WE SEE THINGS VERY DIFFERENTLY.
Can we understand each other better?
PREVIOUS: Relationship Form A. (#2)
See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
‘KtFoY’ = “Keep the focus on yourself!” (Read posts)
• We hear from many sources that to be mentally & emotionally mature, we need to take responsibility* for our own TEAs (thoughts, emotions, actions). Yet ACoAs were taught by our family & religion NOT to think about our own needs, tastes, ideas, values… only other people’s, ie. theirs – which means we’re not allowed to KtFoY.
— selfish, because it takes attention away from them
— arrogant, because we feel so worthless that we have no rights
— disobedient, because we’re not allowed to think for ourselves – only what they tell us to think. We’re all familiar with the PP’s poisonous voice whispering: “Who do you think you are?”
And no matter how intelligent or accomplished, without training, many ACoAs actually don’t know what KtFoY means or how to do it.
REMINDER: *Taking Responsibility is different from Self-Hate, which tells us everything bad / painful that happens to us and others – is our fault. Responsibility is not about fault, but rather ownership. It acknowledges what we have or have not thought, felt or done (T.E.A.) – period. S-H adds to that :”Yes I’ve done/ not done —- and therefore I am bad!” This is not KtFoY.
• Taking responsibility without S-H allows us to determine who did what – if anything – & if there is anything we can learn or correct for next time – without shame or recrimination.
• Some ACoAs will use KtFoY to justify being selfish, thoughtless & inconsiderate – from their narcissism. Like, promising to do something important for another person, & then flaking. When confronted, they may say “Oh, I just needed to take care of myself” – without considering the consequences to anyone else.
• Other ACoAs think they’re being righteous when they use their version of KtFoY – but only to point a finger. Like: “I feel that you…. should be more… are being stupid for staying with… don’t know what you’re talking about… ought to do…”
• Identify the thoughts & emotions YOU are having about a situation, leaving out as much reference to the other person as possible. That may take some soul-searching, but a good way to find our what’s going on inside is to ask the Inner Child or the PP. Either one is having some old emotional reaction which is the direct result of our thoughts. “If it’s hysterical it’s historical”.
• Then, if appropriate, state what you’re thinking & feeling. Of course you’re reaction is in response to something or someone else, but it’s YOUR response, regardless of that they do or say. Like:
— Re. Es: ‘When you talk like that it hurts my heart!’ or ‘It’s very painful for me to watch you harm yourself’ or ‘I get so angry when you disappoint me, over & over!’
— Re. Ts: “I simply don’t agree with your assessment of the situation” or “I don’t understand why you keep …” or “I know I didn’t do that, even if you don’t believe me”….
➼ Notice that these are all “I” statements. It’s the best way to communicate, because it eliminates blaming or trying to control. AND it greatly cuts down on defensive, angry & resentful responses from others.
SO, back to this form – regarding something another person has done over & over that bothers you a lot. Notice:
— Form A. was about a future event that worries / angers you
— Form B. is about recent but ongoing past actions, you wish would stop
WHEN YOU ___________________________________________
I FEEL _______________________________________________
& BELIEVE THAT I AM ____________________________________
These are my thoughts & feelings, which are not your fault and which
you’re not responsible for.
HOWEVER, I’D APPRECIATE IT IF YOU WOULD ____________________________________________________
WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO TRY THAT? _______________________
WHEN YOU (As) – I appreciate you washing the dishes, but you keep on putting the sharp kitchen knives ‘face up’ in the silverware drain
I FEEL (Es) – deeply hurt & then angry, because I often hurt my hand reaching for a fork or spoon
& BELIEVE THAT (Ts) – my welfare isn’t important to you
These are my …
HOWEVER, I’D APPRECIATE IT IF YOU (As) – would remember to always turn the knives ‘points down’!
WOULD YOU BE WILLING…..?
In general, this kind of communication “WHEN YOU…..” can be applied to your children, spouses, employees, maybe even a boss.
• Start by validating that this situation is real. Even if it’s trivial, you are having a reaction, so honor that first.
• Identify if it really is effecting you, OR it’s just something you personally can’t stand. EXP: Someone leaving dishes in the sink unwashed – may be annoying but doesn’t actually do you any harm, whereas someone verbally dismissing or attacking you does!
• Evaluate how severe it is (1-10) in relation to your specific needs, in relation to the bigger picture & to what is ‘normal’, real, healthy….
• Decide what you can do to help yourself if the other person can’t or won’t hear you & make a change. No matter what the issue, in many cases you will have to repeat the request over & over, which will try your patience.
• Depending on how serious the situation is, you have the right to how you feel about it. Work on the button this pushes from the past, do some writing, some pounding on the bed when you’re alone, talk about it in Meetings & therapy. Help your WIC deal with the feelings & correct any false beliefs you may have.
Once you’ve figured out why this situation is bothering YOU (if it’s hysterical it’s historical) then you might want to ask why they are / are not saying or doing this thing. Most of the time they don’t know OR won’t tell you, but any info you get will help you cope, especially if it doesn’t go away. We usually can bear an irritant better if we know the cause – especially since most of the time it has nothing to do with us!
• If nothing changes, at some point you’re going to have to step back & “zip the lip”! Constant complaining is irritating and ensures that the recipient will become resentful &/or close their ears to you – guaranteeing a stalemate.
NEXT: FORM B. (Part 2)