Patricia Redlich

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Alcoholic Parents

22nd November, 2009


I am a 22 year old student who has had abuse intertwined in my life. My mother physically abused me and my father sexually abused me. They were both alcoholics and are now recovering alcoholics. Do you think there is hope for me?

I am terribly sorry that your parents failed you so badly. And yes, there is hope, not just that you'll survive, but that you will walk away from the emotional wreckage of your family life as a stable and complete human being. That won't, however, happen automatically. Think about it. If it were a serious car wreck you had been hurt in, you'd need lots of professional medical care, and you wouldn't think twice about that. Or think of the counselling services which are set up for pupils after one of their school-mates dies tragically. You've survived much worse. You don't just deserve some back-up. You need it.

In a situation like yours, there's the actual abuse itself, which is obviously wrong. And then there's the psychological damage, which may be harder to see. Just to give you a snap-shot: You may feel guilty, or responsible, thinking that you should perhaps somehow have rescued the family situation - although of course none of that is true. The guilt and responsibility lie solely with your parents. You may have very low self-esteem and feel that you are somehow unworthy, or unlovable, because your parents failed to treat you with respect and love and care. Huge anger may lie buried deep. That anger is justified. But if you leave it unattended, it can eat away at you. Psychological pain can take many paths.

Life regularly demands that we tackle problems with courage and intelligence. Sadly that's something you've had to face under very brutal circumstances. I just want you to remember that you are not alone. Yours is not a once-off case. Many parents fail their kids. Young people everywhere are picking up the pieces. Counselling services have heard it all before, and understand. Yours are not shameful secrets. Please get the help you need.
Irish based professional therapist and journalist. Website By : Deise Design