Children of addicts and abusers often say they never felt heard. Unfortunately my parent’s addiction was their main focus and as a child, they weren’t emotionally available to think about my needs. Therefore I didn’t know how to express my needs. I didn’t know how to express myself at all.
I had a strong sense of never being heard. This overwhelming sense had channelled itself into unhealthy behaviors for myself and my siblings:
1. Only thinking about everyone else’s needs, not acknowledging one’s own.
2. Incessantly talking, repeating the point several times to make up for the feeling that no one will hear what is being said.
3. Not talking at all, because it’s believed no will listen.
4. Only thinking about your own needs in a very obsessive way and not acknowledging that others have needs.
When I realised that I did some of these behaviours as a 20 year old, I had to learn how to be heard and communicate my needs in a healthy way.
I began a journal and wrote what I thought to my diary, slowly this gave me the confidence to speak my thoughts aloud. I started listening to others more attentively and found that the more I listened properly to people, the more they wanted to hear my thoughts.
One of the hardest things about being an adult child of addicts, is all of the things I didn’t learn as a child through normal development. How to trust, how to communicate, how to regulate my emotions were all things I had to learn as an adult, my former years experiences, were unable to give me these skills. My parents were unable to teach me these skills, I had to teach myself.
I’m happy to say that I’m breaking the cycle, my children will learn these things from my example and from my partner’s example. I work hard on myself every day. I can’t wait to break the cycle and it’s starting right here, with me.