Passive Aggressives – Review for ACoAs (Part 2)

P-A person

– but you are (lucky you)!

PREVIOUS: Passive-Aggressive ACoAs (#1)

SITE:When your Defenses lead you into trouble

REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

1.The GAME

2. WHO plays the game (Chart – slide #7)
a. P-As always look for & often find another person who is overtly angry / volatile* (V.) to play the game with – no fun being stuck with all that UN-expressed rage alone! (See: Inter-personal games, Eric Berne).

As adults, they desperately need to maintain their illusions of being perfect, in the faint hope of getting or keeping their parents’ approval, being taught that strong emotions are considered dirty, messy, dangerous – even murderous! This pattern of being P-A is another unhealthy way of copin4 stylesg with intense FoA – fear of abandonment

b. ✶ Volatiles need P-As (or their part, or the game wouldn’t work):
• it gives them an excuse for letting out some of their rage ‘legitimately’
• it’s much safer than aiming the rage at the real target – their family
• the rage makes them feel powerful, to cover vulnerability & emptiness
• Vs are used to being disappointed, too, and are equally unconsciously addicted to finding people they can act out their childhood ‘story’ with.  And P-As do continually disappoint! It’s their trade-mark, & it can be used to identify them.

Sooner or later, usually later, it is inevitable that Vs will get angry, raging, even nasty at P-As – out of legitimate, intense, longstanding frustration!
Of course: Vs have to stick around for this! They’re part of the game.

DIRTY POOL – P-As unconsciously, sometimes knowingly, always use ‘available’ Volatiles as their own personal pressure valve – as if getting the V. to explode with rage would relieve their own pent-up hostility. When Vs get angry, P-As get very self-righteous. They feel victimized & cry: “I haven’t DONE anything!  Why are you attacking me?”

• accuse Vs of being controlling, even though they set the V. up:
— to take care of them emotionally & practically
— to vent their anger/rage for them
— to make all the decisions in the relationship!

• make Vs the crazy or bad one (instead of themselves), of being abusive & unfair, of reacting to ‘nothing’. That way the Vs can be ‘the monster’ for pouring out that vile stuff (anger) which P-As are terrified in themselves.
Then they can continue to feel superior & ‘clean’, keeping their ‘good boy / good girl’ status. After all, P-As can point to being easy-going, never raising their voice, or letting out that ‘nasty‘ anger – right?

BUT that’s exactly the point – they don’t DO many things that are their responsibility, as well as not expressing their needs / wants.

When P-As make other people responsible for all the decisions they should be making Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 11.41.09 PMdo themselves, (even if they like the ones being made for them), they are neglecting to ‘show up’, hold up their end, be an equal partner or peer – ie. an adult.  P-As passively, stubbornly – yes angrily – demand to be taken care of! but never say what they actually want or need, because they don’t have permission

• THEN, if/when something goes wrong – when they don’t like the choices the V. made for them, or are disappointed with the outcome – they can blame the other person & continue to play the victim role

• AND P-As can say to the other person: “YOU’RE always making the decisions! YOU’RE so controlling!” (& unspoken: “I hate you”). Wow! How dishonest.
✶ BUT if the V. stops playing the game, the P-A may finally tip their hand – if only briefly – showing the true rage behind their mask

EXP: Mark (P-A) & Sandy (V.) meet at a classical concert & become art-loving, theater-going friends. Mark regularly says self-deprecating things that are clever & funny, & Sandy obliges by laughing.
After a few months Sandy becomes increasingly uncomfortable with her complicity in Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 12.04.49 AMMark’s self-hate. The next time he makes a crack about himself – she doesn’t laugh & is quiet.  He gets annoyed & indirectly insults her for not responding ‘correctly’.

Later he buys her a B/day gift which deeply offends her artistic & Christian values – an ugly-made Indian goddess statue – knowing her religious background! She can’t imagine his intention – but is outraged. She instantly blows up at him & gives the gift back. Naturally he’s hurt & angry – but doesn’t show it. Instead he mails her a scathing note – making her the ‘bad one’.  End of friendship! Sandy feels ashamed for blowing up but also relieved.

NEXT: Passive-Aggressive ACoAs, (Part 3)

Passive Aggressives – Review for ACoAs (Part 1)

passive aggressive house YOU’LL NEVER SEE HOW ANGRY I AM –
I barely know, myself!

PREVIOUS: P-A ‘nice’ comments

SITE: Constructive, Passive & Aggressive Leadership styles

1.The GAME (Post: How its played)
a. Passive-Aggressive ‘disorder’ (PAPD)
A 2-handed ‘game’ (‘Games People Play’ by Eric Berne), always requiring the Passive-Aggressive (P-As) person & the Volatile (Vs) one to react.

web-MDapparently compliant behavior, with intrinsic obstructive or stubborn qualities, to cover deeply felt aggressive feelings that cannot be more directly expressed….

Wikipedia ….a personality trait marked by a pervasive pattern of negative attitudes & passive, usually disavowed resistance … expressed as learned helplessness, procrastination, stubbornness, resentment, sullenness, or deliberate/repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks for which one is (often explicitly) responsible….

DSM VI … the behavior often reflects an unexpressed hostility or resentment stemming from a frustrating interpersonal or institutional relationship on which an individual is overly dependentScreen Shot 2016-06-14 at 11.00.40 PM

The Straight Dope …people who suffer from PAPD expect disappointment, and gain a sense of control over their lives by bringing it about.

b. ACoAs: MANY of us grew up in one of 2 emotional climates :
emotionally volatile – being around loud, hyper, dramatic, raging, volatile parents / relatives – which has made some ACoAs gun-shy. We had to sit on our own anger – there was so much flying around, and we didn’t want to be like them, so we shoved our rage into a huge locked room & tried to throw away the key. So now it comes out sideways!

emotionally repressed – the other extreme found some of us in a family of uptight, buttoned down, emotionally cut-off, perhaps P-A types, who made a point of suppressing any intense emotion in their children. They may have believed it was ‘spiritually correct’, or they just didn’t want their own repressed pain to get triggered, and they didn’t have the skill/ tools to deal with ‘big feelings’ from their kids. We either copied their style or became ‘dramatic’ & over-reactive to everything.

• Both styles have deeply effected our relationship to anger & rage.
IMP: These are normal human EMOTIONS (Es), which are just forms of energy & by themselves are not dangerous or bad.Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 11.09.50 PM.png
✶✶ What to watch out for are the ACTIONS we take to express these Es! If we express them safely, we don’t hurt anyone & in fact feel lighter & can function better. If they’re expressed badly we can cause pain to others, while adding to our shame, guilt & S-H.

c. Briefly:  P-As have a huge amount of accumulated anger & rage (from childhood, as well as in adulthood), which they’re not allowed to feel, much less admit to – in order to be the ‘good’ one. They have cultivated such a facade of ‘niceness’ they have fooled themselves (but not everyone).  They may be the Hero or Lost Child from any dysfunctional family –  the Rescuers, the People-pleasers, or the Invisibles. (Toxic Roles”)

no, no

P-As compulsively resent, oppose & thwart – indirectly – what they see as demands to function at a level others expect of them. They’re convinced that they’re still not allowed to have real power for themselves, & are afraid to admit their anger at being neglected & unloved. They end up saying NO to their own needs & wants – and to anything that would be good for them.

So they live in a state of deprivation, expecting others to read their mind & provide what they won’t give themselves. P-As are rarely if ever able to state outright what they want & don’t want, or distinguish between actual bullying & appropriate requests. They just say NO to everyone, regardless.

Suppressing their anger is a form of negative self-control, & then put all the rest of their effort into trying to control other people’s emotions, so they can sneakily get them to do what the P-A wants.  In light of their self-imposed limitation, P-As are inwardly driven to push hidden handsothers toward their secret goal (to prove they can’t be pushed around, and to get back at anyone who’s hurt them OR their substitutes) – while seeming to not push at all. (re. controlling). It’s a way:
— to get their agenda across without risking consequences &/or

NEXT: P-A ACoAs – Review (Part 2)

ACoAs MANIPULATING Self & Others (Part 4b)

in chargePREVIOUS: Manipulating #4a

SITE: TED talk by Dan Pink : The puzzle of motivation 

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


Manipulation consists of 3 basic parts, a negative effort to fill-in the missing 3 positive needs of Safety, Belonging, & Mattering:
a. Scheming – To get, get out of, or have someone else do something
b. Calculating – Being dishonest, devious, conniving
c. Controlling – Wily, sly, crafty

Of course
– many ACoAs will rigorously deny using these tactics, especially a & b, especially those of us who feel powerless & depressed. But S-H, co-dependence, boundary invasion, lying, withholding….. are definite examples of them

REVIEW of Recovery Tools:
To grow, these harmful & useless patterns need to be addressed honestly (like the AA / inventoryAl-Anon 4th Step or other inventories), to keep track of how we manipulation ourselves & others.

More than likely we’ll need help identifying behaviors & attitudes, since they’re so deeply woven into the fabric of our daily lives we don’t even realize what they are. “Does a fish know it’s wet?”

Then going on to Step 5, we can begin overcoming shame & loneliness, by speaking out loud the specific ways we’ve been using this defense ‘game’. Program has a saying: “You’re only as sick as your secrets”, so sharing our 4th Step is important, if it’s done with compassion, in the right place, with safe people.

All manipulation is a way to con ourselves into believing we should not have any needs, while conning others into providing them (or we do without) – because we can’t eliminate having them! SO, in order to heal:

• In every situation – start by remembering you have one or more needs, on different PMES levels. Identify them – first on the physical level (help to pick out a present, cleaning the house, getting a job, health issues….), & then on a deeper level – the emotional need (validation, comfort, respect, support…..).

This is only do-able if we accept that all our needs are legitimate, & then practice providing them, both from ourselves & from appropriate outside sources

• Use book-ending to prove to your WIC that getting your needs met now IS possible.
As adults, our efforts are successful more often than not – as long as we “go to the food market for food rather than the hardware store!”take astionc

• Be willing to sit with uncomfortable Emotions your WIC feels, when you:
— ask for help AND get it!
— try on a new behavior
— take better care of yourself
— stop an old pattern …..

• Build self-esteem – changing S-H messages into compassion, patience & self-kindness. If you KNOW you’re a worthwhile person, then you KNOW you have a right to your needs

• Make a daily effort to go to the right PPT for help to get your needs met legitimately – in non-exploitative ways

• Accept – graciously – that sometimes people can’t provide what you ask for – either at that specific time for their own reason – or not at all, because they don’t have it to give.
This is not a reflection on your worth or how they feel about you. Nor does it automatically make them bad or selfish. Either wait until they’re available, or go find another resource.

FROM “I want everyone else to do what I want” all needs
TO “Others have the right to do things their own way”

FROM “Everyone is or should be just like me”
TO “I can see that others have their own identity separate from mine, who deserve as much respect & care as I want for myself”

FROM “Everyone else is only a source for provide my needs”
TO “I admit that others don’t owe me what I didn’t get from my family”

FROM “Everyone else is the solution to my problems”
TO “I’m responsible for finding answers & solving my problems”

FROM “Everything is THEIR fault”
TO “I’m responsible for my own actions”

FROM “I always have to be right, about everything”
TO “I can only know what’s right for me at this very moment, & it’s OK to be wrong, or not know something

FROM “I have to have my way, or else (I’ll die or I’ll kill you!)”
TO “I take care of myself, so I’m rarely desperate”

FROM “I’ll do anything to keep others from being angry at me (experienced as abandonment = separation, aloneness & death)

TO “Other people have a right to their emotions, including anger. I’m not a helpless child anymore. I have experiences & options – to take care of myself – even IF the other person temporarily withdraws, or is permanently gone.”

Manipulation is NOT a successful way to survive & feel safe.

NEXT: Goals to Meet NEEDS #1

Weak DECISION Styles (Part 1)

it’ll always be wrong!

PREVIOUS: Procrastinators Anon Tools



PART 1 = First 6 of 18 types of un-sound decision-making (D.M.) styles & their corrections. (No known source) While these types all represent dysfunction, people gravitate to one of these styles as a reflection of their inborn approach to life, along with an unhealthy upbringing.

• No matter what our personal style, ACoAs have a great deal of difficulty making decisions. This deficiency has nothing to do with our basic intelligence, only our damage. An apparent exception are those in the Hero / Rescuer family role – who seem to be able to make decisions easily & continuously. But the hidden worm in the fruit is that they only do it on behalf of others. Decisions for themselves are rare & usually unhealthy

– D.M. is the process of identifying & choosing alternatives, based on our values & preferences &
– D.M. is the process of reducing enough uncertainty & doubt about our options to give us the freedom to pick out the best one at the moment

SOME REASONS we have trouble with D.M.
• not having a clear identity (who am I, how do I present myself, what do I need or want….)
• letting the WIC (wounded inner child) be in charge of considering what to do, who either acts impulsively or is stuck / paralyzedbad decisions
• not trusting the knowledge, judgment & experience we’ve gathered throughout our life

• not realizing we have options to choose from, or better options than we think we have
not having permission to change our minds – about anything!
• being in denial about what we know regarding a person or situation

• fear of making the wrong choice – we think the wrong one will have life & death consequences, or result in severe punishment or self-hate, afraid of taking risks, asking for help, getting good things

• co-dependence: wanting to please everyone, all the time
• growing up with a series of double-binds (paralyzes us)
• not having enough or the correct information to decide accurately
• using CDs (cognitive distortions) in thinking about a problem

➼ As we Recover, some of these reasons melt away, some diminish & some we struggle with throughout life – & which is which will be different for different people.


dismantle your prison

PREVIOUS: What to do when Confused – #7

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

we’re stuck
There may be several reasons. Here we’re concerned with the many Toxic Beliefs* we carry with us from our childhood experiences.

✶ Our fear is strong & pervasive, but the main cause for that in the present is what we are THINKING! Change that & we’re free!
NOT being able to pursue & reach our needs & desires is caused by intense inner conflict between what we consciously desire VS the family rules coming from the Introject (PP = bad parent voice), whispering or screaming at the WIC, causing in S-H

• OBEYING the Toxic Beliefs guarantees that we stay trapped, continually failing, feeling more & more hopeless, even suicidal. BUT, they’re so much a part of us, we may not even know we’re being coerced by ideas that were created for us (deliberately or not, it doesn’t matter).

To get UNSTUCK – we need to know & own these self-destructive Rules, counter them & then slowly change our actions, ie. Only follow the New Rules!

IRONICALLY, these old beliefs are very hard to give up, because:
• the Inner Child actually believes them!pain
• following them represents loyalty to our family

GIVING them up would mean:

• getting in touch with the PAIN of our damage
• seeing what we missed out on (a loving, healthy family)
• having to give up what we thought was our ‘identity’ (our False Self
& one or more Roles)
• having to become our own person (S & I), grow up emotionally, make our own choices, be responsible for ourselves & our actions  – stop waiting to be rescued.

BELOW is one FORM to use whenever you want to know what’s going on in your head – what toxic beliefs are keeping you from getting what you want in life (use it separately for each topic or issue that’s bothering or confusing you), AND another FORM to make your corrections

➼ Please DON’T just say “I don’t understand this”, or “I don’t know how to do it” & give up.  That’s mainly resistance, even if you’ve never done this particular exercise before.  Anyone who has read self-help books & done therapy will definitely be able to fill these out, given some thought, but even if you never have, you can always ask for help from someone who knows you well.  Don’t worry if your answers are similar each time you use the forms. That’s to be expected.

resistSTART by identifying a problem you want to correct OR a goal you want to achieve, but haven’t been able to, so far. Suggested ‘Issues’What‘s stopping me from:
• starting a new career?  • looking for a new job ?  • leaving a harmful relationship?  • standing up for myself?  • letting go of my damage?  • cleaning up my apartment?  • studying  my artistic passion? ….”

1. FORM A – What’s familiar: using T.E.A. (Thoughts, Emotions & Actions), to ‘hear’ the damaged part of our thinking
•  Column 1. “Emotions” can be filled in right away if you’re very upset & know what you are feeling, otherwise —

— go to Column 2, filling in as many negative thoughts as you can (one for each category is ok if that’s all you can think of). Make sure you separate out what you’re thinking about yourself VS what you’re assuming about others (projecting)

•  If you left the first column empty, now add any emotions you’ve become aware of relating to the beliefs
• Then list the ways you ACT in response to those beliefs

2. FORM B – What is possible: Reversing patterns of thoughts & behavior will modify fear & greatly improve your experiences in life.
Use the same procedure as in Form A. but change the harmful beliefs to HEALTHY, positive & hopeful ones, & then keep the list with you at all times so you can review & internalize them

• Based on that –  you can practice changing you ACTIONS, starting in small ways, whenever you can. Plan ahead how you’re gong to change an old pattern & try it out.

• In this case the Emotions column is last because you may not know how you feel until you try our new behaviors & get some positive results. Don’t be surprised if you have uncomfortable emotions (as well as pleasant ones), which come from your WIC and/or PP.  Just let them be. Comfort your kid, tell the PP (Introject) to leave your kid alone, & focus on enjoying the relief & pleasure of living well (the best revenge!).

Sample PROBLEM :
“Why can’t I make & keep friends / lovers / bosses who are healthier, compatible & supportive??”

You may need help from a therapist, friend, sponsor or healer – to IDENTIFY the NEGATIVE and POSITIVE beliefs. Don’t be ashamed to ask!

MAKE several BLANK copies of these 2 FORMS,  and try it out on one of YOUR issues


“ACTIONS – Healthy OPPOSITES” (Part 2)

 why isn’t it working?

PREVIOUS: Healthy Opposites #1


“REVERSING self-defeating Behavior IMPROVES our Life” (cont)

ACoAs have a tendency to:
do everything based on B & W thinking (‘always, never, no one, all’…)
• be afraid to do anything that’s against the Toxic Family Rules
• only do what we think others want us to, or what others expect of us

behave in much the same way that our dysfunctional parents did
• use the same type of actions in every situation (no nuance, no variations, no risks, no innovations or what actually works …)

• not learn from our mistakes, just repeat bad patterns & then complain
• blame others for our mistakes, emotional distress or lack of action
• react from a wounded, anxious or angry emotional place (the co-dependent triangle = victim / perpetrator / rescuer)

Here the focus is on the way to choose what category of actions to take. It’s not a guide to what we should do, but rather correcting what seems to us a quite logical – yet misguided – way to solve our problems, which has been to:
➡️ periodically reverse our usual way of handling things – but only knowing how to choose its Unhealthy Opposite!

B. UNHEALTHY Opposites
• From the very beginning of life we’ve been trying to figure out how to survive, fix our family & get our needs met – mostly with corrupted info (G-I / G-O = “garbage in – garbage out”).

ACoAs are very smart, creative & determined – even though we don’t realize or own it. As kids all out talents went into a valiant effort to save our parents & siblings – maybe even friends.
Now we find other dysfunctional people to ‘rescue’ – desperate to make them well enough to be there for us!

EXP: The 4yr old trying to help her drunk father up the stairs that he’s passed out on, the teenager hopelessly trying to convince her mother to go to Al-anon or leave dad, OR as adults – trying to get a heavily addicted lover /spouse sober, or to keep them from killing themselves – whealthy oppositesith little or no success.

• As unrecovered adults we stumble around without mental or emotional clarity – in spite of our high intelligence, because of convoluted & warped info we were fed in childhood.
The ACoA Laundry List says: “We guess at what normal is”, so we obsessively watch normals to figure out what to do (how do they talk, how do they eat sushi, what makes them happy, how do they make friends?…).

Even so, we can only copy them but so far, because we’re still in the grip of our childhood / family templates – used as the foundation for new actions.  It doesn’t work. This is to be expected – it’s how every brain is programmed from birth.
So we always end up in the same old place, defeated & hopeless, thinking that it’s: a) somehow all our fault, & that b) the universe is against us!
Either way, it hurts!
EXP: Afraid to be in social situation because we don’t know how to make small talk, convinced we’ll be boring or sound stupid…..

• And how do we use all our native cleverness & determinatioakwardn for ourselves?
There are many convoluted ways UNhealth can manifest itself. From that mess we choose a set of patterns that most suits our specific personality & our background. We keep trying them out in complex variations & with lots of different people. (Chart in Part 4)

When we get too frustrated by not getting what we need or want, we unconsciously pick through the mental rolodex of distorted options that were forced on us, looking for a better way to handle things, hoping another ‘opposite’  way of behaving will solve our problems.

So we try obvious reversals, BUT all our action-choices are taken from the ‘disease’ end of the spectrum. From a. to b. & back again! (in above chart)
EXP: “I always say the wrong thing, so now I’m not going to talk at all! OR
// My last 3 girlfriends were nightmares, so I’ll never trust another woman….”

NEXT: Healthy opposites #3

REBELLION vs Compliance (Part 1)

I’ll do whatever you want, so you won’t leave me

PREVIOUS: Wanting Revenge #2



• This is normal for the teen years, when you’re trying to figure out who you are, what you want to do ‘when you grow up’, so you’re not a carbon copy of your parents (yuck), wanting to be part of your peer group….

• In a reasonably healthy family you’re given a certain amount of leeway in this, to grow & stretch. Healthy parents are not threatened by this stage – even if it makes them uncomfortable & a little nuts. They know you’re a separate person & will find out for yourself
• It does not mean they neglect you, ignore what you’re doing or just can’t be bothered. It means they’re watching & waiting, and caring, not overly imposing themselves – but also not OK letting you get into trouble!Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 5.16.58 AM

• When you’re allowed to be different from your folks, can disagree with their politics, religion, philosophy of life, or just plain – what to wear – eventually you get to find out what you really like & don’t like, who the real you is!

• Kids with this kind of freedom eventually (usually by their 20’s) find they do in fact agree with much of what they grew up with – the values, tastes, lifestyle… even if expressed in their own personal way.
AND ways they are different from family is accepted & maybe even admired – or at least respected.

However – if you’re reading this, you probably didn’t grow up in that kind of family!  As ACoAs:
a. Neglected : if we were ignored, unguided, un-nurtured – we would, of course, be left with a lot of anger, sadness, loneliness & a deep sense of hopelessness. As kids, we would Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 5.16.16 AMconclude that we didn’t matter, were invisible, had no reason to do anything for ourselves, & are incompetent anyway.

• Maybe a relative, a neighbor or teacher took an interest in us & helped some – but it’s not the same as having our parents explain things, show us by example & help us try out things. Everything from personal hygiene, cooking, house repairs, arts & recreation, social skills – to homework, relationships, spiritual practice….

Our Reaction
: We spent a lot of time alone, daydreaming, hiding out, reading, studying, maybe hanging out in the library, with a friend – but not likely.
NOW: ACoAs in this group don’t accomplish as much as they could, have trouble pursue dreams, goals, talents, interests … in spite of being just as talented, intelligent & capable as any other human being.
After all, if our parents couldn’t be bothered to teach us how to do all the things kids need to know, so how can we possibly manage anything ourself ? !

• This may not seem like rebellion – but it is.  It’s passive resistance: “If they didn’t take care of me, I’m not going to take care of me!”.  True, there’s fear, a deep sense of not knowing how, but the refusal to try comes from rage, which underpins the passivity.

Even so, some of us were told that they love us – even though they rarely or never acted like it. In stead, WE are the ones who love them – desperately, no matter how cruel & neglectful. We’re the ones who don’t want to let go!

b. Over-Coerced : At the other extreme, many of us were bullied, over-controlled, Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 5.15.41 AMmanipulated – forced to do & be whatever one or both parents (& other caretakers) wanted, with little or no regard to our individual personality.

• As kids we were considered ‘tabula raza’ – that’s Latin for blank slate. Parents of the baby boomer generation (& before) were taught that children come into this world with no identity or personality OR that they’re born bad, & it’s up to the parents to form them according the what’s ‘right’ – to write on the slate as they wished.

• Alcoholic & other narcissistic parents, who by definition had low self-esteem & fear of abandonment (FoA) themselves, could not tolerate any sign of individuality in their children, ⚡️which they stubbornly assumed to be disobedience, deliberate disrespect, even perversion!
☀️Such parents / family ruthlessly suppressed the reality that every child is born with their own specific personality type, & genetic makeup (even twins) which needs to be acknowledged & nurtured.

NEXT: Rebellion vs COMPLIANCE (Part 2)


little devilsMAKE THEM SUFFER !
The same way they made me suffer!

Post: ANGER CATEGORY #12 – Retaliatory

POSTS: Parents Blaming Us / ‘Shame’ / ‘Guilt’

, Vengeance, Retribution, – injury inflicted as punishment in return for abuse received
• To plot revenge – the bitter desire / obsession / plannimg to injure another for a wrong done to oneself, a loved one or others like oneself
• To avenge – actually exact satisfaction for a sense of injury, following a wrong received. Any form of personal action against an individual, institution, or group for some perceived harm or injustice.

😡 Many of us hated one or more parents for their neglect & cruelty – but that was to-o-o dangerous to admit! We wished they were dead or that we were.
BOOK: “So the Witch Won’t Eat Me” by Dorothy Bloch (NY psychoanalyst) gives an excellent explanation in her intro.

a. External CAUSES
Growing up, our parents & other adults:
• neglected, attacked & humiliated us, assumed the worst of us… blamed us unfairly for everything
• AND didn’t allow us to defend ourself, never bothered to ask for our point of view or experience, didn’t believe us, weren’t on our side nor defended us

b. Internal –
As children WE:
• are vulnerable to & at the mercy of our caregivers
• think in B & W, simple cause & effect, so a believe in JUSTICE – that the world SHOULD be fair
• AND, assume we’re the center of everything, therefore everything that happens to us is about us (good or bad)!
It makes sense to a kid’s mind that, when our parents hurt us —
• they were justified in what they were doing to or not doing for – us
• somehow we caused it, even if we couldn’t figure out what we did wrong
• we deserved whatever was dished out: “The gods punish us for our own good (a lesson) & because we deserve it (being bad)!”
• we were in constant, intense pain.  Even though we had no choice but to accept blame, still – we wanted it to STOP! Of course.
• no one else seemed to notice or care – no one helped (maybe someone did try, but it didn’t work out & we stayed trapped)
• we couldn’t get any justice from them (they didn’t care how their abuse effected us)
• they got away with it – were never held accountable! UNFAIR
• we tried & tried – to figure it out, to change ourselves and get them to change, to protect ourself & others in the family
• but nothing got better, so we got more & more frustrated and hopeless
• failing to MAKE adults stop hurting us, our sense of danger never left

whivoodooch led to getting angrier & angrier. Being powerless in an unsafe family, especially one that was actually life-threatening – will always generate RAGE
• and after all – fair is fair – eventually we began to have fantasies of REVENGE, to even the score, so the world would be in balance again.

Without help, comfort or a way of escape, we had to suppress the pain as best we could, but our fantasies scared us.
We could’t attack our parents directly, because —
– we were too dependent on them
– they had some positive qualities we used so as to deny the bad ones
– it wasn’t safe to rebel outright (severely punished if we did try)

We needed to deny our fury at them. We weren’t big or strong enough to punish ‘those mean, stupid adults’ the way they deserved, so we did the next ‘best’ thing :
• Masochism, Revenge in REVERSE – some took it out on ourself (self-mutilation, fantasies of being hurt/ tortured, tried suicide either directly or by dangerous activities….) as a way to punish our abandoners

Sadism – directly abusing others : As kids, some of us hurt smaller, younger, weaker things, such as:
— an older child hitting, hurting or even killing a new child in the family
— physically torturing birds, cats….
— stealing, hiding or breaking other’s toys & possessions
— bullying (at home, neighbor kids, at school, later – on line….)
— making fun of someone’s disability…

NEXT: Wanting Revenge #2

UNIT: Healthy Adult/Parent (Part 3)

PREVIOUS: Healthy Adult & Loving Parent #1



3.  BUILDING the UNIT (cont)

❀  Everyone’s INNER CHILD combines emotions, experiences, memories & thoughts from childhood. It’s made up of:
• every age & developmental stage we’re lived thru
• our interactions with family, school, friends, religion…
• our version (conscious interpretation/ ‘understanding’) of all the people who were important to us, good or bad
• what we picked up from them subliminally.  Kids are very intuitiveego states

Depending on the content of a voice, we’re hearing from:
❧ a good parent or a bad inner parent
❧ a healthy child or a wounded inner child
❧ a sane adult or a fake inner adult

The 1st in each duality are soothing, informative, helpful, humorous, even spiritual

The 2nd causes us great pain, a feeling of hopelessness or futility….. & some of those voices are louder, carry more weight, are meaner….than others

❤️ We need to be talking WITH the kid every day, as often as possible, about everything – no matter how trivial.
It can be about what you feel like eating or wearing, what someone is doing, the colors around you – anything from : ‘It’s time for bed, now…” , “No, we can’t go there today – not enough time” – to – “I can tell something’s bothering you. How are you feeling?”…

It never has to be a big deal. You can do it on a bus, in the bathroom, walking down the street… Yes, the written version takes a chunk of time, but not the everyday chit-chat

DON’T WAIT until you’re in a crisis, to start. If you haven’t already established a good link with the kid, & then something upsets you – you will not have the UNIT available to handle it.

?? How often do you talk to anyone you live with or see every day? Only when there’s some difficulty?
The more you interact with your kid —-> the stronger the bond —> the more you prove your reliability —> the more the UNIT can take care of things & make your life WORK!!

⬇️ UNIT conversations with the Inner Child ⬇️

♥  Week before an operation:
IC: ‘I want a new red blanket to take with me to the hospital’
LP: ‘OK, honey, let’s go shopping.’
In the store:
IC: ‘I want that one! ‘ (the most expensive)
HA: ‘We only have $– to spend on this.  We need some money for groceries too’
LP: ‘I’ll get you one of these – the smaller one. We already have 2 red blankets at home – & yes I know they’re old!”

Sensing the WIC’s anxiety:
LP: “I know you’re worried & scared about the procedure. I’ll be with you the whole time & Jerry’s picking us up afterwards.”
HA: “You know I trust this doctor.  We’ll be ok.”
IC: (Pouts but understands)

Waiting to get on a plane
IC: (A little antsy but not talking)
LP: (Noticing, waiting – knows kid is not afraid of flying, so it can’t be that)
IC: (Not saying anything but seems concerned)
LP: (Finally gets an ‘image’ of the issue) — “OK, OK, I’ll take you!”
(Kid doesn’t have to ‘go’ but is worried about needing the bathroom on the plane before seat belt light is off!
They go to the restroom & the kid is happy.😘

After a social gathering with casual friends
IC: (In a lot of pain) “They don’t like me, I talked too much, no one came over to me afterwards, I can’t go back there, I know they’re saying bad things about me …
HA: OK, I hear you.  But what we know about these particular people is that they have shown ways that they like you. You’ve talked a lot before & they’re still nice to us”
IC: “Yeah, but…”

“Yes, we aren’t their age or have the same core beliefs & not in their inner circle, but that’s not a negative reflection on you – or them. It’s just a reality. Different is different, not bad.”
LP: “Honey, the bottom line is that you are who you are & not everyone fits with us. That doesn’t make you undesirable.  We have to find places that suit all parts of us – the mental Adult, the feeling kid (You, little one) & the spiritual Parent.
IC: Reluctantly “OK”. It took a few days, but the pain went away.
*The next time at that same gathering  – everyone was as friendly as usual.   (“See, honey?” >”I know”)

NEXT: Healthy Adult/ Loving Parent – #3


I have to protect myself at all costs


See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

T.E.A for ACoAs (cont)
EXP : re. Portfolio management
RISK Aversion –
a preference for safety & certainty over uncertainty, & the potential for loss or pain
vs. LOSS Aversion : 
a complex need for both risk aversion & risk seeking behavior. It’s not just the desire to reduce risk but an utter contempt for any amount of loss. These people feel the sting of loss twice as much as the joy from an equal size gain – & make financial investment decisions accordingly

Neuro-economic studies have found that when people are facing a loss, the amygdala – our brain’s fear center – begins to fire. It is the same area that reacts to being in mortal danger. No wonder many investors are influenced by loss-aversion.

So too, some ACoAs are :
a. MORE risk-averse – hardly ever taking risks of any kind, living mainly as victims, who stay in menial or unfulfilling jobs most of their work life, stay closer to home, don’t try new things, don’t reach out… And SOME are:
b. LESS averse : more adventuresome in ‘action’ ways, but afraid to risk in other important areas, most often not experiencing their emotions, & avoiding relationship intimacy

😩We learned to ignore potential options, because WE WERE:
• told anything we did was wrong, stupid or not good enough
• constantly interrupted by someone else’s needs or crises, so we avoid riskcouldn’t stay focused on what we needed to do for ourselves

• punished equally for big or small infractions of ‘rules’, many of which made no sense or were unspoken! This made us put off or avoid taking normal activities, much less branching out to try things that are deeply important to us, or something more unusual to expand our world

IN the PRESENT – our reaction to childhood trauma is to avoid as much confrontation & newness as possible (co-dependence / risk-aversion).
We’re convinced that all forms of ‘taking a chance’ are bad & will guarantee a bad outcome.
We’ve been trained to assume that that’s the way life is, forever – at least for us! This is so ingrained that we don’t even know that’s what we believe. But we live it every day.
Because WE :
• copy a parent’s life-long fear of risk
obey our specific toxic rules
• rebel against family demands for success
• can’t take center stage in our own life
• don’t want to lose proof of their abuse
• not allowed to be visible, or out-shine them

also FEAR – of:
• abandonment, reprisals, punishment
• authority, not being perfect, not picking right
• being a ‘laughing stock’
• being shown as incompetent (not knowing)
• dealing with competition
• having to deal with others’ jealousy
• not getting our deepest desires, no matter how hard we try
AND / OR have to: 
• face our childhood damage AND CHANGE!
• S & I (outgrow & out do unsuccessful family)
• leave someone unsafe or incompatible (parent, friends, mate, children, job, addictions, locations….) if they prevent our growth
• deal with the discomfort of getting good things now, & being successful, which the WIC says it doesn’t know how to be
• then take riskier steps after that… maybe even scarier (like: write something, then publish, then promote, then…)

In terms of positive T.E.A., while risk is primarily about Actions, there are many which fit into Emotion & Thinking, in spite of the WIC’s fear of personal growth.
WE CAN: leave home
T. – disagree with & disobey the Negative Introject, outgrowing the addiction & attachment to our family (giving up denial)

E. – tolerate the painful emotions what surface in the process of letting go, both from re-experiencing pent-up old pain, as well as facing being hurt by current family judgment & abuse for ‘leaving them’ ie. upsetting the family mobile by changing the dysfunctional dynamics.

A. …. & risk healthy actions : clearly objecting to abuse, disobeying Toxic Rules by doing positive things for our life, & sometimes having to distance ourselves from actual family members & dealing with the possible fallout.

NEXT:  Risk Addicted