SRS What would you do?

Discussion in 'On Topic' started by B00M, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. B00M

    B00M I speak of peace while covert enmity

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    My mother is an alcoholic. AA has come and gone and she's still drinking. I haven't seen her in over 2 years and she hasn't met her grandaughter. I do keep up w/ her and give her access to pictures and such of the grandkids and she sends them birthday gifts and calls every few months to see how we're doing. She has been building a house and it's nearly complete. She called me yesterday and asked if we would drive up to see her when their house is finished and, "help [them] move in". I'm conflicted because the last time I tried to meet her halfway and arranged an outing for her and her grandson (FAR away from us but near her)she backed out at the last minute w/ some infuriating bs excuse. I know the real reason she didn't come to meet him is because she didn't want to have to be sober the entire day. She refuses to visit us here because she claims to get vertigo on bridges (even though I know she crossed the same bridge to our house when she bought a boat AND hauled it back over the bridge). Again, I think it's just because a trip here would require sobriety. Our relationship is volitile and I worry about exposing my kids to a kind of destructive conflict they have never known. On the other hand she is their Grandmother and has a familial right (if you will) to know her grandchildren and I know my kids would have a blast at her house because she has a horse farm right on the water and they can kyak/boat/fish/crab/ride all day long. It would be like a dream for my son who loves all that stuff. He talks to her on the phone and I can see that he wants to know her...but there are emotional risks involved for him...and I really don't know how to act. What would you do?
     
  2. Ford4Life

    Ford4Life Guest

    If you allow her to see the kids, I would be present at all times, and they'd never be left alone with her.. She can't drink around them, and she can't see them if she's been drinking. If she wants to see them bad enough, she'll stay sober for that period.

    My 2 cents.
     
  3. B00M

    B00M I speak of peace while covert enmity

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    I would definitely be present at all times no matter what. The reality is she might say she's sober but she won't be. More than likely if I make an ultimatum like that I'd probably start another 2 year stint of not speaking. This is not an emotionally stable woman. That's really the issue more than the drinking. But I know deep in her cloudy heart she does care for her grandkids and wants to know them and I know my son really wants to know her too. I don't want to deny him that but I want to protect him from her instability....which I don't think is possible. I'm thinking in my head if I say all the right things and avoid all the right things and ignore all the wrong things and grin and bear it he would get the opportunity to know some part of her before it's too late. Even though she's damaged I think he should at least meet her....even if it's a bad visit I think he has a right to know her and all her faults. I don't want her to hurt him....but I don't want to hurt him by denying him access to his people. I don't know...I don't know....
     
  4. katt_85

    katt_85 OT Supporter

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    Young children are really perceptive and they pick up on the strange behaviors. It may be best to explain before you go and do it in a straight forward manor so the child ist confused or thinks hes the cause of the behavior or tension between you two.

    i took this excerpt from another forum:

    "I would not sugar coat it... not at all.. I would agree that he or she is acting like an idiot... next question is always "why".... now how you answer that depends on the child's age. With my mother I explained that Nan had a lot of pain growing up. And sometimes we don't deal with pain in the best way... like you may throw a toy or a shoe. Well grown-ups don't always have the answers and realize that people cant help them... so they do things to harm their body that makes them feel good only for the moment.. but the moment will pass, like Hana Montana is only on for a half hour then over. Well it's like that for adults too, but they forget at times that the feeling will go away. So they do these things to make them feel better in the moment but much worse off later in time. That is called *insert whatever illness fits*. It worked really well with my kids. I was very non judgmental and used it as a experience to show them how THEY don't want to seem to others when upset."

    So after finding a way to explain to them, let them meet their grandmother. Kids do better with as much love as they can get from their family. However, let them know the visit may be brief because if she's not well then you will have to go home. Let your mother know this as well.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2009
  5. johan

    johan Active Member

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    It's unfortunate that AA hasn't produced the results you were hoping for.
    Sometimes people are resistant, and don't really surrender themselves to the therapeutic process.


    You could encourage her to complete AA -- to say that AA has come and gone ... presumes that the process has failed or is flawed. Which is ultimately not that helpful. Cause then you're saying that nothing will ever help.

    I'd rather see it as she needs to really put her heart into AA.

    It's like any medicine. If you only pretend to swallow it, and secretly spit it out...can you honestly say the medicine is faulty and doesn't work?





    As for your child, I would take any and all steps to protect my child. If mommy dearest is an alcoholic, I would speak to her plainly and LOVINGLY -- she knows she's an alcoholic -- and lay out the ground rules for her. Such as:

    1) She may visit, but you will be there to supervise.

    2) She may not be drunk.

    3) If she begins to act inappropriately, then you will have to end the visit in a discreet manner (...ooops, well, we'd love to stay, but grandma has to go home now sweetie...)



    Do all of this in a loving, supportive context. Your mom is in the grip of a disease. It's not entirely her fault.
    You also have a duty to protect your child. These are not mutually exclusive aims.

    You can serve both by lovingly bridging the gap and providing a guided context where they can interact.
    Anything that is out-of-bounds (you know what I mean) you gently steer away from.
     
  6. BadKat

    BadKat GIVE ME WINE!!

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    I would simply walk away.

    There are some relationships, be the familial or not, that you just need to wash your hands of. This, in my opinion, is one of them. I also have one similar.

    I personally don't think that your Mother WANTS a relationship or to know your children because if she did, she would have put the effort forth to remain sober long enough to be around them. Just because she can't drink prior, can't drink during, doesn't mean she'd have to be sober for 24 hours (which is an impossibility for an alcoholic). The fact of the matter is, alcohol matter more to your Mother then you or your kids do. And until SHE decides to change that, there is nothing that you truly CAN do.

    What I think you should do instead, is stop sending her updates. If she emails YOU and asks about the kids, answer her questions. But do NOT go out of YOUR way to keep her in the know. If she truly wants to be, SHE will make the effort to do so. Perhaps by your no longer making most of the effort, it will open her eyes. Perhaps not. But at least you wouldn't be putting your children into a situation that could be volitile. There's no reason to. Them knowing or not knowing her, doesn't change anything. They already don't really know her, so it's not as if they realize they are missing anything. It would be different had she been sober for years, heavily involved in their life and then turned to drinking only to have you be forced to cut her out of their lives due to the alcohol. She's already cut herself out prior to the kids ever having a chance to know her. And that's not YOUR fault.
     
  7. Crawling Dead

    Crawling Dead Gz-TeRRoR

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    No she doesn't. Sorry yall, but just because you gave birth to a child, doesnt mean you have the right to act whatever the hell way you want and expect them to feel obligated to stay in your life. Its the same with grandkids. She has no "Familial rights." Thats bullshit. If she cant bring herself to keep her mouth off a bottle long enough to see her grandkids, then she doesnt get to see them.
     
  8. BadKat

    BadKat GIVE ME WINE!!

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    :werd:
     
  9. Darketernal

    Darketernal Watch: Aria The Origination =)

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    Well personally im inclined to say no, but its family so that makes things complicated. Id say that a half an hour visit for the kids per week should be more or less acceptable, the major prerequisite is wether mom is violent or not. If she's not violent and won't abuse the kids i might be ok with it, but i'll be the first to admit that im not eager at all to let a kid be exposed to an alcoholic, but in the end you have to see that everyone is still a human being. So maby a short visit but not too long and not too often.
     
  10. B00M

    B00M I speak of peace while covert enmity

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    I did. When she called me to half heartedly "appologize" for things she did to me in the past I bit my tounge, told her I was proud of her, that I was really happy she had made that decision and that I forgave her.

    I've seen it work for some people. I don't fault the process.
    I honestly don't think anything will ever help but not because it can't. It won't help because like everything else in her life her desire for sobriety comes in waves.


    She won't visit me in my home because it's a 3 hr. drive here and back add that to visit times and she would have to be sober am-pm and that's not an option for her. If I insist on sobriety I know it would start another round of conflict and after 30 years I'm just sick of conflict and fighting. I'm not interested in investing endless energy toward a lost cause anymore. It's become clear to me that if my kids meet her it will have to be on her turf. That's my issue. I've tried arranging visits near her...to no avail.

    This may sound heartless but I don't really feel love for her. I feel a sense of duty toward her for the sacrifices she did make on my behalf but not love. In fact it's a struggle not to despise her. Read that as you will. :sad2:

    hmmmm I don't know about that. I can mourn for the child she was, damaged by her alcoholic father and selfish mother but I'm afraid I do think it's her fault. At some point the child grows up and becomes an adult who is responsible for their decisions. It's not like she contracted cancer she has always chosen the drink knowing what the outcome could be.

    Yes. I see that duty as two fold I believe he has a right to his people damaged though they may be. I believe my son and daughter deserve their own relationship w/ her seperate from my baggage and resentment and it's my duty to get past that for their sake. I also believe I need to protect them from harm. I'm not worried so much about physical harm. She knows I would pound her face into the ground in a second if she or her husband touched them in anger. It's emotional. She has the ability to cut people off entirely in an instant. The last time I visited her my son was just a baby. We had a fight and I was leaving. Despite my anger I tried to get her to kiss him good bye and held him out to her. She turned away and declared that she wouldn't be "held hostage by emotional baggage." In other words she wanted nothing to do with him because we were fighting. He was reaching his little arms out to her and she turned away. Even then I saw that he was puzzled....not hurt but confused. He wasn't old enough to be able to interpret her actions. But now that he's 4 he would definitely understand that Grandma wouldn't hug me...and likely think Grandma doesn't love me. That is what concerns me. So long as we are cordial she will be loving and flattering and the perfect Grandma...if we have any conflict that would shatter instantly and she would turn her back on him and my daughter. If I did this I would have to expend a great deal of effort to avoid any sort of conflict w/ her.


    yeah I see the truth in it but I'm just not sure I will be able to do it.
     
  11. B00M

    B00M I speak of peace while covert enmity

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    My head tells me this is true but my heart tells me this is wrong.

    She'd have to be sober for 8 hrs. minimum and that's not an option for her.

    All true. I'm not interested in saving her or loving her. If it weren't for my kids I would be happy not knowing her. I just want my kids to know her before she drinks herself to death. I don't want my baggage to spill over onto them.

    I don't at all. I just give her access to their pics. I don't call or email but I do answer the phone when she calls.

    I tried that. I arranged to meet her at the Baltimore aquarium in Febuary. We planned it months in advance. Two days before going she calls and cancels. Her excuse? It's spring break and my little cousins were coming to the farm that week to play w/ my brother. She scheduled that AFTER we had already decided on a date and bought advanced tickets. And this is the kicker....my little cousins and brother are 16-19 AND my step-father works from home!! :ugh2: There was NO reason to cancel. I spent weeks showing my son her picture and getting him excited to meet his grandmother, showing him pictures, pointing out the gifts she'd bought for him so he could thank her, etc...in the end she wasn't there. We went anyway and he had a blast but my heart broke a little when we were leaving he said, "good bye dolphins...good bye fishes....good bye grandma!" She hadn't been there but I'd spent so much time getting him excited about her that when we left he said good-bye to a person that was never there.

    Not now...but later on when they wonder about her I don't want to be the one that kept them from her.
    They don't know her but they do know of her and he asks to visit the horses often.

    Well she was highly involved early on. She disowned me a couple of times between his age of 6-12 months and I severed all ties when he was about 14 months. Then I got pregnant again and felt a duty to let her know.
     
  12. B00M

    B00M I speak of peace while covert enmity

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    I agree and have washed my hands of her in terms of hoping for a relationship but she hasn't harmed my kids and they know who she is. I can't shake the feeling that it's wrong to keep them from her entirely.
     
  13. B00M

    B00M I speak of peace while covert enmity

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    Not possible...she lives 3 hrs away. If I visit it would be a day at the least and no way I'm doing that weekly or even monthly...maaaaybe biannually but even that is pushing it. If she so much as touched my kids w/ her pinky finger in anger I would break her brittle arm. No joke...I'd bloody her...she knows this and wouldn't dare.
     
  14. B00M

    B00M I speak of peace while covert enmity

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    Update: Arranged a weekend getaway w/ her at a (somewhat) local lodge. There's a water park and a couple of theme parks near by so I know the kids will have a blast. I think this will work as it's neutral territory and there are plenty of places to hide if I need to. Will update with outcome in a couple weeks.
     
  15. B00M

    B00M I speak of peace while covert enmity

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    So we went. The kids had a blast. There were no major incidents but there were a couple of times I had to make a concerted effort to hold my tounge. I think it was great for my son to meet her and my brother and my stepfather. I am glad to be home and it was one of those vacations you need a vacation from but in the end I got exactly what I wanted for my kids. My son really loved meeting them and I am so thankful I took the risk. We actually ended up staying in their suite so we could stay and extra night and still no major incidents. I did enjoy catching up and realize that as damaged as they are and as much as they've damaged me they also helped make me who I am and so no matter what happened in the past there's some connection between us that is comforting.
     

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