Wedding Woes

All the mama drama today

Dear Prudence,

Most people have the wrong idea about my mother. She’s always been the sweet “poster mom” who is also verbally abusive, especially when she’s drinking. She and my father had a pretty distant relationship, and she left us in the worst possible way when I was 12: telling us kids it was our fault for not helping with chores. After that I raised myself and my brother with little help. She rarely had us over, never paid child support, and avoided my brother as he got older because he “wasn’t any fun” (he’s autistic). We have an OK relationship today—that I can only stand because she lives far away. My aunt called me crying a while ago, saying my mother was in the hospital from alcohol withdrawal, because she is an alcoholic. My extended family expected me to be shocked (I wasn’t) and keep telling me that I should try to get her to stop drinking so that she won’t drink herself to death. How much responsibility do I really have here? I’m tempted to wash my hands of it, but I’m starting to suspect she’s getting alcohol-related dementia, which worries me.

—My Mother’s Keeper

Re: All the mama drama today

  • None. You have no responsibility for someone else’s sobriety. 
  • The LW only has as much responsibility as they want to take.  Quite frankly, unless the mother wants to get treatment, there isn't anything the LW could do anyway.  Especially considering they neither live near nor are they close to their mother.

    Trying to convince someone they are an alcoholic and need to seek help is impossible enough, even for people who have a close relationship to that person.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • You aren't your mother's keeper.

    If you are really invested in this then you can see if your mother will allow you to talk to her physician and see what her current diagnosis is of both her physical and mental state. 

    But being that she's a grown adult aside from locking the doors from the inside there isn't much you can do to get her to stop a toxic behavior.  

    You need to make a choice to see how invested you are into her care and also to figure out what statements you decide to make to the meddling family members who seem to think that the issues of their own immediate family are the responsibility of her children and not hers or theirs.
  • This reminds of watching Intervention and the one guy who always talked about addiction being a disease that makes the whole family 'sick' even though only one person if the addict.   I fully encourage LW to not respond and/or block family that will not honor their boundaries when it comes to their mom.   They can be worried about their mom, but do it from afar if it will negatively impact them and their life. 

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