ACoAs – Set GOALS to MEET NEEDS (Part 3)

positive people 

PREVIOUS: Meeting our NEEDS #2

SITE: “Asking to have your needs met




The third component to getting our needs met has to do with who we surround ourselves with.
Everyone on the planet needs a support system to function well, which includes family, friends, teachers… to mates, colleagues & partners, psychological helpers & spiritual leaders. And everyone needs help to implement goals – from time to time – whether the store clerk or house wife, the boss who hires us or the mate we live with……

Yet ACoAs find it shameful, terrifying & enraging to have to ask for help & let anyone get too close. To us, closeness is automatically associated with physical / emotional abuse or outright abandonment. Better to do everything by ourselves, or simply do without.
Even so, we still do need connection, cooperation, information, intimacy, guidance, validation….. so when we try to get Help or Love, we are automatically drawn to unhealed people who are the least likely to provide it, but who can ‘feel right’ at the time, because they’re familiar – like family. We keep going to the desert to quench our thirst!self-centered

These relationships are with people who are —
— either too narcissistic to actually care about us, so we spend a lot of our time trying to get their approval, pleasing them, hanging on for fear of needy manlosing them……
— or  blatantly needy, so they don’t have much to contribute, & we end up spending a lot of time, money & energy taking care of them, worrying about their feelings, trying to ‘heal’ them….

They are familiar types. We know how to play the game with them, using all our defenses, but never being our True Self. Their lack of emotional/spiritual health guarantees that we continue to not get our needs met, just another way to not S & I – staying loyal to our family’s dysfunction.

We grow up, we have lives, jobs, our own families, friends, interests…. but are not supposed to want anything for ourselves.
So any time we actually try to provide for ourselves, we have to ensure that we fail – to continue obeying the Toxic Family Rules. We can’t afford to know how toxic they are, so we think we’re free of our past. We insist that we’re nothing like ‘them’, it was all a long time ago, it didn’t really effect us all that much anyway……YET the WIC is WIC & PPstill totally dependent on the PP, attached & loyal to our early training & trauma.

With this dependence on dysfunctional beliefs & patterns, everything we try is done with one hand tied behind our back & dragging a dead weight on our back. So any time we actually think about pursuing someone or something that can make us genuinely safe, appreciated, happy, respected…. we either put it off endlessly, or we give it a shot, but in a distorted way & with inappropriate people.
And then wonder why we never get anywhere. Most if us blame others God, the world, our spouse & children…. as well as beating ourselves up for not knowing how to do things others seem be to be able to do effortlessly.

REALITY: The only way to change this ugly, self-defeating pattern is to stop obeying the PP in the way we live our lives & treat the WIC, & instead get the help we need to develop compassion for ourselves.

Less healthy adults set up relationships with the main objective being to have the other person meet all their needs. This is an attempt to make up for not getting their basic needs from Mother in infancy.
Stage 1 WISDOM is about tradition, belonging, power and survival

We escape from the heartbreak, failure & guilt of childhood by becoming independent. This is partly about self-sufficiency & autonomy, usually giving us more freedom & success in the short-term, but is a way to avoid admitting the pain of our original Dependence. As we bury those early feelings of anger & fear, we end up damaging current relationships, & rob ourselves of long-term happiness.
Stage 2 WISDOM is about the journey of the self, and the power of personal experience and rational thinking.

This stage includes outgrowing:
• the expectation about how we (to be perfect) and others should do things (get our way) so we can reach our goalsgrowth stages
BY letting go of having to be seen a certain way, & by taking responsibility for the outcome of our dreams & plans
• being controlling, which created arguments & power struggles, because of the demands we put on others
BY replacing the need for it – with trust in oneself, in others & in a H.P. of our understanding
• self-focused emotional disconnection, leading to boredom in relationships
BY reconnecting emotionally, mentally & physically to ourselves

Continuing to mature psychologically, we form a stable inner core we can rely on, no matter what. This allows us to have relationships with other self-caring adults we can learn from, rely on & enjoy in PMES ways. It’s a stage where people work together for the good of the relationship or for the good of others & the world.
We can then:
• take the lead in responding to the emotional needs of the people around us with love and compassion AND avoid self-attacks
• reveal our True Self, full of creativity, confidence & wisdom. We will have faith in a positive future, rather than living in the past
• have a true sense of ‘belonging’ (oneness), linked with everyone / everything else by love, experiencing the calm of Spiritual Dependence  (MORE…..)
Stage 3 WISDOM is about the interconnection of everything and the mysteries of existence.


Inter-dependence makes getting our needs met & reaching our goals more likely, more often & easier – a natural part of living well.  (CHART)


ACoAs – Set GOALS to MEET NEEDS (Part 2a)

implemeting goalsPREVIOUS: Meeting our NEEDS (Part 1b)

SITE: Develop Self-Efficacy Beliefs

QUOTEs: “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation” ~ David Thoreau




DEF: “Carrying a plan forward and making it work”
Once we’ve picked a goal & written it down, we can start figuring out how to accomplish it. Breaking it down into small chunks is vital, & will tell us if the goal is actually do-able, if we already can do it, or if we need to learn something. The next steps include finding the right kind of help, being flexible in our thinking for making adjustments, & having contingency plans for the unexpected.

• How do we ACoAs try to ‘provide’ for our own needs? Not very well. Most of the ways are in the form of being controlling, isolation, lying, manipulation, over-work, people-pleasing, self-sacrifice, using others…. and most of us find it very hard to do actual PMES self-care.
We’re afraid to go all out to be happy & fulfilled, because we:
— can’t afford to risk going all out for our core ‘love’ or talent, in case we fail. Then we’d have nothing – the loss would be crushing.
— Besides, the PP’s message is that we’re too stupid, unlovable, unworthy to get anything right, so why try. Implementing goals? “Who do you think you are – anyway? / So you think you’re better than us???”

• Therefore, some of us :
— don’t know what we want, what to pursue, what to try out, drifting without any goals, just taking whoever or whatever comes our waypassive
— don’t even try to get our need met, eeking out a survival based in scarcity mentality – barely enough money, companionship, sex, attention, accomplishment, minimum shelter /clothing / food…. even tho we actually have the ability to find & provide some or all of these things
— don’t take risks, sticking to the ‘safest’ route possible, living lives of boredom or ‘quiet desperation’, like working in a post office for 35 yrs, marrying someone who will take care of us, being an active addict….

Others of us who are ambition / driven:
— are high achievers, either based on what our family pushed us into – which we hate, or from some natural gift we were born with, but which we continue to feel insecure about
ambitious— will succeed early in life (get a lead on Broadway, work on Wall Street, write a great first novel…. & then do something to ruin it so it slowly disintegrates – over the next 20-30 yrs
— will make the effort in some arena, & may even succeed to some degree – BUT either can’t get beyond a certain level
— have to keep messing it up / failing / causing drama & problems / losing everything….
— work our butt off trying to be ‘the best’ so we can finally get the approval we’ve always longed for, but not ever to validate ourselves

WHY don’t we live in the power of our True Self?
➼ Because of the Double Bind: we’re not allowed to actually have our needs met BUT we can’t NOT have them. (ACoA Double Messages)
So, many of us try & fail, try & fail – over & over….. ending up hopeless, depressed & wanting to give up. Because of our childhood training, the brain becomes wired to only see ourselves & the world thru the eyes of dysfunction. We sabotage any goal which doesn’t conform to that training, which Freud called the “repetition compulsion”.

Our WIC thoroughly believes our only option is to stay attached to the family because they say they love us – of course – & the WIC is desperate to believe it, even tho we have years & years of proof to the contrary. To deny what we know, we keep obeying the PP voice & it’s toxic rules, (“If you don’t like it you have to stay”), since we assume that:
— the world isn’t safe AND we are sure that we are basically bad!
— if only we could be ‘perfect’ they’d finally, truly approve & love us

self-argumentSO – what are our deepest, most pervasive beliefs (Part 1)? What drives our goals & our actions?
Most of the time it’s the WIC’s cognitive distortions. Even if ACoAs can identify appropriate goals, we either sabotage out progress or can’t implement them at all, because it would mean disobeying the PP in our head & being disloyal to still-living family members. So instead, we’ve been using all sorts of dysfunctional PPT as a reason to act – anything but our own need, dreams, desires & feelings! (motivators)

NEXT: Goals to meet needs #3

NEGATIVE BENEFITS of Old Patterns (Part 3)


I’d rather do it my way!

PREVIOUS:   Negative Benefits (Part 2)

SEE posts:Denial & Acting out
The UNIT: Healthy Adult, Loving Parent”

PMES = Physical, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual

Why do we keep blanking on what we’ve learned in Recovery?  Because even ACoAs who are sincere about self-growth – have a powerful built-in forgetter, pounded in place by our family. We can hear the same thing over & over, & still….

So, when clients are asked* some basics of ACoAs damage & recovery, such as:
a. “What is self-hate & why did we develop it?”
b.  “What do we need to have in place in order to have good boundaries?”
c. “How does this problem of anxiety relate to your childhood?”
d. “Why do you need to stay vague about your finances?” …..
…. they often give a blank stares & shrug, even after years of Program & therapy!

• ACoAs are not stupid people.  In spite of ADD, depression, hormone imbalances or other issues – we remember lots of other things – like how to do our jobs, how to surf the web, how to buy a house or car, how to expend lots of futile energy giving great advice to friends, lovers, family – that we don’t use for ourselves ….. but NOT what we’ve learned about our own damage OR about mental health!  adults-acting-childish
(adults acting like school kids  —>)

So if we want to keep growing, it’s very important to keep looking for the unhealthy payoffs (same as NB) behind our self-defeating patterns.

ANSWERs to the above Qs :

a. If we did understand what S-H is truly about, it would be harder & harder to maintain. THEN we’d have to deal with the intense pain & rage of the many ways we were neglected, abused & abandonment by our family.

Keep all that swept under the rug – locked away in a dark room of our unconscious.  The WIC thinks that if you ignore something scary, it doesn’t exist.  Too bad it doesn’t work that way!

b. To have good boundaries we need to:
1) know what our needs are
2) give ourselves permission the actually have those need
3) actively go about meeting those needs, a day at a time.
It would mean disobeying fundamental Toxic Rules, taking care of ourselves, not staying a victim (which we were originally) & stop waiting to be rescued

NB: Not have to be in charge of our own life – not ‘grow up’ emotionally, & face angry or fearful reactions from our family & ‘friends’ if we were to get better (we think it prevents getting abandoned – but that has already happened by those people!)S-H

c. Identifying how each problematic situation / relationship / emotion / pattern – in our life mirrors our childhood (S-H) would mean having to face what our parents were really like, what they did to us, what they didn’t provide…. which IS reflected in how we treat ourselves now.  We’d have to break many illusions & feel the deep hurt & longing of our eawrly years

NB: Not have to do an extensive written family inventory, to look at these realities on a deeper level – even when we think we’ve dealt with our issues or that we already know all about what happened.

d. To stop being vague about anything (our finances, time, our emotions, our knowledge…) means identifying the Toxic Messages we’re still obeying, feeling the old terror & having to take full responsibility for our actions in the present. S & I = becoming your own person, the one you were born to be, minus your damage!

NB: Not having to fully acknowledge knowing how bad it was growing up, not dealing with our accumulated old pain, not having to separate from the dysfunctional system we grew up in — which the WIC thinks means abandoning them, & us being alone forever!

NEXT: Neg benefits #4