HOW CAN A BENEFIT BE NEGATIVE?
I think you’re just messing with me!
PREVIOUS: Negative Benefits (Part 1)
How NEGATIVE BENEFITs (N.B.) keep us from healing
a. NOT have to GROW UP, be responsible
PATTERN: Many ACoAs stay isolated, severely under-earning, unloved, unproductive, living in dirty, cluttered environments, joy-less, suicidal…
OR focus all their attention on taking care of others, so they can look ok, the good guy/gal – but are also depressed, full of shame, self-hate & hidden anger
N.B. … STAY SICK rather than develop S & I, which is letting go of the symbiotic attachment to their cruel upbringing & becoming their True Self
b. NOT have to face OLD PAIN (life & death)
PATTERN: A woman was forced to take care of her filthy, violent, mentally ill mother from age 10, when her father abandoned them. At age 45 she finally put her mother in a home & promptly developed Scleroderma as a guilt/ stress reaction. Eventually she became bed-ridden, with excruciating migraines, barely able to make logical sense – although she had been an intelligent & talented artist.
She spent her last 25 yrs isolated, depressed, with almost no practical self-care, filled with shame about every aspect of her life.
Occasionally she was in contact with her father who had remarried another cruel woman. When he died at age 96 – the daughter went into a rapid decline & died alone, in less than a year…
N.B. … rather than emotionally re-experience & process the horrors of being an only child of a passive, depressed father & violent, psychotic mother (left the infant with souring baby bottles & soiled diapers…..)
Therapy helped diminish her self-hate, but she was never able to go deep enough to heal the rage, sorrow & loneliness held in her body
c. NOT have to feel LONELINESS
PATTERN: Many ACoAs over-work, care-take, self-medicate with sex / social media / addictions, hanging on to bad relationships no matter how harmful….. One woman stayed with her very abusive husband for 35 yrs, until he died. Instead of creating a life for herself (at 62) – she too died – 8 months later!
N.B. … rather than face the emotional & practical stresses of being alone, having to feel the emptiness of loss and old abandonment, & having to care for herself, deal with finances……
d. NOT have to TAKE CARE of oneself
PATTERN: A competent, creative woman in her 50‘s developed chronic pain from an auto-immune illness.
Q. put to her: “Are you willing to give this pain up?” Inner Child answered ‘NO’ – because = being disabled was ‘getting taken care of, legitimately’. She was tired of doing it all on her own – carrying the burden of the Hero Role. Her Kid wasn’t allowed to be nurtured, but this way she could get practical help, be felt sorry for, lauded for soldiering on….
N.B. … rather than having to continue taking care of herself, which she’d been doing her whole life as an only child of a cruel narcissistic mother & distant, depressed father
e. NOT have to DISOBEY toxic FAMILY RULES
PATTERN 1: A beautiful, bright young woman in the big city was put under an unbearable family demand to continue rescuing her “poor, suffering mother & sisters” (who had always treated her cruelly) – by regularly sending them all her earnings. Feeling obligated but very resentful, she made sure to only work at menial jobs she hated (under-earning) & live on as little as possible – so she could ‘honestly’ say she didn’t have any $$ to send!
PATTERN 2: In his culture, a Native American man was taught that to be an active artist, one must drink. No alcohol – no creativity! No argument! He always wanted to write plays & get them published, but got deep into alcoholism. Before it could kill him, he got sober. 5 yrs later he still hadn’t ‘picked up a pen’. He was stuck, & miserable.
N.B. … rather than go against (separate from) a national culture, not just his family – but the whole tribe! Talk about abandonment!
NEXT: Negative Benefits (Part 3)