POSITIVE Responses to Painful Events (Part 1)

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I don’t like the way I’m being treated

PREVIOUS: Negative Reactions (#3)

REVIEW:  Negative version of chart

1. EVENTS Circle
This new chart is the correction for the previous one, showing how we can deal with stressors in a more appropriate & productive way. The first  circle is basically the same set of observations regarding one-off or ongoing situations in our lives – as in the previous set of posts.

Acceptance: Even tho ACoAs accurately observe our environment, we often refuse to acknowledge what we see & hear, because:
i. we’ve been taught to repress what we know, so we have a built-in forgetter / rose-colored-glasses / horse blinders, to keep us from looking around to see the truth or notice other possibilities. It’s a definite way to be loyal to the family rules and stay the ‘good kid’event/emotions
ii. we don’t want to deal with the consequences of being awake – otherwise we’d have to make some hard decisions, like speak up for ourselves, have it out with someone, be less involved, or leave. This prevents us from having to feel old, or new, abandonment pain

EXP: You’ve know your BFF for a long time & have been thru a lot together. You’re in 12-step recovery, learning to face your issues & own your CDs, she isn’t.  You’ve both had lots of lousy relationships, but now she’s married a young, gold-digging philanderer & she’s hurting – but doesn’t want to face being alone again. You’re very upset for her & really angry at her denial – why can’t she admit she made a big mistake & dump him? She has her blinders on, but so do you – she has never been willing to look at herself, her choices, her damage…. why do you think she would start now?

Accurately identifying & acknowledging what we observe is an important part of Recovery & leads to having a better life, because it:
• honors our truth by respecting our cognitive abilities (the info we get from our brains & intuition)
• allows us to make self-caring decisions – choosing what’s best for US
• prevents us from staying in bad situations which add to our original abandonment, & which cause us more mental & emotional stress.  Keep repeating: I KNOW WHAT I KNOW

For our observations to be reliable, we need to (IMPERFECTLY) have:Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 9.30.18 PM
— a lot less self-hate
— a clear distance from the bad voice (PP)
— decent boundaries, so less co-dependence
— a loving relationship with the Inner Child
— a connection to some kind of spirituality

EVENTs we need to deal with can be about:
— any painful internal thought or emotion, not immediately triggered by a present event, but likely from our damaged past
— our reaction to a painful external piece of info – like 911, pictures of people suffering anywhere, news of a death… which is not directly related to us
— a distressing situation of our own – like the death of a parent, a big break-up, losing a job, being in an accident or a fire…
— a more immediate upset – like having a fight, someone being mean to us, losing something valuable, a disappointed expectation…

HEALTH means:
— being able to quickly catch that we really are effected by something
— acknowledging it withoutOR in spite of feeling –  shame, guilt, self-hate & anxiety, so we don’t have to deny or repress it
— asking for support from appropriate people when we need help understanding & coping with a painful  event
learning mental & emotional tools, which we remember to use, in order to take care of ourselves when distressed

EXP: Sam’s younger brother was in a terrible accident, has been in the ICU for some weeks Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 9.30.26 PM& doesn’t have long to live (event). Sam & all his family are devastated (Es), both by the upcoming loss but also because it reminds them of their own mortality. Some are in various states of denial (Ts) about how serious the brother’s illness is, but Sam is valiantly grappling with his shock & fear (Es). He is sharing his pain in Recovery & making shifts in some of his long-help beliefs (Ts). It is very stressful, but he’s using this ‘event’ as an opportunity for growth (As).   YOGA man: Grudging Acceptance 🙂

NEXT: Positive Responses – Emotions


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