ACoAs ‘FEELING SORRY For’ (Part 3)

 

I CARE ABOUT OTHERS IN PAIN –
but my first responsibility is to my own!

PREVIOUS: “Feeling Sorry For” #2


See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

 

 

2. For OURSELVES
FEELING SORRY for oneself can be healthy or unhealthy.

HARMFUL, from others :  When we express genuine pain, we often hear cruel reactions from ‘authorities’, family or so-called friends (some 12-step members, religious communities, various self-help gurus / books) :

“Get off the pity pot , You’re JUST feeling sorry for yourself , Don’t wallow in your pain , Don’t live in the past , That was a long time ago , Are you still going on about that? ….”

These comments come from someone not working to heal their old wounds (even in Program), but instead are clinging to & protecting their own defense mechanisms & don’t want to be reminded of their damage.

However,
we have our own version of “feeling sorry for”, in 2 forms.
a. Negatively (self-pity) endlessly rehashing old traumas, as a way to:
• not care for ourselves – stay in damaged-child modeself-pity
blame others, instead of focusing on what we can do now
• stay in the anger – which is ‘safer’ than feeling the pain underneath
• not have to grow up & ‘leave home’ (S & I) — escaping the responsibility of being in charge of our life.

b. PositivelyFirst & foremost, we need to have great compassion for ourselves – for what we endured as kids, & also as adults. Feeling sorry for & comforting our WIC is NOT selfishness, as we were told. Gaining the trust of our WIC is the only way to heal.

As kids, our suffering was ignored or punished & we were expected to suck it up. Even then, ‘they’ said we were being a baby, too sensitive, over-reacting, making things up, being crazy….
This has left us with a tragic inability to be kind & understanding toward ourselves!  We’re as unsympathetic as our family was – indeed, just as cruel in the way we talk to & treat ourselves! (Self-Hate)

SO, ‘healthy’ feeling sorry for – ourselves- includes:
gain WIC's childrenclearly understand exactly what happened to us in childhood. As long as we can’t identify & acknowledge it, we’ll keep repeating it
• having others validate our experience, without blame or judgment, because we never got the right kind of mirroring growing up (a crucial aspect of our damage)

• go over & over the traumatic events of childhood in order to get to the emotional pain which they caused – to be able to process it & get it out of our body
• cry & rage & mourn – in safe places, with safe people – so we don’t have to carry it around anymore or take it out on others

➼ These can take a long time, because there’s a huge backlog of pain which we can’t access quickly or easily – & our resistance to change.

EXP:  Rob was working on connecting with his Inner Child for several years.  While sharing in an ACoA 12-Step meeting, he suddenly visualized his kid sitting on the floor, hunched over – with knives sticking in him, all over. That’s what all that early verbal abuse had felt like! Rob started to cry.

In that moment he saw & felt the terrible distress his kid was in but which he compassion for WICwasn’t allowed to object to or express. As his Loving Parent self, he was able to feel a great rush of sorrow & compassion for his younger self. After that he couldn’t be harsh with the kid any more (negative voice coming from either the WIC or the PP).  It was a turning point in his recovery.

• Remember: The only source of self-esteem is unconditional love. Having a strong, positive identity means treating ourselves with loving kindness, patience & perseverance. We do need to ‘feel sorry for’ our wounded part – the real-life child we were, who suffered unfairly & alone thru endless days & nights, in our home, school, church & neighborhood – without people noticing, caring or helping!

• If we – as the Loving Inner Parent to our WIC – can feel genuine sorrow for what we endured, through no fault of our own, we can begin healing those wounds.  The child part of us is waiting to be heard!

NEXT: Fear of commitment- #1

What ACoAs Know & Don’t Know

SO MUCH TO KNOW –
I’ll never get it!

PREVIOUS: Recovery – IS & ISN’T

SITE: Self-esteem – the problem behind the problem

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

 

ACoAs are some of the smartest, most intuitive people around.
We had to be – to survive our childhood!  But we:
a. don’t acknowledge it (taught to not trust our judgment)
b. are ashamed of it (taught to not think so highly of ourselves)
c. are missing basic, ‘normal’ info about ourselves & the world

1. LACK OF INFO
a. About Alcoholism in the family, denial. THAT:alcoholism
• they were drunk, or that their drinking effected us
• we were abused & neglected (abuse is perpetrated on one or more of the 4 levels: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual)
• we were molested, sexually or physically abused
• we carry deep pain, from all that abandonment
• their damage & our was not our fault or responsibility
• we don’t have to suffer any more
• we have a right to be here
• we can trust our intuition   -etc.

b. About Healthy Living
• what process actually is & how to use it
• what clear, sane thinking ‘sounds’ like
• that we have options & what they may be
• what we want to be / do, when we ‘grow up’ – some of us do
know, but are not allowed to go for it & we’re too scared to failno crisis
• how to live without constant crisis, abuse, anxiety
• that we don’t have to manipulate to get our needs met
• that we can take care of ourselves, if we grow a Healthy Adult
• how to be kind to our Inner Child – grow a Loving Parent!
• what mental health is  (see posts on ‘Recovery’)

c. General
• how the rest of world actually functions
• what reality is – mental, emotional, physical
• what to SAY to people when they say hurtful or outrageous things
what healthy people are like EXP: ACoAs think they don’t get angry, overwhelmed, make mistakes, love relationships…
• why other people do what they do (get away with things, are entitled, can function well…)

• what is NORMAL – which has 2 meanings:
i. the opposite of crazy.  Our S-H says we are crazy & everyone else is normal.  Yes, we do have distorted thinking, which can be corrected – but that doesn’t make us nuts.
It’s normal to: have emotions, to succeed via process, to mourn losses, to not get along with every one, all the time, to have some damage….

ii. what is average – for humans, & in your society
It’s about the behaviors & attitudes common to the majority. But in this meaning, normal is not always healthy! It’s what the norm was where you grew up, in your religion, in your neighborhood & school… 
SO – normal could have been – drinking to excess, physical danger, verbal abuse, insensitivity, lack of education…OR being up tight, having to succeed, always looking good, doing the ‘right thing’…
It’s normal to: laugh when someone gets hurt or makes a fool of themselves, to not help strangers in trouble, to stare at an accident on the street…
no happy reunion
a. Not possible or unlikely
• our parent to love us, unconditionally
• to be free of all pain & suffering
• to have relationships that never end
• to be liked & wanted by everyone, all the time
• to be a star, be famous, be adored, worshiped

b. Can be worked towards & accomplished
• diminish S-H & gain self-esteem
• be heard/ listened to/ get healthy attentionScreen Shot 2015-07-11 at 11.53.34 AM
• healthy friends & mates
• improved health & appearance
• an enjoyable career, creative outlets
• to belong & be accepted
• respected, treated well
• feel comfortable, safe, secure
• have fun, relax, enjoy life   – etc.

3. What ACoAs DO Know
• what really happened to us as kids (abuse, neglect, coercion, torture) – BUT don’t want admit or deal with
• some of the things we want in life – BUT are not allowed to have
• what we’ve learned and accomplished since we left home – BUT not allowed to admit or own it
• ALL the things we figured out on our own, as kids and as adult – BUT don’t value or validate, because of:
— S-H – we deserved anything bad that happened to us (then and now)chinese S-E
— shame – not allowed to have our need or our value our accomplishments
— lack of healthy mirroring – our real self wasn’t validated by our family, so we negate our natural abilities

SELF-ESTEEM comes from validation & unconditional regard / love.
Validation means admitting what we know & learning what we don’t. Regard is being kind, patient & respectful toward ourselves. It’s never too late to have a happy life!

NEXT: Ennea Development Levels #1