PREVIOUS: what to do when…. #3
ACTIONS: UNRAVELING CONFUSION (cont.)
In most of our families – every experience carried equal weight – always boring & unavailable OR dramatic & dangerous. So we never got a chance to learn ‘sane’ ways of accomplishing things, which would include: Having options, nuances & small chunks…. (Part 2),
Prioritizing activities – what needs to be done, & in what order?
1. Most urgent first (a health issue, work project, returning a call….)
2. Housekeeping, maintenance – pick one thing each day & do it
3. Relaxation, entertainment & hobby – pick one thing a week & do it
When there are several tasks, ask yourself:
= What will take the longest to do? How much time do I have right now?
= What’s the hardest for me? Will I need help to accomplish it?
= Do I have to decide something right now? or have time to consider
= Which one will I have to study for, & what’s the purpose?
• This can be hard for ACoAs to answer—
— if the goal, task, activity… is strictly for ourselves. After all, no self-respecting co-dependent is self-motivated 😟. We can move mountains for others but not even a pebble for ourselves!
— AND when the I.C. has a lot of anxiety & wants to do something – immediately, the self-destructive way, to douse the fires of old terror
• Will taking this action AND/OR spending this money create problems in taking care of my other needs ? (protecting my kid from more abandonment & abuse, caring for my health, paying rent, food, meds or other bills)
• If the answer is YES – then think twice about taking that action. If the impulse is very strong, call someone who can help you deal with the painful EMOTIONS behind the anxiety pushing you. Do an Al-Anon phone meeting, pray or meditate, go to the gym, read soothing literature, take a walk ….
Once you’ve been able to made a priority list, only do one thing on it – especially if that’s all the time you have. If that one thing also needs to be cut down into chunks, do one & then mark it off.
Seeing tasks ticked off can be satisfying, & encourages us to do continue, the next day / next time. High powered executives only to a few things at the top of their list every day. Of course most of us don’t have a staff to do the little stuff, but REMEMBER – without inner conflict most things take a lot of less time than we think!
One of the many reasons ACoAs have trouble making decisions is that we either don’t know that we have alternative choices, or we’re not allowed to make use of any options we’re aware of. We’re stuck following a pre-set course & nothing else is possible – for us!
EXP: It always amazed Bonita that some women could just walk out on a date if they didn’t like how it was going – more than one women in a restaurant has excused herself “to the bathroom” & then snuck out the back. What a concept!
In her younger days she never would have thought of that, much less done it. As a small child she was trapped in many situations, forced to sit alone in a church pew, at a dinner table, in a stranger’s home – without moving or causing trouble. “Children should be seen & not heard”.
• ACoAs are known for only thinking in B & W. Our traumatized WIC still doesn’t know there are ‘gray’ areas/ possibilities, & certainly doesn’t believe there are any actual positive, pleasant, safe options for us. We see ALL situations & people asscary, that have to be white-washed to make tolerable, because we aren’t allowed to leave when they really are bad for us. “Should I get a divorce or have a dinner party?” asked one very distraught ACoA woman. Hmmm.
NEXT: What to DO when… (#3)