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First ACA Meeting in 8 months

Old 01-19-2012, 11:37 PM
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First ACA Meeting in 8 months

Oh brother!

OK. So, I went. It was a small meeting; about 8 people. They were really friendly and I got something from it I think. One guy shared and I sort of related.

Again, I started thinking about my childhood and had to choke back tears. One by one, they went around the room and shared. I found myself trying to rehearse what I would share, but then I stopped. Why was I doing that? Who cares how it might come out, who cares if it's all over the place. I almost got the guts to share, and then a lady shared. Something in her share triggered me. She was SO unbelievably negative about life, blaming everyone for her problems.

I suddenly didn't feel safe to be vulnerable anymore. What had gone wrong? I got up and walked out. I didn't feel good at all. I thought going to a meeting would make me feel good.

I think the problem is that I need to cry. I have gotten to a period in dealing with my childhood where I'm mourning. I need to let it all out, but I don't feel safe to and I don't want to do it alone.

I came home, was irritable, totally affected my boyfriend by it. The poor guy went to bed early. I feel as though I'm in a constant state of anger now over my childhood. I'm feeling depressed again most days, paralyzed again by fear, ugh!

I know I need to just do the work anyway and push through it, but it's so hard. I didn't get the childhood that I deserved and I know that can never be changed. It's just so hard to accept. I'm tired of feeling insecure, having low self esteem, self worth, etc. It's like I take 10 steps forward and 100 steps back. I keep going because I know that if I keep working at it, it will get better. I mean Jesus, a year ago, I was way worse off!

Sometimes I wonder if going through all of this is doing more damage than good; I mean digging up my past. I've done it so much over the last year. Is there a stopping point? How do you know when to stop?

I feel so alone. I don't have any friends because I'm so scared of everyone. I did a bunch of work at cleaning out toxic relationships and then I was left without friends. I YEAAAARRRRN for healthy friendships, but I don't think I'm ready to be a really good friend yet, or maybe that's not my own voice telling me that. It's just so hard to make friends. When I wear the mask (compliant, people pleasing, seeking approval, etc), it's easy to make friends, but I don't want that anymore.

Thanks for listening....can anybody relate? I need advice. In fact, I welcome it. I'm always open to doing things differently...
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Old 01-20-2012, 02:18 AM
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Oh. I'm so sorry, I know how you feel, I just push people away, it has been worse since my accident has left me unable to work, I try not to walk around with it all the time, I described it to my wife as a big heavy wet coat, it just affected everything.

Lately my mom (alcoholic) and my dad (her enabler) have made things extra crazy and I just want to jump on the table and say "dont you see what you have done to me" but I know it's all pointless I call my mom the mayor of the town of Denial.

I just had my first therapy session where she did EMDR on me, simple explanation it relocates old pianful memories from the front of your brain (where they stay fresh) to the back (where they become fuzzy), I cried more in 5 minutes than I have in 15 years.

I just had to do this, I was driving my wife crazy with it, she said the same thing you did, "every time you make some progress you backslide further than you were".

Please remember, we have all been through this, you are not alone, you can talk to us anytime, you can send private messages to anyone you feel comfortable with, you will not be abandoned here. All you have to do is ask for what you need.

Big hugs to you.

Bill
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Old 01-20-2012, 05:29 AM
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Thank you for sharing Suffocating.

I can relate. I have felt like this MANY times before. But I keep coming back because over time I'm seeing progress in myself too.

Are you also working the steps? When I first started my recovery work I purchased the big red book and the yellow workbook from the ACA/WSO. Defining and redefining my relationship with my HP helped me get through some difficult periods. For me, there was a lot of power and support in steps 1-3. Which I have heard some people summarize as:
I can't, he can, I'm going to let him.
There was one meeting that I went to when I was feeling particularly emotional over a fight that my sister and I were having. After I shared, a woman in the group basically shared that she was glad that she has continued in her recovery because she is no longer as crazy as I was! I was so mad that I wanted to walk out. Never went back to that meeting again.

If the particular meeting that you went to doesn't fit, I would try to shop around a little more if you can.

Wish I had more words of wisdom to share. I don't understand why the 12-steps work. I try not to intellectualize it too much. However, I do know that by sharing and bringing all my bad memories to light, in a safe environment where people understand, they somehow lose their power over me.

Thanks again for sharing and for letting me share.

db
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Old 01-20-2012, 07:21 AM
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Sounds as though you heard some things that helped, Suff -- just ignore Negative Nancy. There are a few people like that -- they just need to "keep coming back," like the rest of us!

No worries if you don't feel up to sharing -- Andy Garcia sat in meetings for months before he spoke up, when Meg Ryan was in rehab in "When A Man Loves A Woman" (which a friend lent me a few days before we did an intervention to get my wife to go to treatment -- that was in May of '96, and she's been sober and healthy ever since).

Good luck!

T
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Old 01-20-2012, 11:52 AM
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No you didn't get the childhood you deserved, neither did I , neither did most of us here. But that has to be forgiven. I know it's hard, it was the hardest thing I ever did. As some mention here forgiveness does not mean that now you don't acknowledge the bad stuff that happened, it doesn't give the perpetrator a free pass. It does give you freedom though. It is hard and it won't come easy but sooner or later it has to be done if you want to be free. Don't give up on yourself, be gentle with yourself. It will take as long as it has to.
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Old 01-20-2012, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Kialua View Post
No you didn't get the childhood you deserved, neither did I , neither did most of us here. But that has to be forgiven. I know it's hard, it was the hardest thing I ever did.
I feel the same way. There are days when my inner child is still really p*ssed that I didn't have the childhood that I wanted, needed, and deserved. I look at my own children and their friends and all the opportunities they have. I'm not jealous, but I sometimes wonder who could I have been with different parents.

But over time I am learning to accept my childhood. First, because there is absolutely NOTHING I can do about it. Second, for the most part I'm happy with my life now. I love my husband and adore my children. I'd almost be scare to change anything about my life path because I'd be scared that I wouldn't end up here (if that makes sense).

My daughter has been taking dance classes since was 3 years old (she's 11 now). This is something that I always wished I could have done. I'm determined to someday sign up for an adult tap class in order to make my inner child happy. I'm almost 50 years old, but I'm dying to be in a recital!

It is true that the "Negative Nancy's" need the meetings just as much as we do. Heck, I might have come across as a Negative Nancy in some meetings! There's a saying that they read in many of the Al-Anon meeting that always makes me smile:
"The welcome we give you may not show the warmth we have in our hearts for you. After a while, you’ll discover that though you may not like all of us, you’ll love us in a very special way—the same way we already love you."
Thanks for letting me share.

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Old 01-20-2012, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Suffocating View Post
...I'm tired of feeling insecure, having low self esteem, self worth, etc. It's like I take 10 steps forward and 100 steps back. I keep going because I know that if I keep working at it, it will get better. I mean Jesus, a year ago, I was way worse off!


...I feel so alone. I don't have any friends because I'm so scared of everyone. I did a bunch of work at cleaning out toxic relationships and then I was left without friends. I YEAAAARRRRN for healthy friendships, but I don't think I'm ready to be a really good friend yet, or maybe that's not my own voice telling me that. It's just so hard to make friends. When I wear the mask (compliant, people pleasing, seeking approval, etc), it's easy to make friends, but I don't want that anymore.
I'm shocked by how much I can relate to your post.

I have also, within the past two years or so, severed ties with most of my "close friends" because I was so sick of feeling like they were either so unhealthy and codependent that they weren't really capable of participating in a healthy friendship, or feeling sick of having friends who seemed to enjoy a certain smugness and boost to their own self-esteem by looking down on me, even if they never said it outright.

I came very close, during my pregnancy a year ago, to cutting out many family members as well, but they have proven to me that, despite their faults, I can have them in my life and my son's life--at least from a reasonably safe distance.
They can be very good to talk to and have around...it's mostly my mother who has the capacity to really make me feel (and act) neurotic, so she's allowed and welcomed as often as we're all able to drive to see each other, which is only every other month or so.

When I really take a step back and look at the last three or four years of my life, I realize that a few years ago I was already starting to sever "friendships" with people (especially guys) who were obviously abusive and/or dysfunctional, and I guess that clearing out my "close friendships" was just the next step in my process.

So, as a result, I have family, and literally barely a handful of friends that I keep in touch with, try to get together if/when we can, etc.

I totally understand what you mean when you say that you don't feel like you're ready to be a really good friend yet. I feel the same way. I want to be around healthy people, or at least have friends who are on the same page and similar journey, but so far I'm just kind of waiting it out. I figure that when I am ready, people will come into my life for the right reasons.

But yeah, until then I depend a lot on the internet, my husband, and unfortunately my in-laws (who have proven entirely undependable in the friendship department as well, as they are all ACAs who haven't really worked out all of their issues--but then, who has? hahah). They live very close, so I've tried to be friends with them (and they're always going on about how we're "all family", and "let's do this or that", etc.), but they're just not really as healthy as all that.

Anyway, I just want to give you a virtual high five, as I believe we are in similar boats with our outlook on friendships, how to be a good friend, and trying to wait until we're ready to build healthy, meaningful friendships with others.

I will add that some of the friends I cut out of my life had been my friends for years, some for decades. But that doesn't necessarily mean that the friendships were healthy.
So, I'm just kind of hanging out until the time is right, and making a point of not hanging out with people who give me red flag warnings (or even yellow flag warnings) just because I'm bored or lonely.

And yeah, I do feel like I take 10 steps forward and 100 steps back. Every day. But I'm pretty sure that it's better than just sitting in the same place forever!

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Old 01-20-2012, 03:36 PM
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...oh, and when I say that I "have family", I mean that I talk on the phone with either of my parents *maybe* once a month at most, and I talk to other relatives (like my aunts and cousins) every few months on the phone, if at all, or only through Facebook.
Oh yes, and my in-laws. They can be quite delightful sometimes (sarcasm intended).

So, I do feel very isolated a lot of the time, but I figure that this is a time for me to heal, so it's okay.

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