ACoAs – ANXIETY & T.E.A. (Part 4)

OUR NEEDS
 

IT’S ALWAYS GOOD TO CHECK
if I’m paying attention to my needs!

PREVIOUS: T.E.A. & anxiety (#2)

SITEs:
T.E.A. charts from GOOD MEDICINE˜ Dr. James Hawkins

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)? – Using T.E.A.

 


2. ANXIETY (cont.)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy’s (CBT) basic messages :
◆ What we think and do affects the way we feel.
◆ Our best efforts to cope with our emotions often end in unintended consequences which keep us from feeling better
◆ We can understand problems by examining our thoughts, emotions, physical sensations & actions in specific situations (all interact in a ‘hot cross bun’ format).

a. NEGATIVE BELIEFS create painful emotions. Just as we may sometimes be hungry or thirsty for food or drink that in fact isn’t good for us, so emotions are not always indicators of current reality. It’s important to notice when an intense emotion is healthy energy, vs. when it wants to push us in a distorted or unsafe direction.

Unfortunately for most of us, we didn’t always get the right responses to our original needs.  Our family, schools, religion  & other important early influences rarely were respectful nor encouraged our normal drive to satisfy healthy needs.  It’s inevitably then that we try to make sense of why they didn’t.

As children, we had very limited information about the world, & expected that the adults would know more & better than us.
If we ran into conflict or other unsatisfying interactions with adults, our normal child’s narcissism assumed we were at fault – not them. This is especially true because many of them actually told us we were wrong & the problem, & we had no choice but to believe it.
We assumed that: ‘It must be because I’m are unlovable, untrustworthy, not good enough – that I’m treated this way.

✦ For many of us, we bring into adulthood the original trauma which lead to —-> a great deal of suffering, which led to —-> the toxic beliefs, that has inevitably lead to —-> problems in relationships & behavior in the present

b. UNHEALTHY ACTIONS are created by toxic beliefs
This chart highlights how dysfunctional Behavior patterns develop from unmet Needs & toxic Beliefs – given what we were living thru , & may even have served us well for survival. But as adults they definitely do not work in the larger world (outside family), which we can see now with more info & experience

c. Mental/ Emotional Health is based on providing personal & universal human NEEDS & RIGHTS
Children need security, stability, feeling valued, loved, encouraged & trusted – to build independence. And these needs continue into adulthood, especially for ACoAs, who are still not allowed to satisfy them.

The drive to fulfill needs shows up in primary adaptive emotions that push us towards psychological health, like hunger or thirst push towards satisfying basic physical health.  It’s imperative that we allow ourselves to FEEL & HONOR them. (For adults, see list of needs on tree above) (ChartsMORE info)

NEXT: Being Disappointed (#1)

ACoAs: BOOKENDING with the WIC (Part 1)


I NEED TO STAY AWAKE
for how my beliefs hamper me

PREVIOUS: Why resist – #7

FoO – Family of Origin

 

BOOKENDING with the Inner Child
This is a MENTAL tool borrowed from the practical D.A. version (Debtor’s Anonymous), used to Cognitively Restructure our thinking (T) – to free ourselves of suffering & confusion! Once we learn the technique & get used to it, we’ll find it comes in handy not only for ourselves, but helps us hear when others are using CDs on us!

The NEED for Bookending: to correct CDs
Communicating with our precious Inner Child is something we need to be doing 24/7 – at least while we’re awake! 🙂 This included both our Wounded Child & the Healthy Child ego states. However, book-ending is a specific tool to deal with the distorted beliefs we grew up with.

For many ACoAs, no matter how smart, talented & even accomplished, our WIC is still living in the past, mentally & emotionally – still using our childhood experiences (based on the PP voice) as a model for how things functions & what we to expect.
This is in spite of the many other experiences & information we’ve gathered throughout our life that give us different viewpoints, and disagree with our family’s messages

✶ It’s truly amazing how good we are at ignoring or negating all the positive people & situations we’ve come across, which could be incorporated into & greatly enhance our world view – if only we would!

PRE-FoO Recovery: Growing up constantly disappointed, not allowed to have our thoughts & emotions, never comforted, and ignored, made fun of, put in double binds, tortured, scapegoated, neglected, controlled ….

…. we became thoroughly convinced these things will continue – they’ll always happen with everyone else, in every situation – for the rest of our lives, no matter how hard we try to change our ‘fate’.  Toxic Rule : “Life is suffering”

✶ Naturally, if we spend most of our time in relationships, locations & jobs that are UNhealthy, then we will indeed keep re-traumatizing ourselves. Compulsively following our earliest training always leaves us frustrated & hopeless.
So – It’s important to know that we can change these patterns!

GOAL of Bookending
The fundamental purpose is to bring the WIC into the present (sometimes kicking & screaming) via the ÚNIT”. That way we’ll consistently be able to see the world correctly – that there are other kinds of people & options which are not like our family!

• To do that we have to be aware of our negative & distorted beliefs, and then work on correcting them. It’s the only way we can truly be safe! Book-ending is a valuable tool in changing our Cognitive Distortions (CDs)

This is a tool to prove to the WIC that the way things were in our family is not how it is everywhere else in the world. Some place Yes, but Not everywhere! We need to create new pathways in the brain to counter the old deep grooves, & the main way to do that is repetition. You know: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, Practice, Practice!

TRYING to PROTECT ourselves
a. RULES & ROLES – Because our childhood was chaotic & frightening, as children we tried to find any possible way to protect ourselves. This included incorporating a series of Toxic Rules to live by & fitting ourselves into the Toxic Roles forced on us

In dealing with our parents, we tried to :
• figure out what they wanted from us & then twist ourselves into that
• help them, cajole, protect, educate, rescue…to fix them
• identify what we did wrong & try to be as good as possible
• hide anything about ourselves that would upset the family ‘mobile’

NEXT: Bookending, Part 2

Their ATTITUDE Inventory (4 of 5)

inventory
I DON’T KNOW HOW MUCH MORE
of this I can take!

PREVIOUS: THEIR Attitude Inventory (3 of 5)

 

FYI: This INTRO will be repeated for all 5 posts in this series, but with different topics

THIS CHART is much more specific & includes listing many of the statements family & others made to us (or we overheard, often) that have become our Toxic Beliefs. More issues in the next 4 posts.
Somewhere list the people you want to ‘learn’ about.  To start, you can pick ONE you think you know more about & see how far you get.  Of course you can use this chart any way that suits the way YOU process info, so experiment.

* TAKE YOUR TIME. You may feel even more overwhelmed than with the previous chart (there are 62 possible topics altogether). There’s no rush – if you push it you’ll be more likely to give up or to miss important details.

** Naturally you won’t be able to fill in every category for every person. but if you make a separate page for each topic, you can play around by filling in anything that comes to you right away. If you can only write one line per category, start there. Fill in more info at any time later. That can encourage you to work on the rest.  PROGRESS not PERFECTION!

REMINDER: Not surprisingly, many of us don’t remember what
we heard, felt or experienced as kids – mainly we blanked out from fear, but our unconscious remembers.
As you proceed you might be surprised at how much you DO know, and at what will ‘be revealed’ about yourself as you got thru this exercise.  Siblings, other family members & friends or old notebook/ diaries may be helpful.

NOTICE that for each topic you’re asked to consider 3 aspects:
a. Verbal messages: What did this person actually say about the issue? If we pay attention to the way we talk to ourselves – & others – especially when we’re frustrated or angry – we can hear ‘them’ coming out of our mouth.
Also, if someone you’re inventorying is still alive, you can get it from the ‘horse’s mouth’. Without being confrontational or angry, just slip some questions into your conversation & you may get lots of material for your writing. Even what they leave out is very informative!

b. Personal experiences: this is usually the easier one to remember – what  actions did they take about each issue – what did they go thru? Lots of jobs, kinds of relationships, the many ways they did something stupid / abusive / self-destructive / OR helpful / kind / amusing ….. especially any repeated patterns

c. General Attitudes: This may be the hardest because you are the repository of their unspoken, disowned parts! But there are things you’ve always known about them (or at least suspected) that you may not want to admit to. Remind yourself – “I know what I know”. You’re NOT crazy – kids are very intuitive & absorb everything!

Suggested PROCEDURE:
More than likely you’ll be doing this on some kind of device.  Make a separate page for each topic & perhaps each subheading
• OR you can use a loose-leaf notebook, & maybe 3 different color pens
• Take as much room for each a. b. & c. as needed, filling in first the things you’re sure or have an idea about – in NO particular order!

• Include all positive & negative points, to get a rounded picture
• Skip any topics that don’t apply to a specific person or that you simply don’t know about, & include more later
• Add any topics not listed which applies to a specific person
PS: If a topic specifically impacted you – growing up – you can make a separate column / page to comment

NEXT: Attitude Inv. (5 of 5)

THEM Inv 4

Their ATTITUDE Inventory (3 of 5)

inventory 3 

THIS IS HARD WORK
but I’m learning a lot

PREVIOUS: THEIR Attitude Inventory (2 of 5)

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

 

FYI: This INTRO will be repeated for all 5 posts in this series, but with different topics

THIS CHART is much more specific & includes listing many of the statements family & others made to us (or we overheard, often) that have become our Toxic Beliefs. More issues in the next 4 posts.
Somewhere list the people you want to ‘learn’ about.  To start, you can pick ONE you think you know more about & see how far you get.  Of course you can use this chart any way that suits the way YOU process info, so experiment.

* TAKE YOUR TIME. You may feel even more overwhelmed than with the previous chart (there are 62 possible topics altogether). There’s no rush – if you push it you’ll be more likely to give up or to miss important details.

** Naturally you won’t be able to fill in every category for every person. but if you make a separate page for each topic, you can play around by filling in anything that comes to you right away. If you can only write one line per category, start there. Fill in more info at any time later. That can encourage you to work on the rest.  PROGRESS not PERFECTION!

REMINDER: Not surprisingly, many of us don’t remember what
we heard, felt or experienced as kids – mainly we blanked out from fear, but our unconscious remembers.
As you proceed you might be surprised at how much you DO know, and at what will ‘be revealed’ about yourself as you got thru this exercise.  Siblings, other family members & friends or old notebook/ diaries may be helpful.

NOTICE that for each topic you’re asked to consider 3 aspects:
a. Verbal messages: What did this person actually say about the issue? If we pay attention to the way we talk to ourselves – & others – especially when we’re frustrated or angry – we can hear ‘them’ coming out of our mouth.
Also, if someone you’re inventorying is still alive, you can get it from the ‘horse’s mouth’. Without being confrontational or angry, just slip some questions into your conversation & you may get lots of material for your writing. Even what they leave out is very informative!

b. Personal experiences: this is usually the easier one to remember – what  actions did they take about each issue – what did they go thru? Lots of jobs, kinds of relationships, the many ways they did something stupid / abusive / self-destructive / OR helpful / kind / amusing ….. especially any repeated patterns

c. General Attitudes: This may be the hardest because you are the repository of their unspoken, disowned parts! But there are things you’ve always known about them (or at least suspected) that you may not want to admit to. Remind yourself – “I know what I know”. You’re NOT crazy – kids are very intuitive & absorb everything!

Suggested PROCEDURE:
More than likely you’ll be doing this on some kind of device.  Make a separate page for each topic & perhaps each subheading
• OR you can use a loose-leaf notebook, & maybe 3 different color pens
• Take as much room for each a. b. & c. as needed, filling in first the things you’re sure or have an idea about – in NO particular order!

• Include all positive & negative points, to get a rounded picture
• Skip any topics that don’t apply to a specific person or that you simply don’t know about, & include more later
• Add any topics not listed which applies to a specific person
PS: If a topic specifically impacted you – growing up – you can make a separate column / page to comment

NEXT: Attitude Inv. (4 of 5)
THEM Inv 3