Need some advice....Very long

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by mstang67chic, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    I'm not sure if this will be in the right order or just seem as's late and I'm tired. goes.

    Noticed on my two sister's Facebook pages that their status was in reference to the atmosphere in their house tonight. (Sister A is 21, sister S is 15. Brother G, 18, never posted so I'm assuming he was at a friends) A simply said that it was another lovely night. S however, went off and declared she wanted out.

    Just by their posts, I've got a pretty good idea what was going on. Beer for Dad and wine for step-mom. Used to be, Dad would have a few beers during the week but nothing out of hand. Same with step mom...a glas of wine or two in the evenings, maybe an extra on the weekend. They got married when I was 13 and while they weren't tea totalers, they were usually the non-chaotic parents when I was growing up. Don't get me wrong....they did their partying but it was nothing like what went on in my house with my mom and step-dad.

    Over the years though, the tides have turned. Even with SM's heart attack last year, the wine is an ever present thing. I'm starting to think she's a functioning alcoholic. She works mostly from home and doesn't drink during work hours or when she has errands to run. But after's fair game. Dad's pretty much the same way....sometimes less than SM, sometimes the same. "defense" of SM, she has a lot of stress. Much as I love the kids, they are spoiled. They don't do nearly the chores around the house as they should, they expect SM to drop everything to babysit, help with this, take A there, do their laundry, buy them this, etc. Good kids but ones that have been taken care of a bit too much. SM knows this but has been unable to change them. When she was in the hospital and for a while after, they stepped up. They did chores, I stayed there for a week and if I asked/told them to do something they did it almost immediately and with no complaints. Once things went back to "normal" did they. She's got a lot on her plate, a stressful job, a husband who gets frustrated and upset when people don't do/act like he thinks they should. As SM jokes, he's an a****le but he's HER a****le. She would have a glass or two of wine to unwind and relax and occasionally let loose a little on the weekends. Again...nothing major. But, even back before her heart attack, it had gotten a lot worse. At one point, she acknowledged this and cut way back but it crept up again. It's to the point that if I call in the evening, I'm surprised if I can't tell by her voice that she's been drinking. With the combination of the drinking and the understandable stress and frustrations she has, sometimes it comes out in a nasty way. She will speak to the kids horribly and in a nasty tone of voice. She's called them names and I think has even slapped S. That's not to say that S was completely innocent in that, she has a mouth on her that she's not afraid to use. But that's obviously not the best way to react. She drinks enough a lot of times that A won't let her hold the baby or be alone with her.

    I understand her frustrations, I do. The kids, while they are basically good kids, need to have their attitudes adjusted. S has a whopper of a temper and will go off with the slightest provocation. G delights in tormenting her and egging her on but then gets mad himself when she yells at him for egging her on. Plus he has a bit of an arrogant streak and doesn't hesitate to show it verbally. A is a control freak to the Nth degree and that's been made worse by being a first time and fairly young mother. She tries to step in between S and G (and always has) to get them to cool it but most of the time only succeeds in making matters worse. In a lot of ways they are typical self centered teenagers/young adults but because SM has basically spoiled them their entire lives, it's multiplied.

    And Dad...he sometimes defies description. Basically a good guy but.....I'll try to be objective here but I personally have a few Daddy issues. He is and has always been the fun guy. He's not very good with discipline sometimes. He either will tell a kid to not do something using a "I can't believe your'e doing that" tone of voice, will shoo them away from whatever it is or he goes off. A was on AD's for awhile when she was younger. Dad didn't get it. He thought she should just snap out of it and act right. I don't think that he completely discounts anything the least bit related to mental issues or the brain but I don't think he totally gets it or wants to. There's a certain way you act/live/do things and if you veer off from that, well then you're just being a dumb hiney. Doesn't matter that he's not been the best example of doing things the right way....I guess the kids get the self centeredness from him. This kind of delves into my issues but it's an example. My grandma gave me a letter some years back that Dad wrote her when I was little after Dad and Mom divorced. (Mom remarried two years later, somehow convinced Dad to sign off on his rights and my step dad adopted me. She still allowed Dad to see me although until he met SM, it was never a regular thing. Also, before he signed off on his rights, he had paid very little if any child support.) Anyhoo, the letter was all about how HE was affected, how HE wouldn't get to see me, how HE this, HE that. I know Grandma probably saw it as proof of how much Dad loves me (and I know he does) but that's not how it read. I'm pretty sure he knows he didn't do right by me but at the same time, it's never his fault. He sat there one night last year (after a few beers) and told me things that Mom supposedly did thirty some years ago when they were still married and after. I don't know how much if any was true but honestly, I don't care. It was thirty some years ago, neither of you still love each other or want each other back, you're both married again. WHO CARES! That's not stuff you tell your kid about a parent, true or not. And anyway, I've heard similar things about him over the years so who's to say what's what. I know my parents aren't perfect, hell, I've lived it. But I don't need a list. Know what I mean??

    So....back to my story. Basically...the kids, SM and Dad are good people. They work hard, they love each other, they try to have a good life. But....things are out of hand. A texted me not long before I started this post about how she needed to talk to me alone SOON. I had an idea what was going on but didn't say anything....just asked if she was ok. She said No and that's why she wanted to talk to me.

    Things are to the point that I think someone is going to need to talk to Dad and SM and lay it out for them. Right now, I'm thinking it's going to be me. Even if it goes as well as those kinds of talks can, it's not going to be easy or pretty. I just don't know how to go about this. Growing up in the house hold I did, I excelled at keeping my head down and not making waves. I don't really know how to do confrontations. With some people I'm fine. But these are parents. For me, that's a whole other ball of wax. These are people that are supposed to do what's right and that you listen to. Obviously, I know that's not always the case but that's my ingrained mantra I guess you'd say. should I approach this?

    Just the little I've thought about this, the only idea I've come up with is to get Dad and SM alone somewhere, lay it out for them and have the kids write letters and I will give/read those to the folks. I also realize I'm going to have to have a seperate talk with the kids about stepping up around the house (and staying stepped up), working on their mouth's and attitudes. I know that's not a good reason for things to deteriorate like they have but I do know it's a contributing factor.

    I suppose I could do a kind of intervention with all of us....I just don't know how well that would go. I'm thinking (at least for right now) that it might be better if it was just me. If that goes well, then we could ALL sit down and talk.

    If you've read this Thanks! I know this is very long but I could really use some input.
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Wow... SM's doctor needs to know about the drinking, Dad needs to be more supportive of SM (I bet his attitude about mental illness plays into this) and the kids need to grow up some, right? FWIW, try to remember that alcoholism is a disease and not a failing on SM's fault. The other problems may add to her desire to drink but aren't the reason for it. Can you help the kids (all teens, right?) find al-anon meetings?
  3. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I like your idea of meeting with the kids first and then with the parents. Would you be able to take the kids to your house for a week to give the parents some respite and allow a 'restart'?
  4. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Thanks for the input.

    Yes, trust me....I understand about alcoholism. I grew up in a household saturated by it. I don't think less of SM for this, I get it. But I am saddened that the kids are dealing with some of the same stuff I did growing up. Granted, it's still nowhere near what I saw and went through but it still hoovers. Because of the age difference between me and them, it's almost like they are my kids too and I want better things for them.

    As for taking them here for a week, I could but it would be cramped. I have a 2 bedroom house that is crammed with stuff, three of us already, two dogs and a cat. Plus, it wouldn't just be the 3 kids. It would be them, a 7 month old and all of the things necessary for a baby. If that wasn't a feasible plan though, I'm pretty sure they all have friends they could stay with if needed. But if it came to it, I could have one or two of them here without much of a problem temporarily.

    I was up for a long time last night trying to figure things out. I think I'll start first on what I'm going to say to the kids and how to word it so it's not taken as an attack on them or blame for the SM's drinking. Honestly, even if the drinking wasn't an issue, they still need a Gibbs slap to their attitudes. This is going to take some hard thinking and a bit of planning. Yay....and close to the holidays too.

    Thanks again.
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I've had a bit of trouble trying to word a reply.

    I know you're heart's in the right place. I know that it's evident Dad and SM's drinking has esculated..........But I dunno. You're dealing with (you admit) 2 self - centered a teen (any they are already self serving) another an young adult.

    If it were me, I'd really have to have a major heart to heart with all the sibs.....seperately, in order to form a more accurate picture. Then I'd have to tempter that image of what's going on with what I knew and on past behavior of all involved. Then talk to your dad and sm.......and then make a decision.

    Not living in the home gives you a major handicap as to what is really going on. Could be sibs behaviors have esculated at home to the point where dad and sm are just barely coping......Could be the kids behavior stems from dad and sm behaviors changing.....Not so easy to tell from the outside looking in.

    Regardless.......I see it as being a nasty confrontation. Dad and SM are going to see it as kids against them.......and you already know Dad doesn't like to take responsibility for his actions......and they're going to be defensive about the drinking on top of it.

    Personally, if it were just me, unless I saw some really disturbing behavior that I knew would affect the kids still at home.........I'd keep out of it. Oh, maybe coach sibs on better ways to approach situations or deal with them......but yeah.

    Alcoholism can be an ugly thing. But as you already know, it's not something that is going to change until they want it to change.

    Just some things to think about. Tough position for you to be in as the oldest sib.