ACoAs MANIPULATING Self & Others (Part 4a)


PREVIOUS: Manipulation #3c

SITE: Response Options to a Controlling/ Manipulative Person

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

RE-CAP – Manipulation (M) is the resort of :

a. the legitimately powerless (consider Children, Women, Poor & homeless, the Chronically ill, Minorities….), usually in small ways

b. anyone who internally believes themselves to have no options (the Learned Helplessness of ACoAs, addicts, victims….) BUT who actually do have the capacity to empower themselves – with the right help & persistent work in Recovery

c. AND, ironically, high achievers who’ve clawed their way into positions allowing them to be high-level manipulators, usually on a large-scale.

MOTIVATION: By definition, such people shouldn’t need to manipulate – their whole life is about getting exactly what they want, BUT at any cost.
These externally powerful bosses, politicians, parents, church leaders, salespeople…. have to be one-up, using every dirty trick in the book

This tells us that the seemingly ‘lucky ones’we envy also grew up in very damaging circumstancsuperiorityes, leaving them with a great need to compensate. Hidden under many layers of intelligence, determination & deviousness, they do not feel OK ‘just as they are’, with both strengths & limitations, so they rarely let their vulnerability show, even to themselves

They’ve suppressed the awareness of their basic needs (safety, unconditional love & acceptance, mirroring, help….. AND having emotions!), which they consciously consider as weaknesses.
Instead they settle for being feared, having power of others, looking good on the outside, & accumulating as much money & ‘stuff’ as they can manage.

So like the rest of us, whatever childhood needs were punished or neglected – will become the focus of their life’s activities, & how those are expressed will depend on their individual native personality, combined with the social environment of their upbringing.

a. In order to change the need to manipulate, we need to start by identifying our specific ways of ‘getting over’, looking at the harm they do when used, & their long-term effects

b. Instead of simply considering Manipulation as an evil thing (motivation ideasbad, arrogant, narcissistic), we need to also understand it as a defensive maneuver. It’s used by the WIC in an attempt to provide for itself what our family & community should have but didn’t.
We began using it to survive as kids, & we’ve continued it as adults, fed by toxic family messages & bad examples.

c. On the surface this character defect is made up of conscious or unconscious BEHAVIORS, but to get anywhere we need to focus on MOTIVATION, rather than on visible actions.
Motivation is goal-oriented energy which moves us to action, using mental focus & physical exertion to reach specific outcomes.

Motivation Types
1. PRIMARY / basic = unlearned & common to both animals and humans (food & shelter, sex, fear & aggression, avoidance of pain….)
or SECONDARY / learned = which can differ from person to person (need for achievement, need for power….)type of motives

2. EXTRINSIC M.= when somebody else tries to make you do something
or INTRINSIC M. = when you want to do something

3. PULLING M. = external goals that influence how we act in order to achieve them
or PUSHING M. = internal changes (emotions, beliefs, hunger, illness….) that trigger a specific desire to act

4. POSITIVE M. = having the desire and the willingness to get or achieve something good
or NEGATIVE M. = to avoid undesirable or threatening situations

As for all human being, our primary motivation is survival – in any way possible. And for ACoAs – the over-riding need is for SAFETY – by avoiding possible abandonment & punishment (which feel like the same thing!)

SAFETY, BELONGING & MATTERING are essential to good brainbelonging functioning, allowing us to live well:
• the greater the feeling of safety, both emotional & physical, the more easily we can take appropriate risks
• the greater the feeling of connection with others, the more we can feel we’re in this together & belong
• the greater the feeling that we personally matter, that we can make a difference, & are contributing to the greater good, the greater the success in all parts of life (MORE….)
SO, since our upbringing did not provide us with these 3 fundamental needs – manipulation is the way we think we’ll be safe. Unfortunately it doesn’t work!

Motivation: The Why’s of Behavior(7 theories)
Study of Motivation”(Scroll down)

NEXT: Manipulation #4b

ACoAs MANIPULATING Self & Others (Part 2b)

child in charge 

PREVIOUS: Manipulating OURSELVES (Part 2a)

DEF: Con / conning – to persuade by deception, cajolery…..

POSTs: Negative Benefits
Emotions & the Body
Dealing with the PP (healing)



It’s important to remember that we all have an Inner Parent, but for us as ACoAs & addicts, one part of this Ego State (voice) is usually contemptuous & cruel, while another part may be kindly but weak, both sides neglectful in important ways.

“Introjections involve attitudes, behaviors, emotions & perceptions that are usually gathered from influential or authoritative people in one’s life. They are neither digested nor analyzed; they are simply adopted as a part of one’s personality as concepts that one considers should be believed or behaviors that one thinks ought to be followed.” (MORE…..)

Except for psychotics / sociopaths / malignant narcissists, the super-ego (Introject) provides an endless self-policing process, to reinforce family restrictions long after the original authority is changed, unavailable or gone.

• Object Relations Theory: D. W. Winnicott said that when we use the defense mechanisms of projection or introjection …. we (temporarily) hand over omnipotence to another person, letting them be our manager – even tho they may never be aware of it!

A classic example of Introjection is Butters Stotch, in SOUTH PARK, who seems to have completely internalized his alcoholic father’s frequent use of grounding as a punishment.

INNER CHILD : WIC’s manipulation
As laid out in other posts (ACoAs & S-H), the WIC is so used to having to do everything itself, with little or no resources & info, that it A-P-Cbelieves it still has to be that way – even tho it’s terrified & full of self-loathing. What an awful double bind!

Originally, being in a powerless situation as children we got a little sense of power & control by doing everything for ourselves AND doing without. So NOW – the WIC will try to sabotage any attempt by our healthier Voice (True Self) to take over, in order to stay attached to the PP!

The WIC cons us about our dealings with the whole world, especially at work:
• that showing up/ being visible means that we’ll be judged
• that we have to work extra hard & do the impossible to not get fired
• that we have to know everything, or we’ll be humiliated
• that being ‘perfect’ is the only way we’re allowed to live
• that we have to give others whatever they want so they won’t leave..

FALSE: ALL forms of self-conning are lies! We need to regularly remind the WIC that he/she —
• is NOT the one who is supposed to work, that’s only for the adult
• is NOT seen by other adults, they only see the grownup-us
• is NOT responsible for the company’s agenda, the demands of bossed, the plight of co-workers…..
• is NOT supposed to be in charge of every-day functioning. That’s the job of the UNIT – Healthy Adult/ Loving Parent.he world.

Re. our INSIDE: The WIC cons us with Self-Hate, to not have to be our own motivator & be in charge of our life –
• I’m stupid, stupid, bad, bad, wrong, wrong, weak, weak…..
• I don’t know how to do anything, & too dense to learn
• No one loves me, and no one ever willS-H results
• I can’t love anyone, I don’t know how to connect
• No one is safe & I can’t trust anyone

• No one will ever help me or be there for me
• I’d be better off dead, they’d be happier
• I’m boring, in the way, too much trouble
• I’ll never safe, happy, have my dreams
• I don’t have a right to ….
• If I let go of them I’ll die -OR- they’ll die!
• I wouldn’t recognize a healthy person if I fell over them
• I have to rescue them. I’ll do anything to make them feel better, not feel abandoned, stop drinking, be happy…..

NEXT: Manipulating OURSELVES (Part 2c)

ACoAs MANIPULATING Self & Others (Part 1)

controling manipulatorPREVIOUS: Multiple Intelligences

SITE: “Steve Jobs – biography by Walter Isaacson  & Commentary by Dave Smith

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

DEFs : Manipulation (M) is made up of a series of statement &/or actions, always indirectly trying to &/or succeeding in get our needs/wants met, in round-about ways

Normal – must be used sparingly, & only when there is no other legitimate option. When used for good, one can try to manipulate others to help a worthy cause, but even when well-intended, for M to be effective it has to target people’s weak spots

Unhealthy  – Because M is never straightforward, it’s hard to spot, especially when used by an experiences & skilled perpetrator, for strictly selfish reasons (narcissistically).
The subtle control of M can easily be overlooked or denied – our awareness buried under obligation, love, guilt, fear of abuse, FoA & long-term exposure

Severe – A perpetrator / bully forcefully controls another person or group who feel or actually are powerless to resist (child, battered spouse, sex slaves, gang members, war victims…..) to satisfy the manipulator’s ‘sick’ needs

PURPOSE – For ACoAs, addicts & other wounded people:
M. is used to try getting needs/wants met by underhanded tactics, to extract from other PPT something they may or not want to give
OR trying to force PPT (person, group, environment) to provide something we need/want which they actually do not have tomental fitness pyramid give
AND which in many cases we can provide for ourselves OR find a more direct way of obtaining something we lack – from appropriate sources

Re. NEEDS: It’s important to note the 2 major categories of needs.
Without deep FoO work we compulsively, slavishly insist on reinforcing unhealthy childhood patterns.
This insures that we stay deprived the same ways we were back then.
Normal needs
a: Those which EVERYONE has, & which we can’t get rid of because they’re fundamental to our humanity

b: Needs specific to YOU, based on your native personality
EXP: need to be/live near water, or other outdoor nature // to be artistic/creative // to be orderly/organized….

c. AND to some degree your specific needs in response to repeated harmful childhood PTSDevents & severe trauma
— need to live in one location for the rest of one’s life after moving 10-20 times as kid
— need to not be around crazy/angry people – at all, ever!
— need for a great deal of predictability…..

Unhealthy ‘needs’ / compulsive desires TO —
• please & be approved of by parents who can’t be pleased
• stay in unhappy, unsuitable or abusive relationships, jobs…. for fear of abandonment & disobeying Toxic Rules
• hang on to negative thinking & actions, believing it’s ‘safe’
• keep using addictions (sex, food, spending, internet, chemicals….)
so we don’t have to face the pain underneath

• keep trying to fix other people, especially those who don’t want to change/grow/improve
• keep chasing people who don’t want to connect with us, always finding the one person in the group who will reject us
• always be one-up on others, to show off, to act superior
• grab & hang on to position, power, status…. at any cost to others
• always be the center of attention   (Add your own)

MANIPULATIONsqueeze my brain
General:  serving a hidden agenda, to coerce others into giving in. Perpetual manipulators present themselves as strong & in control, but underneath – have a great deal of insecurity & a deep sense of personal powerlessness to get their needs met – directly. They can’t connect to or keep healthy, loving relationships

vs Influenceinfluence
Used on others to advance a goal, a mark of normal social interactions – in general, & a way of functioning effectively in the world – personally. Uses direct, honest communication, recognizing the integrity, boundaries & rights of others, including the right to not go along with the attempted persuasion

vs Boundaries (Bs)
Knowing our rights & personal needs so well that we can set Bs byB invade telling others what’s acceptable & what’s not. Like with influence, it’s also direct, but a way of getting our needs met without depending on other people’s help or co-operation. Comes from having permission to provide for oneself, & having access to choices

Personality Disorders (PDs)

In PDs, manipulation is a defensive style permeating a person’s every interaction, even tho they may hide their true intention, & act in ways that look ‘normal’, which in itself is a manipulation.

NEXT : Manipulating OURSELVES (Part 2a)

Anger – Negative USES (Part 2)

anger at self 

PREVIOUS: Negative use of anger #1


SITE:  PFC & Mirror Neurons: The Arena of Shen & Hun?” (scroll way down) From Chinese medicine


NEGATIVE uses of Anger

Toward SELF
ATTENTION – a negative way to be seen, heard, respected, feared…
FALSE POWER – that lets you think / feel like you’re in charge of Self, others & life in general, when you’re actually NOT
ISOLATION – being so angry at the way people are – disappointing, hurtful, thoughtless, unavailable…. (“The whole world sucks, so I’m not participating”)

ATTACKING – display of anger used as a weapon, but not necessarily actually feeling angry : to intimidate, punish, destroy someone’s self-image, shock into submission

COERCION – use your position of power to dominate, force someone to back down, be quiet, do only what you want – against their will…. Bullies only win if they appear powerful AND the other side’s options are limited

• keep trying to get someone to change for you (be what you want or think you need)
• to mange or change how some else ‘feels’
• to get your own way about something, at another’s expense
• to make someone feel guilty so you don’t have to be responsible

DEFENSE against:
• being abandoned (“if I keep finding fault & being angry at you, I can leave first”)
• others’ emotions, which can trigger Es you don’t want to feel, also against someone’s FEAR, which makes you feel scared too
DEMEANING another to feel one-up or less vulnerable : make fun of, dismiss, degrade, insult, roll one’s eyes, shame, mimic….

DISTANCE: prevent others from getting too close, in general
• avoid  1-to-1 physical &/or emotional intimacy
• as false boundaries / walls to protect your vulnerable inner self
• to block someone trying to communication

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 4.11.54 PMDIVERSION / deflecting someone’s attention away from:
• a sensitive / painful topic
• information you wants to hide
• facts you don’t want to hear
• situations you can’t handle or want to escape
• a personal weakness or limitation

Getting away with inappropriate anger creates & then reinforces a false sense of entitlement —> an illusory feeling of moral superiority that can be used to justify rude, arrogant, immoral actions, with the belief that the “end justifies the means” (bullying, collateral damage, domestic abuse, prejudice, purges, terrorism…)

MANIPULATION – keep people off-balance, even when not really angry,
• so you don’t have to do what they want, (but won’t admit it)
• can’t give them what they want (afraid to say NO)
• stop them from expecting or demanding something of you
• deflect their anger at you

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 4.11.43 PM• of your abusive/neglectful parents on to others, OR
• projecting only negative outcomes into the future – about something you want or is important to you, but assume you won’t get
PUNISHMENT / revenge : as payback for real or imagined injury

• always starting a fight before leaving
• inappropriate way to separate, distance or leave (cover FoA)
• destroy other people’s boundaries (need for symbiosis)
• deny practical & realistic needs of another – so you don’t have to deal with or provide them
• ‘stop’ others expressing their emotions (“Don’t cry!”) – so they don’t trigger your own vulnerability, OR
because you believe you have to fix them but don’t know how & don’t really want to!

INTERESTING: In Chinese medicine, Emotions are considered large movements of energy which override the Qi’s usual flow through the body’s channels.  The 5 movements of energy are: Anger, Fear, Grief, Joy, Meditation

ANGER energy gets pushed out in a jagged way, disturbing the Liver, whose job is to lift energy up to the Swood elementpirit, at the center of the SHENG cycle

• Used in Acupuncture, this cycle represents creativity, generation & production, each element feeding Qi to the one on its right, clockwise – creating that next one, as a mother creates a child. (Scroll to 5 element chart)  / ALSO: “Applying the 5 elements

: LIVER = Wood transforms (by burning) into HEART = Fire.
Wood is the Element of determination, anger & assertion. It produces the creative urge to achieve – which can turn to anger when frustrated. Wood-anger, expressed aggressively, can also come from not feeling in control of life events.

NEXT: Positive Uses of Anger, #1

Relationship FORM A. (Part 1)


I’m always dealing with some c—-p!

Healthy Adult / Loving Parent – #3

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


ACoAs did not have good role models for communicate clearly, directly & honestly.
• We became afraid & ashamed to say what we really mean, how we feel emotionally & what we want or need. So it takes courage TO:
— practice listening to what we’re thinking (usually negative), & writing down our inner mental reactions to every aspect of our life
— have the courage to recognize, admit & verbalize our emotions – not just a few, like anxiety or annoyance, but the whole range
— hear the difference between thoughts (always sentences) & emotions (always one word for each)

IF I WERE TO LET YOU  (As)  ___________________________
I WOULD FEEL (Es) _________________________________
& I’M AFRAID of THAT, BECAUSE I BELIEVE (Ts) ____________
SO I PREVENT YOU FROM (A)_____________________________
BY (As & words (Ts) ____________________________________
even thought I’ll still end up angry & resentful (Es),  that’s
LESS SCARY than having to experience or:
a. FEEL (Es) _______________________________________
b. & DEAL WITH my (As & Ts) _____________________________

1. WHO
• You’ll need to know about T.E.A. ( thoughts, emotions, actions), to fill it in accurately. This is NOT about blame!Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 4.10.17 AM
• For it to be most helpful, both people need be able & willing to be emotionally & mentally honest – which is not always possible

• IF YOU are dealing with someone who is shut down, hostile, defensive &/or uninterested – you may still choose to show them the filled-out form, but be clear that you will NOT get what you want

2. WHAT: This is a standard form for 2 people in any kind of personal relationship – friends, lovers, mates, siblings… A starting point, only!
It’s specifically about a possible/ probable future action of the person you’re dealing with – and your reaction to that possibility
• It does not offer a correction or shift in perspective, or a Recovery way of responding. That has to be added by you
• Part 1 & 2 give examples of how to use it.  Keep several blank copies handy, for when one of you is bugged about something

EXP 1:
IF I WERE TO LET YOU – go to the party without me
I WOULD FEEL – lost & alone
I’M AFRAID OF THAT, BECAUSE I BELIEVE – you’ll find someone else who’ll be more interesting & attractive to you
BY – making you feel guilty / starting a fight / whining / getting sick ….
EVEN THO’ I END UP FEELING guilty & selfish, that would be LESS SCARY than having to FEEL – unwanted
& DEAL WITH –  the possibility of loosing you, which feels unbearable

3. THEN: Once you’ve filled it out, you will want the other person to read & respond. However, that may not always happen. If you’re with someone who is unwilling to cooperate, that’s a clear signal for you to evaluate the relationship.

However, if the other person has read it, wait patiently for the response. It may not be a new problem between you.
Re. this EXP, DO THEY? :
✐ try to placate you by people-pleasing
✐ respond thoughtfully, kindly, without being defensive
✐ insult, belittle, yell, justify, or divert attention from the issue
✐ decide to stay home so you won’t be mad at them? …..

WAYS to COPE, no matter the outcome
Re. YOU:
• Take a moment for yourself –  Give the WIC a hug & say: “You’ll be OK, I’m here, you’re never alone.”
• Consider if your assumptions are valid or not.  Are you ‘awful-izing’, or basing it on experience & intuition?  If it’s only your WIC reacting again, take time to deal with it lovingly
• If you need help, call someone else (appropriate) to share your distress with, rather than creating drama. Go to a Al-Anon ACA or SLA Meeting. Read some comforting or spiritual material to help with the FoA. Go to a movie or to a friend’s place.

• If you can, admit your FoA to the other person (fear of abandonment) & simply state that you will feel sad & alone if they go without you. They may not be able or willing to take you along, no matter how you feel. That’s their right.

• If you are invited – but NOT out of co-dependence or guilt, then go & enjoy. If not, make an alternate plan, for something you’ll like, on your own or with friends. Always have plan B

• IF you know you’re not just being jealous, & your concern is based on ;
✐ past experience or things the other person has said (threaten to leave, insensitive to your feelings…)
✐ you’ve had a nagging feeling or the ‘icK’ factor about them for a while, but you’ve been in denial….

…. then your FoA (that they’ll find someone else) may be realistic. Consider this minor event as a signal that something deeper is wrong – they may not BE safe or suitable for you, at all! You could start looking around – yourself.
Remember: “I know what I know”!

NEXT: Form A. (Part 2) Another example

Backlash of Over-Control (Part 2)


the more I can get over on others!

PREVIOUS: Aggression, Over-Taxing & Regrets

REMINDER: Go to Acronym PAGE for abbrev.



3. Over-taxing self-control 
From U of Minnesota: Professor Kathleen Vohs’s study showed that suppression of emotions (NOT lack of sleep) generates aggression.

Half the subjects were required to stayed awake for 24 hours & half were well-rested. Then all were shown disgusting scenes from 2 movies –  Monty Python’s ‘The Meaning of Life’ (1983) and ‘Trainspotting’ (1996).  Some were allowed to express reactions to the gross images & others were told to show no emotion

• Later everyone played an aggressive game in which they won or lost by chance, & winners were allowed to blast opponent with a loud noise. Those who had -suppressed- their emotions blasted their competitor at a 33% higher noise level than those -allowed- to show emotion, regardless of how much sleep they’d had

❈ “The ability to engage in self-control is determined by prior use of over-self-control, not by how much sleep one had the night before.”
❈ (Your) “aggressive behavior involves an action by someone else that causes you to want to retaliate”
❈ “Being taxed by doing one task can have spillover effects on another.” (Even if we try to compartmentalize different tasks we do during the day, it turns out they are all connected – emotionally)
The study suggests that because overtaxing self-control drains us, leaving less in reserve for later tasks, doing that makes it easier to fail at achieving all our personal or social aims.

“People have a diminishable supply of physical & mental energy for self-control. When they use their energy toward achieving one goal, they have less of it available for others.  When you want to succeed, the best thing is to set up your day so you focus your self-control resources on the specific task you most want to accomplish.”

Spillover: when we have to sit on frustration & anger cause by one or more sources (work, family, shopping…)  we may take it out on someone else – unrelated, or turn to an addiction to keep ourselves numb
Energy drain: This is especially obvious when we waste so much effort worrying, projecting failure, obsessing about some abandonment….. that we have little left over for actual accomplishments that would make our life better!

4. Over-Control (O-C) & Manipulation
More is not always better when it comes to self-control. It’s hard for ACoAs to believe that vulnerability is not a weakness, but actually is a virtue. Of course, vulnerability without boundaries is foolish. But here it refers to a defense mechanism becoming self-destructive when over-used

a. Rigidity: For most ACoAs, O-C tends to kill the joy in life, robbing ourselves of spontaneity & fun. This self-imposed caution can make us unhappy & therefore unpleasant to be around

b. Secret agenda — But for an ‘elite’ group, O-C is used as an ulterior motive.
These are the smooth operators, skillful in the art of deception & manipulation: charlatans, con artists, under-cover agents & many politicians, religious leaders, judges, lawyers, teachers & pillars of society.
They’ll to go to any length to maintain the façade of invulnerability, no matter the cost to themselves, their family or anyone else.

❈ self-control is simply one of the tools they use to maintain a positive public image, to not blow the covemanipulatorr on their actual abusive identity
❈ every action is measured & always proper for the occasion. Every word is carefully selected & they seldom reveal their emotions
✶ O-C makes them feel safe, superior. They’re usually so numb to their deeply hidden inner pain that they’re not bothered by the harm they do

ACoAs: Ironically – while many of us who are caught up in O-C believe we are total victims & would never think of ourselves as con-artists, we are if fact being manipulative & dishonest without meaning to.  We hide behind our own special mask (a role, a defense mechanism, a character disorder….) to keep anyone from seeing what we’re convinced is the real us – weak, worthless & despicable! – which is only the WIC’s toxic belief, NOT our True Self.

NEXT: ACoAs acting Controlling – #1