Even if I have to make you up

PREVIOUS: ACoAs abandoning OTHERS (3b)

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


• Another dysfunctional way to cope with the painful fact that our parents were not safe (nurturing, emotionally honest, mentally clear…)
• A way to survive back then. Some part of our child-mind had to make them perfect, without flaws – to deny how angry & scared we were at them, & still are
• A form of splitting off the good parts of ourselves & the bad parts of them – an overt or covert toxic agreement in childhood, with the family, that we were the bad ones & they the good ones.

All small children idealize their parents, which helps them feel safe. If they grow up in a healthy family this safety allows them to cope with reality, gradually able see the adults more realistically, with both weakness & strengths.

But for us – from the very beginning our parents disappointed us when we most needed them to be our ‘gods’ so we’d feel protected. Not only did they not help us deal with the outside world, but were the ‘enemy within’.  (➡️ IMAGE from “See Mom for who she is, not who you want her to be

To compensate now, some ACoAs idealize others, even strangers, as a way to shut out the WIC’s earliest terror still lurking in the bushes of our unconscious, BY:
a. Putting anyone – who we feel is important – on a pedestal (parent, teacher, lover, friend, boss…), not able or willing to acknowledge their real personality, including human limitations & damage (character defects) – UNTIL that person does something that pushes a big button in us, & then we feel rage at them. The illusion we created is shattered & we can’t tolerate it. So we punish them &/or cut them off.

EXP: Carol started a new class & was immediately in awe of the professor.  She began staying after class, asking all sorts of questions, unconsciously flirting a little. The teacher became less & less responsive or available.  Carol kept trying to hold his attention, but finally felt the rejection, became very angry & stormed off, telling everyone else what a jerk he was.

b. VARIATION: Making a new lover the “Answer to all my prayers!” Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 6.51.05 PMBelieving ‘This is the one!” OR immediately making a new friend into a BFF, without taking the time to find out :
• are they actually who they seem to be?
• who this person really is (character & type)

• how you’ll feel about them, in a year or less
• what personal problems they may have
• how their ‘issues’ are going to affect you
• how will your issues impact them?
• AND, if we’re fundamentally compatible!

➼ To know that, we need to have a clear sense of ourselves, good boundaries, reasonable self-esteem, not too much anxiety about abandonment, tolerate imperfections & have the ability to ‘go slow’. PHEUW!
BTW, we may find someone willing to play out the fantasy with us (some for a while, some much longer), because they too need to be symbiotic, feel needed, overly-important…anything to not focus on themselves & their issues. This does not diminish our responsibility for playing our emotional games.

• This kind of ‘jumping into’… comes from an intense need of the WIC to symbiotically attach, to fill the emptiness left by inadequate mothering in early life.
The human person we now choose to idealize will:Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 6.51.46 PM
— EITHER be someone who is similar in damage to our own family – the hope being that this time we can fix them & so get their love & approval, even if we can’t get it from our family.
We only end up (unconsciously) playing out our abandonment / victim role – since we can’t fix others or con them into loving us

— OR someone who is or seems to be completely the opposite of family – stable, competent, smart, nice….so we can finally be taken care of!  Even if they do, for a while, we pay too high a price – being controlled & staying immature.
But usually such people are too healthy to rescue us at all, so we get disappointed again, but not as much.

• Either way we’re trying to get from others today what we couldn’t get originally, but no one can’t make up for our losses! We need to heal from the inside.

NEXT: ACoAs abandoning others (3b)


 mean teacher

(since I never would!)

PREVIOUS: Abandonment Pain Now #3

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

1. Symbiosing, 2. Controlling, 3. Ignoring, 4. Copying, 5. Repressing other’s Emotions, 6. Idealizing, 7. Undervaluing

ACoAs are usually focused on how much we got abandoned, without realizing we’re just as prone to do that to others.
Not surprising, since everyone copies what they learned in childhood. We treat ourselves & others the way we were treated & the way we saw adults treat each other.
➼ Each style derives from a combination of :
• The original role models (parent, siblings & other relatives, teachers…..
• Our own native personality, forming the type of defenses we choose.
BTW – even tho’ we can’t technically abandon another adult, the term is being used here to express ‘not being there’ for someone else

CAUSE : Many ACoAs raised by controlling narcissists were trapped in the state of ‘one-ness’ with one or both parents. We may have felt safe & loved at first, but slowly were engulfed by the needs & demands of unhealthy adults.
As we grew & began developing our own personality, we were slapped down, cut off or rejected outright.
The only option we had was to stay enmeshed, without the chance of developing ourselves fully.

RESULT: As adults we look for anyone we can mesh with, to prevent a terrifying sense of aloneness & abandonment carried over from childhood. Trying to connect with others this way is actually a form of abandoning them, because we’re not connecting with them for who THEY are, only for what our needy WIC wants them to be – for us. (“Symbiosis“)

• Putting severe limits on what someone can & cannot do when they’re with us (what they wear, where they sit, how they talk, what emotions are OK…)
• Constantly telling someone how they should live their life or how they should be doing something (whether they asked or not)

NOTE: This is not the same as asserting appropriate boundaries regarding what works for you or what you don’t want to be around
• ALL controlling behavior represents our disowned fear accumulated from childhood on into the present
• Trying to micro-manage everything & everyone around us so we don’t have to feel hiding the messvulnerable, as in our unsafe & chaotic family, & later in bad jobs or bad relationships

• A defense mechanism designed to make us feel powerful & the world be more predictable, by hiding our inner mess, trying to make everything exactly the way we want – SAFE.
As long as we refuse to or can’t deal with the underlying cause of this compulsion (& being controlling IS compulsive, fueled by intense anxiety) we won’t be able to stop

Regardless of the underlying reasons, this pattern is:
arrogant. We’re convinced we know better than everyone else, about everything,  AND have the right to make others do / be what we want
disrespectful to others!  We’re implying, consciously or not, that we don’t care about the effect our controlling has on the other person – we trample on their needs &/or wishes, because only our needs matter!
If we did care, we’d think twice about continuing.
insulting. We believe they are too incompetent, weak & stupid to make their own choices or figure things out for themselves

✶ Of course, trying to be in control of others instead of ourselves – never works. Not only does it not alleviate our underlying terror, but makes others withdraw or be resentful & angry at us – so us feel even more unsafe & alone

HEALTHY Separation & IndividuationScreen Shot 2016-06-11 at 6.34.14 PM 
• Acknowledge that each person has their own way of doing things & the right to make their own mistakes. We are NOT their Higher Power!

• ASK, ASK, ASK: what someone wants, what they need, how they feel, what works for them, what their taste is….
We do not have to supply any of it IF we can’t, don’t want to or it’s not appropriate. Just keep in mind that others are separate from us, & that’s not bad – their differences do not negate who we are!
• Be willing to deal with our own damage, our accumulated pain & toxic patterns

NEXT: ACoAs Abandoning others (#1b)