I NEVER GOT WHAT I NEEDED –
so now I force it out of others!
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ABANDONMENT (A.) as SOURCE of Control Issues
• To understand being controlled or acting controlling, we have to know the underpinnings, which come from our original abandonment experiences. In common usage, a person is said to be A. when someone physically leaves us – moving away, a break-up, divorce, long or repeated hospitalizations, death…..
However, based on ACoA experience we know this definition is too limited. When we observe little kids – ours or others – we notice how very needy they are. This is perfectly normal, in spite of what we ACoAs were told growing up = that we were too much, too selfish, a bother, too sensitive, dramatic …. We got the clear message that at best we were being tolerated!
• A broader & more accurate definition of Abandonment is: “Not getting enough of our needs met in childhood”. This includes all needs on each of the 4 levels of PMES – Physical, Mental, Emotional & Spiritual. We can also say that A. is not being loved unconditionally, with the resulting loss of genuine connection so crucial to a child’s sense of well-being & safety.
• Picture all children as having 100 different needs in each of the PMES categories (total 400 – an arbitrary number, as an example). Then consider the reality that in a severely dysfunctional family each kid only gets a small percentage of those needs met – just enough to survive. Of course some of us got more, while others didn’t even get that much & have died too young as a result!
Depending on birth order, gender & personality, different siblings received differing amounts in each category. But over all, let’s say that we were only provided with 30 – 40% of our normal human needs – when we were the most fragile & in need of great care. Children are very often favored because their ‘native’ style is similar to the parent, or rejected by the narcissists because the child was not like them!
EXP: A pathological narcissist “mentally-oriented” father who incested each of his children in varying degrees, (4 boys & 1 girl) was slightly less abusive towards the one child who was also “mentally-oriented”. This son is the only sibling who was able to forge a decent life for himself (as a doctor), but not without emotional scars. The others became addicts, severe under-achievers &/or criminals.
• With no validation & nowhere to process the emotional pain, it all goes underground & slowly eats away at us. Toxic Beliefs then get ingrained.
This distorted thinking combined with a great backlog of unmet needs – has left us with an overwhelming desperation to be ‘fed’ by someone, anyone – along with the deep hopelessness of it ever happening. Pretending we don’t have needs, or suppressing our awareness of them does not make them go away.
SHADOW : To survive & not ‘go crazy”, many of those ignored childhood requirements get pushed into our ‘shadow’ – made up of every part of ourselves we were taught were so awful – we have to deny their very existence.
In Jungian psychology the shadow aspect is a part of the unconscious mind consisting of repressed weaknesses, instincts & shortcomings…. “Everyone carries a shadow, & the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker & denser it is.
It may be (in part) one’s link to more primitive animal instincts, which are superseded during early childhood by the conscious mind” (Jung-Myers Model + A Case Study & chart)
➼ Unfortunately for us, ACoAs not only relegate our ‘unpleasant’ aspects (such as the ‘7 Deadly Sins’) to Shadow, but also many of our good qualities – anything that were not allowed in our family!
We become so terrified of these aspects & actively, we use a wide variety of defenses & addictions to keep them hidden. But the more we suppress legitimate needs the more anxiety builds. Sooner or later they leak out or erupt in distorted ways, like being clingy, invisible, manipulative, irresponsible, vague, needy….. AND/ OR controlling, mean, demanding, domineering, promiscuous, pushy…
Sad IRONY: The more we suppress – the needier (& meaner) we get!
NEXT: Controlling & A. (Part 2)