Monday, August 10, 2009
Growing up in substance abusing home
Children who grow up in homes where substance abuse is an issue are often confused, perplexed, ashamed, guilty, and often feel responsible for the dysfunctional things that occur.
It is easy to see why these children become substance abusers themselves just as a way to cope with the dysphoric emotions that they have grown up with and become accustomed to.
These children need to hear from responsible adults the "3 Cs" - You didn't cause it, you can't control it, you can't cure it.
These children need to hear this from what Alice Miller, the Swiss Psychoanalyst who has spent her career helping aduts who were abused as children, an elightened witness.
The enlightened witness is the person who understands the situation, has credibility with child and says, "It isn't you. You're not crazy. You're Okay. It's them. They are the ones with the problems."
This is validating for the child and clears up the mystification which has occured wherein the dysfunction has been made to seem like the child's fault and responsibility. The child asks herself, "Is it me or them? Am I crazy?"
The enlightened witness says, "No, it's not you." and the child takes a big sigh of relief and feels Okay even though she must still deal with the dysfunctional sitations that occur.
This is article #15 in a series on Substance Abuse, the Family Disease.