ACoAs – Set GOALS to MEET NEEDS (Part 1b)

lots of ideas 

PREVIOUS: Getting needs met (1a)

SITE:Understanding Self-Sabotage


1. GOALS (cont.)

Needs – review ACoAs Manipulating Self & Others – #1
In order for us to get our needs met we must first identify what those are, have internal permission to pursue them, & then search out & use as many resources as are available to us to take care of ourselves. We can not wait for or depend on others to meet our needs – others are only supposed to be support & company on our life’s journey – not substitute parents!

While we may not always know what we want to do “when we grow up”, taking any positive action can get our engine started – especially if the activities are things we have been interested in since childhood but never pursued. Taking a class or joining a ‘topics’ group (such as in MeetUp) may lead us to new ideas, possibilities & friends or mentors. Setting goals is a fundamental part of getting our needs met, first the cognitive component (idea), managing our anxiety (emotions), & then taking the necessary actions. (T.E.A.)

Most ACoAs either :no needs for WIC
— have great difficulty making decisions – we aren’t allowed to know or admit what we really need & want, can’t afford to risk making a mistake lest we get punished, & we want to avoid being disappointed yet again
— OR make them impulsively, without considering the results – the possible consequences to ourselves or others – also based on childhood brain-washing.

• So many of our childhood needs were not met – correctly – which left us with the clear message that we’re not supposed to want or need anything for ourselves! Even if we did get some Physical ones (roof, food, clothes, schooling….) – which was a plus & allowed us to survive – the good things were undermined by all the neglect & abuse in the other PMES categories, especially Emotional. And for many of us even the P category was contaminated by beatings, incest, lack of basic provisions….

• This damaging background has created a great dilemma for us, a double bind that keeps many of us stuck:
a. we’re not allowed to have needs, especially emotional ones, BUT
b. we still have them ALL – can’t get rid of them no matter how hard we try to ignore & suppress them!
EXP: As mentioned in another post, a newcomer to Al-Anon figured out in a 4th-Step meeting that her belief was: “My biggest character defect is my need for love!” WHY? because she grew up feeling unloved, yet still desperately longed for it. Wasn’t it foolish to want something she was sure she had no right to & would never get?  (See “Unrealistic Expectations”)

what goals?• To have deliberate, conscious goals is not easy for many ACoAs – even for those of us who’ve achieved some success in career, yet subtly recreate the family patterns in both work & personal life.

Our experience in childhood was of endless ‘sameness’ – the same drinking, the same unfairness, the same neglect, the same loneliness, the same terror…..
Ironically, most ACoAs are best at what we like to do the least!

As Adults we’re still trapped in the hopelessness of ever being able to reach our TRUE goals, whatever they may be. For many of us, the idea of possibilities was not part of the mental vocabulary in our family:
— we didn’t have the option of using our imagination for ourselves, except maybe as a way to escape the pain we were constantly in, AND
— we used our creativity to figure out ways to keep our parents, siblings, mates, children… from total self-destruction

This makes it imperative to remember “I know what I know”, since we have our own native wisdom! The Healthy Child has always known a great many things which never got acknowledged or have been too painful to remember. So now the Good Parent can listen to our still small voice, & help redirect the decision process to get the best results. See RIGHTS & Self-esteem

Robert Sharma’s 5 Steps for Goal Setting
1. Celebrate: write down – in detail – things you’ve done in the past year you can appreciate yourself for. What are your big as well as small achievements?

2. Education // 3. Clarification  // 4. Graduation // 5. Visualization

NEXT: Goals to meet needs  (1c)


catching myself

PREVIOUS: Patterns of Mistrust #2


BOOK: Trust in the Balance”  Robert Bruce Shaw (re. Biz + overview)


TRUST’ comes from the German word “trost” meaning ‘consolation’, which implies feeling comfortable. In this context it’s relevant to remember that ACoAs almost never felt comforted growing up. It’s one reason we were never able to trust! And now, as adults, we don’t realize how much we still need to be comforted, so we’re ashamed when we feel vulnerable, needy & ‘feeling sorry’ for ourselves

Genuine trust is first & ultimately about being able to trust ONESELF, a quality we cultivate via our thumbsUpTrue inner Voice. As an adult, it’s trusting your own judgement, knowing from experience & mindfulness that you will get what you’ve asked for – rather than being afraid & hesitant

A major factor IS picking the right person, location, opportunity… that suits us & is do-able, staying away from those that are not.
While there’s a certain level of risk because people & life can be unpredictable, if we’re emotionally balanced, it’s possible to be confident enough to handle setbacks & disappointments

• ACoAs need & want safety above all else – even more than love – neither of which our parents provided enough of, so we believe we’re not entitled to them
• But we can’t feel safe if we can’t trust. AND we can’t trust as long as we’re flooded with Self-Hate! The Al-Anon preamble says “…..we will love you until you can love yourself”.

Healthy trust is not about who or what others are. This is hard for ACoAs to internalize because of co-dependence & S-H.  ACoAs need to find people & / or groups that are safe enough to help us heal so we can become kind to ourselves (via the Loving Parent) & trust that “I know what I know!” (via the Healthy Adult)

Assumption: ACoAs usually think of trust only in the  POSITIVE – ‘I can rely on X…… I can expect Y to…..’, which is true but only half the story, & encourages Over-Trusting
Balance: Healthy Trust also includes knowing who & what is NOT reliable. The unrealiablecharacteristics of damage are just as predictable & consistent as those of Health, but only to cause problems.

• We can trust that a specific person will continually abuse us or disappoint based on a consistent pattern of behavior (patent, ‘friend’…)
• We can trust that a specific location will usually be unsuitable or dangerous (bars, some neighborhoods….)
• We can trust that a type of event is the wrong one for us……

Once we know what to look for we can see it all around us, & depend on the outcome to be harmful or just a waste of time – without having to be hit over the head each time!

EXP: If you’re not paying attention when you go into a room & sit down on the first chair that looks comfortable – you may be shocked & maybe a little injured if it collapses & you land on your butt – because you assumed all chairs are equally well made & sturdy

🍋 Yet that’s what ACoAs often do with people & situations – we don’t pay attention or evaluate who or what we’re getting involved with.  Many times we accept friends lovers, jobs, pets, invitations, apartments …. without asking: “What do I want? Is this something I’m interested in? Does this suit my needs or fit my personality?
AND: “What is this person/place telling we about themselves?”ladder of inference

TRUST Ladder re. making INFERENCES
Thinking of trust on a vertical continuum – we can see that it takes patience & attention to develop trust in someone or something, because they have to prove themselves.
1. It’s best to only exchange trust with others – a rung at a time. Healthy people can risk offering the first rung as a token of good faith & a desire to connect
2. People always, always tell you how they expect to be treated AND how your relationship will always turn out – by how they consistently behave (MORE)

NEXT: Healthy Trust (Part 2)

“INNER CHILD SPEAKS”, re-posted (Part 2)

to listen or talk to me!

PREVIOUS: Child to Adult Monologue (#1)

SITE: “Love Your Inner Child


WRITER: Marie T Russell (1996) publisher of InnerSelf Magazine. Reprinted in full, as is. 

The child cries out:  “You told me that it was not a-prop-riot-e behavior to dance in the street, or to sing with the birds, or to talk to the new people that I discovered on the street – you call those people strange-hers. You told me that it’s not appropriate to be playful & childlike, that I had to act your age. Well, I’ve got news for you. I’m an Inner Child & I’m eternally young… so my age is whatever I choose. And today I choose to be five years old. So it is okay for me to sing & dance & love everyone I meet, because I know that God loves me, and that I am loved by everyone because God is in everbad inputyone.

“Do you know what is not appropriate? When you frighten me with your grown-up mixed-up beliefs. You have a picture of the world that I do not like, & you try to frighten me into doing what you want by telling me about your picture. Well, your picture is all wrong! Do you know why?

Because your picture has a nasty God in it that punishes children & He gets very angry when they make a mistake. Well, my God loves me & loves you too. And my God does not frighten little children. Instead He provides birds that make music, fruit trees for food, sun for light & warmth, grass to roll in & lay on, animals to play with, & lots of other good things.

“Your picture is just a horror movie that you made up, & I don’t watch horror movies. So if you insist on watching a horror picture, keep me out of it. Don’t even tell me about it. I don’t like to hear yucky stories. They make my belly & my heart hurt.

“But if you decide you’d like to watch and live a beautiful love story with me, then simply switch channel to the Inner Child channel. You and I can get to know each other, then we can have some fun as well as some love & peace together.

“You probably don’t even know where I am. Well, that’s because I’m scared of you and I’ve been hiding. I would suggest you tame me, just as if you were dealing with a scared kitten. Just imagine that your Inner Child is a scared kitty hiding under the bed. What do you do? Well, maybe you start talking gently, lovingly to it even though you can’t see it. And then maybe you bring it a saucer of warm milk (for me a saucer of unconditional love will do), then back off a little & keep talking softly.

“After a while, I may peek around the corner to make sure that you’re really for real & won’t judge or criticize me again… after all, you’ve done that a lot. If I feel that you are really ready to love me & be nice, I’ll come out & we can talk & play.

“Another way that you can get in touch with me is to listen to what you call your intuition. Lots of times that’s me telling you what would be great for us. So the next time you feel that it would be good for you to go for a walk, or sing out loud, or dance… pay attention. That’s probably me making my presence known. The more you spend time doing the kind of things I like, the more you’ll start feeling me there, & enjoying our time together.

“And keep taintuitionlking to me. Soon you’ll start hearing me. You see, I talk very softly cause I’m little and sometimes I’m scared of you cause you’re big and you talk loud and gruff. So listen softly, and then you’ll hear me.

Remember that I love you & really want to spend time with you. I know that once you start spending time with me, you’ll be much happier. You’ll find yourself singing & maybe even taking silly little dance steps in the street. The people around you will start smiling for no apparent reason when you walk by, because their own Inner Child will recognize me & will also pop up to the surface.

“Can I come out and play? I love you a whole bunch! I hope you’ll come visit often & invite me to hang out with you a lot too! We can really have a great time together, you and me.”

With Love, 
Your Inner Child

NEXT: ACoAs & Playing, #1

“INNER CHILD SPEAKS”, re-posted (Part 1)


if only someone would listen!

PREVIOUS: Talking to the Inner Child (# 5)

SITE: Inner Child POEM


NOTE to MEN: While this monologue by the Inner Child is clearly a girl talking to her female adult-self, the thoughts & feelings are just as valid for your little boy saying it to your adult-man, so please substitute ‘HIM / himself’ where it applies. You may not want to sound quite as mushy in places, so find the words that suit your own style, always keeping it positive, respectful & kind.

COMMENT: You may notice that the ‘Adult’ being talked to in this writing sounds sometimes like the Bad Parent & sometimes like an OK but weak Adult. Neither is fully the Healthy Adult / Loving Parent ego state (the UNIT) we’re aiming for. However, it’s also true that the child doesn’t always understand how adults think or what motivates them, but much of that can be explained with patience & love.

WRITER: Marie T Russell, (1996), publisher of InnerSelf Magazine.   Reprinted in full, as is.

The INNER CHILD SITS & WAITS – patiently for the adult to notice it, to talk to it. It wonders how many more nights, months, or years it must wait. It asks “How can I get her attention? How can I get her to talk to me, to listen to me?”

It thinks back of its past experience with parents & teachers, remembering that many times, to get attention, one had to be ‘bad’ or naughty. That always did it!. So it wonders… if I’m the Inner Child, how can I be naughty tp get the attention of my adult self?
The child, trusting her intuition, does what comes up.

The child cries out: “It’s me! I’m here crying out for you. I need you. I love you. I can be your partner, your helper, your guide. All you need is to start acknowledging my presence. Stop ignoring me. Stop pretending you’re all grown up & past ‘that’ stage. Come back to earth. Come back to being present in this body – after all it’s the only one you’ve got, & it’s all ours. Yours & mine. The Inner Child and the Adult.

“I’m the part of you that you’ve hidden inside – the sensitive one, the caring loving one, the exuberant one! That’s me! You’ve become the serious one, the one that has no time to play, to simply be. You’re the busy one…. wanting to do better, to improve, to advance your growth, your career, your relationship…. I simply want to be – mostly joyful & happy.

“It’s OK to be sad now & then, but I don’t like to stretch that stuff out. I feel it, let it out, & move on! The adult that you are seems to enjoy mucking around in that stuff. Not me! I’m a child, & I want to play & enjoy life. I don’t believe we’re here to be miserable. I think some miserable people made that up so everyone would be miserable like them. Well, I don’t buy it! I trash that thought!

“I think that God made us & God loves us, & surely wants us to be happy! After god-loves-meall, don’t all parents want their children to be happy, deep down? It’s just that because they have buried their own Inner Child, they think that ‘happy’ means having a good job, a big house, secure income – all that stuff.

Inner Children know that is all crap. What’s important is the love, joy & simplicity. We don’t need fancy toys. We just need a loving lap we can sit on & feel loved. Then we can make up toys as we go along…..

The child cries out: “You adults make it so complicated! Give us a KISS. Yes! K.I.S.S. Keep it simple silly! Look inside yourself, invite your Inner Child to come out and play.  Tell it that it’s OK – that you won’t scream at it anymore, won’t tell it to go away, or tell it that it’s not behaving appropriately.
A-prop-riot-e-lie. That’s a big word that I learned from you. I know what a prop is. I know what a riot is. I know what a lie is. All those words together just don’t make any sense to me. Except that maybe behaving appropriately is a lie which becomes a prop for a riot. Did you ever think about that?

NEXT: Part 2 of “Letter from the Child”

Why RESIST talking to the Inner Child? (Part 2)

love the kid
to stop & talk to the kid!

PREVIOUS: Talking to the Inner Child (#1)

POST: “How to Dialogue with your I.C.”


🗣 FORMS of Self-Talk (Part 1)

Putting off talking WITH our Inner Child (inconsistently OR not at all) is another example of the insidious delaying tactic many ACoAs are plagued by. It represents resistance to self-care, either from the WIC or PigP.
Many times we put off taking actions, even ones we would like to do, because we can’t make a decision. Our thinking is thoroughly confused by having several conflicting points of view about something & we don’t know how to parse them out. Which one is right?

🔸 This hamster-in-the-wheel thinking can include :
🗣 the real ‘voice’ of a mentor, friend or relative, ➕our own —hamster wheel
• the PigP, society’s rules & religious beliefs as CDs
• the WIC’s fear, hopelessness & self-hate
• possibly the Healthy Child’s intuition / wishes
• sometimes even the rational Adult voice….
…… all at the board meeting in our head, vying to be heard & trying to win over the others

When this happens on a regular basis it does NOT means we’re crazy. It DOES mean we don’t have an clear sense of our own identity & permission to ‘know what I know’.

However, as we connect with our True Self – our general human rights &  specific needs – we can separate out the various internal voices, choosing the one most fitting to us & the current situation, via the healthy Adult. The others we ignored as irrelevant, incorrect or harmful

When ACoAs in Recovery are asked “Why don’t you talk to your Inner Child at all, OR if you do occasionally, then why not every day?” –  the most common response is “I don’t know” – with a lilt & a shrug. We know we’re supposed to but we have so many ‘reasons’ for not doing it!

✳️ MAIN excuse
for refusing to talk to our Inner Child is:
⚠️ I don’t woma & circleswant to connect with the pain that will come up: “I hate the kid – it only causes me trouble. It’s always messing things up for me! I want it to go away because it hurts when I do let it surface, AND I’m terrified I’ll uncover some deep dark trauma I can’t handle”

ANS: Re.causing trouble’ – as long as we ignore that younger, hurt part of us, it’ll keep jumping up & down, & biting us in the butt. Only when we consistently dialogue with the WIC will it stop causing us problems
Re. fear of ‘uncovering – actually, we already know all our deepest darkest horrors. Originally we had to shove it under a mental carpet or lock it away in the dungeon of our subconscious, but we never really forgot the main events.
What we’ve resisted knowing / feeling is how truly abusive & damaging our family was, & so we ‘cope’ by cutting off & distracting ourselves.

Re. the Pain – We can only fully face early trauma when we have enough self-soothing skills via a good Inner Parent, a decent support system for guidance & comfort, & internal permission to feel all our Es without S-H.
❗️AND – not all our emotions are painful. We also feel excitement, pleasure, enjoyment, relief….

With Recovery comes a deeper, clearer understanding of what happened TO us & why! We must believe in our bones that we did not cause our damage, which will allow us to go deeper.
It takes a certain amount of healing to tolerate re-feeling the backlog of old pain, which is provided by Ego Strength : “the ability to maintain emotional stability while coping with internal & external stressors”.

In any case, (whether able to face old pain or not), we need to develop a rapport with the Child, which means talking with it throughout the day about anything & everything – the weather, the colors we like, what we’re going to do after work, what book to read or show to watch…. No topic is too trivial! It’s time to heal our sad little one & the angry teen, & only love heals. Information is important, but love is the medicine.

NEXT: Resist Talking to the I.C. (Part 3)

UNIT: Healthy Adult/Parent (Part 3)

PREVIOUS: Healthy Adult & Loving Parent #1



3.  BUILDING the UNIT (cont)

❀  Everyone’s INNER CHILD combines emotions, experiences, memories & thoughts from childhood. It’s made up of:
• every age & developmental stage we’re lived thru
• our interactions with family, school, friends, religion…
• our version (conscious interpretation/ ‘understanding’) of all the people who were important to us, good or bad
• what we picked up from them subliminally.  Kids are very intuitiveego states

Depending on the content of a voice, we’re hearing from:
❧ a good parent or a bad inner parent
❧ a healthy child or a wounded inner child
❧ a sane adult or a fake inner adult

The 1st in each duality are soothing, informative, helpful, humorous, even spiritual

The 2nd causes us great pain, a feeling of hopelessness or futility….. & some of those voices are louder, carry more weight, are meaner….than others

❤️ We need to be talking WITH the kid every day, as often as possible, about everything – no matter how trivial.
It can be about what you feel like eating or wearing, what someone is doing, the colors around you – anything from : ‘It’s time for bed, now…” , “No, we can’t go there today – not enough time” – to – “I can tell something’s bothering you. How are you feeling?”…

It never has to be a big deal. You can do it on a bus, in the bathroom, walking down the street… Yes, the written version takes a chunk of time, but not the everyday chit-chat

DON’T WAIT until you’re in a crisis, to start. If you haven’t already established a good link with the kid, & then something upsets you – you will not have the UNIT available to handle it.

?? How often do you talk to anyone you live with or see every day? Only when there’s some difficulty?
The more you interact with your kid —-> the stronger the bond —> the more you prove your reliability —> the more the UNIT can take care of things & make your life WORK!!

⬇️ UNIT conversations with the Inner Child ⬇️

♥  Week before an operation:
IC: ‘I want a new red blanket to take with me to the hospital’
LP: ‘OK, honey, let’s go shopping.’
In the store:
IC: ‘I want that one! ‘ (the most expensive)
HA: ‘We only have $– to spend on this.  We need some money for groceries too’
LP: ‘I’ll get you one of these – the smaller one. We already have 2 red blankets at home – & yes I know they’re old!”

Sensing the WIC’s anxiety:
LP: “I know you’re worried & scared about the procedure. I’ll be with you the whole time & Jerry’s picking us up afterwards.”
HA: “You know I trust this doctor.  We’ll be ok.”
IC: (Pouts but understands)

Waiting to get on a plane
IC: (A little antsy but not talking)
LP: (Noticing, waiting – knows kid is not afraid of flying, so it can’t be that)
IC: (Not saying anything but seems concerned)
LP: (Finally gets an ‘image’ of the issue) — “OK, OK, I’ll take you!”
(Kid doesn’t have to ‘go’ but is worried about needing the bathroom on the plane before seat belt light is off!
They go to the restroom & the kid is happy.😘

After a social gathering with casual friends
IC: (In a lot of pain) “They don’t like me, I talked too much, no one came over to me afterwards, I can’t go back there, I know they’re saying bad things about me …
HA: OK, I hear you.  But what we know about these particular people is that they have shown ways that they like you. You’ve talked a lot before & they’re still nice to us”
IC: “Yeah, but…”

“Yes, we aren’t their age or have the same core beliefs & not in their inner circle, but that’s not a negative reflection on you – or them. It’s just a reality. Different is different, not bad.”
LP: “Honey, the bottom line is that you are who you are & not everyone fits with us. That doesn’t make you undesirable.  We have to find places that suit all parts of us – the mental Adult, the feeling kid (You, little one) & the spiritual Parent.
IC: Reluctantly “OK”. It took a few days, but the pain went away.
*The next time at that same gathering  – everyone was as friendly as usual.   (“See, honey?” >”I know”)

NEXT: Healthy Adult/ Loving Parent – #3

UNIT: Healthy Adult/Parent (Part 2)

Adult is  = the good Dad
Parent    = a good Mom
&  Child  = little ME


POSTs: Why resist talking to the Child?
Bookending with the IC

🦻🏼 WHY you may not ‘hear’ the IC 🦻🏼(cont)
1. Being ‘kid whipped’!

2. The Introject:  Some people mainly hear the Bad Parent voice – in the form of ‘shoulds’ & judgments, about themselves & others (you know who you are). They’re the ACoAs who know it all, are controlling, bossy, demanding, pushy….  channeling the Introject! (“Ego States – Parent #4“)

• So – when you’re with such a person, you’ll be talking to their PigP.
EXP: When Mike asked: “Hi, how are you doing?” He got back: “None of your business!”Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 7.14.30 AM And when Sara thought about writing a book, she heard inside “Who do you think you are?”

• It can be very enlightening to dialogue with the PigP, to find out more about it’s point of view, what it’s telling the kid all the time, what it wants, what its concerns are…. so we can counter with truth & logic! 🥺

a. Read & re-read the extensive list of characteristics of each Ego State
• Print 2-3 copies, & keep 1 each where you’ll see it every day – bathroom mirror, bag, tablet, cell….
• Little by little – write something about each characteristic  = what you think it means, how you do or don’t use it, how you see others doing it…
• Pick 1 characteristic of the L.P. & focus on it for a week.  Use the same Qs as in your writing, as you go thru each day of the year
• Take notes about your observations & talk it over with trusted people. Ask for suggestions & feedback on how to improve

The UNIT (HA + LP) needs to interact with both the NC & the WC :
• Get IC dialogue-writing workbooks, & practice until it becomes natural. Listen to “Self-Parenting” videos
• Watch how kind, loving real-life or TV parents talk to their children  (especially when the kids mess up!)
• Visualize holding your WIC & NC – what do they need & want to hear? what would you have liked your parents to say to you?
✶  Make sure to leave time for the kid to answer, comment, feel, react… It’s not a dialogue if you do all the talking!

👥 The UNIT has to consistently be in play. As grownups, we have to prove to the WIC we’re worthy of being in charge, since the ones who raised us were not.
As kids we had to either hide or be super-kid, but all of us were on our own. So now – developing a functional UNIT is the only way the kid will trust us enough to turn over its power, the only way to show the WIC is Safe & Valuable!

This is done by the UNIT’s healthy internal communication + appropriate external actions – which takes time & dedication to develop.  Our ONLY job is to take care of our Kid. If we do – everything else falls into place.

b. Actions to develop the ….. ADULT ES :
• catch S-H thoughts & stop them as soon as possible
• do drawings of how you feel emotionally
• learn about your damage (WIC #1 post)
• learn healthy ways of thinking
• read everything about your issues & about growth
write some of your thoughts down every day
• try things you always wanted to do (school, travel, move…)
• listen carefully to kind people & copy them
• talk to smart, sane people regularly
• stick with the winners (others on the same path)

….& the PARENT ES:
• daily dialoguing with the WIC & the NC
• do more good things for yourself
• do less bad things to yourself
• hold your Kid, pat your chest, sing, say soothing things
• let yourself cry & do rage work as often as needed, but only in safe ways
• practice standing up for yourself, say what you want & don’t want
• stay away from people who consistently cause you pain
• nurture a spiritual life that suits you
✶  If you do your best to follow some or all these suggestions you will see improvement & get lots of satisfaction!

NEXT: The UNIT- #4

UNIT: Healthy Adult/Parent (Part 1)

I can change ‘who’ runs my life!

PREVIOUS: Ego States-Parent #4


ES = ego states // HA = healthy adult //
LP = loving parent //  NC = natural child  //
WIC = Wounded inner child //  PP = pig parent  //  PMES = physical, mental, emotional, spiritual // UNIT = HA + LP
✦    ✦     ✦
Genuine Recovery is marked by internalizing the ‘sane’ information we’re learning, so it becomes an automatic part of us – the new normal.
As we incorporate new understanding, we’ll be able to consistently respond to the world from a different place, which gives us a sense of safety, mastery & empowerment (as in the “AA Promises“)

This can never be done perfectly or without regressions & digressions – so don’t expect that. The goal is to keep moving forward on the path of healing. To do this we need to build a healthy ‘UNIT’ (H.A. + L.P.) to be the inner EXECUTIVE.

• All unhealed ACoAs are run by the interaction of  their Bad Parent & Wounded Child ego states (E.S.)
• But so are many people who are in Recovery, before they do family-of-origin work (FoO)

• High-functioning ACoAs have a fairly well-developed Adult E.S. (but with some CDs), but are missing the Loving Parent, which can be seen in how we talk to ourself & deal with personal relationships

a.To separate the PigP & WIC
, to stop the child from having to obey the cruel & unhelpful domination of the BAD PARENT .
Internally, we may only hear one or the other, but without Recovery the PigP has all the power, & left on its own, the vulnerable WIC has no choice but to submit

b. To nurture, guide & take care of both the Healthy & the Damaged parts of our Child
• For the WIC – to help it heal from all it’s PMES wounds with unconditional love & nurturing, & let it know it never has to be alone again
• For the N.C. – to help it find it’s voice & develop it’s true potential, which creates our self-esteem

c. To interact efficiently with the rest of the world in order to get ALL our needs met – by learning what our options are, developing the skills & attitudes for self-care & social ease – given our individual circumstances & abilities, so we can have more comfortable & fulfilled lives

🦻🏼 WHY you may not ‘hear’ the IC 🦻🏼
1. Being ‘kid whipped’!
a. you’re ALL kid.  Without the ‘UNIT’ present there is no dialogue. That can be changed. The child E.S. is a separate entity, & should not be in charge.  A therapist once said: “You have a child, you are not a child!”
• Picture the WIC outside of yourself – in your lap, on the bed or floor, hiding behind a chair or curtain…. but always there, waiting

b. the IC is too young to talk.  Depending on what IC age is being triggered by a current situation, you may feel your pre-verbal infant self – with lots of emotions but no words

c. the WIC doesn’t trust you.
If you’ve been unavailable altogether, or inconsistent, only talking AT the kid,  sounding like the bad parent…. the kid isn’t going to respond!
EXP: “Hi buddy, what’s up ?”  >> “What do you care?”

d. the IC is old enough to talk but doesn’t know how to express what’s going on with it yet – doesn’t have the right words for things it’s feeling, isn’t developed enough to think abstractly, isn’t allowed to say what it feels or needs…. EXP: “ Hi honey, what’s bothering you?” >> “I don’t know”. —- young kids always say, whatever the situation

e. The older WIC – maybe 16-18 – is angry if you’ve been ignoring him/her, responded when asked why they’d done something ‘off’, especially if you’ve already been talking to the younger ones. You may get an image of it with its back turned to you, crossed arms, pouting….

The teen needs just as much attention, but of a different kind = more practical, included in decisions, being asked its opinion. This ES often hold knowledge & wisdom we’re not even aware of – until we connect.
BUT also – there are still many things our teen Self doesn’t understand, so it needs validation of its painful experiences, AND talked to with respect.

NEXT: Healthy Adult / Loving Parent – #2

ACoAs & RISK – Intro


That is the question

PREVIOUS: Unrealistic Expect.-UNDER

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

REVIEW posts on (not) TRUSTING


a. taking a chance on something, most often referring to the possibility of harm, misfortune or loss
can also be about a positive outcome, resulting in pleasure, accomplishment & success
OR a neutral / acceptable result – with no danger but no gain

STYLE “a” ⬆️ characteristics
• dealing with something or someone known as a source of danger
• a venture chosen without regard to possible loss or injury
• being exposed to the chance of damage or injury, not by choice

• a situation which causes suffering — being accused wrongly, manipulated & used, humiliated, misunderstood or shamed
• an element or course of action involving uncertain, unpredictable discomfort or distress
• the possibility that something unpleasant or unwelcome might happen beyond ones control

FOR ACoAsmany outcomes
Although the definitions indicate more than one possible outcome, only the a. meaning is considered an option for us – because of  Toxic family rules  such as: “Life is endless suffering’,  ‘You must always struggle but can never get ‘there’,  ‘Don’t expect anything good, ever”…..

In a ‘sane’ world, Risk is minimized or no longer a factor IF the outcome of a situation in known ahead of time based on experience, or is predictable based on dependable information
Then a person can take an action OR avoid a situation – with confidence. This is not wishful thinking, projecting or unrealistic expectations. It comes from realistic knowledge, using present-day Adult ego-state evaluation

• But that’s not how ACoAs operate. We persistently ignore info we do have from years of experience, only using the WIC’s distorted ‘glasses’.
We compulsively pursue unsafe actions, when we  —
✎ choose to return to dangerous situations, stay connected to harmful people…..
✎ & avoid beneficial opportunities, often refusing to take relatively safe actions.
Because of our very deep denial system we keep getting burned – then wonder why we don’t trust!

ANXIETY – ACoA issues around risk-taking are always about internal anxiety. One scared kidscharacteristics on the Laundry List is:
“We have become addicted to (negative) excitement after years of living in the midst of a traumatic & often dangerous family ‘soap opera’.”

ACoAs get things backwards. We keep trying to do the impossible & have trouble doing what is possible!
We’re not sufficiently afraid of some very dangerous ‘people, places & things’ while being overly scared of things that are not actually harmful (like having emotions)!

ALL ACoAs are fear-based**, the Inner Child’s terror of feeling out of control that we bring with us into adulthood, underscoring every aspect of our life. Anxiety is what drives all our character defects, our acting out, our addictions . It’s why the Serenity Prayer is so important for ACoAs!

** Fortunately, long-term recovery – if we’ve been doing emotion-release work – diminishes the intensity of our fear, so it’s not on the surface all the time.  But since our terror-base is very deep, it never dissipates completely.
So we should not be surprised when it occasionally grabs us in the gut – if or when some current event sets it off again. “If it’s hysterical, it’s historical”.

The difference is, or should be – that we’ve built a Loving Parent voice, with years of acting in healthier ways & using our tools, so we can soothe & comfort the WIC whenever we’re triggered (Use Book-ending)

The counter-action defense against anxiety is to be controlling (as opposed to Having Self-Control).
It avoids any type of risk-taking that inherently implies unpredictability.
The greater the inner fear, the greater the need to control – in a futile attempt to keep anything or anyone from abandoning us – yet again.

This is why ACoAs try so hard to be mind-readers. If we can figure out what someone feels, thinks or needs – before they say anything – we assume we’ll be ‘prepared’ – for the worst, of course – to prevent being hurt, & stay connected by twisting ourselves into what we hope others will find acceptable.

NEXT: ACoAs & RISK – #2


and still be myself!

PREVIOUS: Autonomy & Attachment (#1)

SEE ACRONYM Page for abbrev.


ATTACHMENT – …. attachment “may be defined as an affectional tie that one person or animal forms between itself & another specific one – a tie that binds them together in space, & endures over time.”
“Attachment is not just a connection between two people, but a bond that involves a desire for regular contact with a special person, & the experience of distress during separation from them.” says psychologist Mary Ainsworth

💛 Healthy attachment is NOT fueled by anxiety, low self-esteem, fear of abandonment, weak boundaries or neediness.  RATHER, it’s grounded in the opposite:
• A clear sense & acceptance of our CORE personality, based on heredity, personal qualities, character, education, accomplishments, experience, tastes, & talents  – as well as lacks, limitations & defects
5 o'clock B.
• Having reasonable expectations of ourselves & others, in order to have mutually satisfying relationships, & not be devastated when others can’t be what we want them to be

• Having good boundaries – knowing what our needs are, how we’re the same or different from others, how we want to be treated. & be able to clearly state our needs & wants, when appropriate
• we can choose emotionally available people who are reasonably healthy, are generally compatible & don’t need us to take care of them
• can accept differences, limitation & imperfections in others

• know it’s OK to be attracted to people who have some traits like our family (it’s normal to connect with the familiar), but choose those who can treat us better
• when people act in ways that trigger us, we don’t react as lossintensely & can respond from our Healthy Adult (not from the WIC or PP)

• are able to tolerate disconnections with others, even outright losses, while keeping a sense of our own identity, knowing that no matter what, we are OK, lovable, strong, capable of taking care of ourselves & being on our own, if necessary.

Symbiosis ——> Autonomy ——-> Attachment —–> Inter-dependence
As ACoAs from wounded families – we need to slowly
🔪DETACH from the damage we brought with us from childhoodcut damage, in order to —
🧲 ATTACH to the many gifts Higher Power has given us as our birthright, which makes it easier to identify & connect with peers !

Growing successfully thru the previous stages allows us to become more Inter-dependent. 
Of course, most of us are in flux, sliding back & forth between stages. The goal is to keep working at the process, & not get stuck for too long in any one.
(Article: Attachment & Adult Relationships”)
Inter-dependent people tend to see themself as basically good. THEY :
ARE – More likely to be content, emotionally expressive, positive, trusting
ARE – easier to get to know, open & relationship-oriented, comfortable with or love birthdays. Less ‘in their head’, less rigid

TEND TO:  be traditional & value society, like some guidance, take advice & learn better with others, like to be part of a group & do things with others, feel grateful to parents.

Wikipedia ….(interdependence) is being mutually & physically responsible to, & sharing a common set of principles – with inter-dependenceothers…..

✶ INdependent thinking is not suited to inter-dependent reality.
Independent people who don’t have the maturity to think & act inter-dependently may be good individual producers, but not good leaders or team players. They’re less likely to succeed in marriage, family, or organizational life.
(Stephen Covey, ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, 1989)

✶ INTER-dependence is & ought to be as much the ideal of humans as self-sufficiency. Humans are social beings. Without interacting with society we cannot realize our oneness with the universe or suppress our egotism. Social inter-dependence helps us test our faith & prove ourself on the touchstone of reality. (2020 updated version of 1929 Mahatma Gandhi)
Need we say more?