years of arguments...


Inertia Tue 18-Jun-13 22:39:59

You owe it to your children to provide a stable family home.

And a stream of people endlessly rescuing your mum and haranguing each other about whose turn it is clearly isn't having any success in terms of helping her get better.

DIddled Tue 18-Jun-13 22:40:42

Well said TOn- harsh but true. BB by all means look into AL Anon but why wast your time on the subject, where will it get you? Please please remember this is not your fault and you must put yourself first. Xx

BriansBrain Tue 18-Jun-13 22:48:51

I've made a point since the last hospital admission not to waste my time with this.

She never calls me, never asks about the DC or me or my DH it's all about her and her next drama - if you can believe even a fraction of it.

Everything is going so well at the minute, work is so busy it's great and Dh is in a new role which means more time for us and I'm so glad I started this thread.

Thank you all so much.

I will be back once Dh has fielded the first of many calls for help but we do agree with every post here even though it feels wretched.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Tue 18-Jun-13 22:53:55

Didn't mean to be harsh sad but I grew up like this (DF) and wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Those are not the memories I would like to have and I always shy away from conversations / nostalgia about childhood for this reason.

It will feel wretched Brian but it will be temporary. It is wonderful that things are going well for you and you should focus on that [hugs]

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Tue 18-Jun-13 22:54:48

(((hugs))) I meant blush

DIddled Tue 18-Jun-13 23:05:25

Ton bless you you weren't harsh - sorry I didn't mean to upset you! You put it better than anyone of us have in the context of how it would be in reality if BB had her mother living with her.

As daughters of alcohol dependent parents- we will carry many scars , but must shield our own children from the same.

Hugs to you Ton too- I feel sad that you have bad childhood memories- I know what you mean. X

jessjessjess Tue 18-Jun-13 23:08:36

If you swoop in to 'help' her, you won't actually be helping her.

It does sound like Al-Anon might be worth a try.

BriansBrain Tue 18-Jun-13 23:10:44

Please don't feel bad Ton

As I said, I also grew up in that environment and tonight is probably the first time I have realised that is why I am not willing to go through, or put my family through it.

It is a make or break situation for my little happy family.

So thank you x

Viviennemary Tue 18-Jun-13 23:14:05

I agree with nearly everything that has been said. She isn't being made homeless but has been offered accommodation that doesn't suit her. She will just have to accept it on a temporary basis. I don't think you should succumb to pressure from your sister to get involved. Let her sort it out. Families are so good at saying you should do this and you should do that while they stand in the wings. Don't fall for it.

BombJack Wed 19-Jun-13 00:05:49

Reading these posts gives me an awful, sick, sinking feeling in my stomach. It reminds me of the calls I used to get about my Mum, and later, Dad. sad

The advice in this thread is spot on. No matter what guilt trips are laid on you, detach, detach, detach. Your responsibility is to your DC & your DH. You will only make things worse if you try to help directly, and I know from bitter experience, the alcoholic loves the booze far more than their own family.

You don't need your DH to field the calls. Speak to your Aunt and tell her to either back off, or not contact you ever again. Explain your position to her clearly, so there can't be any misunderstandings. You cannot risk the happiness of your children to enable an alcoholic. It's that simple.

I had to do something similar when my Dad fell off the wagon (after being sober for 6 years). Had to tell his Cousin I wasn't going to have him stay. My kids will never see a drunk staggering round the house like I had to growing up.

I really sympathize with you - and you're doing the right thing.

TwasBrillig Wed 19-Jun-13 00:11:48

This is a situation we could be faced with with my mother in the next few years. When we were thinking of moving I'd even been looking at places with a granny annex or room that could be locked to keep up safe from her. . .

All the replies are making me wonder if I've got it wrong too! Interesting to hear others stories. I'm now beginning to be angry at the hours and days lost at uni trying to talk a suicide attempt down or rushing home. The day after my wedding I spent in a and e with her so she wasn't on her own. After all she's ill isn't she and it must be frightening. . .

musickeepsmesane Wed 19-Jun-13 00:14:18

She is manipulating others. She has choices. Ignore it. You have had some great advice on here. Stay strong flowers

cleopatrasasp Wed 19-Jun-13 00:28:45

I have had similar wheedling calls from family members about a similar matter. My answer is this: 'if the person needs help so desperately why don't you help them?' Of course they have no answer to this as it is not what they want to hear. They want not to feel guilty so they try and guilt trip you into dealing with the crap so they can get on with their own happy life with a clear conscience. Don't fall for it.

My solution has been to teach myself to be unguiltable (though I don't think this is a proper word!) I simply do not care if people think I'm selfish - I am no more selfish than any of them anyway. It is very liberating and means that I am able to enjoy my life and devote myself to the family and friends that actually love and care about me.

ThatVikRinA22 Wed 19-Jun-13 00:43:00

change your phone number....i did that and its easier to move on when you are not getting bombarded with calls guilt tripping you.

i gave my number to only the people i wanted to have it. I dont hear now from one year to the next, and have had no contact with my mother for 13 years.

i dont feel guilty. i sometimes feel sad, but not guilty. I made my choices, she made hers.

Your mother has been offered a flat. its up to her now. This is not, and should not be, your problem.
stay firm.
change your number if the guilt trip gets too much.

50shadesofmeh Wed 19-Jun-13 09:00:55

If you take her in it will be impossible for her to get housing in the future as she will no longer be a priority , relations between you and her will get worse and you will end up being the bad guy when you want her to leave. Not to mention its not fair on your husband or children .
let her take the flat , she isn't homeless.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 19-Jun-13 09:09:57

Be invulnerable when it comes to your alcoholic mother.

Detach and keep detaching.

Its all very well for her sister but you are not here to rescue and or save someone who does not either want your help nor wants to be rescued or saved.

Your mother has and continues to make poor life choices; l'd leave her to it hard as that is. She is refusing accommodation for poor reasons.

As for feeling guilt, you think your mother feels at all guilty?. Likely not, her primary relationship is with drink. Protect your own family unit from such malign influences.

ImperialBlether Wed 19-Jun-13 09:58:15

Of course her sister wants you to take care of her, she knows your mum is a bloody nightmare! She knows that she's had enough of your mum and is desperately trying to pass her on to anyone who will take her away and deal with her. That's not you. You have your family now. Your mum is your mother but she's not part of your family in the same way that your husband and children are. She lost that right long, long ago by her own actions. Look after your family and yourself.

Lindt70Percent Wed 19-Jun-13 10:09:25

What are you expected to swoop in and do? She's been offered a flat and doesn't want to take it, what are you supposed to offer that would be acceptable to both of you?

I think you've done very well to keep in contact with her at all. You're protecting your own family which is the best thing you can do. I understand the guilt but I can't see what else you could actually do.

I really feel for you. I have similar issues in my own family (not with my parents but with my siblings). I too have distanced myself for my own self preservation but sometimes the guilt creeps in and it can be hard to suppress particularly when others think you should be doing something else. When I've tried to help it's only made me very miserable and darkened my life and it's never helped the addicted person who never remembers that you tried to help anyway.

Listen to your DH. He can remind you of the reality of her and the situation.

Stepmooster Wed 19-Jun-13 10:19:44

(Hugs) Op, my mum was the same and I cut contact which really p*ssed off my mother's siblings. There were 3 of them and they were all very good at telling me what I should do for my mum. I couldn't take anymore, I spoke with social services too. They told me my mother had all the support she needed from them to put her life back on track but each an every time they offered she refused.

They told me not to feel guilty, and that I needed to seek help and support myself. Also by keeping an alcoholic barely functioning is doing them no favours nor you or you family. You have to be cruel to be kind.

I went to counselling and instead of feeling guilty for not being able to cure my mum, I learnt how to come to terms with the fact my mother was a hopeless mum, how she would never be there for me and that she never really was. And that actually she's the one letting her family down.

Alcoholism is a choice, its not a disease that strikes random victims. Alcoholics have a choice, your mother has chosen the bottle over you.
Protect your children from witnessing this, politely and firmly tell your aunt that your children come first. That you wish your mum well and hope that she sees sense enough to take the flat but you have no desire to remain in contact with your mother for the sake of your children.

Best wishes x

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