Secretly Angry “Nice” People (Intro-a)

secretly nice -1I ALWAYS HAVE TO ACT NICE
to hide how angry I really am

PREVIOUS: Multiple Intelligences #3e

POST: What about Anger?”


Our culture does not support, tolerate or excuse expressing anger in obvious ways – except when participating in or watching sports, or being drunk! Oh right, the BIRDS can be angry – but not humans! One reason is that most people assume there’s only one way to let it out – explosively, dangerously – which of course scares people, since it can be physically & emotionally unsafe.
But it’s not the only way (“Ways to react” posts).

Since everyone was born with the ability to feel anger (A.), just as we have the natural capacity to experience all the other Es – in varying degrees – each of us figures out how to deal with it, based on our personal tendencies & what we copied or learned as kids. In our society, A. is usually called a ‘negative’* emotion – even by the best regarded teachers, writers & therapists. This is wrong!
This misnomer comes from NOT separating the TEA components:
❤️ The Emotion itself (physical energy & information about our environment), vs.
💀 the way we frame it in our Thinking (acceptable or unacceptable), vs.
✍🏽 how we Act on it – Positively or Negatively.

*The E. of Anger itself should never be designated as a negative! It is not only blatantly inaccurate to do so, but does it a great injustice – because A. gives vital information about bad things happening to us or around us. NO emotion is negative, only harmful thoughts & actions are! Anger is a necessary & appropriate reaction to 3 main things:
✔︎ being scared, being frustrated & being hurt (such as threatened, ignored, disrespected….). (see T.E.A. // ‘Feelings aren’t facts’ )

★ And anger is a healthy response to any abuse & deprivation of very real needs (attention, safety, respect, love, freedom, encouragement, comfort….)

Normally, Anger can be:
• an immediate response to a particular situation, or
• gradually built up from a series of real or perceived injustices or threats, or
• a slow escalation from long-term abuse, neglect, or being treated unfairly

Emotionally HEALTHY Nice People have good self-esteem. They are:
• direct, clear & positive in communication & behavior
• happy, self-assured, assertive, confident, relaxed, easy
• well-behaved, socially appropriate, well-mannered, generous
• thoughtful, helpful, kind, loyal, respectful, sensitive to others

But when someone doesn’t have any safe outlet for their anger, it will go underground. It becomes a part of our ‘Shadow“,  (aspects of ourselves we find unacceptable) so we reject & push the anger into the unconscious.
However, the emotion never goes away on its own – until it’s expressed in safe ways and by fixing the causes, if possible. Instead, it stays locked in our muscles, ligaments, organs & auras. (See ‘Symptoms)
Over time, this trapped energy will become too big to be contained & will end up coming out sideways!

Freud once likened anger to the smoke in an old-fashioned wood-burning stove: Normally, the smoke goes up the chimney, safely away. But if this is blocked up, the smoke will leak out – thru the grate, under the door, thru the vents…. choking everyone in the house. It needs to be cleaned out. But if all avenues of escape stay blocked, the fire will eventually go out, making the stove useless.

In the same way, blocking up the natural flow of our anger-energy becomes harmful to self and others. If we shut it down for too long, it puts out our internal fire, & makes us ineffective. We need a safe outlet for all emotions.

NEXT: Secretly angry nice people (Intro-b)

ACoAs MANIPULATING Self & Others (Part 3c)

in your head PREVIOUS: Manipulation #3b

SITE: 8 Ways to spot Manipulators

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


Manipulative TACTICS (cont.)
Start by asking someone for a small favor they don’t mind doing, then foot in doorwhen they’re in the middle of it, add on other things or ask for the big thing you really wanted – making it hard for them to say no

Telling a conscientious victim they don’t care enough, are too selfish or have it easy, to keep them in a self-doubting, anxious, submissive position. OR make someone feel bad that you don’t have qualities, people or things the way they do (you’re jealous /envious), so they’ll feel sorry & volunteer to help you

Judgmental – the (T) form of T.E.A.
— all the time about everything, which is narcissistic
— occasionally, when old abandonment terror is triggered by a person or situation, but you don’t recognize it’s a reminder of childhood neglect & abuse

Mirroring (negative)
Physically &/or verbally copying someone you want to influence, by using their same body language, intonation pattern, language, preferences… making them feel ‘seen’ – so then they’ll copy you (symbiosis)

Saying yes to anything asked of you even when you’re not interested or it doesn’t suit you, & you don’t have time anyway – just so you’ll be liked. You over-book & then forget or cancel at the last-minute

One up-One Down
a. Feel superior – morally better with more value as a person, rather than being better at certain things (not just having a higher IQ), in order one upto keep everyone away, & not acknowledge your need for connection, help, comfort….

b. Feel inferior, believing you’re worse than everyone else (weaker, dumber, less capable….)
— to stave off assumed inevitable abandonment, disappointment AND
— obeying Toxic Rules “I am unlovable” / “I’m too much trouble” / “Don’t have needs”….
— living in deprivation, trying to get others to meet your needs

c. Fake humility – hiding the compulsion to dominate – by being the servant, helper, assistant, perhaps to serve a ‘higher cause’…. while controlling things from the wings

People-Pleasing / Perfectionism
Constantly trying to be or do whatever others want, or what you think they need/want, going above & beyond what’s called for or expected. Make yourself indispensable so they’ll approve of you & never ‘go way‘

Put a burden on others to be the ‘good parents’ you never had, BY:
• dismissing your own ‘voice’ & not taking up enough spacevictim
• going along, suffering in silence – but others can feel it
• give up what you want to avoid conflict, but are quietly resentful
• don’t ask questions, but always trying to explain or defend yourself
• talk in indirect or convoluted ways, instead of declarative statements
• withholding, as a form of silent disapproval
• believing you have nothing worthwhile to contribute……

COMBINED Manipulation of Self & Others
Taking on the Scapegoat Role as a child (NOT the same as being scapegoated by the family). It’s the child’s attempt to spare the obvious narcissist / addict their pain, by taking it on & acting it out for them – assuming this will alleviate the heaviness it can feel in others.
It’s a way the child denies admitting that the abandoning adults are as sick as they are & not willing to change

This manipulative tactic (usually unconscious) continues into adulthood – the ACoAs continuing to sacrifice their own needs, good name & protect familystanding in life – if it will make others ‘feel better’ by avoiding responsibility for their own damage

On one level this Role is genuinely taken on in the name of love, but at a deeper level it’s about the fear of losing connection, the ultimate childhood terror.
Unfortunately, the sacrifice is never successful or unappreciated, only being disrespected & dismissed. So when the Scapegoat is treated badly or ignored, this ACoA gets very angry at anyone they’ve been trying to ‘save’.

Adult Scapegoats only focus on being rejected or & invisible, left outfeeling unloved, excluded, attacked – BUT not seeing that they
— allow themselves to be used & toyed with by unscrupulous types
— experience real or imagined slights as a direct rejection, as if others are focus on them, or hell-bent on hurting them
— perpetuate childhood environment of fear, loneliness & abandonment BY not having a strong core identity based on self-esteem & self-respect.

NEXT: Manipulation #4a

ACoAs being SCAPEGOATED (Part 6)

that their attacks are not about me!

PREVIOUS: Scapegoated (#5)

SITE: Why does a narcissist need to have a scapegoat?

5. Scapegoat-ING ADULT

REVIEW: SCAPEGOATING is a way of acting without integrity – the perpetrator (P) slandering another person in order to take the focus off of themselves.
Most family members, if not all, seem to accept it as the normal way to treat the victim – verbally, emotionally &/or physically abusing one child – & look the other way when the Sc is bullied or otherwise mistreated & made the ‘black sheep’.
It’s usually a long-standing pattern in the whole family, perpetuated because it’s experienced as advantageous – to keep the status quo.

💜 HOW were YOU Scapegoated (Sc)?
This list applies to what happened in childhood, but may still be going on, no matter how old you are. You were the Sc IF YOU were/are —
• picked on by either parent to be the ‘bad one’, who looked for things to make you wrong – most of the time unjustified
• put in the role of family outcast, treated with disdain or disgust by family – & then by yourself
• blamed for others’ actions, & held responsible for family problems, conflicts or challenges, that had nothing to do with you
WERE you
• attacked / punished for telling outsiders the truth about abusive, inappropriate & hurtful family dynamics (‘whistle-blower’)
• never believed when telling the truth about things that actually happened to you or around you, even if you had proof
• blamed for &/or punished for what a sibling did, or for the very same things the other kids were allowed to get away with
• accused unjustly, your actions & motives exaggerated or lied about
WERE you
• told or shown that your accomplishments were bad, ugly, unimportant, useless, worthless
• ignored or rejected by anyone who was/is easily influenced by your torturers (in & out of the family), & perhaps still are
• physically abused (slapped, beaten, kicked, thrown against walls….) whether you did something ‘wrong’, but even when not
• repeatedly accused of behavior only the scapegoater is / was doing (More....)
constantly given contradictory messages or expectations
– Parent regularly yelled at you, then accused you of being abusive
– You were being genuinely thoughtful & caring, but told “all you care about is yourself”
– You were the mentally healthiest family member, but accused of being sick, bad, selfish….. Add your own crazy-making experiences

Bill Taylor, of Stressed Health Professionals & Families says: “ One of the most destructive patterns is the scapegoating of a physically or sexually abused child, especially when the mis-treatment is unknown to anyone except the victim & abuser

REACTIONs: Such a victim will often misbehave or be completely withdrawn, take out their anger on others, develop depression or other signs of emotional distress – as a way of handling the anxiety about the abuse.

They are then punished for acting out, by attacks & beatings, which create even more trauma, increasing the child’s misbehavior.
“Most people can’t imagine the daily hell such children or teens suffer from the combination of physical abuse & emotional scapegoating.” (MORE….)

NOTE: The above list applies to many ACoAs, especially in families where all the kids were abused & neglected in various ways.
However, the focus here is on the one – out of a number of children – who is tortured, while the others are treated a great deal better – at leastshouldn"t hurt to be ak id on the surface. (MORE…..)
💥 In 1995, 6-year-old Elisa Izquierdo was starved and beaten by her mother while her 5 siblings were left unscathed
💥 7 year old Nixmary Brown was the only one chosen for parental abuse & neglect while her 5 siblings were relatively well-treated
💥 In 1996, Nadine Lockwood was starved to death while her 8 siblings were treated fairly well

💧 Not every Sc is tortured to these extremes, but everyone in a scapegoating family is harmed, even those not directly picked on. Just living every day in a sadistic environment eats away at one’s soul – especially vulnerable, developing personalities. SO – if you were not ‘it’ in your childhood, it doesn’t mean you got away emotionally, psychologically & spiritually undamaged.

NEXT: ACoAs being Scapegoated (Part 7a)

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)

‘TRYING TO LEAVE YOU’ Stages (Part 3)

stay sad 

PREVIOUS: “Trying to leave you” (#2)


STYLES of  ‘Leaving’

(see Part 1)
Re. ACoAs: It’s hard to make notes for each stage separately because we are so extreme – not going thru the steps at all, going thru them all in the first few weeks, or staying for years even when we know better….  We too experience endings (leaving or being left), but suffer more that people who are less wounded. So these are general observations of ACoA patterns

LEAVING:  Regardless of our style, personality type, previous experiences…. when we can’t bear it anymore – we leave, but rarely in a healthy way:
a. Even though weither ore know a friendship or relationship is dead & hopeless, we desperately try to hang on, begging, chasing, manipulating, threatening to kill ourselves….
b. We cut someone off – cold turkey, without explanation – & refuse any opportunity for closure.  If the partner or friend is the Clinging type, they will be unprepared & dumbfounded.
We are angry or fed up. We don’t want to deal with their abandonment issues, their tantrums, their sulking & self hate. We don’t want to get sucked back in. Our boundaries are not strong enough & it’s just not healthy

c. One or both create such drama, fighting, emotional upheaval – that the only possible outcome is an explosion & then the big split.  We don’t want to feel our abandonment pain either – anger is a cheap, fast & sometimes cruel or physically dangerous way to get out

d. For some, no matter how bad the situation, there’s no leaving at all – only an ending when one partner dies
e. Some ACoAs are capable of more appropriate exits, but it’s rare

1. ACoA AVOIDERS: Some ACoAs are so afraid of commitment, being trapped, being abused & then left, that they don’t have avoidersany love relationships, don’t make long-term connection, or only have short serial relationships, friends, jobs…

• If they try, they’ll go thru the 5 Stages very quickly – or stop at #2 – over & over,
♝ always finding fault with any hint of imperfection, OR
♝ always picking people & situations that reproduce the original abuse & abandonment, OR
♝ not giving healthy people a chance to develop connections that would be beneficial & uplifting

a. Fantasy
• ACoAs often start relationships in a fantasy fog of symbiosis, all hopeful & excited. There may be very little thought, just a whirlwind of emotions (Es).
Or the thought is: ‘This time it will be different’

• Then the dis-illusionment. The other person says or does something so unacceptable – to us- that it breaks the trance of togetherness.  It may be :
✐ something TOO healthy (setting a boundary, not rescuing),disillusioned OR
✐ something truly hurtful / abusive / disappointing, OR
✐ it’s just that they triggered an old wound of ours.

• We may object, complain, attack…. but we stay rather than start over. We don’t investigate the actual source of our own reaction, & accept the unacceptable, spending all our effort covering up the problems. And then feel depressed.

b. Denial
• We convince ourselves the situation isn’t really that bad – that the mate / job / parent / sponsor / friend … has some ‘superior’ qualities we can’t live without. They may have, but it’s just crumbs, compared to the problems!

• Some of us even KNEW before we got married that this was not the right person – while walking down the aisle, but went thru with it anyway. (like Princess Diana….)

c. Shame (see posts) is caused by currently having any need some up that was regularly abused or neglected in childhood. Many ACoAs consider the Need for Love as a character defect. But needs never goe away. SO we keep picking people whose damage guarantees our continued abandonment!

c. Control
• We make a huge effort to change the other person so we tug_of_wardon’t have to leave, instead of changing ourselves. We badger, cajole, lecture, push, punish, bribe, manipulate. We get back only more resistance – of course!
• We spend a lot time punishing the other person for not being who & what we want, instead of moving on or letting go of our demands & expectations of another.

NEXT: Part 4 (Clingers d. – j.)

‘TRYING TO LEAVE YOU’ Stages (Part 2)

cutting strings

I GUESS THIS IS GOODBYE 😦How could this happen to me!?)

PREVIOUS: Leaving (#1)


Normal: They’re still together, but with a feeling of being stuck & not knowing how to make it better or how to get out. There’s not enough meaning or nourishment to keep it alive, but being in a long-term or committed relationship makes it harder to consider leaving.

They feel disconnected & depressed/ but stay together to avoid the pain of separation
Some form of talk is needed, but if either hints at starting an unpleasant conversation, they’ll find a way to prevent it so they don’t have to invest any feelings

• They have little to say to each other, are bored with the same old stories, don’t want any stagnatingconfrontation, & won’t talk about the relationship because it feels pointless

“Do you want to watch that program?” <> “No, but you go ahead” , “I don’t want to hear that again” <> “I know, you’re not interested in what I have to say!”

• One or both may be experiencing personal problems & possibly blame the other, rather than facing their own issues. But when people are no longer getting their needs met from their partner, they shut down the lines of communication & turn elsewhere

• People can start punishing each other for their own disappointment & loneliness: Well, she/he hasn’t helped me in a long time, so I’m not doing this for her/him”
– may be the kind of thinking behind further withdrawal.


Normal: Now these 2 people who have been in a committed relationship, no longer see themselves in the dyad. They’ve withdrawn their emotions & are ‘spending‘ them elsewhere. Deep emotional distance is an indicator that the union is no longer salvageable. Each person knows in their mind  & heart they’ve detached, & need to protect themself

• They reorganize their lives to avoid being together & may even verbalize it: “I don’t want to talk to ____”.
It can also show up by sleeping in separate beds or rooms, & one or both looking for a new place to live

• People not living together will avoid calls, emails & texts.
“Leave me a message & I’ll get back to you” , “I’m really busy, so I’m sure you’ll understand if we don’t get together this week”

Usually there’s less fighting, but what’s left may be sniping, sarcasm, put-downs. Otherwise, communication is only about practical necessities, if at all

Normal: This stage can be done rather quickly or be dragged out for years.
• It’s the actual physical leaving of the relationship, with a little or a lot of psychological finality. If both parties can accept this, it makes it much easier to move on.

I can’t do this any more. This is the end for me.” <> “Yeah, sure, whatever separationyou say.”

• When one partner has come to their ending point, it’s important & respectful (be ‘clean‘) to actually tell the other person.  This is more likely with a longer-term connection.  Often with less developed ties, one person just stops taking calls, emails…..

• Verbal messages are used to prepare for the end by only using ‘I’ or ‘me’ statements, & meant to create finality & permanent distance “This relationship isn’t working for me anymore” , “Please don’t call me again” .

• It’s not uncommon for one or both people to have another relationship, job, even a new city… waiting in the wings, even if the new ‘love’ is temporary, to get them thru the transition.
✶ Leaving may actually be a benefit to both, even if it hurts. They may need the relationship to end so they can continue their career, their personal growth or to start a more suitable lifestyle.
♥               ♥                ♥

NEXT: “Trying to Leave you” (Part 2) – Clingers

What is EMOTIONAL Abuse? (Part 1)

after being with that person!

PREVIOUS: Grandiosity vs Normal

BOOK: “Co-dependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls” ~ Robert Burney

REVIEW posts on Emotions

How others treat us is about them (their damage or health).
AND –  How we react to others is about us (our wounds or Recovery!)

“Emotional abuse is the foundation of all other types. It’s the most damaging part of physical, sexual, mental….  trauma done to our heart & soul, the way we’re betrayed by the people we love & trust.  It’s is a devastating, debilitating mutilation of our essence – the deepest lasting wound of any abuse .” (MORE….)
Co-dependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls” ~ Robert Burney

• E.A. is also sometimes referred to as Psychological or Mental Abuse, divided into Verbal Aggression, Dominant and Jealous Behaviors – by the “Conflict Tactics Scale”.
Unlike sexual or physical mistreatment, which can cause lasting trauma with only one event, E.A. comes from repeated exposure. E.A. is :
— anything that causes fear by intimidation (US Justice Dept)
pulling hair— motivated by urges for “power & dyscontrol”** (Health Canada)

**Dyscontrol : “A pattern of abnormal, episodic or frequently uncontrollable social behavior, of repeated acts of violent aggression in an otherwise normal person, markedly out of proportion to events that provoked it, which are caused by brain disorders OR substance abuse”

E.A. comes in many guises, obvious or subtle. It’s violence experienced in any relationship which is just as damaging as physical assaults, if not more so, because it goes to the core of who we are as human beings. (Wikipedia)
Many emotional abusers operate under the guise of “teaching, advising, correcting, and/or guiding”, & therefore fly under the radar, spreading their poison year after year.

“Emotional violence is another kind of abuse … not about words, because Perpetrators don’t always resort to using the verbal club, but rather an untraceable poison……
They may in fact, speak very kind words to you, and so – to everyone else – will seem nothing but supportive.  Their covert abuse is administered in small, cunning ways over time.  So the impact is gradual, not immediately visible.”
~ from “THIS IS HOW” Augusten Burroughs
E.A. can be very difficult to identify because:
a. very often there are no outward signs, such as physical scars or broken bones – ‘only’ breaking of the spirit!
It includes the use of coercion, insults, neglect, threats …. to control another person, who loses (or never gains) self-esteem & the freedom to grow.
Victims of E.A. blame themselves for the mistreatment, & their S-H makes them cling to perpetrators, staying because they believe they have nowhere else to go, & no one else will want them.

b. it’s so common in our culture that we don’t consider it a problem. Alice Miller’s “For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child Rearing & the Roots of Violence” (1980) describes this issue. Read Review .
And her “Banished Knowledge” book is about how we’re taught from early on to ignore being treated badly (T.) & how that feels (E.) Read Review.   People who are emotionally hurtful are everywhere, & are usually oblivious to the effect they have on their Victim(s).

Perpetrators (P)  includes people who:
• don’t consider our personality when interacting to us (only their own)
• make a judgmental or belittling comment to us in front of others
• only talk & think about themselves (no room for us)
• tease us using things they know we’re sensitive about
• tell us what to do, how to think, how to feel
• try to make us take care of them, make us feel guilty, act needy…..
• try to fix us with action-suggestions, when we only need empathy

ALSO, the people around the P’s target often validate pubic humiliation & thoughtless or cruel remarks by laughing, as if the mean comment was clever & amusing. It’s a way to cheer the perpetrator on – long as it’s not being done to them! This can come from siblings, school mates, co-workers, club members…
When we are the target – we feel terribly alone, hurt & angry.

NEXT: Emotional Abuse (Part 2)

Considering Abuse

but it must be my fault!

PREVIOUS: Principles of    Character

SITE: re. Categories of abuse

NOTE: This series will have many lists of abusive behaviors, in many categories, & from different perspectives, so there will be a lot of over-lap in headings & examples. This is deliberate. As kids we HAD to ignore, trivialize or forget what was done to us, & then act out those self-destructive patterns in our adult life.

We must identify exactly what happened before we can change it, & repetition is useful in breaking thru our denial. Also, reading or hearing something in different wording & context can more easily get past our defenses. The main (but not exclusive) focus of these posts is on Emotional Abuse.

DEF : Abuse – are all the painful things done to us & around us as kids, & comes in each of 4 PMES categories,
and Neglect – are all the good things we didn’t get, growing up

ABUSE : In general, it’s any communication or behavior designed to control & enslave someone. In alcoholic & narcissistic families it was to keep us ‘in our place’, to prevent us from leaving home, to punish us for not being who or what the Perpetrators expected, or wanted!
It is & was done by causing continual fear, humiliation, intimidation, guilt, coercion & manipulation.

Abuse is any form of intrusion into another’s psyche. It will include :
• a desire to to denigrate, to ignore, to causes pain
• financial, intellectual or spiritual tactics, ranging from mild to lethal
• ignoring or making fun of basic needs
• verbal, physical, sexual &/or emotional attacks
• not respecting privacy, being brutally honest with a sadistic sense of humor, be consistently tactless, expect too much

⚙︎ Most people automatically assume ‘abuse’ only refers to physical harm – yelling, hitting, beating, broken bones …. so will firmly state: “I was never abused growing up”. However, because human beings are made up of 4 interlocking categories (PMES = Physical, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual) we can be wounded OR encouraged in many ways at each level.

Being abused can happen just once with someone, or when  subjected to a bully for a short time. But usually it’s a long-term pattern of behavior by a severely damaged, cruel, angry &/or mentally ill person who uses their position (as parent, boss, teacher, mate, older sibling or friend, community leader…. ) to:
▷ intimidate others who have less personal or social power, OR
▷ take advantage of those who by nature or training are more accommodating & compliant

While most people on occasion act unkindly, even cruelly, when provoked or under great stress, what we are looking at here is ongoing attitudes & actions that tear us down, body & soul. Even when they seem intermittent, over time they wear at us !
Therefore ACoAs can honestly say that we were severely & regularly abused by our damaged parents (& other authority figures) , especially re. emotions (Es). Genuine Es are NOT widely recognized, valued or encouraged in our society much less in dysfunctional families. So we ended up ignoring or minimizing them in ourselves, as well as in others, especially if we did’t get physically or sexually attacked as kids.

Most of us never felt loved but blamed ourself for the lack. Regardless of what our parents said or how they felt about us in their own minds & hearts – their distorted way of treating us was not an expression of healthy Love.
So to compensate, we look for it everywhere we go, & from everyone we deal with.
This can make us vulnerable to a subtle form of abuse – being ‘over-loved’, needed & depended on too much, OR being over-protected & infantilized.

These are actually ways to treat us as an extension of the person who claims to love us, as an object rather than a separate being, or a means of their personal gratification. It’s never about what the we the ‘beloved’ really needs or wants.
LOVE is the emotion with the highest energy vibration. IT:
🔅feels good, because it’s the absence of fear
🔅is an action, not just a feeling, so requires attention
🔅is unconditional, understands & accepts differences
🔅has empathy, no room for jealousy, is not needy, but has wants
🔅means putting other people’s needs equal to, or before our own
🔅varies in how it’s expressed & accepted, which can include letting go, so doesn’t demand continuing a relationship

NEXT: Victims or not?

Co-dependence & the False Self

have me trapped in the mirror

PREVIOUS: Co-dep & Roles #1

SITE: False Self, Real Self – the games we play with our identity”

✤ Anatomy of Emotional Warfare (key player is the False Self)

✤ 3 Reasons to Embrace Your “False” Self

BOOK: Is it Love or is it Addiction? ~ Brenda Schaeffer

We focus all our attention on the needs, feelings & problems of another person – instead of ourselves – including the ones we think they have, in order to make that person love us AND never leave us.  So we feel guilty when we don’t tend to their wishes, needs or demands!

The False Self  (FS)
✶ We developed it in our dysfunctional home, where we came to believe we needed someone & something outside of ourselves to be complete, to feel safe, to have any worth at all, even to give us permission to exist!

✶ Basing life on a False Self robs us of our dignity & individuality! It’s what the Adapted Child ego state becomes when we’re not properly nurtured in childhood, & which ends up running our life until we do FoO work in Recovery   (CHART  ➡️)

• The concept of the FS was developed in the 60s by Dr. Donald Winnicott, who specialized in Object-Relations psychology.
The FS is motivated by a basic need to survive, starting in infancy – an unconscious choice to change our behavior, repress our emotions & push aside our own needs – in order to fit in with others who cannot accept us as we really are.
It comes out of a desperate attempt to control a person or situation that is actually out of our control

• It includes 5 USES and 5 levels ⬇️, the most extreme being when the True Self is completely hidden, while the FS appears authentic to the person & everyone else, & may be successful in the world but fails in intimate relationships
➼ In contrast, the True Self is the core of we who are, unshaped by upbringing or society, the person we were born as & still exists inside

☔︎ Attachment Trauma = a developmental shock that may become hard-wired into child’s brain & personality structures. Desperate longing & emotions addiction becomes a defense mechanism against the anxiety of too early or difficult separation from mother.

☔︎ Toddlers = Defiant & oppositional behavior persisting beyond age 3 may indicate an attachment disorder.  Child can develop other “upper defenses” to maintain this separateness, & support the inflated False Self.

☔︎ Co-dependent = Children create a False Self (FS)as a reaction to not having enough emotional & social support in order to become emotionally & psychologically separate from parents (grow up)
☔︎ Counter-dependent = child block feeling of shame for only being loved conditionally or not loved at all.  The FS prevents being totally traumatized by abandonment & abuse. This defense typically shows up as the child (& later the adult) seeming to be strong & capable, while not feeling that way inside

☔︎ Addictions = Later on – addictions the are associated with separation trauma (upper drugs, work, quick sex, traveling & over-consuming…. ) are inadequate & unsatisfying substitutes for deep union with the Divine, just like the unavailable emotional connection with the mother.
Unfortunately, it often takes people a long time to discover that unresolved developmental trauma is the cause of many of their adult problems.

(MORE.… a Case Study

CHART a. False Self created by absorbing Negative Introject



 CHART b. True Self as the integrated authority of a fully developed, emotionally intelligent grownup (by Roland J. Schuster

Also read  “What Represents True Self“?

NEXT: Roles & Co-dep Part 2