I MUST BE CRAZY
I can’t decide anything!
PREVIOUS: ACoAs & CONFUSION (#1)
QUOTE: “Until otherwise proven wrong, assume confusion.”
From ‘Judgement on the Front Line’~ C. DeRose & N. M. Tichy
ACoAs grow up with so much distorted, incorrect or missing information that we end up feeling crazy! But WE were never crazy – it was the environment. We tried our very best to make sense of what we heard & saw, but that simply was not possible. That was NOT our fault or any lack in us!
● Damaged, narcissistic & addicted parents use many defenses to keep their carefully constructed life-mobile from crashing, so they don’t have to face themselves & change. Consciously or otherwise, they figured the more they could confuse us & keep us off-balance, the less chance we’d have to call them on their crap. Even so, there’s often one child in the family who really gets what’s going on, who can’t be conned.
● In most cases, children are highly intuitive, their perceptions not as clouded by years of conditioning. They tend to say exactly what they think & feel, much to the chagrin or rage of the adults – until the awareness is beaten & terrified out of the child, who then rebels or goes into hiding.
— The ‘good’ child (Hero) will carefully go along, following the script even when it doesn’t make any sense
— The ‘invisible’ child (Lost C) simply hides itself, closes it’s ears & tries to escape by physically isolating & staying in its head
— The ‘cute’ child (Mascot) tries to lighten the heavy painful atmosphere by playing dumb but amusing
— The ‘problem’ child (Scapegoat – who sees thru the confusion, but only for a while) will try to cut into the distortions by throwing the ‘truth’ in everyone’s face – with no success. NOT quite the same as being scapegoated.
● So we cobbled together some kind of view of ourselves & the world out of the many forms of twisted communication we were subjected to. It’s like having to weave a tapestry with only old tattered cloth, dead flowers, prickly vines & invisible yarn – forming a nightmare design. We ended up deeply perplexed about who we are, how things work, what’s possible…. while at the same time having only one way of being/ doing things (according to the Introject), so we don’t realize there are other options in the real world – for us.
1. Their Narcissism
● Mother to child: “Put a sweater on, I’m cold”, HUH???
● Bragging about us to others, to make themselves look good – but never complementing us directly – & constantly tearing us down to our face. We may or may not find out what they’ve been saying behind our back, but it doesn’t help. Are they proud of me or not?? What do others really think?
● EITHER: We’re absolutely convinced one or both parents are withholding – of love, attention, information, protection, affection….. when in fact they don’t have it to give because of their own damage – which the smart, intuitive part of us DOES know – but is too painful to acknowledge, so we blaming ourselves!
OR – A parent is the pillar of the community, giving to others of their time, attention, knowledge, camaraderie…. BUT at home is withholding & distant, or blatantly abusive to wife &/or kids. No one will believe you if you tell – you would be the crazy one!
OR – giving our toys, clothes, gifts…. to others without any warning or discussion (stealing from us) to be the big-shot, to make themselves feel better & seem important, be admired. They are feeding off of others because they are empty inside.
Confusion: My parent is a ‘good’ & beloved person, so why not to me??
2. Projection (NOT Projecting) – when parents or anyone else attributes qualities – always negative – to you that are only their own. It can be called emotional dyslexia (getting things backwards) – when they label or accuse you of something which is really a part of themselves they unconsciously disown or know about but refuse to admit to. In this case you’re in a Double-bind – you=the Receiver & they=the Sender. As a kid this is at best confusing, at worst crazy making.
3. Hypocrisy – this is more likely to occur in externally functioning (dysfunctional) families – but not exclusively. Kids know when adults are being dishonest, but this can causes too much cognitive dissonance that they end up believing the lies, & then have to work very hard to validate & justify their parents’ actions & statements, just to not feel crazy. We’re all familiar with the preacher / public servant / spiritual teacher type who publicly advocates purity, sobriety, family values…. but privately does the opposite – until they get caught! (More...)
• A favorite manipulation of many parents is “Do as I say, not as I do”. This is very confusing, since kids automatically & relentlessly copy what the adults do, as much as absorb what they’re told. Ironically, those of us who said “I’ll never BE like them” end up either following the same patterns directly (maybe in a disguises form), OR marrying / working for someone just like them. Among many other reasons ACoAs copy them, it’s an attempt to eliminate our mental dissonance.
4. Mental & Emotional illness (especially harmful when it’s the mother).
From the very beginning of life children being trapped with very real craziness, with someone who never makes any sense, or is only intermittently lucid – so their first relationship is with someone who twists, manipulates, gaslights —>”false information presented to make a victim doubt her or his own memory, perception & sanity”
● The parent may be psychotic, or ‘just’ severely depressed, drunk / drugged, suicidal…. & end up in the hospital, probably several times, with very little or no explanation given (needed info), the child not being able to visit, not knowing if the parent will ever be back…. or being forced to take care of the debilitated parent at home, along with siblings – for many, many years, subjected all the while to mental confusion & cruelty.
It’s one way we become deeply ashamed of ourselves, & learn never to rely on or trust others, nor rely on our own judgement. Am I a child or am I the parent? Am I evil? Am I crazy too???
NEXT: ACoAs & Confusion (Part 3)