PREVIOUS: Rigid Bs (Part 1)
BOOK: Boundaries & Relationships,
— Charles Whitfield
OUR DAMAGE: As a result of boundary invasion throughout childhood, ACoAs didn’t develop our own. So our options are:
✓ Thick walls, when both inner & outer Self are barricaded
✓ No Bs, where we let everyone tramp in & out of our head & heart
✓ Partial Bs, protecting only some parts, such as the inner but not the outer Self — usually based on previous bad experience in similar situations
Rigid Bs effect us & everyone we interact with, BY:
• Abandoning ourselves – we ignore or eliminate so many available options that we can’t properly do self-care. Spiritually, we don’t take personal responsibility for our values….
•’Abandoning’ others – we withdraw, sulk, shut down & hide behind our wall, making it almost impossible for anyone to love, help or appreciate us
Stability is most important to us, so all activities have to be predictable – no room for spontaneity or fun, last-minute opportunities, trying new things….
• are stoic, have stiff body posture, often “stone faced”, trouble giving or receiving physical affection (afraid to let go), don’t like to be touched or hugged….
• under-react to personal or external events, whether pleasant or unpleasant, or not at all
• are sexually cold & disinterested, have perfunctory or pity-sex, OR are promiscuous without any deep enjoyment, don’t use protection
EMOTIONAL – WE:
• fear abandonment and engulfment. No one can get close (stay too busy, pick fights, often make plans & then cancel or just not show up…), to avoid being disappointed, hurt, or taken advantage of
• struggle with loneliness, self-disgust, anger & self-control
• few or no close relationships. If we do have a partner, it’s usually in separate places with no shared social life
• seem emotionally numb, don’t show or talk about feelings, rarely share personal info
• don’t trust anyone, generally suspicious of other’s motives, can be somewhat paranoid
• aloof & disinterested, insensitive to anyone else’s feelings, don’t seem to identify with other people’s problems, do NOT want to hear their troubles, especially when very upset or crying
MENTAL – WE:
• ignore all feedback. If it’s criticism, it validates our belief that everyone’s against us. If it’s positive we assume it’s not real
• ‘listen’ to others without responding, in our own little world
• are more likely to lie, even about unimportant thing OR omit important facts
• don’t know how to make small talk. Are afraid to say the wrong thing
• stick to pre-conceived ideas (from childhood), with no room for anything new
• have trouble identifying needs, wants & dreams
SOCIAL – WE:
• don’t like giving anything to anyone. Refuse social invitations
• won’t ask for help when needed, don’t know who to ask, believe no one will help anyway, so why try?
• if we try for some goal, we’ll make the effort all alone, & if we can’t achieve it right away, or fail, we stop trying & do without
• feel like no one really knows or understands “the real me”
• have trouble receiving from others. If someone offers we get mad or defensive
• generally – unconcerned with the world outside of own borders
Love requires trust. Trust requires (appropriate) vulnerability.
ACoAs with rigid Bs sabotage any shot at healthy love by shutting out anything unfamiliar…. We keep everyone at arm’s length, pick the wrong people to trust, mistakenly associate all humans with painful events of the past, assuming everyone is as dangerous as our family was / still is
Unrecovered, all wounded ACoA fear being vulnerable, because it means —
• our WIC will be exposed without protection from a Loving, capable Inner Parent
• we don’t have access to our human rights, not allowed to exercise boundaries, so are easy prey
BOTTOM LINE: Rigid boundaries are walls built around us as a substitute for real ones. (See Healthy Bs.) They’re meant to:
— keep us from getting hurt again
— get our needs met, by insisting everything be OUR way
UNFORTUNATELY they don’t work to our benefit. We just end up starving !
NEXT: Healthy Boundaries – INFO (#1)