"Most of us agonize over mistakes because we internalize the error." BRB p. 38
When we were kids, making a mistake meant being verbally and often physically abused. Our mistakes provoked over-the-top reactions from the adults around us who did not have the tools to understand that we were just doing what kids and people in general do - make mistakes!
But instead, we heard shaming comments like, "What's the matter with you? Are you stupid? Are you an idiot?" or "You should have known better. Look what you did!" And on top of that, many of us were spanked, slapped, or beaten as well. It seemed like the end of the world when this happened. The mistake could never be undone.
Part of the result was that the more it happened, the better we got at shaming ourselves. We no longer needed to hear it from someone else - because those messages had become internalized. We carried this self-shaming behavior into our adult lives and many of us became merciless in the way we treated ourselves.
In ACA we learn to gradually reprogram those inner critical parent messages and understand that making mistakes is part of being human. We all do it. When we make a mistake, we talk about it, examine the nature of what we did, forgive ourselves, make amends when appropriate, and move on. We begin to think and act like true adults!
On this day I understand that when I make a mistake, I don't have to perpetuate my childhood abuse by beating myself up. I will call someone and process what happened, then move on.
Copyright © 2018 by Adult Children
of Alcoholics / Dysfunctional Families
World Service Organization, Inc.
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