Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cyrus Webb Presents "The Patricia Singleton Story" on Conversations Live! Radio Interview

On Thursday, April 29, 2010, Cyrus Webb on BlogTalkRadio will do my first ever interview, "The Patricia Singleton Story," on his Conversations Live! Radio program.  The times that the show will be going on are:
1:00 p.m. EST, 12:00 a.m. CST, 11:00 a.m. MST, and 10:00 a.m. PST


If you can't join us for the live show, then you can click on the link that I will be giving you and listen to the interview later on at your convenience.  I hope that you will come back here and leave me your comments about the interview afterwards to let me know what you think.  You can also leave comments on the program at the link for listening to the interview.  Remember, this is my first ever interview and I don't have any questions from Cyrus before hand to practice my responses.  Cyrus is an excellent interviewer.  He asks some deep questions on the subject when he does an interview.

I want to share Cyrus's description of the topic of the interview:
"With the recent admissions of rape and incest among celebrities like Monique and others, attention is once again being brought on this important topic.  Host Cyrus Webb welcomes Patricia Singleton to Conversations Live! Radio to share her own story of surviving such abuse and how she is using her experience to help others and continue to heal in the process. . . ."  Thank you Cyrus.

I am honored to be given this opportunity to speak out and to make people aware that incest and child abuse can happen to any one.  It could be someone in your neighborhood, your church, your community, or even some child in your own family.  I am grateful for this opportunity to spread the awareness of child abuse to a greater audience.  I thank my readers for being open to reading my words about my spiritual journey through recovery from incest.  I look forward to meeting new people through this interview. I ask for your prayers to join with mine that I will say the right things that need to be voiced to help others break their own silence of abuse.

Welcome to my world.  The link for this interview is here:


Thank you for joining me for this interview.  Thank you to all of the other abuse survivors who are my inspiration on this journey through life.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Incest Recovery---Give Your Child Permission To Say No

Before I get into the topic of this article, I want to invite you to join me on BlogTalkRadio as I am interviewed by Cyrus Webb of Conversations Live at noon Central Standard Time on Thursday, April 29, 2010.  Cyrus has been doing interviews on BlogTalkRadio for seven years.  He is a great interviewer.  I thank you Cyrus for giving me this opportunity to share my message of recovery from incest with a larger audience.  I don't have any prepared list of questions from Cyrus so forgive me if I stumble out of nervousness.  I am excited to do this.  It is a totally new experience for me so there is some fear of saying the wrong thing, fear of not knowing what to say and fear of not doing it right.  The perfectionist in me tends to come out at times like this even though I have wrestled with not being a perfectionist for years.  I know myself well enough to know that I will be stressed out before the interview because that is when all of those old negative tapes will be running through my head.  I know they aren't true but that doesn't stop them from running.  I also know that as soon as Cyrus asks me the very first question, the stress will be gone and I will be comfortable with myself and my story.  I have shared small pieces of my story before and the calmness comes over me as soon as I start to speak.  I also always ask God to give me the right words to say.  If you can't listen to the interview at noon on April 29, Cyrus will have the recording up on his site afterwards.  Here is the link to Cyrus's website:
I will post a reminder in another few days.  I hope you will join us and give me feedback afterwards.

I will warn you that if you are an incest and/or abuse survivor, the rest of this article may be triggering for you.  Precede with caution.  I am sharing things that I have never shared with anyone before.

Since I posted my recent article, "A New Chapter In Incest Recovery @ http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2010/04/new-chapter-in-incest-recovery.html , I have been waiting to see what feelings are going to come up for me.  I know that this new work will entail grieving again.  Usually the first emotion to come up, for me, is anger or fear.  There was fear and anger both in the dream that I that I had that started this new chapter of work.  A few nights ago, after thinking about it for awhile, I told my grieving class that the first emotion to come up is anger at my parents and at my uncle for not asking me if I wanted to go with him on the fishing trip and if I wanted to go home with him for the weekend.  I was not asked if I wanted to do either of these things.  I wasn't given a choice of going with this man.  I was told to go because it would be fun.  Being 11 years old and being raped by a man in his 50's was not fun.  It was torture.  And the day of the fishing trip wasn't enough for him.  I was taken home with him and the rape happened several more times over the weekend.  He lied to my parents about other people being at his house.  The two of us were the only ones there for the weekend.  What makes me mad, so far, is that I was not given a choice in the matter.  I was not asked what I wanted.  The fact that I wasn't asked means to those adults that I didn't matter.  I had no value.  I was an object to be used and discarded.  I did not trust adults not to hurt me after that weekend.  I remember that I was afraid of hurting my uncle's feelings if I said anything.  I did not scream out the hurt.  I did not cry through the pain, through the tearing of my immature, 11-year-old body.  I went inside my head and stayed there.  I went as deep inside as I could away from the pain and the fear.  I decided that something was badly wrong with me for me to deserve to be treated this way by the adults in my life.  I can tell you the year that this abuse happened---the year that I was 11 years old which was in 1962.  I can tell you it was the Summer of 1962 because I was wearing shorts and the first night that my uncle visited we sat in chairs in the front yard under the stars.  He was talking to my sister and me.  No other adults were around.  They must have been in the house.  It was unusual for an adult to sit and talk to me so I enjoyed the attention.  I was on one side of him and my sister was in a chair on the other side of him.

I knew something was wrong the second he put his hand down into my shorts and panties but I didn't understand what was wrong.  This was a year before the sex talk that my six grade health teacher had with all of the girls in the class.  I felt uncomfortable with what he was doing but didn't want to hurt his feelings by moving away.  What he was doing didn't hurt but it also wasn't pleasurable to me.  Some part of me knew what he was doing was wrong. 

My sister, sitting on his other side, asked what he was doing.  He put his other hand into her shorts and panties too.  I can't tell you how long this continued.  On some level I must have shut down or my mind went off into the night.  I don't remember.  I do remember being relieved when Mom called us into the house.

The next morning after my dad went to work, my uncle asked Mom if I could spend the day fishing with him.  Without asking me if I wanted to go, she said yes.  I think that I will leave this fishing trip for another article.  I am feeling overwhelmed with what I have written so far.  I am sorry to leave you hanging like this but I need to take care of me.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dysfunctional Family Systems

There is an interesting conversation going over at Emerging From Broken.  You will find this article at the following link http://emergingfrombroken.com/?p=796 .  Several of the comments at the end of the article are mine.  This article is going to be an edited version of one of my comments plus some others thoughts that I have had on the topic of Dysfunctional Family Systems.

There are quite a number of books written on the topic.  I visited Amazon.com earlier to see what was available and quit after page 17 of the list.  Two of the best, in my opinion are Healing The Child Within:  Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families, written by Charles L. Whitfield and Healing the Shame That Binds You, written by John Bradshaw.  Two others that were life savers for me are both by the same author Melody Beattie Codependent No More and her second book called Beyond Codependency.  I highly recommend each of these four books.

This is just a small definition of what it means to grow up in a dysfunctional family system.  For more information, read any of the four books that I mentioned above. 

In dysfunctional families, the individual members don't talk about what is wrong or what's missing from the family system, things like communication and trust.  They don't usually love themselves.  Sometimes there is neglect of individual needs.  The child doesn't have a healthy adult to model how to take care of themselves so the child doesn't learn this.

In some dysfunctional family systems, there are secrets that everybody knows but nobody talks about.  In my family that secret was alcoholism.  In A.A. and Al-Anon, they call this having an elephant in your living room that nobody wants to see.  The elephant (alcoholism in my family) is there.  Everyone walks around it like it isn't there.  Nobody talks about it.  Another secret that some of my family members either knew about or suspected was incest.  Everybody knows not to talk to outsiders about what is really going on inside the family.  I learned in Al-Anon that we are each only as sick as our secrets.

Everybody is afraid of change.  The dysfunctional family system is very rigid and doesn't allow for change in any form.  Anybody that dares to want to change comes up against resistance from the other family members, sometimes resulting in being ostracized or cast out from the family.  Nobody welcomes change.  Often if you get into recovery as an adult, nobody in the family acknowledges that you have made changes in yourself, that you are different.  They continue to see you in the role that you were assigned as a child.  That can be very frustrating especially for survivors who have worked really hard to make these healthy changes.

Nobody feels supported by the other family members.  Feelings are not shared.  There are often unexpressed, unfelt emotions. Emotions are often ignored or stuffed rather than acknowledged, especially fear and anger. There is usually a lot of underlying stress.  Any time you have secrets.  There is stress.  There is sometimes loneliness even when the family is together in the same room because nobody feels connected to anybody else.

Each member is assigned a role to play in the family.  Some of these roles are family hero, scapegoat, family maintainer, peacemaker, the invisible child, the sick child, and others.  Some people play more than one role at a time.  I played hero, family maintainer, and peacemaker at different times. I was also my mother's emotional protector at least by the age of 3.  I have a very clear memory of this.

Everyone is fearful, often without knowing why.  Sometimes, as in my case, the fear is so deep that I didn't even realize until I was 19 years old that I lived in daily fear for my life and sanity.  I didn't recognize the fear because it was constantly, always there in the fabric of my life.  I don't remember a time that I wasn't fearful.

In my dysfunctional family, my dad was a dictator of what we did, what we thought, how we acted.  He dictated through his rage.  Not all dysfunctional families are this extreme.  Some are.  Some are not.  Some families are so disconnected from their feelings that nothing seems wrong on the surface.

These are just a few symptoms of living in a dysfunctional family system.  The family system is more important than any of its individual members.  Nobody is supposed to become a separate individual as they are expected to in a health family system.  There is no separation in a dysfunctional family system.  Everyone is so emeshed that there are no healthy boundaries.  I used walls to keep you out and to keep me protected.  This separation was such a big issue in my family that I waited until I was 19 to run away from home.  My dad was not going to let me leave if he had known in advance.  I told my mom that I was leaving.  My dad came after me two days later.  He threatened suicide if I didn't come back home to live.  He didn't commit suicide and I didn't go back home to stay.  I went home for the weekend to say goodbye to my sister and brother.  I left for good on Monday morning.  I knew in my heart that if I didn't run away that my dad would never have let me escape from under his rule.  Again, this is an extreme example of a dysfunctional family system.

These are just some of the symptoms of growing up in a dysfunctional family system.  There are many more.  Not all families have all of these symptoms.  Do you personally know any families that don't have some dysfunction?  I know some that are working on getting healthier.  Our society is full of families dealing with addictions and codependency.  Some families are healthier than others.

You may ask why am I willing to write a blog about incest, about my own dysfunctional family system.  Why am I making all of my families dirty laundry public?  Some might say that I am being judgmental of others when I talk about my own recovery and my very unhealthy childhood in a home with incest and alcohol.  I am not doing that.  I am sharing what my journey has been like for me. 

Many of us are choosing to go "public" with our issues and our recovery.  You might ask or even demand to know why I would do this to my family.  I am not doing this to anyone.  This is what was done to me and to many other abuse survivors.  Incest is just one of many abuses that are happening to the children of countries around the world.  This abuse will continue unless I and other survivors start to speak out.  Breaking the silence of abuse means that I sometimes get attacked because others don't like having all of this "family" stuff being aired in public.  You won't shut us up any longer.  The survivors of abuse are beginning to speak out on their own behalf and on the behalf of those who are still afraid to speak out. 

I thank Carla Dippel and Darlene Ouimet for speaking to others through their blog Emerging From Broken.  By thanking Carla and Darlene, I am not claiming that they have been abused.  That is for them to decide.  Not me.  I am thanking them for being an inspiration to me personally.  I always welcome comments from my readers.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Belief Systems And Incest

Carla Dippel over at Emerging From Broken blog has written two articles about the belief systems that she inherited from her father.  Her first article she entitled "Illusive but Destructive:  Belief System Inheritance"    [ http://emergingfrombroken.com/?p=722 ].  Carla's second article she named "Unintentional but Destructive:  Belief System Inheritance" [ http://emergingfrombroken.com/?p=750 ]. 

In both of Carla's articles she talks about growing up with a father that she loved but also learning to not value herself because that is what her father modeled for her by not giving himself value.  Her father didn't set out intentionally to teach his daughter that she didn't have value as a person but he did teach this belief to his daughter was what he believed about himself.  That doesn't make him a bad dad or a bad person.  He was probably doing the best that he knew how.  It just wasn't sending the most beneficial belief system to his daughter.  As an adult, that devaluing of herself has created challenges  for Carla in her life.  She is addressing those challenges by looking at the belief system that her father passed on to her.  Until you have an awareness of what you believe about yourself and others, you can't make the needed changes.  I admire Carla's courage for doing this.  I thank Carla for doing this work out in the public on her blog so that others can benefit from her example.  I know it helped me to remember some of the belief systems that set me up to be abused.

In my last article, I shared a recent dream about my uncle.  In that article, I shared that my first remembered sexual abuse was at the hands of my uncle when I was 11 years old.  A major part of all of the healing that I have done around my incest issues has meant going back and looking at the beliefs surrounding each incident and feeling whatever feelings come up from remembering the incident. I really haven't done much of that with my uncle and this first time of being raped by a grown man.

I have had several conversations recently about survivors being attacked when they have broken their silences about the abuse that they have suffered through.  I tend to get angry when I see this happening to others or to myself  because for so many years we weren't allowed to speak or weren't listened to if we did try to speak out.  One of the biggest fears of a lot of survivors of abuse is that they will be blamed if the truth is known and that they won't be believed.  Those two beliefs kept me silent for almost 40 years.

The gun man in my dream [If you haven't read my previous post about this dream, you will find it at http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2010/04/new-chapter-in-incest-recovery.html ] represents those fears of being rejected, blamed or not believed if I ever told about the incest with my uncle or my dad.  Children also have a fear of dying or being alone if they are taken from their parents.  The gun man would resort to shooting me because of those fears that I carried with me as a child and even as an adult.  I also had a very real fear of this uncle killing me if I ever spoke out against him.  My dad threatened suicide several times in my childhood.

In the dream, I wasn't in a house.  The dream took place in an apartment.  I see an apartment as having different levels.  The door didn't open up to outside.  The outside was always safe for me because I could be alone and I had space to run or hide if I wanted to.  The door opened up into a dark hallway.  This tells me that the healing for this issue is on another level.  I have never had a dream about this uncle before that I remember.  I have also never dreamed that I was in an apartment like this dream was.  So this level of healing will be different than the healing work of the past.  Because of those fears and the darkness, a part of me represented by the gun man is willing to kill to keep me from looking at this issue.  Some part of me is terrified of the truth and remembering.

I don't know how I feel about this dream and this issue yet.  I am calm and I am waiting to see what comes up.  I have asked for Divine Guidance in dealing with this issue and for what direction I am supposed to go with this.

What Carla's two articles reminded me of is that I was afraid of hurting my uncle's feelings if I didn't do as he asked, if I didn't do what he wanted.  I put his feelings above my own.  I allowed him to hurt me so that I wouldn't hurt him.  My parents taught me well about respecting adults and always obeying them and never speaking out.  I wasn't taught that I had value.  I was just a kid who was supposed to do what I was told by the adults.  Adults ruled my world.  Their safety and authority were more important than what I thought or felt or needed.  I was supposed to shut up and do what I was told so I did.

I can feel that I am not ready to give you the details of that time with my uncle just yet.  Today I honor the timing of the telling of my story.  I also honor the scared inner child who isn't quite brave enough yet for me to tell her story.  She and I both know the time is soon.  She is willing to take a step closer to the telling.  She is willing to trust the adult me to protect her when we do speak.  I thank you for your patience.  We are almost there.
Patricia and little Patty

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A New Chapter In Incest Recovery

I have done no healing work on being molested by my uncle when I was 11 years old.  This happened a few short weeks before the incest was initiated by my dad.  I thought, I guess I hoped, that working on my issues with my dad and mom would take care of it since they seemed more important.

Maybe it is now time to look at my incest issues with my uncle since I had a dream about it in the early morning hours of Easter Sunday.  I didn't remember the dream when I first woke up that morning so some of the memory of the dream was lost.  I wrote the dream down later in the afternoon when I did remember having it.  Here is what I wrote down that afternoon:

I was in a house with my uncle and a woman, maybe my grandmother.  I am not clear about who the woman was.  I forgot parts of the dream in the waking time that I used to get ready to take my mother-in-law to church this morning.

In the dream, I had a conversation with my uncle, but I don't remember most of it.  I do remember there was a sexual element to the dream and I remember that I was angry.  I was an adult in the dream.  My uncle was making demands and I refused to give in to his demands.  I said some words to the effect that I would tell someone if he didn't leave me alone.  I know he then got angry.  I wasn't afraid of him like I was as a child.

Next he was gone from the dream.  There was a knock on the front door.  I opened the door into a hallway like I was in an apartment building instead of in a house.  A man with a gun in his hand was there to kill me because I was going to talk about the incest and my uncle.  I remember waking up when the man put the gun to my head.

I woke myself up from the dream frightened and confused.  After a short while I went back to sleep and had another dream that I don't remember at all.

I know that this dream came about because I have been reading Dan L. Hays' book Freedom's Just Another Word.  [ http://www.danlhays.com/freedom.html ]  [ http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2010/04/freedoms-just-another-word-book-review.html ].  I also know the dream came about because obviously it is time for me to work on recovery from the incest experiences with my uncle.

One thing that I have learned from reading Dan's book is that we sometimes have to revisit different time periods and the different people who have affected our lives rather than just dumping all of the issues into one big pile. 

I have hesitated to post about my uncle because he still has sons and daughters living.  I won't use his name for that reason to protect the privacy of his children.  I don't know if he abused any of them or not.  I don't know how they feel about him either. 

He died back in the 1980's or 1990's.  I don't know the exact year so I am not in fear of him hiring someone to kill me like he did in my dream.  The killer represents that part of me that is still very afraid of talking about this topic and this man.  The threat of shooting me tells me how very deep this fear is.   As a child, I thought my uncle was capable of killing me or hiring someone to do it.  When he was raping me I didn't know whether he would kill me or not afterwards.  I was afraid of him for reasons that I won't share here. 

I don't know where this part of my journey is going to take me but I am willing to go along to the end.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Registered Sex Offender Lists Don't Mean Our Children Are Safe

Did you know that if you are on the Registered Sex Offender list, at least in some states, you can still have children living in your home.  I assumed, wrongly, that if you were on this list then that meant no children could live in the home.  To my dismay and horror, it doesn't mean that at all.  A court order must be in effect saying that the sex offender cannot have children in the home with the sex offender.  Again, the legal system isn't adequately protecting our children. 

I know of an incident years ago where a judge ruled that because there was a woman living in the house that the man would not sexually abuse his daughters.  Sometimes you just want to strangle someone for being so stupid. Ask any woman who was sexually abused by her father when she was a child if having their mother living in the house made a bit of difference. It doesn't.

This wasn't a planned article.  I am ranting because I am furious with our legal system that seems to err in the favor of the abuser rather than on the side of the defenseless children in our nation.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"Freedom's Just Another Word" Book Review

Freedom's Just Another Word is an inspiring book written about a very important part of the path to recovery for the author Dan L. Hays. [ http://www.danlhays.com/freedom.html ]

Freedom's Just Another Word, by Dan L. Hays, Virtualbookworm.com Publishing Inc., College Station, TX, 2008.

Dan Hays and I first connected on his blog Thoughts Along The Road to Healing, Overcoming the Effects of Growing up in an Alcoholic Family.  There I read about Dan's Tiger Dream. [ http://danlhays.wordpress.com/2009/10/28/talk-of-tigersthe-tiger-unveiled/ ]

By the time that I read a second article that Dan wrote about his Tiger Dream and labeling the Tiger as his rage,  [http://danlhays.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/healing-my-anger-defusing-a-time-bomb/ ] I was ready to order Dan's book and read it.

In Freedom's Just Another Word, Dan retraces some of his childhood memories of places he lived which in turn brought up forgotten or blocked memories of his childhood---things Dan wasn't even sure that he wanted to remember.  Want to or not, Dan knew that he needed to remember these memories to release the blocks that were killing him and blocking his potential success in life and his career.

The memories that Dan recovered initially brought up a lot of pain and terror to Dan's mind and body.  Those memories brought out rage over incidences in his childhood, anger at his dad and at God.  Something that my own path has shown me is that we often label God with the same beliefs and feelings that we have from and toward our own Earthly, human father.  Dan saw his human father Ben as being punishing, unforgiving, and uncaring.  Dan saw God in the same harsh light.  In remembering his childhood, Dan discovered an alcoholic father who beat young Danny when in an alcoholic blackout which means that Dan's father had no memories of the beatings afterwards.

Since I found Dan's blog Thoughts Along The Road to Healing and the story of Dan's Tiger Dream, I have felt a strong connection to Dan and his journey through recovery.  Since reading his book Freedom's Just Another Word, the connection has grown even stronger.  Like Dan, I often questioned my connection to God.  We both thought God was punishing us for being bad children.  We thought that God had turned His back on us because of the shame we carried.  Like me, part of Dan's journey took him face to face with God and his anger at God.  We both came out the other side knowing that God was taking care of us all along.  God is always understanding and doesn't kill you if you get angry at Him.  He welcomes your rage as much as He welcomes your prayers and praise.

Reading Dan's book has brought up more feelings, memories, and a dream for me to process.  So much is going through my mind right now that it will take some time for me to sort it out and understand.

Here is part of a comment that I left on Dan's blog article "Healing My Anger - Defusing a Time Bomb: [You will find the link to this article already in my post.] 

"You [Dan] are so very brave to do all of the hard work that you have done on your issues.  Your book is going to cause me to go back and peel some more layers off of some of my own issues.  I am in awe of the healing that you have done.  I am going to have to start using my sponsor [Al-Anon] more to do some more intense work of my own that I have been afraid of doing by myself.  You are truly blessed by the ACA [Adult Children of Alcoholics] friends that you have.  I haven't had that for a very long time."

Dan, when I read the last page of your book, I did not want the story to end.  Thank God that you are writing more books about your remarkable, truly amazing journey through recovery.  Thank you for sharing all of your pain, fears, and triumph over the family disease of alcoholism.

Friday, April 2, 2010

What Am I Responsible For?

Courage to Change, One Day at a Time in Al-Anon II, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., New York, NY, 1992, page 85, March 25:

"I came to Al-Anon confused about what was and was not my responsibility.  Today, after lots of Step work, I believe I am responsible for the following:  to be loyal to my values; to please myself first; to keep an open mind; to detach with love; to rid myself of anger and resentment; to express my ideas and feelings instead of stuffing them; to attend Al-Anon meetings and keep in touch with friends in the fellowship; to be realistic in my expectations; to make healthy choices; and to be grateful for my blessings.

. . . . . . . . . .

I am not responsible for my alcoholic loved one's drinking, sobriety, job, cleanliness, diet, dental hygiene, or other choices.  It is my responsibility to treat this person with courtesy, gentleness, and love.  In this way we both can grow.

Today's reminder
Today, if I am tempted to interfere with something that is none of my business, I can turn my attention instead to some way in which I can take care of myself.

'I have a primary responsibility to myself:  to make myself into the best person I can possibly be.  Then, and only then, will I have something worthwhile to share.'
Living With Sobriety"

Last night's Al-Anon meeting was on Guilt and Taking Care of Ourselves.  I was one of the last people given a chance to talk and I passed because everything had already been said and I didn't have anything new to add to the conversation.  I was thumbing through one of my Al-Anon books and found the above reading that I am sharing with you today.  Here are some of my thoughts on my own experiences with blaming, responsibility and taking care of myself.

As an incest survivor and an Adult Child of an Alcoholic, I learned blaming at an early age.  Both parents taught it to me.  When I came into Al-Anon back in April 1989, I blamed myself for just about everything that could go wrong in my life and in yours.  I read somewhere that an abused child accepts blame for their own abuse because it makes them feel that there is something in their world that they can control.  That feels right to me.  I felt so helpless in my childhood that I needed to feel in control of something, even if it was just blaming myself for the abuse.  A young child needs their parents to survive.  You don't want to admit that the person who is in control of your very survival is abusing you.  You need that person in order for you to survive.  You need to be able to trust that person so you blame yourself.  You tell yourself that the abuse is your fault.  You must be at fault therefore, you learn to blame yourself for being molested or for being beaten or for being tortured.  You need the parent that you love so much to be faultless, after all, they are God in your small world.  They can't be wrong.  They have all the power.  Your survival depends upon them.

When I came into Al-Anon, I learned that I wasn't to blame for the incest.  He was the adult.  I was just a child doing what my parent said.  I wasn't to blame.  I was not in control.  This was not my responsibility.  I learned to forgive myself for carrying that blame around for so long.  I learned to take care of myself.

In learning to let go of what was not my responsibility, I started to heal.  I learned that I had needs and wants that were okay to have.  I learned to meet my own needs instead of expecting or hoping that others would do it for me.  I learned that I was responsible for my own happiness, not my husband or my children.  I learned to feel rather than stuff my emotions.  I learned that it was okay to be angry, hurt, sad, lonely, disgusted.  I learned that my rage wouldn't hurt anyone else and it wouldn't hurt me once I quit stuffing it.  I learned that some of my headaches were my own resistance to what is.  I learned that I couldn't change my past but I could change my reaction to that past.  I learned that what I am not responsible for isn't my business.  I learned that I wasn't responsible for fixing you or the world.  I learned that what you do or don't do isn't a reflection of me, it is a reflection of you.  I learned that what you think about me is none of my business.  I learned to respect you and your journey as well as to respect myself and my journey.  I learned that my expectations offer set me up for holding resentments against you.  You are not my judge and I am not yours.  I learned that I often judge myself more harshly than anyone else ever could.  I don't have to be perfect and neither do you.

Now, do you see why I still go to Al-Anon meetings.  I continue to learn more about myself in each meeting that I go to.  I realize just how crazy I once was and how far I have come from being that person.  Thank you, God and thank you, Al-Anon.

Related Articles:
Blame Keeps You Stuck---Incest May Be A Part Of My Life Series---Part 7

Blame And Resentment Are Toxic Emotions

Growing Up With Alcoholism In The Family

What Does Forgiveness Mean To Me?