WHO NEEDS PROCESS?
I’ll just jump to the end. Much faster & less hassle!
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ACoAs HATE process!
Process is the practical HOW TO of living well, something ACoAs barely learned, or not at all.
Our FAMILY (& other adults) :
• were not good role models (incompetent, drunk, controlling, bossy, weak, procrastinating, fearful – or just unavailable / absent)
• expected us to know what to do automatically (read their mind?)
“behave, make us proud, always look good, never mess up, learn a skill, go to college, be a good son or daughter / student / Christian…’
• wouldn’t let us help them do things (so we thought it meant we were hopelessly inept – even of we were only 6 or 10, or a teen…)
• either gave us incomplete or incorrect info, or didn’t help us figure out the process, expecting too much while getting frustrated & angry with us for not getting it right away, & ended up disgusted & abusive
✒︎ Did I mentioned? ACoAs HATE process & will do anything to avoid it, including not even notice we’re avoiding it! We want to get THERE as fast as we can, like yesterday. We’ll see why.
SO – what is it? A series of action steps or growth stages, between where we are now & where we want to be = HERE ——>/——>/——>/——> GOAL
The overall procedure is a series of –
A – Actions
Each step also has 2 major aspects –
T – (thoughts) ie. Information
E – & emotions
1. PROBLEMS : This looks simple, no? But nothing is simple for us! (3 CHARTS…..)
a. ‘HERE’ : wherever we’re starting from. Seems obvious? Well, not always for ACoAs. We’re often either in lala land or in S-H about our current status. What’s needed is a fair assessment of our strengths, weaknesses AND outside resources/ support
So we ask: QUO VADIS? (Where are you going?)
b. ‘GOAL’: Another hitch. Because –
• many of us don’t know what we want, need, like, feel… so how can we have goals?
• we’re not allowed to think for or about ourself without interference, so we deny knowing what goals we may have
• some goals are only those we were programmed to take on
• some of us have very clear goals & strong desires – BUT are not allowed to pursue them (form the PigP),
and the WIC is too terrified of failing or losing, if we tried
• other of the WIC’s goals aren’t within our capacity, not realistic or just plain unhealthy. If we focus on something that’s not feasible, naturally we’ll never achieve it, which just adds to our sense of hopelessness. (“Weak Decision Styles)
So we have to carefully think through what we’re aiming for
c. The STEPS: Next problem –
• we don’t know what the steps are – for many types of process
• we want to skip the ones we can’t handle instead of asking for help
• our family didn’t go thru process-steps, so we don’t know what stages ‘look like’
• we were expected to be little adults – so they wouldn’t have to be real adults – forced to skip the process of normal childhood developmental growth levels. So we think that’s how it’s done:
“ACoAs get their MSW first, & their Birth Certificate later!”
Process is about ACTIONS. Each step is made up of:
c1. Information (facts) – like how to make a resume, fill out forms, think thru a problem….. ACoAs are VERY smart, but we’re a human version of HAL, in ‘2001’.
Think: millions of data crystals fitted into the slots of our processing core – some are missing, many are there but corrupted & others are in perfect working order BUT not linked to the recognition software! ie. – we don’t OWN all the good & accurate things we DO KNOW!
Even so, ACoAs are avid learners, book junkies, always searching, trying to figure out how ‘normal’ people function. So this point is more manageable. We can easily find info, especially now, on the net.
c2. Emotions – mainly FEAR (anxiety) like when we have to cold-call, interview, talk to a stranger at an event…. This is the real sticking point. We brought with us from childhood:
• OLD Emotions: so many painful experiences which never got validated or processed, so there’s a deep well of terror – which we now project on to anything that seems hard
• CURRENT Emotions from toxic beliefs : that Rolodex of negative Rules in our head which we obsessively repeat, insuring we won’t be able to take healthy actions if at all.
Negative thinking (CDs) creates high anxiety! It’s not just the old fear that cause problems. It’s what we’re still believing right now that’s scaring us!
NEXT: Healthy PROCESS (Part 2a)
One thought on “PROCESS – ACoA Version (Part 1)”
Oh my. I didnt have to read far for my emotional allergies to start manifesting.
The mind-reading that my alcoholic parent expected me to do. And the expectation to be the final product they envisioned without an ounce of guidance or modelling on how to get there.
And the, “you better get a grip on your temper” reprimands I would receive as an angry young child, whilst alcoholic (and probably ACOA) parent modeled the same or worse anger and certainly no how-to of getting a grip.
Years later, in adulthood, I am so grateful to have learned about these shortcomings and to be able to pass something different along to my own kids. And to overcome my own alcholism and behaviours.
Wow, what a blessing.