PREVIOUS: Why resist – #5
See ACRONYM Page for abbrev.
The NEED for Book-ending: to correct CDs
Communicating with our precious Inner Child is something we need to be doing 24/7 – at least while we’re awake! 🙂 This included both our Wounded Child & the Healthy Child ego states. However, book-ending is a specific tool to deal with the distorted beliefs we grew up with.
For many ACoAs, no matter how smart, talented & even accomplished, our WIC is still living in the past, mentally & emotionally – still using our childhood experiences (based on the PP voice) as a model for how things functions & what we can expect. This is in spite of the many other experiences & information we’ve gathered throughout our life which give us different viewpoints, and disagree with our family’s messages.
✶ It’s truly amazing how good we are at ignoring or negating all the positive people & situations we’ve come across, which could be incorporated into & greatly enhance our world view – if only we would!
PRE-FoO Recovery, if we grew up constantly disappointed, not allowed to have our thoughts & emotions, never comforted, ignored, made fun of, put in double binds, tortured, scapegoated, neglected, controlled ….
…. we became thoroughly convinced these things will continue – that they’ll always happen with everyone else, in every situation – for the rest of our lives, no matter how hard we try to change our ‘fate’.
✶ Naturally, if we spend most of our time in jobs, locations & relationships that are UNhealthy, then we will indeed keep on re-traumatizing ourselves, as we compulsively follow our earliest training, which leaves us feeling frustrated & hopeless. SO – It’s important to know that we can change these patterns!
Attempt to PROTECT ourselves:
Because our childhood was chaotic & frightening, as children we tried to find any possible way to protect ourselves. These led to incorporating a series of Toxic Rules to live by & fitting ourselves into the Toxic Roles. In dealing with our parents, we tried to :
• figure out what they wanted from us & then twist ourselves into that
• help them, cajole, protect, educate, rescue…to fix them
• identify what we did wrong & try to be as good as possible
• hide anything about ourselves that would upset the family ‘mobile’
Another strategy evolved into using Cognitive Distortions (CDs) to project what we assumed would happen in any given situation, so we could either be prepared or avoid it altogether. In terms of T.E.A., CDs are forms of incorrect Thinking. They’re too limited in scope to deal with most of reality, are deep-rooted beliefs that leave out important info & lead to incorrect conclusions.
✶ Unfortunately this strategy backfired, just like many of the others the WIC devised. This is mainly because we’ve been trying to do the impossible: getting unhealthy people to love us & stop being abusive. The only thing which is truly successful is to stop chasing the WIC’s delusion that we are responsible for the original abandonment, & the fantasy that we can somehow make ‘them’ see & accept us!
CDs are so harmful because:
• they’re the twisted ‘logic’ behind much of our (un-recovered) habitual emotions & actions, which are inevitably self-defeating & painful – even torturous!
• it makes us think we’re crazy when other people use them on us – unless we are familiar with the distortions & can counter them accurately.
However, once you know the Various CDs & Logical Fallacies well, you’ll never again think you’re nuts. Never again! Hurray!
Part 2 identifies how we can use Book-Ending, starting with either:
a. overblown unrealistic ‘hopeful’ expectations
• Both types are based on the WIC’s narcissism – ‘everything that others do (to me) is about me’, but this one comes from the aspect of ACoAs that is grandiose, symbiotic & unrealistic about people & events.
Again, this is the WIC who desperately needs & want something, but is not using realistic criteria to evaluate what’s actually possible is any particular situation. Because the imagined outcomes are not possible, we are inevitably disappointed. This reinforces our original CD – that we don’t deserve anything good & that the universe is against us
Some of these CDs are: • over-estimating • mind-reading • wishful thinking • externalizing self-worth • always being right …..
b.. totally negative, hopeless beliefs about how things will turn out. Some of these CDs are: • all or nothing • only noticing the negative • making everything about oneself • jumping to conclusions • under-estimating …..
ALSO, we use idealization / fantasy to mask how scared we really are: — because we’re not actually allowed to get our needs met, AND
— when we already know the person or situation is unsuitable, even damaging, but we don’t want to leave & have to start over – after all, if it’s hopeless anyway, why bother!
✶ This defensive way of thinking is NOT the same as being Appropriately Positive and Realistically Hopeful – about what we are actually capable of accomplishing or ways we can be nourished by healthy environments. ACoAs are so steeped in the fantasy, we have trouble imagining wonderful, happy circumstances – for ourselves!
However, as we heal and DO get good things in our life – we will know & feel the contrast with our upbringing : THIS is the way it should have / could have been, but never was. We need to mourn that loss but stop looking back for something that was not possible.
NOW it’s time we give ourselves the happiness we never had!
NEXT: Bookending, Part 2