I’M GREAT, I’M JUST FINE –
as long as I do everything perfectly!
PREVIOUS: ACoA CONCLUSIONS re. Events (1a)
REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
2. CONCLUSIONS (OUR THINKING) Cont.
a. IT’S ALL ME (cont): It’s my fault, I’m bad, dumb, weak, lazy….
➼ The core emotion is FEAR
OVERT Victims – Some of us see everything thru the ‘hopeless’ lens. Not just the world being against us, but the whole universe. When disappointed, many ACoAs will say “I guess the universe (or God) doesn’t want me to have that!” NO, it’s not that. Instead, maybe we:
• asked for the impossible (like expecting a narcissist to ‘see’ us)
• went to an inappropriate place or person for our need
• used a self-defeating approach, or didn’t have enough info
• had a legitimate goal but our timing was off
• stay with totally inappropriate people (maybe bad, or just not for us)
• are impatient – some things need repetition or just take longer
• have to keep trying & not give up so easily
• are not ready yet to receive it (our unconscious is blocking it OR we need to do/ become something else – first)
• Jordi is learning the base guitar & decides to try out for a band, but is not asked to join. He thinks it means he’ll never be able to be a musician & stops practicing.
• April is an artist with talent but not much training & low self-esteem. She needs an income so she takes a job in a real estate company, but hardly ever makes a sale. Eventually she leaves, convinced she’s a failure & will never do anything well
➼ Behind the helpless victim stance ACoAs want to be taken care of (see ‘Unrealistic Expectations’) so we keep waiting. It’s easier to think we’re worthless & unworthy than to do the hard work of becoming our own Loving Parent/ Healthy Adult (UNIT).
• In reality, just because we’re in pain doesn’t mean we caused it! We may have contributed to the outcome, but not necessarily.
— Sometimes people just step on our toes, & don’t even know it!
— Many times there are life-stresses & unforeseen events that we have no control over
— Sometimes bad things happen to good people, which we had nothing to do with, & it’s arrogant and immature (from the WIC) to think we did.
• Whenever ACoAs experience a painful loss we try to make sense of it. Our damaged child always thinks he/she is the source or cause of the loss – that we should have been able to prevent it. The Adult in us knows this is not true. Others are also not in control of every outcome, but they are responsible for their beliefs, decisions & actions (NOT US), whether they acknowledge it or not.
EXPs: • It’s sad to think of JFK Jr. – his very bad decision to fly with a broken leg, without a co-pilot or auto-pilot, in predicted bad weather – ended in disaster. Accident? Yes, but his unwise choices contributed.
• Felicia was in great distress. She had invited her family to visit her at school, so they drove out to see her. On their way another car plowed into them causing a huge accident & her brother was killed. That was enough of a heart breaker – but what caused even more suffering was her CD. She kept saying: ”If only I hadn’t asked them to visit, he’d still be alive!” – torturing herself by thinking she has that kind of power!
BUT – when we have made a wrong choice, blaming ourselves does not help us learn from the error or improve our options in the future. Self-Hate is SELF-DEFEATING. It’s based on a false sense of power, but it’s still false.
COVERT Victims – Functional ACoAs may not think of ourselves as victims, (caretakers/ rescuers, rage-aholics/ bullies, over-achievers…) but whenever something goes wrong for us, we end up in the same mental hole – deeply convinced that somehow we are responsible for the painful situation, either because we’re fundamentally unlovable or that we’re congenitally incompetent. Even accomplished professional ACoAs say they’re afraid someone will eventually find out they’re ‘a fraud’!
• For example, ACoA Hero types put much of our efforts into being ‘superior’,
first to make the family look good & then to cover up S-H & feelings of powerlessness & vulnerability. So when a situation in the present upsets us, we conclude we didn’t do something the right way, or haven’t done enough (focus on do-ing, rather than be-ing). As kids we were expected to be perfect! Anything less is our failure.
• We too assume that we’re powerless to get our needs met, since one of our Toxic Rules is “Only other people’s needs & emotions count”. We really DO try (Heroes are such hard workers!) but still don’t fully succeed, especially is areas that are deeply important to us. Some definitely want a long-term relationship, others a cherished career, others to be rich…. & most ACoAs desperately want our family to love us & treat us well. When we get disappointed in any of these, we find it hard to not feel mentally confused & emotionally devastated.
• One way to check if we’re still functioning as victims, no matter how hidden, is to make the effort of writing down:
— all the unkind names or phrases our family called us and any that we now apply to ourselves (CD: “Mislabeling”)
— a list all the perfectionistic ‘shoulds’ we use in hopes of making ourselves take actions that we’re resisting. (CD: “Shoulds”).
➼ When we change our negative thinking AND do emotional release work, that sensitivity diminishes, & then so does our suffering.
NEXT: ACoAs CONCLUSIONS about painful events (2a)