Some people describe their recovery --or the pain and addiction requiring recovery-- as a merry-go-round. Perhaps you've heard the expression "Please stop this merry-go-round, I need to get off!?"
I prefer to describe my recovery as like stopping a Ferris wheel at an amusement park in the middle of the ride, to take in and assess the view. From "up" there, I sorted out the confusion in order to identify where the pain was coming from, and the reasons why it wouldn't go away. It wasn't easy, but it made all the difference. What was that difference?
Looking at the big picture. I realized that my coping mechanisms (denial, self-blame, emotional eating for comfort, etc.) weren't working. I was going day-to-day: miserable, confused and hurt. Blaming myself, fighting off depression, and sometimes having suicidal thoughts.
Laundry List #7 states that "we get guilt feelings when we try to stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others." I thought boundaries were fences that would offend rather than protect.
Abuse complicated my life more. It compounded my shame, and conditioned my belief that everything was my fault. (Laundry List #11) This is perfect situation for the abuser to thrive. (The abuser's trajectory is that their victim is always the one to blame. This helps them to avoid being held accountable for their behavior.)
As a "para-alcoholic," (See Laundry list #'s 13 & 14) and #12 a "dependent personality who is terrified of abandonment and will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience painful abandonment feelings, which we received from living with sick people who were never there emotionally for us," also helped reinforce the dysfunction.
Adult children of alcoholics often attract abusive people.
Often times, adult children learned how to be tolerant of abuse, and thus they do not to expect better treatment. Or, they become abusers themselves, although I do think the former is more common.
Perhaps you have suffered abuse--which is essentially an invasion of your boundaries-- because it was at the very core of your parent's addiction-- a support and concern only for the alcohol, and everything else is either abused by violence or neglect to support the alcoholic's sick need to drink.
In my case, I was 17 when I learned of a friend who was also an alcoholic counselor. I was so angry at my parent that I would call this person up whenever my parent was in earshot--this would be the "punishment." (Of course, I was always punished later!) Defying my parent was not the way to go, and in many ways it was a deliberate invasion of their boundaries.
Look for more information about healthy boundaries in a later post. As always, thank you for reading!