Originally Posted by Mission_Void
I've been trying to nail my problem for some time. I seem to have a heightened sense of fear. I grew up with an alcoholic dad. Even my mother was affected because of him. So sometimes I feared both parents. I've caught them physically fighting and yelling and my dad may have been a paranoid schizophrenic, but I don't quite have enough to go on. I just remember being fearful a lot while growing up.
I have depression, anxiety and who knows what else. I just don't know. I know that trauma can be a trigger for P.T.S.D. I feel there is more to what's going on with me other than having a lack of self esteem and confidence. I'm not sure, but thought I would post this here. Do you have a heightened sense of fear? I appreciate any insights or your own story regarding something similar. Thank you. MV
To MV and Adult.Children.Of.Alcoholics.
Part I of II
Thereís a book entitled, ďToxic ParentsĒ, a good tool that might help you pinpoint dynamics and make connections. It will help initiate self analysis through guided explorative questionnaires and could help anyone in an abusive relationship, substance abuse related or not.
This is the second post of yours I've come across that mentions your dadís substance abuse. I responded to a response post of yours to another post indirectly, with this specific topic in mind. I think I may mess up threads unintentionally that way, well Iím workiní on that! Lol
The questions I pose within this post are only to help you initiate internal dialogue within yourself and not for response, unless you care to.
Has this topic been discussed during therapy? Were you ever abused physically? Did he hit rock bottom and is he clean and sober today? Suffer a falling out? Did you ever confront this addiction with your parents or siblings, or is it something nobody talks about?
When painful memories are too much to deal with on a conscience level, they can get buried. Do you experience flashbacks and if so do you have a physical reaction, fear, shake, close down? Has a dťjŗ vu situation triggered a flashback?
I can almost feel the tension as you briefly pull those details out of yourself and put it on paper at the start of your post. Since fear is a big issue in your life I would think it influences your memory recall.
Do you feel strong enough to face head on painful experiences from the past? How were you tormented? Stumbling in on parents physically attacking each other is enough to scare the heck out of anyone. What made them turn on you? How did they turn on you? Did you ever intervene or act out? Did you run away? How did you cope?
You are not wrong to talk about your life and the effect people and alcohol had on you. Children growing up in abusive dysfunctional families react differently because of the situation.
Howís a kid supposed to handle it? In those days there was no crisis intervention, self-help, substance abuse centers, shelters. Did you fear for your life? If you did not know which parent was going to hit you, the depth of that fear is understandable and valid. I can understand that would create a situation where you would learn to not trust people.
An abusive household can be cruel and humiliating. Cover-up is typical to try to make the abnormal normal, in attempt to save face and deny the mess created. Alcoholism is an addiction, a disease and it affects the entire family. It affects how you lived, your thoughts, behavior. If there is cover up that is when denial is first created. The, there is no addiction, there is no abuse, therefore there is no damage so the put on, very contrived phony appearances are displayed to debunk and deny any problem exists or ever existed. The world revolves around those people because of their problem and itís not fair to the rest of the family but it happened and now itís out there to be reckoned with, or not.
So, here is my question. When this cover up and denial happens (everyone is involved, there is no denying that) it is a daily denial that can go on for years and forever. When does it end? Is it automatic when you move out, become an adult? Did you develop emotionally or are you still that hurt, terrified child? When does that heal? It canít if you have denial about what happened in that house. Itís a start but will take more from you, with the recognition your father had an addiction and was physically abusive. It sounds like you are wondering about his mental state. Lots of talk can happen about why an addict is why he or she is. You tend to wonder if you inherited his traits. Was he giving emotionally? Or did he take more then he gave? Do you give emotionally today? Children absorb traits from the role models they have good or bad.
To a degree you are a product of that but that does not have to be a life sentence. You can change that in you. If you want to become someone more giving you can. If they have the same mindset that will keep you sick. You need to decide who you are going to be and not who you were made to be as a child.
When does the healing begin? It may begin when you make the conscious decision to face the ugliness of it by recall and details to purge to move to point b.
In an ALAnon support group setting, one of the goals is to redirect life focus unto you and away from the abuser. This is such a critical step because a rift, a gap an unawareness of self can lead to a lifetime of the same because when life focused on the substance abuser and physical abuse, you will get lost in it as will your needs. If basic needs are not met as a child, how are you expected to grow? Is it possible to stay at that place and st-age emotionally? Are these long term ramifications in damage brought on by this disease? Do you think you became lost somewhere along the way and have not yet come back to yourself, for yourself?
Thinking about the abuser and that life, wonít repair or replace whatís missing inside of you, because you didnít get your needs met back then. Acknowledging the truth and depth of it for yourself is a way of lifting the blanket of denial and is a step in your healing. How do you not fear the world if you feared your parents? Can you learn to trust yourself? Does it feel like being a spectator at a sport event-somewhere between being visually involved but distinctly detached and uninvolved-invisible?
Children of alcoholics tend to feel isolated, invisible and overly responsible because their basic needs go ignored causing them to become emotionally and mentally stunted as well as having the imposed job of being the adult by parenting the parent, meeting their needs. So, who takes care of the kids and fills their needs? Do they know what love is? Perhaps the parents were not given what they needed when they were children and this is the legacy, their not giving it to you because they donít even know it exists in the first place to give. How is this child growing in an abusive setting going to grow and prosper if they are taking care of someone elseís needs in a dysfunctional setting who is supposed to be providing it in the first place? Itís backwards.
Does that behavior teach them to become enablers as adults if that was the modeled behavior? The apple does not fall far from the tree. If your dad hit your mom is it possible you could become an abuser? If your answer is no, my next question would be, How would you know? If your mom hit your dad is it possible you could get involved with an abusive woman? If he suffered with substance abuse what are the chances, given triggering circumstance that you could fall into that pattern? Do you want to have that kind of life? Are you going to let it rob another moment from you?