PREVIOUS: ACoAs & CONFUSION (#1)
SITE: Erikson’s Developmental Stages
QUOTE: “Until otherwise proven wrong, assume confusion.”
From ‘Judgement on the Front Line’~ C. DeRose & N. M. Tichy
2. CHILDHOOD confusion
ACoAs grow up with so much distorted, incorrect or missing information that we end up feeling crazy! WE were never crazy – it was the environment. We tried our very best to make sense of what we heard & saw, but that simply was not possible. That was NOT our fault or any lack in us!
• Damaged, narcissistic & addicted parents use many defenses to keep their carefully constructed life-mobile from crashing, so they don’t have to face themselves & change. Consciously or otherwise, they figured the more they could confuse us & keep us off-balance, the less chance we’d have to call them on their crap.
Even so, there’s often one child in the family who really gets what’s going on, who can’t be conned. They’re not confused, but if they let that slip they get severely punished.
In this case you’re in a Double-bind – you=the Receiver & they=the Sender. As a kid this is at best confusing, at worst crazy making.
One tool sick parents use is Projection (NOT Projecting the worst outcome) when they or anyone else attributes negative qualities – to you – that are only their own.
It can be called emotional dyslexia (getting things backwards) – when they label or accuse you of being something they unconsciously disown or know about themselves, but refuse to admit.
Children want & NEED to understand what’s expected of them – how to behave, where the boundaries are, their chores, their place in the family & the world, how to deal with each other & outsiders….
They’re highly intuitive & focused on their environment, with great curiosity about everything, & to understand what’s going on, so they know how to act & fit in.
Ideally, clearly knowing these things allows children to act appropriately, which leads to staying connected & feeling safe, to mature & flourish, based on what the healthy adults can provide & teach them.
BUT – If the messages kids receive are crazy, garbled, contradictory, incomplete…. there’s no way they can figure out:
• who they are (identity) and how to behave
• how to correctly follow the adults’ demands, expectations & rules
• why they’re being punished or neglected
• what’s right & wrong, re. their own values or those in their world
• how to interact with others in a reasonable way (can cause isolation)
• when it’s safe to let go, not worry & just have fun
Children’s perceptions aren’t as clouded by years of conditioning as adults. They’re very concrete & literal, with little emotional or verbal filtering. They tend to say exactly what they think & feel, much to the chagrin or rage of adults – until awareness of their environment is beaten & terrified out of them, who then rebels or goes into hiding.
– The ‘good’ child (Hero) will carefully go along, following the script even when it doesn’t make any sense
– The ‘problem’ child (Scapegoat – who sees thru the confusion, but only for a while) will try to cut into the distortions by throwing the ‘truth’ in everyone’s face – without success. NOT quite the same as being scapegoated.
– The ‘invisible’ child (Lost C) simply hides itself, closes it’s ears & tries to escape by physically isolating & staying in its head
– The ‘cute’ child (Mascot) tries to lighten the heavy painful atmosphere by playing dumb but amusing
• So we cobbled together some kind of view of ourselves & the world out of the many forms of twisted communication we were subjected to. It’s like having to weave a tapestry with only old tattered cloth, dead flowers, prickly vines & invisible yarn – forming a nightmare design.
We ended up deeply perplexed about who we are, how things work, what’s possible…. while at the same time having only one way of being/ doing things (according to the Introject), so we don’t realize there are other options in the real world – for us.
NEXT: ACoAs & Confusion (Part 3)