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everything I learned at home!
PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Confusion (#2d)
Childhood CONFUSION : OTHER sources (cont.)
3. Communication DISTORTIONS (cont.)
b. Lack of information
– Expected to know how to do things by ourselves, even as very small kids, without guidance or practical knowledge: math problems, what to do when you get your period, doing housework, how to cook, do repairs to house & car, shop….. OR
– Not allowed to help them do things around the house because they were impatience, drunk or didn’t know how to explain
• unrealistic expectations re. what we should know (grandiosity) about everything, all the time. So we’re confused & full of S-H when we can’t be all-knowing & perfect
• not actually knowing how to do even basic self-care
• believing we’re too stupid to learn
• if we did figure out how to do certain things on our own (ACoAs are actually very smart, determined & resourceful) we don’t valued the results of our efforts – convinced that if we did it, it can’t be very good.
We think our actions (skill & talents) are only kosher if someone else shows us ‘how to’, & says they’re acceptable! Even then we often don’t believe the complements & validation. SAD.
c. Events / situations NEVER discussed, explained or processed:
– parents fighting at night, mom is black & blue
– loss of jobs (often from drinking), with no acknowledgement or responsibility for messing up
– death of a family member (including previous children), a twin or biological parent you weren’t told about, disappearance of a beloved pet…with no time to grieve or reminisce
– moving (perhaps many times) without preparation, or explanation….
– broken promises denied, & never apologized for or corrected
– fights so loud/violent that cops are called
d. Inappropriate information: Using child as an adult confidant
EXP: While dad & brother slink off upstairs, drunk mom keeps young teen up night after night, forcing daughter to listen to her slurred ramblings – complaints about her bad marriage, money problems, hated relatives….. Next day no one -ever- says a word about it
• The child (any age) gets the message – in some form:
“You’re my only hope, no one but you understands me, I can’t have anyone else take care of me but you, you can never leave me”….. (More….)
RESULT: Besides feeling trapped & enraged, the confusion is about your role in the relationship. You’re being treated as a friend / caretaker rather than a son or daughter. You like the feeling of being confided in & needed, but they’re never available for you to ‘rest in’, to rely on, to go to when feeling ‘weak’, needy, in pain, overwhelmed with the responsibility…. You’re only acceptable, petted, admired (if at all) for taking care of them.
SO – ACoAs end up believing that this kind of sick symbiotic connection is real intimacy!
Overt incest – aside from the horror of the violation & profound breach of trust – confusion can set in IF :
— the parent tells the child they’re needed, loved, being favored, BUT also threaten punishment & withdrawal of love if the child reveals their ‘secret’
— the child is a bit older & has ‘pleasurable’ physical reaction to sexual stimulation, while too young for sexual activity, AND not wanting parental attention in that way
Covert incest is even more confusing. Aside from power & control, the parent is treating the child as if they were another adult – instead of caring for, protecting & nurturing them. (More….) It can come in the form of:
– a mother half-dressed & flirting with your friends or dates
– a father lying around the house in underwear showing his privates
– a child being watched ‘hungrily’ while undressing or in the bathroom…
– a child treated as a substitute spouse by either parent – as in a mother “husbandizing” a son, or a father going to his daughter for comfort
– children told lewd jokes, taken to brothels, called a slut, used sexual language about everything – all in the guise of “Ha Ha, aren’t I a cool parent!”
NEXT: Confusion #3a