ACoAs & CONFUSION (Part 1)

state of CONFUSED

I just can’t get it right!

PREVIOUS: Gifted Children #4

SITE: Sometimes Confusion Is A Good Thing

DEF of Confusion (Cf) 
– Mentally disoriented. The inability to make decisions clearly & quickly
Cf occurs when another person’s Boundaries are vague, not easily understood, or in conflict with themselves

NOTE: These posts refer to Cf which is NOT caused by long-term severe mental illness or physical changes in the brain due to accident, aging, chemicals/ medication, drug use or illness.

Important distinction – confusion is always a cognitive (mental) NOT an emotional issue. It’s about whether or not we can think clearly, based on what’s going on in our head or how someone else is presenting information.

For ACoAs – overcoming life-long confusion is mainly about coming out of denial about our traumatic past. It includes identifying & correcting cognitive distortions (CDs) and toxic family beliefs, which lead to procrastination, self-doubt, perfectionism & self-hate!

To do that we need to know enough about ourselves AND how the world really functions – to not blindly follow what our unhealthy family taught us, or what the WIC has come to believe because of it.SCARF model

The opposite of confusion is Certainty, which is not the same as being rigid, dogmatic or opinionated.
Based on NLP, David Rock explains that there are 5 major goals of the human brain geared towards ‘maintaining’, ie. increasing positives & reducing negatives (the SCARF model): Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness & Fairness.  (MORE….)

• Executive Coach Ed Batista commented that certainty is a result of the brain’s effort to conserve energy, which comes from the limited capacity of the prefrontal cortex, the seat of executive function….

Human beings resist putting great mental effort into decision-making & impulse control because the body is preserving resources for a possible emergency in the next moment, & the same dynamic contributes to resisting uncertainty.” (CHART & info….)

Some causes of Mental / Psychological confusion
• Complex lifestyles – too much to do & not enough time, constant stress
confusion/stress• Denial – not wanting to admit & accept the way things really are (re. people, places, things), & so create a variety of defenses to mask the truth
• Dysfunctional interactions with others
• deliberately Distorted info – from media, politicians, advertising, cults, corporations …..
• Ignorance – trying to figure out something without enough or the correct info
• Grandiosity – trying to DO something without actually knowing how

• Major changes (Recovery process, new work, moving, divorce…..) without research, mentoring or other info, therefore being unprepared
• Misunderstanding & differences between countries, boss & workers, men & women, people speaking different languages….

• Overwhelming amounts of info from too many different sources (especially for Introverts)
• Transitions : those in-between times, from one inner state or outer situation to another, because we don’t know what to expect

Again, here we’re mainly concerned with the kind of confusion which comes from distorted ways people communicate with themselves or others, with words & body language, either unconsciously or deliberately.

When someone says “I feel confused”, they’re combining emotions & thoughts without expressing either one!
🔺What DO you feel – angry, happy…. ?  It sounds like they’re speaking about an emotion (I feel), but this ‘feel’ only refers to thinking . (See also “Feelings aren’t facts).

🔑 What are you confused ABOUT?  The phrase actually means they doesn’t know what to think about something (the jumble in my head, conflicting opposite needs or desires…. ) – often because of CDs, obsessions & Toxic Rules

• Someone can also be (mentally) confused when we have several or opposite emotions re. the same situation at the same time – happy/sad, lonely/excited…
🟢 Instead of either/or, think in terms of layers, coming from different levels of desire, experience, need or maturity…..

No one taught us (info = mental) that having ➕ / ➖ emotions together is not unusual, & will come from the same or different ego states.
EXP: Parent – loving someone while being angry with them
Adult – relieved someone’s gone away / Inner Child: (yet) missing them…..

🧩 Without knowing this, it may seem like a dilemma. However, feeling many differing emotions at once doesn’t need to be confusing, which only comes from negative beliefs, or having a limited awareness of human complexity.

NEXT: ACoAs & Confusion #2

ACoAs – “Being Negative” (Part 3)

sucks my air!!

PREVIOUS: Negative Thinking (#2)

SITE: “Depression & Letting go of Negative thoughts

YOU’re too negative IF YOU :
• are always complaining about things, even when it’s in a rational, logical-sounding way, “This —- is an interesting tidbit to mull over”
• constantly notice the flaws in things (people, activities, ideas)
• have a tough time seeing the bigger, overall positive picture
• get a secret pleasure being negative with someone else, or tearing something down
• see a flaw in something & just have to let everyone know, getting a little rush from being ‘right’ & superior
• think positive people are naive or fake, have low standards, easily impressed

YOU’re too negative WHEN:
• even a trivial flaw in something (good) will ruin it for you
• someone suggests an activity or product, & you’re too quick to point out why it won’t work or why it’s a bad idea
• things get under your skin & ‘have to’ rant about them to anyone who will listen
• others talk about the positive aspects of something – you just have to say, “Yeah, but…” pointing out its limitations or weaknesses
• something’s realistically going well, but you’ve got a dozen reasons why it’s dumb, no good, won’t turn our well, is impractical ….

NEGATIVE thinking can come from copying our family, a personality trait that gets over-expressed, or seen as a ‘useful’ trait. SOME onegativityf us:
• picked up a negative style from people we grew up with or around
• rely on negativity as a crutch in conversations. You wouldn’t know what to say if you weren’t complaining about or critiquing something

• romanticize negativity, thinking it’s being a deep, complicated, tortured soul
• often get worked up about things & then vent, because it feels great
• are a little too rational. Not in touch with your own emotions, & don’t realize negative comments are harmful to others

• think that getting others caught up in your personal troubles is a reliable way to seem ‘deep, serious….’reasons for NEG
• think you’re being ‘intellectual’ – as if pointing out flaws in everything (unsolicited, unprovoked) is a sign of perceptiveness, analytical ability & honed critical thinking skills

• associate negativity with having refined tastes, as if putting down ‘mediocre’ things would show how discerning you are
• assume being cynical & overly skeptical about life with being ‘in the know’ or aware of how the world really works
• may think it’s just your style of humor – a way to be a clever, observational comedian or commentator. NOT!

Negative Thinking (NT)
• Anyone reading this blog & other self-growth material, going to 12-step meetings & therapy – knows this category of NT is a core issue for ACoAs. It’s called self-hate (S-H) – powerful, deadly & tenacious! If our parents were unable to love us unconditionally OR not at all (no matter that they said), we concluded it was because we weren’t worth it.

✶ So, our WIC is sure that if the family didn’t make us feel wanted, safe & accepted, why would anyone else?
We think cruel things & say them to others about ourselves, while secretly being smug about being victimized by the whole universe! Playing the role of the victim allows us to not be responsible for our own life, in the present, while protecting the illusion of coming from a loving (or at least an ok) family.

2. re. Personal RELATIONSHIPS
NT (S-H) tells us we’ll NEVER:
• deserve love, validation, respect, peace, joy….
• even know what love is, even tho we have indeed loved (children, animals, mates, activities, careers, locations, certain foods / arts …)
• be liked (much less loved) by healthy ‘normal’ people
• be able to leave bad relationships because it would condemn us to being completely alone (forever)
• have the right to healthy, loving connections (family, friends, lovers…)
• have anything positive to offer others (personality, skills, experience..)
• have the right to look for & interact with accomplished people & other peers whom we could enjoy & benefit from
SEE “The 12 Worst Relationship Mindsets (based on CDs)

NEXT: “Being Negative (#4)

Double BINDS – Tools (Part 10)

THERE IS HELP AVAILABLE – all I have to do is use it!

PREVIOUS: Double Binds (Part 9)


😓 Remember the old Gershwin song “Someone To Watch Over Me”? Maybe no one ever did truly watch over you, so you didn’t learn to do it for yourself. NOW is a good time to start – by learning to be the Loving Parent you never had.

While we can’t stop being afraid of making changes in dealing with D.Binders, we can take some preemptive actions.
Before talking to / spending time with a difficult person, you can plan ahead to reinforce yourADULT& PARENT ego states, so that your WIC doesn’t take over when around them :
• get enough sleep the night before, & eat healthily
• take more time to get ready, leave enough time to travel, wear something comfortable
• call a safe person for support. Take a friend with you, if possible
• talk to you Inner Child before the ‘event’ to prepare him / her. Do the first half of book-ending
• remember – you are NOT the crazy one
• know that you cannot be perfect, because humans aren’t!
• do some rage work, if possible, to go with less pent-up rage & frustration
• pray for guidance & inner peace (see Part 12)

✦ It’s not you: You are not stupid or crazy. DBs are crazy-making, setting you up in a no-win situation by a damaged /abusive person or system
✦ Trust your gut: If you ‘feel’ something’s wrong, believe it! & if necessary – check it out with someone you trust

✦ Believe in yourself: Be aware of your own power to break free & the intelligence to get out of the dilemma, so you don’t slide into one of the co-dependent roles – Victim, Rescuing the S, or become a Perpetrator
✦ Question the statements: If what you’re being told is self-contradictory, AND you’re supposed to act on both, you know the whole communication is flawed & not to be honored

✦ Threat of or Real punishment: Be sure the person can do you actual harm. You may already have experienced how they react when you don’t fall in line with the craziness, & you survived.
INVENTORY: What form did it take? How did you cope? What was the outcome? What kind of actual power do they have over you in the present? Do they pay your bills, are they in charge of your employment ……?

If not then you definitely have the freedom to ignore the mental games they’re playing. If they do still have some control over your life, you can use suggestions in other posts

✦ Redefine punishment: Yes – the S may get angry & say mean things – but once you believe you’re a good person & you “know what I know” they’re not dangerous to your spirit.
To a child, all forms of abandonment on any PMES level feels intolerable (‘death’) . Besides physical abuse, it includes disapproval, verbal abuse, being ignored & deprived…. But you are no longer a child.

✦ Meet your own standards: Since all DB choices lead to punishment – if you must choose – give yourself permission to pick the side of the bind that fits your personality & circumstances, even if others around you don’t agree
✦ Change the focus: In some cases, you can successfully shift attention outside the double bind (DBs – Part 5b)

✦ Look for allies within the situation: Adults need to go elsewhere for approval, respect, kindness… since the S is not willing or able to provide these. In the medical example (DMs, Part 4b) maybe someone in the doctor’s office can encourage & validate you. Don’t let your fear & shame isolate you.

✦ Get external support: Look for people, groups & activities that help you feel strong, resilient & creative – so you can breathe!
Keep searching until you find outside witnesses or authorities who will believe you & understand the problem

✦ Walk away: It’s a big world AND you have options now.. Teach your WIC that you can get your needs met in abuse-free ways. Keep looking for them using your UNIT.  (MORE….)

NEXT: DBs  (#11) – Uses

Ego States – SUMMARY

e.s. summaryBOSSY, RATIONAL or FLAKY

Which E.S. do you present to the world?

PREVIOUS: Process – Recovery – #2

WATCH: On YouTube – TA, Ego-states 1, 2 & 3

SITEs: EgoGrams in couples counseling
EgoGrams” – Graphs of Professions
  Using the 5 ego states

EGO STATES: “The hypothesis that there are several different, coherent functions of the ego that find a parallel in brain structures are shown in the findings of neuro-anatomists & evolutionary psychologists, who refer to them as ‘mind modules’.

Mind modules are structures that specialize in certain functions such as attachment, emotions, empathy, language, movement….. Research has presented a great deal of corroborative material, especially where the are 3 major mind modules parallel the 3 ego states.

One ego state – the rational Adult – is a well-validated function that can be found in the human prefrontal lobe” (MORE….)

5 ego states

The Intelligent Heart (IH) schematic 🔽, developed by Dr. Frohlich, combines models by Freud, Jung & Berne, shows the underlying energy-flows similar to parts of NLP.
Included are our spiritual underpinnings, the essential energetic elements in all forms of communication. This is based on solid research data showing the psychological & neuro-physiological effects, given a spiritual perspective. (MORE…..)

HANDS represent the neurological functions of each side of the brain
Right hemisphere – corresponding to the left side of the body, provides the imagery, musical & artistic capacity.
ALSO higher consciousness & actual experienced spirituality
Left – in charge of the right side, provides structured & analytical thought processes, ie. mental concepts (the dogma).

1. Universal Wisdom of Love
It’s the personal experience of connecting to a Higher Power / Spiritual Source, either part of or separate from a Religion. The spiritual realm is the overall framework of life, uniting all things in the universe, putting our personal experiences in a bigger context, which allows us to broaden or change our perspective
(CHART & Story by Claude Steiner : Warm Fuzzies & Cold Pricklies

2a. Nurturing Parent (NP) – “Mother-Father energy channel“ which internalized positive parental messages (good Introjects), including those from other healthy figures (relatives, friends, teachers, neighbors…..). It provides nurturing to oneself & others, based on reality check from the R.A. (#4). “I can put myself in someone’s else’s shoes, while recognizing our differences” (Integration & Differentiation)

#1 & 2 CONNECT TO :
3a. The Inner Child (IC) – authentic Self, the essential Being within every person (regardless of one’s age) – our intuition, but requires constant reality checks to not turn into paranoid fantasies).
• a life affirming attitude towards self & others, & explores otherness
• the ability to sense the difference between love & hate
• the capacity for a  wide range of authentic Es (see post)
• curiosity & a fascination for whatever life has to offer
• a need to personally experience things, rather than follow others’ thoughts & rules

#1 also CONNECTS to :
4. Rational Adult (RA) – the capacity for logical thinking & decision-making, grounded in the present & can cooperate with others. Makes regular reality checks, knows when things make sense – or not, assumes available resources are for everyone’s benefit, & knows that together, people can achieve better results.
✦ Responsible for interfacing with the world to get our needs met AND interfering with the PigP’s connection to the AP 

2b. Pig Parent (PigP) – The Negative Introject, not always overt or verbalized. It’s OUR:
• self-persecuting, fear-based attitudes : “Mo one will ever want you, you’re stupid / ugly…. , you’re just like your mom / dad, all men are dangerous / weak…. ”.
• culturally formed prejudices, in-group/out-group thinking:”I have to be IN to belong”
• perceived / assumed need to assert power over others

3b. The Adapted Persona (AP) – starting at birth, conforming to actual or perceived reality, as an emotional survival mechanism.
• If healthy, it allows us to be ‘well-behaved’ in society
• If unhealthy (False Self) it makes us rationalize away traumatic experiences, or over-inflate our role in them, which impairs realistic appraisal of adult situations
• It included the conditioned responses to the PigP (internalized negative parental messages) : “If I sacrifice my True Self I’ll be acceptable. If I stay cute (childlike), they won’t expect to much. If I do everything right, they’ll finally approve of me…..”

NEXT: Ego States – Basics – #1

EGO STATES – Development & Trauma

for different situations

PREVIOUS: ES Basics (@2)

YouTubeTransactional Analysis, Ego-states 1-3


Ego States seem to develop from normal differentiation (separating general concepts into specific meaning – good vs bad….), the introjection of significant others, & a child’s reactions to trauma

According to Dan Siegel, E.S. can become fixed when a positive OR negative event is experienced repeatedly, or when a traumatic event is overwhelming. In general, they become parts of the Self, some by reacting to other people, some by internalizing them

a. Integration = Combining & incorporating previously unconnected ‘objects’ into one larger entity. Through this mental skill a child learns to group concepts together, such as combining Dog and Cat into a complex unit called ‘Animals’ //  Mother and Father becoming ‘Family’.

A healthy identity is made up of combining all conflicting reactions in Personality (needs, instincts & habits), gradually organized & then harmonized into a whole.
According to Jung, it’s the process by which the individual & collective unconscious are fused, which then becomes ‘maturity‘, & can help a person move past negative behavior patterns.

When conflicting ‘reaction tendencies’ are not resolved, the resulting internal stress will be expressed as unhealthy activity, but may be so disruptive it leads to dissociation, potentially even the disintegration of the Self into separate parts (More….)

b. Normal Differentiation = A separation of general concepts into specific meaning (opposite of Integration). Children slowly separate out their own identity from that of other family members – by having different opinions & values, while still being able to stay emotionally connected to them.
They learn to discriminate between what they like & don’t like, which become entire patterns useful for dealing with parents, teachers & playmates. Eventually it makes S & I possible. (More…..)

EXP: This mental skill helps us understand that one set of actions is appropriate during a sporting event but not at a business meeting.
If this separating process become excessive & self-defeating, it’s usually called ‘dissociation‘ – withdrawing from current reality

c. Introjection of significant others :
Children automatically accumulate groups of beliefs, emotions & behaviors from their caretakers. Some will be acceptable to their True Self, but for ACoAs, most will be harmful.
▻ If YES, the behaviors get included into their sense of identity (this is me)
▻ If NO (qualities of abusive / neglectful parents) the behavior ‘clusters’ become Inner Objects (not me) which have to be managed by creating defense mechanisms
d. Trauma
To survive overwhelming neglect, rejection & other kinds of abuse, children form internal E.S. which:
✎ end up in constant conflict (PP vs Natural Child… // PigP vs Healthy Adult //  WIC vs Natural Child…. ) OR
✎ get cut off from each other (dissociated) to save the child’s sanity

♥︎ Sadly, these choices prevent a feeling of security, & therefore the ability to extract & enjoy the best from the outside world

EXP: Healthy children can create a imaginary playmate, but eventually don’t need it, replacing it with real-life friends.
BUT a lonellonely childy, isolated child may cannibalize part of its True Self to produce such a ‘friend’, so the imaginary companion feels very real & is hard to give up. It would feel like killing a part of oneself – instead of getting re-integrated

💔 When such a child is forced to push aspects of the Self out of awareness because of conflict & environmental pressure :
☀︎ those disowned parts can eventually be channeled into Work/Career, Research, Creative expressions….. but the person will still be emotionally crippled
☀︎ but more often the result will be social awkwardness, isolation, procrastination, unfulfilled dreams
☀︎ & in a very few, this mutilation of the human soul can show up later in life in a different, more damaging form as multiple personalities. (“We, the Divided Self”, Watkins & Johnson, 1982).

Watkins & Watkins, at Montana U, worked with people who had deep inner conflicts between various ego states which make up the “family of self” – using behavioral, cognitive, analytic, or humanistic methods to create a kind of internal diplomacy.
Applying their “Ego-state therapy” showed that complex psycho-dynamic problems can be resolved in a relatively short time, compared to more analytic approaches. (More….)

NEXT: Ego States – Intro (#4)

EGO STATES – Basics (Part 1)

inner child
& I feel best when they get along!

PREVIOUS: Process, Recovery #2b

REVIEW: S & I – Healthy Individuation

• We’re all born with the potential for 3 basic personality components – Parent / Adult / Child (P.A.C.) which vary in size & importance. They show up early in life in immature form, & are supposed to keep developing throughout life.
They’re called ‘ego states’ – because whichever one we’re in at the moment we think of as ‘me’, our sense of identity (ego = Self). Each is internally ESs-Basic part 1consistent, having its own Thoughts, Emotions & Actions (TEA).

Experiences & activities from childhood become grouped into these ‘clusters’, also called the “Family of the Self” (NOT schizophrenia), which are neural pathways in the brain forged by chemical connections as a result of thinking, feeling or doing (TEA) the same thing over & over, year after year.
How well these internal parts get along among themselves – in order for the individual to function effectively – can vary greatly from person to person

These clusters contain our conscious beliefs, opinions, inner ‘voices’, attitudes… & include memories, roles, physical feelings & postures, mental rules….
They become our habitual way of responding toward ourself & the world, each cluster formed around some point of view or common ‘truth’, either healthy or not – depending on upbringing & native personality
Healthy =  P : “I protect” / A : “I get things done”/ C : “I play”

Unhealthy (P) may organize around rigid rules
“I have to rid the world of all wrong-doing / It’s my way or the highway”
Wounded (C) may base it’s sense of identity on —
“I have to be perfect to be loved / I have to hide all my needs”
Limited (A) may focus on self-importance
“I want everyone to be impressed // I have to do___ no matter what”

E.S. are conscious aspects of our psyche which we can shift in & out of – one minute acting like a kid, the next handling a problem in Adult mode…. Unlike 2 of Freud’s 3 states (superego & id), ego states are visible, making it possible to notice, value, work with & modify aspects of them, if desired. Even so, most people are not aware of having different states, much less which one they’re expressing at any given moment.

However, they can be noticed by others, just by listening to or watching how someone acts, even if they don’t know the terminology. Whichever E.S. is ‘on’ has its own reactions to events : “Boy, is he being a brat!”(C),  “You’re not the boss of me! “(PigP), “Yes, your suggestion is workable” (A)

🔴 General rule: Most people you deal with are either coming from their Wounded Child (WIC) or Negative Parent (PP) ego state

NORMAL – Childhood parts become integrated into a larger whole, with the Healthy Adult in charge. They work well together internally, partly because they include Adaptive Introjects of caring, supportive caretakers & teachers, as healthy role models.

This allows such people to function successfully in the world because they :
• act in appropriate, productive ways
• experience & manage a full range of Es
• have flexible rather than rigid thinking
• hold positive beliefs about Self & the world
• live in the present (instead of all in the past or all in the future)

HEALTHY ego states form in childhood in response to positive, affirming relationships within a family that’s loving & able to connect to the child in all 4 PMES ways (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual)

EXP of a mature internal dialogue
Healthy ADULT: “Hmmm, it’s Saturday. I want my place to look, feel & smell nice, so I’m going to clean today”
Playful younger CHILD: “NOOO, I want to play. I want to go to a movie with my friends & have fun!”

Loving PARENT: “I know little one, but the place is not in good shape right now, & you know how much better you feel here when it’s all clean & fresh.
We can do something you like tomorrow, & then we’ll have even more fun knowing we’re coming back to a nice clean home”
Older CHILD : “Ugh! I know you’re right & I won’t stop you, but you’d better keep your promise!”

NEXT: Ego States – basics (Part 2)

SYMBIOSIS & ACoAs (Part 2)

symbiotic trapIT’S SO HARD TO LET GO
I want to stay loyal to them!

PREVIOUS:  Symbiosis & ACoAs (part 1)

REVIEW: Ego States – Parent
Autonomy & Attachment” – opposite of symbiosis

SITE: Do you Love to be needed or Need to be loved?


Emotional Symbiosis (ES) is the damaged part of us that tries to make any important “other” a carbon copy of ourself, assuming it will make us feel safe & loved. But it doesn’t work.
Because our mother was not able to emotionally bond with us from birth on – it created the original Abandonment, underpinning all our dysfunctions. It left us with a desperation for that missing connection – at any cost to self or others – which healthy infant-symbiosis would have provided.

SYMBIOSIS is narcissistic, appropriate for an infant – but NOT for an adult. It’s an futile attempt to get maternal nurturing & to gain self-esteem thru adult relationships

• It’s frustratingly unsuccessful, even if someone is willing to co-dependently try, because we know at some very deep level that it’s not a legitimate way to connect

• We’re trying to force others to give us the mother-infant love we never got, demanding they give us permission to be on the planet — rather than being with us out of genuine affection & respect, as equals.
And, if they do agree to “help” us, they are doing it to feel needed, to fill a hole in themself, SO it’s not really about you!

Unfortunately, ES not only affects the individual family unit, but is usually passed down through the generations, always with a negative impact. Family enmeshment is a form of psychic incest, as inappropriate ego statescross-generational bonding.
Characteristics :
• children are caught in up the needs of parents, having to ignore their own
• communication is triangulated (party line)
• everyone is in each other’s business all the time
• everyone must conform to the party line – whatever that is in that family
• kids must stick to narrow Roles (Scapegoat, Hero….)
• have poor or no boundaries between the various members
• member are punished for any non-conformity or trying to be a separate individual, by constant badgering, outright attacks, the cold shoulder or banishment

IN THE PRESENT – in us or our parents
The compulsion to symbiose now comes mainly from the WIC ego state , held in place by its attachment to our internal negative Introject & external damaging parents – who were either overly-out of focusattached or unavailable for us.  The compulsion comes from NOT:
• having appropriate role models for healthy ways to relate
• having a strong healthy sense of one’s True identity
• feeling safe on ones own
• not having boundaries
• not knowing ‘who I really am’, with a deep fear of abandonment, causing intense self-hate, shame, guilt

ES is a way to not acknowledge absorbing the family line which implied or blatantly told us that we’re worthless & unlovable. Denying childhood abandonment is maintained in many ways – such as trying to prove we’re nothing like them – while at the same time repeating the very family drama we claim to be escaping. So we unconsciously choose the old familiar PPT (people, place & things) ! Freud’s ‘Repetition Compulsion’

A person who craves & demands ES has a limited capacity to be aware of, appreciate, respect & acknowledge the inner experience of another. They need everyone to agree with their point of view – about everything – & tend to put others down when they don’t.

Symbiotic Attachment IS:
• taking someone emotionally captive instead of having equal, healthy, inter-dependence with others (“Alcoholics – & other narcissists – don’t have relationships, they take hostages”)

• USING others to take care of us instead of being our own adult, to not have to do the deep emotional work that can heal our damage & free up the real us

• the need to insist everyone be a carbon copy of oneself (mirror image) to validate one’s shaky identity – actually the False Self. We don’t have permission to be REAL, so – if others are just like us – then we’re OK (allowed to live).  (MORE….includes examples)

NEXT: Symbiosis – Part 3


Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 12.05.31 AM 

I need you but you’re too close – I can’t breathe

Bs – Healthy Source ( #2)

REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

1. Normal Development – Stable Core (previous 2 posts)

2. ACoAs
Unfortunately, growing up – ACoAs did not originally have that all-important stable core to rely on, so weren’t able to form our own, because of:
• being overstimulated by chaos, emotional volatility & conflict
• being over-controlled, expected to be perfect, judged harshly
• not having role models for self-esteem & appropriate Bs
• not being loved & supported unconditionally

a. Wounded Adults
• Many un-recovered PARENTS are symbiotically enmeshed with their children, to cover their own FoA – ie. both the adults & the kids have similar immature mental drama & temperamental intensity, so they overlap each other, which is emotionally abandoning & terrifying for the children

• These parents function from their WIC’s ego state, so have:
— weak or no Adult & missing Loving Parent aspects
— weak or rigid boundaries, overlapping child’s feelings, as if the child were only an extension of themselves
— a narrow range of emotions available, w/ few nuances
— their focus was on their addictions, bad relationships, financial worries, depression, mental illness, relatives, sickness ….
— often changed the rules arbitrarily or made them unreachable, so no matter how hard we tried to obey, it was inevitably going to be wrong – & then we got attacked & punished! We could ‘never win’.
As kids, this kept us off-balance so we wouldn’t become independent (& eventually be ‘separate’), which requires being sure of oneself.

Al-Anon visual: the alcoholic has their arms around the bottle & the co-dependent has their arms around the alcoholic!
In these households, children are just pawns to be used & burdens to be neglected, ( Games Alcoholics Play’)

b. Limiting our Emotionsnegate Es
• In an alcoholic, narcissistic family, one or both parents limit or repress the type of emotional responses allowed the children, who are expected to act like adults, both mentally & emotionally, long before maturation.
ACoAs were blamed for not behaving ‘right’,  even thought we were not experienced yet in social etiquette or subtleties, didn’t have enough motor co-ordination, weren’t old enough to actually act like adults!….

EXP: Beth was a pretty little girl who grew up in church. On one occasion her mother was at the dais addressing a Ladies Group. Beth was left all alone in the front pew & expected to sit for 2 hours like a perfectly groomed doll. But she was a normal 4-year-old – bored, lonely & fidgeting. Her mother was annoyed at her child’s ‘misbehavior’, confident it would make her look bad.

She gave Beth ‘the look‘, who immediately froze – terrified – knowing the dire consequences of displeasing her mother, but quick obedience saved her this time.
For years afterward her mother proudly liked to tell how the group afterward complemented heron having such a well-behaved child. Sadly – neither the mother or anyone else ever had a clue of the intense terror that was generated that day!

• We learned very early that our emotions & behavior had global impact – they effected the ‘gods’ badly. Our parents let us know blackmailin various ways that we harmed them just by being ourselves (kids). EXP: A mother repeated remarked : “You’ll be the death of me yet!”

• Many ACoAs experienced being emotionally blackmailed controlled using fear, obligation or guiltOur parents’ narcissism & lack of boundaries made it easy for them to:
— treat us the same way they had been – the ‘kick the dog syndrome’, ie. passing on their rage at their parents’ neglect & abuse
— project their self-hate onto us – they couldn’t face that they were considered ‘bad’ children’ so they made us bad instead – to preserve their fragile self-image

EXPs: “If you loved me…. I made that just for you…. If you don’t do your chores, dad will get really mad at me….
BOOKs: “Emotional Blackmail”  & “Toxic Parents“~ Susan Forward

NEXT: ACoAs & Bs (Part 2)

WHAT JUST HAPPENED? – Intro (Part 2)

caught in their mess


in these messes with people!

PREVIOUS: “What just happened” (#1)


See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


PURPOSE of the INVENTORY (in Part 4)Screen Shot 2016-06-19 at 5.32.57 AM
We can use the Qs to strengthen our HEALTHY ADULT to be more in charge in the future, whatever the circumstances.
We can LEARN about:
1. OURSELVES – strengths, weaknesses, style, beliefs, needs, wishes…
a. conscious parts we ignore, don’t accept or deal with, parts we’re working on, need to pay more attention to, are OK with…
b. aspects that are hidden in the shadows which ‘force’ us to act out old fears & beliefs AND prevent us from shining our inner light

2. WHAT to expect – so we’re not shocked & reactive, every time.
ACoAs have a built-in ‘forgetter’ after experiencing a run-in with painful people & situations which mirror of our childhood trauma
a. In the present we bury the knowledge we could have gained from this encounter, & are then “taken by Screen Shot 2016-06-19 at 5.27.10 AMsurprise” for the umpteenth time when dealing with the same situation – again! as if it had never happened before

b. Even when encountering an unpleasant stranger, the interchange with them is often similar to others of that type, but we’re still surprised, not able to assert ourselves, shocked into muteness… OR over-react from the WIC’s old rage.

INTERCHANGES that hurt — 
a. but are not even remotely about us
EXP: Mona is an acupuncturist & is at a banquet honoring a prominent friend of hers. She starts talking to a man at her table & eventually they exchange business cards. He’s relatively friendly at first, but looking at her card, he becomes quite hostile, bad-mouthing her profession. She’s shocked & hurt.

Excusing herself, Mona moves to a distant table. After mulling it over for a while she goes back & asks him “What just happened?”. Slightly calmer, he tells about a very bad experience the only time he ever went to get acupuncture – when he almost became paralyzed from a cramp in his back & could hardly breathe. He didn’t apologize, but Mona was satisfied.

b. occur when we accidentally step on someone toes
EXP: Sandi gives Joe a CD of Edith Piaf for his B/day, knowing how much he loves her Screen Shot 2016-06-19 at 5.53.00 AMmusic. He’s thrilled & puts it on speaker. Sandi ‘hates’ Piaf (which he doesn’t know) & asks him to play it later. He wants to know why & she admits Piaf doesn’t suit her.

He feels hurt – as if it’s as an attack on his taste (taking things personally & being ‘over-sensitive’). Then he gets angry & attacks her for being insensitive & having no taste in music!
Sandi explains that Piaf’s voice & music are too painful to listen to, which has nothing to do with him or his taste! This only moderately mollifies him.

c. are actually meant as a positive, but are said ‘wrong’Screen Shot 2016-06-19 at 5.42.57 AM
EXP: While visiting a friend, Pat mentioned that she goes to her dentist on Sundays, since he didn’t work on the Sabbath. Her friend said “Only you could have found a dentist to see on Sundays!”  Pat was hurt & angry, but didn’t say anything for a week. It reminded her of being teased at home & in school.

After going thru the 30 Qs (Part 4), she called her friend. “Bobby, remember what you said last week about my dentist?”
-pause- “No”.
“You said…. & what I heard was that you were making fun of me, like – I’m so weird…”
-pause- “No, what I was saying was that I admired you for your cleverness…”
-pause-  “OH!. Well, thanks. But it would have been clearer if you’d said that!”

NEXT: “What Just Happened?” #3