REBELLION vs Compliance (Part 1)

I’ll do whatever you want, so you won’t leave me

PREVIOUS: Wanting Revenge #2



• This is normal for the teen years, when you’re trying to figure out who you are, what you want to do ‘when you grow up’, so you’re not a carbon copy of your parents (yuck), wanting to be part of your peer group….

• In a reasonably healthy family you’re given a certain amount of leeway in this, to grow & stretch. Healthy parents are not threatened by this stage – even if it makes them uncomfortable & a little nuts. They know you’re a separate person & will find out for yourself
• It does not mean they neglect you, ignore what you’re doing or just can’t be bothered. It means they’re watching & waiting, and caring, not overly imposing themselves – but also not OK letting you get into trouble!Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 5.16.58 AM

• When you’re allowed to be different from your folks, can disagree with their politics, religion, philosophy of life, or just plain – what to wear – eventually you get to find out what you really like & don’t like, who the real you is!

• Kids with this kind of freedom eventually (usually by their 20’s) find they do in fact agree with much of what they grew up with – the values, tastes, lifestyle… even if expressed in their own personal way.
AND ways they are different from family is accepted & maybe even admired – or at least respected.

However – if you’re reading this, you probably didn’t grow up in that kind of family!  As ACoAs:
a. Neglected : if we were ignored, unguided, un-nurtured – we would, of course, be left with a lot of anger, sadness, loneliness & a deep sense of hopelessness. As kids, we would Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 5.16.16 AMconclude that we didn’t matter, were invisible, had no reason to do anything for ourselves, & are incompetent anyway.

• Maybe a relative, a neighbor or teacher took an interest in us & helped some – but it’s not the same as having our parents explain things, show us by example & help us try out things. Everything from personal hygiene, cooking, house repairs, arts & recreation, social skills – to homework, relationships, spiritual practice….

Our Reaction
: We spent a lot of time alone, daydreaming, hiding out, reading, studying, maybe hanging out in the library, with a friend – but not likely.
NOW: ACoAs in this group don’t accomplish as much as they could, have trouble pursue dreams, goals, talents, interests … in spite of being just as talented, intelligent & capable as any other human being.
After all, if our parents couldn’t be bothered to teach us how to do all the things kids need to know, so how can we possibly manage anything ourself ? !

• This may not seem like rebellion – but it is.  It’s passive resistance: “If they didn’t take care of me, I’m not going to take care of me!”.  True, there’s fear, a deep sense of not knowing how, but the refusal to try comes from rage, which underpins the passivity.

Even so, some of us were told that they love us – even though they rarely or never acted like it. In stead, WE are the ones who love them – desperately, no matter how cruel & neglectful. We’re the ones who don’t want to let go!

b. Over-Coerced : At the other extreme, many of us were bullied, over-controlled, Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 5.15.41 AMmanipulated – forced to do & be whatever one or both parents (& other caretakers) wanted, with little or no regard to our individual personality.

• As kids we were considered ‘tabula raza’ – that’s Latin for blank slate. Parents of the baby boomer generation (& before) were taught that children come into this world with no identity or personality OR that they’re born bad, & it’s up to the parents to form them according the what’s ‘right’ – to write on the slate as they wished.

• Alcoholic & other narcissistic parents, who by definition had low self-esteem & fear of abandonment (FoA) themselves, could not tolerate any sign of individuality in their children, ⚡️which they stubbornly assumed to be disobedience, deliberate disrespect, even perversion!
☀️Such parents / family ruthlessly suppressed the reality that every child is born with their own specific personality type, & genetic makeup (even twins) which needs to be acknowledged & nurtured.

NEXT: Rebellion vs COMPLIANCE (Part 2)

2 thoughts on “REBELLION vs Compliance (Part 1)

  1. Some good posts here, I will be back to continue reading. I learnt some stuff here – many thanks 🙂
    I was a rebellious youth but became a complier by the sounds of it.


  2. We do sometimes switch. I did the reverse of you. Also, it’s helpful to know one’s Family Role. I was the Hero as a kid. Once I left home I added some Scapegoat, with an underpinning of Lost Child.

    Heroes have to be perfect & hi achieving. I did get a Phi Beta Kappa key! Scapegoats have to be bad, & I was, in my own way.
    Lost Child is mostly mute – which all ACoAs have, more than they realize – especially when people say mean things – our brains stops functioning! It’s from fear & not having the right words to say.

    I practice repeating & repeating phrases I know I’ll need , like “That’s not helpful!” or “Excuse me?” – so I can use it when I’m confronted with distorted or aggressive comments.

    The other role is Mascot – being cute & funny to cover up everyone’s pain. For yrs I envied the ones who were so quick with a story or turn of phrase. I was too ‘heavy, intense’ to be amusing. NOW – in the last 15 or so yrs I find myself very funny indeed – without even trying, & not playing a role. I’ve been able to let a true part of me shine – having an ironic way of saying things that is clever & funny, while making my point. The long hard road of recovery definitely pays off!


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