newbie - looking for help


I am a 20 year old female and have been living with an alcoholic mother my whole life. She started becoming an alcoholic at the age of 21 and she is now 55. Her father was an alcoholic, and she was the youngest child so I assume this is what may have triggered the issue. Growing up in an abusive household, Dad was the main target. I think this is also because of her neglective father that she targets him, although he has never laid a hand on her and only supported her and never left her. She neglected us when in her alcoholic state, before, during and after the drinking episodes. These episodes would last maybe 6 months to a year and she would get better for a few months then spiral back down into the problem.

When I was younger, I was the child playing the mother role. Looking after her everyday, looking after my brothers and sisters and comforting my dad when he was unsure of what to do. I have developed a lot of independence and maturity from this, which I am grateful for, however, it has it's lows as I usually am too serious and am the only one to care in a situation where people have to be responsible and show initiative. 

I have had many traumatic events with my mother, such as suicidal attempts, verbal and physical abuse and neglect, which I'm sure many of you here have experienced too. Growing up in a dysfunctional family, I was always unsure of what normality was like. I was always scared and anxious of my mother and for her health, and for the reputation of my family. I was always told never to tell anyone about the situation, and when people managed to get involved it was awful. I was constantly embarrassed and ashamed of myself and my family for having to go through this and not doing anything about it. The problem is, my mother is the most lovely lady on the planet when sober. I love her to bits, and she is so caring, however, my trust is depleted when she falls back into the trap of alcoholism. 

So I have a few questions stemming from my childhood and to how they have affected me now. The first being, I get called weird on a daily basis. I can't seem to wrap my head around this and how to change it - all I've longed for is normality. I think this is due to not being taught what 'normal' is. So, how can I learn and change my ways. It feels so abnormal to be nice and caring, as I've never learnt it before, so it feels fake.

Second, is it possible to change an anxious and self-hating mind? I tend to think this is from observing my mother being this way all through growing up. She is constantly in her head and not present, always worrying about herself and other things. This is exactly how I am. I overanalyse every situation, even smiling at someone. It drains me. I doubt myself so much and constantly rely on the other persons opinion. The only time I can be myself is when I don't think, and that is when I too have alcohol. Which I do not like to depend on as I understand the suffering dependant alcoholics cause. 

Third, how can I stop being so closed off and make friends? A lot of people say I don't open up enough. I think that this is why I think I don't relate to anyone (because of the weirdness too) and why I can't easily make friends, as I've always been told to never tell anyone anything. I would love to have a big friends group like I used to in middle school, however, when I moved schools I found it incredibly hard and once people started saying I was weird behind my back, I became incredibly observant of myself and anxious. I tried to stay quiet, but it killed me inside. I can be very outgoing and have a lot of 'friends' but no true friends. I want to learn to be myself, however, my messed up childhood has prevented me from realising who I am as I've always been too anxious to know or looking after my family and mother. Lately, I've been seeing no one and it's making me quite sad as all my real friends are now just friends I barely see. I don't know how to make friends again as I've forgotten how to. 

I am contemplating moving into my boyfriend's soon as she is getting bad again. I just can't handle it. I am sick of feeling scared around her, seeing her two different personalities, waking up in the night having a panic attack about her.

I have so much anger built up inside of me, and everyone sees it. I know I am a very sensitive person, but I don't know how to show it. I don't ever hug people or open up, and all this need for love and this anger about my childhood are swirling around inside of me clashing around. I have headaches every single day from the stress and anxiety. I have extreme trust issues, not just from my mothers lies and false promises, but from catching my father constantly as a child watching porn, which has led me not to show him any affection since about the age of 8. I don't know who I am. I would like to be truly happy and get rid of this anxious mind and love myself and put myself first and leave this dysfunctional household. I would like to talk to someone, but I fear they won't understand, as many people don't. I would like to ground myself, find who I am and be confident in that persona. 

Please help me if you know what it's like, I would love to hear other people's similar story's and learn some techniques for building myself to a stronger person and being truly happy, accepting of myself and normal.