I HATE YOU – DON’T LEAVE ME!
I know you don’t love me,
but I’m desperate
REVIEW: ‘Self-Hate’ posts
NO MIDDLE GROUND
Mental Health is about many things, one of which is BALANCE. Living in a healthy middle ground (most of the time) is not only a foreign concept to ACoAs, but IF experienced, even briefly, is considered BORING & undesirable!
Each of us blends our own personality with our childhood experiences, creating the ‘sensitivities’ (buttons) which identify our damage.
EXTREMES – Unhealed ACoAs (& some in Recovery) have only 2 speeds about most things: Too Much or Too Little, very high or very low. ‘Gray’ is NOT even thought of, or is seen as a cop-out! Using T.E.A, this refers both to:
— how we think (T), in the form of the Cognitive Dysfunction: ‘Black & White Thinking’. (“I’m all bad & they’re all good”, “I’ll only try if I can do it perfectly”, “No-one loves me”, “All men are dangerous”….)
• We were not taught to think correctly nor broadly, with nuances & from many different perspectives. So even very intelligent, educated ACoAs can not always some up with several alternative ways of considering a problem, with ourselves or in relationships.
— how we feel emotionally (E). We torture ourselves with panic, depression, rage, shame, hopelessness, guilt, & self-hate, OR swing to unrealistic, sometimes delusional hope & excitement – both based on incorrect thinking.
• We were not given permission to actually have emotions, nor taught to identify them, how to express them correctly, how to self-sooth, or to put them in perspective re. a given situation. (As a child: Getting very upset when I’m injured or someone terrifies me – is appropriate. Getting hysterical because I can’t get or do something I want – is not!)
ALSO, we were not taught to consider other people’s feelings – since no one considered ours!
• All ACoAs are capable of responding to life from either extreme – sometimes over-reacting, based on specific ways we were repeatedly wounded, sometimes under-reacting to current people or situations, based on what kind of abuses we were trained to ignore, but each of us unconsciously lives more often at one end than the other.
NOTE: this is not a description of Manic Depression, which some ACoAs have, but is not common. That is a chemical imbalance, often physical hereditary, while most ACoA extremes come mainly from our training.
REVERSING – ACoAs also tend to get our extremes backwards:
— being under-sensitive to ourselves &/or others which a healthy person would definitely be upset about or at least register as ‘off’
EXP: running into traffic as the light turns red, taking home a stranger we just met who talks a good game, not catching an insult….
— being over-sensitive – internally as S-H & externally as fear & rage at others – to all sorts of situations that others don’t even notice or are not bothered by
EXP: a passing glance from someone we interpret as dislike, not being included in some event, someone forgetting to bring us a promised book
JUMBLING – we don’t seem to be able to make a distinction between important & unimportant issues in life, so that…..
….. being ignored, someone not being available, not getting the information we need, death of a loved one, other people’s damage, a missed phone call, not being able to find something in our home, being late, being dumped, losing a job…..
ALL seem to have equal value – either being numb to it or being overly dramatic! Take Abandonment (A), for example.
• Abandonment (A) is: “NOT getting enough of our legitimate childhood NEEDS met, & some needs not at all”. This is child-abuse & applies to all 4 categories of PMES: Physical, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual. (A) is not only about someone physically leaving, just like being “Abused” is not necessarily about being hit or injured.
• As a child – being continually PMES abandonment generates enormous amounts of terror, rage, hopelessness, loneliness, humiliation, sorrow… MAINLY terror. And we carry that mountain of fear with us into adulthood. If not brought to the surface & safely re-experienced (OH JOY), it poisons our life – in ALL areas, no matter how functional a person may look on the outside
• The original (A) did not have to be overt or deliberate. AND our parents may have been oblivious to the damage they were doing, BUT the results are the same (see: “They did the best they could”)
• We always turn the original (A) into Self-Hate, in a desperate attempt to be in control of a bad situation (“I caused it so I can change it”)
➼ At the heart of Self-Hate is a FALSE BELIEF: “It is OUR fault that we’re in pain AND if it’s our fault, then we can & MUST fix it/ change the person or situation, to make everything better”.
• Without an outlet for the intense, daily, unrelenting fear we lived thru during childhood, the accumulated pain gets buried & crusted over with defense mechanisms
• Technically, you can not abandon another adult, only a child (there are some exceptions). So now when we FEEL abandoned, it’s left-over pain from the past
(PS. There are of course situations which will hurt any healthy adult, but not to the degree that ACoAs experience)
NEXT: Abandonment pain now – #2