Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A good horse

My maternal grandfather told my mother upon her choosing my father for her second husband that she needed to watch out because people will run a good horse into the ground.  What he meant by that was that my mother needed to protect my father from the demands of others (and herself for that matter) because with his ability to do so much so often, there would be an invitation to abuse him to the point of no return.  ACoA are also prime candidates for this type of mistreatment.

ACoA tend toward being people pleasers, being perfectionists, cowering to authority, and being workaholics.  This, from an employer's standpoint is the perfect recipe for an employee: someone who will do high quality work (perfectionism) and a high volume of work (workaholic) to your standard (people pleaser) without any sass (fear of authority).  The problem is that, much like my grandpa's proverbial good horse, without a caring person at the reins, we'll run ourselves into the ground.

If we're lucky, we'll have a mate who will protect us from the outside world luring us into that situation.  The problem is that mates are also tempted to lure us there for their own ends.  To me, one of the greatest challenges of going through the ACA program is training ourselves to be our own benevolent rein master.  But it is vital.  Because the only person we can know with certainty is on our side (if this person ever is on our side) is us.

A great way to begin to do this is to ask yourself whenever someone asks you to do something that they want done, something that would require you giving it "the old college try", "What would happen if I said 'No?'"  Just considering that there is alternatives creates a different sense about doing the task.  It stops being another of your many obligations and becomes a choice.  And that alone is freeing.  And it might just keep you out of the ground.


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