OWNING MY T.E.A.s:
even if my buttons get pushed,
I’m responsible for my reactions
PREVIOUS : Being responsible #3
See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
AS ADULTS – GROWTH
As a guide to personal growth, the 12 Steps of AA are all about taking personal responsibility. They include:
Step 4: Made a searching & fearless moral inventory of ourselves
Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves & to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
Step 9: Made direct amends to such people (we had harmed) whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory, & when we were wrong, promptly admitted it
NOTE: However, it’s very common for addicts & co-dependents to not understand or to misuse the 12 Steps, especially in early Recovery.
Comment on Step 4 (re. ourselves)
ACoAs find it very difficult, sometimes even for years in Recovery, to sit quietly & write this out. We:
• don’t know what character defect are – they’re so much a part of the fabric of our life, & which ones we’re actually guilty of. “Does a fish know it’s wet?”
• we have so much S-H & shame that it’s too painful to admit anything, even though we think we’re guilty even when we’re not
*️⃣ we don’t realize that an inventory includes personal gifts, skills, talents….
Comments on Step 5 (re. hiding from everyone)
• Because of the WIC’s shame, it’s painful to share our defects with others. We’re so used to being chastised or made fun of, that doing this Step feels emotionally dangerous
• So many of us have a distorted view of ‘God as we understand Him/Her’, because as John Bradshaw reminds us: “Before the age of 7 we deify our parents. After that we parentalize our deity.”
⛔ So if we make our Higher Power in the image of our abusive, neglectful parents, we can not avail ourselves of spiritual Source as safe help & comfort
• If we look up at the sky & only see our dangerous, neglectful mother’s or father’s face, it obscures the Loving Being who is waiting to connect with us & heal our fear & sorrow
Our WIC needs to be given a corrected view of HP. This comes first by developing the Loving Parent toward ourselves that we never had – our responsibility to learn with appropriate guidance – & then we can have a more accurate vision of who the HP really is
Comment on Step 9 (re. TMI: Over-disclosing)
Making amends is a very important part of relieving guilt & shame – when done in the right way, in the right environment – “You’re only as sick as your secrets”.
HOWEVER, ACoAs with weak boundaries & driven by the WIC’s anxiety, will either not ‘admit’ anything, or admit willy-nilly.
😳 A vital & much neglected part is at the end of this Step: ‘’…except when to do so…” Sometimes telling an aggrieved person what we’ve done or said is not a responsible action, & will only do everyone harm.
EXP: A wounded ACoA loves his wife & kids, & doesn’t want to lose them, but is nevertheless unfaithful (incest-survivor). He’s filled with guilt, & tries to stop, but doesn’t. He wants to tell his wife, but knows if he does, she’ll leave.
a. Unhealthy reasons to tell her would be:
• temporarily relieve anxiety about ‘being bad’, so he doesn’t have to deal with his emotional pain
• have a fantasy hope that she’ll forgive & let him stay (so he can then ‘get away with it’ AND be absolved)
• the need to be punished, no matter the consequences to everyone (he doesn’t really deserve to be part of a loving family)
• a wish for his wife to be his watch-dog (use her as the controlling mother) – because he doesn’t really want to stop acting out, but may do so to be the ‘good boy’, or maybe keep acting out as a form of rebellion
b. Healthy (obvious): Stop all forms of cheating & work on his damage
NEXT: Fear of responsibility (Part 5)