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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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Friday, March 28, 2014

stuff feelings, don't talk or trust, be invisible: the message of dysfunctional alcoholic families

name of artwork: Keep Feelings to Yourself, Keep the Dirty Family Secret
image is ©2014 Lise Winne
(for information regarding licensing any images contact LilacGroveGraphics (att) yahoo.com) 

This article by Pamela Weintraub in Psychology Today describes what living with alcoholic parents are like and why trauma is acute and common. Excerpts from the article:

The alcoholic family is one of chaos, inconsistency, unclear roles, and illogical thinking. Arguments are pervasive, and violence or even incest may play a role. Children in alcoholic families suffer trauma as acute as soldiers in combat; they also carry the trauma like an albatross throughout their lives.
Not only is the experience devastating, it's common, says Stephanie Brown, founder of the Alcohol Clinic at Stanford Medical Center, where she formulated the developmental model of alcohol recovery. Seventy-six million Americans (about 45 percent of the U.S. population) have been exposed to alcoholism in the family in one way or another, and an estimated 26.8 million of them are children... 

... Claudia Black, a leading expert on adult children of alcoholics and author of It Will Never Happen to Me, says these children grow up with three dangerous rules: don't trust, don't feel, and don't talk ... Since the parents inflict so much pain on their families, they teach their children to suppress their emotions just to survive. Indeed, alcoholic parents are prone to angry or violent outbursts that (along with the drinking itself) they end up denying, and children in such a home may buy the delusion, themselves. Since the children are inculcated to deny the reality around them, they develop a resistance to talking about urgent, important, or meaningful aspects of life. -- Pamela Weintraub

I have also personally witnessed and known some adult children of alcoholics who also expect their children not to feel anything in traumatic situations (and the children who do "feel" being labeled as crazy and over-reactive when hurt or abused by others), though I haven't been able to find any literature on the subject (note on 4/12/15: I did find some answers, and I wrote about them here). It is just something I note in my observations in meetings, group therapy situations and in experiences in my own life. As with active angry alcoholics, it is about walking on eggshells, keeping quiet and not having a voice (especially if it is about confronting, i.e. about important and meaningful subjects that may be mutually emotionally laden or controversial, none of which can be expected to be resolved in a healthy open-discussion manner)...

To find out more about the dynamics of how angry outbursts that end in abuse by a member of a dysfunctional alcoholic family get discounted and diminished by other family members, GO HERE TO THIS POST



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