I THINK I GOT BLINDSIDED –
but I don’t know why!
PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Listening (#3)
REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
AFTERMATH of a difficult / painful / scary experience (A)
Whenever ACoAs have a run-in with another person, our most common T.E.A. reactions afterward are:
(T) being confused about – what happened, how we got in that situation, what we should have said or done, wish we’d said, about what they actually ‘did’ to us….
(E) being ‘freaked’ out, but may not be clear just what our emotions are, not sure if we should be upset or what’s really bothering us, not wanting to be so aggravated or anxious…
✶ If we feel bad AND don’t understand what happened, we automatically slide into:
(T) blaming ourselves, feeling guilty for our reaction, feeling weak & stupid for not handling it better… (this is S-H, to mask our feeling of abandonment, which we’re not consciously aware of)
(A) ‘deal’ with it by hiding from them, ranting to everyone about it, being overly solicitous (people-pleasing), stop functioning at all…. OR calling the other person & chewing them out, which usually adds to our S-H, guilt & shame.
PART 3 is a series of 30 Qs to ask yourself, to clarify the confusion. This set of posts is mainly about our (Ts) & (Es). For suggestions re. (As), review post: “What to DO when confused” & “Noticing Painful Events.”
• To get clarity, it can be valuable to talk the event over with a trusted person.
• We can also do a lot of work on our own, & feel good about that. It will help us eventually be more easily ‘present’ in the moment, & help us feel less like a victim, less scared, vulnerable…
• To that end, it’s helpful to identify which ego state we were in when things ‘went wrong’. We can also ask ourselves what we observed or already know (& ignored) about the other person.
➼ SO: ‘who’ (inside of each protagonist) was in charge?
• our Wounded Inner Child was in the foreground, or their WIC was
• our Pig Parent (Negative Introject) was acting up, or theirs was
— It’s usually some combination: our IC reacting to their PP, our IC provoking their IC, their IC bringing out our PP, their PP stomping on us – leaving our IC mute…
NOTE: It’s a good bet that neither person’s Healthy Adult was available & functioning, or it would have turned out differently. (See ‘EGO STATES’ posts)
PURPOSE of Inventory
We can use the Qs to strengthen our HEALTHY ADULT so it can be more in charge in the future, whatever the circumstances. From that we can learn more about:
1. Ourselves – strengths, weaknesses, style, beliefs, needs, wishes…
a. conscious parts we ignore, don’t accept or deal with, parts we’re working on, need to pay more attention to, are OK with…
b. those aspects that are hidden from us in the shadows & ‘force’ us to act out old fears & beliefs AND prevent us from shining our inner light
2. What to expect – so we’re not shocked & reactive, every time. ACoAs have a built in ‘forgetter’ after encountering scary people & situations which mirror of our childhood trauma.
a. In the present we bury the knowledge we could have gained & are then “taken by surprise” for the umpteenth time – when dealing with the same unsafe person or situation – again! As if it had never happened before.
b. Even when encountering an unpleasant person we don’t know, the interchange with them is often similar to others of that type, & we’re still surprised, not able to assert ourselves, shocked into muteness… OR over-react with the child’s old rage.
3. Who you’re dealing with – what do we know about this person, or this type (angry, passive-aggressive, narcissist, volatile, withholding…)
• Point # 2 is about us , & #3 is about the other person – whether we’ve seen them before, actually know them, or not at all. The more we know about damaged people in general, the better prepared we are to deal with them – BUT coming from our Healthy Adult.
• Are they very rageful, passive-aggressive, sadistic, narcissistic, manipulative, people-pleasing, needy, controlling….? Read, learn, know.
✶ People tell us about themselves ALL the time! We just have to pay attention!
4. How you can be more empowered, going forward?
a. (T) Practice, over & over, words/phrases that we can use when under stress. We need to form new pathways in the brain, or we’ll end up repeating old patterns.
b. (E) Stay awake for our emotional reactions to every situation we find ourselves in – pleasant, neutral or unpleasant. This does NOT mean being on guard, self-conscious, rigid with ourselves. Just be gently aware of what’s going on inside, whenever possible. Always come from a loving, patient place!
c. (A) Think of actions we can give ourselves permission to take in the future, how to prepare in advance for some situations, practice with safe people (friends, healers…) do Inner Child writing to help the kid, repeatedly visualize new behaviors, to de-sensitize…
NEXT: “What just happened” (Part 2)