PREVIOUS: FoC – ACoAs, Part 2
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
Many ACoAs long for a positive, steady relationship & a better over-all life. Yet no matter how hard they try they keep missing the brass ring. The WIC’s terror of reproducing the dangerous intimacy of our original Parent-Child bond is so strong it prevents us from finding the love & acceptance we crave. What can make the difference is the creation of a strong, healthy internal Loving Parent who will pull the WIC away from the PP, proving there is another way to bond with others – safely.
f. F of S & I – To the WIC, C. to anything or anyone means that no one will ever take care of us. ACoAs are addicted to our sick family & their way of functioning in the world. Being symbiotically intertwined with parents &/or siblings, we still believe everything they implied or told us about ourselves & the world (review “S & I”, and “Toxic Family Rules”), making everything unsafe, so we might as well stay with what we know. The WIC wants safety even more than love, and what is ‘safe’ is what it knows. In that way we are indeed committed, but not to ourselves or to mental /emotional & spiritual health.
g. 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, because 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 4