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Old 08-06-2010, 09:32 PM
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Good Reads??

I read somewhere that when a child grows up in a dysfunctional home, as I did, that it is the responsiblity of the adult child to then parent him/herself - you have to supply yourself with what your parents did not. I've been thinking of this quite a bit lately. It's difficult, however, to fill in the blanks manner when I don't know what healthy is.

So, are there any good reads out there, that any of you have read, about creating a healthy environment?

I have and am reading co-dependent no more, and I am in counseling, but I feel like I'm missing something. I grew up in an extremely codependent home in which my family was addicted to one another and religion - not alcohol, but it is almost as if they were dry-alcoholics.

Anyway, I feel as though I missed a whole "section" of growth, that I somehow was only half raised. In this were to physically manifest itself it's like the left side of me is a full grown adult, the right side withered.
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Old 08-07-2010, 12:32 PM
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Hello there Alegra, and pleased to "meet" you

Originally Posted by Alegra View Post
... I read somewhere that when a child grows up in a dysfunctional home, as I did, that it is the responsiblity of the adult child to then parent him/herself....
yup, I agree. I was raised by drunk parents... or shall I say I raised myself in spite of parents.... and that is exactly what I have had to do.

Originally Posted by Alegra View Post
... It's difficult, however, to fill in the blanks manner when I don't know what healthy is.....
That is how I feel too. I know all the things _not_ to do, but I have no idea what I _should_ do.

Originally Posted by Alegra View Post
... are there any good reads out there....
There's a whole bunch of good info right here on SR

Adult Children of Addicted/Alcoholic Parents - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information

as far as books my favs are:

From Survival to Recovery
Al-Anon Online Store : Home

It Will Never Happen to Me
Amazon.com: It Will Never Happen to Me: Growing Up With Addiction As Youngsters, Adolescents, Adults (9781568387987):…

Those two will get you started

Originally Posted by Alegra View Post
... I grew up in an extremely codependent home in which my family was addicted to one another and religion - not alcohol, but it is almost as if they were dry-alcoholics.....
The way you describe it makes perfect sense to me. Whatever the parent's addiction, the effects on the children are the same. That was "toxic environment", as they call it nowadays.

Mike
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Old 08-07-2010, 01:30 PM
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Hi Alegra
I was struggling with the same thoughts for awhile not long ago. I knew I had to take care of my inner child and work on some issues I had since my childhood (growing up with my A dad), mainly having to guess what normal and healthy is.
I read a lot here, and I started to question myself, as to determine which of my bahaviours were coming from fear, which I kind of understood as my emotional level dictated by my inner child, and what was my grown up rational thinking. Pretty soon many things changed for me, mainly due to the fact I was finally ready to be honest with myself, as I decided I can trust myself to protect myself. I don't know if this sounds strange. I guess the best way to describe it is to say I allowed myself to open up to me, I kind of said whatever there is deep inside of me, it is ok, I want to find out, I'll forgive myself, I'll care for myself the way I care for my kids. Once I did that, the things just started to fall into its right place. I'm not exagerating to say it was like magic.
And at the end of this process I kind of decided the healthy, the normal is what I want it to be, what makes me happy, I don't have to please anyone but myself.
I don't know if any of this makes any sense to you, but since I did all that work on myself finally, for the first time in my life I feel complete and strong, my heart is full, and I'm just so happy to be alive and I know whatever happens I'll be fine, as I have this great person on my side: ME!
Hope this helps.
HUGS
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Old 08-07-2010, 06:19 PM
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Thanks, Mike. I'm going to check those out!

And Sesh, Wow!
“mainly having to guess what normal and healthy is.”

Yup – that’s where I’m at. I know that some of my behavior is completely unhealthy, but not sure what healthy is.

“bahaviours were coming from fear…what was my grown up rational thinking”

Oh, interesting approach. I like that. I’m going to try that. This is resonating with me as I find myself lashing out in fear at times…then when I calm down and think rationally, I get annoyed with myself because there wasn’t anything “there” to truly lash out about.

“Pretty soon many things changed for me, mainly due to the fact I was finally ready to be honest with myself, as I decided I can trust myself to protect myself. I don't know if this sounds strange”

Not strange at all – this makes complete sense.

“I guess the best way to describe it is to say I allowed myself to open up to me, I kind of said whatever there is deep inside of me, it is ok, I want to find out, I'll forgive myself, I'll care for myself the way I care for my kids. Once I did that, the things just started to fall into its right place. I'm not exagerating to say it was like magic.

And at the end of this process I kind of decided the healthy, the normal is what I want it to be, what makes me happy, I don't have to please anyone but myself.

I don't know if any of this makes any sense to you, but since I did all that work on myself finally, for the first time in my life I feel complete and strong, my heart is full, and I'm just so happy to be alive and I know whatever happens I'll be fine, as I have this great person on my side: ME!”

Wow! Thanks so much for taking the time to post this to me. So appropriate and right on. I feel tremendous pressure from my family to be one way or another and really their values are not my values. I’m struggling with standing by my values while disappointing them. And for whatever reason I fear doing that. I fear disappointing them. I fear losing them. I feel a great sense that I have to please them – sick, right? You have reminded me however that as an adult, I don’t have to please anyone but myself. And there’s great freedom in knowing that. I guess I know it. It resonates with me, but I’m not so sure I fully _believe_ it. And thus, I feel stuck and bound and not free at all. Perhaps working this from a fear perspective will help.
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Old 08-07-2010, 07:44 PM
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((Alegra))
We are talking about dependency with a fear perspective in the thread of totally free from dependence by Jiddu Krishnamurti right now with sesh. Enjoy that thread as well!

I think fogiving my self is important point for me. That is my big probrem.
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Old 08-07-2010, 08:20 PM
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I feel the same way, coming from a fairly dysfunctional, neglectful home. It's hard to build on foundations that aren't there in the first place.

I liked the book "Toxic Parents" by Susan Forward. Cuts through the bull.

My username comes from counselling I'm currently going through. The counsellor is using "schema therapy" and my particular sore point is subjugation. There are about 20 different schemas and the book "Reinventing Your Life" (not sure of authors' names) goes into all of them. I had to complete a test and my highest scores were on neglect and subjugation.
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Old 08-08-2010, 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Alegra View Post
I feel tremendous pressure from my family to be one way or another and really their values are not my values. I’m struggling with standing by my values while disappointing them. And for whatever reason I fear doing that. I fear disappointing them. I fear losing them. I feel a great sense that I have to please them – sick, right? You have reminded me however that as an adult, I don’t have to please anyone but myself. And there’s great freedom in knowing that. I guess I know it. It resonates with me, but I’m not so sure I fully _believe_ it. And thus, I feel stuck and bound and not free at all. Perhaps working this from a fear perspective will help.
I understand this completely. And I don't think it is sick at all, I think it is most natural, we are all social beings, we all like to live in harmony with others, but if we're keep trying to do this since young and if we're not getting results, than we are bound to feel confused, and wonder what do we need to do to make it work. And since when living in dysfunctional family nothing seems to work, we start to think it is us, it is our fault, that we have missed out on few of life's greatest lessons: what is normal. So we are stuck, mainly because we are trying to find a normal "operating mode" in the circumstances that are not normal.

I find the way to deal with this is by asking questions and deciding to act; to make a choice and act upon it.
Like right now what you're doing (and what I did all my life) is trying to please everyone, but sadly you're not pleasing yourself. You fear you might disapoint and lose your family, but by keeping things this way you're disapointing and losing yourself. So if you look at it this way it is no win situation. Whatever you do someone is bound to be disapointed. I know it seems that way, but after crossing that bridge I know that is not true. You're acting in the way you were thought how to re/act by your life circumstances. But I think the important thing to remember is your family wants you to be certain way bacause they think it is the best, they don't know it, they think it. You can prove them wrong.
For me it was really hard to decide I want to take care of myself, as my hurting was almost not a big of a deal for me, I mean it was, I kept hurting; I kept talking about it here, but it wasn't enough of big of a deal for me to actualy do something about it, to stand on my ground and act accordingly, as I feared I'll hurt someone, my kids, my RAH, my mum. I desperately needed everyone to be happy. The idea of them being in pain (maybe bacause I know all too well what does it feel like to be hurting) was another of my fears. But than I realized they're hurting anyhow: my kids are hurting bacause I'm miserable all the time, my mum too wants me to be happy (of course she has her controlling ideas on how I should acheive it) and she's sad I'm not, and my RAH was miserable too, as we kept fighting, and we were like hostages in this marriage.
So what was I doing exactly: I was prolonging the agony.
I guess the best way to describe this is to say: All my life I was just reacting, trying to keep that boat steady, trying to minimize the damage, trying to keep all those balls in the air, as I figured if I manage to make everybody else happy I'll be happy too. It doesn't work that way. So now instead of reacting I decided to act, to continue my analogy: I decided to move that boat away from rough waters, to drop those balls on the floor (so nothing left to juggle any more), and to make myself happy. Once I did that everyone around me became happy too. I can not begin to tell you about the change in my kids. Only now I realize the only thing they ever really needed was for me to be at peace, to be happy. As now they don't need to guess any more what normal is.
I think it all comes down to expectations, we all have this high expectations of others, like when finally being honest with myself I discovered I was really passive agressive too (like the rest of people in my life) I kept doing what they wanted me to do (or better to say what I thought they wanted me to do), but in the same time I was acting in a way Look at me, I'm doing everything for you, and you're not doing what I want you to do, so I'm so miserable bacause of you. I resented them (my RAH and my mum) because the way I was reacting to them. How crazy is that???
Life is simple: if you don't want to do something, than simply don't. You can't make life to be the way you want it, but you can make the best of what you have.
I always use to think too If I do this, if I say NO,... than this and that will happen (major catastrophy usually), I always thought I knew the outcome, I can predict the future, turns out I don't I only think I do. That's where the little faith comes in handy. I relized I can't know what will happen if I act, life might just surprise me, but if I refuse to act than I maybe do know: we're all staying stuck.
As I said in the beginning it is about making choice: staying where you are, or taking that leap of faith, allowing the possibility for something good to happen.

PS Sorry if I seem a bit harsh, or angry, but writing about all this makes me a bit angry with myself bacause it took me so long to realize all this, as now all this fels just like a plain common sense.
Give yourself time to get there, it seems to me you're asking all the right questions.
I wish you well
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Old 08-08-2010, 08:05 PM
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The Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller really helped me get perspective on my codie/alkie upbringing, and on my own psyche! It is a strange title - but an excellent book that my therapist recommended and I was reading it when I finally walked into AlAnon and lots of stuff came together at that moment!

Good luck-
Peace-
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Old 08-09-2010, 12:04 AM
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Glad to see your are finally taking some 'action' to help you.

I have to say, for me, all the reading of these great books, didn't do a damn thing for me, UNTIL I was ready to take ACTION.

However, what helped me the most to take some ACTIONS to work on me was the 12 steps of both AA and Al-Anon. By working those steps I got to ME. The real ME. Then when I had worked them, twice all the way through, first in AA and then in Al-Anon I had to learn how to LIVE those 12 steps in my daily life.

It doesn't magically happen overnight, but it does happen every day. Several months down the road, and reading back on my journals and I could SEE in black and white my 'attitude' changing, my 'way of thinking' changing, and my 'actions' toward others changing.

I am glad that you are moving forward!

Love and hugs,



When I started 'living' those steps is when my life started to change for me, that was when I started to change, INSIDE.
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Old 08-09-2010, 02:41 AM
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there are also a couple of books by Janet Woititz,

Adult Children of Alcoholics
Struggle for Intimacy

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Old 08-09-2010, 08:02 AM
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One of the books that got me back on track was The Emotionally Abused Woman by Beverly Engel.

Also, one that made me laugh and really gave me a lot of insight was Idiot's Guide to Healthy Relationships. (The Idiots Guides and For Dummies series are great for me. I like the writing style, the humor and the straightforward no nonsense approach.) I picked this one up at a Half Priced Book Store. I saw the title and a lightbulb went off - I realized I really had no idea what a healthy relationship looked like! There was good info, some good questionnaires to get me thinking.

I had to go back and relearn a lot of things I had been taught. My parents weren't alcoholics, but THEIR parents were, so there were a few generations of off-kilter life lessons that had to be examined and modified.

Good stuff here. I may go out and pick up a few other books from the above lists this week!
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Old 08-09-2010, 08:06 AM
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Ooh, one of my FAVORITE's during early Recovery was "If Life Is A Game, These Are The Rules" by Cherie Carter-Scott.

You can get it used on Amazon for a penny plus shipping. That's how I buy all my books: Used.
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Old 08-09-2010, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Learn2Live View Post
Ooh, one of my FAVORITE's during early Recovery was "If Life Is A Game, These Are The Rules" by Cherie Carter-Scott.

You can get it used on Amazon for a penny plus shipping. That's how I buy all my books: Used.
Thank you, L2L. I also saw a post about a list of boundaries that you had at one time posted - thanks for that, too! Very helpful!

P.s. I love amazon for books, too!
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Old 08-09-2010, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by CatsPajamas View Post
Also, one that made me laugh and really gave me a lot of insight was Idiot's Guide to Healthy Relationships. (The Idiots Guides and For Dummies series are great for me. I like the writing style, the humor and the straightforward no nonsense approach.) I picked this one up at a Half Priced Book Store. I saw the title and a lightbulb went off - I realized I really had no idea what a healthy relationship looked like! There was good info, some good questionnaires to get me thinking.
Thanks for the suggestion! I love the approach as well!
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Old 08-09-2010, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by sesh View Post
when living in dysfunctional family nothing seems to work, we start to think it is us, it is our fault, that we have missed out on few of life's greatest lessons: what is normal. So we are stuck, mainly because we are trying to find a normal "operating mode" in the circumstances that are not normal.
Thank you for putting words to these thoughts that are rambling around my head.

Originally Posted by sesh View Post
I find the way to deal with this is by asking questions and deciding to act; to make a choice and act upon it . . they don't know it, they think it. You can prove them wrong.
I never thought of it this way – that they are just as controlled by their thoughts as I am in mine – yet I can prove them wrong.
Originally Posted by sesh View Post
But than I realized they're hurting anyhow: my kids are hurting bacause I'm miserable all the time, my mum too wants me to be happy (of course she has her controlling ideas on how I should acheive it) and she's sad I'm not, and my RAH was miserable too, as we kept fighting, and we were like hostages in this marriage.
Never thought of it this way, either – that whether I am doing what they want or doing what I want they are still miserable – yet by doing what I want and making sure I am happy and properly caring for myself, I am in essence changing the cycle. And whether they figure their stuff out or not, I am responsible for figuring my stuff out regardless of the others.
Originally Posted by sesh View Post
As I said in the beginning it is about making choice: staying where you are, or taking that leap of faith, allowing the possibility for something good to happen.
Oh, yes. The ever illusive leap of faith – illusive or avoided??? *Alegra wonders aloud* I’m certainly standing on the edge…
Originally Posted by sesh View Post
PS Sorry if I seem a bit harsh, or angry, but writing about all this makes me a bit angry with myself bacause it took me so long to realize all this, as now all this fels just like a plain common sense. Give yourself time to get there, it seems to me you're asking all the right questions.
Not harsh or angry at ALL! Quite the opposite. I really appreciate the time you have taken to share this with me. So very helpful! Thanks for the encouragement!
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Old 08-09-2010, 08:49 PM
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Thanks for your post...I have found therapy to be the most useful tool for me in dealing with my dysfunctional family, but I also found the book Addict in the Family (Beverley Conyers) useful in that it touches on setting boundaries and not always having to have harmonious agreement amongst family members (i.e. agree to disagree).
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Old 08-09-2010, 09:07 PM
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I found an online book a while back that was really helpful. I posted it in the ACOA forum. Here is the link to that post.

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...ee-online.html

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Old 08-10-2010, 05:32 AM
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Thank you, LaTeeDa
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