POSITIVE Responses to Painful Events (Part 3)

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ACoAs need to feel safe before we can feel loved!
Is your breathing shallow? Our terror is so deep & long-standing that we can barely breathe, but don’t realize it. “Clarity (knowledge) is Power” say the coaching gurus. Mental health includes being able to think accurately, without lots of complication. It’s one of the ‘secrets’ to feeling safer & more empowered, which eliminates drama

To accomplish that, we need to know (Ts) what:
• specific Toxic Rules we’re still obeying
• cruel, scary & untrue things we say to ourselves (S-H & PP)
• Cognitive Distortions (CDs) they represent, and –
• the corrections for those CDs

RECOVERY – It’s important to keep our side of the street clean in dealing with the world.
Minimizing S-H & shame makes it easier to take responsibility for our T.E.A.s (thoughts, emotions & actions), & to remember that most of what happens to us or around us is NOT about us!

Healthy ways to THINK about an upsetting event
a.  NO mind-reading
Re. people we know well, we can probably figure out what made them say or do something hurtful or irresponsible
Re. everyone else – we simply have no way of knowing. AND – even if we do know why, we won’t get validated, since most people don’t know what motivates them
Regardless, it’s not respectful to get inside other people’s heads, just like we shouldn’t let anyone live rent free in ours! 😾
✓ “I know how I FEEL, but can’t presume to know why others say / do something”

b. Self-Check
Using the questionnaire from What Just Happened , we can identify any part we may have played – without guilt, shame or S-H.  If our side is legitimately clean, we’ll feel relief
✓ “I’m willing to double-check myself – did I contribute in some way to this incident?  If yes, I’m willing to work on it. If not, I can ‘let go’”

c. Ask, Ask, Ask!ASK
We were taught to never ask others about themselves nor ask for information or help.  This may have been appropriate when we were kids, who can be bothersome to some adults, & often say embarrassing things.
But mainly it was because dysfunctional families don’t know how to communicate properly & didn’t teach us boundaries.  Asking eliminates mind-reading.
✓ “I have a right to ask what they meant by what was said, or why they did xyz.”

d. Corrections
Us – with self-esteem we’re not afraid to own our own baggage, not ashamed of having needs. We know we can’t be perfect, so don’t expect it of ourselves.
✓ “If I contributed to a problem, I’m willing to talk it out & make any amends, or correct any misunderstanding”

Them – Recovery teaches us not to tolerate or excuse bad behavior from anyone! WE set boundaries & make it clear how we want to be treated.  Self-respect allows us to walk with dignity, which others will sense right away. We’re not better than others, just equal as human beings
✓ “If someone crossed my boundaries, said something mean or did something disrespectful / inappropriate… I can stand up for myself by letting them know it’s unacceptable, & how I want to be treated in the future”

e. Acceptance is ‘acknowledging what is’ – no more, no less.
Healthy Thinking eliminates drama, endless obsessions & convoluted plans. We accept that there are people & situations we have little or no control over, especially like trying to get needs met from anyone who is emotionally unhealed
✓ “If I know the person well enough to know that no amount of explanation or discussion about their behavior will ever get thru to them, I won’t even try!”Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 9.44.18 PM

f. Letting Go
Trying to convince someone with a closed mind of our point of view is humiliating – we just make fools of ourselves. 12-Step Programs say: “Let go with love”.
If we can’t do it that way, then let go with – anger, indifference, frustration – but let go!
This means NOT continuing to want, expect & demand the impossible of others
✓ “If I’ve done all I can or want to – to deal with a situation – then I’m willing to stop thinking about it.  It’s done.”

NEXT: Positive Responses (#4) – Actions