Unrealistic Expectations – OVER (Part 2)


you don’t know what I need?

PREVIOUS: Unrealistic Expectations (Part 1)

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

REVIEW post: “Symbiosis & ACoAs


What ACoAs SHOULD NOT expect…. (cont)
A. ….of OURSELVES (cont.)
(1. Unrealistic Recovery beliefs – Part 1)

2. Staying Attached : WE WANT to stay connected to even the most abusive family members & believe it’s our fault when that never seems to work out in our favor
• many ACoAs still have the illusion that if only we are perfect, ‘good’, successful, smart, care-taking of them…. enough – our addicted, self-centered, self-hating, severely damaged parents or substitutes (spouse, boss, adult-child….) will finally accept & love us just the way we are – so we never have to let go & grow up (love ourselves)barren tree

• even the smartest of us may harbor a secret hope that one day our parents &/or siblings will ‘get well / ‘see the light’… for themselves. We want them to get better, because we know they’re suffering, BUT we also want it for them so we can stay connected

• some of us have a parent who does eventually enter AA, & may become less abusive in some ways – but unless they also do at least some FoO work, their narcissism still shows, so they’re not going to be the parent we always wanted

• we’re so desperate to get their approval we refuse to see how incapable of love many of them really are – especially if they throw us a crumb once in a while.  Walking away or pulling back from such people entails “Crumb withdrawal”!
• when they hurt us yet again, we either suck it up & use our own addictions to numb the pain OR we turn it completely on ourselves & become depressed, non-functioning & suicidal – for some time after any encounter with them

B. ….of OTHERS
1. Be Rescued: WE WANT too much from others, which is the WIC’s demand that somebody make up for what we didn’t get from our parents. Yes, demand. We know this because of the hurt & rage that comes up when we don’t get the care & attention we so desperate long for – but rarely verbalize. The bigger the disappointment, the greater the helpless rage
• This seems obvious with Compliers, by hooking up with Rescuer ACoAs, who will do way too much for the ‘poor helpless victims’, so we don’t have to ASK

• It’s less obvious with Isolators, who don’t seem to need much, if anything. They have the same longing, if not more so, but are even more afraid & filled with shame to let anyone see how weak & needy they are. So they keep ‘starving’.
And waiting – for a miracle – which they think they don’t deserve anyway, & don’t really believe will ever come. But they still wait – instead of getting some of what they need for themselves

• Even harder to see is that Rescuers also want to be rescued. They’re not allowed to be given to either, but under all their care-taking is the intense demand they secretly have of the rescuee: “Pay me back for all the hard work I’ve put into you…make me feel appreciated, capable, loved, needed, smart, valued  … and most of all – get well so you can take care of ME!”

2. Symbiosis: WE WANT / expect others to treat us the way we would treat them (a symbiotic wish) – as if everyone is our identical twin. ACoAs will often say things like:
• “But, I would never do that to them!”
• “I don’t understand how she could have said that?!”
• “They can’t really be that dumb/ mean / selfish/ careless…”
• “I don’t understand how she could not like that!”symbiosis

• So what? They are not us! It should be obvious, but clearly it isn’t: that they have separate bodies, separate experiences, separate minds, separate tastes … so why do we still expect them to be like us?!
• When we think that way we’re reacting the same way our parents treated us – as extensions of themselves, rather than as separate beings. That’s our narcissism.

NEXT: Unrealistic – OVER #3

3 thoughts on “Unrealistic Expectations – OVER (Part 2)

  1. This is one of my favorite posts. I soooo relate to these WANTS/demands. I have acted out a lot in my past – and present – but I’m becoming more aware.


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