LIKE THE BIRTH OF NEW STARS
I can give birth to new thinking
PREVIOUS: CDs & the Unconscious (#1)
AA saying: “Alcoholics dig themselves into a rut, & then decorate it!”
1. THINKING (cont)
• The UNCONSCIOUS mind is ‘just’ the result of patterning, conditioning & habit – therefore it’s basic – very B & W, not thinking, intelligent or creative, totally literal with no sense of humor! From our birth it absorbs info & experience without insight or good judgment. So our early years provide the basis for all other learning, as the mind filters out inconsistencies.
NOTE: ‘Unconscious’ is the part of mind holding information we’ve gathered – which isn’t available just by wanting to access it, & can only be retrieved by special techniques or triggering events.
‘Subconscious’ is the level where unconscious memories drive our emotional reactions & behavior, without realizing it, like:
— seeing food suddenly making us hungry
— a deep-seated but untreated childhood trauma distorting our ability to make safe, rational decisions…..
• In the Cognitive Therapy model, distorted information-processing results in anxiety symptoms : catastrophizing, excessive focus on negative outcomes, false alarms, hyper-vigilance, loss of objectivity, no tolerance for uncertainty, & ‘lack of habituation’ (not desensitized to a stressor even with repeated exposure).
• This are familiar to ACoAs, who grew up in emotionally tense & physically dangerous environments, at home & outside, & resort to “fight, flight, freeze or appease” reactions.
— Fight would have been with siblings, neighborhood kids, school peers, hurting animals or possessions, & sometimes self-harm
— Flight was more common. As long as we were too young to leave home we escaped into books, friends, school work, sports & of course fantasy. And for some – attempted suicide.
— Freeze was & still can be when our mind blanks out from fear, & we can’t think at all
— Appease was / is people-pleasing, agreeing with anyone who scared us, being over-solicitous, over-giving….. anything to ‘placate the monster’
MODIFYING the Unconscious
• While there are people & situations we DO need to get away from – it’s always good to check our point of view first. This is not a blame or a judgement. There’s a big difference between what the WIC ‘feels’ or that the PP is telling us about ourselves & others – vs – how the Healthy Adult / Loving Parent sees things.
• So in terms of CDs, if we assume our pain is ONLY caused by something outside of ourselves, we waste a lot of energy trying to change the wrong things – another person, a job, a location…. rather than our frame of reference & inner beliefs. This endless wild-goose-chase leaves us feeling frustrated, out of control & hopeless. It reinforces our Victim role, keeping us convinced we can’t take care of ourselves
• A major purpose of some therapy styles is to bring up from the unconscious as much accumulated pain & distorted thinking as possible, so we can actively process emotions (Es) & correct False beliefs (Ts), which then gradually changes our behavior! (As) When we consistently, deliberately think in new ways, we add a 10-fold power to our conscious mind
FYI: • Counseling, Coaching & some Therapies focus on current actions & thinking, NOT on the past & childhood programming – when most of our ACoA damage was formed!
• Psychiatry & Psychoanalysis is deliberately structured so there’s almost NO feedback from the therapist. This has proven harmful for many ACoAs, because:
i. it’s a repeat of – no one responding to us as kids – leaving us yet again terribly alone with someone who’s supposed to be helpful!
ii. it doesn’t interfere with or correct our S-H & other distorted thinking, which we desperately need
iii. it ignores positive mirroring, also desperately needed – a healthy voice feeding back to us what we’re denying AND all of our wonderful native characteristics & accomplishments
iv. it doesn’t provide good role-model to emulate – caring, sensitivity & kindness, good boundaries….
✶ The best kind of one-to-one therapy for most ACoAs is ‘family of origin’ work (FoO), based on a good understanding of family systems & addiction. It works best when including lots of well-boundaried interaction – and humor!
NEXT: CDs & The Unconscious (Part 3) Making changes