I’M WILLING TO MAKE THE EFFORT
of finding a way out of this tangle
PREVIOUS: DBs – Part 7
ESCAPING DBs – requires:
• flexible thinking – giving up either/or (B & W) limitations
• a capacity to see beyond the obvious
• being curious & creative, willing to take risks
• having the courage to let go of the past & it’s ‘training’
Find your own ways to “leave the field of the DB”. Be creative. Use multiple perspectives and meta-perspectives, and become more mentally and physically flexible. By distinguishing between ongoing life events (career) and specific events (‘fight’ with boss), and identifying for differences between them (the ‘fight’ isn’t going to end your career), you can keep the situation manageable. Pick out any positive parts of the DMs which you can focus on & ignore the other parts: “Take what you like & leave the rest”, Al-Anon
Doing vs Being – Separate your identity from your behavior, so you don’t go into shame or S-H. Your actions are not your identity. We know that because there is a great difference between how we act based on our damaged self vs how we act when coming from our healthier adult / Natural Self.
Intense Emotional Attachment – The R’s fear of stepping outside the DB is the Fear of Abandonment – losing the symbiotic dependence on the S. The goal is to develop your own identity & become the center of your adult universe (‘first position’): accept & love your Inner Child just as he/she is, work to find out what your True Self is made up of, become your own motivator (internal referencing), own your strengths & accumulated knowledge, & practice emotional honesty.
Look for the Payoff – Dilemma: while DBs really do trap us & we may complain bitterly about not ‘getting anywhere’, many ACoAs are so used to being stuck & uncomfortable they won’t do anything to change it. What’s familiar FEELS ‘comforting’ – & we hate feeling uncomfortable. SO – which is it? Are we comfortable or miserable in our DB world?
• WIC / ACoA ‘logic’: If I’m damned either way, that gets me off the hook. “I’m crazy & irresponsible because my hormones are out of whack OR I’m manic-depressive, OR just plain lazy….”
SO – I don’t have to do hard / painful emotions work, I don’t have to take care of myself & still get to be loyal to the family. Yipeee! – NOT
Compromise – There are always options, and not all compromise is bad!
EXP: An artist was commanded to paint a flattering portrait of his one-eyed king & he’d be executed if the painting showed any imperfections in the sovereign. But all was well when the royal artwork was finally unveiled. It showed the king taking aim with bow & arrow – with the bad eye firmly closed. 🙂
• We don’t have to like some of the compromises that can make a shift, but if they help us get un-stuck, they’re worth it. If we stop seeing every situation as all-or-nothing, we often find at least the start of a solution. Aristotle noted that doing virtuous things isn’t fun at first, but can become fun once you get in the habit. And to get in the habit we may have to push ourselves first. Since many of us are not allowed to be self-motivating, a little outside help to get beyond the inertia can be the incentive to get our engine turning over.
So, a we might be given the DB: “Don’t be childish – do what you’re told!” (act like an adult – be a child & obey), but sweetened with “Besides it’ll be fun / feel good / work out, once you get going”.
• A positive use of paradox can also be an escape from a DB. The Inner Child loves to do the opposite of what it’s told. Right?
— Can’t sleep, but desperately want to? Decide to stay awake all night, to remove the pressure. You may stay up as long as you want, OR —> not having to will do the trick & soon your eyes will close on their own.
— Afraid to go to a party? Decide to only stay for 15 min & then leave. Removing the pressure of having to on & being acceptable allows you to go, & maybe even enjoy it enough to stay a little longer.
Sort it out — Become more aware of embedded “thought viruses” in various communication distortions, using NLP tools & Chart in Part 5.
• Meaning: Listen for obvious and subtle contradictions in what someone says – or you say to yourself – often in the form of CDs. Where the focus? Is the speaker -or YOU- talking about Emotions, Thoughts or Actions? Do they make sense? Also, what are the obvious & hidden meanings?
EXP. What is being implied here?: “Even Jimmy got an A on that test!”
• Levels: Learn to discriminate between messages directed to different levels of experience (environment, behavior, capabilities, beliefs, values identity…). This will automatically help to distinguish different levels of distorted messages (DMs, Part 1)
• Meta-messages – Notice the small visible changes in non-verbal cues when someone’s talking (a frown, an inappropriate smile or voice tone, clenched fists or stiff posture …) IF they’re at odds with the words being spoken. (ACoAs are notorious for telling horrific childhood stories while smiling, even laughing!).
Paying attention can help you identify mixed messages by tracking and sorting out various types of conflicts. It will help you respond differently to “Meta-communications”, which reduces the power of the DB, and possibly allow you to give the other person feedback, if desired & appropriate.
Trust your natural resilience & resourcefulness. Depending on how much S-H you have & how much you’ve been shamed for not ‘doing it right’, this may be really hard. BUT, it’s important for your adult to believe (as in: “I know what I know”) until the WIC can catch up. These are not qualities we have to learn or work for. It’s something we’re born with as humans – & proof is that we’ve survived many traumatic events. Self-trust will always demand courage, but that’s OK – we have a lot of that too.
Understand the inherent freedom in DBs. For adults – the truth is that they allow us more freedom than ever to choose our own path. Pick the side of the Bind that suits you best. If there are many different experiences and perspectives about a feeling state (mourning a death) or situation (choice of career)…. then how we respond to life is different for each person. This means that we can’t do it “wrong”, because there is no single ‘right or wrong’ way to feel or do what’s best for YOU. You’re free to choose your own way!
NEXT: Part 9 Re-framing DBs