I CAN CHOOSE TO DO THINGS
that are good for me & are suited
PREVIOUS: Types of Self-control (Part 1)
REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
SELF-CONTROL (S-C) can be defined as gathering one’s willpower to accomplish things that are generally regarded as desirable, including long-term goals, & is highly valued by society.
It is internal mastery over our own actions – by monitoring our thoughts, regulating our emotions, setting goals & making responsible choices. This gives us the ability to moderate competing urges, desires & activities. Self-control implies the ability to govern oneself – to make choices & decisions that benefit ourselves, & then others. To do this we need to honor who we are – our needs, tastes, abilities & experience.
• S-C is not an inborn character trait that would automatically allow us to govern our thoughts, emotions & behavior. It is a skill that has to be learned & built up – by the process of ‘stalling, distracting and resisting’ negative urges. Healthy families help their children to grow this skill as part of their over-all training. In adults – developing S-C is motivated by a conflict-free desire to stop doing harmful things to ourselves or others. Practice & perseverance are required, but it gets easier with repetition.
VALUE of Self-Control – it allows us to:
• be a responsible & trustworthy human being
• gain self-esteem, confidence, balance, inner strength, a sense of personal mastery so we can take charge of our life
• eliminate the feeling helpless & having to be too dependent on others
• have enough mental & emotional detachment to give us peace of mind
• be in charge of our moods & replace negative beliefs – helps keep in check self-destructive, addictive behaviors & obsessive thoughts
ACoAs – Healthy self-control is very difficult to achieve as long as:
• the WIC is the ego state in charge of our daily emotions, actions & reactions
• we don’t own our True Self, by following the Toxic Rules
• externally, we stay symbiotically attached to our family
• internally, we continue to obey the Negative Introject
SELF-DISCIPLINE relies on the same willpower as self-control, but uses it:
a. to prevent ourselves from doing what is seen as UNdesirable, OR
b. to delay instant gratification & pleasure, in favor of some greater gain or for more satisfying results at a later time
• Healthy self-discipline is not rigid or limiting. It provides the stamina to keep going & the ability to handle stresses, with flexibility.
VALUE of Self-Discipline – it allows us to:
a. obey legitimate rules & laws
• avoid talking or acting on impulse, overcome procrastination & sloth
• not give in to addictions & other self-destructive patterns
b. continue & finish internal or external projects, even after the initial rush of enthusiasm has faded, or when they get too boring or too hard
ACoAs are often short on healthy self-control, which would come from the “Unit”, and too long on self-discipline. At first the latter category may seem like a good thing – because it’s supposed to keep us from doing actual bad or wrong things (which it can also do) – but that’s not the main way we use it
✶ What ACoAs often do, instead, is to prevent ourselves from pursuing what we believe to be UN-desirable actions, BUT are in fact positive ones DIS-allowed by our Toxic Family Rules, such as having opinions, thinking for ourselves, standing up for our rights, leaving bad situations, following our bliss, feeling our emotions, relaxing, being happy ….
BTW – what identifies “being out of control”? Most people think it’s ‘loosing it’ by expressing some intense emotion like yelling (rage, frustration… ) or crying (pain, sadness…..). By itself this is not loss of control. There is only one cause: lack of choice!
Not being able to act is just as much a lack of control as taking actions that are compulsive (not in our conscious control). They’re both driven by deep WIC anxiety that we’re not aware of or not in charge of modifying.
EXP of out-of-control Doing – Willfully trying to befriend someone in a group who is obviously ignoring you &/or clearly angry & volatile!
EXP of out-of-control Not Doing – Staying, staying, staying, stuck in your chair – at a party where your alcoholic boyfriend is deliberately ignoring you while flirting with his ex! – you can’t bear to leave him behind with someone else instead of you.
Everyone sees what’s going on – making a fool of yourself by not leaving, but you’re paralyzed. While you can’t ignore one more indignity from him, the pain of betrayal & loss has triggered abandonment shock!
NEXT: Types of Self-Control (Part 3)