Passive Aggressives – Review for ACoAs (Part 2)

P-A person

– but you are (lucky you)!

PREVIOUS: Passive-Aggressive ACoAs (#1)

SITE:When your Defenses lead you into trouble

REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


REVIEW (cont)

2. WHO plays the game (Chart – slide #7)
a. P-As always look for & often find another person who is overtly angry / volatile* (V.) to play the game with – no fun being stuck with all that UN-expressed rage alone! (See: Inter-personal games, Eric Berne).  As adults, they desperately need to maintain their illusions of being perfect, in the faint hope of getting or keeping their parents’ approval, being taught that strong emotions are considered dirty, messy, dangerous – even murderous! This pattern of being P-A is another unhealthy way of copin4 stylesg with intense FoA – fear of abandonment

b. ✶ Volatiles need P-As (or their part, or the game wouldn’t work):
• it gives them an excuse for letting out some of their rage ‘legitimately’
• it’s much safer than aiming the rage at the real target – their family
• the rage makes them feel powerful, to cover vulnerability & emptiness
• Vs are used to being disappointed, too, and are equally unconsciously addicted to finding people they can act out their childhood ‘story’ with.  And P-As do continually disappoint! It’s their trade-mark, & it can be used to identify them.

Sooner or later, usually later, it is inevitable that Vs will get angry, raging, even nasty at P-As – out of legitimate, intense, longstanding frustration!
Of course: Vs have to stick around for this! They’re part of the game.

DIRTY POOL – P-As unconsciously, sometimes knowingly, always use ‘available’ Volatiles as their own personal pressure valve – as if getting the V. to explode with rage would relieve their own pent-up hostility. When Vs get angry, P-As get very self-righteous. They feel victimized & cry: “I haven’t DONE anything!  Why are you attacking me?”

• accuse Vs of being controlling, even though they set the V. up:
— to take care of them emotionally & practically
— to vent their anger/rage for them
— to make all the decisions in the relationship!

• make Vs the crazy or bad one (instead of themselves), of being abusive & unfair, of reacting to ‘nothing’. That way the Vs can be ‘the monster’ for pouring out that vile stuff (anger) which P-As are terrified in themselves.
Then they can continue to feel superior & ‘clean’, keeping their ‘good boy / good girl’ status. After all, P-As can point to being easy-going, never raising their voice, or letting out that ‘nasty‘ anger – right?

BUT that’s exactly the point – they don’t DO many things that are their responsibility, as well as not expressing their needs / wants.

When P-As make other people responsible for all the decisions they should be making Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 11.41.09 PMdo themselves, (even if they like the ones being made for them), they are neglecting to ‘show up’, hold up their end, be an equal partner or peer – ie. an adult.  P-As passively, stubbornly – yes angrily – demand to be taken care of! but never say what they actually want or need, because they don’t have permission

• THEN, if/when something goes wrong – when they don’t like the choices the V. made for them, or are disappointed with the outcome – they can blame the other person & continue to play the victim role

• AND P-As can say to the other person: “YOU’RE always making the decisions! YOU’RE so controlling!” (& unspoken: “I hate you”). Wow! How dishonest.
✶ BUT if the V. stops playing the game, the P-A may finally tip their hand – if only briefly – showing the true rage behind their mask

EXP: Mark (P-A) & Sandy (V.) meet at a classical concert & become art-loving, theater-going friends. Mark regularly says self-deprecating things that are clever & funny, & Sandy obliges by laughing.
After a few months Sandy becomes increasingly uncomfortable with her complicity in Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 12.04.49 AMMark’s self-hate. The next time he makes a crack about himself – she doesn’t laugh & is quiet.  He gets annoyed & indirectly insults her for not responding ‘correctly’.

Later he buys her a B/day gift which deeply offends her artistic & Christian values – an ugly-made Indian goddess statue – knowing her religious background! She can’t imagine his intention – but is outraged. She instantly blows up at him & gives the gift back. Naturally he’s hurt & angry – but doesn’t show it. Instead he mails her a scathing note – making her the ‘bad one’.  End of friendship! Sandy feels ashamed for blowing up but also relieved.

NEXT: Passive-Aggressive ACoAs, (Part 3)

Anger – Negative USES (Part 2)

anger at self 

PREVIOUS: Negative use of anger #1


SITE:  PFC & Mirror Neurons: The Arena of Shen & Hun?” (scroll way down) From Chinese medicine


NEGATIVE uses of Anger

Toward SELF
ISOLATION – being so angry at the way people are – disappointing, hurtful, thoughtless, unavailable…. (“The whole world sucks, so I’m not participating”)
FALSE POWER – that lets you think / feel like you’re in charge of Self, others & life in general, when you’re actually NOT
ATTENTION – a negative way to be seen, heard, respected, feared….

ATTACKING – display of anger used as a weapon, but not necessarily actually feeling angry : to intimidate, punish, destroy someone’s self-image, shock into submission

COERCION – use your position of power to dominate, force someone to back down, be quiet, do only what you want – against their will…. Bullies only win if they appear powerful AND the other side’s options are limited

• keep trying to get someone to change for you (be what you want / think you need)
• to mange or change how some else ‘feels’
• to get your own way about something, at another’s expense
• to make someone feel guilty so you don’t have to

DEFENSE against:
• being abandoned (“if I keep finding fault & being angry at you, I can leave first”)
• others’ emotions, which can trigger Es you don’t want to feel / also against someone’s FEAR, which makes you feel scared too
DEMEANING another to feel one-up or less vulnerable : make fun of, dismiss, degrade, insult, roll one’s eyes, shame, mimic….

DISTANCE: prevent others from getting too close, in general
• avoid  1-to-1 physical &/or emotional intimacy
• as false boundaries / walls to protect your vulnerable inner self
• to block someone trying to communication

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 4.11.54 PMDIVERSION / deflecting someone’s attention away from:
• a sensitive / painful topic
• information you wants to hide
• facts you don’t want to hear
• a situations you can’t handle or wants to escape
• a personal weakness or limitation

Getting away with inappropriate anger creates & then reinforces a false sense of entitlement, an illusory feeling of moral superiority that can be used to justify immoral actions, with the belief that the “end justifies the means” (bullying, collateral damage, domestic abuse, prejudice, purges, terrorism…)

MANIPULATION – keep people off-balance, even when not really angry,
• so you don’t have to do what they want, (but won’t admit it)
• can’t give them what they want (afraid to say NO)
• stop them from demanding something of you
• deflect their anger at you

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 4.11.43 PM• of your abusive/neglectful parents onto others OR
• projecting only negative outcomes into the future , about something you want or is important to you, but assume you won’t get
PUNISHMENT / revenge : as payback for real or imagined injury

• always starting a fight before leaving
• inappropriate way to separate, distance or leave (cover FoA)
• destroy other people’s boundaries (need for symbiosis)
• deny practical needs of another – so you don’t have to deal with or provide them
• ‘stop’ others expressing their (“Don’t cry!”) – so they don’t trigger your own vulnerability, or because you believe you have to fix them but don’t know how & don’t really want to!

INTERESTING: In Chinese medicine, Emotions are considered large movements of energy which override the Qi’s usual flow through the body’s channels.  The 5 movements of energy are: Anger, Fear, Grief, Joy, Meditation

ANGER energy gets pushed out in a jagged way, disturbing the Liver, whose job is to lift energy up to the Swood elementpirit, at the center of the SHENG cycle

• Used in Acupuncture, this cycle represents creativity, generation & production, each element feeding Qi to the one on its right, clockwise – creating that next one, as a mother creates a child. (Scroll to 5 element chart)  / ALSO: “Applying the 5 elements

: LIVER = Wood transforms (by burning) into HEART = Fire.
Wood is the Element of determination, anger & assertion. It produces the creative urge to achieve – which can turn to anger when frustrated. Wood-anger, expressed aggressively, can also come from not feeling in control of life events.

NEXT: New Template



PREVIOUS: Abuse of Children (#3)

SITE: “When Parents are too Toxic to Tolerate

• “What is Child Abuse & Neglect ?




DEF: A pattern of assaults &/or coercions in the family (physical, emotional, sexual), as well as economic duress – that an adult use against their intimate partner – to gain power & control in the relationship.
• It includes parents battering the child, exposing children to the adults harming each other or another sibling, as well as cruelty & inhumane acts against animals, in & out side the home.

It’s present in all socio-economic classes, cultures, & communities of faith. 2 out of 3 children who grow up with physical & other kinds of violence will either become a batterer or consistently mate with one

Domestic Violence and Child Abuse
DEF: Causing the suffering of another, indifference to the pain caused, even feeling pleasure in inflicting it. Can be direct (cruel comments, physical torture….) or indirect (any form of withholding). MORE….)
1st degree : intentionally cause a child under the age of eighteen “cruel or excessive physical or mental pain.”
2nd ° : only requires someone causes physical or mental pain by “criminal negligence” instead of any specific intent to cause harm
3rd ° : when a person is fighting or doing some other violent behavior – in the presence of a child

• Results are similar to ‘coldness’, but more severe. Children need to feel safe & loved to explore the world around them, to form healthy relationships. Treated cruelly by caretakers prevents their world from making sense – so the child’s social, emotional, & mental development are hindered & prolonged
a. Leaving children alone to fend for themselves. Both are NEGLECT (Part 1)
b. DEF:  “Separate or cut child off from normal social experiences (friends & family), resulting in extreme aloneness”.
This form of control is usually includes other forms of emotional & physical abuse:
🤍 done seductively (“I need you, you’re my special little boy / girl”)
🤍 or brutally (“Everyone knows how bad you are. No one else wants you”)

• insist Child C. study, practice, do chores…. excessively or to exhaustion
• lock in closet, in their room, in basement…(especially for long periods)
• OR lock C. out of the house, especially when quite young
• keep C. away from one parent or other family, if parents are separated
• prevent C. from having friends & participating in activities outside the home, while praising / rewarding C. for withdrawing from social contact
• make C. look & act differently from peers (weird or inappropriate clothes, not groomed….

• serves to keep the child attached to the caretaker – used as a companion, spouse substitute, punching bag &/or slave
• equally important, it keeps the child from telling others about their abuse
• limits child’s knowledge of the world & any healthy options it may have – depending on severity & duration
• prevents the child from forming its own identity
• keeps it dependent on the caretaker to the point of being afraid to interact socially, sometimes for the rest of its life.
Emotionally, the child is left confused, terrified, lonely, depressed & hopeless.
DEF: continually terrify a child/teen by threats & other intimidation, including any form of exposure to violence in the home, threatening to walk out forever…. locking child in closet, in their room, in basement…(for long periods),  OR lock child out of the house, especially when quite young…..

The end result is that the child experiences profound fear and is left to her/his own psychological imaginings. In strict-religion families (fundamentalist….), children can be terrorized by parents putting “the fear of God” in them, or threaten with the devil’s wrath, if they dont behave.

ALSO:  make extreme verbal threats to / or actually :
• abandon them (send them away or leave them behind)
• harm or destroy a favorite object or pet
• ‘promise’ to give a beating – later (but then forget)
• kick teen permanently out, disown them
• reveal intensely embarrassing traits to peers or other adults

INFO:  A 1995 phone survey, re. types of emotional abuse, showed that in the previous year 90% of families had used one or more forms of psychological aggression – toward a child by age 2. (Straus, Vol. 15)

NEXT: Victimizing ourselves (# 1)

Types of ABUSERS (Part 1)


they’re so hard to pin down!

PREVIOUS: Type pf Perps #1



SHORT FORM – Abusers are typically:
Charming, controlling, critical, emotionally disconnected, hypersensitive, jealous, inconsistent, insincerely ‘repentant’, manipulative, narcissistic, victim, vicious & cruel.

NOTE: Anyone who was damaged in childhood is capable of being a Perpetrator, sometimes. However, here the focus is on people who are abusive as a ‘life style’, consistently, long-term & with everyone – whether you’re aware of their behavior with others or not.
If YOU fall into one of these categories, you too will have been exposed to unhealthy behavior throughout childhood

Re. THEM (P = Perpetrator)
a. All abusers repeat what was done to them – in their own style – burned into their cortical pathways, a mirror image of their earliest Abandonment experiences

All abuse is an expression of the P’s Self-Hate & Pig Parent (Introject). S-H tries to protect against feeling Abandonment terror, expressed in the form of Character Defects (selfishness, lack of boundaries, dishonesty, gossiping, impatience, being judgmental, raging, immaturity….).

✶ Understanding this does NOT excuse or exonerate bad or cruel behavior in anyone, since each adult is responsible for their own actions. But keeping these facts (a. & b.) in mind reminds being abusedus that when someone acts out ‘at’ us, it tell us about them – not about us.

❣️ What is about us is how we respond, whether or not we stick around for it, & for how long.

Re. US (V = Victim)
✶ When observing or being subjected to bad behavior, we must NOT let the WIC’s damage (co-dependence) use our natural empathy & understanding toward the P to put up with their ‘crap’. ACoAs feeling sorry for others may seem like a kindness & empathy, but it only allows a P to get away with being harmful

• Not leaving the abuser is ‘taking care of’ their feelings, abdicating responsibility to ourselves. We always need to :
– balance understanding the source of the abuse (background)
– with our right to refuse being it’s victim (self-esteem)
Neither their rights nor their suffering are greater than ours!

• Often comes from a family with addictions. Can have multiple addictions themselves, either to a chemical, an activity, or both

• use their ‘drug of choice’ (agent) – daily, in binges or in cycles
• devote most of their time, money & Drunk Gossip focus to it – even when not using
• don’t want to discuss it, are very protective – lie about using it, how much & where
• won’t talk about the effect on themselves or others
• rarely get any kind of help to stop. May try a program or rehab, but keep slipping back, OR switch to another addiction

• People are secondary to their favorite agent – losing relationships, jobs & other important things when active
• have mood swings or changes in attitude with too much or too little of the agent, & have had / will have a host of physical & mental health problems
🧩 Their addiction & all consequences, cause others to feel shame, fear, worry & be in physical danger

• may have an unusual relationship (symbiotic, incestuous, co-dependent…) with mother, father or other parent figure
• can’t stand to be without you. Begs, cries, pleads, pouts, guilts you into changing your taste, needs & wants or any plans you have without them

• sees self as a victim, has had multiple relationships & other “discouragements” in life• you are their only focus – they have few, if any, close friends or outside needyinterests
• blames you for their vulnerability, while convincing you their neediness IS love

• wants constant assurance you still want them, not interested in other partners, & demands promises you won’t reject them
• threatens self-harm if you ever leave, & sometimes does

• sets you up to feel sorry for them, & puts self down, waiting for you to make them feel good – while never taking that in.
• won’t make decisions, is passive aggressive, blaming you if they don’t like choices you make for them

🧩 You end up feeling frustrated & suffocated when around them for too long

NEXT: Types of Abusers (Part 2)

ACoAs & Emotional Immaturity (Part 3)

putting things off  

no matter what it takes! 

PREVIOUS: Emotional Immaturity (# 2)

REMINDER: ACRONYM Page for abbrev.

QUOTE:  “Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love, the greater the jealousy. In fact, they are incompatible. One emotion hardly leaves room for the other.” Robert Heinlein

• are generally unreliable, often late, not doing what we say they’ll do, letting people down (with lots of ready excuses)
• regularly promise things we can’t or don’t want to do, so constantly disappoint
• our life is chaotic & impulsive, making us unpredictable & ‘difficult’
• only focus on our own gain or loss, so have a hard time with integrity

PS: The roles of Hero, Martyr or Co-dependent may make us seem ‘strong’ & responsible, but compulsive over-doing, placating, & people-pleasing are tstarving childo the detriment of self-care & the true needs & feelings of others!

Some symptoms are: Fear of abandonment (FoA), co-dependence & people-pleasing, (perhaps also extreme conservatism)
• fear, distrust, anger & anxiety are our basic emotional reactions to life
• acting as the Victim: always complaining or whining about something, or apathetic & numbed out. Focused on self-pity, waiting to be taken care of
• insecure, defensive, make snap judgments – covered up either by being totally self-effacing or puffing ourselves up all the time

• chronically expect some other person, place or thing to make life worth while (which becomes a burden to o2 catsthers), needing someone around all the time
• prone to intense attachments or enmeshments (symbiosis), continually dependent on someone else, when a reasonable amount of self-reliance should be present as an adult. This does not apply to temporary dependency caused by present-day trauma or major illness

• indecisive – not able to make simple choices or decisions and keep to them, from being too easily influenced, bullied or manipulated by others
• get angry when a significant other (as parent-substitute) expresses their own needs & wants, when different from our own
• need to please everyone, in exchange for safety & gratification doing ‘nice’ things for their own advantage, so are rarely emotionally honest
invest ourselves in any belief system or person who reinforces our own opinions (actually those of the WIC & PP), OR who promises rescue, salvation, status, or privilege

• addicted to adrenalin, drama & various forms of dangerstimulus hunger
• have poor impulse control, including an inability to delay gratification (“I want it now, now, now”- even Recovery!)
• demand instant results from ourselves & others, so have poor follow-thru. Our promising beginnings end in failure for lack of persistence, so our gifts & skills are often wasted
• have superficial values and are too concerned with trivia (appearance, social position, money & possessions, sexual desirability…)

• rely on others for care and protection, being superficial & thoughtless
• make bad choices, or none at all
• don’t own our part in bad situations, re. our problems with othersking-baby
• are convinced other people’s actions cause our lack of ability or poor performance
• don’t have a realistic view of ourselves, & can’t take in or use constructive criticism
• avoid or deny having financial, work & relationship problems
• can become defensive or antagonistic if others try to point out any part we played in our troubles

• experience the world as so threatening so hide our fear by subtly invalidating others (undermining), double talk, guilt, acting weak & incompetent, playing on other’s sympagrudge-holdingthy….
• highly self-absorbed, unsympathetic, passive-aggressive (covert hostility)
• hold onto unexpressed resentments, while our real intentions & behaviors are hostile: the con man, the gossip, the martyr, the two-face
• pretend to have emotional stability which is we don’t actually have
• not able to face reality as an adult, we tend to LIE quite often, as a defense mechanism, even about small things, especially when not necessary. We gradually forfeit the trust of friends, family, and co-workers

NEXT: Emotional Maturity – General

What is Self-Control ? (Part 2)


when I don’t follow the pack

PREVIOUS: Healthy Control (Part 1)

REVIEW posts: Letting go of being controlling



1. Q: What do most people think ‘Being IN control’ is about?
A:  That it’s ONLY about being able to take action, rather than freezing up or being indecisive. WHY?
Partly it’s our culture, which constantly tells us: “Just do it”, & partly it’s the alcoholic / narcissistic family that only focused on DOING, rather than Being or Feeling!

BUT not being able to act is just as much a lack of control as taking actions that are compulsive (not in our conscious control). They’re both driven by deep WIC anxiety that we’re not aware of or not in charge of modifying.
Out-of-control Doing
Willfully trying to befriend someone in a group who is oblight camera ACTIONviously ignoring you &/or clearly angry & volatile!

Out-of-control Not Doing – Staying, staying, staying, stuck in your chair – at a party where your alcoholic boyfriend is deliberately ignoring you while flirting with his ex! – you can’t bear to leave him behind with someone else.
Everyone sees what’s going on – making a fool of yourself by not leaving, but you’re paralyzed. While you can’t ignore one more indignity from him, the pain of betrayal & loss has triggered abandonment shock!

2. Q: What identifies “being OUT of control”? 
A: Most people will say it’s ‘loosing it’ – by expressing some intense emotion, like yelling (rage, frustration… ) or crying (pain, sadness…..)

By itself this is not loss of control. It depends – are you OK no matter where you are & how other people react? Have you chosen an appropriate place to let loose? (Outdoors vs a small public place indoors) At a meeting vs dumping on a child or mate?…..

The KEY to healthy control is (ta-da) you HAVING a CHOICE!

➼ It’s about knowing when to do or say something & when not to, as in “Know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em”.
• Sometimes it’s about taking a risk to act, on your behalf, for someone you love, or for the greater good. This type is not impulsive/ compulsive
• Sometimes it means being able to hold back, to wait, to be patient, to listen, to process, to plan. This type is not passivity or waiting to Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 5.35.47 PMbe rescued.
Either way – it’s always about choice. It is wisdom. It is self-esteem. It’s S & I.

• comes from our True Self, which includes the UNIT’ ego state (Healthy Adult + Loving Parent), allowing us to be comfortable in our skin. It’s NEVER about being perfect!
• requires a lowered level of anxiety, having gotten out a lot of our sorrow & rage
• is being in charge of our emotions, as well as – when, where & how we express them
• taking responsibility for our life choices, without self-hate, picking from available options the things that suit us
• built on having good boundaries, both in how we treat others & how we ‘let’ others treat us
• requires that our childhood rage level diminishes enough so we don’t need to take our hurt & desire for revenge out on others
• allows us to know what our needs are, permission to get them met, AND find ways to meet as many needs as possible, under the realistic circumstances of our specific personality & current life

It’s the opposite of Being Controlling – which comes from the WIC or the PP, fueled by deep & pervasive anxiety (old terror). It’s true that children in healthier famScreen Shot 2016-01-15 at 5.36.42 PMilies have limited control over their lives growing up, but sadly, ACoAs had almost none.
The way we tried – & still try – to have some (unhealthy) C. was/is by:
⚰︎ hiding out, withdrawing, isolating, being invisible
⚰︎ being a know-it-all, smarter that everyone, showing off….
⚰︎ withholding, giving the silent treatment, judging, manipulating
⚰︎ trying to make everything be how we want, no matter who we hurt
⚰︎ being rebellious, doing the opposite of what the adults  demanded
… BUT none of these are the real deal.

NEXT: Toxic Rules

‘Controlling’ & Abandonment (Part 2)


give me acid-reflux!

Previous: Controlling & A. (Part 1)

Review Posts: My Rights – Qs
 ACoAs & Having Rights



LONG-TERM Abandonment (A.) experiences, especially in childhood, inevitably creates intense fear & shame in children. Total dependence on caretakers make them very vulnerable, so too much deprivation will feel life-threatening, & in some cases it is!  As terror grows, so does the compulsion to control oneself & the environment grows – to feel a little less unsafe by not being at the mercy of others.

EMOTIONAL A.  Children have to hide the parts of themselves not considered acceptable by the family (from the “Laundry List”) – to not get rejected. We were told what we felt was not true or legitimate, so DON’T make mistakes, have needs, be successful, show emotions …
We heard:  “You don’t have anything to cry about so stop being such a baby , Stop crying or I’ll really give you something to cry about , That really didn’t hurt , You have no right to be angry”…

• Ignored or punished childhood PMES needs causes developmental damage, the same as nutritional deficiencies, like sailors in the past who developed scurvy (internal bleeding, connective tissues weakness & sudden death) from lack of vitamin C in their diets during long trips.

For ACoAs, this will eventually show up as fear of taking appropriate risks, lack of trust, fear of intimacy, not having a personal dream to follow, lack of healthy communication skills (how to talk to oneself kindly, how to make small talk, how to stand up for oneself), a weak sense of self…..

• Think of accumulated old A. pain (terror & rage) as acid, filling a deep well buried in our unconscious. We may not taste it all the time, but when it bubbles up it’s emotional heart-burn!  When someone or something bumps up against an unhealed wound in our psyche, the lid get blown off the reservoir, releasing a spurt of that old paScS-Hin (Like when – not getting a text back, a broken promise, being left out, accused wrongly or having to wait too long….)

OVER-CONTROLLED: main hidden emotion is SELF-HATE
Not allowed to ‘be all you can be’ in our family, the very essence of our being rejected & punished! Slowly we became controlling toward ourselves, thinking this would please themcontrolled

CONTROLLED: main visible Emotion is FEAR
Not ‘being in our power’ makes us terribly vulnerable to everyone & everything, so it’s easy to let ourselves be controlled, thinking we’ll be taken care of. All it gets us is more repression & damage

CONTROLLING: visible Emotion is ANGERcontrol freak
Not being internally ‘allowed’ to meet our needs pushes us to insist that others do it for us – any way we can – desperately trying to arrange our world to fit an ideal, so we’ll feel safer.  We become the ‘control freak we hate so much in others!

BLAMING: In the present ACoAs often accuse other adults of abandoning us when we feel hurt by some interaction or loss.  What we’re actually experiencing is the WIC’s unresolved old A. pain. The intensity is usually out of proportion to what’s actually happening. Naturally there are real-life situations that make us sad, frustrated, angry… but unless an event is extreme (death of a loved one, a life-threatening attack or illness, a fire…), most situations don’t warrant our level of reaction. “If it’s hysterical, it’s historical”

When others A. us: When someone we hungry to be with doesn’t respond right back – we get very angry. We feel as devastated as if they had threatened to take away our livelihood or our home, which are NOT = to being ignored or put off. Yet we get just as scared & blame ourselves, wanting to control them to stop the pain.

When we Abandon others: We also have great FoA when we aren’t perfect. Talking too much, asking questions, expressing strong emotions – or standing up for ourselves! – are NOT = to punching them, yet ACoAs can feel the same anxiety & self-hate as if we had!  So we over-explain, withdraw or grovel – to stave off being abused &/or left.

NEXT: Controlling & Abandonment (Part 3)

WHAT is SHAME? (Part 1)

I was born bad & I’ll always be bad

PREVIOUS: What is Guilt?


While guilt is mainly about negative actions,
SHAME is about our IDENTITY – about who we are, fundamentally.

🔹 It tells us that our very essence is bad, unlovable, unacceptable – to be eliminated. It makes us:
• want to hide, isolate, not talk, try to be invisible
• want to be dead! The pain of shame is so great & the conviction that we’re un-redeemable is so deep (not worth saving), that it eliminates Hope. Why bother even trying!
• OR we overcompensate – by acting superior, controlling, out-doing, knowing ‘everything’, never showing ‘weakness’ (grandiosity), shaming others…..

SHAME is connected to our NEEDs, rather than actions – specifically – each need we had as a child which was neglected, punished & made fun of.
Consider how many needs children have, & how many of them were met with abuse or not at all – you can imagine how huge our shame quotient is !!

BTW, most of us focus on the need for love, & while it is crucial, the need for safety is even more basic! We can’t begin to take in love, even when it’s available, if we’re terrified.

a. Being Ashamed – Children admire, even idealize their parents when they’re quite small. They need to do this to feel safe – to know they can rely on those people to be competent & available to them. It helps to compensate for the child’s extreme dependence & vulnerability.
✶ In reasonably healthy families, children gradually come to understand that their parents are human, fallible, imperfect – BUT still basically trustworthy & decent role models.

● But in dysfunctional families, one or more the adults act out their damage:
addictions, bitterness, constant criticism, cruelty, emotional withdrawal, depression, leaving & then never staying in touch, mental illness, neglect, not providing necessities, not staying groomed, not earning a living, putting each other & the kids in danger, verbal physical &/or sexual abuse ….

All of these & more, make children feel ashamed of their family (the chaos, the craziness, the cruelty) – & by extension themselves, as members of that group.
A sense of pride in themselves & their parents is eroded & shattered. This is devastating. That feeling is then carried, like a canker sore in our spirit, into adulthood.

b. Being Shamed – Children in damaged families are:
▪︎ teased & made fun of for many thing  (anger disguised with toxic humor)
▪︎ yelled at, attacked, harangued – often for nothing specific or obvious
▪︎ expected to know or do the impossible
▪︎ punished, yelled at, hit, humiliated – in public
▪︎ insulted about ones gender, looks, tastes, interests..
▪︎ pushed to do things when too young & then punished for ‘failing’
▪︎ treated unfairly, abused & then punished for crying, being upset or getting angry at the mistreatment

These & many other ways of shaming have been called soul murder. It represents parents’ lack of love & respect for themselves & so for their children, who stand in for their own Inner Child. Their dysfunctions negate / abuse the needs that all children have.
EXP: be paid attention to & heard, treated with respect, feel safe & loved, grow & learn at their own pace, find out who they are as individuals, know they can depend on their caretakers, look up to their parents, to LIVE, prosper & succeed….

EACH of these NEEDS became SHAMEFUL !
We conclude that if the adults hated these needs, then they’re bad (& us for still having them). So they must be suppressed, better yet – eliminated, no matter how deep & persistent they may be.

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 6.28.55 PMEXP: After hearing the 4th Step in Al-Anon (“Made a searching & fearless moral inventory of ourselves’), one member suddenly realized: ☁︎ his #1 toxic rule was: “I should be dead !”
☁︎ most shamed need was for love. “ I thought that was my greatest character defect!
After all, the constant message was that I wasn’t lovable  – so I must be a fool to keep wanting it – which I do, desperately!”

In Recovery he learned that this & all his needs were legitimate, universal & his RIGHT, & so he was able to reject the need to die, & start loving himself.
(The 12-Steps – comments & videos)

NEXT: Shame (Part 2)


 mean teacher

(since I never would!)

PREVIOUS: Abandonment Pain Now #3

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


Symbiosing, Controlling, Ignoring, Copying, Repressing other’s Emotions, Undervaluing, Idealizing

ACoAs are usually focused on how much we got abandoned, without realizing we’re just as prone to do that to others.
Not surprising, since everyone copies what they learned in childhood. We treat ourselves & others the way we were treated & the way we saw adults treat each other.
➼ Each style derives from a combination of :
• The original role models (parent, siblings & other relatives, teachers…..
• Our own native personality, forming the type of defenses we choose.
BTW – even tho’ we can’t technically abandon another adult, the term is being used here to express ‘not being there’ for someone else

CAUSE : Many ACoAs raised by controlling narcissists were trapped in the state of ‘one-ness’ with one or both parents. We may have felt safe & loved at first, but slowly were engulfed by the needs & demands of unhealthy adults.
As we grew & began developing our own personality, we were slapped down, cut off or rejected outright
The only option we had was to stay enmeshed, without the chance of developing ourselves fully.

RESULT: As adults we look for anyone we can mesh with, to prevent a terrifying sense of aloneness & abandonment carried over from childhood. Trying to connect with others this way is actually a form of abandoning them, because we’re not seeing them for who THEY are, only for what our needy WIC wants them to be – for us. (“Symbiosis“)

• Putting severe limits on what someone can & cannot do when they’re with us (what they wear, where they sit, how they talk, what emotions are OK…)
• Constantly telling someone how they should live their life or how they should be doing something (whether they asked or not)

NOTE: This is not the same as asserting appropriate boundaries regarding what works for you or what you don’t want to be around

• ALL controlling behavior represents our disowned fear accumulated from childhood on into the present
• Trying to micro-manage everything & everyone around us so we don’t have to feel hiding the messvulnerable, as in our unsafe & chaotic family, & later in bad jobs or bad relationships

• A defense mechanism designed to make us feel powerful & the world be predictable, by hiding our inner mess, trying to make everything exactly the way we want – SAFE.
As long as we refuse to or can’t deal with the underlying cause of this compulsion (& being controlling IS compulsive, fueled by intense anxiety) we won’t be able to stop

Regardless of the underlying reasons, this pattern is:
disrespectful to others!  We’re implying, consciously or not, that we don’t care about the effect our controlling has on the other person – we trample on their needs &/or wishes, because only our needs matter!
If we did care, we’d think twice about continuing

insulting. We believe they are too incompetent, weak & stupid to make their own choices or figure things out for themselves
arrogant. We’re convinced we know better than everyone else, about everything,  AND have the right to make others do what we want

✶ Of course, trying to be in control of others instead of ourselves – never works. Not only does it not alleviate our underlying terror, but makes others withdraw or be resentful & angry at us – so us feel even more unsafe & alone

HEALTHY “Separation & Individuation“)Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 6.34.14 PM
• Be willing to deal with our own damage, our accumulated pain & toxic patterns
• Acknowledge that each person has their own way of doing things & the right to make their own mistakes. We are NOT their Higher Power!

• ASK, ASK, ASK: what someone wants, what they need, how they feel, what works for them, what their taste is… We do not have to supply any of it IF we can’t, don’t want to or it’s not appropriate. Just keep in mind that others are separate from us, & that’s not bad – their differences do not negate who we are!

NEXT: ACoAs Abandoning others (#1b)