“ACTIONS – Healthy OPPOSITES” (Part 1)

 I TRY & TRY –
but I still don’t get anywhere!

PREVIOUS: Self-Esteem – IS

POSTWhy are you stuck?

See Acronyms Page for abbrev.

“REVERSING self-defeating Behavior IMPROVES our Life”
• Many of us know how we would like our life to be:
To HAVE a fulfilling career, loving relationships, less pressure, a little fun… and we’ve been trying, struggling, obsessing – year in & year out – but not much has changed.  We feel stuck, frustrated & depressed – still run by our false beliefs (CDs) & un-processed emotions.

We grew up with years of abuse – around chaos, addictions, criticism, rage, depression, neglect & illness. We learned to survive by adapting to what ‘they’ seemed to need & want, so we cobbled together a set of behaviors as best we could, with very little guidance, which allowed us to survive – but not thrive. We became a ‘human doing’ instead of a Human Being.picture-13We often hear advice like – “Just do it!, Just start somewhere, Do the opposite of what you normally do”, even “Take the action & let go of the result”….  America was built on hard work, perseverance, risk taking & chutzpah.  All of these qualities are action-based.

Anthony Robbins, famous athletes, business moguls & business coaches focus us on taking the next action & the next – no matter what.
➡️This has value, up to a point, but ACoAs know it’s not that simple, because depression gets in the way, & besides – we didn’t have early role models for what right actions actually are.

Dysfunctional Functioning:
a. Some ACoAs have a daily struggle to function at all – maybe from being chemically challenged, not having the vitamins & nutrition needed to be ‘level’ & / or being so devastated by emotional pain that we have little or no passive victimwill to act

b. Some of us waste years of our life just drifting along, not knowing what we want to be ‘when we grow up’!  We’re unhappy & unfulfilled, but don’t have a direction to focus on. Or we fall into whatever jobs that allow us to earn a living.

This is not blame – only identifying the result of being wounded, not from personal defect!  Various forms of Recovery can help us find our True Self, which includes our dreams, goal, talents & abilities

c. Others of us have a strong sense of what we’d like to do – if only we had the support, the education, the opportunity, the connections…..
But we don’t go for it because it would require going against every message we picked up at home, such as – “Don’t out-do us, Don’t be successful, Don’t be the real you….” all of which feels like life-&-death to disobey!
✶ This is not an exaggeration to the WIC, so don’t let anyone tell you you’re being dramatic!

d. An alternative to not doing anything is to either take up a profession that was dictated by our family or a secondary interest of ours (doing stage makeup instead of acting, being a nurse instead of a doctor….) – sometimes even becoming very skilled at it, but without enough satisfaction.
➡️ It’s not unusual for ACoAs to do quite well at what we like to do the least!

e. Many ACoAs fail to take the beneficial actions we absolute need to have a decent life – at the very least, always choosing the worst relationships, the most unsatisfying jobs, isolating ourselves, refusing to take advantage of growth opportunities (personal or material), not caring for our health – not to mention continuing with any number of addictions

f. And then there are the Hero ACoAs, who over-DO all the time. Action is their god, their escape, their addiction. Keeping busy is the only thing keeping their emotions at bay.  ‘Heroes’ are so good at everything they DO, but are hard on themselves & hard on everyone else.  They may or may not be working at a job that suits them, but they’re going to prove they can do anything! What gets ignored is being vulnerable, showing heir softer side.

NEXT: Healthy Opposites – #2

ACoAs – What about ANGER? (Part 2)


That’s all in the past, right?

PREVIOUS: ACoAs- What about anger (#1)

BOOK: Strategies for Survival in an Angry World”  ~ Dr Eva Bell


☁︎Anger – A temporary & episodic emotional reaction to a frustrating situation. It’s ‘rational’, because the cortex is still functioning, so the person can think & decide actions
▸ A strong, uncomfortable emotional response to something unwanted & not fitting with our values, beliefs or rights (triggered)

☔︎ Irritability –
 A milder feeling in reaction to minor annoyances that happen as part of our daily routine
➤Aggression – An intentional desire to harm someone or something

♨️ Rage – An “irrational” emotion – the un-reasoned, automatic, instinctive protection used to roughly push away danger to self or someone/ something vital & loved.
Often in the form of an explosion, sometime as completely irrational behavior (no conscious thought), sometimes very deliberate!

– An emotional feeling of distrust + a negative mental opinion of everyone (chronic antagonism), causing a person to indiscriminately harm or want to harm others.

🛑 Hate
• extreme hurt which has hardened into cold rage.
In childhood it accumulates from being powerless to stop repeated & relentless abuse & neglect.
As adults, it’s
a. from persistently blaming others for our problems, instead of finding & using valid ways out of bad situations
b. as Self-Hate – turning our legitimate rage at family & environment back on ourself
Psychologists consider the 2 most basic human emotions to be love & fear (Es), which colors our thinking (Ts) & so our actions (As). All other emotions are seen as nuances & variations.

😍 LOVE generates: caring, compassion, contentment, happiness, honesty, enjoyment, satisfaction, trust….  (Diagrams in Part 5)
❖ Unconditional LOVE is the only source of self-esteem!
(see Posts: “Being Loved“).  Healthy Love is what make a child feel safe, & Love is the all-powerful healer of wounds.

BUT – ACoAs did not experience a genuine sense of being loved, even if our parents said it or thought they did.
How do we know this? Because of the intense fear under everything we think, feel & do – seen in our S-H, FoA, PP….

🥶 FEAR generates : anger, anxiety, confusion, control, depression, guilt, hurt, inadequacy, loneliness, sadness, shame….

All ACoAs are fear-based, having been thru so much abuse, chaos, controlling, denial, judgement, lies, narcissism & neglect – to ever feel totally safe – without healing

And sooner or later – fear always generates ANGER. Being constantly scared – with no comfort, no relief, no explanations…. will pile up & turn into RAGE.
NOTE : counter-phobia & addiction-to-excitement are defenses, not lack of fear.
⬆️  Emotion GRAPHS – computer models from the Atlas of Emotions

★ Normally, all emotions are short-term, in-&-out reactions to some immediate event, & in this form – anger is not a problem. In fact, modern psychologists view anger as a mature emotion experienced by everyone at times, having survival value. When understood & accepted, it can often be used to correct life’s imbalances, although it’s not possible in every situation.

But when painful EMOs persist for days, months or years – from living in harmful situations – they got stockpiled, without having:
✦ permission to be experienced as true emotional responses to abuse & losses
✦ anyone to listen to us, identify them (give them words) or comfort us
✦ an opportunity to process the events, so we wouldn’t have to suppress or deny them

NOW, painful emotions are being held in place by toxic T.E.A.s:
◽️(T) The WIC / PP’s thinking in the form of CDs, mental obsessions about something unpleasant/ unacceptable, without understanding our interaction or participation in the problem

◽️(E) mountains of unprocessed pain accumulated from old hurts & unmet needs, suppressed awareness of all that hurt, in order to keep going (denial)

◽️(A) staying in harmful or inappropriate situations we know are not good for range of Esus, and continuing to live in self-deprivation (not enough company, education, finances, fun, love, rest, self-reflection, sex, support….)

REMINDER – Thoughts & Actions can be either Positive, Negative or Neutral,
 but EMOTIONS are never negative!
They can range from :
Joyful <—–> to most Painful (+/- 100)
       with the calmest, pleasantest in the mid-range (+/- 20).

NEXT: What about anger – Part 2

ACoAs – NOT allowed to RECEIVE (Part 1)


I don’t need anything!

PREVIOUS: Bad Decision Styles – #3

REVIEW: Abandonment Pain Now


THIS CHART  ↘️ is in reverse order of Maslow’s hierarchy of Needs. Instead of going from most basic to highest, this tragic deterioration is an all-too-common repeated life cycle of trauma victims – without Recovery – causing great distress & tragedy

• While many wounded people manage to carve out a life without emotional healing, they can only manage by using rigid defense mechanisms to hold their world together (addictions, bullying, controlling, cutting off all emotions, rescuing, illness, isolation, narcissism, rescuing….)
If they ever do begin a Recovery process, all the pain hidden under these defenses surfaces, causing an avalanche of anxiety, confusion & rage.

• In A.A. based on over 50 years experience, the general wisdom is that it takes a newly sober alcoholic the first 5 yrs in the Program just to get their ‘brains out of hock’. Then they can start developing a sober life!

ACoA ASSUMPTIONS about Receiving
✦ Co-Dependence – because of the ACoA rule ‘Other people needs are always more important than mine’, we have to keep on giving to everyone else, without ever considering our own requirements & desires
✦ Control – We had to figure out how to manage on our own – way too young – and take care of others in the family (Inner Child as little adults) – “To give is better than to receive”. AND we survived! This was the only ‘power’ we had at the time, so to give up a little of it to ‘receive’ feels vulnerable & weak

Envy / Jealousy – We’re afraid to take in good thing from others & let ourselves be successful, because either we’ll be forced to share it or it’ll be taken away. We were raised with an envious parent, always in competition or ‘stealing’ our accomplishments : “What’s your is mine & what’s mine is nobody’s business”
Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 6.36.54 PM✦ Failure – ACoAs are “human doing, rather than human beings”.  The focus was always on what we did wrong – on actions, not personal value. And since we never seemed to do anything well, right or good enough – we haven’t ‘earned’ being treated well, receiving respect & consideration, much less love

✦ Loyalty
– staying connected to the family system as adults – to not feel rejected, abandoned, alone (even though that’s exactly what they did to us!) – we unconsciously decided that it’s NOT ok to have more or better connections, in any life-category, than we’ve had with our family. That way we can all continue to suffer together :“Misery loves company”
✦ Payback – If we DO take anything, we automatically feel obligated to that person or group. While reciprocity is a normal human expectation, ACoAs believe what we have to give back is our time, money, total attention…. our very life blood! No wonder we’re reluctant!

✦ Punishment
– to try for more of anything could get us deliberately ignored, a slap, a disgusted look, being humiliated in public or an abusive tirade. Some of us had to ask over & over for anything, even basics, before they reluctantly gave in
✦ Scarcity – based on real experiences, we concluded that the universe has very limited resources, so to get anything for ourselves automatically diminishes someone else – usually a parent or sibling
✦ Selfishness – to ask for more is not just futile, it’s presumptuous & arrogant. Many of us were taught that wanting for yourself is a sin.

✦ Self-Hate
– it’s not hard to see then why we gathered that we aren’t worthy of beinsufferingg given to! Not only because we’re bad, unlovable, selfish, greedy – “Children should be seen & not heard” – but that we haven’t ‘earned’ it, in some mysterious way!
✦ Suffering is the rule of the (alcoholic) universe: ”Life is hard!” and “You’re always supposed to struggle, but never ‘get there’”. So – don’t bother trying!

Re. Others in Part 3-4

NEXT: Can’t Receive #2

Price for Emotional Over-Control


but all it gets me is more trouble!

Previous: Cost of O-C #7

See Acronym PAGE for abbrev.


Obedience is the willingness to follow commands, orders & instructions without question, because they come from a legitimate authority which is believe in. The rules are presented as ‘necessary for the common good’ – usually to uphold the social order.
It requires the person to give up control to another, supposedly for their own benefit, such as protecting children from the dangers of damaging situations

The rationale for promoting obedience in the young, is that at some point, with maturity, the training is transformed into self-control – becoming inner-motivated. This internalization happens whether the training is positive or negative.

When a child is subjected to a coercive (controlling) environment, as most ACoAs were, what they absorb & give obedience to are Toxic Rules, which force then to deny / discard the very parts of themselves needed to become autonomous. So as adults, ACoAs still function as  symbiotic extensions of the family, instead of being motivated by our True Self.

Appropriate Self-Control is the opposite of obedience – because motivation to act is located inside rather than outside the Self
— It represents having absorbed the rules of family & society, (mainly beneficial), but only to the degree they fit our personality & ethics
— It requires enough S & I from our family of origin to be able to think for ourselves, deciding daily what works for us & what doesn’t

From the Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders: The term ‘self-management’ has replaced ‘self-control’ because self-control implies changing behavior through sheer willpower.
Self-management, on the other hand, is being aware of what causes an undesirable behavior, & consciously deals with that cause, to correct / improve it ( ie: making autonomous choices)

RESULTS of Over-Control (OC)
This list is specifically related to ACoAs who are very shut down. The Lost Child Role is the most obvious version, so O-C that they’re mute & feels invisible.
They still feel the need to protect themselves in such an extreme way, even when they’re no longer in physical or emotional danger.
👾 But since this coping mechanism is about negating the True Self, even those in the Hero Role can find O-C hiding under all our accomplishments.

• assume that all future outcomes in our life will be as disappointing & hurtful as they always have been. We never relax & have fun!
• don’t know when something’s too much for us, because without internal balance we end up exhausted, burned out, & often develop a chronic illness
• don’t trust our own thoughts & intuition, so keep make the same mistakes, like trusting the wrong people
OC hiding
• keep our emotions hidden, are so defensive or become social isolates – that it’s very hard to have mature adult relationships
• only notice & focus on the rejecting things in our environment, reinforcing the paranoia & depression we carry from the past
• stay in the one-down victim role, giving others too much power

• can’t understand other people’s responses to our persona (how we present ourselves) or why they treat us so ‘badly’
• are over-sensitive to being scorned or ignored by avoiding or rejecting everyone…..
• ….. YET, are always looking to others to validate us, give us permission, solve our problems, tell us what to think or do

• are attacked by others for our seeming lack of:
caring, communication, emotional awareness, openness, responsiveness, sharing, support or signs acting wierdof warmth.
It’s not that we’re incapable of those qualities, but that we’re afraid of caring too much & being taken advantage of.

Our verbal & emotional unavailability makes ‘present’ people uncomfortable  around us (who are more active, talkative & emotionally open).
Some can get frustrated & angry – subjecting us to disdain, being blamed for problems not our fault, have our intentions be misjudged & misunderstood, even be labeled ‘sick’ / crazy

• don’t understand office politics – so ‘disdainful’ about it as if it’s beneath us, that we won’t even learn the rules, leaving us marginalized & easily victimized

• may be too anxious to work for anyone else, not wanting to take direction or be under someone’s thumb. Growing up with chaos & abuse gave us an intense fear of authority figures, & need to control everything, at all times
OC at work• ignore or sidestep difficult task / projects, not having learned problem-solving skills, & are afraid to show our ignorance by asking for help. This can boomerang, making bosses & co-workers angry

• have a deep aversion to conflict, disapproval & taking risks. Lacking social competence, we get overwhelmed when faced with difficult office personalities.
Our silence in uncomfortable situations can aggravate others who want to talk about or fight things out, the very thing we’re trying to prevent.

NEXT: Backlash of O-C – #1