PREVIOUS: ACoAs dealing with Abusers (#1)
1. ACoA SILENCE (cont)
a. Toxic rules / b. Co-dependence / c. Controlled
d. Our Rage
Most ACoAs sense that we’re afraid of others, especially of their anger. But many don’t recognize how filled with rage we are too.
Actually we’ve stored years & years of childhood anger in every cell, & then as adults we pile more on top by staying connected to abusers – familiar & equally as harmful as those we grew up with.
• So, one more reason we’re afraid to say anything when upset is the unconscious fear of our rage – we don’t know when the lava will burst out. We even suspect, at some intuitive level, that our reactions can be out of proportion to the current situation. We may not actually feel the rage, but our obsessions say it all!
So we’re not only trying to protect ourselves, we’re also protecting others from our rage.
And – we try to suppress ourself so we do not turn into our rage-aholic parent!
• All ACoAs can benefit from doing extensive rage-work (on our own, in small groups or with professional help – like Core Energetics) to be lighter, & make it safer to interact with others
e. Discounting Experiences
Many ACoAs are under ‘big’ daily stress, which takes up a lot of energy. That doesn’t leave much to notice the more subtle ones, the little ‘nigglies’ everywhere (no hot water, late train, out of milk, can’t find something…. minor thoughtlessness of others…..) These pile up too, making us cranky or depressed, without knowing why.
• When we consistently underestimate the nature of ‘little slings & arrows’ – they seem so trivial – we underestimate the emotional impact they have on us. Just because a paper cut is not life threatening doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt – a lot!
Yet we use Denial & Perfectionism to dismiss subtle info our emotions give us – like the ‘ICK factor” in our gut about someone. We don’t admit minor things bother us because we talk ourself out of believing ‘something just happened’.
FYI – Sometimes a quick cry or fist pound on a desk relieves the tension!
RESULT: If we don’t pay attention when problems are small, they grow into monsters, & then we don’t know how to manage.
SOLUTION : Do a quick 10th Step inventory at the end of each day – to identify annoyances, & then give the Inner Child a big HUG.
Healthy: Obviously there are times when the safest, wisest thing is to be quiet & walk away, but the willingness to do that has to come from our adult ego state, not the scared or angry child. It’s so-o-o hard for ACoAs to let someone think they’ve ‘won’.
When dealing with an unreasonable, angry or manipulative person, fighting to get our point across is absolutely futile.
If we insist, we just make a fool of ourselves. It’s up to the Healthy Adult, to keep the WIC or PP from telling someone off OR trying to do the impossible – change a narcissist’s mind!
Reasons to be quiet
Re YOU, when
• you are wrong, & need to admit it, if only to yourself
• you can not win, no matter how hard you try
• it saves your dignity (instead of controlling, showing off, getting even ….)
Re. THEM, when
• confronted with an authority figure who can harm you (boss, cops…)
• dealing with someone who always needs to be right (& others always wrong)
• dealing with an active addict – they’re not in control of their reactions & can’t listen to reason
• faced with a Volatile looking for a fight – especially if you’re not trained for ‘war’ (physical or verbal)
BE CLEAR: we don’t cause someone to abuse or neglect us, & therefore we don’t create that pain! Yes, it is up to us TO:
• say something appropriate, &/or to get away
• tend to our emotional hurt in a safe way
• correct any thought distortions that may sneak in
NEXT: Dealing with abusers (#3)