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having difficult parents

While in grade school my parents got a divorce which was hard enough for me to handle, but then I decided to move in with my alcoholic mother. Most of high school was spent feeling like it was my “job” to fix her and be there for her meanwhile she was being emotionally and verbally abusive. I felt very trapped and it affected my mental health. Because of my mothers behavior after a while I couldn’t stand it anymore and realized it wasn’t healthy for me to live there, but there are times where I feel bad because I wasn’t enough to help her. Did anyone else struggle with any of this stuff or feel this way?

7 Replies to “having difficult parents”

  1. Shammy says:

    I can relate.

    I was also verbally/emotionally as well as physically abused by my mother. She has/had a drug/alcohol addiction, and I am still the one she releases her negative emotions unto. Because of her I have severe anxiety, and PTSD. A couple years ago my mother was diagnosed with an illness that could take her life and I’ve alaays struggled with the feelings that it was my fault because I could stop her addictions..

  2. mwatt says:

    Been there. My dad drank, and had a temper, and I always felt like it was my fault. Al-Anon is a free anonymous support group for family members of drinkers. It really helped me get perspective, and get rid of some of the guilt. You deserve to feel better. Talk to other people in your situation. And if your being hurt call a doomestic violence hotline. Thats not right. Good luck.

  3. Laurat says:

    Although I was not part of Al-anon I was able to find a different support group within my church group and friends. My best friends father was also an alcoholic and we leaned on eachother for support through it. The leader of my local Christian youth group met with me frequently to talk about everything.

  4. lkruth says:

    I’m really glad you all were able to find support. Addiction is an illness; if a parent is impacted, it’s not something their child can “fix” or “stop.” Like when someone gets very sick, only professional help can possibly combat this illness. Please take care of yourselves and keep building your support networks so that you are able to process all of the very complicated emotions associated with a loved one having an addiction illness.

  5. Valerie says:

    I was thinking about issues I was having with my mom over the weekend and I came across this topic from the forum started months back…so I am reintroducing it to everyone.

    I had a negative experience on Friday with my mother which triggered memories of my toxic past when I was living with her. This negative situation was like accidentally knocking down a hornets’ nest…the pain doesn’t go away immediately. I am still trying to recover from all of the bee stings on my body.

    I spoke to a friend this weekend who was with me during this negative encounter (and know my past conflict with her), but it felt so wrong to talk about it to him. It felt like every time I mentioned something she said or did that was bothering me, I was betraying my mother.
    I guess it’s because just the previous week she was at my house having brunch and we had a great time.
    I don’t like to villainize her because it makes me look ungrateful and unforgiving of her actions, but I cannot shake my anger right now.

    Does anyone have a similar experience? How do you cope with the anger and not feel so guilty about it?

  6. RaiC says:

    Bouncing back is always the toughest when dealing with family, especially our parents.

    I am sorry that you had a negative encounter with your mom and I hope you are feeling a bit better today. I’m really happy that you shared that with us. Ive had my fair share of conflict growing up with close friends and family members… literally to the point of actual physical fighting and intense verbal abuse. It’s always the hardest to talk about it because it feels like I shouldn’t express my negative feelings or share things with other people b/c I know I’ll get over it eventually and the people I have shared my feelings with will probably look at the people that I’ve spoke to them about in such a different light. So i completely see how it felt so wrong to share the incident with your friend but at the end of the day, we’re humans and when we go through things, venting is just a part of the process. It’s def my coping strategy when I am upset, I call my bestfriend (someone else if shes the problem lol) & I speak on things. I try to calm myself and keep in the back of my mind that I’ll eventually be on good terms again with whoever I’m beefing with at the moment, so I should watch what i say and try not to destroy the relationship with my temporary feelings. I try to wait a little while before I talk on things. Listening to music and sometimes just laying with my eyes closed helps me to deal with the drama. To keep myself from feeling guilty, I try to weigh things out. If I know I am completely out of line, I take some time to refocus my energy and come up with a way to apologize or to make things right.. I just feel like some things can be forgiven and life is moving way too fast to let the little things make such a big impact.

    I dont think its going behind your moms back or anything like that… we deal with stuff with the people we love. It is so weird that one minute things can feel so right and be so perfect and then the next moment, it feels so wrong and can become a nightmare. Thats the thing about life, its all so unpredictable. I would try waiting it out and taking some time to focus on myself… it’s still all to fresh in your memory and if you cant shake it right now, that’s ok.

  7. Michael says:

    Valerie – this response is for you. I can relate to feeling triggered by family and having to navigate that arena. The way I see it, talking about anything that is bothering you can be healthy. I can also see your point that talking about family (vs work or friends) can call heavier and more dense emotions or feelings into play. I think your intent was not to disrespect your mother, so I wouldn’t personally feel guilty about it. Your friend seem to have been a comforting and safe resource for you.

    I understand how with family, we can have wonderful memories and events, yet quickly get triggered. You do not seem ungrateful or unforgiving – I sensed a great deal of compassion from your post.

    What has helped in moments of stress is space, giving myself literal breathing room, and emotional space to process. even 10 minutes walking outside, enough to clear the air and come back fresh. Another thing (that I use a lot) is reminding myself that people are just doing the best they can. When I changed the thought about my own mother (who was often the main trigger in my family) I then changed the feelings around her, which then led to more peaceful interactions.

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