Sunday, September 18, 2011

Did you ever have to make up your mind?

Did you ever have to finally decide,
Say yes to one and let the other one ride?
There's so many changes and tears you must hide.
Did you ever have to finally decide?

— John Sebastian (as performed by The Lovin' Spoonful)
There are a large number of difficulties associated with being an adult child of an alcoholic. In fact, the collection of traits is sometimes called "The Laundry List."  A secondary problem from these traits is that they don't work together and sometimes conflict.  One area where this happens is in decision making.

Because we try to please people we often try to guess what decision others would like us to make, rather than evaluating the situation ourselves and deciding what we want. However we dislike conflict, so we often try to arrange things to take the decision our of our hands and put them in the hands of the other party in the situation, leaving us to be free of culpability for the decision.

It is not a bad strategy and for our purposes can be rather clever, but it then sets up a problem when there are two people who play it that way.  What happens is no one makes a decision and each blames the other.  This then creates the conflict that was hoped to be avoided and increases the feeling of powerlessness of our own lives, even though we give away our power in the strategy itself, because our lives are not being at all actively directed.

How we get lured into a situation like that is our over developed sense of responsibility has us try to take on the decision even though we don't want to make it.

The resolution, of course, is to just choose what you want without fear, including choosing not to choose when someone tries to put their choice on you.  But like just about everything with being an adult child, it's a lot harder than it sounds.


Just in case you have never heard of the song in question, here is a YouTube video of it.

No comments: