IS IT REAL OR…..
am I just projecting?
PREVIOUS: Healthy RISK
POSTS: “Symbiosis & ACoAs”
• “How ACoAs Abandon Others”
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!”
Me, me, me! M-R completely erases others, as if they didn’t have separate identities, minds of their own OR had other things to think about besides us!
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
3 thoughts on “MIND READING vs. Intuition (Part 1a)”
Wow, this is so me! You wrote this about me, right 🙂 (Just my little mind reading joke.) I’ve spent my whole life mind reading people, projecting my feelings onto them, trying to figure out how to fix them, making suggestions, caretaking, etc. all in the hopes of getting loved and taken care of. It’s so difficult to stop doing it even though I’m more aware now of this pattern and that it’s about that I haven’t been taking care and giving love to myself. I’m glad you pointed out that some of us just weren’t taught very much about how things work in the world or how to care for ourselves physically and mentally. Just so much good stuff in this post. Thank you.
Yes! I get accused of having motivations (always negative) that are not even ON my ‘radar screen’ – so frustrating for me to experience… yet it seems like ‘truth’ to the one who is doing the accusing. ~
Use an Al=Anon response: “Thank you for sharing” with a lilt in the voice! & a smile, of course.