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Old 11-19-2012, 11:36 AM  
tooge tooge is offline
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need advice with family issue

Ok, so about 4 weeks ago, I get a call from my mom. she's sobbing as she tells me her fiance (my dad passed 4 years ago) has been verbally abusing her and shoving her and she has decided to have a restraining order and have him removed from the house. I applaud her, tell her I'm there for her, call him and let him know that I am aware of what has been going on, and as far as I'm concerned, he is out permenantly. My mother on the other hand, said things like "if he gets therapy and goes to AA, maybe I'll start by dating him again". She told me that he told her that my father never loved her or us kids. That's when it became personal for me. So I call jackass up, ask if all this is true, he beats around the bush, but eventually fesses up under the guise of too much drinking and some anger management issues. He promises he will get help but just loves my mom. I tell him I'm only 2.5 hours away and wont hesitate to come up there to make sure she is OK. I even let him know, I'm not afraid of a few nights in jail.

So, yesterday, I get home from a weeklong vacation. I call my brother, who my family will be staying with when we go up for Thanksgiving. Through casual conversation, I find out that jackass is back in my mothers house, and plans on being there for Thanksgiving.

I call my mother, she says he's trying very hard and if he screws up, he is out. He has been to a counselor once since this, and no AA meetings or anygthing like that, though he is reportedly on "medication" now.

I told my mother that I'm not comfortable taking my children up there, and since I wasn't the one that made the situation what it is, then perhaps he could leave the house for the day while we are there. She refused, so I said **** it then, we aren't coming. She gets all pissy and tells me all the things she did for me as a mother and I should come up for her. I'm not going on principal, not to mention, I'd be uncomfortable and might even get in the guys face. Am I doing the right thing? Should I just eat my principles, and go and be a good little son and sit there and act nice? What say you Dr. CP?
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Old 11-20-2012, 02:51 PM   #166
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Thanksgiving is one day on the calendar. Your mother's issues transcend that day.
Exactly what I said yesterday.
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Old 11-20-2012, 03:54 PM   #167
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I don't think I've ever agreed with Denise almost universally in a thread in the *gasp* 15-20 years I've known her. When did she get smart?
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Old 11-20-2012, 03:56 PM   #168
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I don't think I've ever agreed with Denise almost universally in a thread in the *gasp* 15-20 years I've known her. When did she get smart?
**** all of you for quoting her...
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Old 11-20-2012, 04:35 PM   #169
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This is obviously more extreme than your situation, but the principle is the same.


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Old 11-20-2012, 04:57 PM   #170
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I don't think I've ever agreed with Denise almost universally in a thread in the *gasp* 15-20 years I've known her. When did she get smart?
Thanks Phil, maybe your reading comprehension improved.

Unfortunately my opinion on this issue has been acquired the old fashioned way, through experience.

I think the Mother was looking either to be rescued by her son or to have someone else to vilify instead of the BF. Maybe she didn't even know which she wanted. Either way, she put Tooge in a no win situation of which he needs to stay clear. He shouldn't be the one demanding the BF get counseling or go to AA. That is for his mother to demand and stick to. If neither the BF or the Mom are ready for that step, which it sounds like they are not, then Tooge becomes the villain and bad guy here. Don't allow the BF, or your Mother, off the hook that easy. Ultimately, she is choosing to allow herself to be mistreated IN HER OWN HOUSE.
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Old 11-20-2012, 05:01 PM   #171
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Originally Posted by tooge View Post
Ok, so about 4 weeks ago, I get a call from my mom. she's sobbing as she tells me her fiance (my dad passed 4 years ago) has been verbally abusing her and shoving her and she has decided to have a restraining order and have him removed from the house. I applaud her, tell her I'm there for her, call him and let him know that I am aware of what has been going on, and as far as I'm concerned, he is out permenantly. My mother on the other hand, said things like "if he gets therapy and goes to AA, maybe I'll start by dating him again". She told me that he told her that my father never loved her or us kids. That's when it became personal for me. So I call jackass up, ask if all this is true, he beats around the bush, but eventually fesses up under the guise of too much drinking and some anger management issues. He promises he will get help but just loves my mom. I tell him I'm only 2.5 hours away and wont hesitate to come up there to make sure she is OK. I even let him know, I'm not afraid of a few nights in jail.

So, yesterday, I get home from a weeklong vacation. I call my brother, who my family will be staying with when we go up for Thanksgiving. Through casual conversation, I find out that jackass is back in my mothers house, and plans on being there for Thanksgiving.

I call my mother, she says he's trying very hard and if he screws up, he is out. He has been to a counselor once since this, and no AA meetings or anygthing like that, though he is reportedly on "medication" now.

I told my mother that I'm not comfortable taking my children up there, and since I wasn't the one that made the situation what it is, then perhaps he could leave the house for the day while we are there. She refused, so I said **** it then, we aren't coming. She gets all pissy and tells me all the things she did for me as a mother and I should come up for her. I'm not going on principal, not to mention, I'd be uncomfortable and might even get in the guys face. Am I doing the right thing? Should I just eat my principles, and go and be a good little son and sit there and act nice? What say you Dr. CP?
I just noticed this thread thing and, to be honest, I haven't read the whole deal ... it's kinda long at this point. Nevertheless, here's my answer;

Yes, you're doing the right thing, Mr. tooge. Unquestionably.

Your first responsibility is to your children now. Your mother has to make her own mistakes going forward (just as we all do) now that you are all grown up with kids of your own.

Blackball this dumbass until he is gone (which won't be very long, I guarantee). If he isn't going to AA meetings, he isn't serious and he won't get better ... that, my friend, is another rock-solid guarantee.

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Old 11-20-2012, 05:12 PM   #172
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Damn dude, that sounds like a bad deal and I think you're doing the right thing. If the old boy gets out of line again, play it cool, buy him a one way ticket to Montana to do some ATVing and fly fishing with your "cousin's Bwana and rockymtnchief." He won't be found again until he turns into oil. There's a lot of open land up here.
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Old 11-20-2012, 05:13 PM   #173
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You explain to your own kids that this is not appropriate behavior, and you tell your mom that you are leaving and would like for her to come with you. She will, of course, and that relationship will be over. As it probably should already be. But it won't end because of your own stubborn 'tough love' principles. And even if it did, is that really why you want your mom to end a relationship? Because you forced her to, or never see you again? Make no mistake, you are the one handing down the ultimatums.
I guess we will have to agree to disagree here.....a simple Mr. Rogers explanation that "this behavior isn't acceptable" won't cut it. When your kids see Grandma being bounced around verbally or physically it still will have an effect on them. I prefer not to have my kids in a volatile environment which is my job as a Father/protector.

And just to take it to the dark side....what happens if Mr. Fiance decides to take on Tooge and his kids are there to witness their dad getting beat on. While I am pretty sure that Tooge can take care of himself, what happens if Mr Fiance decides that Mr Ballbat or Mr Golf Club can make the score a little more even.

Abuser don't care if the playing field is equal....all they care about is being on top.
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:32 PM   #174
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Yes, my grandfather had drinking problems. My father did as well, but was "functional". And by problems, I mean, he had a couple of coctails every night while watching TV or reading, but was never violent or even visibly drunk.
I feel for ya tooge. Here is the dirty little secret about so-called "functional drinking". It doesn't exist and there is no such thing. This is what we call in the mental health industry as an "intellectual alcoholic". Just because you don't lose a job, or don't get a DUI or not violent to others, or drink gallons of booze everyday doesn't mean you don't have a problem with drinking. My father was just like your father. Never lost a job, never received a DUI nor was he ever violent BUT he WAS emotionally and relationally detached from the family and especially from himself due to alcohol. He just "existed" going through the motions of a husband and father giving lip service but never engaging emotionally or relationally with the family. But here is what the "addict" is committed to emotionally and relationally and that is the next "buzz or drunk" that helps them tune out or check out from real life and it's adversities regardless of whether they are an obnoxious violent drunk or an intellectual drunk. The alcoholic separates himself from the non-addict drinker in that the addict has gotten himself to the point from a "sub-conscious" to a "conscious" level of living and focusing on that next 'buzz' or 'drunk' almost everyday if not everyday thus his dysfunctional true love that he is relationally committed to is that vice alcohol/drugs. The addict is consumed by that next fix whereas the non-addicted drinker can take or leave the alcohol at any time and doesn't need to drink at all times especially socially. You find those that have drinking problems don't feel comfortable in their own skin when sober and need a buzz/drunk to feel at ease.

The phrase, "taking some of the edge off" takes on a whole new meaning now doesn't it
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:47 PM   #175
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I just noticed this thread thing and, to be honest, I haven't read the whole deal ... it's kinda long at this point. Nevertheless, here's my answer;

Yes, you're doing the right thing, Mr. tooge. Unquestionably.

Your first responsibility is to your children now. Your mother has to make her own mistakes going forward (just as we all do) now that you are all grown up with kids of your own.

Blackball this dumbass until he is gone (which won't be very long, I guarantee). If he isn't going to AA meetings, he isn't serious and he won't get better ... that, my friend, is another rock-solid guarantee.

FAX
I don't have kids, so I can't totally empathize on protecting your kids, but this sounds solid to me. I would add to let her know that, although she is upset with you right now, you will always be there when she absolutely needs you.
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Old 11-21-2012, 07:19 AM   #176
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Then she texts me that the BF is really hurting over this. I tell her that I don't intend to "hurt" him, but that his actions have consequences and time, therapy, and not apologies are what it will take with me. Today she basically tells me to **** off and she and the BF need time and not to call her for "a while". Wow. Sad.
Like I said, it will get uglier b4 it's get better because she has never had to deal with healthy boundaries especially from her own kids that now are beginning to expose her for who she really is at this point.

What I underlined in your quote is actually you being co-dependent to your mom and her attempt to manipulate your feelings using guilt. I realize you are new to all of this boundary setting and still learning to recognize the co-dependent emotional manipulation still attempted by the unrepentant enabler to the addict. But you will get much better at it as you keep setting your boundaries(sticking with your guns, as you say). You really don't give a shit about her BF's feelings nor should you. The only reason you said that was that old habit of her manipulating your feelings of feeling responsible for her feelings kicked in again. But you will get better at recognizing the manipulative games she plays.

You see the 'enabler' is the alcoholic without the alcohol if that makes sense. Her addiction is to feel responsible for her dysfunctional drunk and get you to always feel responsible for her happiness(feelings) so she can continue the addiction that tears apart your family. The sick part of co-dependency is that if her BF truly got healthy taking responsibility for himself and his own feelings and respecting boundaries of others and setting his own boundaries and she still stayed the same she would move on from him and find another drunk to satisfy her addiction of taking care of and feeling responsible for that new drunk.

Don't give in too soon either, because this is another game addicts play when the pain of reality starts to set in as the boundaries do their work(addict is no longer getting other people to clean up their messes-alone in their mud puddle of life). It usually takes a long time for true admittance of a problem and true remorse to take place.

Hang in there brother and keep loving your kids and wife as you are doing.

You are absolutely doing the right thing !
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:15 AM   #177
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Quick update:

So I stick to my guns. She says she understands about my principles. Then she texts me that the BF is really hurting over this. I tell her that I don't intend to "hurt" him, but that his actions have consequences and time, therapy, and not apologies are what it will take with me. Today she basically tells me to **** off and she and the BF need time and not to call her for "a while". Wow. Sad.
I didn't read the thread, I just came in for an update and found this amongst some other things. I gave my opinion, but really tried to stay out of it because I don't have any personal experience with it, and didn't want to chime in on something I knew nothing about outside of an initial reaction as to what I would do. I'm just really sorry to hear it. Go with Phil's advice. Call her anyways.

And on a side note, I'd like to give props to Chiefshrink. That was great stuff. I've said my fair share of nasty things to you in DC, and questioned whether or not you were a real psychologist, but no doubt you are. Fantastic analysis.
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:16 AM   #178
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Thanks man. I'm not giving in. I'll give her a call in a week or two just to say hello and talk small talk. The thing with the BF is that if he really was intending to get better and become part of the family, I would think he would remove himself from the situation for a few days so our family could be together. At least that is whay I'd do if I screwed a situation up and wanted back in. Anyhow, I've spoken to my brother, and while he and I have differing views on "second chances" about all this, he respects my decision and supports it. I'm gonna enjoy my family and a few days off, and I don't even have to travel now! Your advice has been invaluable Chiefshrink. I hope you don't mind that I've paraphrased you several times in discussing this with my wife and she is amazed how spot on you are about my mother, her actions, her manipulations, etc. Thanks again man. Have a great Thanksgiving. I know I will.
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Old 11-22-2012, 12:06 PM   #179
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Thanks man. I'm not giving in. I'll give her a call in a week or two just to say hello and talk small talk. The thing with the BF is that if he really was intending to get better and become part of the family, I would think he would remove himself from the situation for a few days so our family could be together. At least that is whay I'd do if I screwed a situation up and wanted back in. Anyhow, I've spoken to my brother, and while he and I have differing views on "second chances" about all this, he respects my decision and supports it.
I'm sure you have already realized this but maybe not. You, like me and many on this board are 'recovering co-dependents'. As you embark on this new healthy life adventure with you and your family, I would recommend 2 MUST reads in order for your personal growth and healing to continue: 1) 'Boundaries' by Cloud and Townsend and 2)'Recovery: A Guide For Adult Children of Alcoholics' by Gravitz and Bowden.

One of the most unfortunate results and ulgiest things to witness in a co-dependent/addict that is not recovering is called "enmeshment". Early on in the family where kids and parents roles are reversed because 'boundaries' were never establised or followed. Kids were expected to be the responsible parent or the surrogate husband or surrogate wife of the co-dependent/addict(depending). And this is seen as normal for the kids because this is all they have known in this chaotic family but the kids don't see the chaos because chaos is normal for them. Thus over time the kids take on emotional, relational and physical responsibilities of the co-dependent/addict they were never intended to have let alone deal with the significant emotional damage from those childhood periods that takes years to work through.

Based on you and your brother's conversation you and your brother have unknowningly took turns being the 'surrogate husband' for your mom since childhood with your brother still choosing 'unconsciously' of course to still be the surrogate husband. He differed with you about 'second chances'. The 'second chances' comment was a huge red flag for me about your brother still not getting the big picture and still playing the co-dependent surrogate husband role taking care and feeling responsible for her feelings and happiness. Whereas you on the other hand are figuring this whole relational cess pool out and now protecting yourself and your family until hopefully MOM gets it.

I do agree you should not totally cut off communication with your Mom, BUT at this point in the process, because this family wound is so new and sensitive and you are just now learning about 'Family Dynamics of Addiction' and your past role in it and learning how not to play that role; I would stay away for awhile and let her make the first move. She has drawn 'first blood' on you kids for decades now. The insanity needs to stop. And when she does contact you in due time( and she will because in her eyes you are still her emotional surrogate husband) you need to make sure there is no small talk. Substance only, because there is a huge family elephant in the room that needs to be dealt with. This will be a big emotional test for you as you get better. The more you deal straight with your Mom the less it will bother you emotionally not to rescue her in the future and thus you become stronger emotionally for yourself and your family 'for a change'. And man does that feel so liberating and refreshing that life could be this good.

Whatever you do, do not push any of these co-dependent books or help on her. That would be 'co-dependent' and would stifle your recovery because once again your focus is distracted away from you and your family in feeling responsible for her getting better. She is responsible for her own recovery and you can't fix her/change her, PERIOD. Keep up the great work and be emotionally courageous in all your new personal endeavors of discovering a great new life !!!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family and all here at CP !!!

Last edited by Chiefshrink; 11-22-2012 at 08:18 PM..
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Old 11-22-2012, 03:30 PM   #180
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