PREVIOUS: Noticing Painful Events (Part 2)
REVIEW posts : “What just happened”
REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
1. EVENTS – the Stimulus
2. CONCLUSIONS (our THINKING)
Here is another use of T.E.A. (Thought, Emotions & Actions ). The middle circle (in pink) is about how we mentally (Ts) assess or try to explain any event that’s upsetting.
🙄 A common reaction is to ‘be in our head“, endlessly obsessing, without ever understanding the situation (T) or resolving it appropriately (A).
REMEMBER – “crazy” is mental (what we think / believe), not emotional
Most ACoAs grow up convinced we’re crazy! We say we feel crazy, or that we’re going crazy, or we afraid of being crazy.
Well, most ACoAs are NOT, but we came to believe it because – while our emotions & observations told us that a lot was seriously wrong with family, school, church….
the grown-ups kept telling us our opinions were way off base, & anyway we were the problem
Reminder: ‘Painful events’ may be situations that :
a. are accidental, because people are just busy or preoccupied
b. we run into in the course of everyday living (rudeness, ignorance, delays…)
c. are genuinely insulting, shaming or otherwise abusive
We can instantly react (As), out of our conscious control = yelling, sulking, blaming….. or just spend all our time worrying.
If we pay attention, those reactions will give us an idea of what we’re actually thinking.
HINT – that the painful event is :
💦ONLY /all about ME, & we’re the Victim (V), creating FEAR , OR
🔩ONLY /all about the OTHER person, as Perpetrator (P), creating our ANGER
💦 IT’S ALL ME – It’s my fault, I’m bad, dumb, weak, lazy….
• Whenever ACoAs experience a painful event or loss we try to make sense of it. The WIC always thinks they’re the source or cause – that we should have been able to prevent it.
The Adult in us may know this is not true. Others are also not in control of every outcome, but they are responsible for their beliefs, decisions & actions (not us), whether they acknowledge it or not
EXP: It’s sad to think of JFK Jr. – his very bad decision to fly with a broken leg, without a co-pilot or auto-pilot, in predicted bad weather – ended in disaster. Accident? Yes, but his unwise choices contributed.
• ALL ACoAs start out from this premise (Self-Hate) & then layer it over with a variety of defenses. When something doesn’t work out, or someone hurts us / ignores us / leaves us…. we try to analyze what we did wrong & how we can fix it. We obsess for days, sometimes years about a painful situation, always from self-blame.
➼ Unhealed ACoAs have a wide streak of narcissism – mainly in the form of: EVERYTHING IS ABOUT ME! but you may be saying “What, it’s not??”
It’s our default position, & continues as long as the WIC is in charge of our life.
EXP: Extrovert Maria is in a night-school computer class with 6 other adults, 5 men & one other woman. Maria glances at her several times, hoping to connect, but the woman blatantly ignores her. Maria’s not just disappointed, she’s hurt. There’s a pain in her gut: “Nobody likes me!”
EXP: Felicia was in great distress. She’d invited her family to visit her at college, so they drove down to see her. On their way another car plowed into them, causing a huge accident & her brother was killed. That was enough of a heart breaker – but her CD added to it. She kept saying: ”If only I hadn’t asked them to visit, he’d still be alive!” – tortured by thinking she has that kind of power
REALITY: There are times when we have made a wrong choice, but self-abuse does not help us learn from the error or improve our options in the future. S-H is a lie & therefore SELF-DEFEATING. It’s based on a false sense of power, but it’s still false.
Once the UNIT kicks in, that perspective greatly diminishes. There’s a big difference between believing we’re responsible for everything (grandiosity) vs being appropriately responsible for our T.E.A.s
NEXT: CONCLUSIONS (Part 1b)