LIKE THE BIRTH OF NEW STARS
I can give birth to new thinking
PREVIOUS: CDs & the Unconscious (Part 1)
AA saying: “Alcoholics dig themselves into a rut, & then they decorate it!”
1. THINKING (cont)
Automatic but hidden : even tho information is out of our awareness, there is still continual thinking going on. When an emotionally upset ACoAs is asked: “What are you thinking or believing about this situation?”, most of the time the answer is “I’m not” or “I don’t know”, while insisting they’re ‘just’ angry or worried, or scared….
• With some encouragement & digging, the negative thinking
can be uncovered. Anytime we have strong emotional reactions they’re usually being driven by automatic thoughts, which may be in the form of: — Self-hate beating us down
— repeating insensitive or cruel things others have said to us
— projections about dire outcomes – which we believe
Automatic thinking can be helpful or harmful:
— as a + it makes it easier to respond to life’s many tasks & situations without having to stop each time to figure them out – whether driving a car or how we raise our children
— as a – it causes problems when our subconscious reasoning is flawed by CD. Since we’re not aware of what we’re ‘saying’ to ourselves, we don’t know it is creating painful emotions (anxiety, rage, unbearable loneliness, sadness….) Instead, we blame our distress on something in our environment, which is only a trigger
EXP: 2 people are called in to see the boss. One goes in calmly, curious but confident. The other becomes more & more agitated while waiting his turn. The difference is not the upcoming ‘talk’ but what each person is automatically, unconsciously thinking / believing about it
MODIFYING the Unconscious
• While there are people & situations we DO need to change – get away from – it’s always good to check our point of view first. This is not a blame or a judgement. There’s a big difference between what the WIC thinks or that the PP is telling us about ourselves & others – vs – how the Healthy Adult / Loving Parent views things.
• So in terms of CDs, if we assume our pain is ONLY caused by something outside of ourselves, we’ll waste a lot of energy trying to change the wrong things – another person, a job, a location… rather than our frame of reference & inner thought process. This endless wild-goose-chase leaves us feeling frustrated, out of control & hopeless. It reinforces our victim role & keeps us convinced we can’t take care of ourselves
• A major purpose of many psychological therapy styles is to bring up from the unconscious as much of our accumulated pain & distorted thinking as possible, so we can actively process the emotions (Es) & correct the beliefs (Ts), which then gradually changes our behavior! (As) When we consistently, deliberately think in a new way, we add 10 times the power to our conscious mind
FYI: • Counseling, Coaching & some types of Psychology focus mainly on actions, along with thinking, NOT on the past & our childhood programming – when most of our ACoA damage was formed!
• Psychiatry & psychoanalysis is deliberately structured so that there is almost NO feedback from the therapist. This has proven harmful for many ACoAs, because:
i. it’s a repeat of – no one responding to us as kids – leaving us yet again terribly alone with someone who’s supposed to be helpful!
ii. it doesn’t interfere with or correct our S-H & other distorted thinking, which we desperately need
iii. it ignores positive mirroring, which we also desperately need – a healthy voice feeding back to us not only what we’re denying but also all of our wonderful native characteristics & accomplishments
iv. it doesn’t provide appropriate caring, sensitivity & kindness, with good boundaries, all of which were in short supply for us a kids
✶ The best kind of one-to-one therapy for most ACoAs ‘family of origin’ work (FoO), based on a good understanding of family systems & addiction. It works best when including lots of well-boundaried interaction – and humor!
AWARENESS (A-1): It’s imperative that we don’t expect the changes in our thinking to be in a straight line or done perfectly (S-H), nor to be immediate (impatience of the WIC). However, positive shifts can occur with repetition & enthusiasm. We do have direct control over what we think, even when it goes contrary to our emotional state. We can choose to think a different way until it becomes habit and then it will ‘feel’ valid. Understanding this process will help to have power over it
• It pays to be purposeful. To start (A-1) what’s required is to gradually become aware of all thoughts & beliefs which cause our anxiety, depression, S-H, rage, over-reactions, pessimism, fear of abandonment….. like: “I can’t try that new job”, or “I’m sure something’s wrong with me…”, & my personal favorite: “Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I’m going to eat worms & die!”
NEXT: CDs & The Unconscious (Part 3) Making changes