The meeting I attended today had the perfect focus for me: the May 9th reading from One Day at a Time:
I've edited it, to fit my experience with my "borderline" parent.
The reading shares that when an Al-anon describes their grievances with a family member, she may explain, “what she did because of what he did. ” As independent observers, we may see her motivations more clearly than she can. We hear bitterness, self-pity and self-deception and can see how these have built a wall that separates the Al-anon from reality. We can see her suffering is real, but we can’t help wondering how much of the hurt is self-inflicted. Her pain may be caused by the stubborn refusal to let go and let God take care of her drinker. Or she may be so attached to herself as a martyr that she unknowingly distorts her picture of what the alcoholic says and does.
Let me also examine my motives, with a sharp and honest eye; as I bare witness to a fellow Al-anon’s struggles. Help me to do straight thinking about my own attitudes and actions.
If I am troubled, worried, exasperated or frustrated, do I rationalize the situation and put the blame on someone else? Or can I honestly admit when I may be at fault? My peace of mind depends on overcoming my negative attitudes. Let me try, day by day, to be honest with myself.
Today I had to admit that I have been living in an illusion, thinking that I have real power to effect change in my family of origin. I don't have much power at all, except for the power to endure. I thought my resilience was going to help my dysfunctional parent feel my unconditional love. Well, all that resilience taught my family member was that I was willing be a Bozo bop bag. I no longer have any tolerance to serve in that capacity.
“We blame little things in others and pass over great things in ourselves, we are quick enough in perceiving and weighing what we suffer from others, but we mind not what others suffer from us.” Thomas A. Kempis