My father caused no end of chaos and trauma to my mother, my siblings and me over a sustained number of years, from my early childhood into my teens and beyond.

He was a successful and famous person in life, hugely admired & respected. This added a layer of complication. Like so many other families blighted by alcoholism, ours was a very dysfunctional family.

The following words illustrate some sense of my experience: hyper sensitivity, needy, co-dependant, low confidence/self esteem, anger, sadness, shame, violence, numbness, rigidity, chaos, difficulty fitting in, fearful, bullied, unsafe, stress, anxiety, fright/terror, avoidance, protective wall, unseen, loss, put down, wooden plank, caged, energy sapping. Flipping these words to consider a “normal” experience is illustrative.

There were periods of “normality” as a functioning family. We (siblings & me) came through with a good education and basic needs met. Life was very unpredictable & didn`t know when the next hurricane would hit.

It had a significant impact on friendships, relationships, decisions, focus, career choices, etc. Our connection was poor/non-existent. My mother had a very difficult life with him.

It caused significant arrested development & delayed maturity. I was well into my adulthood when propelled to search for healing through books, courses, therapy and ultimately training as a psychotherapist.

My father made amends and redeemed himself in sobriety for the short time he had left, which makes me very glad. I regret for him and for us all that he had this disease. It raises so many what if`s.