ACoAs & LISTENING (Part 3)


listening to her 

YOU MEAN I HAVE TO
be happy for someone else?

PREVIOUS:  ACoAs & Listening (#2)

REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


3. (T) When someone asks you to listen to a problem AND
you respond by giving advice, you are not doing what they have asked for.

HARMFUL – ACoAs are notorious advice givers!
• we really believe they wouldn’t be telling us their problem if they didn’t want a solution
• we are trained to be Rescuers, from earliest childhood, & by golly we have to do our job, AND we feel GUILTY when we don’t!
• we can’t bear to see anyone suffer, because it touches on our own unprocessed pain, so we have to stop them from being upset (since we couldn’t stop our parents’ suffering)

➼ IF you can’t be silent & just ‘be there’ because it’s getting you riled up, overwhelmed, grossed out, judgmental or scared — excuse yourself as soon as politely possible & go work on whatever IC button just got pushed

HELPFUL
• RULE #1: Zip the Lip!good lestening
• IF you want to be helpful AND can do it from your Loving Parent &/or Healthy Adult, then ASK respectful Qs – only to find what the other person:
— really needs (may be hidden to them at the moment)
— is thinking : if they have some distorted, confused beliefs you can carefully point out, or help them uncover & clarify their ideas
— is missing : what don’t they know, & are they open to new info which they can use to help themselves
— they may just need to say it out loud, to come to their own conclusion or make a firm choice between various options which suit them

4. FINALLY – NOT everything you’re asked to listen to will be about distress, or a problem. When someone asks you to listen about a joy, success, good ‘luck’ …. anything great & exciting that’s happened to them AND you ignore them, give them a little dig, or find some other way of diminishing their joy – you’re ‘abandoning’ them by acting like your Bad Parent.

HARMFUL
ACoAs don’t have permission to get their own needs met, which makes us afraid of taking risks, which prevents many of us from being successful – especially at the things that are most important to us!
ALL envy/ jealousy is about feeling powerless to get OUR needs met.Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 8.02.04 PM
So we are angry & resentful when others have happy moments & positive outcomes – whether we wanted their specific ‘thing’ or not.

• ENVY is between 2 people : “I envy your beautiful long hair, your education, how comfortable you are with yourself….
• JEALOUSY is between you and 2 or more others (3 +) : “I’m jealous that you have a happy family, a great boss, lots of friends….

HELPFUL
The more we get our own needs & dreams fulfilled, the easier it is to be generous – genuinely happy for others who are also doing well. In fact it makes us happy to be with others who are happy too, so we can have fun & share with them, on equal terms.
*            *              *              *            *           *           *             *
IMP – You DON’T have to be available to listen, if:
• you don’t have the time, desire or capacityScreen Shot 2016-06-19 at 5.22.11 AM
• the other person is using you to dump on, rather than sharing their process. If you’ve heard the same problem, complaint & rant on many occasions (especially if it’s been years!) – without any real changes in the person, you know you’re wanting your time. You’ve just been co-dependent, even if you call it loyalty. They’re responsible for their own growth, so if that’s missing, you’re being used.

It’s OK to decline to listen – on a particular day, because you’ve not capable at the moment, or not at all because you’ve had enough! If they react badly (angry, whining, chasing you down…) – that just validates your decision!

NEXT: What just Happened? – #1

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4 thoughts on “ACoAs & LISTENING (Part 3)

  1. I believe that we are envious of what others “have” and jealous of what they “are”.
    For example, “I am jealous that you are successful and envious of your excellent career.”

    I very much appreciate the wisdom on this site!

    • Thanks, Alice. Actually, envy is about both ‘are & have’, as long as it’s not about a 3rd person – or more, which would be: “I’m Jealous that you have a spouse / lots of friends…”. A great book is “Jealousy” by Nancy Friday

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