Step Ten - Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families
"Continued to take personal inventory and when we are wrong, promptly admitted it."
"Step Ten is where we continue to inventory our behavior and thinking. With this Step we continue to let go of control and expose our denial aobut the effects of being raised in a dysfunctional home. We learn to take a balanced view of our behavior, avoiding the tendency to take too much responsibility for the actions of others. At the same time, we also curb our tendency to blame others when we are obviously wrong, yet are too afraid or ashamed to admit it. There is no need for long analyses of our behavior. We know that we come from wounded childhoods and we are addressing that in the Steps."
"Step Ten is where we can continue to integrate any left over character defects or survival skills into our emerging identity. As we learned in Step Seven, there will be residual defects and survival traits that won't recede easily. This does not mean we have failed in previous Steps. Step Ten is where we can acknowledge and embrace these lingering but less useful traits. We use humility and consistent effort to integrate these aspects of our personality."
"Some adult children describe integration as walking into a dark room, closing the door, and talking to each lingering trait. We visualize such traits as people-pleasing, addictive thinking, confusing love with pity, and judging ourselves harshly. In the darkness, we speak to these traits. We thank them and others for their protection in our lives. We ask them to retire or step back. Some we bid farewell, and some we integrate. We make peace with those parts of ourselves that kept us alive as kids but which no longer serve a useful purpose. This exercise is called walking into the darkness to find the light. Coming out of the dark room, we stand in the light, knowing we have faced our most disturbing traits again and survived. Facing our "shadow" helps us live in the moment and feel hopeful about the future."
Step Ten Spiritual Principles: Honesty and Discernment
It is wildly fascinating and horrifying to see your survival self and her needs and the way she operated in life in order to feel safe or loved or in control.
I had just a quick glance at her the other day. This shadow self makes an apperance when I am tired, wanting to control or when I don't make a choice based on what I feel.
In the aftermath, or during the life situation, I see things through her old eyes; very self absorbed.
It is when I practice self-love and honesty before an event; that I can keep her away.
What she sounds like is that the world is there to make her happy and how dare they not know this. How dare they say no or not react now. I forget to remember that they are people too...within their own worlds, with their needs, wants and desires.
A visual of my old self seeing a situation compared to reality is very hateful, anger rises and resentment fills my veins. My need to control and manipulate is righteous.
When I refuse to act...she sulks.
When I give myself space to think and see what is really going on, that it isn't an act of pure apathy or neglect (echoes from an abusive childhood), but rather integrity speaking...even if it isn't matching my needs. I see through eyes of understanding.
What I am finding out is I bring anger...when I am self absorbed.
I bring understanding when I am not in fear.
It is surreal how quickly my old self wants to rise to my defense and how quickly it changes my viewpoints on those I love...and how negatively it feels inside.
It is like a cloud descends upon my world...inside and outside.
I don't know how I survived living this way for 46 years....and the difference between the two are so dramatic inside.
The warm soft feelings are shoved aside for rigid, sharp, silent, resentful, anger...a defensive wall that blocks out everything, but my pinpoint need IN that moment of time.
It can eclipse not only reality, but all those who live in there with me.
This has to be the content of self-absorption.
People say, "who in their right mind could do such a thing" and I am here to tell you, they are acting from this spot I just had a glimpse of. Where they get almost tunnel vision...okay, not almost, but tunnel vision; where their need is all they see.
It is so unreasonable and yet it is so overwhelming, you can't see yourself being so out of sorts.
For while you have this pinhead view of what you need and your desire to control others to get it, you can't see yourself being so narrow minded.
My husband has been a great teacher to teach me to release control.
For he quietly says "no"...and then does nothing when he could be doing what I need him to do. This activates my old self in a heart beat.
But, in juxtaposition of this nature of doing things in his own time, is a man of patient and kind love. My mind has a hard time with this. For the traits of neglect and apathy are nowhere to be found. I am looking for fuel to ignite my old self and all I get left with is to see me being self absorbed.
He being love.
Me being resentful for this one little thing I wanted wasn't done on my timeline....and this equals a "hate"....and the snowball begins to roll.
In my mind...it wants to destroy who he really is for some imaginary man.
In my childhood, it was the opposite. My mind created an imginary kind man/woman and life...and this mechnism can still function. I can go from reality to hell in no time at all. Before I went from Hell to illusion...to survive.
Now this survival trait would wreck love, peace and joy...and to live in a world that I don't control nor do I want to.
Sometimes you have to say good bye a few times...to the old you.