ACoAs: Deserving vs. Rights (Part 1)

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to get the love I want


Posts: “Self-Hate & ACoAs
•“People should treat me better, but….”

SITE: Restructuring life in recovery

QUOTE: “If you don’t know what you want, you’ll never find it. If you don’t know what you deserve, you’ll always settle for less.”  ~ Rob Liano, Success Coach

DEF. of ‘Deserving’
⚙︎ To be given something / to have earned as a right / be entitled to / worthy of – something good or bad, based on one’s actions
⚙︎ OR: receiving a benefit because of the qualities one already has, something one has a right to by birth, or are qualified for   * It always carries a sense of balance or justice.

1. The PROBLEM of NOT deserving
a. Family
In dysfunctional families ‘deserving’ ONLY refers to earning acceptance, & our family did not feel worthy, which was rigidly held in place by low self-esteem (S-H), depression,  deprivation mentality & not feeling loved
b. ‘Spiritual’
Many religions teach us to feel ashamed, guilty & unworthy. Rigid non-Biblical teachings instill guilt & control by fear, and anyone from a fundamentalist faith was taught that because we were born in sin “we are not worthy” of God’s love, period.  We are bad, bad, bad! This dogma is used as a way to control & discipline children, & keep the ‘faithful’ in line. ⬇️

✶ What’s left out of these teaching is the KEY to the message: that God has given the world many gifts, first & foremost salvation from eternal separation from Him in the afterlife, in spite of our imperfections  ( John 3:16 & commentary)

We did not and cannot EARN grace or any of life’s benefits & beauty – they are simply here for us to enjoy & partake of! The meaning of ‘grace’ is unmerited favor! You may be interested in reading all the lyrics to “Amazing Grace”,  a universally beloved song even by the non-religious (“A Bridge to Life & Bible verses)

🙆‍♀️ Too many people no longer consciously agree with the concept of original sin, BUT, whatever our personal belief is now – as long as we live from the assumption that we don’t deserve good things, we’re agreeing with an introjected bad voice that still has us trapped in a culture which has perverted the complete & accurate meaning of the spiritual teaching

🙎🏽‍♀️ Some of us were not raised in any specific faith, so our sense of unworthiness would have developed mainly from unhappy & cruel interactions with parents & community.

IMP: Adults are either capable or not capable of providing love, compassion & acceptance, which has nothing to do with the personality of the child, their behavior, or gender. Love can not be earned – it’s either given freely or not. And our family did not!

ACoAs often say we feel UNdeserving of all kinds of things:
• we were taught by our family & religion that asking for what we want & need is ‘selfish, sinful, arrogant, childish’…..
• we were discouraged from improving ourselves beyond what our parents are or have accomplished, as if it would somehow diminish them (show them up).
Actually, healthy parents (& many immigrants) want the opposite – for their kids to do better than themselves & be the very best they’re capable of!

• other people (sometimes siblings) were clearly allowed to have good things – but not us, especially if we were scapegoated in our family
• many of us don’t even deserve to be alive, which we concluded —
— indirectly by being constantly put down & criticized, or
— directly from the messages about how they felt:  “You’ll be the death of me yet , Why did I have to have a kid like you , I never wanted kids anyway , You’re killing your mother/ father , You ruined my life”….

• to be ourselves, have clear & strong opinions
• feel safe, respect as a person & for our opinion
• have all of our emotions, without judgement
• be competent, functional, clever, visible, center stage
• have & maintain our boundaries, say ‘no!’
• be talented, funny, creative, imaginative, intuitive
• to shine, get attention, admiration, recognition, complements

NEXT: ‘Deserving’ vs. Having Rights (Part 2)

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