PREVIOUS: FoC – ACoAs, Part 2a
SITE: Commitment Phobics – playing out a dysfunctional family role
QUOTE: • “Commitment is healthiest when it’s not without doubt, but in spite of doubt.” ~ Dr. Rollo May, psychologist
• “If you deny yourself commitment, what can you do with your life?” ~ Harvey Fierstein, actor, writer, director
d. F. of responsibility
• as kids– To the WIC, C. meant we had to be responsible for everyone & everything, & no one taking care of us. We were forced to be responsible (R) for our unhappy angry, crazy, drunk parents, & sometimes our siblings. Many of us had to be the ‘designated adult’ even when we were very little, because of their incompetence, selfishness & addictions. We got the RULE loud & clear “Everyone else’s needs are more important than mine”.
e. F. of losing control – OPPOSITE of being ‘in control’, of ourself & our life, which eliminates being able to fully commit. To the WIC, C. to anything means many ‘unbearable’ things: accepting how things really are, giving up absolute autonomy or getting our way / ‘allowing’ others to be different from us / having to move on….
We violently resist the middle “A” (Acceptance) or any suggestions to “let go – with love, let go – let God, let go – with sadness, disappointment, anger…” – any way we can, but LET GO.
We believe that WE have to be constantly alert to preventing others from having power over us, and stop the ‘craziness’ of addicts & narcissists from engulf us, which many of us kept trying to do in our home – unsuccessfully. And some of us still do, no matter how futile or unnecessary!
ACoAs project our S-H & paranoia out on the whole world, perpetuating our deep fear & mistrust. As adults, being controlling is a substitute for having real boundaries – mental & emotional walls the WIC thinks will protect us from actual or imagined dangers.
• If we were raised in great emotional & physical chaos, many of us will spend all our energy as adults trying to keep people-places-things (PPT) in our tight grip. The assumption is that if we don’t, everything will spin out of control, even if the present day circumstances are actually much more manageable.
• If we were raised in an uptight, controlling environment – we’ll either rebel & want no limits at all, or follow the family pattern & be uptight, rigid & overly-fussy. In any case, which ever style we choose will be the result of birth order & our Toxic Family Role (Hero // Placater), but will also have a great deal to do with our native personality.
Needing to control everything & everyone in our environment is both a way to prevent others from getting too close (intimate), as well as trying to keep them attached to us.
Overtly: Telling everyone what they should be doing, feeling & thinking – that it’s our way or the highway.
Being pushy, aggressive, ‘difficult’, demanding…. It’s presumptuous & insulting – the controller’s assumption is that they’re the only one who knows how to do things, knows what’s best, what’s RIGHT, & how things should be done!
See Posts: “Controlling & Abandonment” // “ACoAs – Getting controlled”
Covertly: Many ACoAs are sure they’re not controlling, because they don’t recognize how they do it, since it’s indirect & sneaky – by omissions, withholding & people-pleasing.
– BY consistently denying oneself (needs emotions, opinions…) in favor of another. It’s a way to manipulate how someone behaves & how they feel about us, or prevent them from leaving (abandoning us).
– BY withholding – affection, communication, decisions, preferences….
– BY always being a victim, sickly or incompetent, so others have to take care of us or clean up our messes
– BY rescuing, people-pleasing…., to change someone or something into what we want, so we won’t have to leave & start over
NEXT: FoC, Part 2c