I DON’ WANNA -
so I just won’t!
Previous: What TO receive – or Not
Review Post: “What to do when Confused”
In terms of T.E.A., this topic is about ACTIONs. When we say we’re stuck, it often means that we’re not able or willing to take actions we know are needed & good for us, or that we would like to do, but ‘can’t’.
ACoAs are ‘famous’ for putting things off that -
a. we don’t want to do – study, stand up to someone, change a light bulb, do the taxes, pick a new doctor … OR
b. that we’re internally not allowed to do – like our life – as in following our dreams, leaving bad relationships, moving to a better location….!
• Of course, there are the over-controlled action-junkies among us who are always doing, doing, doing : for work, for the family, for the community – but not for ourselves. For these ACoAs, the ‘putting off’ issue is about not taking care of our own needs.
AS KIDS, we were :
– punished or made fun of for not knowing things AND for being too smart, intuitive, clever, artistic….(parents were threatened & jealous)
– left alone to figure things out, when too young
– constantly given confusing or conflicting messages about what to do
– forced to do for others, NOT ourselves
– never praised for what we did accomplish. (Kids need validation for any effort, without it having to be of world-class quality!)
Exp: In a family of 4, the pre-teen daughter’s chore is to wash dishes every other nite. One evening Mother finds her playing with the suds, daydreaming, not finishing what’s in the sink. She says: “If you hate it so much do it fast & get it over with!”
• It sounds perfectly reasonable, BUT the girl has already internalized the Toxic RULE from her earliest years of being stifled, forming the rule “If you don’t like it, you have to stay”. Now mom is changing the rules??? The girl ignores her & keeps drifting.
NOW we put things off because -
• it reminds us of how we didn’t get helped as kids. All those ‘little’ abandonments add up to one big pain!
• automatically assume we’ll be abused, or left (A.) if we act on our own behalf
• haven’t learned how to deal with the PP voice that controls the WIC
• we are deeply conflicted – to do or not do, to obey or disobey, to do it our way or theirs, to be separate or stay symbiotic…. and intense inner conflicts leave us paralyzed!
• afraid of ‘hurting’ others’ feelings PR having them be angry at us, AND getting abandoned
• we don’t know what’s actually stopping us (denial)
• we never actually learned process – how to get reach a goal by going thru a series of necessary steps. We look for instant grat, or we make a half-hearted attempt, or we take the least effective steps. When these don’t work we give up, rather than learn what actually works!
• we believe in our deepest being that anything we do has to be perfectly, & not being able to that – we end up doing nothing
• anything we’ve figure out for ourselves is either wrong or not of any value (crap)
• don’t know how to do something AND can’t ask for help, OR feel like we have no one to ask
being afraid of what we’ll find out (outcome of a job interview, medical tests, how much is -or isn’t- in the bank…)
NEXT: “Putting things off” Part 2