... expecting to get unconditional love 

    from any human. It’s unrealistic, but   

    we demand in anyway & when we   

    don’t get it we accuse them of

    abandoning us!

  ❖...saying we have forgiven our family,

    as if it were an intellectual decision,

    make once & for ever, which could

    wipe out all of the damage they  

    inflicted, & all of our pain.

  ❖...getting over our rage, so we don’t 

    have to feel it any more OR not 

    having any more fear, terror, worry

    - when we get ‘really healthy’

❖...thinking that if only we were well

    enough we’d never get hurt, upset

    over-react or feel crazy WHEN we’re 

    with active, abusive, narcissistic,

    unavailable people


  ❖...not about Never hurting anyone 

    else, ever again - as if recovery

    implied attaining sainthood


  ❖...about fulfilling every promise we 

    made to ourselves or expectations of

    ‘life’ we hoped for as a kid  - to

    compensate for & cope with - the 

    traumas we had to live through



   ...understanding, now, that in most relationships

    each person has their own needs.  Since our parents 

    couldn’t give us unconditional love, when it would

    have been appropriate, we can only look for it now

    from our pets & Higher Power.

   ...knowing that forgiveness is a gift from H.P. - a  

    ‘letting go’ - as a result of our willingness to do

    recovery work to clean out old emotional wounds.   

    Forgiveness is the end product of that work rather  

    than a decision we can make without healing our rage

    & pain.  PROOF : when one tries to ‘will’ forgiveness  

    & then think it’s all behind them - later that  

    unresolved pain will bite them in the butt.

    AND some abuses are un-forgivable! But we still

    have to let go - of being a victim of our own rage.

   ...knowing that we’ll always have some vestiges of

    the old pain, fear, rage, shame & abandonment hurt,

    BUT it doesn’t have to control us.  We find new way  

    to deal with those emotions - let them out in safe

    places & ways & learn to accept & comfort ourselves.

    Separating internally from the bad voice & externally 

    from harmful people can bring up fear & depression.

   ...knowing that with healing we do become less

    devastated by abuse BUT the healthier one is, the    

    less one will tolerate b.s. & bad behavior It just

    becomes totally unacceptable, but now we know we

    didn’t cause it & we don’t deserve it!

   ...knowing that taking care of oneself instead of  

    rescuing others may make some people feel angry, 

    scared, abandoned, resentful - & may accuse us of   

    being selfish, superior or cruel.  ONLY those who are

    unwilling to take care of themselves will react this

    way.  It’s essential to remember we are not

    responsible for the emotional well-being of other


   ...knowing that IT is a series of surprises, since our 

    attitudes, choices & goal will change in recovery.

    Childhood choices were useful then, but now our 

    decisions need to be made in the service of our 

    growth, knowing they’ll go counter to what’s

    familiar. Now we chose thoughts & actions that will

    give us a fuller, happier life.

EMOTIONAL SOBRIETYEmotional_Sobriety.html

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Adult-Children of alcoholics & other narcissists

Donna M Torbico  © 1986