OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 1)

speak up for me
(I hope no one minds 🙄)

from others (#2)


 RECOVERY from “Too Nice Syndrome” (TNS)
Undoing our TNS isn’t accomplished by becoming a nasty bully or resentful isolate. Instead, we can apply the wisdom which the Snake of fable had not understood – that occasionally it’s necessary to hiss! Emotional maturity is about balancing between being well-behaved & putting our foot down when needed.

The following TOOLS are:  1. Facing FEARS //  2. SELF-WORTH   //  3.  ASSERTIVENESS  // 4. HAVING RIGHTS   // 5. FORGIVE OTHERS   // 6a. HEAL our T.E.A.s   // 6b. FORGIVE OURSELVES (as adults)  // 7. BE FORGIVEN

Used together, they can move us along in the right direction, but if we’ve been a life-long people-pleaser (P-P), it’s going to take time, patience & perseverance. Think ODAT & never give up!
We can go: From Damage —–>——>——-> to Wellness

TOOL 1. Facing FEARS

++ It’s normal for Co-deps to be fear-based, given our history. That fear may never go away completely, but can become much less intense. As we thaw out emotionally we can experience our feelings quicker when something hurts us – instead of registering months or years later.
Intense painful emotions are a signal that you’ve either tapped into childhood trauma-pain, &/or you’re torturing yourself with cruel self-talk, causing terror.L & R BRAIN
Feeling old pain & other emotions that come up from a current event, will free up a lot of psychic energy we use to hold them down.

☁︎  T.E.A. = Most people combine Thinking (mainly Left brain) & Emotions (mainly Right brain) into one big messy hodgepodge.
If someone asked (or you ask yourself) : “Are your/my fears realistic?” they are not referring to the emotion of fear, but rather to the toxic rules, projections, S-H….theTs that cause the fear (E).

Fear is just fear – it’s neither realistic or unrealistic, which only applies to thinking. (Post: “Feelings aren’t facts”)
Years of early abuse & abandonment created our fear – accumulating every hour, every day that we lived with those people (family, school, religion, neighborhood….). That feeling is an absolutely normal, appropriate emotional response to those events. We carry that pile of terror in our body, which we now attach to thoughts & current events – adding to the pile, keeping P-P in place (“Anxiety & T.E.A.s”)

REVERSED – As Co-deps we often get both our mental & emotional reactions backwards.  In terms of fear:
• we ignore or underplay emotionally damaging effects caused by actual people & situations that are inappropriate or outright harmful to us, but have a real effect on us even so, & yet —
• we can over-react emotionally with S-H & FoA to PPT that are either not dangerous at all, or are those uncomfortable pain-in-the-butt “that’s life” situations which seem overwhelming, but actually are fairly easy to smooth out, once we come to see them in proportion, & learn how to manage them

💚 So don’t let others keep confusing you. Be clear whether you (or they) are talking about Thoughts/beliefs OR Emotions – or Actions, & know how they’re related – or not!  Es can be a response to an As, without causing harmful Ts:

: I can be very frustrated & angry (E) about a situation I truly have no control over, such as ‘being laid off from a job/ loss of a relationship/ illness of a loved one….’ (A), yet still have a positive mental attitude about myself, my life, even my future, such as “It’s not my fault / I know I can find something or someone else / I’m actually better off now / I pray for them….” (T). (See many posts re. EMOTIONS)

To outgrow People-Pleasing (P-P) we need to stand up for ourselves. And for that to be effective it has to come from our Adult Ego State& not as a knee-jerk reaction from the WIC. This includes knowing when to be silent or walk away, which will depend on recognizing whether a situation is hopeless or not, especially when dealing with Personality Disordered people.
Ironically, being too nice also does others a disservice – preventing them from being their best, by giving their Inner Brat opportunities to come out & play whenever they feel like it – on our head!

NEXT: Outgrowing P-P #3

Secretly Angry “Nice” People (Intro-a)

secretly nice -1I ALWAYS HAVE TO ACT NICE
to hide how angry I really am

PREVIOUS: Multiple Intelligences #3e

POST: What about Anger?”


Our culture does not support, tolerate or excuse expressing anger in obvious ways – except when participating in or watching sports, or being drunk! Oh right, the BIRDS can be angry – but not humans! One reason is that most people assume there’s only one way to let it out – explosively, dangerously – which of course scares people, since it can be physically & emotionally unsafe.
But it’s not the only way (“Ways to react” posts).

Since everyone was born with the ability to feel anger (A.), just as we have the natural capacity to experience all the other Es – in varying degrees – each of us figures out how to deal with it, based on our personal tendencies & what we copied or learned as kids. In our society, A. is usually called a ‘negative’* emotion – even by the best regarded teachers, writers & therapists. This is wrong!
This misnomer comes from NOT separating the TEA components:
❤️ The Emotion itself (physical energy & information about our environment), vs.
💀 the way we frame it in our Thinking (acceptable or unacceptable), vs.
✍🏽 how we Act on it – Positively or Negatively.

*The E. of Anger itself should never be designated as a negative! It is not only blatantly inaccurate to do so, but does it a great injustice – because A. gives vital information about bad things happening to us or around us. NO emotion is negative, only harmful thoughts & actions are! Anger is a necessary & appropriate reaction to 3 main things:
✔︎ being scared, being frustrated & being hurt (such as threatened, ignored, disrespected….). (see T.E.A. // ‘Feelings aren’t facts’ )

★ And anger is a healthy response to any abuse & deprivation of very real needs (attention, safety, respect, love, freedom, encouragement, comfort….)

Normally, Anger can be:
• an immediate response to a particular situation, or
• gradually built up from a series of real or perceived injustices or threats, or
• a slow escalation from long-term abuse, neglect, or being treated unfairly

Emotionally HEALTHY Nice People have good self-esteem. They are:
• direct, clear & positive in communication & behavior
• happy, self-assured, assertive, confident, relaxed, easy
• well-behaved, socially appropriate, well-mannered, generous
• thoughtful, helpful, kind, loyal, respectful, sensitive to others

But when someone doesn’t have any safe outlet for their anger, it will go underground. It becomes a part of our ‘Shadow“,  (aspects of ourselves we find unacceptable) so we reject & push the anger into the unconscious.
However, the emotion never goes away on its own – until it’s expressed in safe ways and by fixing the causes, if possible. Instead, it stays locked in our muscles, ligaments, organs & auras. (See ‘Symptoms)
Over time, this trapped energy will become too big to be contained & will end up coming out sideways!

Freud once likened anger to the smoke in an old-fashioned wood-burning stove: Normally, the smoke goes up the chimney, safely away. But if this is blocked up, the smoke will leak out – thru the grate, under the door, thru the vents…. choking everyone in the house. It needs to be cleaned out. But if all avenues of escape stay blocked, the fire will eventually go out, making the stove useless.

In the same way, blocking up the natural flow of our anger-energy becomes harmful to self and others. If we shut it down for too long, it puts out our internal fire, & makes us ineffective. We need a safe outlet for all emotions.

NEXT: Secretly angry nice people (Intro-b)



about what I’m saying

PREVIOUS: Growth for the Scapegoat #3

SITE:Use of Language (Many links re. the meaning of words & phrases)


: We all use short-cuts in daily conversation, which is understandable, but sometimes this can do us a disservice.
There are truisms we take for granted, phrases & sayings we repeat without considering what they really mean. We assume they are correct, & that they apply across the board  (the latter is B & W thinking – a CD).

It is said that the unconscious has no sense of humor & is completely literal. It’s the reason affirmations need to be said in the positive: “I have a right to be happy…. rather than “I don’t want to suffer any more”, and stated as if our goal had already happened; “I am making / have made $100,000 in sales this year”, rather than “I wish I could make….”.

Language is so important, not just to connect well with other people, but mainly to connect with ourselves in the healthiest possible way. The Inner Child is always listening to everything we say to others, & at the same time is listening to the Bad Parent voice shouting or whispering in the background.
It’s up to the UNIT (healthy adult & loving parent) to make sure our language is kind as well as accurate.

In terms of having good mental boundaries, “Accuracy is more important than agreement”. Just because everyone else believes or does something – doesn’t mean we have to. Don’t let others confuse you. Don’t follow the crowd!

☁︎ NOTE: How we use Language is as important in the quest for ‘sanity’ as other factors. The words & phrases we choose either help or hinder our progress.

“I deserve to / You deserve it…..”
The problem is the word ‘deserve’. Sounds OK? Well, in terms of actual meaning, ‘deserve’ refers to something given as a reward for acceptable, special or difficult behavior (as in: “Here is your A+ / medal / Oscar / gold watch…..you deserve it”). It’s something earned, which is OK, since it’s good to be recognized & honored for accomplishments.

So it’s a YES if you’re rewarded for earning a living, getting a good grade, winning at a sport or climbing a mountain….

BUT it’s a definite NO when speaking of our rights as a person. We’re not supposed to deserve them. They’re ours no matter what. Using ‘deserve’ in the context of personal growth is misguided, because it implies that our worth is based on how much & how well we DO things.

This reinforces our difficult childhood, when we were only acceptable (if at all) based on the condition of how well we conformed to dysfunctional rules, instead of being loved unconditionally for just being here.

So, connecting “I deserve …..” with self-worth is a subtle distortion, disguised as Recovery, which ignores our BE-ing. The implied message is: “Produce or lose!” It sneakily tells us that we have to keep on earning validation & permission to have things which are in fact universal Human needs (love, freedom, respect, identity, guidance, dependability….), & therefore should not have to be struggled for.
This deep-rooted negative assumption is why we keep trying to be perfect & please everyone.

“Well, at least you’re alive, You’ll be just fine, You’re strong”
YES – of course. We want to affirm life & let people know we care about their existence.
❤︎ However, without making this a NO, there is a way in which these phrases are a kind of insensitive throw-away. With many people it’s just a polite standard.

But if you just had a devastating loss & may even be injured – like a serious accident with a death, a full-scale house fire, a near drowning, a severe physical assault, a major illness…. You’re in pain, in mourning, in shock! so those comments are not comforting or uplifting.
Without looking for pity or to be rescued, some indication of empathy or sympathy would be welcome, rather than a glib pat on the head.

NEXT: Phrases #2


… I should listen

: “Feelings aren’t facts” (#1)

SITEs: • How to listen to the heart
• Diff between feel, think, believe

POSTs : Use THINK instead of Feel

1. FEELINGS (Part 1)

2. ‘FACTS’:  The other problem with this platitude is that these 2 words don’t really belong together (feelings & facts).
a. Facts – are only actions, quantifiable, with measurable results. Simplified – facts come from the head.
b. Feelings – as pointed out in Part 1, has 3 different uses, 2 legit, 1 not.

For people who use this term – ‘feelings’ means Emotions (Es) and Es are never ‘facts’ – they are internal experiences – from the gut.  Yes, it’s a fact that we have emotions. Even Vulcans have those pesky things, underneath. For humans, to be cut off from them turn us into narcissists or worse – sociopaths!

• Eventually someone in Al-Anon added what they thought was a clarification: “Feelings aren’t facts, but it’s a fact that I’m having these feelings”.  OK – this does refer to Emotions. This was encouraging for many of us to hear, because as CoAs we were taught to repress some or all Es – to deny them as irrelevant or unacceptable.  So this version gave permission to FEEL emotions.
But this is not what the phrase “Feelings aren’t facts” actually means.

c. Thoughts (Ts) are not technically facts either, but rather ‘constructs’ of the mind – not tangible in themselves. They are:
• the cause of emotions (in the present) :
EXP : T ⏩ “I can’t believe she never called me back. What a b— I’m so angry!” ⏪ E
Unrealistic expectations, cruel toxic rules, scary projections, unfounded assumptions & S-H … lead to distorted thinking & obsessions, which cause great suffering for ourself, & often to unfair or harmful actions towards others!
• the cause of actions, healthy or unhealthy, depending on the type (may not be conscious, but the real reason for behavior)
✒︎ NOTE : Watch out for people who ONLY talk about what they or other people are doing, where they’ve been, who they know, what they’ve accomplished…. Facts, facts, facts!  That tells us they are NOT in touch with their emotions, which makes them unsafe in relationships, for anything other than giving information – if that!

CONCLUSION: Based of these distinctions, what does “Feelings are facts” really mean?
ANS: In this case ‘Feelings’ are obsessions, circular repetitive thinking built on negative, distorted beliefs, and NOT emotions at all! which are not telling us the truth (facts) about a situation.”
✒︎ In other words : “What my obsessions are telling me are a pack of lies.”

And what do most ACoAs endlessly obsess about ? :
☁︎ EITHER Self-Hate
”I don’t know why he won’t talk to me – why is she ignoring me – was it something I said? Maybe I bad thoughtsshould have been nicer to her.  I probably sat in the wrong chair… I know he doesn’t like me… what can I do to change their mind… “  –  bla, bla, bla….

👺 OR Rageful thoughts towards others
“How dare she treat me like that… Why didn’t he call me…. I never did anything to her… I’m going to give her a piece of my mind… I hate her, she’s a witch…. no I’d better not… what should I say… I don’t want to get fired…”  grrrrr , grrrrr

❖ Healthy THINKING is imperative for us to function well in the world & in personal relationships. This requires :
• accurate, reasonable & present-day information about how everything really work   • what our needs, goals & dreams are
• what is positive about ourself (character & abilities)
• what it means to be human (determined, imperfect) images-4
• universal spiritual truths about Higher Power.

EXRESS  thoughts
, opinions & beliefs, directly:
• “I think that the government should…”
• “That’s not my opinion”   •   “I wouldn’t say that…”
• “I suspect he’s not going to honor his agreement”
• “I’m convinced there’s a better way to do this project”

❖ Healthy EMOTIONS are NEVER good or bad, but rather range from the very painful <———–0————> to the very joyful.  ‘0’ is neutral.
✒︎ We’re most successful & comfortable when we live within a range of +5 to -5 on either side of center, most of the time, although not exclusively. Times of great stress OR great joy will push the range much higher or lower, but not get stuck at either extreme.
☆ This medium state can only happen when healing diminishes accumulated anxiety so we don’t have to alternate between the ‘outer limits’ of misery or fantasy/illusion!
(REVIEW all posts on Emotions)

NEXT: Getting to Our EMOTIONS – Under


think or feel
I’m confused! What are you talking about?

PREVIOUS: Recovery Thoughts


This is a familiar phrase used in 12-Step Programs, but not exclusive to them. It contains an intrinsic truth and an intrinsic lie.  We have to examine both words – ‘feelings’ and ‘facts’ – to understand.

• In our language, the word feelings is used in almost every context to mean either thoughts, emotions or sensations, without distinction.
• The main problem is that most of the time people use ‘Feel’ to mean Thoughts, not emotions. This causes confusion for both speaker & listener.

• This triple usage may be a clever ploy in our culture – likely confusedunconscious – to suppress Emotions! We’re taught to live in our head & only focus on actions (“Just do it”), which we gladly embrace as a defense against facing our deepest pain.
So, along with many other sources (family, media, male culture, war, sport…) our language encourages being cut off from an essential part of ourself

b. CLARITY:  We’re not going to change the vocabulary, but we can understand the 3 uses of the word FEEL, so we can use it correctly.
i. Sensations – ‘Feel’ is actually an experience word (Physical) : I feel hungry, tired, thirsty, sexual…

ii. Emotions: If ‘feel’ is meant to indicate Emotions – then what follows can only be single words : “I feel…… sad, glad,
mad, anxious, pleased…..”.. AND we can have more than one E at the same time, even contradictory one.
“I’m happy to see you, but disappointed that Ted’s not here too.” (Posts: Use THINK, not feel)

iii. Thoughts:
 The word “Feel” should never be used to mean Thoughts / Opinions / Beliefs.  Thoughts are always a sentence, always more than one word. 
When “Feel” is misused, it usually leads with ‘that‘ or ‘like’:
•  “I feel like he wants to talk about something”
•  “It feels like you’re not supporting me”
• “I feel that we should leave soon”
• “I don’t feel that we’re communicating”
•  “I feel like going to the movies”

Stated as such, none of these are about emotions, only ideas – even though emotions are implied but not acknowledged. It’s subtle & at best unintentionally, at worst it’s manipulative & dishonest

c. INDIRECTness : Another mix-up occurs when thoughts are expressed in a round-about way. Such statements are clearly sentences, but couched in terms of feeling, which makes the speaker sound unsure of themself. They’re not actually expressing confusion, but rather insecurity by asking for permission to have a voice.

ACoAs are ‘notorious’ for talking around an important point, leaving out important info, adding too many qualifiers, justifications & apologies! This misuse comes from not being allowed to own our personal power.
We say:
• “ I hope you don’t mind if I tell you…”
instead of
  “I’d like to tell you something / I need to talk to you about___”

• “Is it alright if I___ , Will you be upset if___ , I hope you don’t mind that I…”
instead of (with a smile, perhaps) “I won’t be able to____ , I need to____ , I’d like to___ , I’m not available for___”

• “I feel like I’m doing better”  instead of “I’m doing better”
• “I feel like I can’t trust them”  instead of “I know they’re not trustworthy”

☑️ Unfortunately, for many ACoAs, being direct is not just considered impolite but actually aggressive! which it is not IF statement are made without anger.
Sadly women are more likely to be indirect as a way to not be pushy, which makes staying connected easier, but at a price. (BOOK : “He & She” by Chris Evatt)

YES, there is a time & place for careful wording, being respectful of others’ time & space, or for apologizing.
HOWEVER, the above examples of waffling have to do with ACoA shame, S-H, fear of being seen, of punishment or being cut off.

The BEST, clearest way to communicate combines emotions + thoughts in the same sentence : be clear
• “I’m scared you won’t stay with me”
• “I’m so happy that you got the promotion”
• “I feel sad that she’s ignoring me”
• “I’m afraid he may not like this gift”
• “I’m excited for you & curious about what you’re going to be doing”
• “I’m worried that you’re going there alone”
This of course implies that we know what we’re feeling (emotions) and have permissions to own & express them.
🔴 Practice verbalizing your thoughts & emotions using declarative sentences, so they come out of your mouth more easily. And repeat, daily: “I know what I know”!

NEXT: “Feelings aren’t facts”, Part 2