PREVIOUS: ACoAs ‘FEELING SORRY For’ (Part 1)
1-a. For OTHERS – POSITIVE
1-b. For OTHERS – Negative (cont)
i. WHO / ii. CAUSE / iii. WHAT
• to protect selfish, irresponsible parents from being accountable
• to never have to feel our deep ANGER at everything bad that happened to us at the hands of these particular people, & others like them
• to not feel the accumulated pain of how they have negatively affected our life.
OR : If ‘feeling sorry for’ is toward another person we’re close to – we suppress admitting all the ways they’re not able to legitimately be there for us.
(Post: ACoAs’ Under-Expectations)
• to maintain our need to feel ‘better’ about ourself, be useful, needed, important – by taking excuses for them
▶ Everyone has the need be efficacious in life – to make things happen, to have a positive impact on their environment – in order TO get their needs met.
It’s being ‘successful in producing a desired or intended result’ on another person or circumstance.
But a huge missing piece of ACoA childhood was that we rarely or never got to experience being effective. It wasn’t possible to have any impact on damaged, drunk, selfish adults, much less a positive one.
We couldn’t get them to listen & believe us, to change, to stop hurting us, stop drinking, to see our worth, to help….
…. which has left us now with an intense sense of hopelessness (‘Why bother, I won’t be able to do it anyway, nothing I try works, no one’s going to listen or care, nothing works out for me anyway….’)
• So as adult we continue trying to compensate in ways that are not effective! – such as expending a lot of time, $$ & energy on people who can’t love us, who will never get better, OR who may, but not in OUR timing – like now!
• This becomes a vicious circle – trying to do the impossible will always lead to failure, which reinforces our sense of ineffectiveness. ACoAs get the Serenity Prayer backwards. We need to learn & use it correctly!
It wasn’t God who didn’t listen, it was out damaged parents!
Feeling sorry for & trying to rescue the ‘wrong’ people, means:
• we continue to be abused & neglected by them, without admitting what we already know in our gut, even when outside observers tell us they clearly see how we’re being abused!
• we (as rescuer) enable our rescuee to never change or have to face the harmful result of their actions to themself & others
• we white-wash the abuse & neglect, never holding them responsible for their actions / non-actions – by saying “they can’t help it / didn’t mean it….”. (POSTS : ‘Parents Blaming Us‘ and “They did the best they could’, 2, b, ii).
✶ When someone is unwilling to own their actions, or get help to change & improve their lives using available resources – you know they’re not the right person to feel sorry for.
Love them, but don’t rescue – it’s a waste of effort!
🥱 Compassion fatigue is a normal human response common to highly empathetic individuals. There are so many needy people & ’causes’ in the world – but we can not help everyone, all the time.
Over-doing for others eventually results in “emotional numbing, depleted empathy, reduced awareness of surroundings AND physical exhaustion & illness.”
For ACoAs – surrounded by the endless negativity of other people’s unresolved problems leaves us worn down and angry. Letting ourself get burned out is a replay of trying to rescue our family – exhausting & hopeless.
★ Being compassionate does not mean being a patsy: ‘a person who is gullible & easily taken advantage of ’.
Insensitive & abusive people are only interested in what they can take, & give as little as possible in return.
⛅︎ We are worth more than that!
• Often the only thing we can do is pray for them. An Al-Anon truth: “Each person has their own Higher Power” — & it ain’t us!
• WE need to set priorities with our time, money & abilities. But helping-oriented people often view self-care as a form of self-indulgence, as if it’s selfish, & shameful.
✶ But ignoring / denying our own limitations (to fit others) is both arrogant & self-destructive. Our main responsibility is to protect our Inner Child from careless, emotionally unavailable & dangerous types, no matter how much we care about them.
Our kid comes first! Distance yourself from anyone who tries to seduce you but only offers CRUMBS!
NEXT: “Feeling sorry for” #3