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Old 12-16-2018, 07:05 PM #1
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Trig Fear of opening up to others, and feelings of self-loathing

It was a relief just to learn that there were others like me, people having issues due to growing up with an alcoholic parent or parents. I don't have a lot of people to talk to about my issues, and no one that I know of who can relate completely to this. It's hard facing my issues head-on, even just to tell my story. Numbing and avoidance is much more my style, but I know it's not solving anything.

So, my story. I guess I'll start with a brief overview. I'm a male, mid 30s. My father was always an alcoholic, he died a few years ago of a heart attack. My mother died of cancer when I was 18. I tried to stay with Dad afterwards, but couldn't cope as the loss of Mom pushed him deeper into alcoholism. I went to stay with my paternal grandmother. I started working at 17, but going off on my own wasn't something I was mentally or financially prepared to do at the time. She passed away a few years before Dad did, and I'm in my own place now.

I was never abused as a child, never went cold or hungry. Though I'm sure a lot of that was due to the kindness of family and friends.

I think 2 of my biggest problems are fear of getting close to others, and self-loathing. Apart from never knowing if Dad would be the loving father or the loud, drunken lout, I also suffered a painful betrayal from a sibling-in-law who cheated on and left my older sibling. We've actually since reconciled, but that doesn't do much to ease my fear of betrayal.

Being on my own does get painfully lonely sometimes. But on the other hand, having absolute freedom and general order after decades living with the chaos of an alcoholic (either directly or hanging over my head after I left home) isn't something I can let go of easily. I've already decided that I'll never have children, as I feel that even the slightest risk of making an innocent child suffer the way I have is too much. I'm not an evil man, of course. But neither was Dad. He was hardworking, loving, caring. He helped out anyone he could if he was able. But he still scarred me emotionally for life.

On self-loathing, it runs from "if I'd tried harder, I could have got him to stop drinking," to "it's my fault he's dead, if i hadn't left him I could have saved him the night of his heart attack." Things my rational brain knows are not true, but it still occasionally gets drowned out by my inner demons.
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Old 12-17-2018, 03:17 AM #2
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Default Re: Fear of opening up to others, and feelings of self-loathing

I'm so sorry you're struggling, MrWalker It sounds like you've had a difficult past. You've been through a lot. There's no doubt that our parents can have a big impact on how we deal with the present... so it's hard when we don't receive the love we need and deserve. Do you see a therapist? Maybe like that could help you. You may learn some coping techniques to deal with your feelings of guilt and self-loathing. In the meantime, remember that I'm here for you. I'll listen to what you have to say. I care about you. I'm so sorry you have to deal with this
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Old 12-21-2018, 08:55 AM #3
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Default Re: Fear of opening up to others, and feelings of self-loathing

Wish I could afford therapy, unfortunately the only insurance I can afford has a nearly 5 digit deductible before it pays anything.

My main escape is video games. Healthier than alcohol or drugs to be sure, but I still see it as much as a way to numb the pain, as much as a fun hobby.

Just seems like life keeps piling on lately. But even when things are well I'm uneasy, waiting for the inevitable trouble to come. Probably another leftover of my childhood.
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Old 12-27-2018, 06:39 AM #4
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Default Re: Fear of opening up to others, and feelings of self-loathing

MrWalker, have you ever tried to attend a ALCOA meeting? They can be helpful in that people with stories like yours have meetings and it's about dealing with the certain loss when growing up with a parent or parents who were alcoholics.

Growing up with a parent who is an alcoholic is confusing for any child. Children do not know what alcoholism is but they certainly feel the affects the alcohol has on the parent in that the parent is so unpredictable and children see the parent get very drunk and even pass out. Children who are raised by alcoholics are being taught unknowingly to be codependents. Also, while you know it's not your fault that your father died, it's pretty normal to wish you could have been there to save him.
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Old 12-27-2018, 07:18 AM #5
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Default Re: Fear of opening up to others, and feelings of self-loathing

I'm so sorry, MrWalker Please remember that it's not your fault. Don't be so hard on yourself. Please don't give up. Things can get better. Feel free to PM me anytime. Sending many hugs to you
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Old 12-30-2018, 11:25 AM #6
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Default Re: Fear of opening up to others, and feelings of self-loathing

I've looked a little bit, but can't find any meetings anywhere locally so far. I'll keep looking and maybe check into therapy. I've spoken to therapists/counselors a few times before (when Dad was still alive) but didn't find it very helpful. I'm on Lexapro which works pretty well. But I can feel myself going downhill since he died. And I just can't shake the feeling that the way I feel now is just how it's got to be, that there's no "fixing" me.
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Old 12-31-2018, 03:26 AM #7
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Default Re: Fear of opening up to others, and feelings of self-loathing

Hi Mr Walker.
There is an online group called SMART Recovery. They have online meetings which I often attend. They have meetings for addicts as well as friends & families of addicts. You can Google it. You attend the meetings on your computer from the comfort of your own home. They talk about many different tools for addicts & friends & family to cope with life. I suggest that you check it out. Hope this helps.
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Old 01-02-2019, 08:45 PM #8
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Default Re: Fear of opening up to others, and feelings of self-loathing

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On self-loathing, it runs from "if I'd tried harder, I could have got him to stop drinking," to "it's my fault he's dead, if i hadn't left him I could have saved him the night of his heart attack." Things my rational brain knows are not true, but it still occasionally gets drowned out by my inner demons.
It's true that your logical/rational brain knows what happened to your father was not your fault. Your hurt part that most definitely goes way back for you doesn't deserve to be "self loathed". Shame and guilt are part of human grief ((Mr. Walker)) you are an emotional being and human beings feel shame and grief because human beings WANT to find a way to help/fix/and contribute to our survival. However, Mr. Walker, you need to also learn to accept the fact also emotionally that there was really nothing you could do and even if you were with him when he had a heart attack there most likely would have been nothing you could have done to save him as often even when people try to help nothing works, it's a fact. Often by the time someone who was an alcoholic for many years experiences a heart attack often that is because other organs are failing like the liver etc. which is often what is badly affected by the disease of alcoholism.

It's time to accept that there really was nothing you could do. Also, things got to a point where you needed to leave and get away from the abuse you experienced. Yes, a lot of alcoholics can nice and functional at times but also toxic and abusive and have this Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde in them. It's a very selfish and self absorbed disease.
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Old 01-28-2019, 03:16 PM #9
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Default Re: Fear of opening up to others, and feelings of self-loathing

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Originally Posted by MrWalker View Post

I think 2 of my biggest problems are fear of getting close to others, and self-loathing. .
My parents were bad alcoholics and I have had those two. I think I'm over the self loathing. I guess I just don't care anymore what other people think of me - or even what I think of me. Who am I to judge myself? I pretty much gave up on getting close to anyone too. Most people are really messed up anyway.
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Old 01-28-2019, 05:08 PM #10
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Default Re: Fear of opening up to others, and feelings of self-loathing

Yes Acerimmer most people are really messed up. Dr Wayne Dyer in Your Erroneous Zones book says "the only evidence of life is growth" & few people actually work on personal growth. Most people just go through life complaining about the hard times, without doing anything about it. I am glad that I'm one of the few people who looks at my life & tries to improve on it. So few people actually do that.
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