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  #1  
Old Jul 4, '12, 11:38 pm
holyrood holyrood is offline
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Default Alcoholic parents, ex-husband, kids

I'll try to sum this up: My father is a diagnosed alcoholic. There have been incidents of physical violence since before my parents were married, including slapping, hitting, and choking of my mother, myself, and at least one sibling. There has been a lot of emotional/verbal abuse, ugly, hurtful words over the years, and repeated threats to kick me out of the house when I was 18 (I was an honor student, no drugs, no boyfriends, no breaking curfews, going to college, had a job, etc.). A few years ago, I saw my father expose himself in a room full of 20-something girls and pretend he had no clue anyone could see anything.

My most recent contact with him was a string of vulgar voice mails 18 months ago, calling me names, making accusations, telling me he's a better parent than I am, and threatening to come to my work and cause trouble (I work one on one with young children--this really scared me.)

My mother and siblings have their own issues. My mother says things about me that are untrue, to my kids, to my friends, to people at my church. Most recently, she's telling people I imagine things, about my ex-husband's cheating and lying.

I've cut all contact with them because the behavior doesn't stop. I did it, in part, on unanimous advice at this forum and virtually everyone who knows the situation says to keep my children away from the toxicity. They are, of course, quite angry with me for doing so. [ETA: to clarify, my parents and siblings are angry with me for pulling away.]

The problem is, my family invites the kids to things without talking to me, and my ex-husband takes the kids to see my parents when I'm not around and lies to me about it. When he lied to me about it today, I asked him to leave my house. I didn't yell or scream, kept the discussion outside, away from the kids. But XH got angry and stormed off without the kids when it was his night with them and he'd promised to take them to fireworks. It led to one child crying, and blaming me.

I really don't know if there are any answers. The advice given here before was to put as much physical distance between myself and them as possible. Right now, I doubt I can legally move the kids away from their father. I doubt I can do anything to prevent XH taking the kids to see their grandparents, as they aren't physically harming them.

But I'm asking for prayers for myself, for my children, for everyone involved in this. I know my mother is a victim of 50 years of an abusive marriage.

It especially breaks my heart that my parents consider themselves good Catholics. My friends span a number of beliefs and religions, and right now, I have seen far better behavior and more kindness, wisdom, and maturity from those among them who live in every possible way contrary to the teachings of the Church. In addition to everything else, I struggle with this contradiction. Some days, it's hard to see the point in staying true to my faith, in light of this, although ironically, it is these very friends who encourage me to stay true to my faith.

Thanks for listening and thank you for your prayers.
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  #2  
Old Jul 5, '12, 12:04 am
Trishie's Avatar
Trishie Trishie is offline
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Default Re: Alcoholic parents, ex-husband, kids

Our dear friend I am so sad for all that you have shared, that you live with such conflicting and painful circumstances.
You are a truly amazing person to have come out of so much, with such graciousness and courage.
Our dear Lord I ask You to keep this good person, and her children
and her family,
in our daily prayers and in our Masses.
__________________
JESUS who died once for all persons
who gives Yourself wholly in Communion to billions throughout time
please pray in me for every person
as if each person is the only loved one.
JESUS please welcome each person with love, healing, and great joy!
Thank You JESUS


Mother Mary at the wedding feast of Cana (John 2:1-12)
though JESUS protested it was not yet time for miracles
you successfully interceded with Him for a family's temporal need
please now intercede with your divine Son
for each person's temporal and spiritual needs.
Thank you Mother


JESUS please grant our prayer for this person


Catechism of the Catholic Church http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM
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  #3  
Old Jul 5, '12, 12:47 am
gilbs72 gilbs72 is offline
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Default Re: Alcoholic parents, ex-husband, kids

Have you tried prayer + fasting?
"Then came the disciples to Jesus secretly, and said: Why could not we cast him out? Jesus said to them: Because of your unbelief. For, amen I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Remove from hence hither, and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you. But this kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting." Matthew 17:18-20
If this turns out to be true oppression from the enemy and you've already tried everything, maybe this will work.

May God enlighten and bless your entire family.
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  #4  
Old Jul 5, '12, 5:21 am
TheRealJuliane TheRealJuliane is offline
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Default Re: Alcoholic parents, ex-husband, kids

I suggest you find healthy relationships for your kids, as many as possible, as soon as possible. Find role models who are upstanding individuals and who will show your kids what true love and caring really are. Get them involved in activities where the leaders are good moral Catholics (or at least Christians, but watch out for anti-Catholics!). The most you can do is counter what your family will show them, if you can't get fully away. Pray and fast, as the previous poster suggested. I will keep you in my prayers.

As the child of an alcoholic, you may have to fight your natural inclination to isolate yourself and your family, but fight it you must. What you need to do is reach out to others. Have you tried an Al-Anon meeting? Your kids, once they are old enough, can also attend Alateen. You need to be honest with them about their background, so they will be aware of their own possible reaction to alcohol. At the very least, they are being exposed (no pun intended) to the effects of alcohol through contact with the extended family. Alateen can help them learn to recognize their own feelings and honor who they are, instead of always reacting to the alcoholic.
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  #5  
Old Jul 5, '12, 5:16 pm
holyrood holyrood is offline
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Default Re: Alcoholic parents, ex-husband, kids

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trishie View Post
Our dear friend I am so sad for all that you have shared, that you live with such conflicting and painful circumstances.
You are a truly amazing person to have come out of so much, with such graciousness and courage.
Our dear Lord I ask You to keep this good person, and her children
and her family,
in our daily prayers and in our Masses.
Trishie, thank you for your kind words. I have several friends who have assured me I have behaved with dignity and integrity throughout and that that will win in the end. It's just so hard right now, knowing my older children in particular are being influenced by their aunts and uncles and grandparents, and are hearing the same, critical story from all of them, and the same one they're getting from their father if he says anything at all. I know that last night he did tell them I kicked him out and I have no doubt they see me as the cause for the divorce, too, since I don't want to tell them all the things their father did that led to this point.

Quote:
Have you tried prayer + fasting?
...

If this turns out to be true oppression from the enemy and you've already tried everything, maybe this will work.
Thank you for the reminder, gibs. I think part of my frustration is that for probably 12 years or more of my marriage, I fasted and went to both Mass and Perpetual Adoration weekly, said the Rosary nightly with the kids, and prayed often, and yet the marriage never got better. I pray a great deal for my mother especially, and for my siblings, and nothing ever changes. I have had to remember the story of the man pushing the rock that never moved--but good came from the constant pushing he did every day. I also think about a family I knew who lost a child to cancer despite much prayer. I can't fathom their prayers were not answered for their child--they were such a good and holy family--and yet I know what an inspiration their behavior throughout that very difficult time has been to me. So I have to remember that we have no idea what all is happening elsewhere as a result of our prayers that we can't see.

That being said, I do pray; I read parts of the Bible most days; I started tithing on my second income last September. I go to Perpetual Adoration, but not on any regular basis, and I have really struggled to fast since a difficult pregnancy ten years ago. I still do on occasoin, but have some blood pressure and possibly thyroid issues, but there's no reason I can't look into some sort of modified fasting.


Quote:
I suggest you find healthy relationships for your kids, as many as possible, as soon as possible. Find role models who are upstanding individuals and who will show your kids what true love and caring really are. Get them involved in activities where the leaders are good moral Catholics (or at least Christians, but watch out for anti-Catholics!). The most you can do is counter what your family will show them, if you can't get fully away. Pray and fast, as the previous poster suggested. I will keep you in my prayers.
The kids are active in church with some really good people. I point out the good qualities of people we know to them, mentioning for instance that it's always nice to see so and so because she always has a smile on her face or because he never has an unkind word to say about others. Thank you for your prayers.

Quote:
As the child of an alcoholic, you may have to fight your natural inclination to isolate yourself and your family, but fight it you must. What you need to do is reach out to others. Have you tried an Al-Anon meeting? Your kids, once they are old enough, can also attend Alateen. You need to be honest with them about their background, so they will be aware of their own possible reaction to alcohol. At the very least, they are being exposed (no pun intended) to the effects of alcohol through contact with the extended family. Alateen can help them learn to recognize their own feelings and honor who they are, instead of always reacting to the alcoholic.
We have a few families we see a fair amount of. I have a number of friends I get together with. I went to al-anon for six months and consider going back, but am pretty busy working two jobs and keeping up with the house. I do 'attend' an adult children of alcoholics forum on the internet, and my six months at al-anon were amazingly beneficial.

I struggle with the thought of taking the kids to al-ateen, and as much or more so with the thought of discussing with them that their grandfather is an alcoholic. My mother devoted a lot of energy to criticizing our grandmother, and I hated it. I dread doing that to my children, even though I know there's a huge difference in intent between what she did and what you're saying. (My mother was at war with my grandmother and very determined to make us side with her and hate our grandmother.)

I'm afraid the older kids would just take it as me criticizing and 'refusing to admit my part in this,' which is what they're getting from my parents and siblings. There was a time when it came up and I told my now 18 year old son specifics of things that have happened. He said, "I didn't know that." He appeared to consider it, and a year or two after the fact, is back to telling me he's sure that I think these things happened but I need to understand that everyone has different perceptions and each of us thinks we're right. (He's said that once, and I'll be more direct in my reply to him if he says it again. I think I was rather shocked the time he said it.)

Nonetheless, I'll think about al-ateen for them and how I might broach that topic.
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  #6  
Old Jul 6, '12, 3:11 pm
LSK LSK is offline
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Default Re: Alcoholic parents, ex-husband, kids

I think Al-Ateen is a great idea. I am a recovering alcoholic (20 years sober last May) who deals with a brother I love very much who cannot stop drinking. He is trying. He is trying to control it. He can't (of course) and as a result of the lifestyle he has chosen has lost access to two of his children.

May I suggest an answer to your son if he brings it up again?

"Yes, you are right. People do have different perceptions and memories and reactions to things that happen. What I want you to remember, son, is that if you are going to equate those differences to TRUTH then what you are suggesting is that Truth is relative. I don't happen to agree with that, and either does The Church.

But let's say for a minute, son, that you are correct and the problems I experienced growing up are merely my reactions to things that happenned and not everyone has the same reaction and so I should let it go.

If that is the case, then I am going to ask you to respect MY reaction with the same amount of tolerance and understanding that you are showing to your father, your grandparents and your aunts and uncles. If what THEY say happened is just THEIR perspective, then what I say happened is just MY perspective...and we both deserve to have those perspectives honored."

I had this kind of talk with 'my' now 23 year old when I told him that I was not going to allow his father to scream obscenities at me simply because I had made him angry. He was 16 at the time and he thought I was being too tough on my brother by insisting that he learn to express his anger towards me without using foul and abusive language.

Now, years later, that 23 yr old nephew of mine is in the US Army and watching his father trying to patch up a relationship with his two younger children who refuse to have anything to do with him - because he and the girlfriend have screaming matches when they are drunk and the kids want nothing to do with that lifestyle.

And guess what he thinks?

He thinks his Army Auntie is pretty cool.

So hang in there, my girl.
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http://quietconsecration.blogspot.com/
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  #7  
Old Jul 6, '12, 4:32 pm
TheRealJuliane TheRealJuliane is offline
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Default Re: Alcoholic parents, ex-husband, kids

Quote:
Originally Posted by holyrood View Post
The kids are active in church with some really good people. I point out the good qualities of people we know to them, mentioning for instance that it's always nice to see so and so because she always has a smile on her face or because he never has an unkind word to say about others. Thank you for your prayers.



We have a few families we see a fair amount of. I have a number of friends I get together with. I went to al-anon for six months and consider going back, but am pretty busy working two jobs and keeping up with the house. I do 'attend' an adult children of alcoholics forum on the internet, and my six months at al-anon were amazingly beneficial.

I struggle with the thought of taking the kids to al-ateen, and as much or more so with the thought of discussing with them that their grandfather is an alcoholic. My mother devoted a lot of energy to criticizing our grandmother, and I hated it. I dread doing that to my children, even though I know there's a huge difference in intent between what she did and what you're saying. (My mother was at war with my grandmother and very determined to make us side with her and hate our grandmother.)

I'm afraid the older kids would just take it as me criticizing and 'refusing to admit my part in this,' which is what they're getting from my parents and siblings. There was a time when it came up and I told my now 18 year old son specifics of things that have happened. He said, "I didn't know that." He appeared to consider it, and a year or two after the fact, is back to telling me he's sure that I think these things happened but I need to understand that everyone has different perceptions and each of us thinks we're right. (He's said that once, and I'll be more direct in my reply to him if he says it again. I think I was rather shocked the time he said it.)

Nonetheless, I'll think about al-ateen for them and how I might broach that topic.
I'm glad to hear that you are participating in church, but I think your kids need direct personal contact with good male role models. Like a scout leader (screen carefully), or a coach (also screen carefully), or someone who can mentor them, and show them what a good Catholic man is really all about.

It's good if you are in Al-Anon because you will gain more tools to work with in these situations. 6 mos. really isn't that long. And there are meetings at night and on the weekends. I am glad that you are attending an on-line meeting but that is not the same as getting in-person support - it just isn't.

There's a phrase that's heard a lot in recovery circles..."You're only as sick as your secrets." You really owe your children the truth. You don't have to criticize anyone, just give them the facts. If you don't want to use the term alcoholic, you can just say, "Your grandfather drinks too much, and this is what happens." And let them know that since there seems to be a genetic connection, they need to be aware that alcohol may affect them in a negative way as well.

I have told both of my sons that my mother's family tree is full of alcoholics. My maternal grandfather was a violent alcoholic. A couple of his sons were as well. IMO, this is information they need to know, just as I would tell them if my family history included heart disease or diabetes.

That is where Al-Anon and Alateen are very helpful. I have found so much compassion for the alcoholic, and it's possible to allow an alcoholic to have his/her dignity while also not approving of the behavior, and setting good boundaries. You have to learn to take care of yourself and let the alcoholic hit bottom, but you owe it to your kids to be honest with them about what they are facing in their family. Better go through the pain now, than have them come back to you in 10 or 15 years and say, "I hate you because you never told me any of this."

If they choose not to believe you, then they will have to find out on their own, down the road. There's only so much you can do. But hiding the facts from them...I don't recommend it.

p.s. Is your ex-husband also an alcoholic or does he have any other addictions?
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