I WORK SO HARD TO BE GOOD
why isn’t my life any better?
PREVIOUS: Over-controlling Ourselves -#4
SITE: The Truth about Power
CONSEQUENCES of OVER-CONTROL (cont)
Isolation – Without boundaries our WIC uses isolation to protect itself. Being O-C can cut us off Being O-C cuts us off:
— from various emotions (anger, sorrow, sexuality, competitiveness… )
— from many of our good qualities or potential talents (artistic abilities, generosity, patience….) AND
— prevents others from benefiting from these valuable parts of ourselves,
• we’re afraid of getting stepped on, manipulated, used, boundary invaded, left…. is we are open & available
• we’re afraid of getting sucked into taking care of others or not being able to get away from someone we don’t like because of our co-dependence or passivity, so we’d rather not engage at all
• we don’t want anyone to find out how weak, damaged, vulnerable, dumb, needy … we really are (everything S-H tells us) — AND
• we’re sure we’re doing the world a service by withdrawing, to protect them from our rage! We may not admit to that feeling, but isolation is a sure sign that we’re worried about it at some deep level & are trying to keep the lid on.
Over-Dependence – Cutting off (control) important parts of ourselves – our intuition, observations, intelligence, psychological growth… – keeps us in emotional child-mode even tho we’re physically adults. This leaves us with a desperate need for others to take care of us as replacement parents, giving them the right & the power to run our lives. Arranging this ‘deal’ with someone is not that difficult since there are plenty of other damaged people in the world to choose from who are control freaks
• To establish an unhealthy bond with a caretaker type –
a) WE need to be willing to give up most or all of our autonomy, which may be our usual style (Victim, Lost Child), or we may only abandon ourselves in romantic relationships. Too easily we end up doing mostly what they want & thinking their way. We need them to tell us who we are & that we’re OK. What we’re really asking for is permission to be alive!
b) ‘THEY’ can be a taker/user or rescuer, but some degree of narcissist – or else they wouldn’t want to take on the parental or bully role towards us. Takers & rescuers both like to boss people around, they just do it differently – the taker does it with anger & obvious superiority, while the rescuer does it under the guise of helping & caring, or guilt & martyrdom (“See how much I do for you!”).
Perfectionism – Just as illusion is about others, P. is about ourselves. We O-C to compensate for never feeling good enough to be loved unconditionally. We figured that we should always be perfect, in every way, otherwise we deserve to be dead – or definitely unacceptable.
If we are flaw-less, know everything & never make a mistake – we’ll never have to re-experience the pain of rejection – everyone would always accept & love us, starting with our parents. This is the WIC’s delusional tactic geared at getting approval from our rejecting, controlling family.
• It’s actually a form of S-H & a sneaky version of EOC which forces us to deny our soft side, our human limitations, needs & vulnerability. Since no one can be perfect, we waste our efforts & prevent feeling valued & wanted (even when we are!), but we foolishly keep trying – which adds to our desperation & depression
• This compulsion keeps us from trusting, taking appropriate risks, challenging & empowering ourselves to grow, OR from helping others to develop themselves when we’re in positions of authority, like a parent, boss, group leader….
• Spirituality: Our difficulty in letting go of over-controlling ourselves makes it hard for many addicts & other types of ACoAs to benefit from the spiritual connection provided by the 12 steps of AA, especially:
Step #1: “We admitted we were powerless over (alcohol / our family / our damage / our resistance / our fears…) — that our lives had become unmanageable”, and
Step #3: “Made a decision to turn our will & our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him”.
• According to our WIC, to actively accept & use either one of these Steps feels like surrendering – again – to an abusive authority, like the ones we grew up with. John Bradshaw reminds us that: “Until the age of 7 children deify their parents, & after age 7 they parentalize their Deity’. With that in mind a saying was created in ACoAs meetings: “God is NOT an alcoholic parent”.
Instead, we can gradually learn that the God-of-our-understanding is a loving Higher Power/ Universal Energy that we can rely on, available for healing & strength. Trust comes from actual experience & doesn’t come easily for ACoAs. When we ‘let go’ of having to control our inner world & start finding the lost parts by listening to our healthy intuition, hard-won knowledge & experience, we can comfortably participate in the world on our own terms.
• We need to find & connect to healthy people, growing our own Loving Parent & get into the healing flow of the universe, making it possible to experience being truly taken care of at a deeper level. Then it becomes safer for us to let go of O-C (AA calls it our destructive ‘self-will run riot’) which we can only do when our inner threat-level goes down thru emotional growth & mental clarity!
• It also allows us to tell the difference rather quickly between who is safe & who isn’t. There’s a big difference between being cynical or paranoid and being realistically cautious. People always tell us about themselves from the very beginning – not everything – but enough for us to take it slow & evaluate wisely!
NEXT: Healthy Control