I HATE READING THIS INFO!
Even so, it’s a relief to know
SITE: Adult Survivors of Child Abuse: Removing the Splinter
BOOK: Laundry List – Tony A & Dan F
NOTE: See Acronym page for abbrev.
• All the PMES forms of Abandonment by parents cause children to hide the parts of themselves that are considered NOT OK by the family, in order to not get rejected: “DON’T make mistakes, don’t have needs, don’t contradict, or successful, or show your emotions …”
Exp: We were told that what we felt was not true or legitimate: “You don’t have anything to cry about, so stop being such a baby”, “Stop crying or I’ll really give you something to cry about” “That really didn’t hurt” , “You have no right to be angry” ….
Self-Hate – As a result of being mistreated as kids, the most visible issue for
ACoAs now is our intense S-H: “I’m no good, no one will ever love me, I can’t do anything, my need don’t count…..”, the defense mechanism all children develop to protect themselves from experiencing the original pain suffered throughout childhood (abandonment), and from acknowledging to themselves how hurtful their parents were.
S-H says: ‘Everything bad that happened to me – past or present – was / is my fault.’ SO – any time I’m in pain I did something wrong, & I’m bad
• This belief gives the WIC a false sense of power – “If I caused it, I can fix it!” However, the reality is that we did not create the damage that was done to us – that is the responsibility of the adults who raised us. We were the victim of their wounds – then. NOW, we’re responsible for healing ourselves so that we can become our True Self!
Because of childhood Abuse, Neglect & Abandonment, in the present – WE:
• are perfectionistic, driven, rarely satisfied – especially with ourselves
• are intimidated by or feel enraged at controlling people
• expect others to hurt, judge or take advantage of you
• experience temporary dissociation (splitting), disconnecting from self
• feel chronically empty or numb inside, easily bored, restless
• feel like we’re always under scrutiny – even when alone
• find it hard to relax, laugh or be spontaneous
• keep ourselves isolated from shame & so ‘no one can hurt or leave’ us
• frantically try to avoid real or imagined abandonment – by clinging, people-pleasing, being invisible….
• lose ourselves in relationships by automatically & continually putting others’ needs before our own
• over-value & then under-value people we get too close to
• a confused or distorted self-image: “Who am I really?” , “What do I really look like?” (feel ugly, fat, too thin too short….)
• chronic obsessive thoughts, going ‘round & ‘round without solutions
• compulsive self-damaging behaviors in 2 or more areas of life, such as an eating disorder, addictions, fights, under-achieving….
• harsh “inner critics” that torture us, especially after any disappointment or loss
• impulsivity – can’t control our choices & reactions
• inappropriate & intense anger; difficulty controlling temper
• mood swings not caused by bipolar disease
• paranoid thinking – as a regular way of experiencing others
• recurring suicidal thoughts or actions
• trouble asserting ourselves or feeling proud of our accomplishments
• trouble finding a spiritual belief, or one that feels right
ACoAs are very intelligent and determined. With the right kind of help we can heal from these wounds and prosper. Al-Anon, therapy, a spiritual practice, reading, & staying connected with other ACoAs in Recovery make all the difference. Don’t forget: ‘Progress, not Perfection’
ACoA WEBSITE (80+ pages): www.acoarecovery.com
NEXT: Original LL