Being CONFIDENT (Part 5)

is an expression of self-esteem

PREVIOUS: Being confident (Part 4)

SITE: ‘Creating Confidence” (scroll down for the 10 tips)

QUOTES: “Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in giving creates love.”
“When you are content to simply be yourself, & don’t compete or compare, everyone will respect you.” Lao Tzu

REMINDER: Do NOT let yourself get overwhelmed by this 5-part list. It’s meant to be a guide, qualities to work towards. To look at the cup half full – or more – notice & then acknowledge when you have expressed a little of any one of these in your daily life. Then give yourself a pat on the back, & remind your Inner Child of your progress!

CONFIDENT People (cont):
stand out in a crowd. Confident people tend to be more successful in life, have better personal relationship & perform better at school or at work

● appreciate compliments. Allowing oneself to receive, graciously & with appreciation, is a sign of solid self-esteem. Knowing their abilities & value, they don’t need to minimize or reject expressions of honor & appreciation from others, freely given. It lets other have the joy of giving, as well. This self-knowledge also helps distinguish between compliments that are genuine, & those that are manipulative & controlling.
EXP: “Thanks, I really worked hard on that —-. I’m pleased you recognize my efforts.”

●  are thankful & don’t complain. They keep in mind all the benefits & blessings they DO have, & work toward what they still lack or desire. They acknowledge, appreciate AND enjoy what’s available, which generates inner peace

●  are shrewd (clever, crafty - but not sneaky). Being practical, savvy & having good judgement creates self-confidence, giving them an edge. Confident people know when to keep going, & when to step away from a situation. They’re often good at quickly sizing up others, figuring out social hierarchies & potential hot buttons. When they combine being clever with wisdom, they can get a lot accomplished without stepping on toes.
BTW: Crafty means taking an existing idea & turning it into something new, exciting and dynamic, or the ability to come up with fresh ideas at a moments notice, & be able to deal with stress in ways most others would never think of doing.

 are accepting & respectful. Confident people are often the most accepting of others, no matter their shortcomings – even when they may not like someone – because they respect themselves & know that all human beings are part of a larger whole. They can do this because they:
> know & own their own weaknesses, so don’t judge others
> understand everyone is different, with their own process & path
> don’t need others to be a certain way in order to feel safe
> realize they don’t have the power to change others
➼ They try to live by: “I will do unto others as I would want them to do unto me and my love ones.”

●  are supportive, but don’t interfere. They put other people at ease, giving them honest support & encouragement when called for. They see the positive things in others, and letting others know what they admire – without jealousy or bitterness – creates long-lasting healthy relationships.
AND, they stay out of people’s way when they can not be of help or are not needed, instead of having to put their two cents in.

●  celebrate their successes, & those of others. They are proud of their accomplishment & are grateful for any ‘good luck’ that comes their way. Even when they ‘lose’ to someone else, they’re truly happy when others do well, especially loved ones, because it allows them to be surrounded by accomplished & happy people. So they don’t mind when the spotlight shines on others.

THOUGHTS: Confidence is one of the most attractive and powerful trait someone can have – as long as it’s grounded in self-esteem & respect for others. People are drawn to those who are comfortable with themselves.
• Confidence does not automatically come from genius or beauty, but by the way we think & feel about ourselves & the world. That means anyone can become confident. (YOU too!)

• Confident people are not ‘up’ all the time, which would be unhealthy & unrealistic. When they are ‘down’, stressed, confused or unhappy, they know :
– it won’t be forever, and
– they’ll be able to find a way under, over or around the discomfort, either by themselves or with help.
• Confident people search out & make use of all the resources available in their world to improve life for themselves & others.

➼ NO ONE has all of these characteristics – at least not 100% each. Confident people will have many of them – but in varying proportions, with some showing up early in their life, others not until much later.
REMEIC confidenceMBER: Progress, not perfection!

Being CONFIDENT (Part 4)

jump over errors 

& it’s OK to not be perfect

PREVIOUS: Being Confident, Part 3

SITE: “Line of confidence” chart, to help businesses & families

QUOTES: “The more you love your decisions, the less you need other to love them too.” Anon
“I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” Carl Jung

REMINDER: Do NOT let yourself get overwhelmed by this 5-part list. It’s meant to be a guide, qualities to work towards. Looking at the cup half full – or more – notice & then acknowledge when you have expressed a little of any one of these in your daily life. Then give yourself a pat on the back, & remind your Inner Child of your progress!

CONFIDENT People (cont):
●  are driven to improve themselves. They take the time to be introspective, evaluate their actions, Things to give upown weaknesses, process any leftover childhood damage, & always look to the future. They relish searching for & finding how things work, what they can do to improve themselves & their performance – in all area of their life, & are willing to outgrow any bad habits that hinder their progress.

●  trust their judgment. Instead of focusing on trusting others, they rely on their experience & observations to identify who’s safe & who’s not. They don’t need to second-guess themselves,

●  don’t mind making mistakes. They can admit in any circumstance that they don’t have all the answers. Not worried about being wrong, they can graciously accept & admit it when they are. They bounce back from errors, using it as an opportunity to learn about what is correct. Even the most confident people have some insecurities. They’ve learned that life is full of ups & downs, & that feeling insecure may depend on where they are, who they’re with, their health, good or bad events…. but it doesn’t last.

● recognize mistakes & setbacks are learning opportunities. They don’t berate themselves for errors in action or judgment, realizing that every mistake is an opportunity to learn more about their likes & dislikes, who other people are, what’s possible or not in the world, & then figuring out ways to be more successful next time. Seeing errors or setbacks in this way shifts our thinking toward the positive, creating more confidence

● aren’t afraid to look silly. They don’t mind being seen when they’re not at their best. Occasionally “looking bad” makes them more human & accessible. They don’t have to be 100% a 100% of the time. They can be caught off guard, unprepared, be the butt of a joke, having a bad hair day, or find the equipment isn’t working for a presentation – without becoming self-conscious or awkward. They may be able to quietly ‘fix’ the problem, or just go with the flow, depending on the circumstance.

• Confident people have a good sense of humor, about themselves & life in general, so even if they can’t tell a joke to save their lives, they can appreciate the irony in everyday events. Being genuine & unpretentious encourages other people to laugh with them, not at them.

●  avoid self-promotion. Positive self-assurance permits genuine modesty / humility. They’re not as bothered (as insecure people are) if they don’t get all the credit for their ideas or hard work. Braggart are insecure & lack self-respect, who are secretly thinking: “Please notice me and tell me that I’m special”.
• Confident people know what they’re capable of – or not – & their actions speak for them. They enjoy being acknowledged, admired, lauded, respected…. because they’re comfortable with who they are & what they’ve achieved. But they don’t need the glory from others, since true validation is an inside job.

●  don’t need approval from the whole world. A professional and social network of hundreds or even thousands may have some business advantages, but don’t contribute to self-esteem. Confident people would rather have the respect & trust of a handful of people they consider important. Where ever they go or what they try, those who truly matter believe in them & are consistently supportive, whether at home, at work or in public.

●  don’t gossip, envy or compare. They can keep confidences (+), & don’t want to participate in rag-fests (-), since they don’t have a need to be one-up to anyone.
They don’t compare themselves to others, or others to each other. Each person is unique, with their own personality & experiences. Al-Anon says to not “compare & despair”.
They rarely focus on envy or jealousy, (which is intensified by comparisons), because they are empowered by being able to achieve their own goal. For confident people, what others are or have is ‘none of their business’.

NEXT: Confident People (Part 5)

Being CONFIDENT (Part 3)

abilities?LET’S SEE, I’M A:
boss, parent, cook, linguist…..

PREVIOUS:  Being Confident (Part 2)

QUOTES: “Confidence, like art, never comes from knowing all the answers. It comes from being open to all the questions.” ~ Earl Gray Stevens, UK peer
“The only person you should try better than – is the person you were yesterday” ~Anon

REMINDER: Do NOT let yourself get overwhelmed by this 5-part list. It’s meant to be a guide, qualities to work towards. Looking at the cup half full – or more – notice & then acknowledge when you have expressed a little of any one of these in your daily life,. Then give yourself a pat on the back, & remind your Inner Child of your progress!

CONFIDENT People (cont):
● use positive language. Words are used to reinforce a confident image, talking positively about their life or of their environment. In social situations they avoid foisting their problems on others, keeping complaints & criticism to a minimum, since it’s not useful in most relationships.
– When meeting new people they’re not shy about leading with a personal introduction, which underscores respect for themselves, & signals that what they have to say is worth listening to

stick to their principles. They know what they believe in, & are willing to fight (silently or out loud) for those beliefs, even when in the minority. They maintain personal integrity by doing what they believe to be correct, whether others encourage or mock them. It’s about doing the right thing for the right reason, even when no one is watching.
A SAYING: “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.”confidence cycle

● are ambitious & competitive. It’s one of their main traits: they know what they want, easily defining their goals, &  persistently work toward them. They love to test their skill & ability to handle demanding situations, against the best efforts of others, because they believe they win, even if they ‘lose’.

● are determined & hard-working. They know their goals are their own & are worth pursuing, so they will not abandon them, even if it sometimes seems impossible, or have to be delayed. They believe it’s better to try & fail, & continue trying, than to give up and let doubt take over.
They know the best path to reaching their goals is by putting in sustained effort, no matter how difficult or tiring. Hard-working people are confident, and confident people are hard-working. It’s a chicken-egg thing.

● accept change & delay. It is said that “Change is the only constant.” While confident people may not always like the changes they have to deal with, they accept them and do their best to go with the flow. They can manage the frustration of waiting for things to unfold, knowing that some things take longer than others. “Delay is OK”

● take responsible risks. They are able to take risks because they’re not afraid to lose or to be wrong. While confident in their abilities, they also have learned that nobody wins them all, but they have a good chance to win out some other time or in a different situation. They’re willing to go the extra mile, but know the difference between a gamble and a risk, so they’re not foolhardy nor act impulsively
– They always try to minimize potential dangers to themselves & others by making informed choices among available options, & consider the pros & cons of possible outcomes. They prepare as much as they can, & then take whatever actions they feel are worth the possible benefit they’re aiming for. Gaining enough benefits in life makes the occasional loss bearable.

● like to learn, & try new things. They’re eager to find out about many different cultures, ideas, locations & ways of doing things. With an open mind, they gain extensive knowledge, as well as have strong personal opinions about things that are important to them. They’re genuinely interested in what others think, & listen attentively. They know a lot, but know there’s always more to learn. Trying new things encourages personal growth & the opportunity to connect with others.

● listen much more than they speak. One study found that over 80% of confident people don’t talk randomly, nor a great deal. In most cases they’d rather listen, but when it’s their turn, they talk easily & boldly. While they are comfortable expressing themselves, they know when to be quiet. Because they’re not driven by deep anxiety, they can let others shine – or be wrong – without jumping in.

– They’re not shy about sharing their knowledge, but don’t need to show off or preach. They already know what they think, so they want to know where others are coming from. They understand that most people like to talk about themselves, so it’s OK to give others the opportunity. They tend to ask open-ended questions that gives someone a chance to be introspective & to be ‘seen’, such as: “What you do, how you do it, what do you like about it, what have you learned from it…. ?”

NEXT: Confident People (Part 4)

Being CONFIDENT (Part 2)

confidence balance I BALANCE the EXTREMES BETWEEN healthy & unhealthy, too much & too little, 

PREVIOUS:  Being Confident (Part 1)

QUOTES: “Kindness in Thinking creates Profoundness. Kindness in Words creates Confidence. Kindness in Giving creates Love.” (&) “When you are content to simply be yourself, & don’t compete or compare, everyone will respect you.” Lao Tzu

REMINDER: Do NOT let yourself get overwhelmed by this list. It’s meant to be a guide, qualities to work towards. Looking at the cup half full – or more – notice & then acknowledge when you have expressed a little of any one of these in your daily life, give yourself a pat on the back, & remind your Inner Child of your progress!

CONFIDENT People (cont):
take responsibility for their thought, emotions & actions. This includes all their positive parts, as well as the less ideal ones. They don’t need to blame others when things don’t work out, but also don’t take on blame for things that have nothing to do with them.

can be alone with their own thoughts. They know that mental GIGO means thinking, reading & listening to positive, healthy, enjoyable things, which can improve their knowledge & lift the spirit. Their inner dialogue is not harsh from Self-Hate, nor confused from listening to the PP, or fear & lack of self-awareness.  So they don’t have to fill every minute with conversation, technology (TV, e-mail, cellphones, texting, web surfing, playing games….) & other time-waters,  in order to numb out.

trust their instincts.  They pay careful attention to their environment,
pick up on non-verbal cues, listen to the feeling in their gut & the still small voice in their head. They do not ignore these cues, even tho they can’t be explained logically. Instincts are an important tool in their bag of life skills, guiding them on their path, helping to make the best choices

‘keep it simple’. Whenever possible they find the simplest, sanest way to do things, no matter where they are or who they’re dealing with. They never have to re-invent the wheel, & don’t hang out in convoluted, torturous thinking, drama or awful-izing. Knowing who they are & what they want,  they can think clearly, so don’t easily get sidetracked or manipulated.

follow their goals and dreams. They’re comfortable owning their talents & desires, knowing they are part of their True Self. They don’t let fear, doubt or other people’s negativity prevent them from striving for their plans & visions. They want to have a purposeful life – to fulfill as much of their destiny as possible, & contribute to improving society

use alone-time ‘wisely’. They’re not often lonely when no one is around. They may use free time to process recent events, work on a hobby, do a spiritual practice, converse with their Inner Child, or just enjoy being quiet & peaceful. If they need to hide out or isolate, to recover from an illness or great stressor, it’s temporary.

accept help whenever they need it. They’re not ashamed of not knowing everything, or of not being able to do everything themselves, so are not afraid to ask for & receive emotional support & practical help. Confident people are secure enough to admit having limitations, & don’t see that as a sign of weakness  They know that when seeking help they pay someone a huge compliment – it shows genuine respect for that person’s expertise and judgment. Otherwise they wouldn’t have asked.  They are eager and willing to learn from others

are optimistic. They have a realistic view of their future, knowing from experience that bad situations eventually right themselves, & that stresses can be overcome with sensible plans. They have the ability to see the light at the end of the tunnel, & plan their journey toward it. Optimism allows confident people to believe that they will be OK, no matter how bad the current situation may seem. They never give up, but know it’s good to regularly take a break.

counter doubt with positive actions.
Never having any doubts about Conf. vs doubtoneself is a sign of severe narcissism & other pathologies. However, most people experience  an occasional knock to their self -worth. In those cases, confident people take some time to question their motives & review their choices, but don’t get paralyzed. Their mind is focused on solutions, so they take actions as soon as possible, or keep working towards a better outcome in the future. One antidote to doubt is an increase in productive activity. (CHART, re confidence & tennis...)

assume: “Why not?, Why not me?”  Truly confident people know they have almost unlimited access to PPT, with the right to ask for & get a piece of whatever is available in their environment – but done fairly & legitimately. They know there’s ‘enough for everyone’, so they don’t have to wait endlessly (for permission) to express their ideas or get what they’ve earned – promoted, hired, chosen, acknowledged, ‘discovered’….
They create networks & relationships, often quietly, behind the scenes. They aren’t afraid to choose their own path, instead of following the most used one.

NEXT: Confident People (Part 3)

Being CONFIDENT (Part 1)


makes me happy, not arrogant

PREVIOUS: Double Messages (#9)

QUOTES: “To wish you were someone else is a waste of the person you are.” Meelia121

“Don’t let what you can’t do stop you from doing what you can do.” John Wooden, sports coach & motivational writer

DEF: Confidence comes from a positive & realistic assessment of one’s
abilities, talents, creativity, knowledge, personal judgment, power and worth.

CONFIDENT people are usually HAPPY PEOPLE
ACoAs: Remember that we were not allowed to be ourselves from the get-go, so we have to work hard at uncovering our True Self, fighting the PP voice which doesn’t want us to find this out. Contrary to what many of us have been taught, self-confidence is not arrogance, which is an over-evaluaWellness aspectstion of one’s worth, often displayed in offensive expressions of superiority & false pride.

➼ The following are some basic characteristics of mentally healthy people – GOALs which everyone can strive for. No one is confident all the time, so we are NOT looking for perfection in anything – only progress! (CHART…)

• have a clear sense of self – they know who they are, fundamentally – their basic inborn qualities, special abilities & gifts, their hard-earned accumulated knowledge, likes & dislikes, dreams & hopes. They’re not afraid to admit their flaws & limitations, but don’t dwell on them.

• show it in how they carry themselves. Unless they’re ill or disabled – (which does not diminish truly confident people), they have a self-assured walk, stand or sit with head straight, shoulders back, give eye contact when engaged in conversation…. In any case, they are comfortable in their skin.

• don‘t beat themselves up. Being human is to not be perfect, which they accept, & are therefore not ashamed of being limited or of having shortcoming. When they don’t know something or have a ‘weak’ moment, they identify the issue, try to find a solution, dust themselves off and keep going. There is never a legitimate reason for self-abuse.

• take care of themselves. They don’t wait for others to do for them what they can do for themselves.  They are willing to learn better & easier ways to do things, & look for ways to make their life less complicated or stressful.

• pay attention to their health. GIGO (Garbage in, Garbage out) applies to the body as well as the mind, both of which they treat with respect. As much as their circumstances will allow -  they give themselves quality nourishment in the form of healthy food, fresh air, relaxation & activity,  get regular medical attention, taking appropriate vitamins & medication, as needed.

learn from their past without dwelling on it. They’re willing to acknowledged & deal with old trauma, but don’t get stuck in it. They recognize when their old thinking & behavior patterns limit their progress, & are determined to improve whatever they can. They keep moving forward, but accept & learn from the past, knowing it’s part of their identity

don’t absorb criticism. Because they regard themselves positively, they don’t feel judged or belittled, even if someone is trying to do that, especially by people who know very little or nothing about them. They’re not shaken by others’ opinions of them, & in many cases they don’t even bother defending themselves

refuse to be victims. Not everyone had a painful or traumatic childhood, but everyone has had difficulties & challenges some time in their life. The confident person refuses to let stressors get them down for too long – even if they truly were victims as children.  Feeling compassion for oneself in not the same as self-pity, which is more about believing one is powerless & hopeless, than feeling sad about experiencing painful events.
– AND they refuse to be victimized. They don’t let others abuse or take advantage of them, because they know their own worth, without arrogance

have strong personal boundaries. This requires knowing their needs & rights in order to ask for what they want, or to stop others from inappropriately imposing their needs or desires. They don’t try to please others just for the sake of making others happy, in order to prevent feeling abandoned. They know when to say Yes & when to say No, but not as a way to be controlling or boost their ego.

NEXT: Being Confident (Part 2)

Double Messages – RESULTS (9)


stay in this trap!

PREVIOUS: DMs – ACoAs (Part 8b)

SITE: The Power of Vulnerability

OUTCOME of Double Messages which cause Double Binds
HINT that we’re in a DB: When we compulsively over-react to a communication in the DM form, & are surprised by our behavior – like being in a trance – “I just wasn’t myself.” AND then the sender (S) blames us for the conflict that often results, but we can’t see how or why we caused it. We become frustrated, distrusting the sender, (“What DO you really mean / want?”), but distrust ourselves more (“What did I do wrong?”).
We don’t realize our reactions are normal & fit the situation, because – while we are in fact a temporary prisoner – we’re not the creator or cause of that prison, which is the very thing the S wants the receiver (R) to believe.

BASIC RESULTS of DMs – we believe THAT:
1. I’m crazy – what’s really going on here?
>Can’t decide what’s real – leading to ‘pathologies’
2. I’m at fault – I’m always causing problems in this relationship.
>Can’t step out of the attachment to the significant other (S)
3. I’m stupid – can’t figure this out, no matter how hard I try.
>Can’t understand or use META-communication (subtext & cues to get meaning)
4. I’m stuck – whichever way I turn, I can’t move.
>Can’t withdraw from the situation or see a way out

IMP: To sum up, DMs generate the excruciating feeling of SHAME.
DMs inevitably lead us to believe that we are doing something wrong, which for children (and ACoAs) translates into ‘I AM fundamentally flawed’! Brené Brown reminds us that shame comes from the belief that our essence is bad, and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging.  The problem is that we still believe this as adults (Part 8b).

To get out of the trap we’ve been put in, we need to have emotional resilience.  While various kinds of therapy are vital to healing, being able to bounce back is also encouraged by the support of friends, family & a spiritual community. They can help us bounce back from any form of trauma & the resulting grief it causes. Shame separates us from those rich sources of resilience. It makes us distrust & judge ourselves, disconnecting us from our intuitive wisdom. Doubting our sanity & basic value, we hide parts or all of ourselves by withdrawing emotionally &/or physically from the very relationships that would nourish us.

Re. RESILIENCE: 10 Traits of Emotionally Resilient People
Re SHAME: “Healing the Shame that Binds You”, John Bradshaw

• No matter what the situation, anyone caught in a DB suffers damage to their ego – i.e one’s self esteem. Review posts: ‘Ego States’ / ‘S & I’
EXP: when a command is given by a Sender (S), the ‘commandee’ (Receiver - R) will naturally want to resist, because:
– If they DO comply they’re arbitrarily & unwillingly giving in to the other person – which damages the ego, BUT
– If they do NOT comply they risk loss & punishment – which also damages the ego. YET a cornered R will choose to give in, which weakens them even more.

• “Learned Helplessness” : In a classic study (U. of Penn, 1960s) animals were repeatedly hurt by an electric shock when trying to get out of a locked cage. After many attempts, the animals stopped making the effort – to avoid the pain. Eventually the experimenters opened the cage door, left it open & turned off the shock grid, giving the animals a change to get out. BUT, even seeing the door open did not induce them to make a dash for freedom – they’d ‘learned their lesson’ too well – unwilling to take the risk of being hurt again.

Not Feeling: D.Binded children grow up learning they have no choice but to submit. But being naturally in touch with their emotions & intuition, they are more likely to resist & react – at first. The emotional pull of the unspoken message (META-language) is stronger than the overt verbal request. They can ‘feel’ something is wrong, but don’t know what, or why they keep getting into so much trouble with the controller.

> Eventually, to survive the emotional & mental torture of the D.Bind, children slowly learn to ignore their feelings/ emotions. They unconsciously train their mind to only focus on the S’s words, in an attempt to avoid punishment – which sadly is impossible. By compartmentalizing, they can hide the painful reality from their conscious mind, the part in charge of daily functioning. This is then carried over into adulthood as a deeply ingrained pattern of denial.

Having Feelings: Yet in spite of this defense, Rs do have strong emotions about being D.Binded, especially long-term, even when they can’t figure out what’s actually going on. Lack of understanding and suppressed emotions turn into depression & anxiety – with ‘no seeming cause’, because perpetrators (S) almost always portrays themselves as blameless – to everyone!

Rs are stuck in a self-imposed DB of both loving & hating one’s captor/beloved. For adults, the confusion created by DMs leaves victims assuming they have no options, causing great anguish.
– Turned outward: it’s anger/ rage – at the S. This is usually pushed down & smolders under the surface, becoming resentment & bitterness.
– Turned inward: it’s S-H & despair – at oneself. Being in a no-win environment saps the will, & leaves us disconnected from self & others.

Interestingly, when D.Bindss are successfully overcome & then transcended, they can be turned into great creativity. Robert Dilts writes: “Genius comes from a passionate commitment to the integration of multiple perspectives

NOTE: There are 10 more post in this arc, which will be about Double BINDS, the result of DMs.  But to break it up, the series will be continued next month

NEXT: Being CONFIDENT (Part 1)

Double MESSAGES – ACoAs (Part 8b)

acoa DBs

If I let go, I’ll be all alone! Wa-a-a-a

PREVIOUS:  ACoAs & DM (Part 8a)

1. DM from Family

2. How WE D.Bind ourselves, as a result
Once we have a working knowledge of this ‘game’ we can take a serious look at the D. Messages we give ourselves & how the repercussions permeate our whole life.

• We rarely realize what we’re ‘saying’ to ourselves, or that it comes from the WIC (R = receiver) via the PP (S = sender).  EXP:
Belief A – I’m good when I flirt (sexy, desirable, successful…) – AND
Belief B – I’m bad when I flirt (slutty, superficial, manipulative…)
If I DO flirt I’m inundated with Self-hate (ACoAs’ main form of self-punishment, courtesy of the PP).  Flirting expresses my natural sexuality, but I can’t enjoy being seen as sexual because it shows that I’m ‘dirty’.
If I DON’T flirt, I may: > ‘put off’ potentially positive relationships
> miss out on -safe- attention, compliments, sex… (my right to have)
> be considered frigid, unfriendly, a snob…. (even tho’ I’m just scared!)
> miss opportunities to get legitimate favors, help & considerations by being charming….

• Another way we trap ourselves & frustrate others is being stuck in the ‘Complain-Help offered-Reject-Complain’ syndrome.
– We go on & on about a problem to anyone who will listen, implying that we need help. (Of course we would never ask for it outright!) BUT
– When people offer possible solutions, we reject them all & continue complaining!
WHY: The suggestions may not fit our specific need, but most often – we are addicted to being unhappy (the victim), don’t feel worthy of being helped, or think there is no solution – for us.
Eric Berne calls it the “Why don’t you – Yes, But….” Game
ALSO: See post: “People should treat me better, but I won’t let them”

BUT the most common Double Bind we put OURSELVES in
is the familiar 3-part hamster-wheel-acoa DB wheelthinking, often by those of us in some form of ‘growth’ process:
A: I’m stuck & in a lot of pain. I’m trying really hard to recover from my childhood, which I -sort of- know wasn’t so great. I read books, go to Meetings & therapy, Couple’s Counseling, seek out alternative & spiritual healing …..AND/BUT,

B. No matter how hard I try I’ll never get any better. I’m always going to mess up, & get abandoned. I’ll never get the relationship I want, I don’t know how to love, I wouldn’t know a healthy person if they bit me!…..
It’s my fault because I’m just too slow, too dense, too stubborn, too damaged.
C. I can’t notice or object or escape my self-imposed trap!!

Can you hear the D.Message, creating the D.Bind? 
• Position A. implies that you’ve been wounded AND can heal from it. You believe it’s actually possible to Recover because you did not start out defective – you were damaged by your early environment, so you’re willing to do the work at healing – as unfair as that is!.
At the same time:
• Position B. blatantly asserts that your ‘f—ed-up-ness’ was not caused by anyone other than yourself. Didn’t your family love you, mean well & do the best they could? It was you who were born defective & therefore it’s hopeless to improve or outgrow your flaws & weaknesses. It’s just the way it is – everything is your own fault & it’s never going to change. You cause your own misery, but it’s what you deserve, so “why bother”.

You can’t have it both ways! Either you’re wounded & can heal, or you’re defective & therefore intrinsically, irrevocably worthless.
a. If you were truly defective you’d be un-repairable. So why would you even try to work on yourself? Why go into Recovery? It would be futile – a waste of time & money
b. However -  If you are in fact wounded – by your upbringing AND not your fault! – then you can slowly outgrow the damage.
BUT to do that you must give up the belief that there’s something fundamentally wrong with your personality. It cannot be both A & B! With this conflict UNresolved, is it any wonder why we’re stuck?

BTW – some ACoAs try to cover up this dilemma by always being angry, distant & blaming everyone else for their problems, but the original DM  (Form #3) is always running in the background, like a computer virus.

NEXT: DMs – Results (Part 9)

Double MESSAGES – ACoAs (Part 8a)

acoa DBs

I’ve been so duped!

PREVIOUS: Double Messages, Part 7 

SITE: Double Binds – used by religions & cults

1. Many of us grew up drowning in D.Messages. Being raised in this kind of atmosphere we know no other way to connect with others, & use this style of communicating in all our relationships, especially the intimate ones. So if we’re serious about our personal growth & taking responsibility for our interactions with others, it’s important to get a handle on how this all plays out.

Childhood EXP: Often in alcoholic families where the addict (& most everyone else) is/are in total denial – if one member has the nerve to complain about or object to the harmful effects of the drinking, the alcoholic (& others) will label that person as THE problem, instead of the addiction, because they’re disrupting the family’s fragile mobile (Post: B. Distortions, #1). Then that member is forced either into being an enabler OR forced to withdraw & eventually leave the family. Either way – everyone loses.

Adult EXP: 2 clients who both attended 12-Step meetings were going to the same psychologist – separately. At some point they started dating.
> Sarah didn’t tell the therapist right away, but instead asked his opinion about seeing someone in the Program. The reply was that it was not a great idea, especially in the first year of attendance. Sarah finally came out with the whole story but concluded: “I get it, you just don’t want me to date Chuck!”

> After a few weeks Sarah was complaining during her session about all the problems she was having with Chuck. She said “So why didn’t you warn be against seeing him? Aren’t you supposed to be helping me?”
>> AND there was the DM: The therapist was bad for “preventing” and bad for “not preventing”. However, he didn’t get caught, but pointed out the Double Bind she had created so she wouldn’t have to own her decision or deal with the stress of two Wounded Inner Children trying to have an adult relationship! PS: the 2 clients married & eventually divorced.

COMPETENCE vs INCOMPETENCE – the BASIC DB that severely dysfunctional parents put their kids in, usually the Hero Child. A. They expect / demand that we to take care of them, WHILE  B. constantly berating us as worthless failures.
THEY SAY (or imply):
A. Be dysfunctional, like us (so we don’t feel so alone)
• parents (& therefore our Introject) want us to be exactly like THEM:
fearful, self-hating, stuck, not risking, depressed, powerless, or controlling, angry, limited, paranoid ….
• and they spend a lot of time putting US down, telling us all the things we can NOT do, how lazy, weak, wrong, selfish & over-sensitive we are
AND, at the same time:
. Be functional, like we wish we were (so you can be there for us)
•  we must make them feel safe, not feel abandoned, fix them, be their parent, …
• and in order to take care of  them, we have to be:
– competent, able to take risks, be perfect!
– have backbone, fight fort hem, save them from themselves
–  be really smart & use all our knowledge (but only for THEM)
C. Be in Denial. Their message is: “DENY, deny, deny what we’re doing to you.” “How dare you speak to me that way?! Stop complaining, after all I’ve sacrificed for you!…. ” They won’t tolerate questioning or objections to how they’re treating us, saying that we’re ungrateful & making things up, being defiant, ‘difficult’, spoiled….

➼ This DM forms the basis of our own DB – next post

OUR PAIN: They were our first role models. What kind of example did they set for us to copy? Kids absorb & imitate their parents, regardless. We imprint on them like little ducklings! Yet all they left for us is fear & confusion.
• If they were capable of truly loving us, they would have wanted us to be happy, free & successful – for ourselves.  So obviously they didn’t / couldn’t love us – not really! No matter how much we don’t want to hear that, the WIC knows!  Just because they say/said “I love you” doesn’t mean they do – except in some narcissistic way . Otherwise they would treat us like gold!

HINT: *Healthy parental love is expressed in many ways, but most of all in being Nurturing. Children can only develop self-esteem if they feel truly loved by their parents. And that can only happen if parents have the capacity to be loving, kind, supportive, rational, available, sober….  not just give lip service.
SO: How well do you like yourself? Are you comfortable in your skin? Do you feel safe in the world?

Suggested READING: How to parent effectively”
“Being Loving and Nurturing”
10 Signs that show your Parent’s love for you
40 Ways To Show Your Child Love
“5 Qualities to Nurture in Your Child” - (What they help you develop, to function well in the world)

NEXT: ACoAs & Self DBs, Part 8b

Double MESSAGES – Forms (Part 7)

different way to get trapped!

PREVIOUS: DMs Part 6 -  Styles

SITE: Double Bind: Escaping the Contradictory Demands of Manhood Rodney L. Cooper, Ph.D.,

REVIEW: Double Messages (DMs) are manipulative forms of verbal abuse – always about control rather than love, no matter what someone tells you. DMs are not usually blatant or presented directly, but most often come in the form of seduction or as accusation. They’re structured so that the Receiver is deliberately conned into believe there’s no solution, & so no escape from the trap. We can also play this game with ourselves, & ACoAs often do.

PURPOSE of using D.Messages to D.BIND another:
1. from Manipulation to ‘evil’
a. to keep you symbiotically tied to the Sender, unable to escape – preventing your autonomy & personal growth (S & I), because they have an unconscious Fear of Abandonment (FoA)
b. for power & from greed – to sell products, ideology or way of life
c. for total control, a compulsion to always be ‘one-up’, forcing others to always be in a weaker position
d. to mess with someone’s head out of resentment, jealousy, revenge….

2. Not malicious, but just as controlling:
a. to not hurt someone’s feelings, by not saying what you really feel or think (‘I act like I want to be with you, but I really don’t, but I can’t say it’)
b. cowardice – fear of setting boundaries or have confrontations
c. social or religious training – must always be polite or ‘spiritual’

DMs are by design disorienting – so you can’t prove what the S is really doing. That way they never have to admit any culpability – nor change!
In reality – the problem is not you, it’s the Sender’s twisted ‘frame’ (how info is presented). SO, if you’ve been manipulated into playing this game, whichever side you try to go with (‘win’) AND no matter how many time you try the ‘other side’ – you will always pay a painful price for ‘winning’ the WRONG side of the GAME.

FORM 1: DMs can be presented as 2 negative injunctions (warnings or commands) that always cancel each other out, BOTH of which must be obeyed AND whichever one is ignored will be punished – which is true of all DMs.
A: Do NOT do xyz or I’ll punish you (not allowed) – AND
B: IF you don’t do xyz, I’ll punish you (you must)
A: I’ll hurt you badly if you stay (so leave & save yourself) – AND
B: Everyone always hurts me, I’m used to it (so stay & save me)

FORM 2: More often, Message A can sound like a positive about something, while Message B is a negative about the same thing.
A: I love it when you play the piano (so I can brag/show you off) – AND
B: I hate it when you play the piano (you get too much attention)
A: I want to be with you because of you’re so wonderful (perfect) – AND
B: I’m angry at you for not being everything I want/need (not perfect)

FORM 3: DMs can also be expressed in reverse – A is hostile & B is ‘friendly’.
ACoAs: A familiar one which was set up for us by an abusive, drunk &/or mentally ill parent, who needed to:
A. keep you insecure, scared, feeling stupid & confused, even crazy, by constantly belittling & disapproving: “You’ll never amount to anything, never do anything right, no one will ever love you, you’re lazy, ugly, stupid…” These were said to INSURE you would never feel good enough about yourself to leave the symbiotic connection, to always be available to take care of them, one way or another
AND at the same time:
B. manipulate you (demand, cajole, whine, complement, attack) into being highly capable for them: figuring out how to do all kinds of complicated, intelligent, creative things to solve their problems, (and not just when they’re old!) – to be their nurse, therapist, lawyer, accountant, manager, cook, housekeeper, companion…. as long as you never used any of it for your own benefit. And so you didn’t, & still don’t!

● Talk about crazy-making! The parent is telling you:
A = “You’re stupid & incompetent – for yourself , and
B =
“You’re clever & capable – for me”
ACoAs are addicted to this cruel DM which put us in a DB, & now we perpetuate it in self-destructive ways, finding many other relationships to play it out. The problem isn’t just that we run into Ss, like our family – it’s that we stay.
Robert B. Dilts says:  “The most emotionally intense DBs occur in the context of significant interpersonal relationships. They often involve a power struggle in which one person is trying to make the other person wrong. Such a struggle can also occur between the inner parts of a person.”

Double Binds for WOMEN, re workDBs & Women
•  “Ambivalent sexism -
Bitch or Bimbo”

Double Messages &
Sexual Politics

The Double-Bind Dilemma for Women in Leadership
Beyond the Double Bind:
Women and

NEXT: DMs – Part 8, Re. ACoAs

Double MESSAGES – Styles (Part 6)

double messages


I can mess with your mind!            


REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for  abrev.

NOTE: Do not confuse DMs with changing your mind. Even if you ‘go back on your word’,  (“I said I would, but now I can’t. Sorry.”), which may anger or disappoint someone, you are not presenting them with 2 opposing statements or command which contradict each other, AND/BUT which the person must try to make sense of & ‘honor’, such as “I love you, I hate you /  Be good,  be bad / Help me, don’t help me”…. at the same time.

VERBAL AMBIGUITY is also not to be confused with DMs. It comes from a single statement having two or more possible meanings which are perplexing, sometimes lead to mistakes & embarrassment, but are not usually harmful.   EXPs:
– “I saw John with binoculars.”  Who had the glasses – me or John?
– Consider “The HORTA” episode from the original Star Trek, when Cpt. Kirk finally encounters the rock-creature mother reacting to crewmen smashing her eggs, & she etches on the wall in acid: “NO KILL I”.
– The 1962 Twilight Zone episode – the alien cookbook “To Serve Man”.

STYLES of Double Messages (DMs)
1. Two verbal commands or declarations, sometimes together, often at different times, making it much hard to pin down.  EXP:
A – Sam says to Jane:  “Let’s get together. Call me anytime” (I want to connect – I’m lonely). SO Jane calls, but no answer. She tries a day later & he answers, but is curt. She tries again in a week & he gets angry:
B – “Why are you calling so much?” (I feel suffocated by you neediness / pushiness).  MESSAGE: You’re both a commodity AND a nuisance!

EXP – The computer HAL in “2001: A Space Odyssey” was programmed with a DM, forcing him into a Double Bind (DB):
A – “Always process information accurately” (never lie) – AND
B – “Keep the true purpose of the mission a secret from your fellow crew members” (in this case – you must lie)
This created a ‘mental break’, leading to the only solution HAL could come up with – to murder the crew.

2. A hostile communication (verbal abuse) WITH an endearment
EXP: “Don’t be so stupid, darling / My dear, you’re a pathetic moron /
I hate you, don’t leave me! / Baby, you know I can’t live without you! Why do you always let me down?”

3. One verbal WITH one physical (tone of voice, facial expression, body position or style of interaction…). What’s said doesn’t match how it’s said
EXP: • Your brother says you’re really smart, but with a smirk
• Someone says “Your hair looks great”, while making a sour face
• A co-worker frowns & looks angry, but says: “I’m fine, nothing’s wrong”
• A wife spends less & less time at home, but says: “I’m not avoiding you”
• A husband says: “Of course I love you”, in a flat tone & looks away

4. Both non-verbal : Bateson’s famous example – a hug that is given stiffly = an act of affection AND/BUT with emotional distance. Leaves the recipient wondering – Which is it, are you happy to see me or not?

5. A verbal ‘encouragement’ embedded in a negating situation
EXPs: “Of course I want you to get better”, as the husband hands his newly recovering alcoholic wife a beer
• Women are told they have the same right as men to pursue careers & a good salary in the marketplace BUT are prevented from gaining access to upwardly mobile jobs available to men – subtly, indirectly

• Boss to new bank MBA employee: “Here’s a important project to cut your teeth on. Lets see how good you are”. BUT unknown to the young man – the ‘project’ is an unsolvable accounting mess specifically designed to fail.
PS: Only an ACoA would drive themselves crazy actually trying to work it out – afraid to look dumb & get fired!
– Which is unlike young Lt. James T. Kirk, who solved the ‘unsolvable’ Kobayashi Maru dilemma – by changing the rules.  That is legitimately one way to deal with being in a DB.

EXP: This CHART shows a typical DB relationship between a co-dependent & a narcissist.  Screen Shot 2014-02-09 at 8.00.17 PM
PINK wants a ‘one-way symbiosis’ without being vulnerable.

GREEN needs to have boundaries, but is willing to forgo them in order to keep the relationship, no matter how harmful

with Medical examples:
1. Explicit (direct): If you do some Action, you’ll be punished
>> If you go to the doctor with serious symptoms, you’re told you should have come in sooner.

2. Implicit (hinted): If you don’t do that Action, you’ll also be punished
>> If you go to the doctor with mild or vague symptoms, you’re labeled hypochondriac or drug-seeking

3. Meta – If you bring up the contradiction, you’ll be punished
>> If you point out the dilemma, you’re labeled as uncooperative

4. Outcome: You can’t leave the situation, or you’ll be punished
>> You still need medical care or you’ll get a lot worse

NEXT: DMs (Part 7)

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