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ADULT Confusion (cont.)
1. Confusing OURSELVES (cont.)
e. Having UNACCEPTABLE emotions, in response to events, which we aren’t allowed, don’t understand, are afraid to feel, make us feel too vulnerable….. We’re confused, don’t know what to think about it
EXP: Crying when something good happens to us, when we feel cared for, when we hear something which rings true for us….
In each case tears come from a feeling of deep relief & pleasure – “FINALLY I’m being treated well / being understood / getting the answers I’ve always longed for / being validated….. I never thought it would happen!”
EXP: Therapy client says “I’m just beginning to admit my uncle molested me when I was a kid. I’m really angry about that but I don’t know if I should be”.
She’s confused about her right to have a strong response to a severe violation, & needs permission
f. Confuse CRITICISM with ABUSE (“Criticism” posts)
Def of Criticism: an evaluation or opinion of the merits or weaknesses of an action, choice, decision, thought process….
– a careful discussion of something to judge its quality or explain its meaning
– saying that someone or something is bad
Any criticism is NOT supposed to be a de-valuation of a person’s whole being or identity, although it’s often used that way. Children & dysfunctional adults do not make the distinction between BE-ing & DO-ing.
Criticism should ONLY be aimed at behavior or of content, as in books, film…., as a way to evaluate & correct. In our families, however, it was used to attack our very essence.
• Confuse Alternative Suggestions with Criticism – ACoAs usually think in B & W, only seeing one way of dealing with situations. We use the same tool for every job, like a ‘hammer’, equally for pounding in a nail, changing a light bulb or petting a cat.
We don’t even realize there are potentially several other – positive – ways of thinking about & then responding to most people or events.
We’ll actually need to use different tools to handle different types of situations (humor in one place, stern boundaries in another….), although sometimes the same tool can be used but in modified form.
SO: Being given alternate ways of thinking or doing something by a reasonable person will be to simplify & improve our lives – not a judgement.
g. Following OLD PATTERNS
In the real world our intentions can easily be misunderstood & our actions misinterpreted – even when we’re trying to be ‘real’. We wonder “Why did they react so badly / ignore me? I was just trying to help / be friendly….”. People’s negative reactions hurt us, even make us angry – but mainly leave us confused. (POST: What just happened?)
CAUSE: As ACoAs, what we say or do doesn’t work because it comes from the WIC’s dysfunctional repertoire.
• being pushy & overly-inquisitive with new people or groups, because we so much want to connect & figure out what’s safe,
➖ is considered intrusive, uncouth & tactless
• being distant, aloof, non-communicative, because we don’t want to be intrusive or disrespectful,
➖ are considered stuck up or a cold fish
• being argumentative, over-questioning, even a bit belligerent, because we’re desperate to understand something,
➖ is considered disrespectful, stubborn, ‘difficult’
• making a joke of very painful or abusive events (about ourselves OR to ‘help’ someone in distress),
➖ but get frowns, withdrawal or told we’re being insensitive (true), when we think we’re just trying to lighten the mood! ….
We also STAY confused when we:
• believe that ignoring an unpleasantness makes it not real or it’ll disappear. When it comes back to bite us, we’re shocked & confused
• don’t recognize conflicting emotions & beliefs @ self & the world
• refuse to see & deal with what others tell us @ themselves (deny who they are)
• repeat old family patterns & expect a different outcome
• resist other’s attempts to tell us the truth / reality @ something
• try to get other adults to take care of us. Most won’t, & either avoid us or show anger at our neediness
• try to do too many things at one time, not planning things out & then fail or never finish
• try to please everyone else, but never ourselves, & then wonder why we’re exhausted AND not appreciated ….
NEXT: Confusion #3c