PREVIOUS: Safe & Unsafe People
2. Mental HEALTH (cont)
a. Normal (in #1)
b. Delays : So, what if we’re in Recovery, want to connect & not stay an outsider – but it’s still not happening. Even when we try & try, most people just don’t easily warm to us, don’t accept us into their inner circle, don’t look to us as peers !
🥺 What our social group thinks of us DOES MATTER. If they shun us, we’re alone, lonely & unhappy! It hurts.
Of course, being considered unfriendly or weird by others will also affect our work life, if that matters to us. We’ll be passed over, won’t get the corporate emails, or hear the best gossip. Some of us may be so damaged that we prefer being as invisible as possible. But most of us want to be liked.
There are (at least) 2 possible reasons we’re ‘left out’:
i. Location, Location, Location! We may be in the WRONG place or group.
What make us uncomfortable could be a ‘faith’ that doesn’t suit, a type of job or career that’s not a good fit, the wrong social set for our personality, or even the wrong city, state or country! It’s just not right for US.
• Compatibility is crucial in any situation. If this applies, we’ll need to rethink our commitments, & make changes – not our favorite thing! For some ACoAs this will be harder than for others, that’s why we need a wide support system.
We have to actively look for the right venues & the right people – that suit us – not just think about it for years!
Naturally, to proceed, we must have:
— permission for all our human needs, & then provide as many as possible
— a working knowledge of our personality, talents, dreams…..
— the right kind of help to keep us going in the right direction.
ii. Old Wounds – the other reason we may be ‘left out’ all that stuff in Part 1.
We may have been working on ourselves a long time, have grown, & want to connect – but there are still lingering aspects of the damage that keep getting in the way, perhaps very subtly:
— deep-seated rage that colors our energy, but not on the surface
— the hidden neediness of wanting someone, somewhere to take care of us
— some historic terror in the WIC, just out of reach, keeping others at arm’s length
• Without knowing what it is, people pick these up & keep their distance.
As we continue healing, even these issues can fall away or greatly diminish. As we become more comfortable in our skin, others will be more comfortable with AND for some of us – not being a ‘part of’ those around us is Spiritually or psychologically appropriate – by choice, so being widely accepted is not a goal.
• Long-term isolation, from shame & fear, is not good for anyone.
However, periods of retreat, whether alone or in a community of like-minded people can be beneficial. We may need to be alone from time to time to process emotions & events
• With emotional growth, ACoAs become more comfortable dealing with social situations. We’ll experience one of AA’s Big Book Promises: ‘We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us”.
✶ When we’ve gained some self-esteem we realize that although we will inevitably run into a few people we rub the wrong way, don’t like us, ignore us, belittle us…. we won’t be so deeply effected as before AND we won’t take it (so) personally.
It’s is normal to be hurt, but NOT devastated.
➼ THIS is what the quote applies to !! Once we’re OK with ourselves, WE:
• don’t automatically assume people won’t like us (projection)
• are less affected when not automatically or easily accepted
• find out that many people think better of us that we were originally believed!
WE ARE SOCIAL BEINGS. How others react to us does make a difference, especially if it’s throughout our life, not just once in a while.
Some things we have NO control over, but we can continue working on whatever – inside & outside – we can change, as in the Serenity Prayer.
NEXT: What abut EMOTIONS – #1