I DEMAND MAGIC!
After all, reality bites, doesn’t it?
PREVIOUS: THEIR Attitudes – #5
See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
POINT 1: On the one hand – ACoAs concluded that we can’t be anything, can’t have anything, can’t get anywhere! As a result of years of suffering, a deep part of us gave up early in life: “What’s the use, I should be dead anyway”.
➼ A reminder about Abuse & Abandonment (A/A)
• Coming from THEM: A/A may or may not have been deliberate but was very real (not our imagination), & the effects last a lifetime. We didn’t get nurtured, had to raise ourselves, look after younger siblings & be there for our parents! AND got all sorts of abused – things that no child should ever have to endure!
• For US to deal with: A/A happened on all 4 PMES levels – Physical, Emotional, Mental, Spiritual – NOT just about someone going away, so we have to work on healing aspects of each one, from going to the bathroom to our relationship with a H.P.
POINT 2: On the other hand – ACoAs want everything done for us.
Because we experienced so much hurt & loss as kids – we want it to be made up to us, one way or another. To compensate we hang on to the magical thinking of a child, having these ‘great expectations’ of life & people, which are not just wishful thinking but a raging need – which include… the absolute conviction / expectation / assumption – about how of a date, event, relationship, meeting… should turn out – or we’ll die!
• On the surface we say: “I don’t know how, I’m not allowed, it’s too hard …” but the real, real truth – not matter how deeply we bury it – is that we don’t want to take care of ourselves. If our family didn’t do it for us, then we’re not going to do it for ourselves now! So there! We’ve suffered enough so we’re understandably resentful & petulant. We want ours! This is equally true for the Hero as for the Lost Child.
➼ What ACoAs SHOULD NOT expect from ourselves, other people, & life in general:
A. TOWARD OURSELVES
While having wildly unrealistic expectations (U.E.) of others, we can start by seeing how off our own are:
• being the victim – that because we were abused as children, we don’t have to be responsible for ourselves or forge a life of our own
• our narcissism – that we have the power to always make things go our way, AND that who others are or what they want doesn’t really count – if it gets in the way of our needs!
Most ACoAs, especially Rescuers, would never admit this, at least not out loud.
• “fairness” – the assumption that if we make enough of an effort (be good), we’ll definitely & automatically get a payoff! So when we have to wait for something – we’re confused. After all we did our part. And if the waiting is too long, we despair, assuming it means it will never happen.
1. Staying Attached : WE WANT to stay connected to even the most abusive family members & believe it’s our fault when that never seems to work out in our favor
• many ACoAs still have the illusion that if only we are perfect, ‘good’, successful, smart, care-taking of them…. enough – our addicted, self-centered, self-hating, severely damaged parents or substitutes (spouse, boss, adult-child….) will finally accept & love us just the way we are, & so we never have to let go & grow up
• even the smartest of us may harbor a secret hope that one day our parents &/or siblings will ‘get well / see the light…’ for themselves. We want them to get better, because we know they’re suffering BUT we also want it so we can stay connected to them
• some of us have a parent who does eventually enter AA, and may become less abusive in some ways – but unless they also do at least some FoO work they’re not going to be the parent we always wanted
• we’re so desperate to get their approval we refuse to see how incapable of loving us many of them really are – especially if they throw us a crumb once in a while. Walking away or pulling back from such people entails “Crumb withdrawal”!
• when they hurt us yet again, we either suck it up & use our own addictions to numb the pain OR we turn it completely on ourselves & become depressed, non-functioning & suicidal – for a while after any encounter with them.
2. Unrealistic Recovery beliefs:
a. WE WANT to be ‘better’ fast – as in NOW. Some want magic – recovery without having to do anything
b. others WANT compensation: if we just work hard enough, we will overcome all our damage – as if we were never affected by our childhood at all! When that never seems to happen or Recovery is soooo slow – we become discouraged & worse – defeated. At that point some of us give up.
• the reality is that some of our damage can heal completely, some things will be a lot less troubling & some things may never go away – we just have to learn to manage them correctly, with self-compassion!
c. we actually believe that if we get well enough:
— our character defects will vanish (I’ll never be angry again / I’ll never date that kind of person again / I’ll never feel that bad again”…..
— we’ll never again be hurt or effected by other people’s insensitivity & abuses, especially from our family – at all, ever again!
However – Health is a combination: Some unhealthy things others do will bother us less, especially if we have a lot less self-hate & much better boundaries. BUT many things we were numb to or ignorant of before – will absolutely no longer be acceptable. Bad behavior & bad energy will become so uncomfortable to be around that we will not tolerate it.
NEXT: Unrealistic Expectations – OVER (Part 2