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Honesty

Old 01-01-2003, 02:30 AM
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Morning Glory
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Honesty

Searching posted this on another board. It's from the big book.
Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and woman who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. They are not at fault, they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living that demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.
It hit me in a strange way. Combined with the strange way that expectations hit me today I will try to explain what I'm thinking and see what you guys come up with.

First today I was thinking about expectations. My thoughts were how horrible I've been to try to expect my son to live his life the way I want him to. Now I know I am just trying to keep him alive, but I still don't have the right to expect him to live his life the way I want him to. I would hate for someone to be disappointed with me all the time and only be accepted if I live my life the way they expect me to.

Then I got hit with how important honesty is to recovery by reading the post above.
So instead of trying to control my son's life I was thinking that the best thing I can do is encourage him to be honest. I have not set up an environment that encourages honesty. I've set up an environment that encourages dishonesty. It may be too late to change that and it doesn't have to be me that he is honest with, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to have the door open without the judgement that goes along with his truth.

I don't know if I'm making sense.

Also it is so important that we are honest. Honesty comes before acceptance. Honesty is important to our relationship with our HP. I know that our conditioning can cause denial that our HP has to reveal to us, but at least we can be honest about our behavior without knowing the cause right away. Honesty without the demand on myself to fix it in myself or my son.

I know I'm rambling. There has just been so many times that it was so wonderful to be honest with my HP and he never was disappointed or judged me. I have not done this with my son and I am so sad about that. How can I get to know him when who he is always has to be a lie. I know it's a little more complicated than just being honest, but acceptance has been so healing for me. I can imagine it would be healing to him too.

Please add your thoughts on this.
Sorry for the book.

Hugs,
MG

Last edited by Morning Glory; 01-01-2003 at 02:35 AM.
 
Old 01-01-2003, 07:05 AM
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Ann
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MG

This is the first post I have read this year, and you really hit a nerve. I believe in honesty, even insist on it at times, and I am pretty good about being honest about myself and my feelings and actions.

But I realize that I do not always REACT to honestly well. I want the truth, but sometimes when I get the truth, I react badly and that needs work. I want my son to be honest with me, and then when he is I criticize, lecture and just plain act badly. What I need to work on is ACCEPTANCE, accepting the truth and learning from it, and accepting it as someone else's stuff to deal with.

I need to remember to respect others and their right to be different from me. I need to once again let go of the need to control my son's issues and recovery, and let him find his own way.

I need to learn to listen quietly and learn and not feel a need to give advice when no advice was asked for. It may take a bag of Jujubes to keep my mouth shut, but however I do it will be better than just spewing out my judgements.

Thank you MG, for starting my day and year with a truth I need to face and deal with.
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Old 01-01-2003, 07:49 AM
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JT
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MG,

Correct me if you think I am wrong but I do not think our expectations are too high. They have been reduced to merely being self sufficient whether they use or not. Not using is not even an expectation of mine any longer. It is that he seems to be unable to use AND be self sufficient at the same time. Another expectation is that he be happy in his own skin...and again if he uses he cannot accomplish that. That is not an expectation really...more like a hope. That is ME....it sounds like that is where you are trying to go.

You are right about honesty preceding acceptance. You have to get honest before you can break through denial and then after time it is on to acceptance.

I EXPECT honesty on the practical level. That is part of life. If you say you are going to do something do it...like taking out the garbage. (Sobriety is a whole different topic) If you say you are going to call call. If there is a dollar on the table leave it there. I do not think that is an unreasonable expectation.

With the Beav staying with us I must say I have looked at how I come across in his eyes. We can have wonderfully honest conversations but I don't believe he buys what I say for a moment. He does not understand the debth of my own recovery and like any active addict or newcomer I suppose he sees it as a threat. So I need to temper my exuberance.

When I made the decision to give him another chance I WAS aware that I was creating a situation that fosters dishonesty. That is unavoidable under my current circumstances. He has clammed up...that might be why.

They have had a long history of lieing to get by. It is second nature. I thing your goal is admirable and it is road you have to go down but I think if you look a little closer you may see that this his dishonesty with you has very little to do with you.

Hugs,
JT
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Old 01-01-2003, 08:07 AM
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Please stick this at the top in whatever fashion you do. This is something I need to read on a daily basis for awhile.

Several things you both touched on come to mind. One is that when my A was honest with me, I placed a judgement on it. I would either take it and judge it as the truth because it is what I needed at the time to believe, or lying and judged and reacted to that. One of the powerful things Al-Anon has taught me is that honesty and the actions/process/behaviors that emerge on anyone's journey towards it is THEIR own. I strive to not judge, and justify others' responses/beliefs. It is so hard to simply receive their honesty because it is was THEY need to do for THEMSELVES. I don't need to get involved in judging and reacting. Wow this is great.

Thanks for the thought provoking early morning coffee sipper stimulant for the new year!!!
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Old 01-01-2003, 10:49 AM
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Morning Glory
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Thinking out loud.....There is something I'm learning and I'm not sure what it is yet.

I think it is combining expectations with acceptance. I think it's hitting me too that my expectations have been all about me most of the time. I don't know how to foster growth in someone else that is different from me. It actually makes me cringe when my children do something or say something that I would never do or say. You know...little extensions of myself. I don't know where I end and they begin. And even worse than that it is like I want to just kill the things in them that are things that I would never do or say.

I think it's because I've been afraid. The consequences for saying or doing the wrong thing in my childhood were severe so I feel a need to protect myself and my children by encouraging dishonesty. Be quiet and fit into a mold and you won't get hurt. It's like yelling inside.."Don't be who you are, It's not safe". "Don't say the wrong thing, Don't do the wrong thing" I have my prison and have tried to make them join me.

This is really painful. I don't know why I'm writing this down, but I think I need to. It's not good to have secrets.

Hugs,
MG
 
Old 01-01-2003, 12:01 PM
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You're doing some great work here MG and helping a lot of people in the process, that's what it's all about.

The first paragraph in your post could have been written by my mother, verbatim.

We can only teach our children what we know. You learned to withhold the truth in your childhood so that you could be safe. This is what you were taught. It's only natural that you would pass those survival skills to your children. You did the best you could with what you had. Now it's time to forgive yourself and move on. Perhaps once you forgive yourself for any issues your son has it will free you up to do the work that you deserve to do for you. Our children learn best from example really anyway.

My parents taught me to withhold the truth too not for my safety but because they couldn't handle problems very well. They worry and react and go nuts and really don't offer any good solutions. In fact they usually made it worse by blaming me or telling me that I'm going to be the death of them. Our relationship was so enmeshed as well that if something was happening to me they felt as if it was happening to them. So I grew up thinking I had to protect them from anything bad that happened in my life. I wish I had that support and comfort but I didn't.

Now I am an adult and I have done some of the work I need to do as an adult. What I have learned is that my parents did the best they could with what they had. They were not model parents but they gave me life and they took care of me until I could go out on my own. Therefore, I don't blame them for any issues I may have and if I need to share something with them, I share it, because I don't feel like I have to protect them anymore. That was there issue, not mine. I need to share with my parents, it makes me feel better. In turn, throughout the years, we have formed a good relationship but it took a lot of time and it was 1/2 my responsibility as an adult. My parents may have taught me certain behaviors, but I am an individual and I make my own choices and I need to take responsibility for those choices. They gave me a foundation but it's up to me as to what I do with it. I did a lot of work in my life to separate my self from my parents and be proud of the person I was enough to be honest with them about it. If I do get a bad reaction from them, I can overlook it a lot better now because I know it has nothing to do with me. Also many times I will tell them that what they are saying makes me feel worse and what I really need from them right now is not to be judged but just for them to listen. What I usually need is support, not financial, not physical, usually just emotional support. It gives me strength and confidence.

MG, you did the best you could and that's good enough. You're son is an adult and he has a responsibility in your relationship too.

I'm editing my post because I read your top post again and you're right, it would be so nice to be accepted by my mother instead of critisized or judged, that is of course if I am trying to do the best I can in my life, not if I am working on destroying it.

Last edited by Stephanie; 01-01-2003 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 01-01-2003, 02:22 PM
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JT
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MG,

You come from where you come from. That cannot be changed. I think we can go back and find the motivation for our behavior and then work to accept it and then we can go about changing it. In that order. But up until now you have not known what that motivation was or even that the problem exisited. We are back to
awareness, acceptance, action . The same principles apply over and over. Perhaps you are in the awareness phase of something you are ready to learn.

I have to admit that I cringe too. I never gave it much thought but if I had to I would guess it is because I have lived my life in an attempt to fit in. You can put me in a biker bar or a yuppie dinner party and I slide right into the role. Part of my codependence, perhaps. So if the Beav does something or looks a certain way that is not status quo I do cringe.

Add the parenting thing...cutting the chord. It is not easy to let our adult children go particularly when they are trying so hard to remain dependent. I will bet that it is easier with your daughter. The relationship is very different.

Ok, take me. My mother turned her back on me for 20 years because her husband (my stepfather) cut me out of his life after an argument. She is an award winning doormat and went along for financial reasons. The day he died we picked up our relationship like it never happened. But it DID happen. Tell me THAT does not color my previous difficulty in "turning my back" on the Beav. Today I don't wallow in that any longer. I faced it, accepted it and then took action. I must have forgiven because it no longer has any power.

Keep thinking out loud!
Hugs,
JT
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Old 01-01-2003, 05:59 PM
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Boy MG you really hit a nerve with me.
Never thought about it before, but you're right. All these years I've tried to please my Mom, so much so that I taught my children (now grown) dishonesty. I always told them "don't tell Grandma this or that" I was so afraid of making her mad, I trained them to lie about things that I had no backbone to stand up for

Now when one lies to me, I'm mad and its all my fault. It wasn't until my Mom was old that the roles reversed and I finally had to be the adult and she the child and I no longer had to lie to her.

What food for thought. Thanks
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Old 01-01-2003, 06:08 PM
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Hi Morning Glory
thanx for your welcome the other day !
had been reading this site on and off for wks before entering.
I am sometimes unsure of myself and my only 7mths of alanon
f2f meetings. I know you put alot of time in these rooms and I can see the wisdom you have spread here,its what I'm finding out about this program,the sharing, give and receive.
I have been reading alot about expectations lately,the disappointments that come when we expect people to respond the way we would like,it sets me up for a downslide almost every time !I used to think that if only son/daughter were sober and straight I would never even have to see them again(God bargaining?) now that she has been sober for some days I find out how much I miss her, then when I do see her the quality time just slips by that I had expected we would share and disappointment sets in.
Maybe what we need is honest expectations? Need to think about that.
anyway, a pg that has helped me when I'm being hard on myself is
pg19 "courage to change."The whole page is good and todays reminder is: Al-anon is a gentle healing program.I will remember to be gentle with myself today, trusting that the healing will come.
"Today I can accept myself for what I am because I know that whatever happens.I have a Higher Power and a group of people
who will love me anyway."
Wow, it sure makes me feel good and less hard on myself !
Be gentle on you
with love
liddy
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