PREVIOUS : Can’t receive #3
2. ACoA assumptions ABOUT OTHERS (cont.)
WE BELIEVE :
a. On the one hand =
• that everyone‘s hiding the ‘truth’ about there not being 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 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 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 & punished 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 playing 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 PP 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