PREVIOUS: Victimizing Ourselves (Part 1)
ARTICLE re. Emotions
SEE ACRONYM Page for abbrev.
HURTING OURSELVES – Emotionally (cont.)
Lack of Self-Care
• ACoAs were originally subjected to many different kinds of PMES care – some parents were too rigid, some too lax. In some families too much was expected of us – expected to fend for ourselves &/or take care of others – way too early. Some parents did way too little daily care & maintenance for us, so we had to figure everything out for ourselves, so we never learned how to do things easily, correctly, efficiently – or at all. In some cases a hero/martyr parent may have done too much, without teaching us how to do things for ourselves – making us naive, ignorant or stupid – & dependent on others. (See previous posts)
• SO, now we don’t know how to do basic self-care things (balance a checkbook, make a resume, fill out forms…), or we do them sometimes but are inconsistent, or simply refuse to do what we really do know how (brush teeth, go to the bathroom before we’re bursting, get enough sleep, eat right… ). ACoAs often will keep putting off getting certain things done for ourselves that we would actually like (a clean house, mended clothes, a better education, shed weight…), even tho it makes us feel bad about ourselves. We can’t win for losing!
E.A.: Shame, S-H, frustration, guilt, disgust
It may seem strange to hear at first, but shutting off our emotions or trying to sit on them is definitely a form of E.A.! Unfortunately for the deluded part of us (both the PP & the WIC) we can’t change or control our emotions by repressing, ignoring or denying them – basically trying to stop from actually feeling them! The more we try to control our Es, the stronger the unconscious counter-reaction, making us more & more frightened of ‘loosing control’. This leads to a vicious cycle of have intense Es, then pushing them down (repression), then having a negative external reaction, then shutting down again….. adding more & more stress to our emotional pressure-cooker
EXP: Some of us can go along day after day functioning normally on the outside, seemingly even-tempered & pleasant. Then all of a sudden we over-react to something relatively trivial or harmless – seemingly out of nowhere. We can’t figure out what
happened & everyone around us is shocked.
It’s one sign that we’re been denying our Es, so they’ve piled up, since emotions don’t go away by being swept under the mental rug. Eventually suppressed Es fill our energetic capacity to the brim (emotions = energy to act) & we explode in rage, in a panic attack &/or physical illness OR implode into depression, mental confusion & immobility (T.E.A.)
• Unfortunately for our Inner Life our society was founded on Puritan stoicism, which included hiding emotions, while being ashamed & afraid of them. This has been translated into political correctness – especially about showing Es in public, which are judged as ‘loosing it’ & a great sign of personal weakness. People feel uncomfortable with anyone who expresses pain overtly! Yet we are all born with Emotions, for good reasons, & need to accept & deal with them – appropriately
E.A.: In the process of not wanting to feel – mostly the Old Pain – we also shut off the pleasurable Emotions – joy, love, amusement, sympathy….
Letting others use us
Whether we’re new to Recovery, & have self-hate, or have been working on ourselves a long time (& still have low self-esteem), family patterns show up from time to time, anywhere in our life, but especially in intimate relationships. It happens even when our self-confidence has improved in other areas.
One of these patterns is the sneaky ways we get sucked in to being used by others – whether it’s deliberate or not on their part is not the point. Before we know it we’re in deep & may spend years in disadvantaged positions where we give our power away – anything to not face our FoA! We let people take advantage of us – even offer to be used – with our body, our time, money, talents…. & feel ‘happy’ that someone wants to be with us!
Because our parents were incompetent in so many ways, we were forced to or felt obligated to take care of them (running the household, not having needs, acting as their therapist…). They took advantage of our love, generosity – and desperation – so they wouldn’t have to grow up & be responsible for themselves – never mind for us!
• We pick people to be with (or let them pick us) who are as immature & dysfunctional as our parents, & then proceed to fill the role we know – caretaker/parent
• We project our parent’s immaturity & craziness onto everyone we deal with, assuming everyone ‘neeeeds’ us the way our family did, even people who are obviously functioning well – because we don’t know how to relate to someone who doesn’t actually need us in a dysfunctional way
• We clearly got the message at home that our needs don’t count – only those of others. So we can do miraculous things for others – we get to use our intelligence, ingenuity & drive – as long as it’s not for ourselves!
E.A.: Disappointed, frustrated, exhausted, betrayed, enraged, S-H
This is both being in Denial – not being willing to ‘go inside’ to
dig out the mental & emotional garbage we accumulated from childhood on, AND deliberately choosing Suppression – to ignore unpleasant truths about ourselves we know but don’t want to face or correct.
While it may seem to be safer that way, it’s a sure way to slowly starve our heart, mind & soul – a way to never find out who & what our True Self is. Ignorance is NOT bliss!
E.A.: Powerlessness, to change things that don’t work for us – and the frustration of not being able to get un-stuck (leading to more S-H)
NEXT: Victimizing Others