We have looked for something like this Program because we want to heal and find peace.
A critical part of this journey is to admit that our lives have become chaotic and unstable. On looking at this idea we may see that our lives had always been chaotic and unstable even though it may seem from the outside that we are productive and that life is manageable.
For many of us, however, being productive and manageable is a form of control. We may be imitating our original family life, which looked and seemed productive, but we know in our hearts that being productive did not equate to a wholesome upbringing.
The chaos and instability we speak of comes out of a need to control people, places and things while the reality is that we don’t have any control at all. There are occasions when our efforts to micro manage the world around us works beautifully and we think that we have it nailed.
However, these times rarely last long. We find that most of the times we are either experiencing the pain of losing control, the grief of what we’ve actually lost or the hurt we experience when others challenge us about our control.
Our need to control comes from a deep insecurity that we are at risk of losing everything. This control is a way of keeping a tight lid on our own distress about the past, present and projected future. When others challenge us about our control we feel hurt and abandoned because we think we are doing the ‘right thing’.
Our family, however, maybe angry resulting in us lashing out or withdrawing. We blame them for not seeing ‘the truth’ when it’s our own behavior that is causing the imbalance. Or, we criticize ourselves for being ‘too harsh’ or back down in self-pity; both of which result in even greater discomfort.
In an effort to find relief for this discomfort, many of us turned to alternative behaviors. These include alcohol, drugs (prescribed and street), sex, food, shopping, work, gambling, smoking etc. The chaos and instability that ensues includes mental health problems, physical illness, severe depression and an inability to function at work leading to burn out, poverty, homelessness or turning to crime.
Family dysfunction does not stay static; we either get better or we get worse. Many of us have ended up dying prematurely, in jail or in mental institutions.
We never spoke of our distress until it hurt too much. We assumed that once we’d grown up and left the family home our plight was over. However, we have discovered we cannot run from our terror of being abandoned or feelings of shame. We may have come to this type of Program, or other forms of recovery, on our knees.
But now there is hope. This is a journey many hundreds of thousands have taken and now live contented lives. We join together and speak out about our past and find the comfort we need to heal old wounds.
It’s time to admit to ourselves that our lives have become chaotic and unstable. We now recognize that our need to control is buried in our desire to be loved even though we’ve always believed we’re unlovable. Our inner being was shattered by continued abuse or neglect, being hit or shamed, being criticized or blamed and being continually compared to others. We looked to others to help us feel loved but we always went to people who were incapable of meeting our needs. We have come to do the work in this type of Program to find the love and security we need to recover.
We now learn that when we try to control people and situations, we set up a roadblock that prevents the natural flow of events and relationships. When we obsess about trying to have power, make things turn out how we want them and make people like us, we lose the ability to live our own lives. When we try to control, the energy acts as a field around us.
Others can feel the energy and become guarded and back away or try to please us and do what we want them to do. Either way we are creating instability. We want others to look at their own issues so they can be there for us. However, we aren’t responsible for taking care of others; we are only responsible for taking care of ourselves.
Answer These Questions To Determine How Chaos Runs Your Life:
What is your definition of chaos and instability?
Have you been trying to control someone else where, in reality, you have no power?
Who is causing you a lot of stress in your life?
Are you re-creating pain, abandonment and fear (from your childhood) in your current relationships?
Who do you feel victimized by?
How did you feel victimized as a child?
Was this response to the abuse in your childhood a defense mechanism?
Are you still acting out these defenses now?
What feelings/situation would you have to face if you stopped trying to control others?
What feeling/situation would you have to face if you stopped allowing someone to control you?
How did your parents react when you tried to tell them how you felt?
Did you feel ‘crazy’ but never talk about it?
How did you survive when your parents criticized you?
Give one example of how you’re using those survival techniques now.
Do you act like different people in different situations?
Do you turn to alcohol, drugs (prescribed and street), sex, food, shopping, work, gambling or smoking for relief from your feelings?
Do you feel your life is ‘boring’ if there’s no excitement?
Do you accept abuse from others and often don’t recognize it?
Do you thrive on chaotic relationships even though they create instability in your life?