What is my responsibility to help?

Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
What is my responsibility to help?
8
Sat, 06-22-2013 - 11:16am

I wrote here a couple of mths ago & appreciated the support but am back because I'm confused. After my Mom had to face that she wasn't hidding her drinking, she agreed to get help. All of this happened 3 wks before my DS was married. I took her to her Dr and the dr told her not to quit cold turkey but to with with rehab clinci & until the appt with rehab cut back on her drinking. Rehab appt was just after wedding. Mom told me 2 days before the wedding that she hadn't had a drink in 3 wks & all was well. We then spent 4 days in ajoining hotel rooms so no privacy. She started getting sick the first night & got progressively worse over the next 48 hrs with all the signs of severe withdrawal. She said she had a sore throat/cold/temp & refused to go when I tried to get her to dr. Long story short, the following week after her rehab intake (part 1) assessment, she tells me that she was actually going through withdrawal. She still insists that she quit drinking 3 wks before. Everything I have read & my conversation with the rehab centre says it isn't possible to go through this 3 wks later. She is thriving on her counseling sessions as she has someone to tell how awful her life has been - no better or worse than the average life. The latest is that my Grandmother taught her to lie. This woman raised me & would have smacked me if I lied, she was a wonderful, loving, caring woman who worried about her DD until her own death at 93.

My issue is that I want very little to do with Mom right now as I'm really angry. The lies continue & a lot of resentment is coming to the surface from 50 yrs of living with this hell in my life. I have started counseling at the rehab clinic myself but unfortunately they are understaffed & underfunded so I have only had my intake session with my counseling to start in 2 wks. The intake coordinator told me that it's likely that I'm allowing myself to be angry for the first time & that this is a positive step for me. Doesn't feel too positive right now as I dream angry dreams & so I'm not sleeping well. I will work to resolve these feelings but right now my question is more about what is my role. My role in this relationship as always been as caregiver, Mother, supporter & so a lot of my anger is because I'm the child here. Mom told me that I'm to blame for her not getting help earlier as I should have made her do this. We won't discuss the number of times I tried. I just walked away when she said that. She is now telling me that her counselor wants her to focus on fixing the most important thing in her life. Mom says this is our relationship. I don't see how she can fix this when I don't want to have anything to do with her. Just knowing that I have to call her today to advise her of a coming medical appt (I'm the contact as I take her) resulted in another angry nightmare & very little sleep last night.

I'm struggling with keeping my boundaries up & the walls around me to protect myself from more pain but... I don't want to do anything to really hurt my Mom physically & if her feelings get hurt, then she may attempt suicide which she has threatened many times to keep me in line. Her health is poor & the drinking was causing more issues. My intake counselor told me to remember that I didin't cause this problem, Mom did & that I can't cure it only Mom can but 50 yrs of guilt is hard to walk away from. I want to tell her about the emotional pain she has caused me & my kids, I want to tell her that I don't believe a word she says & that I definitely don't believe she wants a caring relationship with me. I don't believe she "wants" to be part of our lives as her actions always demonstrate that she cares only about herself. Her new greatgrandbaby was born 3 wks ago & she has never asked for a picture. She made a big deal of telling me she brought this card for her but DD has never received it. Her selfish attitude almost ruined my DS's wedding for me as they didn't include me in the wedding set up which I would have loved to be a part of & changed the plans so I wasn't with my DS when he & the guys got ready. When I asked my DS why I was excluded, he said they were trying to lighten my load since Grandmother wasn't well & I had to deal with this.  

I'm not asking for permission to ignore my Mom, I think I'm asking just how narrow the boundaries should be. Tks.

Community Leader
Registered: 09-14-1997
Sat, 06-22-2013 - 12:57pm

Welcome back! 

First, withdrawals are physical and don't happen 3 weeks later. Just saying.

Second, Your mom is responsible for her recovery...and shame on her for trying to blame you for her drinking. You did not put the drink in her hand and you did not pour it into her mouth. Shame on her again!

Third, You have every right to be angry and I agree with your counselor, it is the first time you have been able to do so. 

As for your boundaries, you have every right to tell you mom to be responsible for her own actions, both past and present. Yes, you may have enabled her, but her actions are HERS, not yours. 

Please seek out ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) or AlAnon, 2 self help groups filled with people who understand. 

Let me know how things are!

Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Tue, 07-02-2013 - 3:05pm
Thanks for your response, haven't been able to get online for a while as ivillage seems to want to lock me out. In fact, this post didn't show up for about 24 hrs after I posted it. arrrgh, lol My counseling is to start shortly as a counselor has been assigned. I have been avoiding my Mom & so she decided to write me a letter telling me how she needs support since quitting drinking & how I'm falling down on the job & frankly my response will be that I don't wish to discuss the situation. Tomorrow will be interesting as I must take her to a dr appt & it will be the first time in 3 wks that I have seen her. I'm forcing the "my family is my life" issue with her as my DD & 2 grandkids are visiting. So I am picking Mom up before the appt so they can come for lunch to meet new grandbaby. I totally expect her to act like she is a doting grandmother & I'm not going to worry what my DD might say to her as she is furious with her grandmother's treatment of me & knows it will be a false act. I am going to let everyone just do what they want & I am going to keep my distance from Mom. She is temporarily living away from me. So it's a hr drive to get her, an hr back to our place/dr, an hr back to where they are living & then an hr back home for me. I think I'm doing more than being supportive with a 4 hr dr, lol. I am looking into the self help groups but want to see what I get from the counseling first. Thanks again, Dee
Community Leader
Registered: 09-14-1997
Tue, 07-02-2013 - 8:36pm

Let me know how the appt. and aftermath went. I will be thinking of you!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-08-2002
Tue, 07-09-2013 - 3:39pm

Beth is 110% right.  You did not cause it.  You can not control it.  You can not cure it.  Nobody can help your mom if she wants to play the victim role.  Until she looks at and knows the truth, she will always throw the blame outwards...when the solution lies within her.  Keep listening to your counceler.  You are getting truth.  The lies are falling by the wayside...and if you are uncomfortable around your mother, dont go.  My children did that with me.  It did not straighten me up then, but it sure kept them from carrying a load they were not born to carry...and neither are you.  You are the mother to your children and the child of your mother.  Let her know this the only appropriate way to to treat you and you will not be the surregate mom anymore.  If she has a problem with that, tell her to take it up with her counceler.  You took it up with yours.  Harsh....but harsh was what had to happen to me before I could get my head out of the sand and see the truth for what it was...and it was not pretty.  I had to change...

Alcohol, Addictions & Recovery. It's a long way down, but only 12 steps UP
Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Sat, 07-27-2013 - 11:50am
Thanks for taking the time to respond. I hope you & your kids have worked this out as it is a challenge & I'm glad you saw that you needed to change. My Mom has played the victim for all my life & I'm not sure she can change but I would settle for no drinking & some respect. Things came to a head when I picked her up for her appt. She was making comments with double meaning to try to guilt me into things & finally said we were supposed to talk about things in a confrontational manner. I said I didn't want to as I was angry with her & needed to deal with that before I listened to what her counselor suggested she tell me. She lost it & started screaming at me that I wasn't going to drive her BACK to drinking AGAIN as in I was to blame. She said a lot more including that she thought our family loved each other no matter what we did & how I had hurt her constantly but she supported me. After about the first 3 or 4 mins, I quickly calmed down as it became rather funny especially when she was doing this running down Main St. The rest of the fight was one sided on her part & she brought up all sorts of truly stupid stuff which shows she really doesn't have much to blame me for. She was dependent on me as she was an hr from home & it was 5 hrs until her dr appt which she had to attend. Once she got back in the car, she refused to sit in the front seat & speak to me at all. My poor stepdad was beside himself trying to understand what was happening (he has dementia). Basically, I took them to a park & left them sitting in on a bench while I read in the car. After the dr appt, she had calmed down somewhat & I asked her if her counselor had not warned her that I might not be receptive to having this discussion. She said yes but she told the counselor that I would always be there for her & there wouldn't be any issues. Goodness, what a doormat I have been. So when I dropped her at home, she said she didn't want to see or hear from me for a long, long time. That she would do things on her own. Not sure why she thought this would be a punishment to me but it only lasted 24 hrs. She has been somewhat better since she talked to her counselor after the screaming. She isn't pushing me but I am keeping my distance. I have to find a new counselor as mine is only for short term & she feels I would benefit from more long term assistance so working on that now. I have such a hard time these days getting on to post that I don't try often & so I'm sorry for not being more responsive.
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-08-2002
Thu, 08-01-2013 - 12:20pm

It took some years for me to get my children to come back into my life.  Three years for my oldest daughter and 10 for my youngest.  I would still like a closer relationship with them, but at least they are willing to accept me again.  My oldest granddaughter is awesome...she is expecting her second baby and I am encluded completely in their lives...she (like most young children) never stopped accepting me since she never saw me drunk in her older years....and she really appreciates me being involved with my great grandson and we are looking forward to this next baby in December.  God has a way of working when I am working in agreement with Him..lol.  My chidren are the blessing that I receive on a daily basis....and I can realize that today.  It took a lot of years and a lot of tears, but it was well worth it for me....and I think they think so too.  My sponsor says "As long as we are breathing, we can have hope."  So true.  so keep breathing...and hoping....and living in the truth.  God bless.....

Alcohol, Addictions & Recovery. It's a long way down, but only 12 steps UP
Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Fri, 08-02-2013 - 7:24pm
On behalf of your kids, let me say thank you for changing & not giving up on them. My Mom is still at the stay where she isn't drinking but hasn't accepted that her drinking & personality while drinking created problems. She is still blaming everyone else for her drinking. I'm glad so has been sober for 3 1/2 mths now but I'm not ready to forgive & forget this time. I think I need her to acknowledge the damage she has done which I know is very hard to do. Take care & enjoy your new great grandbaby. My 2nd grandchild is 2 mths old today & Mom hasn't met her. She isn't into babies which is her loss.
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-28-2007
Sat, 08-03-2013 - 12:41am

Hi. You really have to work on yourself.  You can't feel guilty for living your truth.  When a situation arises with your Mom...do what is right for you.  Your boundries will always change.  Keep going to counseling.  Stay strong.  Alcoholics are needy.  I know I was one..sober 8 years.  You are tearing yourself up and she doesn't remember half of what she is doing to other people.  Try and let go of the resentment because you have 50 years of it.  If it isn't bringing good into your life...don't allow it to linger.  And that should be your philosphy going forward.  What good will it do if I run over and save Mom this time?  I don't know what specific things you are talking about with boundries...but when you feel stressed about something, try to figure out why you are stressed and try to eliminate the stress and if it means not answering the phone today when your Mom calls, than don't answer the phone. Keep being strong...do what is in your heart...not your head.

Missy