Now we’re together forever – I think
PREVIOUS: Initiating, Experimenting
♥ ACTS OF AFFILIATION ♥, indicated by types of Communication
2. EXPERIMENTING (cont)
IMPORTANT – Going slowly will allow us to:
• see how much like our family they are or are not (we have to know ourselves well & pay attention to our interactions with the other person)
• find out if the other person is genuinely compatible with our Real Self
• what their character defects are, & how it will impact us over time
• how well or badly they handle our damage/ defects
• if their positives outweigh the negatives (which everyone has) so that being with them makes our life better
• observe if they can truly see us for who we are, value, admire & respect us – realistically, not just for what we can give them
• how capable & willing are they to take responsibility for their own life, so we don’t have to rescue or clean up after them
✶ if they have a spiritual life, is it internalized? does it show in the way they live?) or is it just another band-aid or diversion from unresolved deeper issues
NOTE: When someone has too many negatives – no matter how much you like or love them – they’re unsafe to be with! Take stock & be honest with yourself. Get a trusted 2nd & 3rd opinion! If we ACoAs were willing or able to take these stages a little at a time & ‘stay awake’, which can take more time than we’d like, we would save ourselves a lot of heartache!
3. INTENSIFYING (Exploratory)
a. Normal: ‘Partners’ start opening up, sharing deeper personal info, taking more risks. Much more emotionally intense &/or passionate stage, using intimate language “I love you” <> “Me too” ✥ “I think you’re the best” <> “ I’m glad we found each other” ✥ “It’s great to be with someone with the same tastes” <> “Yeah, we have a lot in common. Makes me feel at home”
• Begin to use ‘we’, develop favorite palaces, nicknames, share / swap possessions, understand non-verbal cues, give gifts, idealize each other, even finding their flaws endearing. Many people are so excited with each other at this stage, they can spend hours talking – time passes quickly. There’s a feeling of exhilaration, & depending on the type of relationship, a strong sexual pull
• This is the pivotal stage. Depending on whether or not both feel a chemistry (comfort, mutual value & excitement), and if the revealed info, attitudes & activities are sufficiently shared – people either continue to #4 & #5, or fall apart. The connection at this point may be intense but short-lived, which is a shock to some who mistakenly assumed it would last because of the surface similarities & the emotional / sexual intensity.
➼ In some cases, there’s an intermediate stage called “Revising Communications” when the euphoria wears off & the partners are able to review the strengths & weaknesses of the relationship from a more rational place, to see if they want to go on to the next phase. If they do, they begin working thru any problems or obstacles to further intimacy
b. ACoAs: we usually rush into this stage soon after meeting! Spoken or not, the communications is something like: “Hi, my name is Sara, let’s be together forever!” <> “”OK, I’ll keep my eyes closed, as long as you make me feel good!”
✶✶✶ WARNING: ACoAs often misinterpret the ‘euphoria’ of this stage to mean there’s real intimacy happening! Spending every day for a week deeply immersed with a new friend or lover can end abruptly when they disappear on us! What ever their reason – they got scared, they feel suffocated… we feel conned, betrayed, angry… & are left with an acute sense of longing!
• REALITY: We went too deep too soon, & now we’re alone – again!
• TYPICAL ACoA reaction: beside feeling rage, we obsessively ruminate on what we did wrong (S-H) without knowing what the real issues are! We either withdraw into a depressed ball or use all our energy to chase after them. We want the pain to stop & get back the HIGH.
• REALITY: WE got it wrong. Yes, the other person is also responsible for their part, but we can only deal with ourselves. This was supposed to be stage 3, NOT instant love! It was not intimacy.
• HINT: if a ‘relationship’ develops too close, too fast – it’s likely NOT going to be healthy or real, but coming from the WIC! ACoAs are addicted to fantasy, as powerful as any chemical narcotic. We have to learn to go slowly or we’ll keep getting abandoned.
NEXT: Part 3 – Integrating, Bonding