PREVIOUS: Personal Responsibility-#1
See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
QUOTE re. the need for S & I
“It is not possible to live too long amid infantile surroundings, or in the bosom of the family, without endangering one’s psychic health. Life calls us forth to independence, and anyone who does not heed this call because of childish laziness or timidity is threatened with neurosis.” Carl Jung
DEF: INVENTORY – To evaluate & make an itemized report of abilities, assets, or resources. To take stock of one’s life and accomplishments.
1. IN 12-Step TERMS:
a. Doing our 4th Step – to write out as many of our qualities as we can – both positive (gifts) & negative (defects), as well as a list of all actions throughout life (to identify our Being and our Doing)
b. Taking someone else’s inventory – a big no-no, & for good reason, when understood correctly, is an unhealthy defense mechanism. This can mean recounting someone’s faults to all who will listen, or using a sharp tongue to tell someone off who we’re angry at.
NOT doing this is a valid rule: in general for everyone, & specifically – geared toward addicts & co-dependents, because:
• we copy our parents’ habit of always finding fault with everyone & everything else, instead of owning our own thought & emotions (likes & dislikes….)
• of the compulsion to blame others for all our woes, instead of taking responsibility for our part in any situation (but not in the form of S-H)
• our character defect of using any upset as an excuse to gossip
• our fearful avoidance of dealing clearly & honestly with anyone we’re currently having a problem with, using the Adult ego state
• the fear-driven habit of avoiding very hard decisions, making small or major changes, leaving toxic people, standing up for ourselves …..
2. LEGITIMATE EXCEPTIONS to this rule, however::
a. Re. Safe People: To identify the healthy characteristics we find in positive role models, which we then can look for in everyone we associate with, so we can ‘Go where it’s warm’ – toward people who are reasonable (T), kind (E) & functional (A)
b. Re. Unsafe People: How ACoSa deal with abusers come in 2 flavors – either:
• being terribly judgmental & critical of everyone – including ourselves (S-H), not trusting that anyone had genuine good qualities. OR
• we have thick blinders on, denying the character defects & emotional damage of the unhealthy people & only see our own flaws – even where they don’t exist. BOTH types tend to shy away from the healthy ones!
That way we can be angry at anyone for not giving us what we want & need, just like our parents, but stay with them so we don’t have to notice of the many ways they abandon us, & then face having to do something about it (leave?)
As we know, people tell us something about themselves all the time – their pluses & minuses – which we could see if we paid attention, knew what to look for, & be willing to respond appropriately
Sadly, as kids ACoAs were brainwashed to deny much or all of our experiences, intuition & perceptions, so it’s particularly necessary to do this type of inventory for all who:
• are genuinely ignorant of, or in deep denial about, the harmful effects on us of addicts & other damaging people we spend time with (family, lovers, bosses, friends…)
• are surrounded by unhealthy communities (family, religious, social, work….) where everyone is continually bombarding us with a distorted reality about us, themselves & the ‘right way’ to do things
• are by nature so idealistic that we only want to see the good in others, as a defense against the dangers of life, to our great detriment
• know there’s something wrong with certain people & situations in our life, but are not allowed to believe our intuition & knowledge.
NEXT: Family Inventory – Purpose