Passive Aggressives – Review for ACoAs (Part 2)

P-A person

– but you are (lucky you)!

PREVIOUS: Passive-Aggressive ACoAs (#1)

SITE:When your Defenses lead you into trouble

REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

1.The GAME

2. WHO plays the game (Chart – slide #7)
a. P-As always look for & often find another person who is overtly angry / volatile* (V.) to play the game with – no fun being stuck with all that UN-expressed rage alone! (See: Inter-personal games, Eric Berne).

As adults, they desperately need to maintain their illusions of being perfect, in the faint hope of getting or keeping their parents’ approval, being taught that strong emotions are considered dirty, messy, dangerous – even murderous! This pattern of being P-A is another unhealthy way of copin4 stylesg with intense FoA – fear of abandonment

b. ✶ Volatiles need P-As (or their part, or the game wouldn’t work):
• it gives them an excuse for letting out some of their rage ‘legitimately’
• it’s much safer than aiming the rage at the real target – their family
• the rage makes them feel powerful, to cover vulnerability & emptiness
• Vs are used to being disappointed, too, and are equally unconsciously addicted to finding people they can act out their childhood ‘story’ with.  And P-As do continually disappoint! It’s their trade-mark, & it can be used to identify them.

Sooner or later, usually later, it is inevitable that Vs will get angry, raging, even nasty at P-As – out of legitimate, intense, longstanding frustration!
Of course: Vs have to stick around for this! They’re part of the game.

DIRTY POOL – P-As unconsciously, sometimes knowingly, always use ‘available’ Volatiles as their own personal pressure valve – as if getting the V. to explode with rage would relieve their own pent-up hostility. When Vs get angry, P-As get very self-righteous. They feel victimized & cry: “I haven’t DONE anything!  Why are you attacking me?”

• accuse Vs of being controlling, even though they set the V. up:
— to take care of them emotionally & practically
— to vent their anger/rage for them
— to make all the decisions in the relationship!

• make Vs the crazy or bad one (instead of themselves), of being abusive & unfair, of reacting to ‘nothing’. That way the Vs can be ‘the monster’ for pouring out that vile stuff (anger) which P-As are terrified in themselves.
Then they can continue to feel superior & ‘clean’, keeping their ‘good boy / good girl’ status. After all, P-As can point to being easy-going, never raising their voice, or letting out that ‘nasty‘ anger – right?

BUT that’s exactly the point – they don’t DO many things that are their responsibility, as well as not expressing their needs / wants.

When P-As make other people responsible for all the decisions they should be making Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 11.41.09 PMdo themselves, (even if they like the ones being made for them), they are neglecting to ‘show up’, hold up their end, be an equal partner or peer – ie. an adult.  P-As passively, stubbornly – yes angrily – demand to be taken care of! but never say what they actually want or need, because they don’t have permission

• THEN, if/when something goes wrong – when they don’t like the choices the V. made for them, or are disappointed with the outcome – they can blame the other person & continue to play the victim role

• AND P-As can say to the other person: “YOU’RE always making the decisions! YOU’RE so controlling!” (& unspoken: “I hate you”). Wow! How dishonest.
✶ BUT if the V. stops playing the game, the P-A may finally tip their hand – if only briefly – showing the true rage behind their mask

EXP: Mark (P-A) & Sandy (V.) meet at a classical concert & become art-loving, theater-going friends. Mark regularly says self-deprecating things that are clever & funny, & Sandy obliges by laughing.
After a few months Sandy becomes increasingly uncomfortable with her complicity in Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 12.04.49 AMMark’s self-hate. The next time he makes a crack about himself – she doesn’t laugh & is quiet.  He gets annoyed & indirectly insults her for not responding ‘correctly’.

Later he buys her a B/day gift which deeply offends her artistic & Christian values – an ugly-made Indian goddess statue – knowing her religious background! She can’t imagine his intention – but is outraged. She instantly blows up at him & gives the gift back. Naturally he’s hurt & angry – but doesn’t show it. Instead he mails her a scathing note – making her the ‘bad one’.  End of friendship! Sandy feels ashamed for blowing up but also relieved.

NEXT: Passive-Aggressive ACoAs, (Part 3)

Passive Aggressives – Review for ACoAs (Part 1)

passive aggressive house YOU’LL NEVER SEE HOW ANGRY I AM –
I barely know, myself!

PREVIOUS: P-A ‘nice’ comments

SITE: Constructive, Passive & Aggressive Leadership styles

1.The GAME (Post: How its played)
a. Passive-Aggressive ‘disorder’ (PAPD)
A 2-handed ‘game’ (‘Games People Play’ by Eric Berne), always requiring the Passive-Aggressive (P-As) person & the Volatile (Vs) one to react.

web-MDapparently compliant behavior, with intrinsic obstructive or stubborn qualities, to cover deeply felt aggressive feelings that cannot be more directly expressed….

Wikipedia ….a personality trait marked by a pervasive pattern of negative attitudes & passive, usually disavowed resistance … expressed as learned helplessness, procrastination, stubbornness, resentment, sullenness, or deliberate/repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks for which one is (often explicitly) responsible….

DSM VI … the behavior often reflects an unexpressed hostility or resentment stemming from a frustrating interpersonal or institutional relationship on which an individual is overly dependentScreen Shot 2016-06-14 at 11.00.40 PM

The Straight Dope …people who suffer from PAPD expect disappointment, and gain a sense of control over their lives by bringing it about.

b. ACoAs: MANY of us grew up in one of 2 emotional climates :
emotionally volatile – being around loud, hyper, dramatic, raging, volatile parents / relatives – which has made some ACoAs gun-shy. We had to sit on our own anger – there was so much flying around, and we didn’t want to be like them, so we shoved our rage into a huge locked room & tried to throw away the key. So now it comes out sideways!

emotionally repressed – the other extreme found some of us in a family of uptight, buttoned down, emotionally cut-off, perhaps P-A types, who made a point of suppressing any intense emotion in their children. They may have believed it was ‘spiritually correct’, or they just didn’t want their own repressed pain to get triggered, and they didn’t have the skill/ tools to deal with ‘big feelings’ from their kids. We either copied their style or became ‘dramatic’ & over-reactive to everything.

• Both styles have deeply effected our relationship to anger & rage.
IMP: These are normal human EMOTIONS (Es), which are just forms of energy & by themselves are not dangerous or bad.Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 11.09.50 PM.png
✶✶ What to watch out for are the ACTIONS we take to express these Es! If we express them safely, we don’t hurt anyone & in fact feel lighter & can function better. If they’re expressed badly we can cause pain to others, while adding to our shame, guilt & S-H.

c. Briefly:  P-As have a huge amount of accumulated anger & rage (from childhood, as well as in adulthood), which they’re not allowed to feel, much less admit to – in order to be the ‘good’ one. They have cultivated such a facade of ‘niceness’ they have fooled themselves (but not everyone).  They may be the Hero or Lost Child from any dysfunctional family –  the Rescuers, the People-pleasers, or the Invisibles. (Toxic Roles”)

no, no

P-As compulsively resent, oppose & thwart – indirectly – what they see as demands to function at a level others expect of them. They’re convinced that they’re still not allowed to have real power for themselves, & are afraid to admit their anger at being neglected & unloved. They end up saying NO to their own needs & wants – and to anything that would be good for them.

So they live in a state of deprivation, expecting others to read their mind & provide what they won’t give themselves. P-As are rarely if ever able to state outright what they want & don’t want, or distinguish between actual bullying & appropriate requests. They just say NO to everyone, regardless.

Suppressing their anger is a form of negative self-control, & then put all the rest of their effort into trying to control other people’s emotions, so they can sneakily get them to do what the P-A wants.  In light of their self-imposed limitation, P-As are inwardly driven to push hidden handsothers toward their secret goal (to prove they can’t be pushed around, and to get back at anyone who’s hurt them OR their substitutes) – while seeming to not push at all. (re. controlling). It’s a way:
— to get their agenda across without risking consequences &/or

NEXT: P-A ACoAs – Review (Part 2)

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

lots of ideasPREVIOUS: 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)

REVERSE Laundry List & Healthy Version

drunk narcissists I HATE KNOWING
how much I’ve copied them!


 LL (#1)

SITE: ACoAs – Qualities & Traits

REVIEW:Variation of ACoA Laundry List” post

NOTE: Reprinted from the ACoA World Service Org.

REVERSE Laundry List – acting out the Introject (the PP)
1. To cover our fear of people and our dread of isolation we tragically become the very authority figures who frighten others and cause them to withdraw.
2. To avoid becoming enmeshed and entangled with other people and losing ourselves in the process, we become rigidly self-sufficient. We disdain the approval of others.
3. We frighten people with our anger and threat of belittling criticism.
4. We dominate others and abandon them before they can abandon us or we avoid relationships with dependent people altogether. To avoid being hurt, we isolate and dissociate and thereby abandon ourselves.

5. We live life from the standpoint of a victimizer, and are attracted to people we can bad attitudemanipulate and control in our important relationships.
6. We are irresponsible and self-centered. Our inflated sense of self-worth and self-importance prevents us from seeing our deficiencies and shortcomings.
7. We make others feel guilty when they attempt to assert themselves.
8. We inhibit our fear by staying deadened and numb.
9. We hate people who “play” the victim and beg to be rescued.
10. We deny that we’ve been hurt and are suppressing our emotions by the dramatic expression of “pseudo” feelings.

11. To protect ourselves from self punishment for failing to “save” the family we project our self-hate onto others and punish them instead.
12. We “manage” the massive amount of deprivation we feel, coming from abandonment within the home, by quickly letting go of relationships that threaten our “independence” (never get too close).
13. We refuse to admit we’ve been affected by family dysfunction or that there was dysfunction in the home or that we have internalized any of the family’s destructive attitudes and behaviors.
14. We act as if we are nothing like the dependent people who raised us.

OPPOSITE of Reverse Laundry List
1. We face and resolve our fear of people and our dread of isolation and stop intimidating others with our power and position.
2. We realize the sanctuary we have built to protect the frightened and injured child within has become a prison and we become willing to risk moving out of isolation.
3. With our renewed sense of self-worth and self-esteem we realize it is no longer necessary to protect ourselves by intimidating others with contempt, ridicule and anger.
4. We accept and comfort the isolated and hurt inner child we have abandoned and disavowed and thereby end the need to act out our fears of enmeshment and abandonment with other people.

5. Because we are whole and complete we no longer try to control others through manipulation and force and bind them to us with fear in order to avoid feeling isolated and alone.
6. Through our in-depth inventory we discover our true identity as capable, worthwhile people. By asking to have our shortcomings removed we are freed from the burden of inferiority and grandiosity.healing heart
7. We support and encourage others in their efforts to be assertive.
8.We uncover, acknowledge and express our childhood fears and withdraw from emotional intoxication.

9. We have compassion for anyone who is trapped in the “drama triangle” and is desperately searching for a way out of insanity.
10. We accept we were traumatized in childhood and lost the ability to feel. Using the 12 Steps as a program of recovery we regain the ability to feel and remember and become whole human beings who are happy, joyous and free.
11. In accepting we were powerless as children to “save” our family we are able to release our self-hate and to stop punishing ourselves and others for not being enough.
12. By accepting and reuniting with the inner child we are no longer threatened by intimacy, by the fear of being engulfed or made invisible.
13. By acknowledging the reality of family dysfunction we no longer have to act as if nothing were wrong or keep denying that we are still unconsciously reacting to childhood harm and injury.
14. We stop denying and do something about our post-traumatic dependency on substances, people, places and things to distort and avoid reality.


ACoAS being SCAPEGOATED (Part 4)


IT’S IMPERATIVE I GET  – that I am NOT bad, stupid or weak!

PREVIOUS: ACoAs being Scapegoated (#3)

2. Scapegoating FAMILY
3. Scapegoat-ed CHILD

🌊 To survive, Scapegoats (Sc) had to build a wall around the toxic family’s shadow energies they were forced to swallow, hiding the origin of the abuse. Even so, now the least little emotional ‘bump’ is felt as an extreme pain when an event touches any old wound they haven’t yet learned to process & contain.

Common symptoms are academic failure, delinquency, drug / alcohol abuse, depressions, rages, PTSD, stress-related ADD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, sexual acting out/pregnancy….. especially in teens, & can continue for many years into adulthood.

abuse S-H

Sc carry psychological & emotional scars. They may not start out with a mental illness (although some ACoA Sc are predisposed because of parental alcoholism & depression), but are highly likely to develop one or more – after years of being subjected to abuse.

a. The WIC in every Sc automatically assumes they can’t cope with their intense emotions (fear, anger, sadness…)
— & so are often crippled by them in the form of anxiety, -while-
— those who can’t consciously admit they were the family victim mistakenly believe they should not be in so much distress, because to them being ‘normal’ means not being ‘upset or unhappy’.

b. To compensate for being rejected by ‘loved ones’, some Sc cover it up by feeling omnipotent, seeing themselves as the ‘chosen one’ (which they are – but in a very sick way) for having the ‘special strength’ to carry the guilt & misery of others – their way of keeping the family together!

These adult Sc live in the grandiose belief that “I can do everything for everyone who needs me”, while resenting others for not providing them with their own un-spoken needs! They feel cut off from the rest of human experience for having suffered ‘more’ than anyone else, but also superior & above it all!

As the designated Scapegoat, YOU:
• blame yourself for the original abuse, & look for rational reasons for the way you were treated, BUT
• have developed a lack of trust & deep resentment against the world, while maintaining self-hate & hopelessness

• feel worthless, ugly, stupid, incompetent AND crazy!
• live out the negative messages heaped on you as a kid, which prevented self-esteem – by not developing your potential, getting into harmful & unfulfilling relationships, letting abusers walk all over you…..

• may struggle academically & avoid opportunities which include competition – not from lack of intelligence, but from Toxic Rules (CDs)
• OR try to prove your worth by becoming an over-achiever, often to the detriment of you true needs & dreams
• feel overburdened, at the edge, marginalized, but still responsible for the tribe’s shadow side (clean up others’ messes, soothe anger in a group, ‘keep an eye’ on everything, listening to others dump, put out ‘fires’….)

• feel misunderstood & burned out, BUT duty-bound, noble, virtuous, self-sacrificing, AND
• are inevitably fueled by the accusing internalized voice (PP) & Self-Hate disapproving of yourself & others, & then scapegoating a child of your own
• feel a lot of shame for being ‘the bad guy’, but also rage at being blamed for the family’s dysfunction
• are desperate to find acceptance but can’t hear complements or absorb caring when it’s available, finding life almost impossible to manage, SO —

• tend to look for acceptance outside of yourself, making you vulnerable to manipulating individuals & groups who thrive on taking advantage.
EXP: Religious cults, criminal organizations, & violent or sexual predators lure their victims by initially offering validation to Sc, who want to belong, but have not learned to recognize users & abusers (underlying similarities to their family)

GROWTH: It can take Sc half a lifetime (30s & up) to get the right information that put the pieces of the puzzle together. Once they realize that all the blame & slander they’ve endured came from the very people who were supposed to love them the most on this earth, they often decide to cut interactions.
★ This may be to avoid dealing with the truth, OR because they’ve developed enough emotional strength & support to stop putting themselves in harm’s way.

NEXT: ACoAs – being Scapegoated (Part 6a)

ACoAs ‘FEELING SORRY For’ (Part 1)

THEY NE-E-E-ED ME! How can I turn my back on them?


SITE: Meditation for compassion (“loving kindness”)

Feeling sorry for” someone may be generated by any situation we personally identify with, or simply caring about the plight of others who are less fortunate. We may or may not be able to do anything practical for the millions who suffer, but on a one-to-one basis, at the very least we can LISTEN to someone who needs a caring heart & ear, without advice or judgment

☆ Empathy : a visceral / emotional experience of another person’s emotions – an visceral mirroring, like tearing up at a friend’s intense sadness or deep loss

☆ Compassion:
  “a human emotion prompted by the pain of others. More vigorous than empathy, it gives rise to an active desire to alleviate another’s suffering. It is often, though not inevitably, the key component of altruism ….”rescuing

☆ Altruism: an action that benefits someone else without expecting repayment.
BUT – does not automatically include personal empathy or compassion, like making an anonymous donation for tax purposes

DEF : ☼ Doing good to others, regardless of self-concern, a behavior that costs the Giver while benefitting the Receiver.
☼ A traditional virtue in many cultures, & a core aspect of various religious traditions”, it’s considered the highest form of love (Agape) – putting aside our own needs to help someone else.

For this type of ‘feeling sorry for’ to be legitimate – the recipient of our concern must be truly in need of help AND not have the ability to do for themselves – at least temporarily.
This is not always easy to determine, especially is it’s someone we care about, if they’re still acting out of the victim role.
SeeRescuing” -vs- “Healthy Helping.

1-b. For OTHERS – Negative
For ACoAs, the core problem is that we feel sorry for the wrong types.
While we may have a strong caring & compassionate side, which we use for others instead of for ourselves, we misplace our sympathy by focusing it on narcissistic people (parent, spouse or lover, BFF, sometimes a boss, teacher…) who are a bottomless pit of needs.

i. WHO: Anyone who is
☛ emotionally & practically irresponsible. This can not be emphasized enough!  These are people who are unwilling to use available resources needed to help themself, hooking us into do it for them! This can be in practical ways, but most often they want to be taken care of emotionally

☛ abusive, abandoning, narcissistic (but often charming) – because they prey on our desperate need to stay attached & feel special. It allows them to “feed on” us without having to give back.

☛ who acts like they need / love / value us, but if we take care of ourself before them  by setting boundaries or disagreeing, they’ll throw us under the bus in a heartbeat!
This way of being treated is so familiar from childhood, we think it’s normal & there’re acceptable, so we suppress our angry at the betrayal!

• POTENTIAL does NOT count – when it has to do with others!  We’re attracted to selfish people because they’re familiar, & we can rescue them & feel superior.
BUT as long as they refuse to develop their latent capacities – we end up drained, feeling inadequate, disappointed & angry – just like we did as kids.

• our damaged need to feel special (counter feeling powerless)
• copy what we learned from a para-alcoholic parent (usually mom)
• don’t want to face who this (current) person really is, because then we’d have a different relationship with them, or have to leave

iii. WHAT
Their unhealthy behavior patterns TRIGGER our WIC to:
• (E) feel sorry for them (they’re manipulating this), the way we felt sorry for family members who we tried & tried to fix, but never could

• (A) act out our pre-programmed training to rescue & enable them
• resonate our WIC with theirs, feeling their pain – so we take on the Good Parent role, for them – but not toward ourselves

Instead, we need to be with people who are ALREADY in the process of taking care of themself, & therefore can be available to us without causing a lot of drama & stress.

NEXT: Feeling Sorry for – #2

REBELLION vs Compliance (Part 1)

I’ll do whatever you want, so you won’t leave me

PREVIOUS: Wanting Revenge #2



• This is normal for the teen years, when you’re trying to figure out who you are, what you want to do ‘when you grow up’, so you’re not a carbon copy of your parents (yuck), wanting to be part of your peer group….

• In a reasonably healthy family you’re given a certain amount of leeway in this, to grow & stretch. Healthy parents are not threatened by this stage – even if it makes them uncomfortable & a little nuts. They know you’re a separate person & will find out for yourself
• It does not mean they neglect you, ignore what you’re doing or just can’t be bothered. It means they’re watching & waiting, and caring, not overly imposing themselves – but also not OK letting you get into trouble!Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 5.16.58 AM

• When you’re allowed to be different from your folks, can disagree with their politics, religion, philosophy of life, or just plain – what to wear – eventually you get to find out what you really like & don’t like, who the real you is!

• Kids with this kind of freedom eventually (usually by their 20’s) find they do in fact agree with much of what they grew up with – the values, tastes, lifestyle… even if expressed in their own personal way.
AND ways they are different from family is accepted & maybe even admired – or at least respected.

However – if you’re reading this, you probably didn’t grow up in that kind of family!  As ACoAs:
a. Neglected : if we were ignored, unguided, un-nurtured – we would, of course, be left with a lot of anger, sadness, loneliness & a deep sense of hopelessness. As kids, we would Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 5.16.16 AMconclude that we didn’t matter, were invisible, had no reason to do anything for ourselves, & are incompetent anyway.

• Maybe a relative, a neighbor or teacher took an interest in us & helped some – but it’s not the same as having our parents explain things, show us by example & help us try out things. Everything from personal hygiene, cooking, house repairs, arts & recreation, social skills – to homework, relationships, spiritual practice….

Our Reaction
: We spent a lot of time alone, daydreaming, hiding out, reading, studying, maybe hanging out in the library, with a friend – but not likely.
NOW: ACoAs in this group don’t accomplish as much as they could, have trouble pursue dreams, goals, talents, interests … in spite of being just as talented, intelligent & capable as any other human being.
After all, if our parents couldn’t be bothered to teach us how to do all the things kids need to know, so how can we possibly manage anything ourself ? !

• This may not seem like rebellion – but it is.  It’s passive resistance: “If they didn’t take care of me, I’m not going to take care of me!”.  True, there’s fear, a deep sense of not knowing how, but the refusal to try comes from rage, which underpins the passivity.

Even so, some of us were told that they love us – even though they rarely or never acted like it. In stead, WE are the ones who love them – desperately, no matter how cruel & neglectful. We’re the ones who don’t want to let go!

b. Over-Coerced : At the other extreme, many of us were bullied, over-controlled, Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 5.15.41 AMmanipulated – forced to do & be whatever one or both parents (& other caretakers) wanted, with little or no regard to our individual personality.

• As kids we were considered ‘tabula raza’ – that’s Latin for blank slate. Parents of the baby boomer generation (& before) were taught that children come into this world with no identity or personality OR that they’re born bad, & it’s up to the parents to form them according the what’s ‘right’ – to write on the slate as they wished.

• Alcoholic & other narcissistic parents, who by definition had low self-esteem & fear of abandonment (FoA) themselves, could not tolerate any sign of individuality in their children, ⚡️which they stubbornly assumed to be disobedience, deliberate disrespect, even perversion!
☀️Such parents / family ruthlessly suppressed the reality that every child is born with their own specific personality type, & genetic makeup (even twins) which needs to be acknowledged & nurtured.

NEXT: Rebellion vs COMPLIANCE (Part 2)


little devilsMAKE THEM SUFFER !
The same way they made me suffer!

Post: ANGER CATEGORY #12 – Retaliatory

POSTS: Parents Blaming Us / ‘Shame’ / ‘Guilt’

, Vengeance, Retribution, – injury inflicted as punishment in return for abuse received
• To plot revenge – the bitter desire / obsession / plannimg to injure another for a wrong done to oneself, a loved one or others like oneself
• To avenge – actually exact satisfaction for a sense of injury, following a wrong received. Any form of personal action against an individual, institution, or group for some perceived harm or injustice.

😡 Many of us hated one or more parents for their neglect & cruelty – but that was to-o-o dangerous to admit! We wished they were dead or that we were.
BOOK: “So the Witch Won’t Eat Me” by Dorothy Bloch (NY psychoanalyst) gives an excellent explanation in her intro.

a. External CAUSES
Growing up, our parents & other adults:
• neglected, attacked & humiliated us, assumed the worst of us… blamed us unfairly for everything
• AND didn’t allow us to defend ourself, never bothered to ask for our point of view or experience, didn’t believe us, weren’t on our side nor defended us

b. Internal –
As children WE:
• are vulnerable to & at the mercy of our caregivers
• think in B & W, simple cause & effect, so a believe in JUSTICE – that the world SHOULD be fair
• AND, assume we’re the center of everything, therefore everything that happens to us is about us (good or bad)!
It makes sense to a kid’s mind that, when our parents hurt us —
• they were justified in what they were doing to or not doing for – us
• somehow we caused it, even if we couldn’t figure out what we did wrong
• we deserved whatever was dished out: “The gods punish us for our own good (a lesson) & because we deserve it (being bad)!”
• we were in constant, intense pain.  Even though we had no choice but to accept blame, still – we wanted it to STOP! Of course.
• no one else seemed to notice or care – no one helped (maybe someone did try, but it didn’t work out & we stayed trapped)
• we couldn’t get any justice from them (they didn’t care how their abuse effected us)
• they got away with it – were never held accountable! UNFAIR
• we tried & tried – to figure it out, to change ourselves and get them to change, to protect ourself & others in the family
• but nothing got better, so we got more & more frustrated and hopeless
• failing to MAKE adults stop hurting us, our sense of danger never left

whivoodooch led to getting angrier & angrier. Being powerless in an unsafe family, especially one that was actually life-threatening – will always generate RAGE
• and after all – fair is fair – eventually we began to have fantasies of REVENGE, to even the score, so the world would be in balance again.

Without help, comfort or a way of escape, we had to suppress the pain as best we could, but our fantasies scared us.
We could’t attack our parents directly, because —
– we were too dependent on them
– they had some positive qualities we used so as to deny the bad ones
– it wasn’t safe to rebel outright (severely punished if we did try)

We needed to deny our fury at them. We weren’t big or strong enough to punish ‘those mean, stupid adults’ the way they deserved, so we did the next ‘best’ thing :
• Masochism, Revenge in REVERSE – some took it out on ourself (self-mutilation, fantasies of being hurt/ tortured, tried suicide either directly or by dangerous activities….) as a way to punish our abandoners

Sadism – directly abusing others : As kids, some of us hurt smaller, younger, weaker things, such as:
— an older child hitting, hurting or even killing a new child in the family
— physically torturing birds, cats….
— stealing, hiding or breaking other’s toys & possessions
— bullying (at home, neighbor kids, at school, later – on line….)
— making fun of someone’s disability…

NEXT: Wanting Revenge #2


No matter what I do, it’s wrong!

PREVIOUS: Rebellion vs Compliance #2

SEE posts : What is Guilt?
What is Shame?
• ACoAs’ Need for Revenge


There is a lot of talk in the ‘spiritual’ community about forgiveness, ie – that we should not be blamers.
Not blaming ourself (S-H) or others (attacks) is a good rule for us in the present – now that we’re adults. And that’s a discussion for another post.

However, those same teachers & preachers never talk about what was done to us as kids – that among many other types of harm, our parents unfairly, inappropriately blamed us for all kinds of things – and what that did to our tender & vulnerable developing sense of identity!

This post is about what happened TO US as children. A hallmark of alcoholic & other emotionally unhealthy families is the mistreatment of their children in all 4 of life’s aspects: Spiritual, Emotional, Mental, Physical (PMES).

😿 Parents blaming their children for ANYTHING is ABUSIVE. Blaming us is the same as holding us responsible for their deficiencies & unhappiness.

Remember – abuse is not just Physical, in its various forms. Abuse encompasses all the ways people harm others – especially their children – by injuring another’s rights, self-esteem, mental clarity, sense of safety, emotional equilibrium & boundaries. So Blame fits into the other 3 categories – M, E & S..

👥 A variation on parental Blame is a constant and negative COMPARISON of a living child to a dead or other living sibling, another relative, a famous person….  “Why can’t you be more like ____”

✅ Damaged parents blamed YOU for things WHICH :
a. were NOT your fault
• your difficulties because of a learning disability, like dyslexia or ADD
• the illness or death of a parent; a parent being left by a lover or spouse..

b. was a projection
of what the parents were guilty of being (fearful, irresponsible, lazy, feeling unlovable, risk-averse….)

c. you were not doing
what you were accused of
• being a ‘whore’ when you were too young to have had sex at all OR
• of seducing a parent’s lover/ spouse, when that adult was actually sexually abusing the child
• of using drugs when you never did – at least not at the point…) Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 5.07.37 AM

d. you could not do, especially without any instruction, & then accused of being stupid
• when you legitimately couldn’t know something (fixing a car or other machinery, shopping by yourself, def. of a big word…)
• ‘getting’ a hard school subject
• expected to know how to fix a parent’s personal, sexual & financial problems
• forced to take care of a drunk or crazy parent, alone…
e. were truly no one’s fault. EXP :  • an act of God
• being born with a physical or mental limitation
•  getting severely ill or having an accident…

f. you were held responsible for –
 something one of your siblings or other child did, especially if you were the Hero or Scapegoat (start a fight; steal or break something; get into trouble at school…)

g. your parents were jealous of, because they couldn’t do something you could, even as a youngster (a natural skill or gift), so they made that ability stupid or a bad thing

h. was mostly not true
always lying (“Kids always lie so we can’t believe anything they say”)
always being stubborn, selfish, too sensitive, difficult, disobedient, stupid….

➼ This last category are a group of normal childhood characteristics which:
√ sick parent cannot tolerate because of their own issues
√ occur sometimes as a defense in the child because of family abuse & neglect…
√ happens occasionally because kids are human ie. imperfect.
Those behaviors & attitudes then get demonized – which make them a ‘sin’ and more likely to continue, causing the child to TRY becoming perfect’. We CAN’T WIN in a sick environment.

NEXT: ACoAs’ need for revenge

ACoAs: BOOKENDING with the WIC (Part 2)

bookends 2
by being kind but realistic

 Book-ending, Part 1

POSTS: ✦ Self-Hate
Abandonment Pain, Now

See ACRONYM Page for abbrev.

TRYING to PROTECT ourselves (cont)

b. CDs – Another strategy evolved into using Cognitive Distortions (CDs), B & W thinking being the most common – trying to have some predictive ability amid alcoholic chaos. We pickup them up from family, school & religion – as well as our own immature thinking. Ad now they’re entrenched in the WIC.

CDs were a way to project what we assumed would happen in any given situation, so we could either be prepared or avoid it altogether.  In terms of T.E.A., they’re forms of incorrect Thinking. But they’re too limited in scope to deal with most of reality, deep-rooted beliefs that leave out important info & lead to incorrect conclusions.

✶ Unfortunately this strategy also backfired, just like many others the WIC (understandably) absorbed. This is mainly because we were / are still trying to do the impossible: getting unhealthy people to love us & stop being abusive.

The only thing that’s truly successful is to stop chasing the WIC’s delusion that we are responsible for the original abandonment, & the fantasy that we can somehow make ‘them’ see & accept uimpossibles!

CDs are so harmful because:
• they’re the twisted ‘logic’ behind much of our un-healed habitual actions & emotional reactions, which are inevitably self-defeating & painful – even torturous!
• it makes us think we’re crazy when other people use them on us – unless we’re familiar with the distortions & can counter them accurately.
However, once you know the various CDs & Logical Fallacies well, you’ll never again think you’re nuts. Never again! Hurray!

Negative USES of Bookending
a. overblown unrealistichopeful’ expectations
• Both types of expectations (over & under-realistic) are based on  the WIC’s narcissism – ‘everything that others do (to me) is about me’, but this one comes from the aspect of ACoAs that is grandiose, symbiotic & unrealistic about people & events

Again, this is the WIC who desperately needs & want something, but is not using real-world criteria to evaluate what’s actually possible is any particular situation. Because the imagined outcomes are not possible, we are inevitably disappointed.
This reinforces our original CD – that we don’t deserve anything good & that the universe is against us/
Some of these CDs are:  • over-estimating  • mind-reading  • wishful thinking  • externalizing self-worth  • always being right ….. Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 3.33.35 PM

b. totally negative beliefs about how , hopelessly things will always turn out.
Some of these CDs are: • all or nothing  • only noticing the negative  • making everything about oneself   • jumping to conclusions  • under-estimating …..

ALSO, we use idealization / fantasy to mask how scared we really are
• because we’re not actually allowed to get our needs met, AND
• when we already know the person or situation is unsuitable, even damaging, but don’t want to leave & have to start over – after all, if it’s hopeless anyway, why bother!

✶ This defensive way of thinking is NOT the same as being Appropriately Positive and Realistically Hopeful – about what we are actually capable of accomplishing or ways we can be nourished by healthy environments. ACoAs are so steeped in the fantasy, we have trouble imagining wonderful, happy circumstances – for ourselves!

However, as we heal and DO get good things in our life – we will know & feel the contrast with our upbringing : THIS is the way it should have / could have been, but never was. We need to mourn that loss but stop looking back for something that was not possible.

NOW it’s time we give ourselves the happiness we never had as kids!

NEXT: Bookending- #3