My Moment of Enlightenment

When I was 43 years old, I came across the Big Red Book. This is the Adult Child of Alcoholics version of AA’s Big Book. I ordered it, and once it arrived and I began reading it, I was amazed. I had no idea all the “personality traits” that I possessed were actually the traits of an adult child. My anxiety, depression, panic attacks, perfectionism, and obsessive/compulsive tendencies were all common to adult children. 

The line in the book that truly spoke to me was, “you had a normal reaction to an abnormal situation.” That was my Ah-Ha moment. I cried after reading this. All these years, I had thought I was such a fuck up. I had no idea that the misery of my childhood wasn’t over when I left our family home at age 18. That misery had shaped me, the very neural connections of my brain, into the person I was. 

I was neglected, and witnessed many things no child should ever see or hear. This leads to Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, also, explaining a great deal of the issues I have in my daily adult life, and the struggles with relationships with others. 

I developed a set of skills as a child that allowed me to survive. The problem is, these skills don’t translate well into healthy, adult relationships. Now, I am learning to put those old tools aside and develop some new ones. 

The hardest part of all this right now is that it’s not my fault that this happened to me, but I am most definitely the one paying the price for the ignorance and poor choices of my parents. 

2 thoughts on “My Moment of Enlightenment”

  1. No it is not your fault what happened to you. I am glad that you found that book. Yes the pains and heartaches of our past do carry over when we become adults. Some of those problems haunt us and make it hard to move forward in life.
    Have you ever read a book called, “Return To Love,” by Marianne Williamson? Someone gave that to me 20 years ago and it changed my life. It helped me see things in a different way and leave all that pain of my past aside so I could move forward. See if you can find a copy of this book. You might like it.

  2. I surely need to get a copy of both the book you mention, and the one in the previous comment. I know a counselor once suggested I read codependent no more and I swear my jaw was on the floor throughout the entire book. I returned to her saying “that’s me! That book was written because of me!”. I have horrible memory and don’t remember what I read, but I know at the time I was shocked. It was to a T. I also had an alcoholic father and though there wasn’t physical abuse, the emotional was horrendous. I still struggle with being submissive and internalizing negativity I “feel” in others. He/she’s mad and surely I did something to cause it. All my fault. Anyway, I’m reading your posts from the beginning. Right now though I cannot be online (on my phone) because my husband gets mad. Until next time…. B

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