I WANT SOMEONE TO TAKE CARE OF ME – rather that “grow up”!
PREVIOUS: Separation – #2
HEALTHY – in future posts
DEF : Individuation “is the process of self realization, the discovery & experience of meaning & purpose in life. It’s the means by which one finds oneself & becomes who one really is.
It depends upon the interplay & synthesis of opposites e.g. conscious & unconscious, personal & collective, psyche & soma, divine & human, life & death.” (Carl Jung)
INCOMPLETE / DAMAGED
Damaging parents interfere with the Individuation process in many ways, including preventing us from having a wide range of emotions – such as when only one or two are acceptable (only happy, only scared, only angry…) OR when any expression of E. is ignored or punished.
A study from Belgium looked at the effect of parental dysfunction on their 20-Something adult-children, studying 2 extremes – unhealthy independence or dependence. Over all, psychologically controlling parents ignore their child’s needs using manipulative tactics (guilt, shaming, love withdrawal) to pressure the child into meeting the parents’ standards – causing anxiety, depression & perfectionism
Parents who use intrusive tactics scored high on:
• dependency-oriented control (DPC) to keep children physically & emotionally close, not allowing them take independent actions.
They end up feeling threatened & anxious by being on their own
• achievement-oriented control (APC) to make children reach the parents’ goals of individual performance, where love and acceptance are based on meeting strict rules of achievement.
These children can become self-critical perfectionists, obsessed with showing off personal ability, while ignoring the need for closeness & at expense of satisfying relationships
RESULT : We had to shut down most Es – which would normally give us subtle but definite private information about what’s right or wrong for us. Being cut off from the cues Es would provide –
— we’re deprived of the ability to reflect on our internal process
— aren’t able to trust ourself, procrastinating & confused
— & decision-making becomes very difficult or distorted
a. One extreme is when a child is forced to experience a later stage of individuation – prematurely, out of order, like ACoAs who as kids had to be ‘little adults’: a parent’s confidant or rescuer, or someone’s object of sexual attention).
This can turns a child INTO:
i. an arrogant ACoA adult with an over-developed, inflated False Persona, preventing or severely slowing down self-examination & emotional growth
They can function quite well as long as they’re in familiar settings, but miss genuine spontaneity, the ability to let go of control, even to the point of being unnaturally rigid, lacking zest or authenticity
Others people can be taken in by their ‘so together’ exterior. But hidden under that surface there’s a lack of personal development – a very unhealthy WIC – which mainly shows up in private, as unavailable & harmful mates & parents
ii. an isolated ACoA adult, going to work every day, maybe even being in the helping professions, such as nurse, social worker…. or trapped with an addict spouse, a severely disabled child…. to take care of. They continue playing out the Hero-rescuer role, but are plagued by constantly second-guessing themself & the accompanying anxiety
b. At the other end of the spectrum are the children who were bullied, browbeaten & brainwashed into buying every aspect of their family & social culture – with no room to breathe. They conformed to the dysfunction from a combination of their natural personality (more compliant OR most like the parents), and from a deep terror of being punished for disagreeing
• They too grow up without knowing who they are as individuals apart from their training, so they’re out of touch with even their most basic tendencies, dreams, wishes. Many will continually react to everything & everyone like a child, emotionally & mentally, without realizing it
However, people in this category are more likely to seek out therapy & recovery, because they know they’re incomplete, feeling lost, stuck & unhappy. Unfortunately they blame themselves (S-H) rather than correctly identifying the source of their lack!
NEXT: S & I – Individuation #1