Al-Anon STEP 10 – Comments (Part 3)

 

 

PREVIOUS: 10th Step #2

SITEs:  8 books for ACoA 

▪︎ Apology GUIDE

AA / Al-Anon Step 10 : “Continued to take personal inventory & when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

1. Daily Inventory

2. AND WHEN WE’RE WRONG  (cont.)

c. Something that did not hurt or upset another, but which we’re convinced did. Again, this is our narcissism – projecting how we’d feel if….. In fact, what we’re obsessing about may not have even registered, or if it did – it didn’t bother them.

So, before apologizingASK  “When I said/did ——, how did you feel?” (done right away, or at the next opportunity).
✔︎ If the other person was not upset, believe them & drop it!
THEN if you insist on explaining, justifying…. it’s not at all about making an amend to —-> the other person.
Instead – it’s all about you, trying to get them to make you feel better

✘ If it did bother them, then we can apologize, but not in a self-serving way by trying to justify our behavior!
However, sometimes BRIEFLY providing a legitimate context is helpful to the other person “I’m so sorry for ———, yesterday my mom was rushed to the hospital // I’d just had a chemo treatment…. // Sometime my brain-injury makes it hard to remember —– ” (Try not to use the word ‘but’ before the explanation!)

d. Human mistakes (not a tragedy). These can come from being tired, under great stress, over-doing or from ignorance. We need to have our own internal permission to be ‘normal’ (imperfect), to forgive ourselves & then make any necessary corrections.
Most other people are not as upset about our errors as we are

e. Things we said or did which actually hurt / harmed someone.
Sadly, the WIC still gets things backwards, as with the backwards Serenity Prayer.
We blame ourselves for things that are not wrongs, while having great difficulty owning long-term defense mechanisms : superiority, lying, lateness, insensitivity, laziness, procrastination, S-H ….).
Not noticing our unhealthy behavior is a lack of self-awareness – patterns we think “well, that’s just me” but are actually the False Self, & a deep-seated shame about our True-Self needs.

*    *    *    *    *    *
3. PROMPTLY ADMIT IT
a. The Program phrase “Let it begin with me” certainly applies here.
If we accurately identify a ‘failing’, we can promptly admit it TO OURSELVES – without shame or S-H.  Hard for many ACoAs to do!

In Recovery we learn that character defects come from the wounded child &/or PP, so even with years of hard work they don’t go away fast or easily. We need to be KIND to ourselves, & patient with our process!
For in-depth info, read posts Outgrowing Co-dep Niceness #6a-7c”, re. Forgiving ourselves.

b. Re. OTHERS – 9th Step procedure applies here too – read post “Outgrowing Co-dep Niceness #8a = Being forgiven by others”.

A sponsor may suggest that “promptly” means to act within 48 hours – not a week or a year.  But for many ACoAs it can take hours or days before we realize we need to make an amend, or to take the time to overcome shame, or calm down from anger, & get some perspective.

As mentioned before, in some cases the person may not accept the amends or want to talk to us at all. Sometimes it’s not safe or even possible to reach them. An abusive boss, a mentally ill family member, a manipulative narcissist, the passive-aggressive….. can easily use a sincere ‘amend’ against us, if not right away, then some later time when it suits them.
We do need to use discretion & be self-protective.

Not wanting to apologize may seem like PRIDE on the surface, but actually it’s:
a. being ASHAMED of not being perfect
b. it’s something that was shamed / punished in our family growing up
To be able to apologize ‘easily’ we can not be choked with SHAME!

💠   💠    💠    💠
Read: ACoA 12 Steps

ACoA 10th Step: “We continued to take personal inventory & to love and approve of ourselves.”
• This is not arrogance or narcissism, but rather, self-care.
• It’s not about being at the extremes of either having to be “right” <—–> or of self-flagellation.
• AND keeping our side of the street clean does NOT mean staying with people who don’t want to be with us, who are subtly abusive or simply incompatible!

By accepting ourselves completely, we can slowly outgrow much of our damage, & uncover our True Self. This minimizes the amount & frequency of acting on character defects. It keeps us from isolating ourselves & judging everyone else.
“Admitting & Accepting” is the mental health of acknowledging our human-ness & the need to be part of the human race.

NEXT: MBTI Introverts

Al-Anon STEP 10 – Comments (Part 1)

PREVIOUS : Use “THINK” instead of “feel” #2

SITE: Al-Anon Step 10 

• MORNING MEDITATION READING = Today I will…..


AA/AL-Anon 10th Step: “Continued to take personal inventory & when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”

This Step separates into 3 distinct issues: inventory, wrongs, admitting

1. DOING a REGULAR (daily?) INVENTORY

a. STEP 10 is a general evaluation of our activities for some brief period. The actual purpose is to help us stay present for what’s going on inside of us on a continuing basis.

It’s an antidote to our compulsion to escape the WIC’s old pain that hasn’t been cleaned out yet –  by retreating into the ‘lala land’s of FB, TV, reading, over-doing…. & various addictions. It’s a way to not slide back into denial, back into just DOing instead of BEing, back into our ACoA’s built-in forgetter state. 

b. WHEN? While it’s not stated, the assumption is that we take this step every day. In the Al-Anon book: “Paths to Recovery: Al-Anon’s Steps, Traditions and Concepts” a member writes that at first they did it once a day, then added a lunch time evaluation at work, so that anything that needed to be corrected could be done right away & then the afternoon would go more smoothly.

But each of us must find our own rhythm. The more regularly we get in the habit of checking in with ourselves, the more we can connect with our True Self, & burn off bits & pieces of our damage.

c. Continuing a personal inventory does not exclusively mean listing all the flaws, mistakes, omissions… we’ve committed that day.
Yet in the literature & in meetings the focus is mainly on character defects we identified in Step 4. Re. Step 10, one internet site says “Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them…..”

d. Simply doing it this way is lopsided. To be accurate it would be useful to make 2 – very brief – lists of both plusses & any negatives we observes in ourselves. If we’re doing this during the day, they can both be brief.

If it’s at the end of the day, we would benefit from sticking to only doing a positive inventory, as shown in the column —->. This is particularly important for ACoAs because our focus is always on what we did wrong, which keeps us stuck in narcissistic S-H. (More on ‘wrongs’ in Part 2)

And, to be ‘rigorously honest’ – we need to include all T.E.A.s (thoughts, emotions & actions) – without self-judgement – BRIEFLY. SO:
✔︎ What were my actions today?  This is what most of us focus on. This includes things like co-dependent people-pleasing or passive-aggressive reactions – which mostly hurts ourselves, but also hurts others by nor being present with them (psychological dishonesty) – some ways we abandon others.
ASK: Did I “Correct, Complain, Criticize?”

POSITIVE: Identify any & all actions, even if they’re easy, short, simple or repeated every day

✔︎ What were my emotions (Es) today? Excitement, anxiety, boredom, annoyance, anticipation, gratitude, pleasure…?

Since ACoAs have trouble identifying our Es, start by briefly listing any events of the day which might have bothered you but which you brushed aside at the time –  (someone ignored you, your ex called, you got a compliment, you forgot something…..)

Then ask yourself:  “IF I had had an E for each event, what might it have been? Sad, hurt, angry, relieved, pleased….

This inventory is particularly important if you feel drained, upset, antsy, obsessing…. at the end of the day but don’t know why.  Notice how these unrecognized Es add up & may contribute to your unease. Just because we don’t FEEL them, doesn’t mean they’re not there!

NOW: You can acknowledge some of these Es you’ve learned to suppress (denial), & can talk about them in meetings, therapy & with sponsors – to bring them into consciousness.
IMP: This will prevent having to act them out.

POSITIVE: Include a list of comfortable Es you experienced – no matter how subtle or brief. It’s important to reinforce all positives (peaceful, happy, relieved, relaxed….)

NEXT : Step 10 – #2 (re. Thoughts)

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


PREVIOUS:
Co-dep vs Patience #2

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


HEALTHY PATIENCE (cont.)

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…..)

BENEFITS
🍀 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

OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 2)


THERE ARE MANY WAYS

to help myself ‘let go’

PREVIOUS: Outgrowing P-P #1

SITE : 45 Confidence Exercises…..

<—- IMAGE from : “16 Acts of Self-Care to Get You Thru 2017

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

RECOVERY from “Too Nice Syndrome” (TNS) cont.

TOOL 2. SELF-WORTH
++ Self-esteem is fundamentally the result of unconditional love! To outgrow the need to P-P we can work at providing that for ourselves now, even tho we didn’t get is as kids. Our attention has to be internal – on who we are, what we need, what our rights are & how well we take care of ourselves

☁︎ Co-deps base a lot of their ‘value’ on how much they do for others. This is self-defeating, guaranteeing ‘failure’, because —
— it’s only about action rather than personal identity: external vs internal
— we’re selfishly using others as a prop for our WIC’s distorted self-image
— we’re dependent on the unpredictability of how others respond to us
— we can never do enough for some people, so we’ll always come up short

— we can never fix anyone else’s pain, & even if it were possible, the people we most want to ‘save’ (rescuing=false helping) are usually the most recalcitrant (absolutely UNwilling to work on themselves!)
— some people will never give us any appreciation or validation. Sadly those are the ones we chase the hardest & longest!

Self-esteem allows for INTIMACY. To be capable of intimacy we need to overcome a large chunk of our self-hate – by developing at least a working knowledge of our Rights, using good Boundaries, hPP voiceaving a range of Emotions & a nodding acquaintance with our Inner Child, the UNIT & our True Self.

SOURCE – “Getting it” in your bones that you didn’t cause your need to develop co-dep will greatly quiet the self-hate & PP voices, which say that it is your fault. Then you can outgrow the need for people-pleasing (P-P) which is one of many defense mechanisms. We are “Damaged, not defective”

☁︎ If you’re an ACoA, your needs & emotions (Es) were stomped on & ignored. Being ‘too nice’ was one way you survived, even if your siblings chose a different way to protect themselves. What does this tell us?
That we used whatever we could to deal with an emotionally & physically dangerous upbringing. We didn’t create that situation, SO this pattern is not an innate flaw in us. It’s correctable!

Outgrow P-P is a combination of:
— rooting out abusive self-talk & correcting distorted ideas about life (CDs)
— consistently comforting & nurturing ourselves (self-care)

TOOL 3. ASSERTIVENESS
++ Practice saying YES to the things you do want
• SUCH AS things you’ve had an interest in or passionate about since childhood, even if you never got to pursue them. Now you can pick them up, just for pleasure, or maybe to start a whole new career:
— Say yes to learning new skills that will improve your income
— Say yes to healthier friends & lovers, jobs, living space….
— Say yes to a new couch, better clothes, flowers….(when you can)
— Say yes to filling some of your down-time with ‘good, clean fun’
— Say yes to taking time out just for yourself, to recharge

➤ Say YES to one thing you’ve been wanting to do (a small tattoo, a dance class, a Spiritual retreat…..), but are afraid others won’t like it or will make fun of it. Too bad. Do it anyway!

• There are other things you can be enthused about as short-term enjoyment, something or someone you’re only into for a while (maybe even a few years) and then: You got what you wanted from the experience // or you did as much with it as you could // or you’ve gradually become disappointed in it // or you, they or it has changed, & now it doesn’t suit you anymore….  You’re done, so move on & choose new PPT

NEXT: Outgrowing P-P #3

Co-Dep EXTERNAL Negatives – in US

screen-shot-2017-02-28-at-10-47-34-am
I WAS SO SURE BEING NICE
would get me liked. Not! 

PREVIOUS: Co-dep External damage (#1)

SITE: Childhood Trauma Recovery ARCHIVE
Co-dep in Children

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

The HIGH COST of being ‘too nice’ (cont.)

NEGATIVE RESULTS – in US

• You have unrealistic expectations of others
Since you think of yourself as well-meaning, you may automatically assume that others have the same good intentions. When they don’t reciprocate’, you think it’s about you, that they’re being mean or taking you for granted. Not meeting your (unspoken) expectations feels too disappointing, easily leading to anger & resentment.  BUT it’s either your —
— faulty thinking: that everyone is just like you (symbiosis), when they may just be taking care of their own needs – instead of yours, and/or
— 
faulty choices: sticking mainly to self-centered & abusive people who have no intention of reciprocating

EXP: ACoAs have our own version of Hansel & Gretel – You’re in the forest of daily life & run into the child-eating-ogre (‘perpetrator‘). Your WIC takes over, glued to the spot, looking up innocently, with big eyes & think: “You wouldn’t eat me, would you madam/ mister monster?” – instead of getting away as fast as possible, the way healthy people do!

You come off as tone-deafdo not tell to smile
Over-friendly people may mean well, but it can certainly be annoying, insensitive, even rude – rubbing others the wrong way  – because it’s a form of not listening.
EXP: A woman undergoing very painful medical treatments needed physical therapy. The young male receptionist in that office was a california-cheery type (but not in CA), who always beamed “It’s so good to see you!! How are you today?!!”
Walking slowly with a cane, the patient was obviously weak & in great discomfort. She was not amused by the greeting, much less uplifted. Even if his style was genuine, it truly lacked empathy, & was his need to project sunshine even tho’ it didn’t suit the situation. Being quietly gentle or even neutrally polite would have been much more soothing.

According to the School of Life, the too-nice are guilty of 3 major errors:
1. Believing you have to agree with everyone – making you a liar
2. Handing out empty compliments – making people think you’re fake
3. Being remorselessly upbeat – suggesting you can’t ‘read’ situations correctly, if at all – because you don’t have emotional intelligence (EQ)
These make it unsafe for others to reveal their truest selves when around us.

• You attract needy people
Just like ‘takers’ are your catnip, you are catnip to those even more desperate than you! Over-dramatic, clingy, controlling /demanding, whiny adult victim types will find you & try to drain you dry. They expect you to be mommy/daddy, therapist, nurse-maid, char, “butcher/ baker/candlestick maker”. And they’re manipulative, playing on your need to be needed, skilled at guilt-tripping if you don’t be-or-do what they want.
ALSO:
• You attract aggressive, demeaning treatment
Being over-friendly invites bullying from arrogant personality types, who instinctively recognize the “Kick-me” sign on your back that you don’t realize is there. They smell weakness – your insecurity, fear of loss & lack of boundaries – which energizes their sadistic need to vent their rage on others, rage toward their own weak family members who severely abandoned & disappointed them

•  You get stuck in this role
Once everyone gets used to your pattern of ‘selflessness’, it’s not only harder for you to change, but many people you know will strongly object if you do start having clear opinions & setting boundaries. It would mean they’d have to make changes too, which humans tend to resist

• You can’t do your job well
Especially as a boss, if you’re too easy & agreeable, you:
— won’t get rid of people hurting your company
— won’t stop workers, suppliers & customers from taking advantage
— can’t make company beneficial changes because it might ‘hurt’ someone
— can’t do great things that require forging your own way
(Stop being ‘nice’ at work)

• You can hurt others
Being too available for too long is so wearing that it leaves you with no time & energy for yourself or friends. If you’re dealing with needy people, whatever you give will never be enough. Without setting & holding to firm limits, & with no reciprocation or appreciation, you will eventually get fed up. Then you explode or cut them off cold turkey. This leaves the clingers confused & hurt, ‘loosing all faith in humanity’. But they just put their faith in someone who has their own ulterior motives & almost as weak boundaries as themselves.

NEXT: External negatives – in us #2

Co-Dep INTERNAL Negatives (Part 2)


I TRY & TRY, BUT

never seem to get anywhere

PREVIOUS: Co-Dep INTERNAL Negatives (Part 1)

SITE: Factors leading to Co-dep

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


INTERNAL
 High COST of angry-niceness
(cont.)

always outside

✔︎ On the Outside – for all our effort, you still have your nose pressed against the window – looking in! You’re still lonely, whether isolating or filling your social calendar to overflowing. When you relate to other from the facade of being OK but are really not, no one can truly know you

✔︎ Regretful – getting lost in the ‘Wudda-shudda-cudda” forest of self-recrimination & hopelessness, yet another way to prevent yourself from making healthy changes to improve your life

✔︎ Resentful – you don’t like this about yourself, but you’re filled with resentments. It’s the rage about what you didn’t get as a kid, & the rage NOW at not getting what you silently expect/demand from others. They’re supposed to read your mind so you don’t have to ask. And, why don’t they appreciate & reciprocate all you’ve been doing for them??  ”Why does _____ keep ignoring me? Why hasn’t she/he texted back? What did they mean by that remark??”…..

✔︎ Risk-Averse – being so dependent on others to feel OK keeps you from testing yourself to too what you’re actually capable of OR –
You can take risks in some parts of your life, proving you can do it, yet convinced you can’t try out new ways of doing or thinking – in other areas.

✔︎ Self-Sabotaging – making sure your goals & dreams never come true, staying in jobs & relationships you hate but can’t seem to extricate yourself, refusing to use the options that would help you move on.

✔︎ Sleepless (in Seattle??) – tossing & turning, worrying about what you have to do in the morning & the rest of the day – every day, about how you’re going to manage the ‘conversation’ you’re dreading (with the boss, a subordinate, a family member….), obsessing about an ‘incident’ yesterday by text or email because someone was mad at you….. NEVER ever really relaxed

✔︎ Suffering – stubbornly cling to your self-hate to (unconsciously) prove your deep loyalty to the family, so :
—  you pick people who are unhealthy, making yourself vulnerable to the same kind of neglect & abuse you got growing up, & sometimes even worse
— all the stress of suppressing your emotions + cruel self-talk + unhappy relationships = physical ailments, chronic & long-lasting

✔︎ Terrified – all the time, even if you don’t realize that’s why you’re breathing is so shallow. Scared to make a mistake or of not knowing something, of doing anything that will cause ‘them’ to leave you, or fire you, of taking a stand, of admitting your deepest emotions & sharing your pain, of honestly admitting your family’s abuse & neglect, or your own shortcomings….

✔︎ Trapped – with all the crazy, toxic people you’ve accumulated (& family you cling to), unwilling to extricate yourself because you don’t really want to see  how awful they are & how much they’re harming you, and you can’t bear the idea of ‘hurting’ them any more than they already are. BUT it’s OK to let yourself be terribly injured by them???

✔︎ Uncomfortable – in your skin, crying, being noticed in a group, with gifts or rewards, taking in praise & compliments, even the validation you say you crave

✔︎ Waiting – never having been allowed to know who you really are has insured that you can’t motivate yourself. You wait for any outside force to push you in some direction, never being sure if it’s what you want. If there’s no deadline or needy person – if it’s just you – you’re stalled!

✔︎ Wishy-washy – trouble making decisions, trouble being firm with others, sticking to your point of view: “What if it’s the wrong one? // What if they won’t like what I say? // I want o see what they’re going to do first // I’m not sure what they want me to be/see/feel… // I can’t figure out what to wear to that event, who should I be, how am I supposed to act?I don’t know what to feel about this”….

NEXT: Co-dep EXTERNAL negatives – in us #1

Co-Dependence Negatives – Intro-a

angry-niceness 

I DON’T KNOW WHY
they’re being so mean to me!

PREVIOUS: INTERNAL damage

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.

People-pleasing
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: OVER-Trusting (Part 3)

promise the moon WHAT’S WRONG WITH PRETENDING
everything’s just fine?

PREVIOUS: Over-trusting (Part 1)

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

POST: “People should treat me better, BUT I won’t let them

 

WHY DO WE OVER-TRUST? (over & under types overlap) (cont)
c. Co-dependence — a form of “Delayed Stress Syndrome” or PTSD
• we use people as substitute parents instead of being our own, so we can’t afford to notice flaws or limitations in them, no matter how glaring
• we don’t have the right to object to other people’s b.s., so naturally we would never think of calling them on it

• we depend copdepon the opinions & values of others too much, convinced they know things we don’t, so EVEN when we have knowledge or intuition about a person or situation – we ignore it if someone else disagrees
• we don’t want to, god-forbid, hurt anyone’s feeling by ‘suspecting’ them of being less than trustworthy – as they blatantly or subtly do us in!

EXP: Social conformity: As adult, If we need to be part of a group where trust is expected / demanded – by a parent, teacher, boss, gang leader…..- no matter how irrational, unfair, evil, illegal…., we have to go along, otherwise we’d be severely punished, labeled coward &/or ostracized
OR:
Despair: Being in a hopeless situation we can’t get out of (like a child in an alcoholic home) – then trusting whoever’s in charge is the lesser of 2 evils, as a way to survive

d. Illusions
Constant disappointment in our family makes us long for everyone else to make up for it, so we put people on a pedestal:
• If our parent was mentally ill, we idealize anyone who sounds ‘normal’ & functional – even tho they may be selfish or controllingidealize sickness
• If our parent was violent, we idealize anyone who seems calm, even tho they may be emotionally numb & unavailable

• If our parent was verbally cruel, we idealize people who are ‘nice’, even tho they may be a people-pleaser & therefore not totally genuine
• If our parent was absent, we idealize people who ‘want us’, even tho they may just be using us to take care of them …..

e. Confusion
• Our family didn’t model appropriate behavior, seeing everything in B & W – drama, extremes, deprivation…. so we evaluate the world using the same lens.
We have trouble distinguishing nuances of good vs bad behavior & don’t consider proportion. Instead of looking for relationships made of 70 – 80% positives with only 20 – 30% negatives (which is reasonable), we settle for the crumbs of only 10 – 30% positives – if that – & ignore a huge pile of crap!

• When people hurt & disappoint us, especially someone we love & / or admire, we sweep it awaytend to push whatever we feel & think to the side – sweep it under the carpet & say nothing. Instead we hold in our anger & get depressed.

They may or may not be in the wrong, & we may or may not be overreacting – even when they are off-center. The important point is that we need to process any rage & CDs we may have, then talk to the person about the situation, but only from our Healthy Adult.  If done correctly, we will feel much relief, whether they hear us or not!

•  And sometime we have friends, family members, co-workers & acquaintances who are basically OK, on our side, or at least neutral – who we secretly accuse of being unsafe because:
— they’re not 100% perfect in their interactions with us
— OR their positive regard for us is too much for us to take in, so we dismiss it
— they do admire us, at a distance, but are not actually friends, so we don’t trust they can see & appreciate us …..since they’re not ‘taking care’ of us

REMINDER:  As long as we are being run by the Wounded Inner Child, we find it very hard to separate people who are permanently unsafe from those who are only unsafe some of the time, from those who are genuinely trustworthy.

NEXT: ACoAs – UNDER Trusting (Part 1)

Why RESIST talking to the Inner Child? (Part 5)

talking with PP

PREVIOUS: Why resist? #4

SITE: “Make Your Inner Child Your Partner

 

 

Other RESISTANCE SOURCES (cont)
In this case it’s the WIC not co-operating  re. communicating with the UNIT, no matter how caring.

3. The WIC – at first you may be surprised to realize that the Wounded Child is not so quick to let go of the Bad Voice! You’re just starting to learn how to be a Good Parent / Healthy Adult, expecting to take over the job of Executive ego state from the Inner Child who’s been running the show your whole life.
But as far as the child is concerned, you’ve never been available before, or you sound just like ‘them’…. so why should it trust you now? And why would it want to give up it’s power to an unknown, unproven entity (the ‘new’ you)?

Some reasons the WIC resists :bad authority
• The kid has learned that – in general – NO authority is safe or trustworthy. They never listened or cared about anyone but themselves – & now you’re proposing to be the new adult who knows what’s ‘better’ for it? It sounds like more of the same! Besides, why would you bother with me anyway?

Loyalty to our parents runs very deep, no matter how badly they treated us. The kid needs to be taken care of & it only knows the family it grew up with, & you aren’t on the radar screen – yet

• Our brain grooves are so deeply etched making the connection to the PP primal. The kid is afraid to leave the Introject because it don’t want to be alone, which is all it knows

• The ‘adults’ in our childhood were absent, childish, depressed, crazy, cruel, drunk or just to-o-o busy to be bothered with us – most of them not actually in charge of anything! That left it all up to us, which was terrifying, but it also gave us a sense of power

It was immature, inappropriate & distorted power to be sure, but the only option many of us had. We did what we could to survive & we did. Now the WIC doesn’t want to give up it’s position, convinced it’ll disintegrate or die if it ‘lets go’. So the WIC is in a Double Bind: thinking it’s in control of running our life <—> while it’s actually being run by the bad voice!

Double Binds: We hate many of our parents’ traits & behavior patterns <—> YET slavishly follow the rules & patterns they set out for us, even more terrified of separating from them in person or inside ourselves (to S & I)

Damned if we do, damned if we don’t – & damned if we say anything about it!!
We have many such confusing & conflicting beliefs, all of which are incorrect

• To the kid ‘Growing up’ is not a positive, even though many of us originally had the fantasy that when we were adults we’d  🌁 be OK, have everything we want, not suffer anymore, have our dreams come true….
☔︎ At the same time the WIC secretly believes that ‘growing up’ really means being completely alone or becoming just like them. Either one sucks, so it resists letting the UNIT help us heal our past

• Letting go of the PP means being in charge of our own life, taking risks, being responsible – which the kid can’t, won’t, isn’t allowed to….. It means being our own motivator, the opposite of co-dependence, giving up the fantasy someone will finally come along to rescue us. The WIC will fight these outcomes tooth & nail!

CO-DEPENDENCE & the WIC
The result of the WIC’s resistance is that it prevents us from becoming our own person – the person we were born to be. And without that our only option it to stay co-dependent.

IRONY: 
on the one hand the WIC doesn’t want to give up its false power, while also manipulate others into taking care of it! That way we can continue obeying a major alcoholic/ narcissistic family rule (don’t need anything) while sneakily getting some ‘illegal’ goodies

NEXT:  Why resist? #6

Why RESIST talking to the Inner Child? (Part 4)

tendrils of damage THE WIC DOESN’T TRUST ME & for good reasons

PREVIOUS
: Why resist? #3

POST: Negative Benefits’

 SITE: • ‘Emotional Age – Aware & Empower’ •‘Reconnect with your IC’ Scrapbook with 10 items

MORE Adult EXCUSES for not talking with the IC (cont.)
8. I don’t know what to say
ANS: Naturally! Because we constantly talk to ourselves with judgments & self-abuse, we won’t automatically know the healthy way to communicate. Obviously, we weren’t taught to speak kindly to ourselves, much less pay attention to what we actually think & feel. So changing the way we do that is definitely a new language.

• It has to be learned, from a good teacher, workbooks, listening to people anywhere who talk to their children appropriately – with respect, patience & warmth. When ACoAs hear what a reasonable & respectful Inner Parent can say to the Child, many remark: “Wow, that makes perfect sense, but I would never have thought of it”.

9. Taking to the kid doesn’t work – I’m still in pain
ANS: Most ACoAs have a strong belief in magic! We think things should take very little time, that we should get things we want right away, that everyone should be nice….
AND we think that recovery will work fast, even if we don’t put much effort in. Soooo, “If I talk to the kid when it’s hurting the hurt will stop right away!” Right?

Sometimes it does, most of the time NOT. The immediate goal of this tool is to be with the child THRU it’s suffering, so it’s not alone. Some ‘piles’ of emotional pain will take longer to dissipate than others, depending on how big they are (a lot from the past – the size of a car wreck, OR a little in the present – the size of a stubbed toe, a paper cut…) vs. how much has been siphoned off by doing emotion work.

REMINDER: EMOTIONS (Es) are neither + nor –, just energy.
When Es are labeled as negative it automatically implies they are to be gotten rid of, or at least suppressed. This is a very harmful message, since the Inner Child houses most of our Es, with the Parent holding the rest – love, patience, positive pride, compassion, pleasure….).
If we say some Es are bad then we’re saying a fundamental part of our Inner Child is bad! This point of view is S-H, the child abuse we got in our family

It tells us we:

• were never comforted as kids when in pain, so those emotions were unbearable because we were left alone with our suffering
• were blatantly taught that Es are bad, weak, crazy, stupid, to be made fun of….
• never learned that there are appropriate ways to deal with & express Es, so that we can have our feelings without hurting ourselves or others

Other RESISTANCE SOURCES
a. The INTROJECT (PP)
Ultimately, the harmful power that rules ACoAs has always been the Bad Parent voice. It’s everywhere, crawling around inside the walls of our mind, like termites, whispering it’s poison:
“This thing they’re trying to teach you is ridiculous! You can’t live without ME! You don’t know what you’re doing, that Inner Child stuff is just crazy….”

The PP definitely does not want to be replaced by a Good one – afraid of being destroyed – so it keeps a tight rein on the Child by undermining it’s ability to think independently & function well.

b. OTHER People
Anyone not familiar with ego states & Recovery is likely to think it’s nuts, a waste of time, a fantasy…. Often people tell us we’re wallowing (even in some 12-Step programs!), that we should have forgiven them by now, so let go, move on….

We can respond to these ignorant comments – OR NOT – with: “You should try it sometime / It sounds like you don’t know anything concrete about it / Why are you being so judgmental? / Thank you for sharing…”. Make up a couple of phrases you feel comfortable with & memorize them!

NEXT: Why resist? (Part 5)