If you check off a few of the above struggles, know that it's okay and healing is possible. The first step in getting help typically involves overcoming denial (see previous blog post) and then identifying our current struggles. See identifying areas we struggle in IS NOT, I repeat, IS NOT a weakness. In fact, it takes extreme courage and strength to admit when our lives are unmanageable, distressing, or overwhelming in some way. Admitting the areas we struggle in simply allows us to get the right care and treatment for that area.
Think about it like this, when you go to the doctor for a health concern, you're asked to describe the symptoms of the problem so the doctor knows the proper treatment regimen to provide. You'd agree that there's a difference between how a doctor would treat, let's say, lung cancer, pneumonia, and asthma? Right? Yes, of course. Now, there might be similar issues with breathing or the lungs; however, the course of treatment would be vastly different. It first came down to the patient expressing that there was a problem/concern, coming in for the proper evaluation by a trained professional, and then being willing to accept the course of treatment the doctor recommends. In many ways, this is similar to how we handle addressing a client's concerns mentally and emotionally.
Our willingness to admit our current struggles with some of these traits, usually means we're ready to get to work on how to overcome these struggles. When it comes to tackling the above listed concerns, it's important that we have support, encouragement, and a safe, non-judgmental environment to feel safe in, in order to explore these struggles.
I like to take a strength's based approach with this by reminding clients that the adult-children-of-alcoholics (or addicts or abusers) traits were coping skills at one point; they might've helped you survive/endure an abusive, scary, unpredictable home life, or helped you endure and feel in control with some other dysfunctional situation growing up. This is okay. We honor the fact that you MADE IT, you SURVIVED, you GOT THROUGH IT; now, as adults, we get to decide if the behaviors are still working for us. If they aren't, because they are creating distress internally or externally for us (think relationally, vocationally, etc), we get the choice and are empowered, today, to make healthy choices to better improve our situations. As children, we didn't know better and we didn't often have any other choice; we did the VERY BEST we could at the time. So, we recognize that, then, move towards how we can become the healthiest, adult version of ourselves as possible.
Remember, there IS hope for your situation and healing IS possible! I'm cheering for you!