‘Controlling’ & Abandonment (Part 2)


give me acid-reflux!

Previous: Controlling & A. (Part 1)

Review Posts: My Rights – Qs
 ACoAs & Having Rights


LONG-TERM Abandonment (A.)
experiences, especially in childhood, inevitably creates intense fear & shame in children. Total dependence on caretakers make them very vulnerable, so too much deprivation will feel life-threatening, & in some cases it is!  As terror grows, so does the compulsion grow to control oneself & the environment – to feel a little less unsafe by not being at the mercy of others.

EMOTIONAL A.  Children have to hide the parts of themselves not considered acceptable by the family (see the “Laundry List”) – to not get rejected. We were told what we felt was not true or legitimate, and DON’T make mistakes, have needs, be successful, show emotions …
We heard:  “You don’t have anything to cry about so stop being such a baby , Stop crying or I’ll really give you something to cry about , That really didn’t hurt , You have no right to be angry”…

• Ignored or punished childhood PMES needs cause developmental damage, the same as nutritional deficiencies, like sailors in the past who developed scurvy (internal bleeding, connective tissues weakness & sudden death) from lack of vitamin C in their diets during long trips.

For ACoAs, this will eventually show up as fear of taking appropriate risks, lack of trust, & fear of intimacy, not having a personal dream to follow, lack of healthy communication skills (how to talk to oneself kindly, how to make small talk, how to stand up for oneself), a weak sense of self…..

• Think of accumulated old A. pain (terror & rage) as acid, filling a deep well buried in our unconscious. We may not taste it all the time, but when it bubbles up it’s emotional heart-burn!  When someone or something bumps up against an unhealed wound in our psyche, the lid get blown off the reservoir, releasing a spurt of that old paScS-Hin (like when – not getting a text back, a broken promise, being left out, accused wrongly or having to wait too long….)

Main hidden emotion is SELF-HATE
Not allowed to ‘be all you can be’ in our family, the very essence of our being was punished & rejected! Slowly we became controlling toward ourselves, thinking this would please them

Main visible Emotion is FEAR
Not ‘being in our power’ makes us terribly vulnerable to everyone & everything outside of ourself, so it’s easy to let ourself be controlled, thinking we’ll be taken care of. All it gets us is more repression & damage

Main visible Emotion is ANGER
Not being internally ‘allowed’ to meet our needs pushes us to insist that others do it for us – any way they can. We desperately try to arrange our world to fit an ideal so we’ll feel safer.  We become the ‘control freak we hate so much in others!

In the present ACoAs often accuse other adults of abandoning us when we feel hurt by some interaction or loss.  What we’re actually experiencing is the WIC’s unresolved old A. pain.
The intensity of our reaction is usually out of proportion to what’s actually happening – now.

Naturally there are real-life situations that make us sad, frustrated, angry… but unless an event is extreme (death of a loved one, a life-threatening attack or illness, a fire…), most situations don’t warrant our level of reaction. Remember “If it’s hysterical, it’s historical”

When others “A.” us: When someone we’re hungry to be with doesn’t respond right back – we feel S-H but also get very angry. We’re as devastated as if they had threatened to take away our livelihood or our home, which are NOT = to being ignored or put off. Yet we get just as scared & blame ourselves, wanting to control them to stop the pain.

When we Abandon others: We also have great FoA when we aren’t perfect. Talking too much, asking questions, expressing strong emotions – or standing up for ourselves! – are NOT = to punching them, yet ACoAs can feel the same anxiety & self-hate as if we had!  So we over-explain, withdraw or grovel – to stave off being abused &/or left like we originally were at home!

NEXT: Controlling & Abandonment (Part 3)

9 thoughts on “‘Controlling’ & Abandonment (Part 2)

  1. Thank you for your blog. After all these years I am still struggling with these issues. Sometimes it feels very disheartening but these posts help my understanding.


    • Hi Michael,
      Frustration, anger & sadness at the process are understandable. All of us continue to struggle in one way or another. Anyone who says they’re ‘over it’ is not being honest with themselves.
      The way I think of it is that I used to act out in all parts of my life, but with recovery I could keep my damage confined mainly to Al-Anon & other appropriate places, so my life got much better. Also I think of all the people who don’t have the guts to do FOO work & never reap the benefits! We all get tired & discouraged from time to time, we just don’t have to stay in it too long.
      Thank you for sharing.


  2. Though no one in my family was an alchoholic (at least, from what i knew back then), the way me and my older siblings were “parented” makes it so i can easily attribute a ‘control persona’ to each one of us ( eldest is controlling, second is controlled by mother and eldest’s doing and i am overcontrolled due to bullying by the eldest and no authority figure defending me).

    Did not really have parents, they were too busy feuding with each other, trying to gain loyalty from their children with the results you describe.

    I find it funny how i used to think i was all alone in the world, how i must be crazy and yet this seems somewhat common, even in families where everything seems normal, even more so when they seem ”perfect”.

    My inner child is comforted from learning about all of this. Thank you so, so much.


    • I’m so glad you found the site. You’re describing SO much abandonment – at all levels (PMES), so controlling is an attempt to deal with the chaos, as well as copying the adults. Yes, you are not alone!


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