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  • A.C.O.A. Growing up in fear. P.T.S.D. a possibility?

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    Old 02-25-2004, 06:48 PM   #1
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    Mission_Void HB User
    Post A.C.O.A. Growing up in fear. P.T.S.D. a possibility?

    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

    Last edited by Mission_Void; 02-25-2004 at 07:27 PM.

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    Old 02-27-2004, 02:48 PM   #2
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    Mission_Void HB User
    Post Re: A.C.O.A. Growing up in fear. P.T.S.D. a possibility?

    Originally Posted by Chrisgj
    You were under stress for so long your hormones are messed up. See my post "PTSD from hormone imbalance" Even if you don't have PTSD read it anyway and look for an environmental doctor use this link to find one

    [url][/url] hit referable physicians

    This is my doctors website

    [url][/url] hit "medical" an the then "common conditions..." to read letters from his patients and how he has helped them. In his waiting room he has binders with hundreds of letters over the last 25 years. Just do it.

    Forget about seeing a shrink they won't test you and will just guess at what crazy medicine to give you and if thats not right, they guess again and again and again. Voodoo medicine.

    Please let us know how this endo works out (if none near you seek out holistic doctor or osteopath). My environ is the best money I've ever spent.

    Good luck,
    Chris, you made me laugh at what you called Voodoo medicine, BUT I tend to agree. I have tried meds, 26 to be exact. I have done the antidepressants (most) some mood stabilizers, a thyroid med, two for A.D.D. And Clonazepam for anxiety ( It is all that works now )! And all the others do nothing or there are those nasty side effects. That is very interesting about environmental doctors. I have bookmarked the site. But I can't afford to see one. I am on S.S.D. and IF I can find a doc, I may have to pay out the gazoo! Do you have any suggestions? Right now I am just curious. I don't now what to do except try another mood stabilizer, but I dislike that route. I am still in therapy with a psychologist and will talk more about this with them. Thanks for the links. MV

    Old 03-12-2004, 06:12 PM   #3
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    Lightbulb Re: A.C.O.A. Growing up in fear. P.T.S.D. a possibility?

    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?


    Old 03-12-2004, 06:14 PM   #4
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    Re: A.C.O.A. Growing up in fear. P.T.S.D. a possibility?


    To MV and Adult.Children.Of.Alcoholics.
    Part II of III

    Nobody in the world can convince an addict they are one except themselves and the same goes for there offspring. If you downplay, sweep it under some rug itís not going to help you at all but to continue on the same road. In this way, you do have a choice but itís your decision. I am going to suggest here, that you consider your parent an alcoholic and may be alone in thinking that. If others in your family are in denial and you came out with that Iíd suspect they would not react well-an understatement of the year.

    You canít fight anotherís denial, only your own. You have to do whatís right for you. If they are sick you may have to travel the road alone to get healthy yourself. I have done that. Itís hard but you know what? Your worth it and it does get better and you do actually heal. No anti-depressant in the world can compare restoratively speaking. Denial is heavy and it weighs a ton. It contributes to ailments, can make things worse. Itís something that you could suffer from and not have a clue. Denial oozes out through other means if you donít head it off at the pass. Avoiding it is not dealing with it, itís just putting it off. You can become very physically ill if you have stress and denial knocking down your door day after day. Answer the doggon door!

    Yes, it is turning your life upside down, dumping it all, then turning it back right side up to be filled with things you need, want etc by you, yourself. Nobody else can fill that but you and thatís something not to overlook. No pressure, No diamonds.

    This destructive disease creates a life of its own centered in selfishness where life revolves around the dysfunction. The lifestyle imposes isolation without a doubt. How do you unlearn isolation and interject yourself into mainstream society? Donít reap what they sow or your destiny will be to relive it.

    Solving the mystery of their life wonít create the life you want for yourself and if it does, it will be reminiscent of theirs. Emptiness can be the love a child does not receive but knowing that wonít fill that void. This is where a critical mental shift needs to take place, to redirect by embracing the inner child and becoming your own guardian, big brother, parent, friend, confidant. That is something you will have to learn to give yourself to be truly independent and ready you for a healthy relationship.

    Your posts talk about fear and depression, but not about other feelings. Who modeled strength for you? Kids in these specific situations don't have much of a childhood or identity because they get caught up in taking on adult issues and become lost because they are drowning ďwithĒ the abusers life choices. This situation can make a person feel powerless because they had no control over the situation.

    How does a person not fear after learning and knowing it for so long? Deprogramming & Relearning; dump & debug the fear files & nasty kernels. Dr. Bradshaws work on Family Dynamics and The Inner Child-is insightfulÖ

    A grown up on the outside with fragmented fear reseeding all over the brain, learned behavior, set neuropathways, or something along those lines. How do you go about breaking the cycle? Similarly, in the mind, each time you have a realization; the light bulb turns on, you have to keep changing the control panel options in your computer and reboot to make the changes work or think differently. Itís a process. Itís learning.

    When the abuser is in a stupor they don't poses the presence of mind to realize how damaging theyíve become to the family unit on the whole or individually, itís the disease with life long ramifications for all involved. When in stupor the resulting personality is modeled and can be taken on by a non drinker; an alcoholic without ever taking a drink. Itís not intentional itís ďimprintingĒ. A person does not want or intend to ďpick-upĒ these attributes but because nothing else is modeled, it's assimilated into something digestible thatís regurgitated.

    A load was dumped on you and you have been shoveling yourself out of this your entire life whether it be through medications, therapy, itís acquired through their abuse passed down to you, your inheritance. If you were physically abused when he was abusing you must get into a group. It is understandable the fear you faced as a child not knowing if either or both parents were going to hurt you. That would be enough to do damage but there is hope. There can be healing. Refuse to give in to the thief of peace!

    In a post you wrote of having thoughts that perhaps you have been depressed your entire life, that with therapy you know in your mind what to do but have the same thinking, questioning if you are getting better, learning anything, if things will ever get betterÖ They can get better. The spirit suffers but is strong. I suggest ALAnon groups for specific related support.

    continued to III

    Old 03-12-2004, 06:15 PM   #5
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    Re: A.C.O.A. Growing up in fear. P.T.S.D. a possibility?

    To MV and Adult.Children.Of.Alcoholics.
    Part III of III

    Donít underestimate the direct impact alcohol made on you in how it influenced who you were and are today. There is no better way to gain dimensional insight then by talking to those who have experienced what you have. Conquering fear is conquering what has kept you from feeling strong.

    Fear robs a person of inner strength, peace and when lived with long enough it's not easily recognized because itís embedded in the personality. It will take effort and work to lift whatís embedded to be able to even see it. Fear is defeat at the start line. If it is too strong it will keep you in place. What you tell yourself day in and day out the self-talk is important. If you say to yourself, I'm scared 30 times a day (prerecorded tape, ready to install) for decades it has a cumulative affect. For all the fear "installations" in the mind that began sometime in childhood, the "tape" has not yet been turned-off, the pattern thinking continued. Repeating the same message throughout life.

    Learn what's needed and provide yourself with it from different sources. Knowing who you are can help you figure out who you want to be, at any and every age. That is a goal. No pressure, no diamonds

    What is an abusive abuser? Substance abuse and abusive personality traits modeled. This gets passed down over the generations, so itís important to be in touch with experiences, feelings and tendency. Those meetings can help bring out different issues surrounding general family dysfunction, substance abuse, enabling or codependency behaviors etc. A broken bone mends - Break a spirit, that's damage immeasurable.

    Abusers can leave these kids feeling emotionally bankrupt. It does not have to be a life sentence. It's hard to do but you must champion yourself, at this very age. If you donít who will? Iím not suggesting people canít help or have an impact but am saying ultimately, it comes down to you and whatís happening inside.

    When a parent figure is angry and hostile sober or not, it instills fear in those subjected to it and witnesses of it. I don't figure that would be the type of thing to fade over time. If this is what you lived with it is at the root or at least a major influencing factor in your life.

    Depression and anxiety can stem from the same root because of how you were raised. Did you ever stand up for yourself? Were you picked on in school? Are you the quiet type? I donít think itís about shyness but rather about shame, history, interaction deficiency but stemming from the same root.

    Draw two model diagrams; one reflects present life and the other represents the life you want. Begin with present life. Include streams of conscious thought, cause and effect events & include the impact each event had on your life. If you could change the situational impact, what would you have done differently if you were your own parent, identify your needs and how you would meet them if you were your mom, or your dad and how you would have applied it and what the results would have been-back. You know what I mean. Iím getting tired so my thoughts are waning a bit.

    An enraged alcoholic parent (their actions in how they; treat people, what they say, what they do) damage the child, teen, adult and the affects can carry over throughout life. Behaviors & tendency is passed down and inherited. The personality you were subjected to mixed with your own creates who you are, like DNAís base pairs. Your siblings may or may not have had the same damage because each person experiences the same situation differently, itís relative.

    I wanted to comment on something you stated about believing relationships are 50/50. I think you were trying to say you believe in equality but I just wanted to share my thoughts on what I take that to mean and it could be applied across the board to family and friends across not just gf/bf relationships.

    I believe if a person goes into a relationship ready to give only 50% they are holding back, giving on reserve and not enough in my estimation. Iím the type that gives my all, so to me, that would be settling for less and unacceptable. It takes giving all and more then 100%. Do you go to work saying, Iím going to give 50%?

    If you hold yourself back you could be denying yourself the pleasure of giving and receiving. If you donít let yourself go, you might be emotionally stingy and that could stem from you not getting what you needed growing up donít know. I donít mean that in a bad way just that to get you have got to give and if you hold back especially having so much fear your defeating yourself before your even out at the gate!

    You could go ahead and give 50% but it may not depict you accurately. You may be giving but if you hold back that could come off as someone chilly and withholding. Be careful the vibe you put out there because it could be seen this way without even realizing it.

    This is part of that skin shedding thing in filling yourself up and giving to others what you have not received. Remember when you said something along the lines of if you found someone you might even help her cook? That came across a little chauvinistic and might not be received to well. Maybe running a list of what you have to offer rather then what you are ready to receive is where you should start. When a person gives, they do receive. Take Care, Gemi

    Last edited by Gemi; 03-12-2004 at 06:16 PM.

    Old 03-31-2004, 10:13 PM   #6
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    Re: A.C.O.A. Growing up in fear. P.T.S.D. a possibility?

    I agree with Gemi. You sound just like my daughter. When I read your post I almost thought it could be her. But she is too proud to go on a board like this and talk about her childhood. Her Dad was the same way only add sex addict to the other addictions.
    Plus he was a pillar in the community and a godly man..... when everybody was looking. We were married for 26 years and it was total abuse from day one. My children are paying for what I didn't do. They both seem to be fine on the outside but you can see the pain in their eyes. I took care of their father and didn't let him act out in front of people or their friends. I hid his addictions from everybody because I was too proud. Now, they hate it cause I am not there to protect him. His new wife won't do it. She leaves him everytime he acts out, which is alot. In fact she is gone now. They know I am better off because he was destroying me. They are both grown now, but I know it has caused them a great deal of pain. I will never get over it. I still have horrible night mares and flash backs. I have the most precious husband in the world now that wouldn't raise his voice much less his hand. I am very blessed.

    Hope you find some answers!!
    Glenda And Bill

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