ACoAs: OVER-Controlling Ourselves (Part 6)

frustration I WORK SO HARD TO BE GOOD – why isn’t my life any better?

PREVIOUS: Over-controlling Ourselves #5

SITE: The Truth about Power

1. Unsupported
2. Illusions

3. Always the Outsider – it’s ironic that even when attending 12-step meeting of ‘like-minded’ people, we still feel like we don’t belong!  When we’re emotionally over-controlled (O-C) :
• it keeps a wall up between us & others, especially against those who already have a genuine capacity to ‘see’ & accept us

• we gravitate toward ‘people, places & things’ (PPT) which simply don’t suit our needs, goals, or personality. We stay even when we’re angry & unhappy there – insuring that we don’t fit in or feel a part of things

• we don’t stay long enough or go deep enough with others so they can get to know us & show us the good things they’re able to provide
• we do & say inappropriate or obnoxious things that are likely to put people off & make them withdraw, especially if things are going too well with them, for too long (even a week or month!)

4. Envy & Jealousy – emotions considered ‘negative’ that have to be O-C :
Envy is about 2 people : “I envy you for having such great hair, an advanced degree….”, ie. wanting something we don’t have
Jealousy involves 3 or more : “I’m jealous that he has so many friends”, ie. wanting a relationship someone else has
“She pays more attention to her friends than to me”, ie. trying to hang on to someone or something we don’t want to lose.
BOTH emotions come from believing we are powerless to get what we want & need in life, not necessarily the thing others have, exactly – just that they have the right to get their need me, like good things, & we don’t

• We may deny being O-C, yet often covet what others are or have. What gives it away is the rage we feel at certain kinds of people or situations! We say ‘those people’ are ‘entitled’, with a sneer in our voice because:
— we think they’re unfairly lucky – having a family, a decent relationship, a good job, lots of friends… & hate them for what we don’t have permission to get for ourselves

— OR we call them brats, selfish, arrogant …. because they don’t hold back the way we do. Perhaps they are, and/or we just wish we had some of that confidence to do & say what we’ve always wanted to, but aren’t allowed!

ACoA deprivation is always about the BIG A – abandonment. Family taught us we couldn’t have our needs, so we won’t let ourselves either. The WIC says it’s so-o unfair, but we keep on ‘following the rules” & depriving ourself!

5. Isolation – Without boundaries our WIC uses isolation to protect itself. Being O-C can cut us off :
— from various emotions (anger, sorrow, sexuality, competitiveness… )
— from many of our good qualities or potential talents (artistic abilities, generosity, patience….)
— prevents others from benefiting from these valuable parts of ourselves, because:
• we’re afraid of getting stepped on, manipulated, used, boundary invaded, left…. if we’re open & available
• we’re afraid of getting sucked into taking care of others, or not being able to get away from someone we don’t like because of our co-dependence or passivity, so we’d rather not engage at all

• we don’t want anyone to find out how weak, damaged, vulnerable, dumb, needy … we really are (everything S-H tells us) — AND
• we’re sure we’re doing the world a service by withdrawing, to protect them from our rage! We may not admit to that feeling, but isolation is a sure sign we’re worried about it at some deep level & are trying to keep the lid on.

BOOK:  “BARGAINS with FATE”, taken from Shakespeare’s plays. Dr. Bernard I. Paris describes the Detached / Resigned character, whose only goal is safety via total ‘freedom’.
BARGIN: “If I ask nothing of others, try for nothing, expect nothing …. then no one will bother me & I won’t fail or get disappointed” – their Reward. What’s suppressed is their aggressive side.   (SEE all 5 on the ACoA website)

NEXT:  Price for ever-control #1

ACoAs : OVER-Controlling Ourselves (Part 2)


I’ll do all kinds of bad things!

PREVIOUS: Over-controlling ourselves (Part 2)


DEF: Over-controlling (O-C) ourselves is not so much about our actions – although it also affects them as a consequence – but mainly means :
✒︎ rejecting our emotions, needs & observations to such an extent that we go thru life in a state of constant ‘under-nourishment’ (deprivation) & bewilderment. Those discarded parts, which we’re terrified to face & own, then become our shadow side

• Instead, we are run by a False Self (FS), that protective identity formed so early we actually think it’s the real us. It’s made up of various aspects of the WIC (scared, angry, apathetic, suicidal…) & the PP disguised as a ‘guardian’ in the form of a know-it-all cattle-prod. The FS is comfort-seeking & therefore short-sighted, making unwise, unhealthy decisions – a kindergartener trying to do college level work

Peter K. Gerlach, MSW, writes that unhealthy will-power occurs when a person is controlled by a fierce Guardian hardened into sub-selves such as Addict, Fanatic,  Martyr, Perfectionist, Preacher, Survivor, Zealot….
Its determination to protect the WIC at all costs can cause rigid self-discipline which is toxic to the host person & also other people.
EXP: the talented Magician sub-self can distort reality to justify or excuse self-destructive attitudes & behaviorsabused

☛ Of course some ACoAs will react to the controlling inner voice by
— doing very little with our life, from confusion & terror
— OR nothing positive – from misdirected rage.
Over all, these limiting sub-personae produce distorted beliefs (CDs) & intenseEs such as shame, guilt, fears, trust imbalances = which make it hard to bond to others

EXP: A perceptive & bright daughter was a threat to her incestuous father because she would not have been easy to silence if he molested her. So instead he turned her into the family scapegoat, verbally & physically beating her. This succeeded in convinced her that she was stupid & unable to trust her observations & intuition. Even though she resented him, she still gave him the benefit of the doubt & spent much of her life hopelessly trying to win his approval! SIGH, UGH!

ACoA Damage – Any form of prolonged & intense control is painful & debilitating, especially for children, who are powerless to escape it. Being over-coerced &/or under-attended (in Part 1) are both abusive parenting styles.

Deliberately or not, our family gave us the message:
“Search & Destroy any signs of personal identity. Be ‘good‘ (don’t think, don’t feel) or you’re not part of this family. If you try we’ll destroy you! ”
And we know that every kid obeys the Family party line – whether by giving in or rebelling.

• In reaction to the restrictions & neglect, this harmful message forced us to gradually over-control ourselves (O-C), a basic component of S-H, & a familiar way ACoAs relate to self & others.

These early experiences became our Toxic rules which now act like a virus in our psychological operating system, invisible while corrupting, and needs to be de-bugged!

Before FoO Recovery
✏︎ much of the time we act as badly as our family did, OR
✏︎ put ourselves in positions to get punished for trying to be ourselves.
We’ve been so brainwashed that we’re desperately afraid to let go of familiar patterns, which the WIC believes would cause us to fall into a black hole we’d never get out of
‣ Faced with a scary new experience, the WIC comes up with the usual reasons why it won’t work out
‣ If we even consider going after something we really want, the PP says: “Who do you think you are – anyway?”!

NOTE: Some ACoAs raised without more obvious physical abuse & chaos – but just as mentally, emotionally & Spiritually (PMES) unhealthy –
will act out all the hidden family damage by being the one sibling in trouble, socially or legally, using addictions promiscuity & dangerous ‘excitement’.
▶︎ These ACoAs are the living “Portrait of Dorian Gray”, which shock & appall the perfect-looking family!
— EXCEPT WE don’t have to die, we can Heal & Grow!

NEXT: O-C Ourselves – Part 3