Emotional Healing. Child of an alcoholic. Young adult depression. Inspiration.

I was once told by a wise woman that emotions are a strong force to be reckoned with. They breathe their own life and have their own destructive force. If one does not allow their emotions both happy and sad to escape and feel acknowledged, they will eat away at the life they live in. My journey in life has been a road filled with many peaks of happiness and many valleys of depression. But through it all I have held those words of wisdom with me. I have always found it easy to release my anguish, my depression, my sadness, and my happiness to those around me who love me and to my best friends “pad and paper.”

With this blog I hope to inspire others to write their emotions on paper, let the forgiving page hear all the words of hurt, pain, contentment, joy. With this blog I hope to inspire myself to forgive all that hurts in my life, to let go of old grudges and to grow, from the inside out.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Painfully Perfect Part 2

I was recently sent a personal story from a reader, who has begun in their journey to heal from the inside out with her own letter. Her words fit so perfectly into this entry that I felt it was necessary to share it here.

KAB, thank you for sharing a piece of your journey. I hope this inspires others to do the same, because we are not alone, rather a community of thrivers. Let your story be told.

Ever since I was a little girl, my role was to be the perfect one and my family’s saving grace. The hero. The one who was always put together, always social, always presentable, always involved. I did what I thought I had to do – got good grades, had good manners and went to etiquette classes at our beach club, did my hair, wore the right clothes and smiled A LOT. Too much. I even won “Most Put Together” in Kindergarten and this is something I would brag about for years to come.
My mom is a recovered alcoholic who has seemed to trade her drinking for relationships, and my father is still active in his addictions, especially gambling and alcohol. When my mom got sober, I felt like I lost a friend. I loved the mom I grew up with and when she got sober, I felt like I had a totally different person in my life. I still do.
My dad’s addiction to money, gambling and alcohol has completely paralyzed me in different areas of my life. Growing up, I was completely surrounded with opulence and excess, or the opposite. More than anything, I craved stability. My dream was to live somewhere in the middle and have that “happy family” that I saw everyone else surrounded with. My dad comes from an old wealthy Pasadena family who to this day believes that appearances are everything. My grandma now lives on the East Coast and she has a kitchen filled with Williams-Sonoma kitchenware, but the only thing in her fridge is vodka. Totally normal, right? I acted on this pressure to be perfect (and still do), and fought like hell to prove to everyone that I had it all together. I grew up thinking that image was everything and it is still something I struggle with. A smile hides everything, and over the years I have gotten so good at this that I totally fool everyone around me and myself. At a certain point, you get way too good at this game. I was the surrogate parent who took care of my sisters and continues to take on the role of the second mother. It is a role that I both resent and protect at the same time. I became so perfect that it started to kill me internally. I became the neurotic type-A perfect oldest daughter… so hell-bent on being perfect that I never slept and was always making to-do lists in my quest for sleep. Through this drive for perfection and filling this empty abyss in my heart, I developed an eating disorder – to be specific, binge-eating which progressed into bulimia. As the oldest daughter of an alcoholic, I love achieving and taking on the title of the perfect daughter. I became obsessed with achievements and being the “good girl”. I am learning more and more every day that there has to be a balance… we are neither good nor bad, perfect nor screw-ups. Right? It all sounds good, but I still feel the need to be perfect for them. Who are “they” anyway and where does this need come from? I am in recovery for my eating disorder, desire for perfection and my parents’ alcoholism but every day it becomes more obvious to me that what the experts say is so true – addiction is a family disease, and I am living proof of that.


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