PREVIOUS : They did the best … (#1)
First – Review Part 1
2. DENIAL : Re. US (cont.)
We want to ‘forgive’ without going thru the process of healing!
• Most of our parents may not have been evil – although some definitely were, & some things they did are unforgivable.
And some ACoAs determined to ‘have it out’ with a parent or other abuser, or try to explain our experience & point of view.
So we’ve tried, over & over, but got flat denial or more abuse. It’s been an absolute waste of time – they don’t want to know!
WHY do we want to approach them about the pain they caused?
Usually it’s because the WIC wants to do the impossible – change them, get them ‘to see’, force them to admit their culpability, OR just hurt them back….
• our WIC is still in deep shock. We need to identify & validate those early experiences before we can let ‘move on’. Until then, our life is run by our damage
• we are very angry at them. We need to feel it, but only in safe ways & places, away from them – with people who can hear our pain & don’t have a stake in shutting us up
• we need a clear picture of the toxic lessons we learned, so we know what to change
• we have to stop wanting our unavailable family’s approval & love, since they can’t because they haven’t dealt with their early damage, & probably never will.
As adults, some of us have a better relationship with parts of our family, but most don’t. We have to accept that or we’ll keep feeling devastated
• we can’t afford to exonerate them, to white-wash the abuse & neglect. It’s what they taught us to do – to never hold them accountable. SO now we don’t hold others accountable either for bad behavior, letting ourselves be exploited
➼ WHY is this this process important? Because – as long as we negate their responsibility, we take it on as ours.
We need to see the truth, not them, so we can stop copying old patterns (Freud’s Repetition Compulsion)
• This bears repeating – self-hate tells us we always cause all our suffering – old & new. This is a lie. Just think – our parents were fully formed & set in their ways before we were born, no matter how young they were. We could not possibly have been bad enough as ages 2, 5, 10…. to warrant the neglect, punishments & accusations we got! It was their damage, their rage, their abandonment pain, their addictions, their anxiety – NOT US!
BTW, sometimes it’s OK to talk with family members – if they are willing, to ANSWER questions about :
— what they remember about us as kids, & their early experiences with us (be specific)
— about a parent’s childhood & life before having us kids
Also ASK our siblings what their experiences were in our family, & how they saw things back then.
It can be very helpful, because each kid’s experience is different, which can round out our understanding of what we lived thru.
• And ask parents to LISTEN to:
– what WE remember (good, but mostly bad)
– how we felt back then, and now
– what we needed & missed
– how we’d like to be treated in the present…..
….. BUT ONLY when we’ve done some rage work, to approach them with equanimity & boundaries, and without the expectation that they’ll change, understand or respond ‘sanely’!
It’s not about punishing them NOR getting them to see our point!
So – what would be the point?
✶ The main purpose is for the Inner Child (both wounded & healthy) to have our Adult help us become visible, to stand up for ourselves, to finally have our say, no matter what the outcome. We we voiceless as kids, but not anymore!
EXP: After may years of Recovery, one woman sat at the kitchen table for 2 hrs, calmly telling her narcissistic mother what she’d learned about her childhood.
At the end the mother’s only comment was: “So you’re saying I should never have been a mother”.
“Yes” responded the daughter, unfazed & without guilt – even tho that’s not what she’d said or implied. Then they went about making dinner. Amazing!
NEXT: They did the best…. #3