THE BAD THEY SAID ABOUT ME
– was NOT at all true!
PREVIOUS: Fam. Inventory – Purpose (#2)
See ACRONYM Page for abbrev.
Doing inventories (charts in near-future posts) helps to become familiar with the patterns of thought & action burned into us as kids, so we can begin to see how & why we think & act as we do in the present. Until this is clear we stay confused & full of self-hate, always asking “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I get anything right?”
We are damaged, not defective, so we can heal
Our early experiences do not have to condemn us to a permanent state of ‘disease’. Under all the defensive layers every person has their own fundamental personality, housed in the Natural Child, who in ACoAs has mostly been ignored. Accurate inventories take into account that we’re the product of combined forces:
Nature: who we are natively, with a specific set of characteristics – BUT which were mostly suppressed, altho never destroyed
Nurture: how we were raised – the specific culture, language, religion & parenting style of our home & community
• At birth we bring with us the genetic makeup of all the previous generations. This includes mental & physical health (ADD, a strong immune system, depression, longevity….), brain & intelligence type, our tastes & interests, talents, emotional temperament, cultural characteristics & general tendencies. Because inherited components are multi-generational, even if our parents didn’t drink or use drugs but other relatives or grand & great-grandparents did, we will be subject to a variety of potential problems.
— It’s common for children from alcoholic families to have severe health problems, from our lineage, from improper physical care, from mental & emotional stress. There can be dental deficiencies, auto-immune sensitivity & deficits, predisposition for chemical dependency, asthma, anxiety & depression, overweight…. malformed or misaligned parts (cleft palate, club foot, scoliosis)…. These health problems as well as direct forms of abuse (beatings) and neglect (ignoring illness or injuries…) led to loneliness, isolation & sometimes hospitalizations.
++ We also inherited strengths which often showed up very early in our life – artistic or athletic abilities, a joyful nature, determination, intuitive insights, a desire to help, love of animals, of reading, of talking, of learning…. For some of us these natural desires never went away but we devalued them, while others of us had to deny or suppress them in order to survive. Inventories can help up claim or reclaim those wonderful parts that were invalidated, made fun of or ignored.
• WE use the term ‘Nurture’ loosely! However, in general usage, studies have shown that the brain develops its patterns from the combination of all childhood experiences. Isn’t this obvious? The main purpose, in terms of survival, is so that as adults we wouldn’t have to think about how to do every-day tasks or how to respond to emergencies. If the programming is healthy, it frees people to function smoothly in society, be creative & help others. They simply respond to their environment from equal parts instinct & training. (‘CDs: Info & the Brain’)
• The irony & terrible unfairness is that the very mechanism humans have been given to make life easier has been severely contaminated for ACoAs. Therefore, our responses are mostly from our training, with not enough input from our natural instincts & inborn intelligence. Our family, & sometimes whole communities, dumped all their mental / emotional garbage into us, leaving us with the harrowing task of sorting out & cleaning up their mess – for the rest of our lives. No child should have to carry the wounds which our elders refused to deal with – yet that is what we have to face & then fix!
• This lack of support generated ‘nuclear piles’ of fear, rage & ultimately hopelessness – which we had to deny, took out on ourselves, & sometimes on others as well. It has made us feel unsafe internally and with everyone else, even people who are basically ok.
Given the programming, it makes sense that now, when we are under stress, we automatically revert to those learned beliefs & feelings, sometimes even after years of therapy & Program. Yet in spite of all out ‘information’ about how neglected & abused we were by family & other adults, most ACoAs are stubbornly convinced that we ‘choose’ to be bad, sick, angry, crazy & out of control…..
• And why not? Besides our own narcissism (“Everything’s about me”), we have heard these distortions & lies often enough from our family, religious leaders, healers & all sorts of popular authors. When we can’t get our life going or function like ‘other people’, we believe we’re lazy, incompetent, will never amount to much & will always fail! However, as we develop the UNIT, we can put any regression into perspective, knowing that “If it’s hysterical, it’s historical” & therefore we don’t have to fall into that deep pit of self-hate & despair we’re all so familiar with.
• As adults it may be that some ACoAs start out with harder, rockier psychological soil than others (intense resistance to admitting being wounded) – which makes it tough but not impossible for Recovery to take root. But aside from those who have severe physical / mental disabilities, NO under-functioning ACoA is lazy or stupid, just TERRIFIED. And this is true only so as long as the WIC is allowed to stay in charge of our thinking – in place of developing the healthy Adult & Parent – which adds to our emotional distress.
• Historical causes which created our debilitating fear come from:
— isolated, neglected & abused
— not being nurtured, taken care of & validated
— not provided with healthy role models to copy
— being given incorrect & insufficient information about how to function well in the world
PICTURE: “This child was left unattended for a whole day at a Chinese state orphanage. The makeshift play chair was more like a prison.” ~ Paul Myhill
In any case, to Recover we have to stay on the path, no matter how long painful & frustrating. LOVE HEALS!
NEXT: Inventories – In the Beginning (Part 2)