ACoA EMOTIONS re. Painful Events

  notice feelings

besides, I’m not supposed to

PREVIOUS: CONCLUSIONS re. painful Events (2b)

REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

So – what’s being ignored in
this CHART’s equation? (E + C = A):  our EMOTIONS! 

• Each EVENT that pushes our buttons generates several emotions, but without
doing FoO & emotion-release work, we’re either not aware or don’t acknowledge them. We know we’re upset – we act out those Es by verbally attacking, by complaining to everyone we know, by worrying… but are not clear what the feelings actually are & we certainly don’t want to focus on them.  Instead, we obsess endlessly (circular thinking driven by FoA)

• Even tho something or someone has hurt us, we minimize or deny it.  ACoAs were taught from infancy to negate or suppress our feelings (Es), especially any that were not acceptable in our original household. For some – anger/ rage was the norm. For others – only being emotCause & Effectionally UP was allowed! And for many – having no emotions was the absolute rule – “DON’T FEEL”!  So, what emotions should we be aware of when something affects us? If the WIC is the one reacting to an event, we’re likely to feel the same ones we had as kids – only more intensely, because of accumulation. That’s ok – it gives us important info about our past.

REMEMBER: The list below shows only a few of the possible Es that fuel our reactions to events, but because they’re shielded by our denial we may not have experienced them directly
Denial: Hiding painful truths from ourselves (but not always from others) that we can’t bear to know, so we shut them away in our unconscious & completely forget
Acting out – ‘compulsive behavior which represents emotions we are not conscious of’ – so acting out can be forgetting to do something (omission) as easily as doing something self-defeating (commission)

The most common ACoA emotional reactions are:
Abandonment – not getting our needs met day-in-&-day-out as kids added up to becoming a huge festering sore.  The essence of A. pain is terror. When we feel A. the WIC thinks it’s back home, alone, unprotected & we’re going to die!
Rage – the accumulated fury from childhood from having been powerless, frustrated & vulnerable in an unsafe environment.  When our A. wound gets triggered the fear can overwhelm us, & the rage it releases make us say cruel things to ourselves & others

Outrage – our kid’s reaction to injustice & unfairness about things we have no control over – but are determined to, anyway!
Guilt – for ACoAs, the emotion generated by breaking any family rule. Even tho someone hurt us, we end up thinking we’ve done something wrong!
Self-Hate – the defense mechanism protecting us from feeling the full weight of our original A. ACoAs consistently blame ourselves for any pain, anxiety or discomfort we feel!
Shame – the feeling generated by any NEED (all childhood needs are legitimate, but not all wants) which was originally abused or neglected in childhoodtrust the gut

• In spite of not have a conscious awareness, we are still experiencing distress from internal (our CDs) or external events (other people).  How can we find out?  Our body will tell us, if we listen. The GUT KNOWs!
 Our whole being (nerves, muscles, organs, chakras, meridians….) registers emotional pain & stores it until it gets expressed. We can push it down, explain it away, accuse others of making us feel bad… but eventually it catches up to us & WE are the only ones that pay – with physical aches & pains, anxiety attacks, depression, the need for addictions, difficulties at work & with personal relationships….

• Have you noticed the ‘ICK Factor’? That’s when someone consistently does or says something that doesn’t sit well with you & each time you feel a tiny jolt in your gut (an ‘ick’).  Even if you like many things about the person, it can be a specific way they respond to you, some characteristic or belief of theirs…. that wounds your kid! For some possible ways, see posts on “How ACoAs Abandon Others”, Parts 1, 2 & 3

• You may not be able to verbalize right away what’s wrong in a given situation, but the body knows.  If the “icks” keep happening, then you need to check in with yourself:
✓ is this ICK one of my WIC’s over-reactions? Could be! OR
✓ is my gut letting me know that something about this person really makes them incompatible?Screen Shot 2016-06-19 at 7.36.02 AM

• It is often someone you’ve been bothered by from the very beginning, but have been ignoring the signals your emotions are giving.  But it’s not always the people you’d expect. Someone you argue with or who is sometimes annoying may not give you a ‘ping’,  while another who seems great ‘on paper’ has a characteristic that sets the internal bell off in your head. Always pay attention!

• Although some people are too damaged to ever be safe, it doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone who gives you the ‘icks’ is bad – just wrong for you. Stay awake & maybe use the Qs in the postWhat just Happened?”. When you’ve figured out what’s bothering you, you may or may not want to talk with the person about it, depending on their receptivity & your level of comfort. Then you can decide if you want to keep your distance, or leave.

• Consider what people in the examples may have been feeling —
From: ‘NOTICING Painful Event’ (Part 2)
— being ignored, not included: feel abandoned, S-H, hurt, lonely
— not getting a job: feel scared, frustrated, worried, S-H
— almost getting hit by cab: feel terror, then rageupset woman
From:ACoAs THINKING about painful Events’
— Marla: felt abandoned, lonely, frustrated
 (Part 1a)
— Jordi: felt abandonment, S-H, hopelessness
 (Part 1b)
— April: felt S-H, shame, worthlessness, fear
— Felicia: felt sorrow, self-blame / S-H, terror, guilt
AND Carl (Part 2b): under that rage – he feels deeply lonely, terrified, unsupported, unloved, hopeless

➼ When we deny or ignore our emotions & just waste our time obsessing about what went wrong (circle 1), via CDs (circle 2), then our actions (circle 3) will be harmful to ourselves or others.

NEXT: ‘ReACTing Negatively to Events’


2 thoughts on “ACoA EMOTIONS re. Painful Events

  1. I like that you mention about the body and the “ick” factor. But I was wondering what you do if you just are not getting much in the way of body signals? For some of us, I think, it might be hard to notice or feel in our body. Any suggestions? Thanks


  2. Thanks for your question. I’ve given suggestions in various posts – which you can skim thru & pick out. Also, learning to talk with the Little Kid in you – in dialogue, so it can respond. That’s where the bulk of our emotions live. If you are consistent and loving, the kid will let you know how it feels. It won’t be safe enuf to do that if the self-hate is still strong & if the kid still believes everything the bad parent say, so those have to diminish.


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