IT TOO HARD TO BE IN THE WORLD –
Should I hide or attack?
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3. ACTIONS re. painful Events (blue oval)
It’s inevitable that we’ll take some type of ‘action’ in response to a stressful EVENT. What kind will depend on our native personality & the specific CONCLUSIONS we draw about it.
• ACoAs are not readily aware of our thoughts (beliefs) or emotion. So, when triggered, we just re-act. It can happen so fast that it seems we have no control of our behavior, which may be verbal &/or physical, driven either by terror or rage.
• It’s normal for humans to be angry when hurt, frustrated or scared. Anger is simply the psychic energy needed to prepare for action, & is a fitting response to harmful situations.
Anger & Fear are on opposite sides of Plutchik’s Emotion Wheel. To heal, fearful ACoAs need to connect with their anger, & those steeped in rage need to get in touch with the fear & sadness underneath. The key is Balance.
FEAR driven Actions / non-actions
• COVERT: ACoAs trained to not be angry are afraid to feel it now – crippled by that suppression! Without healthy anger we’re depressed, feel stuck, AND can’t stop others from mistreating us
🌪 Fear EXP : Unhealed use of the 3 Circles
EVENT (condition): Unrecovered ACoA Shakeera is dating a complicated young man – sometimes thoughtful, smart & sensitive, other times self-pitying & whiny. When he’s depressed & needy he threatens suicide, can’t look for work & lives off of Shakeera’s income.
Emotions: panic, compassion, pity, love, disgust, rage
+ CONCLUSIONS (thoughts) – When he’s in a good space, Shakeera thinks he’s the best, ever! When he’s very down, her co-dependence kicks in :
“I have to fix this mess / I know how to help him – I’ll tell him all the ways he can get his life together / He just has to be ok, I can’t stand this / I feel humiliated being with such a looser”….
= ACTIONS: Shakeera alternately bullies him to ‘get it together’, gives him endless advice, tells him what he did wrong OR listens for hours to his self-hate & joins him in a depressed stupor
• He doesn’t change & she gets more frustrated. None of her actions help either of them! Her FoA (FEAR of abandonment) keeps her trying to cure him – so she doesn’t have to leave!
ANGER driven Actions
Our behavior can tell us which ego state is in charge at the moment & how healed or unhealed a particular button is. How we act out our rage may be —
— the same way our parents reacted to stress, or
— how we were allowed to behave as kids, or
— how we’d have liked to react, back then, but knew it was too dangerous to do so
• OVERT: some ACoAs react with hostility too readily, when the WIC feels abandoned. We get nasty & more controlling, or unfairly cut someone off. This can hurts us just as much as the other person, since rage pushes others away & we’re already feeling unwanted & unloved!
▶ BUT, don’t let the self-help gurus tell you not to FEEL angry! ACoAs have a lot of it pent-up from childhood abuse (plus bad adult experiences) which needs to be gotten out of our system – appropriately. What’s important to our Recovery is how we ACT.
💥 Anger EXP : Unhealed use of the 3 Circles
EVENT: Sal hates being bothered by people in public places. One night he gets on an almost empty bus, on his way home from work. A smelly bag-lady get on at the next stop, looks around & sits down right next to Sal!
Emotions: revulsion, anger, frustration, superiority
+ CONCLUSIONS (thoughts) – “Why does this always have to happen to me?! There are 20 other seats she could have picked! Why ME?? Why do I attract the crazies? Me, only me!” (CDs: ‘Personalization, Egocentric & Can’t Stand It’)
= ACTIONS: Sal starts yelling at the woman & gets off the bus at the next stop. He keeps talking about the incident, repeating it over & over the next day to everyone he can corner
• He’s taken this personally, feeling like a victim, trying to get validation & sympathy. The woman could have either been lonely &/or wanted to bum some change. It was never about him!
NEXT: Negative reACTions (Fear)