THEY NE-E-E-ED ME!
How can I turn my back on them?
PREVIOUS: Negative Benefits – #3
The HEART of the matter: ACoAs feel sorry for the wrong category of people.
1. For OTHERS – Negative
While ACoAs have a strong caring & compassionate side, which we use for others instead of for ourselves, we misplace our sympathy by focusing it on inappropriate people – like a parent, a spouse or lover, a BFF, sometimes a boss, sponsor, teacher… So, we ‘feel sorry for…’
WHO: Anyone who is –
➼ emotionally & practically irresponsible. This can not be
emphasized enough! These are people who are unwilling to use available resources to help themselves, hooking us into do it for them! This can be in practical form, but is most often wanting to be taken care of emotionally.
• abusive, abandoning, narcissistic (but often charming) – because they prey on our desperate need to stay attached. That way they can “feed on” us without having to give back. Some even act like they need us, but if we set boundaries or disagree they’ll throw us under the bus in a heartbeat! It’s so familiar from our childhood, so we think it’s normal
Their behavior patterns TRIGGER our WIC to:
• feel sorry for them (they are manipulating this), the way we felt sorry for our family members, who we tried & tried to fix, but never could
• act out our pre-programmed training to rescue & enable them
• resonate our WIC with theirs, feeling their pain – so we take on the Good Parent role for them, but not toward ourselves
• our need to feel superior (compensate for feeling powerless)
• copy what we learned from our para-alcoholic parent (usually mom)
• don’t want to face who this person really is, because then we’d have a different relationship with them, or have to leave
• to not feel the hurt of how they affect our life – if it’s a selfish, irresponsible parent we’re protecting – how they’ve hurt us; if it’s another close person – all the ways they are not able to legitimately be there for us. See ACoAs’ Under-Expectations
• never have to feel our deep ANGER at everything bad that happened to us at the hands of these particular people, & others like them
• maintain our own need to feel ‘better’, useful, needed, important*.
➼ *Every person needs the experience of being effectual: ‘having success in producing a desired or intended result’.
▶ A huge missing piece of ACoA upbringing was that we never got to be effective. We weren’t able to have a positive effect on those around us – couldn’t get them to listen & believe us, to change, to stop hurting us, stop drinking, to see our worth….
…. which has left us with an intense sense of hopelessness (‘why bother, I won’t be able to do it anyway, nothing I try works, no one’s going to listen or care, nothing works out for me anyway….’)
• so as adult we continue trying to compensate in ways that are not effective! — by expending a lot of time, $$ & energy on people who can’t love us, who will never get better, OR who may, but not in OUR timing – like now!
• This becomes a vicious circle – trying to do the impossible will always lead to failure, which reinforces our sense of ineffectiveness. ACoAs get the Serenity Prayer backwards. We need to learn & use it correctly! It wasn’t God who didn’t listen, it was out damaged parents!
• POTENTIAL does NOT count – when it has to do with others! We’re attracted to them because they’re familiar & we can rescue them & feel superior. BUT most of the time they never develop their latent capacities – so we end up drained, feeling inadequate, disappointed & angry – just like we did with our family. Instead, we need to be with people who are ALREADY willing to & capable of taking care of themselves, & therefore can be available to us, without causing a lot of drama & stress.
Feeling sorry for & trying to rescue the ‘wrong’ people, means:
• we never hold them responsible for their actions / non-actions – we keep thinking ‘they can’t help it’. (See end of ‘Parents Blaming us‘ & “They did the best they could’, Point 2, b, ii).
• we continue to be abused & neglected by them, without acknowledging what we already know in our gut, even when others tell us they clearly see how we’re being hurt!
• we enable that person to never change or have to face the effects of their actions on themselves & others (doing them a dis-service)
✶ When anyone you know is unwilling to get help for themselves so they can change & improve their lives, using available resources – you know they are not the right person to feel sorry for. Love them, but don’t rescue – it’s a waste of effort!
➼ Being compassionate does not mean being a patsy: ‘a person who is gullible and easily taken advantage of ’. Self-centered, abusive people are only interested in what they can take, & want to give as little as possible in return. We are worth more than that!
• Often the only thing we can do is pray for them. A Program truth says: “Each person has their own Higher Power” — & it ain’t US!
✶ It’s our responsibility to protect our Inner Child from emotionally unavailable & dangerous types, no matter how much we care about them. Our kid comes first! STAY AWAY from anyone who tries to seduce you but only offers CRUMBS!
NEXT: Feeling Sorry for – Positive