PREVIOUS: ACoAs – L. in Childhood (part 2)
REMINDER: See ACRONYM Page for abbrev.
NOTE: Loneliness is one result of the many PMES ways we were not taken care of as kids. FEAR + INSECURITY – LOVE = Abandonment = Loneliness.
1. ACoA Loneliness (L.)
It’s inevitable that we bring with us, from childhood, unhealthy actions & beliefs we learned from our environment & which created our Loneliness at that time, but was not our fault! So naturally, as adults, we add to the (mostly invisible) iceberg of L. by continuing all those old self-defeating patterns – until we do deep FoO work to fill the internal hole.
a. Protecting ourselves
Given all the physical & emotional danger we were subjected to as kids, it’s understandable that we end up compressing ourselves into small internal balls of fear – like any wounded creature. We hide from others as protection – in PLACE OF having real, healthy Boundaries. Extroverts hide in very different ways than Introverts, but it’s still hiding.
• Unfortunately we also have to hide from ourselves too, so we end up not knowing who we really are!
• Fortunately, once we’ve developed & internalized Bs we don’t have to hide anymore. Then we choose how much to reveal & how much to hold back, and choose who is safe & who is not.
The Loneliness: While we protect ourselves from everyone else’s fear, envy, greed, control, manipulation…. & especially their rage – we’re stuck inside our shell, adding to our sense of separateness & isolation – whether alone or with others.
b. Protecting Others
Self-Hate is expressed in our Ts, Es. & As, so it covers every aspect of our lives. As kids we came to believe that we were very, very bad, even evil – & now we feel like we’re carrying a monster inside – which we assume is the WIC, whether we’re familiar with the concept or not. Some of us have even tried (or wanted to) commit suicide – to get rid of it:
— Our rage: On the one hand there is a part of us that is powerfully, sometimes uncontrollably furious. And why not. We were alternately neglected & tortured by the very people who were supposed to love us.
— The PP : The other part of the ‘monster’ is the Negative Introject – which is an internalized accumulation of all the crazy abusive adults we grew up with. They had lots of rage too, even if they never showed it. So we’re carrying theirs & ours.
• While we’re trying to protect ourselves from the big bad world, this combined rage is so intense & huge that most of us concluded a long time ago that we have to protect the world from the monster so we won’t get abandoned again or kill someone, because we feel it’s out of our control.
The Loneliness: Being alone with our monster component (made up of emotional pain & Toxic Beliefs) is terrifying, but we figure it’s better than the alternative. Keeping it under wraps, even from ourselves, separates us from everyone at a very deep level. Either we’re:
— clingers, who can’t seem to live without some sort of relationship, no matter how bad, & we have to be extra ‘nice’ so they won’t know, OR
— erupters, whose rage keeps most everyone away from us, as we spew out our accumulated anger anyplace or anytime something sets us off. But that just brings up more S-H.
c. Not being Eligible
DEF: Qualified, Entitled, Desirable or Worthy to be chosen / wanted. Having access to benefits. ‘Qualified’ implies you’ve earned the criteria, whereas ‘eligible’ implies you already have the criteria (inborn &/or learned) – for something.
• Because of all the neglect & rejection from our family, we grow up feeling INeligible…..
… for anything good – we’re not allowed to ask for our needs (many of us don’t even know what those needs are), so we wait for others to intuit what we need & provide it, but can’t possibly guess
… to belong – anywhere – so we become paranoid, project rejection onto anyone who is not totally, continually attentive, yet at the same time not trusting that they really like us – when they are nice
…. to be visible – so we can’t take normal, appropriate risks, have to hide how we really feel, hide our strengths & our power
…. to our dreams – so we settle for crumbs, doing things we hate or don’t care about, get stuck in ruts, tolerate mediocrity & boredom
…. to relax, feel safe & have fun (parties, vacations, or just ‘vegging’)
.… to enjoy any successes we do have – always afraid someone’s going to find out ‘the truth’ : that we’re really frauds!✶
✶ IRONY: Our accomplishments are not luck or accident, because we could not have done all those things if we were not capable. ACoAs need to OWN our abilities & successes! Only S-H & the PP tell us that we’re frauds!
The Loneliness: This kind of loneliness is harder to identify because it’s the result of having to hide large chunks of ourselves. So we can’t really connect with the world on an even footing – from our True Self.
We know addictions are used to cut ourselves off from painful memories & emotions that are too overwhelming to bear, & because we don’t know how to understand & process them in healthy ways. And it’s not just abusing drugs & alcohol, but overdoing any type of activity, such as over- eating / spending / exercise / tv & internet trancing, and of course love / romance / fantasy addiction. ACoAs are also addicted to the brain chemical adrenalin – the need for highs – fearful or exciting mental & physical drama that is so familiar from the chaos of our childhood.
The Loneliness: Whether we act out an addiction in the company of others or in isolation, there is a deep part of us that is cut off from ourselves and of course others. All addictions carry with a sense of shame – that we’re not being authentic, that we’re doing ‘something wrong’ even if that feeling is hidden from consciousness. Hiding parts of ourselves from the world out of S-H is not the same as having Boundaries – choosing when / where / how / who to reveal ourselves to.
e. Poor Relationship Choices
• Being with people who are incompetent, irresponsible, under-achieving – which ‘forces’ us to take on too much responsibility – the burden of taking care of everyone else – but not our own needs
• Being with Narcissists who only ‘see’ themselves – never us (“Put a sweater on, I’m cold”) – who can only talk about themselves, who are controlling & insensitive, even mean. So we stay silent, never quite knowing what to say because we’re always stunned by their outrageous comments! We’re invisible to them – but futilely keep trying to connect!
The Loneliness: For the most part when we’re with unhealed people, we are actually alone because of their inability to be emotionally present. And those ACoAs who can’t get ourselves to leave family, lovers, friends, jobs – even tho they don’t suit – we are symbiotically attached. Symbiosis is both an attempt to alleviate Loneliness and a substitute for genuine Trust.
• This type of attachment was originally forced on us by family & we’re afraid to break the enmeshment. Contrary to how it ‘feels’, being symbiotic is very lonely: picture walking around hugging someone very tightly – all the time (one of you is always walking backwards!) & then ask yourself – “Can I actually see this person & can they see me?” NO, because you’re both looking over each others shoulder!
NEXT: Adult Loneliness, Part 2