Advice needed




Hi all,
Bit of a long one. Both my parents are alcoholics and I have 5 brothers and sister who have all struggled with alcohol and mental health.
Because of my home life getting too much for me I moved out at 15 years old and have had my ups and downs but over all I have made a nice life for self I’m happily married with 2 small children. We moved to Spain and opened a bar which was a struggle over the last few years with price increases brexit and covid. But with alot of hard work we are successful now and all is going well at long last however….. now my parents want to visit often and although I have never invited them they arrive anyway. When they do this brings back alot of unwelcome memories and they disrupt my work and home life. With non stop drinking (in my own bar) I have asked them not to arrive drunk which is ignored I have refused to serve them and it always leaves me feeling like a terrible ungrateful child
Skip forward a little i just found out that my dad has cancer I don’t want him to die and spend the rest of my life feeling guilty that I should have treated them better but I also don’t want to be an enabler. Obviously there is lots and lots more to the story and I do resent them for alot of things but it seems that no matter what I do I’m left feeling like the bad guy any tips would be welcome

  • listener

    Hi Irish,

    Thank you for sharing your story here, which we know is not always easy to do. I am so sorry to read about the situation you are currently in. It sounds like there are a lot of difficult emotions you are having to navigate right now. It must feel painful to experience the unwelcome memories you speak of. I am sorry for the experiences you had since you were younger and for the recent news of your dad’s cancer.

    Whilst I am glad that you have been able to move away from what sounds like was a painful time and make a successful life for yourself and your family, it does not mean that you can’t feel the way you do about the life you experienced before you moved out. It is valid if there’s feelings of resentment you have toward your parents, and it sounds like it must have been very hard to have had to make that decision to leave at 15. It must be so difficult to have moved away from somewhere to build your own life up, and then for that disruption to surface in your life now.

    Even when there is understanding and empathy for someone else’s situation, it is valid to have resent for them too. Guilt can be such an overwhelming and often complicated. I sense there is some conflict in your words. It must feel really difficult when your reasonable ask for them not to arrive to your bar drink is then dismissed and ignored. It sounds like you really have tried to find a balance and compromise here and I’m sorry that you feel the impact of their drinking still.

    I can really sense the guilt in your words, it sounds like this is very present for you. There’s nothing in what you are saying that comes across as ungrateful or that you should have treat them better – it sounds like there’s a lot of responsibility you feel here. You matter so much Irish, and you deserve the life you want for yourself without the guilt and worry of doing so.

    It may be helpful to try and remind yourself that you are not responsible for your parent’s drinking and reactions. The guilt you feel is something that unfortunately a lot of COAs experience too – it sounds like ultimately you already are doing everything you possibly can and you’re trying to prioritise you and your life and that is completely valid and okay to do, but I am sorry if right now it may not feel this way.

    If it helps, it can be useful to think about what you can control in your life right now: for example, you can communicate your feelings, you can establish and place boundaries, you can listen to your needs, and you can remind yourself of all the things you have been able to achieve for yourself.

    I hope that writing here helped and that there is something in this response that can bring some reassurance for you.

    Take care,

  • tm19x

    Your not uncaring intact you clearly care so much about them and also about yourself which you should. You are doing your best with the hard situations you were in and I think you've done a great job.

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