Overwhelming fear. There was chaos in our household, once or twice this involved violent altercations.

My younger sister and I were witness to constant verbal arguments between all family members, and sometimes physical fights. When our parents drank, we were left to our own devices. From a very early age, we had to assume total responsibility to feed ourselves, manage finances, manage chaotic parents, get to school. We didn’t go ‘off the rails’, and were ‘good’, polite children who applied ourselves at school and made sure we were clean and well dressed. I think this gave others in our family and elsewhere, and impression that we were fine.

We continued to third level education, completed this, and we hold down jobs, have friends and relationships. We distracted ourselves with these ‘normal’ activities. But we are both going to therapy and dealing with overwhelming amounts of anxiety, fear and anger. We lost one of our parents to alcohol. To this day, no one in our family has acknowledged how horrific it was to grow up this way. Ignoring our experiences adds to the confusion and pain we are still dealing with.