I know what I want and I know what I deserve. It takes a long time to get here and as a Child of an Alcoholic, many of us say we will not be like them. But, I was one that held onto that for a long time. I probably went overboard, doing the extreme to not be like my parents, and ended up doing the completely opposite. Instead of being in a horrible relationship or relationships, I ended up in not so serious relationships. This didn’t completely come from seeing my parents fight and argue and my mother drink and complain and fight some more. But it came later, after I was raped at 16. See previous post, Letter to My Rapist.
Relationships are difficult. Even if you have not gone through the trauma I have.
Unlearning what you were taught and saw, seems so hard. Being in situations where you are treated badly or not good enough and that it’s acceptable because the people in your childhood didn’t treat you well, will continue until you see the pattern and reprogram to tell yourself that you are enough and you deserve better! You are special, you are pretty enough, you are smart enough, you are sweet, and funny.
Adult children of alcoholics only see black or white. Positive or negative. Dark or light. They talk about this in the Big Red Book. We don’t know or see any different from what we are shown. So, some of us decide if we want change in our life that we need to do the complete opposite of what we were exposed to.
In some cases, doing the complete opposite is fine. But in other cases the extreme opposite has a negative impact. Like me not wanting an unhealthy relationship. Unknowingly, what I ended up creating, most of the time, was not having any relationships because I kept commitment at bay in fear of having an unhealthy relationship.
To use another example, you might have been abused as a child. You correlate abuse with discipline. You grow up saying that you will never be like the parent or parents that abused you. But once you think of becoming a parent or are a parent you decide to do the opposite and not discipline at all. Well, that is the extreme of doing the opposite and not being like your parents. But any healthy adult knows that discipline is part of the deal with parenting. There has to be a middle ground, the gray area. It’s not all black and white. And discipline does not mean you have to physically touch your child. But to an adult child of an alcoholic or abused child, some might not realize this until it’s too late and their kids are out of control.
As an Adult Child, we must find a balance. We must dive into the gray area. The middle place of not doing the complete opposite but finding that life will work out if we find ourselves somewhere in the middle. Thankfully in the last decade or so I’ve known this and when I have found myself diving into doing the complete opposite, I pull back the reins and try to find a good soft landing, in the gray area. That’s when I’m reshuffling and reshuffling and reshuffling again to find my somewhat of a perfect sweet spot to be. I hope you do, too!