The calm before the storm

Old 01-25-2007, 05:41 PM
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Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Pittsburgh
Posts: 2
The calm before the storm

Hi everyone, I'm Missy.
I joined about two weeks ago and never really introduced myself formally. I was waiting for the right time to start a new thread of my own.
So what I have accomplished so far are two ACOA meetings and meeting some good people, reading the literature, and walking around with my "just for today" bookmark. (hee hee makes me smile everytime I think about that thing)

So what I'm feeling today is 'the calm before the storm'. My whole life I learned to survive, be strong, and wait for the chance to get the heck away from my crazy family. But up to the point that I succeeded at 18 - off to college - I was an emotionless zombie. Everything that happened, I numbed myself to. I really surpressed my feeilngs. In fact, I rejected them. I refused to let myself actually feel them. I just got angry when something triggered the memories. But I didn't dare let myself feel the pain.
And now I know I have to feel them, and deal with them. Here comes the storm....
See, anger and pain are opposites for me, let me explain. Anger, although I don't deal with my anger pretty much at all, in my mind, it's what protects me. So my natural reaction to things I don't like or aren't to my standards, I flip out! It's my form of protecting and defending myself. But pain... that's when I'm vulnerable. And the second I get vulnerable..... whoosh, big angry hard steal wall pops up. So basically, when everything is great, I'm super happy missy! And when it's not, I'm super b****y Missy. Luckily, my life today makes me super happy missy, but I'm not whole yet. I need this healing. I need to come to terms with all the crap that happened to me.
I need to let ACOA and my HP help me.
But, in order to do that, I have to play by their rules (steps) and deal with this stuff.
I guess I have denial. I don't want to face all the traumas in my life. I spent my whole life running from that pain... and I have it just hanging on my shoulders now. And it's getting really really heavy. And I know I have to put it down.
I'm just afraid it's going to kill me. All the emotional abuse, physical abuse, hardships and diffculties, the ridiculous alcoholics' 'lessons about life' I have to unlearn, etc... I look back now and wonder how the heck I even survived it. How could I be so stone cold in the midst of it all... it's like I wasn't even human. And the alcoholics that did that to me.... they don't even care. They turned me away. I never in so many words ever reject them but they rejected me. They hurt me. They abused me. They never showed me sympathy, everything was my own fault, my own doing....
So how can I be strong now while I let these feelings resurface? I can't let anger be my protector anymore because anger will never let me deal with this pain.... I supposed I'm looking for a good approach... and a lot of support before this storm hits. Because once this pain comes through.... I'm going to get super lost and super scared... and I'm going to want to get super mad... but what else can I fall back on?

Thanks for listening....
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Old 01-25-2007, 07:54 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Pasadena,Ca
Posts: 147
Welcome! I am scared of feeling the pain, too. I have spent my entire life not feeling the pain. I drank for a long time to not feel the pain. I used anger after that to not feel the pain. I am just worn out. I am super scared, too.

I don't have any advice to give you because I am just a "newbie"' at this, but I did want to say hi and let you know I feel just like you do, you are not alone.

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Old 01-25-2007, 10:37 PM
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Starting over
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Hey there Missy,

I'm glad you found those meets useful. I got me one of those bookmarks right here with me too

Here's the way it works for me. I did _not_ face all the traumas of my life, and I had plenty of 'em. I just faced the ones I was ready for. My life with "toxic parents" was entirely black or white. Either they were passed out and harmless or they were drunk and raging. In recovery I learned that I don't have to live black or white anymore, I can pick any color I want in any intensity I want.

It's not going to kill you. Didn't kill any of us. I did it little by little and each time I "uncovered" another little trauma I felt better, and stronger. You won't get super lost and super scared. What I did was I slowly found the _real_ me that I had lost in my childhood.

As for that "stone cold" response of yours, I have it too. Now that I've gotten rid of most of my baggage in turns out I can _control_ that stone cold response. It makes me _very useful_ in emergency situations. You'll make an awesome nurse, ER doc, paramedic, firefighter, etc. I work in a profession where most of the time things are fine, but when they go bad they do so in a big way, and in a big hurry. The worse things get the cooler I become, and the more useful I am to the folks around me.

All those "negative" things I used to hate about _me_ I have turned around into assets. There's a saying that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Well being an ACoA makes us the strongest people in the world.

Stay close to the people from those meets, and stay close to us, and all together we'll make it thru.

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Old 01-25-2007, 11:34 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 50

Thank you for those feelings. I share them too. And just appreciate your post.

The fear of experiencing grief is HUGE in me too. I'm afraid of losing my sanity in the proces! Afraid I may act wildly in anger. Or, be so depressed, may never feel like "getting up." The extremes...

But then, aren't we strong as you said? Strong to have gone through that?

Maybe we can control ourselves through the grieving process. Like, take charge of the process.

So if the fear is too strong, maybe there are ways to heal slowly if that is what you want.

You are in control.

You can do it. If we had the strength to bear it, that was the hardest part as you said.

Lot of love, Missy.
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Old 01-26-2007, 08:36 AM
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I was terrified the first time I went to counseling (for various reasons, the 12 steps aren't for me, although they do have some very useful content). I thought that the counselor would open the floodgates of all that baggage I had stomped down, ignored, stifled, pretended didn't exist etc. I knew there was a lot in there, and I knew it was getting harder and harder to keep it contained. I was like a pressure cooker with a faulty valve, just ready to explode.

And I was sure it was going to be miserable. But guess what? You mind, that very same mind that protected you well enough to survive your childhood, will go on protecting you.

Think about it: you have lived through hell. You know all the roads, you know what it feels like, and yet your mind managed to keep you well enough protected that you survived. You survived. Survived.

That very same mind is not now going to let you perish under the weight of your burdens. It will continue to protect you, only allowing that to come out which you are capable of dealing with in the moment. It takes years (20 and counting for me), and it takes vigilance (to avoid slipping back into those old patterns), but it can and does happen. Mike is a great example of it. I think I've done pretty well for myself also.

Remember, that which kept you whole will continue to do so. The mountain of crap in your head will not all come out at once and crush you - your mind won't let it. It has kept you going this far, it will continue to do so. The very fact that you are willing to look inside yourself for answers, rather than blaming everyone around you for your behaviors, shows your strength. You are strong, never doubt that. And you will stay protected as you move, slowly or quickly, through the layers upon layers of tangled emotions and no longer useful coping mechanisms.

All of us here are stronger than we realize. We had to be to make it out even vaguely intact. There is no storm that you are facing, though there will be rain and clouds. But you will weather the rain and clouds, and find sunshine in places you never knew existed.
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