ACoAs Being Controlled (Part 1)


just so you won’t leave me!

PREVIOUS: “Controlling” & Abandonment (#2)

SITE: Recognizing…..Control” – extensive list of tactics used by Controllers

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


BEING controlled by others
People who are easily controlled don’t know there’s a difference between –
a. Natural, appropriate authority. Being IN control is using our power in a positive way – of oneself, or being a good leader. The person in control is the main decision-maker, in charge of communication & makes things happen. People choose to listen & follow appropriate authority because they want to learn, connect &/or be taken care of —
— vs.
b. Un-natural, abusive control (mental/emotional coercion). Controllers (Cs) misuse power – they force us to obey them, against our will. They have no regard for our rights, needs or individuality. They use their position to suppress our identity so only their’s is visible. Their main weapon is negative anger, aimed at making us afraid, so we’ll be more compliant

ACoAs ‘letting” ourselves BE controlled
• Most ACoAs were negatively controlled as kids, & without Recovery we continue playing out the victim role we were originally forced into. As adults, allowing others to control us copies our earliest experiences. It keeps us symbiotically attached to the ‘source’ of our wounds & therefore emotionally immature, AND ‘protects’ us from having to face our own fear of intimacy (“ACoAs & Boundaries, Part 1 & 2”)
First: We have to be around someone who is a controller – who belittles, embarrasses us in front of others, treats us like a child, tells us what to do or how to be….who is manipulative & intimidating, however subtly.

Second: We have to be available.  While dealing with such a person is unpleasant for anyone, for ACoAs it’s emotionally debilitating – but also emotionally addictive!  We fall into a black hole, regressed to an old familiar space of being a powerless child with no options. We’re trapped & become mute! We’ve been programmed to instantly surrender – we have no rights or identity of our own. And then we stay, & make excuses for the controller!

T.E.A. (thoughts, emotions, actions)
Many teachers & groups teach us that we choose to “feel” the way we do, an obvious judgment. Of course the word feel is being used to mean thoughts rather than emotions, which is confusing & harmful, as it leads to believing we should ‘control’ our Es! (see “Feelings Aren’t Facts”, & Using THINK, instead of Feel“)

This is not fair or realistic. No one chooses their Es, only what we Think & how we Act! And even those are pre-programmed by family. Yes, sometimes changing Ts & As can shift our Es, but not always, especially not when the pain we’re feeling is old & therefore cumulative. That takes time to vent & process out of the body.

• Being controlled is the outward proof of Toxic Family Rules internalized from childhood. And when we consider those beliefs (a sub-category of Thinking) we find them very hard to change indeed. As adults — 
— allowing ourselves to be controlled in not a conscious choice! It’s a knee jerk reaction to specific people or events that are carbon copies of our family experience.
— it’s a clear indication that capitulating to the will of another means our WIC is in charge

🩸To ‘accuse’ us of choosing to be manipulated (Action) or be miserable (Emotions)…. only adds to our S-H,
& is in fact a subtle form of abuse & abandonment.

YES – we are responsible for changing our training – learning new ways of thinking & acting to take back the power we give away.
BUT we can only do this if WE:
— understand what’s actually going on inside
— have compassion for ourselves (we didn’t cause the wounding)
— remember that changing deeply-etched brain patterns takes time
— learn what our needs are & use them to practice having boundaries
— ask for help whenever we need it, especially when regressed (child ego-state of being a victim, lost child, scapegoat…)
— develop & continually strengthen the Loving Parent voice

NEXT: ACoAs Getting Controlled (Part 2)

8 thoughts on “ACoAs Being Controlled (Part 1)

  1. It was good to read that a measure of our recovery is how fast we get away from an unhealthy relationship, not that we never encounter one! I was developing a friendship with another ALCOA who seemed really centered and healthy but while everything looked “good” on the surface I was feeling increasingly uneasy around her….the veneer was slipping and underneath appeared to be a very angry controlling person. But for once, I recognized it (before too long) and ended the relationship firmly but respectfully – no “maybe we can be friends”, avoidance, relationship caveats or excuses for their behavior, for me it was unhealthy and I am really proud that I handled it like I did.

    Your posts really help. Thank you again.


  2. I am new to this site. Freedom is like forgiveness. We don’t always realize we have it until something comes up to remind us that we have a choice of which path we take. Thanks for sharing your stories. It is great to know I am not alone on this journey of healing of negative & unhealthy relationships. I believe like Claire, this is changing my life. May we all forge ahead with hope for the future!


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