My Parents Don’t Understand My Struggle With Addictions

If you’re at the place where your ready to admit you have a problem, think carefully before you go to a parent who has a history of self-centered, invalidating behavior.  Your parents may or may not be able to help.  Some will actually make things worse. 

If your parent has typically judged you before you can explain, told you it really didn’t hurt, and then expected you to understand their pain,  they will actively sabotage your recovery process.  These people are all about themselves and their own view of the world.  Kinda like a cat.  Dogs have owners, cats have staff.  Cat-like people are incredibly frustrating because it seems like they get it, and then they turn around and do the exact opposite.

A parent like this will refuse to acknowledge your addiction even while they tell you to shape up.

You don’t have an addiction!  Or a disease! You just need to get some discipline, act like everyone else, straighten up, blah-blah-blah, blah-blah, blah.  If your parent is denying their own issue, their denial of your problem will be aggressive.  They may swerve back and forth between telling you you’re too good to have a problem and you’re a horrible child who must have learned this from someone else.  Your parent is will probably try to deny your reality and invalidate your emotions.

This is the dad who drinks too much every night and then tells you he doesn’t have a problem.  You tell him about your problem and he offers you a drink.

They don’t mean to harm you.

I know that sounds impossible, but cats don’t see harm if it isn’t to their own furry hides.  Your parent sees you as a copy of themselves.  If they think “I’m OK!”,  well then you must be too.

Do not attempt to save your parent as you deal with your own addiction.  Both of you drowning is not a better option than you swimming to safety.  Attempting to convince a parent that; you have an addiction, they have an addiction, a lifetime of their attempts to parent may have helped you get the addiction, none of these will be successfull.  You need all your energy to fight this battle.  If you do not succeed, you will remain addicted and at the mercy of your substance of choice.  Pick the right battle.

Save yourself and it will change the interactions with this parent.  You may even get their attention enough to talk seriously about the issue.  Just don’t count on it.

Spend your time and emotional energy on relationships that will help you.  Friends who are able to listen without becoming defensive when you’re angry .  Ministers and Pastors who will calmly answer angry questions about God.  Therapists and Sponsors who ask you questions instead of always telling you what to do. 

 You need people who will respect the fight you’re taking on and support you in it.  You deserve those people.  Give yourself permission to let go of the people who drain you and find the ones that will fill you up.

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