defending self 

have to always defend myself

PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Asking Qs

SITE: The Importance of Asking Questions – Steve Jobs

BROAD categories of Questions (Qs)
a. Negative: to attack, to challenge, to embarrass, to stir things up
b. Positive: to connect, to encourage, get info, make you think, to teach

2 Inappropriate forms
From Narcissism
• Qs that are controlling (“Why don’t you do it THIS way?”)
• Qs from the WIC, in the victim position, if asking for info about things we DO know, as a way of feeling taken care of
• Qs coming from the assumption that others are like us
— PP: “Why would you even consider that?” or
— WIC: “Don’t you think this color is the most?”
symbiotic• Asking (insisting) others to go with you or do something that only you like, or that you know they dislike

• Qs that are rude &/or insensitive, because we don’t consider that other people have feelings – we impulsively ask whatever comes to our mind without considering the consequences. This is a copy of our parents who never acknowledged our emotions, & we act the same way
: At a church dinner, Jane (in the 20s) notices that Sarah (in her 30s) is not wearing her engagement ring. Across the table, in a rather loud voice she asks about it but Sarah doesn’t answer, so Jane asks again – twice more before giving up. She doesn’t get the hint that her Q is not well received, altho it’s obvious to everyone else. Some know that Sarah’s engagement has been called off, so the Q is painful. Jane hasn’t gotten the 411 yet, but that’s not the point. Her Q is insensitive & intrusive – especially in such a public way – being in her Child mode, oblivious to another person’s reaction, especially after the initial rebuff.

With Anger
Qs with an attitude, which puts people off. Ironically, it’s always because Abandonment angry QWound got bumped. We feel disconnected, which scares the WIC, which makes him/her angry. If we lash out we create more distance, which is the opposite of what we want. It’s a way of asking a Q which is actually:
• a form of accusing, blaming, shaming (“Who took my pen?”)
• an attack on an authority figure (“Why don’t you do something about this problem?”)
• challenging someone’s belief system (“How can you believe in that mythology?”)
• showing someone up (“You didn’t know that?”)

ASKING from the WIC – in the present
• whining, begging, bugging, not taking no for an answer
• talking from emotions: “I feel like I can’t trust her”, instead of: “ I can’t trust her”. The former implies you have a feeling, but aren’t sure – even tho you do actually know that person is not trustworthy – from long experience
talking around an important subject, rather than ask a direct Q
• not using “I” statements, when trying to get info. EXP: “Why can’t you be more attentive?”, instead of: “I’d like you to pay attention when I’m talking. Would you be willing to do that?”
• ask the wrong person or venue for what you need, specially when you already know they’re not able or willing (like: going to an unavailable parent for comfort // trying to get emotional support in a school or business setting…..)

vs. FROM the ADULT
On the other hand, asking Qs from the Adult Ego State means we IN present reality, interacting with the person or situation in front of us, not someone from our past. The Adult ES knows:differences
• other people are not a carbon copy of us
• we have options we didn’t have as a child
• that not everyone is as emotionally or physically dangerous as our family
• that everyone has their own personality & experience – separate from our own
• that other adults are not responsible for taking care of us, nor are they responsible for healing our wounds – ie. not replacement parents

Asking appropriate, clear Qs is a legitimate, normal part of good communication skills. Children ask a lot of Qs, mainly to find out about the world around them. But they also do not ask for emotional needs which healthy parents know & provide. Our didn’t, so we don’t know to ask for them now. Legitimate, healthy Qs may be a way :

• to find out about the other person – who they really are, not what we are projecting on to them from our past, or what we want them to be
• to respond to what they’re saying, not what we’re thinking or feeling
• if you don’t understand something
• to go deeper (How do feel about that”) — OR —
• to keep things LIGHT!! (“How was your vacation?”)
• to find out HOW someone thinks / feels about a current situation
• to find out what has someone already done, or what they already know about a need, a situation or experience

• of using the Socratic method, to help someone draw on their inner knowledge, to think thru a problem by figuring out who they are or what’s right for themmaking connection
• to connect with a person you’ve been thrown together with for a short time. It cuts down on loneliness, makes you part of the larger world, you can learn something new & interesting, & you may even get unexpected help.
EXP: Ina is on the bus, going home after a long painful day at the hospital. It’s crowded & she helps a lady get a seat next to her. Ina is in the mood for company, but doesn’t want to be intrusive. Intuiting that the woman is friendly, Ina quietly says: “I feel like talking. How was your day?” Her Q is well received, & they have a lovely, informative conversation for the next half hour. It turns out they have a lot in common, & the woman is happy to share her own difficult day with a sympathetic listener!

NEXT: ACoAs & Qs Part 3


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