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June 23: edited my post on Gaslighting to insert a link to a very good video by psychologist, Ross Rosenberg, explaining how gaslighting starts in childhood, and how to heal from parents who gaslight.

June 6: PBS's Frontline takes on the issue of human sex trafficking of abducted teenage girls in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Click HERE for that.

May 17: Turpin parents get 25 years to life for abusing their children. Final words from children and parents at sentencing. Click HERE for that.
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Thursday, January 30, 2014

alcoholic family wheel of abuse

ALCOHOLIC FAMILY WHEEL OF ABUSE
drawn, configured, written and conceived by Lise Winne
© 1/30/2014
inquiries: lilacgrovegraphics (att) yahoo.com

The way this wheel works:
It starts on the red and then goes around and around until the victim
starts a new life after experiencing the grey part of the circle a number of times. 
If all family members get help, it increases the chances for a better outcome. 

This wheel was inspired by the cycle of abuse wheel (which is almost always portrayed as between two people). I go a little further than that for the alcoholic family and include all of the enablers in the wheel. 

Alanon is basically a program for recovery. When you are in recovery and learning to cope, you realize the coping methods can be used in your other relationships as well (including any toxic family members, co-workers, anyone). 

"When you're living with an alcoholic, it's ALL about them" is what I remember hearing in my first meetings by some of the attendees.

True, but....

Other people (and family members around the alcoholic) can be just as toxic as many alcoholics, even people who are sober. They can pick fights, send you a barrage of insults and labels, reject you for no apparent reason other than to see what kind of rise they'll get out of you, play with your emotions to see if you'll grovel or to see how valuable they are to you, pit people against each other, play nasty favoritism games, threaten and intimidate you, tell you that you're making mountains out of molehills when you're hurt, and so on. Some sober people can be as controlling, deceitful, angry, threatening and self centered as many alcoholics.

What I have witnessed with crazy, controlling, abusive, provoking, rejecting, upsetting families is that when a family member attempts recovery (through a program like Alanon) and they start setting up healthy boundaries or of challenging other members to stop a blame game (for instance) the other family members always seem to want to drag the person who is trying to be more healthy about communications back into the dysfunctional fray again.

Someone I know likened it to a bucket of crabs. If one attempts to get away, then the other crabs try to pull it back in again. Ugh...

"My whole family is about sick forms of communication: telling each other what to do every second of their time together, attack-then-defend situations at every turn, unsolicited advice, everybody's a busy-body, everyone is trying to take control, manipulate and teach someone something, everyone is talking over each other and not listening, then there's the jostling for alliances, power and betrayals which cause a lot of hurt, fighting and gossip, and then there's the abusive, self centered alcoholic at the center of everything," a woman told me, looking exasperated. Exactly. Most alcoholic families seem to be like this. 

By the time most people come to Alanon, they are in extreme pain from all of this nonsense. Many have been shunned from their families as a tactic to get them back in line again. A lot of Alanon members adopt each other as their new family, just so they can have some form of deep, respectful communication with people who are serious about working on themselves, who want real love without a myriad of conditions, so that they can enjoy fulfilling relationships somewhere in their lives. Many Thanksgivings and Christmases are planned with the adopted Alanon family members. I notice many are polite to their biological families, but keep them at arms length. The arms-length approach often takes their biological families seven years to accept (ouch! ... but until then, there is often a silent chasm -- the family often steps up the shunnings and insults, the cold hearted replies and rejections, the nitpicking criticisms and on-purpose hurtful acts). No one seems to like a person who is changing. Everyone wants them the way they used to be, even if the way they used to be was a person in an excruciating amount of pain with no voice and very low self esteem. What happened to the quiet malleable one we could mold? What happened to our meek little mouse we could insult if they got out of line? they ask. The sicker family members will insist on malleability, submission, drag-in-the-mud communications and dirty politics no matter what is at stake or for how long. They want the family member who is taking the brunt of all of the abuse to remain silent.

But silence in a situation like this is never golden. Every time the victim goes back to a dysfunctional abusive alcoholic family, it gets worse for them.

Shunnings in dysfunctional alcoholic families are as common as women in third world countries who are brutally raped being shunned by their families and stoned by their villages. It's the western version of it...

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