OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 3)


IT’S A BALANCING ACT
but it’s worth it to me

PREVIOUS: Outgrowing Co-dep, #2

MEN:  Stop Being a “Nice” Guy

WOMEN – Don’t be so nice

 

RECOVERY from “Too Nice Syndrome” (TNS) cont.

Tool 3. ASSERTIVENESS (cont.)
++ Practice saying NO to things you don’t want
Don’t automatically say yes to everything others ask for. If something is really not okay with you, say NO. Or let people know it’s something you’re going to have to think about & then get back to them.

You don’t have to give any reason for not liking something, even if it’s temporary – and it’s OK to change your mind. Remember that “NO.” is a complete sentence.

Some people will accept your new-found voice without a fuss, but others will not. If asked “WHY don’t you want to, why can’t you, why aren’t you…..” – know your reason & state it briefly in a declarative sentence. Never start with “I feel that….., I guess……, Well, …… Sorry…..”.
You can say: “Thanks, but I’m not available, That’s not for me, Not today, I have too much on my plate, That’s not my taste, Thanks for the offer – but I like it where I am, I’m finished with that………”
(MORE ways to say NO nicely – on Pinterest)

As we practice self-care & accept things the way they really are, rather than how we would like them, we can be more direct in protecting ourselves. This makes P-P less & less necessary.

++ Don’t excuse your opinions (T), they are a part of you, even if only for the moment. However, to be sure of what we think & feel, we must first identify all those long-held ideas we had to swallow whole from our family, & separate them out from what we truly believe for ourselves.

There are some things we can be sure of, unequivocally: “I know what I know”. But we can’t know everything – certainly not what others are thinking or feeling, unless they say – & we don’t have to know everything. If you believe in yourself, you’ll always want to keep learning AND won’t be ashamed to correct any ignorance or misconceptions

++ Identify your boundaries. We all have the need for personal space, a greater amount for some than for others. P-P generally deny this need, believing that not setting limit is the only way to keep people attached to us, (symbiosis). Trying to meld with each person we interact with means constantly taking on a new fake persona. At least when actors do that they get paid! And trying to be what others want or copying them – never gets us the pay-off we’re hungry for. Keeping this up year after year takes a lot of energy & creativity, but is ultimately exhausting AND ineffective! Remember “Zelig”?

++ Don’t shy away from conflict or confrontations. A basic philosophical tenet of martial art is to a) know how to defend yourself, if attacked, but b) never start the fight if you can avoid it. Following this 2-part principle psychologically is crucial to having a safer life. Books like “The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-defense” by S.H. Elgin, give us several excellent ‘weapons’.

When we start setting boundaries, some people will be confused & others will be angry – who may give you a hard time – since they’re used to you automatically giving in to whatever they want from you.

No matter how scary it is at first to deal with push-back, if you’re sure of your beliefs or needs, stick to your guns. Some of those reactors might even apologize later.
Eventually the right people will get used to the new you, even admire & respect the changes. The ones who can’t get with the new program will fall away. “Man’s rejection is God’s protection.”

NEXT: Outgrowing P-P #4

Co-Dependent Anger-Niceness (Part 2)

 

I NEED SUPPORT
from ‘availables’!

 PREVIOUS: Co-dep angry-nice #1

SITE: 6 Basic human NEEDS

 

NEEDS:  As young, vulnerable beings every one of us had legitimate needs that were supposed to be met by caretakers, in order to flourish. Instead, we constantly got the message that our need were annoying, overwhelming, unacceptable, even ‘evil’. But since normal human requirements don’t go away, we had to find other ways to try to supply them. As a result –
— Co-deps will take on the submissive role, trying to get others to take care of them
— Passive-aggressives (P-As) will compensate by copying the dominant parent’s role, trying to exert power over others.
The purpose is the same as for the Co-dep, but reversed. Both styles are done indirectly, to hide their early abandonment rage

A fundamental human need is for connection, but angry-niceness, in any form, prevents that very thing. Focusing on ‘protecting’ others from our anger along with ignoring all of our needs & wants is classic ACoA damage (remember:”Damaged, not defective”!). Co-deps live by the Toxic Rule: “Every else’s needs are more important than mine (always)”. The obvious implication is that we should not have any needs – that needs are a weakness & therefore bad.

Sadly, we tend to surround ourselves & stay in relationships with un-recovering addicts & other narcissists – who take their damage out on us. While most of them truly do not have the capacity to provide an emotional connection (compassion, empathy, understanding, love….), we can still clearly state how we want others to behave toward us, which is about actions, not emotions (T.E.A.).

NOTE the difference between needs & obligations:
a. NEEDS are qualities, necessities & situations that are universal to everyone – see Maslow’s pyramid. There are also needs specific to you, based on your unique personality (EnneaType, Myers-Briggs Type, Signs, Numbers, Learning Style, heredity, PTSD, physical issues….)

b. OBLIGATIONS are activities that relate to functioning in the world as older children (homework, chores….) & as adults. People tend to say “I need to do the laundry, to get to work, to call my doctor, to finish this project, to do my taxes, to walk the dog….”. These are important but not your personality needs.

Of course – there is also the 2 ‘wounded’ versions.
1. Passive-Aggressive version: Many ACoAs find it hard to take care of basic maintenance tasks which represent self-care, or to honor outside obligations, like doing work we’re being paid to do. It’s the WIC saying – not just “I don’t wanna” – but flat-out ‘I won’t! & you can’t make me! You don’t care about me so I don’t care either”. It’s the hidden rage that makes us wait to be taken care of by others.

2. Co-Dependent version: Since ACoAs are not allowed to have needs, many of us focus all our energy on tasks & obligations, as if we could earn our way to heaven – the heaven of our family’s love! Co-deps take on too much – of everything – & then pile on the tasks of others as well, trying to do it all without help! No wonder we get sick, feel depressed, overwhelmed & angry!

AWARENESS: In our current life we’re afraid to honor the need of setting boundaries for ourselves as well as with others, & afraid to admit the need for others to treat us – at the very least – with respect, much less kindness.

But asking for better responses from others is very hard for us, because:
— we’ve been trained to not deserve better, so we think it’s selfish
— we really do know (even while in ‘denial’) that unhealthy, narcissistic peoplespeak up for me only care about themselves, do not want to change their ways, might retaliate in some form…..

Even so, we need to ask! Most of the time we’ll only get lip-service, but if you get thrown an occasional crumb, don’t let that keep you on their hook! It’s much better in the long run to gather your resolve, back off & suffer temporary crumb-withdrawal!
Otherwise, we end up feeling more & more confused, frustrated & hopeless, wondering why all our efforts aren’t paying off.

Speaking up is for the benefit of our Inner Child – no matter what the response from others !

ACoAs & PROCRASTINATION (Part 4)

self-motivation 

THERE REALLY ARE THINGS
I can do to get going

PREVIOUS: Putting things off, #3

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

SITE: ‘Beating Procrastination

 

1. Things that make it HARD to act includes:

Internal & external fears can show up as: (cont.)
Putting off tasks. Many of us find that our whole life is permeated with the ‘habit’ of waiting to the last-minute to do things. It doesn’t seem to matter whether the ‘thing’ is something we would like to do or something we dread. We just put it off & off & off.

— Then comes crunch time – the deadline has caught up to us. We’re in a panic, scrambling to do the task, but now it’s going to be half-baked. We don’t have enough time to do a thorough job, don’t read the instruction correctly (or at all), leave out or miss something. And by leaving it tot he lat minute it can never be done right
— OR the deadline has past & we don’t get the benefit of a discount, miss a class or a needed product, a reunion, a party….

▶ Of course we’re painfully aware of all this, but as long as we’re stuck: worried
— we’re full of anxiety & S-H for not doing it Perfectly
— we scare ourselves with dire projections & predictions about how we’re going to get judged, punished, fired….
— hate ourselves for letting a desired or favorable opportunity pass by

But, like any good addict, we’ll do it the same way all over again, & again! WHAT? How can this be an addiction? WELL…. in this case it’s the addiction to: Fear + Adrenalin + S-H = Drama. This formula has become so much a part of our lives since childhood that we keep doing things (or not) to re-enforce the chemical surges it creates.

Yet under this self-inflicted ‘excitement’, the WIC is just trying to protect itself the only way it knows how – by NOT doing anything. Yet it’s not enough to just label it as part of our ACoA damage, which it is. We need to know how it all got started (Past) & how we perpetuate it (Present).

2. GOOD Stuff can deter us too – we often sabotage when things get too good!
• fear of success, as that would disobey basic Toxic Rules, and we’d have a lot of responsibility which the WIC believes it can not handle – even tho our adult can/could

• not allowed to be happy, based on the belief that life is hard, exclusively, AND that we aren’t worthy of having good things anyway
• stay loyal to the family by not out-doing them – we must also be a failure, don’t show them up, stay in the family mobile, don’t rock the boat…

• can’t be decisive: sometimes there are places we thinks we should go to, but really didn’t like, or we don’t feel well, or want to do something else, or do nothing at all…. even when it’s potentially pleasurable or valuable.

But we aren’t allowed to say NO to the inner Pressure-er (“what will they think if I don’t show up? / what if I miss out on something / maybe this will have the perfect answer to all my problems?….”). So instead of firmly deciding Yes or No, we dither & obsess, do nothing & then hate ourselvesindecisive

• are never supposed to say NO to what someone else suggests, offers, wants – especially if it’s good for us. Besides “Why do they want to be with me? Why are they being so nice?” So for those times we don’t rush to people-please, we make promises we eventually flake out on, make excuses or just lie, until people get angry &/or give up on us.
— That comes both as a relief – of pressure, and a big pain – of yet again feeling ‘abandoned’! Trapped in our own no-win game, we blame others AND are filled with self-abuse

NEXT: ACoAs & Procrastination #5

WHY ARE YOU STUCK?

unstuck  LITTLE BY LITTLE
dismantle your prison

PREVIOUS: What to do when Confused – #4

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


WHY
we’re stuck
There may be several reasons why ACoAs are stuck. Here we’re concerned with the many Toxic Beliefs* we carry with us from our childhood experiences.

✶ Our fear is strong & pervasive, but the main cause for that in the present is what we are THINKING! Change that & we’re free!
NOT being able to pursue & reach our needs & desires is caused by intense inner conflict between what we consciously desire VS the family rules coming from the Introject (PP = bad parent voice), whispering or screaming at the WIC, causing in S-H

• OBEYING the Toxic Beliefs guarantees that we stay trapped, continually failing, feeling more & more hopeless, even suicidal. BUT, they’re so much a part of us, we may not even know we’re being coerced by ideas that were created for us (deliberately or not, it doesn’t matter).

To get UNSTUCK – we need to know & own these self-destructive Rules, counter them & then slowly change our actions, ie. Only follow the New Rules!

IRONICALLY, these old beliefs are very hard to give up, because:
• the Inner Child actually believes them!pain
• following them represents loyalty to our family

GIVING them up would mean:

• getting in touch with the PAIN of our damage
• seeing what we missed out on (a loving, healthy family)
• having to give up what we thought was our ‘identity’ (our False Self
& one or more Roles)
• having to become our own person (S & I), grow up emotionally, make our own choices, be responsible for ourselves & our actions  – stop waiting to be rescued.

BELOW is one FORM to use whenever you want to know what’s going on in your head – what toxic beliefs are keeping you from getting what you want in life (use it separately for each topic or issue that’s bothering or confusing you), AND another FORM to make your corrections

➼ Please DON’T just say “I don’t understand this”, or “I don’t know how to do it” & give up.  That’s mainly resistance, even if you’ve never done this particular exercise before.  Anyone who has read self-help books & done therapy will definitely be able to fill these out, given some thought, but even if you never have, you can always ask for help from someone who knows you well.  Don’t worry if your answers are similar each time you use the forms. That’s to be expected.

resistSTART by identifying a problem you want to correct OR a goal you want to achieve, but haven’t been able to, so far. Suggested ‘Issues’What‘s stopping me from:
• starting a new career?  • looking for a new job ?  • leaving a harmful relationship?  • standing up for myself?  • letting go of my damage?  • cleaning up my apartment?  • studying  my artistic passion? ….”

1. FORM A – What’s familiar: using T.E.A. (Thoughts, Emotions & Actions), to ‘hear’ the damaged part of our thinking
•  Column 1. “Emotions” can be filled in right away if you’re very upset & know what you are feeling, otherwise —

— go to Column 2, filling in as many negative thoughts as you can (one for each category is ok if that’s all you can think of). Make sure you separate out what you’re thinking about yourself VS what you’re assuming about others (projecting)

•  If you left the first column empty, now add any emotions you’ve become aware of relating to the beliefs
• Then list the ways you ACT in response to those beliefs

2. FORM B – What is possible: Reversing patterns of thoughts & behavior will modify fear & greatly improve your experiences in life.
Use the same procedure as in Form A. but change the harmful beliefs to HEALTHY, positive & hopeful ones, & then keep the list with you at all times so you can review & internalize them

• Based on that –  you can practice changing you ACTIONS, starting in small ways, whenever you can. Plan ahead how you’re gong to change an old pattern & try it out.

• In this case the Emotions column is last because you may not know how you feel until you try our new behaviors & get some positive results. Don’t be surprised if you have uncomfortable emotions (as well as pleasant ones), which come from your WIC and/or PP.  Just let them be. Comfort your kid, tell the PP (Introject) to leave your kid alone, & focus on enjoying the relief & pleasure of living well (the best revenge!).

Sample PROBLEM :
“Why can’t I make & keep friends / lovers / bosses who are healthier, compatible & supportive??”

You may need help from a therapist, friend, sponsor or healer – to IDENTIFY the NEGATIVE and POSITIVE beliefs. Don’t be ashamed to ask!


MAKE several BLANK copies of these 2 FORMS,  and try it out on one of YOUR issues

ACoAs: Early Trust Betrayal (Part 1)

angry father 

WHO CAN I DEPEND ON?
for sure NOT my family!

PREVIOUS: Adult Play #2

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

 


BETRAYAL TRAUMA
Betrayal trauma occurs when the people or institutions on which you depends for survival significantly violate ours trust or well-being
EXP: Childhood physical, emotional, or sexual abuse perpetrated by a
caregiver  (More….)
Q: Does the victim need to be conscious of the betrayal in order to call it “betrayal trauma”?
ANS: “No.” Being mistreated is by definition betrayal, whether the child recognizes it explicitly or not.
While conscious awareness of it may be suppressed at the time of trauma & for as long as the victim is dependent on the perpetrator, strong feelings of betrayal will eventually surface.

THEORY
Traumatic events differ angularly in degree of fear & betrayal, depending on context & characteristics of an event.
EXP : self-reported betrayal predicted PTSD & dissociative symptoms way more than self-reported fear of people with history of childhood sexual abuse. Many other studies have found that betrayal is a psychologically toxic dimension of events.

CHILDHOOD
• Children automatically trust their parents (caregivers) – they don’t have a choice. But that trust can be destroyed early & easily if their family & community is unreliable, non-nurturing & dangerous. The earlier the betrayal of trust, the more long-term damage is done – small children are not able to understand & process such disappointments

• Kids don’t want the instability & cruelty of their home to be true, so they can’t afford to consciously admit their suffering is being caused by the unloving adults they depend on. If they did it would make life even more unbearable, so they do whatever they can to deny painful experiences (blame themselves, fit into roles, people-please, rescue…..)

• At the same time, of years of emotional pain & abusive treatment lead children to make definite & lasting negative decisions about themselves & the whole world based on very real events. These are twisted conclusions & assumptions which form self-hate, cynicism, bitterness & hopelessness.

That pain is then mirrored & added to by rigid unhealthy ‘laws’ of other dysfunctional groups such as school, church, neighborhood, the combination becoming the basis for all future interactions.  Toxic beliefs get ‘written in stone’ , very hard to change as long as they stay out of our awarenessdisappointed

BETRAYAL ways
a. Our caretakers were disappointing, undependable, untrustworthy, even sadistic – understandably leaving us feeling unsafe, terrified & frustrated beyond words!
We were subjected to:
• all forms of neglect, lies, sexual abuse, physical / mental / emotions torture, mind-f–ing, constant unavailability, never telling us what to expect in new & scary situations, taking us to places not suitable to young emotions or the capacity to process….

AND never underestimate the effect of inconsistency on a child, whether from broken promises, constant moving, conflicting messages, drunkenness, rotating caretakers, parents’ new mates,  or just plain carelessness

EXP: A 5 yr old boy is standing at the edge of the pool, hesitating to make the leap. The father, already in the pool says: ”Jump in & I’ll catch you”. The little boy, needing the reassurance, jumps towards his dad – who smirks & steps back, not catching his son!

EXP: Equally devastating is the controlling, insensitive mother. One evening after being put to bed a young daughter hears the laughter of company downstairs & wanders into the living room to see what the fun is about.

The mother in a rage awaiting for unishmentt being embarrassed by her child’s desire for attention (in he PJs) drags her off to bed, promising to punish her – later. But in the busyness of being a hostess, she forgets her threat.

While the adults go on partying the terrified child curls up in a ball for agonizing hours in anticipations of a beating – which never comes.
That may seem like a good thing – but her little nervous system is being overloaded by prolonged terror, with no outlet & no one to comfort. The threat of is torture enough, while the mother is unaware of the long-term harm she’s done. That & other such events become anticipatory anxiety.

NEXT : Part 2

ACoAs & PLAYING (Part 1)

having fun 1 

HAVE FUN?
What’s that?

PREVIOUS: Inner Child Speaks, #2

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


QUOTES:

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”   Plato
“A little nonsense now and then is cherished by the wisest men.”  Roald Dahl (writer of children’s books)
“Play is the royal road to childhood happiness and adult brilliance.” Joseph Chiltern Pearce  (author of child development books)

DEFINITION
Play with a capital P is a process, not a specific thing, which lights up our brain, benefiting us in PMES ways (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual). Being a ‘whole’ person means balancing between being serious & having fun, but ACoAs tend to live in one extreme or the other – being over-responsible or under-responsible.

In general, it’s any activity someone voluntarily chooses to do (or for ACoAs to not do) because it’s fun, relaxing & enjoyable. It can include being creative, & sometimes even competitive – but without the need to win – otherwise it stops being Play.  Debbie Mandel, Stress Management expert suggests that F-U-N = Feeling Uninhibited Naturally. And a formula for ‘balance’ is: Concentrated Energy + Relaxation = Healthy living.

overwhelmed• One of the many sad results of having a traumatic childhood is that we were & are still deprived of the joy of relaxing thru playing & having fun. As a result of our damage we fall into several categories (lifestyles) which seem very different but underneath each has the same problem – our WIC listening to the Negative Introject, believing the Toxic Rules:
    

“Life is hard / you have to suffer / you can’t play until all your work is done / no one wants to play with you anyway / if you don’t like it you have to stay / don’t be yourself / the world is a dangerous place / you always have to struggle, but never get there!…..”

REACTION to growing up in a dysfunctional environment:
a. Many of us turned out to be compulsive, over-responsible worker bees, doing something we hate or are bored with, trudging thru life trying to be perfect, but never quite making it. No time for play, unless we consider participating in addictions as a way to relax. Obviously not real fun.

b. Some of us decided early on to give up & not really try at all. Hide & be safe, don’t rock the boat, don’t stick your neck out. No fun here.
c. And then there are those of us who are openly rebellious – the flamboyant addicts, promiscuous, belligerent, running wild, never finishing our education, never sticking to anything long enough to become accomplished, terrified of being trapped, controlled, of even committing to a book – much less a good job or relationship….

• To the rest of the world this third group may seem to be having a lot of fun. They do whatever they want, get away with ‘murder’ & play all the time. NOT SO. Sometimes even this type of ACoA may think so while in the middle of it, but it wears thin over the years, since the internal foundation is built with inferior material – not ours but what was given to us by our family & community. It’s cracked & crumbling. This is not fun.

BTW, If you identify with either the a. b or c. group, & are reading this, presumably you’re in the process of healing your wounds & working to outgrow the category. You deserve a lot of respect & encouragement!

encouragementHowever, some of you may say – “I’m an ACoA & don’t fit into a. b. or c. I have a decent life I’ve carved out for myself – family, career, some accomplishments, some travel…. & I know how to have fun & play.”

Response: “GOOD! You’ve used your own native skill & drive to achieve these things, & have a lot to show for it. BUT – how’s your anxiety level? Are you free of addictions, perfectionism & S-H? Are you content & relaxed? Or do you over-do for others & under-feel – for yourself?”

NEXT: ACoAs & Play (Part 2)

ACoAs – Healthy GIVE & TAKE (Part 2)

reciprocity
THE MORE I KNOW ABOUT MYSELF
the more I can enjoy what I’m offered

PREVIOUS: Give & Take (#1)

 

 

People GIVE – based on their state of mental health, & You can say “no thanks”. Say NO to anything which retards your Recovery, & is:
reject the bad• generally harmful / abusive
• something you don’t want, ever
• useless & a waste of your time
• not what you need at the moment
• not suited to your personality, or not your taste
• mentally repetitive &/or boring
• something you’ve outgrown
• against your principles & spiritual beliefs
• not your right to have
• not suited to the state of the relationship

SAYING NO requires that we know enough about ourselves & our rights – to make the best choices.
In some cases it also depends on who’s offering & why. If the giver is a relative, a boss or important client, taking the gift may be the kindest, or wisest thing to do, regardless of our taste. We can always regift

But if it’s close family or friends who is supposed to know who we are – & they insist on giving us things that are clearly not appropriate or suited to us – then it’s legitimate to say “No thank you!”

EXP: Paula & Sharon were BFFs who lived in adjacent buildings & spent a lot of time in each other’s place. Paula was ‘earthy’ & preferred antiques, while Sharon liked everything bright, shiny & new. For their B/days (one day apart) they exchanged lovely gift BUT Paula always gave Sharon things that were her taste & totally NOT Sharon’s.

After a few years of this Sharon finally spoke up, asking to be considered accurately. The following gift yet again did not fit what Sharon wore or her decor, so with regret, she gave the gift back!
PS. Years later Sharon developed another close friendship, also with an ACoA, who admitted to not knowing how to give appropriate gifts. They solved it by exchanging a short list of what each would like, to choose from. It worked great.

Say YES to:accept good
• offers of aid when you most need it
•  kindness, respect, positive attention, appreciation….. any time
• complements about anything – looks, skills, style, accomplishments, knowledge, talents,  creativity
• freely given generosity – of money, help, provisions, short-term free services, lending something you need
• something frivolous & fun – just because!
• new ideas, suggestions, other people’s experiences we can learn from

CONSIDER: Rejecting someone’s good-faith offers of time, kind words or small objects – is a way to dismiss the person as unimportant, & can un-necessarily hurt their feelings. It implies that what they are or have isn’t good enough for you

EXP
: In early Recovery Sean was reminded to be appreciative whenever he was complemented, rather than negate it by explaining at length why he didn’t deserve the acknowledgement. His sponsor said: “It’s insulting to the person who is giving you a gift, by throwing it back in their face. Just say ‘thank you’ & then zip the lip.”
He remembers thinking: “OK, I’ll just say thank you, but privately I don’t have to agree with the compliment!”  Oh well, Progress – not Perfection! Eventually he was able to appreciate genuine praise.

HEALTHY RECIPROCITY
IMP: Being reciprocal means that we ACoAs are supposed to receive something in return for our efforts – it can be a Thank You, a smile, a vacation or even a house! It means we ‘allow’ others to give to us in return for something positive we have done (once or on a regular basis) – OR just because they like us! Can you imagine?

Being able to receive is a normal part of life. This is hard for many ACoAs to believe & grasp if we’ve been blindly obeying our Toxic Rules, such as “Only other people’s needs count”. Do-ing for others is all we know & taking anything makes us feel guilty! Because we don’t feel worthy of anything good, we’re not comfortable letting others give to us – even when it is done freely & with an open heart.

NEXT: Give & Take (#3)

ACoAs – NOT allowed to RECEIVE (Part 3)

giving infoNOTHING IS FOR FREE!
I know I’m going have to pay a high price!

PREVIOUS: Not allowed to Receive – #2

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEXT: ACoAs – Healthy GIVE & TAKE – #1

People Should Treat Me Better – But I Won’t Let Them


ACoAs ARE IN A DOUBLE BIND  –
either way we lose ourselves,
to stay loyal to the family

PREVIOUS: Healthy Give & Take (#2)

Posts : Double Messages / D.Binds

 

 

ACoAs have a terrible dilemma :
1. On the one hand we desperately want to be loved, acknowledged, seen, heard. We complain bitterly for years that we have to chase people down, do all the work in relationships, friends don’t come thru for us, we’re too isolated, hate being lonely, we can’t trust anyone….
You know what kids used to say: ”No one loves me, everyone hates me, I’m going to eat worms & die!” (Toxic Rules)

HOWEVER – because we’re not allowed to be loved, comfortable & comforted, happy, thriving… we chase those few who don’t want us at all, &/or are unavailable in some way, even if there was an initial attraction.  They let us know in a 1,000 ways they’re not really able to connect (their S-H & FoI), but we don’t want to deal with that info, even when we hear it!

✶ The real reason for chasing the ‘impossible dream’ is that these unavailables are parent substitutes.  Our family gave impossible dreamus messages that we were too much trouble (for them), not worth bothering with, in their way, messy, greedy, unruly pain in the a–es.
We couldn’t live with that. We had to figure out a way to win them over, to love us, if only we knew how to fix ourselves & them.  BUT we never succeeded

✶ So now, with the current unavailables, we’re determined: this time we’ll get them, this time we’ll win – if only we’re perfect & persistent enough. OY!  (“Perfectionism”)

2. On the other hand, we’re terrified of getting too much attention, are 
uncomfortable with compliments, don’t want to ‘put anyone out’, can’t accept being given to. We think (conscious or unconscious):
a. I don’t deserve good things. After all, my family wasn’t that nice to me & they knew me best. So, when anyone else gets to know me they’ll also be disgusted, & leave me. OR
b. If someone likes me, then they’re stupid, weak, needy (no one I’d want to be with) because they’re too dumb to know I’m not worth liking. OR

c. If they’repush away being nice – they’re conning me, being polite, people-pleasing, Then just when I start enjoying things they’ll leave or want something from me I don’t have.  Sooner or later the real them will show up & I’ll be disappointed – again. ALSO =
d. I don’t want to owe anyone – no one gives anything for free, everyone has an agenda….
e. If I admit I want to be liked & given to, then I’m the weak one, & that 
disgusts me. I’d rather be alone than be that vulnerable
f. People are just trying to control me by being nice, so they can get what they want, & make me do things their way…

ACoAs waffle back & forth between opposites – BUT only Negatives :
✶ either too alone or chase people interested in / abuse us
✶ isolate for years or stay way too long with the wrong people
✶ hate ourselves for being too much or not enough
✶ act out Victim or Perpetrator Role (aggressor, abuser) ….
….. SO we keep hurting ourselves & then find some addiction (not always a chemical) to dull the pain

STAYING in OLD PATTERN  – even WHEN we know better
✶ Loyalty to family & it’s system (still think we need them)
✶ Don’t want to disobey the Toxic Rules : they’re our connection to home AND we don’t want to be punished, AND if we obey them, the family will love / accept us

✶ MOST OF ALL : we don’t want to ‘get depressed’ ie. feel all that pain (sad, broken lovelonely, terror, hopeless, rage, powerless… ) of our parents not loving us the way we needed.
We knew the truth back then, but it was too much to bear & we didn’t have many options, so we stuffed it all down.

If we do give up our fantasies & false hope about the unavailables, & walk away – we may get flooded by that accumulated old pain! But once we know where it’s coming from, we can learn to manage it until it passes. “If it’s hysterical, it’s historical”

It takes quite a bit of Recovery (growing the UNIT) to tolerate feeling that are awful! & still be ok. With enough time & the right kind of support, we can go through it knowing that it was not our fault that our family (& others) couldn’t take care of & love us.
Now it’s ok to let love in, today & every day from now on.

NEXT: Resist talking the IC? – #1

REPLACING the Negative INTROJECT

against the NI 

I HAVE THE POWER, ALREADY –
to defend my WIC from the NI / PP!

PREVIOUS :  Introject – Bad Voice (Part 3)

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

 


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

We can disconnect from the Negative Introject (PP) by developing our own identity (S & I) with help:
• get external acknowledgement & then continue internal validation of what we went thru as kids & still put up in the present, so that the PP can’t fool us any more
• use that validation to be in touch with our pain, rage & sorrow at the original abuse, so we’re not wasting energy in denial

• continually work at diminishing S-Hlisten careful
• believe in our Right to have needs, opinions & dreams
• clearly identify what the PP is telling us & then counter it
• thoroughly ‘get’ that the PP abusive & therefore harmful
• actively practice disobeying the Toxic RULES

• learn what our own healthy, intuitive, inborn voice is saying, listening to and acting on that instead
• gradually separate the WIC’s dependence on the PP & transfer it’s loyalty to our developing UNIT by always being the Good Parent
• develop strong boundaries with others, rather than walls, especially with anyone who treats us like our family
• have the courage to say NO to unhealthy & unsuitable people

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

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

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

• So we do self-destructive things, or find other physically, mentally, emotionally & spiritually dangerous people or situations to hurt us
NOW we can give him / her back the responsibility for their own life, so we don’t have to act on their wish to escape. We don’t have to kill ourselves.

In RECOVERY – we work at gradually shedding as much family damage as we’re able. Once we identify what’s our damage & what’s theirs, we can say daily affirmations, & do visualizations to shed that burden.

PACK UP what’s theirs. Then mentally go up to each person & return it – lay the box or bag at their feet AND walk away!

Develop a POSITIVE INTROJECT
It’s appropriate to ABSORB all positive feedback from outside sources – accurate, intelligent, patient, positive, realistic, supportive, validating, & spiritual.
Healthy mirroring & guidance can be from :
• a loving family member, if there is one
• any appropriate 12-step Program, rehab, workshops…
• a knowledgeable psychotherapist, & perhaps group therapy
• helpful books & literature (psychological & spiritual)

free inner child• our Higher Power, spiritual or religious teachers/ leaders, if suitable
• successful well-known people, as role models & inspiration
• craneo-sacral & other knowledgeable body workers, nutritionist…
• good friends, a supportive mate, caring adult children, AND pets
• business partners, clients, acquaintances – who value your abilities ….

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

NEXT: Notice re. book version of blog