Dysfunctional siblings




Hi everyone,

I guess I’m just wondering if anyone can relate or have a similar issue with their siblings…

We have all experienced trauma as a result of parental alcoholism from both parents and have dealt with it in different ways.

My two siblings are so toxic, always point scoring and have to have someone to “hate”. Well this time it’s me and my partner’s turn.

I’ve tried to express that we don’t need to be like this, but the response is more point scoring and a complete lack of respect or care for my feelings.

I’ve made the decision today to cut them out (at least for a while), but now I’m dreading the phone calls from my mum and dad (mum now sober, dad still drinking). They will say I’m over reacting, make me doubt myself and try to guilt me into talking to them because “we are family”. Which then makes me want to cut them out too because they also disregard my feelings, belittle me and try to start arguments.

I don’t know what to say to do this? I just want a break from them as I’m so sick of the drama. It’s all the little things, and so when I say them out loud I come across as petty.

Any advice on how to deal with this welcome, thank you.

  • listener

    Dear bbaggins,

    I’m so glad that you’ve reached out here.

    Taking a break from family is an incredibly tough decision and takes a huge amount of resilience. It’s so important that you know that there’s not really a right or wrong way of dealing with a parent with alcoholism so long as you’re making sure you are looking after yourself – and making good decisions for you. It sounds as though that’s exactly what you’re doing. Maybe writing these reasons down somewhere you can see them if you do get a phone call? You’re already being your own advocate, that takes strength and courage. I hope you can feel proud of yourself for that.

    Nacoa has a publication you might find helpful called ‘The family illness’, I’ve attached a link below but it has a section on family roles. I wonder if you can see yourself in any of these or if it might help you to make sense of the different ways you’ve all dealt with parental alcoholism. Alcohol-the-Family-Illness.pdf (nacoa.org.uk)

    Some advice to keep in mind is to remind yourself of the reasons for your break, and to keep your well being a priority in your mind. Nacoa often talk about ‘The Six C’s’ which can be a helpful mantra.
    I didn’t cause it.
    I can’t control it.
    I can’t cure it.
    I can take care of myself.
    I can communicate my feelings.
    I can make healthy choices.

    Please also don’t underestimate the value in allowing yourself to talk. Taking a break from family members can bring up all kinds of feelings, from freedom to grief. Often conflicting too. Please do contact Nacoa if you have any questions, big or small, or simply need a space to let things out. The helpline is open 10am to 7pm Monday to Saturday or you can email if you find it easier to lay things out in writing. The phone number is 0800 358 3456 and the helpline email is helpline@nacoa.org.uk.

    Best Wishes,

  • buntyh

    Hi bbaggins,

    I’m sorry you are going through this. I don’t know if I can offer any advice, but I wanted to offer some solidarity as someone who is going through similar with their siblings. So much so that I could have written your post myself.

    It’s so hard to deal with. Stay strong.

Leave a Reply

Recent topics

  • Reflection of my youth
    You may have influenced me to believe I'm inherently wrong. There's a whole lot of shame being carried that never belonged to me. You took…
  • At my wits end
    My mum is in her early 60s and has been an alcoholic for over 20 years. She has been to rehab twice and started drinking…
  • Unsure what to do next
    Hi. Read a few messages and it is reassuring to hear people with similar feelings but it still doesn't feel good. My dad is going…
  • My dad died of alcoholism
    Hey there, My dad died mid-2023 as a result of alcohol poisoning. He was in his late 50s and had struggled with parts of himself…
  • Alcoholic dad
    I have a father who has been drinking alcohol ever since I can remeber. He is in his 50’s and it’s getting worse and worse…

Recent replies

  • nw5 when I read your post I thought I was reading my own story. Sorry you’re going through all of this. I’ve had to go…
    rla on At my wits end
  • I am in the exact same situation. Went no contact a few months ago. It’s not what I wanted but I spent 30 years trying…
    rla on Unsure what to do next
  • If you're feeling lost about how to help her, seeking guidance from professionals or looking into https://www.virtuerecoverychandler.com/addiction-treatment-programs-chandler-az/detox-program might offer some support and direction. They could…
    wisether on At my wits end
  • If you're feeling lost about how to help her, seeking guidance from professionals or looking into detox center near me might offer some support and…
    wisether on At my wits end
  • Hi, I'm glad you have found some space to speak here. How did it feel to write some of this out and share it? Those…
    listener on At my wits end

Keep in touch

To find out more about our events and activities, subscribe to our mailing list

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By subscribing, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp’s privacy practices.