Driving Dad to Drink

Posted: November 29, 2011 in Uncategorized
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I knew it would happen.  My dad has been an abuser of alcohol for as long as I can remember.  Additionally, my parents have never reacted well when I have shared things with them that they don’t like.  So I have been dreading telling my parents the truth of what has been going on.  Of anyone, they were my biggest fear in this whole process of coming out. They are very reactionary people and I didn’t want to deal with a major reaction to my truth.

So last week, I decided that I would send them an email, tell them what is going on, and request that we not speak for a couple of days.  This, I figured, would provide a little boundary before dealing with them face to face.  I sent the email a week ago Monday and got back an email from them expressing their shock but also their support.  I figured that a miracle happened and they were going to handle it well…

That is, until 10:00pm that night.  My phone kept ringing over and over and it was my parents’ number that came up on the screen.  So much for respecting my boundary!  I answered the phone and my mom was frantic on the other end of the line.  She stated that I had really upset my dad with my email and he had spent the evening drinking himself into a stupor.  He had fallen on the floor drunk and she couldn’t get him up to go to bed.  Oy veh!

I told my mom that I wouldn’t come over unless it was an emergency…I didn’t want things to turn into a big bruhaha.  So I told her just to leave him there and go to bed.  Who knows what happened…I didn’t hear from either of them the next day.

Seriously, though…this whole situation was so ridiculous!  I now refer to this incident as my dad’s “narcissistic temper-tantrum”.  The good thing about it is that I didn’t respond and I kept my boundary.  I wasn’t going to allow his tantrum to get to me and I surely wasn’t going to take this on as my fault (something I would have done in the past).  My parents were going to have to work through their own emotional responses to all of this without it impacting me.  I wasn’t going to talk to them until they got through their “reactionary phase” because I only wanted to deal with them by having a calm, adult conversation.

Two days later…the day before Thanksgiving…we were able to have that sort of conversation.  Stay tuned for a post about my  face-to-face “coming out” meeting with my parents.

  1. Dan Sloan says:

    I remember when I came out to my parents they took it well, but were a bit freaked out. My mother had a very difficult time with it, and my dad and I still pretend we never had the conversation. So that part of it doesn’t surprise me. I just feel bad that your mother told you that your honesty drove your dad to drink! Oy.

    They were raised in another era where homosexuality was both a mental illness and something to fear/condemn in others. They will come around.

    I am glad that there seems to be some movement in a positive direction with your job, etc. Prayers continue as you move ahead.

  2. Buddy Bear says:

    I loved the picture of the little dog in your post! My parents were in their late 70s when I came out to them nearly a year ago. They were completely supportive of me and our relationship is stronger than ever.

    Clearly, your father has his own problems. It’s ridiculous for you to be expected to “take the blame” for his problems, whatever they are. I hope the face-to-face coming out goes well for you! Keep in mind that if they can’t handle it; it’s their problem, not yours. They are adults, after all.

  3. Ron says:

    My one course in pastoral counseling said that people always do things because they are trying to make someone else do something. I have found that idea to be a gem over the years. By that analysis, your father is trying to make you or your mother do something. Does he fear that you won’t support him as much if you find a partner? Does he fear that your mother will give you more sympathy and he wants it all?

    The course said that being a non anxious presence is the best way to respond. Which seems to be what you are doing. Hope this post helps a little.

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