August 27, 2010

August 26: Reproach and Denial

I've had my own share of the reproach discussed in yesterday's (August 26th) reading in Courage to Change. In my case emotional illness, not alcohol, " left its messy tracks all over my life." I thought I was to blame, and that if I could only figure out the right thing to do, the problem would be solved.

Today I can read books about an illness professionals now recognize, called borderline personality disorder. In hindsight I can see how my BPD parent is a lot like a drunk because of this illness, but without alcohol as the direct cause.

Just as with alcoholism, denial is one of the chief symptoms of this family disease of [emotional illness]. My BPD parent was adamant that there was no illness, and blamed me for the problem; in other families all the problems might be blamed on the BPD family member. Today's reading explains the reason for both denial and blame: "Because we alone can't defeat this disease, so we invent ways to survive the constant crises, broken promises and embarrassments." We cope by assigning blame to people or denying that the problem exists.

Reproach is talked about in our reading, too. Instead of reproach about the errors I've made before I knew there was a name for our problem, I need to look back at the me that did use denial and or blame with compassion. It helps me also to have compassion for my siblings, my non-BPD parent and my as-yet-undiagnosed BPD suffering parent.

"At all times I have done the best I was able to do. If my only way to cope with a difficult situation was to deny it, I can look back with compassion to that person who saw no better option at the time. I can forgive myself and count my blessings for having come so far since then."

I can use compassionate reproach constructively to prevent future regret, by keeping an eye out for things I can change today.

What I appreciate about being in the Al-anon fellowship is that I find ways to cope that really work.

"With the support of other members, and with tools and principles that offer direction [and structure], we become able to face what is really going on. We go beyond mere survival and begin to live again."

Regret is insight that comes a day too late.~Anon

Let me stop chasing missed trains!


  1. I grew up around a lot of denial too. I never wanted to deny things though. I think that early on I realized how useless that was. So I argued with the alcoholic and did try to hide it from others. I did wear a mask of everything being fine. Maybe that was denial!

  2. I also have a BPD person in my life - my 23 year old daughter. It's so difficult to understand and deal with their way of thinking. I tried denying it for a long time but now I have to face it and make some very hard choices. I am legal guardian for my granddaughter and have found it necessary sometimes to stop contact between my daughter and her daughter to protect my granddaughter. Sometimes it just wears me down but with Al Anon, I have become stronger and have tools and support to get through the day and know that I am not to blame and I didn;t cause her probelms - one day at a time is all I can manage.

  3. Enerla, I hope you will stop by from time to time, and share. I am glad you too find Al-anon helps in dealing with a BPD family member.

    I am looking forward to "knowing what I can change" as regards my path with my mom, who seems like she has had the disease for a long while now.... it's something that can only be cured from the inside-out....


I welcome your thoughts. Keep me honest~