Be Careful What You Wish For

I am confused, I sound confused and I am acting confused.

I have been wishing for most of my 26 years, that I would be able to handle my parents addiction better. Two years ago, I had the courage to make some changes, I set some boundaries and decided to do some hard work on myself, to stop me from continuing my lifestyle as a codependent.

In the last month, my mother (though still an addict), has begun to show me respect and is even respecting my boundaries. For the first time in my life, I feel like my life is drama-free……this is all I’ve wanted for the past 26 years and id always imagined this moment and how I thought I would savor it. Unfortunately, now it has come I don’t savor it at all, surprisingly, I don’t like it.

I don’t know how to live without her drama, without her abuse, without her putting me down. It feels uncomfortably peaceful. At my worst (in regards to this challenge), I thought about creating a drama in my life, so I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable. Growing up with addicts was so chaotic that I learnt to live with it, I even learnt to like it. Now my next step is to learn to live without it, because I’m breaking the cycle and it starts with me.

I Won’t Let Her Triumph

I woke up this morning to a phone call from my Mother. These are never easy because she is an alcoholic. I limit my contact with her  to one phone call per week on the weekend because of the emotional toll her addiction takes on me.

She was drunk. She started asking about some minor details about my wedding, which is in 18 months,  I told her I wasn’t sure because it was 18 months away. She began to shout at me. She started saying she wanted to write the whole guest list, I told her my fiance and his family would need to invite people too (especially because his parents have paid the deposit on the venue).
I remained calm, I won’t let her triumph. She started verbally abusing me before hanging up the phone.

I was triggered. I cried. I cried because for the first 23 years of my life, I centred my life on her addiction. I cried because she used to control me so much that now she can’t, so when I stand up to her she cannot seem to cope. I cried because even though I enforce healthy boundaries, I still find it so hard. I cried for maybe two hours. But then I decided to move on.

I won’t let her triumph. She sapped the joy out of the first 23 years of my life; the next 23(+) years are mine to live, not hers to control, not hers to ruin.

I will be happy, I will be healthy, I will be autonomous. I won’t let her triumph.

When Family Hurts: A Tailored Love

Having a family member with a serious addiction poses serious dilemmas as far as navigating a relationship goes. I’ve had to tailor my love for my mother to work for her and me so that there is as little pain as possible

Being close to you hurts, so I will love you from a distant place.

You tell me you’ve given up drinking, I find alcohol hidden around the house. The lies hurt me and make me frustrated, so I decide I cannot visit your home any longer. I will love you from a distant place.

You tell me you only started drinking when I was a teenager. I tell you I have so many traumatic memories of your addiction when I was a child. You tell me I imagined it, I’m crazy, I need counseling. I decide I can no longer talk to you about the past or my childhood. I will love you from a distant place.

When I talk to you on the phone, you threaten suicide if I don’t do what you want. You have me in tears. I decide I can’t speak on the phone to you any longer. I will love you from a distant place.

I still care, I still wonder how you are. It just hurts too much to have you involved in my life properly. Your addiction has given me no choice. For my own happiness, I will love you from a distant place.

Emotional Healing Strategies

Trace (def); find or discover by investigation.

Two years ago at age 24, I realised my parents were alcoholics and I had spent my whole life being a codependent. I wanted to heal from this experience and break the cycle to find a more healthy, happy and functional way of living.

This is what I have traced during that process:

1. A journal where I was able to write my many complex thoughts and experiences (especially traumatic ones) helped me to process them.

2. Gratitude journaling really helped me to focus on the positive and change my mindset. I write a list of everything I’m grateful for at the end of each day, it only takes 5 minutes.

3. Hypnotherapy really worked for me. I was sceptic, but I was also desperate to change. It caught me by surprise but I noticed a HUGE difference.

4. Food makes a huge difference. Sugar and caffeine impacts on energy levels and therefore on our moods. It’s scientifically proven but a lot of people pay little attention to it. I had so much more energy, slept better and felt better, when I cut out caffeine and sugar. Caffeine actually was a huge contributor to my anxiety.

5. In my journal, I kept a success log. Change is hard and takes a long time. Everyday I wrote some of the things I did well even if it was “I went to a social event where I only knew one other person” or “I was honest about what I was feeling when my friend asked me how I was”.

These are the top 5 things that I can say have helped me progress. They’re not for everyone because we all heal differently, but these certainly impacted my well being in a positive way!

When My Stress Detonates on an Innocent Target

There are a lot of feelings built up inside me that I am working on. Anger, rage, resentment, grief, rejection, envy and sadness. The source of these feelings is my parents addiction, which I grew up basing my life around.

I do all the healthy recommended strategies for dealing with these feelings. Up until a few years ago, I had them deeply buried. I was in denial. I journal, I practice gratitude, I meditate, I do healing exercises such as writing letters of forgiveness and burning them. These strategies I use on a daily basis.   These strategies are supposed to help me process emotions and trauma.

Despite all these different strategies, sometimes I end up dealing with the emotions in a negative way. I have angry thoughts in my head for a few hours about an incident in my past; I feel betrayed, hurt, frustrated and sad. I’ll be hanging out with my partner, he’ll do something slightly irritating and I’ll detonate. I’ll shout at him or snap at him. Immediately it feels good to release those pent up feelings, but as soon as they are released a huge wave of guilt falls upon me.

My partner is the one person I can trust. Someone who has never let me down. He doesn’t deserve to wear my trauma. I wish I didn’t react in this way. This is how I feel most of the time, like a ticking time bomb. I dont feel as though I can control these outbursts. I’ve been told this kind of reaction is normal during PTSD, as I am easily triggered at the moment. I just wish I did not detonate on an innocent target.

What I Wish I Could Radiate…

In the last two years, since deciding to confront my codependency with my alcoholic parents and my trauma from growing up in an addiction centred home, I have changed a lot.

Sadly, I still find myself focused on the things I wish I could overcome, the things I am failing at; instead of focusing upon the things I have achieved.

There are many things I wish I could be. Unfortunately, despite an awful lot of positive transformation, Im still not who I desire to be yet.

There is much hard work I need to do on myself to ensure that I will break the cycle of dysfunction and show my future children a positive and healthy way of life.

This is my traits and skills wishlist:

-I wish I could radiate security; instead of feeling threatened and unsafe by others.

-I wish I could radiate mindfulness, rather than being anxious about the future, daydreaming to escape my reality or feeling resentful over the past.

-I wish I could radiate honesty and authenticity, as opposed to telling others what they want to hear so I don’t get rejected.

-I wish I could radiate peace, instead of resentment, anger and anxiety.

-I wish I could radiate groundedness, rather than being scatty , indecisive and dithery.