“I KEEP A TIGHT REIN –
on this heart of mine”
PREVIOUS: Types of Self-Control, #3
QUOTE: “A tongue has no bones but is strong enough to break a heart. Be careful with your words.”~ Anon
HOW Self-Control is HANDLED relates to the pressure a person faces:
• Positive: Good Pressure – Being in a competitive but non-judgmental, non-prejudicial environment makes people want to be like those around them, become motivated, inspired and gain self-control.
• Negative: Bad Pressure – In a judgmental & prejudicial environment with no competition, people can get depressed, unmotivated & lose self-control.
• Neutral: No Pressure – In a free environment with no competition, where one can do whatever one wants, self-control is based on however one feels at the moment. With no one else to compare to, people will be more -or- less motivated, depending on the urgency of whatever they’re doing, or the capacity for self-motivation.
NEGATIVE techniques of
➤Emotional Power over others, OR
➤Emotional over-Control of oneself are the same:
• they’re attempts to unfairly influence inner feelings, beliefs, attitudes, values
• are inappropriate internal strategies for dealing with issues, conflicts or mistakes
• are less obvious than physical methods, because they are manipulative, sneaky, dishonest
• produce subtle results (harder to catch)
• are identified by signs of emotional suppression, depression, negativity, pessimism, low self-esteem, insecurity, discouragement
Emotional-OVER-control (EOC) is a hidden problem being studied by Professor Tom Lynch of Southampton University. In a lecture he said: “… heightened threat sensitivity and diminished reward sensitivity transact with early family experiences, emphasizing ‘mistakes as intolerable’ and ‘self-control as imperative’ which results in an emotionally over-controlled coping style that limits opportunities to learn new skills and exploit positive social reinforcers”.
➼ This is a classic description of what happened to many ACoAs in our childhood.
To restate Dr. Lynch:
a) Too much danger b) Lack of love
—> combined with
c) Having to be perfect d) Denying one’s True Self
—> leads to stagnation, depression & social ineptness!
• Author & lecturer Alfie Kohn’s article ‘Why Self-Discipline Is Overrated’ states that: “….(excessive) self-discipline can be less a sign of health than of vulnerability. It may reflect a fear of being overwhelmed by external forces or by one’s own desires that must be suppressed through continual effort. In effect, such individuals suffer from a fear of being out of control… … While (appropriate) self-discipline implies an exercise of the will, therefore a free choice, many OVER-controlled people are actually not free at all, psychologically speaking. For them, what looks like always being on top of things is more about not being able to relax, let go, allow for process or be spontaneous – be in the moment”.
• In his classic work Neurotic Styles, David Shapiro described how someone might function as “his own overseer, issuing commands, directives, reminders, warnings and admonitions concerning not only what is to be done and what is not to be done, but also what is to be wanted, felt, and even thought.”
ACoAs: Shapiro’s list is referring to an unhealthy internal influence. So WHAT the ‘overseer voice’ is telling us is what matters. If it’s harsh, unforgiving & restrictive it’s either the S-H or PP. If it’s firm but respectful & kind – then the overseer is the ‘Unit’ ego state.
ACoAs – Re.‘Neutral: No Pressure’, self-motivation is not our strong suit, as mentioned in other posts. We are driven to take care of others – instead of ourselves. When we have an open chunk of time, we often think “I don’t know what to do”, OR “I have so many things I could do / should be doing – I don’t know which one to pick”. So we end up wasting the opportunity by doing nothing or just puttering around. Then we feel frustrated & upset with ourselves (S-H).
Some Suggestions for change:
a. Non-action – If you really need to just mentally veg, process things, get over being sick or badly need to rest …. then give yourself permission!
b. Actions • Keep a list of FUN things you like doing, and how much time each one requires, from least to most favorite or shortest to longest time. Review it whenever you are going to have free time. Pick one & do it even if all the chores are not finished!
• Keep a list of TASKS you’re ‘adult’ wants to get done – when there’s an opening in your schedule. When you have the chance, pick one – whichever would relieve immediate stress on you. Is it doing the laundry, straightening the place up, answering some emails ….?
✶ If possible, do one from each category: fun + a task. Whichever action you take, cross it off the chores or put a check mark on the fun list. Consciously give yourself credit. Every positive action counts, no matter how many others are left. They add to your self-esteem & let your kid know you care.
Progress NOT Perfection!
NEXT: Toxic Family RULES