I read the story of a Alanon member who was disappointed when a camping trip his father had planned to take with them had to be canceled. The 12-stepper never missed a beat and shrugged it off, only later realizing how painful his disappointment was. He discovered his hurt while crying in a meeting. Another member shared after the meeting that the greatest gift is honesty, for their own child's speaking up had helped that parent learn how their actions had hurt their child.
The 12-stepper went to his Sponsor to talk over the idea of telling his dad about how he had been hurt. He decided he would call his dad and tell him he loved him and enjoyed spending time together. When he broke into tears, his dad listened patiently. He did not cut his son off. When the man told his dad that he had been hurt by the canceled plans the dad said, " I am glad you told me."
I see this as an variation on Step Nine. One in which the stepper made amends to themselves for denying themselves access to their pain.
In my own story, I imagine how afraid I would be to share painful emotions with my mom. First I would be worried that it would damage our relationship. Then I would be worried about having my mom use my hurt against me in self-defense. (Maybe it is because often when I share my pain with someone that has hurt me...it can so often come out as me blaming them for MY emotions.)
In the personal story I shared yesterday, my mom laid a guilt trip on me when It was she who could not commit to being able to care for our son a few years back. When I felt my shock at her pulling the rug out from under me, I was unable to acknowledge my pain nor my anger. I was afraid speaking my anger would only contribute to my parent's misunderstanding of my anger... all over again.
I did my best to deal with my anger off the phone on my own.
Only weeks later was I was able to tell my parent exactly what their mixed message had done to me in a time of need. I did not let her whitewash her bad deed. I was firm, unmoving, honest and I stood with compassion and gentleness towards both of us. But I allowed no excuses.