Beware the Power of Feeling Responsible

It is normal for children to feel they are the center of the world. This is great when things are running smoothly, scary when things are not running so smoothly. Children tend to blame themselves when things go wrong. For example, it is imperative that parents who divorce let the kids know it has nothing to do with them and that both parents will always love them. Children will sometimes believe if they had behaved better, or had been a better son or daughter, their parents would not have divorced. Let’s go a step further, shall we? In my novel, Pop, I explain feeling responsible for my step-father coming home drunk. It started one night, when it was late. I fell asleep with my fingers crossed, wishing he would not come home drunk and start breaking things. Of course, he did. As a result, for the next year, my child-like thinking declared that I must NOT cross anything, or he would come home drunk. Everytime I accidentally crossed my arms, legs, feet at the ankles (anything) I was sure that I was responsible for Pop coming home drunk (even it it happened in my sleep). This way of thinking also has a lot to do with control. A child has very little control over what happens in his or her life. Controlling what parts of my body I crossed, gave me a sense of having some control over the situation. Obviously, it was false (not to mention, it never worked), but my own body was something I could control. With children, please Beware the Power of Responsibility.

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2 responses to “Beware the Power of Feeling Responsible

  1. Jill

    I grew up in a house of two alcoholic parents, I understand the guilt an alcoholic can place on children. I am 36, I still struggle to cope with their lifestyle choice, but I have finally moved on to better my life with my husband and 3 children, of course, I had to ban my parents from my life. Alcohol is a very bad and scary addiction to have. I think awareness on the effects it has on children needs to be investigated further and brought into light. I feel for anyone who has had to endure the upbringing of an alcoholic. I hear they do make programs for children of alcoholics, but myself have never pursued that path. I believe some of what you have experienced will, to many sound far fetched and unbelievable, but those who have experienced this lifestyle know that there are no limits for alcoholics……Thank you, and good luck with your book……Please continue to write!!!! It needs addressed.

    • Jill, thank you so much for your comments and subscription. I am so sorry about your brother and your loss of family. I know you are a strong person, you have to be to survive such a childhood. I’m glad you have a strong family, now. I had always told myself growing up that I would have a great family; if I couldn’t have one growing up, I would make my own. And I did! It is great to read your words about things ringing true and hitting the nail on the head. That is exactly what I want to do with my novel for young adults. Things don’t seem as monumental when you know someone else has gone through similar circumstances. Please continue to read and comment! I enjoy reading your comments!

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