Author: Ann Schiebert
Types of Intimate Relationships
Don’t Talk Don’t Tell
Don’t Talk, Don’t Trust, Don’t Feel
If you come from a paradigm of, “don’t talk, don’t trust, don’t feel,” chances are you are an adult child of an addict, also known as an, ACA. When one comes from a family in which the unpredictable addict controls how people interact, one learns to live on cues from others about how to behave.
Addiction is a disease of chaos, denial and secrecy.
The rules dictate:
1. Don’t talk about what goes on in the family to anyone! This is often accompanied by the belief that if one doesn’t talk about an issue, it won’t happen again. One also learns that there is, NEVER, a good time to talk about anything of importance.
2. There is no emotional safety for the family of an addict. It is not safe to voice one’s feelings about disappointments, broken promises, or dashed expectations.
3. The family of an addict cannot depend on promises made by the addict. Therefore, members of such a family learn not to trust. What for most families is predictable, like having a nice holiday dinner together, becomes unpredictable for the children raised in a family where addiction is the controlling factor.
All the rules that one has followed in their addicted family of origin, become the guidelines for intimate relationships. But how can one possibly be intimate with another when the, “Don’t talk, Don’t Trust, and Don’t Feel,” rules are the ones that are familiar? These, “rules,” foster emotional separation. To get past them, one must take baby steps toward doing the opposite of what feels, “normal.’
TALK! About things that make you happy, events you enjoyed, concerns, dreams, goals and FEELINGS!
TALK! About disappointments, irritations, things that make you angry, and solutions for change!
TALK! To a close support group comprised of people who are in recovery from ACA issues.
TRUST! That you will get better. That promises can be kept if you have a trustworthy person in your life.
TRUST! That over time, YOU can leave your family of origin dynamic behind.
TRUST! That YOU can flourish and honor that person (YOU) who was not allowed to bloom because of imprisonment in an addicted family.
FEEL! Identify your feelings.
FEEL! Share how you feel with others.
FEEL! Discuss feelings with your significant other and your children.
Open the windows of that, “House of Rules,” you brought with you into new relationships, and sweep the “Don’t Talk, Don’t Trust, Don’t Feel,” barriers to intimacy through them.