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.

*    *    *    *    *    *
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

OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 8b)

when I’m forgiven

PREVIOUS: Asking forgiveness #8a

SITE:16 Common excuses for NOT asking for forgiveness”
(apply to anyone unwilling to be accountable, + Christian references)

RECOVERY from “Too Nice Syndrome” (TNS)

WHO (in 8a)

2. For WHAT: Here again ACoAs get things backwards: (see Part 1)
Too much: we apologize, often too often, for things what are not ‘offenses’, only because our S-H, via the PP, says everything we do & ARE is bad / unacceptable.
EXP: Billy’s sponsee was always making ‘humorous’ fun of himself & he wasn’t even a comic. When Billy wouldn’t laugh at yet another self-putdown, the sponsee was annoyed: ‘You don’t have a sense of humor!”. Billy’s response: “Self-hate isn’t funny!”

Too little: at the same time we hide from admitting the actual insensitive or destructive things we say & do, because of shame, guilt & FoA. Yet such negative actions make us feel bad about ourselves, so we hide even more – acting like nothing ever happened, instead of cleaning up our mess whenever possible.

a. Imagined ‘character defects’ (see Part 8a).
The alcoholics & other narcissists we grew up with forced us to gauge relationships based on what they wanted or hated – which we now project onto everyone else. We assume others will be as weak, as judgmental, as demanding, as manipulative, as needy, as controlling, as dangerous, as easily upset…. as our parents were. So we’re always looking out for emotional traps, trying to avoid other people’s disapproval & anger.

That makes us constantly worried that we have annoyed, bothered, offended, disgusted…. everyone else. But if we were to ask a person about something we said or did that we were sure they disliked/hated – they couldn’t imagine what had us so worked up – it hadn’t registered.
And if we tried to apologize for some imagined slight (based on our mind-reading ‘talent’) & they did remember the incident but barely noticed it, they might look at us quizzically or with amusement – since to them it was no big deal!

b. Real ‘character defects’ – because of damage.
Shame is at the root of all our wounds,
& asking for anything is considered shameful. So having to be humbly honest with someone we’ve hurt & then ask to be forgiven for our thoughtless or hurtful actions can be very uncomfortable, even terrifying – but only to the WIC part of us.

REMINDER – Admitting we have character flaws is NOT an indictment of our whole being. It’s not only human to be imperfect, but as ACoAs we definitely have more ‘issues’ than people raised in safer homes. All are a combination of our parents’ defects (which became our Introject), our native personality, & our response to all the abuse we suffered.

IMP: Before approaching others with your 9th Step – be very sure you will be talking to someone capable of treating you with respect. If they’re volatile or disdainful, don’t engage!

A WAY to START is to ‘lightly’ ask the person if they remember the event? that  you’re concerned about – unless you already know. Don’t make it sound dire.
1.  If they don’t remember, then drop it. If they ask why, say “I just wondered” & nothing more.😓

2. If they do recall, ask how they feel about it. Don’t put words in their mouth!
• If they say they’re OK, believe them – don’t try to mind-read their intention.
So leave it alone. Your guilt is your own – they don’t owe you absolution.

3. 😂If they express hurt, anger or disappointment, you know it’s time to apologize. Again – they don’t have to forgive!

NEXT: Passive-Aggressive Niceness – Intro-a


being blamed
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


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 ____”

✅ Damaged parents BLAMED YOU or 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…

 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


to humiliate myself & let others

PREVIOUS: Humiliation – Part 1


1. EXTERNAL Sources (cont)
a. Physical
b. Emotional (Part 1)

• always held at arm’s length (non-responsive mate, child, ‘friend’)
• deliberately overlooked or ignored
• falsely accused, or subject to slander, gossip, insinuations
• given the silent treatment, treated as invisible
• made to wait for someone unnecessarily, habituallymental abuse
• threatened with abuse – verbal (name calling…), physical, sexual, psychological

• acknowledgement or recognition withheld
• to agree with someone’s opinion or beliefs which contradict your own
• the attention you get only be a way to manipulation you (how, when…)
• to apologize unfairly, when not guilty of anything
• your experience or information dismissed, discounted, silenced

• forced to defer to others who are less honorable, intelligent or less qualified
• poor, unemployed, foreclosed, homeless
• reduced in authority, position, power, rank, responsibility, role, title
• publicly disrespected, downgraded, defeated, slighted
• shamed by bad investments, debt, bankruptcyignored
• subjected to punishment, social powerlessness, imprisonment
• shamed for appearance, character,  gender, heritage, race
• made the victim of a practical joke, prank, or confidence scheme

NOTE: Not all recipients of these experiences are innocent. While many people are true victims – some ‘earn’ one or more of these mistreatments by acting out, being abusive, disrespectful, criminal activities…. or by unconsciously setting themselves up, to have someone teach them a lesson, punish or pay them back.

This does not mean that humiliation is a legitimate way to treat anyone – but is often the way people retaliate on their abusers (perpetrator), or copy their original tormentor by inflict on others the injuries previously done to them.

2. INTERNAL Source: Self-humiliation
Being put down always comes from outside, something done TO someone, & is NOT OK with most victims.

However, if you were continually humiliated as a child – at school, in the playground, but especially at home, you came to believe you deserved it, so is the way you should always be treated (via the PP = introject).
Even though it makes you feel angry, sad, lonely, hopeless….& maybe consciously you don’t think it’s right or fair – you’ve internalize the mistreatment (of course) & will act it out in many, or all, parts of your life

• For ACoAs, being humiliated is experienced as :
“You’re attacking my feeling shamevery essence, & it seems to make enough sense that I’m doubting my own worth, so I feel shame”.

It represents a lack of self-respect – not about our abilities or actions – but about the core of our being, saying we have no intrinsic value.
Without ‘serious’ help to understand & deal with it, we assume it’s inevitable – perpetuating our self-degradation, & finding others who will also reinforce the original pattern

SHAME is internal. It’s an emotional response to an insult to our basic Self.
As adults, we can only FEEL humiliated if we agree with what’s said or done to us. When we’re insecure about our rights & our value, we’re more prone to feel shame when disrespected, because we give too much weight to what others think of us than to what we think of ourselves.
NOTE: Feeling ashamed is from us.
‘Being shamed’ is the same as ‘being humiliated’ – & comes from others

WAYS of functioning from shameS-H & FoA
🚩 an adult always acting or sounding like a child (childish / immature)
🚩 acting out in various ways, public drunkenness, lewdness, fighting
🚩 always grabbing the spotlight, being arrogant, showing off
🚩 being inappropriate in a particular setting (you’re actions / language may be suited to another venue, but not the one you’ve chosen)
chasing🚩 being sexually inappropriate, promiscuous
🚩 ‘chasing’ anyone who is just not interested or definitely unavailable, &/or something unrealistic, not appropriate…
🚩 dating people who neglect & abuse you
🚩 justifying or over-explaining yourself
🚩 making a fool of yourself – for attention, from rage or arrogance
🚩 not having or using common sense
talking too much🚩 not ‘letting go’, not accepting reality

🚩 punishing self or letting other punish you for making mistakes
🚩 talking trash, over-using sexual innuendos
🚩 telling everyone your personal business / all of your flaws / dumping your problems inappropriately
🚩 trying to do the impossible (reversed Serenity Prayer)
🚩 trying to convince a narcissist of your point of view, or that you’re right & they’re wrong

NEXT: Humiliation (Part 3)


I can’t imagine ever getting up off the ground!

PREVIOUS: Anger T & F, #2

SITE:Humiliation” (Wikipedia)

QUOTEs: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

DEF: Being in a state of disgrace, a loss of prestige &/or self-respect.
A person who is continually subjected to severe humiliation will experience major depression, suicidal thoughts or actions, & severe anxiety states, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

RESEARCH: A study at the U of Michigan revealed that the same areas of the brain that light up when we  experience a physical injury – are activated during intense experiences of social rejection.
In other words, humiliation & isolation are experienced just as intensely as physical pain

: Humiliation is not the same as humilityThe opposite of Humiliation is Appreciation

HUMILIATION originally comes from external sources – which then get internalized as part of the PP voice (Introject).
✦ For ACoAs – it comes first & foremost from our family, & then often from school, church, neighborhood…. It’s ‘being shamed’ rather than feeling ashamed

✦ A less intense hurt may cause us to “take offense” at something said or done to us, which is cognitive, intellectual – about what or how we think.
Whereas –
✦ Humiliation is more demeaning & hurtful – visceral, existential – about who we are fundamentally

In the present, most ‘victims’ disagree with the humiliation laid on them – don’t like it, know they don’t deserve it, see the treatment as unjust….but don’t believe they have any options, & so don’t challenge the source or change their environment

1. EXTERNAL Sources
Humiliation involves an event or ongoing situation that indicates unequal power in a relationship, where we are in a one-down position & unjustly diminished. Often the painful experience(s) is/are vividly remembered for a long time & can lead to anxiety, especially if the exposure was prolonged. It victim/perprequires:
1. a Perpetrator exercising negative power, possible in many different settings

2. a Victim who is truly powerless (child, minority, the poor….) OR is re-enacting a long-held victim role from childhood, so is vulnerable to being humiliated
3. one or more Witnesses to -or- observers of the event(s), such as family members, neighbors, teachers, the general public, peers, officials…. who usually do not object or help, sometimes even egging the perpetrator(s) on, as in bullying (Flying Monkeys)

➼ The following list was compiled by Leland R. Beaumont at Emotional Competency” & can be applied to children as well as adults. Add your own.

a. PHYSICAL / SEXUAL (most visible)
• boundary invaded, trespassed on, privacy violated
• denied basic social amenities or needs
• exploited, suppressed, violated
• forced to do or say something distasteful & self-shaming
• injured, assaulted (hit, spit on…), attacked
• isolated or physically abandoned
• the loser in a dominance contest / cheated on
• molested, incested, raped
• often beaten, slapped, kicked, punched
Having  your:elder abuse
• abilities diminished by being disabled or immobilized
• basic personal freedoms lost (mobility, access, autonomy)
• competence / confidence damaged – from being tricked, trapped, mislead, opposed, sabotaged, let down
• goals & plans constantly thwarted, over a long time
• resources diminished from being defrauded, robbed, cheated, evicted
• safety or security reduced by intimidation or threat
• to see / watch a loved ones sexually assaulted
• to watch a love interest flirt with another, causing intense jealousy

• blamed for things that have nothing to do with you
• blatantly rejected, treated unfairly, forced to back down
• betrayed, cheated, lied to, defrauded, suckered, duped
• denied basic personal & emotional needs
• deprived of privileges, rights or human dignitymade fun of
• forced to swallow one’s pride
• laughed at, mocked, teased, ridiculed, given a dirty look
• lowered in ones own or another’s estimation, made to feel powerless
• dependent (not by choice), especially on weaker people
 • made to look stupid or foolish
• manipulated, dominated, controlled, forced to submit
• taken for granted, used to fill a need in others
• denigrated for ones values & beliefs, made fun of
• snubbed, put down, disgraced, shamed (not ashamed)
• treated as an equal by someone of a lower-status
• treated like an object (it) or animal, rather than a person

NEXT: Humiliation (Part 2)

Ennea: TRIAD EMOTIONS (Part 1a)

I don’t know what to do with them!

PREVIOUS: Triad Emotions – Intro

SITE: Enneagram: Ancient knowledge, modern psychology


234s – HEART / Feeling Triad: Low Self-Esteem & Longing
PHYSIOLOGY: triad associated with the mammalian part of our brain
FOCUS: this ‘Center of Intelligence” uses emotions, intuition & imagery – rather than bodily senses

ROOT Emotions
: SHAME, & GRIEF/Sadness, hidden HOSTILITY
RESPONSE: from their heart first, then the head, & gut last
POWER: from their ability to instinctively feel emotions

TIME: mainly to the Past, needing to feel connected to long-term relationships & events
UNDERSTAND Life: best when info is translated into symbols of desire, through people & stories about themselves or their old experiences

❖  234s long for a sense of identity, of figuring out “Who am I?”. Instead of going inward for this information, their main attention is on getting Affirmation From Others, especially those they feel close to, to the point of side-lining their own deepest needs. Total reliance on validation from others can lead to only being able to see themselves thru others’ eyes, unreliable at best, or to low self-esteem & possibly despair. It’s also called the “image” triad, because of a concern with how they are ‘seen’triad :grief

GRIEF / Sadness comes from negating oneself by having substituted a ‘persona’ as a partial or full replacement for the True Self. As children they didn’t have accurate or adequate mirroring. Not being able to handle their pain, they chase after attention & validation. When they feel a real or imagined threat to a connection with an important ‘other’, they can get very distressed, even panicked. This motivates them to stay attached, or do whatever is necessary to re-connect.

IMMATURE: While they may seem very emotional to others, these Types are the least in touch with their primitive senses (the way 8s are). Their natural instinct is to pick up emotional energy from the environment, the same way an audience takes on the enthusiasm of a charismatic motivational speaker, & then acts it out as if it was their own, (like audiences do with Tony Robbins)

EXP: 4s can be pseudo-authentic (dramatic), who assume they must be unique to receive love…. Actually – for them true authenticity would be to include emotions they may think are too ‘ordinary’ (caring, comfortable, annoyed, disappointed….)
MATURE: When healthy, their sensitivity makes these Types admirable, being highly valued for their genuine thoughtfulness & interpersonal skills.

Hidden AGGRESSION: 234s don’t openly acknowledge their wish/need to be aggressive. Instead they use manipulation, guilt & self-pity – more passive ways of asserting themselves, which they consider safer

SHAME : In this context, it is the feeling of being “in the spotlight,” under scrutiny, rather than feeling ashamed of themselves as human beings. It grows out of the deep-seated preoccupation with the need to “See me the way I want to be seen” (rather than for who they truly are), which motivates their characteristic styles.

2sit shows up as wanting to be recognized for their affection & care of others, a form of “possessive affectivity” **
** Affectivity – something influenced by, sensitive to or results from emotions
3s – their own success is most important, especially in career. This kind of recognition-need can be called ‘functional affectivity’
4s – they deeply want recognition for their originality, with a need to be considered unique & special, often with ‘negative affectivity’

QUESTIONS to ask yourself – for 2, 3, 4s

NEXT: Triad Emotions (1b)


catching myself

PREVIOUS: Patterns of Mistrust #2


“TRUST” comes from the German word “trost” meaning ‘consolation’, which implies feeling comfortable. In this context it’s relevant to remember that ACoAs almost never felt comforted growing up.
It’s one reason we were never able to trust! And now, as adults, we don’t realize how much we still need to be comforted, so we’re ashamed when we feel vulnerable, needy & ‘feeling sorry’ for ourselves

Genuine trust is first & ultimately foremost about being able to trust ONESELF, a quality we cultivate via our thumbsUpTrue inner Voice. As an adult, it’s trusting your own judgement, knowing from experience & mindfulness that you will get what you’ve asked for – rather than being afraid & hesitant

A major factor for trusting others IS picking the right person, location, opportunity… that suits us & is do-able, staying away from those that are not.
While there’s a certain level of risk because people & life can be unpredictable, if we’re emotionally balanced, it’s possible to be confident enough to handle setbacks & disappointments

• ACoAs need & want safety above all else – even more than love – neither of which our parents provided enough of, so we believe we’re not entitled to it
• But we can’t feel safe if we can’t trust. AND we can’t trust as long as we’re flooded with Self-Hate! The Al-Anon preamble says “…..we will love you until you can love yourself”.

Healthy trust is not about who or what others are. This is hard for ACoAs to internalize because of co-dependence & S-H.  ACoAs need to find people & / or groups that are safe enough to help us heal so we can become kind to ourselves (via the Loving Parent) & trust that “I know what I know!” (via the Healthy Adult)

Assumption: ACoAs usually think of trust only in the  POSITIVE – ‘I can rely on X…… I can expect Y to…..’, which is true but only unrealiablehalf the story, & encourages Over-Trusting

Balance: Healthy Trust also includes knowing who & what is NOT reliable. The characteristics & patterns of Damage are just as predictable & consistent as those of Health, but will only cause problems.

• We can trust that a specific person will continually abuse or disappoint us, based on their consistent pattern of behavior (patent, ‘friend’…)
• We can trust that a specific location will usually be unsuitable or dangerous (bars, some neighborhoods….)
• We can trust that a type of event is the wrong one for us……

Once we know what to look for we can see it all around us, & depend on the outcome to be harmful or just a waste of time – without having to be hit over the head each time!

EXP: If you’re not paying attention when you go into a room & sit down on the first chair that looks comfortable – you may be shocked & maybe injured if it collapses & you land on your butt – because you assumed all chairs are equally well made & sturdy

🍋 Yet that’s what ACoAs often do with people & situations – we don’t pay attention or evaluate who or what we’re getting involved with.  Many times we accept friends lovers, jobs, pets, invitations, apartments …. without asking: “What do I want? Is this something I’m interested in? Does this suit my needs or fit my personality?
AND: “What is this person/place telling we about themself?”

TRUST (T) is valid when:
• we’re clear about the ‘rules’ of T – rather than being in fantasy
• the prerequisites for T exist – we’ve done some due-diligence
• we assess who or what does NOT warrant our T – so we don’t waste time & energy on them
• we experience a positive outcome from trusting the right person or info (feel fia-colorcalmer or relieved / get the introduction we heard about / receive the  promised money / enjoy a shared experience ….)
EXPFaith – the trust-er believes that their chosen path is pre-ordained by a Higher Force, so whatever happens is fated & therefore welcomed. This removes a great deal of worry about the outcome of faith-based decisions will be, whether successful & joyful or unpleasant & tragic.

NEXT: Healthy Trust (Part 2)

ACoAs: PATTERNS of Mistrust (Part 1)

protect heart
– even if it keeps me from being loved!I

PREVIOUS: UNDER-Trusting (Part 3)


We are not to blame for being deeply mistrustful of everyone.
But we also need to be clear about how we perpetuate the patterns created by our trauma so we can stop beating ourselves up, feeling ashamed, & limiting our options. (CDs: INFO & the Brain)
Instead, we can try out new internal beliefs & external actions.

• We have experienced many, many betrayals by the important people in our life – from family, friends, spouse, school, church or government. Some or all of these betrayals are so extreme we may never be able to forgive, regardless of what the ‘gurus’ tell us.
This is not to deny the benefits of forgiveness – just that if we can’t do it (yet) but believe we should, ‘or else’, we unfairly add to our self-hate & sense of failure.

PATTERNS* of Mistrust
* All of these are being generated by the WIC in an attempt to protect ourself from further harm, but are totally unsuccessful, since they prevent us from getting the closeness & love we so desperately need – AND have a right to. And all are forms of control – based on trying to stave off more PMES abandonment.

a. FAKE MEWIC pretending
We clearly got the message that who & what we were as a child was unacceptable to our parents. So as adults, when interacting with others, the WIC in dress-up tries to ‘improve’ our personality by twisting in unnatural avatars – into something we think some present-day person or group is going to want or find acceptable

• We spend a lot of time trying to figure out “how I should feel”, “what I should wear”, “what I’m going to say”…… & never get it quite right, because it’s artificial. Of course, if we’re being run by our WIC, we don’t know who we are or how to relate from a place of empowerment, so it’s very hard to be healthy and safe at the same time

Some of us decide at the beginning of a relationship (potential friend or lover) what kind it’s going to be, without having enough information about the other person or giving it enough time to develop organically.
We may think: “THIS ONE IS :peopel labels
• just going to be a friendship
• just for sex
• isn’t going to last
• just casual
• permanent  / ‘the one’
• the one I can’t live without
• I’ll love forever”……

Again, we’re trying to control the outcome to be prepared for the inevitable abandonment we expect.  Preconceived notions may –
• actually create a self-fulfilling prophecy of loss because we prevented it from growing into something positive
• shock us with unexpected results, if we have illusions about it
• severely disappoint all unrealistic expectations
• occasionally surprise us by turning into something better than hoped for

Because we were so often hurt as a child, we conclude that for the rest of our lives everyone** will inevitably do us harm, sooner or later.  So we assume the worst of anyone we meet, men and women, although some of us may be more afraid of one gender than another, depending on which parent was more paranoidconsistently damaging or crueler.

• We actually scan our environment for the potential danger we’re sure is there & – of course – we find it.
• We ALSO ignore all the neutral or positive people & things around us, so we can maintain our ‘story’ that “The whole world is dangerous”, in order to validate our childhood trauma

** This is our reaction even with people who have consistently proven to treat us well, making it hard to benefit from anyone who can be there for us – in healthy ways

d. OVER-TRUSTING (recent post)
Everyone tells us about themselves, subtly or not, yet we ignore all the unhealthy things we hear & experience about people we ‘need’, staying too long at the party & getting trampled. Then wonder why we can’t trust!

NEXT: Patterns of Mistrust (Part 2)

ACoAs UNDER-Trusting (Part 1)

you never know where danger lurks!

PREVIOUS: OVER-Trusting (#2)

REVIEW post: ‘What is Shame

= Suspicion
SO the lack of trust rests in ourself, by not using our intuition, observation, experience….  which causes a general sense of unease toward someone or something, but without proof (yet) — WHEN :
• you have no reason to think someone will do the wrong thing, but you don’t have a reason to trust them either
• OR: a person or situation seem questionable, but you intuition is picking up a hint from their words, action or manner
• OR: there’s actually no reason to be suspicious, so your mistrust is not deserved (paranoia)

🏴‍☠️ DISTRUST = Certainty, SO the lack of trust rests in ‘them
• when you have good reason to not trust someone based on your experiences with them, usually more than once
• are given reliable information about someone or something which lets you know they’re not safe / trustworthy

🔶 UNDER-Trusting (UT) as Adults (cont.) 
The way we think & react emotionally to how others behave – not paranoideven necessarily toward us – has a direct impact on our lack of trust (our Ts – CDs and Es – FoA).
It’s usually based on a combination of all our unhappy past adult relationships, but mainly those with our parents .

This can easily lead to a subtle, underlying paranoia that colors everything. What’s necessary for mental health & peace of mind is to see & understand who people are individually, & not lump them together as all bad or unsafe.

REALITY : We incorrectly ‘mistrust’ some people who —
•  are simply not interested in us – nothing personal – we’re just not a good fit, or they’re caught up in their own little world
•  really are insensitive, mean or otherwise unavailable, which hurts
•  are just taking care of themselves instead of focusing on us – at the moment – it feels like they’re turning their back, because we’re expecting them to be the good Inner Parent as our comforter & companion

Without a Healthy Adult ego-state the WIC can’t tell the difference between these 3 groups – so when disappointed, we regress into that old ‘slough of despair” (Pilgrim’s Progress), where “all is cloudy, hopeless & no one is ‘good’!”

a. Abandonment (too many PMES losses)cling /rejected
In spite of the fact that we were raised by untrustworthy people & we still long to be taken care of, as adults WE —
— continue to cling to people, places & situations (PPT) which do not have to the inherent capacity to provide even our most basic human needs, much less compensate for all we missed out on in childhood. The combined of old & new deprivation adds up, which can be deadly for us & to those around us.

The less we’re treated with respect —> the more abandoned we feel —-> the more wounded we get —-> the more demanding the WIC becomes —> getting angrier & angrier.

When this core button is pushed we may use familiar character defects:
• withdraw, sulk, withhold          • be paranoid & accusatory
• get controlling & micromanage     • be clingy & desperatefreaked out

AND when our anxiety reaches a level of hysteria. we can’t stop ourselves from making a painful situation worse, setting others up to fight with or withdraw from us, increasing our sense of loss & mistrust.
Then we say “I knew it all along – no one is there for me!” even though in some cases we contributed to it

b. Self-Hate – As a result of original abandonment, WE:
Internally: • don’t know who we are, fundamentally
• can’t identify most our needs (even the basic, normal human ones) much less havwrongEllie the right to get them met
• are convinced we don’t deserve to be treated well, so don’t notice or reject anyone who is actually capable of being kind
• don’t trust our own knowledge, experience & observations

Externally: • we stay too long with unhealthy people
• don’t trust that anyone will ever be able or willing to help us
THEN – we say “I hate everyone, no one likes me, I don’t belong anywhere”….

NEXT: Under-Trusting (Part 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