ACoAs – HUMILITY (Part 2)

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the more humility!

PREVIOUS: Arrogance vs HUMILITY (2a)

SITES: ‘’HUMILITY – the most beautiful word in the English Language’’


QUOTEs :  “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit” ~ Aristotle
• “Confidence without Humility is arrogance. Humility without confidence is self-deprecation” Anon.

• know their inner worth, not depending on out-performing others, or having to always be ’the first, the best, the most…. ’
• don’t have to frantically chase some intangible or unrealistic degree of importance, success, fame or power

• have an honest, accurate assessment of their actual talents, their limits & areas that need improving. Can admit mistakes, & ask for forgiveness
• have a clear perspective of present-day reality, respecting their place in whatever context they’re in
• can handle frustrating situations with a genuine sense of inner ‘serenity’, since they respond, rather than react, to life’s challenges.
• able to control their temper
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• able to value but not spoil themselves (give in to every whim of the WIC)
• courteous, respectful, not pretentious, not boastful or gloating about their accomplishments
• good for the sake of being good, admitting they’re as human as everyone else
• happy to work behind the scenes when required or appropriate, knowing their work is as important as any done in the spotlight
• not attracted to superficial or unhealthy behavior
• OK with being an ordinary / average person (even when ‘special’, gifted, ‘important’), not needing to be part of some ‘in crowd’ to feel acceptable
• teachable – assuming there’s always more to learn about & from all PPT
• willing to yield the right to be right. Do not demand their rights


• able & willing to forgive others, letting go of grudges & bitterness
• comfortable with others’ success. H prevents embarrassing themselves in competitive situations
• compassionate & look for the best in others (realistically). Give others the benefit of the doubt
• motivated to help people, aware that others have needs too
 • ask Qs & love dialogue (not assume they know), & use conversation to explore new worlds
• ALSO put energy & effort into listening
• don’t gossip, especially about faults they see in others
• don’t pre-judge others’ behavior – knowing that everyone has their own
reasons for doing things (that are annoying), even if they don’t know or never find out what those are
• know they need others, so allow themselves to be open & vulnerable rather than closed & ‘distant’
• respect those in authority, & pray for them to have wisdom
• speak simply, not trying to manipulate or trip others up
• show honest interest in others, by asking about their lives & accomplishments
• treat each person as someone of value, regardless of position in society, profession, age or economic status

Social Activism: One form H is in the area of reform, such as in thhelp otherse 2013 workshop by Melanie Marie Tervalon “Cultural Humility: Working in Partnership with Families & Communities”.
Included topics were: Reversing health disparities in the US / Using tools of cultural competence & cultural humility at work

In Business: Humility is studied as a multi-dimensional trait, which includes awareness, self-understanding, openness & perspective ability. People with these qualities are valued because they tend to be more generous, selfless & altruistic

• Jim Collins, in “Built To Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” (1994), says humility is a key ingredient at the highest level of executive ability. “Humility + Will = Level 5 leaders, who are a study in duality – modest and willful, shy and fearless, patient yet express fierce resolve.” (MORE….)

humble leadersConfident leaders succeed, but not at the expense of others. They have broader spheres of influence, attract better talent, inspire more confidence, loyalty & respect. Truly H people are quietly self-assured, giving them more determination & commitment

Humble LEADER come from a position of strength, & are more persuasive. They HAVE the:
• courage to set aside personal gain to benefit others
• character to respond charitably when attacked
• candor to be honest, & ability to change course if necessary (MORE….)

SITEs: 3 Reasons to Be Humble: People, Agility, and Growth”, re. entrepreneurs
Humility: The Foundation Value of Innovation Leadership”

NEXT: BLOG Celebration – 500 posts

ACoAs – ARROGANCE (Part 1)

if I pretend to be superior!

PREVIOUS: Humiliation (#3)

SITE: The Difference Between Confidence & Arrogance is Empathy
Teaching Humility in an Age of Arrogance

QUOTEs:“Much to learn, you still have” ~ YODA to Count Dooku, StarWars II
• “Do you wish people to think well of you? Don’t speak well of yourself” ~ Pascal

DEF: ARROGANCE (ARR) = inflating, exalting, over-valuing oneself. It’s “bigging yourself up”, whether publicly or just inside your own mind, & often involves knocking others down at the same time.
“The act or habit of making unjustified declarations in an overbearing manner…. exorbitant claims of rank, dignity, estimation, or power”

♦️It is the main characteristic of all styles of narcissism – overt or covert. All personality traits fall on a continuum, from mild to severe. The extreme  expression of arrogance is Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  2 main types:
• Vulnerable – those who use arrogance to compensate for their insecurity
• Grandiose – who truly believe themselves to be perfect, without weakness

It’s one of 7 features of “dark” personality traits, based on 7 basic fears. These are the False Self’s primary means of self-preservation. (MORE…)
• Arrogance = FEAR of vulnerability
• Greed = f. of lack / not having enough
• Impatience = f. of missed or lost opportunity
• Martyrdom = f. of worthlessness
 = f.  of loss of control
• Self-Deprecation = f. of inadequacy
 Stubbornness = f. of change or new situations

CHARACTERISTICS of ARR people (A G. Cerdan)
☂︎ Constantly talking about themselves & their achievements
☂︎ Charming – at first. Behind it is contempt, lack of empathy, resentment & selfishness☂︎ Intolerant of anyone who doesn’t like or approve of them
☂︎ Never ask for forgiveness
☂︎ Over-compensate for insecurity – loud, stubborn, show off dress & makeup….
☂︎ Tremendous need to be praised
☂︎ Trouble forming & keeping relationships
☂︎ Won’t admit mistakes, can’t handle criticism

ARR. is the result of Negative childhood experiences, causing:
a. constant (hidden) terror & insecurity (fear of abandonment)
b. dysfunctional strategy to protect the Self, from the WIC
c. a False Persona to hide a, b & d in adulthood
d. misconceptions about the nature of Self, life & others

• We all have the potential for arrogance, but for people with a strong fear of admitting or showing common human limitations, it can become a dominant pattern.  This character defect comes from a need to be seen as flawless, because exposing weaknesses makes them feel unbearably vulnerable (like negative EnneaType 1, but not exclusively).

Hidden belief: “Who I really am will never be good enough for others to accept. So no one must ever see the real me.”
ACoAs are very familiar with this obsession with perfection, because our family punished or made fun of normal childhood needs & behavior, which they treated as unforgivable flaws!

Opposite poles 
– – Vanity (unhealthy False Self): 
an irrational / obsessive belief in our superior attractiveness or abilities as reflected in the eyes of others – which is falling for our own lies (egotism & narcissism).
It comes from the Latin vanities: empty, foolish, futile, untruthful

+ + Pride (healthy Confidence): recognizing & valuing all our good qualities, rather than exaggerating or making them up to mask or deny normal human imperfections. It’s a positive expression of the True Self, being realistic about our innate value as human beings & our accomplishments  (“Worst & Best Personality Traits” – lists)

WHY do ARR people Succeed?
⚡️They use anger to intimidate
⚡️Being ‘difficult’ makes others give in to them more easily
⚡️Being dominant / domineering allows them to steal the show
⚡️Believing they’re superior helps them go for what they want
⚡️In disagreements, they attack the person rather than the issue

Arrogant leaders can do well in business, but rarely create lasting relationships because they doesn’t inspire loyalty & trust. They’re often surrounded by users all too happy to take advantage of the egotist’s ruthless & obsessive need to ‘make good’, but will jump ship at the first sign of trouble

ARR is built on a variety of sandy / swampy foundations, such as:
– family lineage, ‘connections’, money, possessions
– achievements based on natural talents + hard work
– illusions / self-deception about non-existent personal qualities
– being stuck in past glory & accomplishments
HOWEVER none of these provide genuine self-esteem, which only has one source: Unconditional love!

NEXT: Arrogance #1b

Being CONFIDENT (Part 2)

confidence balance    

healthy & unhealthy,
too much & too little….

PREVIOUS: Being Confident (#1)

QUOTE: “Kindness in Thinking creates Profoundness. Kindness in Words creates Confidence. Kindness in Giving creates Love.” (&) “When you are content to simply be yourself, & don’t compete or compare, everyone will respect you.” Lao Tzu

REMINDER: Do NOT let yourself get overwhelmed by this list. It’s meant to be a guide, qualities to work towards. Looking at the cup half full – or more – notice & then acknowledge when you have expressed a little of any one of these in your daily life, give yourself a pat on the back, & remind your Inner Child of your progress!

CONFIDENT People (cont):
take responsibility for their thought, emotions & actions. This includes all their positive parts, as well as the less ideal ones. They don’t need to blame others when things don’t work out, but also don’t take on blame for things that have nothing to do with them

can be alone with their own thoughts. They know that mental GIGO means thinking, reading & listening to positive, healthy, enjoyable things, which can improve their knowledge & lift the spirit.
Their inner dialogue is not harsh from S-H, nor confused by the PP, or fear od abandonment & lack of self-awareness.
So they don’t have to fill every minute with conversation, technology (TV, e-mail, cellphones, texting, web surfing, playing games….) & other drugs & time-wasters, in order to numb out


‘keep it simple’. Whenever possible they find the simplest, sanest way to do things, no matter where they are or who they’re dealing with.
They never have to re-invent the wheel, & don’t hang out in convoluted, torturous thinking, drama or awful-izing. Knowing who they are & what they want, they can think clearly, so don’t easily get sidetracked or manipulated

trust their instincts.  They pay careful attention to their environment, pick up on non-verbal cues, listen to the feeling in their gut & the still small voice in their head. They do not ignore these cues, even tho they can’t be explained logically. Instincts are an important tool in their bag of life skills, guiding them on their path, helping to make the best choices

accept help whenever they need it. They’re not ashamed of not knowing everything, or of not being able getting helpto do everything themselves, so are not afraid to ask for & receive emotional support & practical help. Confident people are secure enough to admit having limitations, & don’t see that as a sign of weakness.
They know that when searching for help they pay someone a huge compliment – it shows genuine respect for that person’s expertise & judgment. Otherwise they wouldn’t have asked. They’re eager to learn from others

• take care of themselves. They don’t wait for others to do for them what they can do for themselves.  They’re willing to learn easier & better ways to do things, & find procedures to make their life less complicated or stressful

are optimistic. They have a realistic view of their future, knowing from experience that bad situations eventually right themselves, & that many stressors can be overcome with sensible plans. They have the ability to see the light at the end of the tunnel, & plan their journey toward it.
Optimism allows confident people to believe they’ll be OK, no matter how bad the current situation may seem. They never give up, but know it’s good to regularly take a break

In reality, everyone experiences  an occasional knock to their self-worth. In those cases, confident people take time out to question their motives & review their choices, but don’t get paralyzed. Their mind is focused on solutions, so they take actions as soon as possible, or keep working towards a better outcome in the future. One antidote to doubt is an increase in productive activity. (CHART – confidence vs doubt)


NEXT: Confident People (Part 3)

ACoAs & SELF-ESTEEM – what it IS NOT

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Not me-e-e, girl

PREVIOUS: Recovery – IS & is NOT (#2)

SITE: Want more self-esteem? (links)

REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


IN IT’S SIMPLEST FORM, the opposite of self-hate is self-esteem. Since our Western culture is based a great deal on outer appearance, most people think that if you look & sound good, you must:
• have come from a nice, happy family background
• be happy, healthy & have good self-esteem (S.E.)

ACoAs believe that in spades, but neither one is proof. We assume that anyone who has OR seems to have personal qualities & a life style that we don’t (a variety of relationships, making $$, an education, travel…) – must have a positive sense of identity. Actually, there’s a big difference between true self-esteem & the facade of it.
☛ Various defense mechanisms can mimic it, especially narcissism.

Self Esteem is NOT….
1. …. based solely on activities or accomplishments
• there are people who are famous, rich, powerful – but we know from their bios that many are active addicts, spouse abusers & sometimes murderers, have relationships full of drama or can’t commit at all….

2. …. acting entitled, superior, arrogant, pushy
• anyone who acts this way is covering up feeling scared & insecure, even though they may not be consciously aware of it.  Acting entitled is narcissistic – they believe only they have rights!super doer

3. …. being a super-helper – rescuer, martyr, people-pleaser
• being ‘wonderful’ to everyone, long-suffering, over-tolerant, over-doing… comes from LOW S.E. & FoA. Without Recovery, sooner or later, they may have some type of collapse or live with chronic depression

4. …. being perfect – the ‘good’ one, the Hero, Ms or Mr Popular
• while there is social acceptability in this persona, it is usually based in the co-dependent need to be approved of, to be mirrored by the admiration of others, rather than having a clear internal sense of self. Without this constant reinforcement, the person is depressed & at sea.

5. …. always being right – having all the answers, needing to prove what we know
• ‘know-it-alls’ use their info as a battering ram or as a shield – either way it comes from insecurity. It’s a defense – they have to keep the facade of being better than they feel inside.  It’s also a way to keep emotions at bay – focusing on facts rather than feelings

6. …. being powerful – lording it over others, being controlling
• the need to use personal power to make others submissive or compliant is both narcissistic & cruel – whether done by a CEO or a mother. All forms of controlling is based in fear, which the person is usually not aware of, or not willing to acknowledge

7. …. being superhuman – highly accomplished, chasing the impossible, being the best of the superiorbest
• achieving big things may or may not benefit humanity. What’s important here is MOTIVATION. The compulsion to succeed is driven by anxiety, not S.E. – fear of failure, fear of being found out as a fraud, fear of poverty, fear of being powerless, fear of being controlled….

8. …. having lots of relationships, but superficially, with people who are:
• needy & insecure or narcissistic, are users, have the same social interests, like being paid attention to or rescued, want to be around fame & power…
• having ‘friends’ by itself does not automatically imply S.E. It depends on the quality, depth & mental health of the relationships

9. …. doing whatever we want – needing instant grat, having transient relationships, running away, ignoring others
• this is immaturity, being run by their WIC, fear, weak boundaries, narcissism, irresponsibilityattitude 2

10. …. being ‘cool’ – repressing emotions, being in control, not needing others, being mysterious, above it all
• it is actually being cut off from most or all their emotions, numb, hard, angry. It’s also from fear of failure, of abandonment, of being trapped & suffocated emotionally, & keeps them disconnected from others

Part 2: What Self-Esteem IS


Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 6.37.49 PMOH, NO! DON’T BE UPSET!
I can’t stand it when you’re
in any kind of pain

PREVIOUS: Abandon Others (#1b)

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


5. REPRESSING Others’ Emotions (Es)
ACoAs are often guilty of mistreating others, in the same ways they were by family & other authority figures. To the degree we are still repressing our own Es, we try to suppress the Es of others. Many of us can’t tolerate anyone being in emotional pain or going thru a hard time, especially if we care about them. (ACoA website Site Map, pg. 24-26)

a. Assuming – sure we know how someone is feeling, emotionally – without asking, OR not believing what they tell us they’re experiencing. & then insist we know better (what nerve!)
EXP: At a wedding celebration, Sam saw cousin Annie sitting alone, arms crossed, withdrawn, & assumed she was angry. Not bothering to check what she was really feeling, he started lecturing her about her unsociability, how inappropriate her attitude was, & that she was 
bringing everyone down … when actually she was deeply sad, feeling lonely & missing her ex!

When I cried intensely at my father’s funeral service, a relative accusingly told me I was ‘fragile’ – as if weeping made me weak & therefore unacceptable (I know they were punished for crying, as a child).  Actually, I always feel clearer & stronger after letting out some pain – it’s a strength, not a weakness!screen-shot-2016-06-11-at-6-46-58-pm

A variation: 
Deciding we ‘absolutely know’ someone’s angry at us, or jealous of us,  or upset with us in some other way – of course, without checking – and then obsess about it, gossip to others, worry, prepare a defense or rebuttal, avoiding them OR confront / attack them…
BUT, actually

• our assumption may only be a projection of our own S-H & FoA
• OR, we did pick up some emotional vibe from them (ACoAs always have their antennae up for trouble or rejection) but what the other person was really feeling was not what we thought!

: As a therapist, during a sessions, if I strongly express an opinion about certain topics (like abuse coming from the Introject or self-hate NOT being OK ), or if I’m not smiling or being light-hearted – it is often misunderstood by a client as me being angry – at them. NOT! I’m just indicating how serious something is.

Another variation:

• not being able to tolerate anyone who is happy & doing well, so we’ll –
EITHER: create dysfunctional situations for others, to keep the chaos & misery going that we’re condition to feel as ‘normal’
OR: be consistently enraged & abusive or withholding & silent, whenever they express enjoyment, happiness, excitement, peacefulness…to make them feel bad (again) – to be like us

b. Arguing – acting out a pattern of anger & fights with someone 
close (mate, child,  friend, loved parent…) when it’s time to separate,
 even for a few days.
arguing, fighting • First – fighting, saying cruel or stupid things
• then later doubling the abandonment by denying being upset, or underplaying it all — thereby negating the pain we caused & the other person’s real experience.

This is done to keep us from feeling our own abandonment pain, which would make us feel vulnerable.  Being angry –
• gives us a sense of power & makes the ‘bad feelings’ an easier way 
to leave BUT
• it’s dishonest & disrespectful to ourselves & the other person
REMINDER – even tho’ we can’t technically abandon another adult, the term is always used here to express ‘not being there’ for others emotionally

c. Negating – directly discounting someone’s E. experience:
— “You don’t really feel that way”// “Don’t feel like that” negating
— “Don’t say that” // “That’s no way talk”
— “That’s not a nice thing to say”….
EXP: When telling a religious friend at a conference about the ongoing pain from her childhood trauma, Jen was told: “You shouldn’t feel that way!”.
Fortunately Jen had been in Al-Anon long enough to respond: “Well,  I don’t ‘should’ on myself!”, then smiled & walked away.

NEXT: ACoAs Abandoning others (#2b)