I HAVE TO BE IN LA-LA LAND
to suppress the pain
Previous:Deliberate or not?
See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
REVIEW: Most people are capable of some emotional abuse (E.A.) because most people have experienced E.A. as children. Sooner or later, we treat others the way our family treated them – acting out our parents, just as we act out the WIC.
The focus here is on breaking out of the ACoA’s denial about how & when others act badly toward us, which we have a habit of ignoring, mis-identifying or not noticing, because it’s so familiar.
a. Any compulsive behavior you don’t consciously choose & so can’t seem to stop yourself from doing, OR compulsively not doing….
b. …. which expresses intense emotions you’re not actually feeling at the time, but that are rumbling under the surface
• This term is usually assumed to mean overt actions, against oneself or towards others – getting drunk, starting a fight, being late for work, being promiscuous … ♼ But it just as often the lack of :
— specific actions that would be good for you (walking out on a bad date)
— legitimate actions you planned on (making a call, going to a job interview), but “forgot”
EXP: You’ve made an appointment with a new therapist & consciously – you’re looking forward to it. It’s on your calendar & you remind yourself of it the day before. Then you go thru the whole day without going – totally oblivious – until late that night as you’re falling asleep. “Oh No! I forgot all about it, & I really meant to go!”
😱This is an EXP of the WIC’s un-felt but intense FEAR of being vulnerable with a new authority/ parent figure who may or may not be safe.** Spacing out can be short-term, periodic or long-term, but uses the same psychic mechanism as Denial, where the lack of awareness is deep & long-term.
✶✶ So when we’ve done something (or not) that seems baffling, inappropriate, even out of character, we can figure it out: Identify what emotions were hiding out of sight but desperately needed to be expressed – somehow!
Denial allows us to look for & stay with abusers, which is potentially life threatening, & definitely damages us psychologically!
a. MIS-USED: ‘Denial’ is typically meant as: Deliberately ignoring something we know but don’t want to deal with. This is not Denial.
When people say “I just won’t think about it. I’ve put it out of my mind… ” they’re referring to ‘suppression’ – a conscious decision.
Of course, if what we’re push away was traumatic, that emotional pain will be festering in a dark corner, & eventually comes out in some others form – as hidden or direct rage at others, &/or self-destruction
b. GENUINE psychological ‘Denial’ is NOT deliberate. It’s a defense mechanism to “not acknowledge an unacceptable truth or emotion by not allowing it into consciousness.” = meaning that we don’t know we don’t know (something)! – either about ourselves or someone else, even tho it may perfectly obvious to others.
This ‘skill’ come from years of childhood training, hardened into Toxic Family Rules & our own need for emotional survival. It usually takes a lot of work to bring up long-buried traumatic experiences & associated pain into awareness, but once in a while some life-event can force a chunk of it to shake loose & shoot to the surface, like an erupting volcano, maybe with overwhelming panic.
• We can counter Denial & Suppression by carefully paying attention to what we see & hear. People tell us about themselves all the time, which we would pick up on, if we acknowledged it. Repeatedly ignoring what’s in front of us is wounding to our sanity & our soul!
But once we become aware of abusive patterns we’ll notice them everywhere – in songs, movies, our family & friends, at work….
The opposite of Denial is ‘Being in the now’, or ‘Mindfulness’, making it easier TO:
— notice of what we’re feeling, needing, wanting, responding to, every day… AND
— keep us awake to who others are, how they act, what they’re saying…. & how we feel when we’re with them
NEXT: Dealing with Abusers #1