Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I'm the Hero type

I posted on Monday (go read it first!) about how my father harassed me for 6 months straight. I didn't mention why it suddenly stopped. It stopped only because he slipped up and I caught him right away. He was drunker than usual and forgot to "hold his place" on the whole bumper thing.

I was complaining about how the bumper kept falling "in" on my car and I had to pull it out. I asked him why it cost $100 to fix when the mechanic didn't do the job properly. He said, "Oh, I had the mechanic pull it out and it was good enough. Didn't have to pay $100 to fix it after all - it was free."

WHAT?!? I jumped on him with "You mean to tell me that you've been making me tell you how much it cost to fix both cars when you didn't pay anything on my car?" My father realized that he had made a blunder and tried to convince me that he did pay for my car. Too late.

He slipped up. He had been lying to me for 6 months. I had enough of his drinking and I actually went home the next day. I was too angry to stay for the rest of the weekend. That was the last weekend I ever spent at his house.

I did some introspective thinking. That's when I realized that the role I created for myself was not working at all. A year and half earlier, I attended the Alateens (part of Al-Anon) meetings at my mother's urging and in one of the meetings, a counselor passed around a brochure on roles children of alcoholics tended to be in.

The Ghost
The Responsible Child
The Rebel
The Hero
The Problem Child
The Scapegoat
The Attention-Seeker
The Caretaker
The Bully
The Clown

I'm sure there are more roles I didn't list, but the point was the roles were our defense mechanism for alcoholism in the family. The roles were ultimately detrimental to those who chose it. My sister was more of the Attention-Seeker.

Me? I was the Hero. The description jumped out at me right away..."The child tries to save everyone by fixing their problems." It's true - I tried to save everyone. I thought that by staying at my father's house every weekend, I could somehow control his destructive patterns. I tried to fix everyone's problems. I tried to solve the mess of my parents' divorce.

I'd set aside my problems to go save someone. It was detrimental to me because I wasn't fixing MY problems. I wasn't saving ME. My role was masking my true feelings and was hindering the communication.

It took another 4 years before I finally told my father off about his drinking, how it destroyed our family, and how he made me feel...small. I remember his reaction - he said sarcastically, "I'm sorry I made you feel SMALL."

I was able to overcome the role I created, but sometimes it's hard for me. I'd see someone having a problem that is so SO SO easy to fix and all I have to do is step in. That's when I must remind myself, "You must save yourself first."

Because I was able to overcome my self-imposed role and how much I despised what not communicating did to me (and my loved ones), I have been honest and open in my relationships.

Granted, I have issues with my loved ones getting sarcastic on me, but they're minor.
  • I cannot distinguish the difference between being mean-spirited and being sarcastic (thanks, Dad for obliterating that fine line)
  • I don't tolerate drunks trying to have a conversation with me - they NEVER make sense and yet it makes perfect sense in their pickled minds
  • I am judgmental of those who choose to drink and drive
What makes me think I have succeeded?
  • I am not co-dependent
  • I don't drink
  • I don't smoke
  • I don't use drugs
  • I am not abusive or manipulative.
However, all of above won't mean a thing if I persist on being the Hero. The slope can be slippery, but don't fret...I have my ice cleats on. ;)


UP said...

My father, a preacher, was anti-alcohol, and a tee-totaler. I'm glad I wasn't brought UP around it. I don't have it in my house, I don't drink, and I won't abide a drunk.

You ARE a hero, just not in the way they describe it. You should be very proud that you are able to realize your faults, relish in your victories, and move on.

Excellent, excellent post!!


I love this site!

DCHY said...

Up - thank you. I am glad you liked this post. It sure will be interesting to see what my girls will do when they are exposed to alcohol as they grow up.

Becky Andrews said...

DCHY - Agree, you are a real hero. This is very helpful the way you have articulated this here. I will be sharing.

DCHY said...

Becky - thank you. Please do feel free to share with others.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I think we tend to take on a role told to us. Whether that be someone emotionally abusing us and calling us worthless, and we think, well, if they think that then I guess I am?

So to come out of what you went through to rise above it... is definitely hero material!

Love the post DCHY!

DGB said...

Good for you for being able to pull yourself out of your role.

And I don't think a lot of those lingering issues are problems. You should be judgmental of those who drink and drive. Having sober conversations with drunk people isn't fun and sometimes mean spiritedness is masked as sarcasm.

Sounds like you made it through ok.

DCHY said...

Shelle - the role wasn't ascribed to me. I took on that role. You're right tho...some people are given roles, regardless of how they felt. I rose because I did not want to be like my father in any way and I am not. :)

Daddy Geek Boy - I fail to understand how alcohol acts as social lubricant when the very same thing makes people do questionable things.

DGB said...

DCHY...Not sure why you gave me the response you did to my comment. I was trying to put a positive spin on what you were saying.

But since we're here...I don't believe that alcohol by itself is problematic. It affects people in different ways--like the way some people get hyper when they take Sudafed while others may get drowsy.

You have witnessed first hand the worst of it, so I completely understand how that skews your perspective. But as somebody who is a social drinker, it does have the ability to loosen some people up without creating anger or other problems.

DCHY said...

Daddy Geek Boy - duh me...I was "compartmentalized" in my thinking when I wrote my response.

You were saying that it isn't fun to have a conversation and I went off the path without any frame of reference.

What I meant to say is I enjoy having sober conversations and I fail to see how alcohol can be sufficient as social lubricants...

You're right, I've seen too much and I'd rather not deal with that ever again. Can't avoid that tho.

Thanks for coming back and allowing me to make sense of myself. :)

DGB said...

To quote the Simpsons, "That's just drunk talk! Sweet sweet drunk talk."

nitebyrd said...

You're a HERO because you did decide to save yourself. To become a good person, that truly cares about himself and others, is heroic. Being a hero doesn't mean you have to solve everyone's problems, it just means you have to care enough to try and help them find a solution.