ACoAs MANIPULATING Self & Others (Part 3a)

Manip chartPREVIOUS:
Manipulating ourselves (#2c)

SITE: Motivation & Manipulation (<—- Graph )

BOOK : “In Sheep’s Clothing”
~ Dr. Geo. Simon, PhD
Ways to deny personal accountability & manipulate others  (Extensive outline of book)


Most of us learned to manipulate (based on CDs) by watching/ living with manipulative parents & other family members, but some come by the skill naturally. All of us had to use it, one way or another, to cope with the painful, complicated environment we grew up in.

M. is a form of ‘acting out’ (Freudian def). Translation for ACoAs:
Compulsively taking actions or ‘forgetting’ to act, as a substitute for expressing painful emotions we have but don’t consciously feel

REASONS for manipulating others:
By now, having lived in the world for some decades, we’ve had the oenvypportunity to watch how others function, & envy their ability to get their needs met, while we feel stuck in the mud of our damage.
But we’ve also had many life experiences of our own – some even positive – so we DO know something about how to manage, but rarely if ever apply that info to ourselves – while using our extensive care-taking skills for others

This causes intense deprivation in PMES ways, since we are:
• Not allowed to have needs & not allowed to ask for anything
• Assume no one will ever provide for us if we ask directly, will be angry & punish us, the worst being Abandonment – withdrawing their connection to us
• Don’t have a right to give to ourselves (we think it’s arrogance)
• Believe we don’t know how to – not having seen it from role models & not taught directly

confusedThis leaves us confused, ‘starving’, desperate – so we resort to the default position of manipulating – to (GOALS):
• prevent others from having power over us
• cover up Self-Hate, Shame, Loneliness
• get needs met from others instead of from self
• show our contempt for everyone, especially authority
• make connections the only way we know how, to keep from getting abandoned – ever again (FoA)

FORMs of Manipulation
1. Direct / Overt (“Throwing others on the defensive”)
Bullies come in many guises, sometimes like a spiked hammer, sometimes like a Southern rose, sometimes covered in sheep’s clothing.
Each type has gathered an extensive repertoire of techniques used to gain power & to deny any accountability for their actions.

The Workplace Bullying Institute defines it as “repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators”

The overt style uses deliberate, intense confrontation – to verbal bullychallenge people’s personal legitimacy, validity of their ‘performance’, or the value of their point, issue or complaint.
The goal is to put others on the defensive, & nothing works better than intimidation. Tactics can be fired off so fast that they’re hard to identify or separate, & the slickest perpetrators use several tactics at once

Most ACoAs hide their aggressive side, sometimes from themselves, but definitely towards others, behind the many faces of co-dependence.
Sometimes it only comes out toward strangers, but more often toward their intimates – their mates, children & closest friends.
bylly typesBut the bully/sadist is there, created in response to the humiliation we suffered for so long – the greater the original abuse, the more intense is our sadist/bully.

In Recovery we can make friends with this aspect of ourselves by acknowledging that “It really was that bad!”, safely venting our rage, & never letting the bully/sadist act out on others or ourselves.

EXP: Drama is a sign of manipulation, used to bury the real issues (personal or relational) in a giant pile of noise.  Includes:
• taking over every conversation, taking up too much space
• knowing how to get their way & insisting on it
• yelling & screaming, threatening or doing physical harm
• not good at sharing – anything
• talking over someone, ignoring all types of boundaries
• pushing their point of view rather than asking questions
• always bragging & showing off, to make others feel small
• pushing their way ahead of others, like in line
• writing / texting attack messages, all verbal abuse
• escalating arguments, not ‘letting go’ ….

Add your own

NEXT: Manipulating (Part 3b)

ACoAs & LISTENING (Part 3)

listening to herYOU MEAN I HAVE TO
be happy for someone else?

PREVIOUS:  ACoAs & Listening (#2)

SITE: The SKILL of LISTENING  ** w/ EXP (Center for Parenting Education)

REVIEW posts : “Healthy Helping

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

QUOTE: “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen”~ Epictetus 

REMINDER: Accurate & compassionate listening means we don’t try to make the other person a carbon copy of us. Even if we strongly identify, listening is about THEM – where they’re at, what they’re feeling & thinking. Don’t talk about yourself too much. You are the listen-er, they are the listen-ee.

3. (AWhen someone wants you to listen to them AND it’s a practical issue (lack of funds, health or relationship problems…..) (in Part 2)

#3 VARIATION (re. actions)
(A) When someone wants you to listen to them AND asks you directly to tell them what to do
a. Naturally if you are sought out as a professional (doctor, decorator, coach, teacher, lawyer…) you’re paid to give your expert opinion & advice.
— However, for psychologists, psychotherapists…  the rules are different. The goal is more about mirroring, giving feedback (true listening), providing the client with options & helping them find what’s right for themselves.

For the rest of us who are not being paid, teach or heal, there are options.
• ASK if they want ‘advice’ OR information – not the same thing!

Advice is telling someone what you think they should do, be, feel, think based on yourself, not who they are! No matter how right or helpful the info is, it’s not listening.

Information is giving knowledge they may not have, including options, without an emotional valence attached. They can use it or not, as they wish We often tell people to DO things they’re already tried. Don’t waste their time or yours! Good listening is hard for ACoAs, but worth the effort!

i. When you know the listen-ee well, you probably know —
if they already know what to do – but in this case refuse. Don’t push
that they may know, but really do need some help implementing a solution.
Suggest someone else who is qualifies & willing, or if it doesn’t harm you, you can offer, but think twice before you do

— that they really don’t know. Then you can decide IF you want to give them info, or suggest where they can get it (on Google, from Al-Anon or AA,  some books you recommend….)

ii. If it’s someone you just met or don’t know well, start by asking some pertinent questions —
— What do they WANT from you? What are they really asking for & how much? See posts “Healthy Helping”. If you can get that far with them, the conversation may take a different turn than how it started

— What have they done about their problem / situation so far? & how have those things turned out? This saves time & energy suggesting things they’ve already covered.
• If they’ve tried a number of things which have all been disappointing, there may be absolutely nothing you can contribute. OR they didn’t try something useful because they didn’t know about it – so you can offer it

• IF their response to any suggestions is always a version of “Yes but… that won’t work / I can’t because….” then either you’re asking the wrong questions or they’re playing the “Yes, But” game from Games People Play, by Eric Berne.

In the latter case they don’t actually want an answer, they want to be parented AND be contrary, which is a child’s way of saying “You can’t control me.” It may be a version of “Come here-Go away“(posts).

With such a person, only try 2-3 times, then shut up. 😑

NEXT: What just Happened? – #1

Enneagram Type 4 – Flaws in us ALL

type 4


PREVIOUS: Type 3 flaws

Review explanation for each category in the INTRO post 
Associated Type is inside the ( )


Type 4 COWARDICE because of CDs (#6)
• re. rejection: Worry about & interpret events as rejecting you
• re. closeness: Think that if you get too close to someone they’ll find your intrinsic defects, be critical & leave
• re. affirmation: Think mainly about what’s wrong with you, & a reluctant to consider what’s just fine

Type 4 FLATTERY (#2)
• Comparing yourself negatively to others, making them so much better
• Act interested, make conversation, & pay attention to another when what you’re really rather leave
• Believe what other says about you, as if it were more real than what you actually know about yourself (honor someone else’s opinion over your own)

Type 4 LAZINESS / indolence (#9)
You can seem distracted even under normal times, especially when distressed
• Spend too much time & effort on how to express yourself so you’ll be understood, or not misunderstood, that you lose track of what you really meant to say
• Think that your most recent emotions are the realest, being too lazy to go deeper to find what’s underneath
• Think about how to shift your hurt onto others so you won’t feel quite so upset, without taking the time to consider what motivates this tactic, or what effect this has on yourself & others

Type 4 MOODINESS (melancholy & resulting separation) (#4)
• Think only about what you don’t have, instead of what you do have
• See yourself as fundamentally inferior to or less than other
• Recycle negative thoughts about yourself, other people & situation

Type 4 PLANNING (as compulsion) (#7)
• about how to avoid feeling deficient
• about how to prevent getting into situations that’ll trigsharingger your sense of being not being good-enough
• about how to directly fight situations that might cause you feeling inadequate

Type 4 RESENTMENT (#1)
• Obsess about what you’re missing, what’s wrong with you & others
• Wonder why others seem to have or get what they want, but not you
• Think about how reality comes up short compared to your internal dreams & ideas of how you want things can be

Type 4 STINGINESS (#7)
• with sharing qualities, accomplishments… that are very important to you: Think that if others have something of value, you need to have it too, & even wish the other person didn’t have it (greed/envy)

• with attention: Convinced you always need attention from others, & if someone else is getting it instead, you have to either attract more focus on yourself or diminish the other person in some way
• with self-affirmations: Think mainly about what’s deficient in yourself, rather than your excellent qualities

Type 4 VANITY (#3)
• Think you’re superior to others because you’re ‘deeper’, more sophisticated, or more in touch with a higher reality
• Believe you have a more advanced capacity for understanding emotions, symbols & esoterica than everyone else
• Think that ‘authentic relating’ is the absolute best way of interacting & that you’re the best at it

Type 4 VENGEANCE (#8)
What sets you off is thinking someone has –
• ignored, slighted or demeaned you in any way
• implicitly compared you to another to make you “less than”
• misunderstood or violated your values

decide that person is a ‘perpetrator abusing innocent victims’
• convinced they have an over-inflated sense of self
• think of all the ways to bring that person “down to size”
GROWTH:  Ask “Am I displaying my objectivity and emotional balance?”
Too close – you’re can only see what’s right in front of you instead of the bigger picture
Lesson: We can take things too personally, focus on unimportant details & our reactions to everything, so we miss other info that would let us be objective

Hold on to: • to being different from everyone
• feeling constantly slighted
• identify with our shifting emotional states
• long for an idyllic “dream-world” where everyone feels the deepest sense of beauty & inter-connectivity

to maintain ‘your sense of self as the person who’ is different & unique from others because you’ve chosen to be that way, which lets you feel in control of a sense of existential deficiency
Let go of: the belief that there’s something wrong with you which is not wrong with others

Type 4 get OFF-BALANCE by:
• having intense, shifting emotions & not understanding them
• feeling rejected by anyone, but particularly someone you care about
• wanting to manifest you dreams, but not knowing how

Type 4 MAYA (delusion) Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 12.00.37 AM
Think that being so in touch with your feelings, & pondering them with such great intensity – it makes them real, when in fact the emotions you ‘explore & express’ are neither your deepest nor the most real

Type 4 WORRY
“Why do I feel so continuously hurt? Why did he/she/they act that way toward me? What’s wrong with me? Why do they keep doing those things to me? I must be doing something wrong, but what is it? Why don’t they understand me?”

NEXT: Ennea Flaws Type 5

Anger – CATEGORIES : Disappointed, Displaced (#7)

reddish a.b.IT’S JUST NOT FAIR!
that I can’t do whatever I want!

PREVIOUS: Anger Categories (Part 5)



REALISTIC: This comes up when things are out of our control, such as when:disappointed girl
• a promise made to us is broken (we don’t get the raise)
• a hope is dashed (rain on the day we planned a picnic)
• there’s endless delay in reaching an important goal or need
• when something we looked forward to turns out not to be as good, attractive or satisfactory as expected…..

If things like these happen too often, from people or situations we depend on, we can become very depressed &/or angry. As children – many of us were stuck with continually disappointing parents, so we’re more sensitive to even slight losses now. Unfortunately, ACoAs with this background tend to find & stay with PPT which repeat this patterns, instead of walking away & looking for more reliable options

UNREALISTIC: This anger comes from an unmet expectation or wish:
which was verbalized but not agreed to (person A says WE are going to DO or not do something, but person/group B is silent, which leads A to assume they agree, when B actually doesn’t. So they don’t do what A expected or it’s sabotaged in some way

which was never verbalized & therefore not agreed to  EXP: Maria pictures & plans for a romantic event, assuming that Juan will fulfill the fantasy – without having any idea what she’s hoping for! So he doesn’t do anything, because he’s not normally romantic, & legitimately not a mind-reader. That makes her very angry – at him – instead of taking responsibility for not asking

PRESUMING : Unrealistic disappointment-anger can come from making judgments or assuming rules about how things should be done or not done, that are not met by a specific person or group we’re involved in. Judgments come —Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 7.59.49 PM
from a sense of moral superiority, as if we know what’s best for someone else (“No daughter of mine will even marry a ___ / Of course you’ll be better off going to that ___ / Our family only votes ____”)

from a need follow “the Rules”, by controlling our environment so we can feel safer (“Al-Anon meetings should always be helpful / the speaker should stick to the topic / the chairs should be in a circle ….”).
Either way, it causes trouble for everyone.

UNHEALTHY: In the classic victimizer-victim “kick-the-dog” cycle, we take out anger we have toward one person/situation ON TO a weaker or easier target that happens to be available, so that an innocent person or animal gets hurt.
The substitute-target will have no idea why they’re being picked on / yelled at / punished….. just left dazed, confused & hurt. They bear the brunt of someone’s displaced anger, as a scapegoat, & their relationship with the perpetrator will be damaged, specially if it’s often repeated

This type of anger may not always be overtly aimed at a specific PPT, but can show up as anxiety, being uncooperative, crankiness, depression, isolation, prejudice……
We react this way when we don’t admit we’re actually angry, since :
√ we’re not internally allowed to recognize what hurts us (whatever made us angry)
√ we still think we’re powerless to change a bad situation
√ we’re too afraid to assert ourselves to the person we’re angry at
√ the object of our anger is realistically too dangerous to confront

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 8.07.07 PMHEALTHIER: When we genuinely can not change a situation we’re in that leaves us frustrated, drained & angry – but we choose to stay in it or can not alter (caring for a sick & dying parent, needing the survival job, a chronic injury or illness…..).

‘Blocked” anger-energy can be redirected  :
• vent it privately, in a safe way (pound, draw, write…..)
• break objects we don’t need (tin cans, old newspapers….)
• strenuous exercise / using a punching bag….
• re-channel the anger-energy into productive activity (something artistic, sports, helping the under-privileged….), where we can feel successful & effective.

NEXT: Anger Categories (Part 7)

Being CONFIDENT (Part 4)

bounce backI KNOW WHO I AM
& it’s OK to not be perfect

PREVIOUS: Being Confident, Part 3

SITE: Line of confidence” chart, to help businesses & families

QUOTES: “The more you love your decisions, the less you need other to love them too.” Anon
“I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” Carl Jung

REMINDER: Do NOT let yourself get overwhelmed by this 6-part list. It’s meant to be a guide, qualities to work towards. Looking at the cup half full – or more – notice & then acknowledge when you have expressed a little of any one of these in your daily life. Then give yourself a pat on the back, & remind your Inner Child of your progress!

CONFIDENT People (cont):
like to learn, & try new things. They’re eager to find out about a verity of cultures, ideas, locations & ways of doing things. With an open mind, they gather wide knowledge, as well as have strong personal opinions about things that are important to them. They’re genuinely interested in what others think, & listen attentively. They know a lot, but realize there’s always more to learn. Trying new things encourages personal growth & opportunities to connect with otherscareful listening

listen much more than they speak. One study found that over 80% of confident people don’t talk randomly, nor a great deal. In most cases they’d rather listen, but when it’s their turn, they talk easily & boldly.
While they’re comfortable expressing themselves, they know when to be quiet. Because they’re not driven by deep anxiety, they can let others shine – or be wrong – without jumping in

☼ They’re not shy about sharing their knowledge, but don’t need to show off or preach. They already know what they think, so want to know where others are coming from.

They understand that most people like to talk about themselves, so it’s OK to give others the opportunity. They tend to ask open-ended questions that gives someone a chance to be introspective & to be ‘seen’, such as: “What do you do, how do you do it, what do you like about it, what have you learned from it…. ?”

are driven to improve themselves. They take the time to be introspective, evaluate their actions, own weaknesses, process any leftover childhood damage, & always look to the future.

They relish searching for & finding out how things work, what they can do to improve themself & their performance – in all area of life – willing to outgrow bad habits that hinder their progress

• are supportive, but don’t interfere. They put other people at ease, giving them honest support & encouragement when called for. They see the positive qualities in others, & let others know what they admire – without jealousy or bitterness – creating long-lasting healthy relationships.
AND, they stay out of people’s way when they can’t be of help or are not needed, instead of having to put their two cents in

don’t mind making mistakes. They can admit in any circumstance that they don’t have all the answers. Not worried about being wrong, they can graciously accept & admit it when they are. They bounce back from errors, using it as an opportunity to learn about what’s correct or what works best.
Even the most confident people have some insecurities. They’ve learned that life is full of ups & downs, & that feeling insecure may depend on where they are, who they’re with, their health, good or bad events…. but it doesn’t last.

recognize mistakes & setbacks are learning opportunities. They don’t berate themselves for errors in action or judgment, realizing that every mistake is an opportunity to find out more about their likes & dislikes, who other people are, what’s possible or not in the world. They just figure out ways to be more successful next time. Seeing errors or setbacks in this way shifts ones thinking, creating more confidence (reframing).

NEXT: Confident People (Part 5)

ACoAs: OVER-Controlling Ourselves (Part 5)

never the bride!”

PREVIOUS: Over-Controlling Ourselves -#4

SITE: So What Is “Self Care”?


HOW we Over-Control (O-C) ourselves (cont)
a. DEFENSES (Part 4)

b. SELF-HATE – controls us, also as a defense mechanism, TO:
• keep ourself in line (harsh discipline), instead of taking charge of our thoughts & actions (healthy control) via a mature ego state

Young man: “I’m not supposed to look at or covet other women because I’m married – but I do anyway – which means I’m bad.
I figure that if I’m strict about beating myself up, I’ll stop being bad”.  It many work temporarily but doesn’t last, creating a vicious cycle

stave off (assumed) inevitable abandonment
Young woman: “I just met a potential partner / boss / friend… & I’m already thinking – I know I’m going to fuck it up”. So she won’t let symbiosisanyone get too close, depriving herself of new experiences & possible benefits

• stay symbiotically attached to the Introjects (no S & I)
Teen: “I don’t care about keeping my room neat, even though I’d like it, because Mom is horrified that I’m not compulsively clean like her.
She calls me a pig, saying: ‘You could lay down next to dirt and sleep!’- which to her is the greatest possible insult. So if I’m a pig, I might as well act like one!”

IRONY: As much as the teen (or Adult-Child) is rebellious or hates the family, we stubbornly hang on, because to let go would mean facing the world unprepared!

1. Unsupported
By O-C ourselves, we’re always suspicious of anyone wanting to be kind, encouraging & helpful, so WE:
• isolate from the mainstream of society, which keeps us from finding out what kind of support systems are available, OR refuse to make use of them when we do know

• unconsciously prevent ourselves from attracting people who have the capacity to be nurturing &/or nourishing. Instead we choose or let ourselves be chosen by narcissists & abusers, wolves that are sometimes disguised in sheep’s clothing
iso;ation• reject legitimate offers of nurturing or help, finding it painful when complemented or lauded. This is predictable as long as the WIC is allowed to make our relationship choices – which will inevitably duplicate our family

2. Illusions

We were greatly disappointment in our parents when we were too young to handle it. Being in constant emotional pain, as kid we create an inner world of fantasy – having an ideal life, with a loving family & never any frustrations!

• As adults this fantasy life can turn INTO various illusions, such as:
— looking for the ideal partner, friend, teacher, boss…. so we’ll finally feel safe & get our needs met. Anything less than that is unthinkable. When we are inevitably let down, we get very angry that they don’t live up to our expectations – which leaves us feeling hopeless!
— being convinced that everyone else is having the happy life we’re not, even strangers on the street, especially if we see them with a partner, children, clothes, cars…. that we wish we had.

We know how bad we feel inside, & assume everyone can actually see how worthless we are – & that’s why they ‘stay away from us’.
We look at the glossy surface & think that’s the whole story, O-C (repressing) our ability to see ourselves & others as having several dimensions.  BUT everyone has problems, no matter how their outsides look!

• ACoAs are encouraged to maintain illusions because:
— media & culture pushes surface images as reality, when they’re not
— emotionally we’re in child-mode, & little kids are very literal, concrete (what you see is what you get)
— our family taught us to deny & ignore what’s inside – the deeper truths of intuition, whether emotional, mental or Spiritual.

In many dysfunctional homes what mattered was how good everything looked on the outside.
👺So we created a facade too, a False Self, the only option we had at the time – BY rejecting or over-controlling our basic human needs!

NEXT: Over-controlling Ourselves (Part 5)