This part 2 of “Getting Naked” has been a long time coming. You can read part 1 here.
“We made a searching and blameless inventory of our parents, because, in essence, we had become them.” 4th step of Tony A’s ACA 12 steps
My brother is pursuing an *annulment and I have been named as a witness on my brother’s behalf. It is a long questionnaire. Question 2 of 34 states: Please describe the family background of the petitioner (my brother). Perhaps I’ve gone into too much detail and I will need to condense it to 2 paragraphs but it was good to write about it at this stage of my ACA recovery process. It helped me to see how wounded both my parents are.
Standing in the mirror – I realize that I reflect a family resemblance to both my parents in some ways physically but to see the character traits in me also in my dad. Oh please, let me have compassion toward him and toward myself.
What did I see? Black and white thinking. My dad took something that Dan said to him as gospel and put it into action while we were away. This was contrary to what I had said and what my dad and I had implemented once they **moved in. When I talked to Dan about it – he barely remembered it. He said he was probably just thinking out loud but he apparently didn’t let my dad know that because my dad took it as a mandate and executed it. There I was looking in the mirror. This has happened so much over the years with Dan and me that I do my best to get clarification from him before I do anything.
So in listening to my dad when I addressed the issue with him – it was like looking in the mirror and seeing exactly where my black and white/all or nothing thinking comes from. It is partly the character trait of black and white thinking and partly I believe that is just the way my brain operates.
In other programs we are warned not to take other people’s inventory but in the case of Adult Children work I believe it is more of a history and not exercising blame on my parents for my traits. It was good for me to see and it was important to be gentle with my dad especially since he was making a great effort to honor what he thought were Dan’s wishes.
*Annulment – of his marriage to his first wife **My parents moved in with us almost a month ago.