PREVIOUS: ACoAs abandoning OTHERS (3b)
See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
• Another dysfunctional way to cope with the painful fact that our parents were not safe (nurturing, emotionally honest, mentally clear…)
• A way to survive back then. Some part of our child-mind had to make them perfect, without flaws – to deny how angry & scared we were at them, & still are
• A form of splitting off the good parts of ourselves & the bad parts of them – an overt or covert toxic agreement in childhood, with the family, that we were the bad ones & they the good ones.
All small children idealize their parents, which helps them feel safe. If they grow up in a healthy family this safety allows them to cope with reality, gradually able see the adults more realistically, with both weakness & strengths.
But for us – from the very beginning our parents disappointed us when we most needed them to be our ‘gods’ so we’d feel protected. Not only did they not help us deal with the outside world, but were the ‘enemy within’. (➡️ IMAGE from “See Mom for who she is, not who you want her to be”
To compensate now, some ACoAs idealize others, even strangers, as a way to shut out the WIC’s earliest terror still lurking in the bushes of our unconscious, BY:
a. Putting anyone – who we feel is important – on a pedestal (parent, teacher, lover, friend, boss…), not able or willing to acknowledge their real personality, including human limitations & damage (character defects) – UNTIL that person does something that pushes a big button in us, & then we feel rage at them. The illusion we created is shattered & we can’t tolerate it. So we punish them &/or cut them off.
EXP: Carol started a new class & was immediately in awe of the professor. She began staying after class, asking all sorts of questions, unconsciously flirting a little. The teacher became less & less responsive or available. Carol kept trying to hold his attention, but finally felt the rejection, became very angry & stormed off, telling everyone else what a jerk he was.
b. VARIATION: Making a new lover the “Answer to all my prayers!” Believing ‘This is the one!” OR immediately making a new friend into a BFF, without taking the time to find out :
• are they actually who they seem to be?
• who this person really is (character & type)
• how you’ll feel about them, in a year or less
• what personal problems they may have
• how their ‘issues’ are going to affect you
• how will your issues impact them?
• AND, if we’re fundamentally compatible!
➼ To know that, we need to have a clear sense of ourselves, good boundaries, reasonable self-esteem, not too much anxiety about abandonment, tolerate imperfections & have the ability to ‘go slow’. PHEUW!
BTW, we may find someone willing to play out the fantasy with us (some for a while, some much longer), because they too need to be symbiotic, feel needed, overly-important…anything to not focus on themselves & their issues. This does not diminish our responsibility for playing our emotional games.
• This kind of ‘jumping into’… comes from an intense need of the WIC to symbiotically attach, to fill the emptiness left by inadequate mothering in early life.
The human person we now choose to idealize will:
— EITHER be someone who is similar in damage to our own family – the hope being that this time we can fix them & so get their love & approval, even if we can’t get it from our family.
We only end up (unconsciously) playing out our abandonment / victim role – since we can’t fix others or con them into loving us
— OR someone who is or seems to be completely the opposite of family – stable, competent, smart, nice….so we can finally be taken care of! Even if they do, for a while, we pay too high a price – being controlled & staying immature.
But usually such people are too healthy to rescue us at all, so we get disappointed again, but not as much.
• Either way we’re trying to get from others today what we couldn’t get originally, but no one can’t make up for our losses! We need to heal from the inside.
NEXT: ACoAs abandoning others (3b)