PREVIOUS: Dealing with Abusers -#1
SEE post: “They did the best they could”
1. ACoA Silence (Part 1 & 2)
2. SPEAKING UP
a. “Wrong” Talking
Unhealthy – over-explaining or justifying ourselves, pushing our opinions, trying to be heard & be ‘right‘. It can be in the form of ranting, repeating the same thing over & over, having a tantrum or being preachy.
It’s most likely to happen when we’re with someone who clearly is not interested in what we feel or think – but we refuse to accept it, & keep trying!
“Maybe I can wear them down OR figure out the ‘right way’ to say it!” It’s classic ACoA to try getting our needs met from the very people who can’t do it!
b. Healthy Talking
Taking care of ourselves includes having to ASK for something (don’t expect mind-reading), or just expressing our point of view.
It’s important to let others know what we want, but this must be done…
i. ….once we’re sure we know what our real need is in a given situation (respect, stopping an abuse, getting info or a service….).
That way we can be direct & clear, rather than assuming someone should know. That’s only legitimate for infants, who can’t talk yet.
ii. ….our Adult ego state, not from the WIC. It means short, to the point & unemotional. This works most of the time! Reasons for us to speak up to abusers are:
• putting the Perp on notice that we’re not available to be their Victim (V), which represents our self-esteem, knowing we deserve respect
• standing up for our WIC and the Healthy Child. It’s the job of the Loving Inner Parent, especially since no one did that for us, growing up.
Our attention is best focused on what’s appropriate for us rather than trying to control others. We are not speaking up for the P’s benefit – ever!
It does not matter that the P. will not be able to hear you, much less willing to change. The WIC can hear you. Be your own champion!
iii. ….asking the right person:
• If it’s someone you already know well, always check in with yourself first : “Can they provide what I’m asking for, or am I barking up the wrong tree?”
DO NOT chase a hope-filled fantasy. We just diminish ourselves, get furious, feel ‘bad’, then hopeless.
• If you’re asking a stranger (like ‘Customer Service’) & you don’t get what you need from one person, hang up & keep trying until you get someone else who knows what they’re doing, & can provide an answer or service – if it’s actually possible & realistic! It may take 3 or 4 calls, but it works!
Silence or Denial? Can you save yourself from getting run over by a car if you’re blindfolded & wandering in the street? NO!
ACoAs keep suffering – unnecessarily – as long as our eyes are tightly closed to the damage others do to us, even inadvertently. Yes, sometimes we are the source of our pain – from the WIC or the PP – which can be corrected with compassion & eliminating harmful self-talk.
But when someone else is being mean, selfish, crazy or cruel towards us, it causes us pain – just as it would for anyone. But it’s even more so for ACoAs because of our earlier wounds. By recognizing when the pain is coming from (our damage vs another person’s), we eliminate much of our Self-Hate.
PONDER: You get shot by stray bullets in a nearby gunfight you have nothing to do with. You don’t die, but are left having to deal with severe injuries that take a long time to heal. You didn’t do the shooting, so you didn’t cause your wounds – even if you unfortunately happened to be in the vicinity.
So why do ACoAs blame ourself for the abuse we got from our sick parents & now from others who spray their mental / emotional illness over everything?
REMEMBER : we were not the source of the mistreatment!
It’s not our fault that the other person chose to act in a certain way. The clearer we are about who is responsible for what actions – theirs vs. ours – the kinder we can be to ourselves, & the better our lives become.
NEXT: Traits of Victims #1