Sunday, September 25, 2011

Upping the ante

To someone who is not an adult child of an alcoholic, it is a little bit of a mystery why those so afflicted so rarely stand up for themselves.  The reason for that is that unlike normal people, ACoA tend to find themselves in conflict with ACoA.

That is to say, if non ACoA person sticks up for himself or herself and speaks his or her mind, he or she is often heard, or at least the person being spoken to will disengage.  However when an ACoA responds, he or she is almost never heard by the other person in the conflict and the other person "kitchen sinks", bringing other attacks into play and escalating the situation and the tension.

This comes from the ACoA having what may be called a drama addiction.  They don't really enjoy conflict in the normal sense of the word, but they are comfortable with it having grown up with it, inclined toward it by their actions and choices, and entrapped by it because it pushes a lot of their buttons.

This is one of the hardest parts of being an ACoA to get past, because we do have to stick up for ourselves.  But we have to learn a particular toolset to deal with this situation and the wisdom to know when you are in it.

Just today on a forum someone was impatient with how quickly a question of theirs was being answered or responded to.  I felt this unfair, as it is, after all Saturday and we all have lives to lead.  And I told this person so.  Well, she went off.  At first, I fell for the trap and responded, but then I recognized that I was in a conversation with a drama addict and disengaged.

I have been tempted to respond, but I dare not, because it will just start the drama cycle over again.  The exchange was disquieting and has left me questioning my actions and second guessing myself.  My physical response is a little like withdrawal.  It is very strange.

So if you are one of those people who believe that someone is not passionate about something if they don't fight with you about it, please understand that the person you are labeling that way may be trying to save their ACA sobriety because fighting about anything is the last thing they should be doing.

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