Last edited by mamakah; 02-03-2015 at 04:54 PM.
Hi there, I'm sure you will get far better advice from others here. I just wanted to chime in my two cents.
You're original question is, is your mother's behavior emotional abuse? I think that is rhetorical in this situation. What does it matter if it is 'emotional abuse' or not. Do you mean is it intentional? Does your mother 'know' what she is doing? Are you looking to blame her so you are off the hook in some way? It is a disfunctional relationship for sure. It needs mending and attention.
It sounds like your mother is both diagnosable from a mental illness standpoint (this sounds so harsh but really the older I get the more I realize that everyone is diagnosable to one degree or another at some point in thier lives...) , and an alcoholic. This just sounds like such a bad combination. I mean to deal with iether one or the other alone would be stressful, but both. WOW!
The years of living with alcohols leads me to say, that the more you try and figure things out and 'do' the right thing so your mom will or will not do this or that... that is the other part of alcoholism, enabling. That's what we do, those of us who love the alcoholic. My advice... set firm limits and boundaries, ask your family for support in maintaining them and possibly seek help from a support group. It is hard to say what to do in each instance of 'the silent treatment'. As far as the friend goes that your mom broke contact with... set really firm boundaries with your mom and don't let her control this aspect of your life. (I had an aunt who did this and she drifted farther and farther away from everyone, she estranged everyone in her life from her.) I think medication could help... who knows what is manifesting with alcohol mixed in.
You have a right to your own happiness. I am sorry your mother can't be part of that right now.
the trouble with alcoholism, IME, is the attitude of entitlement. the alcoholic gets to say/do whatever they please when empowered by the alcohol. damn the consequences. it's HARD for the co-dependent, who absorbs all the grief. later, the alcoholic doesn't even fully realize what was said or done, but the sober co-dependent cannot forget.
you need to break free from the relationship. you can still have a mother, but you need to accept her for who she truly is -- not keep hoping and trying to change her. she will never be the person you wish she would be. BUT you can become the person you are meant to be.
have you been to Al-Anon? it's help for those who love an alcoholic. you will get to see how others in similar situations handle their lives. the good, the bad, the ugly. but you can take what works for you and what helps you and leave what you don't want.
agreed. There's a good book called "Toxic Parents" that you might find helpfu, tool. My therapist lent me a copy!
I tend to think of "emotional abuse" being a situation where one person is trapped with the other -- a minor child who is still living at home, a spouse, etc. I think of adult /adult relationships a little differently. I don't know if that's right, it's just how I think of it.
But your mom's behavior is totally unacceptable and is something that since you ARE an adult, you can now move past. You don't have to let her get under your skin any more.
(growing up with her must have been hell)
but everything has pros and cons
It is very controlling and mean. I'm leary of the label "emotional abuse," but it is sort of abusive. She is hurting you in order to control your behavior. It is also the type of behavior you see in people with personality disorders. People with problems with narcissism can't stand to be criticized. People who are borderline can't see themselves or others as anything other than all good or all bad.
Here are some of the books that might be useful(besides "Toxic Parents" which is great):
Adult Children of Alcoholics Syndrome
Stop Walking on Eggshells
Will I Ever Be Good Enough?
When You and Your Mother Can't be Friends
It dawned on me yesterday that the way my mother acts/treats me in these situations is damaging to both me and our relationship.
.... I guess I just assumed those meetings were for people who have been severely emotionally harmed by an alcoholic. My mother can be wonderful and loving, but if something flips that switch...watch out. Both my parents are alcoholics, and not happy ones. They weren't always like this, so when I was a child it wasn't so bad although my mother started to be unbearable when I was in high school. Looking back, I've always blamed myself for our problems when I was a teenager, but now I'm starting to wonder/accept that she may need to carry some of the blame as well.
My sister has resentment about how her life was when I went away to college and she was left with them drinking night after night for years.
Do you have a solid support system in the way of spouse/friends/etc?
When I read your post, it hit me that you may be in the process of opening a can of worms -- that things about your childhood, life, sister, etc are all on their way to the surface. In so many ways, this is a wonderful thing because it means that you can release it all and let it go. But seeing it all really clearly for the first time could be difficult.
but everything has pros and cons
Mamakah, it sounds like you are at the start of a new journey. One that you can weather over time and space. I sounds also like you really contemplate things and that maybe some clarity follows. Good luck to you.
Can you record her during one of her alcoholic rants and play it back for her sober and tell her how much it hurts you and the people she loves and that you don't want to lose her etc etc and maybe make her think?
Can you simply hang up and say don't call me when you're drinking. I don't like it. click.
You could stop begging and let her come to you. Even if it takes several weeks maybe it will click that you won't put up with it anymore like your sister.
I have always thought at some point the child becomes the parent (to the parent) and sometimes they need to be treated like children. No, mom we do not act like that around people. You can complain and whine to me but take time and really think about it before you start a fight with someone. Or mom, I love you but alcoholism is bad and let me list the reasons why and how you look/behave which is nothing at all like your normal loving caring personailty that we all love. etc etc.
My mom would fight with her sister and it takes time (my mom was probably older than yours) but eventually it came to me saying things like ok we're going to visit family for dinner and you are not going to say anything mean to jodi right? If she makes you mad dear just bite your tongue and think or something happier to talk about. And she was grit her teeth at me and go fine! Just like a little kid and then I'd tell her how proud I was of her. Might sound stupid but it worked lol. But my mom had a mean sense of humor. The next day her sister would call me and say wow your mom was so nice to me! I can't believe it! And I'd just be all yup! *all smiles* and like a good mom not tell her the behind the scenes part of it. *shrug* worked for me anyway. But my mom didn't drink! That's a big problem.
I think it mostly has something to do with being alcoholic. Addicts and alcoholics tend to kind of parade around with their emotions and expect people to know how they feel and think. If that doesn't happen, then people can piss off.........until they realize to some extent they were wrong. They actually feel alot of guilt inside when they do these things, but have too much pride to ADMIT that they were wrong. It's most likely the alcoholic in your mother talking, and not how she REALLY is, but I WOULD disconnect from her unless she agreed to treatment. Now, I don't know if she has been alcoholic your whole life, or if something sparked the alcoholism in your adolescence or adulthood, but this is kind of important to know about your situation. If you know what she was like before being alcoholic and it was a different person than you see today, then it's the alcohol, if she's always been this way to some extent even without alcohol......stay........away! She is not healthy for your family. Your godmother might be better for you than your mom if your mom is genuinely emotionally abusive.
Mamakah, I could have written your posts exactly, verbatim about my mom - everything including that she has never once apologized to me in her whole life for anything, she is always right, she does seem to ignore what she says/how she treats me when she's been drinking, she has also estranged her sisters, aunts, uncles, etc. And she also has a much stronger relationship with my sister. I have learned that in order to have any kind of relationship with my mother, (and when she's not drinking, she is sometimes very helpful) I have to "play her game", which basically means don't rock the boat, don't say the things that I know will set her off, (drinking or not), act like a happy well adjusted successful daughter that she can brag about, and agree with her on everything, always. And I've learned just to never call there after about 6pm, and avoid her when she's been drinking. But if I do this, then she is helpful picking my kids up from school, we go out for lunch or for pedicures together, we can chat about work and day to day things as long as I don't disagree with her too much, (and sometimes she does have good advice). And I've just learned to never tell her anything too personal or that I'm worried about as she is guaranteed to throw it back in my face when she's drinking or use it against me/blame me for things in a hurtful way (she has this knack of taking things I'm sensitive about and using them to hurt me). It's not great, but given the choice I kind of came to terms with her conditions and decided I would rather have her in my life on those terms than not at all.
I've struggled with it a lot over the years and came to decide that for me personally, I needed "a mother" like that rather than no mother. And we've gone through months of her not speaking to me b/c I disagreed with her on something or told her something she was doing was hurtful etc. She has been like this as long as I can remember, and I'm over 40 and I truly believe she will never change so IMO I have a choice of this kind of relationship or nothing, and I'd rather have a relationship with her even if it's somewhat superficial. I question daily whether she really loves me given the way she treats me (compared to how she treats my sister), I'm sure deep down on some "mother" level she does, but she really doesn't show it in her interactions with me, and I don't feel valued or important to her most of the time, which is very very hurtful. But again, trying to talk to her about something like this would result in one of her rages, and would not get us anywhere.
So I just wanted to reach out and say I can relate, I know how you feel, and maybe you just need to accept that she will not change and decide if you want a relationship with her on "her" terms, or not at all. In my case, my brother decided "not at all" and moved to another continent. I've decided what works for me.
Good luck and hugs.
Holly and David
Adaline (3/20/10), and Charlie (1/26/12- 4/10/12) and our identical twins Callie and Wendy (01/04/13)
Maybe you could "Zing" her and land her on the show Intervention. Just a thought. It's a simple application online. I almost applied for my sister at one point. She was on meth for 6 or more years and I saw the scale say once 87 pounds. She's 5'3".