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See ACRONYM pg. for abrrev.
CD = Cognitive Distortions
It’s imperative we don’t expect Recovery changes in our thinking to be in a straight line or done perfectly (S-H), nor to be immediate (impatience of the WIC).
However, positive shifts can occur with repetition & enthusiasm. We do have direct control over what we think, even when it goes contrary to our emotional state. We can choose to think a different way until it becomes habit & then it’ll ‘feel’ valid. Understanding this process will help to be in charge of ourselves
• It pays to be purposeful. At first what’s required is to gradually become aware of all the thoughts & beliefs that create anxiety, depression, S-H, rage, over-reactions, pessimism, fear of abandonment…..
EXP: “I can’t try that new job , I’m sure something’s wrong with me…”, or “Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I’m going to eat worms & die!”
ACCEPTANCE (A-2): Always remember that thoughts & emotions are 2 separate forms of energy, not to be rolled together, even though they’re related as cause-&-effect. SO:
• we can feel (E) hopeless but know (T) that many things in the present are not
• we can feel self-hate but know that we are not bad, worthless….
• we can feel suicidal but know we have a right to live!….. because WE ARE SAFE!
CD programming makes it hard to ignore the unhealthy things we’ve learned. So when we first correct distorted self- reinforced thought patterns, it FEELS like the new info is a lie OR dangerous (in relation to the family system)
🐰Because it’s so uncomfortable, & we feel embarrassed by how sappy the statements are that no way is the WIC going to believe them…. we just won’t want to accept the changes. However, we have to ‘act as if’. To not totally revert, we need a lot of support, the presence of the UNIT (Adult & Good Parent ego states), & ‘faith in the process’. Progress, not perfection!
• Change the tape anyway! Each time we do, the huge loudspeaker at our back blaring verbal ugliness will shrink a little & the tiny one in front squeaking out Recovery will get a little taller & clearer.
✓ Some ways of dilating the aperture into the conscious mind are – hypnosis, biofeedback, guided imagery, EFT …..(self-administered, or professionally) and prayer, which more easily allows the introduction of contrary concepts into the unconscious (“how the brain learns“)
ACTIONS (A-3): Since thoughts are stored in one of 2 ways, so too can corrective habits be developed:
i. BY simple repetition: Replace a CD with a new thought 4-5x a day, which only takes 30 seconds at a time. So it’s not the amount of time but the consistent effort that pays off
ii. By associating a thought, decision, conclusion, action or experience with a strong emotion. Sometimes it’ll only take 1 or 2 trials for it to click, making the shift less of a hassle
Pair a thought, like : “I am comfortable in groups of any size” with a pleasurable emotion, like – enthusiasm, excitement, positive anticipation, curiosity…. which can turbocharge the replacement process
• Moving outside the mind’s comfort zone is challenging, but instead of suffering so much because of CDs, we can gradually:
😁 own the talents & skills we already possess & may already been using
😽 improve any weakness in knowledge, social skills, style of learning or work habits…. to make us feel better about ourselves & more confident in the world
• We can determine to make the effort of challenging the Bad Parent voice (PP), even though it doesn’t “feel” right at first, & our conscious mind ridicules us for suggesting it.
ACoAs will often say: “I feel so awkward talking the Inner Child”, so we stop! instead of persisting until the dissonance melts away, which it will.
(Extended article by Dr. W. D. Fabian)
NEXT: Acceptance & ACoAs #1