From time to time, I receive an email suggesting that my social media posts, books, videos, and alike, make it difficult for adult children to forgive their parents. Of course, these emails are coming from parents, and I get that--totally. I am, by the way, a mom who made tons of mistakes with her own children. I know the kick to the stomach reality is when you become aware of the fact that in your own state of unconsciousness, you have said and have done things that have hurt your own children.
Folks, there is NO healing without HUMILITY.
It is what it is.
If we were to plant an apple seed into soil lacking vitamins, minerals, and proper irrigation, and if that apple seed only grew past the soil to stand about three feet tall as an apple tree, no one would fault the seed. Well, no logical person would fault the seed that is. A narcissist would fault the seed if the narcissist were the...
What a devastating week.
Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade have left our physical plane and many of us are feeling the sorrowful shockwaves.
When celebrities take their own lives, many of us are left in shock. We hear ourselves thinking, "Kate Spade? Anthony Bourdain? How could this be? They looked so happy. They were living the life. They were rich and famous! They were living the dream."
Perhaps, this is part of the problem.
As someone who has suffered from thoughts of suicide myself, I understand the deep, insurmountable grief, powerlessness, and desperation that comes when in your darkest times, you think and feel, "I just cannot take this pain any longer."
If we were having a heart attack, ambulances would come, doctors would be alerted, and if we were lucky, we would survive. Perhaps we would need surgery and some dietary changes, but, the healing process would be tangible. We would have skilled surgeons we could rely on and nutritionist who could teach us to eat this and avoid...
The holidays are particularly stressful for most people, let alone ACOA's and those beings who are survivors of emotional abuse and neglect.
In the air hangs the stinky presumption that families should be together, and that merriment should be had by everyone.
Some of us have family members who want to believe that the holidays are a time to let by gone's be by gone's, as if what ever abuse they have dished out in the past should be dismissed. For many of us ACOA's and emotional abuse survivors--these stinky and sticky presumptions that linger about during the holidays--only compound our already enormous loads of guilt. We question ourselves endlessly, once again--as we did as children--wondering if we are the problem. We hear ourselves question, "Maybe its me. Maybe I am just difficult or can't forgive?"
Any ACOA or EAS (emotional abuse survivor) can tell you that part of their recovery work has entailed setting up some type of personal boundaries as well as physical boundaries...
Any adult child of an alcoholic or any adult child of an emotionally manipulative parent would tell you that the slightest conversation about the most mundane thing is enough to cause a total breakdown in communication with one of or both of their dysfunctional parents.
Whether it is a conversation about the weather, or about a news story on television, when trying to communicate with an alcoholic--or emotional manipulator--even the most simple conversation topics are enough to start what feels like a cold war.
Because non-alcoholics and non-emotionally manipulative people tend to communicate clearly--it is easy to become frustrated when attempting to converse with someone whose intent is 'not' to communicate clearly.
Anyone who has had the unpleasant experience of needing to speak to an alcoholic about a specific topic, with the intent to get to the bottom of some dynamic--will tell you that it is like trying to communicate with someone who speaks a different language. What boggles...
None of us were bestowed a handbook that outlined what love is, what it looks like, or what it should feel like. All of us learned to define love by what we observed as children--while perceiving the authorities in our lives, over and over and over. Through observation, perception and repetition we learned to assimilate certain concepts about love.
As children we 'needed' our caretakers and this 'need' was natural. This 'attachment' to our caretakers was one of our first experiences with love. If we were born to beings who resented our naturally 'needing' them, then the love that was returned to us--did not feel 'harmonious'. Instead we as the perceiving beings we were born to be--understood that something was off. Unfortunately however, the something that was off--which was more than likely some narcissistic trait in one or both of our parents--we falsely presumed--was us.
Falsely presuming that the disharmony between we and our parents was--us--stained our tiny souls. Growing up,...
Adult children of alcoholics, as well as any child born into a dysfunctional family system were unable to get their emotional or psychological needs met by their caretakers.
As children we all needed our parents to mirror back to us a positive sense of self. When we looked into our parents eyes we were supposed to see love, acceptance, validation, respect, and joy reflected back to us. When we bumped into a wall, made a mistake, mispronounced a word, or tripped while walking, our parents were supposed to gently teach us that it was normal and acceptable to make mistakes. Most of us who have been born to emotionally inept households have instead been conditioned to fear coloring outside the lines, of appearing less than perfect, and of ever letting go.
There are many reasons why an ACoA, or a child from an emotionally dysfunctional home might be overly critical of Self today.
1) If your parents teased you, laughed at you, or ridiculed you in front of others, whether those others...
I often hear people ask, "Why am I always thinking negative thoughts?" or, "Why do bad things keep happening to me? When it rains it pours?"
As with everything there is to the nature of life, there is also a flip side to any situation and or thought.
These days I say "I am so happy that I always think positive thoughts. The better it gets the better it gets. I am so in love with life."
Fifteen years ago when my life was falling apart around me, right after my ex put our custom built home on the market and told me that my children and I had to find another place to live, I was practically lifeless. Years of anxiety rooted in negative and dysfunctional thinking had taken its toll. My marriage was over, and my ex husband was viciously passive aggressive about it. I was young, and ill prepared for his covert emotional violence.
Rewinding back to when I was a young child, at the tender age of twelve I contemplated committing suicide. The victim of incessant bullying at school and even at...
Many children who have alcoholics as parents are unaware at just how deeply their perceptions about life and about self have been negatively impacted by alcoholism. Because children come into this world knowing they are powerless--they naturally look to their parents for cues as to how the world works. When you are born to beings who are lost inside their own dysfunctional programming--the conditioning you receive is likewise dysfunctional. But because you are a learning being--have no concept of contrast--you sadly presume that what you are learning is law.
As the granddaughter of alcoholics, my parents chose not to drink alcohol in our home when they were rearing, my siblings and I. Unfortunately this was not a cure all, although I have tremendous respect for their attempt to raise us differently than how they themselves were reared.
Alcoholism is a disease, like any other that creates huge gaps between the spirit, the mind and the body. Cracked, shattered and divided within the...
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...
When a being decides they need to make adjustments in their life, they often do not realize that the adjustments they are seeking will require change. Many beings struggle with the idea of change--yet there is nothing that is--that is not in a constant state of flux.
When you are involved in a dysfunctional dynamic--growth--independence--accountability and self reliance are unwelcome notions. Dysfunctional dynamics generally follow certain invisible guidelines. Relationships that are unhealthy are dishonest. They are about power and control--which includes power and control over how others feel.
A client of mine was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. After talking in length about his family of origin, he revealed that while growing up--his father was totalitarian--and his mother was enabling. His father beat him routinely and made it crushingly obvious that he was disappointed with my client, as he did not wish to go into the family business. At family dinners my clients...