Archive for May, 2008

Am I an Adult Child? - Character Styles

There are 3 types of character styles for adult children focusing on the opposites of abandonment and inundation. Abandonment and inundation, in this context, are defined as:

inundation - an overwhelming number or amount; “a flood of requests”; “a torrent of abuse”

and

abandonment - to leave completely and finally; forsake utterly; desert: to abandon one’s farm; to abandon a child; to abandon a sinking ship.

Adult children were born of parents that had no boundaries and flaked between either completely leaving their children to their own devices and/or creating unhealthy relationships with them where the child would act as a surrogate husband/wife/mothering influence. These adult children now find themselves with a range of little to no boundaries or harshly defined absolute boundaries that nobody can broach.

What follows is a handy dandy list (we love lists) to give the reader an idea of the types of personalities that develop as a result of this parental mismanagement. I will let these “Character Styles” speak for themselves as you can read them and ask, “Am I an adult child?”:

(from “The Couples Book: Before the Vows Break - Rosenberg/Kitaen Morse”)

Abandonment character style profile

  1. No matter what, it is never enough
  2. haunted by eternal undefined longings
  3. No boundaries: There’s no such thing as too close
  4. Cling and constellate around something or someone
  5. Gives too much and then feels like a victim
  6. Hyper body awareness, sensuality, vulnerability

Inundation character style profile

  1. Often loyal and dependable but separate and removed: I am what I am
  2. Cut off from feelings and sensations
  3. Defined, rigid boundaries and assumptions
  4. Literal black and white, right or wrong solid way of being
  5. Both physical and emotional armoring: not much goes in or out

BOTH abandonment and inundation character style profile

  1. Automatic no: Nobody can tell me what to do
  2. Have an idea of how things should be and cling to it
  3. Treat self as object, treat others the same way
  4. Authenticity gap (lying) tend to lie up or lie down (make things bigger or smaller)
  5. Intimate relationships are not too close and not too far away
  6. Feels split off from feelings, aliveness, self, body soul (dissociation)

I personally personify the middle ground ofabandonment-inundation as my parents were both absentee one moment and then dragging me around and using me for their own ends the next. Those six styles that encompass the abandonment-inundation style fit me to a tee. Below I will use the abandonment/inundation character styles to examine my own personality tendencies:

  1. Automatic no: Nobody can tell me what to do: If someone tries to tell me what to do I instantly stop them and act like I know-it-all. This is a childhood protective measure to cover the fact that I don’t know what to do. Children in this situation cannot admit to having problems because of fear of exposure to the outside world.
  2. Have an idea of how things should be and cling to it: I have a set of preconceived ideas of how things should be and will fight to the death to keep those ideas intact, even if they are destructive and/or wrong.
  3. Treat self as object, treat others the same way: overwork, work-a-holic, ignoring self needs, dismissing self-love - unable to take compliments, unwilling to give the same.
  4. Authenticity gap (lying) tend to lie up or lie down (make things bigger or smaller): Adult children lie to cover the bad things up by making things seem smaller or less important - they also lie up to make things seem better, bigger and more important. This is a hellacious balancing act and the entire being becomes a series of little lies.
  5. Intimate relationships are not too close and not too far away: straddling the line between abandonment and inundation, relationships become another balancing act where the love is scary and overwhelming, closeness a wave that drowns you. In this case I would push someone away if they get too close from fear that they will take over my life and leave me no alone time. On the contrary, if this same person was to get too far away panic would set in and a clingyness would take over where I would then smother the other person. This balancing act is incredibly hard on me and the object of my affection (being torn in two.)
  6. Feels split off from feelings, aliveness, self, body soul (dissociation): adult children learn early on to ‘wander’ away in their minds to escape terrible situations (violence, abandonment, etc). Because of this ability to wander away (dissociation) when faced with emotional situations, I was always pretty much ‘outside’ my body and thus cut off from bodily feelings and physical warnings signs and pleasurable sensations. Staying present with the moment becomes a epic task and feeling something simple as sadness or glee becomes a foriegn endeavor.

Being able to see the patterns that made up my behavior allowed me to start to change those behaviors and step outside the hell that is being a emotional child, an adult child. With these markers I was able to see what triggers were affecting me and the balancing act I was failing at miserably trying to stay in the middle between abandonment fears and inundation fears.

Coming next: Good Parent Messages (how to clear the fragmentation and dissociation that piles up in layers and makes these little things become huge.)

On our minds and rumination

Mind is repetitive, mind always moves in circles. Mind is a mechanism: you feed it with knowledge, it repeats the same knowledge, it goes on chewing the same knowledge again and again. No-mind is clarity, purity, innocence. No-mind is the real way to live, the real way to know, the real way to be.

- Osho

My little boy

Everybody has a place in them, a voice in them that represents our inner child…

My little boy used to be in charge more than not, driving my ‘mental’ bus and he shouldn’t even have been driving but I was asleep at the wheel or back talking to the passengers unaware of the looming crash that was happening. That boy, he didn’t want to be in charge but I would dissociate into the ‘place’ I go when things get too strong or emotions become too hard and he would be left to deal.

He also used to ‘drive’ when we ate until at a certain point in my recovery, he and I came to an agreement that suited both of our desires. My rational brain wanted to be healthy, to lose weight and to stop eating potato chips all the time. My little boy wanted to look cute and thin for the first time in his existence so we agreed to stop eating potato chips. I drive that bus a little more now and he is very grateful that we look so svelte (although we both miss potato chips.)

And again, my little boy used to drive the ‘who picks the clothes’ bus until I made sense with him that we weren’t ‘putting on airs’ by dressing nicer, just projecting a finer image and it is this type of ‘conversation’ that has helped me to put a dent in numerous behaviors like smoking, drinking and other pains left to me as an Adult Child. Once the little boy felt he could trust me, he became much more amiable and agreeable that we both can come to decisions and come to a critical consensus that we can both live with.

And now it’s time for us to trade the wheel again and this time it’s the touchiest of subjects, so touchy he might not even let me bring it up without drifting off into Neverland: Females.

Rejection is a massive cognitive dissonance that neither me nor my little boy had any interest even broaching, but as he grows and I grow, there is an interest in sharing our life and times with love and companionship. Rejection is a natural thing and I have worked with my boy for years to chip away at the fear-based reaction that is so automatic in us, but rejection is only part of this inability to connect on an intimate level.

There is also the other part, the part where I didn’t get to play much as a child and would get dragged to work on the weekends and today, 30 years later, I still want desperately to play and have a secret motivation pushing against all social pursuits be they with a love interest or a platonic: I like to be alone and exceedingly want to stay inside and play with my things and be alone. I protect this time like a bus driver protects his bus, if his bus was made of diamonds and gold and beer flowed from the dashboard and steaks fried on the radiator. I want this time; my little boy wants this time and I will give it to him.

But I have to find the balance of having this time and being with people and I have to get my little boy’s help because he is the ‘make or break’ point of the entire endeavor. If I am to find a balance where I get to enjoy my coveted alone time as well as a wonderful and full love-interest relationship, then I am going to need all of his help.

And I’m gonna have to take the wheel on this one, little boy. It’s my turn for once and he couldn’t be more relieved.

Media-opoly

Watch this hilarious “School House Rock”-type cartoon about the way that our incredibly important media establishment has been taken over by corporations intent on ruining the unbiased government watchdog that used to be our ‘4th estate’ - news and journalism:


This is funny but is the absolute truth. Media, news and journalism is allowed to be in existence because we as the people gave them the right to OUR AIRWAVES. TV, radio and newspapers all exist as the result of using, with our permission these airways, these radio signals and they have forgotten that now and have become more interested in securing their profit than doing what they are suppose to be doing: honest journalism, the 4th estate, government watchdog, justice, truth.

We must take back this privilege and give it to responsible media source like those found on the internet. Stop watching the FOX newses, the CBS, NBC, CNN - you deserve more than the lies and half-truths that they spew.

Baby boomers call us Gen X ‘baby losers’

From an article in the Guardian, a UK newspaper comes an assessment of Generation X that makes my skin crawl:

With inflation soaring, property prices sky high, wages relatively static, labour markets gridlocked and sluggish or slowing economies, Nathalie, Lorenzo, Arias and Di Martino are among tens of millions of Europeans raised to expect that their degrees and diplomas will assure them a relatively high quality of life who are now realising that the world has changed. The disappointment is a shock with big political, social, cultural, even demographic consequences.

I found the article on REDDIT and had to laugh when I read one of the comments in the comment section:

Oh, so we’re ‘baby losers’ now? Fucking boomer assholes. It’s ‘Generation X’ to you, shitbags. You know us. We’re the generation who aren’t at all grateful for the fucking mess you left us in. We will not fix it for you. We’re the generation who won’t slave for fuck all. We will not pay for your ridiculous retirement fantasies. We’re the generation who won’t die for your megalomaniacal ideals. We are not like you. We’re the generation called X.

I couldn’t agree more. I constantly hear baby boomer platitudes like “Pull your self up by the boot straps” or “suck it up” when this horrible, self-centered and self-absorbed generation systematically ruins our economy and shoves more debt to the generations below them all the while lecturing the younger generations on fiscal responsibility. Never mind they love their SUVs, their MCMansions and letting their debt get absorbed back into the system with more tax breaks for the wealthy, more debt relief for the corporations and rich all the while ignoring the massive inflation and deficit spending that they continue like a drunken sailor on leave.

From the article:

In 1973, only 6 per cent of recent university leavers in France were unemployed; now the rate is 25 to 30 per cent; salaries have stagnated for 20 years while property prices have doubled or trebled, though the overall proportion of French people living in poverty has not changed. Whereas in the 1960s the poor were mainly the old, now they are the young; in 1970, salaries for 50-year-olds were only 15 per cent higher than those for workers of 30; the gap now is 40 per cent.

This is systematic defrauding of the current younger generations and the generations to come. In America the current generation are soon going to be expected to pay for the baby boomer retirement and at this rate that will be impossible especially considering the coming disaster that is the social security solvency.

So the next time you hear someone older than 40 telling someone else to pull themselves up by the bootstraps, you tell them how you cannot afford bootstraps and then punch them in the teeth.

And baby boomers beware. Pretty soon you will be reliant on the younger generations for your very survival and these kids are smart enough that they are realizing what hole you have put them in; and they are pissed, and they want revenge.

Projecting sadness and the belief in depression

And how I get to this conclusion that there is so much pain is a round-a-bout way. A lonely little website in a quiet hid-away corner of the internet sits without much fuss, without any fanfare or traffic, a website that is the last physical memories of a beautiful man that quietly died from AIDS a few years back:

http://danielmiller.info/

It was my first website done on the fly for a man I had never met but someone I feel like I have known all my life because I know sadness and I know pain and I know loneliness; I know dread and how the mind builds a case for dread and sadness and pain.

And I guess that I should feel happy that I have made a lasting memory for this man that will last into the future but, right now, I just feel sad. When I put up the picture for his cat that had just been adopted, days after his death, I fell apart.

Checkers

This man’s whole life is on that website and no one goes there except his best friend and lover, the man that had me build the site. The site is his cat, his photos, his drawings, his conflicts and his memories - but it is not search engine optimized and it is not scoring well for Google or Yahoo and I doubt it has any sort of traffic at all.

How the website is like many things in my life

The fishing boat would head back to the docks around dusk and the ride back was always a little solemn but I was downright depressed by the horizon of all things. To me the horizon over the ocean as the light dies from the sky was too much; the emptiness was all I could see in this natural act.

Of course it had a lot to do with the chaos at home but something else that seems to be shared by a lot of Generation Xers, latch-key kids is some really fundamentally flawed world visions. When left to their own devices, adult children, latch-key kids can make the world fit their emotional viewpoint regardless of the fact that that viewpoint is a mess.

When I revealed this view to a friend, that the horizon over the ocean seemed so empty, she laughed and quipped, “But the ocean is full of fishes and life.” I stopped and continued listening, baffled by the contrary to an idea I held as truth, “and since that direction is east, then if you go far enough you get to Europe, which is just teeming with people…”

And that was all it took to topple a truth I had held close to my child-like breast for so long - a truth that was created by a child and now is being used by an adult. I could never again look at a horizon without thinking of all the fishes…and Europe ;)

But it’s harder with this website that is a testimonial to someone that has passed away. How do I see this in the positive, how do I put the ‘right’ spin on it to avoid the depressing, dreadful point of view that I have always taken?