ACoAs & PLAYING (Part 2)
ACoA LAUNDRY LIST’s False Self characteristics (cont)
e. ACoAs over-react to changes they can’t control
Genuine play allows us to be in the moment, not knowing the outcome, not having to win, be right or perfect, & not “forcing solutions”.
EXP: when children play they often change the ‘rules’(which they made up in the first place) anytime they feel like it
Adult play doesn’t always have to follow pre-set rules either, & they can be thrown out the window if it’s more fun to not use This is hard to allow ourselves.
Children do need things to be stable & predictable in their every-day life, with clear rules & boundaries, something in very short supply in most dysfunctional homes. Chaos was the order of the day for us, so now we try to keep everything under tight control, which doesn’t fit in with playing
f. ACoAs have an inability to relax, let go & have fun
As much as we take pride in being the ‘good one’, we’re at war with ourselves. We may frown on others who we label as silly, childish or lazy, but are deeply envious of them a freedom we don’t allow ourselves
Regarding down-time, each child was affected by & reacted to the family’s dysfunction in their own way, but it also lent a particular intensity to the ROLES we developed:
a. The HERO had to be ‘on’ all the time, being the serious adult right from the beginning of life
b. For the SCAPEGOAT, ‘fun’ (for them) was hurting & humiliating (us) – in the guise of teasing -“we’re just kidding around”- verbal insults & sparing used to belittle each other, & pranks or games that could be dangerous
c. The LOST CHILD, often an Introvert by nature, stayed in the background, withdrawn into daydreaming, reading, escaping, hiding – their version of ‘fun’
d. Even the MASCOT, being cute & funny to keep everyone’s spirits up. But their playfulness came from pain rather than joy, often tinged with sarcasm & meanness
It comes from the WIC’s intense anxiety caused :
• by a constant push to get our huge backlog of unfulfilled needs met – the only way the child knows how, without boundaries or guidance
• but short circuited by toxic unconscious beliefs – that we aren’t allowed to have needs because they’re to-o-o much (for our parents to manage!)’can’t stop or don’t want to,
This impulsivity includes any type of ‘recreation’ that ultimately harms us in PMES ways. We : can’t stop yet don’t know why, OR we may be convinced we’re ‘free’ to do whatever we want
It’s about looking for immediate rather than deferred gratification: “I want it NOW!” because to the WIC any delay absolutely, unequivocally means “NO, you can’t have it & never will!”
Suggested Affirmation: “Delay is OK”. If we’re brave enough to ask for something we want, most of the time things do turn out well enough.
IRONY: Without Recovery, we’re in another ACoA double bind – desperately trying to get some of our needs met, but can’t because we must obey Family Rules (‘Don’t need anything’).
Of course some of us don’t even bother trying to provide for ourselves. But for those of us who do, we stay locked in familiar old patterns that guarantee being disappointed, which insures our obedience to the family.
As long as the WIC is in charge, it doesn’t dawns on us there are actual, real alternate possibilities. We ignore the fact that doing things ‘the old way’ usually ends in some kind of mess (for us & for others), which we then have to waste time cleaning up – or just walking away without taking responsibility or improving anything.
NEXT: ACoAs & Playing (Part 4)