WHO CAN I DEPEND ON?
for sure NOT my family!
REVIEW post: ‘Parental Blame’
1. DEFINITION of Legitimate Trust
• being able to rely on our own observations, judgement & intuition
• when exposing our vulnerabilities to someone, assuming they won’t take advantage of or abuse our openness, but knowing we can’t control their reactions
• having confidence placed in us by someone else & accepting the obligation that entails
• identify how someone is going to act (predictably, either in a good or bad way) & gauge our probable losses & gains – based on what we already know about them, using their past performance as a guide
• having a firm belief in the integrity, ability or character of a person or thing, from our own experience, or based on accepting the opinion of a highly reliable source
• Hope: to be able to rely on something or someone in the future / to expect a specific outcome with assurance
LIFE STAGES: Erik Erikson, a German psychoanalyst heavily influenced by Sigmund Freud, developed a psycho-social theory of personality development, which included the impact of external factors (parents and society) ON our:
– ego identity (the self)
– personal identity (what distinguishes one person from another)
– social/cultural identity (collection of social roles a person might play)
According to Erikson’s theory, every person must pass through a series of interrelated stages over the entire life cycle: AGES:
1. Infant (Hope) – Basic Trust vs. Mistrust Birth to 18 mths
2. Toddler (Will) – Autonomy vs. Shame 18 mths to 3 yrs
3. Preschooler (Purpose) – Initiative vs. Guilt 3 to 5
4. School-Age Child (Competence) – Industry vs. Inferiority 6 to 12
5. Adolescent (Fidelity) – Identity vs. Identity Diffusion 12 to 18
6. Young Adult (Love) – Intimacy vs. Isolation 18 to 35
7. Middle-aged (Care) – Generativity* vs. Self-absorption 35 to 55/65
8. Older Adult (Wisdom) – Integrity vs. Despair 55/65 to 0
(* Generativity: a concern for others developed during middle age, esp. a need to nurture & guide younger people, and contribute to the next generation)
IN Infancy (Stage 1) the major emphasis is on parental ability to nurture & care for the child, especially using visual contact & touch, so:
– in a safe environment the child will develop optimism, trust, confidence and security
– in an unsafe home, he or she will develop insecurity, worthlessness, and general mistrust of the world
In an episode of LIE TO ME, (TV series, Fall 2010), Dr. Lightman says:
“The way to make a disturbed personality is: Constant Criticism & Lack of Affection – it works every time” !
ACoAs often say : ‘I can’t trust anyone’ - the focus being on ‘anyone’ ie. everyone. This is not totally accurate, because altho’ our parents were not safe, most of us do have/ or have had a few people throughout our life who have proven themselves trustworthy (even if not perfectly!)
MAIN reasons we say this is that as unhealed ACoAs we:
a. keep picking and staying with toxic people, & keep getting burned. Strange that we are surprised each time!
b. want/ expect / demand the assurance that whatever or whomever we put our trust in will never ever let us down, disappoint, abandon or hurt us!
This demand is:
• B & W, ‘all or nothing’ thinking (a CD) – typical of children and the emotional immature
• the position of the WIC, who wants everyone to be the good parent we never had, so we don’t have to grow up & take care of ourselves
• an expression of co-dependence – being focused on others, outside of ourselves, instead of internally listening to what we know to be true
• The Healthy Adult ego state knows no one can be perfectly dependable, & knowing the wish for it is not possible – we would not expect it. Since secretly demanding others to be absolutely 100% ‘safe’ is UNrealistic (before we can trust), leaves us vulnerable. Sooner or later we always get disappointed, which leaves us in the same old place – over & over – convinced that people are not trustworthy
• There are legitimate reasons to not trust certain kinds of people, which we definitely need to acknowledge, & then stay away from them. Our past experiences with them should not be ignored, especially as we become sure of our ‘evidence’. Keep a log for a month (or as long as needed) of each time you feel unsafe with someone & see what patterns show up. Then take a small action to change the situation or relationship
• Another post covers “Over-trusting”
NEXT: Lack of Trust (Part 2)