TO RISK OR NOT TO RISK –
That is the question
PREVIOUS: Unrealistic Expect.-UNDER
See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
REVIEW posts on (not) TRUSTING
Basic MEANING of RISK
a. taking a chance on something, most often referring to the possibility of harm, misfortune or loss
b. can also be about a positive outcome, resulting in pleasure, accomplishment & success
c. OR a neutral / acceptable result – with no danger but no gain
STYLE “a” ⬆️ characteristics
• dealing with something or someone known as a source of danger
• a venture chosen without regard to possible loss or injury
• being exposed to the chance of damage or injury, not by choice
EMOTIONAL / PSYCHOLOGICAL
• a situation which causes suffering — being accused wrongly, manipulated & used, humiliated, misunderstood or shamed
• an element or course of action involving uncertain, unpredictable discomfort or distress
• the possibility that something unpleasant or unwelcome might happen beyond ones control
Although the definitions indicate more than one possible outcome, only the a. meaning is considered an option for us – because of Toxic family rules such as: “Life is endless suffering’, ‘You must always struggle but can never get ‘there’, ‘Don’t expect anything good, ever”…..
In a ‘sane’ world, Risk is minimized or no longer a factor IF the outcome of a situation in known ahead of time based on experience, or is predictable based on dependable information
Then a person can take an action OR avoid a situation – with confidence. This is not wishful thinking, projecting or unrealistic expectations. It comes from realistic knowledge, using present-day Adult ego-state evaluation
• But that’s not how ACoAs operate. We persistently ignore info we do have from years of experience, only using the WIC’s distorted ‘glasses’.
We compulsively pursue unsafe actions, when we —
✎ choose to return to dangerous situations, stay connected to harmful people…..
✎ & avoid beneficial opportunities, often refusing to take relatively safe actions.
Because of our very deep denial system we keep getting burned – then wonder why we don’t trust!
ANXIETY – ACoA issues around risk-taking are always about internal anxiety. One characteristics on the Laundry List is:
“We have become addicted to (negative) excitement after years of living in the midst of a traumatic & often dangerous family ‘soap opera’.”
ACoAs get things backwards. We keep trying to do the impossible & have trouble doing what is possible!
We’re not sufficiently afraid of some very dangerous ‘people, places & things’ while being overly scared of things that are not actually harmful (like having emotions)!
ALL ACoAs are fear-based**, the Inner Child’s terror of feeling out of control that we bring with us into adulthood, underscoring every aspect of our life. Anxiety is what drives all our character defects, our acting out, our addictions . It’s why the ‘Serenity Prayer’ is so important for ACoAs!
** Fortunately, long-term recovery – if we’ve been doing emotion-release work – diminishes the intensity of our fear, so it’s not on the surface all the time. But since our terror-base is very deep, it never dissipates completely.
So we should not be surprised when it occasionally grabs us in the gut – if or when some current event sets it off again. “If it’s hysterical, it’s historical”.
The difference is, or should be – that we’ve built a Loving Parent voice, with years of acting in healthier ways & using our tools, so we can soothe & comfort the WIC whenever we’re triggered (Use Book-ending)
The counter-action defense against anxiety is to be controlling (as opposed to Having Self-Control).
It avoids any type of risk-taking that inherently implies unpredictability.
The greater the inner fear, the greater the need to control – in a futile attempt to keep anything or anyone from abandoning us – yet again.
This is why ACoAs try so hard to be mind-readers. If we can figure out what someone feels, thinks or needs – before they say anything – we assume we’ll be ‘prepared’ – for the worst, of course – to prevent being hurt, & stay connected by twisting ourselves into what we hope others will find acceptable.
NEXT: ACoAs & RISK – #2