ISSUES for Angry ‘Nice’ People

P-A issues
AS LONG AS I’M ‘GOOD’
I’ll be OK (I 
hope!)

PREVIOUS: Intro b

SITE: Danger of Suppressing Anger

QUOTE: Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways”.  Sigmund Freud

ISSUES
GREAT DESIRE:
• to be loved  //  to not be attacked // to not be alone or lonely

BASIC FEARS:sad girl
• of self-reflection //  being abandoned //  being punished

UNDERLYING ISSUES:
• feel inadequate, not entitled, self-hating, shame-bound
• not allowed to be assertive or angry, always assume rejection

WELL-BEHAVED, But ALSO:
• controlling, critical, unforgiving // indirectly cruel, attacking, vengeful
• depressed, fussy, hard to please, moody, shy, thin-skinned, withdrawn

PAY-OFFS for using defenses (ie. Negative Benefits)
1. False Weakness (see Original LL)
a. Avoid facing childhood pain
• Connecting with the pain of past & current emotional injuries makes us feel vulnerable, out of control, small & helpless. Anger is energizing – but not allowed – so we end up in constant anxiety, & don’t know why

bCreate physical pain (real or not), as substitute for #a.
• If we’re workaholic (do, do, do) and not allowed to rest / relax / have fun, we can get sick to slow us down
• If we’re not allowed empathy, sympathy, emotional support…. then physical ailments become a way to elicit some of it ‘legitimately’, since sufferthey are tangible & considered acceptable, while emotional hurts can’t be seen & are often considered a weakness
• If we’re not allowed to be/feel taken care of or to find the right kind of help, practically or psychologically, then being weak, sick, incapacitated…. can get us some attention

cContinue being mistreated & abused

• Some of us are so used to being in the victim role – which we really were as kids – that we don’t want to give it up as adults, because it would create separation anxiety from the family & our bad-parent Introject.
Being a victim is about the ‘poor MEs’, staying emotionally immature, waiting to be taken care of. While there is a lot of anger under this position, it’s not supposed to show!

dGet approval for a role
STOIC:Es in the body
Not letting ourselves experience & deal with jealousy, anger, sadness, fear…. is considered ‘strong’, & gently admired in many parts of our society, including the religious community.  They tells us it’s not OK (weak or un-spiritual) to admit to or show unpleasant ‘negative’ emotions, especially anger. It’s called  ‘loosing it, being emotional’. 
We’re even told that all emotions ‘cloud our judgment’.
Unfortunately obeying these dictates is harmful both physically & psychologically   (CHART)

DOORMAT: Being such a ‘nice’ person that you have no opinions or boundaries may make it easier on some people to be around us – especially narcissists – & superficially satisfies our WIC’s desperation to never be abandoned by others, but it insures that we abandon ourselves  (MORE….”Recovering Doormat”)

2. False Strength (See Reverse  LL)
a. Superiority
• Admired – as martyr, ‘good guy’, saint, ‘spiritual’
• One-up – needing others to be needy, sick, dependent, not successful

b. Controlling
• Emotional blackmail, to keep others fearful, attached to us
• Demand our own way (always) – ‘nice’ is only superficial
• Destroy ‘loved ones’  – if they try to be free, happy, themselvesignoring you

c. Punishing
• THEM- Receiver (R/victim) of ‘help’ from US – Giver (G) must:
— have unquestioning, blind loyalty, never object or question
— always provide affection & total attention, caretake
• If the R. objects, withdraws or rebels, then:
— Giver (G) sees R. as selfish, ungrateful, abusive
— G. will punish R. overtly or covertly, attacking or withdrawing

SHOW ANGER INDIRECTLY – – See upcoming Symptoms posts

COVER-UPS (Defensive Styles)
a. Avoider: Never lets others see their anger, or see them “sweat”
b. Container : Knows they’re angry but holds it in, hoping it’ll blow over

c. Denier: They are so suppressed they don’t feel anything
d. Helper – with strings
• they do & give too much: time, energy, worry, $$, gifts
• only have sympathy for underdogs, listen to everyone’s woes
• always worried, too involved with/concerned for anyone who is suffering

e. Internalizer: Full of S-H, they blame themselves for anything unpleasant that happens to them, absorbing the anger they really feels toward others
f. Rejecter: They grew up around verbal & physical rage, which was painful & terrifying, so now they’re determined never to get let themselves get angry

g. Self-Blamer: They’re used to being condemned for everything that goes wrong, so they assume the worst about themselves, living with guilt & depression
h. Shocker: Swinging from silence to attack, they hold all their anger in for so long that it finally explodes, unexpectedly, usually at anyone less powerful
i. Stuffer: As children they had to stuff anger at abusive & neglectful parents, & feel guilty for still being angry at them, especially if a parent now wants to be ‘friends’!

j. Submerger
• they have weak boundaries, never ask for own needs, suffer in silence
• have fear of authority, tolerate many indignities, only do what others want
k. Underhander: They deny being angry because they see it as an ugly trait & want to avoid push-back. But then they take it out on others: the wife & kids, the passing cab, the store clerk, the dog…..  (MORE….)

From Human Synergistics Int.- the Circumplex is used in business to show 1 adaptive vs. 2 non-adaptive styles. In the PASSIVE-DEFENSIVE third:
P=A quadrant
Position #3 Approval Tying one’s self-worth to being liked & accepted by others. High level – they try very hard to please others, make good impressions, be agreeable & obedient  (‘simple’ Co-Dep type)

#4
Conventional
 Preoccupied with conforming / blending in with the environment to avoid calling attention to oneself. High level: they tend to rely on set routines & procedures, keeping the status quo, wanting every part of life to be secure, predictable

#5 Dependent The need for self-protection, with the belief that they have little direct or personal control over important events. High level: they let others make decisions for them, depend too much on others for help, & willingly obey orders

#6 Avoidance Reflects anxiety, with a strong need for self-protection, & a tendency to withdraw from threatening situations. High level: they play it safe, minimize risks, shy away from conversations or activities in groups,  indecisive & non-committal in most situations
(see ‘Aggressive Styles‘ #7-9)
STYLES of interaction
CHART  Segments
explained //  Also overview
Descriptions of 12 personal, management & leadership styles in 3 categories (brief 12 Segment info)   

NEXT: SYMPTOMS of Hidden Anger (#1)

Secretly Angry “Nice” People (Intro-b)

angry inner childI DON’T LIKE
having these feelings!

PREVIOUS: Secretly-angry (Intro-a)

SITE: Emotions are NOT Bad Behavior
(What we needed as kids)

You’re Not Allowed To Have Feelings”
(in our culture)

 

ACoAs

For those of us who suffered a great deal of PMES abuse by our family, it’s only natural to have built up a backlog of anger towards drunk, raging, selfish parents, abusive siblings & unsupportive relatives.  As kids we gradually suppressed some or all of that anger (A.) & rage (as well as other painful Es), for 3 major reasons:
1. We were humiliated & abused if we had the nerve to get visibly angry at adults
2. It was (& may still be) too overwhelming to consciously face that our parents truly were/are unsafe, cruel, crazy, addicted, neglectful….
3. We were afraid that our anger would literally harm them – because  children think their emotions have magical powers to injure or kill others
(BOOK:So the Witch Won’t Eat Me“, Dorothy Block. Intro explains it)

Shutting down on painful Es was self-protection.NO anger
If we had to severely stifle our anger, it was because our parents:
— weren’t allowed to feel their own A.
— didn’t know how to deal with strong Es
— didn’t want us A. at them (their Co-dep & FoA)
— only they were allowed to be A.
— wanted to look ‘good’ to everyone else
— refused to be held accountable for what was hurting & therefore making us A.
— were too weak, sick, ‘delicate’ to bear have us challenge them
— believed it was disrespectful or a ‘sin’ to be A…. (‘ACoAs & Anger post)

Sadly, most of us were taught to not have any Es. And for some – being sad / crying was punished, made fun of, ignored, while for others – our anger was the biggest no-no. So now we either refuse to acknowledge that we do indeed get angry, or are so shut down that we actually believe we never are.
 Instead, we may recognize experiencing some of the following, which are all versions of ANGER:
annoyed, blaming, cranky, impatient, irritated, jealous, ‘justified’, outraged, resentful, self-blaming, over-reaction to being treated unjustly / unfairly, ‘touchy’, vindictive…

Ways we AVOID feeling anger :
PERSONAL    • Ignore all uncomfortable emotions // Pretend painful distancingthings haven’t happened to us or our loved ones // Ignore RED flags in others
• Live in our head, obsessing // Constantly intellectualize, analyze
• Keep all our conversations superficial, only talk about what we’re Do-íng
• Talk about everyone else’s business
• Bury A. under a guise of ‘spirituality’/good works
• Keep so busy we never stop to notice emotions
• Cling to bad relationships, keep everyone at arm’s length, or avoid all
• Constantly think about self-improvement, but never risk taking action

PHYSICAL 
• Overeat /choose sugary & fatty foods
• Excessive use of alcohol, recreational or prescription drugs
• Any compulsive behavior (internet, smoking, sex, exercise, shopping, gambling …..) that distracts & numbs us
• Tight muscles, causing headaches, back spasms, shoulder pain, teeth grinding….
• Chronic/ auto-immune  illnesses, that keep us weak & debilitated

HIDDEN ANGER & ANXIETY
Anger
– like other Es – can be caused by many different internal & external circumstance (10 posts), in some cases an appropriate emotional response to various kinds of harm, & in others cases an over-reaction to a current event that triggers unhealed childhood wounds.

Fear is the survival emotion we feel in our nerves & gut when actually in a dangerous situation, like being high up somewhere, being yelled at or slapped, suddenly get a serious illness, in a car accident, being fired…..
Anxiety
— future oriented: 
It’s what we feel leading up to a (real or imagined) dangerous, stressful or threatening situation – like anticipating going to the dentist, waiting to see the boss, in line at the airport…. And some people are born with a particularly sensitive nervous system, predisposing them to be more intensely affected by stressors, especially as children

— past oriented: It’s the suppressed psychic energy of rage & terror from years of living ifight/flightn chaotic, dangerous environments, which is now stuck in our body. This  backlog then fuels the fearful thoughts that are behind so much of our present-day worry. So we can connect Anger & Anxiety, 2 sides of the same coin, even tho on the surface they seem contradictory, because Anxiety is usually associated with fear, which can make us timid (Flight), while Anger tends to temporarily energize, fueling actions & reactions (Fight).

INTERESTING: Anxiety is far from a new thing. In the 4th century BC, Hippocrates wrote that anxiousness is “a difficult disease. The patient thinks he has something like a thorn, something pricking him in his viscera, and nausea torments him.”

EXPs of the anger-anxiety connection
• Irritation: 
Being anxious all the time can make us annoyed & miserable (“Don’t bother me!”), which can lead to more frustration & anger
Loss of Control
: Being out of control for a long time is very painful & draining. But having to suppress our rage about it for many years creates its own anxiety – making us scared of ‘loosing it’, of not being able to hold it all down – because if were to let the rage out it would severely hurt others
Blaming: 
Continually being in unhealthy relationships leaves us with plenty of anger. If it’s unsafe to admit or feel it, it gets turned in on ourselves as S-H. When this becomes too great to bear, it gets projected out onto the world – usually towards everyone except the ones who originally injured us – passing blame for our woes onto others as a way of explaining the anxiety.

NEXT: Issues for angry-nice people

Secretly Angry “Nice” People (Intro-a)

secretly nice -1 

I ALWAYS HAVE TO ACT NICE
to hide how angry I really am

PREVIOUS:

POST: What about Anger?”

 

REVIEW
Our culture does not support, tolerate or excuse expressing anger in obvious ways – except when participating in or watching sports, or being drunk! One reason is that it’s assumed there’s only one way to let it out – explosively, dangerously – which of course scares most 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! A. 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 treated unfairly

But when someone doesn’t have any safe outlet for their anger, it will go repressionunderground. 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 is expressed in safe ways and by fixing the causes, if possible. Instead, it stays locked in our muscles, ligaments, organs & auras. (See upcoming  posts ‘Symptoms)
Over time, this trapped energy will be too big to be contained & will end up coming out sideways!

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

UNHEALTHY ‘Nice’ People have low self-esteem. They are:
EITHER co-dependent (Co-dep): over-doing for everyone else, rescuing, self-sacrificing, the ‘good’ one, always ‘up’
OR passive-aggressive (P-A): resistant, obstructive, deliberately forgetful, plotting, ‘innocent’, pretend-incompetent

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. AND, if all avenues of escape are blocked, the fire will eventually go out, making the stove useless.

anger reactionsIn 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.

When we go thru something difficult or painful, and haven’t learned appropriate ways to cope with the Es that come up (usually fear, &/or anger), we’re either not aware of them at all, or dismiss what we’re feeling & find ways to distract ourselves. This stifling is a continuation of how we tried to protect ourselves as kids because we kept being punished for expressing those Es. Now it just keeps us stuck in our own mud.

Aggressive Anger is obvious – shown as verbal threats, screaming, physical blows, breaking / destroying objects or property…. The consequences are usually bad.

Hidden Anger, on the other hand, is subtle & manipulative (whether Co-dep or P-A), & comes with its own risks & negative outcomes. Behaviors can be so indirect, often not related to anything that’s currently happening, that others either won’t easily catch on, or will be puzzled by it. Angry-nice people either act as perpetrators or victims,  acting out their hidden rage in such a way as to insure they can keep denying it, & keep their ‘good-guy’ status.

— If the anger is so deeply suppressed that it’s now unconscious, the person will not be able to acknowledge that certain actions or non-actions are a sign of being ‘triggered’ (hurt, scared, frustrated)anger iceberg 2
— If the anger is conscious but concealed, then the unhealthy patterns are deliberate, & can become vindictive : planned to sneakily annoy, hurt or destroy someone they blame for their annoyance or pain.

Either way, denying our anger cuts us off from a vitality that could give us the power to forge ahead on our own behalf, leavings us feeling powerless.
Yet many ‘nice’ people are so dedicated to their carefully constructed facade of ‘OK-ness’, they refuse to feel their anger directly & deal with situations that caused it. This prevents any resolution or growth.

NEXT: Secretly angry nice people (Intro-b)

SAYINGS that MISREPRESENT (Part 3)


I’M NOT SURE
what to ask for!

PREVIOUS: SAYINGS…  (#2)

SITE: Aphorism looong list

See ACRONYM page for Abbrev.


REVIEW Intro in Part 1 if needed.

Be careful what you ask for – you may get it”
YES – said as a warning
if you’re superstitious, self-destructive, have a habit of choosing badly….

A different YES not as a negative, but can be stressful at first. This is when we determine to change something in our life, & perhaps ask HP for help – to be released from a bad relationship & find a good one, be provided with a new job/career, to live in a bigger, safer, more suitable location …..
And then it comes our way, not magically but because we did the foot-work and were in the right place at the right time.
BUT – if we’re not fully prepared to receive these blessings, we can feel uncomfortable, scared, unworthy…. That’s OK. If we ride it out & get validation from the right people, eventually we’ll be able to relax into it.

NO – As ACoAs, we don’t want to be so ‘careful’ that we don’t ask, since many of us have a poverty/deprivation approach to life. It’s imperative that we give ourselves permission to ask for what we NEED, first & foremost. This requires knowing who we are + knowing what our human rights are + being able to deal with the risk of not getting. Also it requires that we never go to people who have already proven – a hundred times over – that they’re not capable or willing.
THEN we can begin, slowly, to ask for bigger & better things, healthy things, fun things….. and when we get them – take them in, be happy, be grateful. Enjoy!

“I deserve.....” is a YES if you’re rewarded for earning a living, getting a good grade, winning at a sport or climbing a mountain….
It’s a definite NO when speaking of our rights as a person. We’re not supposed to deserve them. They’re ours no matter what.
Explanation in Outgrowing Co-dependent niceness #3. UPCOMING post.

“Well, at least you’re alive” / “You’ll be just fine, you’re strong”
YES – of course. We want to affirm life & let people know we care about their existence.
❤︎ However, without making this a NO, there is a way in which these phrases are a kind of insensitive throw-away. With many people it’s just a polite standard.
But if you just had a devastating loss & may even be injured – like a serious accident with a death, a full-scale house fire, a near drowning, a severe physical assault, a major illness…. You’re in pain, in mourning, in shock! so those comments are not comforting or uplifting.
Without looking for pity or to be rescued, some indication of empathy or sympathy would be welcome, rather than a glib pat on the head.

Forgive yourself”
YES for harmful things you did as a result of your damage
NO for being damaged in the first place!
Comments: “Outgrowing Co-Dependent Niceness #4” – UPCOMING post

“A good beginning makes a good ending”
NO –
in most instances for ACoAs before Recovery. We may start out a job, relationship, an exercise class or diet. If we start by marrying an alcoholic &/or other addict, it’s for-sure going to cause years, even decades of great stress & terror. It’s not uncommon for these to end with a bang. SeeFirst Impressions (idealizing) #2″ for details.

Also, if we start exercising, a diet, an advanced degree, a recovery book, a 12-Step program or therapy…. all with the best of intentions, it often peeters out with a whimper.   “Anxiety & T.E.A.” for info.

YES – if we pick the right kind of job/careers, or healthy & suited-to-us friends, mates, therapist, doctors….. then it’s likely that a good beginning would predict at least a neutral if not a good ending – when appropriate or necessary.

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder”
YESif it’s short-term & it’s someone you actually care about. So, if there are strong family ties, with spouses, siblings, children …. AND there’s a known time limit to the separation, then with Skype, texts, or phone calls, it’s manageable & the connection survives, or indeed grows stronger.

YES – but less healthily, for anyone with deep abandonment issues, a separation of almost any length – even a week – can intensify the longing. However this is not about a love connection but rather the WIC’s narcissistic desperation to not experience another loss. 

NO – long-distance relationships don’t usually have a great track record. People miss affection & sexual availability. They get caught up in daily life, & look for company, comfort & conversation wherever they can.  It’s easy to grow apart.

NO – In another sense: close family & very good friends (twins, siblings close in age or temperament, BFFs, war buddies….) can be separated for long periods & live far away, but whenever they talk it’s as if no time has passed. They may not grow fonder, but the original bond holds.

“Feelings aren’t factsis not about our emotions, as most people assume. The confusion comes from the reality that we use the word ‘feeling’ in 3 completely different ways: As physical sensations, as emotions AND as thoughts.  See POST

NEXT: Angry ‘nice’ people – Intro-a

SAYINGS that MISREPRESENT (Part 2)

WE KEEP PASSING ON
half correct ‘helpfulness’

PREVIOUS: SAYINGS… (#1)

SITE:Understanding How Words Work: You Can’t Say What You Mean!“(Scroll down to ‘Language’)


REVIEW Intro in Part 1 if needed.

“Everything that has happened to me is OK because it’s made me the person I am today”.
There are a couple of ways this is wrong. Yes the things that happened in childhood naturally molded us, & for some people that was beneficial.

BUT for ACoAs, saying that what happened to us was OK – is cruel. Was it OK that you were beaten all the time? That you had to take care of everyone but not yourself? That you were mind-f–ed, punished for having emotions? That you were molested, raped, neglected, starved???? NO!
If some or all of these were part of your early years, then all they accomplished was to form a False Self, which we mistakenly believe is who we are. (Our Wounded Inner Child)

All the horrifying things that happened to us made us who are today – all right!  – into frightened, self-hating, over-working, ego-less wrecks.
But anyone in Recovery know that our healing work is to strip away the layers of defenses (self-destructive messages) to get to the person we actually are inside & would have been a long time ago – without the abuse!!
(“They did the best they could”)

First impressions are the most important.
YES – It’s necessary – in business, in social settings & in casual public situation. It matters when we need to convince someone of our value in order to get something we need from them. Or, it matters when we want someone new to get to know us, so they won’t be scared off. It can be good for our self-esteem to put our best foot forward…. ARTICLE: “A second chance to make the Right Impression”

AND Yes, a bad first impression can potentially cause a  loss.
EXP: What if you meet me for the first time – say on a job, at a party or other group – when I’m having a bad week, as ill or going thru a painful time, when I’m frantic, angry, down…. so I sound like a lunatic – but it’s not who I really am most of the time. You’ll go away thinking “They’re a lunatic. I don’t want to be around them!!!” That’s sad but understandable. It’s an unfortunate interaction that can’t be salvaged. So you will miss out on my ‘normal’ wonderful, interesting self – just as has happened to some of us re. our family, who may never have gotten to know our best Recovering Self.  Oh well.

NO – If we’re presenting a fake facade or a ‘too good’ version of ourselves – which will become too hard to keep up – whether in a new job or new relationship. When we no longer want to or just can’t – then we might disappoint people who bought the facade & feel bad about ourselves – unless you’re a narcissist or sociopath who needs to keep the mask in place all the time 🤖.

NO – We can’t always go by 1st impressions – especially for ACoAs, since the WIC will always react to a 1st impression from the unconscious IMAGO modeled on our family.
a. Idealizing: When we first meet people we have a habit of making up who they are based on how they treat us. If they show an interest then we over-estimate them & therefore assume they’re going to provide everything we’ve been longing for. If they’re not interested we take it personally & either slink away or try to win them over.

First, the big problem is that without doing FoO work we tend to be most attracted to unhealthy people & then proceed – sometimes deliberately – to ignore all the red flags they wave at us! in order to stay with them. All the while expecting them to be the parents we never had. Ridiculous! Then when all the WIC’s hopes & needs get disappointed, we turn those same people into monsters (over-value then under-value). Either way – it’s harmful to us – & unfair to them.

Secondly, we cheat ourselves of real ‘nourishment’ by not seeking out people who have a healthier sense of self, which allows them to connect with us, but without enmeshment. They will not want to take on the missing-parent-role, but will be able to see & value us for our True Self, even when we can’t.

b. Over-disclosing: If we first meet a new friend or lover who seems interested in us – we tend to immediately tell our life’s story, with all our sorrows & self-hate. This is he WIC’s desperation to be heard & comforted, but also to get a jump on inevitable’ abandonment. Unfortunately, when we pour our heart out to non-professionals, is only makes us more vulnerable & seem foolish or weak. Of course we do this with others too, but that kind of ‘sharing’ belongs in Al-Anon, therapy, & spiritual counseling. Developing healthy boundaries lets us be more balanced in our presentation of ourselves. ARTICLE:

NEXT: Sayings #3

SAYINGS that MISREPRESENT (Part 1)

I WANT TO BE CLEAR
about what I’m saying

PREVIOUS:

SITE: Use of Language (Many links re. the meaning of words & phrases)


CONFUSING
: We all use short-cuts in daily conversation, which is understandable, but sometimes this can do us a disservice.
There are truisms we take for granted, phrases & sayings we repeat without considering what they really mean. We assume they are correct, & that they apply across the board  (the latter is B & W thinking – a CD).

It is said that the unconscious has no sense of humor & is completely literal. It’s the reason affirmations need to be said in the positive: “I have a right to be happy…. rather than “I don’t want to suffer any more”, and stated as if our goal had already happened; “I am making / have made $100,000 in sales this year”, rather than “I wish I could make….”.

Language is so important, not just to connect well with other people, but mostly to connect with ourselves in the healthiest possible way. The Inner Child is always listening to everything we say to others, & at the same time is listening to the Bad Parent voice shouting or whispering in the background. It’s up to the UNIT (healthy adult & loving parent) to make sure our language is kind as well as accurate.

In terms of having good Mental Boundaries, “Accuracy is more important than agreement”. Just because everyone else does it doesn’t mean we have to. Don’t let others confuse you. Don’t follow the crowd!

I don’t have to be perfect.What’s wrong with this statement?
Unfortunately, people in Recovery who say this actually consider it a sign of growth, but is in fact one of those sneaky ways our ‘damage’ keeps us hooked. Why? Because:
It implies we COULD be perfect, we just don’t have to be. NOT!

No one can be perfect except God. So, what is true & accurate is that “Humans are not perfect, & I am human, so I can’t be perfect!” That’s normal. To think otherwise is arrogant. We can only do the very best of our ability given where we are in our life-progress right now. It means that “To err is human”,  so we must accept the reality of having limitations. This does not minimize our accomplishments or gifts! We can say: ‘There’s nothing wrong with being imperfect, because it’s a universal Truth”

The way you do one thing is the way you do everything.
It’s the word “EVERYTHING” that’s the problem. Taken literally, this is a blatant inaccuracy. Always keeping PMES in mind, how we do the various parts of our life depends on many factors. It will depend on your fundamental personality, such as indicated by their MBI or EnneaType, whether you’re more left or right-brained, (scientific vs artistic) Introvert vs Extrovert, AND above all what areas of childhood experiences were allowed & praised or ignored & punished.

So, I can be meticulous about how I dress & do my makeup, but sloppy about keeping my house orderly.  I can be a brilliant scholar & writer, but neglect my family…… I can be very talented & dedicated to my native art form but irresponsible if I have to do office work…..
▶︎ None of us do everything the same way!

Article – a Lesson:  However, if we take this phrase more psychologically, we can use this woman’s experience to indicate where we’re stuck. Each of us can make the same kind of ‘aha’ connections – between everyday ways of doing (or not doing) things & how they’re a reflection of our fears & resistances. Those discoveries help us remove blocks which will improve life.

“If you react strongly to a flaw in someone else it means you have that flaw in yourself, otherwise you would not be upset by it”

NO – the things that bother us the most in the present, that push our buttons or ‘trigger us’ are simply the abusive / neglectful things that were done to us by our family (& other perpetrators) over & over throughout our childhood. They are wounds we need to clean out, but they are not our character defects. So – I am almost never late anywhere, but I will definitely be angry at a ‘friend’ who is always late to meet me, because of all the times as a kid I was left waiting to be picked up by my drunk parent…

YESAl-Anon says that when we point a finger at someone else, 3 fingers point back at us. So the statement is true to the degree that our ‘character defects’ get projected out onto others, & we don’t like what we see of ourselves in them.  These flaws are the emotions, beliefs & behaviors (TEAs) we internalized from our family & society, rolled into our Negative Introject’s voice (PP).

BUT that is not who we are. It’s our False Self, we developed in reaction to our unhealthy upbringing. Even so, our True Self sneaks thru in spite of early brainwashing – sometimes indirectly, sometimes obviously. It can take the form of a secret interest, types of addictions we chose, our career path, the way we dress, places we love to go…..

So the goal is to find out who we really are & live it!

NEXT: Phrases #2

Serenity Prayer Backwards

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I HAVE TO DO IT ALL MYSELF
 since no one else cares!

POST: Cognitive Distortions  (CDs) 

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

 

 

FAULTY THINKING
 All ACoAs grow up with a variety of cognitive distortions (CDs), which now keep us confused & even somewhat paralyzed. Instead of seeing thru rose-colored glasses, CDs are our negative filters/ lenses used to view our sense of self & our abilities, mirroring past painful events & too many losses.
The Al-Anon Opening says: “….. Our thinking becomes distorted by trying to force solutions, & we become irritable & unreasonable without knowing it.”

One of these CDs is the:
“Illusion of Control” fallacy = the mistaken belief that you can change things you really can’t (opposite of Step 1). It comes in 2 forms, & sadly, most unrecovered ACoAs have both:

• Being externally controlled, we feel like helpless victims of fate, & so tend to blame others for our mistakes & failures, such as the boss causing our poor work performance.
EXP: “I can’t help it if the quality of the work isn’t my best. I was under so much pressure to get it done fast, & my boss demanded I work overtime on it.”

• The internally controlled part of the fallacy has us blaming ourselves for events that are truly out of our control. We assume responsibility for the pain or happiness of everyone around us (instead of ourselves!) & then for fixing it.
EXP: “Why are you upset? Was it something I said? What can I do?”

FROM the up-coming series of posts on Angry-Nice people

 ACoAs’ reverse logic 🙃 gets the Serenity Prayer backwards:

❤︎ Instead of: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can & the wisdom to know the difference”,

☁︎ We compulsive act on the mantra:
“I grant myself the ability to do the impossible,
the determination to not change the things I can,
& the denial to not notice the distortion!”

For many of us it’s unconscious & automatic, but our version is arrogant & self-destructive2 choices.
So it’s important to become fully aware of this pervasive pattern if we’re serious about our Recovery.
Only then do we have the option to decide which of the 2 versions we want to live by.

Correction • Don’t under-estimate the degree of control you do have over your own actions. You’re no longer a perpetual victim, as in childhood, no longer helpless or powerless. Check out the many alternatives available to you & take responsibility for your action.
AND:
• Don’t over-estimate your responsibility for the happiness or pain of others. Learn how much power & influence you really do have or don’t have over yourself & others.

NEXT: Statements that misrepresent (#1)