I HAVE TO BE VERY CAREFUL –
it’s so easy to act out my damage on others!
Previous: Victimizing Ourselves (Part 2)
SEE: ACRONYM Page for abbrevs.
TOWARDS OTHERS (From us)
a. Abandoning ( full explanation : “How ACoAs Abandon Others” )
• CONTROLLING : An outward manifestation of our disowned fear that has accumulated from childhood into the present
• IGNORING : Not hearing what someone is telling us about themselves, their needs, their tastes, their point of view, present availability
• REPRESSING Others’ Emotions: To the extent we are still repressing our Es, we try to suppress the Es of others
• IDEALIZING: Putting anyone on a pedestal – not being able or willing to acknowledge someone’s real personality, including their human limitations & their damage
• UNDERVALUING: At the other extreme are the ACoAs who find fault with everyone, all the time, OR when someone gets too close, emotionally
b. Dumping (being an emotional vampire)
• The compulsion to endlessly complain about our life in general, or about the same problem, over & over:
— to anyone who will listen, indiscriminately
— by using someone as a captive audience, even when they indicate they’ve had enough & that we’ve overstayed our welcome (hint, hint)
• OR, starting a ‘discussion’ about a particular gripe with someone:
— at inappropriate times, when the other person is on the way out the door to work, dealing with their own pain, before going to sleep….
— not letting it go, going on & on about it, having to be right….
AND without any sense of our own involvement / responsibility for those complaints, & therefore an inability / unwillingness to work on out-growing our issues by doing deep FoO Recovery
c. Gossiping (a form of triangulating) – when we :
• share personal info someone tells us about themselves, even if it is not obviously given in confidence
• pass on info about someone that a third person was gossiping about
• make up stories or say something unflattering or mean:
— to make ourselves look better, more important, more knowledgeable
— to harm them personally or professionally
ALSO: To take ‘credit’ for a statement or action done by someone else
d. Leaning (being needy, overly dependent)
When we demand (in a victimy way) that other people take care of us emotionally – we are using them. We are being emotionally abusive, even though we feel weak, needy & vulnerable. Consciously or not, we are expecting them to take on the role of the Good Parents we never had. This is an inappropriate burden to put on others. Some EXP:
• let others speak for us, rather than saying what we want or don’t want
• constantly apologize – for having needs, expressing our Es, asking for help…. or for just being alive
• always want people to tell us we’re acceptable / not too much
• want others to give us permission to do things that are our responsibility to decide: “Is it OK if I …? I’m sorry I‘m early. Is it OK to be here? Can I bring that to you next week? Is it OK that I called?….”
✶ ➼ instead of making declarative statements:
“I don’t have that with me now but I can email it later / bring it to you next time. I need to change our appointment / pay you on Tuesday…..”
c. Jumping (projecting our issues / pushing our opinions onto others)
✶ What does it mean to “Keep the focus on yourself”? Many people misuse this phrase. They think it gives them license to say mean, insensitive, invasive things, as long as they start with “Well, it’s just my opinion, but I …”. Expressing our Emotions does NOT mean saying or doing what ever we want, because it can too easily become a form of violence.
WRONG WAY – If we are emotionally unaware or dishonest we may make statements to others such as:
• “I think you should….” – negating who they are, what they need or what they know how to do for themselves
• “I know I said I’d help you, but I can’t do it” – this is at the last-minute, when they were counting on your promise!
• “It’s just my opinion, but your problem is….” – & then tell them what’s wrong with them, unsolicited, of course, AND not helpful or even accurate!
• “I don’t t h i n k so!” – when someone tells us an emotional truth or personal insight about themselves
AND if they object, we repeat “Well I have a right to my opinions…” This is not an opinion, it’s negating our reality in favor of their own
• “I don’t understand how you could…..” – implying that since their action / opinion /emotion is different than yours, it’s not legitimate
RIGHT WAY – Keeping the focus on oneself means that, while you can refer to what someone has said or done, you own your reaction to them :
• take responsibility for your own feelings, thoughts & actions
“I’m sorry for what I said – a button of mine got pushed & I reacted!”
• Know yourself well enough to identify what motivates you & be willing to say it, in an appropriate situation: “I wanted to do that because I wanted to be numb for a while / I fell into an old pattern / I though I could get the love I’ve always needed….”
“I stay in that bad job / marriage / friendship… because I’m too afraid of being alone / not having an identity without them / of the abandonment pain I’d have to feel….”
“That doesn’t work for me because it hurts me too much / it’s not who I am / it goes against my principles….”
• Make ‘I’ statements about yourself in an uncomfortable situation:
“Even if you 2 are OK with this, it so painful for me to hear you insult each other that I need to leave…..”
“I feel abandoned / hurt / angry / sad that you’re so rarely available to see me, but I know you’re genuinely busy & it’s not personal”
“I’m getting tickets for —– & I’d love your company. NO? Well, I’m disappointed but understand if you don’t like it, & don’t want to go”
• know what you need and ask for it, BUT don’t try to control the outcome. Al-Anon suggests:”Take the action & let go of the result”
• deal with your own anger, disappointment or hurt, without blaming or attacking the other person: “I’m really angry that you lied to me – I trusted you!”
“When you said ——, what I heard was ——-, & it really it upset me!”
“I don’t talk like that (harshly) to myself!”
NEXT: Results of abuse