I’ve been looking at the red book for Adult Children of Alcoholics. It’s a handbook put together by young adults who grew up with similar home situations as mine.
Like me, millions of people are tormented by childish behaviors we don’t understand. The book lists 14 traits we can identify that lead to dysfunctional behaviors learned as children. When confronted, most Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA) respond inappropriately. I am an adult, so childish behaviors offer no satisfying solutions.
For example, I poorly handled a recent family escalation about downsizing the garage. I wanted my way. My voice brought a tone that made the situation worse. It looks dramatic, but my emotions held more panic than necessary. Fear of not getting my way is an ancient emotion, which leads to ineffective adult behavior.
The red book helps Adult Children understand our dysfunctional family systems, and brings hope to change our behaviors. If I had been able to explain my reason for downsizing to my adult son in a more adult way, we wouldn’t have had the quarrel. Simplifying my surroundings is a reasonable request, but he reacted angrily because of how I spoke to him. If situations were reversed, I would have reacted the same. I started it with my panic. It took awhile to calm down and then we heard each other’s concerns as adults. He understood and took charge of his stuff.
Treating people as mature adults brings different results than being afraid I wouldn’t get my way. I am no longer a little girl living with parents who didn’t listen.
Prayer and meditation can help me develop more clarity. Thankfully there is still time to learn a few strategies to help me grow up.