Did your sober parent affect you more than the alcoholic?

child of an alcoholic_ jo huey

I was pondering the other day, I wonder, did your sober parent affect you more than the alcoholic. I’m sure mine did and here’s why.

Most of my childhood was a mess in terms of having a healthy home life, so many confusing messages, lies, secrets and lots of negative comments or insinuations. 

I realised lot of the issues I experience as an adult, are hugely influenced by my sober parent. Most of the time my alcoholic father was doing his own thing. He was often in his car drinking or out drinking, he didn’t spend a lot of time with us. 

Not long ago I started looking at the areas I’ve struggled with over the years. Some of which are still an issue now, but to a lesser degree. 

What exactly did the sober parent do to affect me?

If like me you had a sober parent, rather than two alcoholic parents then you’ll probably relate to this. I’m going to list the obvious areas that have been affected by my sober parent, let me know if you experienced it too!

  • Putting certain people on a pedestal and having me believe they’re better than us
  • Being shown that we have to put others needs first, we come second
  • Believing that it’s important to care what others think of what I do, say and feel
  • Learning not to rely on my sober parent because she wasn’t going to keep me safe
  • Feeling disconnected as my sober parent didn’t get me

How can the actions of the sober parent affect you now?

Obviously there are side effects to living in a home of alcoholism, that sounds like I’m trivialising it but there are no words in the dictionary that really do it justice. Anyway, how did the actions of the sober parent impact your life as an adult. Here are the things I noticed, which is the direct impact of the above.

  • I gave power to others which made me feel I didn’t have any
  • Not feeling like I was important, worthy and deserved to be my own priority – that’s selfish
  • Constantly feeling like I have to get others approval, check my work with them, get their opinions etc. Compromising my own needs to help and support others
  • Living on eggshells and being consumed what others thought of me, that I was a bad person and not good enough
  • Struggling to feel safe in the world
  • Experiencing a lot of loneliness, not feeling connected and understood

So you can see how it’s not just the actions and words of the person misusing alcohol, but the sober parent too.  So did your sober parent affect you more than the alcoholic?

I’m not saying every sober parent is like this or that everyone will have experienced this. I’m just reflecting on my own life and what I noticed. Some sober parents aren’t co-dependent and are very good at keeping their children safe.  They’re able to create a healthy environment (or at least as healthy as they can). 

You may want to reflect on some of your own current challenges in your day to day life. Most of the time it’s your beliefs and values that have been created. That’s what affects your life now as an adult, those things the sober parent taught you, or didn’t teach you. 

I’d love to hear any of your experiences, remember you can also request to join the Change Your Mind secret Facebook group. Just sent me an email jo@johuey.co.uk or click here. 

Please do share if you feel this post has helped you, you never know who else is struggling. 

Change Perspectives, Change Lives.




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