My Story (the 90s) (3)

*TRIGGER ALERT*This post contains descriptions of drug use* 

After my sister was born, we were able to go home as my mom finished rehab at ASAC. We had moved to a new apartment and my mom stayed clean for a short time. It wasn't long until she was back at it again. I remember many nights of my sister crying and no one was coming to her aid. During the nights when she was very young, I did not sleep well. It seemed to get better as she got older and I was able to help sooth her. She grew into my best friend as she got older. I felt the need to help her and protect her. It was the only loving bond we really had was each other. I cannot speak for her full story, as I don't remember everything well as I endured a lot of trauma and stress through childhood. Luckily, I got to go visit my biological father once in a while to get a short break from the crap life we were living. I recall my mother having seizures many times as a child. There were times that she would show up at my dad's house when I was visiting, and she would have start seizing. We would have to turn her on her side and watch her tongue so she would not choke while calling 9-1-1. My mother went into the hospital for overdosing many times before the very last time she overdosed, and every time we were at the hospital it was a pain in the ass to get her to cooperate for the doctors and find a vein that was not scarred over. Until next time...sending hugs. Your past does NOT define you.

My Story (the 90s) (2)

I was so excited to have a little sister. Now I had someone to spend time with! Because lord knows I was lonely. I was a neglected only child living with junkies. I forgot to mention earlier that my mom and dad got divorced when I was about 4. My mom and her new boyfriend (*I will refer to him as my stepdad throughout my blogs as that is what he came to be) were the parents of my new sister. My mom was actively seeking treatment at the time, but it didn't last long before she was using again. I have many memories of violence, stress, and sleepless nights. My mom and stepdad had people in and out all hours of the night. There were many times that I would feel the need to protect my sister. These were not good people in our house. I remember being told to stay in our room many times. When I would hear fights going on I would try to play the tv louder to drown out the scary sounds. Over time I developed a coping mechanism where I would twist my hair and yank it out in one spot when I was stressed. I always had a bald spot on one area of my head. 

 In the mornings, my mom and stepdad would be passed out cold. I could never wake them up, and it was always dark from the blankets on the windows.  I would wake up and try to find food for me and my sister. Mainly, we ate cereal all day as that's all I knew how to make, and dishes were rarely clean, so we would eat from the box often. I missed many days of school in elementary due to not being able to wake them up, and we moved so much I never really had a chance to get settled into a school. 

During this time in elementary, my anxiety was so high that I would barely speak in school. My report cards were mostly good but stated that I would not speak up in class much and missed a ton of school days. I never talked to others about things because I was told not to. I knew that the way we were living was not right, but for some reason the child in my just wanted to protect her parents.

People who are emotionally neglected as children grow up to be adults, like me, who must deal with the consequences. Because our emotional needs weren't validated as children, we may not know how to deal with our emotions when they occur. This rang true for me and I had so much to unlearn. 

My Story (the 90s)

My mom and stepdad were addicts for many years. I was always stressed and worried about what the next day would bring. I remember staying with my mom in ASAC and seeing her go to rehab and prison many, many times. In fact, in 1994 we lived at ASAC for a short time. I remember hanging out with my mom in the room and attending meetings with her. After a meeting we headed back to the room, and she started feeling ill. She was pregnant at the time. She told me to get someone for help, so I found a lady outside to come help. At that moment, she was going into labor. When she got to the hospital, they delivered my baby sister. She was born premature weighing in at a little over 4 pounds. Little did I know, I was also becoming a mother... 

If you are using drugs and trying to raise children, please drop the drugs. No matter how much you think using doesn't affect you or them, it does. Your children will thank you for sobriety later. There is help. You are not alone. #takecareofyou

 Drug and Alcohol Addiction Help Hotline (888) 548-4953
Local to Iowa? Please check out to Crush of Iowa Community Center @ 

Feeling lonely

Leaving the toxicity of a family dynamic can be an incredibly difficult and lonely experience, but t it is also an opportunity for self-reflection, growth, and independence. This moment in life can be an opportunity to pause and find what truly matters to YOU as a person, like your unique gifts and talents or where you want to put your energy. It may also be a chance to develop healthier relationships that are based on unconditional love, trust, kindness, and mutual respect. As difficult as it might feel in the moment, leaving a toxic situation can ultimately provide a surprising amount of freedom and joy once removed from the situation. In the beginning, I didn't know what to do with myself and would try to fill the void with old patterns. It took some time before I got it right and started finding new, meaningful hobbies with people who care. Healing and change is possible with the right steps. I am so glad I found my way, even if it did take me ten years. PS.: Just because they have been in your life the longest, does NOT mean they are good for you. 

How to identify that there is toxicity in your family

For many of us, family can be the source of our greatest joys and deepest sorrows. When our family relationships are strong and healthy, they can bring us immense comfort and satisfaction. But when family dynamics are toxic, it can be a source of great pain and distress. So, what exactly defines a toxic family and how do we deal with it?

A toxic family is one in which unhealthy patterns of communication or behavior have been established over time due to unresolved issues, trauma, or other negative influences. In these families, members may feel trapped by their circumstances or unable to express themselves without fear of judgment or criticism. This can lead to feelings of resentment, mistrust, and despair.

Signs of a Toxic Family are...(these include but are not limited to): • Unhealthy boundaries – Not respecting each other’s space or privacy • Lack of trust – Not feeling like you can be honest with each other • Lack of communication – Avoiding difficult conversations or refusing to talk about certain topics altogether • Manipulation – Using guilt or emotional blackmail as a way to get what you want from each other • Negativity – Being critical or judgmental instead of supportive and encouraging • Emotional abuse – Belittling each other’s ideas or opinions in order to make someone else feel bad • Physical abuse – Verbally attacking each other or using violence as an outlet for frustration.

Dealing with this type of family dysfunction -
 If you find yourself in the midst of a toxic family situation, there are some steps you can take in order to help improve the situation for yourself and for those around you. These include: • Establish boundaries – Setting limits around what you are willing to tolerate from others will help protect your mental health and wellbeing. • Disengage from negative conversations - If someone is being particularly negative towards you or another person in the family, it is best not to engage in that conversation any further. You don’t have to stay silent; simply walk away if necessary. • Seek outside support - It is important that you have people outside your family who can provide emotional support when needed. Talking with friends, counselors, therapists etc., can help provide much-needed perspective on the situation at hand. • Practice self-care - Taking care of yourself through activities such as exercise, reading, journaling etc., will help reduce stress levels while also providing an outlet for any pent-up emotions you may be experiencing due to the toxicity within your family dynamic.

No matter how difficult things may seem at the moment, remember that there are steps that you can take in order to improve your relationship dynamics within your family system. By establishing boundaries and seeking outside support when needed, you will be able to build healthier relationships with those around you (both inside and outside your immediate circle) and create more positive experiences all around!  I know all of this can seem easier said than done, that is why I am working to create steps to help you through this. You have made it to the first step, identifying that it is a problem, and wanting to fix it. I am so proud of you! 

Read Older Updates Read Newer Updates