Thursday, October 1, 2015

Do our parental duties ever end? I say no, especially when abuse is concerned

My latest via Divorced Moms. This is a topic I think about often. Not to be a helicopter parent forever, but there are times when it is appropriate that we intervene in our children's lives, I don't care how old they are. My personal story of life with alcoholism continues.

Moms: If Your Adult Child Is A Screw-up, Do You Intervene?
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October 01, 2015
BY LIZZY SMITH for Divorced Moms
635390843440183403Fotolia_59998455_XS.jpgRecently I wrote an article about when we, as moms, ought to warn our adult child’s new love interest about potential warning flags that come from our own beloved children. When I asked my readers what they thought, the overwhelming response was that warning the new love was appropriate, especially if our adult child had an addiction, was prone to violence, had a mental illness, or other severe mental disorders or troubles. And if the new love had minor children, our duty to warn was even greater.
Which leads me to today’s question… When do we owe it to our adult child to try and step into their life to intervene? For example, is it our duty to, say, stage an intervention, cut them out of an inheritance, or perhaps withdraw emotional and financial support if he or she fails to try and get professional help? Or should we moms simply ignore their behavior, act as if all is well, and smile a lot? Hey, they’re an adult, our job is done (hooray!) and let them be everyone else’s problem.
When I was still married to Rob the Great (Alcoholic), I attended every survivor’s therapy support group I could find, included Alanon and one offered by Kaiser Permanente. One evening, I was sitting in a group and we took turns sharing our individual stories of life with an addict. I listened with horror as parents, partners, children and spouses talked about their personal hell. It included their addict stealing money, claiming they had money they never had, passing out drunk in the front yard, failing to show up for work, fits of rage, breaking items in the home, lies, infidelity, police, physical violence and emotional abuse. I almost fell out of my chair a few times, the stories were so awful and extreme. And then some hit so close to home, I could swear they were talking about me.
Like this…
“No one believes me when I tell them my husband is an alcoholic. He is so nice to everyone,” said one woman.
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