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TROUBLESHOOTER / I’m sad my mother says bad things when drunk

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female high school student preparing for my university entrance examinations. I live with my parents and a younger brother and sister, both in junior high school.

My parents drink beer every night. This is not wrong. The problem is that my mother says bad things when she is drunk. Recently, she often speaks and behaves in ways that look strange to me.

A while ago, a classmate of my brother behaved very badly toward a teacher supervising their extracurricular activity. Hearing this from another classmate’s mother, my mother became furious, loudly shouting over a drink, “I’m so mad!” and even said, “I can’t cool off, so I almost feel like going to kill [the classmate].”

Seeing her that way, I was so shocked and sad and started crying. My father noticed I was upset and told her to calm down. My mother didn’t recognize it was her behavior that made me cry. Because of what she says, they sometimes have an argument .

Usually, she is a good mother to me. But I hate her when she is drunk and says bad things about people. I’m so unhappy. How should I save her?

R, Tokyo

Dear Ms. R:

You are so kind to your parents and also to your brother and sister. All people feel the same when seeing you, I suppose. You make efforts to ensure the safety of the ship carrying your family by being watchful on its bridge. You also have a penetrating insight into dangerous situations that may happen in the future. Unfortunately, though, none of your family seems to intimately understand your thoughtfulness.

I feel that you’ve been under a silent pressure to be mature as early as possible since you were much younger. You were not given sufficient time to enjoy being a child before you had a younger brother and sister, and that situation inevitably forced you to overreach yourself.

You say your mother is usually a very nice person. But she should be blamed for becoming a different person under the influence of alcohol. Your current situation won’t improve as long as you continue suppressing your feelings and defending your mother.

I cannot be accurate as I don’t know how much she drinks, but guessing from her remarks, her condition seems to be much worse than simply being a bad drinker.

I suggest you discuss this matter with your father and go to a specialized outpatient clinic with him. You will probably be thoroughly instructed, to begin with, on what to do if your mother refuses to see a doctor. You can leave the rest of this matter to specialists and enjoy your youth. I’m amazed you’ve endured for such a long time.

Hazuki Saisho, writer

(from July 31, 2018, issue)Speech

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