I JUST DON’T GET IT:
why are they trying to tell me?
PREVIOUS: Noticing Painful Events (Part 1)
REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
1. EVENTS (cont.)
b. PRESENT • As adults we are still so focused on the possibility of being abused &/or abandoned – again, that we either isolate much of the time, we’re belligerent & difficult, or are super people-pleasers (3 styles: stay away, keep at arm’s length or connect by placating – the ‘co-dependent triangle’).
So every ‘event’ that upsets, hurts, disappoints & scares us becomes a cause for emotional drama. Based on childhood experiences coupled with our negative thinking, we don’t deal with situations from an appropriate, Healthy Adult, perspective
EXP of ‘Events’
• You’re having lunch with a group of casual friends & new acquaintances. Everyone seems to easily be engaged in conversation with their neighbors, & almost no-one has talked to you the whole time
• You’re walking down the hall at work & yet again Georgia doesn’t acknowledge you
• You’re trying to cross a busy street & just then a cab turns the corner, almost hitting you
• You go for an interview & do your best, but you’re not called back
• You’re a new members of a long-standing group. You’re going out for coffee with them after a meeting. On the way, they all pair up, talking to each other but no one walks with you – you’re all alone at the back of the ‘line’
➼ Any one of these may create a painful reaction in us. Our observation of the occurrence is accurate – those things really did happen. However – they triggering some cognitive distortion, which will then make the event even more disturbing. That is where we go off the rails.
▶ Some ACoA approaches to EVENTS
CO-DEPENDENCE: every disturbing situation is seen a challenge for the rescuer to throw all their energy into fixing – the other person or event
COUNTER-PHOBIA: at the other extreme, we look for the most dangerous, drama-filled events to get involved with, ignoring/ denying / swallowing the pain it causes us (more in a next post)
ISOLATION / Victim: having been hurt by so many people & events, we stay away from interacting with the world, instead of ‘healing & dealing’
PARANOIA: many ACoAs have this tendency. The assumption is that the ‘universe’ (everyone & everything) is deliberately targeting us, to cause our suffering, while ignoring all the good things in our life
SCAPEGOAT / Victim: we feel blamed for everything that goes wrong, which we agree with. It causes great anxiety & constant anger, but we don’t try to correct it
SO – ‘EVENTS’ can be:
a. everyday situations which are not really bad, like someone in the subway bumping into you, not getting that email you’re waiting for, a delivery being late….
b. occasional annoyances, that may or may not be aimed at you, like a rude salesman, your boss being angry at you, your child having trouble with a neighbor, getting a ticket….
c. really painful encounters, like a parent treating you cruelly, a big fight with a BFF or spouse, your child getting arrested because of drugs….
• Each of these categories will test our ‘mental health quotient’ – how realistic or distorted our thinking is. This will then govern how we act.
NEXT: Thinking about Events (our CONCLUSIONS)