I CAN’T GIVE UP
the only ‘truth’ I know!
PREVIOUS: Self-Hate (Part 1)
2 SOURCES of S-H (cont.)
b. In the Present – surface reason. Deeper reasons in Part 3
i. I.C.’s CONVICTION – we keep telling ourselves we’re never good enough or worthy of getting our needs met. We believe we’re powerless to change that, & being powerless feels much worse to an ACoA than being ‘bad’ – so ‘bad’ we stay. The FEAR BELIEF: On the one hand we’re powerless – over everything – & at the same time we try to control everything! – we can’t prevent people from leaving us but if they do, we’ll die! Can you hear the kid screaming?
ii. Negative INTROJECT telling us we’re wrong, stupid, evil…
• we hate that part of us, which is so much like our parents, being just as judgmental as them, making the same mistakes, picking the same kind of mates, sounding like them…. We swear we’ll never be like them, yet can’t help but be a carbon copy – it’s our genetic heritage, as well as our experience of them
• we can feel the bad voice, like a the baseball bat, pounding away at us, & we just want to kill it off (one reason for ACoAs being suicidal), while at the same time believe it completely & finding it a familiar ‘comfort’. We don’t know how to get rid of it without killing ourselves, yet we protect it with every fiber. What a bind!
WHY IS IT SO HARD TO GIVE UP S-H?
The above reasons are all part of the answer, but the MAIN one is that: It gives us a FALSE SENSE of POWER! How?
Since every child is self-centered, which is normal, they think everything is about them – whatever happens in or around them has to do with them.
The child’s logic says: “I’m in pain, so I somehow caused it. Therefore I CAN/must stop them from hurting me, if I can just figure out how!”
• Then we spend the rest of our childhood (& well into adulthood, until Recovery) trying different ways to FIX whatever the problem was & may still be – BY:
US – re-inventing ourselves (must be the origin of this USA craze) by trying on different ‘personae‘ (be the perfect kid, the trouble maker, the helper, get good grades, be invisible, don’t have any needs, be funny…)
THEM – try to make our parents see reason, get sober, get help, leave the marriage, get taken care of by us, cover up for them, fix their ‘craziness’, cater to their every whim….
Unfortunately NONE of our EFFORTS WORKED! In most cases ‘they’ didn’t change, didn’t listen, wouldn’t stop – drinking, raging, being unsuccessful, molesting, beating us, leaving, cheating, berating….!
But we kept trying, always asking: What’s wrong with ME?
• Even if some of our parents did stop drinking, very few were willing to do the deeper work to become better parents, & mostly were just “Dry Drunks”. We assumed their ‘sobriety’ was because we were extra good, prayed really hard or badgered them into it. BUT they still kept hurting us. The result for us as kids was an intense feeling of failure!
• This is why so many ACoAs believe we’re FRAUDS – that people will eventually, inevitably FIND OUT. Q: Find what out?
A: “Since I couldn’t make my parents/ family get well, be happy & be there for me – I’ll NEVER able ably to succeed at anything else!” (WIC logic)
It’s a belief / assumption ACoAs are not usually aware of, and is equally believed by the less accomplished AND the most outwardly successful ACoAs, pre-FoO Recovery. Unfortunately what we don’t realize is that the fundamental premise is false: no child was ever responsible for adult messes & were never supposed to be responsible for making them better!
By following our family’s dysfunctional training, ACoAs pile on more self-hate because of our self-defeating / self-destructive actions, thoughts & feeling – towards ourselves (T.E.A.), along with how we let others treat us, AND how we treat them – BY:
• active addictions & all other forms of all other self-denying, self-defeating, self-destructive behaviors (the big ways take big bites out of our soul, & the little ways sneakily gnaw away at us !)
• trying to be perfect, & hating ourselves for not being able to
• talking to ourselves in ‘shoulds’ (I should go back to school right away, although I ‘m not really up to it now…..)
• choosing & then staying with people who continually hurt us, don’t understand or can’t listen, can’t mirror us, who use us, manipulate….
• sabotaging opportunities & preventing ourselves from going after what we want in life
• black & white thinking, all or nothing, do or die (when one of these extremes doesn’t work out, we hate ourselves more)
• ‘yelling’ at ourselves – calling ourselves stupid, crazy, weak…
• trying to ‘one up’ others – to cover feeling ‘less than’
• not following thru… with plans, promises, goals OR self-care
• denying our anger at others, swallowing it & getting depressed
• not standing up for ourselves – our rights, tastes, needs…
• let others use us, take advantage, continually cross our boundaries
• trying to do the impossible (change others, instead of ourselves)
• regularly getting into verbal (&/or physical) fights, to punish & isolate
• lie, manipulate, cheat, mistrust everyone OR trust everyone, indiscriminately (copy our sick parents or play out the Scapegoat role)
• humiliating ourselves by: telling all our faults, over-disclosing, trying desperately to convince someone (who doesn’t care) that we’re not as bad/wrong stupid as they think
• being obnoxious, continual boasting, telling people off, arrogance, acting superior… (it keep us disconnected from others)
• all other self-denying, self-defeating, self-destructive behaviors (especially the little ones, because it’s hard to catch the harm they do)
NEXT: S-H – & ACoAs (Part 3) Results & Recovery