PREVIOUS: Healthy RISK
See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
1. MIND-READING (M-R)
This is one of the many Cognitive Distortions (CDs) that plague ACoA & alcoholic thinking :
♦︎Expect yourself to know what others are thinking, without them having to tell you, and
♦︎ Magically assume you know how someone’s feeling, or what they need or want – from you —> so you can provide it!
♦︎ expect others to know what we need, feel & think, without having to tell them.
This CD is a form of symbiosis, (opposite of S & I), the WIC’s desperate desire to stay connected to others — the same way an infant needs the mother to KNOW what the baby needs & feels.
In a healthy family this is provided, which allows the child to form a safe internal base. Then they can outgrow the need to be intertwined & rely on themself.
ACoA impulse to Mind-Read is :
• knowing from experience that our parents did not love us unconditionally & so assume everyone else will feel the same way toward us
• being raised in an environment where the adults hardly ever talked to us, or evaded admitting what was happening, so we couldn’t know what others were thinking or feeling
• growing up in a family where emotional & mental honesty was missing (lying, hypocrisy), so we had to guess at reality
• our fear of separateness – if we ‘know’ what someone is thinking then we’re permanently joined (intertwined), to stave off the bitter loneliness of the WIC
• needing to protect ourselves at all times from the ‘dangerous’ world by ‘figuring out’ what to expect – always
• not taught how to gather info correctly, we make things up. We’re not allowed to ask AND assume we won’t get the truth anyway
• trying to figure out how to behave (if I “know” what you’re thinking I can adjust my actions accordingly)
🦠 Mind-reading is completely about us – not about the person or group we’re referring to. Because it’s not based in reality, it does the opposite of what it’s supposed to accomplish.
Instead of keeping us attached & safe, M-R insures staying at a distance in a fantasy fog, separating us from the rest of humanity, which reinforces our sense of alienation. No wonder ACoAs feel like we ‘don’t belong anywhere’, even when in a room full of other ACoAs!
M-R also means WE :
♦︎ are sure someone is reacting badly to or thinking negatively about us, without any real evidence… often contrary to what the other person actually feels, says or does….
✧ S-H becomes “Nobody likes me”
✧ FoA becomes “She would never spend time with me”
✧ paranoia becomes “I know they’re talking about me”
✧ fear of rejection becomes “She’ll be too busy to help me”
✧ perfectionism becomes “They all thought my _____ was awful”
✧ lack of boundaries becomes “The boss expects me to be just like her!”
EXP: Paul sits anxiously in a 12-step meeting, raising his hand but not getting called on. He’s convinced the speaker is deliberately avoiding him – “she must not want to hear what I have to say… she doesn’t like me… she thinks she’s better than me…”, so Paul sits & fumes.
Reality: If Paul had asked the speaker about this, he would have been told: “I’m sorry, I saw your hand, but just didn’t get to you. It’s so hard to pick – you want to include everyone, but there’s just not enough time.”
EXP: If your therapist yawns or seems distracted – you assume he / she is bored with you.
Or if you get invited to a dinner party, you’re sure they only invited you to make up the seating numbers.
Reality: You’re therapist was up all nite with a sick child or has a bad headache! AND, you were invited to dinner because the hostess likes you & knows you’ll be a great addition!
NEXT: MIND-READING vs Intuition – 1b