ACoAs – Healthy GIVE & TAKE (Part 2)

the more I can enjoy what I’m offered

PREVIOUS: Give & Take (#1)


WHAT TO TAKE from others – or NOT

👎🏽 Saying ‘NO’ requires that we know enough about ourselves & our rights – to make the best choices.
In some cases it also depends on who’s offering & why. If the giver is a relative, a boss or important client, taking the gift may be the kindest, or wisest thing to do, regardless of our taste. We can always regift

But if it’s close family or friends who are supposed to know who we are – & they insist on giving us things that are clearly not appropriate or suited to us – it’s legitimate to say “No thank you!”

EXP: Paula & Sharon were BFFs who lived in adjacent buildings & spent a lot of time in each other’s place. Paula was ‘earthy’ & preferred antiques, while Sharon liked everything bright, shiny & new. For their B/days (one day apart) they exchanged lovely gift BUT Paula always gave Sharon things that were her taste & totally NOT Sharon’s.

After a few years of this Sharon finally spoke up, asking to be considered accurately. The following gift again did not fit Sharon clothes or decor, so with regret, she gave the gift back!
PS. Years later Sharon developed another close friendship, also an ACoA, who admitted not knowing how to give appropriate gifts. They solved it by exchanging a short list of what each would like, to choose from. It worked great.accept good

Say YES to:
• complements about anything – looks, skills, style, accomplishments, knowledge, talents,  creativity
• freely given generosity – of money, help, provisions, short-term free services, lending something you need
•  kindness, respect, positive attention, appreciation….. any time
• offers of aid when you most need it
• new ideas, suggestions, other people’s experiences we can learn from
• something frivolous & fun – just because!

CONSIDER: Rejecting someone’s good-faith offers of time, kind words or small objects – is a way to dismiss the person as unimportant, & can un-necessarily hurt their feelings. It implies that what they’re not good enough for you

: In early Recovery Sean was reminded to appreciate whenever he was complemented, rather than negate it by explaining at length why he didn’t deserve the acknowledgement. His sponsor said: “It’s insulting to the person who is giving you a gift, by throwing it back in their face. Just say ‘thank you’ & then zip the lip.”
He remembered thinking: “OK, I’ll just say thank you, but privately I don’t have to agree!”  Oh well, Progress – not Perfection! Eventually he was able to appreciate genuine praise.

IMP: Being reciprocal means that we are supposed to receive something in return for our efforts – it can be a Thank You, a smile, a vacation or even a house! It means we ‘allow’ others to give to us in return for something positive we have done (once or regularly) – OR just because they like us! Can you imagine?

Being able to receive is a normal part of life. This is hard for many ACoAs to believe & grasp – if we’ve been blindly obeying Toxic Rules such as “Only other people’s needs count”. Do-ing for others is all we know & taking anything makes us feel guilty! Because we don’t feel worthy of anything good, we’re not comfortable receiving – even when it’s done freely & with pleasure.

Beneficial EXCHANGES of any kind DEPEND ON:
a. Knowing our needs. Directly or indirectly, we were taught to ignore & deny know thyselfthem. So now – how can we know what to take & what to reject, if we can’t tell what’s good for us or what we need?
TOXIC rules: “No one wants to help me, nor ever will” , “I should never be comforted when in pain”….(Post : Our Rights)

b. Trusting ourselves. We learned that we could never believe our own thoughts, experiences, emotions, good judgement or intuition!
They told us everything we felt was wrong, stupid or the opposite! So now – how can we identify what feels right for us or not?
TOXIC Rules: “It’s weak & dangerous to have needs, ask for help, have our emotions”

NEXT: Give & Take (#3)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.