Wednesday, October 31, 2012

To My Mom and Dad--My Adult Children of Alcoholic Parents

Dear Mom and Dad,

I am composing this letter through my website, for the world to see, if of course the world cares to look.

Just so you know, my site has gotten tens of thousands of views, and will be read by many more viewers.  The internet is forever, and so will be the words that find themselves flowing out from my fingertips this morning.

May your hearts and especially your minds be open to what your little girl feels so compelled to share.

For my readers who may be confused by this post, you should probably know that my parents did not know I was writing a book about my childhood.  They did not know that I began writing my book thirteen years ago.  They did not know that the main reason I never had it published before this year, (2012) was because I knew they would be hurt by what my child's eyes had to share.

We are a codependent family.  We do not confront uncomfortable situations, nor do we speak up for ourselves.  We deny, stuff, and suppress our emotions because we are afraid of upsetting others in our lives.

My story went stuffed and denied for too long, and until my sister's husband committed suicide in September of 2011, I was unsure for how long my story would stay squelched within me.  But when my brother in law took his own life, reality unzipped my heart as if with a razor.

Another emotional impetus for me to get my book published was the fact that in August of 2010 my heart stopped beating on an operating room table.  When a routine surgery I was undergoing went terribly wrong--I quite literally bled to death.  Six transfusions, a respirator, a medically induced coma, as well as a dedicated surgical and anesthetic team pulled me through.  That, along with what my doctor's called--the pure will to survive, kept my physical being a part of this physical world.

Recently it has come to my attention that my parents have discovered my book on line, and they have been reading bits and pieces of the first three chapters that are available free on Amazon.  I have also learned that my parents are hurt by the fact that I chose to publicly speak about my childhood experiences.  This of course--is no surprise.

Perhaps the saddest note of all is the fact that neither my parents nor I have confronted one another about my book.  Although we all know it exists, typically of a codependent dynamic--we all choose to ignore the pink elephant in the room and settle for superficial cordial exchanges.

Because I know my parents are hurting, and especially my mom, this letter is for you;

To My Parents, but especially Mom,

Because I chose to write a public story about our family, I feel it is only right and fair to offer you--my parents a public acknowledgement.  Although the opening lines in my book as well as my books dedication explains clearly enough why I wrote my book the way I wrote it, I feel that perhaps now, because the fact that the book has been published is out there somewhere between all of us, that a more direct acknowledgement is needed.  And because I also believe no one in our family will ever desire to actually read my book, none of you will be able to refer back to my books dedication page as a reference and basis to help you more fully understand why I have done what I have done.  So mom, dad here it goes...

Mom, when I was a little girl I adored you more than you could ever know.  I used to look into your blue eyes and pray for a hug, a kiss on my nose or a kind word.  I tried to be good--good enough to calm you down or to make you smile--but through my child's eyes--all I could feel was not enough.  As if you lived in one world, and I lived in another, the child I was once was--felt lost, wrong, infected, and ill.  There was no bond between you and I.  There were no silly hide and seek games, or butterfly kisses goodnight.  In my world, I felt like a specimen in a dish, and they were your eyes peering down at me through a microscopic lens, as if waiting for me to move a little too far to the left or to the right.

When I was small, I wanted nothing more than to please you and make you smile.  I experienced you as one who was rushed, nervous, angry, short tempered, and like a tornado and a volcano too.  You called me names, and labeled me early on as selfish, a liar, and a psycho too.  You said I would never have any friends--I'd be a hermit the rest of my life, you said.  Once you told me you didn't have to like me--you only had to love me.  That moment has forever been carved into my soul.

Yes, when I was little I did lie to you.  I lied because I was afraid to tell the truth.  I lied because I feared your reactions, your persecution, your criticisms, and would have done anything to try and prevent a borage of verbal assaults, none of which I as a child had any ability or right to defend against.

Yes, I stayed in my room--a lot.  And that's because I wanted to stay out of your way, and because I was getting bullied at school.  Many days I spent in my room, simply because I didn't want to bump into any of the boys who used to torture me at school.  I did my best to stay out of your way, and when I was old enough, and met friends in high school--I did.  I was never home--and inside me I though that is what you preferred--me out of your way.

As I got older, I heard you murmur that you thought that all I cared about was my friends.  Way into adulthood, I heard you say things of that nature many times.  But the truth is mom, I could never make you happy, or gain your validation.  Like a carrot hung long before a horse's nose, your acceptance was something that was always out of my reach.

When I got divorced, I needed you more than you could ever know.  I was afraid--no terrified, of being alone, and taking care of my three small children on my own.  And then you and daddy were gone.  Your move out of state, cut me to my core.  I so wished I felt like you were trying to understand why I did what I did.

I didn't want to get a divorce.  I had to get a divorce.  My codependent marriage was killing me--literally.

I just wished you acknowledged that then.

It's thirteen glorious years later, and I am happy to announce that my life has turned around.  I am engaged to a wonderful, kind, stable, healthy, empathetic, responsible and handsome man--who 'sees' me, who 'hears' me and who validates me for the being I am.  But better than that, I have learned to 'see, hear, and validate' my own self.  And that happened long before my fiancee and I met.

As I mentioned above, I held onto my book for twelve years before I published it, because I worried how you all would receive it.  But after my surgery, and after J's suicide, I knew with all of me, it was time to let out all that I had for so long stuffed inside.

I know you are hurt, and unfortunately because our family does not know how to tell our emotional truths, we may never be able to discuss these issues fully.

I don't know how to say, "Mom and dad, you hurt me," and neither of you know how to say, "We never intended to hurt you, and if we did, from the bottom of our hearts, we're sorry.  We did the best we could", so we all just do what we have always done.  We skate around issues, use M as a go between us all, and stuff our emotions for one another.

You don't know how troubled I was as a teenager, because I was afraid to tell you.  You don't know what I went through when I was married, because I was afraid of your criticisms, judgements and with disappointing you.  Instead I pretended to be happy when I wasn't just like I did when I was little and when daddy would come home from work.  I stuffed my emotions because I learned early that our family considered 'feelings' inconvenient truths.

When my asthma, migraines, and panic attacks got so bad that my doctors worried I might die, my spirit was forced to look you, daddy, and my ex husband and his family in the eye, and let go.

I had to let go of needing to make you all happy.  I had to let go of trying to pretend.  I had to let go of taking care of everyone else at the expense of myself.  And if you think that was easy--you are so, so, so wrong.

When I went into therapy and my therapist told me I was codependent, I was confused. But the more I opened myself up to the idea, and the more I learned about codependency the more I understood what was wrong in our family.

And more importantly--what was wrong with me.

You should know that the greatest thing I learned about codependency and Adult Children of Alcoholics like yourself is--that it's not 'us, or me or you' that is wrong--it's the disease of alcoholism that has affected and infiltrated our ways of perceiving ourselves, our worlds and others.

Alcoholism hurt you mom and daddy too.  You are both ACo A, and in spite of your denial about how you two have been affected by it--you have, and so has our family.

I know with all of my heart you two did the best you could--and if you read my book--you would learn how I was able to transcend my own childhood wounds so I could get to a point where I could truly see you and daddy as children, and understand how much of an amazing job you did with us compared to what your parents gave you.

Mom--I know  you didn't drink because you wanted to show us differently.  And with all of my being--I publicly thank you for being a better mother than your own.

I appreciate your sacrifices.  I know you cleaned our house so masterfully because you lived in filth.  And I know that was your way of loving and taking care of us.

I am so thankful for all the dentist appointments you took us on.  Our mouths were a great priority of yours, and you made sure daddy spent money to get us the surgery we needed--and I know that sacrifice was great.

I know you tried in your own way to please me--and I am sorry the adolescent child I was--got cold and shut down.  But please know--that if I hadn't grown that armor--I probably would not be here today.

Mom, I have watched you manage a home, a business, a husband, and three children all while cooking great meals, and sheet rocking walls too.  I have watched you go out in your mid forties and secure a full time government job, when daddy went out of business.  I watched you research bible studies and turn pastor's on their heads with your inquisitiveness.  I have watched you care for the sick, and elderly, and have seen you cry while praising God.  I have seen you smile, no matter what life has thrown at you, and have marveled at your resilience.

And today I want you to know, that in spite of it all, I am proud that you are my mother.

My book isn't about you and its not about me.  It's about helping other people who have been affected by alcoholism--understand.

It's about helping other little kids like me, like I was--heal.

It's about helping ACoA moms calm down--turn within--and learn how to be gentle with themselves and their children.

It's about women who are in enabling marriages--who fear their husband's wrath learn how to honor themselves.

It's about helping confused people, who hate themselves and don't know why understand that at their core--in spite of what has ever been done or said to them--they are worthy.

It's about teaching families how to--forgive--understand--unconditionally.

It's about helping others learn how to stop lying to themselves--and how to begin telling their own truth.

It's about teaching the world--one word at a time--how to find inner peace--and ultimately learn to love 'self'.

Mom, you have taught me more than you realize.  You did your job.  You were a far greater mother than your own--you have nothing to be ashamed about.   You have nothing to feel guilty about.  You--like me--like all beings--made mistakes--and that is forgivable.

But it was my job to learn from your mistakes--and to do better.

And my books, and my website, and my Skype sessions, and all the other work I do--is part of the way I have chosen to do better.

I love you...

Lisa


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Need To Be Needed--Confuse Love With Pity?

When you are the child who has been raised in a home whose basic system does not allow for the ability to express emotions freely, life becomes a maze of confusion.

When children are programmed to accept the 'no talk' rule as a way of surviving in a home, it becomes next to impossible to be able to navigate a healthy future adult life without unnecessary drama.  Children who have been conditioned to deny their realities, because the adults in their lives are unable to confront reality, they are taught to quite literally cut themselves off from self.  As a result children from denial based homes suffer incredible bouts of low self esteem.

Whether you are an adult who has survived an emotionally abusive home, or a child still stuck inside one, the good news is  you are not alone, and even better--there is a way out.

Understanding first and foremost that it is not normal to not allow others to express their emotions.  It is not normal to yell when someone says they are in pain, and it is not normal to ignore a child when they are upset, or aching emotionally.

When you are a product of a denial based home you struggle to understand what normal is.  Because you have no idea what healthy relating looks or feels like, your ideas about love and relationships with others is skewed.

If you know that--consider yourself lucky.  Plenty of people die never understanding that their problems in life were due to their faulty programming and conditioning.

Knowledge truly is power.  If you are the grandchild of an alcoholic, or drug addict, compulsive gambler, workaholic, or so on--that means your parents were ignored and emotionally neglected as children.  That would also mean there is a very high likelihood that you have suffered because your parents simply didn't know any better.

Once again--there's good news. There is a better way.

You can break the cycles of emotional battery--and denial--and heal the lack of intimacy and trust in your family.  But first, you must learn to stop hurting yourself.

Begin by validating the pain you have experienced, and know with every fiber of your being that you deserve to be happy and peaceful.

Learning all you can about healing shame and guilt, as well as dysfunctional family syndromes help arm you against the ignorance you will find in your immediate families.  If your immediate family is sick, they will more than likely get angry because you are daring to think and do differently than what they do.

Below is a link to a website that outlines clearly the characteristics of ACoA.

Please note that alcohol and drugs do not have to be a part of a denial based family system in order for abuse to be taking place.

Read on and empower your Self.

Namaste...

http://www.usc.edu/programs/cwfl/assets/pamphlets/aca.pdf

Friday, October 26, 2012

When You Are An Adult Child of an Alcoholic

When you are the adult child of an alcoholic, or the adult child of an adult child of an alcoholic, or if you are the child that has come from a denial based home, life is a frenzy of confusion.  You 'feel' and you think things, but the adults in your life cannot and do not validate what you feel or how you feel.  This lack of emotional validation is interpreted by our souls in a harrowing sense.  Our inability to connect to the ones who love us, make us feel 'cut off' from others, which in turns minimizes, and in some cases completely cuts us off from our own selves.

This void within, sends us on a psychological and emotional quest to prove that we are in fact worthy.  We cater to those we love in a heroic attempt to gain others approval.  We are in essence chasing after the love we did not receive from our self absorbed caretakers--but of course we adult children of the addicted and narcissistic do not know that consciously.

We than presume it is 'we' who are faulty.  It is 'us' who is to blame for the sickening emptiness we feel from within.  Our lives are chaotic and we attract similar personalities into our adult lives, and project our inner worlds onto others.  We attract those  who are unable to love us, cater to them, enable them, and then feel victimized when we finally come to realize they refuse to be who we want them to be.

And then we divorce these people, kick them to the curbs, complain and whine about them--we then attract the same personalities into our lives all over again.

We enable, cater, deny, and tell ourselves this time it will be different.  But in time, we learn we were wrong...and like all codependents do--we fall into the same cycle of victimization once more.

We complain, cry, whine, and blame others for not being who we tried to manipulate them into being.

Still unable to see 'self' we fail to recognize that we are the common denominator.  We are the attractor of our circumstances.  We enabled to gain validation...and in so doing righteously demanded and expected others to be who our inner lost child needed them to be.

We codependents have eyes that are tuned into what others do, and what others say, far much greater than we are tuned into what we do, or what we say, or how we react, or how we think.  We believe in our victimization and expect others to heal us in ways they are not responsible for, and when they do not meet our expectations, we blame them, curse them, throw temper tantrums, or collapse into feelings of victimization and douse our already charred bodies with heavy bouts of low self esteem inner dialogue.

When you are an adult child of an alcoholic, narcissistic, or codependent, you are not taught to take responsibility for your emotional self.  You are taught to deny, to pretend, and to make believe.

The ability to pretend was useful when we were children.  It made us feel safe.  It gave us something to hold onto.  But if we are to heal as adults, we must take ownership over what we feel, what we do, and how we treat others today.

Yes, it was our parents responsibilities to help us love 'self' and yes we were victimized whether passively or aggressively.  Yes, we were abandoned and taught to pretend everything was fine when it wasn't. But if we are to ever create the life experiences we desire from within, we must stop all finger pointing and blaming, and learn to heal our own 'self'.

And when we learn to love 'self'--and when we learn to honor 'self'--and when we learn to be gentle with 'self'--and when we learn to accept 'self'--it becomes no longer necessary to enable, cater, pretend, chastise, or manipulate a sense of validation from others.  

Suddenly our relationships transform, and like butterflies being sprung from our wombs, we open up to life on our own terms, and land where we feel the most safe...

Relax, enjoy--take deep breaths--everything is alright--smile--let go--we're only passing through...

Namaste sister and brothers...namaste...You are loved...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Healing Emotional Abuse 103

When you are the adult child of an alcoholic, or like me, when you are the adult child of an adult child of an alcoholic, healing can be quite the adventure.

Because we have been taught to disown Self, often times we do not fully realize we have been emotionally abused.  We are so suppressed, and disconnected, we aren't even aware of how much trouble we are in.  In spite of continually attracting the same type of emotional vampires into our lives, we sometimes never make the connection to our pasts. Many adult children live their lives telling themselves as well as others, that everything is 'just fine'.

One of the most difficult aspects of alcoholism abuse, is the fact that many survivors don't  'get' that they've been abused.  So accustomed to enabling and catering to others at the expense of Self, many adult children have become deaf to their own souls.  Because adult children were emotionally neglected as children, their antennae for love and nurturing have sort of crumbled away.  Adult children often times settle for what shows up--even when what shows up--is crap.

An important component to healing from codependency is acknowledging the pain that has long gone been buried beneath survival skills.  Although adult children sometimes have a difficult time acknowledging the fact that they have been wounded, the scars remain, suspended in time--until the being finally becomes allowing of the pain to surface.

Allowing, surrendering and accepting the pain of the past is always uncomfortable.  Luckily there are countless organizations and meetings all over this country that support the codependent healing process.

If you want to heal--first you must peel--and then feel...eventually you then learn how to deal..with your feelings...and then finally you will heal...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Emotional Abuse 102

Emotions are miraculous.  Designed to be ones internal guidance system, often times however, our emotions get toyed with by others.  If we were children who were raised in homes by alcoholics, or adult children of alcoholics, chances are our emotions were considered inconvenient things.  As a result many of us walk through life feeling screwy, discombobulated, and full of self doubt.  These miraculous things called emotions, we do not trust; we loathe instead.

Most programming and conditioning of the subconscious mind occurs when the brain of the being is young, innocent and most impressionable.  When a child's needs are consistently frustrated by an emotionally unavailable or self absorbed caretaker, the negative emotions the child 'feels' imprints the subconscious mind with negative perceptions of Self.  Because the child is unable to cognitively comprehend that their parent is infested by a soul eating disease like alcoholism, narcissism, perfectionism, fear, arrogance or any number of absorbing psychological disease processes, the child turns upon him/herself and through the wounding of their souls learns to perceive that their parents inability to express love in an intimate way is the result of the child's unworthiness.

This negative impression that is communicated to the subconscious by way of the emotions, is like a missile.  As the child grows he/she will continually find people, situations and circumstances that reinforce that negative false belief.  This child will be drawn to beings who liken similar emotional tendencies as his/her parents, and will unknowingly attract emotional vampires into their experience.

Emotional abuse occurs long before we adults discover ourselves in domestic violence abuse situations.  The likelihood of a child who was raised by a non emotionally available caretaker of suffering from emotional abuse later on in adult life is great.

As adults our goal is to learn how to accept our feelings as the indicators they are rather than to deny or judge them.  If you are in a relationship with someone who sparks negative feelings within you, it is your divine internal guidance system that is attempting to get your attention.  Your negative emotions are the way in which your inner being communicates with  you. And when you dismiss, judge, or deny your emotions, you quite literally halt the flow of positive energy within the body, which only creates more negativity, much like an energy loop.

As caretakers it is our responsibility to help our children learn to use their emotions to their advantage.  It is our goal to be there for our children emotionally, and to help them find the courage to move out of situations that are causing them emotional harm and towards more pleasing life experiences.  It is our aim to help our children learn to honor those internal hunches for the miraculous guidance they are, and to learn how to remove themselves quickly from others who may be attempting to use our children's emotions against them.

For those who have been raised by enablers, caretakers, rescuers as well as the irresponsible or over responsible, it is often times a difficult task for us to unravel our own personal subconscious programming effectively enough so that we may offer our children the most healthy advice.  In the end the better we know and appreciate our own minds, and the impressions we received when our minds were the most impressionable, the more clearly we will be able to help our own children create most abundant life experiences.

Namaste...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

When I Saw You Look At Me (A Poem For Self Abusers)

When I was small,
You were my world,
And I was just a small part of it.
You were it--it all.

When I saw you look at me,
I hoped you liked what you saw,
But most of the time,
I felt bad, wrong and ugly.

When you called my name,
I prayed it was because you wanted to give me a hug,
It used to break my heart,
When you told me I should be ashamed.

I never lost hoping that one day,
You'd see the little girl,
Beyond what only your eyes could see,
Who couldn't help but love you anyway.

When I saw you look at me,
I hoped you liked what you saw,
But most of the time,
I felt bad, wrong and ugly.

You never knew that inside,
I felt like I was dying,
Because I never felt ''enough'.
Truckloads of silent tears I cried.

In your eyes I would search for love,
That could heal my child's heart,
And make me feel a part,
Of the family I was born of.

But in your eyes,
All I could see,
Was what you could not get past,
No matter how hard the little girl in me tried.

When I saw you look at me,
I hoped you liked what you saw,
But most of the time,
I felt bad, wrong and ugly.

I got older,
And I hated my body,
I hated my hair, my eyes, and my teeth too.
It was then I began giving you the cold shoulder.

Because you couldn't love me,
The way I needed to be loved,
I thought I was no good, not enough--ugly.
And so I loved others and hoped it would set me free.

But I was wrong,
No one could love me,
Not them, nor you...
Which is why I wrote you this song.

When I saw you look at me,
I hoped you liked what you saw,
But most of the time,
I felt bad, wrong and ugly.

Boys abused my shame,
Told me I was pretty,
And that I was good,
But it only numbed the pain.

My heart only knew,
It didn't feel loved,
And so I believed the boys when they said,
"I love you..."

I learned my lessons, although I am battered and bruised,
Love isn't supposed to hurt,
Or make you feel,
Scared, weak, lost, abandoned or confused.

When I saw you look at me,
I hoped you liked what you saw,
But most of the time,
I felt bad, wrong and ugly.


Mom and dad--I am much older today,
And I forgive what has been done,
Because now I understand,
It was my job to come here and learn to love my Self anyway.

Mom and dad--no worries--I have forgiven it all,
You could never teach me,
A lesson you never learned,
When you were both small.

It's okay mom and dad--I can let it go,
You could never give me something,
You never had your self,
Self love is priceless--and this I know.


I have learned a thing or two, 
On the road back to me, 
I know that I am good inside, 
No matter what I've been through.


Go ahead and look at me,
It's okay--I get it now,
Because you see mom and dad,
I know I am not bad, wrong or ugly.

I have found The Road Back To Me.



Monday, October 1, 2012

Balance Your Emotions and Balance Your Life

In order to achieve balance, opposing forces must be equalized.

If your life is out of balance, it is because your thoughts are not equalized.

Because this world we live in is three dimensional, we have been taught to perceive our experiences in terms of duality--either being right or wrong.  Because we have not been encouraged to think outside the rigid boxes of societal norms, we do not allow ourselves to even question what we have been programmed (brain washed) to believe.

If there is resistance within you--it is because you have not yet embraced your ability to access your divine free will.

You have a choice my friend.  Suffering is optional.

When you are sick and tired of being out of harmony within, at any point in time you can activate your free will, and choose to let go of whatever is causing your suffering.

A universal truth is--you cannot change others, nor do others have to change in order to ensure you have a more pleasurable life experience.

No one is coming to your rescue, nor should anyone rescue you.

You alone are responsible for your life experience, and your ability to allow others to be who they are will very much determine your level of happiness, and thus inner balance.

To achieve emotional balance--it is essential to let go of the opposing forces within.

If you love someone--then love them with all of your heart.  Be congruent in your thoughts as well as with your actions.

If you love life--then love life as it is--even if it isn't what you want in any given moment--its still life.

If you love nature--then love nature even when its storming, raining, and snowing--its still nature.

If you love money--then love the money your job allows you to create--even if you don't necessarily love your job.  Be grateful anyway.

By intentionally following through with your thoughts, and coming to a point in your thinking where your current resistance eventually drops, you equalize opposing emotional thoughts and emotions and energy streams within and ultimately master the divine ability to create your own harmonious reality.

Namaste...