Double MESSAGES – ACoAs (Part 7a)

acoa DBs

I’ve been so duped!

PREVIOUS: Double Messages, Part 6 

1. Many of us grew up drowning in Double Messages (DMs). Being raised in this kind of atmosphere this is how we connect with others, using this way of communicating in all relationships, especially the intimate ones. So if we’re serious about Personal Growth & taking responsibility for our patterns, it’s important to see how this all plays out

Childhood EXP: In many alcoholic families, where the addict (& most everyone else) is/are in total denial – if one of the kids has the nerve to complain about or object to the harmful effects of the drinking, the alcoholic (& others) will label them as THE problem, rather than the addiction, because that kid is disrupting the family’s fragile mobile (Post: B. Distortions, #1).
Then the whistle-blower child is forced into either being a co-dependent enabler, OR withdrawing & eventually leaving the family altogether. Either way – everyone loses.

Adult EXP: 2 clients who both attended 12-Step meetings were going to the same psychologist – separately. At some point they started dating.
> Sarah didn’t tell the therapist right away, but instead asked his opinion about seeing someone in the Program. The reply was that it waDM angry clients not a great idea, especially in the first year of attendance. Sarah finally came out with the whole story but concluded: “I get it, you just don’t want me to date Chuck!”

> After a few weeks Sarah complained in session about all the problems with Chuck. She said in angry accusation: “So why didn’t you warn be against seeing him? Aren’t you supposed to be helping me?”

>> AND there was the DM: The therapist was bad for “preventing” and bad for “not preventing”.
However, he didn’t get caught, but pointed out the Double Bind she had created so she wouldn’t have to own her decision or deal with the stress of two WICs trying to have an adult relationship!
PS: the 2 clients did marry AND eventually divorced.

REVIEW / REMINDER : Parental DM – forced on the Hero, the Introvert or the Sensitive child : 
A. Incompetence – Be dysfunctional, like us (misery loves company)
• parents (& later our PP) want us to be their carbon copy : fearful, self-hating, stuck, not risking, depressed, powerless, OR controlling, angry, limited, paranoid ….
• and they spend a lot of time putting us down, pounding into us all the things we can NOT do, & how lazy, weak, wrong, selfish & over-sensitive we are
. Competence : Be confusuion cornerfunctional, like we wish we were (so you can take care of us)
•  we must make them feel safe, not feel abandoned, fix them, be their parent
and, have to be : > perfect, strong, gutsy, able to take risks – for them
> have backbone, fight for them, save them from themselves
> be smart, capable, clever, & use all our knowledge (for THEM)
C. Be in Denial (the way we are)
They won’t tolerate questioning or objections to how they’re treating us, insisting that we’re ungrateful, making things up, being defiant, ‘difficult’, spoiled….
“I never said that!  ,  How dare you speak to me that way?!  , Stop complaining, after all I’ve sacrificed for you!…. ”   DENY, deny, deny what we’re doing to you.

★ This DM forms the basis of our own DB – next post

OUR PAIN: They were our first role models. What kind of example did they set? Kids absorb & imitate their parents, regardless. We imprint on them like ducklings! Yet what left for us is fear & confusion.

• If they were capable of **truly loving us, they would have wanted us to be happy, free & successful – for ourself.  So obviously they didn’t / couldn’t love us – not really!
No matter how much we don’t want to hear that, the WIC knows!

Just because they say/said “I love you” doesn’t mean they do – except in some narcissistic way. Remember, if you had been truly loved, you could have ‘normal’ human insecurities, but NO self-hate!

NOTE ** Healthy parental love is expressed in many ways, but most of all by being Nurturing. Children can only develop self-esteem if they feel truly loved. And that can only happen if parents have the capacity to be loving, kind, supportive, rational, available, sober….  not just give it lip service.

NEXT: ACoAs & Self DBs, Part 8b

ACoAs: Getting to our EMOTIONS – Over (Part 1)

too many Es HELP, I’M overwhelmed –
I can’t cope with all these feeling!

PREVIOUS: ‘Under-Feeling’ (review)

SITE: “Handling emotional overwhelm

– emotional intensity comes from the Wounded Inner Child (WIC), who had to stuff & store all the hurt no one helped us process in childhood, day after day, year after year! “If it’s hysterical it’s historical”,

• Our self-hate, guilt & shame add to the mountain of misery we already carry. As well as staying with emotionally unavailable &/or outright abusive people.
Yet we stubbornly resist doing emotion-release work because we say we don’t want to feel the WIC’s pain – while we’re creating more pain with our damage!  Over-Feelers (O-Fs ) are already suffering! Why not clean it out & be done?

• Being swamped with old pain (and new) blocks our ability to have pleasure! We know we’re not happy but are so used to misery, we believe we’ll never be free. “Does a fish know it’s wet?” Unexpressed grief & rage keeps us stuck obeying our Toxic Rules.

• ACoAs need permission and courage to express distressing Es. We need to learn how to handle them appropriately whenever they surface, expressing them in the right places & in safe ways.

• One reason O-Fs are afraid of letting out intense rage & terror is because we honestly don’t want to hurt others. But sometimes, when our huge abandonment button gets pushed, our Inner Sadist (I.S.) raises it’s head, & we can’t stop ourselves from saying & doing cruel things.  Afterward we feel guilty, ashamed & remorseful.  So O-Fs try to push big Es down too – just not as successfully as U-Fs.Screen Shot 2015-07-11 at 4.14.10 AM

IMP: If you’re over-sensitive (O-F) AND see it as a character defect – brainwashed to believe that by dysfunctional parents because everything seems to upset you, consider this:
• You were born with an active limbic system (brain-seat of Es)
• It’s very much like having hyper-sensitive pale skin. If you’re out in the sun too long – without protection – you’ll get burned

• So too, an emotional ‘sensitive’ will have intense reactions to being burned by years of emotional abuse & neglect as a child – without the internal protection of an adult brain, & externally without safe adults to protect your little body & heart!   NOTE: It’s not the sensitivity but an abusive childhood that’s at fault!

a. Damage
O-Fs have a hard time holding in Es when hurt, so growing up we were scolded, punished, made fun of & misunderstood – everywhere
We cried too much, were depressed, felt suicidal, threw tantrums, were clingy or rude, withdrawn or flamboyant…. The more we expressed our pain, the more we were abused, so the more pain we had to endure. AND – the more we showed distress at being abused – the more we were punished for it! Vicious cycle.

EXP: Jinny was a bright, intuitive & hyper-sensitive teenager. Not only had she been emotionally & mentally stressed since birth, but then hormones kicked in. Her ACoA parents had no clue how to deal with her – the narcissistic mother wanted her to ‘shape up’ & the depressed father identified with her but was powerless himself. One evening, in the kitchen, yet another insensitive comment from her mother set Jinny off & she began sobbing.

— Her father came in & told her to stop, which made she cry harder – so he slapped her.  His reason: “You were hysterical & I was trying to snap you out of it”.  It’s something he had once read, so thought he was being ‘helpful’! UGH!
Jinny was devastated by his betrayal – as he was ‘the kind one’.  She knew she was not hysterical & could think quite clearly!  Not everyone can “walk & talk & chew bubble gum” but she could, yet her father never bothered to find out who she really was!

• As a result of our experiences, O-Fs often hate having emotions but can’t suppress them, so we despise our ‘weakness’!
Growing up we were rarely if ever comforted, left desperately alone with our pain – profoundly terrifying for any child.  Combining no empathy with being penalized for expressing legitimate suffering = taught us to loath being Sensitive.

• This enormous backlog makes un-healed ACoAs very touchy & easy to flare up. One O-F woman in early Recovery expressed it as : I’m an emotional hemophiliac – touch me & I bleed”!

NEXT:  Over-Feelers – #2