I WANT, I WANT – BUT NOT ALLOWED!
Too scared to think clearly
PREVIOUS : Positive Responses to Events (#5)
You’re confused about how you feel – emotionally. You wonder “Am I angry or scared? I shouldn’t be upset about the way that clerk talked to me, like I was dumb, but I am upset & ashamed about having such a strong reaction…, I’m feeling sad & relieved at the same time about the breakup. Am I crazy?”…..
NO – not crazy, it’s just normal human complexity. Having a variety, even contradictory Es is common, especially when considering that each Ego State has it’s own & they don’t always agree.
FIRST – on no account beat yourself up for anything you have or have not
been able to do. It’s not productive – AND it’s child abuse! Never expect yourself to have the PERFECT answer, or DO the perfect thing. EVER!
This post is about behavior – the problem of not knowing which option to choose when in a dilemma. It can be:
— relatively small, short-term or a daily occurrence
— something you’ve been struggling with for a long time
— something which has surfaced in your life recently
— a really serious, life altering choice you need to make
Before anything else we need to know what our goal is. Oh no! That means having permission, knowing our needs & letting our ADULT choose the actions. What’s your bottom line goal? Are you pursuing it OR still protecting your Negative Benefits? EXPs:
• re. GOING OUT: is it to stop being so lonely & risk being disappointed but maybe gain friendship, good info, new opportunities …. OR is it to protect oneself at all cost by hiding out & continue starving!?
• re. WORK: is it to do a job search, no matter how long it takes, to find something more suitable & better paying OR stay in a place you’ve outgrown or hate, so you don’t have to make the effort of improving your life?
• re. SELF-CARE: is it to gain a sense of personal power & get needs met (no matter how small), OR is it to wait endlessly for someone else to come along & rescue you?
• re. ASKING QUESTIONS: is it to get help, knowledge, attention…. OR is it having to always be right, to know everything, to be ‘self-sufficient’?
• re. STANDING UP for yourself: is it to get a need met, without anger OR suffer in silence & stay resentful?
• re. RELATIONSHIPS: is it to work toward & eventually leave a dead-end or destructive relationship which continually hurts you (even tho it may bring up pain in the short-term but in the end be a relief, an opportunity to heal & the freedom to choose better next time) OR is it to stay endlessly, & be in denial that it keeps adding to your low self-esteem, generates more humiliation, anger, sadness….?
‘Being stuck’ always includes intense internal conflict we’re not able or willing to resolve. The above examples are in the form of conflicts – mainly between the ‘UNIT’ and the WIC. The healthy rule is: when your Adult & Child are on the same page about anything – the conflict melts away & the actions seem self-evident. They are easy & usually don’t take much time. However, when we’re deep in our damage, all our time is spent obsessing, worrying, complaining… but NOT acting.
• Once we’re ready to focus on taking some kind of appropriate action, it may be something we’ve been thinking about for a long time but couldn’t move on, or something shifted in us so we formed a new way of thinking about the problem, which quickly translates into a new way of functioning. Then we can consider the next steps in the process.
Small chunks – practice chopping down any task into bite size actions, based on what you can swallow at the moment. ACoAs are in the habit of being overwhelmed by goals in general, & by some that no one can possibly do all at once, but for some insane reason we think we should be able to! In spite of the fact that current reality is usually not as grim as our childhood was – we still opt for staying overwhelmed rather than deal with whatever is going on in the present, right?
Clearly – that position comes from the WIC’s beliefs —
• who is terrified of breaking any of the Toxic family Rules because that would trigger the ‘inevitable’ punishment of abandonment, from family or anyone else — if we actually got things accomplished & our needs met via reasonably sized actions (“Must always struggle but never get there”, “Don’t outshine us”, “All risks are dangerous”)….
• who is still convinced we don’t know how to do anything! since we had to know & do all sort of impossible things even as very small children, without anyone bothering to show us how or being a good example! Many of us got the message “Just do it!”
EXP: Anyone remember the 1980’s TV show “The Greatest American Hero”? A high school teacher was given a super-hero costume by aliens, with the manual, which he lost in the shock of the encounter. Each episode was about how he had to figure out how to use the suit & all the trouble it / he caused because he didn’t know how it worked. Sounds a lot like our lives!
• who refuses to acknowledge all the years of accumulated knowledge & experience we HAVE gathered along the way since those early harrowing days, because then he/she would lose an excuse for waiting to be rescued!
NEXT: What to DO…. (Part 2)