ALL I’M DOING IS BEING OBEDIENT
so what’s the problem?
PREVIOUS: ACoAs & RISK – #1
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IMPORTANT: To be able to risk – appropriately – we need to have :
a. A realistic ability to trust – mainly ourselves, process in general, as well as a safe Higher Power
b. The ability to make healthy choices, coming from our True Self (so we don’t have to procrastinate as a way to avoid risking anything)
We are all the products of our heredity & our early experiences. We interpret our family training thru the lens of our basic personality. But our orientation to Risk is colored by how our parents reacted to people & life events.
We see the world as always dangerous – no matter the reality – IF :
— one parent was particularly risk-averse AND we identified more with that parent
— they were depressed & not very functional
— we were constantly told not to trust ourselves AND we learned to not thrust our care-takers, with good reason! – most adults around us were too scared to go towards new & better people/places/things
— they didn’t protect us from other crazy, abusive & dangerous adults….
EXP: One ACoAs cold, abusive mother often told him that the world is a jungle, a survival of the fittest – the weak (him) are eaten by the strong (her) & no matter how big you think you are, there’s always someone bigger & badder who will get you! Naturally he grew up to be very timid.
• Also, we learned to avoid any possible choices because we:
— were punished equally for big or small infractions of ‘rules’, many of which made no sense or were unspoken! This would make us avoid taking normal actions, much less branching out to try something important (to us) or more unusual
— were constantly interrupted by someone else’s needs or crises, so we can’t focus on what we needed to do for ourselves
— were told anything we did was wrong, stupid or not good enough
Many of us react to our childhood trauma by avoiding as much confrontation & newness as possible (co-dependence / risk-aversion). We’re convinced that all forms of ‘taking a chance’ are bad & will result in guaranteed harm – since we grew up in a physically & emotionally dangerous family & community. We are trained to assume that that’s the way life is, forever – at least for US! This point of view is so ingrained we don’t even know it’s what we believe. But we live it every day.
As a result, it is common for such ACoAs to:
— not know or be afraid to acknowledge what we think, feel or want
— not be able to make simple ‘I like, I want’ decisions
— put equal weight on all types of situations, regardless of their actual significance – an expl of B & W thinking (a C.D.)
At the other extreme (we’re soooo B or W) are those ACoAs having identified with an original parent who:
— drove while drunk, or constantly raging / arguing – with us in the car
— fought with everyone they could
— never took care of their health or safety
— caused serious physical damage to themselves &/or us as a result of careless or dangerous behaviors
— stole, cheated, never kept their promises
— over-reacted to everything, never being truly calm (except when they were comatose)….
➼ AND/OR grew up in bad neighborhoods or other difficult environments, where we became addicted to the adrenal high it caused
So we took on that reckless & danger-seeking (over-risking) pattern, while underneath being just as scared as the avoiders. Neither group has learned to use risk in limited, “moderate’, healthy ways. High-riskers are more likely to ‘mess things up’ by not considering the consequences for ourselves or others. We act impulsively, often with anger, resentment, revenge, spite…. pushing away the very things we say we want. It is courting danger, to ourselves first, but often to others as well. We can lose:
— friends, lovers, family, jobs
— our dreams, good opportunities, a variety of options
— our health & our very life …..
EXPs: Dating physically abusive partners, rushing across the street just as the light turns red & the traffic is moving – fast, not eating the right foods for our system, living in unsanitary conditions, not attending to a serious health problem, having unprotected sex, verbally antagonizing authority figures, volatile or crazy people, road rage, active addictions ……
NEXT: RISK AVERSE