PREVIOUS: UNDER-Trusting (#1)
REVIEW: “Unrealistic Expectations”
WHY ACoAs DON’T TRUST (cont.)
• We feel such deep shame about being unlovable, the bad seed, a mess, too damaged…. that we withdraw from others, not letting them see who we really are & what we need
• OR we compulsively tell everyone all the things that are wrong with us
& then feel ashamed for exposing ourselves – but keep doing it
It’s generally true that our culture does not value or respect vulnerability – only a ‘stiff upper lip’. So if we talk to the wrong person about our pain, they’ll make fun, dismiss, judge, say we’re overreacting, it’s all in the past, we should be over it by now…… but the most common thing we’ll hear is : ‘Don’t be negative” – which is about thinking, not emotions! ➡️
NOTE: This is not the same as sharing about our inner wounds in meetings or therapy, where it’s appropriate, even though we feel shame & fear of punishment & rejection in those places too
EXP – Angela borrowed $35 from a recovery friend. She was going thru a very hard year & kept putting off repaying. Then she moved to another city & lost touch. The woman finally tracked her down & angrily demanded her due, saying Angela was irresponsible & not to be trusted.
Angela was very upset, knowing she was in the wrong, but also realizing that trying to always look good on the outside, she had been too ashamed to tell the woman her troubles, which would have helped her ‘friend’ understand the delay
d. Unrealistic Expectations
Even though many ACoAs can’t or don’t want to be honest, dependable or fair (#3 on the ACoA Laundry List) we have a desperate need for everyone else to be. AND we’re too literal (normal for children, but not realistic as adults) – so we assume / need to believe that people mean exactly what they say. If we hear:
✦ “ I’ll bring you the book tomorrow”, we look forward to getting it the next day
✦ “I’ll call you right back”, we sit around & wait, & wait…..
✦ “Let’s get together soon”, we want to know exactly when
THEN if they don’t come thru, ACoAs get very upset, leaving us:
• deeply disappointed, so our mistrust gets reinforced
• feeling S-H, convinced that it’s personal (NOT), that it’s our fault, we weren’t likable, assertive, clear enough….
REALITY – The other person may:
• be a people-pleaser, just being polite, so the ‘promise’ is not sincere, but not malicious
• have meant it at the time they said it, but got busy, forgot, got distracted or delayed….
YES, occasionally we run in to a narcissist or sadist who is just messing with us (maybe like one of our parents or classmates…) but that will be rare, unless we’re still living with someone like that!
ACoAs automatically distrust all authority figures because the first ones in our life were cruel or weak – which then gets extended to the ‘ultimate authority’ – God. Now we react in one of 3 ways, by:
being victims & people-pleasers, rebelling & fighting or withdrawing & isolating
• This is understandable as far as early experience is concerned. However, as adults we’ll continue fearing all authority ONLY as long as we’re not yet empowered ourselves.
If we’re still interacting with the world mainly as a WIC, then we continue to depend on others, & so are always vulnerable to bad parent figure – teachers, bosses, therapist, doctors, politicians….
🔺With a True Self, healthy self-esteem & good boundaries, we can be on an equal footing with others
HEALTHY: Some people are born to be leaders, entrepreneurs, self-motivators, & can learn to take on the mantle of power without misusing it. Not everyone is born to be ‘under’ someone’s authority (working for others).
NEXT: Under-trusting (Part 3)