PREVIOUS: Symbiosis & ACoAs (part 1)
❗️BASICALLY: Emotional Symbiosis (ES) is the WIC’s compulsion to make any important “other” a carbon copy of themselves, in order to feel safe & loved. It is a common dysfunction because of the incomplete way most babies are treated.
It’s all about original Abandonment, the desperation for that sense of safety – at any cost to self or others – which healthy infant symbiosis would have/ should have given us, but was not available.
DEF: A person who demands ES has a limited capacity to be aware of, appreciate, respect & acknowledge the inner experience of another. They need everyone to agree with their point of view – about everything – & tend to put others down when they don’t. Unfortunately, ES is usually passed down through the generations, always with a negative impact on a family’s life.
Family enmeshment is a form of psychic incest – inappropriate
cross-generational bonding. Characteristics :
• children are caught in up the needs of parents, having to ignore their own
• everyone must conform to the party line – whatever it is in that family
• kids must stick to narrow Roles (Scapegoat, Hero….)
• poor boundaries between the various members
• are in each other’s business all the time
• member are punished for any non-conformity or trying to be a separate individual, by outright attacks, the cold shoulder or banishment
ADULT Symbiosis – in us or our parents
The compulsion to symbiose in adults comes mainly from the WIC ego state and is held in place by its attachment to damaging parents (introject) who were either unavailable or overly-attached themselves.
• earliest nurturing needs were not met as an infant
• not having appropriate role models for healthy ways to relate
• of not having a strong healthy sense of one’s TRUE self (identity)
• of not feeling safe on ones own
• deep fear of abandonment
• intense self-hate, shame, guilt
• not having boundaries
• not knowing ‘who I really am’
IN THE PRESENT
As adults, ACoAs demanding to be symbiotically attached to others is fueled by NOT wanting to acknowledge that we had to buy the family line about how worthless & unlovable we are. We didn’t have a choice then – but we do now.
• Denying childhood abandonment is maintained in many ways – like trying to prove we’re nothing like them – while still time repeating the very family drama we say we’re trying to escape (Freud’s ‘Repetition Compulsion’). So we unconsciously choosing the old familiar people, place & things!
• It’s frustratingly unsuccessful, even if someone is willing to co-dependently try, because we know at some very deep level that it’s not a legitimate way to connect
• We’re trying to force others to give us the mother-infant love we never got, & demanding permission to be on the planet — rather than being with us out of genuine affection & respect, as equals.
And, if they do agree to “help” you, they are doing it to feel needed, to fill a hole in themselves, SO it’s not really about you!
Symbiotic Attachment IS:
• taking someone emotionally captive instead of having equal, healthy, inter-dependence with others (“Alcoholics – & other narcissists – don’t have relationships, they take hostages”)
• USING others to take care of us instead of being our own adult, to not have to do the deep emotional work that can heal our damage & free up the real us
• the need to insist everyone be a carbon copy of oneself (mirror image) to validate one’s shaky identity – actually the False Self. We don’t have permission to be our True Self, so – if others are just like us – then we’re OK (allowed to live).
NEXT: Symbiosis – Part 3