My mother is a daughter of two addicts, a sister to an addict and an addict herself. She was pretty much on her own as a child, not educated, married by 17 and a mother by 19. Her biggest goal in life was to be NOTHING like her mother, she was going to be the best mother. She and I were going to be best friends. My mother loved me but acted as if I was her best friend from the time I could talk. She would tell me things that I could barely comprehend most times, but I knew that it all sounded terrifying.
My mother was her own self-acclaimed victim. You did not even have to ask her why she was so self-destructive. She would drag out the stories of her terrible childhood. Now, from the stories I have heard, her mother, a mother of 4 was a selfish, abusive, neglectful addict herself. I know her childhood was not what she or her sibling deserved by any stretch. However, 2 out of the 4 siblings were productive members of society. They were starting their lives and not wallowing in their troubled childhood. They choose to be different. All of the stuff she would tell me about her childhood I would listen and take it in, but so many tendencies began to sound familiar. She was her mother.
She has every reason and excuse to do all that she does or has done. Did the sun come up today? Let’s have some drinks. Is it rainy out today? Well, we should have some drinks. I am arguing with my husband, so I am going to pop some pills and have a few drinks. My boyfriend could not score coke, but he was able to find crack. Sure, why not? My boyfriend brought home heroin and threatened to do it all himself, I was afraid he would die if he did it all, so I did it as well to save his life. She had a bad childhood; her mother was terrible and she struggled. Life is just too hard to handle sober for her. Any excuse she could find she would use, and let’s not forget, of course, she never had a problem, she was NOT an addict.
These excuses only came into play when it was needed to deflect, minimalize and control where the conversation went. How do you argue with that at 5 years old, 7 years old, 9 years old, 12 years old? Having no understanding of such a complex situation and getting such simple and basic answers only furthered that confusion. But these are the only answers I would get for the time being. I quickly saw the roles shifting and me being more of the concerned protective and responsible one as she continued down the road of self-destruction.