PREVIOUS: Not allowed to Receive – #2
See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
WHY ACoAs can’t TAKE in anything positive (cont)
1. ABOUT US (our assumptions) – Part 1 & 2
2. ABOUT OTHERS
• ACoAs project onto others all the overt & covert experiences we had with our dysfunctional parents (see list of assumptions in Part 1). Since they were depressed, incompetent, careless, demanding, controlling, violent, crazy or absent – we unconsciously assume everyone else in the whole world is like that too – even tho as adult we have definitely seen, heard of or met capable, functional people. Emotionally, we simply ignore this knowledge & automatically react to everyone as if they’re a carbon copy our family.
a. Actually, many people we run across will not be like our family, yet we treat everyone the same. Such people will be confused by the way we act & react to them. They inwardly just shake their heads & stay away!
b. More commonly, because ACoAs are talented at sniffing out people who indeed are similar to our background – we feel pulled to them, drawn in by their familiar dysfunctionality. All the while wanting, expecting, even demanding to have a different kind of interaction with them – better, more satisfying!
• We try to create a different outcome because we think it was somehow our fault that family relationships didn’t work out – & therefore we can change it, fix it, even if it has to be with substitutes! This is clearly impossible, but we keep trying – until we ‘get it’ that we didn’t cause the original problems and that we’re powerless to change others.
Therefore WE BELIEVE THAT:
a. On the one hand=
• because of the alcoholic Law of Scarcity, everyone is hiding the ‘truth’ that there’s not enough to go around (their glass is half-full or less), so they have nothing to spare – for us. We can’t expect anything, so why bother asking —
— therefore, everyone is as needy as we (secretly) are, so they’re always going to want too much from us – more than we can possibly give. If we let our guard down even a little by engaging in any kind of exchange, they’ll suck us dry
• no one is naturally generous & therefore no one gives freely – everyone has an ulterior motive – to use us for their benefit only. When people volunteer anything that seems good, we have to be on guard & figure out why they’re offering, or what they really want
• no one is safe or trustworthy. Better to not take anything so we don’t have to give anything back. To give even a little is to lose everything (ourselves)
• we can’t accept any favors, because we won’t be able to reciprocate sufficiently & then we’ll be punished for not providing exactly what they need or want (by reading their mind), just like in our family. Better to not let ourselves be vulnerable, & keep everyone at arm’s length
REALITY: Most people do not want our first-born child. They do want at least a modicum of acknowledgment, respect & pleasantness. Most will definitely appreciate a hello, a thank you, a smile, maybe some light conversation. ACoAs would do well to allow ourselves to develop small talk, a legitimate social lubricant, as it’s not appropriate to always lay a heavy trip on everyone we meet! Save that for your journal, therapy, BFFs & Program. But it’s also not ‘normal’ to have nothing to say.
b. On the other hand=
• In order to stay alive (since we feel so worthless or evil that we should be dead) we have to do, be & give whatever others want of us. That’s the only way we can get anything for ourselves – but indirectly. Then how DO we get any of our needs met? Remember, our needs are legitimate, but how we deal with them is often harmful. WE:
i. Manipulate others
— control, bully, out-smart, out-think everyone around us
— use sexual attraction, great salesmanship & charm
— OR be so weak & needy that others feel sorry for us
• Since we’re not allowed to ask for anything outright (god forbid!), most ACoAs trudge thru life in long-suffering limbo — desperately hoping someone will figure out what we want or need & give us a crumb or two. CODA points out that we stay in bad relationships because of the scraps of attention unhealthy people throw us – just enough to keep us hooked. So when we finally do leave – we have ‘crumb withdrawal’!
For exp: Many of us are afraid to initiate conversation, sexual activity, physical contact, playfulness, gathering information (asking about another’s life)…. because we were taught it would be impolite, invasive, presumptuous & insensitive – leaving us forever at the mercy of whoever we’re with!
ii. Self-Sabotage – which is our WIC playing a sneaky self-destructive life-game with the PP : “I know I’m not supposed to have anything, but I still have needs (my bad), so I’ll make a sideways effort get a little something, but it’ll all be harmful so it won’t really count. With one hand I’ll be defying you, while obeying you with the other.”
• To play this game, we unconsciously make sure that most of what we pursue & stick with follow the Toxic Rules, by — not actually fulfilling our fundamental, long neglected needs & rights, AND
— by choosing substances, types of people, careers or locations…. that ultimately damage us. Our choices may seem exciting for a while, because they’re illicit, but their destructive qualities insure that we are being punished for even trying to take care of ourselves, however poorly.
For exp: Staying with harmful, selfish or ineffectual people who drain us, make us feel worthless, prolonging our sense of isolation & hopelessness
NEXT: ACoAs – Healthy GIVE & TAKE – #1