PREVIOUS: Symbiosis & ACoAs (part 1)
IN CHILDHOOD (Part 1)
Emotional Symbiosis (ES) is the damaged part of us that tries to make any important “other” a carbon copy of ourself, assuming it will make us feel safe & loved. But it doesn’t work.
Because our mother was not able to emotionally bond with us from birth on – it created the original Abandonment, underpinning all our dysfunctions. It left us with a desperation for that missing connection – at any cost to self or others – which healthy infant-symbiosis would have provided.
• 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 they give us 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” us, they are doing it to feel needed, to fill a hole in themself, SO it’s not really about you!
Unfortunately, ES not only affects the individual family unit, but is usually passed down through the generations, always with a negative impact. Family enmeshment is a form of psychic incest, as inappropriate cross-generational bonding.
• children are caught in up the needs of parents, having to ignore their own
• communication is triangulated (party line)
• everyone is in each other’s business all the time
• everyone must conform to the party line – whatever that is in that family
• kids must stick to narrow Roles (Scapegoat, Hero….)
• have poor or no boundaries between the various members
• member are punished for any non-conformity or trying to be a separate individual, by constant badgering, outright attacks, the cold shoulder or banishment
IN THE PRESENT – in us or our parents
The compulsion to symbiose now comes mainly from the WIC ego state , held in place by its attachment to our internal negative Introject & external damaging parents – who were either overly-attached or unavailable for us. The compulsion comes from NOT:
• having appropriate role models for healthy ways to relate
• having a strong healthy sense of one’s True identity
• feeling safe on ones own
• not having boundaries
• not knowing ‘who I really am’, with a deep fear of abandonment, causing intense self-hate, shame, guilt
ES is a way to not acknowledge absorbing the family line which implied or blatantly told us that we’re worthless & unlovable. Denying childhood abandonment is maintained in many ways – such as trying to prove we’re nothing like them – while at the same time repeating the very family drama we claim to be escaping. So we unconsciously choose the old familiar PPT (people, place & things) ! Freud’s ‘Repetition Compulsion’
A person who craves & 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.
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 REAL, so – if others are just like us – then we’re OK (allowed to live). (MORE….includes examples)
NEXT: Symbiosis – Part 3