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Help me not become her

(17 Posts)
operaha Sun 03-Jan-16 12:39:36

My mum is an alcoholic. I've denied it for years because who wants to admit it but she is.
She drinks every single day to excess, I'd estimate 2 bottles of wine.
Every occasion is an excuse, if I suggest meeting for a coffee, she'll suggest a location that serves wine and "treat" herself.
She does nothing, no hobbies, only social life is popping to the pub. My dad drinks too but I have no concerns, he does not drink to excess and his personality never changes.
She is vicious to him and anyone she feels like, though mainly family. My sister though she lives in the same town is mainly nc, brother lives abroad and won't discuss it.
Christmas was so hard, I didn't want to spend it with her but the abuse I'd get if I hadn't wasn't worth it.
She looks awful. When you see her with friends the same age (64) you can see what it's done to her.
Her parents were alcoholics. I like alcohol but I'm starting to think that if it's inherited, then I can't drink because I can never ever do to my children what she's done to us - nothing physical but the verbal me and my siblings have had, the emotional turmoil and guilt etc, I can't do that.
I know I'm a bit like her, I'm very intolerant of my dad because he treats me like I'm thick, never gives me credit for anything, I'm a constant disappointment to them from not going to uni to having a child very young. I can feel their disappointments being projected onto their grandchildren though one is very very successful and of course is the golden child. She has never been able to treat her children or grandchildren equally, admits she has favourites though these change according to which one of us is most successful etc.
She has never ever asked to see her grandchildren since they were babies when she'd pose with the pram hoping people would think she was the baby's mum because she's far too young to be a grandmother (my fault)

I want to hear from people that have grown up in a family like this but escaped the cycle. I want to be me, not some copy of her but I can actually see how it happens.

Asking my dad or siblings to help won't work though I can talk to my sister. Brother is a very long way away but I'm seeing him soon so will discuss.

I'll probably add more, just needed this off my chest. I want to know how to avoid becoming her, more than anything so my children do not either.

Got to run, if anyone's been in this situation, please talk!

Heatherplant Sun 03-Jan-16 14:06:23

The thought of turning into either parent fills me with a deep dread. I'm pretty much teetotal, I enjoy a glass of champagne at christmas/weddings/birthday and that's it. I do have some of the best dinner party stories due to my 'wild childhood' but as I've got older the stories aren't actually that funny. Their excessive drinking left me and my younger sibling vulnerable. I was the victim of a rather unpleasant offence due to their inability to put the wine away and watch their children. Both parents are now deceased due to non alcohol related illness, one of my brothers died from complications due to prolonged excessive drinking. I'm now NC with my sister as she is, you guessed it, an alcoholic. I'm NC with most of the surviving members of my family and after a few months of being lonely/upset I started actually living life without any of their chaos and it's bloody fantastic. You can't change the past but you can shape your future.

operaha Sun 03-Jan-16 14:09:57

Thank you. I'm driving round there shortly to discuss the trip to see my brother so going nc isn't an option. Yet.... I'll be back to report whether she insisted on having a drink because we're booking a holiday or some shit like that...

Vagabond Sun 03-Jan-16 14:25:06

My mother is an abusive alcoholic. I feel your pain. Nothing to add right now as I'm still processing the phone call I got today from her, abusing me for this or that and then hanging up on me (again). Just so fed up.

operaha Sun 03-Jan-16 15:41:22

I'm here. She's made us all tea/coffee after offering us alcohol and poured herself a Bailey's. It's getting so much worse recently.

Hissy Sun 03-Jan-16 15:46:05

My love, the fact that you're questioning this, looking at yourself and analysing things means categorically that you AREN'T her.

Minimise contact if you find it unhelpful, cut visits short, calls short. Create the safe space you need away from her. Create the sanctuary you need from your critical father.

Samantha28 Sun 03-Jan-16 15:54:31

Three of my ( half ) siblings grew up just like you and none of them have a drink problem or any other addiction . They all have good jobs and steady home lives .

Yes there is a genetic link , but it just means that you are more likely than the average person to get addicted . So you need to be more careful than other people about addictions, like aldohol, drugs, eating disorders, online games, gambling, porn etc.

But if you have reached your 20s and your are OK, you probably know that already .

My sister was really helped by Al Anon and I know lots of other people who have had the same experience . They will help you deal with your Mums drinking now and you own feelings.

I know it's very hard . You just want to have a normal family don't you .

operaha Sun 03-Jan-16 16:29:58

I'm 36 with an adult child smile
I'm going to try al-anon. It'll help me too, I do drink too much but not in that way.

Fourormore Sun 03-Jan-16 16:32:36

I'd recommend a psychodynamic psychotherapist to help you with this sort of thing. I wouldn't have broken the cycle without one.

RiceCrispieTreats Sun 03-Jan-16 17:22:46

I was going to suggest therapy too, as you have a whole load of family dynamics to unravel.

Do you view your own drinking as problematic? Is there anything in your own behaviour that makes you think you'll become like her?

M48294Y Sun 03-Jan-16 17:29:09

I would go no contact with her, actually. And you too Vagabond. Or at least stop answering her phone calls!

My mother did stop drinking eventually but our relationship is ruined. I don't trust her and I just spent so many years keeping her at arms length to avoid having to deal with her alcoholism that the damage is done. Even now, I won't phone her after lunch time.

operaha Sun 03-Jan-16 17:29:36

Not really, I can leave it and intend to for a while whilst I work this all out.
I work very hard so can't drink often, but have been through periods where I've leant on it too much.

RiceCrispieTreats Sun 03-Jan-16 17:49:44

Well, it's good that you can recognise that that's what it was. Self-awareness really is the key to changing or staving off bad behaviour.

Heatherplant Sun 03-Jan-16 18:04:12

Many people have had the odd one too many on occasions and you will be more sensitive to it due to family background. Just limit the contact for a bit, nothing dramatic just be 'working late' or 'full of the flu' etc etc and see how it goes away from the situation. If you are going to maintain some contact set really clear boundaries, harsh but when the inevitable slurred phone call is made then 'I'll speak to you when you are sober' and have times you just don't take any calls at all. It's her problem for her to deal with, sounds like you need time for you.

operaha Sun 03-Jan-16 19:19:37

See she isn't as bad as some mums I've read about on here or even in this thread. She doesn't call me up to drunkenly criticise me, more likely I'll call her because I need to ask her something and the next day she'll have forgotten and tell me I didn't tell her.
She'll be outwardly critical in a drinking situation such as a Sunday roast (not a drinking situation to most people) but only once the drink has taken hold. She is always, drunk or sober, horrid to my dad. He had an affair when we were little and it is clear she still hasn't forgiven him. When mine and my sister's marriages broke down we were told she wouldn't support us through divorce.
Sober, she is very helpful, though not with children. Financially, if I needed anything she would have her hand in her pocket immediately. In a crisis, where she gets to be martyr, she's great (if sober).
So I know these things make her slightly less frightful and I've never been in any danger because of her, but for example if I ever let her babysit (i don't) she'd be putting my children at risk wouldn't she because she wouldn't go without. My youngest suffers migraines - what if he got one in the middle of the night? So I can't leave them there.
I don't worry about calling after lunch etc as someone said. She will drink at lunch if it's with a meal with friends but she's not a bottle before getting out of bed drunk. But a drunk she is.
Was really odd all of us sat there drinking tea but she still had a drink. She used the word "treat", made my heart sink.

CrazyBaubles Sun 03-Jan-16 20:40:36

OP you have my full sympathy as my dm is very similar. I actually had to Read your op twice to check it wasn't written by my sister!
My dm was brought up by her mother single handed, and her mum was an alcoholic. Dm's childhood was horrible so left home at a young age.
DM never drank when we were young, but in my late teens my dad also has an affair and she drank her way through it. They reconciled but she still drinks.
Funnily enough, Sunday roasts are a favourite drinking time for her too - she drinks while she's cooking the roast.
My mum is also a nice woman when sober, would give me her last £, wishes we did more together etc, however, when she's had a drink, I'm boring / act too old / need to loosen up / too fat / need a better job etc. It's horrendous, and the time she gets drunk is getting earlier.
She also uses going out as a reason to drink - we recently went to the theatre (bought the ticket as a present). She took miniature bottles in with her.

For me, with a lot of support from DH to see the damage she was causing me (I have very low confidence shocking ), I have cut down on visits. I used to go for dinner every Sunday, now it's roughly once per month, and I arrange it so dsis and her family are also there. I also make sure to leave by around 5pm as that's when she settles down with her (usually second) bottle of wine.
I don't go out socially with her unless it is guaranteed not to include drink.

I know a lot of posters say go no contact but that's so hard. I can't do it, I still like her when she's sober!
I would say, protect yourself where you can.
Have you spoken to her about it? My dm gets very irritated if I bring it up so I don't anymore, just tell her that I won't be around her when she's drinking, won't buy her alcohol and won't stand for her being horrible. I follow through with this and It's been going ok since the summer which is when this all came to a head.

Good luck op

operaha Sun 03-Jan-16 21:37:36

Crazy. My mum travels a lot, she takes mini shampoo bottles with vodka in for the plane.
A good few years ago we travelled a long way through France together, they were in a different car but with my sister. In 34 degree heat she drank a bottle of wine because she was bored. So was smashed when we got to the hotel, and so rude to me I ended up crying in McDonald's rather than go to the only restaurant where we were.
That is one that really sticks out, that need to drink on a mundane journey I mean wtf?! She nearly fell down some steps that night, no recollection the next day, won't discuss it.
This holiday is really hanging over me. We're in different apartments but in the same building. She'll bloody love the excuse for a 2 week booze up. I'm so so so looking forward to it, but dreading it purely because of her.
Families sad

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