PREVIOUS: Can’t Receive (#1)
WHY ACoAs can’t TAKE in anything positive
1. ABOUT US (cont.)
Re. NEGLECT – another form of Abandonment :
• After visiting the Empire State building a loving mother asked her little girl: “So, did you like it?” – twice. An ACoA listening recalls that in a similar situation, her parents were totally focused on their own interest: “Wow, that’s some view!” but never actually included the kids.
• This is a rather subtle example of the many ways we were ‘told’ we didn’t count, weren’t seen, had no right to an opinion. And beyond that, we were shown or told outright that we shouldn’t ask for what we needed, much less wanted. When we did ask, we were ignored, punished or flat-out told nothing was wrong with us – anything from being hungry to having a broken arm – the message was clear that we were too much of a bother, only to be tolerated – but never helped.
• Dickens’ Oliver Twist was one of many starving orphans forced to labor in a 1830‘s London workhouse. One day he held out his bowl & begged: “Please Sir, I want some more” (watery porridge), which started a riot – but got him no seconds.
• Whether we ACoAs were deprived of food or not, & some of us were, we were certainly starved in a wide variety of PMES ways. Abused kids find their own individual way to cope with years of deprivation – denial & repression being an inevitable result. This leaves us acting out the neglect either by being overtly needy & grasping, or ‘above it all’ – suppressing how much we still long for the impossible, for the care they couldn’t give.
Wanting more is not just about having things. It’s about wanting normal human need like love, safety, attention, kindness, the right information, respect, nurturing ….which we didn’t receive growing up. Many of us concluded that our main character defect – is our need for love (a misuse of 12-Step Program’s 4th Step). After all these years, how foolish to still want something we believe we don’t deserve! Right?
Re. ASKING: Because we’re not allowed to receive needs & wants —
— ACoAs are so afraid to ‘blatantly’ ask, since we’re sure it’s inevitable that we’ll get a NO. We then translate that into meaning that we’ll never get that specific need met, nor any other. The pain would be too great, so let’s not even go there
— AND – we insist that if we have to ask for something – that what was given was not done freely, so receiving it doesn’t count, has no meaning or value! Others are supposed to magically know & provide (read our mind).
• This assumption and demand comes from the WIC, but specifically from our pre-verbal infant ego state. The wish is an echo of a time when we couldn’t talk yet & did need mother to automatically know & provide for us – but in our case didn’t!
Adult REALITY: Adults are supposed to ask for things. It doesn’t mean we definitely get everything we want, or at the time we want. But it also does not mean we are destined to always be deprived. Delay is OK. God definitely answers prayer – with a Yes, No, or Wait. We have a right to ask & receive!
Re: BACKLASH – Most ACoAs believe that if we ever got the good things we long for – we would be SOOO happy (right away) & all our problems would vanish. It’s true that over time being with healthier people, pursuing our dreams, being loved… is healing, but not always right away!
✶ We need to keep in mind that when we first start receiving these benefits of Recovery, we may actually feel worse – for a while! This seems counter-intuitive, until we understand what’s at work, & can prepare ourselves to manage the discomfort, until it fades.
• Moving toward positive things in our life – going on a vacation, going into Recovery / therapy, finding a loving friend or mate, getting compliments & validation …. can produce internal backlash. Of course there may also be some from other people (bosses, friends, family, spouse, even adult-children) which we assume & fear, although we’re surprised when they respond well. BUT from inside???
• This is unexpected, especially when nothing seems to be wrong on the outside (it’s actually tooo good), yet we think we’ve done something wrong because:
— the PP’s voice will get louder “Who do you think you are…”
— we feel depressed, fearful, unsettled…. which is so ‘normal’, we don’t make the connection
— we may feel angry at the person who has been helpful, complimentary, loving…
Actually, the pain comes from:
— breaking the Toxic Rules
— feeling disloyal to our parents, even though they were neglectful & cruel, because the WIC thinks they were right! so we feel unworthy
— the contrast with all that we’ve suffered as kids & since then hurts – at the hands of family, teachers, mates, sometimes even healers
— rage at being duped by our ‘disease’, when we “Could’a had a – V8” (Love) all this time!
Knowledge – Once we understand what’s at work we can manage the discomfort of HEALTH, until the anxiety fades.
Acceptance – Don’t fight the backlash or go into S-H. Keep to the path.
Nurturing – Be kind to yourself – hold & talk to the WIC. Stand up to the PP voice & ride out the discomfort. It will pass & you’ll be left with the benefits of whatever good things have come into your life! GET A HUG!
NEXT: Not Allowed to Receive – Re. OTHERS (Part 3)