Stepfamily Issues

Personal stories about stepfamilies, childhood and general family issues.

February 20, 2008

easing the pain with alcohol

Tulsa is now 21 and has had a troubled relationship with an alcoholic mother ever since her father walked out on them ten years ago.

"Their marriage wasn't a happy one," explains Tulsa, "and after the divorce my mom took to the bottle to ease the pain."

"I've sort of been her 'carer' ever since I was a kid," says Tulsa, "but rather than being thankful she treated me badly as if I was the cause of dad leaving us."

"I left home a few years ago and she has been hassling me ever since," says Tulsa. "After a particularly bad call from her - raking up memories of when dad walked out on us -I nearly hit the bottle myself."

Not wanting to end up like her mother, Tulsa decided it was time to lay it on the line.

"I telephoned her cell phone but she didn't answer," explains Tulsa, "so I left a message for her to call me urgently."

"When she returned my call I told her that she was driving me to drink and that if she ever made a nagging call to me again she needed to be mindful of the consequences," says Tulsa. "I told her that if ever she placed me in a position where I had to choose between my health and happiness or a relationship with her based upon nagging, blame, coercion, abuse and continual raking up of the past, then she wouldn't win."

"She sounded contrite when I confronted her," says Tulsa, "but when she had the cheek to cut the call short, saying that the return call was costing her money, I suddenly remembered that when she made the initial call it was from a pay phone at the local shopping center - not her cell phone - and I did think it odd that she chose to speak on the phone rather than visit me like she usually does."

"I thought at the time that maybe she was scared I'd ask her to do something for me - or maybe she didn't want to see pity in my eyes," says Tulsa, "but maybe she deliberately chose the pay phone because she fully intended to have a long conversation with me, longer than she was prepared to pay for on her cell phone, and did not want to face me when she said what she wanted to say. Not only a coward, but a mean one!"

"A letter setting out what she wanted to say would have been less threatening - allowing me time to compose myself and give a thoughtful reply," says Tulsa. "But I suppose she wanted to surprise me and hear my pain - and didn't want to leave any written evidence of the incident."

"It occurred to me that she probably didn't care whether I was drinking or not - indeed, whether I was dead or alive," sighs Tulsa. "Alcoholics and drug addicts are like that - totally selfish - and that's a sign, I suppose, of what I can expect in future."

"I put her out of her mercenary misery as quickly as I could by telling her not to call me again unless she genuinely cared about me and wanted a mutually happy relationship with me," says Tulsa, "and she seemed happy to end things like that."

"The most optimistic outcome of the confrontation would be a better relationship with my mother," says Tulsa, "but I'm certainly not holding my breath. I meant what I said about ending my relationship with her if she continues to upset me."

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