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I need you but you’re too close – I can’t breathe

Bs – Healthy Source ( #2)

REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

1. Normal Development – Stable Core (previous 2 posts)

2. ACoAs
Unfortunately, growing up – ACoAs did not originally have that all-important stable core to rely on, so weren’t able to form our own, because of:
• being overstimulated by chaos, emotional volatility & conflict
• being over-controlled, expected to be perfect, judged harshly
• not having role models for self-esteem & appropriate Bs
• not being loved & supported unconditionally

a. Wounded Adults
• Many un-recovered PARENTS are symbiotically enmeshed with their children, to cover their own FoA – ie. both the adults & the kids have similar immature mental drama & temperamental intensity, so they overlap each other, which is emotionally abandoning & terrifying for the children

• These parents function from their WIC’s ego state, so have:
— weak or no Adult & missing Loving Parent aspects
— weak or rigid boundaries, overlapping child’s feelings, as if the child were only an extension of themselves
— a narrow range of emotions available, w/ few nuances
— their focus was on their addictions, bad relationships, financial worries, depression, mental illness, relatives, sickness ….
— often changed the rules arbitrarily or made them unreachable, so no matter how hard we tried to obey, it was inevitably going to be wrong – & then we got attacked & punished! We could ‘never win’.
As kids, this kept us off-balance so we wouldn’t become independent (& eventually be ‘separate’), which requires being sure of oneself.

Al-Anon visual: the alcoholic has their arms around the bottle & the co-dependent has their arms around the alcoholic!
In these households, children are just pawns to be used & burdens to be neglected, ( Games Alcoholics Play’)

b. Limiting our Emotionsnegate Es
• In an alcoholic, narcissistic family, one or both parents limit or repress the type of emotional responses allowed the children, who are expected to act like adults, both mentally & emotionally, long before maturation.
ACoAs were blamed for not behaving ‘right’,  even thought we were not experienced yet in social etiquette or subtleties, didn’t have enough motor co-ordination, weren’t old enough to actually act like adults!….

EXP: Beth was a pretty little girl who grew up in church. On one occasion her mother was at the dais addressing a Ladies Group. Beth was left all alone in the front pew & expected to sit for 2 hours like a perfectly groomed doll. But she was a normal 4-year-old – bored, lonely & fidgeting. Her mother was annoyed at her child’s ‘misbehavior’, confident it would make her look bad.

She gave Beth ‘the look‘, who immediately froze – terrified – knowing the dire consequences of displeasing her mother, but quick obedience saved her this time.
For years afterward her mother proudly liked to tell how the group afterward complemented heron having such a well-behaved child. Sadly – neither the mother or anyone else ever had a clue of the intense terror that was generated that day!

• We learned very early that our emotions & behavior had global impact – they effected the ‘gods’ badly. Our parents let us know blackmailin various ways that we harmed them just by being ourselves (kids). EXP: A mother repeated remarked : “You’ll be the death of me yet!”

• Many ACoAs experienced being emotionally blackmailed controlled using fear, obligation or guiltOur parents’ narcissism & lack of boundaries made it easy for them to:
— treat us the same way they had been – the ‘kick the dog syndrome’, ie. passing on their rage at their parents’ neglect & abuse
— project their self-hate onto us – they couldn’t face that they were considered ‘bad’ children’ so they made us bad instead – to preserve their fragile self-image

EXPs: “If you loved me…. I made that just for you…. If you don’t do your chores, dad will get really mad at me….
BOOKs: “Emotional Blackmail”  & “Toxic Parents“~ Susan Forward

NEXT: ACoAs & Bs (Part 2)

One thought on “BOUNDARIES & ACoAs (Part 1)

  1. I’ve done this stuff to my children. How I loved to talk about how well behaved all 6 were when we went out to eat and people would comment on how well behaved they were. I feel so ashamed to think that they were afraid but it’s probably true.
    I’m going to share this website with my children. We had 6 in 7 years. The oldest is 32 and the youngest 25 today. My eyes are being opened wider each day. I have 11 grandchildren. it’s not too late. Healing has begun. Thank you for this resource.


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