ACoAs – ANXIETY & T.E.A. (Part 1)

T.E.A. chart


PREVIOUS: Fear of Responsibility (#5)




1. T.E.A. (Thoughts, Emotions, Actions)
Most people are not taught to distinguish between there 3 modalities. This causes much confusion in how we express ourselves, creating much miscommunication in our relationships.
While the 3 categories feed off of each other, they are not the same.

The most important thing to remember is that Thoughts & Actions can be changed &/or modified, but emotions just are. It is not healthy to try to control our emotions, while it is healthy & necessary to have a choice in what we say & do, depending on the situation we’re in.

THOUGHTs – always made up of a string of words.
thinking mindAll of us have running dialogues in our head much of the day, on the surface of our awareness, such as:
• planning what we‘re going to do or ‘should’ be doing

• reviewing what’s happened to us or what we did (pleasant or not)
• ‘dreaming’, wishing, imagining, designing projects……
• worrying, obsessing – often about things we can’t control

• ranting to ourselves about people who hurt us & things we hate
• thinking about things we’ve seen or read
• planning things we want to say, either personal or for work……
• what we’re thinking about under the surface, that’s out of our direct awareness. Some thoughts are deeply hidden, other accessible if we pay attention. This is what sitting quietly in ‘meditation’ is for – to hear the chatter in our head.
(Post:Using Think instead of Feel“)

EMOTIONs – see extensive posts
These are always ONE WORD things – happy, sad, angry, amused, lonely, scared, pleased, sexy, excited……(NOTE: if you say “I feel” immediately followed by a sentence – it’s not an emotion, but rather a thought – a string of words. EXP: “I feel like you don’t understand”)

: Getting to Emotions – Under & Over // ACoA Emotions re Painful Events // ACoAs – accepting & accessing Es // What is Emotional Abuse? // Over-controlling ourselves

ACTIONs – Any activity we DO, as well as things we DON’T do, that are helpful or harmful to ourselves & others

📌 An extension of this category – our behavior – is used as a defense mechanism, called “Acting out”, which can be defined as –
• Any compulsive (temporarily out of conscious control) ↵
action or non-action, which is ↵
• a way to externally express or demonstrate ↵
• painful emotions we’re not aware of at all (ongoing repression), or not experiencing at the time, about a particular situation we’re in or that we anticipate

: ♟ being late for OR blanking out on an appointment we didn’t realize is making us anxious
♟ starting an argument at the end of a nice evening, weekend (just before leaving the person or group)…. rather than feel the familiar old abandoned pain at the separation, no matter how temporary!

Posts:Actions: Healthy opposites // Noticing painful events // Negative reactions to painful events // Positive responses
 All ACoAs are fear based, whether our preferred defensive styanxietyle is to be :
• phobic (fearful, passive, victim, timid, anxious) OR
• counter-phobic (don’t consciously feel scared, & then keep doing dangerous things to ‘prove it’), a reaction to suppressed emotions from our abusive background or any other traumatic events in our life

❥ When was the last time you were struck by anxiety?
❥ How long did it last? What caused it?
❥ What did you do about it?
❥ OR is it with you all the time? & how do you cope?

Given our painful, chaotic, abusive early years – with very little comfort, explanations or guidance – we carry with us an enormous backlog of fear. This pile-up gets covered over & redirected, so we barely realize it’s there.
Once we’ve cut ourselves off from knowing the source of our fear, in many cases what we’re left with is anxiety – the free-floating painful flutter & tightness in our gut we don’t connect with anything in particular.

NEXT: T.E.A. & Anxiety (Part 2)

Enneagram – Type ‘DEFECTS’ (Part 3a)

defect part 3
it makes me feel hopeless

PREVIOUS: Enneagram ‘Defects’ (Part 2)

QUOTE: “ People are wonderful; people are difficult. The Enneagram helps us make sense of both” ~ Peter O’Hanrahan

EACH TYPE develops their 
own way of coping with life’s stressors, but not always helpful.  'defects' Part 3This chart shows how how each type’s WIC reacts to the lack of positive nurturing.
w = each Type has 2 wings – additional modifying characteristics – one number on either side, with one as a preference


TYPE 1 – The REFORMER  (also 9w1 & 2w1, somewhat)
FEAR: of being corrupt & “not good,” so they refuse to recognize their mistakes, & take even mild suggestions as criticism
INTERNAL Story: “I must always be perfect”

WEAKNESS : Get frustrated & angry when things or others don’t meet their high standards. Insist on being correct at the expense of connecting with others. Al-Anon asks: “Do you want to be right, or be happy?”

DEFENSIVE PATTERN: ‘Reaction Formation’ – an opposite or unrelated reaction to an authentic feeling – to avoid direct anger, & maintain the self-image of always being right

HIDE from others that  “I’m not as perfect as I appear to be.”
Anger & frustration in part comes from 1s being resentful for having flaws. They’re convinced that if they’re seen as less than perfect they’ll lose their position of the moral authority & arbiter of logicperfectionism

PROJECTION: Since 1s avoid their own anger & flaws, they project those onto others – who they see as critical & angry towards themselves.  In general, the world is considered careless, flawed, frivolous, imperfect, messy & wrong. They must clean it up, straighten everyone out to get them back on the road to perfection (to feel ‘safe’)

MANIPULATE by: constantly correct others, playing on others’ sense of guilt & inadequacy, insist others share their standards
Create CONFLICT by: being opinionated, critical /self-critical, impatient, irritable, judgmental, rigid, perfectionistic, sarcastic


TYPE 2  – The HELPER  (also 1w2 & 3w2, somewhat)
FEAR: of being unloved & unappreciated, so they play favorites, judging some people more worthy of their attention than others
INTERNAL Story: “I must always be connected”

WEAKNESS : Poor boundaries, helping others instead of self-care. Insist on exclusivity & ever more nearness

DEFENSIVE PATTERN: ‘Repression’ of personal needs & feelings to avoid looking needy (which they are), to maintain a self-image of being all-loving, & gain approval 

HIDE from others: “I’m not as caring as I appear to be.”
Pride prevents 2s from showing their needs, so they try to get them met indirectly, secretly. Believe that by being constantly helpful, others will automatically reciprocate – as if their good deeds are vouchers to be cashed in later. But others don’t know that’s the deal & so keep disappointing the 2helper

PROJECTION: Since 2s avoid their own needs, they project that out onto others, who are seen as cold, critical, heartless, indifferent, mean, prickly, selfish, withholding AND needing help.
So 2s think it’s their job to identify & empathize with the needs of others, then fit them, to make themselves indispensable

MANIPULATE by: mind-read what they think others need or want, & then provide it, un-asked
Create CONFLICT by: being clingy, flattering, ingratiating, insincere, people-pleasing, possessive, seductive, self-important, self-deceptive, worried


TYPE 3  – The ACHIEVER  (also 2w3 & 4w3, somewhat)
FEAR: of being worthless & unappreciated, so they create a too-good-to-be-true image & push to achieve, at any cost
INTERNAL Story: “I must always be outstanding”

WEAKNESS : Believe they must present an image of success, rather than express who they really are. Insist on career & social status over people

DEFENSIVE PATTERN: ‘Identification’ – to avoid failure & keep a self-image of flourishing, ignoring their True Self 

HIDE from others: “I’m not as together as I appear to be.”
Self-deception causes 3s wear a ‘I have it all together’ mask, as anything less would not meet their need to shine. They can’t face the possibility that others might seachievere them as a failure or incompetent

PROJECTION: 3s avoid failure & inefficiency, which are projected onto others, who are seen as being aimless, the source of all failures-inefficiency-ineptness, in danger of entropy, limited, losers, wall flowers, AND in need of assistance & guidance from the 3

MANIPULATE by: charming others, taking on / adapting to whatever image will work to keep up appearances
Create CONFLICT by: being “appropriate” instead of sincere, boastful, competitive, grandiose, overly-driven, self-promoting, taking advantage

NEXT: Type Defects (Part 3b)