I DO THE BEST I CAN –
why does love always hurt me?
PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Bs (Part 1)
2. ACoAs (cont)
c. Some Consequences
i. FAILURE: No matter how badly we were treated or how angry we were about it, like all children – we were/are deeply attached to our parents & did not want to injure them. The told us their unhappiness was our fault (‘Parents Blaming Us‘) – so we turned ourselves inside out in a desperate attempt to protect them – but it never worked. We were a ‘failure’ at fixing their pain, because what they objected to (in us) was:
— normal behavior for a child, with our many developmental needs & limitations
— a reaction to us from their unhealed damage (buttons) which never had anything to do with us
EXP: One young mother would snap at her 8-year-old whenever Katie came home from school excited by a newly learned piece of info: “Mom, mom, did you know that ________?” to which the wounded ACoA parent would say with great annoyance: “Of course I know that!” instead of being proud of her daughter. What she ‘heard’ was that her intelligence was being questioned, which came from being constantly put down by her mother!
ii. RISK: We developed a fear of taking any kind of risk, because it wasn’t safe to be ourselves in our family, where it should have been. How could we expect it to be safe anywhere else, with strangers? This is unconsciously expressed as a fear of ‘leaving home‘ (S & I), so even if we physically move far away, we are internally loyal to the very system that has crippled up by staying attached to the toxic rules! We isolate or stay & stay in harmful places, with unavailable or abusive people, don’t follow our dreams, or if we try – stop short of reaching our goals….
iii. INTENSE: Given the message that we were too much for them, our child’s grandiosity made us conclude that we were ‘negatively powerful’ – that if we were so detrimental to our family, we would naturally hurt everyone else in the world too – making us afraid to let anyone get too close to us as adults
✶ALSO, it left many of us with the deep-seated belief that it would be better if we were dead – it would spare our family the suffering we seemed to be causing but couldn’t change!
d. No Boundaries – No Choices
Un-recovered ACoAs, even those of us who see ourselves as strong, smart, adventurous…. act like victims when we don’t have the right to choose who we connect with & who we leave behind!
Without Bs we fall into the co-dependent trap, because:
• we’re so afraid of having to face our abandonment pain, AND our S-H says no one can possibly love us — what a double bind! So when someone ‘wants’ us – our WIC is so relieved – that we accept them, even tho they’re totally self-centered & are just using us as their narcissistic supply. Often some deep part of us knows they are unsuitable, it won’t work out & we may not even really like them!
• we convince ourselves to stay because they have some characteristics we find appealing, even similar to ourselves – even tho it’s not nearly enough to offset the enormity of their dysfunction (addictions, depression, self-hate, immaturity, narcissism, controlling, cruelty…)
• we’re afraid to reject anyone, worry about hurting their feelings, identify with their pain… instead of honoring ourselves (we identify too much with their WIC, while ignoring our own!)
• we focus on fulfilling their needs, wants and demands, so they won’t get upset & shut us out – while most of ours go unfulfilled…..
Some Consequences of weak or missing Boundaries
To US — get used by them
— overwhelmed by their damage
— get burned out & exhausted
— eventually get enraged & attack
— bitter & disappointed with ‘love’
— get bored with us or never let go
— criticize us for not being perfect
— take as much as they can
— unaware of our needs & hurt
— blame us for their weaknesses
NEXT: Part 3 – The Symbiotic Conflict