Sunday, 18 October 2009

A convenient myth?

In an article on her alcoholic father, and the horrors that children of alcoholic parent(s) face behind closed doors, writer Isabel Ashdown says: It's convenient to think of these families as hailing from the "Asbo classes", but that's just a convenient myth. So often, these families look just like us. Hmm. I have an acute understanding of the alcoholic, charming in public, a monster in private, but I find it hard to believe that anyone buys into such a myth or believes such a myth still exists.


tattytiara said...

It's protective instinct to invent a myth that reassures that something bad only happens to other people by attempting to define who those other people are, I think. It backfires pretty horribly when the bad thing does happen any way and it morphs into denial.

nmj said...

I have been thinking about why this particular myth jarred so much with me. I suppose I find the term 'Asbo classes' - even in inverted commas - at best naive, at worst kind of elitist. Also, I am not sure if the writer is referring to her own myth or a more general myth. Asbo is a relatively new concept, so I had read it as a more general myth - perhaps I got it wrong. But of course she is entitled to any myth she chooses, I just don't buy into this one. I think also her emphasis on her own family's good looks and talents jarred with me a little. I understand very well the 'soiling' effect of alcoholism on a seemingly 'perfect family', my own alcoholic father was handsome and a consultant anaesthetist but that did not stop him from taking his own life at 54. Not very handsome or very talented behaviour. I was 8. Still, I have never viewed this in terms other than a great tragedy, for him, for my mother, for my brothers and myself - how handsome and talented we all are doesn't really come into it. But then I also don't view bad things as things that happens to others. And if I am honest, neither am I into the whole Adult Child of Alcoholic scene, it irks me when people almost seem to 'revel' in that label, though I clearly have been shaped by the often traumatic events I witnessed as a young child. But we all deal with this stuff in our own ways, and I can certainly relate to other points the writer makes, especially the strength of her mother, and the 'great holes of absence all over the place'. And at least I was spared having to live through my teenage years with an alcoholic father.