PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Playing (#1)
❖ The purpose and spirit of Play does not require any practical, concrete outcome. It’s not supposed to generate something you can ‘show for it’. It’s a state of being rather than doing.
❖ However, we can have a hobby that we really love – something creative or a sport, which does includes making or winning something. We may or may not be good at it. The value is not mainly the end product, but the process, which is supposed to be pleasurable & satisfying – suited to our True Self & feeding a part of our soul
❖ Also, many of us have heard or read about people who say they love their work so much it feels more like playing. In this case there is a tangible product & a financial benefit, but the point they’re making is that it makes them happy! They feel blessed because they get to do it all the time instead of relegating it to their spare time – or not having time for it at all
ACoA LAUNDRY LIST’s False Self characteristics related to PLAY
a. ACoAs guess at what normal is
Here ‘Normal’ means healthy, as opposed to ‘average’. We don’t realize that playing, relaxing & having fun are a legitimate & important part of being healthy, happy & well-balanced. “All work & no play makes Jack a dull boy”.
There’s a tribe in Papua New Guinea that frowns on sex & bans play. For years anthropologists have considered this tribe too dull to study, but finally had some success. Scholars still don’t know why the tribe developed this philosophy, but it’s certainly not one we should emulate! MORE…)
b. ACoAs feel ‘different’, creating a wall that isolates us
This prevents many of us from making the effort to reach out to others, search for appropriate venues that can provide relaxation, or for opportunities to play & have fun, whether recreational or educational
c. ACoAs have difficulty with intimate relationships
Everyone needs a certain amount of connection with other people, but the amount depends on one’s developmental stage, personality & on what’s going on in one’s life at the moment.
And while it’s perfectly normal & acceptable to play alone, playing with others requires a certain capacity for intimacy** to be ‘successful’ – since being in authentic play-mode means being able to express the True Self without shame or reservation.
This is not easy because our True Self got shrouded in shame & self-hate, making it hard for us to ‘let loose’ & to let others get emotionally close to us. ACoAs are more likely to put others in double binds: “I hate you – Don’t leave me!” OR “I need you – Don’t touch me!”
**INTIMACY: (IN-TO-ME-YOU-SEE) “Relating to or indicative of one’s deepest nature, marked by informality & familiarity. Something deeply personal, private, or secret”.
In our relation to others, it’s the ability to connect our ‘deepest nature’ with safe & appropriate others, because we know there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the Real Me, so we’re not afraid of letting it be seen
d. ACoAs take themselves very (too) seriously
While other children were busy learning to relate, compete, play & develop social skills, we were learning the tough lessons of survival. Many of us never heard our parents laughing, joking or fooling around.
The air was heavy, filled with the invisible energy of suffering. Life was hard business & the tone in our house put a damper on anyone enjoying themselves.
So if we did try to play or have fun we were guilted for wasting time OR punished for being frivolous & attacked for being ridiculous, making it stressful & terrifying.
NEXT: ACoAs & PLAY #3