THAT’S NO WAY TO FEEL!
You’re too much for me. I don’t want to hear it.
PREVIOUS: Abandoning Others (2a)
See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
5. REPRESSING Others’ EMOTIONS (cont.)
d. Insensitivity —> have INappropriate responses when hearing any expression of emotional distress (“I’m really upset / scared /worried…”), such as:
• come up with thoughtless, unfeeling, unsolicited or unnecessary ‘solutions’ (the most common mistake!)
• ignore it completely, or blatantly change the subject
• stop calling or visiting – just disappear for a while without explanation
In this case the ACoA is trying to stop someone’s emotional discomfort with a ‘practical fix’, so we don’t have to deal with ‘messy’ emotions – theirs & ours! BY:
• giving them a ‘chin up’ lecture, telling them it’s not all that bad (when it is)
• trying to take their mind off of the hurt (may be helpful – sometimes, with some, but not recommended as a first option)
• promising that something good will ‘come out of this / it’ll turn out OK’ – which we can’t possibly know or deliver
• say ‘It’s OK’, when nothing is changing in reality (like a parent or spouse’s drinking / drug use)
• minimizing the extent of their pain, by NOT believing the depth of their suffering with comments like: “It can’t be that bad?!” / “You’re just being dramatic”
• pretending the sufferer has NO responsibility for the pain they’re currently in as an adult (like, marrying yet another addict / not dealing with a health problem until it’s too late / getting fired from yet another job…), just to make them feel ‘better’
• giving unsolicited ‘helpful’ suggestions which have nothing to do with the issue at hand OR not the point of the pain
EXP: After surviving the devastation of her apartment burning down, which destroyed everything including her 2 cats & 2000 books — a woman heard various insensitive things like :
• “You should be grateful. At least you weren’t killed!” • “So, what did you learn?” • “So, just get another cat?!” • &, some just laughed!
ARGHHH @**!!! %@%
CAUSES of REPRESSING
Re. US: clearly, these are similar to ways we were abandoned by our various caretakers – & not just by our parent. Also by teachers, baby sitters, religious leaders, other relatives….
• Emotions were either not tolerated at all, or ONLY certain one were acceptable – usually ‘pleasant’ ones (see Toxic Rules)
Re. our Family:
• we were taught to ‘take care of others’ at home, because they couldn’t or wouldn’t be responsible themselves or us, so now we’re just following the script. It has become our identity. (‘Rescuing’)
• we saw how incompetent our parents were in many ways, & how un-able they were to deal with THEIR emotions – so we project that incompetence & inability onto everyone else in our life, without even realizing it!
• we could NEVER fix our family, stop their pain, make them whole – SO we compulsively try to do that with others in the present, desperately trying to quiet our fear & guilt
• we think we have to protect & fix everyone, or they too will fall apart, like our family. But we’re only trying to keep OUR world from falling apart!
➼ We deeply believe that if we allow ourselves or others to FEEL too much, that we (& they) will go crazy or die! This comes from our early experiences & is now firmly embedded in our Wounded Inner Child (WIC).
However, the real issue is that we never learned how to ‘house’ & process pain, nor do we know how to comfort ourselves. Feeling all our emotions can be painful but not dangerous. Suppressing them is!
See 2 POSTs: “Accessing & Accepting Emotions“
Re. US • we stay stuck in the past, can’t express our True Self or gain serenity
• we lose out on the knowledge, connections & love that comes from treating people as equals, rather than as being one-down to us
• we perpetuate & increase our own abandonment – because others will become angry, resentful, abusive or just avoid us
• without realizing it, we’re being arrogant, presumptuous, narcissistic
• think we’re mind-readers, have magical powers, can do the impossible (this is typical ACoA grandiosity)
• we’re mistreat others, encouraging symbiosis & dependency, negating their rights, adding to their abandonment experiences
NEXT: Abandoning others #3a