ACoAs: RESPONSIBILITY (Part 3a)

World-on-ShouldersOWNING MY T.E.A.s:
even if my buttons get pushed,
I’m responsible for my reactions

PREVIOUS
: Being responsible #3

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

 

AS ADULTS – GROWTH

As a guide to personal growth, the 12 Steps of AA are all about taking personal responsibility. They include:
Step 4: Made a searching & fearless moral inventory of ourselves
Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves & to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
Step 9: Made direct amends to such people (we had harmed) whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory, & when we were wrong, promptly admitted it

NOTE: However, it’s very common for addicts & co-dependents to not understand or to misuse the 12 Steps, especially in early Recovery.

🟩 Comment on Step 4 (re. ourselves)
ACoAs find it very difficult, sometimes even for years in Recovery, to sit quietly & write this out. We:
• don’t know what character defect are – they’re so much a part of the fabric of our life, & which ones we’re actually guilty of. “Does a fish know it’s wet?”
• we have so much S-H & shame that it’s too painful to admit anything, even though we think we’re guilty even when we’re not
*️⃣ we don’t realize that an inventory includes personal gifts, skills, talents….

🟩 Comments on Step 5 (re. hiding from everyone)
• Because of the WIC’s shame, it’s painful to share our defects with others. We’re so used to being chastised or made fun of, that doing this Step feels emotionally dangerous
• So many of us have a distorted view of ‘God as we understand Him/Her’, because as John rejct helpBradshaw reminds us:
“Before the age of 7 we deify our parents. After that we parentalize our deity.”

⛔ So if we make our Higher Power in the image of our abusive, neglectful parents, we can not avail ourselves of spiritual Source as safe help & comfort

• If we look up at the sky & only see our dangerous, neglectful mother’s or father’s face, it obscures the Loving Being who is waiting to connect with us & heal our fear & sorrow

Our WIC needs to be given a corrected view of HP. This comes first by developing the Loving Parent toward ourselves that we never had – our responsibility to learn with appropriate guidance – & then we can have a more accurate vision of who the HP really is

🟩 Comment on Step 9 (re. TMI: Over-disclosing)
Making amends is a very important part of relieving guilt & shame – when done in the right way, in the right environment – “You’re only as sick as your secrets”.
HOWEVER, ACoAs with weak boundaries & driven by the WIC’s anxiety, will either not ‘admit’ anything, or admit willy-nilly.

😳 A vital & much neglected part is at the end of this Step: ‘’…except when to do so…”  Sometimes telling an aggrieved person what we’ve done or said is not a responsible action, & will only do everyone harm.

EXP
: A wounded ACoA loves his wife & kids, & doesn’t want to lose them, but is nevertheless unfaithful (incest-survivor).  He’s filled with guilt, & tries to stop, but doesn’t. He wants to tell his wife, but knows if he does, she’ll leave.
a. Unhealthy reasons to tell her would be:
• temporarily relieve anxiety about ‘being bad’, so he doesn’t have to deal with his emotional painscreen-shot-2015-08-14-at-7-58-16-am
• have a fantasy hope that she’ll forgive & let him stay (so he can then ‘get away with it’ AND be absolved)

• the need to be punished, no matter the consequences to everyone (he doesn’t really deserve to be part of a loving family)
• a wish for his wife to be his watch-dog (use her as the controlling mother) – because he doesn’t really want to stop acting out, but may do so to be the ‘good boy’, or maybe keep acting out as a form of rebellion

b. Healthy (obvious): Stop all forms of cheating & work on his damage

NEXT: Fear of responsibility (Part 5)

ACoAs: OVER-Controlling Ourselves (Part 6)

frustration I WORK SO HARD TO BE GOOD – why isn’t my life any better?

PREVIOUS: Over-controlling Ourselves #5

SITE: The Truth about Power

CONSEQUENCES of OVER-CONTROL (cont)
1. Unsupported
2. Illusions

3. Always the Outsider – it’s ironic that even when attending 12-step meeting of ‘like-minded’ people, we still feel like we don’t belong!  When we’re emotionally over-controlled (O-C) :
• it keeps a wall up between us & others, especially against those who already have a genuine capacity to ‘see’ & accept us

• we gravitate toward ‘people, places & things’ (PPT) which simply don’t suit our needs, goals, or personality. We stay even when we’re angry & unhappy there – insuring that we don’t fit in or feel a part of things

• we don’t stay long enough or go deep enough with others so they can get to know us & show us the good things they’re able to provide
• we do & say inappropriate or obnoxious things that are likely to put people off & make them withdraw, especially if things are going too well with them, for too long (even a week or month!)

4. Envy & Jealousy – emotions considered ‘negative’ that have to be O-C :
Envy is about 2 people : “I envy you for having such great hair, an advanced degree….”, ie. wanting something we don’t have
Jealousy involves 3 or more : “I’m jealous that he has so many friends”, ie. wanting a relationship someone else has
OR
“She pays more attention to her friends than to me”, ie. trying to hang on to someone or something we don’t want to lose.
BOTH emotions come from believing we are powerless to get what we want & need in life, not necessarily the thing others have, exactly – just that they have the right to get their need me, like good things, & we don’t

• We may deny being O-C, yet often covet what others are or have. What gives it away is the rage we feel at certain kinds of people or situations! We say ‘those people’ are ‘entitled’, with a sneer in our voice because:
— we think they’re unfairly lucky – having a family, a decent relationship, a good job, lots of friends… & hate them for what we don’t have permission to get for ourselves

— OR we call them brats, selfish, arrogant …. because they don’t hold back the way we do. Perhaps they are, and/or we just wish we had some of that confidence to do & say what we’ve always wanted to, but aren’t allowed!

ACoA deprivation is always about the BIG A – abandonment. Family taught us we couldn’t have our needs, so we won’t let ourselves either. The WIC says it’s so-o unfair, but we keep on ‘following the rules” & depriving ourself!

5. Isolation – Without boundaries our WIC uses isolation to protect itself. Being O-C can cut us off :
— from various emotions (anger, sorrow, sexuality, competitiveness… )
— from many of our good qualities or potential talents (artistic abilities, generosity, patience….)
AND
— prevents others from benefiting from these valuable parts of ourselves, because:
• we’re afraid of getting stepped on, manipulated, used, boundary invaded, left…. if we’re open & available
• we’re afraid of getting sucked into taking care of others, or not being able to get away from someone we don’t like because of our co-dependence or passivity, so we’d rather not engage at all

• we don’t want anyone to find out how weak, damaged, vulnerable, dumb, needy … we really are (everything S-H tells us) — AND
• we’re sure we’re doing the world a service by withdrawing, to protect them from our rage! We may not admit to that feeling, but isolation is a sure sign we’re worried about it at some deep level & are trying to keep the lid on.

BOOK:  “BARGAINS with FATE”, taken from Shakespeare’s plays. Dr. Bernard I. Paris describes the Detached / Resigned character, whose only goal is safety via total ‘freedom’.
BARGIN: “If I ask nothing of others, try for nothing, expect nothing …. then no one will bother me & I won’t fail or get disappointed” – their Reward. What’s suppressed is their aggressive side.   (SEE all 5 on the ACoA website)

NEXT:  Price for ever-control #1