I GIVE IT ALL AWAY & have nothing left for myself

PREVIOUS: Fear of Responsibility (FoR)  #2a


🧍🏽‍♀️🧍🏽 AS ADULTS (cont)
1. UNDER-RESPONSIBLE – as “Leavers” (cont)
a. re. OTHERS – Part 2a

b. Re. US
Being aleaver’ includes leaving ourself – not just putting ourself last, but barely enough to survive, or to make life worth living.

We do NOT:
• take care of ourself – appearance, health, living space…..
• acknowledge the damage done to us, & get the right help
• stand up for our rights, provide for our personality needs
• use our inborn talents, so don’t contribute our best to society
• prosper, perpetuate general ‘anorexia’ – such as under-earning, bad relationships, isolation, no fun ….

Most ACoAs do not show outward signs of our underlying wounds, but all of us suffer from it to some degree, even in Recovery.
• We didn’t learn self-care from our family, having been neglected & mistreated, thus given the message that we didn’t deserve any better, and
• This left us with a lack of information about self-care, so we don’t actually think in terms of what we need

At the extreme, the self-neglect of some ACoAs is more visible (deprivation / anorexia in many areas of life).
Gibbons (2006) defined it as: “The inability – intentional or not – to maintain a socially & culturally accepted standard of self-care, with the potential for serious consequences to the health & well-being of the self-deprivers, perhaps even to their community.” (Wikipedia) (MORE….)

Some overt symptoms of personal deprivation include hoarding items & pets, a compulsive need to isolate, living in a dirty  environment, poor personal hygiene, neglecting household maintenance, unwillingness to take needed meds, unkempt / sloppy appearance, eccentric behaviors……

2. OVER-RESPONSIBLE = the “Stayers”
Being ‘over-responsible’ toward others includes our children & grandchildren (small or grown),
BY: • doing too much for them
• people-pleasing & not setting boundaries
• letting them get away with unhealthy behavior, spoiling them
• giving in to unhealthy requests or demands
• not holding them responsible for bad behavior
• not teaching them the best ways to live in the world

As long as the WIC is still running our life, we focus all our attention outside of ourself. We’re looking for someone to take care of us – to give us permission to even be alive, much less be our True Self

• We do too much for others, & most of the PPT we pick to ‘help’ are just are incapable of being there for us as our family was, with a few exceptions.
Also –
• Because our parents were so angry, depressed & unhappy, ACoAs are convinced (unconsciously) that everyone else is the same.  We project how our family treated us onto every situation we encounter in our daily lives, whether it’s similar or not.

That means we react & behave in the same way we did as kids = that we have to be responsible (R) for others’ feelings & needs, to ‘help’ / fix everyone we deal with, whether important to us or not (lover, parent, sibling, OR “butcher, baker, candle-stick maker”…..) & suppress our own emotions, hopes & dreams.

We BELIEVE that:
• without our intervention – others we meet will also fall apart or put out firesgo crazy, which would be our fault, so we rush in to put out other people’s fires
• if we don’t take care of them they won’t have any need for us, & ‘leave’ us
• by rescuing / saving…. others we will finally become worthy of getting our needs met (‘earning’ love)

⚡️ For prolonged rescuing, we stay with those:
• who are more wounded than we are (assuming we’re not), so we can feel useful, appreciated, even superior
• who don’t want to take care of themselves & could, but live in Victim mode – so would rather we do it for them, since we’re so good at it (& desperate to please)
• who are intensely narcissistic, using us to feed off of, which we agree to, at least for a time, because it makes us feel needed & important

AND, we automatically stay away from anyone who is reasonably healthy – competent, self-directed, doesn’t need or want rescuing…. because they don’t ne-e-ed us & we wouldn’t know how to interact with them as equals!

 Fear of Responsibility – #2c

2 thoughts on “ACoAs: RESPONSIBILITY (Part 2b)

  1. This post really speaks to me. I think ACOA’s feel that if they don’t rescue and self-sacrifice, they will be seen as who they are, and not loved back. It’s much more comfortable to have the other person need you. Of course that other person can be damaged to the point where they don’t even see you. Your healthy needs get pathologized and you let yourself become just the self-sacrifice.


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