I felt like my turn was going to seem really long compared to my son’s and I was so nervous when it was my turn. And, sometimes I get tongue-tied when I speak in front of people and I didn’t want that to happen.
This is mine (I am showing what the topics and sections of the packet were in order to show why we each said the things that we did):
Part 1—Resentments (things that the other person has done that you are or have been hurt, angry, resentful, scared, or disappointed by).
A. Dangerous and life threatening situations. I resent you for…. I feel…….
I resent you for putting your health, your mental abilities, and your life at risk by using drugs and alcohol.
I feel upset and worried.
I resent you for taking so many different combinations of drugs together that could have hurt or killed you.
I feel helpless and scared.
I resent you for smoking, drinking, and using all of the drugs that you have used.
I feel betrayed and heartbroken.
B. Embarrassing and painful social situations.
I resent you for missing my birthday and Thanksgiving last November. Even though it was our decision to put you in rehab when we did, and even though, part of the reason was your worsening depression, I still resent you for the fact that you started to use drugs in the first place, contributing to your depression. Four days after we put you in rehab, it was my birthday. One week after that, it was Thanksgiving where everyone kept asking me why you didn’t come to the big family dinner.
I felt sad, lost, empty, and dejected.
C. Verbal abuse, attacks on character, put-downs, sarcasm, swearing.
I resent you for not caring whether you swear or not in front of me. I resent you for all of the verbal abuse that has been directed at me ever since last summer and more since you were in this program.
I feel offended and unvalued.
D. Defending unhealthy behavior while using, such as rationalizing, minimizing, blaming, alibis, excuses, denial, justifying, etc.
I resent you for trying to make us seem like the bad guys when we put you in rehab for using marijuana and for your depression, when in reality, you had a bigger problem with drugs and smoking and drinking than we even thought was possible.
I feel annoyed and aggravated.
I resent you for all of the times that I thought you were sick and I was so worried because you kept getting sick and I couldn’t figure out why. I took you to doctor after doctor and had them run tests to see what was wrong with you and you were using drugs the whole time either causing what was wrong with you or greatly contributing to it.
I feel used, exasperated and irritated.
I resent you for blaming your decision to start drinking and using drugs on the arguments that you used to have with me and dad. (Lots of kids, including myself, have argued with their parents and have never resorted to using drugs. You know my parents and you know how I was so restricted that I felt like I had to defy them to even be able to wear makeup or shave my legs and I yet didn’t start using drugs).
I feel accused and frustrated.
E. Broken promises, not doing chores, appointments not kept, not showing up events, family activities, etc.
I resent you for withdrawing from the whole family more and more over the last couple of years. I resent you for being so grouchy and argumentative about being part of our traditional family activities.
I felt rejected and let down.
I resent you for all of the times that you told me you were doing really good at school when you weren’t and for the times that you were supposed to be staying after school to try to get help from teachers and you didn’t.
I feel bitter.
F. Changes in morals, such as lying, stealing, not going to church. Violating the value system previously held by them/family.
I resent you for all of the lying, deceiving, and sneaking around that you have done for the last 2 years.
I feel betrayed and hurt.
I resent you for dealing drugs, stealing from people, and doing other illegal things, including using drugs.
I feel angry.
I resent you because I would tell all of my friends and family how proud I was of you for sticking up for your values and standards when you were around friends who did not have the same kind of family upbringing that you had. Then I found out that you weren’t sticking up for your standards at all—you were doing worse things than most of those kids were.
I felt ashamed and let down.
G. Attitudes, actions, such as being belligerent, hostile, pitiful, spiteful, revengeful, threatening, argumentative, rebellious.
I resent you for being increasingly reactive about every little thing over the last 2 1/2 years to the point that it made me afraid to open my mouth and say anything to you.
I resent you for making drugs the most important thing in your life and for allowing them to come between us when I was trying my hardest to work on the relationship.
I felt disappointed and discouraged.
H. Acting or being confused as to what was said or done, such as getting events, time, dates, and places mixed up. Remembering something that was said or done differently from everyone else’s perceptions, then arguing about it. Having to be right regardless of the facts presented, etc.
I resent you for how every time we had an argument, if we didn’t remember details like a person with a photographic memory, you would accuse us of lying or being totally wrong and then the argument would get even worse.
I resent you for thinking that you were right about everything and acting like I was stupid.
I felt defeated and offended.
Other: Events or incidents that don’t really fit the other categories.
I resent you for not caring whether you lived or died by using the drugs that you did.
I resent you for not caring that your choices would hurt me and others who love you.
I feel sad and anguished.
Part 2—Love and Appreciation
Think about the things that you like about each other and that you find admirable.
I love and appreciate you for/when…. I felt…..
I love and appreciate you because you are my son who I have fought so hard for from the first moment that I knew of your existence to now. I will continue to fight for you for the rest of my life.
I feel joyful.
I love and appreciate you for wanting to be sober.
I feel relieved and grateful.
I love and appreciate you for the great efforts that you have been making in the last couple of months.
I feel proud.
I love and appreciate you for getting over the long-term “mad” that you had going on.
I feel happy.
I love and appreciate you for your caring attitude toward me and for how you try to find out how I am feeling and how my day went.
I feel appreciated.
I love and appreciate you for seeming to know when I need a shoulder massage and my back popped!
I feel better!
I love and appreciate you for trying so hard to communicate well with me. I was thinking that you were going to get so mad on Thursday night last week when I would not give in on making you go to school on Friday, but you did something to turn it around and it was so nice to have you get over your disappointment so quickly.
I feel encouraged.
I love and appreciate you for noticing when I seem to be heading toward a bad mood and wanting to fix it.
I feel valued.
I love and appreciate you for how you are with Bridger and how you play with him and help him.
I feel grateful.
I love and appreciate you for wanting to spend time with me, even if it is making me watch the Simpsons with you or when you play a game that you know I want to play, or just hanging around in the kitchen with me.
I feel fortunate.
I love and appreciate you for your sense of humor and how you can make me laugh.
I feel happy.
I love and appreciate you for being a good listener.
I feel cared for.
I love and appreciate you for your tenacity. When you decide you are going to do something or want something, you don’t give up until you reach your goal. Sometimes it drives me insane when you use it against me, but I think if you use that ability well, it will help you go far in life.
I feel encouraged.
I love and appreciate you for your great, crazy, odd, fun, and imaginative ideas.
I feel amazed.
I love and appreciate you for the times that you try your best in whatever situation you are in.
I feel pleased.
Part 3 -- Apologies
All of us make mistakes, even parents. What are some of the things that you wish you could do differently? Learning to be humble is a key attribute of the attitude of recovery. Admit mistakes and the related feelings. Make amends and live better.
I apologize to you for arguing with you and not learning how to solve problems with you in a different way many years ago. I apologize to you for all kinds of yelling that I wish I had figured out how to avoid.
I feel inept and disappointed.
I apologize to you for not being closer to you, for not hugging you enough, and for not noticing enough about you to see that you were doing harmful things to yourself.
I feel sad and agonized.
I apologize to you for not putting our relationship above all of the little things that I thought were important-- like grades at school.
I feel upset and remorseful.
I apologize to you for working when I could have been playing. I apologize to you for sometimes making what I was doing seem more important than what you wanted to do.
I feel inadequate and heavy hearted.
I apologize to you for not trying my best to be a better mother and a better person.
I feel grieved and downhearted.
I apologize to you for sometimes seeing you as an object to control and not the valuable person that you are.
I feel regretful.
I apologize to you for making you feel like you couldn’t talk to me.
I feel sorry.
I apologize to you for the times I made you sad.
I feel so bad.
In this part, you show what you have learned and affirm your commitment to making healthier choices in your life.
I commit to you to try to problem solve without arguing and yelling.
I feel determined.
I commit to you to put our relationship above small, inconsequential things that won’t matter in the long run.
I feel confident.
I commit to you to hug you every day, pay attention to you, and you make you feel like you are loved.
I feel devoted.
I commit to you to spend time with you, having fun, doing things that we can do together.
I feel enthusiastic.
I commit to you to listen to you when you want me to without judging or trying to tell you what to do.
I feel hopeful.
I commit to you to be there for you when you are struggling, succeeding, or even maintaining your status quo.
I feel dedicated and compassionate.
I commit to you to make happiness a priority.
I feel inspired.
I commit to always love you.
I feel full of promise.
I love you.
I did it. I cried a little bit and got all teary. Everyone said that I did a really good job and the therapist said that it was one of the best Family communications that she has ever heard. I worked really hard on it and spent a lot of hours going over every topic and deciding what to day and was very pleased with how it went and the feedback that I got.
The best feedback was when my son gave me a hug. He didn’t seem to have gotten angry at me over anything I said or felt.
That was a relief.