ACoAs – Set GOALS to MEET NEEDS (Part 2a)

implemeting goalsPREVIOUS: Meeting our NEEDS (Part 1b)

SITE: Develop Self-Efficacy Beliefs

QUOTEs: “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation” ~ David Thoreau


DEF: “Carrying a plan forward and making it work”
Once we’ve picked a goal & written it down, we can start figuring out how to accomplish it. Breaking it down into small chunks is vital, & will tell us if the goal is actually do-able, if we already can do it, or if we need to learn something. The next steps include finding the right kind of help, being flexible in our thinking for making adjustments, & having contingency plans for the unexpected.

• How do we ACoAs try to ‘provide’ for our own needs? Not very well. Most of the ways are in the form of being controlling, isolation, lying, manipulation, over-work, people-pleasing, self-sacrifice, using others…. and most of us find it very hard to do actual PMES self-care.
We’re afraid to go all out to be happy & fulfilled, because we:
— can’t afford to risk going all out for our core ‘love’ or talent, in case we fail. Then we’d have nothing – the loss would be crushing.
— Besides, the PP’s message is that we’re too stupid, unlovable, unworthy to get anything right, so why try. Implementing goals? “Who do you think you are – anyway? / So you think you’re better than us???”

• Therefore, some of us :
— don’t know what we want, what to pursue, what to try out, drifting without any goals, just taking whoever or whatever comes our waypassive
— don’t even try to get our need met, eeking out a survival based in scarcity mentality – barely enough money, companionship, sex, attention, accomplishment, minimum shelter /clothing / food…. even tho we actually have the ability to find & provide some or all of these things
— don’t take risks, sticking to the ‘safest’ route possible, living lives of boredom or ‘quiet desperation’, like working in a post office for 35 yrs, marrying someone who will take care of us, being an active addict….

Others of us who are ambition / driven:
— are high achievers, either based on what our family pushed us into – which we hate, or from some natural gift we were born with, but which we continue to feel insecure about
ambitious— will succeed early in life (get a lead on Broadway, work on Wall Street, write a great first novel…. & then do something to ruin it so it slowly disintegrates – over the next 20-30 yrs
— will make the effort in some arena, & may even succeed to some degree – BUT either can’t get beyond a certain level
— have to keep messing it up / failing / causing drama & problems / losing everything….
— work our butt off trying to be ‘the best’ so we can finally get the approval we’ve always longed for, but not ever to validate ourselves

WHY don’t we live in the power of our True Self?
➼ Because of the Double Bind: we’re not allowed to actually have our needs met BUT we can’t NOT have them. (ACoA Double Messages)
So, many of us try & fail, try & fail – over & over….. ending up hopeless, depressed & wanting to give up. Because of our childhood training, the brain becomes wired to only see ourselves & the world thru the eyes of dysfunction. We sabotage any goal which doesn’t conform to that training, which Freud called the “repetition compulsion”.

Our WIC thoroughly believes our only option is to stay attached to the family because they say they love us – of course – & the WIC is desperate to believe it, even tho we have years & years of proof to the contrary. To deny what we know, we keep obeying the PP voice & it’s toxic rules, (“If you don’t like it you have to stay”), since we assume that:
— the world isn’t safe AND we are sure that we are basically bad!
— if only we could be ‘perfect’ they’d finally, truly approve & love us

self-argumentSO – what are our deepest, most pervasive beliefs (Part 1)? What drives our goals & our actions?
Most of the time it’s the WIC’s cognitive distortions. Even if ACoAs can identify appropriate goals, we either sabotage out progress or can’t implement them at all, because it would mean disobeying the PP in our head & being disloyal to still-living family members. So instead, we’ve been using all sorts of dysfunctional PPT as a reason to act – anything but our own need, dreams, desires & feelings! (motivators)

NEXT: Goals to meet needs #3

Weak DECISION Styles (Part 2)

no matter what they say!

PREVIOUS: Bad Decision Styles – #1


PART 2: Next 6 of 18 types of unsound decision making (D.M.) styles & their corrections. (No known source) While these types represent dysfunction, they’re based on each person’s native approach to life, with the addition of an unhealthy upbringing.

4 general Categories of D.M.
By Command – made without input from anyone else
By Consultation – inviting & include input from others
By Vote – discuss options & then call for a vote, majority rules
By Consensus – keep talking until everyone agrees on one outcome

Warning SIGNALS (interchange a. & b.) that:
a. you’re about to make a weak, unhealthy or dangerous decision:
• when you’re exhausted, sick, emotionally distressed or overwhelmed
• are not willing to change your mind when a situation changesbad choices
• only think of what you want & how you feel, ignoring everyone else
• base your choice only on fear, anxiety & low-self-esteem
• don’t plan for dealing with difficult people or unexpected events

• don’t consider the bigger context, or the possible consequences to you or to others
• twist yourself to fit other people’s expectations of how you should behave, conform to peer pressure or automatically agree with the majority (being overly dependent on others)
• ignore available information (newer, better) that would help you make a better choice about a person or situation

b. you have made a weak, unhealthy or dangerous decision:
• when you didn’t do anything even tho it was important to act
• acted before you were ready or before the time was right
• made a choice using familiar CDs, such as B & W thinking
• ignored glaring problems or important factors that you knew about a situation
• ignored hints that told you something was wrong or there was too much uncertainty

• chose a way of doing something so you wouldn’t have to ask for help
• picked an action based on “well at least I” ……have a job, don’t look stupid, have a boyfriend, am safe, to available information — which comes from a poverty or victim mentality
• based a decision on what you thought you should do, rather than what was right for you & the situation

Weak DECISION Styles (Part 1)

it’ll always be wrong!

PREVIOUS: Procrastinators Anon Tools



PART 1 = First 6 of 18 types of un-sound decision-making (D.M.) styles & their corrections. (No known source) While these types all represent dysfunction, people gravitate to one of these styles as a reflection of their inborn approach to life, along with an unhealthy upbringing.

• No matter what our personal style, ACoAs have a great deal of difficulty making decisions. This deficiency has nothing to do with our basic intelligence, only our damage. An apparent exception are those in the Hero / Rescuer family role – who seem to be able to make decisions easily & continuously. But the hidden worm in the fruit is that they only do it on behalf of others. Decisions for themselves are rare & usually unhealthy

– D.M. is the process of identifying & choosing alternatives, based on our values & preferences &
– D.M. is the process of reducing enough uncertainty & doubt about our options to give us the freedom to pick out the best one at the moment

SOME REASONS we have trouble with D.M.
• not having a clear identity (who am I, how do I present myself, what do I need or want….)
• letting the WIC (wounded inner child) be in charge of considering what to do, who either acts impulsively or is stuck / paralyzedbad decisions
• not trusting the knowledge, judgment & experience we’ve gathered throughout our life

• not realizing we have options to choose from, or better options than we think we have
not having permission to change our minds – about anything!
• being in denial about what we know regarding a person or situation

• fear of making the wrong choice – we think the wrong one will have life & death consequences, or result in severe punishment or self-hate, afraid of taking risks, asking for help, getting good things

• co-dependence: wanting to please everyone, all the time
• growing up with a series of double-binds (paralyzes us)
• not having enough or the correct information to decide accurately
• using CDs (cognitive distortions) in thinking about a problem

➼ As we Recover, some of these reasons melt away, some diminish & some we struggle with throughout life – & which is which will be different for different people.

Anger – TRIGGERS (Part 1)

that can set me off!

PREVIOUS: Negative Uses (#2)


Series of POSTs : “What Just Happened? – Noticing painful events”


a Trigger + our point of view about it + our personal temperament = anger (but not always or for everyone)
Our Anger reaction to PPT is usually a combination of internal & external factors. Sometimes external events that bother us are actually positive or neutral, but because of internal damage (WIC & PP) we automatically get angry.  EXP – for ACoAs:
√ being accused wrongly enrages us
√ being accused rightly terrifies us (then we get angry or defensive)

• While there are legitimate reasons for reacting, under the anger are ‘sensitive’ emotions we may not want to admit to, such as loneliness, need, loss, abandonment pain, fear, sadness….. making us feel too vulnerable.

Everyone has some triggers, based on our personality & childhood experiences. Anyone interested in personal growth needs to identify their specific buttons, to better manage verbal & physical responses. (Iceberg)

1. INTERNAL Triggers
a. EMOTIONALLY , the Big-3 inevitable triggers – are:
HURT – to our feelings, our integrity, an important loss, an insult to anyone / anything we love…..
• SCARED – Physical or emotional danger
EXP: Man on bike with little son on the back almost gets side-swiped by a bus pulling to the curb, making him yell & hit the bus with his fist as he turns that same corner
FRUSTRATED – whenever someone /thing blocks us from reaching a goal (big or small), especially if it’s very important to us, or if it’s been for a long time

b.  Our own PERSONALITY – as mentioned elsewhere, genetics plays a part in our temperament. Some are more easily revved up when something goes wrong for them. (Enneagram 8s, certain astrological  ‘Squares’, or positions such as Mars in Scorp……)

c.  EXPECTATIONS – too High or unrealistic (re. others)
When held as demands, they usually create a lack of frustration-tolerance, leading to inappropriate anger-expressions, including :
√ a deeply rooted belief that our circumstances & people ‘have to / need to’ be exactly as we want
√ a tendency to lecture people on how they ‘should’ / ‘should not’ behave (MORE….)

d.  DISTORTIONS – cognitive (CDs) & Toxic Beliefs S-H
such as : awfulizing, blaming, discomfort-intolerance, mind-reading, filtering, perfectionism….. At best they will lead to disappointment & frustration, at worst to Self-Hate & rage.
False beliefs cause anxiety, & sometimes aggression, in an effort to ward off perceived threats to our well-being OR self-image

CDs cause us to misinterpret facts, events, or other people’s actions as threats to achieving our goals, or as attacks on our dignity, rules or property. This ends in wrong conclusions, leading to harmful reactions (DRAWING)

e. IMPULSIVENESS (poor emotional control)
While some of us are naturally more ‘sensitive’ than others, impulsive reactions can usually be traced back to our WIC, filled with anxiety from past trauma. The more anxiety, the more easily stress gets expressed as bursts of anger.
Some only let it out around people we’re close too, others only toward strangers. But instantaneous over-reactions tell us the Amygdala is in charge, not the Cortex. That’s why it’s considered psychologically immature.

🔥ANGER CYCLEunhealthy responses to events which hurt, frustrate of scare us :
1. Trigger – by a loss, words, actions or anything that will set off anger
2. Internal Reaction – pain, letting us know that something’s ‘wrong’

3. Intensification –  a chemical flush released in the brain, which dramatically increases heart rate & breathing.
This can give a volatile person an excuse to justify how they’re feeling, but most of the time the anger is from distorted thinking.

4. External Barrier Break – some obvious signs of anger can be clearly seen by others, such as crying, angry gestures, shouting verbal threats….
5. Explosive Peak – a verbally &/or physically violent expression of anger. Dangerous to others, but also to ourself – by saying or doing things we may not really mean but will get us in trouble

6. Exhaustion & Withdrawal – when the anger / rage had died down or dissipated, then intense self-judgment follows
7. Final Stage
a. Remorse & Apology : with some people – when they realize they’ve over-reacted – will admit their error & apologize
b. Intense Justification : others (especially narcissists) will not admit they’ve done/said anything wrong, & find a ‘good’ reason for their behavior, including blaming others for causing their upset

REPEAT the above pattern – Whether one is a chronic or occasional rager, without Pattern Correction, this cycle will continue.  (From DAMBREAKER)
(⬆️ Anger Cycle chart from extensive ClinMed article)

NEXT: Anger triggers (Part 2)

ACoAs: BOOKENDING with the WIC (Part 1)

for how my beliefs hamper me

PREVIOUS: Why resist – #7

FoO – Family of Origin


BOOKENDING with the Inner Child
This is a MENTAL tool borrowed from the practical D.A. version (Debtor’s Anonymous), used to Cognitively Restructure our thinking (T) – to free ourselves of suffering & confusion! Once we learn the technique & get used to it, we’ll find it comes in handy not only for ourselves, but helps us hear when others are using CDs on us!

The NEED for Bookending: to correct CDs
Communicating with our precious Inner Child is something we need to be doing 24/7 – at least while we’re awake! 🙂 This included both our Wounded Child & the Healthy Child ego states. However, book-ending is a specific tool to deal with the distorted beliefs we grew up with.

For many ACoAs, no matter how smart, talented & even accomplished, our WIC is still living in the past, mentally & emotionally – still using our childhood experiences (based on the PP voice) as a model for how things functions & what we to expect.
This is in spite of the many other experiences & information we’ve gathered throughout our life that give us different viewpoints, and disagree with our family’s messages

✶ It’s truly amazing how good we are at ignoring or negating all the positive people & situations we’ve come across, which could be incorporated into & greatly enhance our world view – if only we would!

PRE-FoO Recovery: Growing up constantly disappointed, not allowed to have our thoughts & emotions, never comforted, and ignored, made fun of, put in double binds, tortured, scapegoated, neglected, controlled ….

…. we became thoroughly convinced these things will continue – they’ll always happen with everyone else, in every situation – for the rest of our lives, no matter how hard we try to change our ‘fate’.  Toxic Rule : “Life is suffering”

✶ Naturally, if we spend most of our time in relationships, locations & jobs that are UNhealthy, then we will indeed keep re-traumatizing ourselves. Compulsively following our earliest training always leaves us frustrated & hopeless.
So – It’s important to know that we can change these patterns!

GOAL of Bookending
The fundamental purpose is to bring the WIC into the present (sometimes kicking & screaming) via the ÚNIT”. That way we’ll consistently be able to see the world correctly – that there are other kinds of people & options which are not like our family!

• To do that we have to be aware of our negative & distorted beliefs, and then work on correcting them. It’s the only way we can truly be safe! Book-ending is a valuable tool in changing our Cognitive Distortions (CDs)

This is a tool to prove to the WIC that the way things were in our family is not how it is everywhere else in the world. Some place Yes, but Not everywhere! We need to create new pathways in the brain to counter the old deep grooves, & the main way to do that is repetition. You know: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, Practice, Practice!

TRYING to PROTECT ourselves
a. RULES & ROLES – Because our childhood was chaotic & frightening, as children we tried to find any possible way to protect ourselves. This included incorporating a series of Toxic Rules to live by & fitting ourselves into the Toxic Roles forced on us

In dealing with our parents, we tried to :
• figure out what they wanted from us & then twist ourselves into that
• help them, cajole, protect, educate, rescue…to fix them
• identify what we did wrong & try to be as good as possible
• hide anything about ourselves that would upset the family ‘mobile’

NEXT: Bookending, Part 2

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

talking with PP

PREVIOUS: Why resist? #4

SITE: “Make Your Inner Child Your Partner



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!

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.

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

Emotional MATURITY – Emotional

maturity 3
beyond my early training!

PREVIOUS: Emotional Maturity (#1)

SITE: Self-Soothing Hand positions Exercises (helps with PTSD)

See ACRONYM Page for abbrev.

QUOTE: “We grow sometimes in one dimension & not in another, unevenly….. mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present & future mingle, pulling us backward, forward, or fixing us in the present. We’re made up of layers, cells, constellations.” Anais Nin

Def: Emotional Maturity (EM) is expressed in ways that appropriately fit our chronological age – with increased adjustment, stability & self-regulation.  Psychological Wiki
1. know what personal goals to work toward
2. acknowledge healthy qualities we’re already developing, based on personal growth, to appreciate our Recovery progress
3. know what to look for in others* – lovers, mates, friends, family (adults), bosses…..

✶ ACoAs will say they wouldn’t know a healthy person if they fell over them.
WELL – here are some guidelines – for YOURself & about others! Keep a copy on your phone, desktop & bathroom mirror
PS: As emotional wounds heal & distorted beliefs are corrected, we can claim these EM characteristics, & see many areas of our life gradually improve

• accept yourself unconditionally, even for the things that are incomplete, unattractive or need improving
• accept & tolerate anxiety & other uncomfortable Es
• accept & face guilt, especially when breaking family rules
• accept that some stress is part of life, rather than trying to hide, without creating drama.  Can meet emergencies with poise
• admit & are able to work through Es (fear, anger, pain…) from traumatic events in your life (divorce, major illness, death, disasters….) rather than pretending nothing’s wrong
• are comfortable expressing Es in a healthy way, from the Adult ego state
• are in touch with a full range of Es & not afraid to find out what they are at any given moment, but not overwhelmed or driven by them
• aren’t afraid to feel sadness & cry, as well as explore the reasons for it
self-pity• aren’t overly ‘sensitive’, can have E, but not so easily hurt
• can handle disappointment, so are a good loser, deal with defeat without whining or blame
• don’t have to “show off” in socially unacceptable ways to feel important
• don’t need approval from others to feel good about yourself
• don’t need to constantly find fault, but also aren’t idealistic & unrealistic (in denial) about things that are genuinely harmful
• don’t worry about or try to fix things that are beyond your control
• have a reasonable amount of patience at reasonable delays, & have self-control in adversity. Accept you sometimes have to adjust to other people’s convenience, needs or limitations
• have Es in perspective, from a balanced internal place rather than B & W extremes (“If it’s hysterical it’s historical”)
• have mostly outgrown envy & jealousy, being honestly glad when others have success or good fortune
• know how to manage & cope with old or new pain
forgive• let yourself be vulnerable without shame or terror, & can let others see your unsuccessful / soft side, but only when appropriate & with safe people
• recognize anger or rage & express them appropriately, in a way that leads to your growth
• don’t indulge in self-pity (“woe is me”), understanding the law of compensation* operates in all of life.
IMP: Having compassion for ourselves & our misfortunes, which are not of our making, is not the same as self-pity, which only blames others for our pain without taking any responsibility for having to heal our wounds

*Compensation: All life is about trade-offs – good for bad, & bad for good. It’s an amend or reward for loss or deprivation. anything that makes up for the lack or limitation of something else
“As there is no worldly gain without some loss, so there is no worldly loss without some gain:
• If thou hast lost thy wealth, thou hast lost some trouble with it
• If thou art degraded from thy honor, thou art likewise freed from the stroke of envy
• If sickness hast blurred thy beauty, it hath delivered thee from pride
• Set the allowance against the loss and thou shalt find no loss great.”
English Metaphysical poet Francis Quarles (1592 ~ 1644)

NEXT: Emotional Maturity – Relational, Spiritual

ACoAs & Boundary INVASIONS (Part 2)

no limits


ARTICLES: ‘Sexual Abuse / Trauma’
The Incestuous Family” – Roles re sexual abuse


a. Insecure parents:
push for an ‘us against the world’ attitude hoping to increase family solidarity, powered by denial of dysfunction, & an unbearable threat to their sense of identity

can be over-protective
On the surface it may look like love, but they’re only trying to keep us attached by dis-empowering us
The underlying message is that we’re incompetent, weak & have to be afraid of everything

• may attribute the wrong motive to other kids or adults’ unpleasant/ abusive treatment of us, no matter what we actually did (cause trouble or not, be friendly or withdrawn….)
When we complained, – to feel superior – Mother may say: “Those kids are just jealous of you because you’re so much better than everyone else in the class”, which becomes the twisted thought “The boss doesn’t like me because I’m smarter distortionthan her”….

b. Distortions :
These & other CDs cause many problems for children:
• gave us a distorted view of how the world functions, making it hard for us to take responsibility for our motives & action
• prevented us from – becoming fully socialize, taking normal risks & learning about the many options available in the world
• gave us a distorted view of how the world functions, making it hard for us to take responsibility for our motives & action
• severely increased our inappropriate social behavior, making it easy to become a target for bullying, insuring our isolation from peers, & staying dependent on the family

Familiar phrases: Blood is thicker than water Never air our dirty laundry in public  ~  No one else will love you like we do
~ You’ll never make it on your own so we’ve got to stick together ~  We’re better than ‘those’ people
OR a childhood taunt:  “You have a face only a mother could love, & she died”!

c. Family Insularity is an attempt to feel safe BUT built on fear-based rules that inevitably lead to constriction, intolerance & an inability to collaborate / cooperate well with others.
Ironically it also creates isolation, scapegoating, unhealthy alliances & splits inside the family, which then get repeated in adulthood.
EXP: Being in a toxic Role, (Scapegoat. Lost Child….), had “negative benefits.” in the dysfunctional family mobile – feeling useful by ‘protecting’ a parent from the consequences of their addictions & emotional problems.
Then we look for the same kind of payoff when playing out our Role in the larger world (protecting a mate, boss….), which doesn’t work now either, only reinforcing our sense of being a failure.

4. Parental NARCISSISM (N)
B. invasions
• Ns require that everyone be their carbon copy, with no room for children to develop their own individuality
• children need mirroring (reflecting back who the other person be like meis, without adding anything of oneself), but Ns can’t do that since they’re only projecting themselves on to the child

Narcissists don’t recognize there are such things as Bs, that others are separate & not extensions of themselves. People either exist to meet their needs or may as well not exist at all. Anyone who provides narcissistic supply will be treated as if they’re part of the controller, who demands the victim live up to their expectations (think: spider & fly).

• Some N. phrases:
“What’s yours is mine & what’s mine is nobody’s business”
“Do as I say not as I do”, “Put a sweater on, I’m cold”
“No son of mine is ever going to…..”
“This is the thanks I get – after all I’ve done for you”
“Do that in the morning when you’re fresh” said by a mother always raring to go at 6 am, to her child who was born a dyed-in-the-wool night person!
Watch ‘Angry-martyr Narcissist” on YouTube

Role Ambiguity
Parental N. spawns much identity confusion. Since only their needs count, the children take on a parent role – “I am them”, & many a parent acts like a needy kid – “They are me”.

Family members aren’t sure who’s in or out of the clan, who’s performing what tasks or legitimate roles : Dad acts like a ‘girl’ , Sis is the ‘mom’, little Brother is the family shrink…..

Al-Anon IMAGE: A co-dependent decides to kill himself by jumping off the roof of a tall building.  As he’s falling, someone else’s life flashes before his eyes!

NOTE: If you have firm boundaries in the face of a narcissist, the relationship won’t usually last! Good – better for you!

NEXT: B. Invasions (Part 3)

INFORMATION & the Brain (Part 3)

styled tulipsCOM’ON BRAIN –
don’t fail me now!

PREVIOUS: CDs & The Brain (Part 2)

See ACRONYM pg. for abbrev.


OUR BRAIN – Gathering Information (cont)

5. ALL ALIKE: The brain assumes all similar items are the same (all whites look alike to me / all rock music sounds like noise / all men are dogs!….)
• This originally had survival value so humans could respond instantly to a need or crisis, without ‘evaluating’ differences.

We still need automatic grouping – to save time, for ease of communication, to understand different things with a common meaning – like ‘scribbles’ or word-accents that represent the same word / idea….all alike

•  However, it can also lead to serious errors:
a. We can assume that all members of a particular group are alike
✓ Your mother was a nasty crazy lady, so you grow up to believing that, in spite of charming ‘disguises’, all women are nasty & crazy

b. It can be hard to notice subtle differences or gradual changes in others
✓ if you’re in Recovery – most people who’ve known you a long time will keep treating you based on how you used to be, just as some parents keep treating a grown son like a little boy

c. It can influence the way we behave / react to things around us
✓ Treating all snakes, body aches or drugs — as if they were the same — can be painful or fatal
✶ SO, one measure of intelligence is how well we can distinguish subtle variations among very similar people, things or situations.

• Focusing only on a narrow slice of life will only eliminate certain new items that are contradictory
EXP:  Women raised by a controlling parent are more likely to believe ‘The Rules’ book. So in contradiction – being told by a teacher/ preacher/  therapist… that it’s not emotionally healthy to manipulate men – will automatically be dismissed.
Exception: a woman might accept suggestions opposed to the book’s premise, if it comes from a trusted ally.

• BUT the broader the topic, the more all types of contradictory info are rejected as false.  Just the act of accumulating similar experiences will seem to confirm our original belief, right or wrong. That’s why people who are ‘trained’ in childhood to be winners tend to continue winning – or vice versa. So:
EXP: If we’re taught that our country, religion, ethnic community…. is the best, the only one to trust, is infallible… then any proof to the contrary will be ignored or make us angry!

✓ So too, if we have a bone-deep conviction that we’re worthless & unlovable, any compliment or acknowledgment is automatically rejected as b.s., even if said sincerely, & is actually true & valid about us!

7. INCOMPLETE: The brain can’t identify if it has complete info about a topic, so even when we suspect it, it can’t tell us what is missing
✓ This happed with a salesman & in college: I knew I was missing a crucial, pivotal piece of info to understand what I wanted to buy or was supposed to be learning, but I didn’t know what that was!

All I could do was ask haltingly, clumsily (sounding like an idiot!) & they’d tell me a bunch of stuff I did know. Sometimes, if I kept bugging them, eventually they’d go away in disgust OR  ‘accidentally’ spit out the missing piece.

Yeah! I was happy, but by then they were very annoyed!
😡 When I expressed relief, they’d say “Well, I thought you lazy brainalready knew that!” because it was so obvious to them, they assumed I already knew it! Wrong.

Perpetuating Incomplete info:
Mental laziness: not making a consistent effort to get info on topics that have an impact on our lives & well-being
OR fear of asking, of having to take care of oneself, of no one wanting to help, of getting it wrong, of not being able to do what’s required….

• Either way, we automatically compensate by assuming we know things we don’t (Ass-u-me). Since we don’t realize we’re making assumptions, someone has to point them out.
Obviously, a lack of sufficient or accurate info will be a real road block to achieving our goals.

NEXT: INFO & the brain (Part 4)


or I’ll never get what I need or want

PREVIOUS: CDs Consequences (Part 1)

REVIEW post:Weak decision Styles


CDs – regarding Personal Problems

a. SELF-SERVING: EXternalized dysfunctional behavior, to protect a fragile sense of self from greater harm:
• Assuming the worst, Labeling, Minimizing, Self-centeredness
USED to cover insecurities like a shabby bandage, keeping us dishonest with ourselves & separated from others

b. SELF-DEBASING INternalized expressions of self-hate:
• Catastrophizing, Disqualifying the positive, Personalizing, Over-generalization, Selective Abstraction, Shoulds ….
USED to keep us powerless & hopeless, intensifying our wounds

1.- Thinking & CDs (Part 1)

2. (E) EMOTIONS : The more CDs we absorbed & developed n childhood, & now – the longer we ‘use’ them as the basis for living, the more they increase anxiety, deepen depression, disappointment, rage…. causing relationship difficulties & potentially – auto-immune diseases.

Depression being a common ACoA state – we can identify one of several causes by carefully focusing on the connections between external events & our inner responses.
The sequence is made up of :
a. Activating event (objective Situation) that’s scary making a cold-call, asking for help, mulling over a problem, visiting family
b. Logic Errors (CDs) : Assuming the Worst, Fortune-Telling, Disqualifying the Positive,  Mind-Reading….”
c. Automatic Thoughts = Limiting Beliefs : “They’re too busy to talk to me” , “I should’t need help” , “He won’t want to listen to me”, “They always ….. ”
d. Consequencespainful emotions & the harmful actions or non-actions that follow

• they can prevent us from letting go of past hurts
• contribute to a false sense of reality, of paranoia, illusions
spiritual weakness• directly contribute to thoughts of suicide – or actual attempts
• increase frustration, depression, S-H, anxiety, irritability & helpless rage
• maintain the feeling of being a victim or scapegoat
• make it easier to feel unattractive, so not want to do regular self-care
• may distort or prevent the enjoyment of sexual activities
• reinforce our childhood abandonment, hurt & disappointment
• prevent us from seeing the bright side of life, making things less fun

➼ Put-downs from others can erode our sense of self-worth, especially when coming from our own family. Children definitely believe negative assessments of themselves given by teachers & parents, developing a damaged self-concept when criticized on a regular basis.

▶ Researchers estimate that the ratio of +positive to -negative comments needs to be at least 5+ to 1- for any relationship to be healthy and survive long-term.
THIS applies to how we talk to ourselves as well!

3. (A) ACTIONS: Another extreme —> Using CDs as a model for how to function is part of Cognitive DEFICITS. all of which prevent us from successfully handling many of life’s situations. We rely on & maintain CDs TO:
• deny responsibility for our actions & ignore the harmful results
• avoid facing painful emotions, or having to change ourself
– even though acting on them ensures that we stay deprived.

IMAGE = Stress effects —->

As negativity drains our energy, the body’s defenses are lowered. (See: psycho-neuro-immunology)
• they contribute to eating disorders, from extremes of over-eating to a complete lack of appetite

• cause hyper-ventilation, faster & shallower breathing, lessening oxygen delivery with less nutrients getting to the whole system
• disrupt sleep, causing constant exhaustion, since many of us obsessively worry right before dropping off
• lead to excessive sweating, which removes blood flow to hands, making them cold & clammy
• contribute to the cause of some illnesses (along with diet, environment, genetics…), like auto-immune diseases, colitisCD illness, ulcers…. & shorten life by damaging the immune system.

• decrease activity in the brain’s temporal lobes, slowing down our ability to think & process info, & the cerebellum, causing poor memory, moodiness, depression

• increase & flatten heart rate, so that it has to work harder, less efficiently & over time can lead to heart disease
• increase muscle tension, leading to head, back aches & overall body pain
• make the body react chemically from fear, overworking the adrenal glands, which eventually get worn out