Well, my 2nd meeting with Adam Moore went well (1st one by myself).
I talked to him about my history some, we talked about my parents and the triggers I feel there, and we talked about where Becky is and discussed how I can help her feel safe.
I would say the main topic of conversation was my parents though.
In fact, Adam gave me an assignment:
List all messages I receive from Mom & Dad and my emotional reaction (feelings, what I say to them, what I say to myself, etc.)
Honestly, this makes me a bit nervous.
Honestly, I feel stress.
But, here I go.
Messages I receive from Mom & Dad > how they make me feel
- I’m not doing things the way they think I should > I at times feel hopeless or shameful, and other times I want to tell them to go to hell and leave me alone – mostly the second feeling.
- They need to be seen as great parents > I hadn’t really realized this consciously until more recently, but I was always embarrassed when Mom would flag people down to introduce me or “show me off.”
- They want everyone to see how great they have raised me > did they really raise me that great? I hate when I feel like they are trying to make me the center of attention and want to hide or isolate.
- They want me to be the best at everything > I feel pressure to excel, I feel like I can’t meet expectations, I feel angry and hopeless
- I can do no wrong > this is a lie that I’ve tried to believe for a lot of my life, it was always someone else’s fault, never mine.
- If I do something wrong, it’s someone else’s fault > yet another lie that I believed and that has carried with me for most of my life
- Mom won’t take accountability for anything > drives me nuts, especially now that I recognize it for what it is. I want to yell and scream and cuss – but this would only make her feel more like a victim and she’d look at others and give them the look of “Do you see what I’m going through here? Can you believe he’d treat me like that? Craziness!
- Mom will also play the martyr > another way she takes no accountability for choices. She always passes the responsibility onto someone else and subtly hints what she wants to do through questions or comments made over and over again.
- Dad “copes” by checking out > I don’t know if I’ve ever had a real emotional connection with Dad. We talk, but it’s always fairly shallow.
- Dad gets angry at Mom for minute things > this made me scared as a kid. I would isolate, check out myself, hide, and revert to my addiction at some point.
- Dad shames Mom > I would often take his side because I could see what Mom was doing. Now this just makes me frustrated and feel gross inside. I want to protect my kids from this bad example.
- Mom gets defensive and passes blame back to Dad > Makes me feel so frustrated. Again, I feel like she’s never taking accountability.
- If Mom gets called out, she immediately pushes it to someone else, usually the one calling her out > I hate this and get so angry and resentful when this happens – and it happens far too often. If it’s obvious that she’s in the wrong, then she’ll flip things to being “the terrible mom, I’m awful, I’m sorry I can’t do anything right” – again making me angry.
- Mom & Dad don’t know where healthy boundaries are when we discipline our kids in front of them > this is getting harder and harder through recovery. I don’t even want them to be around because of how I feel they are always trying to step in and won’t stay out of our way. They will look at each other in disgust if they feel we are being too hard on the kids. It’s not their business and they need to stay out!
- Mom brags about me and the family to others when we’re not there > Although I don’t know how often this happens, it just makes me feel uneasy and embarrassed.
- Mom and Dad think there’s something wrong with how Becky is handling my addiction and what’s happened > I get really angry here, not only because I know that Becky is working on her own recovery and what she feels is completely due to my bad choices (of which I’m not sure my parents are willing to take accountability for at all).
- Giving, giving, giving is Mom’s way of showing love but it’s really about being seen as a generous person > this is really a weapon and trigger. I hate feeling spoiled and I hate when I feel my kids are getting spoiled. It does no one any good. I feel my mom gives and expects all kinds of praise and gratitude; when we are disgusted at all the stuff she’s giving, then she feels we’re ungrateful and plays the martyr again. It’s a vicious cycle that we can’t ever win at.
- I can’t really share feelings with Mom or Dad without feeling judged or having it minimized > this is a hard reality. This is why I love Becky so much – we have been able to connect emotionally since I first met her.
- They are watching our every move – both Becky and me > Anxiety, hostility, want to yell at them, resentment, insecurity, want to check out – all these feelings come when this happens, which is a lot.
- They expect us to want them to be visiting all the time or be here more frequently > if things don’t change, the truth is, we’ll want to see them less and less. There is too much tension when they come, there are too many triggers. And the problem is, they are completely blind to it and bury the feelings, check out, and feel they are “victims” of our ungratefulness or that we are selfish or whatever (not even sure)
- They don’t understand what real recovery looks like (but Mom thinks she does) > this is hard too. We’ve given them some books to read but I’m sure they haven’t really read them or want to. Makes me feel sad and frustrated and misunderstood.
- Dad could have, but never talked with me about masturbation > angry, frustrated, resentful, sad
- Ultimately, Mom is insecure with how organized and in order our house is > I don’t understand this and don’t know what I can do for it to change – I know ultimately I can do nothing except surrender my feelings to God.
- I don’t like telling them how works going – feel like it’s fuel for bragging or talking me up > Anxiety, embarrassment, insecurity. I don’t want to talk to them about work at all.
- I was always labeled “the perfect son” – made it naturally hard to want to be open and honest with what I was really struggling with growing up > Unrealistic expectations, hopelessness, competitiveness, pride, anger, resentment – I feel all kinds of different feelings with this one, depending on the moment
- Was “jokingly” told I would be disowned if I ever acted like ___________ (any misbehaved kid) > fear, anger, isolation, dishonesty. I never wanted to be like that other person so I would hide anything that I felt they might disapprove of.
- Dressing a certain way is a sign of “success” > now I feel resentment at this. In the past I felt pride and didn’t understand what was going on.
- When they come visit, they are looking for things to critique about how we run the daily operations > defensive, angry, resentful, insecure. It makes me not want them to come visit us at all.
- They aren’t willing to look at how their relationship is and what it does to those around them > frustration, resentment, anger, misunderstood, scared, hopeless.
I don’t want to start eventing things.
Not sure this is 100% accurate but I feel it’s a good start.
I’ll send this to Adam now and see what feedback I get.
Sent. We’ll see what feedback he gives.
I feel better having written this stuff out. If I’m doing a physical assessment right now, I feel tense. I feel tight. I feel stressed. I don’t know if it’s from having my parents here or what, but I don’t feel great.
I’ll surrender this to God and another person and take things a moment at a time.