OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 6a)

the hardest of all

PREVIOUS“: Outgrowing P-P , #5b 

QUOTE: “You’re the Average of the 5 people You spend the Most Time with”
Jim Rohn “The Art of Exceptional Living”

<—— ARTWORK from Tiny Buddha


RECOVERY from “Too Nice Syndrome”cont.

‘FORGIVING’ OURSELVES only applies to us as adults (Parts 7a & b), when the brain is capable of self-direction – when we can understand that the ‘character defects’ of the False Self were developed in childhood, which we had no control over.

TOOL 6a. Healing our CHILDHOOD T.E.A.s is to:
1. LET GO of our Self-hate (E) & endless recriminations (Ts) re. the past
(See “Letting go means….“), and to:
2. GIVE UP the compulsion to keep punishing ourselves & stay miserable (Es)

Review: As earlier posts have indicated, the underpinnings to co-dep / P-P ‘niceness’ is unexpressed anger / rage. And under that is a vast sewer of stuffed emotions, the majority being fear/terror, but also disappointment, loneliness, longing, sadness, despair…..
Cleaning out our damage includes facing & dealing with our anger at our family, as well as all our other T.E.As.
It means having compassion for ourselves & living in the present.

Judgements: Along with forgiving others who have wronged us, we are told to ‘Forgive yourself’– but it’s not always clear which part of our life that refers to. Presumably it’s for all our ‘bad’ behavior, at any age.

This is tricky, because ACoA co-deps can easily take this to mean that our self-defeating patterns prove what our family said all along – that our very essence is bad/evil, which is why we’re supposed to need absolution.

Those unloving messages get added to children’s minds who automatically combine Being & Doing into one thing.  So, still run by our WIC, ACoAs are plagued by the toxic rule: “I act bad because I am bad”, which we frantically try to hide with perfectionism & P-P.

If this Rule were true then there could be no Recovery, no second chances, no spiritual healing or growth!
We need to “come to believe” that we are not bad & therefore unlovable, but rather severely wounded, as well as perfectly imperfect!

The starting point for all Recovery is working to eliminate as much S-H as possible. See: Self-Hate & ACoAs, & counter it with ‘Emotional Needs & Resources, as well as ‘Emotional Maturity’ andACoAs & Self-esteem‘.

ACTIONS: When encouraged to see that S-H is a destructive lie, many ACoAs will counter by pointing out how difficult or bratty they were as teens, or even younger – as proof of their inherent ‘badness’.
Yes, some kids are quieter & some more rambunctious. But much of what our parents considered ‘misbehaving’ was a combination of:
a. our copy of & direct reactions to all the craziness we were stuck in
b. many perfectly normal kid ways – but mislabeled by unhealthy parents
(“10 Ways Kids Appear to Be Bad but Aren’t“)

(Ts) THINKING: These 2 types of actions were based on:
a. the unique magical thinking of all children, who have a self-centered focus & a limited knowledge about how the world works
b. the many distortions & omissions fed to our growing brains by abusive parents, school, religion, our neighborhood & culture…..

(Es) EMOTIONS: (see list above in “Review”) ACoAs often say they “feel crazy”- which is actually a cognitive issue, not emotional – & we did think we were because most things truly didn’t make sense. That made our world chaotic & unpredictable, which is very scary to any child, who needs to feel safe as much as to feel loved.

THIS leads us back to self-forgiveness.
Forgiveness is always used in relation to having done something wrong. But as children much of what was labeled wrong about us was not! It doesn’t mean we were angels – far from it.  But we were reacting because every day we had to cope with extremely painful & frightening events.

So it’s not appropriate or relevant to use the concept of forgiveness toward ourselves as children – for the survival strategies we developed in dire circumstances. There is nothing to forgive.

NEXT: Self-Forgiveness – in childhood (#6b)

OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 1)

speak up for me
(I hope no one minds 🙄)

from others (#2)


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

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

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

TOOL 1. Facing FEARS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEXT: Outgrowing P-P #3

ACoAs – ANXIETY & T.E.A. (Part 1)

T.E.A. chart


PREVIOUS: Fear of Responsibility (#5)




1. T.E.A. (Thoughts, Emotions, Actions)
Most people are not taught to distinguish between there 3 modalities. This causes much confusion in how we express ourselves, creating much miscommunication in our relationships.
While the 3 categories feed off of each other, they are not the same.

The most important thing to remember is that Thoughts & Actions can be changed &/or modified, but emotions just are. It is not healthy to try to control our emotions, while it is healthy & necessary to have a choice in what we say & do, depending on the situation we’re in.

THOUGHTs – always made up of a string of words.
thinking mindAll of us have running dialogues in our head much of the day, on the surface of our awareness, such as:
• planning what we‘re going to do or ‘should’ be doing

• reviewing what’s happened to us or what we did (pleasant or not)
• ‘dreaming’, wishing, imagining, designing projects……
• worrying, obsessing – often about things we can’t control

• ranting to ourselves about people who hurt us & things we hate
• thinking about things we’ve seen or read
• planning things we want to say, either personal or for work……
• what we’re thinking about under the surface, that’s out of our direct awareness. Some thoughts are deeply hidden, other accessible if we pay attention. This is what sitting quietly in ‘meditation’ is for – to hear the chatter in our head.
(Post:Using Think instead of Feel“)

EMOTIONs – see extensive posts
These are always ONE WORD things – happy, sad, angry, amused, lonely, scared, pleased, sexy, excited……(NOTE: if you say “I feel” immediately followed by a sentence – it’s not an emotion, but rather a thought – a string of words. EXP: “I feel like you don’t understand”)

: Getting to Emotions – Under & Over // ACoA Emotions re Painful Events // ACoAs – accepting & accessing Es // What is Emotional Abuse? // Over-controlling ourselves

ACTIONs – Any activity we DO, as well as things we DON’T do, that are helpful or harmful to ourselves & others

📌 An extension of this category – our behavior – is used as a defense mechanism, called “Acting out”, which can be defined as –
• Any compulsive (temporarily out of conscious control) ↵
action or non-action, which is ↵
• a way to externally express or demonstrate ↵
• painful emotions we’re not aware of at all (ongoing repression), or not experiencing at the time, about a particular situation we’re in or that we anticipate

: ♟ being late for OR blanking out on an appointment we didn’t realize is making us anxious
♟ starting an argument at the end of a nice evening, weekend (just before leaving the person or group)…. rather than feel the familiar old abandoned pain at the separation, no matter how temporary!

Posts:Actions: Healthy opposites // Noticing painful events // Negative reactions to painful events // Positive responses
 All ACoAs are fear based, whether our preferred defensive styanxietyle is to be :
• phobic (fearful, passive, victim, timid, anxious) OR
• counter-phobic (don’t consciously feel scared, & then keep doing dangerous things to ‘prove it’), a reaction to suppressed emotions from our abusive background or any other traumatic events in our life

❥ When was the last time you were struck by anxiety?
❥ How long did it last? What caused it?
❥ What did you do about it?
❥ OR is it with you all the time? & how do you cope?

Given our painful, chaotic, abusive early years – with very little comfort, explanations or guidance – we carry with us an enormous backlog of fear. This pile-up gets covered over & redirected, so we barely realize it’s there.
Once we’ve cut ourselves off from knowing the source of our fear, in many cases what we’re left with is anxiety – the free-floating painful flutter & tightness in our gut we don’t connect with anything in particular.

NEXT: T.E.A. & Anxiety (Part 2)