ACoAs: DIS-comfort & Comfort (Part 2a)

hiding under bedI CAN’T HANDLE
any more stress!

PREVIOUS: Dis-comfort & Comfort #1

SITE17 Habits of a Self-destructive person

1. NEGATIVE Comfort

• all forms of addictions, inching ‘addicted’ to religious / ‘spiritual’ pursuits “They’re so heavenly minded  no earthly good”
• try to avoid everything hard or painful // regularly zone out, over-sleep, over-use internet, games, TV….
• always complain but never change //refuse to be self-reflective
• make excuses / blame all difficulties on others, never seeing our part
• stay the victim / be in self-pity / ‘practice’ unnecessary self-sacrifice

• neneg-comfver use direct communication (leave out things, beat around the bush, don’t stand up for our rights….) // justify, exaggerate, lie
• never rock the boat //  stay in denial // act dumb
• always have to ‘be the ‘good’ one
• try to “know everything”, be perfect
• use self-injury to ‘cope’ with too much pain
• isolate / distance everyone // be invisible
• stay connected to unhealthy family & other dysfunctional or dangerous people
• don’t risk trying new & better ways to live

• be controlling (trying to force PPT to be what we want)
• people-please / don’t say NO when appropriate
• look for others to rescue, validate & take care of us
• busy minding someone else’s business, rescuing, over-helping
• stay constantly busy, over-work / try to be perfect

▶︎Think of all the ways you use to escape, & fill in the blue square ⬆️

Keeping these patterns alive, especially once we know better, insures that we stay stuck. It’s the WIC who is in charge of this resistance, & it takes great deal of determination, correct info & unconditional love to pry it loose from the toxic family system.

2. NEGATIVE DIS-comfort
In this category we can look at the Nigglies that are discomforting, & who me?Biggies – that are more obvious. But first let’s review ACoA reactions to experiencing pain over long periods – Under & Over – regarding how we interact with people, events & situations (PPT).

UNDER ‘feel’
As kids we had to clamp down on our emotions because we were punished or ignored for having them, had very little or no comforting when in pain, & no way of processing them. That taught us to ignore feelings. BUT they never go away  – they just go underground & pile up until we are one big sore – but blaming ourselves. The enormity of our accumulated pain is overwhelming, & not knowing that we can process them out, we have to shut down, so the pain turns into depression or we use it to attack others, & for many of us – we do both.

Being in denial about the abuse we have suffered leads many ACoAs to emotionally & mentally under-react to most stressors. It’s not unusual to observe ACoAs smiling, even laughing, when talking about traumatic events, especially things that happened in childhood.
EXP: Recently Sara stopped in at a fast food joint down town. While eating her sandwich 5 local teens came in & sat at the next table. The were laughing as they compared beatings they used to get at home, one out-doing the others in their descriptions.

Sara wanted so much to tell them that being beaten is not funny, but rather painful, unjust, horrible, truly abusive….., but knew they would not have believed her nor welcomed her interference.
Clearly, they needed to protect the ‘value’ of the family at their own expense. Sara also knows that with – at least 4 out of the 5, if not all – this pattern will be passed on when these teens have their own children, & likely with their mates as well – either as abuser or as victims!

Sitting on all that disowned pain takes up a lot of psychic energy, making it very hard to pay attention to real difficulties when they occur in the present. So naturally, daily annoyances are more likely to be dismissed or overlooked as unimportant (T)! This makes sense, since we don’t have the inner quiet (serenity) to deal with them. We’re just trying to keep our head above water!

: Dis-comfort/Comfort #3a

Victimizing OURSELVES (Part 1)


OH NO, I’M AGREEING – with my Bad Voice (again)

PREVIOUS: Abuse of children   


Old Pain (Abandonment) is made up of the daily misery we lived thru as kids, with no way to process or get help dealing with it.
It accumulated in our body & in our spirit, much of which eventually went underground, into our Shadow (the unconscious).

New Pain (Self-Hate) is the suffering we now do to ourselves & allow** others do to us – acting-out our family’s training. This layer gets added to the old abandonment & the accumulation wears us into the ground.

**Re. “allow” : Denial makes it hard for us to recognize abuse as it’s happening, so we do not consciously choose to let others hurt us, but unconsciously gravitate to the familiar – & then stay!

• So it’s important to stay awake for what’s happening to us & around us. Having been exposed to rage, fear, neglect, disrespect, torture …. as kids, ACoAs are both drawn to AND are more deeply affected (badly) by negative people, places & things.

It’s like having an open wound that keeps getting bumped – it’s injured more & more, so it hurt worse, AND never has time to heal. We’re hyper-sensitive to uplifting and deflating energies, & need to stay away from harsh environments even more than ‘normals’ with less damage do.

EMOTIONAL ABUSE (E.A.)  to Ourselves
Keeping PMES in mind, most people think of abuse only in Physical terms (beating), but the damage we originally sustained was first & foremost Emotional. From earliest childhood ACoAs were trained to tolerate abuse in both subtle & blatant forms, which then became our default position.
In order to stop being tortured unnecessarily, observe how you Victimize yourself now, in ways that keep wounding your feelings

 1. Self-HateS-H heads
As adults the most violent source of E.A. is our own inner Pig Parent voice, which generates relentless negative beliefs & demands we put on ourselves. Many of our troubles come from the WIC obeying this Introjected part, not wanting to let go of old ways which represent loyalty to our family system.
Monster : “Self-Hate”, expressed in T.E.A. forms
E.As : Terror, hopelessness, self-pity, FoA, loneliness, desperation

2. Addictions
Again, most of the focus is on the Physical damage & results we experienced, & not enough stress is put on the Emotional devastation . OUR addictions (food, sex, spending, work, relationships, exercise….) are specifically designed to repress / suppress painful Es & memories – to silence the PP voice which tortures the WIC!
E.As: Shame, S-H, guilt, hopelessness & abandonment fear – from Toxic beliefs, AND from the immature / harmful / crazy things addictions ‘make’ us do.

3. Going to the wrong people….
…. to share personal issues, secrets or deep pain with – as well as marry! Their worthless or harmful reactions make us feel worse – betrayed, alone, enraged, hopeless, suicidal.
The key point here is that we often go to people we already know from experience are not safe, but refuse to acknowledge it!
We’ve been disrespected, blown off, controlled, told what to do – before– by these people, bad peopleinstead of just listening to us & being sympathetic, YET we keep going back!

☀︎ Our denial of past & present reality has turned into self-abuse!
At best those unsafe people are out-to-lunch, at worst they’re assaultive. ACoAs say: “But they’ve been there for me in the past, so I owe them gratitude & loyalty”.

Maybe they were OR or maybe we just thought they were because of our own level of ignorance & denial. But the clues to their real & potential abandonment were always there. Being mentally & emotionally unawares (not our fault) made it easy for us to not recognize other people’s limitations or cruelty.

To quote Toni Morrison (& Oprah) – “When you know better, you do better”
As adults we are responsible for putting ourselves in the positions to be Emotionally Abused by certain people. In essence we’re doing it to ourselves by letting our PP or the WIC keep drawing us back to empty or poisonous ‘wells’ for comfort, guidance & support! Not going to happen!
E.As: Confused, abandoned, angry, longing, demeaned, depleted

NEXT: Victimizing Ourselves (Part 2)

ACoAs: OVER-Controlling Ourselves (Part 4)


I LET THE PP BEAT ME UP – to keep me in line

PREVIOUS: Emotional Over-Control #2

SITEs:  Self-Control (Wikipedia)
▪︎ Over-Controlled Primary Aggressor

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

AS ADULTS (cont)
• ACoAs
were not raised on the handbook for “How to be a Healthy, Happy Human Being , which left our Child-part being impulsive, anxiety-ridden, only able see itself & the world thru distorted alcoholic / narcissistic lenses. So, one way to deal with our trauma is to do what they seemed to want – for us to die! Some ACoAs try literal suicide, but most do it by PMES forms of starving.

Being Over-Controlled is NOT related to being Introvert or Extrovert, which are inborn, but rather about ignoring qualities we all share to varying degrees (intuition, intelligence, being perceptive, artistic…) – which were unacceptable in our family.
It would have made our lives even more miserable if we hadn’t suppressed them – although some of us couldn’t hide them well enough to escape being attacked or ignored.

Unhealthy BELIEFS of Over-Controllers:
• Everyone is out to rape me mentally & emotionally
• I have to keep control of my feelings so I don’t go crazy
• If I lose control, there will be no sanity in my home (or on the job)
• Losing my cool is unsafe, so I avoid conflict at all costs
• No matter what happens to me, I’ll never cry or need anything again
• No one’s ever going to get under my skin or hurt me again
• Don’t trust anyone with your feelings, thoughts or dream
• Never let others know how their behavior or actions effect you
• Never show your anger so you won’t get abandoned
• There’s only one way to survive a crazy world – climb into your shell, & stay there!
► Do you hear the voice of the Toxic ROLES?)

HOW we Over-Control ourselves
a. DEFENSES – Rigidly held defense mechanisms are used to hide from emotions we’re afraid to experience, but the ‘protection’ ends up running our lives:
Addictions – as a way to numb the cruel PP voice & to ignore our WIC the same way our parents did, but actually adds to our suffering.

Counter-Phobia – being attracted to things that are scary while not fully aware of the accumulated terror underneath. Dangerous relationships & activities are seen as fun, which keeps the adrenalin pumping. We’ve stuffed the anxiety into the unconscious, but it needs an outlet, so we rush towards unhealthy ‘excitement’. If we stopped running we’d have to feel all that fear

Fear of Engulfment, feeling suffocated & over-controlled by someone else’s need & demands. Not allowed originally to develop our own inner boundaries, we end up erecting a very thick wall against intimacy so that we won’t get swallowed p again. It keeps everyone at a distance, while longing for connection. The wall gets activated whenever anyone wants genuine intimacy with us, even if it’s what we say we want

Guilt (review post What is guilt?’) – an emotion that controls us to:
— ensure we never disobey our family’s Negative Rules
— keep from learning healthy rules so we could improve our lives
— prevent us from developing our True Self via S & I, which would unhook us from the family dysfunction

Over-activity, such as workaholism, controls how much & what kinds of emotions we allow ourselves to experience = staying so busy that we don’t have to feel anything ’real’, & using it to cover up S-H & as sense of powerlessness

Paralysis, mostly our voice – stopping ourselves from saying & doing things that would be good for us, because of fear of punishment, fear of abandonment & fear of visibility….. speaking up for ourself, which would help us grow, stop others from hurting us, enhance our self-esteem & move us toward our dreams

Vagueness / dissociating – staying in ‘la la land’ so we don’t have to face any reality we don’t want to deal with, starting with how badly we’ve been treated by family / school / religion / mates / work….& that we’re responsible now for having to care for ourselves.
So – we don’t notice how much we spend / eat / drink… how others treat us, how we feel, what we need, how we treat others….

NEXT: O-C Ourselves – Part 4

ACoAs – Adult Loneliness (Part 1)

I know to be safe!

PREVIOUS: ACoAs – L. in Childhood (#2)

SITE: “Does Childhood abandonment equate Adult Loneliness?

See ACRONYM Page for abbrev.

QUOTE:” Loneliness is the poverty of the self. Solitude is the richness of the Self.” ~ May Sarton, American Poet

NOTE: Loneliness is one result of the many PMES ways we were abandoned as kids. FEAR + INSECURITY LOVE = Loneliness.

DEF: Being alone when we desire otherwise, a discrepancy between what we have socially & what we’d like to have, an inability to find meaning in our life….
Studies about L. yielded 40 emotion-type words linked to it, including : boredom, feeling different, helpless, hopeless, rejected, self-pitying, not understood…..

1. ACoA Loneliness (L.)
It’s inevitable that we bring with us, from childhood, unhealthy self-treatment we experienced in our environment which created Loneliness at that time, but was not our fault!
So naturally, as adults, our actions & beliefs add to the (mostly invisible) iceberg of L. by continuing self-defeating patterns – until we do deep FoO work to fill the internal void.

a. Protecting Ourselves
Given all the physical & emotional danger we were subjected to as kids, it makes sense that we end up compressing ourselves into a small internal ball of fear – like any wounded creature. We hide from others as protection – in PLACE OF real, healthy Boundaries (Bs).

Extroverts hide very differently than Introverts, but it’s still hiding.
• Unfortunately we also have to hide from ourselves too, so we end up not knowing who we really are!
• Fortunately, once we’ve developed & internalized Bs we don’t have to hide anymore. Then we choose how much to reveal & how much to hold back, able to choose who’s safe for us & who’s not.

The Loneliness: While we’re trying to protect ourselves from everyone else’s fear, envy, greed, control, manipulation…. & especially their rage – we’re stuck inside our shell, adding to our sense of separateness & isolation – whether alone or with others.

b. Protecting Others
Self-Hate is expressed in our Ts, Es. & As, so it covers every aspect of life. As kids we came to believe that we were very, very bad, even evil, so now it feels like we’re carrying a monster inside – which we incorrectly assume is the WIC, whether we’re familiar with the concept or not. Some of us have even tried (or wanted to) commit suicide – to get rid of it. It’s made up of:

• The PP : Actually – the ‘monster’ is the Negative Introject , our internalized accumulation of all the crazy & abusive adults we grew up with. They had lots of rage too, even if they never showed it. So we’re carrying theirs & ours.

• Our rage: This is the other part of the ‘monster’, the part of us that is powerfully, sometimes uncontrollably furious. And why not. We were alternately neglected & tortured by the very people who were supposed to love us.

• While trying to protect ourselves from the big bad world, this combined rage is so intense & huge that most of us concluded a long time ago we have to protect the world from our monster, so we wouldn’t get abandoned again or kill someone, because we feel it’s so out of our control.

The Loneliness: Being alone with our monster component (made up of emotional pain & Toxic Beliefs) is terrifying, but we figure it’s better than the alternative. Keeping it under wraps, even from ourselves, separates us from everyone at a very deep level.
We become —
clingers, who can’t seem to live without some sort of relationship, no matter how bad, & have to be extra ‘nice’ so they won’t know, OR
hiders, who are co-dependent, depressive or passive-aggressive, internally isolated while seemingly sociable, OR
erupters, whose rage keeps most everyone away, as we spew out accumulated anger anyplace or anytime something sets us off. But that just brings up more S-H.  💔

NEXT: Adult Loneliness #2

SELF-HATE & ACoAs (Part 3)

addictionsI CAN’T GIVE UP
the only ‘truth’ I know


🔻 “I won’t sleep if that’s what it takes to not wake up as myself”
Casey Renee Kiser, Hold Me Under: Poems to Drown to

😰”To keep my mind occupied when I can’t sleep – some people count sheep. I self-loathe.” ∼ Rainbow Rowell, Attachments

🥶 “Hostility, malice & sadism are the result of helplessness & self-loathing – all produced by adaptation to a hypercritical social reality, & are not attributable to innate aggression.” ∼ Arno Gruen, Swiss-German psychologist

FoO = Family of origin

2. SOURCES of Self-Hate (S-H)

3. PURPOSE of S-H is TO:
• keep from risking any change via S & I (fear that letting go = being forever alone)
• keep us attached to the family (stave off deep loneliness)
• prevent us from dealing with ‘ugly emotions’ like our rage, envy, longing, hopelessness….
• protect our fantasy of having good, loving, safe parents
• protect us from feeling the reservoir of old abandonment pain
• protect us from Growing up, taking care of ourselves (we want to be taken care of! no matter the cost to ourself or others)

The above reasons are all part of the answer, but the MAIN one is that:
It gives us a FALSE SENSE of POWER! How?
Since every child is self-centered, which is human-normal, they think everything is about them – that whatever happens in or around them has to do with them.
The child’s logic says: “I’m in pain, & somehow I caused it. Therefore I CAN / must stop them from hurting me, if I can just figure out how!”

• Then we spend the rest of our childhood (& well into adulthood, until Recovery) trying different ways to FIX whatever the problem was & may still be – re :
US – by re-inventing ourselves (must be the origin of this USA craze), trying on different ‘personae‘ (be the perfect kid, the trouble maker, the helper, get good grades, be invisible, don’t have any needs, be funny…)
AND re :
THEM – by trying to make our parents see reason, get sober, get help, leave the marriage, get taken care of by us, cover up for them, fix their ‘craziness’, cater to their every whim….

Unfortunately NONE of our EFFORTS WORKED! In most cases ‘they’ didn’t change, didn’t listen, wouldn’t stop – drinking, raging, being unsuccessful, molesting, beating us, leaving, cheating, berating, controlling….!
But we kept trying, always asking: What’s wrong with ME?

Even if some of our parents did stop drinking,
— it was NOT because of our efforts. We assumed their ‘sobriety’ was, because we were extra good, prayed really hard or badgered them into it
— very few were willing to do the deeper work to become healthier human beings, so mostly they were just “Dry Drunks”. So their unhealed narcissism kept on hurting us.
RESULT -in us- was an intense feeling of failure!

• This is why so many ACoAs believe we’re FRAUDS – that people will eventually, inevitably FIND OUT.
Q: Find out what?
A: “Since I couldn’t make my parents/ family get well, be happy & be there for me – I’m not capable of and NEVER will be able ably to -succeed at anything else!” (WIC logic)

It’s an assumption ACoAs are not usually aware of, but glued to us by anxiety, and believed both by the less accomplished AND the most outwardly successful ACoAs, pre-FoO Recovery. Unfortunately, what we don’t realize is that the fundamental premise is false :
No child
— ever caused the adults’ messes
— was ever responsible for making them better! AND
— can fix anyone else

NEXT: ACoAs & S-H #4


From being raised by alcoholics,
ACoAs & other narcissist!


50 Qs: A Self-evaluating List for Adult-Children of alcoholics, abusers, abandoners….
Answer: Y = yes, N = no, S = some, D = don’t know

DO YOU…?….
___find that you seek out tension or crisis, & then complain about it
___become anxious around angry people or authority figures
___defend or excuse people when they abuse you, implying you deserve it
___get locked into a course of action without seeing alternatives or outcomes
___react to people & situations, instead of choosing your responses
___worry that your emotions may overpower or hurt you, or others
___tend to lie or exaggerate, when it would be just as easy to tell the truth
___find the needs & wants of others more important than your own
___prevent yourself from experiencing the joy of your successes
___frequently anticipate that situations or life won’t work out for you
___isolate yourself when problems arise, or when you ‘feel bad’hiding
___find yourself in one or more survival ‘roles’ (hero, lost child…)
___mistrust your feelings, thought, perceptions
___tend to see issues in life as B & W, right or wrong
___have a fear of abandonment, especially when criticized
___strongly criticize yourself when not being perfect
___defend or excuse people when they abuse you, implying you deserve it
___get locked into a course of action without seeing alternatives or outcomes
___react to people & situations, instead of choosing your responses
___have trouble relaxing, playing, having fun
___had trouble with close, intimate relationships
___feel responsible for the feelings & actions of others, & try to fix them
___stay in relationships even tho’ you’re being constantly hurt, neglected, lied to, manipulated, hit… not getting any of your needs met
___fight with your family members over a parent’s drinking
___your parents make promises to you & then not keep them
___lose sleep at night due to a parent’s drinking
___take on some of the jobs or responsibilities belonging to your parents
___ever get sick, or worry a lot because of their drinking
___ever do anything to prevent your parent’s drinking
___always believe that no one knew your parents were drunks, when you were growing up
___able to recognize situation that you have no control over
___super responsible or super irresponsible
___unable to work thru crisis & conflict, or do you aggravate it
___seeing a pattern in your relationships similar to your family of origin
___unable to enjoy your successes & accomplishments
___afraid others may ‘find out’ you’re not good, or that you’re a fraud
___afraid of your emotions, & afraid to express them   get help
___unable to complement yourself
___ashamed of or feel guilty for being who you are
___afraid of going crazy, or becoming a bag lady or bum
___uncomfortable with your life when it’s going smoothly
___unable to ask for help, or do so apologetically
___constantly seeking approval from others
___uncomfortable with being liked, admired, approved of
___always mentally looking over your shoulder to see if you’ll be punished
___out of control with: food, chemicals, work, sex, spending, exercising…
___been blaming everyone else for your life’s problems
___staunchly defended your parents’ ‘innocence’ in hurting you as a kid
___had trouble following thru on projects, or never finishing
___tried to hide the fact that your parents drank a lot, beat you or others in the family, incested you or your siblings
___concerned about your mate, children, friends’…use of chemicals
___developed fantasy beliefs about how loved ones may treat you some day
___considered what ‘normal’ is, & believe you’re not
___found yourself sabotaging your success & then feeling ‘more alive’
___been loyal to others (parents, siblings, lovers, children, friends, employers) – even tho’ your loyalty was undeserved, unjustified, un-returned
___been fired more than once & never really understood why
___* learned to have dialogues with your ‘inner child’, & consistently take care of yourself in loving ways ?
♥                            ♥                            ♥
IF you’re even taking this test, it’s likely you come from a damaged, angry, abusive, traumatic, neglected, unhappy backgroundanswers
TOTALS:   ____Yes   ____ No   ____ Some  ____ Don’t Know
IF you answered YES to:
✶ 10-20, you’re either not an ACoA, in denial or in long-term recovery
✶ 20-30, you’re a co-dependent, even if there was no alcoholism in the family
✶ 30 or more, you’re definitely an ACoA (adult-child of alcoholics and other narcissists), which includes mentally ill &/or narcissistic family members

• If you said NO to Qs in the ‘DID YOU…’ section, but still scored high, there may be alcoholism/ drug addiction in some other part of your family, even if you didn’t experience it directly
• You may also be an active addict, yourself – alcohol/ drugs, food, money, sex, relationships…

Look thru this blog (2010 – 2016) and go to Heal & Grow SITE MAP – for info covering issues in this questionnaire at:

• If you are not yet in Recovery from your childhood trauma & present day difficulties, you can seek out 12-step Programs. THEY’RE BASICALLY FREE, & are available on the internet & by phone, for anyone not able to get to these meeting in person.  See pg 55 or some of the 12-step groups.

• Also, there are many recovery books, site, blogs & of course therapy, with someone very familiar with ACoA / addiction issues.
✶  If you are in Recovery, keep up the good fight. It pays off! I know because I’ve been at it for 35 yrs, & it works.

NEXT: Variations of the L.L.