1a. For OTHERS – POSITIVE
1b. For OTHERS – Negative (cont)
i. WHO / ii. CAUSE / iii. WHAT
• to not feel the hurt of how they affect our life – if it’s a selfish, irresponsible parent we’re protecting – how they’ve hurt us.
If it’s another close person – all the ways they’re not able to legitimately be there for us.
(Post: ACoAs’ Under-Expectations)
• 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 maintain our own need to feel ‘better’, useful, needed, important
▶ Every person requires the experience of being effectual: ‘successful in producing a desired or intended result’ on another person or circumstance. But a huge missing piece of ACoA upbringing was that we never got to experience being effective. It wasn’t possible to have any impact on others, 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 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 others tell us they clearly see how we’re being hurt!
• we (as rescuer) enable our rescuee to never change or have to face the effects of their actions to themselves & others (doing them a dis-service)
✶ When someone is unwilling to take responsibility for 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 commonly seen in 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 ourselves 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 focusing on ourselves is selfish, & shameful.
✶ But ignoring our own limitation 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! STAY AWAY from anyone who tries to seduce you but only offers CRUMBS!
NEXT: “Feeling sorry for” #3