“Playing the victim or being overly responsible allows the adult child to avoid focusing on himself or herself.. Both roles are saturated with codependent avoidance of feelings and being responsible for one’s own feelings. By concerning ourselves with others and their chaos, we avoid doing anything about our own lives. By being overly concerned about others, adult children wrongly think they are involved in life. In reality they are missing life. The enmeshed , codependent ACA can be so wrapped up in another person’s thoughts and actions that the adult child has no inner life or outer support when the relationship wanes. Codependent ACAs describe feeling lethargic, disoriented , and hopeless when their partners are gone. This is the high price for focusing on others.” ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) Red Book
From “The Big Words: Childhood Trauma“:
When my therapist used the words childhood trauma while we were discussing my life growing up, all these strong validating emotions flood over me. The word trauma. That frightening word.
I didn’t go through foster homes. I wasn’t physically or sexually abused. So, I minimized my trauma from growing up in an erratic, unstable home.
My childhood was filled with screaming and barely living paycheck to paycheck. People were in and out at all hours of the night while I grew up alone, in my bedroom. Left with books, writing, music, and my imagination.
I wasn’t comfortable saying trauma because it was drilled into my head that my childhood wasn’t that bad. That it shouldn’t affect my life as an adult.
So, memories would overwhelm me and I questioned my self worth because my parents chose to put meth first. I tried meth the first time simply because I wanted to know what was worth my parents ruining their lives for years.
I was told that it wasn’t an excuse. Which it isn’t, entirely. However, trauma and bipolar disorder (which I can’t control) sure doesn’t make navigating through adulthood the same as your average human being.
Trauma breaks your heart. It gnaws at your bones. It suffocates your thinking. It chokes your entire being.
I’ve never gotten the chance to heal from this trauma.
It was a normal school day (besides my slipping attendance, which was not new). The year-level coordinator approached me after lunch. I was somewhat nervous but also oblivious to the conversation that would ensue. He asked me a series of questions regarding my lateness, whether I’d lost weight etc. After telling him a small portion of what was happening in my life, he used the word ‘abuse’ to describe what I had mentioned. This was a shock. How was I going through abuse? Wasn’t every other student experiencing this too? When he’d ask how I was faring from then on, I would assure him I was okay, even though I wasn’t. As a teenager, I thought I was right (typically) and it couldn’t be possible that what he said was true. Little did I know, pushing him away (as well as my pain), would cause an emotional overload, years down the track.
I recently read a line that summed things up nicely: “If we stay up until 3:00 A.M. reading a book on balance, we may be missing the point.” Although the writer was referring to something slightly different, the thought still applies in principle. When we spend the great proportion of our time trying to force life — which is inherently illogical and chaotic — into a form that can be understood by the intellect alone, the result is not what we expect. Instead, we are stifling our intuition, our subconscious, our imagination and our dreams. Pounding the square pegs of logic into the round holes of a chaotic reality results only in chips and messy sticks coming out the other end. If that’s not an unbalanced life, I don’t know what is.