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Question
Posted by: SJ | 2010/07/26

Adult daughter of an alcoholic experiencing ''after affects''

Hi, I am a 30 yr old woman and experiencing extreme moodiness and insecurity for the past 8 months or so. I started dating an amazing man about a year and half and have never been happier in my life. He treats me with such respect and consideration, something I had never experienced before. The problem is that since about 8 months ago, I seem to have started becoming very sensitive to things he says, he can say something completely harmless and I will take it so personally and start an argument, get emotional and just feel angry inside. There also seems to be a problem of insecurities coming through, which I believe is due to trauma experienced after going through 7 tough years of dealing with my Mother''s drinking problems. Four years ago my mother passed away after 7 hard years of her abusing alcohol to the extreme.

At the time we were going through all of this with her, I was living overseas, but I had daily contact with her on the telephone. The contact was not necessarily pleasant, she would verbally abuse me, say terrible things about the rest of the family and herself and threaten to kill herself. My Parents eventually divorced because of this and she passed on one month later. We did everything we possibly could to try and rehabilitate her, and I travelled back many times to try and help - she just did not want to live.

What we went through was extremely disturbing, although at the time I thought I handled it pretty well considering. Since then I have not had too many ''side affects''. Until recently. It feels as though since I made a conscious commitment that this man I have met is ''the one'' and I intend on spending the rest of my life with him, that suddenly all these insecurities have emerged. It mostly comes with alcohol, if he is to go to a lunch or out without me and alcohol is involved - I have a panic attack. I become shaky, I start to sob, I feel absolute dread and my head spins. This is all despite knowing in my head that he is not going to go and get drunk. We have discussed it many times and come to an agreement that he will only have a certain amount of beer - because another thing that sets me off is seeing him afterwards and his personality being different (more bubbly and goofy) because of having a few beers. I am fine however if we drink alcohol together, probably because we are both on the same level. Despite our agreement, I do not believe that this is fair to him and I hate going through this everytime one of these occasions comes about. The anxiety is debilitating and I am unable to concentrate or work after this. It is so unfair on him, although he is amazing about it.

I cant understand why I havent experienced this before, and put it down to the commitment I have made to this man and how important he is - along with what I went through with my mother. It is not a conscious decision, it is out of my control and it gets me down so much.

I''ve started feeling upset/irritated if I cant be in control of a situation - and this has never been me before. I have also become relatively negative, no doubt because of the way everything else going on makes me feel.

I love this man with all my heart, he is so good to me and I want to spend the rest of my life with him but I feel like this is making it so hard for our relationship to grow and blossom.

I have been told by a few professionals that issue I have with being insecure about him drinking without me may never go because of the association with losing someone else so important to me.

Can you offer any advice please, I dont know what to do or where to turn.

Thanking you in advance!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Of course it is Possible that your current troubles are in part related to the troubles you experienced with your mother and her alcoholism, but this seems unlikely to be a useful or complete explanation, and should be viewed more broadly. The problems you describe, though, akin to a form of panic when the guy you like is to be drinking alcohol, even though he apparently has no drinking problem, is surely related to a form of over-generalisation from your experiences with your mother.

CBT ( Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy ) is probably the most useful form of treatment to help you re-evaluate this set of fruitless automatic assumptions and responses to such situations, and to revise your habitual manner of responding to more useful ways.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: SJ | 2010/07/26

Thank you for your responses, I have tried AA (Al-Anon) and didnt find it up my alley so to speak, nothing wrong with it - just wasnt for me.

My brother does neuropsychology and has done an assessment on my brain, anxiety was picked up in a large way so I realise that it is there, I am just desperate to find someone who can assist.

If you have any contact numbers or websites I can look at that would be very helpful thank you.

SJ

Reply to SJ
Posted by: LL | 2010/07/26

There are support groups in AA called Adult Children of Alcoholic Parents. These are great cause you get an understanding and support from others who have been through similar situations and they teach you how to deal with them.

Reply to LL
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/07/26

Of course it is Possible that your current troubles are in part related to the troubles you experienced with your mother and her alcoholism, but this seems unlikely to be a useful or complete explanation, and should be viewed more broadly. The problems you describe, though, akin to a form of panic when the guy you like is to be drinking alcohol, even though he apparently has no drinking problem, is surely related to a form of over-generalisation from your experiences with your mother.

CBT ( Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy ) is probably the most useful form of treatment to help you re-evaluate this set of fruitless automatic assumptions and responses to such situations, and to revise your habitual manner of responding to more useful ways.

Reply to cybershrink

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