ACoAs being ‘RIGHT’ (Part 1)

no one will pay attention!

PREVIOUS: Psychopath Red flags #3

 Why is it so important to be right?  

QUOTE: “Everything that is in agreement with our personal desires seems true. Everything that is not puts us in a rage.”~ Andre Maurois

What does ‘being right’ (BR) mean?
a. OK : Generally refers to having accurate information, knowing the right way to do something, or being sure of who we are, what we want, how we feel… It can be about:
Assertiveness: being accurately sure about a subject or a person (“I know what I know”) & not afraid to stand by it
Justice: fighting for what is just & right, especially in the face of opposition, but not for personal gain or to feed one’s ego
b. NOT OK : Trying to force others to see our point of view & see the world exactly the way we do. It can be from:
Narcissism: needing others to agree with us (“I’m right & you’re not”), in order to preserve the False Persona we’ve carefully crafted to cover up feeling insecure & vulnerable 
Symbiosis: the need/demand that others are just like us (“agree with me”) in order to not feel alone & abandoned
🚫 BOTH are being out of touch with one’s True Self

SO – it’s important to know when it’s legitimate to be right or not
Al-Anon tells us to ask ourselves “Do I want to be right or do I want to be happy?” It’s a choice between getting our way (at any cost) OR having peaceful encounters with others.
This Q. is addressed to those of us who are co-dependents & addicts, since it would be a rare issue for healthy people. We can also say that Right and Happy are really not opposite ends of a spectrum. Instead it’s about the right/freedom of others to have their own point of view, AND being OK/safe with their right/freedom.

● The Q. comes up when we are having a disagreement with someone & feel an internal pressure (from the PP or the WIC) to get them to do something our way, to understand our point or to agree with our opinion – in order to feel connected. This can only happen if we still have a great deal of unresolved abandonment fear. Remembering the co-dep Triangle (Rescuer-Victim-Persecutor), even victims can become bullies when terrified & desperate to not feel but off.

● It’s a tricky Q. for us to answer because:
— some of us go along with whatever others say just to ‘keep the peace’ but really it’s to not have the other person be angry or leave us
— some of us never agree with anyone for fear of being swallowed up & disappear (used as a false boundary)
— other can manage disagreements in some situations (casual friends, co-workers….) but not in others – when we are attached to a person or position (lover, job…) our WIC desperately feels it needs.

The Brain Is Hooked on Being Right
In situations of high stress, fear or distrust – like being wrong, ignored or laughed at – our brain chemistry (cortisol….) makes ‘decisions’ about how best to protect itself. We default to 1 of 4 responses:
appease –‘make nice’ by simply agreeing
flight – revert to or hide behind group consensus
freeze – mentally disengage, or shut up
fight – keep arguing the point, which is the hardest on relationships, & unfortunately the most common

Fighting is partly due to other neuro-chemicals. When we argue & win, our brain floods with adrenaline & dopamine, making us feel good, dominant, even invincible. It’s understandable that we’d want to repeat those feelings. So the next time we’re in a tense situation, we fight again, & over time will get addicted to being ‘right’.
BUT if we are getting high from being one-up, then the other person / group is one-down & therefore diminished.

NEXT: Being Right (Part 2)

Co-Dep EXTERNAL Negatives – in US

would get me liked. Not! 

PREVIOUS: Co-dep External damage (#1)

SITE: Childhood Trauma Recovery ARCHIVE
Co-dep in Children

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

The HIGH COST of being ‘too nice’ (cont.)


• You have unrealistic expectations of others
Since you think of yourself as well-meaning, you may automatically assume that others have the same good intentions. When they don’t reciprocate’, you think it’s about you, that they’re being mean or taking you for granted. Not meeting your (unspoken) expectations feels too disappointing, easily leading to anger & resentment.  BUT it’s either your —
— faulty thinking: that everyone is just like you (symbiosis), when they may just be taking care of their own needs – instead of yours, and/or
faulty choices: sticking mainly to self-centered & abusive people who have no intention of reciprocating

EXP: ACoAs have our own version of Hansel & Gretel – You’re in the forest of daily life & run into the child-eating-ogre (‘perpetrator‘). Your WIC takes over, glued to the spot, looking up innocently, with big eyes & think: “You wouldn’t eat me, would you madam/ mister monster?” – instead of getting away as fast as possible, the way healthy people do!

You come off as tone-deafdo not tell to smile
Over-friendly people may mean well, but it can certainly be annoying, insensitive, even rude – rubbing others the wrong way  – because it’s a form of not listening.
EXP: A woman undergoing very painful medical treatments needed physical therapy. The young male receptionist in that office was a california-cheery type (but not in CA), who always beamed “It’s so good to see you!! How are you today?!!”
Walking slowly with a cane, the patient was obviously weak & in great discomfort. She was not amused by the greeting, much less uplifted. Even if his style was genuine, it truly lacked empathy, & was his need to project sunshine even tho’ it didn’t suit the situation. Being quietly gentle or even neutrally polite would have been much more soothing.

According to the School of Life, the too-nice are guilty of 3 major errors:
1. Believing you have to agree with everyone – making you a liar
2. Handing out empty compliments – making people think you’re fake
3. Being remorselessly upbeat – suggesting you can’t ‘read’ situations correctly, if at all – because you don’t have emotional intelligence (EQ)
These make it unsafe for others to reveal their truest selves when around us.

• You attract needy people
Just like ‘takers’ are your catnip, you are catnip to those even more desperate than you! Over-dramatic, clingy, controlling /demanding, whiny adult victim types will find you & try to drain you dry. They expect you to be mommy/daddy, therapist, nurse-maid, char, “butcher/ baker/candlestick maker”. And they’re manipulative, playing on your need to be needed, skilled at guilt-tripping if you don’t be-or-do what they want.
• You attract aggressive, demeaning treatment
Being over-friendly invites bullying from arrogant personality types, who instinctively recognize the “Kick-me” sign on your back that you don’t realize is there. They smell weakness – your insecurity, fear of loss & lack of boundaries – which energizes their sadistic need to vent their rage on others, rage toward their own weak family members who severely abandoned & disappointed them

•  You get stuck in this role
Once everyone gets used to your pattern of ‘selflessness’, it’s not only harder for you to change, but many people you know will strongly object if you do start having clear opinions & setting boundaries. It would mean they’d have to make changes too, which humans tend to resist

• You can’t do your job well
Especially as a boss, if you’re too easy & agreeable, you:
— won’t get rid of people hurting your company
— won’t stop workers, suppliers & customers from taking advantage
— can’t make company beneficial changes because it might ‘hurt’ someone
— can’t do great things that require forging your own way
(Stop being ‘nice’ at work)

• You can hurt others
Being too available for too long is so wearing that it leaves you with no time & energy for yourself or friends. If you’re dealing with needy people, whatever you give will never be enough. Without setting & holding to firm limits, & with no reciprocation or appreciation, you will eventually get fed up. Then you explode or cut them off cold turkey. This leaves the clingers confused & hurt, ‘loosing all faith in humanity’. But they just put their faith in someone who has their own ulterior motives & almost as weak boundaries as themselves.

NEXT: External negatives – in us #2

Co-Dependent Anger-Niceness (Part 1)

how hard I work at pleasing them??

PREVIOUS: Symptoms of Angry-niceness – toward others

SITE: Being too nice – dangers in 4 areas of life

QUOTE: ” A person cannot truly be free without self-reflecting” — Hegel

All dysfunctional thinking & behavior grows out of our personality interacting with the unhealthy parenting we were originally stuck with.

Co-dependence (‘Roles & Co-dep’ andAnger & C0-dep’ posts) begins in early childhood, & rarely if ever diminishes on its own. Instead, without Recovery, it usually gets progressively more exaggerated & painful. It’s most often set up by a dominant-submissive family pattern. Only the parent(s) or other caretakers were allowed to have any power – over everything – what you did, what you thought, what you felt, what you wore….. & all the things you were not allowed.
And when children’s PMES needs & emotions are ignored & punished, they grow up without knowing who they are, what their rights are & with the assumption they are not allowed to exercise personal power. (Our Rights).personal power

Power is not a dirty word or an evil concept. It is only a negative when used to force others to do what we want, since that means it’s without their consent & against their will. (Rescuing vs. Healthy Helping)
Internal, personal power is essential for healthy functioning. This is what’s missing or very weak in all secretly-angry people.
 Being thoughtful & kind to others, needing companionship, or even going out of our way to be helpful is NOT automatically co-dependence. Motivation is what counts. (Deserving vs. Rights)

USES: The seemingly contradictory reasons for people-pleasing is the 2-sided coin of being afraid of independence & at the same time of being dependent, ie. fear of both abandonment (Separation) and fear of intimacy (Symbiosis).
Some people are more terrified of one than the other – consciously – but the 2 are so deeply connected, they both contribute to ‘over-niceness’ as a way of keeping everyone at bay. (Boundaries & ACoAs #3, re. Stayers & Leavers)

fear of abandonment1. Fear of abandonment (FoA): We always feel like outsiders, longing to belong. Being over-nice is supposed to keep people attached to us, but is counter-productive since they never get to know our whole self, not just our wound-flaws but also our true beauty.

2. Fear of enmeshment (FoE): We’ve been hurt & betrayed too many time, & suffocated by a needy parent. Well, we’re nobody’s fool – we’ll just stay behind ofear of enmeshmentur wall!
Being over-nice is supposed to prevent others from crossing our boundaries to the point of strangulation, but instead it just covers a layer of ice, creating PMES starvation. BUT of course that’s because we don’t actually have boundaries, so have to use artificial protection.
(These are related to Attachment styles)

If asked, most Co-dependents would swear they’re giving, caring, selfless creatures. Their True Self may be all those things & more, but Co-dependent angry-niceness is a defense mechanism, & the motivation for all those ‘helpful’ ways actually comes from the desperate needs of the WIC to shut up the PP in our head! Not to mention that under all that sweetness lurks a volcano, dormant but deadly.(‘Rescuing)

• We’re told that we can’t love others until we love ourselves. But we were taught that’s selfish & that we don’t deserve it anyway
• We’re supposed to stop only thinking of ourselves & consider other people’s point of view – but isn’t that what we’re already doing???

So, which is it? Me or them? Selfish or self-less? Well, it both because Mental Health is always about balance (20 characteristics).

3 Forms of Selfishness (S)
a. Neutral when we do anything good for ourselves, & it doesn’t involve anyone else
b. Bad – when we do interact with another in a way that seems to only benefit us, AND hurts the other. But it can also backfire. 
. Good
– when we do something that we like/ love/ want – with someone else, who also benefits. (MORE )

SO? In recovery our P-P / Co-dep hopefully diminishes, but any acting out of it is the BAD kind of Selfish, because – no matter how much we con ourselves, aware or not – the co-dep part of us is only interested in manipulate others into providing needs we didn’t get at home & that we don’t believe we can provide for ourselves.

❤️ But, the more we take care of ourselves, (good S.) the more we can clearly see other people as they actually are, both similar & very different, & respond accordingly (more good S.) – rather than what we want them to be or want from them (bad S.).
(“Abandonment pain, Now“// “How ACoAs Abandon Others“)

NEXT: Co-Dep angry-nice, #2

ACoAs – ARROGANCE (Part 1)

if I pretend to be superior!

PREVIOUS: Humiliation (#3)

SITE: The Difference Between Confidence & Arrogance is Empathy
Teaching Humility in an Age of Arrogance

QUOTEs:“Much to learn, you still have” ~ YODA to Count Dooku, StarWars II
• “Do you wish people to think well of you? Don’t speak well of yourself” ~ Pascal

DEF: ARROGANCE (ARR) = inflating, exalting, over-valuing oneself. It’s “bigging yourself up”, whether publicly or just inside your own mind, & often involves knocking others down at the same time. (Ennea-Type #3)
“The act or habit of making unjustified declarations in an overbearing manner…. exorbitant claims of rank, dignity, estimation, or power”

♦️It is the main characteristic of all styles of narcissism – overt or covert, falling on a continuum, from mild to severe. The extreme  expression of arrogance is Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  2 main types:
• Vulnerable – those who use arrogance to compensate for their insecurity
• Grandiose – who truly believe themselves to be perfect, without weakness

It’s one of 7 features of “dark” personality traits, based on 7 basic fears. These are the False Self’s primary means of self-preservation. (MORE…)
• Arrogance = FEAR of vulnerability
• Greed = f. of lack / not having enough
• Impatience = f. of missed or lost opportunity
• Martyrdom = f. of worthlessness
 = f.  of loss of control
• Self-Deprecation = f. of inadequacy
 Stubbornness = f. of change or new situations

CHARACTERISTICS of ARR people (A G. Cerdan)
☂︎ Constantly talking about themselves & their achievements
☂︎ Charming – at first. Behind it is contempt, lack of empathy, resentment & selfishness
☂︎ Intolerant of anyone who doesn’t like or approve of them
☂︎ Never ask for forgiveness
☂︎ Over-compensate for insecurity – being loud, stubborn, showing off in dress & makeup….
☂︎ Tremendous need to be praised
☂︎ Trouble forming & keeping relationships
☂︎ Won’t admit mistakes, can’t handle criticism

ARR. is the result of Negative childhood experiences, causing:
a. constant (hidden) terror & insecurity (fear of abandonment)
b. the WIC’s dysfunctional strategy to ‘protect’ the Self
c. misconceptions about the nature of Self, life & others
d. a False Persona to hide a, b & c in adulthood

• We all have the potential for arrogance, but for people with a strong fear of admitting or showing common human limitations, it can become a dominant pattern.  This character defect comes from a need to be seen as flawless, because exposing weaknesses makes them feel unbearably vulnerable (like negative EnneaType 1, but not exclusively). See (Ennea-Flaws in All)

Hidden belief: “Who I really am will never be good enough for others to accept. So no one must ever see the real me.”
ACoAs are very familiar with this obsession with perfection, because our family punished or made fun of normal childhood needs & behavior, which they treated as unforgivable flaws!

Opposite poles 
– – Vanity (unhealthy False Self): 
an irrational / obsessive belief in our superior attractiveness or abilities as reflected in the eyes of others – which is falling for our own lies (egotism & narcissism).
It comes from the Latin vanities: empty, foolish, futile, untruthful

+ + Pride (healthy Confidence): recognizing, appreciating AND enjoying all our good qualities, rather than exaggerating or making them up to mask or deny normal human imperfections.
It’s a positive expression of the True Self, being realistic about our innate value as human beings & our accomplishments  (“Worst & Best Personality Traits” – lists)

WHY do ARR people Succeed?
⚡️They use anger to intimidate
⚡️Being ‘difficult’ makes others give in to them more easily
⚡️Being dominant / domineering allows them to steal the show
⚡️Believing they’re superior helps them go for what they want
⚡️In disagreements, they attack the person rather than the issue

Arrogant leaders can do well in business, but rarely create lasting relationships because they doesn’t inspire loyalty & trust. They’re often surrounded by users who all too happy to take advantage of the egotist’s ruthless & obsessive need to ‘make good’, but will jump ship at the first sign of trouble

ARR is built on a variety of sandy / swampy foundations, such as:
– family lineage, ‘connections’, money, possessions
– achievements based on natural talents + hard work
– illusions / self-deception about non-existent personal qualities
– being stuck in past glory & accomplishments
HOWEVER none of these provide genuine self-esteem, which only has one source: Unconditional love!

NEXT: Arrogance #2

MIND-READING vs Intuition (Part 1b)


I know I’m right

PREVIOUS: Mind-Reading  (Part 1a)


a . Meanings

CONTINUING this kind of M-R keeps us:
• Internally – attached to our dangerous family // anxious & needing to isolate
Externally – suspicious of everyone’s motives // missing out on all the good people & opportunities that present themselves

Reality: Instead of making up someone with our mind-reading ‘talent’= our fantasy, we need to stay awake for who is healthy & who isn’t.
Once we clearly see an un-recovered person’s toxic pattern – from having many painful encounters with them –  it’s time to stop giving them the ‘benefit of the doubt’!

EXP of NOT mind-reading:
I taught my 12-week ACoA course “Knowledge is Power” over 10 years. Reaction from students varied widely in every class.   Some listened intently, taking notes & asking questions.  Others seem disinterested – they fidgeted, yawned, fell asleep, got mad, or stopped coming.

Regarding the latter group – IF I had been prone to mind-reading, I would have assumed the ‘disinterested’ people indicated the ‘truth’ – that I was a boring speaker, gave complicated or worthless info & generally wasted their time – the LIEs thatScreen Shot 2015-08-30 at 11.33.21 PM the bad voice whispers!

➼ However, I know I’m a good teacher, that my material is important & useful, & have been told by many students that the course greatly improved their lives.

I also know that some people were very tired (especially being an evening class), some had ADD & so usually have trouble sitting still for 2-3 hours, but most of all –  the class material brought up a lot of difficult awarenesses & intense pain, so that some people just wanted to opt out.
Actually – their seeming lack of interest was ALSO a validation of my work! So there – PP! See – Little One??

b. A Variation
Another way mind-reading can show up is projecting our wishes, needs & tastes onto others.  It’s not a strict interpretation of the definition, but is the same aspect of the child’s narcissism – ‘I am you & you are me.’  It’s still based on OUR personality, not on who the other person is.

INSTEAD OF nurturing us, our family:
• over-controlled us               •  expected us to be little adults
• demanded we be perfect and without needs – so they wouldn’t have to deal with us
• didn’t guide us, so we had to fend of ourselves, without much training!
worried childThis background formed another version of the familiar ACoA Dilemma :
✓ As kids – we had to take care of ourself – not always in material ways, but definitely emotional & often mental, which gave us the message we weren’t worthy of being taken care of – SO
✓ As Adults – we believe we should not / cannot care for ourselves, copying their lack of care, which became lack of permission to focus on ourself

i. Their CONTROL – WIC projects that everyone is like our parents, who were totally wrapped up in their own worries & addictions. They expected us to figure out what they needed & then provide it. This was either said or implied, but we got the message.
☁︎ So we assume everyone else also wants / needs us to do that

• And we were punished for not getting it right!  Either directly, by them berating or hitting us, or just by continuing to be drunk, crazy, mean, depressed….
This left us with a deep well of anxiety – fearful that we’ll always “get it wrong” but not knowing what to do or how to be to please them

ii. Our CONTROL – now we’re the ones being controlling – trying to make everyone & everything around us SAFE so we can feel less terrified, by making sure they have all their needs met – by us. The assumption is that everyone is as weak, needy, incompetent, scared, sick…… as our parents were

The WIC is convinced that when we fix whoever we’re with, they will :  protect us, never leave us,  take care of us, love us …. if only we work hard enough to get it right. Unfortunately, as long as we let our Adapted Child pick relationships, they’re going to be unhealthy, just like our family!

NEXT: Mind-reading #1c

MIND READING vs. Intuition (Part 1a)

mind-readingIS IT REAL OR…..
am I just projecting?


POSTS: Symbiosis & ACoAs
• “How ACoAs Abandon Others”

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

a. Meanings
This is one of the many Cognitive Distortions (CDs) that plague ACoA & alcoholic thinking :
♦︎Expect yourself to know what others are thinking, without them having to tell you, and
♦︎ Magically assume you know how someone’s feeling, or what they need or want – from you —> so you can provide it!
♦︎ expect others to know what we need, feel & think, without having to tell them.

This CD is a form of symbiosis, (opposite of S & I), the WIC’s desperate desire to stay connected to others — the same way an infant needs the mother to KNOW what the baby needs & feels.
In a healthy family mindreadingthis is provided, which allows the child to form a safe internal base. Then they can outgrow the need to be intertwined & rely on themself.

ACoA impulse to Mind-Read is :
• knowing from experience that our parents did not love us unconditionally & so assume everyone else will feel the same way toward us
• being raised in an environment where the adults hardly ever talked to us, or evaded admitting what was happening, so we couldn’t know what others were thinking or feeling
• growing up in a family where emotional & mental honesty was missing (lying, hypocrisy), so we had to guess at reality
• our fear of separateness – if we ‘know’ what someone is thinking then we’re permanently joined (intertwined), to stave off the bitter loneliness of the WIC
• needing to protect ourselves at all times from the ‘dangerous’ world by ‘figuring out’ what to expect – always
• not taught how to gather info correctly, we make things up. We’re not allowed to ask AND assume we won’t get the truth anyway
• trying to figure out how to behave (if I “know” what you’re thinking I can adjust my actions accordingly)

🦠 Mind-reading is completely about us – not about the person or group we’re referring to. Because it’s not based in reality, it does the opposite of what it’s supposed to accomplish.
Instead of keeping us attached & safe, M-R insures staying at a distance in a fantasy fog, separating us from the rest of humanity, which reinforces our sense of alienation.  No wonder ACoAs feel like we ‘don’t belong anywhere’, even when in a room full of other ACoAs!

M-R also means WE :
♦︎ are sure someone is reacting badly to or thinking negatively about us, without any real evidence… often contrary to what the other person actually feels, says or does….
✧ S-H becomes “Nobody likes me”
✧ FoA becomes “She would never spend time with me”
✧ paranoia becomes “I know they’re talking about me”
✧ fear of rejection becomes “She’ll be too busy to help me”
✧ perfectionism becomes “They all thought my _____ was awful”
✧ lack of boundaries becomes “The boss expects me to be just like her!”

angry guyMe, me, me!  M-R completely erases others, as if they didn’t have separate identities, minds of their own OR had other things to think about besides us!

EXP: Paul sits anxiously in a 12-step meeting, raising his hand but not getting called on.  He’s convinced the speaker is deliberately avoiding him – “she must not want to hear what I have to say… she doesn’t like me… she thinks she’s better than me…”, so Paul sits & fumes.

Reality: If Paul had asked the speaker about this, he would have been told: “I’m sorry, I saw your hand, but just didn’t get to you.  It’s so hard to pick – you want to include everyone, but there’s just not enough time.”

EXP: If your therapist yawns or seems distracted – you assume he / she is bored with you.
Or if you get invited to a dinner party, you’re sure they only invited you to make up the seating numbers.

Reality: You’re therapist was up all nite with a sick child or has a bad headache! AND, you were invited to dinner because the hostess likes you & knows you’ll be a great addition!

NEXT: MIND-READING vs Intuition – 1b

Unrealistic Expectations – OVER (Part 2)

you don’t know what I need?

PREVIOUS: Unrealistic Expectations (Part 1)

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

REVIEW post: “Symbiosis & ACoAs

What ACoAs SHOULD NOT expect….
A. ….of OURSELVES (cont.)
1. Unrealistic Recovery beliefs  (Part 1)

2. Staying Attached : WE WANT to stay connected to even the most abusive family members & believe it’s our fault when that never seems to work out in our favor
• many ACoAs still have the illusion that if only we are perfect, ‘good’, successful, smart, care-taking of them…. enough – our addicted, self-centered, self-hating, severely damaged parents or substitutes (spouse, boss, adult-child….) will finally accept & love us just the way we are – so we never have to let go & grow up (love ourself)barren tree

• even the smartest of us may harbor a secret hope that one day our parents &/or siblings will ‘get well / ‘see the light’… for themselves. We want them to get better, because we know they’re suffering, BUT we also want it for them so we can stay safely connected

• some of us have a parent who does eventually enter AA, & may become less abusive in some ways – but unless they also do at least some FoO work, their narcissism still shows, so they’re not going to be the parent we always wanted

• we’re so desperate to get their approval that we refuse to see how incapable of love many of them really are – especially if they throw us a crumb once in a while.  Walking away or pulling back from such people entails “Crumb withdrawal”!
• when they hurt us yet again, we either suck it up & use our own addictions to numb the pain OR we turn it completely on ourselves & become depressed, non-functioning & suicidal – for some time after any encounter with them

B. (not expect) ….of OTHERS
1. To be Rescued: WE WANT too much from others, which is the WIC’s demand that somebody make up for what we didn’t get from our parents. Yes, demand. We know this because of the hurt & rage that comes up when we don’t get the care & attention we so desperate long for – but rarely verbalize. The bigger the disappointment, the greater the helpless rage
• This seems obvious with Compliers, by hooking up with Rescuer ACoAs, who will do way too much for the ‘poor helpless victims’, so we don’t even have to ASK
• It’s less obvious with Isolators, who don’t seem to need much, if anything. They have the same longing, if not more so, but are even more afraid & filled with shame to let anyone see how weak & needy they are. So they keep ‘starving’.
And waiting – for a miracle – which they think they don’t deserve anyway, & don’t really believe will ever come. But they still wait – instead of getting some of what they need for themselves

• Even harder to see is that Rescuers also want to be rescued. They’re not allowed to be given to – either, but under all their care-taking is the intense demand they secretly have of the rescuee: “Pay me back for all the hard work I’ve put into you…make me feel appreciated, capable, loved, needed, smart, valued…. and most of all – get well so you can take care of ME!”

2. To be Symbiotic: WE WANT / expect others to treat us the way we would treat them (a symbiotic wish) – as if everyone is our identical twin. ACoAs will often say things like:
• “But, I would never do that to them!”
• “I don’t understand how she could have said that?!”
• “They can’t really be that dumb/ mean / selfish/ careless…”
• “I don’t understand how she could not like that!”symbiosis

🔎 “Excuse me”? They’re not you!
It should be obvious, but clearly it isn’t – that they have separate bodies, separate experiences, separate minds, separate tastes … so why do we still expect them to be like us?!
• When we think that way we’re reacting the same way our parents treated us – as extensions of themself, rather than as separate beings. That’s our narcissism.

NEXT: Unrealistic – OVER #3

Unrealistic Expectations – OVER (Part 1)

After all, reality bites, doesn’t it?

PREVIOUS: THEIR Attitudes – #5

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

POINT 1: Basically – ACoAs concluded that we can’t be anything, can’t have anything, can’t get anywhere! From years of suffering, a deep part of us gave up early in life: “What’s the use, I should be dead anyway”.

➼ A reminder about Abuse & Abandonment (A/A)
• Coming from THEM: A/A may or may not have been deliberate but was very real – not imagined, & the effects last a lifetime.  We got all sorts of abuse – things that no child should ever have to endure!

• For US to deal with: Because A/A happened on all 4 PMES levels – Physical, Emotional, Mental, Spiritual, & not just about someone going away, we have to work on healing each area, from going to the bathroom to our relationship with H.P.

POINT 2: As a result –  ACoAs want everything done for us – equally true for the Hero as for the Lost Child.
Experiencing so much hurt & loss as kids – we want it to be made up to us, one way or another. To compensate, we hang on to the magical thinking of a child, having ‘great expectations’ of life & people, which is not just wishful thinking but a raging need, including the absolute conviction / expectation / assumption – about how of a date, event, relationship, meeting… should turn out – or we’ll die!

• On the surface we say: “I don’t know how, I’m not allowed, it’s too hard …” but the real, real truth – deeply buried – is that we don’t want to take care of ourselves.  If our family didn’t do it for us, then we’re not going to do it for ourselves now!. So there! We’ve suffered enough so we’re understandably resentful & petulant. We want ours! (But we will do it for others)

What ACoAs SHOULD NOT expect…..
A.   …..of OURSELVES

While having wildly unrealistic expectations (U.E.) of others, we can start by seeing how off-center ours own are :
• Being the victim – that because we were abused as children, we don’t have to be responsible for ourselves or forge a life of our own

Our narcissism – that we have the power to always make things go our way, AND that who others victimare or what they want doesn’t really count – if it gets in the way of our needs!
Most ACoAs, especially Rescuers, would never admit this, at least not out loud

• “Fairness” – that if we make enough of an effort (perfect), we’ll definitely & automatically get a payoff!
• Instant gratification – that when we have to wait for anything – we’re confused. After all, we did our part. And if the wait is too long, we despair, assuming it means NO, never

1. Unrealistic Recovery beliefs:
a. WE WANT to be ‘better’ fast – as in NOW. Some want it to be magic – recovery without having to do the hard work

. We WANT magic: if we just work hard enough, we’ll overcome all damage – as if we were never wounded at all!  When that never seems to happen, or Recovery is soooo slow – we become discouraged & worse – defeated, then give up.
• Reality : some damage can heal completely, some things will be a lot less troubling & some things may never go away – but we can manage them, with self-compassion!

c. WE WANT to well enough so that :
• our character defects will vanish (I’ll never be angry again / I’ll never date that kind of person again / I’ll never feel that bad again”…..
• we’ll never again be hurt or effected by other people’s insensitivity & abuses, especially from our family – at all, ever again!

🎹 However – Health is a combination:
• Some unhealthy things which others do will bother us less, especially if we have a lot less self-hate & much better boundaries
• BUT many abuses or abandonments we were numb to or ignorant of before – will absolutely no longer be acceptable. Bad behavior & bad energy will become so uncomfortable to be around that we won’t tolerate it

NEXT: Unrealistic Expectations – OVER (Part 2)


gain autonomy
Who’s the boss of you?

PREVIOUS: Being Visible (#3)


ACoA SYMBIOSIS   (see Post)
It’s an unhealthy attachment to others as a way to:
• compensate for emotional abandonment in childhood
• cope with deep anxiety of being a separate entity
• escape having to face the struggle of growing up emotionally
• mask self-hate & fear of abandonment

In the process of healing the past, we move thru layers of growth with the ultimate goal of being free.
Symbiosis ——> Autonomy ——-> Attachment ——> Inter-dependence

1. GENERAL – As part of the human life cycle, the normal, healthy psychological goal of adulthood is to become our True Self, be inter-dependent with others & contribute positively to society.
• A reasonably healthy family encourages children to be an accepted part of the family group, as well as developing as a separate individual, & then be able to function successfully in the larger world

• However, as ACoAs we were:
☼ not allowed to fully develop our own identity
☼ forced to stay in emotional & sometimes physical bondage to the family
☼ so ignored, neglected &/or tortured we couldn’t form a stable bond with anyone.  See  Attachment Disorder site

2. REQUIREMENTS woman w/ lotus
a. S & I  (Separation & Individuation) is required to connect successfully with others, the opposite of co-dependence & symbiosis, BY knowing:
• ourselves & being comfortable in our own skin
• what our needs & tastes are, & provide for them
• we’re OK, which is self-esteem & not arrogance or superiority
• we can be safe & at ease when dealing with others by having strong boundaries

b. Motivation
A hallmark of Personal Independence is being our own motivator** — not from egotism, but from being responsible for ourselves.  Spiritual & psychological teachers tell us that we need to look inside for the answers to our problems – that it’s an ‘inside job’, not what we have, but what we are. (‘Process, Part 2, b, iii’ )

**Self-Motivation means we want to do things – for ourselves. It’s the reason behind in chargeour actions, our guiding principles.
NO – It does NOT mean ignoring or disrespecting our family, the needs of others or our spiritual connections
YES – It DOES mean is that, as adults, we’re not waiting for someone else to give us permission or a reason to act

➼ Pre-FoO Recovery, ACoAs can take many actions FOR others or because OF others, but rarely just because WE want to. (‘Responsibility’ )
Without someone pushing or pulling us, we’re like dormant trees in the forest or hibernating bears, waiting for the sun to shine on us, warm us up, give us a reason to move. This is the essence of co-dependence

Past motivators – Normal: Our parents & family, school, teachers, friends, peer groups, religion, our countryour damage

• Present day motivators

negative: PRIMARILY our damage – hidden from us in the subconscious (the Shadow side) – old unresolved pain, toxic beliefs, our allegiance to our wounded family system, our resentments, fears… all expressed thru the WIC’s behavior

SECONDARILY: by other people’s opinions, the needs & wishes of friends, relatives, mates, children, bosses, our community, a punitive religion, & a distorted view of God

☆ positive
: a loving H.P. & Ourself. All other reasons to act need to come second, evaluating them based on mental health, common sense, Recovery (not from the WIC or PP bad parent) – ie. emotional maturity

• a variety of psychological inventories & personality tests
tools• dreams, visualizations, prayer, spiritual literature
• feedback from reliable sources / meetings, therapy, body work
• listening to ourselves, mindfulness, staying in the now
• listing things we’re good at, ask others about our good / excellent qualities
• observing our behavior patterns, slowly over time
• noticing our emotional responses to every situation
• talking with the IC thru the day, listening to our intuition/gut
• written inventories, journaling, morning pages, I.C. writing

NEXT: Autonomy & Attachment, #2


– why do I feel so alone?

PREVIOUS: Emotional Maturity

POSTS: Ego states”  and Toxic Roles


Invisibility is a basic protective mechanism for any abused child.
Physical: kids in dangerous homes will often try to make themselves invisible by hiding in their room, under tables or beds, in closets… or spend a lot of time out of the house, at the library, in sports, at a neighbor or friend…..
Psychological: damaged parents give their children a strong message – spoken or not: “DO NOT BE YOURSELF” – only be what we are, what we want you to be, what we can tolerate & control, what we believe is ‘right’

ACoAs, having experienced both kinds of harm, learned early on to mask our True Self, so much so that we end up not knowing that we even have one! Our family threw our essence on the trash heap, so we learned to do the same. We needed to protects ourselves from family, school, church & neighborhood because
THEY:trashed child
• used our weaknesses/ feelings/ desires / sensitivity – against us
• made fun of & teased us, played mean or cruel ‘jokes’ on us
• punished us unfairly or unnecessarily
• ignored or belittled our skills & gifts (often from jealousy)
• didn’t back us up, take our side – anywhere (at home, at school…)
• physically hurt us (abused for not being perfect – or just for being there)
• expected too much of us (be a little adult, take care of them…)
• never gave us the right info to function successfully in the world….

Bad mirroring: The more severe the parents’ self-absorption is, the less they provide their children with positive mirroring, which all kids must have in order to forge a sense of Self & how we relate to other people. Without this pure feed-back from the start (“I get who you are, exactly the way you are”) it’s very hard to develop a true image of ourself. Our family’s narcissism created a kind of childhood black magic: “If they don’t see me then I must not exist!”

No matter at what age, when we’re in the presence of a severe narcissist we are invisibleactually alone, since N. only recognize themselves as having reality or viability. We are in fact INVISIBLE to them as separate entities
For a healthy adult, being with someone & still feeling ‘alone’ is at best boring, at worst aggravating.

For a child, when it’s our parents – it’s life-&-death terrifying. We come into the world helpless & are totally reliant on caretakers to provide all the basic needs, as well as safety, information & emotional connections
• The only way a pre-verbal infant has of communicating is thru their emotions.  If the adults cannot tune into the child on that wavelength, the baby experiences such aloneness & frustration that it creates intense anxiety

• The baby then tries to ‘manage’ that anxiety in any modernchineseorphanage
way it can, with extremely limited options – sucking it’s thumb, crying a lot, clinging to mother / doll /  blanket, not responding to stimuli, being afraid of strangers …..

Studies in orphanages have shown how great the toll is on children who only get the minimum of care & are neglected mentally, emotionally & physically.  Also not being held, touched & comforted creates permanent personality damage. A common reaction is continual heads banging & compulsive rocking, & never developing the ability to bond with others.

For an infant, being left physically alone for too long is a death sentence. Being with a lot of others (family) without emotional connection is soul murder.

For ACoAs, growing up with adults who were supposed to be nurturing YET were NOT, was overwhelming to the point of powerless rage!  It felt like we might not survive. They made us feel so worthless & unlovable that we assumed they wanted us to be dead. Some parents even said so!  One narcissistic mother would say: “You’ll be the death of me yet!” – so even that was about her! but the child understood the translation: ‘You’re a murderer, you don’t deserve to live!’

NEXT: ACoAs & being Visible (Part 2)