PREVIOUS : Can’t receive #3
2. ACoA assumptions ABOUT OTHERS (cont.)
WE BELIEVE :
a. On the one hand =
• that everyone‘s hiding the ‘truth’ that there’s “not enough to go around”, so they have nothing to spare – for us. This is the alcoholic ‘Law of Scarcity’ : the glass is always half-full or less —
— which means we can’t expect anything, so why bother trying, since everyone we deal with is as needy as we (secretly) are. They’re always going to want too much from us – more than we can possibly give. If we let our guard down, even a little, by engaging in any kind of exchange, they’ll suck us dry!
• that no one is naturally generous & so never gives freely. Everyone has an ulterior motive – to take & use us, only for their benefit. When people volunteer anything that seems good, we have to be on guard & figure out why they’re offering, or what they really want
• no one is safe or trustworthy. Better to not take anything so we don’t have to give anything back. To give even a little is to lose everything (ourselves)
• we can’t accept any favors, because we won’t be able to repay it enough, & then we’ll be mad & punish us for not providing exactly what they need or want (mind-reading them). Better to keep everyone at arm’s length
REALITY: Most people do not want the equivalent of ‘our first-born child’.
They do want at least a modicum of acknowledgment, respect & pleasantness. Most will definitely appreciate a hello, a thank you, a smile, maybe some light conversation.
ACoAs would do well to develop small talk – yes even Introverts! – a legitimate social lubricant, since it’s not appropriate to lay a heavy trip on everyone we meet! Save that for your journal, therapy, BFFs & Program. But it’s also not ‘normal’ to have nothing to say.
b. On the other hand =
• we feel so worthless or evil that we should be dead, yet try to survive. TO be ‘allowed’ to exist we have to do & be whatever others want. That’s the only way to get anything – but indirectly. So WE:
• control, bully, out-smart, out-think everyone
• use sexual attraction, great salesmanship & charm
• OR be weak & needy so others feel sorry for us
Because we’re not allowed to ask for anything outright (god forbid!), most ACoAs trudge thru life in long-suffering limbo, desperately hoping someone will figure out what we want or need & give us a crumb or two. CODA points out that we stay in bad relationships because of the scraps of attention unhealthy people throw us – just enough to keep us hooked. So if we finally do leave – we have ‘crumb withdrawal’!
ii. Self-Sabotage – our WIC plays a sneaky self-destructive life-game with the PP : “I know I’m not supposed to have anything, but I still have needs (my bad), so I’ll make a sideways effort get a little something, but it’ll all be harmful so it won’t really count. With one hand I’ll be defying you, while obeying you with the other.”
• To play this game, we unconsciously make sure that most of what we pursue & stick with follow the Toxic Rules, by
— not actually fulfilling our fundamental, long neglected needs & rights, AND
— by choosing substances, types of people, careers or locations…. that ultimately damage us. Some of our choices may seem exciting for a while, because they’re ‘illicit’, but their destructive qualities insure that we’re punished for even trying to take care of ourselves, however poorly.
Knowledge – Once we understand what’s at work we can manage the discomfort of HEALTH, until the anxiety fades
Acceptance – Don’t fight the backlash or go into S-H. Keep to the path
Nurturing – Be kind to yourself, hold & talk to the WIC. Assertion – Stand up to the PigP voice & ride out the discomfort. It will pass & you’ll be left with the benefits of whatever good things have come into your life! GET A HUG!
NEXT: Healthy give & take #1