Objectifying the Insanity #alcoholism #mentalhealth #familysystems

October 1, 2014 § Leave a comment

Topics for future discussion:

1. What to do when my relationship with my step-mother has been poisoned by my father – he has told her things about me that has led her to decide to screen his calls so I can’t talk to him;

2. It has been nine months of estrangement and I have reconnected with my father – let the ruminations begin!

3. I have reconnected with my grandson after 4 years of estrangement due to my daughter breaking contact – he smokes pot to self-medicate for anxiety and our home is drug and alcohol free;

4. Brother1 was putting pressure on me to get back in touch with my father because he found it painful that I had broken contact – when I finally got back in touch and Wife3 (current stepmother) accused me of getting in touch because I was after Dad’s money Brother1 blamed me for her behaviour because my timing for re-connecting was bad;

5. I have decided I will no longer attend family events without my husband – my husband will not attend family events because he has found them too unpleasant to remember;

6. I have decided not to attend any family events where alcohol is being served – there is a correlation between unpleasant memories of previous family events and alcohol;

7. I got back in touch with Dad because his health and financial condition have deteriorated to the point that he is forced to sell the family vacation property to finance his out of control lifestyle – his sisters co-own the property with him and agreed to sell and then the next day said they didn’t need to sell and made way for nephews and nieces to mount a campaign to buy Dad’s share of the property – against Dad wishes that the property must be sold to someone outside the family;

8. Writing about social ecologies of learning in education, but now I am applying the theoretical framework to family systems and gaining new insight into the long term effect of low-grade patterns of emotional deprival and mental abuse;

9. The dissertation is progressing but everyday I write we go deeper into debt – can I get a full draft out before we are in danger of not meeting our monthly obligations?

10. I have two brothers who do not talk to me at all – I just have to let them go – one is an alcoholic and the other smokes pot everyday;

11. I love my sister but I hate her drinking and she doesn’t realize it but her perfume is so strong I have to bath after being around her – do I say anything?

These are the topics on my mind at any given moment when I am not consumed with writing my dissertation, training an incorrigible aggressive dog, planning house repairs, and working as a carpenter.

I need to remember how good it feels to externalize the crazy by writing it up in blog posts. I am excited with the direction my research is taking me into mental health and family systems as learning ecologies. I have hope for new relationship dynamics in the future.

12. Talking to Brother1 about the role alcoholism is playing in family relationship dynamics and he argues with me that he doesn’t believe our family suffers from alcoholism because he sees family members using drugs and alcohol to self-medicate for depression and anxiety – discuss;

13. Ruminations about my relationship with my father – whenever my mind is not occupied with immediate concerns it lapses into rumination about what I will say to my father the next time I talk to him – a lifetime of deprivation, shame, fear, anger, abandonment and betrayal – and I want to sum it all up in one or two sentences of brilliant eloquence;

14. What it feels like to have people in my life who truly have my back – my friends, my husband, my new academic supervisor – there is nothing in the world like this feeling – having it helps me identify how it was missing my entire life;

15. When I tried to re-connect with my Dad by calling to wish him Happy Birthday his third wife, I call her Wife3 picks up the phone. I say, “Is Dad there?” She says, “Who is calling?” I say, “Daughter2.” She says, “I’m screening his calls.” I say, “Why?” She says, “So you can’t talk to him.” After a number of inappropriate comments disparaging my behaviour as a daughter for setting the boundary to get a timeout from my relationship with my father, the last thing she said to me was, “What are you calling for? Are you trying to get money out of him?” And I hung up.

16. I know Wife3’s behaviour was fuelled by alcohol – how dare I call after 7 pm and not expect them to be loaded, but it also revealed how terrified she is about her own life – that she should have to use me as a whipping post to vent her anger and anxiety. I feel bad for her – I don’t doubt that my father’s habits of selfish cowardly acts of self-interest put her in a very precarious position;

17. Brother1 exorts me to ‘suck it up’ and participate in a family system that I have described as deeply damaging to my emotional and mental well-being because that is what it means to belong to a family – I forget that he married into a family that has provided his job, his housing, his entire wealthy lifestyle – his wife is not allowed to stand up to her father’s treatment of her because they are completely dependent on the family system for their material well-being – that has to feel pretty precarious – no wonder he doesn’t want to see me standing up for myself – but I don’t have the same financial ties to my family – so we really come from different places – he does not see any choice but to suck it up – I can’t bear the thought of sucking it up;

This list serves two purposes: 1 )  it provides an inventory of all the experiences, thoughts and feelings that are sloshing around in my consciousness and pulls them into focus and ‘puts the thoughts away’ for the time being and 2) it provides a list for future blog posts to write out and analyze these items in depth to help me re-contextualize my experience so I am not burdened unduly by other people’s mental ill-health.


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