Feeling naive, how do I keep this up without ending up in therapy again?

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Feeling naive, how do I keep this up without ending up in therapy again? Empty Feeling naive, how do I keep this up without ending up in therapy again?

Post by ApocalypseApple on Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:44 am

I really didn't know where to go with this. I realize I'm not very 'known' here, but you people seem so amazing. I also decided to go here because of a comment I made on the DNL blog about three months ago and it just occured to me that I was in such a different state of mind back then.

So without stalling this any further, this is about my mother's alcoholism. The comment I made three months ago was at the point that she had stopped for a while (months) and it was about forgiveness, anger and all that nasty stuff. Hell, I'll just copypaste the relevant part:
Spoiler:

I am generally a very forgiving person, but I too have my exceptions. I felt some very deep anger towards my mother for, well, not being a mother. She was an alcoholic throughout my teens and it messed me up for a good while. I was angry for that entire time, but I was *still* angry when she went and got help. I was angry because it was all about her, about her healing process, about her past and about her own feelings. In my mind, the only way I could possibly forgive her for the past 10 years was if she figuratively went on her knees and begged me for forgiveness. I couldn't find it in myself to forget my own past, even though I'd grown to the point that it didn't affect me in the same way anymore.

The thing is, I kind of got what I want. Or rather, what I thought I wanted. She had a fight with my father and in a random need to step up and do something I went to her and asked what was *really* going on (this was unusually for me to do, since I tend more towards avoidance). She opened up to me and did the whole crying thing and basically confessed how guilty she felt for everything, that she was afraid me and my siblings were angry at her and it was all too late. It's what I wanted, but I lied to her then. I said that I was never angry, that I had already forgiven her and I just wanted her to be healthy and happy. I never felt it, the anger was still there. I wanted more. I wanted the impossible. I wanted for her to experience those 10 years and naively thought that my continued anger would be noticed by her, but I was only harming myself with it.

I eventually forgave her in a matter of seconds when she ended up in the hospital and I feared for her life. It's sad that this is what was needed, but it taught me a very important lesson. Guilt and forgiveness are not an exchange. You don't receive it from someone, or give it to someone. You must internalize it, understand it, feel it. It depends only on yourself.

The reason I'm feeling naive right now is because, well, she turned back to the bottle again. So much has happened in the past few weeks I'm surprised I didn't end up with a mental whiplash. I'm not angry at her for drinking again, just incredibly disappointed. Disappointed and sad, because I lost my mother again. Sound extreme, but it's the way it is. She's an entirely different person now.

I don't want to go into an entire backstory, unless anyone really wants to hear, but my main problem right now is that I feel like I'm being too good to her. I've been having talks with here where I've basically been acting like a mother to her. Consoling her, supporting her, giving all sorts of advice, trying to help her in any way I can, making sure she knows I'm always there for her, unconditionally. I know I'm only doing this because I can't stand to be in the position of helplessness again, like I haven't done anything to stop this. It's more selfish than anything, making sure I don't feel guilty again, but it's not really working. I feel absolutely tired of doing this. I'm supporting her, knowing it's doing no good. But I know that if I don't, things will get worse. It's basically just damage control. Not just my own, but also my father's, who has a hard time dealing with her without getting angry (which gets her in a defensive position where she won't budge). I'm almost acting like a mediator between them, trying to have my father understand her and getting my mother to understand my father. This may sound a bit arrogant but between me, my mother, father, sister and brother, I know I'm the one who's best at figuring out someone's feelings and adapting to that to get a certain message across. I can remain calm and collected, with the right amount of emotion while I have these talks with my mother.

All the while knowing I'm supporting a cause that has no interest in supporting itself. She won't get help. She's lied about a lot of things the past year and I saw through it, but couldn't do anything about it. Telling her would have made things worse. I'm recognizing the pattern and it started all over again. The only thing that has changed now is my attitude towards her. Sure, she's decided to quit now, because I was upfront about how her behaviour has affect us all in the past few weeks, but without help she can't do it. But I'll be supportive and tell her that it's a good decision and I'm glad she realized it isn't working, but my suggestions of getting help fall on deaf ears.

I'm not going to stop offering help, but I really am tired of doing it. Last summer I successfully finished my therapy and I fear having to go back again because of this whole situation. I'm giving my mother the help and support that I had desired going through therapy, but didn't. I'm feeling dangerous thoughts entering my head again. I sleep horribly and feel very alone. I need to focus on my education, but it's becoming increasingly difficult, to the point that I'm having second thoughts on continuing. I know this is because I always start comparing myself to my mother whenever she's drunk and alcoholic. I know she doesn't have the same faith in me that I have in myself, that she sees me as a weak little girl. I look like her, physically. That doesn't realy help either.

It's different than before, obviously. I've been through therapy and I know how to deal with these thoughts and feelings. I can deal with it better, but it doesn't make the situation go away.

This has been long enough. I know it's very ranty and I'm not really sure what I'm asking here, but I needed to write this down.
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Post by fakely mctest on Sun Oct 12, 2014 12:25 pm

Ugh, that sounds so so hard. I'm sorry you're going through that.

I know you said you aren't going to stop offering help, but is there any way you could scale down the extent of that help? I've been in the position in the past where I've felt compelled to serve as mediator between various members of my immediate family and I know how utterly draining and thankless that can be.

Is there any possibility you (and maybe your dad?) can go to an Al Anon meeting or something similar? Being in a support group type setting might be helpful in terms of working through some of this huge stuff you're dealing with.

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Post by ApocalypseApple on Sun Oct 12, 2014 1:06 pm

My father will be talking to a professional this week actually. Perhaps something will come out of that, but ultimately we will still need my mother to be motivated to get help. Al Alon has been recommended to me before and I may look into it seriously. I've look at it before and though it is apparently a thing in my country as well, it doesn't seem to be well established (for the lack of a better word). I'm a bit wary about cheap-looking websites, since it usually indicates a lack of professionalism. I may find something similar that I could trust more.

I'm not sure if I could offer any less help, since I actually feel I'm not doing enough. She has a way of getting into your head and making you feel like you're the one doing something wrong. Last time she blamed us for not supporting her enough when she was ill, it's always something. The mediator thing seems to be a position I just happen to find myself in every time. I talk to one of my parents and they'll say something about the other that I feel the need to 'correct', since I usually understand their line of thought in most situations.
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Post by Dan_Brodribb on Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:59 pm

It sounds like you feel pulled in a couple different directions. On one hand, you're reporting feeling tired and that too much is being put on you. At the same time, you're getting feedback that you aren't doing enough and the things you ARE doing aren't being followed by any lasting change in your mother's behavior.

It also sounds like you believe you're responsible not just for your mother, but for your father too, and the way they communicate with one another. You're also in school and that takes time and energy as well. It sounds like right now you are going to keep offering to help, but you're concerned about the toll its taking on you. You're worried because you don't want to go back to therapy and while you're open to Al Anon and might look into it, you have concerns that you can't trust it.

That sounds like it must be exhausting. What is it like for you?

One thing that strikes me is that it takes a lot of strength to keep taht many balls in the air. What keeps you going/finding that strength?

Just as a point of information, you mentioned that Al Anon has a unprofessional looking website. That's because they AREN'T professionals in the sense of being counsellors, doctors, or therapists. They aren't going to 'fix' you or your situation. They are people who are going through or have gone through the same things as you are and have come together to support one another and talk about what has worked for them.




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Post by ApocalypseApple on Mon Oct 13, 2014 5:21 am

There is a lot that keeps me going. Keep in mind that I no longer live with my parents and have a place for my own, so where I'm at a literal distance it also helps me to keep a more mental distance when I need it. But I still see my parents every weekend and I'm still reminded of it regularly, talking it over with my father and my siblings over and over again.

And I really do care for my mother. She's an alcoholic, but she's not an angry drunk. She's more of a self-destructive drunk who, at most, causes mental damage rather than physical. I know that she's had a difficult past that she REALLY doesn't want to talk about, but it at least involves her father being abusive in some manner. Even in her youth she's has a questionable relationship with alcohol and since she grew up in a rather isolated village with little influence from anywhere else, people didn't see the drinking as a problem. All drinking seems to be considered social drinking in my hometown. It's a bit disturbing. Anyway, my point is that knowing all this helps me keep things in perspective, rather than only seeing what it's doing to me. I know my mother is suffering a lot as well.

By unprofessional looking I mean the website is really badly made and difficult to navigate. The extra information I found was through google, rather than the website itself. Maybe I'm too judgmental about this though.
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