ACoAs & Emotions (Part 2)

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PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Emotions  #1

after they walk away!



REMINDER: What they never told us was that 💗 it’s not intrinsically bad to have Emotions

WHY DO WE HATE having emotions so-o-o much? 
• we expect to be made fun of, ignored or physically punished for expressing them (“I’ll give you something to cry about!”)
• we were taught that Es are unacceptable (either specific ones or all), & we want to be ‘good’, obeying family rules as a sign of loyalty & love

• some ACoAs want to stay connected to a particular parent by copying their resistance or inability to feel
• others are determined to be the exact opposite of a dramatic or emotionally out-of-control parent

• we were never taught the healthy way to identify & deal with Es when they surfaced, so we’re convinced they’ll ‘drown’ us

• MOST of ALL – we were never comforted when in pain & had no way to process our Es, so they accumulated in our unconscious, & now we’re terrified of opening ‘Pandora’s Box’

• Unfortunately our culture reinforces the ‘don’t feel’ rule by telling us that:
— Es are not ‘rational’, so they can’t be relied on to tell us anything real or useful
— it’s not sophisticated, strong or admirable to be ‘emotional’ (to cry or get too upset, no matter how terrible the situation!)

a. DELAYED Reactions
ACoAs are notoriously slow to catch how we feel emotionally – having a delayed reaction to all kinds of encounters & events, pleasurable or not. We may not realize them for a few days, weeks, even years!
We do have emotions about most things, but we:too many Es
• learned early in life to deny them
• became so numb we don’t consciously know what they are
• have such negative beliefs about actually having Es
• are afraid to feel too much, because the WIC thinks it’ll kill us (or the ‘sensitive one in the family)
• never learned how to deal with uncomfortable or unacceptable Es

b. OVER / UNDER -Reactions
ACoAs IRONY: On the one hand we’re shut down, especially on those terrifying childhood Es. On the other hand we have intense emotional reactions (a melt down, blow up, fall apart, get suicidal…), to what people say or how they act to or around us.
The 2 extremes are inextricably linked:
• the more we have to sit on ALL painful Es, the more they get backed up & then Vesuvius blows
• since we’re not allowed to actually have Es, we can’t admit to having them (too ashamed), so we can’t really feel them. Then HOW can we possibly process the pain, anger, sadness, loneliness, over-reactterror….? to get them out, sharing them, getting comfort & understanding???

We hate being told we’re being too dramatic about something others think is minor or trivial, because we think that means:
• we don’t have a right to be upset
• we caused our own problem, & so deserve to be punished, belittled, not respected
• that the hurtful person or situation is being let off the hook,  so we’ll never get fairness or revenge!

NONE of those are the case.  Since “If it’s hysterical, it’s historical”, whenever our Es are out of proportion to an unpleasant current event, all we need to do is admit an unhealed wound is being ‘bumped’ up against.

About Over-reacting (cont):
• Intense Es comes from the WIC, who thinks we’re still powerless to stop being controlled & abused
• Getting so upset by other people’s words & deeds means we’re still taking things personally

• It’s a clear indicator that a specific button is being pushed in us. This is useful info to cut thru denial & help with growth. The emotion is the only proof we need about the abuse
THEN – with we can use the awareness to validate the kid’s pain, as we get another glimpse into past suffering, & stop blaming ourselves for feeling loneliness & grief

NEXT: ACoAs & Es (Part 3)

8 thoughts on “ACoAs & Emotions (Part 2)

  1. I am loving learning all these truths and it is reaching my inner child, but I must say that all the abbreviations are really, really off-putting! Can you not just type out the words instead of abbreviating? It kind of stops the flow of what you’re saying, because you have to stop and think “Now what is this abbreviation?” and then go back to the sentence. I don’t know if other people have found this to be the case. I know you have a list of abbreviations, but I don’t have a printer, so can’t have it by my side when I read the article. I think it would help too, if whoever is writing the article, sticks to calling the inner child or kid, exactly that, cause sometimes you say me, sometimes you, sometimes kid or child and it’s a bit confusing as to who you are referring to, the ACoA or the other person. Thanks for sharing all the wonderful truths though. I don’t have a group near to me, so this is all I’m getting. 🙂


    • Hi Lynn, Thanks for your comments.
      I know the abbrev. bother some people & I understand.

      However, I spend hours and hours writing & re-writing (sometimes 10-12 times per post) – doing research, adding, subtracting…. Even tho I love it, it’s very tiring especially as I have Fibromyalgia, & sitting for a long time is hard. So I do what I can to make things easier for myself, including the abbrev.

      Many times the long version is at the top of the post in a title. Perhaps making notes of the ones that are hard to remember would help.

      I hope you can bear with me.


      • Oh gosh, I really understand. I have two children with Fybro and I have 3 Chronic illnesses as well, so I know what it’s like sitting at the computer writing etc. It’s exhausting. I will do my best to learn the abbreviations. I’m sure you’ve read all the books etc. about Fybro, but my daughter sent me a really good book about it that has great advice. Bathing in Magnesium Oil really helps the aches and pains. If you like, I can get some of the main hints to manage it better and send them to you. Thanks for replying so promptly. I have posted another comment on one of the articles as well.


  2. I just wanted to mention a possible solution. You could write out the pieces with abbreviations, and then use the “find and replace” function in the word processing program to automatically and “in one shot” change all of the abbreviations to the longer version. A glossary would still be necessary as people need to familiarise themselves with the concepts. But there would be less need for having to check the list of abbreviations.
    I hope this is helpful!


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