I LET THE PP BEAT MY UP –
to keep my in line!
PREVIOUS: Emotional Over-Control (EOC), Part 2
REMINDER: Go to Acronym PAGE for abbrev.
ACoAs tend towards extremes, being either :
Under-Controlled – angry, controlling, dramatic, impulsive, over-doing, Risk-addicted.…
The Laundry List says “We became addicted to excitement”, from being exposed as kids to endless chaos, unpredictability & danger. Now we think ‘drama’ & anxiety are normal, constantly recreating it in our lives to keep the adrenalin going. It’s one reason why it takes so long even in Recovery to relax & be at peace – emotional swings are the only states that feel ‘normal’. When things are calm & sane we feel bored!
Over-controlled – complaining, depressed, fearful, invisible, isolating, passive-aggressive, sullen, victims…. reacting to the early abuse by being Risk-Averse, sometimes to the point of not functioning well at all.
• Fortunately, the addictive pull of Hi & Lo extremes fades as we heal, just as always hiding out from the world gradually becomes less satisfying than making appropriate connections.
HOW we Over-Control ourselves
a. DEFENSES – Rigidly held defense mechanisms are used to hide from emotions we’re afraid to experience, but the ‘protection’ ends up running our lives:
• Addictions – as a way to numb out the cruel PP voice & to ignore our WIC the same way our parents did, but only adds to our suffering
• Counter-Phobia – being attracted to things that are scary while not fully aware of the fear. Dangerous relationships & activities are seen as fun, in reaction to how deeply terrified we really are. We’ve stuffed all the fear into the unconscious, but it needs an outlet, so we rush towards unhealthy ‘excitement’. This can include torturing ourselves with ‘what if’ thoughts & endless obsessions of S-H & FoA
• Fear of Engulfment, which was originally caused by being over-controlled as a kid. Not having developed inner boundaries, we put up a wall against intimacy to keep everyone at a distance, while longing for connection. The wall gets activated whenever anyone wants something from us, even if it’s what we would like to do & would make us happy
• Guilt (review post ‘What is guilt?’) – an emotion that controls us to:
— ensure we obey our family’s Negative Rules
— keep from learning healthy rules & using them to improve our lives
— prevent us from developing our True Self, as that would take us away from the toxic family system
• Over-activity, controlling how much & what kinds of emotions we allow ourselves to have by staying so busy that we don’t have to feel anything ’real’, using it to cover up S-H & powerlessness
• Paralysis, stopping ourselves from saying & doing things that would be good for us, because of fear of punishment, fear of abandonment & fear of visibility….. those good things that would help us grow, stop others from hurting us, enhance our self-esteem & move us toward our dreams
• Vagueness – staying in ‘lala land’ so we don’t have to face any reality info we don’t want to deal with, starting with how badly we’ve been treated & that we now have to care for ourselves. We don’t notice how much we spend, how others treat us, how we feel, how we treat others….
b. SELF-HATE – controls us, as a defense mechanism:
• to keep ourselves in line (harsh discipline) because we’re not take charge of our thoughts & actions (healthy control) via a mature ego state
— Young man: “I’m not supposed to look at or covet other women because I’m married – but I do anyway – so if I’m strict about beating myself up for looking & for what I’m thinking, I’ll stop being bad”. It works temporarily but doesn’t last, creating a vicious cycle
• to stave off (the ASSUMED) inevitable abandonment
— Young woman: “I just met a new potential partner / boss / friend… & I’m already thinking – I know I’m going to fuck it up”. So she won’t really let anyone get too close, to protect herself from what she believes to be inevitable – that they’ll hurt her &/or leave.
• to stay symbiotically attached to the Introjects (no S & I)
— Teen: “I don’t care about keeping my room neat, even tho I would like it, because Mom is horrified that I’m not compulsively clean like her. She keeps telling me I’m a pig, repeating: ‘You could lay down next to dirt and sleep!’ – which to her is the greatest possible insult. So if I’m a pig, I might as well act like a pig!”
IRONY: As much as the teen (or Adult-Child) is rebellious or hates the family, we stubbornly hang on, because to let go means having to face the world unprepared!
NEXT: O-C Ourselves – Part 4