Wednesday, March 14, 2012

V is for Victim

I am not big on pity or labeling myself a victim. I think I take this to a negative place. Sometimes I should see I was victimized by something or someone, and let myself process it. I'm working on it. Therapy helps. It's actually a really amazing, and gratifying thing when a paid professional goes hold up, what happened? That is not okay. There are things I suspected were not okay, but I just sort of shrugged and moved on. My move on nature is a blessing and a curse. Some of this moving on, means I never really did. 

A big thing I am coming to terms with is the pattern of dishonesty in my family. It was strongly encouraged and fostered. It's not a huge shock I have struggled with being honest with myself. To others I do not. If anything I think I struggle to reign it in and not be Betty Blunt but to myself whole different thing. 

My mom was in India for her 60th birthday. Amazing right? I never told you how old she is ps. A friend who she traveled with has a pretty major drinking problem. This is not new news. It's been going on for years. It waxes and wanes, but for the most part it is always present. My mom has spoken more about how this affected her then what her experience in India was. I realized something when we were catching up, my mom plays the victim. Big time and especially when it comes to alcoholics. My father was an alcoholic. There were times it was really bad. Anytime my mom left my brother and I with my Dad alone at night from what I can remember he got really drunk. There were times I watched him fling her out of the way and get into his car and drive drunk, there were times cab drivers dropped him home drunk out of his mind, there were times I could hear him wandering the house babbling to himself obliterated, there were times he lost his license for driving under the influence, there were times he crawled into bed with me drunk at night, there were a lot of alcoholism related times. In fact when my mom was pregnant with me he wrecked his car, driving drunk and ended up in a cast up to his waist. When I was born he was found in a bar.

 I was not allowed to speak about it outside the house and we rarely spoke about it in the house. My mom would talk smack, reassure me it was wrong, I had every reason to be upset and so on but she did nothing. My Dad once in a blue moon would awkwardly say on the phone the next day before coming home sorry for last night. That would be it, no mention of what he was sorry for, or any real acknowledgement of what had happened. I have memories of this starting from about 8 years old and when he died when I was 16 he was putting away on average 1-2 bottles of wine a night. His behavior had calmed down the drinking had not. I guess he was just better at hiding it. Something she and I noticed after he died is that on some level we relaxed. We quit worrying about when the next bender would come or what he would come home like. Life with an alcoholic takes a toll, one I think you're not always aware of you just live under constantly. 

This toll I feel like mostly belongs to me. Yes, my mom had struggles, but she needs to look at why she has often found herself in relationships with alcoholics. I started to get angry with her Saturday night and I felt horrible. She's been gone a month, she brought me presents and here I am being a jerk. Monday I had therapy and telling my therapist the story I started to get mad again. She said you sound angry and I realize I am. I am angry she wants to play the victim. I was the kid she was the adult. I know leaving my father would have come with repercussions and would have been enormously difficult for my mom, but she enabled the situation. She was not a victim. She was an adult who ignored the situation. She says now she thought because she could disassociate and protect herself and cover it up she assumed we kids could. My brother has very little memory of all of this. He was usually sleeping. No idea why I got front row tickets to the show but such is life. It boggles my mind my mom could think because she an ADULT could protect herself her 8 year old could. I am trying not to judge but lawdy it's tough. Sometimes I wish she did not share her side. 

She is still and adult and still making similar choices. No one made her sign up to share a room with an alcoholic for a month, she chose to. She claims she protected herself by having a loaded ipad and ear buds. I think that's another form of disassociating and not self protection. I told her as much as well. I said actually taking care of yourself would be getting your own room, and not traveling with an alcoholic who starts drinking at 5pm, passes out by 8pm and is a zombie by day. My patience runs thin when she wants to complain and talk about how it affects her. I am not listening to this sob story. I have some theories on what it's about and why she's drawn to the dynamic, but I also know a little better now. It's not my job to fix her, or be the parent. That's her bag. I just have to recognize and process I have some feelings about what went down and while I am not jumping to wallow in the victim pool I am not going to act like it was okay. It wasn't. 


  1. Anna, what a touching post. I can see that life with your family has not been an 'easy' thing for you. You should be so proud of yourself for having such insight into your situation, and for being able to openly reflect about it now. What matters is how you move forward. You are absolutely right about your mother being an adult who does not make appropriate choices (at times). It is a hard thing to watch.

    My mother is an alcoholic. She also has (undiagnosed, but I am 100% certain she has it) Borderline Personality Disorder. She brings out the worst in everyone. She is irresponsible, self centered, and full of negativitiy. I moved out when I was 15 because we no longer could get along. My 13 year old sister is now under my care because my mother could not take care of her appropriately. It is a hard thing to deal with. Whenever my life seems to be going smoothly, she pops up with another "situation" aka drama. She blames me for my sister not wanting to live with her. She has no insight.

    These types of curve balls obviously shape how we grow up. Addiction runs in my family. I believe it plays a part in my addiction to food. Yes, I stay away from drinking, and smoking, and drugs, because those all do not appeal to me. Food, however, especially fatty, sugary food, is my weakness, and continues to be despite losing 60lb. I think it always will be too. It is just something I have come to live with.

    I try to look at these experiences as opportunities to grow. I know that I am a more resilient person because of my mother. I know that I am more patient, more caring of others, and more selfless because of her.

    I hope that you can find your own strengths out of reflection from your past. From reading your blog and emailing with you, I can tell that you are strong willed, educated, well spoken, and honest, all qualities that are very admirable.

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  3. Amie - Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on this so personally. I really appreciate it and really liked hearing your experience as well. Addiction is not easy for anyone in a family especially the kids. I give you so much credit for how you have tried to help your little sister. I agree these are chances to grow. I am not angry so much that it happened. I am angry that it continues in a way I suppose. I thought he was the problem but really it's a whole dynamic that's the problem.