THE CLEARER I CAN THINK
the safer I FEEL!
PREVIOUS: Positive Responses – Emotions
REVIEW: Events + Emotions
3. REALISTIC THINKING Circle
✶ ACoAs need to feel safe before we can feel loved!
Is your breathing shallow? Our terror is
so deep & long-standing that we can barely breathe but don’t realize it. “Clarity (knowledge) is Power” say the coaching gurus. Mental health includes being able to think accurately & without lots of complication. This is one of the ‘secrets’ to feeling safer & more empowered. And it eliminates drama.
To accomplish that, we need to know what:
• specific Toxic Rules we live by
• cruel, scary & untrue things we say to ourselves (S-H & PP)
• Cognitive Distortions (CDs) these represent , AND THEN:
• the corrections for those CDs – ie. Realistic Thinking
RECOVERY – We do need to keep our side of the street clean in our dealings with the world. As we eliminate self-hate and shame, we can more easily take responsibility for our T.E.A.s (thoughts, emotions & actions). Having done that, everything else that happens to us or around is NOT about us! Healthy ways to think about an upsetting event:
a. NO mind-reading
Re. people we know well, we probably can guess what made them say or do something hurtful or irresponsible. With everyone else – we simply have no way of knowing. AND – even when we do know why, we may never get validated, since most people don’t know what motivates them.
Regardless, it is not respectful to get inside other people’s heads, just like we shouldn’t let anyone live, rent free, in ours! 🙂
✓ “I know how I FEEL, but I can’t assume I know why the other person did or said what they did”
Using the questionnaire from the post “What Just Happened” (or just doing a quick review) we can identify what part we may have played – without guilt, shame or self-hate. If our end is legitimately clean, we can feel comfortable.
✓ “I’m willing to double check myself – did I contribute in some way to this incident? If yes, I’m willing to work on it.”
c. Ask, Ask, Ask!
Many ACoAs were taught to never ask others about themselves NOR to ask for information or help. This could have been appropriate when we were kids – who can be bothersome to adults & tended to say embarrassing things. But mainly it’s because dysfunctional families don’t know how to communicate properly & don’t teach us healthy boundaries. Asking eliminates mind-reading.
✓ “I have a right to ask what he / she meant by what was said, or why they did xyz.”
• Us – when we have self-esteem we are not afraid to own our own baggage, & can do it without shame. We know we cannot be perfect & so don’t expect it of ourselves.
✓ “If I contributed to the problem, I’m willing to talk to them to make any amends or correct any misunderstanding necessary”
• Them – we learn in Recovery to not accept or excuse bad behavior from anyone! It is up to us to set our boundaries and be clear about how we want to be treated. Self-respect allows us to walk with dignity and others can sense it right away. We are not better than others, but equal as human beings.
✓ “If the other person has crossed my boundaries, said something mean or done something disrespectful/ inappropriate… I’m willing to stand up for myself by letting them know their behavior is unacceptable – and how I want to be treated in the future”
e. Acceptance is ‘acknowledging what is’ – no more , no less.
Trying to convince someone with a closed mind of our point of view is humiliating – we just make fools of ourselves. 12-Step Programs teach us to “Let go with love”. If we can’t do it that way, then let go with – anger, indifference, frustration – but let go! It means NOT continuing to want, expect & demand the impossible of others.
✓ “If I have done all I can, or want to, to deal with this situation, then I’m willing to stop thinking about it. It’s done.”
f. Letting Go
Healthy Thinking eliminates drama, endless obsessions & convoluted plans. We accept that there are people & situations we have little or no control over, especially like trying to get our needs met from anyone who is emotionally unhealed.
✓ “If I know the person well enough to know that no amount of explanation or discussion about their behavior will ever get thru to them, I’m willing to not even try!”
NEXT: Positive Responses (Part 4) – Actions