More threads by calmincense

My father has a drinking problem, he is 72 and has drank all his life. My parents have been married for 50 years. My father has been diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat and is on several different types of medication. My problem is this, when my father goes off with his friends or other men in the family, my mother invariably tells the other men to make sure he doesn't drink. This causes a lot of stress with the other men and they feel that maybe they shouldn't take him places with them. If they just stop including him in the "men" things at family gatherings it would make my dad very depressed, I'm sure. We live in the south and it's normal for the men to go to the hunting or fishing camp after family gatherings. If they all left and didn't include him he'd be devastated. I tried to tell my mother that she shouldn't tell people to not let him drink, and if she doesn't want him to drink she should just go with them and make sure he doesn't. When he is home with her, he drinks when he wants. She just says it is the responsibility of the people you're with to take care of you, but I beg to differ. I know that she is the type person who would never forgive or let the other people forget that he was drinking if something happens to him on one of their trips. This puts my husband in a very bad situation as well, he loves my father and enjoys spending time with him and would feel badly if anything happened to him, but to be reminded for the rest of her life that he allowed my father to drink when they were out together would be very hard on him as well. Should I just let her expect them to keep him reined in or what can I tell her to let her know that she can't expect other people to be responsible for his choice to drink. He is not feeble at all, he still works at small jobs, he has retired from the army with 22 years and retired from two other industries with 20 and 15 years. At home, she drinks with him so how can I approach this without making her angry? My mother is very good at placing blame on other people, no matter what the situation, if it turns out badly, it's never her fault. For example, she likes to go to the horse races, if she has a horse picked out and tells me about it if I say, "yeah, that sounds good" and she places the bet and the horse loses, it's my fault for telling her too place the bet. On the other hand when I don't say anything when she tells me of her pick, and she doesn't bet, and the horse wins, then it's my fault for not encouraging her to you can't win with her....

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
so you can't win with her....
This seems to sum it up, doesn't it?

If she not only does nothing to stop him drinking when he's at home but also joins him and drinks with him, it seems hypocritical in the least to hold others responsible for making sure he doesn't drink when he's away from home. In fact, that seems totally irrational to me.
LOL, well, irrational is a word I had never connected with my mother, but as I think it over, it makes sense. hmmm, is that an oxymoron?? It's hard to look at either of your parents as irrational, but I'm all grown up now and can apply those things that jus seem to apply to other people to them as well.
Well, aren't there any words of wisdom that give clarity to irrational people, if even for a few fleeting moments?


Heh. You can't rationalize the irrational, nor make sense of the senseless, hon. Doesn't matter how hard you try. It's pretty obvious that if your mom allows your dad to drink himself into oblivion at home, it's ludicrous for her to blame others when he drinks away from home. It's not her fault, nor your fault, nor the rest of the family's fault that he's engaging in this behavior.


I have spend so much of my time trying to 'make sense' of my mom or other people for that matter. With my mom though I feel like I should understand her actions b/c she's my mother and b/c her actions affect me in a way that no one else's do. and b/c she used to make 'sense' or so I think, but the more I try to "rationalize" her behaviour, the more upset I get b/c as you said, you can't win either way.. no matter what you say or do, your mother believes she's right. Being able to rationalize her behaviour would make me be able to justify the things she does or at least understand them, but maybe it is true that sometimes you just can't rationalize something unrational!

My mother is very good at placing blame on other people, no matter what the situation, if it turns out badly, it's never her fault.
As you said in response to my post, I'm amazed at how much you said sounds so familiar! I wonder if they just really don't think any of this is ever their fault or if they just don't want to believe it? Is blaming others a way to cope? A way to escape responsibility? It seems obvious that your mother's actions are hypocritical and her expectations unrealistic, but I guess people believe what they want to believe. She can't expect other people to take care of your father, and if something were to happen, I am sure every other "realistic" person would know why it happened and not place blame on the person who happend to be w/ your dad. She's validating her own actions (letting him drink at home and drinking w/ him), but avoiding responsibility by thinking that something can only "go wrong" outside of their home... how does your father react to all of this? does he drink w/ others even if they don't want to b/c they fear your mother's reaction?
My dad has cut down on his drinking a lot since he was diagnosed with an irregular heart beat. He is in very good health for a 77 year old man. Yes he's actually 77, that is also one of the things my mother can't stand for us to know either of their birthdays, well, the year anyway, or their anniversary year. She has a problem with people knowing her real age. I guess a lot of women are that way, but I feel like she carries it to the extreme.
Responsibility, that is what mother has a hard time dealing with, responsibility for her own actions. She does like to hold other people responsible for a lot of things that she shouldn't. Does your mother seem to NEVER forget even the slightest little wrong that was committed against her? and does it seem like some of those wrongs caused things to go bad in some area of her life, and she always brings them up as an excuse for whatever.

To answer your question, yes, he does drink when he wants too, but less now than in the past. He is still very active, even now looking for a small job, applied to Home Depot last week to bring in carts from the parking lot, was so funny that he had never experienced taking a drug test. Times have changed since the last time he went for a job. He is supposed to start mid Dec. That's another thing, my mother thinks somehow he prolonged the inception date so he wouldn't go to work right away. As if he really needs to get a job. He just wants something to do, but I think she would like for him to get out of the house some. Which is normal, I think, but to say that he somehow caused the job to not start until mid Dec instead of now...well, that's IRRATIONAL LOL I'm going to practice saying that word in conjunction with my mother so it will just roll off my tongue when I finally string together enough words to verbalize my concerns to her.


well that should be fun trying to tell your mom that she is irrational- spaking from personal experience, I doubt it if she'd go for that. I swear, I 'm sometimes losing my own "rationality" when talking to her b/c the conversation is spinning in circles and she chooses to only focus on her pain, her anger, her problems and then blame everything on everyone else, myself being a preferred target... she was saying today something about how we missed getting up early in the morning because I had gone out w/ my friends 2 weeks ago and then last week and stayed out those nights and in her mind this is the reason why I am tired, hence why she is tired, and why today we overslept...uhmmm... that makes no sense. but again, try making sense of the senseless!

not only does my mother not forget any wrong that was committed against her but she seems to remember EVERYTHING that I ever did wrong, it's quite amazing actually how good her memory is in regards to this, so when it's least expected she'll remember some detail about an event in the past and associate it w/ the present in the form of a causal relationship...
I know that's not funny, but LOLOL...I was talking to my mother on Friday, my daughter had the day off, she normally works every week day. My mother wanted us to all go and eat lunch at 11:30, well, I called my daughter, who is 21, and she was asleep. I just told her the details and she said she'd meet us if she got up and got ready but she might just sleep in. Well, when I told my mother that, her exact words were, "did you hear that sermon on being lazy yesterday, (she watches the televangelists), the preacher talked about people who just slept their lives away, didn't get up and bathe, dress even comb their hair, not to mention go to work....." and it went on from there. Then of course, she added at the end, well, I wasn't saying that because of "Sarah", I'm sure she's not lazy. I wanted to say something so badly and had it been another person, not a family member, I KNOW I would have, because I'm not one to just let someone attacking my kid slide. Well, I did let it slide, for my mother's sake and really mine too, I just didn't feel like ruining an otherwise pleasant day. We met at the restaurant and 15 mins later my daughter showed up all smiles, hair washed, teeth brushed and the works.....LOL at least, telling you, I can laugh about it....thanks for letting me vent.

I can tell, we both REALLY love our mothers.


exactly...where is that line btwn bringing up an issue, defending your own viewpoint and therefore "ruining" an otherwise good day or just letting things slide... if you let them slide, you can't expect someone else to understand or change, but always "fighting" about things is exhausting, so you end up standing up for yourself or someone else 1/2 of the time, which apparently is even worse than not at all. sigh.

you know, I do love my mom, it's just that the entire family seems so messed up, that it'd difficult to love someone who's hurting you (knowingly or not). I could never not love her though, but I have found out that you can love someone, but still feel distant w/ them, be angry at them, feel sad about how far apart you seem.... it's just a constant struggle to do "one more thing" to see if maybe that's enough to make her be okay, to make her be happy, to have her stop being hurtful, to show her I am capable... just doing that "one more thing", and before you know it you spend your whole life trying to please someone else... with not success usually.


One can love another person, whether parent or not, without enabling less than desireable behaviors in that other person. It's not necessary to make yourself someone's scapegoat in order to love them. In fact, the opposite is true.
Believe me, I let her know, most of the time, when she says things of that nature. She only recently moved to the same town in which I live, so I am having to re-learn things about her. I have figured out that she feels the need to make everyone feel sorry for her. It seems like she has mixed up being loved with being pitied or felt sorry for. I am going to bring it up to her soon, and give her examples of things she says when trying to get sympathy. The most recent thing was that she had gotten new clothes and was trying them on, showing them to me. I was really complimenting her on them, they were very nice, but she immediately started saying how my father didn't help her at all while she was trying on the clothes, and how hard it was for her to try on the clothes without any help and on and on and on....she wanted me to feel sorry for her, but I didn't, and I told her that she wouldn't even allow us to enjoy her new clothes without making it an awkward situation. I didn't think about the "pity me" syndrome til later, after I had time to think and realized that she has been doing things like that since they moved here. Seems like she's afraid to just let people think she's happy about something without letting them know how hard things are for her.....or something like that....
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