What is Self-Control ? (Part 4)

head or heart 

that are good for me & are suited

PREVIOUS: Types of Self-control (Part 1)

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.



Control is about power – to make someone do or be what we want. When applied to ourselves – that power can be used either –
• to heal & nurture ourselves & express our best to the world – OR
• as a defense mechanism to deny our pain, that power is debilitating & destructive

SELF-DISCIPLINE relies on the same willpower as self-control, but uses it:
a. to prevent ourselves from doing what is seen as UNdesirable, OR
b. to delay instant gratification & pleasure, in favor of some greater gain or for more satisfying results at a later time
• Healthy self-discipline is not rigid or limiting. It provides the stamina to keep going & the ability to handle stresses, with flexibility.

VALUE of Self-Discipline – it allows us to:Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 7.04.57 AM
a.  obey legitimate rules & laws
• avoid talking or acting on impulse, overcome procrastination & sloth
• not give in to addictions & other self-destructive patterns
b. continue & finish internal or external projects, even after the initial rush of enthusiasm has faded, or when they get too boring or too hard

ACoAs are often short on healthy self-control, which would come from the “Unit”, and too long on self-discipline. At first the latter category may seem like a good thing – because it’s supposed to keep us from doing actual bad or wrong things (which it can also do) – but that’s not the main way we use it

✶ What ACoAs often do, instead, is to prevent ourselves from pursuing what we believe to be UN-desirable actions, BUT are in fact positive ones DIS-allowed by our Toxic Family Rules, such as having opinions, thinking for ourselves, standing up for our rights, leaving bad situations, following our bliss, feeling our emotions, relaxing, being happy ….

— To run our own life, rather than someone else’s, & not have someone else run ours
— To make that happen we have to ask: “Who or what motivates me?”
— To be the one in charge requires that we are our own Motivator.
This is not selfishness, but it also does not negate/eliminate :
AA Step 1: “We admitted we were powerless over—-” – and –
AA Step 3: “…turn our will & our lives over to the care of God..

Having a choice fits with the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me: Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 8.11.47 AM
1. the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
2. courage to change the things I can,
3. and the wisdom to know the difference”

ACoAs: Just because we start out as under-dogs, doesn’t mean we can’t WIN – over our damage, over our pain, over others trying to control us! Deciding for ourselves, from an inner place of certainty & serenity – being empowered – can be every ACoA’s goal.
And for those of us who don’t like the word CONTROL – we can say: being in charge, using our Adult Ego state, being our own motivator!…. or find another term.

So, how in charge are you of your life – actions, career, emotions, health, home,
finances, relationships, work life…..?
Based on many studies, including Fujita (2008), correcting our thinking (eliminating CDs) can enhance the ability to be in charge of ourselves, to maintain our focus and achieve greater self-care.

• Most adults respect others who are in control (C) of themselves & their life. Being respected is the opposite of being shamed. We have a right to be respected, and that will come to us more often if we are indeed in control – of things WE CAN – as in line 3 of the Serenity Prayer.

Healthy Self-Control means WE:
• have self-respect as a Healthy Adult, especially in our thinking
• know our rights, our options & what’s actually possible (not fantasy/illusion)
• use that info to practice setting boundaries, with ourselves & others
• are in present-day reality, including owning our adult abilities, acquired knowledge & useful experiences
• can stay centered & act according to our own mind
• make declarative statements & ask for our needs – in the right place

NEXT: Types of Self-Control (Part 3)

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