Step 2: Connect the Past to Present Life
Hey Everyone! This is part two of a four part mini blog series I’ve been working on. If you missed the first one you can find it here. I am working through the book Changing Course by Claudia Black (which is amazing for any and every family situation btw).
Step two in this process is connecting the past to your present life. For somebody like me, it’s easy to take this question at surface value. I no longer have an active addict in my every day life, so my initial response is that my past doesn’t affect my present. But that’s not true.
Being raised in an emotionally unstable environment fueled by addiction has lasting effects. Those don’t just disappear when the addiction is no longer present. I over analyze everything I say, especially to my children. I am scared to use the wrong tone, say the wrong thing, what if they took it this way or that way, or what If I said something that made them feel the way I did as a child. This happens DAILY. Not only do I do it to myself, but I also analyze my husband’s interactions in the same way. Over the past few years I’ve gotten better with it, because I realize what I was doing was irrational. It took a long time to realize what I was doing subconsciously. It’s a constant battle to stay away from that. That comes from years of being told that my feelings are not valid. So I overcompensate in that area for my own children. I never want them to feel like I did growing up.
I have extreme ways of expressing emotion. Such as, I either suppress my feelings for extended amounts of time, because I’m scared to verbalize anything that may possibly create conflict. This is usually followed by explosions of anger and frustration. Where does that come from? Years of trying to neutralize the unstable emotions that governed my childhood home. I learned to suppress my own feelings to try and keep everyone happy and safe! Then when I finally did start expressing my anger and frustration, that was the last conversation I had with my mother before she passed away. We ended our relationship here on earth in anger and spewed ugly words at each other. Traumatizing to say the least. So I REALLY struggle with being at odds with anyone (for any reason) because I never want to feel that type of guilt again. I know now that it’s irrational, but rewiring a traumatized brain is a constant battle.
Here are a few more that I’ll just touch on:
- I struggled with being alone
- I struggled with making decisions without someone else’s approval
- I struggled with perfectionism
- I struggled with codependency
- I struggled with letting my husband be the man of the house (bc I had a very overbearing and abusive male figure in my childhood and struggle with control)
- I entered into toxic relationships as a young adult (because that’s where I was comfortable) I sought out the same type of relationships that I seen growing up.
Every one of these I can tie back to my past in one way or another. It’s so easy to say: I have a great life, I have a beautiful family, there is no addiction or abuse present in my life anymore, and I am happy. All of these things are true. However, there are absolutely ways in my everyday life that I am chipping away at healing. Or should I say Changing Course? I love this book. Feel free to drop a few lines in the comments and tell me how your past plays a part in your every day life. I could keep writing but this is the most prominent. Let’s open the conversation.