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Am I okay to be dealing with this how I am?

Community Member

Hi there,
I need some advice on the best thing to do. I have a mum that has alcohol issues from time to time, often resulting in lots of anger and conflict in my direct family. It mainly occurs when her anxiety or some emotional effects her.

My brother and I have similar feelings about it, but my dad on the other hand does not. He often gets aggressive about the situation and ends up with mum more upset and distraught then she was to begin with.

Two nights ago I witnessed this and it was not a pleasant thing to experience. I’m left feeling upset by it still, as I was then targeted for no apparent reason by my dad with words that still hurt me.

I do not know the best course of action. I try my best to support mum, but at the same time feel as though I’m still in a tough spot. I don’t talk with my dad much. Only when I have to.

Im in my 20’s and live at home still. I’ve been going to work and checking in on mum. I can’t help but feel bad for doing so. Am I wrong to do what I want? Am I not dealing with any of this conflict and just burying it away?

I need some words from anyone about how I’m feeling and what I should be doing.

9 Replies 9

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Dear Ladyflower,

Well done on reaching out on what can be a difficult topic; the harmful effects that someone's drinking can have on others.

I don't know if you have ever heard of it, but there is a fellowship called Al-anon, which is for the friends and family of those affected by someone's drinking. Perhaps you would like to know more?

Basically Al-Anon is a bunch of people who, just like you, meet regularly to support, encourage and inform one another on coping with the problematic drinking, and subsequent behaviors of a loved one. There is no requirements of any kind to attend an open meeting, no dues or fees, no need to book in - you can just turn up to any meeting you chose.

For more information, visit www.al-anon.org.au or call 1300 252 666 if you would like to talk to someone who will understand and who will not judge.

Your feelings are neither 'right' nor 'wrong' they just are. It's hard for anyone to know how to help sometimes, least of all those who do not want to be helped, or cannot even see that there is a problem. Like you said, you "try [your] best to support mum". The fact that you are here reaching out, is a demonstration that you are doing just that. Just don't forget that it's okay to support yourself as well.

Anyway, I hope that helps a little?

Take care. I'll be thinking of you. xo

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello LadyFlower, thanks for posting your comment and Soberlicious96 has offered you some great advice and know people who have taken advantage of this service.

You could also contact Kids Helpline 25 years down to 5 years old and are trained counsellors on 18000 55 1800 who you can talk to or visit the site to web-chat.

It's difficult to believe this can be put at ease until it can be discussed with the appropriate avenues, so you can't just bury it away.

There will be times when something does happen and you need to know what should happen under the circumstances.

One concern is being able to get your mum into counselling but she can do this by her doctor offering a 'mental health plan', this entitles her to 10 Medicare paid sessions with a psych per year,

The same can apply with you, as you too are allowed these 10 sessions.

Hope you can get back to us, to continue.


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Dear LadyFlower

Welcome to the forums, I hope you feel supported here as you support your mum.

No you're not "burying it", you are dealing with this situation by seeking support here.

This may sound harsh but it's up to your mum to help herself. She's in a cruel situation and you're showing your support for her by checking in on her. This is a very loving act. The alcohol she's consuming would not be helping the situation but also your dad's flare ups that would be exacerbating & escalating things.

I urge you to seek MH support for yourself because you are witnessing family violence. You feel the huge impact and the need to reach out and I congratulate you on doing this. What you are witnessing is extremely damaging to you and all involved.

"Oxygen mask on self first" this is what they say to parents on airplanes... you need to put the oxygen mask on YOURSELF first in efforts to help any others around you.
This also related to family conflict.

You gaining a clearer picture of things and getting stronger through MH support can help YOU & in turn your capacity to help others - and continue with your life and goals.
Sometimes our enmeshment in our family clouds things very heavily in our minds, we can feel hurt and confused and even begin blaming ourselves for the actions of others.

None of this is any of your fault. I really want you to hear this. You are not to blame.
There are TWO adults there making daily choices, it's time you did some damage control for yourself, oxygen mask on self first then taking a life raft with a qualifies Counsellor / Psychologist and got some solid grounding for yourself. You modelling getting help for yourself over this situation will only serve to HELP your mum too.

You are doing the RIGHT thing still going to work!

Welcome again

Hi everyone,

I wanted to say thank you all so much for replying to me and offering me so great advice. I do know that I need to support myself in all of this especially.

I just get anxious a lot of the time if I am handling this well or not. My mind feels like a frazzled puzzle. At the end of the day, I know that they are two grown adults and there is nothing I can do to control their decisions.

Ultimately I want what is best for myself to ensure that I can live the best life despite everything. I’m also studying social work and to be able to help people like how others helping me, is one of the reasons why I’m doing so.

To me I’ve always been this emphatic and caring person. It’s something all of my friends and loved ones say. I just don’t want any of of what I’ve been impacted by to change this.

I also worry what friends will say about how I’m handling this. Because one day I can be a mess, the next I can be talking almost like my normal self. They say I’m brave and love my positive outlook always. I just hope that’s not hurting me more then it actually is.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Dear LadyFlower

What you say makes SO MUCH sense. Congratulations on choosing such a noble career path - hopefully during your course & through the forums you will realise that self-care is of optimum importance to your overall wellbeing. Especially for "the long haul" of your career.

With your family challenges - even the most qualified MH professionals will not rely on themselves to be able to "fix" the situation. They are in the forest themselves with their emotional & familial ties. In your family you are a daughter, a sibling, a cousin & niece perhaps. Not a "Social Worker". Even though your training &, in time, your experience in your career may help your personal development, it's not fair for others to see you as the "fix it" person.

Everyone in your personal life wants LadyFlower lol. YOU. Your authentic self. Not for us to hide behind a career label.

I think you will value the work of Brene Brown who is FREAKING amazing lol. You may have heard of her? Her Netflix special "The Call to Courage" is invaluable. Her online chats on YouTube incredibly helpful also. Even after 20y as a Social Worker Researcher, she revealed that she had a "breakdown" with all the information she was finding out. At times she calls it a "spiritual awakening" lol. She saw a Psychologist who helps psychologists with a spread sheet of ALL the things she wanted "fixed" & thought she'd be finished in a year or so. She stayed in therapy for 8 years.

I am so grateful to her for showing the world her "human - ness". Her vulnerability, shame, courage.

As you are doing here. So thankyou too.

Please have a peek, I think you'll find her work immensely helpful. Especially one sentence she says now when in a potentially confrontational conflict situation with her loved ones.... instead of placing blame she says "The story I'm telling myself right now ...(then says how she feels)".

Your confusion is completely normal. You are witnessing family violence closely linked with domestic violence.
In fact I'm glad you say you're confused because that's your instincts telling you "something's not right here"... if you were ah whatevs then you'd be ACCEPTING this behaviour as normal. And you don't which is great.

Family violence is common but it's not "normal". All families have their own dysfunctions so there is no shame whatsoever in sharing this. You'll find in your work & here that it's very much a "shared human experience". But there's power in knowing this.

Love EM

Hi Ecomama,

thank you again for your wonderful words. When I decided to take upon my studies of social work. I endeavoured to make sure that I do not blur the lines between my studies and my own life. Because I knew then I would be trying to put a social work spin on it and attempt to fix.

This is not the case at all.

I instead want to incorporate some of the things I’ve been through and rather then bring me down. Help me in helping others, while also learning how to help myself in some aspects.

I know that self care is an absolute in all of this. It’s important to me. She sounds fantastic and I will look up some of her things for sure.

Thank you for your support in me sharing my thoughts and reassuring that what I’m feeling is okay. Just from these few couple of posts. I know that it’s all okay and valued what I’m feeling. So thank you for helping me reach this.

While what I’m going through is not the best and I know it’s not okay. I’m willing to stand by and support the best way I can. But most importantly look after me.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi LadyFlower

I'm glad you feel validated and ofcourse your feelings about all of this are totally understandable for those who've "been there". We get it.

I've been working in my profession for over 40y in one form or another and I know that the Courses I've attended along with my degrees, then developing that knowledge into skills - I can't help but be changed by it all.

In my personal life when others around me share issues relating to my work, I can't help but underlay and overlay my knowledge. In fact others usually share their issues within my field to HAVE my response & hear my feedback. I've become more tactful about WHEN I speak of what I know to others. Basically they have to ASK for my opinion lol! Also not to overload them with information lol. One step at a time but with an end goal in view.

It was really difficult for me to "do self-care" until another BB forum member shared the work of Kristen Neff with me. Her work is on self-compassion. To me it feels like self-compassion is the prerequisite for self-care.

Without trying to overload you lol, Kristen Neff has amazing online talks.

You may want to watch Brene Brown's Netflix special with your mum. I've watched it about 20 times lol.

All in your own good time.


Hi all,

so it’s been a week since the initial incident. My mum has been doing much better, she has been seeking support in order to help herself.

I’ve been feeling anxious on and off between with covid stresses, work stresses and not wishing to see my dad. Due to his part in the conflict.

I’ve been taking time to do things for me. Doing a little puzzle, playing videos games and just allowing myself to express how I feel. While I’ve been uplifting and positive for myself. I can’t help but feel overwhelmed and stressed out still.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi LadyFlower

It's a difficult time any time to be going through family conflict and especially with one aggressive parent and another with alcohol abuse.

In reality the relationship between your mother and father are not really your business but I DO understand how it would be negatively affecting you and your frustrations when it escalates and you also being brought into the mix.

You may want to read up a bit on "enmeshment". This may help you alot.

Have you considered going to Al Anon meetings?
The core work of Anonymous 12 Step Programs I find very enlightening.
But I also found when married to an alcoholic that it kind of encouraged far too much empathy for the alcoholic and a bit of a "shrug the shoulders" / accept it view on things.
I left anyway after too much crap.

Have you sought a Counsellor or Psychologist for YOU?
The only thing YOU can control is you. The only person you can TRULY help is you too.

Even having YOU stronger and setting up psychological boundaries will be good for the family.

They need one person with their head screwed on and you have to work for this at times especially during and after "events".

It's difficult when we can see what's going on and can't do anything about the dysfunctional dynamic.