Emotionally absent family

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Emotionally absent family

Post by Jade11 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:27 pm

Tomorrow is Grandparents Day at my child's school. She doesn't have any grandparents who will attend and I'm struggling with how I feel. My RAH's parents passed before our children were born. My parents are not very involved in our children's lives, they choose not to be.
As I work on understanding myself I realize I'm holding onto a lot of pain and resentment toward my family.
I'm thankful my parents are healthy, alive, enjoying retirement and their marriage. They raised us in a nice home and were involved in our school life. But my parents are emotionally unavailable. I have never heard them say "I love you." Physical touch was very rare. They used verbal put downs and scathing remarks. I didn't feel I could talk to them about how I felt about all this. They belittled feelings or ended the conversation. They used to call me Cinderella because I would cry when this happened.
These days I'm reluctant to call my mother at all. We're now able to chat and laugh about many things... but inevitably at the end of the call, she reminds me of my many failures and the things I could have done with my life but didn't. I hang up feeling utterly defeated. when I have the urge to call her I don't pick up the phone because I honestly don't want to hear the negativity.
My parents have expressed nothing but smiles and pride toward my children - no negative talk there. But when we offer or invite them to visit, they tell me they're too busy with other plans and ask us to come "next time." They live across country and it's been 5 years since we've visited. With Thanksgiving coming next week this is sort of weighing on me, too.
It was while reading program literature it occured to me that my parents were emotionally absent.
I was reminded how I feel about this when I tried to talk to my RAH about this today. I said "You know, I'm feeling a little sad." He cut me off, told me he had to rake the leaves right now, and walked out. It really hurt.

Are there ways you deal with emotionally absent ALOs or family? I know I can't make them GIVE me what I need! I don't know how to make peace with this.

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Re: Emotionally absent family

Post by SDIN2T » Mon Nov 20, 2017 8:36 pm

I remember growing up with an alcoholic father and the way he treated me, my brother and disabled sister. His behavior was emotionally and mentally brutal towards us when he had been drinking. We all lived in fear of what he'd say or do next. He didn't care about anything we did, never offered praise, never said I love you. I cringe thinking about how he treated my sister that had Cerebral Palsy. In his alcoholic mind he blamed my mom for having a disabled child. I can't even go into the metal abuse I witnessed towards her.

There is no way in hell I could ever talk to my wife, who is an alcoholic & addict about any of my feelings. She'd have the same reaction as your RAH, although it would be something different than raking leaves. I miss having the person I married to confide in. She was my best friend until addiction took over.

I wish I had a recovery program when I was young so I could deal with my father. But I have found Naranon and that helps me deal with my wife. I've made peace that she cannot be there for me emotionally. My peace comes from complete acceptance of who she is and that I can still love her, knowing I can't receive love back in the traditional sense. I have faith she still may love me, but her addiction prevents her from letting me know. I accept that I am powerless to change her in the image of what I had in the past. I accept this may be as good as it gets.

And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life - JK Rowling

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Re: Emotionally absent family

Post by vscook » Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:59 pm

I'm sorry for you and your daughter. I think many of us who grew up in dysfunctional families end up with alcoholic/addicted partners. My father was an alcoholic, and my husband was an alcoholic. My father wasn't around when I was growing up, and my husband withdrew into himself as his drinking progressed. Now my only child is addicted to drugs. It can be very lonely at times - thank goodness we have this program for support.
Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift, that's why it's called the present.

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Re: Emotionally absent family

Post by Jade11 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:16 am

Thank you for your responses. It does feel lonely. I guess I thought once my husband was in recovery we could connect emotionally. I'm trying to learn how to accept what I cannot change. Thank you for sharing your stories and the reminder.

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Re: Emotionally absent family

Post by DianeB » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:16 am

Just my experience....

I always felt that my co dependency developed from that deep need to be acknowledged
and loved by family. I knew they loved me, but there was always a layer of being
emotionally absent. I sought more.

More led me to dependent relationships.

As I grew up I realized that it was me who was picking wrong relationships. I sought to
change, finally understanding that being acknowledged and loved was an inside job.

I had to start with myself. Knowing my worth, knowing my ability to take care of myself,
knowing how to give to myself, knowing that I was enough. Loving me started a snow ball
movement where I stopped accepting less than.

I have a husband who is loving and kind. He is gracious and I know he cherishes me. Yet
he finds it very difficult to show emotion. I have learned to stop sitting back and waiting.
I ask for what I need. I need a big hug, I need you to just hear me, I need you to tell me
you love me as well as showing it. I had to allow myself to become vulnerable and face
the possibility of rejection by asking for what I need emotionally. It wasn't an overnight
success, but it has worked well all these years.

There is a saying that is very important to me.....Examine what you tolerate.

I can't tolerate less than. However, I also know that for my parents, change was not going
to happen. It was about how they were raised. It didn't stop me from saying "I love you"
to them all the time.

Keep knowing your worth. When I knew my worth, the rest became less important.

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