BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING
Then why do I feel so alone?
PREVIOUS: How ACoAs B. Invade
• Unhealthy parents with rigid or weak boundaries automatically invade the PMES space of their children – they can’t help it! As a result ACoAs grow up co-dependently enmeshed, not just with a specific parent but the whole toxic family system. From that early model, we recreate our work & personal relationships in a similar way – invading & being invaded or keeping everyone at bay, believing we don’t have the ability to enforce our personal space.
• For ACoAs, developing healthy Bs is a long, arduous & imperfect journey. However, as long as we are consistently reacting to people, places & things from co-dependence (lack of Bs), we are living in the Child ego state – still not emotionally mature. For those of us well on our way to a Whole Self, whenever we too react without Bs, we have regressed to an earlier stage of childhood, but are able to return to the present more easily & without great delay.
• A sure sign of not having healthy Bs is when we habitually, compulsively consider our needs & feelings in relation to others (co-dependence). As ACoAs, we’re enmeshed with all others – not limited to people we love or even know. So when we disagree with or disapprove of something, we get confused, obsess a lot & talk ourselves out of speaking up:
✓ “I want to tell her I didn’t like what she said last week, so she will understand (get it) & not talk to me that way again…..”
✓ “I can’t tell her I don’t want to go there anymore because she will be upset”
✓ “I’d like to tell him what I think about what’s going on between us, but he won’t get it, so why bother”….
• When it comes to saying what’s on our mind – which we are often terrified of doing – the most important thing for ACoAs is to speak up on behalf of our Inner Child. It is not necessary for the other person to see us, understand, or change. With good boundaries, we do not need others to validate our thoughts, feelings or existence! And when we’re dealing with self-centered controllers, we can be sure they will NOT get it. Al-Anon teaches: “Take the action & let go of the result!”
BUT, since we’re not allowed to know what we need, we use others to:
— complete us (review ACoAs & symbiosis) AND
— set limits for us, as if we were still infants!
Their agendas & desires become our blueprint for responses & activities. If we know what they are going to be doing or what they want, we can mold ourselves to that, even tho very often it’s not something we want to be doing! Without boundaries we are at everyone else’s whim
• And since the WIC is looking for a definitive outline of what’s expected of it, in a desperate (usually unconscious) desire to stay connected, to avoid feeling abandoned, to be taken care of – we will do anything to please others, usually at our expense, so they won’t be angry or hurt & go away! Therefore, ACoAs can get very upset when ‘significant’ people:
— are unclear about that they want (from us)
— change their minds a lot, are undependable, unpredictable
— lie, are chaotic, hard to read, drugged, crazy…..
• As mentioned in “Boundaries – Defined”, our parents were either intrusive or uninvolved
a. Being watched: Some of us grew up with an intrusive parents who needed to control everything & everyone in their environment (not just their kids). They were always on our back about something, overly critical, perfectionistic & boundary-less – sticking their nose in our business when we needed respect & some privacy.
• As a result these ACoAs feel a creepy sense of having a camera over one shoulder – always judging, criticizing… assuming everyone else is also watching, watching, watching – waiting for our next mistake
EXP: Sophie is 5 & it’s the first day of kindergarten. Her mother is fussing, worried that her daughter won’t behave perfectly, which will make the family look bad, & she won’t be there in person to make sure…. She gives all sorts of instructions – how to sit, what to say, what NOT to say…. Sophie is already scared & now she’s overwhelmed, so all she can do is stare. As they’re leave the house she hears her mother say – almost to her self: “I wish I could be a little mouse in the wall !”
• Sophie’s on her own for the first time, in a big room with other kids, all sitting in their little chairs, listening to the teacher – except for Sophie who is anxiously looking around the bottom edges of the walls, actually expecting to see a little mouse watching her from its hole, maybe with her mother’s eyes!
NEXT: B. Distortions (Part 2): Being ignored, the Family Mobile