ACoAs – Set GOALS to MEET NEEDS (Part 1b)

lots of ideas 

PREVIOUS: Getting needs met (1a)

SITE:Understanding Self-Sabotage


1. GOALS (cont.)

Needs – review ACoAs Manipulating Self & Others – #1
In order for us to get our needs met we must first identify what those are, have internal permission to pursue them, & then search out & use as many resources as are available to us to take care of ourselves. We can not wait for or depend on others to meet our needs – others are only supposed to be support & company on our life’s journey – not substitute parents!

While we may not always know what we want to do “when we grow up”, taking any positive action can get our engine started – especially if the activities are things we have been interested in since childhood but never pursued. Taking a class or joining a ‘topics’ group (such as in MeetUp) may lead us to new ideas, possibilities & friends or mentors. Setting goals is a fundamental part of getting our needs met, first the cognitive component (idea), managing our anxiety (emotions), & then taking the necessary actions. (T.E.A.)

Most ACoAs either :no needs for WIC
— have great difficulty making decisions – we aren’t allowed to know or admit what we really need & want, can’t afford to risk making a mistake lest we get punished, & we want to avoid being disappointed yet again
— OR make them impulsively, without considering the results – the possible consequences to ourselves or others – also based on childhood brain-washing.

• So many of our childhood needs were not met – correctly – which left us with the clear message that we’re not supposed to want or need anything for ourselves! Even if we did get some Physical ones (roof, food, clothes, schooling….) – which was a plus & allowed us to survive – the good things were undermined by all the neglect & abuse in the other PMES categories, especially Emotional. And for many of us even the P category was contaminated by beatings, incest, lack of basic provisions….

• This damaging background has created a great dilemma for us, a double bind that keeps many of us stuck:
a. we’re not allowed to have needs, especially emotional ones, BUT
b. we still have them ALL – can’t get rid of them no matter how hard we try to ignore & suppress them!
EXP: As mentioned in another post, a newcomer to Al-Anon figured out in a 4th-Step meeting that her belief was: “My biggest character defect is my need for love!” WHY? because she grew up feeling unloved, yet still desperately longed for it. Wasn’t it foolish to want something she was sure she had no right to & would never get?  (See “Unrealistic Expectations”)

what goals?• To have deliberate, conscious goals is not easy for many ACoAs – even for those of us who’ve achieved some success in career, yet subtly recreate the family patterns in both work & personal life.

Our experience in childhood was of endless ‘sameness’ – the same drinking, the same unfairness, the same neglect, the same loneliness, the same terror…..
Ironically, most ACoAs are best at what we like to do the least!

As Adults we’re still trapped in the hopelessness of ever being able to reach our TRUE goals, whatever they may be. For many of us, the idea of possibilities was not part of the mental vocabulary in our family:
— we didn’t have the option of using our imagination for ourselves, except maybe as a way to escape the pain we were constantly in, AND
— we used our creativity to figure out ways to keep our parents, siblings, mates, children… from total self-destruction

This makes it imperative to remember “I know what I know”, since we have our own native wisdom! The Healthy Child has always known a great many things which never got acknowledged or have been too painful to remember. So now the Good Parent can listen to our still small voice, & help redirect the decision process to get the best results. See RIGHTS & Self-esteem

Robert Sharma’s 5 Steps for Goal Setting
1. Celebrate: write down – in detail – things you’ve done in the past year you can appreciate yourself for. What are your big as well as small achievements?

2. Education // 3. Clarification  // 4. Graduation // 5. Visualization

NEXT: Goals to meet needs  (1c)

ACoAs MANIPULATING Self & Others (Part 2b)

child in charge 

PREVIOUS: Manipulating OURSELVES (Part 2a)

DEF: Con / conning – to persuade by deception, cajolery…..

POSTs: Negative Benefits
Emotions & the Body
Dealing with the PP (healing)



It’s important to remember that we all have an Inner Parent, but for us as ACoAs & addicts, one part of this Ego State (voice) is usually contemptuous & cruel, while another part may be kindly but weak, both sides neglectful in important ways.

“Introjections involve attitudes, behaviors, emotions & perceptions that are usually gathered from influential or authoritative people in one’s life. They are neither digested nor analyzed; they are simply adopted as a part of one’s personality as concepts that one considers should be believed or behaviors that one thinks ought to be followed.” (MORE…..)

Except for psychotics / sociopaths / malignant narcissists, the super-ego (Introject) provides an endless self-policing process, to reinforce family restrictions long after the original authority is changed, unavailable or gone.

• Object Relations Theory: D. W. Winnicott said that when we use the defense mechanisms of projection or introjection …. we (temporarily) hand over omnipotence to another person, letting them be our manager – even tho they may never be aware of it!

A classic example of Introjection is Butters Stotch, in SOUTH PARK, who seems to have completely internalized his alcoholic father’s frequent use of grounding as a punishment.

INNER CHILD : WIC’s manipulation
As laid out in other posts (ACoAs & S-H), the WIC is so used to having to do everything itself, with little or no resources & info, that it A-P-Cbelieves it still has to be that way – even tho it’s terrified & full of self-loathing. What an awful double bind!

Originally, being in a powerless situation as children we got a little sense of power & control by doing everything for ourselves AND doing without. So NOW – the WIC will try to sabotage any attempt by our healthier Voice (True Self) to take over, in order to stay attached to the PP!

The WIC cons us about our dealings with the whole world, especially at work:
• that showing up/ being visible means that we’ll be judged
• that we have to work extra hard & do the impossible to not get fired
• that we have to know everything, or we’ll be humiliated
• that being ‘perfect’ is the only way we’re allowed to live
• that we have to give others whatever they want so they won’t leave..

FALSE: ALL forms of self-conning are lies! We need to regularly remind the WIC that he/she —
• is NOT the one who is supposed to work, that’s only for the adult
• is NOT seen by other adults, they only see the grownup-us
• is NOT responsible for the company’s agenda, the demands of bossed, the plight of co-workers…..
• is NOT supposed to be in charge of every-day functioning. That’s the job of the UNIT – Healthy Adult/ Loving Parent.he world.

Re. our INSIDE: The WIC cons us with Self-Hate, to not have to be our own motivator & be in charge of our life –
• I’m stupid, stupid, bad, bad, wrong, wrong, weak, weak…..
• I don’t know how to do anything, & too dense to learn
• No one loves me, and no one ever willS-H results
• I can’t love anyone, I don’t know how to connect
• No one is safe & I can’t trust anyone

• No one will ever help me or be there for me
• I’d be better off dead, they’d be happier
• I’m boring, in the way, too much trouble
• I’ll never safe, happy, have my dreams
• I don’t have a right to ….
• If I let go of them I’ll die -OR- they’ll die!
• I wouldn’t recognize a healthy person if I fell over them
• I have to rescue them. I’ll do anything to make them feel better, not feel abandoned, stop drinking, be happy…..

NEXT: Manipulating OURSELVES (Part 2c)

ACoAs – NOT allowed to RECEIVE (Part 3)

I know I’m going have to pay a high price!

PREVIOUS: Not allowed to Receive – #2


c. BACKLASH Most ACoAs believe that if we ever got the good things we long for – we would be SOOO happy (right away) & all our problems would vanish.  It’s true that over time being with healthier people, pursuing our dreams, being loved… is healing, but not always right away!

IRONY: But we need to keep in mind that when we first start receiving emotional & practical benefits of Recovery, we may actually feel worse – for a while! This seems counter-intuitive, until we understand what’s at work, & can prepare ourselves to manage the discomfort, until it fades.backlash

• Moving toward positive things in our life – going on vacation, going into Recovery / therapy, finding a loving friend or mate, getting compliments & validation …. can produce internal backlash.
Of course there may also be some from other people (bosses, friends, family, spouse, even adult-children) who we assume will reject us for changing, so we’re surprised when they respond well

BUT from inside? Our discomfort is confusing & unexpected, especially when nothing seems to be wrong on the outside (it’s actually tooo good). It makes us think we’ve done something wrong because:
• the PP’s voice will get louder “Who do you think you are…”
• we feel depressed, fearful, unsettled….  which is so ‘normal’, we don’t make the connection
• we may feel angry at the person who has been helpful, complimentary,

Actually, the ANXIETY comes from: • breaking the Toxic Rules
• feeling disloyal to our parents, even though they were neglectful & cruel, because the WIC thinks they were right! so we feel unworthy of receiving
• the contrast HURTS – compared to all we’ve suffered as kids & since then – at the hands of family, teachers, mates, sometimes even healers
• rage at being duped by our ‘disease’, when we “Could’a had a V8” (Love) all this time!

REMINDER : There are still people who insist (from ignorance, denial or control) that: “The past is over & done with & has nothing to do with now – let it go & get on with your life”!

Unfortunately those of us who experienced abuse & trauma as kids have a toxic programming deep in our bones. So, being conditioned to believe we’re unworthy of receiving, we can’t properly nourish ourselves or let others help us. To ‘let go’, we need the right info! To heal takes courage & time
• ACoAs project onto others all the overt & covert experiences we had with our dysfunctional parents (see list in Part 1). Since they were absent, careless, crazy, controlling, depressed, incompetent, demanding, violent, incompetent….
we unconsciously assume everyone else in the whole world is like that too, even though as adult we have definitely seen, heard of or met capable, functional people.
Emotionally, we simply ignore this knowledge & automatically react to everyone as if they’re a carbon copy our family

a. Actually, many people we run across will not be like our family, yet we treat them unfairly. Such people will be confused by the way we act & react to them. They inwardly just shake their heads & stay away!

b. More commonly, because ACoAs are talented at sniffing out people who indeed are similar to our background – we feel pulled to them, drawn in by their familiar dysfunctionality.

They have little or nothing to offer – but all the while we’re wanting, expecting, even demanding to have a different kind of interaction with them – better, more satisfying!

• We try to create a different outcome because we think it was somehow our fault that family relationships didn’t work out – & therefore we can change it, fix it, even if it has to be with substitutes! This is clearly impossible, but we keep trying – until we ‘get it’ that we didn’t cause the original problems and that we’re powerless to change others.

NEXT: ACoAs – Healthy GIVE & TAKE – #1