PREVIOUS: Double Messages, Part 7
SITE: Mind control – Simple to Complex
1. Many of us grew up drowning in D.Messages. Being raised in this kind of atmosphere we know no other way to connect with others, & use this style of communicating in all our relationships, especially the intimate ones. So if we’re serious about our personal growth & taking responsibility for our interactions with others, it’s important to get a handle on how this all plays out.
Childhood EXP: Often in alcoholic families where the addict (& most everyone else) is/are in total denial – if one member has the nerve to complain about or object to the harmful effects of the drinking, the alcoholic (& others) will label that person as THE problem, instead of the addiction, because they’re disrupting the family’s fragile mobile (Post: B. Distortions, #1). Then that member is forced either into being an enabler OR forced to withdraw & eventually leave the family. Either way – everyone loses.
Adult EXP: 2 clients who both attended 12-Step meetings were going to the same psychologist – separately. At some point they started dating.
> Sarah didn’t tell the therapist right away, but instead asked his opinion about seeing someone in the Program. The reply was that it was not a great idea, especially in the first year of attendance. Sarah finally came out with the whole story but concluded: “I get it, you just don’t want me to date Chuck!”
> After a few weeks Sarah was complaining during her session about all the problems she was having with Chuck. She said in angry accusation: “So why didn’t you warn be against seeing him? Aren’t you supposed to be helping me?”
>> AND there was the DM: The therapist was bad for “preventing” and bad for “not preventing”. However, he didn’t get caught, but pointed out the Double Bind she had created so she wouldn’t have to own her decision or deal with the stress of two Wounded Inner Children trying to have an adult relationship! PS: the 2 clients married & eventually divorced.
COMPETENCE vs INCOMPETENCE is the DM that severely dysfunctional parents give their kids, putting the child in a D.Bind – usually the Hero Child.
A. They expect / demand that we to take care of them, WHILE
B. constantly berating us as worthless failures.
THEY SAY (or imply):
A. Be dysfunctional, like us (so we don’t feel so alone)
• parents (& therefore our Introject) want us to be exactly like THEM:
fearful, self-hating, stuck, not risking, depressed, powerless, or controlling, angry, limited, paranoid ….
• and they spend a lot of time putting US down, telling us all the things we can NOT do, how lazy, weak, wrong, selfish & over-sensitive we are
AND, at the same time:
B. Be functional, like we wish we were (so you can be there for us)
• we must make them feel safe, not feel abandoned, fix them, be their parent, …
• and in order to take care of them, we have to be:
— competent, able to take risks, be perfect!
— have backbone, fight fort hem, save them from themselves
— be really smart & use all our knowledge (but only for THEM)
C. Be in Denial. Their message is: “I never said that!” (DENY, deny, deny what we’re doing to you) // “How dare you speak to me that way?! // Stop complaining, after all I’ve sacrificed for you!…. ” They won’t tolerate questioning or objections to how they’re treating us, saying that we’re ungrateful & making things up, being defiant, ‘difficult’, spoiled….
➼ This DM forms the basis of our own DB – next post
OUR PAIN: They were our first role models. What kind of example did they set for us to copy? Kids absorb & imitate their parents, regardless. We imprint on them like little ducklings! Yet all they left for us is fear & confusion.
• If they were capable of truly loving us, they would have wanted us to be happy, free & successful – for ourselves. So obviously they didn’t / couldn’t love us – not really! No matter how much we don’t want to hear that, the WIC knows! Just because they say/said “I love you” doesn’t mean they do – except in some narcissistic way . Otherwise they would treat us like gold!
HINT: *Healthy parental love is expressed in many ways, but most of all in being Nurturing. Children can only develop self-esteem if they feel truly loved by their parents. And that can only happen if parents have the capacity to be loving, kind, supportive, rational, available, sober…. not just give lip service.
SO: How well do you like yourself? Are you comfortable in your skin? Do you feel safe in the world?
Suggested READING: “How to parent effectively”
“Being Loving and Nurturing”
“10 Signs that show your Parent’s love for you”
“40 Ways To Show Your Child Love”
“5 Qualities to Nurture in Your Child” – (What they help you develop, to function well in the world)
NEXT: ACoAs & Self DBs, Part 8b