& 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 ourselves – not just putting ourselves last, but barely enough survive, or to make life worth living.

We do NOT:
• take care of ourselves – appearance, health, living space…..
• acknowledge the damage done to us, & get the right help
• stand up for our rights, provide for our own 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.
Gibbons (2006) defined self-neglect 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-neglecters, perhaps even to their community.” (Wikipedia) (MORE….)

Some symptoms of self-neglect include hoarding items & pets, compulsive need to isolate, living in an unclean environment, poor personal hygiene, neglecting household maintenance, unwillingness to take medication, unkempt personal 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 ourselves. We’re looking for someone to take care of us – to give us permission to even be alive, much less be ourselves.

• doing too much for them But most of the PPT we pick to do that are just are incapable of being there for us as our family, 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 the way our family was onto every situation we encounter in our daily lives, whether it’s similar or not.

That means we have to 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”…..).

We BELIEVE that:
• without our intervention they too will fall apart, which would be our fault, so we rush to put out other people’s firesput out fires
• if we don’t take care of them they won’t have any need for us, & ‘leave’
• by so doing 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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