PREVIOUS: Can’t Receive (#1)
An ACoA DOUBLE BIND (from double messages)
a. We don’t want to take care of others, hate having to give & give, especially to angry & selfish people. We’re trapped in a debilitating conflict: If we disobey the Rules, we feel terrible guilt, but if we give in, we hate ourselves & the people we ‘help’. Tortured either way.
b. BUT – we’ve been brainwashed to believe we have no other choice but to provide whatever others need. So we obey – assuming it’s the only way they’ll tolerate us. ACoAs handle the expectations, demands or whines of others
• Most often: a knee-jerk reaction to comply. Before we can take a breath we’re fixing, doing, comforting – giving, giving, giving!
• Some of us: the only option is to be almost totally withholding – to not get sucked in
✶ Either way, it leaves NO room for us to RECEIVE
1. ABOUT OURSELVES (cont)
a. NEGLECT – another form of Abandonment
• After visiting the Empire State building a loving mother asked her little girl: “So, did you like it?”- twice. An ACoA listening recalls that in a similar situation, her own parents were totally focused on their own interest: “Wow, that’s some view!” but never actually included the kids.
• This is one of many indirect ways we were ‘told’ we didn’t count. We were also told outright to not ask for what we needed, much less wanted. When we did, were ignored, punished or that nothing was wrong with us
Anything from needing the bathroom to having a broken arm – the message was clear: we were too much of a bother, only to be tolerated but not taken care of
EXP: Dickens’ Oliver Twist was one of many starving orphans forced to labor in a 1830‘s London workhouse. One day he held out his bowl & begged: “Please Sir, I want some more” (watery porridge), which started a riot – but got him no seconds.
• Whether we ACoAs were deprived of food or not, & some of us were, we certainly were starved in a wide variety of PMES ways. Abused kids find their own particular way to cope with years of deprivation – denial & repression being an inevitable result.
This leaves us acting out the neglect either by being overtly needy & grasping, or ‘above it all’ – suppressing how much we still long for the impossible, for the care they couldn’t give
Wanting more is not just about having things. It’s the normal human need like attention, comfort, kindness, love, nurturing, the right information, respect, safety, …. that we never got.
Many of us concluded our main character defect is our need for love (a misuse of 12-Step Program’s 4th Step). After all these years, how foolish to still want something we believe we don’t deserve! Right?
🤢ACoAs are terrified to ‘blatantly’ ask, sure we’ll always hear “NO”.
The underlying assumption is that we’ll never get any needs met, & the rejection would be too painful, so let’s not even go there
😢 AND, we’re convinced that if we have to ask for something – whatever is given was not done freely, so receiving it doesn’t count, has no meaning or value!
Others are supposed to magically know & provide (read our mind)
• This assumption & demand both come from the WIC, as far back as pre-verbal infant experiences, an echo of a time when we couldn’t talk yet, so needed mother to automatically know & provide for us – but in our case didn’t!
REALITY: Adults are supposed to ask for things.
We don’t always get everything we want, or at the time we want, which does not mean we’re destined to always be deprived. Delay is OK.
God definitely answers prayer – with a Yes, No, or Wait. We have a right to ask & receive!
NEXT: Not Allowed to Receive – Re. OTHERS (Part 3)