PREVIOUS: Fam. Inventory – Purpose (#2)
At birth we bring with us our inherited genetic makeup. This includes :
• PHYSICAL : mental & physical health (ADD, a strong immune system, depression, longevity….), brain & intelligence type
• PERSONALITY : our tastes & interests, talents, national characteristics, learning preferences, & emotional temperament
Because inherited components are multi-generational, even if our parents didn’t drink or use drugs but other relatives or grand & great-grandparents did, we will be subject to a variety of potential problems. Health problems, neglect (ignoring illness or injuries…) and direct forms of abuse (beatings) – lead to loneliness, isolation & sometimes hospitalizations.
It’s common for children from alcoholic families to have severe health problems = from our lineage, improper physical care, with mental & emotional stress.
There can be dental deficiencies, auto-immune sensitivity & deficits, predisposition for chemical dependency, asthma, anxiety & depression, overweight…. malformed or misaligned parts (cleft palate, club foot, scoliosis)….
++ We also inherited strengths which often showed up very early in our life – artistic or athletic abilities, a joyful nature, determination, intuitive insights, a desire to help, love of animals, of reading, of talking, of learning….
For some of us these natural desires never went away but we devalued them, while others of us had to deny or suppress them in order to survive. Inventories can help claim or reclaim those wonderful parts that were invalidated, made fun of or ignored
• We use the term loosely! But generally, studies have shown that the brain develops its patterns from the combination of all childhood experiences. Isn’t that obvious?
In terms of life-long survival, the purpose of good-enough nurturing is so we wouldn’t have to think about how to do every-day tasks, or how to respond to emergencies.
When programming is healthy, it frees people to participate smoothly in society, be creative & help others. They respond to their environment from equal parts instinct & upbringing. (‘CDs: Info & the Brain’)
• For ACoAs, the irony & terrible unfairness is that the very mechanism humans have been given to make life easier has been severely contaminated. So, our responses are mainly based in trauma & chaos, with not enough input from our natural instincts & inborn intelligence
Our family, & sometimes whole communities, dumped all their mental / emotional garbage into us, leaving us with the harrowing task of sorting out & cleaning up their mess – for the rest of our lives.❗️No child should have to carry the wounds our elders refused to deal with – yet that’s what we have to face & fix!
• This generated nuclear radiation-level emotions – mountains of fear, rage & deep hopelessness – which we had to deny, take out on ourselves & then on others. It’s made us feel unsafe internally with just about everyone, & externally unsafe for others to be around
Given our damage, it makes sense that now, when we’re under stress, we automatically revert to learned beliefs & Es, sometimes even with years of therapy & Program. In spite of all our ‘information’ about how neglected & abused we were, most ACoAs are stubbornly convinced we ‘choose’ to be bad, sick, angry, crazy & out of control…..
• And why not? Beside our own narcissism (“Everything’s about me”), we heard these distortions & lies often enough. When we can’t get our life going or function like ‘other people’, we believe we’re lazy, incompetent, will never amount to much & will always fail!
• Some ACoAs start out with harder, rockier psychological soil than others (intense resistance to admitting being wounded) – making it tough but not impossible for Recovery to take root. But aside from severe physical / mental disabilities, NO under-functioning ACoA is lazy or stupid, just TERRIFIED. And this is only true as long as the WIC is allowed to stay in charge of our thinking – in place of the healthy Adult & Parent – which adds to our emotional distress.
However, as we develop the UNIT, we can put temporary regressions into perspective, knowing that “If it’s hysterical, it’s historical” & therefore we don’t have to fall into that deep pit of S-H & despair we’re all so familiar with
NEXT: Inventories – In the Beginning (Part 3)