When I shared that I was feeling lonely and unloved in my marriage, it was suggested that I needed to love myself first. (I would always try to smile when I heard that, because it helped to suppress my gag reflex.) I absolutely hated what I perceived to be an over-simplified and corny approach to my serious problems. My bigger problem was this: I didn’t know how to love myself.
I didn’t know, Mom, that you were struggling with alcohol and prescription drugs.
I’d be glad to share what’s helped me deal with Dad’s drinking since the intervention five and a half years ago—let him live the way he wants, without my interference (as painful as that is to say). The paradox I’ve learned is that the best way to help Dad is to not help him (lol).
Mum and I did not get along. We communicated by ridiculing each other. Since she was intolerant and impatient with me, I was intolerant and impatient with her. Even so, when I moved thousands of miles away, we were always in touch, and I could count on her for a Valentine’s Day card every year.