ACoAs – NOT allowed to RECEIVE (Part 1)


I don’t need anything!

PREVIOUS: Bad Decision Styles – #3

REVIEW: Abandonment Pain Now


THIS CHART  ↘️ is in reverse order of Maslow’s hierarchy of Needs. Instead of going from most basic to highest, this tragic deterioration is an all-too-common repeated life cycle of trauma victims – without Recovery – causing great distress & tragedy

• While many wounded people manage to carve out a life without emotional healing, they can only manage by using rigid defense mechanisms to hold their world together (addictions, bullying, controlling, cutting off all emotions, rescuing, illness, isolation, narcissism, rescuing….)
If they ever do begin a Recovery process, all the pain hidden under these defenses surfaces, causing an avalanche of anxiety, confusion & rage.

• In A.A. based on over 50 years experience, the general wisdom is that it takes a newly sober alcoholic the first 5 yrs in the Program just to get their ‘brains out of hock’. Then they can start developing a sober life!

ACoA ASSUMPTIONS about Receiving
✦ Co-Dependence – because of the ACoA rule ‘Other people needs are always more important than mine’, we have to keep on giving to everyone else, without ever considering our own requirements & desires
✦ Control – We had to figure out how to manage on our own – way too young – and take care of others in the family (Inner Child as little adults) – “To give is better than to receive”. AND we survived! This was the only ‘power’ we had at the time, so to give up a little of it to ‘receive’ feels vulnerable & weak

Envy / Jealousy – We’re afraid to take in good thing from others & let ourselves be successful, because either we’ll be forced to share it or it’ll be taken away. We were raised with an envious parent, always in competition or ‘stealing’ our accomplishments : “What’s your is mine & what’s mine is nobody’s business”
Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 6.36.54 PM✦ Failure – ACoAs are “human doing, rather than human beings”.  The focus was always on what we did wrong – on actions, not personal value. And since we never seemed to do anything well, right or good enough – we haven’t ‘earned’ being treated well, receiving respect & consideration, much less love

✦ Loyalty
– staying connected to the family system as adults – to not feel rejected, abandoned, alone (even though that’s exactly what they did to us!) – we unconsciously decided that it’s NOT ok to have more or better connections, in any life-category, than we’ve had with our family. That way we can all continue to suffer together :“Misery loves company”
✦ Payback – If we DO take anything, we automatically feel obligated to that person or group. While reciprocity is a normal human expectation, ACoAs believe what we have to give back is our time, money, total attention…. our very life blood! No wonder we’re reluctant!

✦ Punishment
– to try for more of anything could get us deliberately ignored, a slap, a disgusted look, being humiliated in public or an abusive tirade. Some of us had to ask over & over for anything, even basics, before they reluctantly gave in
✦ Scarcity – based on real experiences, we concluded that the universe has very limited resources, so to get anything for ourselves automatically diminishes someone else – usually a parent or sibling
✦ Selfishness – to ask for more is not just futile, it’s presumptuous & arrogant. Many of us were taught that wanting for yourself is a sin.

✦ Self-Hate
– it’s not hard to see then why we gathered that we aren’t worthy of beinsufferingg given to! Not only because we’re bad, unlovable, selfish, greedy – “Children should be seen & not heard” – but that we haven’t ‘earned’ it, in some mysterious way!
✦ Suffering is the rule of the (alcoholic) universe: ”Life is hard!” and “You’re always supposed to struggle, but never ‘get there’”. So – don’t bother trying!

Re. Others in Part 3-4

NEXT: Can’t Receive #2

2 thoughts on “ACoAs – NOT allowed to RECEIVE (Part 1)

  1. Hello, me again. Lots resonating there. Making me feel very sad and also so relieved to have had the therapy and training for this to no longer be such a problem for me.
    I do still have issues around hunger (and no real memories of neglect around food, just some old family stories that confirm my suspicions).
    I have all of my needs met now, and moved out of the pathological symbiosis with my mother and my family of origin many years ago.
    Sharing and hoping this brings help and support to others.


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