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

GRANDIOSITY and ‘NORMAL’ (Part 1)

  

I CAN HANDLE EVERYTHING –
I’m not weak or wounded!

PREVIOUS: Victim or not? #2

Review posts:Rescuing”  //  “Process

 


DISTORTED  COPING 
(P = Perp / V = Victim)
As long as ACoAs have trouble facing the trauma of being a Victim IN our childhood, we can’t outgrow that state because it lives in our WIC & keeps getting acted out all over our lives.  Another ‘backwards’ ACoA pattern: while we do many destructive victim-y things to ourselves and let others do them to us, we also are masters at trying to cover up the inner wounds, the same way battered people try to hide broken bones & external bruising.

What’s NORMAL?
a. Normal can mean what is average for any location or situation, but may be positive or negative & is never absolute : It’s the norm for people in a bar to drink a lot. It’s the norm for men in prison to be raped. It’s the norm for children of addicts to be scarred. OR It’s the norm for great teachers to produce some excellent students. It’s the norm for country air to be healthier than city air. It’s the norm for money to make life easier

b.
Normal can also mean anything that is the opposite of unhealthy, & is only positive: Normal is to be a whole human being. Normal is being happy & productive, with satisfying relationships. Normal is to care for ourselves. Normal is being part ofnormal a community & helping others. Normal is for love to heal …..

ACoAs desperately want to be ‘normal’, as in ‘b’, while not wanting to admit being damaged / wounded (NOT defective), with all it’s weaknesses, nor having to do the hard work of Recovery to become healthy.  This false-normal is a facade to cover our lack of self-esteem & to quiet the bad voice (the PP), rather than being genuinely OK at our core.

Many of us don’t want to ask for any kind of help, or be in groups that focus on healing, because “They’re all crazy & I’m not like them!”  But Al-anon teaches us: “You’re only as sick as your secrets.”  It’s one thing to feel empowered & be able to face life’s difficulties with equanimity & guts. It’s another to over-compensate for our un-acknowledged & unhealed history with grandiosity.

EXP: Trish was never taken care of as a child, even in basic ways, & was eventually left by her weak father to take care of her violent, mentally ill mother. In spite of not having any self-esteem or knowledge about self-care, in her early 20’s her talent as a performer got her periodic jobs in small venues.

One day she found out she was pregnant, but wasn’t ready for motherhood & scheduled an abortion – for the same day that she had a gig in the Catskills. She went to the doctor in the am – alone, & that afternoon drove up to the mountains to sing – alone & in pain! It never occurred to her to have the operation on a different day, to have someone go with her, or that there was anything amiss about combining the 2 events – until pointed out to her by a therapist 20 yrs later!

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS  (Wikipedia)
A distinction is made between individuals exhibiting grandiosity, which does include a degree of insight into their unrealistic thoughts (aware their behavior is unusual or unrealistic – but not crazy), compared to those experiencing grandiose delusions, who lack this capability for reality-testing.

IMP: Grandiosity hurts ourselves AND is abusive to others

IRONY: Typical of many ACoAs, hiding a deep sense of unworthiness :
1. don’t recognize limitations, believe they’re invulnerable
2. lives in grandiose fantasies, without taking realistic actions
3exaggerate talents, capacity & achievements, are boastful or pretentious
4. believe they don’t need other people
5. feel unique, special or superior compared to others. May not admit it even to self, because it goes against S-H
6. nit-picks, criticizes & downgrades other people, projects, statements, or dreams

NEXT: Grandiosity #2 –