WHAT DO YOU MEAN –
everything’s not about ME?
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REMINDER: ACRONYM Page for abbrev.
Fundamentally, most people are being run by a combination of their bad parent & the WIC. This of course applies to all unhealed ACoAs & addicts, whether in Recovery or not, before doing deep FoO work. How these 2 ego states are expressed is determined by the specific environment (family & culture) each of us grew up in, in combination with our inborn nature.
Much of this blog is about the ways ACoAs express this immaturity.
● For some of us this lack of psychological & emotional under-development is noticeable to onlookers. Not having much to show for ourselves, we live in deprivation of various kinds (work, living space, grooming, education, health…), like 12 yr old orphans on the street!
• But even for those of us who are highly accomplished, not having healthy Self-esteem & an integrated True Self means being emotionally immature. This truth is hard for such people to acknowledge – after all, who’d want to admit they’re still ‘functioning’ from a childish place?
• And age is not the main criterion for being mature or not. Many people live their whole lives as emotional babies, which is not always obvious on the surface. Of course, children ARE naturally immature, but we ACoAs, as kids, were expected to be little grownups so they wouldn’t have to be loving & responsible parents. Most of our role models were wounded kids themselves, so we never had a chance to learn genuine maturity from our family, as we progressed thru the normal developmental stages. SOME of our immaturity CHARACTERISTICS:
1. STUCK in DAMAGE
• staying loyal to their Toxic Family System by ‘feeding’ our S-H, obeying Toxic Rules, acting from the Toxic Roles, using people / places / things as addictions
• trapped in our ‘story’ – still using unproductive patterns of thinking and behaving developed in childhood (repetition compulsion)
• our sense of identity coming from the WIC (False Self)
• tend to act out the anxiety in our family or relationship, generating blame, guilt & physical symptoms (body pain, immune system illness…)
PS: This does not include the years it takes to outgrow our damage – as long as we’re in the process & progressing, no matter how slowly
The most basic trait of an emotional immature person. Never equate arrogance with self-esteem. All expressions of S-H are forms of self-centeredness. Signs of immaturity:
• being preoccupied with our own ideas and feelings, even when hidden by rescuing, hi-achieving, people-pleasing… can result in social anxiety, from thinking everyone is going to judge, criticize & dislike us
• take everything personally, interpret discussions about issues through a filter that makes everything about us, trouble separating issues & situations from our ego or personal reactions to the topic
• being overly sensitive, but mainly for things done to us – real or projected, rather than caring about the effect we have on others because of the things we do (but not as co-dependence)
• actions indicate little regard for the needs & point of view of others (really), but we also have only slight regard for ourselves (hidden S-H)
• talk more than listen, steering all conversations back to us. Don’t take the time to be understanding, compassionate and empathetic,
ALTERNATED with being lost in thought or consumed with our own views, worries, and the outcome of our troubles (obsessions)
3. OVERLY DEPENDENT
Some symptoms are: Fear of abandonment (FoA), co-dependence & people-pleasing, (perhaps also extreme conservatism)
● acting as the Victim: always complaining or whining about something, or apathetic & numbed out. Focused on self-pity, waiting to be taken care of
● insecure, defensive, make snap judgments – covered up either by being totally self-effacing or puffing ourselves up all the time
● chronically expect some other person, place or thing to make life worth while (which becomes a burden to others), needing someone around all the time
● prone to intense attachments or enmeshments (symbiosis), continually dependent on someone else, when a reasonable amount of self-reliance should be present as an adult. This does not apply to temporary dependency caused by present-day trauma or major illness
● indecisive – not able to make simple choices or decisions and keep to them, from being too easily influenced, bullied or manipulated by others
● get angry when a significant other (as parent-substitute) expresses their own needs & wants, when different from our own
● need to please everyone, in exchange for safety & gratification doing ‘nice’ things for their own advantage, so are rarely emotionally honest
● invest ourselves in any belief system or person who reinforces our own opinions (actually those of the WIC & PP), OR who promises rescue, salvation, status, or privilege
NEXT: Immaturity (Part 2a)