PREVIOUS: Getting needs met (1a)
SITE: “Understanding Self-Sabotage”
1. GOALS (cont.)
Needs – review ACoAs Manipulating Self & Others – #1
In order for us to get our needs met we must first identify what those are, have internal permission to pursue them, & then search out & use as many resources as are available to us to take care of ourselves. We can not wait for or depend on others to meet our needs – others are only supposed to be support & company on our life’s journey – not substitute parents!
While we may not always know what we want to do “when we grow up”, taking any positive action can get our engine started – especially if the activities are things we have been interested in since childhood but never pursued. Taking a class or joining a ‘topics’ group (such as in MeetUp) may lead us to new ideas, possibilities & friends or mentors. Setting goals is a fundamental part of getting our needs met, first the cognitive component (idea), managing our anxiety (emotions), & then taking the necessary actions. (T.E.A.)
Most ACoAs either :
— have great difficulty making decisions – we aren’t allowed to know or admit what we really need & want, can’t afford to risk making a mistake lest we get punished, & we want to avoid being disappointed yet again
— OR make them impulsively, without considering the results – the possible consequences to ourselves or others – also based on childhood brain-washing.
• So many of our childhood needs were not met – correctly – which left us with the clear message that we’re not supposed to want or need anything for ourselves! Even if we did get some Physical ones (roof, food, clothes, schooling….) – which was a plus & allowed us to survive – the good things were undermined by all the neglect & abuse in the other PMES categories, especially Emotional. And for many of us even the P category was contaminated by beatings, incest, lack of basic provisions….
• This damaging background has created a great dilemma for us, a double bind that keeps many of us stuck:
a. we’re not allowed to have needs, especially emotional ones, BUT
b. we still have them ALL – can’t get rid of them no matter how hard we try to ignore & suppress them!
EXP: As mentioned in another post, a newcomer to Al-Anon figured out in a 4th-Step meeting that her belief was: “My biggest character defect is my need for love!” WHY? because she grew up feeling unloved, yet still desperately longed for it. Wasn’t it foolish to want something she was sure she had no right to & would never get? (See “Unrealistic Expectations”)
Our experience in childhood was of endless ‘sameness’ – the same drinking, the same unfairness, the same neglect, the same loneliness, the same terror…..
Ironically, most ACoAs are best at what we like to do the least!
As Adults we’re still trapped in the hopelessness of ever being able to reach our TRUE goals, whatever they may be. For many of us, the idea of possibilities was not part of the mental vocabulary in our family:
— we didn’t have the option of using our imagination for ourselves, except maybe as a way to escape the pain we were constantly in, AND
— we used our creativity to figure out ways to keep our parents, siblings, mates, children… from total self-destruction
This makes it imperative to remember “I know what I know”, since we have our own native wisdom! The Healthy Child has always known a great many things which never got acknowledged or have been too painful to remember. So now the Good Parent can listen to our still small voice, & help redirect the decision process to get the best results. See RIGHTS & Self-esteem
Robert Sharma’s 5 Steps for Goal Setting
1. Celebrate: write down – in detail – things you’ve done in the past year you can appreciate yourself for. What are your big as well as small achievements?
2. Education // 3. Clarification // 4. Graduation // 5. Visualization
NEXT: Goals to meet needs (1c)