PREVIOUS : Confusion #2f
As adults, ACoAs tend to live too much in our head, yet are endlessly confused (a cognitive NOT emotional issue) because of all the mental spinning with CDs & S-H – obsessive & tortuous ‘thinking’.
We’re inundated by the ‘committee’ of internal voices we’re trying to ignore but can’t. Our crazy-making round-table consists of the WIC & various parts of the PP (mother, father, other relatives, school, society, religious beliefs….).
Our Reasonable Adult may even occupy a seat but doesn’t have a strong enough voice to win out. What’s totally missing at the table for most ACoAs is a Loving Parent ego state – the other half of the UNIT, to protect the WIC. What’s missing is our True Self, who knows that “I know what I know – but can’t know everything!”.
• Much of the time ACoAs are immobilized for ourselves – because:
– we can’t see who we really are, not allowed to admit what we truly like, need or want
– we’re afraid to make any decision, sure it will be wrong, & then we’ll be hurt (“I don’t want to be alone this evening, but if I go to the event I’ll be judged by everyone in the room”)
– we’re can’t bear the idea that whatever choice we make will eliminate others we would also have liked — at the same time! (“I want to go to the party with my friends AND I want to go to the concert”)
– we’ve been taught to rarely or never choose what’s best for us in the moment (“I’m very lonely & sooo want to go on this date, but I really should stay home & recover from this wicked cold”)…..
1. Confusing OURSELVES
PURPOSE: • To obey toxic family rules, loyal to family dysfunction, we deny our rights, boundaries, emotions, intuition….
• to protect ourselves from getting even more abandoned in PMES ways & being punished, judged, made fun of
• to get out of being responsible for ourselves, our emotions & needs
a. Confuse EMOTIONS with THOUGHTS (review posts) —
— by using the word ‘FEEL’ 3 ways: a. Sensations (hungry, cold…), b. Emotions (sad / happy…) and c. Thoughts (I feel THAT…).
To become UNconfused, at least when thinking to yourself, only use FEEL to express categories a. & b., never c.
NOTE: Any time you start a sentence with “I feel…..” make sure the next word is an emotion word, & you can feel several at the same time: “I feel excited, but a little scared…. / I feel disappointed & frustrated, but resigned ….
REMEMBER: If what comes after “I feel—” is a whole sentence (I feel < > like they don’t understand me), then it’s a thought / opinion / belief or legitimate observation…. but no emotion is stated, even though one or more may be hiding in the forest of words.
Between the < > there is likely an unacknowledged emotion, as in “I’m <ANGRY> that they always misunderstand what I say”.
b. Confuse EMOTIONS with ACTIONS
“I don’t feel like going there / working today / seeing that movie….”. is about actions, not emotion, even though, again, there are some implied. It would be more accurate to say “I’m too scared to go there / I hate my job so I’m not going to work today / I get upset watching spooky movies, so…”
c. Having MULTIPLE emotions at the same time about a situation, especially if they seem contradictory. All we have to remember is that they arise from different ego states, & does NOT mean we’re crazy or wrong. Humans are complex.
d. Making ASSUMPTIONS (makes an ‘Ass-of-U-&-Me’) about other people or situations, because we’re going by old scripts (Ts) & old experiences (As), rather than observing what’s real in the present or checking things out.
ACoAs are intensely reluctant to ask for information or for help. So the outcome of events or relationships often are not what we believed or expected – confusing us.
• Re. Authorities (boss, doctor, teacher…). Because ACoAs are desperate for good, safe, knowledgeable parents, we endow authority figures with superior qualities that no one could live up to, & assume they’re going to provide what we didn’t get as kids. When they don’t live up to our expectations (or their claims) we get deeply disappointed, confused & angry.
NEXT: ACoAs & Confusion (Part 3b)