PREVIOUS: Getting needs met (1a)
SITE: “Understanding Self-Sabotage”
1. GOALS (cont)
REMINDER: A goal is something to achieve, but it doesn’t have to be big or difficult. It can be anywhere FROM setting the alarm for a different time, cleaning the house, making a cold call, walking the dog, picking up the dry-cleaning….
TO getting a new job, taking a long trip, planning a party, breaking up with someone…..
• WE try our best to survive without the right kind of information & training about what’s ‘normal’ – healthy & appropriate in general, and suitable for us personally. As unhealed damaged people – no matter how intelligent, educated & accomplished – we are inevitably governed by the cruel push of the PP & the desperate fearful / rebellious WIC. Most ACoAs either :
— have great difficulty making decisions – we aren’t allowed to know or admit what we really need & want, can’t afford to risk making a mistake lest we get punished, & we want to avoid being disappointed yet again
— OR make them impulsively, without thinking thru the results – the possible consequences to ourselves or others – also based on childhood brain-washing.
• So many of our childhood needs were not met – correctly – which left us with the clear message that we’re not supposed to want or need anything for ourselves! Even if we did have some Physical ones met (roof, food, clothes, schooling….), which was a plus & allowed us to survive, any good things were undermined by all the neglect & abuse in the other PMES categories, especially Emotional. And for many of us even the P category was contaminated by beatings, incest, lack of basic provisions….
• This damaging background has created a great dilemma for us, a double bind that keeps many of us stuck:
a. we’re not allowed to have needs, especially emotional ones, BUT
b. we still have them ALL – can’t get rid of them no matter how hard we try to ignore & suppress them!
EXP: As mentioned in another post, a newcomer to Al-Anon figured out in a 4th-Step meeting that her belief was: “My biggest character defect is my need for love!” WHY? because she grew up feeling unloved, yet still desperately longed for it. Wasn’t it foolish to want something she was sure she had no right to & would never get? (Review “Unrealistic Expectations”)
Our experience in childhood was of endless ‘sameness’ – the same drinking, the same unfairness, the same neglect, the same loneliness, the same terror…..
Ironically, most ACoAs are best at what we like to do the least!
As Adults we’re still trapped in the hopelessness of ever being able to reach our TRUE goals, whatever they may be. For many of us, the idea of possibilities was not part of the mental vocabulary in our family:
— we didn’t have the option of using our imagination for ourselves, except maybe as a way to escape the pain we were constantly in, AND
— we used our creativity to figure out ways to keep our parents, siblings, mates, children… from total self-destruction
• When we DO have an idea of what to do, ACoAs need to ask ourselves:
— “Whose goal is this anyway – my PP or the WIC?” When a need/goal come from either one, it’s not safe to follow through.
— OR do I have a strong enough UNIT (Healthy Adult/Loving Parent) to do the very best I can for my Inner Child AND override the wounded voices?
➼ But it’s also imperative we remember “I know what I know”, because we have our own native wisdom! The Healthy Child has always knew a great many things which never got acknowledged & were too painful to remember. So now the Good Parent can listen to that still small voice, & help redirect the decision process to get the best results.
EXPs of some inappropriate goals:
• when the WIC wants that ‘special’ man or woman for themselves, but that person is married, ‘crazy’, &/or just not interested. The child will obsess, chase, cling, beg, or withdraw from life, sulking & wounded, OR be angry & demanding, just wanting-what-it-wants
• when our WIC thinks we have to become the most powerful / famous person, no matter what it takes & who we step on, & that will get the approval of the PP + the attention / validation from everyone else in the world as compensation for parental rejection – to feel OK about ourselves
• when we stay attached to abusive parents to insure getting their money, or an abusive mate to prevent losing security, money, position, sense of identity…..
GOALS that benefit us require
✧ enough about our True Self (which is always there from birth, no matter how buried & denied)
✧ that we’re basically safe, which lessens anxiety (free-floating terror), so we can take reasonable risks
✧ that nothing we do is perfect, can’t be perfect (because humans aren’t) & should not even be thought of in those terms
✧ there are a variety of options to choose from
✧ and believing in a positive, achievable future for ourself
✧ we’re allowed to follow our own path, even if others don’t approve or understand
✧ we have a right to use our strengths, experience & knowledge
✧ it’s OK to be positively powerful, effective & productive
NEXT: Getting need met – Implementation (Part 2)