needs a healthy foundation!

PREVIOUS: Healthy Trust (#2)

SITE: re. Trust issues, brief Questionnaire

TRUST (T) is valid when:
• we’re clear about the ‘rules’ of T – rather than being in fantasy
• the prerequisites for T exist – we’ve done some due-diligence
• we assess who or what does NOT warrant our T – so we don’t waste time & energy on them
• we experience a positive outcome from trusting someone (feel calmer or relieved / get the introduction we were told about / receive the money we were promised / enjoy a shared experience ….)
Faith – the trust-er believes that their chosen path is pre-ordained by a Higher Force, so whatever happens is fated & therefore welcomed. This removes a great deal of worry about what the outcome of faith-based decisions will be, whether successful & joyful or unpleasant & tragic

Delayed Reciprocity – a simple formula for creating trust is the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ which suggests that if I give you something now, I trust (hope, expect) that it will be repaid / returned, in some unspecified way at some unspecified time in the future.  In a flexible environment I can get what I need when I need it, without having to pay right away, with the assumption that I’ll return the ‘favor’ when asked. Since this arrangement creates uncertainly, trust (& obligation) play a big part.

Exposevulnerabled Vulnerability – in a trust arrangement I may well be leaving myself open for my vulnerabilities to be taken advantage of.  The threat of pay-back or feeling guilty may curb the temptation to abuse my exposed ‘soft side’. But if you do use something against me I get hurt, end up with the shorter stick, & may punish you. SO for things to work between us successfully, I need to be able to trust that you won’t make me (or yourself) suffer.

Predictability – it’s normal for people to make forecasts, trying to figure out what other people will do or what will happen, for our ourselves personally & in the world in general. We want to spot and prepare for threats, as well as make plans to achieve longer-term goals.  The point of greatest unpredictability is at 50%, so a reliable enemy is ‘safer’ than an unpredictable friend – at least we know where we are with them.  If we can surround ourselves with people we trust, then we can create a safe present and an even better future.

Value Exchange – Most of transactions in life are based on reciprocity, which works because we each Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 9.27.35 PMvalue things differently. You need food & have a skill, I have money & need a job done. Trust in value-exchange occurs when we don’t know exactly whether what we’re getting is what we asked for & expect. It means making an exchange with someone when you don’t know very much (or anything) about them, their intention or what they’re actually going to provide.  (MORE…)

RECOVERY re.UNDER-Trusting” post – here are some healthy internal responses we can develop for our own benefit, in relation those who
• ignore us: Teach the WIC that no one can make us invisible! Some can see us & some cannot – that is no reflection on us (pun intended)!  When we have a True Self we are visible to ourselves & those who have ‘eyes’, knowing that we can’t make “blind people see colors!” Everyone else is only a potential connection, but not a necessary one

• are mean to us: We can develop the ability to stand up to them when appropriate & not a danger to us, or stay away from them altogether
• have good boundaries: It’s not their job to rescue or parent us. The distress that gets triggered is from our old wounds, not their behavior. This pain needs to be owned & dealt with in Program, therapy & our spiritual practice.  And we can also learn from these healthier people to develop our own limits & self-care

NEXT: Healthy Trust #3

RECOVERY – What IT IS & IS NOT (Part 2)

Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 9.30.12 AMLEARNING HOW TO BUILD A LIFE
on the experience of those who know


SITE: “25 Things you do as an Adult when you’ve experienced Childhood Emotional Abuse
(like the Laundry List)

❖…eliminating ALL pain from our life
❧…a combination of gains & losses, fulfillment & disappointment, joy & pain – part of being human, not superhuman.  Only addicts – of any kind – want ‘no pain’ & think that’s an appropriate goal

IS NOT…❖…trying to get from our family all the things we never got as kids, nor assume we can have a ‘great’ relationship with them – if only we were well enough

IS…❧…accepting there’s no ‘if only’ about our family & our childhood (SORRY!)
• It was their damage that prevented them from being all we needed.  It was never because of who we are/ were! Yes, it was done to us, at us, with us – but it wano more blames never ABOUT us  ie. our essence
and, unless family members have been growing too, or changing enough, we may take more radical steps

We can choose how to deal with them – by :
a. having rare or no contact, to protect ourself from abuse & mind games
b. no contact for a long time, until we are more healed, so our buttons (which they installed) get much smaller :)! Then re-connect & see….

limited contact, to see who they really are, for clarification & validation of how they treated us – which will diminish our self-hate, & allow us to gain some emotional distance from the family drama
d. regular contact, spaced out AND only as friendly Adults.  Don’t expect them to be parental if they can’t. Interact superficially or only in ways that suites everyone. Don’t push for the impossible!

➼ Others will often disappoint, which can make us sad & angry. That’s normal. It just doesn’t have to devastate. NOW it’s truly up to us to become Kind Parent & Wise Adult for ourselves, with the help of therapy, H.P., Program & other support systems.

IS NOT...❖…saying we have forgiven our family, as if it were an intellectual decision, made once & forever, hoping that will wipe out all of the damage they inflicted, & all of our pain

IS…❧…knowing that forgiveness is a gift from H.P. – a ‘letting go’ – as a result of our willingness to do Recovery work to clean out old emotional wounds.
Forgiveness is the end product of that work, rather than a prerequisite for growth, as many tell us. Forgiveness isn’t genuine without healing our rage & sorrow. (9 posts = 4 types)

PROOF : when we try to ‘will’ forgiveness & think it’s all behind us – eventually some life-event will stir up that unresolved pain & bite us in the butt. Besides, some abuses are un-forgivable! But we still have to let go of being a victim of our own rage by feeling the sadness that’s underneath (“Forgiveness Is an Inside Job“)

IS NOT…❖…getting over our rage, so we don’t have to feel it any more OR not having any more terror, worry, sadness… if/when we get ‘really healthy’Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 9.38.11 AM

IS... ❧…knowing & accepting that we’ll always have some vestiges of the old pain, fear, rage, shame & abandonment hurt, BUT that those Es doesn’t have to control us
…. being willing to separate internally, from the bad voice & externally, from harmful people. It’s absolutely necessary to get away from damaging situations & negative thoughts. After all, if you kept scraping away at a sore on your skin, it wouldn’t heal, would it?

• At first this ‘letting go’ can bring up fear & depression, but with time, it will allow us to heal old wounds, making us less fearful & angry.
We can find & use new ways to deal with those painful Es – by: learning to accept & comfort ourselves & letting them out in safe places & ways. Then we’ll experience pleasant, joyful emotions as well.

NEXT: RECOVERY – IS & is NOT (#3) 


Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 12.10.53 PM
I’m gonna need some help getting it off!

PREVIOUS: Healthy Helping (Part 2)

SITE: Dysfunctional Family (Wikipedia)


RULES: No matter what kind of family environment we came from, all ACoAs have gathered a litany of TOXIC RULES, which we follow ‘religiously’, even well into Recovery – but hopefully less so with growth!

The BE and DON’T lists are the short forms, & just mirror opposites. Below is the more expanded one.  This is by no means complete. Each of us can have variations or additions. If you think of any, <Please let me know> & I’d be happy to add them.

INVENTORY: How do we know what our rules are?
a. Overview
✶ Ask yourself, & then siblings, mate, friends, therapist … for suggestions
✶ Do a Life Inventory, in 3-5 yr increments, listing all the major events you can remember – things that were important, relationships, when you started & stopped things, schools, moves, births, deaths …. choices made, opportunities we didn’t take…..✶ Don’t go into detail. Just list things in one sentence each
✶ Pick out recurring themes, patterns, avoidances…
✶ Ask : which rules might these patterns represent?

b. Detailed
• Take one of these words of phrases, & write as much about it as you can.
Where did you learn this? Who in your family exemplifies it?
How do you act it out in your life?
How do your friends, lovers, bosses… express it?
• Take it very slow. Spread this exercise out over months & years, if needed. Maybe just write a little & go back to it when you have more info about yourself & your history

• See the toxic family rules you’ve been following – so clearly – that you won’t be fooled any longer into thinking they’re legitimate!
• Slowly disobey them by changing your behavior patterns, an action at a time, a day at a time
• Pick out Healthy Rules that fit you, & mindfully, deliberately, use at least one every day

✶✶ Breaking family rules can create a lot of anxiety, as the Negative Introject will try to guilt us into returning to the fold – like good sheep.
So the work needs to be a slow, gentle but steady process, with lots of support (Al-Anon as one of many resources)

If you read many other posts on this blog, you’ll see references to Toxic Rules over & over, which this post will give you a context for thinking about all the other topics & working with them (Post: “Why Are You Stuck?“) .

NEXT: HEALTHY Rules (Part 1)


No one acknowledged the suffering. They said it was just being ‘difficult’!

PREVIOUS: Emotional Needs & Innate Resources

DMT: I’m not a poet but wanted to include this one I wrote in 1975, as it reflects the emotions & sense of futility of a young person – a suffering GoA (grandchild of alcoholics), long before recovery, who was always searching for answers & healing. Eventually I found the validation, guidance & comfort that brought Recovery!


Forgive me! I cried.
At every turn I wished I’d died
at birth, as near I did.
Strange thoughts drove through my child’s mind:
I closed my eyes & saw infinity!
Why am I here? What is my kind?
Am I insane?

Forgive me! I seem weak,
and yet I cannot help but speak
to everyone I meet
in marketplaces & on streets –
thus twice did strangers catch me up
and carry me away – well nearly.
Then caution dogged my every step,
but never ‘dearly’.

Forgive me! I Whispered.
Had I really erred so much?
Why all that poison guilt?
Was I an empty vessel to be filled
as my masters thought & willed?
Too much to know, no one to help!
Fear to anger on my lips had grown.
Be still! I moaned.

Hear me!
I then began
to scream the pain without a plan –
blindly striking all.
No one to guide, no one to help
in clearing paths & scaling walls.
Silent or blazing, to lose or to win,
the heart, without knowing, fought to be twin
to a worthier mind.

NEXT: Excellent Inner-Child MOVIE