ACoAs & Boundary INVASIONS (Part 2)

no limits


ARTICLES: ‘Sexual Abuse / Trauma’
The Incestuous Family” – Roles re sexual abuse


a. Insecure parents:
push for an ‘us against the world’ attitude hoping to increase family solidarity, powered by denial of dysfunction, & an unbearable threat to their sense of identity

can be over-protective
On the surface it may look like love, but they’re only trying to keep us attached by dis-empowering us
The underlying message is that we’re incompetent, weak & have to be afraid of everything

• may attribute the wrong motive to other kids or adults’ unpleasant/ abusive treatment of us, no matter what we actually did (cause trouble or not, be friendly or withdrawn….)
When we complained, – to feel superior – Mother may say: “Those kids are just jealous of you because you’re so much better than everyone else in the class”, which becomes the twisted thought “The boss doesn’t like me because I’m smarter distortionthan her”….

b. Distortions :
These & other CDs cause many problems for children:
• gave us a distorted view of how the world functions, making it hard for us to take responsibility for our motives & action
• prevented us from – becoming fully socialize, taking normal risks & learning about the many options available in the world
• gave us a distorted view of how the world functions, making it hard for us to take responsibility for our motives & action
• severely increased our inappropriate social behavior, making it easy to become a target for bullying, insuring our isolation from peers, & staying dependent on the family

Familiar phrases: Blood is thicker than water Never air our dirty laundry in public  ~  No one else will love you like we do
~ You’ll never make it on your own so we’ve got to stick together ~  We’re better than ‘those’ people
OR a childhood taunt:  “You have a face only a mother could love, & she died”!

c. Family Insularity is an attempt to feel safe BUT built on fear-based rules that inevitably lead to constriction, intolerance & an inability to collaborate / cooperate well with others.
Ironically it also creates isolation, scapegoating, unhealthy alliances & splits inside the family, which then get repeated in adulthood.
EXP: Being in a toxic Role, (Scapegoat. Lost Child….), had “negative benefits.” in the dysfunctional family mobile – feeling useful by ‘protecting’ a parent from the consequences of their addictions & emotional problems.
Then we look for the same kind of payoff when playing out our Role in the larger world (protecting a mate, boss….), which doesn’t work now either, only reinforcing our sense of being a failure.

4. Parental NARCISSISM (N)
B. invasions
• Ns require that everyone be their carbon copy, with no room for children to develop their own individuality
• children need mirroring (reflecting back who the other person be like meis, without adding anything of oneself), but Ns can’t do that since they’re only projecting themselves on to the child

Narcissists don’t recognize there are such things as Bs, that others are separate & not extensions of themselves. People either exist to meet their needs or may as well not exist at all. Anyone who provides narcissistic supply will be treated as if they’re part of the controller, who demands the victim live up to their expectations (think: spider & fly).

• Some N. phrases:
“What’s yours is mine & what’s mine is nobody’s business”
“Do as I say not as I do”, “Put a sweater on, I’m cold”
“No son of mine is ever going to…..”
“This is the thanks I get – after all I’ve done for you”
“Do that in the morning when you’re fresh” said by a mother always raring to go at 6 am, to her child who was born a dyed-in-the-wool night person!
Watch ‘Angry-martyr Narcissist” on YouTube

Role Ambiguity
Parental N. spawns much identity confusion. Since only their needs count, the children take on a parent role – “I am them”, & many a parent acts like a needy kid – “They are me”.

Family members aren’t sure who’s in or out of the clan, who’s performing what tasks or legitimate roles : Dad acts like a ‘girl’ , Sis is the ‘mom’, little Brother is the family shrink…..

Al-Anon IMAGE: A co-dependent decides to kill himself by jumping off the roof of a tall building.  As he’s falling, someone else’s life flashes before his eyes!

NOTE: If you have firm boundaries in the face of a narcissist, the relationship won’t usually last! Good – better for you!

NEXT: B. Invasions (Part 3)

4 thoughts on “ACoAs & Boundary INVASIONS (Part 2)

  1. Blech. This post hit on all too many “scenarios” growing up. Some things we experienced….to this day don’t make any sense, just strange behavior on their part and resultant mistreatment of us.

    I have been grateful in that I have always felt (hoped?:) I had emerged relatively unscathed. But now I realize that those early days did have an effect on me, if only in my private thoughts… but then that is how I view the world. Erg. I detest that admission, that they had that power. Today, I grudgingly tease out those thoughts and try to work with them. It has been to some benefit, but I wonder what ELSE I may be missing, and yet I do not want to waste my precious life digging around in that filth. My day to day is really good but then I read something or get flooded with memories…..yuck. I have been told just to “put it behind me” on the rare occasions I even discuss it! What a treat it would be just to flush all of it from my mind. If that trick is out there, teach me! LOL

    Cheers, Kira


    • Hi Kira,
      Anything positive in your life comes from the ‘real’ you & is to be valued & celebrated.
      But all children are programmed by their upbringing, not just you, so it’s ok to admit their original power over us. It’s normal. All my posts talk about this – “The Introject”, “CDs: Info & the Brain”, “Self-Hate”, etc.

      The “filth” you mention is what you lived in as a kid – which you did not deserve! Now you can save the little girl in you by acknowledging what happened, clean it out & love that part of yourself like your parents couldn’t!

      Only sick people in denial will tell you to put it all behind you! That’s a negation of what you went thru & is not acceptable. To get free of them comes from ‘going thru’, NOT around! I’ve done it & it has paid off.

      Thanks for reading & commenting.
      Donna Marie


  2. Cannot tell you how much I felt…I don’t know if “vindicated” is the right word. I certainly didn’t like the content of this, but I like the relief I felt that there is a name to what I experience. I certainly grew up with the covert abuse…it was THE most maddening thing ever. I could never “prove” anything and felt absolutely crazy. Today I live with a woman that has the same kind of behavior and she can’t understand why I get nuts when she does it! I am drawing my line in the sand here. I am dealing with this so that it no longer creates the havoc in my life that it has. i will continue reading your great blog. thanks for all the info.


    • Thanks Steve. I identify with feeling crazy growing up – outwardly nothing was wrong – but…. If your lady-friend would be willing to read some of the blog – then she might understand!


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