If we grew up in a dysfunctional home in which people suffered from alcoholism, our feelings may have been ignored, shut off, undervalued, or not validated. Children need structure, discipline, guidance, consistent role models love, opportunities, and so much more. If a parent doesn’t validate a child’s feelings, that child will get the message they don’t matter. Their self-esteem will be compromised and barely consist of a blip on the radar screen.
Thousands of children who suffered from lousy childhood situations suffer from low self-esteem. Many are at risk for becoming a person addicted to alcohol or drugs. When they enter adulthood they may not know how to confront someone they feel has stepped on their toes without displaying anger. They don’t know how to accept praise, and they may be afraid to love another. The adult child may scoff at or hide sadness or disappointment. They may show happiness by acting inappropriately. Children model the environment in which they grew up.
Having our feelings doesn’t mean reacting in a way that could harm another or ourselves. Having our feelings is about being truthful with ourselves and what is going on inside us. We can choose to share our feelings or not. Let’s say we are very sad because our old dog died. We believe that no one at the office will think it’s ok to take the day off, so we make it into work.
In trying to hide our feelings from colleagues, we could come across as distant or even angry. Someone might even say, So, what’s up with her today? In sobriety we get to have our feelings. We get to feel sad and take a personal day.
Let’s say we have an argument with our spouse or a friend. We are on opposing sides of an issue. We state our case and they state theirs. Their case makes us angry. They notice our anger and say, Well, you don’t have to get mad. While they may not intend to, their statement is one of shaming. When we disagree with someone, we get to have our feelings about it. Without escalating the situation, we can say, Mary, we may disagree on this one, but I am entitled to my feelings.
While there are many examples of having our feelings, one thing we need to do is give ourselves permission to be angry, to cry when we are sad, to smile when we are happy, to feel good about our accomplishments and to revel in all that makes us who we are today. Having our feelings takes practice. Our diligence towards that end will bolster out self-esteem and cement a foundation for the building blocks of our sobriety.
“Feelings are not supposed to be logical. Dangerous is the man who has rationalized his emotions.”—David Borenstein
When you step into Infinity Malibu you move towards an inner peace that comes with sobriety. We offer cohesive addiction treatment, and holistic therapies like mindfulness meditation. Come in and greet yourself anew. 888-266-9048