is easy – and fun!
PREVIOUS: EMHP – Part 1a
REVIEW Intro in Part 1a
EMOTIONALLY & MENTALLY HEALTHY People (EMHP):
EMOTIONAL / PSYCHOLOGICAL (cont.)
EMHP Don’t Feel Pessimistic
ACoAs are more likely to see themselves (S-H), others & the world from a negative point of view (paranoia & hopelessness). The adults we grew up with were judgmental of everyone & everything, so we took on the same perspective. This meant ignoring all the positive things available in life, including the good things that we did experience.
EMHP generally feel optimistic about their lives and their futures, without ignoring stresses. They don’t let temporary difficulties or unimportant annoyances get them down – at least not for long. They know that obstacles are part of life, making an effort to solve what ever they can & accepting what they can’t change.
They don’t focus on their weaknesses – while still acknowledging them. No one can be perfect, for they don’t waste time trying. Instead they make continue working on improving themselves rather than feeling defeated.
EMHP Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves
There’s a difference between feeling sorry for yourself & having self-compassion for all that we’ve gone thru. The former is the Victim’s outlook on life, believing they can’t function because of the abuse in their past. While their childhood trauma was real, as adults they refuse to work at healing their damage in order to improve their present & future life. The underlying Victim position is that as long as they’re ‘incapacitated’ someone else will have to take care of them. If no one does, they remain helpless.
On the other hand, EMHP acknowledge their past traumas, with self-compassion, while fully accepting the unfair & painful but realistic truth that we are responsible for cleaning up the PMES mess our unhealthy family created for us.
(See posts “ACoAs Feeling sorry – unhealthy & healthy”)
EMHP come to accept the way they were mistreated, both in childhood & as adults, without denying the pain they lived thru. They’re able to emerge from trying circumstances with self-awareness & self-respect, even appreciating lessons learned. In the present when things don’t go well, they’re able to find realist ways to manage the situation, get the support they need, & believe in their worth, no matter what. It’s also understandable to feel sorry for one’s self briefly from time to time, especially after an uncontrollable event. It’s necessary to lick our wounds & regroup, to regain strength before moving on. EMHP are able to have gratitude for their positive qualities & the good thing they already have.
EMHP Don’t Avoid Alone Time
Many ACoAs are addicted to relationships and to staying busy, no matter how unsatisfying or damaging. They always need to be with or around someone, rescuing others or creating chaos, running away from themselves – desperate to hang on. They never seem to slow down enough to feel emotions, evaluate their motives or stop self-defeating behavior patterns.
When ACoAs in Recovery have down-time they often find themselves at sea – not knowing what to do with unstructured hours. They feel depressed, too lonely, can’t decide what to do, aren’t allowed to have fun or relax….. often wasting precious weekends or holidays, & then go back to their rat-race. Even those of us who are highly accomplished & talented are motivated by fear, rather than self-esteem.
But EMHP treasure time by themselves – using it to reflect, to plan ahead, to have fun, be creative, do something not related to their work-life OR just rest! There are times when it’s truly necessary to pull back in order to allow for internal healing, but it’s not endless.
They don’t need others to give them a direction or to make them feel OK. They can be happy with others, but also be happy alone. Strong people are comfortable with their thoughts & emotions. If they’re stressed they know how to comfort themselves. They know that using down-time to change their routine or ‘vegging’ to regroup is crucial to mental & physical health. They know that play is part of a well-balanced life, & that they don’t need to constantly be ‘producing’ something to validate their existence. (MORE….)
EMHP Don’t Isolate themselves
At the other extreme, many ACoAs cut themselves off from regular contact with others – sometimes for decades – because of untreated Laundry List characteristics, mainly weak boundaries (Bs), self-hate (S-H) & fear of abandonment (FoA).
And we often confuse isolation (because of our damage) with healthy down-time or temporarily retreating to heal from past or current traumatic events. We also confuse isolation with being an Introvert. Healthy Introverts don’t need as much stimulation (lot’s of people & a flurry of activity), but are as social & talkative as Extroverts, just not in as intensely.
EMHP know that periodically being alone is need to process difficult experiences or old emotions, a temporary but needed part of personal growth. But they also know that cutting themselves off from emotionally safe & intellectually stimulating people/places/things (PPT) for long periods is not in their best interest.
Human beings do not thrive when isolated from others. Even when they don’t have the ideal family or intimate relationships, EMHP regularly make an effort to develop healthy & loving connections with others, perhaps even forming an extended family. They make time to create warm & interesting memories.
NOTE: More “EMHP Don’ts” in future posts (Mental, Social & Action)