Hi, How do you all cope with the denial from your alcoholic parent and family? I end up feeling like I’m the problem for speaking up and not tolerating it. In my case it’s my mum who is an alcoholic. Her addiction stems from her childhood trauma, myself and my brothers were always aware of her experiences, which meant that although she tried her best I can now look back and see that childhood was sometimes strange and unpredictable. She has for years been a functioning alcoholic, holding a well respected job and appearing from the outside to be fine. Over the past 10 years I think her drinking has increased, several falls down the stairs which she refused medical treatment for due to shame, even though she broke a bone and a nasty head wound.
I have tried to speak with her, as has one of my brothers, repeatedly about how worried we are. I made sure to not lay blame and shame her, but to say Id support her and was there for her. Her response was very quiet, she agreed as if she’d been caught out like a child. But nothing changed.
Over a year ago she missed my 18 year olds birthday due to several days binge drinking, then came to my house one morning drunk, while I was at work, and shouted some awful things at my daughter that left her frightened and traumatised.
I was so shocked and upset by this, as were my children. I wrote to her, saying that I loved her and that she needed to get help, that she needed to apologise to my daughter. There has been no response from her.
All of this is awful of course, but somehow it’s the denial that I find the hardest to deal with.
My stepdad wants to bring xmas gifts from them, my brothers ask me why Im not going to see my mum and that she will not aplogise and that I should go to see her. I find it so triggering when they talk as if everything is fine, and end up feeling like I am the one with an issue. I don’t feel able to be open with others about how she is as I don’t want to shame her, so if anyone ever asks me how she is I just say ‘fine’ and change the subject, but I’m also aware this doesn’t support me at all.
I am a single parent of 3, my daughter is autistic, so I have no close family support at all now due to the situation. It’s very hard and exhausting!

  • listener


    I'm really sorry to hear how hard things are with your mum's drinking. I can hear how much you can empathise with her, and how much you want to help.

    You're not the only one to find denial very hard to cope with - it's incredibly frustrating, especially coming from family members. It's something that unfortunately may not go away, but the 6Cs can be really useful to remind yourself. I hope they help you to see that you are not the problem, and that you're doing all you can to help:

    • I didn’t cause it
    • I can’t cure it
    • I can’t control it
    • I can take care of myself
    • I can communicate my feelings
    • I can make healthy choices

    I'm so sorry you're feeling so alone with this. That must feel so isolating. I wonder whether support groups might be helpful. ACA ( and Al-Anon ( have groups that are free and non-judgemental, you can say as little or as much as you want or just listen; sometimes it's good to be around people who understand the problem.

    The Nacoa helpline is there for you as well, and I hope you find these message boards useful too.

    Take good care of yourself,

    • boop89

      I can relate to you when people make judging comments asking why you aren't seeing her. It is the same with my own Mum who has also affected occasions... the morning of her Mums funeral myself and her had stayed over at my Grandparents house and we woke to find her incredibly drunk and abusive. She assaulted my Grandad when we told her she's not going to the funeral, we had to call the police to escort her home. Both my lovely grandparents have now passed and I still get abuse from her 'banning her' from her Mum's funeral and how she'll 'never forgive' me. It's incredibly hard having to deal with significant occasions being made even more stressful or difficult as a result of not having a supportive 'normal' Mum. You have my sympathy :( It must be very hard being a single mum with no support. I worry about having no family support if I ever choose to become a mum too, you are a strong woman :)

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