THIS IS HARD WORK
but I’m learning a lot
PREVIOUS: THEIR Attitude Inventory (2 of 5)
See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
FYI: This INTRO will be repeated for all 5 posts in this series, but with different topics
THIS CHART is much more specific & includes listing many of the statements family & others made to us (or we overheard, often) that have become our Toxic Beliefs. More issues in the next 2 posts.
List the people you want to ‘learn’ about. To start, you can pick ONE you think you know more about & see how far you get. Of course you can use this chart any way that suits the way YOU process info, so experiment.
* TAKE YOUR TIME. You may feel even more overwhelmed than with the previous chart (there are 62 possible topics altogether). There’s no rush – if you push it you’ll be more likely to give up or to miss important details.
** Naturally you won’t be able to fill in every category for every person. but if you make a separate page for each topic, you can play around by filling in anything that comes to you right away. If you can only write one line per category, start there. Fill in more info at any time later. That can encourage you to work on the rest. PROGRESS not PERFECTION!
REMINDER: Not surprisingly, many of us don’t remember what
we heard, felt or experienced as kids – mainly we blanked out from fear, but our unconscious remembers.
As you proceed you might be surprised at how much you DO know, and at what will ‘be revealed’ about yourself as you go thru this exercise. Siblings, other family members & friends or old notebook/ diaries / photo albums – may be helpful.
NOTICE that for each topic you’re asked to consider 3 aspects:
a. Verbal messages: What did this person actually say about the issue? If we pay attention to the way we talk to ourselves – & others – especially when we’re frustrated or angry – we can hear ‘them’ coming out of our mouth.
Also, if someone you’re inventorying is still alive, you can get it from the ‘horse’s mouth’. Without being confrontational or angry, just slip some questions into your conversation & you may get lots of material for your writing. Even what they leave out is very informative!
b. Personal experiences: this is usually the easier one to remember – what actions did they take about each issue – what did they go thru? Lots of jobs, kinds of relationships, the many ways they did something stupid / abusive / self-destructive / OR helpful / kind / amusing ….. especially any repeated patterns
c. General Attitudes: This may be the hardest because you are the repository of their unspoken, disowned parts! But there are things you’ve always known about them (or at least suspected) that you may not want to admit. Remind yourself – “I know what I know”. You’re NOT crazy – kids are very intuitive & absorb everything!
More than likely you’ll be doing this on some kind of device. Make a separate page for each topic & perhaps each subheading
• OR you can use a loose-leaf notebook, & maybe 3 different color pens
• Take as much room for each a. b. & c. as needed, filling in first the things you’re sure or have an idea about – in NO particular order!
• Include all positive & negative points, to get a rounded picture
• Skip any topics that don’t apply to a specific person or that you simply don’t know about, & include more later
• Add any topics not listed which applies to a specific person
PS: If a topic specifically impacted you – growing up – you can make a separate column / page to comment