OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 6b)


willing to forgive myself –
that is the question!

PREVIOUS“: Outgrowing P-P #4a

SITEs: 12 Ways to Accept Yourself
I Forgive Myself for……
from ‘Journey of Be’, scroll to 9/2015

RECOVERY from “Too Nice Syndrome”

TOOL 6aHealing our CHILDHOOD T.E.A. (cont.)
As we outgrow P-P we can clean out the underlying issue that permeates every part of our life: our Self-Hate, which is blaming ourselves for not getting our needs met. It’s anger/rage at our family turned in on ourselves

Reminder : Healthy, compassionate families, teachers & other leaders guide children with clarity, kindness, patience & humor. They set good examples, teach boundaries & realistic limits, explain the way people & things work, & help each child develop their Natural Self. (Healthy Parenting

That was not our experience. All our childhood emotions, words & actions which were called “too sensitive, disobedient, difficult, selfish, lazy, stupid …..” do not need to be forgiven. Instead, we can look back with sorrow & compassion for what we endured!

SO: The more S-H we clear out, the more we drop P-P, automatically. Rather than struggling with the idea of having to forgive our youthful acting-out & normal child-reactions, we can benefit the most from ACCEPTANCE

+ + Accept reality: We can let go of the – usually unconscious – twisted belief we may still have, that we’re hopelessly bone-deep failures because we originally:
• failed to be the kind of child who was good enough to have elicited love & approval from our parents
• failed to soothe & heal our parents’ many wounds
• failed to stop them from hurting us, each other & our siblings

++ Accept our child’s narcissism as normal, which made us think we had the power to do any of those things. Not! We can understand why we had those misguided ideas, & correct our thinking now (the CDs), to stop blaming & attacking ourselves for what we believe are inadequacies & deficiencies

++ Accept that the mirroring we got as kids came from cracked mirrors – forcing us to see ourselves thru controlling, cruel, drunk, insensitive, neglectful, raging eyes! What we came to think of as our Self was mainly their sickness projected on to us – which became our Negative Introject. This psychological process – helpful or harmful – happens to every child & is not ‘forgiveness material’.  (Parental Mirroring provides child….)

++ Accept that following the Toxic Rules does not & never did keep us safe!  No matter how ‘good’, helpful & self-denying we were as kids, we still got the full brunt of our family’s damage!
“I have to obey them” is a lie we tell ourselves so we don’t have to be our True Self & take care of our own needs

++ Accept that as physical adults (not grown-up) we do not neeeed them to be our parents. That’s our job now. We do need a lot of help to heal, but trying to appease & please the original abusers is self-destructive

++ Accept that no matter how much we wish it we can’t go back & change anything. AND we’ll never have the parents / family we always wanted

++ Accept & stop judging ourselves absolutely, totally –  for:
— not being perfect // not knowing everything // making mistakes
— being so scared inside // being controlling // nit-picking
— having depression & the need for medication
— procrastinating or never finishing anything…  basically opposite of everything on the RIGHTS list

++ Accept that at first we’re going to feel guilt churning in our gut whenever we disobey a Toxic Family Rule, but we will slowly outgrow it.  This is ‘good guilt’ – which is for the short-term – because it signals doing something healthy for ourselves which goes against all our original crazy training

The Tibetans have no word for ‘guilty.’ The closest is “Intelligent regret that decides to do things differently.”

++ Accept ourselves as valuable Children of God / HP / the Universe, which helps to stop the cruel inner rant (the WIC or PP) – a choice we can implement every day.
The benefits of self-acceptance are worth the great struggle of having to let go – of releasing the rage at ourselves & our abusers.

NEXT: Self-forgiveness as ADULTS

Secretly Angry “Nice” People (Intro-b)

no matter how bad it is!


SITE:You’re Not Allowed To Have Feelings” (in our culture)


UNHEALTHY ‘Nice’ People have low self-esteem. They are:

EITHER co-dependent (Co-dep): over-doing for everyone else, rescuing, self-sacrificing, the ‘good’ one, always ‘up’
OR passive-aggressive (P-A): resistant, obstructive, deliberately forgetful, plotting, ‘innocent’, pretend-incompetent

When we go thru something difficult or painful, and haven’t learned appropriate ways to cope with the Es that come up (usually fear, &/or anger), we’re either not aware of them at all, or dismiss what we’re feeling & find ways to distract ourselves. This stifling is a continuation of how we tried to protect ourselves as kids because we kept being punished for expressing those Es. Now it just keeps us stuck in our own mud.

Aggressive Anger is obvious – shown as verbal threats, screaming, physical blows, breaking / destroying objects or property…. The consequences are usually bad.

Hidden Anger, on the other hand, is subtle & manipulative (Co-dep or P-A), & comes with its own risks & negative outcomes. Behaviors can be so indirect, often not related to anything that’s currently happening, that others either can’t easily catch on, or will be puzzled by it. Angry-nice people behave either as perpetrators or victims,  acting out their hidden rage in such a way as to insure they can keep denying it, & keep their ‘good-guy’ status.

— If the anger is so deeply suppressed that it’s now unconscious, the person will not be able to acknowledge that certain actions or non-actions are a sign of being ‘triggered’ (hurt, scared, frustrated)anger iceberg 2
— If the anger is conscious but concealed, then the unhealthy patterns are deliberate, & can become vindictive : planned to sneakily annoy, hurt or destroy someone they blame for their annoyance or pain.

Either way, ignoring our anger cuts us off from a vitality that could give us the power to forge ahead on our own behalf, leavings us feeling powerless.
Yet many ‘nice’ people are so dedicated to their carefully constructed facade of ‘OK-ness’, they refuse to feel their anger directly & deal with situations that caused it. This prevents any resolution or growth.


For those of us who suffered a great deal of PMES abuse by our family, it’s only natural to have built up a backlog of anger towards drunk, raging, selfish parents, abusive siblings & unsupportive relatives.  As kids we gradually suppressed some or all of that anger (A.) & rage (as well as other painful Es), for 3 major reasons:
1. We were humiliated & abused if we had the nerve to get visibly angry at adults
2. It was (& may still be) too overwhelming to consciously face that our parents truly were/are unsafe, cruel, crazy, addicted, neglectful….
3. We were afraid that our anger would literally harm them – because  children think their emotions have magical powers to injure or kill others
(BOOK:So the Witch Won’t Eat Me“, Dorothy Block. Intro explains it)

Shutting down on painful Es was self-protection.NO anger
If we had to severely stifle our anger, it was because our parents:
— weren’t allowed to feel their own A.
— didn’t know how to deal with strong Es
— didn’t want us A. at them (their Co-dep & FoA)
— only they were allowed to be A.
— wanted to look ‘good’ to everyone else
— refused to be held accountable for what was hurting & therefore making us A.
— were too weak, sick, ‘delicate’ to bear have us challenge them
— believed it was disrespectful or a ‘sin’ to be A…. (‘ACoAs & Anger post)

Sadly, most of us were taught to not have any Es. For some of us – being sad / crying was punished, made fun of, ignored, while for others – our anger was the biggest no-no. So now we either refuse to acknowledge that we do indeed get angry, or are so shut down that we actually believe we never are.
 Instead, we may recognize experiencing some of the following, which are all versions of ANGER:
annoyed, blaming, cranky, impatient, irritated, jealous, ‘justified’, outraged, resentful, self-blaming, over-reaction to being treated unjustly / unfairly, ‘touchy’, vindictive…

NEXT: Intro-c

ACoAs MANIPULATING Self & Others (Part 3a)

Manip chartPREVIOUS:
Manipulating ourselves (#2c)

SITE: Motivation & Manipulation (<—- Graph )

BOOK : “In Sheep’s Clothing”
~ Dr. Geo. Simon, PhD
Ways to deny personal accountability & manipulate others  (Extensive outline of book)


Most of us learned to manipulate (based on CDs) by watching/ living with manipulative parents & other family members, but some come by the skill naturally. All of us had to use it, one way or another, to cope with the painful, complicated environment we grew up in.

M. is a form of ‘acting out’ (Freudian def). Translation for ACoAs:
Compulsively taking actions or ‘forgetting’ to act, as a substitute for expressing painful emotions we have but don’t consciously feel

REASONS for manipulating others:
By now, having lived in the world for some decades, we’ve had the oenvypportunity to watch how others function, & envy their ability to get their needs met, while we feel stuck in the mud of our damage.
But we’ve also had many life experiences of our own – some even positive – so we DO know something about how to manage, but rarely if ever apply that info to ourselves – while using our extensive care-taking skills for others

This causes intense deprivation in PMES ways, since we are:
• Not allowed to have needs & not allowed to ask for anything
• Assume no one will ever provide for us if we ask directly, will be angry & punish us, the worst being Abandonment – withdrawing their connection to us
• Don’t have a right to give to ourselves (we think it’s arrogance)
• Believe we don’t know how to – not having seen it from role models & not taught directly

confusedThis leaves us confused, ‘starving’, desperate – so we resort to the default position of manipulating – to (GOALS):
• prevent others from having power over us
• cover up Self-Hate, Shame, Loneliness
• get needs met from others instead of from self
• show our contempt for everyone, especially authority
• make connections the only way we know how, to keep from getting abandoned – ever again (FoA)

FORMs of Manipulation
1. Direct / Overt (“Throwing others on the defensive”)
Bullies come in many guises, sometimes like a spiked hammer, sometimes like a Southern rose, sometimes covered in sheep’s clothing.
Each type has gathered an extensive repertoire of techniques used to gain power & to deny any accountability for their actions.

The Workplace Bullying Institute defines it as “repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators”

The overt style uses deliberate, intense confrontation – to verbal bullychallenge people’s personal legitimacy, validity of their ‘performance’, or the value of their point, issue or complaint.
The goal is to put others on the defensive, & nothing works better than intimidation. Tactics can be fired off so fast that they’re hard to identify or separate, & the slickest perpetrators use several tactics at once

Most ACoAs hide their aggressive side, sometimes from themselves, but definitely towards others, behind the many faces of co-dependence.
Sometimes it only comes out toward strangers, but more often toward their intimates – their mates, children & closest friends.
bylly typesBut the bully/sadist is there, created in response to the humiliation we suffered for so long – the greater the original abuse, the more intense is our sadist/bully.

In Recovery we can make friends with this aspect of ourselves by acknowledging that “It really was that bad!”, safely venting our rage, & never letting the bully/sadist act out on others or ourselves.

EXP: Drama is a sign of manipulation, used to bury the real issues (personal or relational) in a giant pile of noise.  Includes:
• taking over every conversation, taking up too much space
• knowing how to get their way & insisting on it
• yelling & screaming, threatening or doing physical harm
• not good at sharing – anything
• talking over someone, ignoring all types of boundaries
• pushing their point of view rather than asking questions
• always bragging & showing off, to make others feel small
• pushing their way ahead of others, like in line
• writing / texting attack messages, all verbal abuse
• escalating arguments, not ‘letting go’ ….

Add your own

NEXT: Manipulating (Part 3b)

ACoAs – What about ANGER? (Part 1)

frustrationI’M SO FRUSTRATED
I don’t know what to do with myself

PREVIOUS: New Year Celebration

BOOK: Metaphor & Emotion, seeing the body as container for emotions: “She unleashed her anger, his anger is smoldering, you make by blood boil…..”

BASICs the more we know about something, the easier it is to understand, deal with & be in charge of it. So it is with anger.

1. Anger is a perfectly normal emotion – created by the physiology of our brain & body. It’s not only universal, but absolutely necessary, and NOT something to be cured as if it were a disease.

Anger is a healthy reaction to a grievance, so one of its positive intentions is to focus our attention – so we can modify or eliminate an aggravation or abuse, wherever possible. The benefits of appropriately expressing it include overcoming our fears, & building confidence to respond to threats, danger & mistreatment.

The problem is not in having (feeling) the emotion (E),
►but rather in what we’re saying (T) to ourselves about a situation which greatly upsets us,
▶︎and the kind of behavior (A) we use to express it, based on what we learned as kids.
We need to FEEL our anger, but we do not always need to outwardly E. HEAT mapACT it out on others!

2. Like all emotions, anger is actual energy – no matter how intense – scientifically proven, as seen on these scans.
Heat maps of emotions —->

3. Anger is considered one of the secondary emotions – a response to primary Es such as intense FEAR (from being abandoned, attacked, disrespected, forced, offended, pressured, trapped…..). This does not mean it’s unimportant or to be ignored.
It’s secondary because it’s a composite of other more fundamental ones (Plutchik’s 8 Primary Es), AND because it can’t tell us directly what the underlying unmet NEED is, only that something is wrong.

🔹  However, it is a very useful starting point. Instead of being afraid of it, we can successfully use anger, guilt, anxiety…. as helpful indicators of what’s going on in the background (unconscious), giving us the opportunity & choice to ‘fix’ the real lack, which would then make us feel better.
The problem for ACoAs with solving this Q. (‘What’s missing?’) is that we’re not allowed to know what we really feel NOR what we actually need.
So these 2 aspects have to become part of our understanding & daily vocabulary before anger can be a useful tool.

4. Anger is part of the Wood Element – which governs the eyes, gallbladder, FiveChart2liver, & tendons. In the short-term, & by itself (without action), the emotion itself is not harmful.
But because it is energy, generated by chemicals in the brain, we can damage ourselves in PMES ways when we suppress the anger / rage, especially for a long time. The chemicals can ‘fester’ inside & cause a variety of problems (headaches, high BP, auto-immune illness…. ).

Denied anger results in lowered quality of life, causing mental & emotional numbness, which can then draw us toward violent situations as a release. It will also negatively effect many parts of the body, such as the:
√ Muscular (tightness) & Immune (over-worked) systems
√ Liver – causing our decision-making abilities to be diminished
√ Gall bladder – causing gallstones (condensed anger) & migraines

✤ At the other extreme is acting out the anger in ways that directly injure ourselves & others – especially when aimed at children.

5. How each person reacts (emotional intensity + behavior patterns) is formed by a combination of : genetic predispositions, cognitive problem solving skills, family / culturally-learned behaviors & past experiences

6. We hear even ‘respected ‘speakers’ talking about “negative emotion”. Wrong!
Es are either degrees of 🔺pleasurable OR degrees of 🔻painful.

NEVER think or talk about anger & other uncomfortable / ‘unacceptable’ / painful emotions AS negatives!
Anything designated as a negative is automatically considered bad – which in this case means we should not be angry, under any circumstances.

NOT so. Without feeling & owning legitimate anger – we are easily abused, frightened & manipulated – & so become or stay victims.

: What about anger? – Part 2


to suppress the pain

Deliberate or not? #2

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

REVIEW: Most people are capable of some emotional abuse (E.A.) because most people have experienced E.A. as children. Sooner or later, we treat others the way our family treated us – acting out our parents, just as we act out the WIC.
The focus here is on breaking out of the ACoA’s denial about how & when others act badly toward us, which we have a habit of ignoring, mis-identifying or not noticing, because it’s so familiar.

a. Any compulsive behavior you don’t consciously choose & so can’t seem to stop yourself from doing, OR compulsively not doing….
b. …. which expresses intense emotions you’re not actually feeling at the time, but that are rumbling under the surface

• This term is usually assumed to mean overt actions, against oneself or towards others – getting drunk, starting a fight, being late for work, being promiscuous … ♼ But it just as often the NOT taking :
✂︎ specific actions that would be good for you (walking out on a bad date)
✂︎ legitimate actions you planned on (making a call, going to a job spacing outinterview), but “forgot”

EXP: You’ve made an appointment with a new therapist & consciously – you’re looking forward to it. It’s on your calendar & you remind yourself of it the day before. Then you go thru the whole day without going – totally oblivious – until late that night as you’re falling asleep. “Oh No! I forgot all about it, & I really meant to go!”

😱This is an EXP of the WIC’s un-felt but intense fear of being vulnerable with a new authority/ parent figure who may or may not be safe.**
✶✶ When we’ve done or not done something that seems baffling, inappropriate, even out of character, we can figure it out : Identify what emotions we were spaced out on (dissociating) but which desperately needed to be expressed – somehow!

Denial allows us to look for & stay with abusers, which is potentially life threatening, & definitely damages us psychologically!

a. MIS-USED: ‘Denial’ is typically meant as – Deliberately ignoring something we know but don’t want to deal with. This is not Denial.
When people say “I just won’t think about it. I’ve put it out of my mind… ” they’re referring to ‘suppression’ – a conscious decision.

Of course, if what we’re push away was traumatic, that emotional pain will be festering in a dark corner, & eventually comes out in some others form – as hidden or direct rage at others, &/or self-destruction

b. GENUINE psychological ‘Denial’ is NOT deliberate. It’s a defense mechanism to “not acknowledge an unacceptable truth or emotion by not allowing it into consciousness.” = meaning that we don’t know we don’t know (something)! – either about ourselves or someone else, even though it may perfectly obvious to others.

This ‘skill’ come from years of childhood training, hardened into Toxic Family Rules & our own need for emotional survival. It usually takes a lot of work to bring up long-buried traumatic experiences & associated pain into awareness, but once in a while some life-event can force a chunk of it to shake loose & shoot to the surface, like an erupting volcano, maybe accompanied by overwhelming panic.

• We can counter Denial & Suppression by carefully paying attention to what we see & hear.PAY ATTENTION People tell us about themselves all the time, which we would pick up on if we were allowed to listen to out intuition & intelligence. Repeatedly ignoring what’s in front of us is wounding to our sanity & our soul!

But once we become aware of abusive patterns we will notice them everywhere – in songs, movies, our family & friends, at work….
The opposite of Denial is ‘Being in the now’, or ‘Mindfulness’, making it easier TO:
♡ notice of what we’re needing, wanting, responding to, feeling -every day…. AND
♡ keep us awake to who others are, how they act, what they’re saying…. & how we feel when we’re with them

NEXT: Dealing with Abusers #1

What is Self-Control ? (Part 1)

in control
WHO MOTIVATES ME – Others or myself?

PREVIOUS: Let go of Controlling -#3

POSTs: Personal Responsibility
☆ The UNIT: Healthy Adult, Loving Parent

Self-Control 101 (Normal)

Events or Thoughts —-> lead to —-> Emotions
Emotions ——-> lead to ——> Beliefs
Beliefs ——-> lead to ——> Decisions
Decisions ——-> lead to ——> Actions
—> lead to —> Rewards or Consequences

Def. of CONTROL, from the dictionary: to direct, command, exercise authority over -OR- to hold back, curb, restrain —> oneself or others.

PURPOSE of Self-Control (SC)
To gain a present reward or reach a delayed gratification
OR delay, reduce or eliminate punishment
DEF: ☀︎ to hold in check or curb (the WIC & PP ?)
☀︎ to exercise restraint or direction over something or someone
☀︎ to eliminate or prevent the spread of something (our damage ?)

ACoAs – Healthy S-C is very hard to achieve as long as:S-H
• the WIC is the ego state in charge of our daily emotions, actions & reactions
• we obey the Toxic Rules, suppressing our True Self
• externally, we stay symbiotically attached to our family
• internally, we continue to obey the Negative Introject (PP)

SELF-CONTROL (S-C) is about harnessing our willpower to accomplish things that are generally regarded as desirable & highly valued by society, including long-term goals. As adults, we’re held responsible for our thoughts, emotions & actions (T.E.A.) to the extent that it’s within our power, which is not always possible.

• People are born with varying degrees of tolerance for routine vs. change, patience vs boredom, social vs private interactions…. but the need for S-C applies to everyone. However,
it’s harder for us to maintain it IF we’re in the wrong environment, where others are not also willing to govern themself. (MORE…)

Healthy families
help their children to grow this skill as part of their over-all training.  In adults – developing S-C requires a lessening anxiety, & is motivated by a conflict-free desire to stop harming ourselves or others. Practice & perseverance are required, but it gets skillseasier with repetition.
S-C :
is not an inborn character trait that would automatically allow us to govern our thoughts, emotions & behavior.
is a skill developed through education, social interaction & conditioning
✱ is built up by the process of ‘stalling, distracting & resisting’ negative urges
✱ is quite complex. It requires that we stay awake so our functioning is based in the present, not from trauma & Toxic Rules
✱ is internal mastery – by monitoring thoughts, regulating emotions, setting goals & making responsible choices. This allows us to moderate competing activities, desires & urges
✱ implies the ability to make choices & decisions that benefit ourselves, & then others. This requires honoring who we are – our abilities & experience, needs, preferences & tastes

✱ is an important part of a cluster of internal resources (core character, courage, determination, faith, endurance, purpose) which do not disappear, even when tested by constant pressure or long-term deprivation
✱ requires motivation. In certain situations, such as a special celebration or an artificial psychological experiment, we may decide to briefly give up self-control for the occasion
✱ becomes self-discipline when we have to apply intentional effort.
When practiced habitually for some time, it can become a character trait
✱ becomes a way of thinking because of the cognitive processes & mental discipline needed to use SC
✱ becomes a virtue when we resists temptations in order to achieve a desired goal, & can be considered a spiritual gift when it’s the result of spiritual growth & transformation.

VALUE of Self-Control – it allows us to:
• be a responsible & trustworthy human being
• be in charge of our moods & replace negative beliefs – to keep in check self-destructive, addictive behaviors & obsessive thoughts
• eliminate feeling helpless & having to be inappropriately dependent on others
• gain self-esteem, confidence, balance, inner strength, a sense of personal mastery, & be in charge of our life
• have enough mental & emotional detachment to give us peace of mind

NEXT: Types of Self-Control (Part 2)