PREVIOUS: ACoAs abandoning OTHERS (2b)
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a. Putting anyone on a pedestal (parent, teacher, lover, friend, boss…) – not being able or willing to acknowledge someone’s real personality, including their human limitations & their damage (character defects) – UNTIL that person does something that pushes a big button in us, & then we go into a rage at them. The illusion we created about them is shattered & we can’t tolerate it. We punish them &/or cut them off.
EXP: Carol started a new class & was immediately in awe of the professor. She began staying after class, asking all sorts of questions, unconsciously flirting a little. The teacher became less & less responsive or available. Carol kept trying to hold his attention, but finally felt the rejection, became very angry & stormed off, telling everyone else what a jerk he was.
b. VARIATION: Making a new lover the “Answer to all my prayers!” Believing ‘This is the one!” OR immediately making a new friend into a BFF, without taking the time to find out:
• who this person really is (their true self)
• how you’ll feel about them, in a year or less
• what personal problems they may have
• how their ‘issues’ are going to affect you
• are they actually who they seem to be?
• how your issues will impact them? etc.
• AND, if we are truly compatible. ➼ To know that, we have to have a clear sense of our own identity, good boundaries, reasonable self-esteem, not too much anxiety about abandonment, tolerate imperfection & have the ability to ‘go slowly’!
BTW, we may find someone willing to play out the fantasy with us (some for a while, some much longer), because they too need to be symbiotic, feel needed, overly-important…anything to not focus on themselves & their issues. This does not diminish our responsibility for playing out emotional games.
• This kind of ‘jumping into’… comes from an intense need of the Inner Child to be symbiotically attached to someone, in order to fill the emptiness left by inadequate mothering in early life. The real person we now choose to idealize will:
— either be someone who is similar in damage to our own family – the hope is that this time we can fix them & get their love & approval,even if we can’t get it from our parents, but only end up (unconsciously) playing out our abandonment / victim role – because we can’t fix others or con them into loving us
— OR someone who is or seems to do completely the opposite – stable, competent, smart, nice….so we can finally be taken care of! Even if they do, for a while, we pay too great a price – staying immature. And usually they’re too healthy to rescue us at all, so we get disappointed again, but not as much.
• Either way we’re trying to get from people today what we couldn’t get originally, but they can’t make up for our losses! IDEALIZING is:
— another dysfunctional way to cope with the painful fact that our parents were not safe (nurturing, emotionally honest, mentally clear…)
— a way to survive back then some part of our child-mind had to make them perfect, without flaw – to deny how angry & scared we were at them, & still are
— a form of splitting off the good parts of us & the bad parts of them – an overt or covert toxic agreement in childhood, with the family, that we were the bad ones & they the good ones.
EFFECT – In these fantasy relationships we :
• desperately need others to live up to our ideal. What we’re really doing is using them
• we’re saying that THIS person is ‘perfect’ (unlike our family), is going to fill our unmet childhood needs, will never disappoint us, will love us unconditionally & never leave!
What a terrible, impossible burden to put on someone. Maybe you’ve been the object of such an idealization – how did it feel? How did it end?
• we’re completely negating who they are, what they need or want, by laying on them a preconceived role created by our Wounded Inner Child, thus abandoning them
• we re-enforce our self-hate, because:
a. we can never do the impossible – which we do know
* can never fix someone else (so they can be there for us)
* can’t resolve our family issues thru another person
* can’t manipulate someone into genuinely loving us
b. AND because:
* we know at some level that we’re hurting others
* we get rejected, attacked, misunderstood
* we don’t deal with the source of our loneliness & pain, so we can’t grow, recover or gain peace of mind
✶ we never have the joy of interacting with others in an equal – adult to adult (have a healthy peer relationship with a variety of people)
FANTASY may feel good but the reality is that it keeps us suspended in a false universe which always backfires!
— use any suitable Recovery process – work at healing the original abandonment pain & give up your self-hate
— take it slow with any new relationship. WAIT to form a definitive opinion about someone. It takes time to get to know people. GO SLOW!
— every time you interact with someone, evaluate what you’ve learned about them – in reality. What did they tell you about themselves?
— write it all out. This is NOT about taking someone’s inventory – which is a form of being judgmental. This is a way to prevent idealizing others, by being realistic about them & honest with ourselves.
NEXT: ACoAs abandoning others (3b)