ACoAs – HUMILITY (Part 1)

to think well of myself – realistically


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

: So, I’m not Perfect! – A Psychology of Humility ~ Robert J. Fury (not religious)

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 is not a speedy guy, it would either be a joke, false humility or S-H, since he’s truly the speediest of all!

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 and think things that we know are not good…. 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 acceptance of the limits of the body’s capacities.
The intellect holds unreal beliefs about its own powers, but the body knows precisely what it can & cannot do.
Humility in its largest sense is the knowledge of the true human position 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 ability 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 with ourselves.

people are clear that, while they definitely know they have personal worth, they put that in perspective, with the 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 need to 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.

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

• 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, admitting 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 themselves’ when appropriate or necessary.

NEXT: Humility (Part 2)

ACoAs – ARROGANCE (Part 1)

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 knocking others down at the same time.
“The act or habit of making unjustified declarations in an overbearing manner…. exorbitant claims of rank, dignity, estimation, or power”

♦️It is the main characteristic of all styles of narcissism – overt or covert. All personality traits fall 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

It’s one of 7 features of “dark” personality traits, based on 7 basic fears. These are the False Self’s primary means of self-preservation. (MORE…)
• 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 new situations

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 ask for forgiveness
☂︎ Over-compensate for insecurity – loud, stubborn, show off 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. constant (hidden) terror & insecurity (fear of abandonment)
b. dysfunctional strategy to protect the Self, from the WIC
c. a False Persona to hide a, b & d in adulthood
d. misconceptions about the nature of Self, life & others

• We all have the potential for arrogance, but for people with a strong fear of admitting or showing common human limitations, it can become a dominant pattern.  This character defect comes from a need to be seen as flawless, because exposing weaknesses makes them feel unbearably vulnerable (like negative EnneaType 1, but not exclusively).

Hidden belief: “Who I really am will never be good enough for others 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 & valuing all our good qualities, rather than exaggerating or making them up to mask or deny normal human imperfections. It’s a positive expression of the True Self, being realistic about our innate value as human beings & our 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 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 #1b

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.



“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 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!

✶ The Inner Child part of us 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 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!”)

❇️  What all this 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. Lying to oneself (denial), mostly unconscious, is used by anyone who believe they can not 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 / 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 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), have no regard or respect for the rights and feelings of others. They are often charming & charismatic, use 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 and 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.

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

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

ACoAs desperately want to be ‘normal’, as in ‘b’, while not wanting to admit being damaged / wounded (NOT defective), with all it’s weaknesses, nor 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 Al-anon teaches us: “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 Catskills. She went to the doctor in the am – alone, & that afternoon drove up to the mountains 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!

A distinction is made between individuals exhibiting grandiosity, which does include a degree of insight into their unrealistic thoughts (aware their behavior is unusual or unrealistic – but not crazy), compared to those experiencing grandiose delusions, who lack this capability for reality-testing.

IMP: Grandiosity hurts ourselves AND is abusive to others

IRONY: Typical of many ACoAs, hiding a deep sense of unworthiness :
1. don’t recognize limitations, believe they’re invulnerable
2. lives in grandiose fantasies, without taking realistic actions
3exaggerate talents, capacity & achievements, are boastful or pretentious
4. believe they don’t need other people
5. feel unique, special or superior compared to others. May not admit it even to self, because it goes against S-H
6. nit-picks, criticizes & downgrades other people, projects, statements, or dreams

NEXT: Grandiosity #2 –


love hurts 

why does love always hurt me?

PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Bs (Part 1)


2. ACoAs (cont)
c. Some Results

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 want to injure them. They told us 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. We were a ‘failure’ at fixing their pain, 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 ________?”  to which the wounded ACoA parent would say with great annoyance: “Of course I know that!” instead of being proud of her daughter. What she ‘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, 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 – 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’ – 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 but couldn’t change!

Consequences of weak or missing Boundaries
To US — we get used by othersB-less ACoA
— overwhelmed by their damage
— get burned out & exhausted
— 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 from us
— 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 when we – feel powerless / don’t have the right – to choose who we connect with & who we leave behind!

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 tho they may be totally 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 characteristics we find appealing, maybe similar to ourselves – even tho 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 unfulfilled…..

NEXT: Part 3 – The Symbiotic Conflict

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 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 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 – Part 1

SEE Acronym page for abbrev.

: Emotional NEEDS….


A core ACoA toxic rule is : “DON’T HAVE NEEDS!”

We feel shame when:

▪︎ anyone gets too close, emotionally
▪︎ we allow ourselves feelings of love for someone
▪︎ anyone shows us kindness, respect, caring
▪︎ do something a little foolish in publicScreen Shot 2016-06-11 at 6.10.11 PM
▪︎ we try something new, & don’t get it right the first time
▪︎ if don’t try to do something, whether we can or not
▪︎ we find out our expectations of someone are not realistic
▪︎ we don’t know something which seems common knowledge
▪︎ 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, OR
⚡️ we’ll try to get it met in VERY DYSFUNCTIONAL ways (obeying old rules, so it can be refused or punished, have bad consequences),  OR
⚡️  we wait endlessly for someone else to notice the needs – as long as we DO NOT ask for it, OR
⚡️ 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 is given freely & without strings !
⚡️ we mistreat, abuse or leave anyone who treats us with respect & kindness
⚡️ we prevent anyone from knowing that we have needs, suffering in silence

This a deep & long process, requiring much help from H.P. along with kind & knowledgeable people.  We can:
✶ start by identifying all NEEDS, common to all human beings
✶ continually give ourselves permission to HAVE these needs
✶ list which ones were not allowed, in order of intensity
✶ list actions to DO, to meet those needs
✶ identify actions & non-actions that prevent meeting them correctly
✶ identify people, places & things who can help with this
✶ patiently, slowly RISK changing old patterns
✶ allow for emotional discomfort, internal backlash, being confused, scared, angry, hearing discouraging comments, regressing to old ways, frustrating delays…..

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

Unhealthy Shame ‘holds hands‘ with grandiosity, which makes us totally believe they can do way more than is humanly possible, or that they’re capable of / have the skill to do. 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 often points out. (“Healing the SHAME that Binds You”),  It represent acknowledgement & acceptance that we have realistic LIMITS / boundaries, because of:
— being human, & therefore can’t be perfect
— not being appropriately nurtured & cared for, in childhood
— our genetic inheritance, providing pre-conditions & tendencies for physical, mental & emotional capacities (pluses & minuses)
— our socio-economic, religious & educational background / environment
— our native personality, reacting to & molded by all our early experiences

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 5.56.29 PMPositive: To have self-esteem, children need to be:
• patiently taught how to do things
• admired & applauded for the things they do well
• respectfully corrected for errors or lapses
• treated with patience for the things they cannot do, especially if it’s  because they’re too young, yet, but will be able to eventually –  or because they have a 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)

false self 

I can take care of you, but not myself


REMINDER: Use ACRONYM page for abbrev.


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 alcoholic or any other kind of addict from the consequences of their own self-destructive behavior (debting, drugs, exercise, gambling, food, sex, under-earning….)
A person who is acting out self-destructively has no 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 enabled to continue practicing their addiction.
“Helping someone continue being self-destructive is co-dependency – not supportive & not Loving.”

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

ACoAs IRONY: Enabling / Rescuing is in itself an 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 their own personality & identity, attend to their own needs, or have their own feelings – about anything. We had no choice but to focus on our wounded parents & their needs, Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 10.52.17 PMmoods & 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
• AND, 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 being The Rescuer:
a. for many of us, this is a very active role – doing, doing, doing for others OR using others to motive our actions
b. for some ACoAs, who seem to do nothing for others – this role is passive. It’s ‘taking care of’ the family by asking for very little, not trying for anything, not risking, not being a bother… obeying “Don’t Need”, one of the Toxic Rules
➼ 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 preventininsecureg them from having to take responsibility for /  consequences of – their own 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 ourselves)

NEXT: Rescuing = False Helping  (Part 2)