I’M NO GOOD & EVERYONE KNOWS IT
so I have to be perfect to make up for it
T.E.A. = Thoughts, Emotions, Actions
REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
SELF-HATE (S-H) is the #1 deterrent to growth for all ACoAs.
It undermines our ability to function well, to have self-esteem & to be happy. Some people call it being ‘hard on yourself”, but it’s much more than that. It’s so pervasive in the inner world of many ACoAs, that we don’t even know we have it & if confronted, vehemently deny it.
BUT the symptoms are all there, starting with a persistent nagging anxiety.
✶ In Childhood: being thoroughly convinced that everything bad that happen to us as kids was our fault, that we caused our own pain!
✶ In Adulthood: continuing from the past, we believe in our very cells that anytime we feel hurt, suffer a loss, get ignored, can’t get something we want, have something taken away, have to wait for something … that it’s because we are bad, don’t deserve, did something wrong , failed to do something, don’t have a right to it – anyway …
• ALL self-hate is a LIE
✶ it’s a defense mechanism to deny our feelings of abandonment. This a crucial point:
S-H tries to cover-up all our abandonment pain
• it’s a form of narcissism (ours) – making everything about US, when it rarely is. We make other people’s bad behavior our fault & our responsibility
• it’s an attempt at feeling in control, to cover our intense sense of powerlessness & vulnerability
• S-H can be expressed in all 3 T.E.A. categories:
Ts: “I caused their accident, since I asked them to come visit me”
Es: “I feel bad & really scared they won’t like me since I spoke up”
As: staying with abusive people, not taking care of ourselves, not pursuing our dreams, not speaking up….
One of the characteristics on the ACoA Laundry List is being Over-Responsible, a symptom of FoA & S-H. What make S-H different from taking healthy, balanced Responsibility?
R. is to acknowledge the reality of having our T. E & As – or not. It’s straightforwardly owning up, which can sound like: “Yes, I did that” (A), or ‘No, I can’t handle this” (A), or “No, I don’t agree with that”(T) , or “Yes, I love this” (E), etc.
S-H, on the other hand –
• can prevent us from admitting to any flaws, for fear of abandonment & because of feeling shame, OR
• it can make us confess to wrongdoing even when we are in fact blameless.
In either case, what’s underneath is an unspoken Toxic Lie which is tacked on to legitimate responsibility, categorically stating:
➼ “I did / didn’t — and THEREFORE I’m Bad!”, no matter what the topic or truth is . This add-on is implied but at the core of our self-image.
ACoAs will take any opportunity to beat themselves up, even about good things!
“Yes, I did forget to sent the letter out today, & therefore I’m bad”
“No, I can’t do that for you, so therefore I’m bad”
“Yes, I went to the show without asking you, so therefore I’m bad”
“No, I haven’t ‘grown’ perfectly or as fast as I should & therefore I’m bad”….
This is NOT what ‘taking responsibility’ means.
(‘Fear of’ & ‘Healthy’ Responsibility)
WHAT IS IT?
In it’s simplest form, Responsibility (R) is: honestly admitting to ourselves, first of all, what we feel, think & have done – or – not. (T.E.A.). It includes acknowledging both our limitations & our gifts, our ignorance & our knowledge.
And if possible, always doing this without judgment, without shame, without guilt. MOST of ALL – without self-hate.
This def. applies to us now as adults. We were NOT responsible for the reality of what our parents did!
NEXT: SELF-HATE & ACoAs (Part 2)