ACoAs: PATIENCE vs Co-dependent Waiting (Part 3)

Co-dep vs Patience #2

POST:  S & I: Healthy….(Part 3) Process, point #3.


Real patience :
is based on selfTRUST, an aspect of the True Self , rather than trusting others – too little or too much. This trust is the result of taking care of our needs & knowing what our destiny/ bliss/ passion’ is. It’s being willing to keep working toward them no matter how long it takes or how hard the path is to get there, believing we can last out the tough times.  This minimizes or eliminates envy & jealousy – because we have the right & power to provide for ourselves, so that needing to be Patient is not so frustrating

• requires a decent handle on boundaries, having learned what’s ‘my stuff’ vs. what’s yours – which can only come from knowing oneself well (inventories, Meetings, therapy, dreams, healthy adult mirroring….). Then patience is waiting to see what others can or are willing to do for themselves

• is working toward appropriate (do-able) goals, step by step, knowing it takes time to accomplish something worthwhile, knowing that some things take longer than others. (College was 4 yrs, meeting husband-to-be took going to singles dances for 7 yrs, Recovery – ongoing for the last 40 yrs!)

Real patience :
• comes from using our intuition, intelligence & experience to know when to “hold ’em & when to fold ’em” – letting things develop naturally
— Sometimes we just need to wait for a better (human) time, for a more appropriate location or person, for more emotional healing, for H.P.’s timing
— Sometimes we need to admit when something we want is not healthy, & let go of the original desire/demand, OR know when something is simply not possible – the way we want it – & then look for alternatives or change the goal

• is having realistic expectations – knowing how things actually work in the real world. This includes accepting that most setbacks are temporary.
EXPs: starting an online biz can take 3-5 years to become profitable
— calling a company for help or info usually takes 3-5 calls – long waits, no help, calling back, going thru several people – before getting THE answer or appointment
— having to wait for a physical injury to heal completely
— waiting in a line of any kind, a time to multi-task (context-switching, #3)……

• knowing what triggers our impatience – old childhood buttons from things that were done to us over & over – & still bother us, a lot!  Patience is a virtue because it requires self-control, so we don’t ruin things for others by anxiety & selfishness

It means accepting that we:
• can’t force an issue or project to go faster than possible – called process.   Planning, evaluation & measurement all take time
• don’t expect mates, children friends…. to be in the same place we are at the moment. Instead, we can continue our own life based on the principles of the Program (like Step 12, attraction not promotion) – allowing others their own timing
• not demand to be heard or understood in all situations & by everybody (stores, banks, service people…. loved ones…..)

🍀 Reduces stress, minimizing anger & overwhelm
🍀 Develops understanding & compassion for others because we know what it takes to deal with life’s ups & downs
🍀 We make better decisions, avoiding as many mistakes, by taking the time to assess each situation, see the big picture, weigh the pros & cons, then choose the best option at the time

With patient & diligent effort, using everything in our Recovery tool box, we can apply the Serenity Prayer correctly & wrap ourselves in love-energy as we wait for good things to come.

NEXT: MBTI – Introvert vs Extrovert BRAINS

Co-Dependence Negatives – Intro-a

angry-nicenessI DON’T KNOW WHY
they’re being so mean to me!


SITE: “Too agreeable’?

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


The HIGH COST of ‘too nice’
Co-dependence is a survival strategy developed in childhood in an alcoholic or otherwise narcissistic family & community. They prevented us from developing a clear sense of our identity, so we didn’t learn how to be our own knowledgeable & loving caretaker. We may not realize we’ve taken on this ‘persona’, but a deep part of our psyche wants to please others to avoid negative reactions we’re afraid we won’t be able to bear.

Now, as physical adults – but reacting emotionally as a child – we use co-dep tactics as sneaky ways of expecting other people to fill the hole in our heart left by our unhealthy parents. Unaware of being angry & scared, & not believing inot with-itn ourselves – we constantly look to others to tell us who we are, what we should wear, read, think, feel, study, do for a living…. even to giving us permission to exist! – because any differences threatens our WIC. We end up ‘wearing’ people’s personalities – at least when we’re with them.

This makes us vulnerable to the moods of others, as if their state if mind is a reflection on us – so if they treat us well we’re OK, but if they’re cranky, critical or just gone – we blame ourselves and feel bereft!  With weak or missing boundaries we’re everybody’s puppet, jerking an uncertain way thru life

Q: What if the one basic requirement for boundaries?

ANS: Our NEEDS! Knowing what they are, having permission to own them & then implementing as many as possible. You can’t draw a line in the sand unless you know where that line is supposed to be – which is based on your True Self.

As co-dependents we are people-pleaser (P-P) – who will do anything at all, no matter how humiliating & self-destructive – to keep others attached to us. Many ‘experts’ warn that being too nice will lead to a loss of self-worth – implying we had it at sometime in the past. This may be true in some cases, but not for most ACoAs. People-pleasing is rooted in & springs out of a lack of healthy core & genuine self-esteem – to start with.

As a result of this lack, co-dep P-Ps are most easily attracted to friends & mates who are controlling, who always seem to know what’s best, & happy to tell everyone. And they want to be with us because we let them be in charge all the time. If we had at least one such parent or other important caretaker – we make the unconscious connection between love & being controlled. We think that way we’re safe & don’t have to make the effort to figure out what we want.

However, no matter how battered, each of us does have an inner voice of our own that wants to be heard. So eventually, in a long-term relationship with any controller – we can get more & more anxious, resenting the other person for always getting their way. But afraid of rejection, we may start withdrawing or become passive-aggressive, instead of leaving or being more assertive. (MORE….)

Being “too nice” can backfire

a.  Others often see it as a sign of weakness & some will use it as an opportunity to take advantage of you. (More in future post)
EXP: Researchers at Notre Dame University found that men who were considered “agreeable” (easy-going, cooperative) made 18% less money overall than less agreeable ones, & ‘nice’ women made 5% less than those who were less so.  (Study)

b. If you’re ‘too nice’, wanting social harmony at any cost,
you avoid conflict as much as possible, but end up harming yourself. Hiding from your own anger, & desperately afraid of making others angry at you, you’re much less willing to stand up for yourself, or say things like: “No, I don’t want that / No, I won’t do it / No that’s not what I meant….”

This avoidance actually creates more disruption, since problems never get aired or resolved, & in some cases cause others great harm as well!
EXP: Another study discovered that ‘nice’ people were more obedient toward authority & their rules – whether good or bad. When the researchers repeated the famous Milgram Experiment, participants who scored higher on traits like “agreeableness” & “conscientious” ended up giving higher shocks of pain.

NEXT: C0-dep Negatives – Intro -b

ACoAs being Scapegoated – GOWTH (Part 1)


this toxic victim role!

PREVIOUS: Scapegoating #6


Emotional damage: Scapegoats (SCs) are forced undeservedly to carry the family’s burden of disowned defects. They drown in the pain of those closest to them, & later in the collective pain of the society – with no one to comfort or understand them

In the process SCs are robbed of experiencing their own pain, denied the opportunity to learn how to contain, endure & grieve the suffering they’ve had to ignore & bury. (What is Scapegoat child abuse?)

No matter what our toxic family role was as kids, many of us tried to bring attention to the family’s dirty laundry,
so it would get corrected, but in most cases that never happened. (This is true even if parents or siblings eventually get into 12-step Programs, but still have not done their own FoO work).
We assumed that if we could make the adults own their emotional baggage, our torment would stop & life would be great.
And so we pushed & pushed – but it only got us more abuse.

• ACoAs desperately want justice / fairness! Failing at this childhood goal, some continue trying to ‘fight injustice’ as adults, especially those of us who were scapegoated. We may become ‘expose´journalist, prosecuting attorneys, ‘church ladies’, public service advocates or whistle blowers….

However, most of us live more conventional lives, with little social or political clout. Even so, we compulsively insist that dishonest & hypocritical friends, relative, mates, bosses (& elderly parents)…. admit their flaws. It didn’t work at home, & rarely works in the adult world either. It still brings negative feedback & so another layer of abuse

Ask: “Am I willing to do whatever it takes to give up my Scapegoat role?” That’s not always an easy Yes, but do-able. Remember, if you continue to be :
😠 belligerent,  demanding, controlling
😔compliant, over-agreeable, too silent, submissive or unclear
👎🏽 it’s easier for others to end up avoiding, making fun of, manipulate or attacking you
That’s even true coming from people who are not usually scapegoaters!  It’s a normal human reacpull out toxic roletion toward someone acting out their WIC’s damage.
BUT – as you heal the inside, you’ll get better reactions from others! Who knew??

• Once you acknowledge this toxic role that was forced on you, & truly believe it was not your fault (Al-Anon‘s 3 As), you can observe how you perpetuate the syndrome, & slowly change the pattern

❇We can bear to re-feel our old pain IF & when we’re comforted, understood & treated with respect by one or more safe & caring people. Then apply that treatment to ourselves.

a. BOUNDARIES: • Don’t expect others to respect your boundaries. You have to set the standard that’s right for you. “This ____ works for me, this ____ doesn’t, I want to do this, I don’t want to do that…..”

• Practice saying NO – at first in your head – a lot! Then try it out on small things you don’t like or don’t want to do – with people or situations that don’t feel TOO ‘dangerous’ if it doesn’t work out the way you hoped.

• Don’t over-give. Offer a little, & then see what & how much the other person can reciprocate. If the can only give 10%, you give only 10-15%, etc. It’s up to you to not get taken advantage of

b. PRESENTATION: ✦ Walk into every room with head held straight, look at people directly, don’t slouch, walk ‘confidently’ – as if you believe you have a right to be here – even if you don’t feekind peoplel like it.
✦ Dress appropriately for the situation you’re in
✦ Look around & notice what’s going on, notice who’s NOT safe (using your inner radar) ….

c. RELATIONSHIPS: Whenever possible, stay away from the people who originally set you up, or who still treat you as the black sheep in any situation.
Look for people who are already kind, or at least respectful.
If you aren’t getting any of your needs met or are treated shabbily, you can walk away.
We MUST keep the focus on ourselves – owning & correcting our own character defects, AND appreciate & cherish our talents & skills.

NEXT: Scapegoated GROWTH #2

EnneaTypes – Language STYLES (INFO + Type 1)

is consistent with my Type

: EnneaLanguage – INTRO #4

:  Tapes of famous people’s talk style

BOOK: “Full Face to God: Introduction to the Enneagram”, David Mahon

TALK STYLES (outline) The Enneagram opens the doors of communication in many ways, which always begins with us. The better we knows ourselves, the easier it is to communicate effectively with others.

INTERNALLY-referenced people provide their own motivation. They decide on the quality of their own work & have trouble accepting other people’s opinions or outside direction. They gather info from others, questioning their input, then choose what to do with it.
Language Pattern: They know or decide for themselves, evaluating their own performance. They resisting instruction from others, which is only seen as information.

EXTERNALLY-references people need others’ opinions & outside direction, motivated by what others want or decide. If they don’t get feedback, they wonder how they’re doing. They have trouble starting or continuing activities without some mirroring.
Language Pattern: Need to compare their work to a norm or standard. Other people or external sources of info are their guide & judge, taken as a decision or an order.

Each type has :
√ a unique approach to speaking & writing, based on inborn talent, which can easily be seen
conversation stoppers that block healthy communication, used unconsciously when anxious, & based in our defensive pattern
However, sometimes we do need a version of conversation stoppers to help set reasonable limits, & protect from boundary invasions

√ language blockers can be used to manipulate & cause conflict, whether deliberately or not. When used to push away or attack others, at best they lead to poor quality conversations, at worst they’re poisonous.

Counters to each Type’s blocking style comes from their natural ARTcreating FLOW in communication, & need STOPPERS for protection. (Listed with each Type⬇️)
✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥

Self-talk: ‘That’s not right, I am good, I know best, I want perfection’
Their WORDS : bad/good, excellent, must, ought to, should
are about : judging, perfection, policies, responsibility, right/wrong, what’s correct
Public Speaking Manner: Preachy

Style: 1s often have a tense voice, as if there’s some upset or anger underneath they’re suppressing.  THEY are:
• Concise, direct, detailed, exacting, precise
• Defensive if criticized
• Quickly responsive to ideas, especially if they strongly agree or disagree
• More likely to share about tasks rather than emotions

Pitfalls: 1s can pontificate – because they ‘know’ what’s right! When they get caught up in minutia – they lose their listeners, OR end up never giving a speech at all because it isn’t right – yet.
Can be so rigid they never change their message, for fear it will be wrong.

USE language to
: admonish, correct, find fault, remind others of obligations
Others can experience 1s as closed-minded & unfeeling

CONFLICT Style: condescend, find fault, moralize, nitpick.
A poker face & unemotional, or explosive if pushed too far
MANIPULATE / cause Conflict by: constantly correcting others, pointing out what’s wrong in the environment, insisting that others share their standards & values
BLOCK others by: being critical, disapproving, judgmental

For BOUNDARIES: 1s need realistic & healthy ‘judgment‘, to determine what is & isn’t helpful or safe, right for self & others
To FLOW in conversation, they need GRACE: using Tact & Respect to heal – be compassionate, forgiving self & others

To RESOLVE conflicts with 1s:
• Don’t tell them they‘re wrong
• Find a way to validate their opinion, but hold your ground
• Avoid the words ‘wrong, incorrect, bad’…. to prevent escalation
• Gently help them see how they’re being angry or hurtful, as 1s have a fear of their own anger.

NEXT: TALK types (Types 2, 3)


World-on-ShouldersOWNING MY T.E.A.s : even if my buttons get pushed, I’m responsible for my reactions

: Being responsible #3

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.



As a guide to personal growth, the 12 Steps of AA are all about taking personal responsibility. They include:
🔆 Step 4: Made a searching & fearless moral inventory of ourselves
🔆 Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves & to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
🔆 Step 9: Made direct amends to such people (we had harmed) whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
🔆 Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory, & when we were wrong, promptly admitted it

NOTE: However, it’s very common for addicts & co-dependents to not understand or to misuse the 12 Steps, especially in early Recovery.

☑️ Comment on Step 4 (re. ourself)
ACoAs find it very difficult, sometimes even for years into Recovery, to sit quietly & write this out. WE:
• don’t know what character defect are nor which ones we’re actually guilty of , since they’re so much a part of the fabric of our life. “Does a fish know it’s wet?”
• have so much S-H & shame that it’s too painful to admit anything, even though we think we’re guilty even when we’re not
❣️ Sadly – we don’t realize that inventories are supposed to include all our personal gifts, skills, talents….

☑️ Comments on Step 5 (re. hiding from everyone)
• Because of the WIC’s shame, it’s painful to share our defects with others. We’re so used to being chastised or made fun of, that doing this Step feels emotionally dangerous
• So many of us have a distorted view of ‘God as we understand Him/Her’, because as John rejct helpBradshaw reminds us:
“Before the age of 7 we deify our parents. After that we parentalize our deity.”

⛔ So if we make our Higher Power in the image of our abusive, neglectful parents, we can not avail ourselves of spiritual Source as a safe haven of help & comfort

• If we look up at the sky & only see our dangerous, neglectful mother’s or father’s face, it obscures the Loving Being who is waiting to connect with us & heal our fear & sorrow

Our WIC needs to be given a corrected view of HP. This comes first by developing the Loving Parent toward ourself that we never had – our responsibility to learn with appropriate guidance – & then we can have a more accurate vision of who the HP really is

☑️ Comment on Step 9 (re. TMI: Over-disclosing)
Making amends is a very important part of relieving guilt & shame – when done in the right way, in the right environment – “You’re only as sick as your secrets”.
However, ACoAs with weak boundaries & driven by the WIC’s anxiety, will either not ‘admit’ anything, or admit willy-nilly.

😳 A vital & much neglected part is at the end of this Step : ‘’…except when to do so…”  Sometimes telling an aggrieved person what we’ve done or said is not a responsible action, & will only do everyone harm.

: A wounded ACoA loves his wife & kids, & doesn’t want to lose them, but is nevertheless unfaithful (incest-survivor).  He’s filled with guilt, & tries to stop, but doesn’t. He wants to tell his wife, but knows if he does, she’ll leave.
a. Unhealthy reasons to tell her would be:
• temporarily relieve anxiety about ‘being bad’, so he doesn’t have to deal with his emotional painscreen-shot-2015-08-14-at-7-58-16-am
• have a fantasy hope that she’ll forgive & let him stay (so he can then ‘get away with it’ AND be absolved)

• the need to be punished, no matter the consequences to everyone (he doesn’t really deserve to be part of a loving family)
• a wish for his wife to be his watch-dog (use her as the controlling mother) – because he doesn’t really want to stop acting out, but may do so to be the ‘good boy’, or maybe keep acting out as a form of rebellion

b. Healthy (obvious): Stop all forms of cheating & work on his damage

NEXT: Fear of responsibility (Part 3b)

Anger MYTHS – False (Part 2)

anger creature -2

to deal with anger as it comes up

PREVIOUS: Anger Myths –
FALSE (#1)

SITE: “Why we shout in anger” – a Hindu teaching


⚡️is an uncontrollable natural force, so can’t be reined in
False: Many people believe that once they’re angry they can’t influence it (“I can’t control my anger – it’s just who I am”) & therefore have to let it ‘run its course’. Not so.
While we don’t always have control of an external situation, no one can make us FEEL or BEHAVE in a certain way. Anyone can learn to be in charge of their reaction – via the Healthy Adult. It’s a skill set, like shooting a basketball or learning a new language. Practice, practice, practice!

⚡️is something that happens to us
False: Anger, as well as all other emotions, are our biochemical responses to events, & then may or may not be expressed as actions. Sometimes it feels like a physical impulse that’s out of our control – because it’s erupting from the unconscious, like a lightning strike. However, it is in fact energy that comes from us, rather than happening to us – triggered by our thoughts – inside (about ourselves) or from outside re. PPT (about others)

⚡️is only a problem when expressed (at all)
False: Only about 10% of people act out their anger inappropriately, & they are the visible ones – the squeaky wheels who get everyone’s attention.
Almost everyone else either suppresses it (“I don’t want to talk about it!”) or represses it altogether (“I’m not angry – really!”). Both groups need anger management classes just as much as the ‘ragers’.

⚡️always leads to aggression / some form of violence
False: It may seem to be true if we were raised with one or more rage-aholics, & if we then also have chosen to stay with ragers as adults.
BUT healthy people have learned productive ways of processing & channeling their anger, so it never leads to being self-destructive or abusive to others.

Of course, chemicals (alcohol/ drugs/ some medicines, even food allergies…) can generate anger & set off a compulsion to be nasty, either because the cognitive brain isn’t in charge OR if we haven’t learned to recognize the symptoms of rage or how to handle them

⚡️increases as we get older
False: It’s the other way around – as people age, they report fewer difficult/ painful / intense emotions, & greater emotional control. People – like wine & cheese – do tend to improve with age. Research shows that the angriest people are 14 yrs old boys!
EXCEPTION : We’ve all seen or heard of crabby / nasty old men & women, but they’ve always been that way!

⚡️ is not a ‘problem‘ IF we don’t sound / look angry
False: Anyone who does not understand & appreciate the potential value of anger will have a problem with it. There are ways to tell if someone has hidden anger/rage, even when they don’t admit to it – by holding themseld stiffly, always being fearful, being overly nice, being paranoid, jealous, deny angercontrolling….
(see posts: “Passive-aggressive anger” // Secretly angry ‘nice people’)

⚡️is best dealt with by stuffing it 

False: Some of us think that learning to control our anger means having to always hold it in. WRONG. Instead, we need to be able to recognize when we’re angry, & learn how best to express it. Healthy adults don’t stock-pile emotions the way we had to as kids.  (Post: “Low-level anger“)

⚡️ is only a ‘problem’ for certain types
All types of people experience anger – truck drivers, college professors, physicians, housewives, grandmothers, lawyers, geniuses, siblings, policemen, career criminals, poor people, millionaires, children, the elderly, clergy, people of any color / nationality / religion….. Anger is a universal emotion!

⚡️ is all about getting even
False: Getting-even-anger can be about revenge/payback, about wanting fairness, or childish tit-for-tat. But there are many other reasons for our anger, such as letting off steam over accumulated frustrations, asserting authority or independence, to protect against feeling vulnerable or used to cover up fear we may not even admit to. However, the main one is to protect ourselves from abuse. (Post: “Retaliatory anger“)

NEXT: Anger MYTHS T & F (Part 1)

Dealing with Toxic People


This is the outline of an article by

Co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, & President at TalentSmart


▶︎ READ explanations for each point

12 Ways SUCCESSFUL People Handle TOXIC People

1. They set limits (especially with complainers)

2. They don’t die in the fight

3. They rise above

4. They stay aware of their emotions

5. They establish boundaries

6. They Won’t Let Anyone Limit Their Joy

7. They Don’t Focus on Problems—Only Solutions

8. They don’t forget

9. They Squash Negative Self-Talk

10. They Limit Their Caffeine Intake

11. They Get Some Sleep

12. They Use Their Support System


Related articles:
14 Habits of Exceptionally Likable People
How Successful People Stay Calm      
9 Things Successful People Won’t Do



SYMBIOSIS & ACoAs (Part 1)

mother/infantAM I ME, AM I YOU & ARE YOU ME?
I hate myself, but I also want you to be exactly like me!

PREVIOUS: Autonomy & Attachment (#3b)

REVIEW: Ego States – CHILD


• As infants, all humans are born with a built-in biological & psychological set of tendencies, which interact with & responds to their specific environment in their own unique way – but without a formed personality

The child’s first connection is to the mother (usually), not aware of a difference between itself & its caretaker. This one-ness is normal & appropriate. It allows the child to feel safe & protected while gradually becoming acquainted with itself & the big world it has come in to

• Regardless of the type of family, nature & nurture (how we’re treated) combine to form what we think of as our SELF.  If born into a reasonably healthy one, the child is allowed & encouraged to develop the pre-set template they came into the world with

This creates a sense of external & then internal safety. Having permission to be oneself gradually makes it possible to function in the world as an individual who is comfortable in their skin & with other people

mother rejectingIN CHILDHOOD
a. BROKEN Symbiosis – BUT, if the mother is not available or unable to connect with the infant to nurture it from a deep place of love, the symbiotic bond is never formed or is too soon broken, before the child can tolerate it

This can be:
— because of’ illness or death, spousal abuse, external trauma such as an accident, natural disasters, war…..
OR most commonly
— personality defects like narcissism, anxiety, depression, rage at having to be a caretaker, not wanting to be tied down…..

This creates intense & long-lasting terror in the baby, with the message that there’s something fundamentally wrong with it. Such children spend the rest of their life trying to forge that missing link with someone – anyone – to stop that terrible, relentless anxiety, SO-
• they end up alone, never forming any intimate bond – OR
• find another wounded soul they can attach to & live together in isolation  – OR
• keep being attracted to emotionally unavailable people, reproducing the very abandonment they so fear (trying to symbiose with the ‘distant’ mother)

b. UNBROKEN Symbiosis : at the other extreme – the mother who didn’t get that bond in her own infancy, will try to get it now from her heli-momchild – creating a captive who can never leave them!
This mother will make every effort to negate the child’s individuality in favor of her own needs & wants, to make that little person her clone, & will punish any disagreement or separation.

If there’s no one else available or strong enough to interfere with this suffocating attachment (father, sibling or other…) the child never has the freedom to develop it’s own identity, but stays dependent on the mother (& family or substitutes) for it’s very existence throughout life.

This child grows up TO (some or all):
• never leave home     • not have any rights
• be depressed, isolated, suicidal
octopus mom• have weak boundaries
• be unable to have healthy, autonomous relationships
• be terrified of abandonment in any form
• be unable to support themself
• not trust their own judgment
• not have their own opinions about things
• have symbiotic relationships with domineering people….
If the child does get away, then as an A-CoA, they’ll be terrified of any close involvement with others. The fear of being engulfed again is so unbearable that it’s expressed as fear of commitment.
Even when they are in some form of relationship, it will be with extreme emotional detachment, a need for total control, endless sexual conquests, come here – go away interactions, irresponsibility…. or just walking away & never looking back!

➼ Both the strayers & the leavers are ripe for addictions, to fill that big emotional hole inside – but it never works
INFO: Symbiosis can be understood through the ego state model. In a symbiotic relationship, both people use only some of their ego states to relate to each other, which they combine, functioning as if they only had one identity between them. They get stuck in rigid roles, resulting in less flexibility.

NEXT: Symbiosis (#2)

MY RIGHTS – Questionnaire (1-24)


Who me?  Really?

PREVIOUS: Healthy RULES – #3

SITE: (UN) What are Human Rights?



•  No matter how long ACoAs are in Recovery, it’s always good to be reminded what we have a right to be and have, as human beings – since we were originally brainwashed by family to not even know what our needs are, much less have a right to fulfill them.

We must provide for our needs as much as possible, both from ourselves and with the help of appropriate others, as a prerequisite to:
• having boundaries                            • being empowered
• eliminating deprivation                  • not being manipulated
• preventing abuse                              • feeling good about ourselves
• minimizing anger & resentment   • enjoying our life

• Fill out these 2 questionnaires, the best you can (Part 2 next post).
If you get stuck, ask someone who knows you well, AND who is respectful, which ones they think you express in your daily life. See what you think – but it’s OK to disagree or not be sure
• Go through the statement again once a year (maybe on your B/day or at the New Year), to clock your Recovery progress

• Take the “nos” as goal to work toward, but NOT as things to beat yourself up about! Remember “We are damaged not defective.”
• Pick a different one each week or month to focus on.

Start with the “SOME” column, since that may be easier.  At the end of each week / month, evaluate if & how you applied it, or at least increased your awareness about the Right
• Eventually many of these rights will become second nature & you will feel safer & stronger.

Family ROLES – Normal

fit in 

& still be me?


See Inner Child MOVIE :
“If you believe



• Most organizations still function is a hierarchical system, with clearly identified Roles** for their members, as in governments, corporations, sports, law enforcement, social groups, most religious congregations, schools (esp. if students are under-age) ….. and of course, families.
Yes, it is possible to have consensus or democratic rule in some of these, BUT ONLY when made up entirely of rational adults.

** Roles are ‘social expectations & norms held regarding an individual’s position & behavior within a group’ (Simon, Stierlin & Wynne, 1985)

• To function properly, family systems need to organize themselves to carry out daily challenges & responsibilities, as well as adjust to the developmental needs of its members.  But to understand the dynamics of any family unit, it takes more than just listing who the individuals are – we need to know how they come together & interact.
The family system exists in paradox: it has to be stable to provide continuity over time, while being able to adapt to fluctuations. It’s a balancing act : too much change – the system breaks down, too much stability – it atrophies & dies

• All families organize themselves into hierarchies & then into subsystems, which may be grouped by generation, age, gender…., to accomplish their tasks & goals. These smaller groupings can be grandparents, aunts & uncles, parents & children, males & females, the older & younger, the skilled & unskilled, the sick & well…… Naturally, individuals & the subsystems are influenced by & dependent on one another, so what happens to one affects the othergood fences

• Hierarchies need Boundaries, TO:
— have a line between subsystems
— control the flow of info into, out from & about the family
influence the flow of people allowed in & out of the system

• According to Family Systems Theory, all families strive for a sense of homeostasis (balance), in an effort to find equilibrium between life’s challenges & the family’s resources to handle them.
New patterns of interacting with each other will have to show up to keep inevitable changes from getting out of hand.
When this doesn’t work, additional family rules or dynamics have to be added or adjusted to restore balance. This happens in both healthy & unhealthy systems, but the solutions will be very different!

• This balancing act has EITHER:
🕴morphostasisa system’s ability to hold its shape & structural stability – by trying to conform ‘perfectly’ to a situation, keep strictly to its rituals, allowing only those changes that do not threaten the existence of the family…. in the face of all types of stressors
🕴morphogenesis (creation of life) – a systems’ ability to change its form, grow systemically over time & adapt to the changing needs of the family
• To keep the group going & make things harmonious, each family member needs to have an age-appropriate role, which should be stable but not rigid. Ideally, members have specific jobs, governed by rules & strategies

✶ PARENTS are expectparents provideed to fill a wide range of needs for themselves such as financial stability, relaxation & hobbies, mental stimulation, community participation, having a satisfying sexual relationship….
ALSO  provide children with :
the Basics – Daily maintenance, provision of food, clothing, shelter & health care
Emotional needs
• Nurturing, warmth, a sense of home, a genuine feeling of safety & security
• Inclusion, fulfilling the need for love & belonging
• Esteem, giving self-worth, personal value, support, encouragement

Mental & Social needs
• Age-appropriate discipline, setting boundaries, correcting & guiding
• Information, how things are done, help with homework, how to be social, handling finances
• Privacy, respect for each member’s autonomy & separateness
• Recreation, opportunities to have fun together
• Understanding, having the right to make mistakes & learn from them
Spiritual needs
• encouraged to have meaning & purpose in life, suited to the child
• gain a sense of the larger community & their place in it
child obey• allowing development of a relationship with a Higher Power

✶ CHILDREN are expected to learn from, cooperate with & respect their parents (must be age-appropriate) BY:
— attending school keeping up with homework
— expressing their intellectual & artistic gifts
— helping with tasks around the house
— trying out new & interesting skills, games & social settings

• People play many social roles – such as parent, sibling, worker, student, lover…. each with it’s own set of requirements & functions.
This is normal & healthy as long as they have a positive core identity to underpin their role, & are free to express many different aspects of themselves.

NEXT: Toxic ROLES – #1