PREVIOUS: Dis-comfort & Comfort #1
See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
Answer Qs: Are you happy in your own skin? (Body issues)
1. Negative Comfort (Part 1)
2. NEGATIVE DIS-comfort
We can look at both of the next 2 lists (Nigglies & Biggies) from opposite perspective – regarding how we interact with people, events & situations (PPT).
As kids we had to clamp down on our emotions because we were punished or ignored for having them, had very little or no comforting when in pain, & no way of processing them. That taught us to ignore feelings. BUT they never go away – they just go underground & pile up until we are one big sore – but blaming ourselves. The enormity of our accumulated pain is overwhelming, & not knowing that we can process them out, we have to shut down, so the pain turns into depression or we use it to attack others, & for many of us – we do both.
Being in denial about the abuse we have suffered leads many ACoAs to emotionally & mentally under-react to most stressors. It’s not unusual to observe ACoAs smiling, even laughing, when talking about traumatic events.
EXP: Recently Sara stopped in at a fast food joint down town. While eating her sandwich 5 local teens came in & sat at the next table. The were laughing about the beatings they used to get at home, one out-doing the others in their descriptions. Sara wanted so much to tell them how horrible that was, but knew they would not have welcomed her interference.
Sitting on all that disowned pain takes up a lot of psychic energy, making it very hard to pay attention to real difficulties when they occur in the present. So naturally, daily annoyances are more likely to be dismissed or overlooked as unimportant (T)! This makes sense, since we don’t have the inner quiet (serenity) to deal with them. We’re just trying to keep our head above water!
At the same time, having so much of our energy tied up in denial we’re the ‘walking wounded’, leaving us with very little reserve for dealing with anything unexpected. So when something big does hit us, we withdraw, fall apart, get sick, get belligerent….. & generally take a long time to get over it.
Precisely because of our pain backlog, many ACoAs’ default setting is to make everything into a big drama. We can over-react to even ‘minor’ frustrations more than is called for – as if they’re life & death events. “Touch me & I bleed!” We get too angry, too impatient & frustrated, too easily insulted, take things too personally….. no matter the size or importance of an issue in reality, including situations that have nothing to do with us. Losing a favorite object can feel just as terrible as losing a loved one!
BTW – This intensity tell us that no matter how trivial something is – if we’re triggered (have a very strong emotional reaction) – the very fact that it upsets us is absolute proof that it is similar or identical to something that happened to us over & over in childhood (an emotional/ mental/ verbal /sexual abuse or neglect…) either a literal copy or representing an underlying negative message.
a. The Nigglies
— minor irritants we tend to ignore, usually short-term & could easily be dealt with, but they chip away at us if we don’t
• don’t use bathroom when needed
• live with bad shoes, small aches (bad chair), “wrong’ clothes/ not warm enough …
• live or work in unclean & ugly environments
• make jokes about something serious
• ignore household chores, so they pile up
• ruminate about someone ‘ignoring or dissing us
• stay on the phone too long
• not leave somewhere when you want to
• always do things the hardest way
• let things slide & then obsess about them
• live in your mind rather than take actions
• not mend torn clothes, live with broken things at home
• be impatient with ‘normal’ daily delays
• don’t write things down & then forget
• don’t take care of personal business, until too late
• don’t protect yourself from noises (loud or annoying)
b. The Biggies
— long-term, difficult to correct & weighs us down
• insist on self-hating thinking – esp. when we know better
• stay in abusive, dangerous relationships
• all forms of addition (see chart —>)
• be in the ‘wrong’ job/profession too long
• social anxiety from negative beliefs (SAS site)
• don’t get help when you really need it – or never
• don’t get medical attention for persistent ailments/ pain/ disabilities
• compulsive denial & suppression of emotions
• self-deprivation – of many needs & wants
• deliberately hurting other people/animals
• suicide attempts / neglecting any mental health issue
• ignore or dismiss successes, accomplishments
• sexual anorexia or promiscuity
• deny childhood trauma
• over-spending & debting, living in over-whelming clutter
• fear of intimacy, so pick unavailable or dangerous friends & partners
• compulsive isolation, thereby ‘starving’ oneself of positive experiences
• self-defeating actions when trying to get disallowed needs met
• sabotage possible good relationships / jobs / gifts / opportunities….
• habitual procrastination
• poor eating & sleep patterns
• self-injury (Chart) ↘