When did you first notice that your mother was abusing alcohol?
Ever since I was a little girl but at the time it never registered that she was an alcoholic since I was young. When I grew older, I noticed that my dad was the one doing everything because either she was too drunk or “babalaz” to play an active role in our lives. Over weekends she would go out with friends and come back home late and drunk. Most times we were sent to our grandmother over weekends.
What is the worst thing she has done when drunk?
She is emotionally abusive, every hurtful thing that has happened to us would come back to haunt us when she is drunk as she would remind us. I am currently having problems with my fiancée and she would tell me that I will never be married and cannot keep a man. She will take what will hurt you the most. One time I left her with my child and it was meant to be for a few minutes but I got stuck somewhere and when I came back my daughter was wearing the same nappy she wore in the morning and was dirty and hungry; that really broke my heart. She is the grandmother and that was hurting.
When we were busy with lobola negotiations she was drunk and wanted to cause a scene in an attempt to embarrass me. Chances are she does not even remember the proceedings of the day. She is also the last person to find out about things happening in our lives as she is drunk most times.
One day she asked me how I would feel if my daughter were to suffocate or fall on her head and I am wondering what she would say such hurtful and bad things about her granddaughter.
What has this done to you?
I have a great career, my baby is healthy, my life is okay but I am depressed and am on anti-depressants. I need a female figure to guide me through life but she is not there for us. Alcohol has robbed us of a mother. I do not know what it is like to have lunch made by my mother or to have a mother in fact. I do not know how to love as a mother because she never gave us love and sometimes I fearful of the mother I would become or I am to my daughter.
Is she ever sober?
Yes, she is and when we ask her about the things she does and says to us, she becomes defensive, angry and avoids the topic.
What is this doing to your dad?
It hurts him and I know that their marriage is over but he is still staying with her for our sake. I also think he sympathises with her as my mom is sickly at the moment. He threated to leave and get his own place and take us with him but that has not happened. When we were younger I know that he feared leaving us with her but now that we are older I do not know why he is still with her. He is acting as a buffer maybe that is why he is still around. I would not blame him if he were to date other women.
Are you coping with such a life?
I have my days but I have also learned not to let her get to me. When I was younger I used to cry when she says hurtful things but now I just ignore her. She is almost non-existent and that is the case with my sisters as well.
What is your wish for your mother?
We would be better off without her. If she were to die, we
would bury her and life would go on. We have tried different interventions to
help her and she refuses to get help so we are better off without her than to
be hurt like this.
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