Tonight we have an anonymous piece that bravely describes the lasting impact of having an alcoholic parent, while exploring the conflicting emotions of the death of that parent. If you feel you have been impacted in any way as the child of a parent that drinks too much, then Nacoa is there to offer you support. If you would like to share as a COA then please get in touch.
It’s been nearly six years since mum died, she drank herself to death.
Growing up I often hoped for the day it would all end, the day that she would stop hurting us, the day you would finally be free and feel “normal”. In the past six years I have come to realise that the traumatic memories have an everlasting haunting effect.
After she died I tried to get on as normal, she moved out years before she died and we have very little contact. I felt like a fraud when people said they were sorry to hear about my loss. My loss? All I could think is how could I have lost something I never really had? I never really had a mum, not that I can remember, any memory looking back is tainted, she was drunk, aggressive or causing chaos, that isn’t what a mum is supposed to be! Yet I did feel a loss, a felt angry and grieved for all the ‘what could have beens’ and ‘should have beens’.
The year she died I got married, I hated to admit it to myself but I was relieved, it actually solved the problem, I was terrified to invite and terrified not to incase she turned up. Though on the day and afterwards looking back at photographs I felt sad, jealous, I should have had a mum to help me organise, to be there and get excited with me. No one would have known how I felt, over the years I became an expert at putting on a show. If you have it all together and a smile on your face nobody ever questions anything, perfection was a mask, that even to this day I find myself using.
Two years after she died I had my first child, never did I expect the happiest day of my life to trigger so many emotions. Again I felt jealous and angry, why didn’t I have a mum there to help me? Someone to tell me what was normal and what wasn’t? I remember after she moved out she would ring and say one day you will understand how important a mum is…. after having my own children this played over and over in my mind. How could she as a mum have picked drinking over her children? Why were we never enough?
Even still, all these years later, unbeknown to my friends and family, I often find myself going back into survival mode. It is often the smallest thing that triggers these feelings. I’m terrified of rejection, have a constant need to please people, avoid conflict and live in a constant state of alert, always ready encase something bad happen.
My past has shaped me and made me who I am today. For all the negative feelings and traits it has given me it has made me compassionate, practical and resourceful. I appreciate what is important in life and hope as time continues to pass, the negative feelings will happen less and less.