ACoAs – HUMILITY (Part 1)

to think well of myself – realistically


SITE: The key to Dignified Humility: Admitting you’re Wrong

QUOTEs: “True humility is strength, not weakness. It disarms antagonism & ultimately conquers it.” ~Meher Baba
“To be truly great one has to stand with people, not above them” ~ Charles de Montesquieu, French politician & philosopher

DEF: HUMILITY (H), from the Latin ‘humilitas’ = ‘low, from the earth, grounded’
• To not think oneself better than others (but never self-deprecating!)
• Recognize & accept our limitations based on an accurate estimate of our value & abilities.
Opposite of grandiosity, narcissism, hubris, & other forms of negative pride
EXP:Usain Bolt
NOT H: IF Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt were to say that he’s not a speedy guy, it would either be a joke, false humility or S-H, since he truly IS the speediest of all his peers!

YES H: What he DID say was that – his accomplishments need to be placed in the context of Jamaican track-and-field emphasis & excellence, which reflect those who have helped him !

HUMILITY (H), sometimes called “modesty”, is most often talked & written about in religious terms. The great religions espouse it, spiritual teachers encourage it, preachers & (some) parents try to instill it.
➼ However, here we mainly want to consider what it means as a social & psychological character trait.

• But even without a religious context, H can still take on a moral and/or ethical dimension. It’s the ability to acknowledge that we have problems, faults, pains, make mistakes, act in ways that we don’t want to, say or think things we know are not positive….
Humility is acknowledging / accepting how we actually are, right now.

Oscar Ichazo, in ‘The Enneagram of Personality’, gives a good clue to the meaning of H a true virtue:
“It is accepting the limits of the body’s capacities.

The mind holds unreal beliefs about its own powers, but the body knows exactly what it can & cannot do.
Humility – in the broadest sense – is the knowledge of our true place in the cosmic scale.”

Appropriate H (not martyrdom, S-H or victimhood (↖️see chart) is firmly rooted in self-esteem, an inner security that comes from permission to be oneself, & the willingness to provide for one’s own needs & wants.
That way we don’t have to depend on what others think of us to be OK.

people are clear that, while they definitely know they have personal worth, they have perspective, understanding that each of us is a very small cog in a very large universe.
➼ With this broad & realistic view, the truly humble person cannot be humiliated.

NOTE: To develop H —
✥ children must form a secure attachment, starting in infancy, BY receiving consistent & loving parenting, firm guidance & realistic role-modeling.
✥ As adults – a most important aspect of H is the realization that our lives & concerns are valuable, but no more important than anyone else’s.
💟 These 2 TRUTHS are the opposite of our ACoA ‘education’!

Any extreme is unhealthy:
• Too much Pride & we act superior, untouchable
Too much H, & we’ll let every one walk on us

Healthy Pride is empowering
Healthy H means we don’t need to do impression-management

LaBouff & Assoc. ran 3 H studies (2012) with college students, which showed that humble people are more helpful than those who are less so.
Students who reported valuing humility were willing to help another student, even without much external pressure.

Additional studies echo this conclusion – humility is a consistent predictor of generosity, making a H person a more valuable member of society = Other people matter too, & we can matter more to others if we ‘matter less’ to ourself (self-centered ARR).

• H has been linked with better academic & job performance. Correlated with the need for Achievement (nA), it helps advance one’s fortune in the world, & is excellent for leadership.

Humble people have better social relationships: because they’re more cooperative, compassionate, flexible, forgiving, grateful, open, admit mistakes & avoid deception

• Exline & Hill showed that H people accept their limitations, are well-adjusted, kind, self-aware, & intelligent – without needing to be all-knowing.
They ALSO value the welfare of others, & are able to ‘forget themself’ when appropriate or necessary.

NEXT: Humility (Part 2)

ACoAs – ARROGANCE (Part 1)

I CAN ONLY STAND MYSELF  – if I pretend to be superior!

PREVIOUS: Humiliation (#3)

SITE: The Difference Between Confidence & Arrogance is Empathy
Teaching Humility in an Age of Arrogance

QUOTEs:“Much to learn, you still have” ~ YODA to Count Dooku, StarWars II
• “Do you wish people to think well of you? Don’t speak well of yourself” ~ Pascal

DEF: ARROGANCE (ARR) = inflating, exalting, over-valuing oneself. It’s “Bigging yourself up”, whether publicly or just inside your own mind, & often involves criticizing & knocking others down at the same time. (Ennea-Type #3)
“The act or habit of making unjustified declarations in an overbearing manner…. exorbitant claims of rank, dignity, estimation, or power”

♦️It is a major characteristic of all styles of narcissism – overt or covert, falling on a continuum from mild to severe. The extreme  expression of arrogance is Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  2 main types:
• Vulnerable – those who use arrogance to compensate for their insecurity
• Grandiose – who truly believe themselves to be perfect, without weakness or limitations.

It’s one of 7 features of “dark” personality traits, based on 7 basic fears, which are the False Self’s primary means of self-preservation.
• Arrogance = FEAR of vulnerability
• Greed = f. of lack / not having enough
• Impatience = f. of missed or lost opportunity
• Martyrdom = f. of worthlessness
 = f.  of loss of control
• Self-Deprecation = f. of inadequacy
 Stubbornness = f. of change or of new situations (MORE…)

CHARACTERISTICS of ARR people (A G. Cerdan)
☂︎ Constantly talking about themselves & their achievements
☂︎ Charming – at first. Behind it is contempt, lack of empathy, resentment & selfishness
☂︎ Intolerant of anyone who doesn’t like or approve of them
☂︎ Never asking for forgiveness
☂︎ Over-compensate for insecurity – being loud, stubborn, showing off in dress & makeup….
☂︎ Tremendous need to be praised
☂︎ Trouble forming & keeping relationships
☂︎ Won’t admit mistakes, can’t handle criticism

ARR. is the result of Negative childhood experiences, causing:
a. deep (hidden) terror & insecurity (fear of abandonment)
b. the WIC’s dysfunctional strategy to ‘protect’ the Self
c. misconceptions about the nature of Self, life & others
d. a False Persona to hide a, b & c in adulthood

• We all have the potential to be arrogant in some area  of our life. But – for people terrified to admit or show common human limitations, it can become a dominant pattern.  This character defect represents the need to be seen as flawless, because exposing any weakness makes them feel unbearably vulnerable (like negative EnneaType 1, but not exclusively). See (Ennea-Flaws in All)

Hidden belief: “Who I really am will never be good enough for anyone to accept. So no one must ever see the real me.”
ACoAs are very familiar with this obsession with perfection, because our family punished or made fun of normal childhood needs & behavior, which they treated as unforgivable flaws!

Opposite poles 
– – Vanity (unhealthy False Self): 
an irrational / obsessive belief in our superior attractiveness or abilities as reflected in the eyes of others – which is falling for our own lies (egotism / narcissism).
It comes from the Latin vanities: empty, foolish, futile, untruthful

+ + Pride (healthy Confidence): recognizing, appreciating AND enjoying all our good qualities, rather than exaggerating or need yo make them up to mask or deny normal human limits & imperfection.
It’s a positive expression of the True Self, being realistic about our innate value & accomplishments  (“Worst & Best Personality Traits” – lists)

WHY do ARR people Succeed?
⚡️They use anger to intimidate
⚡️Being ‘difficult’ makes others give in to them more easily
⚡️Being dominant / domineering allows them to steal the show
⚡️Believing they’re superior helps them go for what they want
⚡️In disagreements, they attack the person rather than the issue

Arrogant leaders can do well in business, but rarely create lasting relationships – because they doesn’t inspire loyalty & trust. They’re often surrounded by users who are all too happy to take advantage of the egotist’s ruthless & obsessive need to ‘make good’, but will jump ship at the first sign of trouble

ARR is built on a variety of sandy / swampy foundations, such as:
– family lineage, ‘connections’, money, possessions
– achievements based on natural talents + hard work
– illusions / self-deception about non-existent personal qualities
– being stuck in past glory & accomplishments
HOWEVER none of these provide genuine self-esteem, which only has one source: Unconditional love!

NEXT: Arrogance #2

WHY ACoAs LIE (Part 2)

hide self
to let anyone know the real me!

PREVIOUS: Why ACoAs Lie (Part 1)

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

2. Pathological Lying

FROM the ACoA LAUNDRY LIST :  “We lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth”.
However, this does not imply that all of us are pathological liars, although some are.
Yes, everyone lies sometimes & occasionally it’s the only safe recourse, but ACoAs tend to lie when it’s not actually necessary, useful or wise.  We can lie by making up untruths OR by omitting important info at crucial times (may be considered passive-aggressive)

COMPULSION: Compulsive liars (CLs) do so as a reflexive way of responding to questions. They bend the truth about most things, important & unimportant, since honesty feels awkward & uncomfortable to them, while lying (hiding) feels right.

• Lying usually develops in early childhood, growing up in an environment where telling the truth was dangerous or unacceptable. For the most part, CLs are not overly manipulative or cunning (unlike sociopaths). They do know they’re not being honest, but it’s a hard pattern to break & one that takes its toll on every relationship

PAST: Lying was often the only way to protect ourselves & get some needs met in a stressful hiding childenvironment. We were constantly told our emotions & observations were wrong or crazy, so we learned to hide them from others & sometimes even from ourselves.  We understood very early that our parents really did not want to hear the truth, & so could save ourselves a lot of grief if we lied to them

EXP: Terry’s parents were restrictive & controlling, while being emotionally abusive & abandoning.  As a teen she fell in love with a man she knew they would be violently opposed to, so she came up with a plan to see him whenever their scheduled meshed.  From time to time she told her mother a few days ahead of a rendezvous – that ‘next Tuesday’ she’d be at the library after school to study (which she often did anyway).

Then every other day until then, she’d remind her mother about it so there would be no questions about her being late on that day. When Tue came Terry would get together with her guy. She was finally able to receive some desperately needed love & positive attention throughout her Senior year  – by lying!

b. OVER-HONEST – another ACoA irony is that while we found lying to be a survival mechanism in our dangerous & chaotic childhood, we also have a compulsion to over-disclose (TMI), by telling:
• every little detail of a situation      • the bald truth to everyone
• what we know about others (can’t keep a secret)
• everything that’s wrong with us (S-H)
• exactly what we think of someone, no matter how insensitive, inappropriate, cruel of self-destructive!

🔳 As children —> some of us tended to be quiet, trying to be invisible for safety, pretending we went along with the craziness.
— > Other of us just couldn’t tolerate being stifled, nor bear the constant hypocrisy. So we just said whatever we thought, without considering the consequences to ourself or others : “She fat, their food tastes bad, he’s ugly, why is she crying….”)

🔊 IN THE PRESENT : For the more ‘blatant’ ones of us, our Wounded Inner Child truly believes that to not tell someone what we know about them (their flaws, bad behavior, annoying ways…) or what we really think about a situation we’re upset about — is being untrue to ourselves! because:
• we want to letyour flaws them know that we know (to not be ignored & to cut thru their obvious denial)
• we want to rub their face in it (our rage at their deception)
• we want them to get the message & change! (as my dear mother used to say “Wake up & die right!”)

❇️  In the present, on one level, TMI really represents is lack of boundaries, lack of good judgment & letting the WIC run amok with its outrage!
BUT behind that is an attempt to compensate for all the lies, secrets, denial & ‘mind-fucking’ we were drowning in as kids.


WHY ACoAs LIE (Part 1)

when I tell people how awful I am?

PREVIOUS: Adult Play Benefits – #2

IRONIC & Humorous article : How to Lie – 14 ways

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

QUOTEs: “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”  — Nietzsche
▪︎ “If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.” — Virginia Woolf
▪︎ “Things come apart so easily when they have been held together with lies.”  — Dorothy Allison, Bastard Out of Carolina

Everyone lies, sometimes, in varying degrees – even knowing that it causes problems. This universal reaction is tied to self-esteem. People want to look good to themselves & to others. The higher the threat to ones self-image, the bigger the lies.
Many animals engage in deception, deliberately misleading another, but only humans are wired to deceive both themselves & others. Lying to oneself (denial), mostly unconscious, is used by anyone who believes they can’t bear to acknowledge (not accept) what they truly know about themselves or their loved ones
• to cover one’s butt when they’ve done something wrong & don’t have the courage to admit it
• to make themselves feel smarter & superior to everyone – a way to have the power to fool, or to make fools of others, who they disrespect for swallowing the lies
• to cover feeling inferior, because they believe others won’t accept them for who they are, so they “enhance / embellish / exaggerate” their accomplishments…. in conversation, on resumes, dating sites….lie to protect

SOMETIMES lying is necessary, IF —
• is saves you from more abuse (as a child / or by spouse)
• your reputation, your rights or your life are in danger
• it could save your job, your home, your community
• it protects your family from harm by another
• it’s the only way to protect your privacy
This is not an endorsement of lying, only acknowledging certain realities

Pathological -grossly abnormal- liars (PLs) suffer from habitual dishonesty they can’t seem to control, which can be part of other ailments such as Manic-depression, Paranoia, Conduct Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder…… and can be a reaction to childhood incest, torture, constant beatings……They’ve created a fantasy world that’s ‘better’, so they may actually believe their own lies, not consciously realizing what they’re saying is mostly fiction. It’s a persistent & pervasive compulsion, motivated by survival rather than some kind of reward or other external factors (social pressure, family obligation, loss of job…)

• In some cases, an important factor in pathological lying is the difference in the brain. A study by Yang et al., published in the British Journal of Psychiatry in 2007, found that brain scans of PLs  showed structural differences in the prefrontal cortex. This area of the brain controls morality, honesty and remorse
compulsive liar
PLs show less gray matter, associated with the controls needed for moral behavior (less inhibiting factors) & more white matter, which is possibly associated with increased brain activity (more lying). (More…. )

• Some PLs may be Sociopaths – people who lie incessantly to get their way, are goal-oriented (lying is focused on self-gratification), having no regard or respect for the rights & feelings of others. They are often charming & charismatic, using their talented social skills in manipulative and self-centered ways, & have no remorse for their illegal or immoral activities

SITE:  Pathological Liar vs. Straight Shooter

NEXT: Why ACoAs Lie (Part 2)


I’m not weak or wounded!

PREVIOUS: Victim or not? #2

Review posts:Rescuing”  //  “Process

(P = Perp / V = Victim)
As long as ACoAs have trouble facing the trauma of being a Victim IN our childhood, we can’t outgrow that state because it lives in our WIC & keeps getting acted out all over our lives.  Another ‘backwards’ ACoA pattern :
while we do many destructive victim-y things to ourselves & let others do them to us, we also are masters at trying to cover up the inner wounds, the same way battered people try to hide broken bones & external bruising.

a. Normal can mean what is average for any location or situation, but may be positive or negative & is never absolute  EXP– It’s the norm for :
▫️people in a bar to drink a lot
▫️men in prison to be raped.
▫️children of addicts to be scarred.
OR It’s the norm for :
▫️country air to be healthier than city air.
▫️money to make life easier.
▫️great teachers to produce some excellent students.

Normal can also mean anything that is the opposite of unhealthy, & is only positive.  NORMAL is being:
▫️a whole human being, & to care for ourselves.
▫️part of a community & helping others.
▫️happy & productive, with satisfying relationships.
Normal is for love to heal broken hearts & minds…..

ACoAs desperately want to be ‘normal’, as in ‘b’, while not wanting to admit being damaged / wounded (NOT defective), with all it’s weaknesses, & so not having to do the hard work of Recovery to become healthy.  This false-normal is a facade to cover our lack of self-esteem & to quiet the bad voice (the PP), rather than being genuinely OK at our core.

Many of us don’t want to ask for any kind of help, or be in groups that focus on healing, because “They’re all crazy & I’m not like them!”  But normalAl-anon reminds us that “You’re only as sick as your secrets.”  It’s one thing to feel empowered & be able to face life’s difficulties with equanimity & guts. It’s another to over-compensate for our un-acknowledged & unhealed history with grandiosity.

EXP: Trish was never taken care of as a child, even in basic ways, & was eventually left by her weak father to take care of her violent, mentally ill mother. In spite of not having any self-esteem or knowledge about self-care, in her early 20’s her talent as a performer got her periodic jobs in small venues.

One day she found out she was pregnant, but wasn’t ready for motherhood & scheduled an abortion – for the same day that she had a gig in the local mountains. She went to the doctor in the am – alone, & that afternoon drove up to the resort to sing – alone & in pain.
It never occurred to her to have the operation on a different day, to have someone go with her, or that there was anything amiss about combining the 2 events – until pointed out to her by a therapist 20 yrs later. To her it was all normal !

2. GRANDIOSITY – at it’s simplest, it’s how a person sees themselves, bigger, better, more capable than they really are. It often leads to putting oneself in jeopardy, as big as extreme physical activities, taking unprotected financial or sexual risks, or as ‘small’ as always crossing the street just as the cars start moving forward, smoking for years….
They act as if they’re invincible, magically untouched by the laws of nature or common sense.
BTW : ‘Normal’ grandiosity does include the person having a degree of insight into their overblown ideas – aware their behavior is unusual or unrealistic – but not crazy. But those with grandiose delusions lack this capability for reality-testing.

IRONY: It’s typical of many ACoAs, using it as defense to hide intense unworthiness. Gs:
1. believe they don’t need other people
2. don’t recognize normal human limitations, nor their own
3exaggerate talents, capacity & achievements, are boastful or pretentious
4.  feel unique, special or superior, compared to others. May not admit it even to themself, because it’s not part of S-H
Gs :
5. live in grand fantasies, without taking realistic actions
6. look down on others who won’t take the same chances – as weak or cowards
7. generally criticize, nit-pick & downgrade other people’s projects, achievements, ideas & dreams – as ‘small’

IMP: Grandiosity hurts ourselves AND is abusive to others

NEXT: Grandiosity #2 –


love hurts
why does love always hurt me?

PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Bs (#1)

2. ACoAs & Boundaries (Bs)  

c. Some Results of not having healthy Bs
i.  FAILURE: No matter how badly we were treated or how angry we were about it, like all children – we were/are deeply attached to our parents & didn’t / don’t want to injure them.
They indicated that their unhappiness was our fault (Parents Blaming Us‘) – so we turned ourselves inside out in a desperate attempt to protect them – but it never worked.

Realistically, we could never satisfy them, because what they objected to was:
— normal behavior for a child, with our many developmental needs & limitations
— a reaction to us from their unhealed damage (buttons) which never had anything to do with us

EXP: One young mother would snap at her 8-year-old whenever Katie came home from school excited by a newly learned piece of info: “Mom, mom, did you know that ________?”
The wounded ACoA parent would say with great annoyance: “Of course I know that!” instead of being proud of her daughter. What the mother ‘heard’ was that her own intelligence was being questioned, which came from being constantly put down by her mother!

ii. RISK: We developed a fear of taking any kind of risk, because it wasn’t safe to be ourselves at home where it should have been. How could we expect it to be safe anywhere else in the world, with strangers?

This unconsciously created a fear of ‘leaving home‘ (S & I), so even if we physically move far away, we’re internally loyal to the very system that crippled us, by staying attached to their toxic rules!
We isolate or stay & stay in harmful situations & with unavailable or abusive people, don’t follow our dreams, or if we try – we stop short of reaching our goals….

iii. INTENSITY: Given the message that we were “too much” for them, our child’s grandiosity made us conclude that we were ‘negatively powerful. The conclusion was that IF we were so detrimental to our family, we would naturally hurt everyone else in the world too – especially with our rage – making us afraid to let anyone get too close to us as adults.

✶ALSO, it left many of us with the deep-seated belief that it would be better if we were dead – it would spare our family the suffering we seemed to be causing then but couldn’t change!

People-pleasing / Rescuing
Trying to be here for others but having weak or missing Bs :
To US — we get used by others
— overwhelmed by their damage
— get burned out & exhausted
B-less ACoA— eventually get enraged & attack
— bitter & disappointed with ‘love’

— they get bored with us, or never let go
— criticize us for not being perfect
— take as much as they can
— unaware of our needs & hurt
— blame us for their weaknesses

d. No Boundaries – No Choices
Un-recovered ACoAs, even those of us who see ourselves as strong, smart, adventurous…. act like victims because we don’t internal permission to choose who we connect with & who we leave behind, from a deep sense of powerlessness!

Without Bs we fall into the co-dependent trap, because:
• we’re so afraid of having to face our abandonment pain, AND our S-H says no one can possibly love us . What a double bind!

So when someone ‘wants’ us – our WIC is so relieved – that we accept them, even though they may be totally inappropriate, self-centered & just using us as their narcissistic supply.
Often some deep part of us knows they’re unsuitable, it won’t work out & we may not even really like them! BUT —

• we convince ourselves to stay, because they have some qualities we find appealing, maybe similar to ourself – even though it’s not nearly enough to offset the enormity of their dysfunction (addictions, depression, self-hate, immaturity, narcissism, controlling, cruelty…)

• we’re afraid to reject anyone, worry about hurting their feelings, identify with their pain… instead of honoring ourselves (we identify too much with their WIC, while ignoring our own!)
• we focus on fulfilling their needs, wants and demands, so they won’t get upset & shut us out – while most of ours go unmet.

NEXT: ACoAs & Bs (#3)

ACoA CONCLUSIONS re. Painful Events (Part 1a)

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 6.14.39 PM
I can’t get anything right

PREVIOUSNoticing Painful Events  (Part 2)

REVIEW posts : “What just happened

REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

1. EVENTS – the Stimulus

Here is another use of T.E.A. (Thought, Emotions & Actions ). The middle circle (in pink) is about how we mentally (Ts) assess or try to explain any event that’s upsetting.
🙄 A common reaction is to ‘be in our head“, endlessly obsessing, without ever understanding the situation (T) or resolving it appropriately (A).
REMEMBER – “crazy” is mental (what we think / believe), not emotional

Most ACoAs grow up convinced we’re crazy!  We say we feel crazy, or that we’re going crazy, or we afraid of being crazy.
Well, most ACoAs are NOT, but we came to believe it because – while our emotions & observations told us that a lot was seriously wrong with family, school, church….
the grown-ups kept telling us our opinions were way off base, & anyway we were the problemCause & Effect

Reminder: ‘Painful events’ may be situations that :
a. are accidental, because people are just busy or preoccupied
b. we run into in the course of everyday living (rudeness, ignorance, delays…)
c. are genuinely insulting, shaming or otherwise abusive

We can instantly react (As), out of our conscious control  = yelling, sulking, blaming….. or just spend all our time worrying.
If we pay attention, those reactions will give us an idea of what we’re actually thinking.
HINT – that the painful event is :
💦ONLY /all about ME, & we’re the Victim (V), creating FEAR , OR
🔩ONLY /all about the OTHER person, as Perpetrator (P), creating our ANGER

💦 IT’S ALL ME – It’s my fault, I’m bad, dumb, weak, lazy….
• Whenever ACoAs experience a painful event or loss we try to make sense of it. The WIC always thinks they’re the source or cause – that we should have been able to prevent it.
The Adult in us may know this is not true. Others are also not in control of every outcome, but they are responsible for their beliefs, decisions & actions (not us), whether they acknowledge it or not

EXP:  It’s sad to think of JFK Jr. – his very bad decision to fly with a broken leg, without a co-pilot or auto-pilot, in predicted bad weather – ended in disaster. Accident? Yes, but his unwise choices contributed.

• ALL ACoAs start out from this premise (Self-Hate) & then layer it over with a variety of defenses. When something doesn’t work out, or someone hurts us / ignores us / leaves us…. we try to analyze what we did wrong & how we can fix it. We obsess for days, sometimes years about a painful situation, always from self-blame.

➼ Unhealed ACoAs have a wide streak of narcissism – mainly in the form of: EVERYTHING IS ABOUT ME!  but you may be saying “What, it’s not??”
It’s our default position, & continues as long as the WIC is in charge of our life.

EXP:  Extrovert Maria is in a night-school computer class with 6 other adults, 5 men & one other woman. Maria glances at her several times, hoping to connect, but the woman blatantly ignores her. Maria’s not just disappointed, she’s hurt. There’s a pain in her gut: “Nobody likes me!”

EXP:  Felicia was in great distress. She’d invited her family to visit her at college, so they drove down to see her. On their way another car plowed into them, causing a huge accident & her brother was killed. That was enough of a heart breaker – but her CD added to it. She kept saying: ”If only I hadn’t asked them to visit, he’d still be alive!” – tortured by thinking she has that kind of power

REALITY: There are times when we have made a wrong choice, but self-abuse does not help us learn from the error or improve our options in the future. S-H is a lie & therefore SELF-DEFEATING. It’s based on a false sense of power, but it’s still false.

Once the UNIT kicks in, that perspective greatly diminishes. There’s a big difference between believing we’re responsible for everything (grandiosity) vs being appropriately responsible for our T.E.A.s



 all I can do is hide!

PREVIOUS: Shame – #1

POST: Emotional NEEDS….

SEE Acronym page for abbrev.


ACoAs’ core toxic rule : “DON’T HAVE NEEDS!”
We feel shame WHEN:

▪︎ anyone gets too close, emotionally
▪︎ anyone shows us kindness, respect, caring
▪︎ we do something a little foolish in publicScreen Shot 2016-06-11 at 6.10.11 PM
▪︎ we allow ourselves to have feelings of love for someone
▪︎ we don’t know something which seems common knowledge
▪︎ we don’t try to do something, whether we can or not
▪︎ we find out our expectations of someone are not realistic
▪︎ we try something new, & don’t get it right the first time
▪︎ we want to be paid attention to, but get smacked down or ignored….

ANY NEED that was ignored, abused or made fun of in the past :
⚡️ is now completely suppressed, so we’re not even aware of it
⚡️ we’re vaguely aware, so keep trying to get it met, but only in VERY DYSFUNCTIONAL ways (obeying old rules, so it can be refused, punished, or have bad consequences),
⚡️ we wait endlessly for someone else to notice the needs – as long as we DO NOT ask for it
⚡️ we manipulate dysfunctional others into providing it for us
⚡️ we can’t receive anything good without having to ‘pay’ for it somehow, even when it’s given freely & without strings !
⚡️ we mistreat, abuse or leave anyone who consistently treats us with respect & kindness
⚡️ we prevent anyone from knowing that we have needs, as we suffer in silence

This a deep & long process, requiring much help from H.P. along with kind & knowledgeable humans.
We can:
✶ start by identifying all NEEDS, common to all human beings
✶ allow for emotional discomfort, be angry, confused, scared, face frustrating delays, have internal backlash, hear discouraging comments, regress to old ways…..
✶ continually give ourselves permission to HAVE these needs
✶ identify actions & non-actions that prevent meeting them correctly
Live Long & Prosper✶ identify people, places & things who can help with this
✶ list actions to DO, to meet those needs

✶ list which ones were not allowed, in order of intensity
✶ patiently, slowly RISK changing old patterns

✶ NEVER STOP improving:
• never, never deny having needs, whether you can get them met – or not
• observe the results of your healthier actions, & compare benefits with old outcomes
• participate in any spiritual practice which fits
• replace inappropriate people & places
• read helpful material, attend suitable recovery programs or groups
• try out new actions to see what works or doesn’t
• validate & reinforce any improvements & positive results

Unhealthy Shame ‘holds hands‘ with grandiosity, which makes us totally believe we can do way more than is humanly possible, or that we’re capable of / have the skill to do it. It’s therefore a defense against deep feelings of powerlessness, carried over from childhood

Healthy shame is the reverse – the antidote to grandiosity (John Bradshaw : “Healing the SHAME that Binds You”).
It allows us to acknowledge & accept that we have realistic LIMITS & capacity, because of:
— being human, & therefore can’t be perfect
— not having been appropriately nurtured & cared for, in childhood
— our genetic inheritance, providing pre-conditions & tendencies for physical, mental & emotional capacities (pluses & minuses)
— our native personality, reacting to & molded by all our early experiences
— our socio-economic, religious & educational background / environment
Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 5.56.29 PMPositive – To have self-esteem, children need to be:
• admired & applauded for the things they do well
• patiently taught how to do things
• respectfully corrected for errors or lapses
• treated with patience for the things they cannot do, especially when it’s because they’re too young yet, but will be able to eventually –  or because they have a learning disability.
Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 3.38.36 PM

Embracing realistic limitations does not mean that we can’t heal & achieve!
It does mean that we spend the ‘first half’ – or so – of our life repeating all the bad stuff we learned, & then spend the rest of it fixing the damage that was originally done to us.
It’s not fair – but it can be done!  THEREFORE: PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE !!

NEXT: “They did the best they could” #1

RESCUING – False Helping (Part 1)

I can take care of you, but not myself

REMINDER: Use ACRONYM page for abbrev.


RESCUING – In general terms, it’s any form of helping someone to not take care of themself, when they really can. It may be —
— in the form of not doing or saying something when we see others hurting themself, OR
— actively providing the means for them to continue being irresponsible (directly or indirectly) to themself, their loved ones, their job….

EXP: Lying for others / making excuses when someone shirks their responsibility, is selfish or mean / clean up after a user / cover the addict’s bills / never stand up for ourselves or object to abuse / never notice or point out lies, inconsistencies, broken promises…..

ENABLING is another term for co-dependent rescuing of others, in place of taking care of ourselves.
In Al-Anon terms, it’s our compulsion to save the addict or any other kind of unhealthy person from the consequences of their own self-harming behavior (MISUSE of money, drink / drugs, exercise, gambling, food, fun, sex, work….)

A person acting out self-destructively has little reason to change if they’re never forced to experience the outcome of their compulsion. If they don’t have to pay any price for their behavior, they’re encouraged to continue practicing their addiction.
“Helping someone be self-defeating is co-dependency – not supportive & not Loving.”

ACoAs IRONY: Enabling / Rescuing is in itself our addiction (emotional, psychological), a compulsive pattern of interacting with others. On the surface it gives us a sense of control & superiority. Underneath, the real motivation is to suppress our own abandonment anxiety.

ORIGIN: Growing up in dysfunctional families, ACoAs were not allowed to fully develop our own personality & identity, attend to our own needs, or have our own feelings – about anything. We had no choice but to focus on wounded parents & their needs, moods & demands. (see ‘Toxic rules’)

• We were expected to grow up too fast – not have normal child needs –  but only so we could relieve them of the burden of caring for us, and so we could be there for them
• Any attention to our own tastes, opinions, & way of doing things was considered selfish, stubborn, overly sensitive, stupid and bad!  (I was taught: S.P.S. – ‘Self Praise Stinks’ !!)

Result: ACoAs developed a ‘false persona’, one version of the co-dep triangle – to be The Rescuer:
a. for many of us, this is a very active role – doing, doing, doing for others OR using others to motivate our actions
b. for some ACoAs, who seem to do ‘nothing’ for others – this role is passive. It’s a way to ‘take care of’ the family by asking for very little, not trying for anything, not risking, not being a bother… obeying the Toxic Rule “Don’t Need”

➼ The unspoken hope is that if we do a good enough job of rescuing (fixing them), they will, in turn, be able to take care of us.  THIS NEVER WORKS.

DEF:  A way to seem like we’re helping others BUT with hidden motives
a. from our grandiosity
🔸 Doing for others what they CAN & SHOULD be doing for themselves
🔸 Being ‘one up’, giving the illusion of being powerful and benevolent, at the same time
🔸 Assuming others n-e-e-d us (a not-always conscious belief that they’ll fall apart or even die – without us – based on our family experience)
🔸Assuming we know better what others need / want / should have, or not
🔸 Wanting to spare someone pain – by preventing them insecurefrom having to take responsibility for the consequences of – their actions, & so preventing their growth!

b. from our inferiority
🔹 Using others to feel better about ourselves (to cover our self-hate, that feeling of worthlessness)
🔹 Trying to ‘fix’ a wounded person, so they can be there for us
🔹 Trying to have an effect on the world, since no one listened to us as kids
🔹 Wanting to use our talents, skills & abilities – but not allowed to use them for our own benefit
🔹Minding other people’s business rather than our own (not allowed to focus on ourself)

NEXT: Rescuing = False Helping  (Part 2)