PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Confusion (#4a)
RECOVERY CONFUSION is NORMAL (cont.)
c. what we know vs don’t know
This kind of ‘not knowing’ is an indication of growth, the confusion part of any issue we’re working on (career, relationships, self-care….), & will be to different degrees for each. Our reactions will be too little AND too much :
With little or no guidance as kids, many of us are used to doing everything ourselves. What we can’t figure out – we do without! Even in Recovery we still believe we’re supposed to know everything, making it hard to:
• reach out for comfort, guidance & information
• make an effort to see what else is possible in the real world
• try out a variety of new ways to do things
• be OK with making mistakes or having to try many different options before find the right answer or right fit
We were trained to believe we’re supposed to be self-sufficient – both emotionally (“Don’t bother me / don’t be such a baby….”), & how things are done (“You figure it out / should know that”)…. without anyone’s help. So no matter how confused we are – we don’t want to look dumb or make a fool of ourselves.
EXP: You take a college course on a subject you know very little about, maybe just for credit, or because it’s of interest. But you don’t really understand the material & find that you’re floundering. You get the sinking feeling you’re missing something everyone else understands but you don’t know what.
So, as a ‘good’ ACoA we beat ourselves up – either we should already know the info OR be able to figure it out (“I guess I’m just too dumb”). But how can we? The whole point of taking a class is to learn what we don’t know! Believing otherwise feeds S-H.
This issues applies to work, relationships, self-growth…..
Having trouble understanding something means you:
• are rushing the learning process
• don’t have enough facts about the lesson or situation you’re in
• are trying to do too much, or everything at the same time
• are trying to use ‘graduate level‘ info before being solid in the fundamentals
vs. Too Dependent (longing for symbiosis, someone to take care of us so we don’t have to). Actually – there are many thing we DO know – and have always known, even as little kids. But we’ve been brain-washed by family (& sometimes church & society) to deny it, so it gets pushed it away or completely forgotten. The internal conflict makes us feel crazy. (“I know / I don’t know”)
We feel too lost & afraid to trust our own judgement, common sense or experience, so we constantly, compulsively ask others for info & help, even when we actually know the answer or what to do —
• as a way to stay dependent on others, esp. on authority figures
• trying to get validation because we don’t believe in our knowledge & intuition
• from being taught (usually by a religion) that talking about -even- legitimate knowledge & accomplishments is arrogant, presumptuous or the sin of pride
It’s true that we have many cognitive distortions (CDs) learned from family, BUT ACoAs are very smart & perceptive. We need to recapture the many truths we’ve suppressed & ignored for so long. It will UN-confuse us. REMEMBER: “I know what I know – but I don’t have to / can’t know everything ”.
d. because of incongruity. DEF – when something is “strange, because it doesn’t agree with common principles, or what is usually expected”
CONGRUOUS: exhibits harmony in it’s logic parts, has internal & external consistency, is perceived by others as sincere or certain
For ACoAs, incongruity has to do with anything we’re thinking (CDs) or doing which conflicts with how the real world works. This is similar to ‘Old Patterns’ (‘Confusion-Part 3b, #g). When we try to function from our historical training in ‘normal’ relationships or work settings – we don’t get the response we expect or want, so we get confused – and we confuse others.
In Recovery – the main incongruity, at least internally, is between the False Self (wounded Adapted Child) & the fledgling True Self (healthy ‘UNIT’), how we’ve always reacted vs new ways we’re learning to apply.
NEXT: Confusion (Part 4c)