dismantle your prison

PREVIOUS: What to do when Confused – #4

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

we’re stuck
There may be several reasons why ACoAs are stuck. Here we’re concerned with the many Toxic Beliefs* we carry with us from our childhood experiences.

✶ Our fear is strong & pervasive, but the main cause for that in the present is what we are THINKING! Change that & we’re free!
NOT being able to pursue & reach our needs & desires is caused by intense inner conflict between what we consciously desire VS the family rules coming from the Introject (PP = bad parent voice), whispering or screaming at the WIC, causing in S-H

• OBEYING the Toxic Beliefs guarantees that we stay trapped, continually failing, feeling more & more hopeless, even suicidal. BUT, they’re so much a part of us, we may not even know we’re being coerced by ideas that were created for us (deliberately or not, it doesn’t matter).

To get UNSTUCK – we need to know & own these self-destructive Rules, counter them & then slowly change our actions, ie. Only follow the New Rules!

IRONICALLY, these old beliefs are very hard to give up, because:
• the Inner Child actually believes them!pain
• following them represents loyalty to our family

GIVING them up would mean:

• getting in touch with the PAIN of our damage
• seeing what we missed out on (a loving, healthy family)
• having to give up what we thought was our ‘identity’ (our False Self
& one or more Roles)
• having to become our own person (S & I), grow up emotionally, make our own choices, be responsible for ourselves & our actions  – stop waiting to be rescued.

BELOW is one FORM to use whenever you want to know what’s going on in your head – what toxic beliefs are keeping you from getting what you want in life (use it separately for each topic or issue that’s bothering or confusing you), AND another FORM to make your corrections

➼ Please DON’T just say “I don’t understand this”, or “I don’t know how to do it” & give up.  That’s mainly resistance, even if you’ve never done this particular exercise before.  Anyone who has read self-help books & done therapy will definitely be able to fill these out, given some thought, but even if you never have, you can always ask for help from someone who knows you well.  Don’t worry if your answers are similar each time you use the forms. That’s to be expected.

resistSTART by identifying a problem you want to correct OR a goal you want to achieve, but haven’t been able to, so far. Suggested ‘Issues’What‘s stopping me from:
• starting a new career?  • looking for a new job ?  • leaving a harmful relationship?  • standing up for myself?  • letting go of my damage?  • cleaning up my apartment?  • studying  my artistic passion? ….”

1. FORM A – What’s familiar: using T.E.A. (Thoughts, Emotions & Actions), to ‘hear’ the damaged part of our thinking
•  Column 1. “Emotions” can be filled in right away if you’re very upset & know what you are feeling, otherwise —

— go to Column 2, filling in as many negative thoughts as you can (one for each category is ok if that’s all you can think of). Make sure you separate out what you’re thinking about yourself VS what you’re assuming about others (projecting)

•  If you left the first column empty, now add any emotions you’ve become aware of relating to the beliefs
• Then list the ways you ACT in response to those beliefs

2. FORM B – What is possible: Reversing patterns of thoughts & behavior will modify fear & greatly improve your experiences in life.
Use the same procedure as in Form A. but change the harmful beliefs to HEALTHY, positive & hopeful ones, & then keep the list with you at all times so you can review & internalize them

• Based on that –  you can practice changing you ACTIONS, starting in small ways, whenever you can. Plan ahead how you’re gong to change an old pattern & try it out.

• In this case the Emotions column is last because you may not know how you feel until you try our new behaviors & get some positive results. Don’t be surprised if you have uncomfortable emotions (as well as pleasant ones), which come from your WIC and/or PP.  Just let them be. Comfort your kid, tell the PP (Introject) to leave your kid alone, & focus on enjoying the relief & pleasure of living well (the best revenge!).

Sample PROBLEM :
“Why can’t I make & keep friends / lovers / bosses who are healthier, compatible & supportive??”

You may need help from a therapist, friend, sponsor or healer – to IDENTIFY the NEGATIVE and POSITIVE beliefs. Don’t be ashamed to ask!

MAKE several BLANK copies of these 2 FORMS,  and try it out on one of YOUR issues


gain autonomy
Who’s the boss of you?

PREVIOUS: Being Visible (#3)


ACoA SYMBIOSIS   (see Post)
It’s an unhealthy attachment to others as a way to:
• compensate for emotional abandonment in childhood
• cope with deep anxiety of being a separate entity
• escape having to face the struggle of growing up emotionally
• mask self-hate & fear of abandonment

In the process of healing the past, we move thru layers of growth with the ultimate goal of being free.
Symbiosis ——> Autonomy ——-> Attachment ——> Inter-dependence

1. GENERAL – As part of the human life cycle, the normal, healthy psychological goal of adulthood is to become our True Self, be inter-dependent with others & contribute positively to society.
• A reasonably healthy family encourages children to be an accepted part of the family group, as well as developing as a separate individual, & then be able to function successfully in the larger world

• However, as ACoAs we were:
☼ not allowed to fully develop our own identity
☼ forced to stay in emotional & sometimes physical bondage to the family
☼ so ignored, neglected &/or tortured we couldn’t form a stable bond with anyone.  See  Attachment Disorder site

2. REQUIREMENTS woman w/ lotus
a. S & I  (Separation & Individuation) is required to connect successfully with others, the opposite of co-dependence & symbiosis, BY knowing:
• ourselves & being comfortable in our own skin
• what our needs & tastes are, & provide for them
• we’re OK, which is self-esteem & not arrogance or superiority
• we can be safe & at ease when dealing with others by having strong boundaries

b. Motivation
A hallmark of Personal Independence is being our own motivator** — not from egotism, but from being responsible for ourselves.  Spiritual & psychological teachers tell us that we need to look inside for the answers to our problems – that it’s an ‘inside job’, not what we have, but what we are. (‘Process, Part 2, b, iii’ )

**Self-Motivation means we want to do things – for ourselves. It’s the reason behind in chargeour actions, our guiding principles.
NO – It does NOT mean ignoring or disrespecting our family, the needs of others or our spiritual connections
YES – It DOES mean is that, as adults, we’re not waiting for someone else to give us permission or a reason to act

➼ Pre-FoO Recovery, ACoAs can take many actions FOR others or because OF others, but rarely just because WE want to. (‘Responsibility’ )
Without someone pushing or pulling us, we’re like dormant trees in the forest or hibernating bears, waiting for the sun to shine on us, warm us up, give us a reason to move. This is the essence of co-dependence

Past motivators – Normal: Our parents & family, school, teachers, friends, peer groups, religion, our countryour damage

• Present day motivators

negative: PRIMARILY our damage – hidden from us in the subconscious (the Shadow side) – old unresolved pain, toxic beliefs, our allegiance to our wounded family system, our resentments, fears… all expressed thru the WIC’s behavior

SECONDARILY: by other people’s opinions, the needs & wishes of friends, relatives, mates, children, bosses, our community, a punitive religion, & a distorted view of God

☆ positive
: a loving H.P. & Ourself. All other reasons to act need to come second, evaluating them based on mental health, common sense, Recovery (not from the WIC or PP bad parent) – ie. emotional maturity

• a variety of psychological inventories & personality tests
tools• dreams, visualizations, prayer, spiritual literature
• feedback from reliable sources / meetings, therapy, body work
• listening to ourselves, mindfulness, staying in the now
• listing things we’re good at, ask others about our good / excellent qualities
• observing our behavior patterns, slowly over time
• noticing our emotional responses to every situation
• talking with the IC thru the day, listening to our intuition/gut
• written inventories, journaling, morning pages, I.C. writing

NEXT: Autonomy & Attachment, #2


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)