overwhelmed I’M OVERWHELMED
so I don’t do anything

SITE: “Fight Procrastination” – P. vs Payoff / P vs. Pain. charts

QUOTE: “Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” ~ Marthe Troly-Curtin


1. PAST Causes of Procrastination (cont.)
Double Messages, leaving us feeling crazy – who constantly gave us confusing or conflicting messages about what was expected of us, or how to do things, so now we don’t trust our judgement

• Expected &/or forced to take care of them, never allowed to focus on ourselves, so now we refuse to use all that experience & creativity for ourselves, wanting someone else to do it for us. Been there, done that!

Punished (insulyelled atts, being hit, yelled at, sent to our room, made fun of, threatened….) – for having need, wants & emotions, as well as for not doing everything the ‘right’ way, ie. their way, or just not knowing how to do something – even tho we were too young, untrained & inexperienced, but they expected us to be mind-readers, & act like adults anyway!

• Absorbing & taking on our parent’s fear – who repeatedly warned us about the dangers of people, places & things, so we became fearful of everything too

Neglected, ignored – having to fend for ourselves – left alone to figure things out, when too young – not getting encouragement, guidance, ‘how to’ or just safe & loving company, which made us feel insecure & too alone.

ACoA “LOGIC”: I keep putting it off because –
• IF I ignore it long enough maybe it’ll magically go away
• I feel comforted – because not being fully functional keeps me from having to feel the abandonment pain of no one being there to teach, help or encourage me thru things when growing up

• It’s not fair that I have to do things by myself, for myself
• Since I hate doing it, I’ll wait until the very last hour or two, then cram in whatever I can manage. That way I’ll have an excuse for not doing it better (no time)

ALSO: maybe there’ll be a hail-mary save (rescued),
OR someone usually does show up to help at the last minute (luck), so I’ll just wait

NOW we put things off because of:
• it reminds us of how we didn’t get helped as kids. All those ‘little’ abandonments add up to one big pain!Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 3.59.01 AM
• automatically assume we’ll be abused, or left (A.) if we act on our own behalf

• haven’t learned how to deal with the PP voice that controls the WIC (Introject)
• we are deeply conflicted – to do or not do, to obey or disobey, to do it our way or theirs, to be separate or stay symbiotic…. and intense inner conflicts leave us paralyzed!
• afraid of ‘hurting’ others’ feelings OR having them be angry at us, which means getting emotionally abandoned (cut off)

• we don’t know what’s actually stopping us (denial)
• we never actually learned process how to get reach a goal by going thru a series of necessary steps. We look fcan't swimor instant grat, or we make a half-hearted attempt, or we take the least effective steps. When these don’t work we give up, rather than learn what actually works!

• we believe in our deepest being that anything we do has to be perfect, & not being able to that – we end up doing nothing
• anything we’ve figure out for ourselves is either wrong or not of any value (crap)
• don’t know how to do something AND can’t ask for help, OR feel like we have no one to ask
• afraid of what we’ll find out (outcome of a job interview, medical tests, how much is -or isn’t- in the bank…)

NEXT: “Procrastination” Part 3


lazy, sloppy
so I just won’t!

PREVIOUS: Why are you stuck?

SITE: : 15 Ways to Productively Procrastinate”

POSTs:What to do when Confused

NOTE: In terms of T.E.A., this topic is about ACTIONs. When we say we’re stuck, it often means that we’re not able or willing to take actions we know are needed & good for us, or that we would like to do, but ‘can’t’.

ACoAs are ‘famous’ for putting things off.
Of course, there are the over-controlled action-junkies among us who are always doing, doing, doing : for work, for the family, for the community – but not for ourselves. For these ACoAs, the ‘putting off’ issue is about not taking care of our own needs.

1. PAST Causes of Procrastinationchaos
These situations happened from the very beginning of our lives:
• Endless family chaos. No matter what we started (studying, playing, chores, going to bed….) or how hard we worked to put something together (a project), some drama or another would take precedence. Our life kept getting sidetracked by someone else’s mess or bigger needs. We’d have to start all over again, or never get back to it at all

• Lack of positive Mirroring: not having someone clearly reflect back to us how we do things, what our personal style is, how our mind works, what our specific abilities are…. SO we always end up saying “I don’t know who I am, what I like, what I want to do when I grow up…”,  even though since then we’ve had a lifetime of experiences, learning, accomplishments…. which give us lots of definite hints & signs

Nothing was ever good enough:
— parents constantly criticized everyone & everything, arbitrarily
— we were never acceptable (much less appreciated) – they found fault with our taste & choices (clothes, music, friends… )
— criticized, made fun of or punished for not knowing things, not for “doing better”….
— AND for being too smart, intuitive, clever, artistic….(parents were threatened & jealous)accordion girl

• Forced to do, learn or study something we hated or genuinely did not suit our True Self – sometimes for years (sports, camping, an instrument, a particular profession… spending time with hated family members, sent away to school, put to work in hated family business …), so now we do as little as possible or as poorly as we can get away with

• Being constantly discouraged / undermined by the adults when we talked about our opinions, plans, dreams (“There’s no future/ money / jobs… in X / That’s dumb… / Don’t waste your time on Y…..”)
— OR not allowed to help them with anything – chores, working on the car, cooking, painting the house, decorating…. as if we were too slow or too dumb, so we think we can’t do things

• Being put down when we actual did something – trying to figure out how to do a new task, taking longer to learn something than they had patience for (none), not ‘getting’ something (like math)
— ALSO, insulted, attacked, made fun of…. for things we naturally did really well (games, sewing, sports, art, languages…), especially if they could NOT do it as well or at all, pushing their insecurity or envy buttonsdiscouraged

•  Had dismissed or devalued whatever good we tried to do, like wanting to help, showing concern, being on our best behavior, suppressing ourselves to please them…. even the gifts we made or bought for them were ignored, given away or returned!

• Were never (or rarely) acknowledged – much less – praised for what we did accomplish.
Kids need validation for any effort, without it having to be of world-class quality. So now we don’t value our accomplishments either!

NEXT: Procrastination =  Part 2

ACoAs & CONFUSION (Part 1)

state of CONFUSED


I just can’t get it right!

PREVIOUS: Gifted Children #4

SITE: Sometimes Confusion Is A Good Thing

DEF of Confusion (Cf) 
– Mentally disoriented. The inability to make decisions clearly & quickly
Cf occurs when another person’s Boundaries are vague, not easily understood, or in conflict with themselves

NOTE: These posts refer to Cf which is NOT caused by long-term severe mental illness or physical changes in the brain due to accident, aging, chemicals/ medication, drug use or illness.

Important distinction – confusion is always a cognitive (mental) NOT an emotional issue. It’s about whether or not we can think clearly, based on what’s going on in our head or how someone else is presenting information.

For ACoAs – overcoming life-long confusion is mainly about coming out of denial about our traumatic past. It includes identifying & correcting cognitive distortions (CDs) and toxic family beliefs, which lead to procrastination, self-doubt, perfectionism & self-hate!

To do that we need to know enough about ourselves AND how the world really functions – to not blindly follow what our unhealthy family taught us, or what the WIC has come to believe because of it.SCARF model

The opposite of confusion is Certainty, which is not the same as being rigid, dogmatic or opinionated.
Based on NLP, David Rock explains that there are 5 major goals of the human brain geared towards ‘maintaining’, ie. increasing positives & reducing negatives (the SCARF model): Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness & Fairness.  (MORE….)

• Executive Coach Ed Batista commented that certainty is a result of the brain’s effort to conserve energy, which comes from the limited capacity of the prefrontal cortex, the seat of executive function….

Human beings resist putting great mental effort into decision-making & impulse control because the body is preserving resources for a possible emergency in the next moment, & the same dynamic contributes to resisting uncertainty.” (CHART & info….)

Some causes of Mental / Psychological confusion
• Complex lifestyles – too much to do & not enough time, constant stress
confusion/stress• Denial – not wanting to admit & accept the way things really are (re. people, places, things), & so create a variety of defenses to mask the truth
• Dysfunctional interactions with others
• deliberately Distorted info – from media, politicians, advertising, cults, corporations …..

• Ignorance – trying to figure out something without enough or the correct info
• Grandiosity – trying to DO something without actually knowing how

• Major changes (Recovery process, new work, moving, divorce…..) without research, mentoring or other info, therefore being unprepared
• Misunderstanding & differences between countries, boss & workers, men & women, people speaking different languages….

• Overwhelming amounts of info from too many different sources (especially for Introverts)
• Transitions : those in-between times, from one inner state or outer situation to another, because we don’t know what to expect

Again, here we’re mainly concerned with the kind of confusion which comes from distorted ways people communicate with themselves or others, with words & body language, either unconsciously or deliberately.

When someone says “I feel confused”, they’re combining emotions & thoughts without expressing either one!
🔺What DO you feel – angry, happy…. ?  It sounds like they’re speaking about an emotion (I feel), but this ‘feel’ only refers to thinking . (See also “Feelings aren’t facts).

🔑 What are you confused ABOUT?  The phrase actually means they doesn’t know what to think about something (the jumble in my head, conflicting opposite needs or desires…. ) – often because of CDs, obsessions & Toxic Rules

• Someone can also be (mentally) confused when we have several or opposite emotions re. the same situation at the same time – happy/sad, lonely/excited…
🟢 Instead of either/or, think in terms of layers, coming from different levels of desire, experience, need or maturity…..

No one taught us (info = mental) that having ➕ / ➖ emotions together is not unusual, & will come from the same or different ego states.
EXP: Parent – loving someone while being angry with them
Adult – relieved someone’s gone away / Inner Child: (yet) missing them…..

🧩 Without knowing this, it may seem like a dilemma. However, feeling many differing emotions at once doesn’t need to be confusing, which only comes from negative beliefs, or having a limited awareness of human complexity.

NEXT: ACoAs & Confusion #2

Enneagram Type 1 – Flaws in us ALL

type 1 flaws
just so!

PREVIOUS: ALL Type flaws – Intro


Review explanation for each category in the INTRO post   Associated Type is inside the ( )


Type 1 COWARDICE because of CDs (#6)
• re. making mistakes : obsessed with getting everything right, making no mistakes, being correct & appropriate
• re. hurting others : only worry about having done something really bad – been harshly judgmental, projected your anger on to someone who didn’t deserve it or ‘stepped on their toes’….
• re. spontaneity : believe it’s not OK – even dangerous – to not have tight controls on your impulses & actions

Type 1 FLATTERY – by: (#2)
• THINKING about how to be polite & well-mannered toward others at times when you really don’t want to
• Make logical excuses for the poor character or behavior of another because this person exhibits something you admire
• ‘Forget’ your legitimate objections to someone you despise, as a way of suppressing your anger (‘reaction formation’)

Type 1 LAZINESS (Indolence) (#9)
You may not seem lazy at all, since you’re so precise & action oriented. But on closer examination there’s more than a little indolence
But, indolence is actually one of your disowned characteristics, a not-me quality that gets projected onto others. (‘Nine Lenses on the World)
√ Focus too much on getting something ‘just right’ leads to ignoring other items, factors or events that are equally or much more relevant & important
√ Taking on so much of your #7 Arrow qualities, you only focus on chasing pleasure, at the expense of important activities & responsibilities, being blind to the consequences of slacking off
√ Paying so much attention to your own opinions & ideas that you ignore the ideas of others

Type 1 MOODINESS (melancholy & resulting separation) (#4)
• Think you’re really bad or worthless for having made a mistake, or done something you’re not proud of (being human)
• Believe that another person is really bad or without value because they made a mistake
• Obsess on what’s missing in your life because something’s imperfect, or didn’t live up to your expectations

Type 1 PLANNING (as compulsion) (#7)
When stressed – obsessively thinking about how to structure & organize a task in a normal situation, as if your life depends on it

Type 1 RESENTMENT – by: (#1)
• Constantly being judgmental, dividing the world into all-good vs. all-bad, right-wrong, appropriate-inappropriate, should-should not
• Keeping mental track ONLY of what’s wrong in most situations
• Noticing other people’s ‘mistakes’ & not letting it go – “How could he do that?, Why can’t friendlypeople be more responsible?”….

Type 1 STINGINESS (#5)
• re. Openness: Assuming you’re THE “holder” of rules & standards, the ‘correct’ one, stingy about acknowledging opposing viewpoints
• re. Appreciation: focused so much on mistakes, that you’re stingy about offering compliments to yourself & others
• re. Sharing: not willing to share or give away something lovely & unique, as if that would lessen the value of the “precious” object

Type 1 VANITY (#3)
• Assume you’re superior because of you ‘higher’ standards
• Believe you’re the arbiters of excellence – because you can ‘recognize’ quality better than most
• Convinced your commitment to being responsible in every way is so much greater / deeper than in others

Type 1 VENGEANCE (#8)
What sets you off is thinking someone has :
• criticized or lied to you
• not acted responsibly
• taken arbitrary control

REACTION: make accusations & blame them, or be disapproving & dismissive, that shows in obvious body-language (turn your back, frown, sneer, silence…..)
GROWTH – Ask: “Am I willing to listen with an open heart & mind, & to forgive?

Too tight, squinting – Only see some things around you while missing others
Lesson: If you only look for what’s precise, right or clear, you can mistakenly assume something that looks great is worthwhile – when it isn’t, OR ‘see’ something as flawed – when it’s actually fine as is

Hold on to: Resentments (which build up), being right or in control, not making mistakes, compulsively keeping your structured life ‘just so’
Why: to keep your sense-of-self as someone who’s faultless, responsible
Let go: of the belief that everything must be perfectly ordered & executed

Type 1 put OFF-BALANCE by:
• Being convinced you’ve made a mistake or that you inevitably will
• Not dealing with your anger / resentment. SO become overly upset with someone else’s minor ‘infraction’ (real or imagined). Then – feel remorse & guilt / S-H for getting so angry at them
• Being criticized, either by yourself, a respected person, or bothperfectionism reward

Type 1 MAYA (delusion)
Think that being so completely self-controlled will give you the joys & pleasures you want, as a reward for being so good. Not always!

Type 1 WORRY
“Will I get this right? Will I be fully prepared? Have I offended someone or been impolite? Will I lose control of myself? Will I feel incompetent? What if I did something wrong?”…..

NEXT: All Type FLAWS – Type 2

ACoAs – ARROGANCE (Part 1)

if I pretend to be superior!

PREVIOUS: Humiliation (#3)

SITE: The Difference Between Confidence & Arrogance is Empathy
Teaching Humility in an Age of Arrogance

QUOTEs:“Much to learn, you still have.”YODA to Count Dooku, StarWars II
• “Do you wish people to think well of you? Don’t speak well of yourself” ~ Pascal
• “Confidence without humility is Arrogance. Humility without confidence is self-deprecation”
• “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit” ~ Aristotle

DEF: ARROGANCE (ARR) = inflating, exalting, over-valuing oneself. It’s “bigging yourself up”, whether publicly or just inside your own mind, & often involves knocking others down at the same time.
“The act or habit of making unjustified declarations in an overbearing manner…. exorbitant claims of rank, dignity, estimation, or power”

It’s one of 7 features of “dark” personality traits, based on 7 basic fears. These are the False Self’s primary means of self-preservation. (MORE…)
• Arrogance = FEAR of vulnerability
• Greed = f. of lack / not having enough
• Impatience = f. of missed or lost opportunity
• Martyrdom = f. of worthlessness
 = f.  of loss of control
• Self-Deprecation = f. of inadequacy
 Stubbornness = f. of change or new situations

All personality traits fall on a continuum, from mild to severe. The extreme  expression of arrogance is Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  2 main types:
• Vulnerable – those who use arrogance to compensate for their insecurity
• Grandiose – who truly believe themselves to be perfect, without weakness

CHARACTERISTICS of ARR people (A G. Cerdan)
🕶 Tremendous need to be praised
🕶 Constantly talking about themselves & their achievements
🕶 Charming – at first. Behind it is contempt, lack of empathy, resentment & selfishness
🕶 Trouble forming & keeping relationships
🕶 Over-compensate for insecurity – loud, stubborn, show off dress & makeup….
🕶 Don’t admit mistakes, can’t handle criticism
🕶 Won’t ask for forgiveness
🕶 Intolerant of anyone who doesn’t like or approve of them

ARR. is the result of Negative childhood experiences, causing:
a. misconceptions about the nature of Self, life & others
b. constant (hidden) terror & insecurity (fear of abandonment)
c. dysfunctional strategy to protect the Self, from the WIC
d. a False Persona to hide a, b & c in adulthood

• We all have the potential for arrogance, but for people with a strong fear of admitting or showing shared human limitations, it can become a dominant pattern.  This character defect comes from a need to be seen as flawless, because exposing weaknesses makes them feel unbearably vulnerable (like Ennea Type 1, but not exclusively).

Hidden belief: “Who I really am will never be good enough for others to accept. So no one must ever see the real me.”
ACoAs are very familiar with this obsession with perfection, because our family punished or made fun of normal childhood needs & behavior, which they treated as unforgivable flaws!

Opposite poles 
– – Vanity (unhealthy False Self): 
an irrational / obsessive belief in our superior attractiveness or abilities as reflected in the eyes of others – which is falling for our own lies (egotism & narcissism).
It comes from the Latin vanities: empty, foolish, futile, untruthful

+ + Pride (healthy Confidence): recognizing & valuing all our good qualities, rather than exaggerating or making them up to mask or deny normal human imperfections. It’s a positive expression of the True Self, being realistic about our innate value as human beings & our accomplishments  (“Worst & Best Personality Traits” – lists)

WHY ARR people seem to Succeed
⚡️Use anger to intimidate
⚡️Being ‘difficult’ makes others give in to them more easily
⚡️ Being dominant / domineering allows them to steal the show
⚡️Believing they’re superior helps them go for what they want
⚡️In disagreements, they attack the person rather than the issue

ARR can be built on a wide variety of sandy/swampy foundations, such as:
– family lineage, ‘connections’, money, possessions
– achievements based on natural talents + hard work
– illusions / self-deception about non-existent personal qualities
– being stuck in past glory & accomplishments
HOWEVER none of these things provide genuine self-esteem, which only has one source: Unconditional love!

NEXT: Arrogance #1b

ACoAs & TIME (Part 2)

take so much longer than I think??!!

PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Time (Part 1)

SITEs :  Kids, ADHD & Time
✦ Time Management Tips

Take back control of your time

QUOTEs : “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” ~ Steve Jobs
❥ “Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.” ~ M Scott Peck
⌛️  ⏰   🕔
1. Lost Time and 2. Wasted Time  (Part 1)

a. Much more time than something should take, normally. Our damage makes any action an insurmountable project.
ACoAs will put off taking actions because WE :
• are convinced it’ll will take forever. Whether a task is it’s a big or small, we:
-a- don’t divide it into manageable chunks, -b- don’t have an realistic time sense &
-c- hate the slowness of process
• have to obey the rule “No play ‘till all your work is done” which of course will never happen, so we go on strike instead, & do nothing!
• have to obey the rule “You have to struggle but never get there” so why start?stuck in time
• (think we) don’t know how, & can’t ask for help, so why bother?
• we’re afraid of making the wrong choice, & the get punished or be terribly disappointed – again
• we can’t decide what to do first – everything is equally big, important, scary… because as a kid the same amount of emphasis was put on large or small events, mistakes, tasks… so we never learned to prioritize

▪️ While these are all ‘hangovers’ from childhood, the root of it is our inner conflict now, between:
• what we want & what the Introject wants or won’t allow (or others in the present)
• our damaged part (WIC) & the emerging Healthy Adult voice

These internal arguments have to be resolved by the ‘UNIT in order to proceed.
The exciting thing is that when the IC is on the same page with the Healthy Self, we find that many actions take very little time, are not a big deal AND we actually did know how. No conflict = No delay!

Suggestion, using T.E.A.
Thoughts: write out the opposing points of view (sometimes 3 & 4 different ones) of the argument you’re having with yourself about a situation you’re stuck on
Emotions: list all your feelings related to each ‘voice’

Actions: identify the ones you want or need to take, & what you think the results will be, depending on which option you decide to follow
✍️ Try whichever side you choose (As) & then later write down the results. Evaluate (T) the outcome & see how it feels (Es). This is called “Bookending” & is very effective
✍️ You can also use the 2 forms on the post “Why Are You Stuck?

b. Much less time than is realistic. In this care we consistently underestimate how much is involves in getting things done. This can come from unreliable people we have to depend on, but mostly from our own unrealistic expectations.
These are the ACoAs who:
• always over-book, plan things too close together, don’t allow enough time to get places or time for possible delays – and don’t allow for process…
Like: how long it takes for – a renovation, a doctor visit, to taking a trip, developing a friendship, waiting for a delivery, a check, an email or the return of a text! (it pushes our Abandonment button)
• try to do several things at one time. This is not about multi-tasking, but rather expecting, magically, to be able to be in more than one place at a time, like 2 conflicting events – without planning to do things consecutively, OR pick one & let the other go.
Like: making plans to go shopping alone and have lunch with a friend – at about the same time!  It’s one of the reason some ACoAs are habitually late (cont. in Part 3)

NEXT: ACoAs & Time (Part 3)



I’m not weak or wounded!

PREVIOUS: Victim or not? #2

Review posts:Rescuing”  //  “Process


(P = Perp / V = Victim)
As long as ACoAs have trouble facing the trauma of being a Victim IN our childhood, we can’t outgrow that state because it lives in our WIC & keeps getting acted out all over our lives.  Another ‘backwards’ ACoA pattern: while we do many destructive victim-y things to ourselves and let others do them to us, we also are masters at trying to cover up the inner wounds, the same way battered people try to hide broken bones & external bruising.

What’s NORMAL?
a. Normal can mean what is average for any location or situation, but may be positive or negative & is never absolute : It’s the norm for people in a bar to drink a lot. It’s the norm for men in prison to be raped. It’s the norm for children of addicts to be scarred. OR It’s the norm for great teachers to produce some excellent students. It’s the norm for country air to be healthier than city air. It’s the norm for money to make life easier

Normal can also mean anything that is the opposite of unhealthy, & is only positive: Normal is to be a whole human being. Normal is being happy & productive, with satisfying relationships. Normal is to care for ourselves. Normal is being part ofnormal a community & helping others. Normal is for love to heal …..

ACoAs desperately want to be ‘normal’, as in ‘b’, while not wanting to admit being damaged / wounded (NOT defective), with all it’s weaknesses, nor having to do the hard work of Recovery to become healthy.  This false-normal is a facade to cover our lack of self-esteem & to quiet the bad voice (the PP), rather than being genuinely OK at our core.

Many of us don’t want to ask for any kind of help, or be in groups that focus on healing, because “They’re all crazy & I’m not like them!”  But Al-anon teaches us: “You’re only as sick as your secrets.”  It’s one thing to feel empowered & be able to face life’s difficulties with equanimity & guts. It’s another to over-compensate for our un-acknowledged & unhealed history with grandiosity.

EXP: Trish was never taken care of as a child, even in basic ways, & was eventually left by her weak father to take care of her violent, mentally ill mother. In spite of not having any self-esteem or knowledge about self-care, in her early 20’s her talent as a performer got her periodic jobs in small venues.

One day she found out she was pregnant, but wasn’t ready for motherhood & scheduled an abortion – for the same day that she had a gig in the Catskills. She went to the doctor in the am – alone, & that afternoon drove up to the mountains to sing – alone & in pain! It never occurred to her to have the operation on a different day, to have someone go with her, or that there was anything amiss about combining the 2 events – until pointed out to her by a therapist 20 yrs later!

A distinction is made between individuals exhibiting grandiosity, which does include a degree of insight into their unrealistic thoughts (aware their behavior is unusual or unrealistic – but not crazy), compared to those experiencing grandiose delusions, who lack this capability for reality-testing.

IMP: Grandiosity hurts ourselves AND is abusive to others

IRONY: Typical of many ACoAs, hiding a deep sense of unworthiness :
1. don’t recognize limitations, believe they’re invulnerable
2. lives in grandiose fantasies, without taking realistic actions
3exaggerate talents, capacity & achievements, are boastful or pretentious
4. believe they don’t need other people
5. feel unique, special or superior compared to others. May not admit it even to self, because it goes against S-H
6. nit-picks, criticizes & downgrades other people, projects, statements, or dreams

NEXT: Grandiosity #2 –

Emotional MATURITY – General


while still working on the ‘old stuff’

PREVIOUS: Emotional Immaturity (Part 3)

SITE: True Happiness (Emotional Maturity Questionnaire)


QUOTES: “Maturity consists of no longer being taken in by oneself” Anon.
“Maturity is the ability to think, speak & act your feelings within the bounds of dignity. The measure of your maturity is how spiritual you become during the midst of your frustrations.”  Samuel Ullman (American businessman, poet & humanitarian)

Emotional Maturity (EM) means having a healthy self-concept: not thinking too highly or too lowly of ourselves, being in the world but realize we’re not the center of it

Characteristics can be identified in relation to AGE :
a. Social  – can relate well socially for our physical age
b. Emotional  – can handle emotions appropriate for our age
c. Spiritual  – can behave in a spiritually mature way

In ACoA language, EM develops slowly by minimizing the damage in our WIC & quieting / limiting the PP voice, as much as possible. Ultimately it’s about no longer having S-H & living from our True Self.
Maturity comes from growing the Unit (Healthy Adult & Loving Parent), who are regularly (but not always) in charge of the WIC, encourage the Natural Child to blossom, & keep in touch with our Higher Power.

• Maturity does NOT mean having eliminated all our damage, but rather to lessen the grip of the Introject, diminish accumulated old pain & be abie to deal with our core wounds when they do surface, so they don’t take over & getting over them faster.

ACoAs are quite capable of developing mental, emotional & spiritual maturity – as long as we don’t strive for perfection*.  Internalize the “Principles of the Program” helps to outgrow the worst of our damage so we can live more comfortably in the present, instead of our tortured past.  When psychological health takes root, we carry it with us even under stress, & express it in ‘all our affairs’

Perfectionism is a sign of immaturity, based in FoA & S-H,- a belief imperfect
(CD) rather than an event or action.
To be human is to be IMperfect, & to be mature is to be OK with that!
Fortunately there are times when everything works out well = we’re successful at a task, reach a goal, or feel empowered. These do NOT come from perfection.
Basically, they’re just events without mistakes. Those moments are the result of our knowledge, effort, practice & persistence, help from H.P, our faith, & perhaps some ‘luck’.

1. Emotional
Emotional Responsibility : identifying them, AND know they come from inside, rather than caused by other people, places or thingsconfidence
Self-control: accept & control your passions, impulses & desires. Can handle stress well, ‘let go’ & detach, know when you’re powerless over a situation
Self-esteem: have inner fulfillment, enjoy life, experience yourself as one source of love.  Have understanding, insight

2. Psychological / Mental
Cognitive Responsibility: be accountable for thoughts – beliefs, opinions & prejudices. responsibleHandle finances, have good work habits & are reliable
Mental Clarity: able to think clearly & rationally. Process information based on current reality, know how to gather & communicate info
Independence: make appropriate decisions & observe consequences in order to make better choices. Learn & grow from experience

3. Practical
Action Responsibility: know what you want & can mental claritymake it happen
Function: make the effort to learn what you need to know in order to accomplish your goals
Participation: join group & community activities that encourage creativity, collaboration & empowerment, perhaps volunteer for a relevant cause

4. Relational
Inter-personal Responsibility: treat people as separate entities with the
relational right to their own needs, wishes & dreams (not use people)
Respect: understand & tolerate different views, cooperate with peers or teams, care about others & represent their concern
Connections: make connections easily, sustain intimate relationship, take in friendship & love, share decisions & resources

5. Spiritual
Moral Responsibility: have a healthy value system / code of ethics. spiritual Choose what’s right for yourself first & then in relation to others
Congruent: Act honestly, live by your principles & listen to your intuition
Altruism: have concern for all humanity, do what you can to help others – realistically!

NEXT: Emotional Maturity (Part 2)

RECOVERY – What it IS & IS NOT (Part 1)

in with the new 

Dismantling the old patterns

PREVIOUS: Self-esteem IS

SITEBenefits of a Gratitude List


IS NOT…❖…expecting to get unconditional love and perfect sanity from any human. It’s unrealistic, but the Wounded Inner Child demands it anyway. Now – when we don’t get it, we accuse others of abandoning us!

IS…❧…understanding that in adult relationships –  each person has their own needs.  Since our parents couldn’t give us unconditional love, when it would have been ‘normal’, we can only look for it now from ourselves, our pets & our Higher Power.  As we interact with healthier people we will receive more appropriate companionship – be mirrored, understood, respected, considered, loved…but never perfectly!

IS NOT…❖…being free of emotions (Es) that were unacceptable in our family, controlling our Es or trying to have ‘appropriate’ Es. Those are signs of damaged thinking – (CDs) – NOT the same as being in control of our behavior!

IS…❧…accepting all emotions as legitimate. Humans are built with the capacity AND the need to feel. Es are the natural indicators of our reaction to any experience – to let us know whether something is good or bad for us. Re.T.E.A. —
Actions may, or may not, be good, & can be corrected, over time
• Unhealthy Thoughts can be reframed & replaced, when harmful or incorrect
finger Es
Es just are. They can go from very joyful <–to–> very painful, but are never good or bad! We need to have access to a wide range of Es, with many shades. It gives us a sense of vibrancy & allows us to connect with others.
Only looking seeing everything in B & W = tv, paintings, walls, clothes….. can become quite boring. Suppressing or narrowing down Es (to 1 or 2, like rage or fear) will make us cold, hard, distant & ultimately limited, one-dimensional.
The intensity & depth of our emotional reservoir (old childhood pain) is so great that it will never be completely empty.  Accept this & learn how to manage Es rather than trying to spiritualize them away!
(review “Feelings Aren’t Facts” posts) (MORE re. hand-emotions)

IS NOT…❖…trying to fix our childhood damage, to eliminate all character defects & do is easily and quickly.  Any effort to fix ourselves means we think we’re bad, that our badness is our own fault, SO we’re responsible for doing anything we can to eradicate it. (BTW, this is one of the reasons why many ACoAs want to be dead)

IS…❧…accepting that alcoholism & co-dependence have left deep scars & emotional hangovers. (ACoA site) These will take our life-time to gradually heal. Being human means we’ll never be perfect – but Recovery IS truly possible!damage?
Many have proven it.
Humility (not humiliation) is acknowledging our human limitations, with a consistent willingness to evaluate ourselves with compassion, in honesty & reality, modifying our thoughts & action so we can reach our own goals

IS NOT…❖…being ‘serene’ all the time.
• To always be pleasant, kind, honest, thoughtful…is a disguise for a wide range of emotions we don’t find acceptable
• To still be the good boy / girl, in the present, is the symbiotic need for our family’s approval, rather than becoming our own person
• Forever trying to be ‘so good’ is a negation of our legitimate rage & pain of childhood abandonment

IS...❧…gaining genuine serenity, based on a solid emotional, mental & spiritual foundation – from the inside.  This creates the unshakable knowledge that we are ok even when we’re in pain, under pressure, not understood or supported.  We can have upheaval, express intense pain / anger… and still be at peace, deep down.  Serenity is the by-product of knowing & accepting ourselves in the moment, trusting our gut, having a great support system & a loving H. P.


ACoAs Being Controlled (Part 4)

door mat
why am I still being walked on?

PREVIOUS: Being Controlled (Part 1)

READING: Dealing with Manipulative people – from “In Sheep’s Clothing”


🎯 WHO / WHAT we LET Control us
Controlling patterns are the same as Emotional Abuse.  All but one of these groups can influence us positively OR negatively. It’s up to us to know what suits us best & stick to it!
INNER DAMAGE – everything this blog covers
Also “Bitchlifestyle” blog : Who Controls You, Your Bitch or Your Brat?

The more we try to please everyone, we become:
— MORE frantic, disorganized, overwhelmed, angry, unhappy, exhausted
— LESS focused, rested, peaceful, satisfied, pleasant to be with
AND the fewer people we actually please!

Letting ourselves be controlled is giving our power away. Yet we think it will actually:
— GAIN us acceptance, love, continual attention, protection
— PREVENT being ignored, made fun of, punished or left
Unfortunately, this is an illusion!

NOTE: THIS LIST is about the way our negative relations can controls us:

PARENTS – wanting their love & approval at any expense, we often twist ourselves into distorted versions of our True Self – & still never please them or get what we need from them (see Part 3)

PARTNERS – our fantasy beliefs about what a good relationship or marriage is supposed to be (especially for women – to be the ‘giver’) makes us into servants or slaves
CHILDREN – expressing our love for them can go too far, being afraid to set boundaries or teach them discipline can let them take advantage
PEERS / FRIENDS – trying to keep up with or out-do them, keep their approval, get their admiration, be in the ‘IN’ group….

JOBs/ Bosses – expectation, demands … especially the unreasonable one that we think have to be fulfilled. After all, aren’t we used to doing the impossible – or at least trying like crazy?

NEMESES – (people we’re jealous of or in competition with) – we can do many foolish or self-defeating things to stay ahead of them or keep them from winning over us, whether the ‘prize’ is important to us or not. We become obsessed, over-work, cheat, connive, worry… just to shore up our weak ego

ENEMIESA) people who hate us for their own reasons. We didn’t cause it, but we can end up expending way too much time, energy & money trying to win them over or placating them, instead of leaving them alone, praying for them or being neutral -OR-
B) those we hate – & that hatred eats us up year after year – wasting time trying to get even, obsessing about telling them off (but never do), or actually putting nasty plans into motion

HEROES – because we don’t know the real person, they’re usually one-dimensional yet we put them on pedestals – so they’re not fully human. We think we could / should be like them, but it’s not automatically true that if they can do or be something, we can too.  And even if we follow their lead in some way, we may not be able to do it right away, or it may be a lot harder that we thought, or we may not have the same resources…. which can leave us discouraged & self-hating.
We have to be realistic, without giving up, working toward goals that fit who we are!

• We may find positive qualities to emulate, but only with careful assessment & background research. THEY must be people:
— who are actively living the qualities you admire, not just talking a good game
— you are genuinely similar to (not just matching our damage). Just because someone else can do or be something does not mean you can or should want to!

NO GUARANTEE:  Being psychologically healthy does not prevent damaged people from trying to hurt us. We know that good people in the public eye are sometimes vilified, even killed!   Self-esteem is our best protection – recognizing the unwell and removing ourselves from such people.

NEXT: Being Controlled (Part 3)