TAKING RESPONSIBILITY –
greatly empowers me!
Fear of Responsibility (FoR) #3a
AS ADULTS – GROWTH (cont.)
Step 10 – in AA, Al-Anon….: Continued to take personal inventory, & when we were wrong, promptly admitted it
✶ Comment on Step 10 (re. mindfulness)
This is often misused by ACoAs in the service of perpetuating our self-hate – seeing everything we do as wrong (sorry, sorry, sorry!), which is NOT what it says. Rather: “…and, when we were wrong…” which is not all of the time. (Posts on Step 10)
We don’t believe we have any positive, valuable characteristics, constantly being barraged by the Bad Parent attacks. This is extremely stressful & for some of us the pressure if so great that we end up spewing it out everywhere we go – constantly telling ALL our flaws, failures, trauma & problems – in great detail. We think it’s being honest & responsible. NOT.
This compulsion is actually:
• SELF-HATE, which says: I’m so bad, worthless, unlovable & a f–k up, that I can never do anything right AND I have to let everyone know that I know, so they don’t think I have an arrogant bone in my body
• LACK of BOUNDARIES – no sense of appropriateness as to who, what, where & how to tell about our damage. One woman greeted an acquaintance, saying all in one breath: ”Hi, I’m Mary, I was raped!”
• FEAR OF ABANDONMENT – ACoAs’ default position is that: “I will get abandoned by everyone, sooner or later anyway – so why not get it over with before I get too attached. I’ll tell them what a mess I am so they won’t be shocked & disgusted later when they get to know me. That’s when they’ll dump me – when I’m already involved – which will be unbearable
DOUBLE BIND (D-B) #1
• Our family made it clear they were not going to provide what every child needs, & we didn’t deserve to have the needs anyway, which we accepted at a very deep level
AND yet —
• Our needs never seem to go away, no matter how hard we try to ignore them. Since those original adults didn’t come thru for us, we were on our own, trying to get by as best as little kids can, without knowledge or nurturing
• Long ago we gave up hope of ever succeeding at what we were ‘born to be/do”, so now we never go for the brass ring. ACoAs are ‘famous’ for being great at what we like to do the least, since it’s not a threat to our core self. We think that if we fail at something we don’t care about it won’t matter as much! And if we dare reach for the sky, & achieve some success, we find a way to sabotage it.
AND at the same time —
• We keep trying to do & be what they said they wanted of us, or what we thought they meant – so we can finally get it right, to get their acceptance & approval! We assume that’s exclusively up to us, so we’ll bend ourselves into a pretzel – anything to deny our family’s disregard
• Family bullied us into ‘taking care’ of them, emotionally & physically, insisting that we act as fully competent little adults – for them (as arbitrator, lawyer, doctor/nurse/ psychologist, housekeeper, babysitter…..)
AND yet —
• any attempt we made to use those same skills for ourselves were discouraged, made fun of, punished, under-cut…..
#3b – As a result of 3a:
• We have to – at least try – to get other people to take care of us, because we truly believe we don’t know how
AND yet —
• We DO take care of others, actually exhibiting amazing skills & talent we never use for ourselves, still thinking we’re incompetent
• We are angry at having to be responsible for others, still protecting our abusers
AND yet —
• If we don’t do our little co-dependent dance with everyone (over-responsible), we’re convinced we’ll never to get our needs met (as repayment)
NEXT: Healthy Responsibility