I know I have talked about this at length, but feel as if we need to spend a bit of time with it today. Our best intended recovery or “going forward” efforts can be hindered by family messages and our own self-sabotage. You may be from an addicted family, dysfunctional family, overbearing family, over achieving family (you get the idea), and you may have grown up with all sorts of inaccurate messages. At times we may have been without very basic needs such as food, clothes, shelter, financial resources, etc. Along with that we may have lacked “needed” information, time emotional support or any kind of nurturing.
Perhaps deprivation spilled into every area of our lives…whenever/whatever we get feels too little, too late or even shameful for wanting. We put on a mask of independence and self-reliance and sometimes take pride in how little of everything we can get by with… not only materially but emotionally, mentally and spiritually as well.
As adult, we become easy target for sales pitches that say, “This is your last chance.” We are led to believe that a missed opportunity is a lost opportunity. The more we focus on what we don’t have, the more likely we will be to binge… again – in all areas – tangible and intangible. The binge then creates the very deprivation we feared and the cycle is triggered again and again. We act on impulse and make fear-based decisions, leading us to compulsive hoarding and stockpiling in all areas of our lives. We take as much as we can for the sake of getting something. We permit others to direct our lives in order to get crumbs…to settle. Unconsciously, we may fall apart so someone will rescue and take care of us. Ultimately, in our neediness, we push others away…what a cycle, huh?
I am going to break it down even further as to how we got these messages… figure out which one fits you:
1. The hero child grows up hearing messages such as “work hard” and “save for a rainy day”. This child usually gets a first job at a very young age. Heroes choose a career based on how much they can earn as opposed to whether the work is something they actually like to do. Once in a job, heroes remain loyal and become perfectionist. They rarely take vacations. They believe they have to struggle to get what they need and want, and should then give it to others, a belief reinforced by strong (sometime religious) messages. The fear of being selfish forces the hero’s hand in and out of his/her pocket over and over again to help others. Spending on oneself is not allowed. Others deserve it more.
2. Scapegoats take a different approach. They grow up hearing “We really don’t expect you to ever make it” and “You’ll never amount to anything”. They come to expect they’ll be rescued and get a thrill out of living on the financial edge. Scapegoats become under-responsible and wait to be fired or found out. They defiantly challenge authority and take pride in feeling they can “get one over” on someone. Scapegoats not only believe they deserve good things but that these things are owed to them. They feel entitled. Scapegoats also learn that with enough money they can buy themselves out of any situation.
3. The lost child is the quiet, invisible one in the family. This child hears the message, “There is never enough.” Patiently, lost children wait for their turn, the time of plenty for everyone. They’ve learned to “settle” for whatever you can get and believe that “crumbs are better than nothing.” Lost children have no sense of their own power and work hard at convincing themselves to just be content. It rarely occurs to them to ask for what they want. The fear that accompanies actions feels too overwhelming. It is just easier to be patient and wait for someone else to see that they don’t have something.
4. The family mascot hears the message “charm will get you everything.” This child thinks, “If I am cute enough or talented enough, I’ll be taken care of and my needs will be met.” The mascot hears that, “It’s just as easy to fall in love with a rich man/woman as a poor one.” Mascots never really feel grown up. “I constantly feel like a kid in a grown up body,” is the typical statement. Mascots strive for money (many times) professionally through play, getting recognition as athletes, entertainers, etc.
So here we are as adults trying to sometimes figure out why we are stuck – remember this isn’t just about material things, financial things… it is about emotional traumas, mental blocks and spiritual unease. Let’s all take a look at the messages we may have received as children… then leave them in the past. Give yourself some good messages. Since I am a “lost” child… I am working hard on becoming visible, claiming my power and asking for what I need.
Now, I ask for some coffee… then, perhaps, look a little deeper at the family messages I received when I was a child. Thanks for joining me….