Bad Therapists

April 15, 2014

It never fails. I finally get someone to go seek therapy and they spend the whole time complaining about me.

My borderline ex… the one who claims she cut her wrists, claims she was sexually molested, claims she was raped… went to a therapist after I threatened to leave her. And after three sessions, she claims she had all the tools necessary to deal with life. A lifetime of trauma cured in three sessions. It’s a miracle.

Oh, but my latest ex has her beat. She went to ONE session and she has finally figured out that I was the problem all along. She and her therapist have agreed that my attempts to get her to seek help is my way of asserting control over her.

She told the therapist that I have a bad temper. But of course failed to mention her own. Yes, I threw her bags out. After she went on another verbally abusive rant. Funny how she never mentioned that to her therapist.

Nor did she mention her obsessive-compulsive need to play the victim and bait me into battle. Whenever she picks a fight with me, somehow she always ends up playing the poor defenseless victim and I am cast as the terrible bully.

This is their MO. Their disease. They pick fights so they can play the victim. They are addicted to victimhood. Silent abusers play this game all the time. Then they recruit proxies and enablers to back them up. They even manage to manipulate therapists.

This is why many therapists refuse to treat BPD. These therapists know the game. They know about the manipulations. But not every therapist is wise to those games.

Somehow troubled women are very good at finding that ONE therapist who will take their side and give them permission to play the victim. Empower them to play the victim.

There are bad parents. There are bad girlfriends. It makes sense that there are bad therapists. Thanks to bad therapists, troubled women never have to take responsibility for their behavior.

They have learned that if they put the focus on you, they never have to worry about self-examination. Do they go to a therapist to talk about their alcoholic and adulterous father? Or the relative who sexually abused them? Nope.

According to their therapist, telling them they need help is worse than all those crimes put together.

ACOA Meets BPD

April 4, 2014

The following article talks about the fear of abandonment in the context of ACOA:

Growing up with parental alcoholism can cause some children to become absolutely terrified of abandonment. Many times, the alcoholic parent physically leaves the family — or, if they remain, is emotionally unavailable — leading children to feel unworthy, rejected and abandoned.
As they grow into adulthood, their fear of abandonment can affect the relationships that they form. They find themselves holding on to unhealthy relationships or never allowing anyone to become close in the first place, out of fear of rejection and abandonment. These experiences, although common in adult children of alcoholics, can represent the outcome of a variety of developmental issues, however…

Unrealistic Fears
I still struggle, however, with feelings of fear that those I love will reject me or abandon me and I struggle with self-worth. I constantly feel that I need to be doing more in order to feel worthy. I work too hard, sacrifice too much, and have unrealistic fears. — Dragonfly

An Unhealthy Marriage
I suddenly ended an important healthy relationship and settled for an unhealthy marriage. I fear rejection and abandonment. I probably will need life long counseling. I’ve resolved many fears but it’s hard standing up for myself. — Emotionally Stunted

Often I End Relationships
I have constant approval seeking, fear of confrontation and trouble with romantic relationships. Most notably, I isolate myself from others when I am feeling bad. I also fear abandonment and often end relationships with others to avoid being left by them, in the future. — Marie

Filling the Empty Hole
I was confused and still, to this day, have serious issues with abandonment and trusting others, little self-worth, low self-esteem, emptiness and depression. I am 30 and doubt I will ever be able to fill the empty hole in my broken heart. — Erin

Feel Like I’m Unworthy
I can’t stand chaos, or when people get very angry. I never take time for myself because I feel like I’m unworthy. I have also put up with a ton of crap because I’m scared to be abandoned. — Anonymous

Sabotage Relationships
I have a really hard time with relationships because I have a fear of being abandoned because of my dad. Recently, I found a man that I really “let in” for the first time in my life at age 30. Unfortunately, I sabotaged that relationship because I have been made to be independent to a fault from being raised by alcoholics. I can’t accept that sometimes I need comfort too. — Jean

Risky Business

April 1, 2014

Speaking the truth is risky business. People do no respond well to being called out. But it’s a risk worth taking. This blog, this mountain of evidence, is my insurance plan.

Should my lovely exes continue to badmouth me, they will know that the TRUTH exists here. They will know that this TRUTH contradicts their opinions. They will know what I know and what countless others know to be FACTS.

I have provided plenty of sources so that people can double-check and verify these facts. No one should believe a word I say until they have done their own research. But I have given you a good head start.

And so THEY will have to think twice about demonizing and degrading me. They will have to think twice about spreading lies. They will have to think long and hard about the way they treated me.

I have already done the detective work. The evidence has already been laid out. There is no mystery. Only a script that has predictable plot points.

They can no longer say I’m the crazy one, because their past and this evidence says otherwise. I can trace their pathology all the way back to their childhood. I can reveal a family history of chaos and drama. I can show you a logical progression of events that lead to our own chaos and drama.

This blog poses questions to those who will not answer them. Why did the devaluation start after I rejected their advances? Why am I crazy for pointing out their craziness? Why is it abusive to speak about their childhood trauma? But they don’t have to answer these questions because we already found the answers.

They say that all this effort to find answers is disturbing and creepy. But that is a master illusionist trying to distract the audience and discredit the critic. Because when you look into their past, you will see things that are truly disturbing and truly creepy.

They can try to project. They can try to deny. They can recruit proxies and enablers. They can quickly replace me and dispose of me. Nobody will be surprised. They are right on schedule.

They can say that I am the one having a hard time dealing with rejection. They can continue to play the victim (the damsel in distress). But it will only make them look more foolish. Because this behavior has already been predicted. It is well-documented on psych forums and in medical journals.

I have shown the world all their stealthy and dirty tactics. One by one. In painful detail. I have mapped out their thinking process and illustrated their pathology so that they know that we know exactly what they are doing.

I have given you a glimpse behind the emerald curtain. I have shown you all the tricks up their sleeve for good reason- to take away their power… To declaw the cat.

I have made it impossible for them to justify their behavior, because I have figured out each and every bullshit response they might come up with.

The TRUTH is my weapon against their deception… their denial… their self-delusion. Because I argue that to leave these troubled souls unchecked… to give them free reign… is even riskier business.

Dear A

March 31, 2014

Thanks for the advice. I really do appreciate you taking great efforts to maintain confidentiality. I do remember you from long ago when you expressed a similar concern. And I fully understand the risk that comes with posting the truth.

For whatever reason, it is important that I let the truth be known. It is important for that truth to be out in the world, even if it is just the virtual one. I decided long ago that I wanted to tell my story. Because it is a story that repeats itself and torments me.

It is the albatross around my neck. And the only way I can release myself from the albatross is to tell my story to as many people who will listen. I was surprised to hear that many people out there share my story. And that has given me renewed strength to continue.

It is this process of sharing that has helped me heal. It has helped me figure out what went wrong. With every post, my knowledge of these troubled women increases. It has helped me regain my own sanity to know that I was not the one who was crazy.

I do not get pleasure from this blog. Only some release. And comfort from others who have been through similar ordeals. I did not want to tell these truths. I did not want to live it. But I did. And the only relief I can find is to describe every painful detail.

The ones I use to love and trust have found ways to twist the truth and vilify me. And that compels me to set the record straight. It is important that they (my exes) know what I know. Even if they ignore it and deny it.

I can assure you that everything posted here is a true account. As far as stories of childhood abuse are concerned, I will have to believe the word of my borderline ex. She has told many stories. And I have had to dissect every one to decide for myself what is true and what is not.

Deep beneath many layers of denial, she knows that everything here is the truth which is why you haven’t heard any protest. Deep down she probably wants the truth to be known. But she is scared to tell it. She is scared that it will unravel her family.

Her family members have launched a few attacks, but it has only strengthened my resolve. Their anger only confirms the truthfulness of the stories. They have an interest in silencing me. No doubt.

The truth is all I have. The truth coupled with the science of human behavior. Even my most ardent detractors can’t fight the truth. They can only be angry and distressed. But that is to be expected.

The truth can be very distressful and disturbing for those who live in denial. It compels them to take desperate measures to silence me. I have seen it all.
Maybe on some level, I want them to know how much pain they have caused me.

I’m not trying glamorize what I’m doing here. There is nothing glamorous about it. I am no social activist or martyr. I am just a man trying to make sense of a fucked up world. If that is a crime then I am guilty.

Once again, thanks for your concern.

SD

Faithful readers know that I recently broke up with someone. And that person then blocked all contact. Not cool. The amusing part was that she accused me of not being able to handle rejection. Whaaaat?

Ummm, I seem to recall that I was the one that broke up with her. Anyways, there was no point arguing who broke up with whom. I just laughed.

I laughed because the same thing happened years ago when I told my borderline ex I would not move to LA with her. And she told me the same exact thing. LOL. She got everyone else to believe her too.

Who has a problem dealing with rejection? Who has a problem with intimacy? Who pushes people away when they get too close? Who blocks and runs at the first sign of rejection? Who loves the attention and the drama? Who has a problem with just being friends?

Are you sure it’s me?

Part-time wedding blogger, Stephanie Hallett claims she is a feminist. But when you look at the feminist topics she has chosen to write (of which there are many), she has chosen to place her focus solely on rape.

We can all agree rape is a terrible crime. But why would someone devote their whole career to writing about rape? Is there something Stephanie Hallett is trying to tell us? Is there a dark past that has yet to be revealed?

Instead of writing about women who have risen above their circumstances, she has decided to put her laser-like focus on women who have been victimized. Rather than write about female empowerment she is obsessed with tales of victimization. Is this what feminism is about?

Everything this woman writes at Ms Magazine is designed to instill fear/hatred of men in women. The irony is she writes for wedding blogs as well. Love and Hate. All in one package. Where have we seen this kind of ambivalence? This is a very confused woman.

Rape Culture is a hot topic amongst “feminists” like Hallett. It’s the theory that we live in a rapey world full of rapists. They claim society is teaching their male offspring that it’s ok to rape. They would have you believe all women are in danger of being raped.

It’s a pretty wild theory as theories go. One should know that these theories were put forth by women with doctorates. But these are not doctorates in Psychology or Sociology. These are doctorates in Women Studies and Feminist Theories. Women who have doctorates in legitimizing misandry.

The only women I know who have claimed to be raped are ones who have a family history of sexual abuse and alcoholism. Mental health professionals have also observed this tendency. Do they know something we don’t?

Other studies have shown that alleged rapists and women who claimed to be raped come from similar families. Families mired in chaos and childhood abuse. Families that have a history of personality disorders and alcoholism.

But Stephanie Hallett doesn’t write about such topics. And Ms Magazine chooses to delete comments regarding such topics. What are these “feminists” hiding?

Amongst the many topics they are uncomfortable with is the topic of Cluster B personality disorders, especially the kind that causes a woman to be obsessed with victimhood. The kind that creates attention-seeking behaviors.

We’re not talking about normal attention-seeking behaviors like putting on a pretty dress. We’re talking about the scary kind- like flirting with every guy at a college party and then claiming some asshole raped you in your drunken stupor.

I’ve known my fair share of troubled women. I know they will do anything to get attention and sympathy. I’ve known women who cut their wrists or swallow a whole bottle of painkillers just to get attention. I’ve known women who tell stories of child abuse to lure unsuspecting white knights.

One has to wonder why a wedding blogger would write about rape. But if you think about it, there is a common thread. Both satisfy a narcissistic/histrionic thirst for attention. Both give the narcissist a FALSE sense of importance. The kind that comes with playing a martyr and a bride.

There is a darker story here. One that Stephanie Hallett has yet to write. It didn’t happen at a college beer fest. It happened in their childhood… in their own household.

It involved acts that you would think would never happen to a child in their own home… by people you would think would never commit such a heinous crime. But Stephanie Hallett is not yet ready to write about such things. Those stories are under lock and key.

One can only hope these women get the help they need to unlock those dark stories. Because women obsessed with victimhood are stuck in a prison. And the only way they can be free is to unlock their past.

They need to learn that true freedom comes from honesty. Not denial. Not tales of delusion and deception. And it certainly doesn’t come from making a public spectacle of ones self or masquerading as some warrior for social justice.

The Point of No Return

March 28, 2014

Sara Tate tells it like it is when a borderline realizes the jig is up:

Assuming you’ve made the break (if you haven’t, you’ll be stuck in stage four indefinitely…or worse), you will quickly be catapulted into stage five. Once your Cluster B realises you’ve gained the strength to walk away, he/she will cut you loose…completely. You will find this both shocking and possibly even hurtful at first, but believe me, it’s by far the best thing.

Once you have rejected a Cluster B (you always reject them, they never do anything to drive you away…remember, they are always the wronged party), there is no going back. You will be dropped, and left high and dry. This is the stage when it becomes clear that you were never loved.

You realise during the release stage that your Cluster B is not capable of feeling love. He/she lacks empathy and emotion. If there are children involved, it becomes painfully apparent during this stage that they too are just objects to a Cluster B. It’s a devastating realisation, and it will send you into free-fall for a while, but you MUST accept it as the truth.

The person you fell in love with never existed, it was all an illusion. There’s no easy way to deal with the release stage. You may feel elated one minute, then terrified the next. Again, get support from wherever you can. Look back over your time together and try to pin-point and acknowledge the different phases. This will help you to come to terms with what has happened, and accept the role you played in your Cluster B’s life. Don’t turn the anger in on yourself. It was NOT your fault.

Your Cluster B had this problem before you met, and he/she will continue to have this problem long after you’re gone. Cluster B’s rarely go to get help for themselves. They cannot acknowledge that they have a problem.

Psychologists treat the Cluster B’s victims, rarely the Cluster B’s themselves. I strongly recommend that you get professional psychological support during the release stage. The only way you can let it go, is to understand it. And to do this you need expert guidance. Draw comfort from the fact that you are not in this alone……and be proud that you managed to escape. Many don’t.

Daddy Issues

March 28, 2014

It’s a bit of a cliche. But I can tell you daddy issues are real. Show me a woman who had a bad father and I will show you a woman who struggles with intimacy.

I never really thought about alcoholism until I started dating daughters of alcoholics. I grew up with parents who hardly touched the stuff. My dad can’t even finish a whole beer.

I have since learned that alcoholism is just the tip of the iceberg- a symptom of a much bigger problem.

When a woman tells you that alcoholism has been in her family for generations she might be telling you that her family has a history of personality disorders and self-medication.

When she tells you about family drama, she is telling you that she was conditioned for chaos. And her behavior will reflect that.

Expect her to be a drama queen. Expect her to start a fight at inopportune moments and carry a grudge like you wouldn’t believe.

My father was less than perfect. Moody as hell. But I appreciate the fact that he did not drink. It would have made his mood swings even worse.

So I can only imagine what it is like to live in a household where addiction is ever-present. The instability would cause anyone to fear abandonment.

Some of these women also witnessed infidelity in their families. My parents fought a lot. It was distressing to see my parents scream at each other. Maybe even traumatic.

But as bad as things got, they would find a way to work it out. I was grateful that neither of them cheated on each other. Because I have seen how parental infidelity can create terrible insecurities.

The last woman I dated was obsessed with infidelity. Scarred by it, really. She witnessed it as child and then experienced it in her adulthood. She often accused me of it.

One time, she came over and I was doing my laundry. She suspected that, because I was washing my bed sheets, I must have slept with another woman. Every woman I knew was a suspect. She assumed I slept with everyone.

She claimed she had a sixth sense about these things. But it is more accurate to say that she was traumatized and this made her hyper-sensitive. Delusional at times. Constantly looking for evidence of my infidelity. It got old, quick.

This behavior only made me keep my distance. I ended the relationship many times because it was incessant. Not because I wanted to sleep with other women. I was satisfied in that department. It was the emotional department that made me wonder if I deserved better.

I kept my distance because she was moody and quick-tempered. She could be sweet and loving one minute and then one wrong word would cause her to flip out. It reminded me too much of my last borderline ex.

Every time she shut me out and blocked my number, I withdrew even more. She did that so many times I can’t even count. And then she wonders why I wouldn’t commit and why I kept putting on the brakes.

In an effort to make me feel guilty, she told me she tried so hard to love me. But she is delusional. I told her over and over again she needed to work on her issues first.

She didn’t visit a therapist until after I broke up with her for the last time. And that was only so she could complain about MY issues. Not hers.

I was not shy about telling her about my concerns. But she ignored my concerns. Rarely did she ever apologize for all the horrible fits of rage or passive-aggressive tactics.

Under these circumstance how could she claim that she tried to make it work? How could she expect me to take the relationship seriously?

Every time she would block my number, I’d go out and try to forget about her. I wasn’t going to sit home and feel sorry for myself or wait by the phone until she felt like calling me again.

But according to her, that was evidence that I was unfaithful. Because if I was faithful, I would have continued to call a number that was blocked. I was to sit obediently in the doghouse. No thanks.

Time and time again, I took her back, hoping she would see the error of her ways. But that only served to reinforce her bad habits. It said that no matter how badly she behaved I would always take her back.

I did this because whenever my parents fought, my dad would take my mom back and forget anything that was said. This was my horrible model for relationships.

The fear of rejection is strong in the woman I recently broke up with. She claims I don’t communicate with her properly. But in reality, she doesn’t listen when I say things she doesn’t want to hear. She does not take criticism well.

Every time I would talk about her past or point out her daddy issues, she would accuse me of verbal abuse. And then made the suggestion that anyone capable of verbal abuse was also capable of physical abuse.

That was a huge red flag for me. I knew this relationship was doomed when she started making wild accusations and suppositions.

I had seen this act before and I knew it would not end well. I knew this was a woman addicted to victimhood.

You would think that she would be happy to finally learn why she acts the way she does. But she probably has no
idea. When you grow up dysfunctional,
that is normal for you.

She has serious daddy issues. A daddy who once kicked her out of the house because he didn’t like the guy she was dating. This is where she gets her fear of abandonment/rejection.

But she insists that she and her father have made amends. She was so desperate for his love, she donated a kidney when his failed. In essence, she was always looking for the love she did not get as a child. It took one of her organs to get her heart’s desire.

I suppose that is why I attract women like this. I give them the love and affection they never got as a child.

A child raised by neglectful parents is like a person who hasn’t eaten for days. They are starved for attention. They will call you everyday, text you every hour. Until they block you and tell you to move the fuck on.

When that childhood fear of abandonment creeps up, then look out. You will see the darkside. You will feel the sharp pain of someone stabbing you in the back and then wiping you from existence. This is their form of justice. Abandonment is in their blood.

Fight and flight. These are the two modes of operation for a woman with daddy issues. A woman who uses either tactic as a weapon is a silent abuser.

She is lying if she says she isn’t trying to hurt you. She is in denial because she doesn’t want to acknowledge how much she is hurting you.

She is in too much pain to think about yours. Pain that causes her to over-react and blow things out of proportion.

The truth is part of her IS punishing you for re-awakening feelings she has worked very hard to forget.

Women with unresolved (untreated) daddy issues are reluctant to punish their fathers. So instead, they punish you. You are the surrogate. You are the punching bag. Whatever toxic hatred they have built up over a lifetime is now unleashed upon you.

It’s not just women either. I have seen the effects of alcoholic/abusive fathers on men as well. The effects are identical. We can no longer deny the effect that alcoholism and abuse have on children. We must learn to recognize the signs of ACOA and BPD.

We are all reluctant to say we had bad parents. But none of us would be in this situation if that were NOT the case.

I’m not talking about blaming parents for doing a shitty job. I’m talking about acknowledging the harm that has been done and then taking measures to treat the harm.

Because these disorders are both traumatic and contagious. Without aggressive and lengthy treatment, it will spread like a virus ruining one life after another. Until we say enough is enough.

Anybody walking around with an untreated head wound would be considered crazy. But we witness people walking around with emotional trauma and we say nothing. We shrug our shoulders as if we expect such trauma to heal itself.

ACOAs and BPs are not evil. The last woman I dated was a wonderful person. At times, she was very supportive and sensitive to my needs. That’s why I loved her. But she was too sensitive and that made it feel like walking across a minefield.

When you love someone, you try to make it work. It’s just terribly frustrating when you realize there is nothing you can do… except cut your losses.

Huffington Post on ACOA

March 26, 2014

Lest you think ACOA is some obscure made-up disorder, here is Huffington’s own resident expert, Dr. Tian Dayton, on the topic:

Old pain that gets imported into new relationships is the hallmark of the ACoA trauma syndrome. The past we thought we’d neatly left behind once we got tall enough, old enough or smart enough intrudes onto our present and we are returned, in the blink of an eye, to childhood states of emotion and along with them floods of feelings and images that we “forgot” were there.

Confronted with an angry spouse, a critical boss or a tantrumy child, the ACoA may overreact to a present-day circumstance that somehow mirrors one from the past. Unaware that hidden childhood wounds may be causing us to react more intensely than is right-sized for what’s going on, we get caught in a mind/body combustion in which pain from the past is potentizing pain in the present. We get tight guts, we hold our breath and we wait “for the other shoe to drop.” We brace ourselves and wait for something bad to happen, just they way we did when we were kids. But we don’t know that’s what’s happening. Then we swing into defensive strategies, we explode or implode, we get aggressive and defensive or we disappear and withdraw. We stand at our full adult height, but on the inside, we’re that freaked out little kid all over again. In this manner pain from the past bleeds into the present. Seamlessly old hurt, anger and fear move from one generation to the next, because unresolved pain, anger and confusion don’t really disappear; they live within us, in a quivering silence that longs to make itself heard and known.

Where does it all begin?

Picture the child in the alcoholic home. There is a fundamental power imbalance. The child is small, the parent is big. The parent is the one who holds the keys to the house, the car, the refrigerator and the bank account. And everyone knows it. The parent has the authority. If a parent is yelling at a child, telling him that he is the problem, that if he would only change everything would be better, the child tends to believe him. Children look into their parent’s eyes to see a reflection of themselves, of who they are and whether or not they matter. When the parent is the one who is causing the stress, it’s a double whammy for the child. Not only is the child scared and hurt, but the person they would normally go to for comfort and solace is the one who is scaring and hurting them. They are disempowered by the very nature of their youth and dependency.

Kids are trapped in a world run and paid for by their parents.

If their parents are drunk or preoccupied with hiding ever-growing problems from themselves and the rest of the world, home can become a real pot boiler of emotions that are hard to untangle. The emphasis on the family moves from cooperation to hunkering down and staying safe. When the yelling comes, the child knows that if he fights back, he risks getting the family problems, that are running rampant through the house, focused onto him, or getting sent to his room, grounded, hit, punished or having his allowance taken away. Then he will be more trapped. So kids often take the path of least resistance: They comply, withdraw or shut down. Or they stand there and take it, but on the inside they flee, they dissociate, they disappear. Because the child is limited in their ability to access outside support, they have no one to tell them that they are after all not a terrible and troublemaking little person or to reassure them that everything will be all right and return to normal soon. Rather, they have to relay on their own, often immature ability to create meaning, but all too often, the meaning that they create casts themselves in a negative light. Their ability to understand, process and manage this situation is dictated by their very dependency and their limited intellectual equipment at any given point of development. The combination of these factors, the power imbalance, length of time spent in a dissociated state, the inability escape and their lack of mature, intellectual development, are factors that can contribute to childhood trauma having long impact. Years after the CoA has left home, they may carry anxieties about themselves and relationships that they do not fully understand. This is how the ACoA imports their past into their present. And because of the way the brain processes frightening or overwhelming experiences, none of this gets talked about. Or even thought about.

Our natural response when experiencing frightening or overwhelming situations is to self-protect. We do this by running away, retaliating in some way or, when neither are possible, by shutting down, by becoming “invisible”. FIght, flight, freeze. As children or adults these defensive strategies can result in our warding off or hiding from the very pain we need to face in order to remain aware of what is happening around us. If, when a frightening situation like being yelled at by a drunk parent occurs, we process it with someone who cares and make intellectual sense of it, we can return to normal or even learn a little something and be more resilient when problems come again. We get better at handling or avoiding them. But when this doesn’t happen, as is so often the case with stress and trauma in the home, that is being caused by parents erratic or irresponsible behavior, that pain goes underground, it sinks down inside, forming a little pool of unprocessed emotion that sits in our inner world. But out of sight is not out of mind. Unprocessed pain does not disappear; it lays dormant, waiting for some similar memory cue to return it to the surface waiting, in other words, to be remembered. Even loud voices, a raised eyebrow or a change in mood can send the ACoA sailing back into a place inside of them where they shiver inside and wait, just as they did as kids, for something bad to happen.

When We’re Very, Very Scared…

The thinking, or language part of the brain shuts down so that the human organism has no interference in it’s powerful urge to either fight and defend itself or flee from danger. Therefore, it’s our most frightening experiences that often times don’t get translated into words, thought about and put into a context. They live instead within us as fragmented and un-integrated “pieces” of personal experience, they dance on the edges of our conscious awareness or they lay below the surface, submerged in the deep waters of our unconscious. Even loving and well-meaning parents can be frightening to a small child who is tracing every movement of their face for signs of anger. Kids are so small vis a vis their parents, so subject to the mood of the household and the state of mind of those in charge of their young lives. Add parental alcohol or drug abuse, depression or anxiety to this family equation and you have a potent cocktail for kids feeling scared and even traumatized by what’s going on in the home.

Some of the factors that sear trauma in place and make it more likely that a child of addiction (or family dysfunction) will develop PTSD are:

• Whether or not escape is possible. Can the kids get away from stressful, painful family scenes?

• Whether or not there is a power imbalance (which of course, there is).

• Did the child have access to outside support? Were there caring, concerned adults who could provide “safe haven” or a place the child could feel, if only momentarily, out of harm’s way? A place that could provide a “reality check” or model a different way of being in a family?

• The length of time that the COA spends in a numbed out or dissociated state. Trauma in the home tends to be cumulative — it occurs incrementally and over a significant period of time.

• The developmental level of the child. How old were they when trauma in the home occurred and what age-related capacities did they have to make sense of confusing, painful or frightening experiences?

• Whether or not it’s the parents, who they would normally go to for comfort and reassurance who are causing the stress?

These are some of the factors that give trauma in the home such traction. Intense feeling states get wired into kids, and rather than absorb skills of emotional calm and regulation from their homes they absorb states of emotional chaos and extremes. (You might say they get skilled at over- or under-reacting.) Then as adults when they are in the midst of intense emotions, which are after all simply a part of life and relationships for anyone, they have trouble keeping their emotional reactions right-sized. And often times they feel somehow defective in their reactions so they try to hide them and put on a false face to others and even to themselves.

But this sort of beginning need not be a life sentence. No one needs to feel alone or crazy because their past pain is leaking into their present. Twelve-step programs like alanon, CODA and ACOA meetings are filled to the brim with people “who know because they’ve been there” and will quietly nod their heads in recognition and identification as these stories unfold and are told. Twelve-step programs are essentially free and by their tradition are not connected with any sort of commercial enterprise. Many who enter “program” feel that they “no longer regret no wish to close the door on their past” because they have found such positive support and life direction by joining with others on a healing journey. The ACoA trauma syndrome, in other words, can as easily open a door to the soul as close it. As a member of my group recently said, “I saw you do your psychodrama tonight. I saw you struggle to let yourself feel, to let yourself say what you wanted to say. I saw you start to feel. It was like a door inside you opened up. I remembered that moment when I started group and had that feeling. When it came to me… when that door… I mean, I had been waiting so long for something to happen… when that door inside me opened and I finally realized… I saw… that the person who was holding it closed all along, was me.”

Found this thread on ACOA.
My relationships with ACOAs never lasted longer than a year, but I can relate to the insanity… especially the part about projection and “checking out”.

I Am Living With An Adult Child of An Alcoholic.

The Fog is lifting for all those out there that come from functional healthy family backgrounds but unfortunately got involved with or married an ACOA/Codependent, this is my rollercoaster ride of dysfunction, disease, confusion and pain.

Trying to have a functional relationship with a dysfunctional person is a lesson in insanity. When your spouse has “emotional dyslexia”, it is nearly impossible to make any sense of their choices, behaviors, words and actions.

The projection of all their difficult and negative feelings onto you is distressing to put it mildly. Blaming you for their deep seated issues and attempting to make you responsible for their behaviors is one of the most disturbing traits of ACOA’s.

I have two young children and her systematic and successful “check out” from our relationship and our family has left me, the children, and my extended family the monumental task of picking up the pieces of a broken life.

Her operant conditioning, defense mechanisms, and coping skills led her down a road of betrayal, abandonment, abuse and neglect. That is what she comes from so it should be no surprise.

My family and I tried to show her what a functional healthy genuinely loving family looks, acts, behaves, and speaks like but her arrogant, stubborn, grandiose, haughty ego kept her from learning a thing.

In her mind she thought she was perfect and we were the ones with the problems. Textbook trait of an inability to look within to see the depth of your own pathology.

The post goes on and there are posts by other contributers, so I encourage you to read the entire thread. It always feels good to know that you did not imagine the whole thing.

(Not all of the ACOA relationships I’ve had were bad. Some just didn’t work out. I don’t want to give the impression that all ACOAs are like this.)

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