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Readers Respond: How Do You Feel Growing Up With an Alcoholic Parent Has Changed You?

Responses: 580


Updated September 22, 2012

The Healing Process

My mother is and was an alcoholic and my father was abusive. This effected me by the feelings of being unloved, abandament, low self worth, shame, guilt, suicidal, dysfunctional in relationships, needy in every area, and always looking for a mother figure to meet my needs. feelings of helpless, hopless and being constantly overwhelmed by everything. I am now helping others and mentoring. It has been 2 years of wanting to get rid of pain of my past. I am now studying to be a counsellor to help others. It starts when you find someone to listen to you and who cares and forgiveness for your parents which sets you free from your pain. Jesus has healed me in every area of my life and it is a step by step process. Everybody gets triggers with people and it is usually goes back to your childhood where you have suffered hurt or pain and only Jesus can completely heal as I have experienced this a freedom from my past. Paula and John Sandford have good books available who are excellent.
—Guest Shelly77777

Alcoholic mum

My mums been a heavy drinker for pretty much my whole life. from a very young age I was forced into the role of adult looking after not only my mum but my 3 siblings. when drunk, she would verbally abuse me and tell me I was a worthless waste of space, unwanted, she didn't love me blah blah blah. I bore the brunt of all her abuse and would always put myself in the way if she started having a go at any of my siblings, they didn't need to hear the stuff she was saying and I'd heard it all before so it wouldn't affect me. I was their big sister and it was my job to protect them. Besides I loved her and knew it was the drink making her say these things. I'm 22 now and until reading this I had no idea how much her drinking had affected me. I knew I had problems getting close to people and opening up about my childhood, and that I had problems expressing my feelings. But the repercussions have not all been bad. How many 14 year olds do you know that can use a washing machine? :)
—Guest help

It drove me to want to be worthwhile

Growing up with my mother was exhausting and arguably stole large chunks of my formative years, leading to the cluster of psychological issues and poor inter-personal skills that simmer beneath my skin, but it also taught me at a very young age that regardless of how much power they held, adults were only older versions of children. I was told point-blank at five that I was more of a best friend than a child, and I went along with that because I loved my mother, wanted to spare my siblings, and it tended to start out as fun. The fact that I was treated like an intellectual equal made it easier to accept the responsibility that came with it. My mother made so many mistakes right in front of me, very few the sort of thing a child should probably have been subjected to, but those experiences made me who I am, and I -like- myself. I was lucky; my mother was more of an overgrown child than a monster, and although I DO exhibit a number of the ACoA traits, they aren't 100% due to her.
—Guest Rebekah

I cant move on

I am 41 and feel so damaged by my parents. Father was violent, abusive alcoholic/Mother Co-dependent, needy & damaged. The violence was awful, so many nights of it over 20 years. My earliest memories are of my mum having black eyes & head injuries, the house being smashed up & my mum just acted like a victim of violence and mental abuse. My school days are a bad memory and I was emotionally neglected by both parents, I was so messed up. She never protected us 5 kids, he even killed 2 dogs that were the family pets. The need for her man was more important than anything, but she used to tell me she would set fire to him in the bed. Feel she emotionally abused me from a young age, I have no friends is impossible for me to be close to people. I am severely depressed..had 10 years feeling suicidal, Isolate myself totally from people and stay home all day neglecting myself. I had 4 years of psychotherapy and this helped so much, but life is still so hard. I Am very grateful for this thread x
—Guest Jenny2

grown up early!

its made me more mature and caused me to grow up early and take on responsibilities of an adult.
—Guest confused

super angry

I can't remember a time in my childhood when my father wasn't a worthless drunk. I wish I didn't know him. He has been physically abusive towards my oldest brother and verbally abusive toward me. I'm sure he would of hit me too if he wasn't afraid that would of pressed charges on him, and contact social services. I constantly felt as though I needed to make threats to make him control him self and it worked. I was always to embarassed to invite people over and spent a good portion of my childhood extemely mad at everything. I left home the day of my 18th birthday and to this day refuse to have a relationship with him. I'm 22 now. I often feel like I served a 18 year prison sentence. Despite it all now that I'm on my own even at the worst of times its never as bad as my childhood and I now that I make it through. That I think is the only positive thing that came out of his drinking.
—Guest jennifer

only one person can help an addict

Growing up with an alcoholic Mother; I have a greater and personal understanding into those who are so helpless they cannot allow themselves to put there children first, these people need serious help. Through past experiences and this understanding i think it has enabled me to help others - personally and professionally - something has to be gained from the experience. I try my best everyday to stay positive and strong - some days are easier than others. My mother decided to have more children later on in life and is doing the same to them (drinking, emotional neglect, moods etc) - this has given my sister and i added strength (most of the time) to provide this void. My sister and i have a good Dad, much older than Mother, something the children lack. Their father has no time what so ever for them. The responsibility goes on and on. Their selfishness is impossible for me to understand when there are children involved I am emotionally attached. Nothing i can ever do will help he

Moving towards healing

I am 59 years old and have been struggling with the fact that my dad was an alcoholic and to see how his desease affected my mom, my sibblings and especially me. My mom was submitted to his desires and demands, my oldest brother followed his steps resulting in an alcoholic and homosexual, my sisters and me grew up with lots of fear, lack of self assurance, and trying to save the world. In 2000 I realized how bad I was and it was then when I decided to taje my lífe back. I decided to directly deal with this issue through professional help. I now know that lífe has much more to offer and I deserve to be happy and fulfilled, free from guilt and feelings of non-accomplishments and hurt. Like me there are others that are suffering. I refused to continue living a lífe that did not belong to me. I believe that there are better options out there that will make me whole.
—Guest Becoming whole

How to forgive

I am 62 years old and my alcoholic mother is long dead from cirrosis of the liver. Somehow, I am still angry with her for the miserable life she gave me. I see so well how it shaped me and the burden I feel from it. I think I need to forgive to get rid of it. I know she was a downtrodden single mother with stress that she used the alcohol to subdue. But, what about the terrible wrath and unrealistic demands she placed on us. I always felt so unloved. Mainly, I felt what is this terrible thing, that turns a mother against her own children? I'm willing to forgive, if I could get rid of these feelings. Anyone else find themselves here?
—Guest Marie

Self doubt

My dad always had a drinking problem. As a child I always thought I would be a great parent someday. I wasn't going to drink or be abusive or come home bloody from fights or vomit every morning or have any of the failings of my parents. It's not as easy being a parent as I once thought. I've managed to avoid the failings of my father but I never learned what it is a 'good' parent does and I'm always doubting myself. My kids are 18 and 14 now and I don't know if I've raised them right or screwed up their heads. And I never feel I have someone I can really talk to about it, someone who would understand. I wish I didn't feel so totally alone.
—Guest Frank

Growing up with an alcoholic dad

I never had a father figure since my dad was always drunk. When I was 3 my dad had a separation from my mom. So the only time I saw him was when he was in the hospital which was about every month. So I never had anybody to confront about my problems. With my mom having her own problems not wanting to hear mine. My dad got sober in late 2005. It did not really solve my problems because he was put on seroquel. So he was a pretty much a zombie. I still don't have any one that I can confront about my problems and have had a chance to find who I am. So honestly I will probably never be what I would of been and I don't really know what I would be since this started when I was a baby.
—Guest DannyMac

Trying to cope

Hi. I have been married to an alcoholic for 16 years. The first 5 years were great. Then my husband started verbally abusing me not caring who heard or saw. I have very little confidence from it. I was raised for 11 years by an alcoholic step dad. He used to beat up my mom. My mom finally kicked him out when I was 13. I always thought I would not turn out that way because I knew it was wrong. Well i am married to an alcoholic. He has lost his license and will need a breathalyzer in his vehicle. That is great! We have a young sun, and I don't want him growing up damaged. I am wanting a divorce if we don't stop fighting. Of course my drinking with him doesn't help. I am trying not to drink. My fear is that I am an alcoholic too.
—Guest krunch

Growing up with alcoholic parents

Ruined my childhood, I had to grow up way too quick, ruined my life, and a sense of who I really am.
—Guest michelle


I am an only child of two alcoholic parents.Initially only my father was the drinker. A mean abusive drunk. My mother was the primary target of his physical and emotional abuse. We lived in dread of his arrival home each nite. That only subsided when he passed out. Anything could, and often did happen, abuse of my mother, destruction of furniture, threats of suicide, mean and degrading name calling. My mother passively took much of this, leaving for brief periods a couple times. By the time I was in grade 7, my mother was drunk on a daily basis. I never brought friends home because I didn't want anyone to know what my world was like. My mother died when I was 17. I understood why she turned to alcohol, but I felt abandoned. My father lived to 80, and drank to the end. I am a well respected professional, but feel worthless. I am so angry still and ashamed I let this spill out on my teenagers. I love them so much, how can I allow myself to hurt them? How do I let this anger go?
—Guest poppy

I've Never Had A Relationship

I guess I should be grateful that my dad isn't physically abusive, but the rest of my household is emotionally neglectful towards each other. Back to the title. The first guy I've fallen for only liked me as a friend, but I was relentless in my pursuit to make him see me in a different light. I even gave my virginity to him, the most precious thing I possessed at the time. But it was in vain. He never kissed me, told me he loved me, or even liked me. He told me he liked someone else July 2011. Apparently she kissed him, and I wanted to do that the WHOLE TIME. Now, no thanks to him, I'll never reach out and trust another guy ever again. I don't want to befriend another guy, or even chat with them. What's worse, I'm condemned to being prone to getting trapped in an abusive relationship with a boyfriend, fiance, or husband. As much as I want it, it just isn't worth it in the end. I'm considering getting my genitals removed and requesting a lobotomy.
—Guest Em

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