Mental Health DON’Ts – Emotional (Part 1b)

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is easy – and fun!


SITE: Physiology and Biology of Mental Toughness


REMINDER: To be Mentally/ Emotionally well we need to develop the Healthy Adult & Loving Parent (UNIT). What the “Don’ts” represent are characteristics of our damage, run by our WIC (Damaged Child) & PP  (Introject) – but can be corrected.
Understanding the specifics of our childhood traumas helps to accept the reality that we can’tJust do it’ or ‘Just let go’. All of Recovery is a process – for everyone.
ALSO, each of us will have our own specific issues that are definitely more deeply ingrained than others & will therefore take longer to heal. Some will never go away, but can be diminished greatly, & we can learn to manage them whenever they do surface.

🔸EHP Don’t thrive on chaos
Successful people simplify life. They know that having as much order as possible in all parts of their life allows then to accomplish their goals, & not have to waste time looking for things or dealing with emotional drama.happy/sad

🔸EHP Don’t try to be happy all the time
One of the coping mechanisms for ACoA is the try to be ‘UP’ or ‘positive’ all the time. This usually applies to the Hero (Toxic Role) or the “Good girl/boy” false persona. This is as unrealistic as being miserable all the time. It’s just another way to deny having a wide range of emotions. For every ACoA, no matter our style, our underlying emotion is fear/terror. So we try to feel safe before we can truly be happy.

No one is happy all the time. Feeling peaceful & content – a day at a time – does not mean having no complaints, dislikes or distress. EHP don’t try to avoid painful emotions but incorporate them in an effort to be whole, to honor their True Self. They know that happiness, victory & fulfillment are a wonderful, valuable part of life, but not the whole story.

🔸EHP learn from their ‘mistakes’ & correct distorted thinking, so avoid repeating harmful patterns. This may include making amends to others (8th & 9th Steps) & forgiving themselves for ignorant or stubborn adherence to their Toxic Rules, so they no longer have to obsess about what happened in the past. EHP know this takes time & need patience & perseverance to always be moving forward, no matter how slowly. One 12-Step slogan says: “Look back but don’t starelive in the present”.
Some benefits from thinking about the past can be: identifying the lessons, considering facts not just emotions, & looking at PPT from a new perspective.

🔸EHP Don’t violate / sacrifice personal values
Each of us have more than one value system – what we were taught by our family, by our religion, our early social environment, AND what we develop in ourselves from our Core Truth. Some of these may overlap, some may not. The problem for ACoAs is that we are either not allowed to find out what we truly believe, or more often have been so brainwashed by our toxic upbringing that we’re not allowed to live according to our personal beliefs even if we know what they are. (Core Values lists)

🔸EHP have figured out what they consider important – even essential – to their identity, for themselves & in relation to the rest of the world. A value is a belief, a mission, or a philosophy that is meaningful but not always conscious – as many are taken for granted. They know that their personal Core Values are not automatically the same as that of other people or institutions, & they don’t try to impose them on others.

They do NOT value the impossible, like perfectionism, eternal human love, fairness…. They know everyone falls short sometimes, so they get back on the horse when they don’t live up to their ideals, & are also patient & forgiving to others then they also fall short. (MORE….)

NEXT: MENTAL health Don’ts, 1c

Co-Dependence Negatives – Intro-b

harder than everyone else!

PREVIOUS: Co-dep Intro-a

SITE: Childhood Trauma Recovery ARCHIVE

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


The HIGH COST of ‘too nice’ (cont)
Co-Dependence & Anger have a reciprocal connection. Some people compensate for their fear/terror of rejection – for having their own needs, opinions & emotions such as anger – by using people-pleasing tactics. They may not have started out angry, but the longer they have to suppress their own needs & feelings, the angrier they get.  ‘Fake-nice’ has its limits, so when we can no longer hold down the rage that’s been building, we can explode outward – at others, OR or implode – on ourselves, getting depressed, physically ill &/or suicidal. (see also 3 posts)

Active Co-deps have not yet learned that:
• it’s normal for everyone to experience anger, being part of the kaleidoscope of emotions we’re born capable of
• we can give ourselves permission to feel & deal with all emotions
• there’s a difference between the WIC’s anger from S-H thoughts & unrealistic demands of others vs. appropriate anger at being victimized by family & others
• the best way to manage anger is to deal with it as soon as we can, each time we feel it – so it doesn’t have a chance to build up
• it’s imperative to find legitimate, effective outlets for anger, so it doesn’t get vented in situations harmful to ourselves or others
(‘Anger & Co-dependency‘. Great site by Dr. Irene)

Michelle Ferris (LMFT) offers 3 Co-Dep traits that breed anger & resentment
1. The Illusion of control — over others (the Serenity Prayer backwards)
2. Being a Superhero — always over-giving, never asking for help
3. The Lie of being FINE — superheroes aren’t supposed to be vulnerable or have needs (MORE….)


In their book “The Givers & Takers“, the authors Evatt & Feld point out that – ironically – Takers are more ‘desirable’, in spite of & because of being less available, less forthcoming & less sensitive. When they do give – it’s more reluctantly, sporadically & for calculated reasons. They’re the ones who lean back instead of forward in their chair when having a conversation, who seem not to need anything, who have an air of mystery. Yet, they’re considered more sexually & socially attractive, while Easy/Soft is considered uninteresting!

The authors believe these are the Introverts of the world, while the Givers are the Extrovert. There may be some validity in that, because Introverts don’t need or want as much contact & interaction with others. But it’s not the whole story.
Introversion is an inborn characteristic & is not a sign of emotional damage.
On the other hand, dyed-in-the-wool Takers are more likely to be trying to compensate for childhood damage – withholding, arrogant, insecure & narcissistic – hiding behind silence, while feeding off of others who chase them.

Now, if you are the co-dependent Giver type, unavailables are like catnip to you – BUT you don’t want to be one of them! You’re too driven to give, sacrifice, be needed, rescue & fix – to be aloof. HOWEVER – if you are indeed an extrovert/ connector type by nature, you really do have a good heart, so it’s imperative you learn to moderate how much you give & to whom – if you want mental health & true safety. (Healthy Helping).

Not the Real you? Angry-niceness is a damage-trait, like all other character defects. The big mistake many of us make is to think these patterns represent our real personality, murmuring: “Well, that’s just who I am, I can’t help it.” Actually, it’s a manifestation of the False Self, rather than written in stone. So the good news is that it can slowly be changed, or at least greatly modified.

NEXT: INTERNAL negatives

S & I : Healthy Individuation (Part 2)

and worth every step

PREVIOUS: Healthy I. (#1)

SITE: “The Way of Individuation”, by Jolande Jacobi, in article by Martha Blake

Review: Autonomy & Attachment

See ACRONYM Page for abbrev.

Field-INDEPENDENT (F-I) – having a reasonable amount of S & I  (opposite of Field-dependent = F-D)

HEALTHY / normal : Individuation is inner-directed, mainly providing a sense of identity & value from our own unique nature, not just from heredity & social training, nor from how others see us.   People become F-I gradually, finding out what they think & how to act, based on rigorous honesty, staying awake (mindfulness) & self-evaluation

• Being internally motivated gives overall psychological & physical health : (T.E.A.)
T: improved conceptual & creative thinking, superior memory recall
E: pleasant emotions (& ability to handle painful ones)
A: enhanced performance & willingness to engage in a wide variety of tasks.

There’s a significant correlation between F-I and IQ. The most original, creative & outstanding people ‘march to their own drummer’, but expressing one’s highest potential isn’t limited to an elite group – it’s available to all humans with the courage of their convictions

• Our True Self is a combination of F-I & F-D, grounded in self-esteem. Introverts are more naturally inner-directed, but most do not have a healthy Self. So Introversion & being FI are not synonymous

• While Extroverts are naturally outer-directed (not other-directed like F-Ds) they need to be emotionally healthy to be F-I . Since that comes from having good boundaries & permission to have all ones needs, it doesn’t limit or undermine the degree of Individuation anyone can achieve

• F-Is have the ability to focus on details in their environment in spite of the clutter of background ‘noise’, & can extract what they need from non-relevant items within the field (as in: “pick the item in this picture that doesn’t belong”).

• They’re able to create structure even when it is not inherent in a given situation, tend to be more efficient at retrieving items from memory, framing current experiences & info in the based on prior knowledge

• They learn more effectively by screening out distracting information, focusing on a task. Often favor natural sciences, math, engineering – but not exclusively.  ALSO, they can step back to see the whole forest (background) not just the tree in front of them

• F-Is have successful relationships with others in many different settings. They don’t wait to be chosen but are pro-active about who they want to interact with, & how. They can stay or leave, depending on what’s suitable for them, or not, rather than by people-pleasing (= passive) or being controlling (= aggressive)

Individuation is the development of the mind / spirit, which matures in much the same way as the physical bjoin oppositesody.  It unites opposites in ourselves – good & bad, light & dark, male & female. A number of Jungian psychologists list this process into 4 stages, each with its dangers to be avoided, & each with rewards:

Becoming conscious of the Shadow
Facing our ‘dark side‘ – things we’ve repressed or ignored. Just as the Persona is what we present to the world, so Shadow holds all the things we want to hide from others, but mainly from ourself

Becoming conscious of the Anima or Animus
This has to do with sexual wholeness.  Anima is the ‘inner femininity’ of men & Animus the ‘inner masculinity’ of women. Jung (1978) wrote that they represent “functions which filter the contents of the collective unconscious through to the conscious mind”, coloring the Ego’s perception of Self & others in many different ways

Becoming aware of the Archetypal spirit
This is about uniting matter & spirit, body & mind – facing both the good & evil we’re all capable of.  It’s also about liberating us from our same-sex parent.  For men the archetype is the ‘Wise old Man’, & for women the ‘Magna Mater’, the great earth mother.

Becoming conscious of the Self
Jung (1977) called this final step ‘self-realization’. Jacobi (1973) wrote: “For the conscious personality, the birth of the Self means a shift in its psychic center, and consequently an entirely different attitude toward, and view of, life”.  (MORE….)

NEXT: S & I – Healthy Individuation (Part 3)