Recovery is a special place to be—full of hope, growing self awareness, combined with a sense of accomplishment. In addition it can be full of challenges, pain, self-doubt, vulnerability and defensiveness. In our childhood we may have felt the need to defend ourselves. Perhaps our mother or father were addicts or alcoholics who took all their frustrations out on us. We did the best we could to deflect the emotional barbs that came our way. We tried to understand what we did wrong. Because of where we were in our emotional development, we couldn’t grasp what was real, and what to believe. There were so many inconsistencies and mixed messages.
We can grow up emotionally shortchanged when we aren’t provided clear and consistent role models in childhood. Being unable to discern what belongs to us and what doesn’t can affect our ability to appropriately respond to information or actions from others. Quite frequently we think everything that doesn’t go according to plan is our fault. If someone is in a bad mood we think they are mad at us.
If we are at a loss for figuring out if someone is mad at us, we can try doing a reality check. A reality check is asking for feedback about something we perceive or question is true. When we do a reality check we can put the emphasis on the person who seemed angry at us and we can do it with care. Hey, Mary, your last comment didn’t seem like you. Is everything OK? Did I do something to offend you? In adulthood not everything is about us.
If we tend to think we are the source of everyone’s anger then we probably have low self esteem. Low self esteem can be directly related to how we were treated in childhood. If we grew up in a dysfunctional family we could have been on constant alert. We developed strong survival skills. The question we need to ask is whether our old survival skills are serving us today.
In addition to asking Mary if she is OK, we have the option of letting the comment go. We don’t always have to know the answer or bring attention to our feelings. As our self awareness grows with the aid of books, group meetings and therapy, our self esteem will, too. Through practice and determination we’ll be able to discern when to do a reality check and when to walk away.
Start the new year with a new take on life. Recovery is your new chance at living. Lasting recovery is possible through infinite change. At Infinity Malibu, our clinical program is run by leaders in the addiction field. Providing cutting edge treatments, our program offers a transformative process. Infinite change. Infinite recovery. Call us today for information: 888-266-9048