Al-Anon STEP 10 – Comments (Part 3)

 

 

PREVIOUS: 10th Step #2

SITEs:  8 books for ACoA 

▪︎ Apology GUIDE

AA / Al-Anon Step 10 : “Continued to take personal inventory & when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

1. Daily Inventory

2. AND WHEN WE’RE WRONG  (cont.)

c. Something that did not hurt or upset another, but which we’re convinced did. Again, this is our narcissism – projecting how we’d feel if….. In fact, what we’re obsessing about may not have even registered, or if it did – it didn’t bother them.

So, before apologizingASK  “When I said/did ——, how did you feel?” (done right away, or at the next opportunity).
✔︎ If the other person was not upset, believe them & drop it!
THEN if you insist on explaining, justifying…. it’s not at all about making an amend to —-> the other person.
Instead – it’s all about you, trying to get them to make you feel better

✘ If it did bother them, then we can apologize, but not in a self-serving way by trying to justify our behavior!
However, sometimes BRIEFLY providing a legitimate context is helpful to the other person “I’m so sorry for ———, yesterday my mom was rushed to the hospital // I’d just had a chemo treatment…. // Sometime my brain-injury makes it hard to remember —– ” (Try not to use the word ‘but’ before the explanation!)

d. Human mistakes (not a tragedy). These can come from being tired, under great stress, over-doing or from ignorance. We need to have our own internal permission to be ‘normal’ (imperfect), to forgive ourselves & then make any necessary corrections.
Most other people are not as upset about our errors as we are

e. Things we said or did which actually hurt / harmed someone.
Sadly, the WIC still gets things backwards, as with the backwards Serenity Prayer.
We blame ourselves for things that are not wrongs, while having great difficulty owning long-term defense mechanisms : superiority, lying, lateness, insensitivity, laziness, procrastination, S-H ….).
Not noticing our unhealthy behavior is a lack of self-awareness – patterns we think “well, that’s just me” but are actually the False Self, & a deep-seated shame about our True-Self needs.

*    *    *    *    *    *
3. PROMPTLY ADMIT IT
a. The Program phrase “Let it begin with me” certainly applies here.
If we accurately identify a ‘failing’, we can promptly admit it TO OURSELVES – without shame or S-H.  Hard for many ACoAs to do!

In Recovery we learn that character defects come from the wounded child &/or PP, so even with years of hard work they don’t go away fast or easily. We need to be KIND to ourselves, & patient with our process!
For in-depth info, read posts Outgrowing Co-dep Niceness #6a-7c”, re. Forgiving ourselves.

b. Re. OTHERS – 9th Step procedure applies here too – read post “Outgrowing Co-dep Niceness #8a = Being forgiven by others”.

A sponsor may suggest that “promptly” means to act within 48 hours – not a week or a year.  But for many ACoAs it can take hours or days before we realize we need to make an amend, or to take the time to overcome shame, or calm down from anger, & get some perspective.

As mentioned before, in some cases the person may not accept the amends or want to talk to us at all. Sometimes it’s not safe or even possible to reach them. An abusive boss, a mentally ill family member, a manipulative narcissist, the passive-aggressive….. can easily use a sincere ‘amend’ against us, if not right away, then some later time when it suits them.
We do need to use discretion & be self-protective.

Not wanting to apologize may seem like PRIDE on the surface, but actually it’s:
a. being ASHAMED of not being perfect
b. it’s something that was shamed / punished in our family growing up
To be able to apologize ‘easily’ we can not be choked with SHAME!

💠   💠    💠    💠
Read: ACoA 12 Steps

ACoA 10th Step: “We continued to take personal inventory & to love and approve of ourselves.”
• This is not arrogance or narcissism, but rather, self-care.
• It’s not about being at the extremes of either having to be “right” <—–> or of self-flagellation.
• AND keeping our side of the street clean does NOT mean staying with people who don’t want to be with us, who are subtly abusive or simply incompatible!

By accepting ourselves completely, we can slowly outgrow much of our damage, & uncover our True Self. This minimizes the amount & frequency of acting on character defects. It keeps us from isolating ourselves & judging everyone else.
“Admitting & Accepting” is the mental health of acknowledging our human-ness & the need to be part of the human race.

NEXT: MBTI Introverts

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

REVIEW
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)

OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 1)

speak up for me
I WANT TO BE HEARD!
(I hope no one minds 🙄)

PREVIOUS : Neg EXTERNAL results
from others (#2)

 

 RECOVERY from “Too Nice Syndrome” (TNS)
Undoing our TNS isn’t accomplished by becoming a nasty bully or resentful isolate. Instead, we can apply the wisdom which the Snake of fable had not understood – that occasionally it’s necessary to hiss! Emotional maturity is about balancing between being well-behaved & putting our foot down when needed.

The following TOOLS are:  1. Facing FEARS //  2. SELF-WORTH   //  3.  ASSERTIVENESS  // 4. HAVING RIGHTS   // 5. FORGIVE OTHERS   // 6a. HEAL our T.E.A.s   // 6b. FORGIVE OURSELVES (as adults)  // 7. BE FORGIVEN

Used together, they can move us along in the right direction, but if we’ve been a life-long people-pleaser (P-P), it’s going to take time, patience & perseverance. Think ODAT & never give up!
We can go: From Damage —–>——>——-> to Wellness

TOOL 1. Facing FEARS

++ It’s normal for Co-deps to be fear-based, given our history. That fear may never go away completely, but can become much less intense. As we thaw out emotionally we can experience our feelings quicker when something hurts us – instead of registering months or years later.
Intense painful emotions are a signal that you’ve either tapped into childhood trauma-pain, &/or you’re torturing yourself with cruel self-talk, causing terror.L & R BRAIN
Feeling old pain & other emotions that come up from a current event, will free up a lot of psychic energy we use to hold them down.

☁︎  T.E.A. = Most people combine Thinking (mainly Left brain) & Emotions (mainly Right brain) into one big messy hodgepodge.
If someone asked (or you ask yourself) : “Are your/my fears realistic?” they are not referring to the emotion of fear, but rather to the toxic rules, projections, S-H….theTs that cause the fear (E).

Fear is just fear – it’s neither realistic or unrealistic, which only applies to thinking. (Post: “Feelings aren’t facts”)
Years of early abuse & abandonment created our fear – accumulating every hour, every day that we lived with those people (family, school, religion, neighborhood….). That feeling is an absolutely normal, appropriate emotional response to those events. We carry that pile of terror in our body, which we now attach to thoughts & current events – adding to the pile, keeping P-P in place (“Anxiety & T.E.A.s”)

REVERSED – As Co-deps we often get both our mental & emotional reactions backwards.  In terms of fear:
• we ignore or underplay emotionally damaging effects caused by actual people & situations that are inappropriate or outright harmful to us, but have a real effect on us even so, & yet —
• we can over-react emotionally with S-H & FoA to PPT that are either not dangerous at all, or are those uncomfortable pain-in-the-butt “that’s life” situations which seem overwhelming, but actually are fairly easy to smooth out, once we come to see them in proportion, & learn how to manage them

💚 So don’t let others keep confusing you. Be clear whether you (or they) are talking about Thoughts/beliefs OR Emotions – or Actions, & know how they’re related – or not!  Es can be a response to an As, without causing harmful Ts:

EXP
: I can be very frustrated & angry (E) about a situation I truly have no control over, such as ‘being laid off from a job/ loss of a relationship/ illness of a loved one….’ (A), yet still have a positive mental attitude about myself, my life, even my future, such as “It’s not my fault / I know I can find something or someone else / I’m actually better off now / I pray for them….” (T). (See many posts re. EMOTIONS)

To outgrow People-Pleasing (P-P) we need to stand up for ourselves. And for that to be effective it has to come from our Adult Ego State& not as a knee-jerk reaction from the WIC. This includes knowing when to be silent or walk away, which will depend on recognizing whether a situation is hopeless or not, especially when dealing with Personality Disordered people.
Ironically, being too nice also does others a disservice – preventing them from being their best, by giving their Inner Brat opportunities to come out & play whenever they feel like it – on our head!

NEXT: Outgrowing P-P #3

Co-Dep Angry-Nice UNDERPINNINGS (Part 1)

love-buyingscreen-shot-2017-02-24-at-12-13-36-pm 

THEY WON’T LIKE ME
unless I try a lot harder

PREVIOUS: Co-dep #1

SITEQs @ Co-dep
Anger
 
False beliefs @ being angry


Co-dependence UNDERPINNINGS (all at the same time!)
YOU ARE:
• Hero – of your own story, but not really. Your sense of importance & value is totally dependent on what you can do for others, whether they want it or not, and on how others react to you. If they respond positively, you can breathe. If they don’t – even once – you feel like the rug’s been pulled out. So you have to keep running from the monster (the Introject), to make sure you always do the right thing – for others – but never for yourself

• Jelly – inside. A quivering mass of terror & self-flagellation, always waiting for the other shoe to drop! The least little thing that goes wrong – you blame yourself – whether others hurt your feelings, or heaven-forbid you don’t know something, or make even a tiny mistake – all reasons to condemn yourself

• Mind-reader – sure you know what everyone else is thinking  –MINd]D READING about you. Your shame & S-H ‘knows’ it’s never anything good, so you never bother to actually find out by asking, lest your suspicions prove to be true

• Martyr – taking on the burdens of everyone else, carrying their suffering for them, assuming they are weak & you’re so much stronger

• Secret Superman/ Wonder-woman – able to leap tall buildings with your determination to march on alone in spite of all your hardships, proving your ability to save others, while never needing any help yourself

YOU HAVE:
• Antennae – that constantly swivel back & forth towards everyone else, overly attuned to your assessment/assumption of other people’s emotions & needs – whether accurate or not. Your focus is for external approval, rather than internal self-fulfillment. Left to your own devices, you feel lost, purposeless, even empty

• Brakes – like on a car – but only the emergency one, keeping you locked in place, stuck in the mud of your pain, so you can’t take care of yourself. You think if you stand perfectly still you’ll be safe, but all you’re doing is trading real freedom & enjoyment for fake-protectioncrazy committee

• A Committee – a dangerous ’round’ table in your head of warring factions – each with an opposing point of view, vying for the upper hand – AND all negative. They’re so loud, you can’t find your own voice, & they drive you crazy, because you’re trying to make sense of craziness!

• Distortions – of thinking (CDs) that warp the way you see & interpret the world – thru the haze of Toxic Rules, FoA & S-H. This includes a skewed idea of Higher Power/God. ACoAs automatically assume that “God is an Alcoholic Parent”. We either:
— hate the whole ‘spirituality’ issues because God didn’t rescue us from very real childhood trauma, or
— try to earn love & acceptance by good works (people-please HP) or
— we assume the ‘universe’ is against us, no matter what we do, just like it was at home

NEXT: Co-Dep UNDERPINNINGS  (#2)

Weak DECISION Styles (Part 1)

NO MATTER WHAT I PICK –
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.


ACoAS being SCAPEGOATED (Part 4)

 

IT’S IMPERATIVE I GET 
that I am NOT bad, stupid or weak!

PREVIOUS: ACoAs being Scapegoated (#3)

 

 

 

4. CONSEQUENCES for the SCAPEGOAT

🌊 To survive, Scapegoats (Sc) had to build a wall around the toxic family’s shadow energies they were forced to swallow, hiding the origin of the abuse. Even so, now the least little emotional ‘bump’ is felt as an extreme pain when an event touches any old wound they haven’t yet learned to process & contain.

Common symptoms are academic failure, delinquency, drug / alcohol abuse, depressions, rages, PTSD, stress-related ADD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, sexual acting out/pregnancy….. especially in teens, & can continue for many years into adulthood.

abuse S-H

Sc carry psychological & emotional scars. They may not start out with a mental illness (although some ACoA Sc are predisposed because of parental alcoholism & depression), but are highly likely to develop one or more – after years of being subjected to abuse.

a. The WIC in every Sc automatically assumes they can’t cope with their intense emotions (fear, anger, sadness…)
— & so are often crippled by them in the form of anxiety, -while-
— those who can’t consciously admit they were the family victim mistakenly believe they should not be in so much distress, because to them being ‘normal’ means not being ‘upset or unhappy’.

b. To compensate for being rejected by ‘loved ones’, some Sc cover it up by feeling omnipotent, seeing themselves as the ‘chosen one’ (which they are – but in a very sick way) for having the ‘special strength’ to carry the guilt & misery of others – their way of keeping the family together!

These adult Sc live in the grandiose belief that “I can do everything for everyone who needs me”, while resenting others for not providing them with their own un-spoken needs! They feel cut off from the rest of human experience for having suffered ‘more’ than anyone else, but also superior & above it all!

As the designated Scapegoat, YOU:
• blame yourself for the original abuse, & look for rational reasons for the way you were treated, BUT
• have developed a lack of trust & deep resentment against the world, while maintaining self-hate & hopelessness

• feel worthless, ugly, stupid, incompetent AND crazy!
• live out the negative messages heaped on you as a kid, which prevented self-esteem – by not developing your potential, getting into harmful & unfulfilling relationships, letting abusers walk all over you…..

• may struggle academically & avoid opportunities which include competition – not from lack of intelligence, but from Toxic Rules (CDs)
• OR try to prove your worth by becoming an over-achiever, often to the detriment of you true needs & dreams
YOU:
• feel overburdened, at the edge, marginalized, but still responsible for the tribe’s shadow side (clean up others’ messes, soothe anger in a group, ‘keep an eye’ on everything, listening to others dump, put out ‘fires’….)

• feel misunderstood & burned out, BUT duty-bound, noble, virtuous, self-sacrificing, AND
• are inevitably fueled by the accusing internalized voice (PP) & Self-Hate disapproving of yourself & others, & then scapegoating a child of your own
• feel a lot of shame for being ‘the bad guy’, but also rage at being blamed for the family’s dysfunction
• are desperate to find acceptance but can’t hear complements or absorb caring when it’s available, finding life almost impossible to manage, SO —

• tend to look for acceptance outside of yourself, making you vulnerable to manipulating individuals & groups who thrive on taking advantage.
EXP: Religious cults, criminal organizations, & violent or sexual predators lure their victims by initially offering validation to Sc, who want to belong, but have not learned to recognize users & abusers (underlying similarities to their family)

GROWTH: It can take Sc half a lifetime (30s & up) to get the right information that put the pieces of the puzzle together. Once they realize that all the blame & slander they’ve endured came from the very people who were supposed to love them the most on this earth, they often decide to cut interactions.
★ This may be to avoid dealing with the truth, OR because they’ve developed enough emotional strength & support to stop putting themselves in harm’s way.

NEXT: ACoAs – being Scapegoated (Part 6a)

PARENTS BLAMING US (Part 1) 

being blamed 

WHY IS IT ALWAYS MY FAULT?
No matter what I do, it’s wrong!

PREVIOUS: Rebellion vs Compliance #2

SEE posts : What is Guilt?
What is Shame?
• ACoAs’ Need for Revenge


INTRO

There is a lot of talk in the ‘spiritual’ community about forgiveness, ie – that we should not be blamers.
Not blaming ourselves (S-H) or others (attacks) is a good rule for us in the present – now that we’re adults. And that’s a discussion for another post.

However, those same teachers & preachers never talk about what was done to us as kids – that among many other types of harm, our parents unfairly, inappropriately blamed us for all kinds of things – and what that did to our tender & vulnerable developing sense of identity!

This post is about what happened TO US as children. A hallmark of alcoholic (& other emotionally unhealthy) families is the mistreatment of their children in all 4 of life’s aspects: Spiritual, Emotional, Mental, Physical (PMES).

😿 Parents blaming their children for ANYTHING is ABUSIVE. Blaming us is the same as holding us responsible for their deficiencies & unhappiness.
Remember – abuse is not just physical, in all its forms.

It encompasses all the ways people harm others – especially their children – by injuring another’s rights, self-esteem, mental clarity, sense of safety, emotional equilibrium & boundaries. So Blame fits into 3 categories – S, M & E.

👥 A variation on Blame is a constant negative COMPARISON with a dead or living sibling, another relative, a famous person….
“Why can’t you be more like ____”

1. IN OUR CHILDHOOD
Damaged parents blamed you for things which :
a. were NOT your fault
• difficulties because of a learning disability, like dyslexia or ADD
• the illness or death of a parent; a parent being left by a lover or spouse…

b. was a projection
of what the parents were guilty of being (fearful, irresponsible, lazy, feeling unlovable, risk-averse….)

c. you were not doing
what you were accused of
• being a ‘whore’ when you were too young to have had sex at all OR
• of seducing a parent’s lover/ spouse, when that adult was actually sexually abusing the child
• of using drugs when you never did – at least not at the point…)
Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 5.07.37 AM
d. you couldn’t do, especially without any instruction, & then accused of being stupid
• when you legitimately couldn’t know something (fixing a car or other machinery, shopping by themselves, ‘getting
• a hard school subject
• expected to know how to fix a parent’s personal, sexual & financial problems or forced to take care of a drunk or crazy parent, alone…
e. were actually no one’s fault such as • an act of God
• being born with a physical or mental limitation
•  getting severely ill or having an accident…

f.
 something one of your siblings or other child did, but we were held responsible for, especially if you were the Hero or Scapegoat (start a fight; steal or break something; get into trouble at school…)

g. your parents were jealous of, because they couldn’t do something you could (a natural skill or gift) & so they made that ability a bad thing

h. was mostly not true
• always lying (“Kids always lie so we can’t believe anything they say”)
Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 5.06.44 AM• always being stubborn, selfish, too sensitive, difficult, disobedient, stupid….

➼ This last category are a group of normal childhood characteristics which:
√ sick parent cannot tolerate because of their own issues
√ occur sometimes as a defense in the child because of family abuse & neglect…
√ happens occasionally because kids are human ie. imperfect.
Those behaviors & attitudes then get demonized – which make them both a ‘sin’ and more likely to continue, while we try to be perfect. We CAN’T WIN in a sick environment.

NEXT: ACoAs’ need for revenge

ACoAs – “Being Negative” (Part 3)

 

EVERYTHING & EVERYONE
sucks my air!!

PREVIOUS: Negative Thinking (#2)

SITE: “Depression & Letting go of Negative thoughts

 

YOU’re too negative IF :
• you’re always complaining about things, even when it’s in a rational, logical-sounding way, “This —- is an interesting tidbit to mull over”
• you constantly notice the flaws in things (people, activities, ideas)
• you have a tough time seeing the bigger, overall positive picture
• you get a secret pleasure being negative with someone else, or tearing something down
• you see a flaw in something & just have to let everyone know, getting a little rush from being ‘right’ & superior
• you think positive people are naive or fake, have low standards, easily impressed

YOU’re too negative WHEN:
• even a trivial flaw in something (good) will ruin it for you
• someone suggests an activity or product, & you’re too quick to point out why it won’t work or why it’s a bad idea
• things get under your skin & ‘have to’ rant about them to anyone who will listen
• others talk about the positive aspects of something – you just have to say, “Yeah, but…” pointing out its limitations or weaknesses
• something’s realistically going well, but you’ve got a dozen reasons why it’s dumb, no good, won’t turn our well, is impractical ….
(from SuceedSocailly.com)

NEGATIVE thinking can come from copying our family, a personality trait that gets over-expressed, or seen as a ‘useful’ trait. SOME onegativityf us:
• picked up a negative style from people we grew up with or around
• rely on negativity as a crutch in conversations. You wouldn’t know what to say if you weren’t complaining about or critiquing something

• romanticize negativity, thinking it’s being a deep, complicated, tortured soul
• often get worked up about things & then vent, because it feels great
 –OR-
• are a little too rational. Not in touch with your own emotions, & don’t realize negative comments are harmful to others

• think that getting others caught up in your personal troubles is a reliable way to seem ‘deep, serious….’reasons for NEG
• think you’re being ‘intellectual’ – as if pointing out flaws in everything (unsolicited, unprovoked) is a sign of perceptiveness, analytical ability & honed critical thinking skills

• associate negativity with having refined tastes, as if putting down ‘mediocre’ things would show how discerning you are
• assume being cynical & overly skeptical about life with being ‘in the know’ or aware of how the world really works
• may think it’s just your style of humor – a way to be a clever, observational comedian or commentator. NOT!

Negative Thinking (NT)
1. re. OURSELVES
• Anyone reading this blog & other self-growth material, going to 12-step meetings & therapy – knows this category of NT is a core issue for ACoAs. It’s called self-hate (S-H) – powerful, deadly & tenacious! If our parents were unable to love us unconditionally OR not at all (no matter that they said), we concluded it was because we weren’t worth it.

✶ So, our WIC is sure that if the family didn’t make us feel wanted, safe & accepted, why would anyone else?
We think cruel things & say them to others about ourselves, while secretly being smug about being victimized by the whole universe! Playing the role of the victim allows us to not be responsible for our own life, in the present, while protecting the illusion of coming from a loving (or at least an ok) family.

2. re. Personal RELATIONSHIPS
NT (S-H) tells us we’ll NEVER:
• deserve love, validation, respect, peace, joy….
• even know what love is, even tho we have indeed loved (children, animals, mates, activities, careers, locations, certain foods / arts …)
• be liked (much less loved) by healthy ‘normal’ people
• be able to leave bad relationships because it would condemn us to being completely alone (forever)
• have the right to healthy, loving connections (family, friends, lovers…)
• have anything positive to offer others (personality, skills, experience..)
• have the right to look for & interact with accomplished people & other peers whom we could enjoy & benefit from
SEE “The 12 Worst Relationship Mindsets (based on CDs)

NEXT: “Being Negative (#4)

ACoAs – Dealing with CRITICISM (Part 1)

being judged 

PREVIOUS: Helpful/clever responses

SITE: ”7 Realizations to Help You Deal with Feeling Judged

 

 


DEF:

Being Judged – (Usually) being told / have implied there is something terribly wrong with your fundamental identity (Mother to daughter: “You’re not smart enough to become a doctor” / “You’ll be the death of me yet” …)

Having Good Judgement – deciding between an objective positive or negative alternative (that fruit is spoiled, I’ll take the fresh one / the left trail is safer than the right one….)
OR between something that personally suits you – or not (I’m allergic to sugar, so I avoid it / I regularly watch comedy shows but never horror flicks)

Being criticized – when a mistake in our behavior is pointed out – OR when our behavior or communication is not liked by the criticizer.
The critic may or may not add telling you how to do/say it correctly. But it is often done with anger, disdain, superiority – in order to control & manipulate.
In rare cases it’s done with caring & good will, if the person is healthy & you’ve agreed to learn from themcriticism styles

Given a suggestion
– When we’re told of a better way of doing something – to make it easier or better for us, or our environment (“If you added an aspirin to the water, the flowers would last longer / When you travel, why not take less luggage?…”).
This is done with kindness, respect & from a genuine desire to make your life better

‘Negative’ Opinions: When someone says what they think or feel about something or someone – having nothing to do with the object of their criticism (I hate that hairdo / You’re doing that backwards / That’s no way to….. / they’re just stupid)

Being judged vs. legitimate criticism
The main difference is that judgmental comments are about the essence (being) of something or someone, & is generalized to the whole category (Blue is ugly, all men are pigs….) —
— while legitimate criticism is aimed at someone’s behavior (doing)(hitting your little sister is not OK & not allowed) or the state of something (that building is a mess, & needs a lot of repairs)

Children & wounded adults do not make the distinction between BE-ing & DO-ing. So – it’s imperative for ACoAs to ‘hear’ whether we’re being told something about our behavior (speech or actions) vs. our identity. Attacks on the latter is absolutely not acceptable, & healthy adults don’t stoop to this low blow (usabuse vs criticismually), nor will they tolerate it from others

ACoAs confuse criticism with abuse
Legitimate criticism is an ‘evaluation of the merits or weaknesses of an action, choice, decision, thought process….’ & at best used as a method of correction. It is NOT a de-valuation of our whole being or identity! as ACoAs believe.

We confuse or blend the two because:
a. In the past – our family almost always judged & misjudged, attacked & humiliated us. There was little or no balance provided: no praise, encouragement or patience – when we couldn’t do something – the first time, or perfectly – without guidance or when we were too young

b. Now, having absorbed the original abuse into our PP, it’s become the essence of our S-H. So any ‘disapproval’, slight or even a correction from others is taken as a personal indictment

OUR confusion, because of a Double Bind: (see ACoAs’ D.Message)
— on the one hand we agree with them: any time others are not positive & supportive, S-H flares up because it mirrors what our PP has been saying/ implying all along, AND what the WIC believes as absolute truth.

When someone points out what they consider to be our imperfections – even when it’s only their opinion or projection – we feel exposed & worthless, endlessly obsessing about what we did wrong

— on the other hand we’re resentful:  we hate the person who hurt our feelings, or makes us feel disrespected…. We’re depressed or rageful, BUT on our high-horse, thinking “Who do they think they are saying that to me, judging me, ignoring me?” ….
We ruminate about what we should have said, what we will say or do to get back at them, that we’ll get them to see how wrong they were, wanting to justify ourselves to them….. we go round-&-round, digging our hole even deeper, getting nowhere.

NEXT: Criticism (Part 2)

ACoAs: RESPONSIBILITY (Part 2a)

not trapped 

I ALWAYS MAKE SURE
there’s a way to protect myself

PREVIOUS:
Fear of Responsibility (#1)

POST: Toxic Family Rules

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

 

AS ADULTS
With all the frustration & lack of ‘success’ as children to fix our family, we unconsciously assume that if we failed at that, we’ll inevitably fail at everything else – so why bother.
Since they didn’t take responsibility for their emotions & actions, we didn’t learn how to either, & we don’t know there is a clear line between what’s our job in life & what isn’t.

SELF-CARE (Part 2b) : Any activity we do deliberately to provide our mental, emotional & physical health needs. Good selfcare is key to reduced anxiety & improved mood

UNDER-RESPONSIBLE
a. Re. OTHERS:
Because we were treated badly by our family, we often treat others the same way (How ACoAs Abandon Othersposts):
• by not considering others’ rights, boundaries & emotions, being so focused on our pain & trying to protect ourselves
• by our narcissism, idealizing, constant criticism, being controlling…..
THIS INCLUDES how we treat both our external children & other adults

ACoAs as ‘LEAVERS’
According to the WIC, we still have no one we can depend on for our needs, AND we’re responsible for everyone & slaveeverything around us. We say we don’t want to have such a great burden, YET we reject being with people or groups who would be supportive, allow us to relax & focus on ourselves

This leaves us completely overwhelmed & exhausted. So on the assumption that we still have to carry the weight of any association (personal or professional), we’re too scared to fully commit.

• To take healthy, ‘adult’ responsibility for our choices & relationships, we would need to become familiar with & embrace our True Self, via S & I, which is the goal of all therapy & Recovery.
However, ACoAs greatest addiction is to our family of origin, making it very hard to let go of our symbiotic attachment to them.

This results in a great resistance to taking center stage in our life, while playing the satellite (or slave) to someone or something else.
The irony is that at the same time – we think everything others do or say is about us, taking everything personally – which is not the ADULT ego state being responsible for ourselves, but rather the narcissistic stance of the WIC

• While we consciously insist we never want to be anything like ‘them’, unconsciously we copy them in many different ways, having absorbed the PP, ie. negative introject. Because the WIC is by nature narcissistic, it can’t distinguish itself from our narcissistic parents. SO:
√ If they didn’t take responsibility for themselves, we won’t either
√ If they never connected with their True Self, we won’t either
√ If they treated us badly, we’ll do the same to ourselves…..

• Even when ACoAs truly want to be connected to Self or others in a meaningful way, our terror of being trapped in the position of caretaker leads to having a back-door mentality – always looking for an out: finding fault, being resentful, feeling inferior or superior, getting bored….

And above all – picking people who are emotionally unavailabldistancee & not suited to our personality, but familiar because of our family structure. Keeping ourselves at emotional arm’s-length in all our interactions is the only way we think we can protect ourselves, since we don’t have actual boundaries

The WIC says: “I can’t afford to commit myself to anything serious – especially if it’s really important to me – because then I’ll be stuck having to handle everything (perfectly) myself. I don’t know how, & I resent being in that position – so I won’t.

Besides, since I always fail at getting my needs :
√ it’ll be too painful to try & fail again (lose out on what I really want)
v I’ll have to re-live all the ways I failed my family when I was a kid, adding to my S-H.

NEXT: Fear of Responsibility (Part 2b)