ACoAs Being Controlled (Part 1)


just so you won’t leave me!

PREVIOUS: “Controlling” & Abandonment (#2)

SITE: Recognizing…..Control” – extensive list of tactics used by Controllers

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


BEING controlled by others
People who are easily controlled don’t know there’s a difference between –
a. Natural, appropriate authority. Being IN control is using our power in a positive way – of oneself, or being a good leader. The person in control is the main decision-maker, in charge of communication & makes things happen. People choose to listen & follow appropriate authority because they want to learn, connect &/or be taken care of —
— vs.
b. Un-natural, abusive control (mental/emotional coercion). Controllers (Cs) misuse power – they force us to obey them, against our will. They have no regard for our rights, needs or individuality. They use their position to suppress our identity so only their’s is visible. Their main weapon is negative anger, aimed at making us afraid, so we’ll be more compliant

ACoAs ‘letting” ourselves BE controlled
• Most ACoAs were negatively controlled as kids, & without Recovery we continue playing out the victim role we were originally forced into. As adults, allowing others to control us copies our earliest experiences. It keeps us symbiotically attached to the ‘source’ of our wounds & therefore emotionally immature, AND ‘protects’ us from having to face our own fear of intimacy (“ACoAs & Boundaries, Part 1 & 2”)
First: We have to be around someone who is a controller – who belittles, embarrasses us in front of others, treats us like a child, tells us what to do or how to be….who is manipulative & intimidating, however subtly.

Second: We have to be available.  While dealing with such a person is unpleasant for anyone, for ACoAs it’s emotionally debilitating – but also emotionally addictive!  We fall into a black hole, regressed to an old familiar space of being a powerless child with no options. We’re trapped & become mute! We’ve been programmed to instantly surrender – we have no rights or identity of our own. And then we stay, & make excuses for the controller!

T.E.A. (thoughts, emotions, actions)
Many teachers & groups teach us that we choose to “feel” the way we do, an obvious judgment. Of course the word feel is being used to mean thoughts rather than emotions, which is confusing & harmful, as it leads to believing we should ‘control’ our Es! (see “Feelings Aren’t Facts”, & Using THINK, instead of Feel“)

This is not fair or realistic. No one chooses their Es, only what we Think & how we Act! And even those are pre-programmed by family. Yes, sometimes changing Ts & As can shift our Es, but not always, especially not when the pain we’re feeling is old & therefore cumulative. That takes time to vent & process out of the body.

• Being controlled is the outward proof of Toxic Family Rules internalized from childhood. And when we consider those beliefs (a sub-category of Thinking) we find them very hard to change indeed. As adults — 
— allowing ourselves to be controlled in not a conscious choice! It’s a knee jerk reaction to specific people or events that are carbon copies of our family experience.
— it’s a clear indication that capitulating to the will of another means our WIC is in charge

🩸To ‘accuse’ us of choosing to be manipulated (Action) or be miserable (Emotions)…. only adds to our S-H,
& is in fact a subtle form of abuse & abandonment.

YES – we are responsible for changing our training – learning new ways of thinking & acting to take back the power we give away.
BUT we can only do this if WE:
— understand what’s actually going on inside
— have compassion for ourselves (we didn’t cause the wounding)
— remember that changing deeply-etched brain patterns takes time
— learn what our needs are & use them to practice having boundaries
— ask for help whenever we need it, especially when regressed (child ego-state of being a victim, lost child, scapegoat…)
— develop & continually strengthen the Loving Parent voice

NEXT: ACoAs Getting Controlled (Part 2)


No one acknowledged the suffering. They said it was just being ‘difficult’!

PREVIOUS: Emotional Needs & Innate Resources


DMT: I’m not a poet but wanted to include this one I wrote in 1975, as it reflects the emotions & sense of futility of a young person – a suffering GoA (grandchild of alcoholics), long before recovery, who was always searching for answers & healing. Eventually I found the validation, guidance & comfort that brought Recovery!


Forgive me! I cried.
At every turn I wished I’d died
at birth, as near I did.
Strange thoughts drove through my child’s mind:
I closed my eyes & saw infinity!
Why am I here? What is my kind?
Am I insane?

Forgive me! I seem weak,
and yet I cannot help but speak
to everyone I meet
in marketplaces & on streets –
thus twice did strangers catch me up
and carry me away – well nearly.
Then caution dogged my every step,
but never ‘dearly’.

Forgive me! I Whispered.
Had I really erred so much?
Why all that poison guilt?
Was I an empty vessel to be filled
as my masters thought & willed?
Too much to know, no one to help!
Fear to anger on my lips had grown.
Be still! I moaned.

Hear me!
I then began
to scream the pain without a plan –
blindly striking all.
No one to guide, no one to help
in clearing paths & scaling walls.
Silent or blazing, to lose or to win,
the heart, without knowing, fought to be twin
to a worthier mind.

NEXT: Excellent Inner-Child MOVIE

NEGATIVE BENEFITS of Old Patterns (Part 2)


I think you’re just messing with me!

PREVIOUS: Negative Benefits (Part 1)



EXP: How NEGATIVE BENEFITs (N.B.) keep us from healing:
a. NOT have to GROW UP, be responsible
PATTERN: Many ACoAs stay isolated, severely under-earning, unloved, unproductive, living in dirty, immaturecluttered environments, joy-less, suicidal…
OR focus all their attention on taking care of others, so they can look ok, the good guy/gal – but are also depressed, full of shame, self-hate & hidden anger

N.B. … STAY SICK rather than develop S & I, letting go of the symbiotic attachment to their cruel upbringing & becoming one’s True Self

b. NOT have to face OLD PAIN (life & death)
PATTERN: A woman was forced to take care of her filthy, violent, mentally ill mother from age 10, when her father abandoned them. At age 45 she finally put her mother in a home & promptly developed Scleroderma as a guilt/ stress reaction. She became bed-ridden, with excruciating migraines, barely able to make logical sense – although she’d been an intelligent & talented artist.
She spent her last 25 yrs isolated, depressed, with almost no practical self-care, filled with shame about every aspect of her life.
Occasionally she was in contact with her father who had  remarried another cruel woman. When he died at age 96 – the daughter went into a rapid decline & died alone, in less than a year…

N.B.rather than emotionally re-experience & process the horrors of being an only child of a passive, depressed father and a cruel, psychotic mother (left the infant with souring baby bottles & soiled diapers…..)
Therapy helped diminish her self-hate, but she was never able to go deep enough to heal the rage, sorrow & loneliness held in her body

c. NOT have to feel LONELINESS Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 8.11.37 AM
PATTERN: Many ACoAs over-work, care-take, self-medicate with sex / social media / addictions, hanging on to bad relationships no matter how harmful….. One woman stayed with her very abusive husband for 35 yrs, until he died. Instead of creating a life for herself (at 62) – she too died – 8 months later!

N.B.rather than face the emotional & practical stresses of being alone, having to feel the emptiness of loss and old abandonment, & having to care for herself, deal with finances……

d. NOT have to TAKE CARE of oneself
PATTERN: A woman in her 50‘s developed chronic pain from an auto-immune illness.  on strike
Q. put to her: “Are you willing to give this pain up?”  Inner Child answered ‘NO’ – because = being disabled was getting taken care of, ‘legitimately’.  She was tired of doing it all on her own – carrying the burden of the Hero Role. Kid wasn’t allowed to be nurtured, but this way she could get practical help, be felt sorry for, lauded for soldiering on….

N.B.rather than having to continue taking care of herself, which she’d been doing her whole life as an only child of a cruel narcissistic mother & distant, depressed father

PATTERN 1: A beautiful, bright young woman in the big city, was put under an unbearable family demand to continue rescuing her “poor, suffering mother & sisters” (who had always treated her cruelly) – by regularly sending them all her earning.  So, she made sure to only work at menial jobs she hated (under-earning) & to live on as little as possible so she could ‘honestly’ say she didn’t have any $$ to send!

N.B. … rather than say “I’m sorry, but I can’t take care of you any don't disobeymore, I have to live my own life!”, then face her guilt & their scorn  (abandonment) – which had already happened, of course!

PATTERN 2:  In his culture, a Native American man was  taught that to be an active artist, one must drink.  No alcohol – no creativity! No argument! He always wanted to write plays & get them published, but got deep into alcoholism. Before it could kill him, he got sober.  5 yrs later he still hadn’t ‘picked up a pen’. He was stuck, & miserable.

N.B.rather than go against (separate from) a national culture, not just his family – but the whole tribe!  Talk about abandonment!

NEXT: Negative Benefits (Part 3)