My parent’s are alcoholics. They have been my whole life. Growing up with them meant I was often unsafe.
I am now an adult and I still spend a large amount of time feeling unsafe, despite the fact, I am safe. After all, my brain was wired to respond to an unsafe environment for the first 17 years of my life. My brain perceives things as threatening, that really are not a threat. Because of this, my brain overreacts a lot and activates my nervous system, which sends adrenaline rushing through body so that I can respond to the “threat”. This is referred to as “trauma”.
When I feel unsafe and threatened, this is accompanied by a feeling of intense anxiety and emotional pain. Followed by a feeling of frustration. I’m not frustrated by the pain and anxiety, only the many unhealthy behaviours and quirks I seem to have obtained, which hide the pain and manage the anxiety. I wish I could cope better, but I can’t. That’s when the behaviors and quirks come into play; dissociation, avoidance, jealousy, distrust, fear of abandonment and an overwhelming urge to control things that are outside of my control.
These behaviours I obtained to keep me safe as a child, are no longer required because I am safe now. However they remain. They seem unshakeable. I used to think as a child, that when I would leave home, I would leave my parents alcoholism behind. How naive I was. I have been living away from home for eight years and the baggage has never left me, slowly some has evaporated off, but the heavy stuff remains. I continue to perceive threats where there are no threats. I continue to have abnormal reactions to normal situations.
But I push through, carrying the heavy baggage, determined to find way a for it to get lighter. I keep my eyes on the prize; I’m breaking the cycle and it starts with me.