Living life from a basis of fear
Comparing myself to others
Never thinking it was safe to play
Surrounded by people who didn’t respect me or treat me well
Afraid of authority figures and tending to isolate myself
Frightened by angry people and any personal criticism
Feeling overly responsible for others as a way to avoid looking at my own faults
Being my own Harsh, Harsher, and Harshest judge and critic
Feeling tremendously guilty when I stand up for myself instead of giving in to others
Addicted to excitement in its myriad forms
Stuffing feelings, and not even able to remember or feel what they are now
Continuing to live with sick people who were never there emotionally for me in order not to be abandoned.
Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes. I recognize myself when I read the Laundry List – 14 Traits of an Adult Child. And when I introduce myself at an ACA meeting, ‘Hi, I’m Robin, an adult child,” I’m embracing a reality I have always lived and struggled to hide and accept.
The Red Book has 648 pages, so it can’t be summed up in a paragraph here. What I’d like to do is offer a few bits and pieces as I work through them. Right now I’m working on reparenting myself: learning to be sensitive to my needs and my background experience. For me, I need a lot of validation – that my feelings make sense given my family history.
I encourage myself in many ways. For example, I remind myself when I start to slip into that spiral of self-doubt and condemnation that I’m actually doing a pretty good job; that I am not a bad person; that I have something valuable to share with the world. I repeat Lady Gaga’s words to my hurting hating Self, “You’re on the right track, baby! God makes no mistakes.”
I also tell myself that growth doesn’t happen in the blink of an eye. Patience, my dear! I sing songs with empowering messages, take time at the water’s edge, and share my experiences with trusted friends both in and out of the program.
And like Joe Walsh, I’m taking it One Day at a Time.