I’M JUST FOLLOWING
everything I learned at home!
PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Confusion (Part 5)
QUOTE: ‘If I looked confused, it’s because I’m thinking.”~ Samuel Goldwin
As adults, most of us live too much in our head, yet we’re endlessly confused (a cognitive NOT emotional issue) because of all the mental spinning with CDs & S-H – obsessive & tortuous ‘thinking’. We’re inundated by the ‘committee’ of internal voices we’re trying to ignore but can’t. Our round-table consists of the WIC & various parts of the PP (mother, father, other relatives, school, society, religious beliefs….). The reasonable Adult may even occupy a seat but doesn’t have a strong enough voice to win out. What’s missing at the table is the UNIT – the Loving Parent & Strong, healthy Adult ego states – to be in charge. What’s missing is our True Self, who knows that “I know what I know”.
● Much of the time ACoAs are immobilized – because:
— we can’t identify who we really are, & are not allowed to admit what we truly like, need or want
— we’re afraid to make any decision, sure it will be the wrong one & then we’ll get punished (“I don’t want to be alone this evening, but if I go to the event I’ll be judged by everyone in the room”)
— we’re can’t bear the idea that whatever choice we make will eliminate others we would also have liked – at the same time! (“I want to go to the party with my girlfriends AND I want to go to the concert”)
— we’ve been taught to rarely or never choose what’s best for us in the moment (“I’m very lonely & sooo want to go on this date, but I really should stay home & recover from this wicked cold”)…..
PURPOSE: To obey toxic family rules, loyal to family dysfunction, so we deny our rights, boundaries, emotions, intuition….
— protecting ourselves from being punished, judged, made fun of
— getting out of being responsible for ourselves, our emotions & needs
1. Confuse EMOTIONS with THOUGHTS —
— because we use the word ‘FEEL’ 3 ways: a. Sensations (hungry, cold…), b. Emotions (sad / happy…) and c. Thoughts (I feel THAT…).
To become UNconfused, at least when thinking to yourself, only use this word for categories a. & b., never c.
Practice: Any time you start a sentence with “I feel…..” make sure the next word is an emotion word, & you can feel several at the same time: “I feel excited, but a little scared…. / I feel disappointed & frustrated, but resigned ….
REMEMBER: If what comes after “I feel—” is a whole sentence (I feel <> like they don’t understand me), then it’s a thought / opinion / belief or legitimate observation…. but no emotion is stated, even though one or more may be hiding in the forest of words. Between the <> there is likely an unacknowledged emotion, as in “I’m <ANGRY> that they misunderstand what I said”.
2. Confuse EMOTIONS with ACTIONS
“I don’t feel like going there / working today / seeing that movie….”. is about actions, not emotion, even though, again, there are some underneath. It would be more accurate to say “I’m too scared to go there / I hate my job so I’m not going to work today / I get upset watching spooky movies, so…”
3. Having MULTIPLE emotions at the same time about a situation, especially if they seem contradictory. All we have to remember is that they arise from different ego states, & does NOT mean we’re crazy or wrong. Humans are complex. (See Part 1)
4. Have UNACCEPTABLE emotions, in response to events, which we aren’t allowed, don’t understand, are afraid to feel, make us feel too vulnerable….. We’re confused, don’t know what to think about it
EXP: Crying when something good happens to us, when we feel cared for, when we hear something which rings true for us….
In each of these cases the tears come from a feeling deep relief & pleasure – FINALLY I’m being treated well, finally I’m being understood / getting the answers I’ve always longed for / being validated – for the first time in my life. I never thought this would happen!
EXP: Therapy client says “I’m just beginning to admit that my uncle molested me when I was a kid. I’m really angry about that but I don’t know if I should be”. REALITY: the woman is confused (mentally unclear) about her right to have a strong response to a severe violation, & needs validation / permission to have all her emotions
5. Make ASSUMPTIONS (makes an ‘ass-of-U-&-me’) about other people or situations, because we’re going by old scripts (Ts) & old experiences (As), rather than checking things out. ACoAs are intensely reluctant to ask for information or ask for help. So the outcome of events or relationships often are not what we believed or expected – confusing us.
● Re. Authorities (boss, doctor, teacher…). Because ACoAs are desperate for good, safe, knowledgeable parents, we endow authority figures with superior qualities that no one could live up to, & assume they’re going to provide what we didn’t get as kids. When they don’t live up to our expectations (or their claims) we get deeply disappointed, confused & angry.
NEXT: ACoAs & Confusion (Part 7)