ACoAs &CONFUSION – in Recovery (Part 4b)


 PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Confusion (#4a)



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 :

Too Independent

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:no thanks
• 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.

: 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, becausinconsistenciese 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)

Ego States – CHILD (Part 1)

Inner children
when I connect with my Child part


CES = child ego state
AES = adult   ”     ”
PES  = parent  ”    ”
NC = natural child / AC = Adapted C.

Everyone has a CHILD Ego State (CES) – the earliest stage of our development, forming our personality in the first 5-7 yrs of life. Similar in many ways to the Freudian concept of id, it operates on the pleasure principle, automatically & persistently aimed at gratifying & fulfilling needs – but available on a conscious level.

We continue in child mode well into our late teens & early 20s, through 7 developmental stages.(“Cycles of Power” by Pamela Levin). For the rest of life the CES is both an influence (what we think & feel inside) & a state (looking & acting like the little person we once were).

🌺 It’s called “archaeo-psyche” because it’s a collection of taped & stored info – CHILD e.s.behaviors, thoughts & feelings held over from childhood. It’s made up of the Natural Child – our fundamental identity – overlaid by the Adapted Child, healthy or unhealthy, developed in response to our environment & filtered through our natural tendencies

Its goal is to feel pleasure & avoid pain – no matter how or at what cost. It’s focused on Self needs only, even when relating to others or trying to being helpful : “I want, Don’t leave me, I refuse, You can’t make me, I don’t wanna, I want you to….”

This does not mean it’s a bad aspect, to be gotten rid of. We need it, since it holds the seeds of our native qualities, as well as the wounds that influence later behavior. It’s just that as adults it’s not healthy to be ruled by the Child. (See ‘Contamination’)

✦ This E.S. is mainly the domain of the ‘felt’ – the Right brain. Before we were able to talk (Left), our whole world was about feelings & sensations!
So most, but notbrain sides all, of our emotions (Es) – including all the old stored up ones – reside in the C.Intima

Pleasurable / Positive
🥁 This part of us contains all the impulses that come naturally to a child – the source of our adventurousness, connection, creation, curiosity, emotions, fun & intimacy*. The Child is filled with desire – to be seen, challenge, explore, grow, learn. It can be creative, imaginative & spontaneous.

Intimacy*: game-free exchanges of emotional expression between people, without manipulating or exploiting (“Games People Play”)

• The CES holds all the caring, enjoyable, helpful &  loving things we received growing up.  It’s the part that loves to giggle, laugh, have fun & enjoy the simple things in life – at any age, like the The 70-year-old man sitting in the park enjoying an ice cream cone, or the couple dancing ‘like no one else exists’ – are in their Child state – in positive ways

Painful / Negative
The CES can be fearful, intimidated, needy & selfish – showing up as a brat, be whiny or demanding when we don’t get our way. It also houses all the experiences that caused us anxiety, sadness, rage, shame, terror…

And when we neglect ourselves, hurt others with our damage, refuse to be responsible for our feelings & actions…. we too are in the Child, but in a negative way

⚙️Childhood pleasant or painful Es can be triggered when a current event copies or reminds of past events – especially if it was something that happened over & over (ignored, scolded… or being praised, comforted….)

Unfinished business any given developmental stage creates defense mechanisms, with echoes of actions, feelings, perceptions & thought processes – all of which are tucked away in this ego state, as a fixation, that has to be worked out in order to grow

EXP: The Child gets activated when we smell a favorite childhood food & we feel happy, nostalgic & hungry. But when rage, terror or despair dominates reason, the Child has taken over.

NEXT: CHILD E.S. (Part 2)