PREVIOUS: Being Responsible (#4)
a. Re US (Part 4)
b. Re OTHERS:
ACoAs were trained from birth to consider others exclusively, instead of ourselves. We never learned to “keep the focus on yourself” which is another way of saying – be responsible for your own T-houghts, E-motions & A-ctions. So we spend all our time, talents & effort on:
• ‘fixing/taking care of other people’s needs, wants, demands & troubles
• trying to figure out what others want us to be, how we can please them, why they don’t like us & how to fix that….
(See posts on ‘Rescuing’, and ‘Healthy Helping’)
DOUBLE BIND (D-B) #1
— Our family made it clear we they were not going to provide what we required, & we didn’t deserve to have our needs met anyway – which we accepted at a very deep level
AND yet —
— Our needs never seem to go away, no matter how hard we try to ignore them. And since those original adults didn’t come thru for us, we were on our own, trying to get by as best as little kids can, without the required knowledge or nurturing
— Long ago we gave up hope of ever succeeding at what we were ‘born to be/do”, so now we never go for the brass ring. ACoAs are ‘famous’ for being great at what we like to do the least, since it’s not a threat to our core self. We think that if we fail at something we don’t care about it won’t matter that much! And if we dare reach for the sky, & achieve some success, we find a way to sabotage it.
AND at the same time —
— We keep trying to do & be what they said they wanted of us, or what we thought they meant – so we can finally get it right, to get their acceptance & approval! And since we assume that’s exclusively up to us, we’ll bend ourselves into a pretzel – anything to deny our family’s lack of ability or willingness to be there for us
— Family bullied us into ‘taking care’ of them, both emotionally & physically, insisting that we act as fully competent little adults – for them (acting as arbitrator, lawyer, doctor/nurse/ psychologist, housekeeper, babysitter…..)
AND yet —
— any attempt we made to use those same skills for ourselves were discouraged, made fun of, punished, under-cut…..
#3b – As a result of 3a:
— We have to – at least try – to get other people to take care of us, because we truly believe we don’t know how,
AND yet —
— We DO take care of others, actually exhibiting amazing skills & talent we never use for ourselves, still thinking we’re incompetent
— We are angry at having to take responsibility for others & protect our abusers (don’t really want to, secretly wanting only to be taken care of)
AND yet —
— If we don’t do our little co-dependent dance with everyone we’re convinced we’ll keep getting abandoned – again, & then we’ll never have a chance to get our needs met
* * * * * *
3. HEALTHY appropriate responsibility
a. About Us
• as adults – take care of our own needs, not wait for someone else to rescue us
• know ourselves well enough to observe how we functions in the world in many different situations, & so gain mastery. Accept our limitations without S-H
• regularly check the motives that drive our words & actions
• be willing to ‘fess up’ to words or actions we make in error or that hurt someone else, without self-recrimination
• identify all our talents, gifts, knowledge & hard work – and USE THEM
• be willing to own our strengths & weaknesses, from self-esteem rather than S-H
• make changes when our thinking & actions are self-defeating or injurious to others
• be able to ask for help when appropriate & take time to rest process / rejuvenate, but not isolate
• be interested in improving ourselves, whenever possible – allowing for resistance, damage or outer pressured which may slow down our process
b. About Others
• learn the difference between caring about someone & care-taking them
• honor everyone’s personal boundaries, as much as possible (no perfectionism)
• never assume we know what’s going on with someone, no matter psychic we are or how well we know them
• notice what the other person says about themselves & use that (not ourselves) as the basis for communicating, for gift giving, for giving support, for choosing activities…
• ASK, ASK, ASK – before giving suggestions, advice, instructions…
— if they want or need it
— what have they done so far (so we don’t waste their time covering what’s already been tried – & maybe didn’t work for them)
• consider the other person’s ‘buttons’ so we don’t keep stepping on their toes
• if we can’t keep a promise, let them know as soon as possible
• be emotionally honest, without dumping, whining, blaming, being too needy
BENEFITS of Self-Responsibility
✶ it eliminates the need for lying or spin
✶ it significantly reduces guilt & shame
✶ it increase self-esteem & strengthens our True Self
✶ it makes us more reliable, trustworthy & likable!
✶ it allows us to get more of what we want in the world.
NOT BAD, huh?
▼ Being respectful & kind – which comes from the Healthy Adult, is NOT co-dependence – which comes from the wounded IC.
➼ Consider how you’d like to be treated & then do likewise to others, whenever possible, without hurting yourself!
NEXT: Anxiety & TEA