ACoAs – ANXIETY & T.E.A. (Part 1)

T.E.A. chart


PREVIOUS: Fear of Responsibility (#5)




1. T.E.A. (Thoughts, Emotions, Actions)
Most people are not taught to distinguish between there 3 modalities. This causes much confusion in how we express ourselves, creating much miscommunication in our relationships.
While the 3 categories feed off of each other, they are not the same.

The most important thing to remember is that Thoughts & Actions can be changed &/or modified, but emotions just are. It is not healthy to try to control our emotions, while it is healthy & necessary to have a choice in what we say & do, depending on the situation we’re in.

THOUGHTs – always made up of a string of words.
thinking mindAll of us have running dialogues in our head much of the day, on the surface of our awareness, such as:
• planning what we‘re going to do or ‘should’ be doing

• reviewing what’s happened to us or what we did (pleasant or not)
• ‘dreaming’, wishing, imagining, designing projects……
• worrying, obsessing – often about things we can’t control

• ranting to ourselves about people who hurt us & things we hate
• thinking about things we’ve seen or read
• planning things we want to say, either personal or for work……
• what we’re thinking about under the surface, that’s out of our direct awareness. Some thoughts are deeply hidden, other accessible if we pay attention. This is what sitting quietly in ‘meditation’ is for – to hear the chatter in our head.
(Post:Using Think instead of Feel“)

EMOTIONs – see extensive posts
These are always ONE WORD things – happy, sad, angry, amused, lonely, scared, pleased, sexy, excited……(NOTE: if you say “I feel” immediately followed by a sentence – it’s not an emotion, but rather a thought – a string of words. EXP: “I feel like you don’t understand”)

: Getting to Emotions – Under & Over // ACoA Emotions re Painful Events // ACoAs – accepting & accessing Es // What is Emotional Abuse? // Over-controlling ourselves

ACTIONs – Any activity we DO, as well as things we DON’T do, that are helpful or harmful to ourselves & others

📌 An extension of this category – our behavior – is used as a defense mechanism, called “Acting out”, which can be defined as –
• Any compulsive (temporarily out of conscious control) ↵
action or non-action, which is ↵
• a way to externally express or demonstrate ↵
• painful emotions we’re not aware of at all (ongoing repression), or not experiencing at the time, about a particular situation we’re in or that we anticipate

: ♟ being late for OR blanking out on an appointment we didn’t realize is making us anxious
♟ starting an argument at the end of a nice evening, weekend (just before leaving the person or group)…. rather than feel the familiar old abandoned pain at the separation, no matter how temporary!

Posts:Actions: Healthy opposites // Noticing painful events // Negative reactions to painful events // Positive responses
 All ACoAs are fear based, whether our preferred defensive styanxietyle is to be :
• phobic (fearful, passive, victim, timid, anxious) OR
• counter-phobic (don’t consciously feel scared, & then keep doing dangerous things to ‘prove it’), a reaction to suppressed emotions from our abusive background or any other traumatic events in our life

❥ When was the last time you were struck by anxiety?
❥ How long did it last? What caused it?
❥ What did you do about it?
❥ OR is it with you all the time? & how do you cope?

Given our painful, chaotic, abusive early years – with very little comfort, explanations or guidance – we carry with us an enormous backlog of fear. This pile-up gets covered over & redirected, so we barely realize it’s there.
Once we’ve cut ourselves off from knowing the source of our fear, in many cases what we’re left with is anxiety – the free-floating painful flutter & tightness in our gut we don’t connect with anything in particular.

NEXT: T.E.A. & Anxiety (Part 2)

Double BINDS – Tools (Part 10)


all I have to do is use it!

PREVIOUS: Double Binds (Part 9)




😓 Remember the old Gershwin song “Someone To Watch Over Me”? Maybe no one ever did truly watch over you, so you didn’t learn to do it for yourself. It’s a good time to start – by learning to be the Loving Parent you never had.

While we can’t stop being afraid of making changes in dealing with DB-ers, we can take some preemptive actions. Before talking to / spending time with a difficult person, you can plan ahead to reinforce your ADULT & PARENT ego states, so that your WIC doesn’t take over when around them :
• get enough sleep the night before, & eat healthily
• take more time to get ready, leave enough time to travel, wear something comfortable
• call a safe person for support. Take a friend with you, if possible
• talk to you Inner Child before the ‘event’ to prepare him / her. Do the first half of book-ending
• remember – you are NOT the crazy one
• know that you cannot be perfect, because humans aren’t!
• do some rage work, if possible, to go with less pent-up rage & frustration
• pray for guidance & inner peace (see Part 12)

It’s not you: You are not stupid or crazy. DBs are crazy-making, setting you up in a no-win situation by a damaged /abusive person or system
Trust your gut: If you ‘feel’ something’s wrong, believe it! & if necessary – check it out with someone you trust

Believe in yourself: Be aware of your own power to break free & the intelligence to get out of the dilemma, so you don’t slide into one of the co-dependent roles – Victim, Rescuing the S, or become a Perpetrator
Question the statements: If what you’re being told is self-contradictory, AND you’re supposed to act on both, you know the whole communication is flawed & not to be honored

Threat of punishment: Be sure the person can do any actual harm. You may already have experienced how they react when you don’t fall in line with the craziness, & you survived.
INVENTORY: What form did it take? How did you cope? What was the outcome? What kind of actual power do they have over you in the present? Do they pay your bills, are they in charge of your employment ……?

If not then you definitely have the freedom to ignore the mental games they’re playing. If they do still have some control over your life, you can use suggestions in other posts

Redefine punishment: Yes – the S may get angry & say mean things – but once you believe you’re a good person & you “know what I know” they’re not dangerous to your spirit.
To a child, all forms of abandonment on any PMES level feels intolerable (‘death’) – besides physical abuse, it includes disapproval, verbal abuse, being ignored & deprived…. But you are no longer a child.

Meet your own standards: Since all DB choices lead to punishment, give yourself permission to pick the side of the bind that fits your personality & circumstances, even if others around you don’t agree
Change the focus: In some cases, you can successfully shift attention
outside the double bind (DBs – Part 5b)

Look for allies within the situation: Adults need to go elsewhere for approval, respect, kindness… since the S is not willing or able to provide these. In the medical example (DMs, Part 4b) maybe some one in the doctor’s office can encourage & validate you. Don’t let your fear & shame isolate you.

Get external support: Look for people, groups & activities that help you feel strong, resilient & creative – so you can breathe!
Keep searching until you find outside witnesses or authorities who will believe you & understand the problem

Walk away: It’s a big world AND you have options now.. Teach your WIC that you can get your needs met in abuse-free ways. Keep looking for them using your Healthy Adult .  (MORE….)

NEXT: DBs  (#11) – Uses

Relationship FORM A. (Part 1)


I’m always dealing with some c—-p!

Healthy Adult / Loving Parent – #3

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


ACoAs did not have good role models for communicate clearly, directly & honestly.
• We became afraid & ashamed to say what we really mean, how we feel emotionally & what we want or need. So it takes courage TO:
— practice listening to what we’re thinking (usually negative), & writing down our inner mental reactions to every aspect of our life
— have the courage to recognize, admit & verbalize our emotions – not just a few, like anxiety or annoyance, but the whole range
— hear the difference between thoughts (always sentences) & emotions (always one word for each)

IF I WERE TO LET YOU  (As)  ___________________________
I WOULD FEEL (Es) _________________________________
& I’M AFRAID of THAT, BECAUSE I BELIEVE (Ts) ____________
SO I PREVENT YOU FROM (A)_____________________________
BY (As & words (Ts) ____________________________________
even thought I’ll still end up angry & resentful (Es),  that’s
LESS SCARY than having to experience or:
a. FEEL (Es) _______________________________________
b. & DEAL WITH my (As & Ts) _____________________________

1. WHO
• You’ll need to know about T.E.A. ( thoughts, emotions, actions), to fill it in accurately. This is NOT about blame!Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 4.10.17 AM
• For it to be most helpful, both people need be able & willing to be emotionally & mentally honest – which is not always possible

• IF YOU are dealing with someone who is shut down, hostile, defensive &/or uninterested – you may still choose to show them the filled-out form, but be clear that you will NOT get what you want

2. WHAT: This is a standard form for 2 people in any kind of personal relationship – friends, lovers, mates, siblings… A starting point, only!
It’s specifically about a possible/ probable future action of the person you’re dealing with – and your reaction to that possibility
• It does not offer a correction or shift in perspective, or a Recovery way of responding. That has to be added by you
• Part 1 & 2 give examples of how to use it.  Keep several blank copies handy, for when one of you is bugged about something

EXP 1:
IF I WERE TO LET YOU – go to the party without me
I WOULD FEEL – lost & alone
I’M AFRAID OF THAT, BECAUSE I BELIEVE – you’ll find someone else who’ll be more interesting & attractive to you
BY – making you feel guilty / starting a fight / whining / getting sick ….
EVEN THO’ I END UP FEELING guilty & selfish, that would be LESS SCARY than having to FEEL – unwanted
& DEAL WITH –  the possibility of loosing you, which feels unbearable

3. THEN: Once you’ve filled it out, you will want the other person to read & respond. However, that may not always happen. If you’re with someone who is unwilling to cooperate, that’s a clear signal for you to evaluate the relationship.

However, if the other person has read it, wait patiently for the response. It may not be a new problem between you.
Re. this EXP, DO THEY? :
✐ try to placate you by people-pleasing
✐ respond thoughtfully, kindly, without being defensive
✐ insult, belittle, yell, justify, or divert attention from the issue
✐ decide to stay home so you won’t be mad at them? …..

WAYS to COPE, no matter the outcome
Re. YOU:
• Take a moment for yourself –  Give the WIC a hug & say: “You’ll be OK, I’m here, you’re never alone.”
• Consider if your assumptions are valid or not.  Are you ‘awful-izing’, or basing it on experience & intuition?  If it’s only your WIC reacting again, take time to deal with it lovingly
• If you need help, call someone else (appropriate) to share your distress with, rather than creating drama. Go to a Al-Anon ACA or SLA Meeting. Read some comforting or spiritual material to help with the FoA. Go to a movie or to a friend’s place.

• If you can, admit your FoA to the other person (fear of abandonment) & simply state that you will feel sad & alone if they go without you. They may not be able or willing to take you along, no matter how you feel. That’s their right.

• If you are invited – but NOT out of co-dependence or guilt, then go & enjoy. If not, make an alternate plan, for something you’ll like, on your own or with friends. Always have plan B

• IF you know you’re not just being jealous, & your concern is based on ;
✐ past experience or things the other person has said (threaten to leave, insensitive to your feelings…)
✐ you’ve had a nagging feeling or the ‘icK’ factor about them for a while, but you’ve been in denial….

…. then your FoA (that they’ll find someone else) may be realistic. Consider this minor event as a signal that something deeper is wrong – they may not BE safe or suitable for you, at all! You could start looking around – yourself.
Remember: “I know what I know”!

NEXT: Form A. (Part 2) Another example