PREVIOUS: Being Responsible (Part 2)
See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
AS ADULTS – Over-responsibility (cont)
Being ‘over-responsible’ toward others includes our children & grandchildren (small or grown), by not setting boundaries, by people-pleasing, letting them get away with unhealthy behavior, spoiling them….
ACoAs as ‘STAYERS’
As long as the WIC is still running our life, we focus all our attention outside of ourselves. We’re looking for someone to take care of us – to give us permission to even be alive, much less be ourselves. Because our parents / family were so angry, depressed & unhappy, ACoAs are convinced (unconsciously) that everyone else we deal with is the same. Therefore we have to be responsible (R) for others’ feelings & needs, having to ‘help’ / fix everyone we deal with, whether they’re important in our life of not (lover, parent, sibling, OR “butcher, baker, candle-stick maker”…..).
● We think that:
— without our intervention they too will fall apart, which would be our fault, so we rush to put out other people’s fires
— if we don’t take care of them they won’t have any need for us, & ‘leave’
— by so doing we will finally become worthy of getting our needs met (‘earning’ love)
● For prolonged rescuing, we stay with people:
— who seem more wounded than we are, so we can feel useful, appreciated, even superior
— who don’t want to take care of themselves – but could – & would rather we do it for them, since we’re so good at it (& desperate to please)
— who are intensely narcissistic, using us to feed off of, which we agree to, at least for a time, because it makes us feel needed & important
AND, we automatically stay away from anyone who is reasonably healthy – competent, self-directed, doesn’t need or want rescuing…. because we wouldn’t know how to interact with them as equals
● What keeps us hooked is that:
— we take on responsibilities that are not ours, while in many ways not being responsible for ourselves (Serenity Prayer backwards)
— the WIC is still in charge, using childhood experiences as its only point of reference, which does not take into account that we’re not little anymore, have many adult experiences, & have developed many skills
— that we’re not living in that environment anymore, altho we may have reproduced it elsewhere
— now our options are much greater, if only we searched them out AND had permission to use them
— there is much more help available to us which can help us manage life’s stressors
● We believe that ‘committing’ ourselves to a job, a place, a group, or to loving another person – means only doing what others want or need, instead of being true to ourselves – because we assume we have to earn love & acceptance. The WIC thinks that if we did honor our own needs above others it would prove how selfish & bad we are – like they told us we were at home – even to being incapable of loving!
Living this way is very stressful AND unsuccessful, since we can never please others completely, especially if they’re self-centered like our parents. Sooner or later we end up failing – again – but we keep trying anyway. While this kind of relationship is deeply harmful to our Soul /healthy Inner Child, & reinforces S-H & hopelessness, it also has the ‘negative benefit’ of giving our False Self a feeling of power & control. The we don’t have to face what really happened to us as kids.
The TRUTH is that love cannot be earned or ‘created’ in another person. Ever! Either someone already has the capacity to love or they don’t. It doesn’t mean such a person will love us, only that they’re capable. We say of our parents: “Of course he/she loves me”, BUT we don’t feel loved by them! This we blame on ourselves (S-H), instead of acknowledging THEIR lack – which is the truth we deny.
● We don’t feel loved by our family because we were/are NOT part of their internal equation, even when they seem to be interacting with us. They may see us as a nuisance, an extension of themselves, a source of narcissistic supply, a parent-substitute, an ego-booster to brag about, an emotional annoyance ….. but not someone to cherish. Severely wounded people have little or no capacity for selfless caring, no matter how much they protest that they do, or how much we or they would like it to be otherwise.
If our parents say/think/feel that they love their children – it’s in their narcissistic Inner Child form – having to do with their needs & perceptions. If they were genuinely able to love – from a healthy Adult ego state – they would actually include us in their consideration, seeing US as separate individuals, for who we are & what WE need, rather than only seeing everything from their own point of view.
ACoAs have a very distorted idea of love. We thinks it’s:
— either a fairy-tale all-consuming feeling, or we don’t think it exists at all
— either being manipulated & controlled by someone, or it’s our obsessive longing for the one who doesn’t want us
— being loyal to a miserable relationship, or it’s something only others get to experience…..
None of these are love. They are addiction, co-dependence, FoA & S-H – copies of our family dynamics.
Being responsible in relationships means to be clear about our motives, the “Games People Play” inter-personal games, so we can work toward focusing on what our Inner Child needs to become healthy. Then we can share our True Self with other appropriate adults.
NEXT: Fear of Responsibility – #4