ACOA Characteristics


1.) ...guess at what normal behavior is.
2.) ...have difficulty following a project through from beginning to end.
3.) ...lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth.
4.) ...judge themselves without mercy.
5.) ...have difficulty having fun.
6.) ...take themselves very seriously.
7.) ...have difficulty with intimate relationships.
8.) ...overreact to changes over which they have no control.
9.) ...constantly seek approval and affirmation.
10.) ...usually feel that they are different from other people.
11.) ...are super responsible or super irresponsible.
12.) ...are extremely loyal, even in the face of evidence that the loyalty is undeserved.
13.) ...are impulsive and tend to lock themselves into a course of action without giving serious behaviors or possible consequences. This impulsiveness leads to confusion, self-loathing and loss of control over their environment. In addition, they spend and excessive amount of energy cleaning up the mess.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The ACOA Rush of Emotions

It's amazing to me how the simplest things could cause so much stress, frustration, and sadness...

I just don't ever know how to handle this stuff... I feel like I can't trust my thoughts or my feelings...

You probably won't take away much from the following, but I just had to get it out of my system (It's faster to type than to write). I figured, too, that maybe it might make you feel better knowing 'there's someone else out there' in case you've ever had a similar rush or state of confusion--regardless of which side of "The Conversation" you were on...

The Conversation:

Boyfriend: "So, are we still going to the orchestra on Saturday?"
Me: "Um, well I really want to, but I haven't had a chance to call back about ticket info."
BF: "Okay, well if you could call and find out tomorrow, that'd be great. Let me know what the details are because one of my friends is in from out of town and he's having a party at one of the local bars. I thought if we didn't go to the orchestra, we could maybe go there instead. Or, if we do go to the orchestra, we could stop by the bar afterwards or something. Just throwing it out there..."
Me: "Oh... ... ..." [see The Thought Process below]
BF: "Are you okay?"
Me: "mm...uh...yeah"
BF: "What's up, hunny?"
Me: "Well, it's just that I feel like you'd rather go with your friends than go to the orchestra."
BF: "No, I want to go with you! We've been talking about this for awhile!"
Me: "Yeah, but I feel like you only want to go to the orchestra because it's a chance for us to do something together. I can't help, though, but feel like you'd actually prefer for us to go to the bar to see your friends over going to the orchestra."
BF: "Well, yeah; but I want to go to the orchestra because it's something you want to do. Besides, I'll have other times I'll be seeing my friends over the holiday break, and I already told them that I probably couldn't make it on Saturday."
Me: " *Sigh* Sorry, it's just that I feel like I'd be taking you away from your friends and what you'd prefer to do..."
BF: "N-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-no...that's not the case! Don't worry about it at all. Let's go to the orchestra on Saturday and we'll play other things by ear"
Me: "Okay...."

The Thought Process
Oh, that's right; I forgot to call back about the tickets!
I am so excited to see the orchestra's Christmas concert!
This should be so much fun, we've never been to the orchestra together!
I hope I can convince the ticket office to give me the discounted rate...
What? His friends want to have a party at the bar?
Crap, if he tries to back out on this, I will be so mad! We've bee talking about this for months!!!
Oh, he still wants to go.... but maybe stop by the bar afterwards?
Yeah, because the thing I'd love to do after a wonderful evening is show up in orchestra-attire at the bar and watch everyone around me get shit-faced.
Stop it, you're overreacting--people are simply getting together because everyone is in town for the holidays--it could be a fun, relaxing time.
Crap, what am I thinking?! He's only been to the orchestra when he was a kid--that's not his thing! There's no way if I weren't in the picture he would ever choose to go to the orchestra over going to the bar with his friends.
Dammit, I'll be keeping him from his friends. The entire night, all he'll be thinking about is, "Hmm, I wonder what everyone is doing at the bar? I wonder if we'll be able to stop by afterwards... gosh, how much longer is this thing gonna go?
UGH!!! This sucks! I don't even want to go to the bar AT ALL to see his friends! I'm so selfish! He's willing to do something with me that I want to do, but there's not any part of me that wants to return the favor and do something he wants to do when it has anything to do with the bar.
Shut up, that's not the case. He knows how the bar affects you, you're not being selfish, you're setting boundaries.
Crap, he's seeing his friends how many times over break? I'll be out of town when his friends have their big Christmas party--the one that last year someone got rushed to the hospital in an ambulance for a head injury because he was so drunk and had to have medical procedures performed because his blood alcohol level was so high? Shit, shit, shit!
I don't want him out with his friends without me... I don't want to keep him from his friends... Crap, my chest is tightening up...
Damnit, I hate this! I can't deal with this! I know he's not the person I want him to be--he's changed just to adjust to my discomforts. There's no way that can work in the future... he's bound to bounce back and get pissed because he'll feel like he's sacrificed who he really is for the sake of a potential married life. No, no, no, I won't be able to handle that if that happens....
I know he'd rather go with his friends... He should just go with his friends... I can go to the orchestra by myself...
No I can't, all I'll be doing is thinking of him the whole time... he would never allow that to happen, either. He loves me too much... he just wants to spend time with me.
Ugh! How could he keep saying, "Don't worry about it" ??!? I hate when he says that! I'm not WORRIED--I'm feeling pains from the past---pains I don't even know how to define. I'm sad...I'm hurt... I'm frustrated...I'm tired... I'm sick...
...but I'm not worried... God, just stop saying that!
Jeez, why am I so upset? Why do you even keep asking yourself that question? There's no answer.
I just hate it... I hate knowing he can have a beer or two with his friends or co-workers or whomever and that it means absolutely nothing. It means absolutely nothing, and yet it's something that I can't force him to stop.
I bet that's why he didn't come over last night. He was at a Christmas party. I bet he had a sounded like he did on the phone...I bet he knew I'd smell it on his breath and that it would make me upset.
God, will you stop trying to project thoughts and feelings onto other people? Just trust him like you know you can! He's not your parents! He's not sick! Just believe what he says and take it for what it's worth!
I can't...this can't work... I just want this to all go away.... why did he even have to bring up the outing with his friends? When will he ever GET IT!??!?!?!?!?!?!??!?
I hate the holidays.... I hate people getting together.... I hate having to see (or not see) my family...
I just want to go to sleep.
Why does this have to even MATTER!?
Great, now that Finals are over, my mind can so easily switch back to all its normal musings instead of blocking them with thoughts of operations analysis, managerial accounting, and global marketing...

Well, time to cry myself to sleep. Maybe it's good that I'm feeling emotions? Ugh...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Choosing Recovery Over Performance

I'm still so tired from the let-downs and work overload from this past week...
Now I face the fears of potential failure for the week that follows...
So much work, and definitely not enough time...
I figured, "I don't have time to go to my Al-Anon Adult Children meeting tonight; that's two hours out of my evening that I could be trying to finish my project due tomorrow..."

But right now I am making the decision to choose taking care of myself by taking advantage of an opportunity for even a small increase in sanity...

...and choosing to leave my work for later, resolving that what I do not complete by 10:30pm will become the responsibility of the other 4 members in my group to scramble around and finish sometime tomorrow...

*deep breathe*

I don't like this...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cracking the Stone of the Past

I was reading Amy Eden's ACOA blog, and I feel like she wrote a post especially for me regarding frustrations about current situations. Check out the excerpt that follows:

Do you often find yourself thinking, "Why does this seem to always happen....?" Do you realize that OF COURSE it always happens? It always happens because your frame of mind hasn't changed although the situation may have changed -- your frame of mind will continue to interpret things as it does until you reconsider how you view your world.

Think about what frustrates you. Then think about how altering your interpretation -- altering the frame through which you interpret your world -- might alleviate your frustration and bring you a sense of satisfaction.

I have been slowly coming to realize that the only thing I haven't changed about my situation is myself. It sucks that it's the hardest thing to change, but I'm trying! It's interesting how the more I allow for recovery, the more realizations seem to magically become

The recovery process kind of reminds me of a story about "personal layers" I once heard. It involved a little girl who inherited an old, ugly statue that had been in her family for generations and generations. She didn't know the statue's history, but she decided to somehow make it beautiful. She worked hard and saved up her money to purchase gold leaf so that she could cover the ugly statue.. Excited about her efforts and changes, she rushed the statue to her grandfather to boast about her accomplishments. At the site of the statue, though, the grandfather was surprisingly disdained! The little girl didn't understand, and grew upset because all her hard work was not appreciated. In response to her reaction, the grandfather lovingly took the little girl by the hand and explained that had she taken the time to understand the statue's history, she would find the true beauty already inherent within the stone itself. At that, he took a hammer and chisel to the statue. The little girl watched (somewhat painfully) as he removed all the gold leaf and continued to chisel and chip at the stone itself. As he worked, larger pieces began to fall off revealing what appeared to be a slightly smaller statue inside the stone. When the stone was completely removed, the grandfather began to polish the inner statue, revealing the the statue itself was made of pure gold...

I feel like I have been trying to cover up my past with gold leaf. This seems like the same concept as changing everything about a situation but oneself--the common alcoholic nature of "putting on the show" that "everything's fine here!" It's difficult that you can't discover the "inner gold" until learning about the history of the stone--not to mention the difficulty and pain in then chipping it all away.

I feel like my mini-realizations are pieces of stone falling away. You've got to feel the pain of the past before being able to work according to the present and toward a better future.

We'll get there... piece by piece... little by little....