PREVIOUS: Healthy Opposites -#2
See Acronyms Page for abbrevs.
“REVERSING self-defeating Behavior IMPROVES our Life” (cont)
A. UNHEALTHY Patterns
B. UNHEALTHY Opposites (cont.)
• Recovery is about moving from being unhealthy (#1) to gradually becoming healthier (>>>#2), from doing self-harming things to becoming more self-caring. All wounded people start out on the far Left side of this chart, taking mostly unhealthy actions. Unfortunately it’s where many ACoAs stay – although we don’t have to
There’s a saying in AA: “Alcoholics dig themselves into a rut, & then they decorate it”! —- instead of climbing out.
Since many of us were raised by alcoholics we learned to do the same, & find it very hard to outgrow.
It’s also true if our parents were some other kind of narcissist, abuser, depressive…. no matter what their drug-of-choice – food, money, exercise, relationships, workaholism, rage, religion….)
• Naturally, if we don’t know what Healthy Opposites are we can’t work towards them. So we settle for Unhealthy opposites without even realizing what we’re doing. Because they don’t work either, we go back to our original coping style, caught in a vicious cycle between the extremes of the Left end ⬆️, never making it over to the RIGHT side!
• Disappointing “relationships”
Too Little: isolating, depressed, not saying how we feel or what we need, ignoring our needs, waiting to be taken care of…
Too Much: clinging, chasing, verbally attacking, demanding….
• Work Stress
Too Little: being late, going on strike, not finishing projects, making lots of mistakes, taking too much time off….
Too Much: trying to please the boss, doing everything immediately, staying late, worrying about getting fired…..
• In the Home
Too Little: being lazy, sloppy, careless, dirty
Too Much: compulsively cleaning, obsessively putting things in ‘order’, not wanting anything moved….
• FROM clinging to bad relationships, family, jobs… TO isolating ourselves to the point of emotional starvation
• FROM not being able to get out of bed, totally goofing off, not using our talents …. TO running around like a headless chicken, taking on too many projects, becoming a workaholic
• FROM being so poor we end up living Ion the street or with drunks & crazies, TO overspending every cent we have as a way to sooth ourselves
• FROM physically being undernourished TO stuffing oneself, especially on unhealthy food & drink
• FROM promiscuity TO total sexual / sensual deprivation
• FROM living in daydreams TO being hard-nosed & controlling – and back again….
C. HEALTHY Opposites
Moving forward in life includes taking healthy productive actions, although doing things is not the only aspect, & sometimes taking no action is wiser & more effective. In terms of T.E.A., all our actions are motivated BY our thoughts & emotions, whether healthy or not, whether we admit this or not.
So, what can we do?
• In order to make desired changes we need correct info. Like any new language, we have to learn the vocabulary, grammar, syntax & rhythm of healthy actions. Actions that lead to any type of success are usually the exact ‘Positive-Opposite’ of our life-long patterns.
Yes, we’ve tried to do things differently, but to no avail because we’ve been doing the ‘Negative-Opposite’, with great effort & sincerity, but always ending in disappointment or failure
• We know it’s hard to change. ACoAs hate change! It triggers the WIC’s lack of safety from our dangerous childhood. Taking positive actions can temporarily make us feel crazy, in danger & we can temporarily regress to immature behaviors – as if we haven’t grown at all!
Recovery asks us to let go of old ways of thinking & doing – which seems very threatening – but ends us actually healing us!
NEXT: Reader request