How do I respond to my family’s disrespect and gossip?

Sober Mommies Ask A Sober Mom Posts

Q.

I was wanting to maybe get some advice on dealing with family after getting sober. I understand trust has to be reestablished, especially since this is not my first rodeo, but I can’t help but get my feelings hurt over the talking behind my back, backhanded compliments and discrediting me as a mother.

I had a situation today that kind of broke the camel’s back, and while I know it’s out of my control, I desperately want to say something. I feel like my family acts like they’re just waiting for me to fail, and I feel like they overstep their boundaries when it comes to my son and my parenting.

I understand concern and wanting to help, but it seems more like they’re ready to jump at the chance to take him from his alcoholic mother. I kept my continuing alcoholism secret after the first time I tried to get sober. They helped me take care of him while I focused on recovery. I have not had any legal issues, and my drinking mostly took place while he was with his father.

I came clean about my drinking, and took the steps to get sober again and his dad agreed to help me. I knew I was dying and I just wanted a way out of the miserable cycle. There has never been any abuse or neglect, only an alcoholic trying to juggle her addiction, being a mother, and pretending I wasn’t contemplating suicide daily. I did what I had to do to be free from my misery and be the mother my son deserves.

Why do they treat me like I’m unfit, and why do they take credit for “raising” him for 6 months? The only reason I went the first time was because I was reassured I was doing the right thing and that I was a better and healthier mom for it, That they would take care of everything and help as much as possible if I just got help?

Why do they use that same 6 months I was in recovery against me? How would you handle it? How do I come to peace with it, until I’m at a point where they no longer question me as a fit mother? And how do I respond to backhanded compliments and gossip?”

Signed,

Just Doing My Best

 
Keeping in mind that we discourage the use of phrases like, “should” or “have to,” what suggestions or advice do you have? 

Have you ever had a family member or friend disrespect you or your role in your child’s life? How did you handle it?
Do you have people in your life who struggle to let go of who you used to be even though you’ve changed and aren’t that person anymore?
How do you keep that from affecting your motivation to keep moving forward in your recovery?

 

Do you have a question? Ask A Sober Mom today!

2 Comments on “How do I respond to my family’s disrespect and gossip?

  1. Dear “Just Doing My Best,” this is such a huge issue for me too, though I find less and less so the longer I am in recovery. I know that people, even the most well-meaning and genuine, need that trust to be built back, but it takes time and so much hurt and heartache seems to occur while that time is passing. I’m so sorry you’re experiencing this because I know how hurtful that can be. The thing that I have come to realize is that I can’t control what people say about me–much less how they feel about me–but I can respect myself and my journey enough to set some loving boundaries to keep those relationships from being swallowed in hurt and resentment. Yes, keep doing the next right thing, one step at a time and showing up and being the person you are now, but also know that it’s 100% ok to speak up for yourself and call a friend or family member out for saying something disrespectful in front of you–or your children.

    As a mama in recovery who has made a ton of mistakes, I now own those and will continue to make things right and repair relationships, but I have had to ask, more than once, that if someone has something to say to me about something they believe I’m doing or have done that they speak to me directly about it and not ever in front of my children. I will no longer tolerate disrespect from people in my life–I try to as calmly and kindly meet it with–“you’re welcome to that opinion, but I am going to ask that you respect me and the work I’m trying to do on myself by talking to me honestly and appropriately about it.” Each time, I get nervous standing up for myself, but the more I do it, the less my voice shakes. For a long time, I believed I deserved whatever gossip or passive aggressive comments I got–about my mistakes, about my parenting, etc. Ironically, recovery has given me the gift of being able to see that I am deserving of honesty and respect, so please know that you are too. Sometimes it might mean talking to that friend/family member and just say “Hey look, I know I’m still building trust back, but when you said/did _______, it hurt and I don’t want to let that turn into a big resentment later. Part of my recovery is dealing with how I feel without being fake and I need to be real with you about that.” You are worth advocating for. You are worth respect and it starts with you showing people that you see that too. Sending you lots of love and support, mama. Nicole

  2. Dear JDMB!
    I can relate to much of your situation. I am very sorry you Are dealing with this. For me, I flung that it took A lot of time to regain trust, and for loved ones to stop making what I considered rude or snarky comments. I am 3y sober, and still have family who barely speak to me. What I found to be most healing to me, was building a support network/ family and leaning on them. I learned i was not the only person going thru whatever i had going on, and i free strength from them. I did therapy and recovery support groups. That helped me a lot. But more than anything, staying sober and doing my best every day ( and each day my best is different from the day before) helped. In my experience, actions spoke louder than words.
    We’re here for you!! Love& light

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