On integrity


The quality of being honest and having strong  moral principles


the state of being whole and undivided
I’m thinking a lot about integrity in its wider sense. About more than being honest and truthful, but about living life true to ones own beliefs, behaving in a way which accurately reflects how we really FEEL.
I have not always done this.
Apart form the above definitions, integrity has been described as Choosing your thoughts and actions based on whats right rather than personal gain; the choice between what’s convenient and what’s right.
I have a very strong moral code in many areas, I’m quite clear about right and wrong, and I have no real difficulties living my life true to those beliefs.
But wider integrity? Specifically sticking up for my kids when my ExP was unkind or unfair ? Did I think it was ok ? did I talk to him about it ? yes to both of those… but when he wouldn’t budge, I shut up and accepted it for far too long.
Why did I do that ? This is at the root of son2’s furious anger with me;
 I think there were lots of reasons.
  • because I was unsure myself about how much of Son1’s behaviour was ‘acceptable’  ie how much was a normal teenage thing, and how much was seriously aberrant  and indicative of much bigger, underlying problems;
  • I really really didn’t know WHAT to DO about his persistent theft and dishonesty.ExP had a plan.
  • Partly because I myself was very, very pissed off with Son1 (exactly WHY I was so pissed off probably needs some more thought) and resented how angry, powerless, frustrated and afraid it made me.
  • Partly because ExP bullied me when I voiced strong disapproval of his methods {withdrawal of communication, hostility, physical aggression- throwing things etc – (not AT me, but in the vicinity) } ,
  • partly because my lack of self confidence meant that I was easily persuaded I was wrong;
  • partly because deep in my soul I believed / was terrified that I was being punished for ‘having’ him in the first place and this was Karma coming to get me (in crude language)

I suffered terribly from cognitive dissonance over this. I knew what was going on was wrong, and not working… but I was unable to articulate WHY, or come up with any alternative ways to manage Son1’s problems. Was this because I was drinking ? Or was I drinking as a way of avoiding how awful it all made me feel?

I’m not seeking to excuse myself. I allowed that man to bully my eldest son, I knew what he was doing but I did not stop it sooner. I did not act with the integrity I should have done. I did not stand up for what I believed to be right; or perhaps against what I believed to be wrong. Or perhaps I did, once it reached an unequivocal point – because that of course is one of the problems with black and white thinking… at times ExP was very kind and supportive to Son1

One thing I do know, The critisism of my Ex Husband, who sees the kids for a max 8 hours a week and has NEVER stepped up to deal with ANY of these issues, is grossly unfair and by whispering all this in Son2’s ear, it is once again abusive- because it distresses son2 and forces him to look at complex situations he has no hope of understanding or of being about to manage emotionally .



This above is how I will aim to behave in the future.



  1. Big hug again.
    It really seems you are taking on way too much blame here.
    Kids have troubles. Even the best families don’t always get along. Parents try to do what’s best and it doesn’t always work out as planned.

    And it’s over. Nothing can be changed. All a person can do it try to make today the best it can be. It will never be perfect for everyone.

    Please don’t allow your son to abuse you. It is very sad that he is getting negative feedback from your ex. Make your boundaries clear.

    You deserve respect.

    Sending you love.


  2. I agree with Anne! You deserve respect! Relationships are hard and the parent child relationship is so much harder-filled with all kinds of emotional needs and baggage. And teenagers, for the most part, just haven’t done the time and the work or have the emotional maturity to see the much bigger picture. And while it’s a dirty trick of your ex to be whispering in your son’s ear, is it possible that your son is also acting out because of issues? Yes, you’re almost one year sober and that is something huge, but even so, it’s also a big change for your son.Possibly learning to live without the drama that living with a drinker often creates. I guess what I’m trying to say is that maybe, while you were drinking, your son had a way of navigating the world and life-which became familiar even though it sounds like there was lots of drama at times. And now, while it’s definitely better with you not drinking, his way of being and seeing the world and life has changed. And your ex seems happy to step into the role of providing drama and turmoil. Firestarters are what I call those people-they throw in a match and step back.
    You deserve respect and you deserve to set and stick to boundries. This can all be done with love and loving your son. My guess is that at some point in his life, he may see that you aren’t the villan your ex makes you out to be.
    Big hug to you!


  3. What you describe is all too familiar, though I had two daughters. I am in my seventies now, and have no regrets about what I went through. When you are out of an unhealthy system you see it for what it is and can move on. One thing I want to share is about feelings…they do not always give correct guidance. That phrase “trust your feelings” is sometimes true, but many times deceiving. You may feel like you desperately need a drink, but you do not…You may feel intense, crippling anger, justifiable anger, but unless you recognize it as simply a feeling, it can destroy you. Step back from your emotions, analyze the source, and let your rational mind come up with solutions for change. Writing, journaling are effective ways to release intense feeling and tame it into a manageable resource. It took me many years to find the courage to leave an abusive marriage, and I have notebooks filled with my anger. I have found my deepest peace as a born again Christian, though not until I was in my sixties. I have read many books on self help and found the Bible is the best resource. Keep loving and add prayer to your coping strategy. Hugs, Barbara


  4. Drinking is a coping mechanism until you get trapped by it. It stops helping and seems to paralyze you from addressing not only the drinking but the core problem. I ran into this too. If you stood up to his bullying when you were drinking it would have only created an ugly, unproductive scene. That is not helpful either. For me, the only way to address it was to quit drinking, think through everything very carefully – as you are – and then call a spade, a spade. I have regrets as well but I am also proud that I have been able to take these steps and I will never go back to being trapped, unable to speak my mind.

    I would try to protect son 2 from outside sources that use him to get to you. As you gain strength those that have used you in the past seem to be quite threatened by your strength.


  5. In your shoes I would try to limit or stop contact with the XH. He sounds abusive to your son and NOT helpful at all. Could you maybe do that?
    Hugs from Sober Sarah xxx


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