More from "Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families".
"The internalization of our parents behavior is further brought about by abuse, neglect, or other unhealthy behavior. We believe that hitting, threats, projection, belittlement, and indifference are the delivery mechanisms that deeply insert the disease of family dysfunction within us. We are infected in body, mind and spirit. Parental abuse and neglect plant the seeds of dysfunction that grow out of control until we get help."
"There are different definitions of abuse and neglect or other unhealthy behaviors. Our definition is based on adult children facing their abuse and neglect from childhood. For our purposes abuse can be verbal, nonverbal, emotion, physical, religious and sexual."
"Abuse can be a single traumatic event or it can be cumulative events over time. Some of the signs of abuse and neglect are addiction, codependence, workaholism, and phobias. Because our parents could be worriers or doubters, we can worry obsessively about events that never occurr. Regular worry or anxiety is a sure sign of an internalized parent."
"Abuse creates the same feeling of inferiority and constant fear whether it is physical or verbal-emotional abuse. The person who is physically abused and the person who is emotionally abused end up with the same fears, denial, and lost hope. Physical and emotional abue can both produce post-traumatic stress disorder or stored fear. They create the same wound whether hitting is present or not."
Further on in the chapter....
"But still, a skeptic of the effects of verbal and emotional abuse might say: "These categories of abuse described by ACA are so general that anyone can qualify as being abused or neglected. It seems like youa re saying that anyone who was ever disciplined or corrected by a parent can turn into an addict or another addictive type. No parent is perfect. You cannot expect a person to escape childhood without some moments of doubt or fear that are brought by a caring parent who is only human."
"To this we say, a caring parent always raises a caring child and adult. A dysfunctional parent always raises a dysfunctional child and adult. There is no grey area here in our experience. Our categories of verbal and emotional abuse are not so broad if we concentrate on the type of abuse and the specific effects on the child. In ACA, we are talking about abuse and neglect that involves, belittling, threatening, shaming, hateful and indifferent behavior by parents on a regular basis. This behavior produces a felt sense of shame and fear in the child. This type of parenting creates observable behavior that is self-harming and neglectful when the child grows into an adult. These behaviors are codependence, emotional eating, drug abuse, alcoholism, sex addiction, workaholism, debtors addiction, and gambling addiction. These tend to be the most identifiable behaviors and ususally serve as a layer upon other self-harming behaviors. The ACA description of verbal and emotional abuse is based on specific parental behavior with observable results in the adult."
"Another skeptic of effects of verbal and emotional abuse might say: "Yes. My parents could be harsh, but they meant well. They did not mean what they said. I know they loved me and cared about me." In our experience, this kind of selective recall is a form of denial. To think that our parents could shame us or belittle us for being a vulnerable child is too much for us to accept. Like most children, we wanted to believe that our parents cared about us no matter what they said to us. As adults, we search for any kindness our parents might have shown and ignore clear examples of damaging behavior. Societal pressures help us select memories that are more presentable. We can fear being labeled as ungrateful or as a grudge holder if we stop to question what happened in the home. So we "Forgive and Forget," yet, the ingested harms of childhood work behind the scene to sabotage our relationships and careers. Whether we admit it or not the evidence of the childhood verbal abuse is there in our addiction, codependence, or some other method of neglecting ourselves. There can also be chronic depression and extreme anxiety. Some of us can have panic attacks accompany these behaviors."
"We cannot have it both ways. We cannot say that our childhood was perfect, loving and uneventful and then act out with addiction or other compulsions. People who truly care about themselves will tell you that they learned to do so in childhood. The thought of harming themselves or staying in a controlling relationship does not appeal to them. They do not live as enablers or as people unsure of their purpose in life. If people could learn to believe in themselves as children, then why is it so hard for us to accept that we learned to disbelieve in ourselves as children? This is near the core of our woundedness. We do not believe in ourselves."
"People who truly care for themselves cannot always point to a childhood event that let them know that they were valued by their parents. But their actions show they care about themselves. Conversely, we cannot always point to an incident in our childhood in which we decided we were inferior or defective based on parental messages. Yet, our actions show that we really do not care about ourselves. Despite what we say, we believe that we are incomplete. We compare ourselves to others and usually come up short. There is a hole inside of us that can never be filled with enough food, drugs, sex, work, spending, or gambling. We become more aware of this hole with each failed relationship or job."
"If some of us still doubt a connection between childhood events and adult behavior, then why do we identify with a majority of The Laundry List traits? Why do we fear authority figures and remain in unloving relationshps when others would leave? Why do we judge ourselves harshly? Why the difficulty identifying feelings or separating our emotions from those of another? Why can't we muster the resolve needed to lay down drugs or other problematic behaviors without switching to another destructive behavior?"
"If we have related to this chapter so far, we are left with a decision to consider. We either believe that the way we were raised has a direct link to our compulsions and codependence as adults, or we do not believe it. Through denial, we can ignore evidence and continue to blame others for our decisions and confusion. Yet, if we believe there is a connection, we can choose ACA and pick up tools of recovery. We can begin the journey toward clarity and being truly responsible for our own lives. If we choose recovery, we need help finding out what happened to us so we can change our thinking and behavior. To make progress, we must want the ACA way of life. No one can force us to accept ACA. We have to want it for it to work. ACA is for people who can make the connection between childhood neglect and an adult life of fear and loneliness. ACA works best for people who can name what happened to them and become willing to ask for help." ACA
How interesting this all is. From where I am sitting, it is quite remarkable that you would have the traits in adulthood that point to its infection in childhood and still be hell bent in denying it....due to NOT wanting to see your parents hand in your disconnection from loving yourself.
Their lack of love towards you becomes a self dialogue we use.
What a great addition to the usual dialogue in the support groups to see the connection....between who they are as adults to look backwards to see where it all began.
What I love "A dysfunctional parent always raises a dysfunctional child and adult."
No matter what you remember or what you forgive and then forget, or if you are moving on with positive thoughts....the evidence is showing up in your life. Believe me or disbelieve me, it matters not. I cannot create or un-create the lives; the evidence lives on.