ACoAs &CONFUSION – in Recovery (Part 4b)

 PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Confusion (#4a)


a. during any transition
b. when learning anything new

c. what we know vs don’t know
This kind of ‘not knowing’ is an indication of growth, the confusion part of any issue we’re working on (career, relationships, self-care….), & will be to different degrees for each. Our reactions will be too little AND too much :

i. Too Independent

With little or no guidance as kids, many of us are used to doing everything ourselves. What we can’t figure out – we do without! Even in Recovery we still believe we’re supposed to know everything, making it hard to:no thanks
• reach out for comfort, guidance & information
• make an effort to see what else is possible in the real world
• try out a variety of new ways to do things
• be OK with making mistakes or having to try many different options before find the right answer or right fit

We were trained to believe we’re supposed to be self-sufficient – both emotionally (“Don’t bother me / don’t be such a baby….”), & how things are done (“You figure it out / should know that”)…. without anyone’s help. So no matter how confused we are – we don’t want to look dumb or make a fool of ourselves.

: You take a college course on a subject you know very little about, maybe just for credit, or because it’s of interest. But you don’t really understand the material & find that you’re floundering. You get the sinking feeling you’re missing something everyone else understands but you don’t know what.

So, as a ‘good’ ACoA we beat ourselves up – either we should already know the info OR be able to figure it out (“I guess I’m just too dumb”). But how can we? The whole point of taking a class is to learn what we don’t know! Believing otherwise feeds S-H.
This issues applies to work, relationships, self-growth…..

Having trouble understanding something means you:
• are rushing the learning process
• don’t have enough facts about the lesson or situation you’re in
• are trying to do too much, or everything at the same time
• are trying to use ‘graduate level‘ info before being solid in the fundamentals
ii. vs. Too Dependent (longing for symbiosis, someone to take care of us so we don’t have to).  Actually – there are many thing we DO know – and have always known, even as little kids. But we’ve been brain-washed by family (& sometimes church & society) to deny it, so it gets pushed it away or completely forgotten. The internal conflict makes us feel crazy. (“I know / I don’t know”)

We feel too lost & afraid to trust our own judgement, common sense or experience, so we constantly, compulsively ask others for info & help, even when we actually know the answer or what to do —
• as a way to stay dependent on others, esp. on authority figures
• trying to get validation because we don’t believe in our knowledge & intuition
• from being taught (usually by a religion) that talking about -even- legitimate knowledge & accomplishments is arrogant, presumptuous or the sin of pride

It’s true that we have many cognitive distortions (CDs) learned from family, BUT ACoAs are very smart & perceptive. We need to recapture the many truths we’ve suppressed & ignored for so long. It will UN-confuse us. REMEMBER: “I know what I know – but I don’t have to / can’t know everything ”.

d. because of incongruity.  DEF – when something is “strange, becausinconsistenciese it doesn’t agree with common principles, or what is usually expected”
CONGRUOUS: exhibits harmony in it’s logic parts, has internal & external consistency, is perceived by others as sincere or certain

For ACoAs, incongruity has to do with anything we’re thinking (CDs) or doing which conflicts with how the real world works. This is similar to ‘Old Patterns’ (‘Confusion-Part 3b, #g). When we try to function from our historical training in ‘normal’ relationships or work settings – we don’t get the response we expect or want, so we get confused – and we confuse others.

In Recovery – the main incongruity, at least internally, is between the False Self (wounded Adapted Child) & the fledgling True Self (healthy ‘UNIT’), how we’ve always reacted vs new ways we’re learning to apply.

NEXT: Confusion (Part 4c)

ACoAs – Fear of Commitment (Part 3)

but no one seems to want me!


SITE: Commitment Phobics – playing out a dysfunctional family role

Some REASONS for FoC

a. FoA /  b. F of leaving family / c. F of being trapped

d. F. of responsibility
as kidsTo the WIC, C. meant we had to be responsible for everyone & everything, & no one taking care of us. We were forced to be responsible (R) for our unhappy angry, crazy, drunk parents, & sometimes our siblings. Many of us had to be the ‘designated adult’ even when we were very little, because of their incompetence, selfishness & addictions. We got the RULE loud & clear “Everyone else’s needs are more important than mine”.

e. F. of losing control – OPPOSITE of being ‘in control’, of ourself & our life, which eliminates being able to fully commit. To the WIC, C. to anything means many ‘unbearable’ things: accepting how things really are, giving up absolute autonomy or getting our way / ‘allowing’ others to be different from us / having to move on…. lose control
We violently resist the middle “A” (Acceptance) or any suggestions to “let go – with love, let go – let God, let go – with sadness, disappointment, anger…” – any way we can, but LET GO.

We believe that WE have to be constantly alert to preventing others from having power over us, and stop the ‘craziness’ of addicts & narcissists from engulf us, which many of us kept trying to do in our home – unsuccessfully. And some of us still do, no matter how futile or unnecessary!

ACoAs project our S-H & paranoia out on the whole world, perpetuating our deep fear & mistrust. As adults, being controlling is a substitute for having real boundaries – mental & emotional walls the WIC thinks will protect us from actual or imagined dangers.

• If we were raised in great emotional & physical chaos, many of us will spend all our energy as adults trying to keep people-places-things (PPT) in our tight grip. The assumption is that if we don’t, everything will spin out of control, even if the present day circumstances are actually much more manageable.

• If we were raised in an uptight, controlling environment – we’ll either rebel & want no limits at all, or follow the family pattern & be uptight, rigid & overly-fussy. In any case, which ever style we choose will be the result of birth order & our Toxic Family Role (Hero //  Placater), but will also have a great deal to do with our native personality.

Needing to control everything & everyone in our environment is both a way to prevent in controlothers from getting too close (intimate), as well as trying to keep them attached to us.
Overtly: Telling everyone what they should be doing, feeling & thinking – that it’s our way or the highway.

Being pushy, aggressive, ‘difficult’, demanding…. It’s presumptuous & insulting – the controller’s assumption is that they’re the only one who knows how to do things, knows what’s best, what’s RIGHT, & how things should be done!
See Posts: “Controlling & Abandonment” //  “ACoAs – Getting controlled

Covertly: Many ACoAs are sure they’re not controlling, because they don’t recognize how they do it, since it’s indirect & sneaky – by omissions, withholding & people-pleasing.
Some ways:
– BY consistently denying oneself (needs emotions, opinions…) in favor of another. It’s a way to manipulate how someone behaves & how they feel about us, or prevent them from leaving (abandoning us).
– BY withholding – affection, communication, decisions, preferences….
– BY always being a victim, sickly or incompetent, so others have to take care of us or clean up our messes
– BY rescuing, people-pleasing…., to change someone or something into what we want, so we won’t have to leave & start over

NEXT: FoC, Part 4


not trapped
there’s a way to protect myself

Fear of Responsibility (#1)

POST: Toxic Family Rules

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

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

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

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)

Double BINDS – Origins (Part 2)

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 4.31.29 PM
but I have to stay……”


SITE: Double Bind Theory: Still crazy-making
after all these years”

🌀 Types of BINDS (Part 1)

The ego’s unconscious intentional structure has the “logical form” of a double bind.
Everyone’s original DB is the un-resolvable early childhood conflict between —> staying connected to or leaving the protection of the mother. It starts out psychologically, but later also becomes physical.

It’s a pull between attachment & safety vs separation & independence. Whichever the young child wishes for at any given moment, it will experience fear & a sense of loss.
It’s the need TO:
a. STAY under the mother-hen’s wings, for safety & warmth.
But if the child stays too long, it can’t develop the crucial S & I  of maturity. Symbiotic clinging will result in anxiety, because suppressing a legitimate need for autonomy creates a constant fear of completely losing one’s identity & freedom. The outcome would feel like ‘death’
b. a need to develop one’s own identity, which requires ‘LEAVING’ – but not too early in life! Total separation also causes traumatic anxiety – the terror of facing a vast alien world alone, unprepared & helpless. The outcome would be ‘death’

In healthy families, this dilemma gets (more-or-less) resolved for the child by being given a balance of loving availability & personal freedom. ⬇️ CHART: Great info, like how injury blocks consciousness….
Consc -Unconsc

RESULTS of the attachment-separation dilemma start in infancy. Once set in motion, they continue underground into adulthood, until hopefully brought to consciousness & resolved.
If not, as adults we’re vulnerable – via the WIC – to be manipulated by unscrupulous or unaware people who tap into the original DB.

💟 PROCESS in Childhood
1. Not able to decide on either unbearable alternative (be free vs. to stay), the infant’s MIND develops the Super-ego (SE), a judgmental voice of the Ego-Self that’s been captured by the BIND.
>> It then creates a second layer of psychic binds (bondage) – the demand to always ‘be good’.  If the child gives in to the ‘voice’, it’ll feel weak & enslaved, but if it rebels, it’s stung by guilt

2. To counter the power of the inner Judge (SE’s too-ethical perfectionist), the subliminal censor generates another voice, the ‘evil SE’ Rager, demanding that the Ego-Self throw off all social conventions & appropriate behavior.

In adults Rager might say: “Tell the boss to stuff it, have another drink, don’t pay your bills, cheat on your spouse….”. It viscious cycleenjoys the delicious feeling of power that comes from sticking it to the overbearing Judge…..  so the Rager scores.

3. BUT defiance scares the child’s id, worried about losing its connection to the only internal caretaker (SE) it knows, which would cause a collapse (death).
This leads to self-punishment, dictated by the Judge, such as isolation (from shame), sabotaging daily functioning & plans, physical suffering or injury, in trouble with authority…. so the Judge scores

4. The vicious cycle continues. To keep from crumbling, the Rager takes over again, & in adults it revels in antisocial / immature behavior, like missing work or avoiding other unwanted obligations (even sexual) – but also causes depression, migraines, being fired….
Score-points go to the Judge, who gets double points, as it enjoys punishing Rager with the pain it causes as punishment

🦠 But the Rager rescues / ‘soothes’ the Self with remedies, such as drugs that otherwise would not be allowed by the Judge…..
— so the Ego-Self finally gets to score a point too – by numbing mental gamesout.  Everyone ‘wins’, right??
BUT:“What does it benefit a man if he gains the whole world but looses his own soul?” Mark 8:36

COMMENT: This unconscious game is how most people function, wondering why they haven’t fulfilled their dreams or found happiness.  Unresolved, It can turn us into damaged Senders or Receivers, limiting the True Self which is mostly free of internal or external coercion
• We may say “I never play games, I like to be direct.” Unfortunately most of us DO (4 outlined on, but they’re so incorporated into our daily relationships & spread over a lifetime, we don’t recognize them.

NEXT: D.Binds (Part 3a)


against the NI 

to defend my WIC from the NI / PP!

PREVIOUS :  Introject (Part 3)

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

To HEAL & GROW – the
TWO major goals are :
1.  Develop a strong, clear voice of our own, that we can follow – to be comfortable & even successful, in all parts of our life
2.  Form a POSITIVE INTROJECT, developed from healthy external sources. The idea is to ‘take in’ a new way of seeing ourself that’s emotionally self-sustaining, rather than endlessly dependent on others to feel OK.

Ways to disconnect from the Negative Introject (PigP) by developing our own identity (S & I) with help:
• actively practice disobeying the Toxic RULES
• believe in our Right to have needs, opinions & dreams
• clearly identify what the PigP is telling us & then counter it
• continually work at diminishing S-H by admitting original pain
listen careful• develop strong boundaries with others, rather than walls, especially with anyone who treats us like our family
• get external acknowledgement & then continue internal validation of what we went thru as kids & still put up in the present, so that the PigP can’t fool us any more
• gradually separate the WIC’s dependence on the PigP & transfer it’s loyalty to our developing UNIT by always being the Good Parent
• have the courage to say NO to unhealthy & unsuitable people
• learn what our own healthy, intuitive, inborn voice is saying, & then listen to -and- act on that instead
• thoroughly ‘get’ that the PigP abusive & therefore harmful
• use that validation to be in touch with our pain, rage & sorrow at the original abuse, so we’re not wasting energy in denial

Distancing from the PigP
• We can tell it move aside, leave our Inner Child alone, shut up in there!…. OR
• We can try to sooth the bad voice by validating it’s pain / fear… and telling it we understand its pain, that it will not be harmed by anything positive we’re doing for ourselves, BUT never agreeing inner childwith it
• don’t respond at all – ignore it.  Talk to the WIC instead, soothing & comforting it. The better your connection with the kid, the less power the PigP will have.
The PigP will try to fight for its life, but with consistent self care, eventually it’ll get quieter & fade, even if it’s still in the far background
IF WE – tried to protect one parent from the other, because the victim one was too weak to stand up for themself; OR if one parents left, or died
Then we became the replacement punching bag, or spouse-substitute, or tried protecting them by magical thinking….

IF WE – took on a depressed parent’s suicidal feelings (even if they never acted on them directly)
Then we became suicidal, from love and a child’s magical belief inner workingsthat we could then keep them alive…

In RECOVERY – we can gradually shed as much family damage as we’re able. Once we identify what’s our damage & what’s theirs, we can say daily affirmations, do visualizations t& disagree with the bad voice.

IF we’re still attached to an old family role & reproduce it in current relationships
NOW we can give our parents back to each other. It was THEIR relationship, their marriage, their loss… SAY: “Dad / Mom, You’re not my mate. I give you back to him/her to deal with. I have my own life to live & it was never my job.”

IF we’re still attracted to physically, mentally, emotionally & spiritually dangerous people or situations unsuitable to growth
NOW we can give them back the responsibility for their own life, so we don’t have to act on their wish to escape. We don’t have to kill ourselves. PACK UP what’s theirs. Then mentally go up to each person & return it – lay the box or bag at their feet AND walk away!

It’s appropriate to ABSORB all kinds of positive feedback from outside sources – accurate, intelligent, patient, positive, realistic, supportive, validating, & spiritual.
Healthy mirroring & guidance can be FROM :
• a loving family member, if there is one
• any appropriate 12-step Program, rehab, workshops…
• a knowledgeable psychotherapist, & perhaps a group therapy
free inner child• helpful books & literature (psychological & spiritual)
• our Higher Power, spiritual or religious teachers/ leaders, if suitable
• successful well-known people, as role models & inspiration
• craneo-sacral & other knowledgeable body workers, nutritionist…
• good friends, a supportive mate, caring adult-children AND pets
• business partners, clients, acquaintances – anyone who values your abilities ….

Remember to calm your WIC when it gets overwhelmed by how much there is to sort out in Recovery. Like with any new skill – it takes knowledge, guidance, time & practice.

NEXT: Notice re. book version of blog

Negative INTROJECT (Part 3)

bad voice 2
I don’t know how to get rid of you

PREVIOUS: Introject (Part 1)

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

💠PURPOSE of the PigP (Part 2)

A Healthy Self would include the Natural Child as our essence, & a relatively un-wounded Adapted Child, composed of the positive values, mores & beliefs of its specific society. Eventually well-adjusted people also form a Healthy Adult & Loving Patent ‘UNIT’ learned from a family with competence, generosity, humor, self-esteem, social ease & love.

However, OUR:
a. ADULT may or may not be functional – some of us put all our energy into being ‘competent’ while others barely get by, waiting for someone else to be the Good Parent for us.
b. Introject (PigP  / ‘IT’) holds all of the dysfunctional familys accumulated minuses, along with some plusses, & secretly runs our lifeCHILD e.s.

c. Adapted Child holds all of our damage, from trying to Do or Be whatever we thought would finally get our parents’ approval & acceptance – but never did
EXP: If you liked & were good at sports AND they (only) approved of you for that, you’d put all your energy into being the best at sports – not just to express yourself, but to wring a drop of acceptance from them. Anything else, like needs & emotions, were sacrificed

d. Natural Child is mostly hidden, yet peeps out in spite of the PP
EXP: being good in school, winning awards, love of music, reading, sports, being quiet vs, being boisterous…. AND even our choice of addictions reflect our natural personality. Why do some people choose sex over a food addiction, pot over alcohol, addictive relationships rather than chemicals….?

e. The Loving Parent, because we didn’t have any role models for that, OR if we did have one person in our childhood that treated us better than others, it couldn’t make up for the avalanche of bad parenting from everyone else

💠PRISONERS of the Negative Introject (PigP)
Until we do FoO work (family of origin), too much of our persona is the result of the harmful way our family trained us. Unfortunately, this False Self is what we consider our identity. We say “I’m just born that way , It’s my personality…” when talking about our character defects. We don’t see that they’re expressions of S-H, since we aren’t allowed to acknowledge our inherent gifts & talents

• Without S & I, (separation PP's prisoner& individuation) we’re ‘one’ with the bad voice – constantly placating & obeying it, without knowing that’s what we’re doing. After all, “Does a fish know it’s wet?”

As kids we were afraid of them – of displeasing them, of their temper & craziness, & of being punished, which was usually unfairly & over the top
• And we’re still afraid of them, if they’re alive, OR if they’re only in the form of our Introject. Even if they’re gone – it doesn’t diminish the power of their imprinting.

As adults, in spite of our rage & frustration at their unavailability & abusiveness, we’re afraid to let go of the PP. Although the voice is always torturing us, the WIC is so used to the connection it doesn’t know any other way to ‘get taken care of’. This holds true until we take on the responsibility of parenting ourself.

This desperate attachment is based on:
• our longing for them, & not wanting to give up the illusion that someday they’ll come thru for us
• not having a solid identity of our own. As long as our S-H has us in its grip, we continue to perfectionistbelieve no one else will want us, so better stay “with the devil we know”

If we believe we can’t leave the PigP or get rid of it, we spend a lot of our energy trying to silence it with addictions (food, money, sex, chemicals….), while at the same time making inhuman efforts to get it to stop hurting us, to see reason, to understand… rather than getting away by disobeying its Toxic Rules!

NEXT: Negative Introject (Part 4)

Family INVENTORIES – Purpose (Part 2)

fam inventory 

ignorance is NOT bliss

PREVIOUS: Family Inventory (Part 1)

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


• Being trapped in unhealthy emotional/mental states (listed in 2b.) keeps us choosing or being chosen by people who are abusive or unavailable, and then staying with them because we compulsively blame ourselves for any pain they cause by their damage.

This happens because we keep using Self-Hate (S-H) to explain away someone else’s bad behavior (“It’s my fault / I should have / If only I had”… ), no matter how obvious it may be to others that we’re allowing ourselves to be victimized.

It’s useful to remember that all S-H is a defense mechanism. Its purpose is to ‘protect’ us from being fully aware of our childhood traumas & other abandoning experiences, but all it really does is add more pain to the original pile, by believing we caused our suffering

Of course it’s very important to do our own personal inventories (next post), but without a clear picture of our early life, much of what we end up writing is steeped in S-H & hopelessness. Therefore it’s imperative to first have an accurate understanding of all the relevant people we s-h alonegrew up with, because we absorbed their words, actions & emotions into ourselves. This absorption became our Introject.

Every person has one, but not everyone’s Introject is a PP (pig parent / accusatory voice) – only those of us who come from damaging families. Without enough healing (deep FoO work), this Harsh Voice is the only one the WIC takes as absolute gospel, the cruel guide we use to identify who we are, even tho’ it’s not our original voice AND is a complete liar!

• Proverbs 22:6 says: “Train up a child in the way he should go, & even when he is old he will not depart from it”.
Unfortunately, those of us from unhealthy backgrounds have absorbed a distorted, self-defeating programming – most obvious in our CDs, which include S-H.

This brain-wiring is so strong that it takes much effort & repetition to change – mainly because it’s kept locked in place by a great deal of emotional pain, which needs to be cleaned out. Most people don’t have the guts & patience to revisit & process old beliefs & emotions, even if that refusal causes havoc to themself & others.

• But for those of us with the willingness & proper support – we greatly benefit form carefully identifying what originally happened to us & around us. It allows us to understand – & accept – that our childhood suffering was caused by the damage already present in our caretakers, and therefore could not have possibly been our responsibility, nor our fault!

It bears repeating: This awareness (The 3 C’s: “I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it, I can’t cure it” – re. problems in OTHERS) will gradually lessen our need for S-H, as we stop denying the width & breadth of our own original loss in all 4 layers of PMES. This becomes a great victory over our dis-ease!

• All of our struggles to heal & flourish are contingent on outgrowing the toxic family training (via S & I), but before we can do it thoroughly we have to SEE what that training entails. We have to know which city we’re traveling from -and to- before we can book a ticket, yet ACoAs have a built-in denial system that makes it hard to know what state we’re in much less what city! We need a map & some guide books to our destination. Inventories help.

• Psychologists, Sociologists & Spiritual teachers tell us how important it to know ‘where we come from’, what our cultural & spiritual history is & how all of humanity is ONE.
Yet ACoAs have a painful sense of not belonging anywhere – no matter what environment we’re in. This is because our parents’ narcissism made it very hard to feel wanted & loved, only getting judgement & impossible demands. And we figure that if they didn’t take care of us properly nor want us exactly the way we were – then why would anyone else?


S & I needs a Heathy EGO (Part 1)


allows me to flourish

PREVIOUS: Healthy S & I – #2

SITES : “Ego Psychology”  / / Trans4mind

See ACRONYM page for abbrev

EGO: The way Spirit has of expressing its uniqueness, so without Ego you as an individual would not exist. Therefore they go hand in hand. It’s “the Individuated consciousness of Infinite Being…. and a distinct personality apart from universal consciousness”, says Enoch Tan, in Dream Manifesto

To successfully S & I we need a HEALTHY EGO.  It’s the source of our overall physical, emotional & mental health, in relationship with ourselves & to others. Modern psychologists often replace EGO with “confidence, self-esteem, self-awareness”.

➼ It’s unfortunate that most people misuse Ego to mean ‘arrogant, self-centered, conceited, limiting’…. & therefore a bad thing! Since it’s almost always incorrectly equated with the real problem of adult narcissism, its original meaning has been forgotten. We hear this in 12-Step programs, therapy, ‘spiritual’ literature, even famous people – talking about the pitfalls of ego, such as ‘Oprah’s Lifeclass: The False Power of Ego’

These labels are not correct. The ‘character defects’ being referred to come from our PP or WIC aspects. Neither of those internal ego-states have healthy egos!  Wounded people are said to have damaged egos, split-personalities have multiple egos & psychopaths have fractured egos. NOT having a strong, clear ego causes us to be victims or absers!

NOTE: AA’s 3rd Step says: “Made a decision to turn our will & our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him”.
In this context, the focus is on the word will. What will? Who’s will? ACoAs are afraid of this Step because it feels like volunteering for slavery to yet another authority figure – in this case the “ultimate” one.
It’s one reason why so many of us reject all religious or spiritual connection, or are drawn to paths that don’t include a specific God-person. The WIC is still functioning from the feeling that “God is an alcoholic parent” & therefore unsafe

• Before Recovery (& even during) ACoAs don’t have actual free will – no matter how headstrong, arrogant or genuinely accomplished. As long as we’re still run by the Toxic Rules, our will is not our own, controlled by the Negative Introject, which the WIC is passionately devoted th-1to.
So, the point of S & I is to find & express our True Self, by no longer obeying the PP.

A NORMAL (healthy) EGO is the ‘eyes’ we use to see the world.  IT IS the :
🌱 aspect that lets us become strong, loving, valuable, contributing members of society, both at work & in relationships – the foundation for “emotional intelligence”
🌱 adult / reality part of ourselves, the “I” that chooses what to think, feel & act
🌱 part that’s separate from our own thoughts, & from the Self of others
🌱 natural capacity for attention, concentration, memory, motor coordination, language & perception.  It is NOT something to get rid of!

• According to Freud, EGO functions on the Reality Principle, ‘sitting’ mainly in the pre-conscious & conscious, but its strong ties to the id means it also interacts with the unconscious. (id = socially or spiritually unacceptable desires)

Ego is the part of the ‘psychic apparatus’ that works to achieve a balance between the id’s anti-social wishes & our personal standards, via the superego.  It prevents us from automatically acting on id-urges, while working to satisfy them in realistic & appropriate ways. This is done through a variety of defense mechanisms, in 4 levels, from worst to best: —-> Pathological, Immature, Neurotic, Mature.  (MORE…. )

Healthy Ego mediates conflicts between the demands of the:
id – the chaotic, impulsive, unconscious part of us, which is instinctive & totally unreasonable (young narcissistic child)
superego – the incorporated values of family & society which become our own Conscience & Ideal Self (Loving OR Bad Internal Parent)
reality – the current social & physical environment

EXP: If someone cuts you off in traffic, the Healthy Ego :
✨ prevents you from chasing down the car & physically attacking the offender (altruism)
✨ tells you that reaction would harm you & the other person, which is unacceptable (identification), that —
✨ there are other more appropriate ways of venting frustration, & is in control of your choices (sublimation)

Psychologist Kit Yarrow says: “A person with a healthy ego is able to see their flaws, learn from their mistakes and forgive themself. They allow others to know them, rather than only see their surface. Because they do – they feel loved. They act purposefully rather than react emotionally to stressful people & situations.”

NEXT: S & I – Ego, (Part 2)

S & I : Separation (Part 1)

hanging on to momSEPARATING FROM THEM
is good for me and them!

PREVIOUS: Lack of Individuation

POST:Symbiosis & ACoAs’

See ACRONYM Page for abbrev.

QUOTE: “The successful process of Separation is the source of our personal autonomy, our independence, our ability to assert ourselves and our capacity to make choices.”    From The Ties that Bind, the Ties that Strangle

Adult life is influenced by infancy in spite of our inability to remember that far back.  In Why Love Matters: how affection shapes a baby’s brain”,  Sue Gerhardt considers how the mother-child relationship creates baby’s nervous system, with lasting consequences, affecting our future emotional well-being.

New research on early brain development showed very early signs of brain differences between low-, middle- or high-income children. For babies raised in stressed environments, the study found depressed growth in the hippocampus (memory), amygdala (involving emotion understanding), & frontal lobes (dealing with attention, language & self-control. (More…)

• “… foundations are built during pregnancy & in the first two years of life… This is when the social brain is shaped, the emotional style & emotional resources established”

• “… a poorly handled baby develops a more reactive stress response & different biochemical patterns from a well handled baby…”
• “Babies of agitated mothers may stay over-aroused & have a sense that feelings explode out of you, & that there is nothing to be done about it. CHART ⬆️ (also Teenage brain)
Well-managed babies come to expect a responsive world”

Separation = the internal process of the child’s mental separation from the mother. Individuation = a developing Self-concept
Margaret Mahler : Her interest in the developing ego centered on its growth within the context of Object Relations, which refers to the way an individual’s interactions with another comes to be represented in the mind & then is internalized as part of the Self.

In the normal Separation process – the formation of psychological limits & boundaries allow the infant to experience itself as terrible 2sseparate from the mother.
But this is only possible if the infant is absolutely secure in its attachment to the caregiver during its first year of life, AND then begins to develop enough of a capacity for autonomy, self-reflection & self-reliance, normally by age 2.

For this to happen the mother will have to be able to accurately, consistently respond to the child’s internal emotional, mental & physical needs, at the right time & in just the right amount – using intuition & common sense. What a big job!

• This safety would allow the child to form a stable emotional core, as it recognizes & accurately interpret its mental & physical experiences (touch, talk, play….), which are then organized & grouped into loose patterns by category.
The first act of separation occurs during the ‘terrible 2s’ when children hit on the idea of “no.” They are exercising a natural instinct to be unique, but while they may be annoyingly persistent, they don’t yet have the power or autonomy to enforce 2 yr old

As children grow they can put more power behind their “NOs”, which sometimes includes doing fun things, at other times potentially dangerous ones. It’s all part of the Separation process,   but it’s even hard for heathy parents to let their children take the risks that NO imply – who love & want to protect them, having much more reality-knowledge. (MORE…. Saying YES to oneself)

▪️Providing this freedom is even harder or impossible for dysfunctional parents to provide, who have their own S & I, FoA & power/ control issues! In this case, it’s not about loving & protecting their children, but rather trying to stifle their own anxiety!

Well-differentiated families, with good S & I & therefore are non-symbiotic, have the flexibility to balance the need for connection & stability against the need for each member to also have autonomy.
NO : Separation does not mean giving up the close attachment we have with parents or other people, nor having to be geographically separate.
YES : Separation does mean that we recognize we’re not the same as our loved significant others, that we react & think differently, AND that is OK!

NEXT: Separation #2

ACoAs – Deserving vs Rights (Part 3)

family junk
no matter what they told me!

PREVIOUS: Deserving vs Rights (# 2)

REVIEW post:Not Enough Love?”

See ACRONYM pg. for abbrev.

1. NOT Deserving

a. ACoAs – Some things cannot be earned, so we should never try – love, respect, options, freedom from abuse …. However, our damage comes in 2 flavors:
i. Under-‘deserving’:
Regardless of the source, hanging on to any tinge of ‘not allowed’ represents our allegiance to the bad voice – the toxic aspect of our parents & society. The WIC part of us would rather stay ‘small’, be invisible, ignore its talents & deny or limit its opportunities – rather than disobey the family rules – for fear of punishment, abandonment & death!

Warning : The idea of ‘earning’ also relates to the phrase many healers want us to repeat “I forgive myself for….” This is counter-productive for ACoAs. Even if it’s meant to help us let go of self-blame, it does the opposite : reinforcing our belief that we caused our damage (earned & therefore deserve it) – by not being perfect-ly lovable!

ii. Over-‘deservi'entitled'ng’ : The narcissistic unquestioned assumption that someone is entitled to whatever they want, whenever they want it. Having been raised incorrectly, they end up selfish & arrogant – a seemingly opposite extreme of not deserving.
IRONICALLY – these people’s real focus is on trying to make up for the same deep-seated sense of not being accepted by family for their True Self

b. REALITY : There are things in life we DO need to earn – an education, our career, our income, Recovery, physical well-being, healthy respect, honors ….
Earning means we have to work at reaching certain goals, using our intelligence, persevering & asking for appropriate support

AND as adults we DO need to take responsibility for unhealthy actions which come from our damage – which is not the same as needing to forgive ourselves. We are responsible for cleaning out & correcting the distortions we grew up with from the negative training we did not cause!
💕                         💕                     💕

A “Right” is a moral principle which defines & sanctions a person’s freedom of action in a social context, & can be exercised without anyone’s permission.  A Right is a natural or God-given permit received at birth, to act in one’s own self-interest, with control over one’s own life & property as long as others are not injured.

This healthy version of Having Rights is one of many concepts antithetical to the ‘twin towers’ of alcoholism & narcissism. In terms of the dis-ease, Deserving & Having Rights are polar opposites.
People in Recovery often say that we “deserve to be……(loved), deserve to have…..(help) ”.  This can be misleading since it assumes that we did something to merit X or Y. Therefore if we fail to act a certain way we assume we don’t deserve those benefits. But again – some things can not be earned.

• As we mature & heal we eventually come to understand that just being born gives us certain rights, as human being with a soul & a connection to the Universal Spirit  – God – a far greater power than any one of us & beyond our understanding.
As stated in 12 step Programs: “God does not make trash!”
SO – if we are all one & part of the Universal Energy then we do NOT have to earn / pay for / suffer for the qualities & benefits that are our human rights.

EXP: A Program boyfriend told Keisha: “My loving you is none of your business”. He meant that she had not caused him to love her, SO she couldn’t make him not love her. So she could stop obsessing about how she was going to ‘ruin it’ because she wasn’t good enough, or because of what she said or did.  If she had learned that  — every human always has the right to be loved — Keisha would never have worried at all ! It only depends on who we are with.

REMINDER: NO one has the power to make another person love us, including our parents. They either already had the ability – before we were born – or they didn’t!

NEXT: Deserve vs rights #4