PREVIOUS: Healthy Give & Take (#2)
READ posts re. Double Messages / Binds
ACoAs have a terrible dilemma :
1. On the one hand we desperately want to be loved, acknowledged, seen, heard. We complain bitterly for years that we have to chase people down, do all the work in relationships, friends don’t come thru for us, we’re too isolated, hate being lonely, we can’t trust anyone…
You know what kids used to say: ”No one loves me, everyone hates me, I’m going to eat worms & die!” (Toxic Rules)
Because we’re not allowed to be loved, comfortable and comforted, happy, thriving… we chase after those few who don’t want us at all, &/or are unavailable in some way, even if there was an initial attraction. They let us know in a 1000 ways they’re not really able to connect (because of their self-hate & fear of intimacy) – but we don’t want to deal with that info, even when we hear it!
✶ The real reason for chasing the ‘impossible dream’ is that these unavailables are parent substitutes. Our family gave us the message we were too much trouble, not worth bothering with, in their way, messy, greedy, unruly pain in the a–es. We couldn’t live with that. We had to figure out a way to win them over, to love us, if only we knew how to fix ourselves & them. BUT we never did.
✶ So now, with the current unavailables, we’re determined: this time we’ll get them, this time we’ll win – if only we’re perfect & persistent enough. OY! (“Perfectionism”)
2. On the other hand, we’re terrified of getting too much attention, are
uncomfortable with compliments, don’t want to ‘put anyone out’, can’t accept being given to. We think (conscious or unconscious):
a. I don’t deserve good things. After all, my family wasn’t that nice to me & they knew me best. So, when anyone else gets to know me they’ll also be disgusted, & leave me
b. If someone likes me, then they’re stupid, weak, needy (no one I’d want to be with) because they’re too dumb to know I’m not worth liking
c. OR if they’re being nice – they’re conning me, being polite, people-pleasing – & then just when I start enjoying things they’ll leave or want something from me I don’t have. Sooner or later the real them will show up & I’ll be disappointed – again
d. I don’t want to owe anyone – no one gives anything for free, everyone has an agenda….
e. If I admit I want to be liked & given to, then I’m the weak one, & that disgusts me. I’d rather be alone than be that vulnerable
f. People are just trying to control me by being nice, so they can get what they want, & make me do things their way…
ACoAs waffle back & forth between opposites – BUT only Negative ones ––
✶ either are too alone or chase people who aren’t interested / abuse them
✶ isolate for years or stay way too long with the wrong people
✶ keep hurting themselves & then find some addiction (not always a chemical) to dull the pain
✶ hate themselves for being too much or for not being enough
✶ act out Victim Role or Perpetrator role (aggressor, abuser) ….
WHY WE STAY in OLD PATTERN (even IF we know better)
✶ Loyalty to the family & it’s system (still think we need them)
✶ Don’t want to disobey the Toxic rules : they represent our connection to home AND we don’t want to be punished, AND if we obey them, the family will love / accept us
✶ MOST OF ALL : we don’t want to ‘get depressed’ ie. feel all that pain (sad, lonely, terror, hopeless, rage, powerless… ) of our parents not loving us the way we needed. We knew the truth back then but it was too much to bear & we didn’t have many options, so we stuffed it down.
SO, NOW : If we give up our fantasies & illusions about the unavailables – and walk away – we’ll get flooded by that accumulated old pain! But if we know where all that pain is coming from, we can learn to manage it until it passes. “If it’s hysterical, it’s historical”
It takes quite a bit of recovery (growing a Loving Inner Parent, part of the UNIT) to be able to tolerate feeling that are awful! & still be ok. With enough time & the right kind of support, we can go through it knowing that it was not our fault that our family (& others) couldn’t take care of & love us, so now it’s ok to let love in, today & every day from now on.
NEXT: Resist talking the IC? – #1