Post by Susan Peabody on Dec 8, 2017 11:36:25 GMT -8
Appropriate Self-ConcernMost Relationship Addicts have suffered as children. Sometimes they displace the pain. Sometimes they take it out on others. Sometimes they feel sorry for themselves.
In recovery, one has to look at this. Displacement must give way to understanding following by a process of grieving the lost childhood. Anger must be contained and some form of forgiveness put in place. Self-pity must be replaced with appropriate self-concern.
Most Relationship Addicts do not feel sorry for themselves. They become addicted to feeling sorry for their unavailable partner. But in recovery, when you first discover you are the victim of a dysfunctional childhood, it is easy to go from denial to an overwhelming sense of “Why me?”
If this happens, I want to explain that any emotion can be addictive, and people with low self-esteem can get addicted to self-pity. Self-pity becomes a substitute for healthy self-esteem. It is the only way an addict can feel at all when they are stuck here.
You may ask why would one get addicted to such a negative emotion. Gerald May, in Addiction and Grace explains that not all mood altering experiences make you feel good. There is a whole population of people who are so shame-based that they identify more with pain than pleasure. They only feel alive when they are suffering. An example would be cutters who self-mutilate to send a healing balm to their wound or feel this is what they deserve.
The answer to most problems dealing with extremes is the proverbial middle ground. You feel your sorrow and grief for yourself when you come to understand how much you have suffered in your childhood and when you strike out to find a loving partner to make up for that. At the same time, you do not dwell on this. You move on to appropriate self-concern which you feel when you are processing the past and when you the past pain is triggered in recovery.