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.

*    *    *    *    *    *
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

Ego States – PARENT (Part 5) Modes

adult choices 

from a positive or negative Parent voice

PREVIOUS: Parent E.S. – Part 4

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


NOTE : The Adult ES is our Executive branch, & most beneficial as a person’s guiding force. It can either be the healthy or unhealthy part of someone, with good or bad motives, with good or bad consequences.

EXP: The Adult is in charge whether one is planning a new town on a drawing board, or planning to rob a bank. Both require logic, reason, critical thinking faculties, planning skills….. Review ‘OK Corral’ (Adult E.S., Part 3)

This chart ⬇️ shows the Parent aspects. (See CHILD ES version)

1. UNHEALTHY PES says: “You’re Not OK” to self & others
a. Negative CRITICAL / Controlling P. is punitive & insensitive. Gives abusive, degrading criticism, to overemphasize being in control – using fear, suspicion & distrust: “How stupid can you be”….
For ACoAs :
• Outward – often expressed towards others as prejudice & disapproval
• Inward – continues to influence the Inner Child in the form of S-H
Parent Mode
EXP: It’s the person who sees an injured dog in the street, & says: ‘All dogs should be kept on leads, not allowed to roam free’ – & so does nothing to help

b. Negative ‘NURTURING P. is over-protective or engulfing, giving physical attention in order to control or manipulate others. May smother with concern, denying people the opportunity to develop their own skills.
Help is given from a self-serving attitude which discounts the other person’s actual needs, as well as their autonomy & competence

The Negative Parent (PigP) is ‘on’ when we’re:
Physical – frowning, crossed arms, finger-pointing, angry or impatient body-language & expressions, superiority gestures…..
Verbal – using a condescending tone, judgmental & critical words, patronizing or posturing language :
“This is how you should — //  under no circumstances — //  you should always — //  never do — //  for once in your life — // you shouldn’t — //  how dare you —  // don’t do as I do, do as I say…”

Keep in mind that cultural differences in body-language or tonal emphases that may seem ‘Parental’ in one culture may not be the speaker’s intention in another.

2. HEALTHY PES says: “You’re OKto self & others
Since the following aspects are either missing or weak in most ACoAs – especialgood parent voicely toward ourself – developing & encouraging the Good / Loving Parent voice is a critical (no pun intended) & fundamental requirement for our growth

🌺 For US: It’s used to self-sooth, help the WIC with any form of emotional distress, letting the Child (C.) know it’s never alone.
It is also the part that encourages, cheers & champions the Healthy / Natural C. to “be all you were meant to & can BE”! It draws from our own native capacity for kindness, as well as any experiences of being cared for, by anyone, but especially in childhood. (This is – or can form –  our Positive Introject)

✿ For OTHERS: It’s the source of kindness, respect & help we give others, coming from a genuine regard for them as fellow-travelers on this earth. It allows us to give-&-take appropriate physical affection, such as a gentle hug or touch when desired
EXP: It’s the person who lovingly picks up that dog, who got injured by a car while crossing the road, & takes it to the vet

Positive CRITICAL / Controlling P. (needed!) 
🌺 For US: It’s used to set boundaries for oneself, providing self-control – limiting the Child’s excessive wants, demands, distorted thinking, inappropriate behavior such as unhealthy or unsafe acting out ….  It’s the way a good parent holds a child back from running across the street, limits unhealthy foods, sets curfews…. the Pos. Controlling P. helps us stay out of or leave dangerous or unsuitable people / situations…..

✿ For OTHERS:  Instructions & commands are aimed at genuinely encouraging someone’s well-being. Constructive criticism is used to protect & steer away from harm or potential danger : “You might want to consider — //  I encourage you to stay away from the — //  be careful when you — // I recommend that you…..

:  Parent ES #6

NEGATIVE BENEFITS of Old Patterns (Part 1)

I’d rather be miserable than face that pain!

PREVIOUS: “They did the best they could”

SITE: 10 Worst Habits for Mental  Health

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

Negative Benefits (NB) is a new concept for many people. A web search found nothing about this important idea.  When clients are asked what they get out of continuing a harmful behavior or thought pattern, they usually say “I don’t get anything out of it – it’s just what I know, a habit”.  They’re indignant that they’re even asked.  They only hear the word ‘benefit’ & can’t imagine that anything self-destructive can have a reward!

• Familiarity & habit are not the only reasons destructive patterns persist. The deeper truth is that we DO get something from hanging on to those old ways of acting & thinking – they’re a form of protection (defense mechanisms) against facing childhood issues that feel too terrifying to deal with.

So yes, they provide us with Negative Benefits. In reality the ‘protection’ they seem to offer comes at a high price – in grief, in more abandonment, shame, self-hate, loneliness, ill-health, bad relationships, depression, lost opportunities…. yet we protect them with our life, literally, until we do enodefensesugh FoO work to not need them – as much.
SO – to understand what Negative Benefits (NB) are, we have to start with:

These are unconscious human psychological strategies our mind develops to protect us from having to deal with painful traumatic realities we can’t handle.
They’re also used to maintain our self-image – a mental picture of ourself we can live with, in the face of inner conflicts – between what we think we are & what we wish we were.

• Everyone needs defenses to manage. However, when we experience long-term stress as children our defenses become rigid armor & walls, which are hard to penetrate & hard to dissolve. They’re expressed in the form of Character Defects – self-defeating behavior patterns which can be seen as forms of Self-hate, SUCH AS:
😱 abusive behavior, being controlling, closed-minded, co-dependent, dishonest, isolating, negative thinking / pessimism, narcissism, perfectionism, prejudice, resentment, rationalizing, selfishness, self-justification…..(Immature)

These T.E.A. patterns sustain our denial by protecting against old pain:
— (E)motional: our abandonment terror, deadly loneliness, murderous rage, profound hopelessness, terrible longing for the impossible….
— (TMental: a deep-level KNOWING that they weren’t there for us, &/or tortured & neglected us, which was potentially lethal & which the WIC still believes can destroy it.
So, no matter how self-destructive or lala a defensive pattern is – we will do almost anything to hold on to it – even in Recovery – because:

a. the WIC is in charge of our inner life, until we develop the UNIT, the Healthy & Loving Inner Parent with must replace the PP’s bad voice ( Introject)

b. AND, the kid is beyond-convinced that our long-time defenses are not as life-threateningly dangerous (bad for us) as what’s underneath, hidden in our unconscious

• REVIEW: dysfunctional patterns ‘protect’ us from facing what we consider unbearable knowledge (T) & terrifying emotions (E) from the past, as well as having to deal realistically with functioning (A) in the present. They represent Freud’s ‘Repetition Compulsion’, which is so evident in the lives of most ACoAs. Yes, the pain accumulated from childhood is bad, but not dealing with it cripples or kills us in so many PtraumaMES ways

➼ In simplest terms, the main reasons we hang on to the old ways with both fists, as if it were a life-preserver is:
1. because our brain has been programmed from birth, & those grooves (neural pathways) are very deep. It takes LOTS of knowledge, repetition, perseverance & patience to make new, stable grooves
2. since our WIC believes it needs the psychological negative benefits to survive – it will take a lot of time & effort to develop the new UNIT that can take over the reins from the WIC & PP.

NEXT: Negative Benefits EXAMPLES (Part 2)