PREVIOUS: Abandonment Pain Now (Part 1)
See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
REVERSING – ACoAs also tend to get our extremes backwards:
▪︎ being under-sensitive to ourselves &/or others which a healthy person would definitely be upset about or at least register as ‘off’
EXP: running into traffic as the light turns red, taking home a stranger we just met who talks a good game, not catching an insult….
▪︎ being over-sensitive – internally as S-H & externally as fear & rage at others – to all sorts of situations that others don’t even notice or are not bothered by
EXP: a passing glance from someone we interpret as dislike, not being included in some event, someone forgetting to bring us a promised book
JUMBLING – we don’t seem to be able to make a distinction between important & unimportant issues in life, so that…..
….. being ignored, someone not being available, not getting the information we need, death of a loved one, other people’s damage, a missed phone call, not being able to find something in our home, being late, being dumped, losing a job…..
ALL seem to have equal value – either being numb to it or being overly upset! (See Part 1)•
Adult SYMPTOMS of having been A. as a child
• Emotional: anxiety, being frozen (deer in headlights), depression, hopelessness, loneliness, paranoia, rage, resentment, sadness, terror…
• Psychological: avoiding responsibility, blaming, co-dependence, CDs (cognitive distortions), denial, fear of intimacy, idealizing or under-valuing others, lying, manipulating, procrastination, poor communication, withholding…..
• Behaviors: clinging, choosing alcoholics /addicts, fighting, isolation, lateness, raging, self-sabotage, self-harm, suicide attempts, under-earning withdrawal…..
STYLES of reacting to old abandonment
At one extreme is the ACoA experience of being mostly insensitive TO:
a. how we feel about all sorts of things, whether trivial or intense, what our very real needs & wants are, what we’re good at… We continually abandon ourselves, just like they did
b. the many ways some people are unkind, unfair & insensitive toward us. We ignore being ‘dissed’ as a result of :
• being so used to abandonment (A) in childhood that we don’t even feel it
• not knowing about the concept of (A), so can’t verbalize it, even if we do notice a twinge in our gut
• may notice it, BUT blame ourselves, assume we deserve it, don’t have a right to ask for more… (our Self-hate)
• may notice it but pretend it’s not happening, because it would be too painful AND we’d have to stand up to them or leave
• make excuses for the other person’s bad behavior, the way we had to excuse our family. No one at home took responsibility for their abuse & neglect, so now we don’t hold anyone else accountable either
• don’t want to say anything because we don’t know the difference between confrontation & assertion, & we don’t want to hurt their feelings or start a fight
➼ Many ACoAs have a disconnect between their head & their gut, between thinking & feeling. Whether an under- or over- sensitive type, we all DO register the hurt of being discounted, disrespected, neglected or attacked.
However, emotionally disconnected ACoAs are:
• either – totally unconscious that someone has ‘stepped on our toes’, OR
• it’s as if we’re wearing a defensive invisible collar – LIKE the big plastic medical kind, used on animals so they can’t scratch their ears. We can see over the top, but NOTHING below the collar.
EXP: Someone can stick a verbal knife in your gut, BUT a with a smile or as a ‘joke’. You can only see the ‘nice’ face, but not the dangerous hand (the mean words). You notice the pain BUT because you can’t see anything below the plastic collar, you think there’s something wrong with you. After all, everyone else is ok & you’re the crazy ones, right?
NEXT: Abandonment pain now (Part 3)