ACoAs – Fear of Commitment (Part 6a)

I always have to be ‘on’


2. RE-ENACTING (a-j)

3. SELF-SABOTAGING re-enactment
There are also POSITIVE things that interfere with our willingness to Commit, such as :
a. Fear of self-careTo the WIC, C. to ourselves means having to give up the fantasy that someone will come along & rescue us.
12-Step Programs remind us that to truly progress, we need to put our Recovery first, before all else – particularly true for newcomers.

♥️ Commitment to ourself:
• requires the guts to go against all our early training, managing the resulting guilt & backlash
• means re-defining terms like ‘selfish, normal, fair, family, love’….
• means talking to the WIC every day, Meetings, 2-handed writing, books, therapy…. as much as possible.
Once our Inner Child trusts that we’ll consistently show up for it, making a commitment to others won’t be so scary
➼ If you’re in Integrity – true to Deepest Self – & are accused of Selfishness, it simply means you’re not doing what the other person wants.
Don’t let someone guilt you into betraying your values, observations & beliefs. You can comply with their wishes if it suits you, but not from FoA

b. F of being treated well & loved. To the WIC, C. to anything or anyone positive, means having to feel the contrast between the suffering our family (& others) put us thru – against – now being seen & heard for who we are, treated with kindness & respect. We start to understand what could have been, in a saner family. Painful & enraging.

• BUT we don’t want to be disloyal to our parents, afraid to hurt them. After all, they said/say they love us, right? How can we admit otherwise?Yet many of us actually believe that wanting to be loved is a character defect!  Infer all, if they couldn’t – how dare we still want something we have no right to?!

But being loved is a fundamental & universal human need, which we had very little of when we needed it the most! So now we’re attracted to & stay with PPT that are either blatantly bad for us, not actually bad but unsuited to our True Self, or which only partly meet our needs. Screen Shot 2015-08-22 at 7.21.10 PM

• We’re afraid to  grow up, afraid to be ‘vulnerable’.
Being treated with consideration, patience, admiration, encouragement…. forces us to FEEL the abandonment we grew up with – how much we missed out on, & to think: “I could have had a V-8!” – which means : “I didn’t cause the pain I grew up in. With healthier parents I would have been safe & loved!” 😢

c. F of our Power – To the WIC, C. to our own strength means eclipsing family members, so in some way destroys them. 
🔥 Any sign of ‘stepping into our power’, being smart, knowing our rights & being able to shine was considered arrogant, presumptuous, even sinful.  Beside all the verbal & physical abuse for just being a normal kid, many of us got smacked down badly if we ever let some of our natural strength out.

😡 The other down side of showing competence & strength as a kid was that one of more of the damaged adults used it – like a nightmare octopus – to feed off of us! (Post: “Personal Power”)invisible

So, between being abused and used – we had to hide most of who we truly were, & adapt to what would get us through.
Expressing our strengths as a kid would actually have meant being :
– a disruptive threat to the whole dysfunctional system
– a signal they might no longer be able to ‘mess’ with us
– an attempt to disengage the symbiosis, triggering THEIR FoA
– highlighting the adults’ weaknesses & limitations
– usurping the narcissists’ limelight

That left us invisible to ourself – not knowing what we’re inherently capable of, unable to commit or connect in a genuine way. And our co-dependence tells us that if we outshine others, we’ll be bad for making them feel bad about themselves. Then they won’t like us, plus we’re terrified of their envy-backlash.

🌀 And, now – If we do get an inkling of our healthy power, so foreign & undeserved, it can set off panic – at first . To let others actually SEE us feels life-and-death dangerous. But as we continue to inhabit our natural skin, we become more & more comfortable.

NOTE – Unhealthy responses from others & our resulting terror ONLY happens when dealing with very wounded / abusive people!

NEXT: FoC – #3a


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I’m gonna need some help getting it off!

PREVIOUS: Healthy Helping (Part 2)

SITE: Dysfunctional Family (Wikipedia)


RULES: No matter what kind of family environment we came from, all ACoAs have gathered a litany of TOXIC RULES, which we follow ‘religiously’, even well into Recovery – but hopefully less so with growth!

We absorbed these Toxic Rules from family, school, our community, religion…. They are the underlying beliefs the WIC is absolutely convinced are the absolute ‘truth’ which we are obligated to obey – on pain of death (abandonment)- even if we disagree or hate them. Notice the contraction & conflict. No wonder we say we’re confused!

The BE and DON’T lists are the short forms, & just mirror opposites. Below are the expanded ones.  This is by no means complete. Each of us can have variations or additions.

INVENTORY: How do we know what our rules are?
a. Overview
As you read thru these lists – notice the ones that hit you the strongest. If you’re new-ish to recovery you may not recognize that you have more of them than you first think. Still confused?
✶ Ask yourself, & then siblings, mate, friends, therapist … for suggestions

✶ Do a Life Inventory, in 3-5 yr increments, listing all the major events you can remember – things that were important, relationships, when you started & stopped things, schools, moves, births, deaths …. choices made, opportunities we didn’t take…..— Don’t go into detail. Just list things in one sentence each
— Notice the recurring themes, patterns, avoidances… What’s good things are missing?
— Ask : which toxic rules might these patterns represent?

b. Detailed
• Pick any one of these words of phrases that rings a bell & write what comes up.
— Where did you learn this? Who in your family exemplifies it?
— How do you act it out in your life?
— How do your friends, lovers, bosses… express it?

• Take it very slow. Spread this exercise out over months & years, if needed. Maybe just write a little & go back to it when you have more info about yourself & your history

• See the toxic family rules you’ve been following – so clearly – that you won’t be fooled any longer into thinking they’re legitimate!
• Slowly disobey them by changing your behavior patterns, an action at a time, a day at a time.

In the beginning – when  you do – you’re likely to feel fear & guilt. Those emotions prove you’re doing the right thing for your healing. Don’t give up!
• To orient yourself toward healthier goals –  pick out some Healthy Rules that fit your situation, & mindfully, deliberately, use one or more as often as you can (every day, a little?)

✶✶ Breaking family rules can create a lot of anxiety, as the Negative Introject will try to guilt you into returning to the fold – like good sheep.
So the work must be a slow – gentle but with steady process – with lots of support (Al-Anon as one of many resources)

If you read many other posts on this blog, you’ll see references to “Toxic Rules” over & over, so this post will give you a context for thinking about all the other topics & as you work with them. (Post: “Why Are You Stuck?“) .

NEXT > Healthy Rules