Moving Forward

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I passed eight months sober the other day – woo! woo! – as my son would say in his adorable 17-month-old voice.

As far as my recovery is concerned I have been working on letting go of resentments, so I have been focusing energy there. I get really worked up over minor things and have trouble letting them go. People say things that hurt my feelings and it ruffles my feathers for days. I obsess and think about what I COULD have said and on and on. It is exhausting and I want to stop doing it. I have made some progress on letting go of hurts from my past, but I still hold onto real or imaginary hurts from the present too tightly.

I was reading something about resentments that said that if you hold really strong resentments like I do, you might not have had the space available to express your feelings properly as a child. That makes a lot of sense. Living with alcoholic family members means a lot of holding in feelings or having your feelings invalidated. Where there is denial of alcoholism there is a tendency to avoid talking about feelings relating to alcoholism… and everything else, for that matter. I remember feeling resentment as a child, and I don’t think I’ve ever figured out how NOT to feel that way.

I am working on expressing my true feelings in the moment, if it is possible and appropriate. This is great when it happens, but I don’t always understand my feelings in the moment, which is usually when I have resentments about things come up later. Here are a few things I have worked out/picked up about resentments so far. They will be a helpful reminder to me as I move forward.

– Feeling resentment is actually a choice; I am choosing to dwell instead of moving on and focusing on something else.

– Sometimes the resentment I am feeling is actually old resentment from childhood. I am comfortable being in a state of resentment because I have done it for so long, so I find ways to feel that way now. It seems so strange to subconsciously desire this feeling, but humans are adaptable and become comfortable feeling bad if we do it for long enough.

– I feel resentful when I feel threatened by my own vulnerability. I get triggered by something and then want to push the person away. I get defensive and then feel resentful of them after the fact. When I feel resentment I don’t want to include the person in my life for awhile… until I no longer feel that way towards them. I often don’t actually deal with the root of the problem, though, so it keeps coming up over and over again.

-I used to drink over my resentments and I don’t do that anymore. Now I have to feel some discomfort, but it is so much better than numbing out and then saying something about my resentment while drunk. I used to do that sometimes, and it always made things worse. It is better to face these problems head on.

-I do not need to confront the person every time I feel resentment. I need to remember that some of these feelings are old resentments from my past and are overreactions to the present situation.

So far these things are helping a little, but it always helps even more to write my thoughts out here. This blog has been such a good tool on my sober journey. I appreciate having this little space on the internet and people who actually read what I write. You guys are the best. I also learn so much from all of you bloggers, so thank you for doing your thing and sharing it so publicly. It makes me feel understood and comforted on so many levels to know that you all are out there.

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Moving Forward

  1. Working on similar stuff in CBT too 🙂 Think I need to read some books about adult children of alcoholics as I suspect they will resonate and explain a lot about me to me! Are there any you have read and would recommend? xx

  2. seeking the familiarity of unhappy feelings – oh, yes. this post was really helpful to me – do you know what it made me realise, for me, at least?

    you know that maxim that children act up when they want attention? because even getting into trouble, being told off, bad attention, is better than being ignored? I think this is a big part of what I do when I sink into a spiral of overwhelm and self pity. which is not a pretty sight inside my head, I can tell you. my feelings need attention. and if I don’t give it to them, if I don’t look after myself, then they act up. I’m working on paying myself attention! thanks for an illuminating post. I’m glad you are here, too! xx

  3. Hi Jen, I found it really interesting, what you said about how negative feelings can become comfortable as they become more familiar, we carry them around for so long. It feels kind of weird, but makes sense – and makes me look at myself in a different way. Thanks for your post, very thought provoking. 🙂 xxx

  4. I can really relate to old resentments from the past springing up in my present day interactions. Something that should be seen as constructive criticism, objective, can feel like it’s tearing you apart. It brings back that old defensiveness, that wall that you are so used to living within as an ACOA,
    Great post
    Ruth

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