DON’T BOTHER ME –
I’m busy ignoring reality!
PREVIOUS: Abandonment Pain Now (Part 1)
REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
At one extreme is the ACoA experience of being mostly insensitive TO:
a. how we feel about all sorts of things, whether trivial or intense, what our very real needs & wants are, what we’re good at… We continually abandon ourselves, just like they did
b. the many ways some people are unkind, unfair & insensitive to us. We ignore being ‘dissed’ as a result of:
• being so used to abandonment (A) from childhood that we don’t even feel it
• not knowing about the concept of (A), so can’t verbalize it, even if we do notice a twinge in our gut
AND SO WE:
• may notice it, BUT blame ourselves, assume that we deserve it, don’t have a right to ask for more… (our Self-hate)
• may notice it but pretend it’s not happening, because it would be too painful AND we’d have to stand up to them or leave
• make excuses for the other person’s bad behavior, the way we had to excuse our family. No one at home took responsibility for their abuse & neglect, so now we don’t hold anyone else accountable either
• don’t want to say anything because we don’t know the difference between confrontation & assertion, & we don’t want to hurt their feelings or start a fight
➼ Many ACoAs have a disconnect between their head & their gut, between thinking & feeling. Whether an under- or over- sensitive type, we all DO register the hurt of being discounted, disrespected, neglected or attacked. However, emotionally disconnected ACoAs are:
• either – totally unconscious that someone has ‘stepped on our toes’, OR
• it’s as if we’re wearing a defensive invisible collar – LIKE the big plastic medical kind, used on animals so they can’t scratch their ears. We can see over the top, but NOTHING below the collar.
EXP: Someone can stick a verbal knife in our gut, BUT a with a smile or as a ‘joke’. We can only see the ‘nice’ face, but not the dangerous hand (the mean words). We notice the pain BUT because we can’t see anything below the plastic collar, we think there’s something wrong with us. After all, everyone else is ok & we’re the crazy ones, right?
On the other hand ACoAs can be hyper-attuned to the slightest slight 😦 , even when it’s completely unintentional or accidental. Everything that hurts them is taken as a personal affront, meant to humiliate & punish. This is the victim position of the WIC, who believes everything is about itself – the narcissism of not even imagining that others are concerned mainly with themselves, not us!
Fear of Abandonment rules our life:
• For all ACoAs, our default position is that we will always be abandoned, sooner or later – it’s just a matter of time
• We look for (A) everywhere, real or imagined. There’s an element of paranoia, which is always based on genuine childhood danger & trauma (Post: ACoAs – Projecting)
As a result:
• we may deliberately make ourselves un-available OR un-likable, so we won’t become attached & then have to re-experience being disappointed
• OR we desperately cling to people (even if it doesn’t show) & we watch them like hawks for any hint of disapproval, anger, lack of attention… which might signal imminent abandonment
EXP: As CiCi was walking downtown she noticed Joey across the street, who didn’t even acknowledge her much less smile or stop to talk. The ‘sensitive soul’ became enraged, & feeling invisible, she obsessed about the slight for a few days & eventually fired off a nasty note, breaking up the friendship! (Sensitive souls can be very harsh when hurt!)
It turned out that Joey was so preoccupied in his own head he never saw CiCi, but she didn’t bother checking it out first – just assumed that it was deliberate & disrespectful. Looking at her scathing email, Joey knew this was not the first time she had over-reacted. He decided it wasn’t worth arguing about it or justifying himself, again. If she couldn’t communicate more reasonably – then so be it.
Healthy: a responsible reaction from her would have been: “I saw you on the street today & you didn’t say hi. What’s up?”
ACoA IRONY: We’re desperately afraid of being abandoned & yet tend to only focus on things in our environment that are potentially abandoning, while ignoring all the positive strokes being provided by:
— people giving us complements, anywhere
— kudos & rewards at work
— friends, mates, children… who love us
NEXT: Abandonment pain now (Part 3)