by Lisa A. Romano
Most adult children of alcoholics go through life never fully understanding the impact being raised by a self absorbed alcoholic has had on them. The double whammy is that in addition to being raised by an alcoholic--in most cases the counterpart--or other parent was a self absorbed enabler. And while on the surface it would seem that most damage would be caused by the alcoholic parent, just as much emotional damage is created by the parent who is lost in their own world almost as if in la la land doing his/her best to pretend that the chaos in the home really isn't all that bad.
Being raised by an enabling parent is like being a child born with a tree limb in your eye your parent refuses to acknowledge. Caretaker type, enabling parents are like sheep with blindfolds on. They follow the lead sheep, and dare not take a different path. When the lead sheep goes overboard, the enabling parent follows. And although the enabling parent may not be drunk, or high on pot, he/she is just as inebriated as the chemically addicted spouse.
Enabling parents, like their chemically addicted spouse lack internal boundaries and suffer from excuse--itis. Enablers have excuses for why they can't leave the alcoholic, for why they can't hold them responsible, for why they can't take care of themselves, and even for why the alcoholic drinks. Although the child of an enabler may be suffering from neglect, the mindset of the enabling parent is fixated on pretending nothing is really all that bad. As a result--the child then presumes his/her needs are unimportant--which ultimately becomes the ill blueprint for all future experiences of Self.
The long lasting consequences of being raised in a home with one parent who is out of control, while the other parent pretends nothing is wrong are devastating. Because what we experience as children becomes our framework for all future relationships, learned dysfunction sadly becomes a way of life for us, and unfortunately--many of us go through life unaware that most if not all of the problems we have in our adult life are directly linked to the blueprinting we received as children.
To break the cycle in our own lives requires us to die to the old and to be born again in the new. Because nothing we learned as children is not in some way tainted by ill conditioning, it is imperative that those of us who are dedicated to recovery learn to embrace loving the self in a way that is non judgmental. While it may not be our fault that our thought process is corrupt--in order to heal--it is essential we do not enable ourselves by falling back on excuses.
This planet offers us all the same opportunities through the power of free will. Although as children our minds may have been nailed to the floor because of our natural dependency on our dysfunctional parents, as adults we are free to do as we please. Within us all is the power to be who and what we desire to be. Each and every one of us--regardless of what has ever been--has the power to love self--because we are all created in the image and the likeness of creator. Whomever or whatever created the seas and the skies, created you.
Healing may require you to exert your right to limit your contact or break all contact with people who do not think well. And if your recovery depends on avoiding family that drains you rather than lifts you up--remember--within you is the power to change. Every great journey begins with the desire to take that journey.
Dear One--where would You like to go?
Desire--Decide--Do...and don't look back.