ACoAs – Set GOALS to MEET NEEDS (Part 3)

positive people 

PREVIOUS: Meeting our NEEDS #2

SITE: “Asking to have your needs met



The third component to getting our needs met has to do with who we surround ourselves with.
Everyone on the planet needs a support system to function well, which includes family, friends, teachers… to mates, colleagues & partners, psychological helpers & spiritual leaders. And everyone needs help to implement goals – from time to time – from the store clerk or house wife, to the boss who hires us or the mate we live with……

Yet ACoAs find it shameful, terrifying & enraging to have to ask for help & let anyone get too close. To us, closeness is automatically associated with physical / emotional abuse or outright abandonment. Better to do everything by ourselves, or simply do without.
Even so , we still do need connection, cooperation, closeness, information, guidance, verification….. so when we try to get Help or Love, we are automatically drawn to unhealed people who are the least likely to be of help or support, but who can ‘feel’ right at the time, because they’re familiar – like family. We keep going to empty wells to quench our thirst!self-centered

These relationships are with people who are —
— either too narcissistic to actually care about us, so we spend a lot of our time trying to get their approval, pleasing them, hanging on for fear of needy manlosing them……
— or  blatantly needy, so they don’t have much to contribute, & we end up spending a lot of time, money & energy taking care of them, worrying about their feelings, trying to ‘heal’ them….

They are familiar types. We know how to play the game with them, using all our defenses, but never being our True Self. Their lack of emotional/spiritual health guarantees that we continue to not get our needs met, just another way to not S & I – staying loyal to our family’s dysfunction.

We grow up, we have lives, jobs, our own families, friends, interests…. but are not supposed to want anything for ourselves.
So any time we actually try to provide for ourselves, we have to insure that we fail – to continue obeying the Toxic Family Rules. We can’t afford to know how toxic they are, so we think we’re free of our past. We insist that we’re nothing like ‘them’, it was all a long time ago, it didn’t really effect us all that much anyway……YET the WIC is WIC & PPstill totally dependent on the PP, attached & loyal to our early training & trauma.

With this dependence on dysfunctional beliefs & patterns, everything we try is done with one hand tied behind our back & dragging a dead weight on our back. So any time we actually think about pursuing someone or something that can make us genuinely safe, appreciated, happy, respected…. we either put it off endlessly, or we give it a shot, but in a distorted way & with inappropriate people.
And then wonder why we never get anywhere. Most if us blame others God, the world, our spouse & children…. as well as beating ourselves up for not knowing how to do things others seem be to be able to do effortlessly.

REALITY: The only way to change this ugly, self-defeating pattern is to stop obeying the PP in the way we live our lives & treat the WIC, & instead get the help we need to develop compassion for ourselves.

Less healthy adults set up relationships with the main objective being to have the other person meet all their needs. This is an attempt to make up for not getting their basic needs from Mother in infancy.
Stage 1 WISDOM is about tradition, belonging, power and survival

We escape from the heartbreak, failure & guilt of childhood by becoming independent. This is partly about self-sufficiency & autonomy, usually giving us more freedom & success in the short-term, but is a way to avoid admitting the pain of our original Dependence. As we bury those early feelings of anger & fear, we end up damaging current relationships, & rob ourselves of long-term happiness.
Stage 2 WISDOM is about the journey of the self, and the power of personal experience and rational thinking.

This stage includes outgrowing:
• the expectation about how we (to be perfect) and others should do things (get our way) so we can reach our goalsgrowth stages
BY letting go of having to be seen a certain way, & by taking responsibility for the outcome of our dreams & plans
• being controlling, which created arguments & power struggles, because of the demands we put on others
BY replacing the need for it – with trust in oneself, in others & in a H.P. of our understanding
• self-focused emotional disconnection, leading to boredom in relationships
BY reconnecting emotionally, mentally & physically to ourselves

Continuing to mature psychologically, we form a stable inner core we can rely on, no matter what. This allows us to have relationships with other self-caring adults we can learn from, rely on & enjoy in PMES ways. It’s a stage where people work together for the good of the relationship or for the good of others & the world.
We can then:
• take the lead in responding to the emotional needs of the people around us with love and compassion AND avoid self-attacks
• reveal our True Self, full of creativity, confidence & wisdom. We will have faith in a positive future, rather than living in the past
• have a true sense of ‘belonging’ (oneness), linked with everyone / everything else by love, experiencing the calm of Spiritual Dependence  (MORE…..)
Stage 3 WISDOM is about the interconnection of everything and the mysteries of existence.


Inter-dependence makes getting our needs met & reaching our goals more likely, more often & easier – a natural part of living well.  (CHART)


ACoAs – Set GOALS to MEET NEEDS (Part 2)

implemeting goalsPREVIOUS: Meeting our NEEDS (Part 1b)

SITE: 4 Ways to Develop Self-Efficacy Beliefs

QUOTEs: “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation” ~ David Thoreau
“Alas for those that never sing, but die with all their music in them.”
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

“Carrying a plan forward and making it work”
How do ACoAs try to ‘provide’ for our own needs? No very well. Most of the ways are in the form of being controlling, isolation, lying, manipulation, over-work, people-pleasing, self-sacrifice, using others…. and most of us find it very hard to do actual PMES self-care. We’re afraid to go all out to be happy & fulfilled, because we:
— can’t afford to risk going all out for our core ‘love’ or talent, in case we fail. Then we’d have nothing – the loss would be crushing.
— Besides, the PP’s message is that we’re too stupid, unlovable, unworthy to get anything right, so why try. Implementing goals? “Who do you think you are – anyway? / So you think you’re better than us???”

• Therefore, some of us :
— don’t know what we want, what to pursue, what to try out, drifting without any goals, just taking whoever or whatever comes our waypassive
— don’t even try to get our need met, eking out a survival based in scarcity mentality – barely enough money, companionship, sex, attention, accomplishment, minimum food/clothing/shelter…. even tho we actually have the ability to find / provide some or all of these things
— don’t take risks, sticking to the ‘safest’ route possible, living lives of boredom or ‘quiet desperation’, like working in a post office for 35 yrs, marrying someone who will take care of us, being an active addict….

Others of us who are ambition / driven:
— are high achievers, either based on what our family pushed us into – which we hate, or from some natural gift we were born with, but which we continue to feel insecure about
ambitious— will succeed early in life (get a lead on Broadway, work on Wall Street, write a great first novel…. & then do something to ruin it so it slowly disintegrates – over the next 20-30 yrs
— will make the effort in some arena, & may even succeed to some degree – BUT either can’t get beyond a certain level
— have to keep messing it up / failing / causing drama & problems / losing everything….
— work our butt off trying to be ‘the best’ so we can finally get the approval we’ve always longed for, but not ever to validate ourselves

WHY don’t we live in the power of our True Self?
➼ Because of the Double Bind: we’re not allowed to actually have our needs met BUT we can’t NOT have them. (Read: ACoA Double Messages)
So, many of us try & fail, try & fail – over & over….. ending up hopeless, depressed & wanting to give up. Because of our childhood training, the brain becomes wired to only see ourselves & the world thru the eyes of dysfunction. We sabotage any goal which doesn’t conform to that training, which Freud called the “repetition compulsion”.

Our WIC thoroughly believes our only option is to stay attached to the family because they say they love us – of course – & the WIC is desperate to believe it, even tho we have years & years of proof to the contrary. To deny what we know, we keep obeying the PP voice & it’s toxic rules, (“If you don’t like it you have to stay”), since we assume that:
— the world isn’t safe AND we are sure that we are basically bad!
— if only we could be ‘perfect’ they’d finally, truly approve & love us

self-argumentSO – what are our deepest, most pervasive beliefs (Part 1)?
What drives our goals & our actions?
Most of the time it’s the WIC’s cognitive distortions. Even if ACoAs can identify appropriate goals, we either sabotage out progress or can’t implement them at all, because it would mean disobeying the PP in our head & being disloyal to still-living family members. So instead, we’ve been using all sorts of dysfunctional PPT as a reason to act – anything but our own need, dreams, desires & feelings! (motivators)

Acting on Goals: To truly provide for ourselves in the best possible ways – we need to be Self-motivated – to do positive things or stop doing negative ones because WE WANT to, because it suits who WE are! This seems impossible to ACoAs, but can definitely be changed. It will include correcting our CDs, connecting with & loving our Inner Child, mourning the deprivation of childhood needs, & re-feeling all the old pain we still hold in our body. We need to teach the WIC that we are allowed to take center stage in our own lives!

This requires the use of one of the many facets of everyone’s True Self : Self-Efficacy – the strength of one’s belief in one’s own ability to complete tasks & reach goals. It includes:
— Seeing challenging problems as tasks to be mastered
— Developing a deeper interest in the activities you’re involved in
— Having a strong sense of commitment to your interests & activities
— Recovering quickly from setbacks & disappointments

Self-efficacy is developed , in part, from being efficacious growing up – allowed & encouraged to have age-appropriate effects on the people around us & on our environment. This means having some sense of control, which all children need.
why bother
BUT – Coming from a chaotic & abusive family leaves many ACoAs with the belief that we have no way of having an impact – no matter what we do. So we don’t try, or we do it in unproductive ways, or we quit just when we’re getting somewhere.  Ultimately – when we can’t get our needs met – we give up!  (MORE..)

• Once a goal is identified, “Implementation Intention” is needed – which specifies the when, where & how portions of goal-motivated behavior, spelling out in advance how one wants to move forward. It’s a self-regulating strategy in the form of IF-THEN plans: “When situation X arises, I will perform response Y”, connecting an opportunity for reaching a goal with a specific behavior, guaranteeing success.
EXP: In one study, students with test anxiety were encouraged to increase their Goal Intention to perform well: “I will correctly solve as many test items as possible”, by adding the Implementation Intention: “And if I start a new test item, then I’ll tell myself – I can solve it”, in order to increase a sense of self-efficacy.

• Healthy, self-motivated people keep pursuing their goals, even when they’re difficult & take a long time to achieve. They are prepared to deal with 4 problems along the way: getting started, staying on track, stop pursuing any goal or plan that isn’t working, & prevent over-extending themselves. (MORE…..)motivation parts
They improve the possibility of success because they:
— are internally allowed to do well
— plan & act in realistic ways
— take small steps, & get help when needed
— correct mistakes or lack of knowledge along the way
— try out different jobs / plans / styles…. to see what fits them best
— AND never, never give up  (MORE…..)

NEXT: Getting needs ment – People

ACoAs – Set GOALS to MEET NEEDS (Part 1b)

lots of ideas 

PREVIOUS: Getting needs met (1a)

SITE:Understanding Self-Sabotage


1. GOALS (cont)

REMINDER: A goal is something to achieve, but it doesn’t have to be big or difficult. It can be anywhere FROM setting the alarm for a different time, cleaning the house, making a cold call, walking the dog, picking up the dry-cleaning….
TO getting a new job, taking a long trip, planning a party, breaking up with someone…..
• WE try our best to survive without the right kind of information & training about what’s ‘normal’ – healthy & appropriate in general, and suitable for us personally. As unhealed damaged people – no matter how intelligent, educated & accomplished – we are inevitably governed by the cruel push of the PP & the desperate fearful / rebellious WIC. Most ACoAs either :
— have great difficulty making decisions – we aren’t allowed to know or admit what we really need & want, can’t afford to risk making a mistake lest we get punished, & we want to avoid being disappointed yet again
— OR make them impulsively, without thinking thru the results – the possible consequences to ourselves or others – also based on childhood needs for WIC

• So many of our childhood needs were not met – correctly – which left us with the clear message that we’re not supposed to want or need anything for ourselves! Even if we did have some Physical ones met (roof, food, clothes, schooling….), which was a plus & allowed us to survive, any good things were undermined by all the neglect & abuse in the other PMES categories, especially Emotional. And for many of us even the P category was contaminated by beatings, incest, lack of basic provisions….

• This damaging background has created a great dilemma for us, a double bind that keeps many of us stuck:
a. we’re not allowed to have needs, especially emotional ones, BUT
b. we still have them ALL – can’t get rid of them no matter how hard we try to ignore & suppress them!
EXP: As mentioned in another post, a newcomer to Al-Anon figured out in a 4th-Step meeting that her belief was: “My biggest character defect is my need for love!” WHY? because she grew up feeling unloved, yet still desperately longed for it. Wasn’t it foolish to want something she was sure she had no right to & would never get?  (Review “Unrealistic Expectations”)

what goals?• To have deliberate, conscious goals is not easy for many ACoAs – even for those of us who’ve achieved some success in career, yet subtly recreate the family patterns in both work & personal life.

Our experience in childhood was of endless ‘sameness’ – the same drinking, the same unfairness, the same neglect, the same loneliness, the same terror…..
Ironically, most ACoAs are best at what we like to do the least!
As Adults we’re still trapped in the hopelessness of ever being able to reach our TRUE goals, whatever they may be. For many of us, the idea of possibilities was not part of the mental vocabulary in our family:
— we didn’t have the option of using our imagination for ourselves, except maybe as a way to escape the pain we were constantly in, AND
— we used our creativity to figure out ways to keep our parents, siblings, mates, children… from total self-destruction

• When we DO have an idea of what to do, ACoAs need to ask ourselves:
— “Whose goal is this anyway – my PP or the WIC?”  When a need/goal come from either one, it’s not safe to follow through.
— OR do I have a strong enough UNIT (Healthy Adult/Loving Parent) to do the very best I can for my Inner Child AND override the wounded voices?

➼ But it’s also imperative we remember “I know what I know”, because we have our own native wisdom! The Healthy Child has always knew a great many things which never got acknowledged & were too painful to remember. So now the Good Parent can listen to that still small voice, & help redirect the decision process to get the best live with shrink

EXPs of some inappropriate goals:
• when the WIC wants that ‘special’ man or woman for themselves, but that person is married, ‘crazy’, &/or just not interested. The child will obsess, chase, cling, beg, or withdraw from life, sulking & wounded, OR be angry & demanding, just wanting-what-it-wants

• when our WIC thinks we have to become the most powerful / famous person, no matter what it takes & who we step on, & that will get the approval of the PP + the attention / validation from everyone else in the world as compensation for parental rejection – to feel OK about ourselves

• when we’ve followed a career path to please our family, even though it doesn’t suit us at all, afraid to leave it & risk going after what’s most natural for us & would stay hookedmake us happy ….

• when we stay attached to abusive parents to insure getting their money, or an abusive mate to prevent losing security, money, position, sense of identity…..

GOALS that benefit us require

✧ enough about our True Self (which is always there from birth, no matter how buried & denied)
✧ that we’re basically safe, which lessens anxiety (free-floating terror), so we can take reasonable risks
✧ that nothing we do is perfect, can’t be perfect (because humans aren’t) & should not even be thought of in those terms
✧ there are a variety of options to choose frommany choices
✧ and believing in a positive, achievable future for ourself
✧ we’re allowed to follow our own path, even if others don’t approve or understand
✧ we have a right to use our strengths, experience & knowledge
✧ it’s OK to be positively powerful, effective & productive

REMINDER: HEALTHY goals are based on our RIGHTS & Self-esteem

NEXT: Getting need met – Implementation (Part 2)

ACoAs – Set GOALS to MEET NEEDS (Part 1a)

ACoAs Manipulating #3b

SITE: LIST of Personal Needs

SEE ACRONYM page for abbrev.

re. NEEDS – review post: ACoAs Manipulating Self & Others – Part 1
In order for us to get our needs met we must first identify what those are, have internal permission to pursue them, & then search out & use as many resources as are available to us to take care of ourselves. We cannot wait for or depend on others to meet our needs – others are only supposed to be support & company on our life’s journey – not substitute parents!

While we may not always know what we want to do “when we grow up”, taking any positive action can get our engine started – especially if the activities are things we have been interested in since childhood but never pursued. Taking a class or joining a ‘topics’ group (such as in MeetUp) may lead us to new ideas, possibilities & friends or mentors. Setting goals is a fundamental part of getting our needs met, first the cognitive component (idea), managing our anxiety (emotions) , & then taking the necessary actions. (T.E.A.)

PROCESS  includes 3 PARTS (Goals, Implementation, People)
Psychologist tell us that people who make consistent progress toward meaningful goals live happier, more satisfied lives than those who don’t.

NOTE: In terms of T.E.A., this topic focuses on the A, since just thinking about what we want is not enough – but it is the starting point.  THEN we have to act on our own behalf.

PURPOSE: Goal-setting is absolutely necessary & appropriate in order for us to be healthy & happy – when grounded in our Rights as human beings AND our own personal interests. They are a normal part of Adult thinking, providing long-term vision and short-term motivation.
Clearly defined goals:bulls eye- goal
• help to organize our time & resources
• let us know what additional info we need to get
• allow us to see progress as we go along, even if it it’s hard work & takes a long time to ‘arrive’
• help us measure & take pride in successful outcomes, which raises our self-confidence

Before taking an action, especially when the outcome is important to us, the first question we need to be clear about is: “What is my surface goal? then – what’s under that? & then under everything, what’s my deepest – perhaps unconscious – desire/wish/hope in this situation?”
Every action we take – or inaction – is driven by a goal – to find food, to not get fired, to buy something we want or need, to hang on to a relationship, to avoid pain, to please an authority, to learn something new, to entertain ourselves, to express creativity, to be accepted, protect loved ones……
and all goals are based on some need, normal human needs such as acceptance, attention, achievement, comfort, connection, knowledge, love, safety, shelter, validation….. needs in all 4 PMES categories.

Each action aimed at reaching a goal: mental health goals
• is a decision, often unconscious (see 3 Posts)↘︎
• which is based on our individual idea about how to achieve that (procedure)
• which in turn is formed by our most basic beliefs / rules about ourselves & how things function in the world.

EXP: Goal – To cross the street
Beliefs / rules – I can get to the other side safely, don’t run into the traffic or you can get hurt or killed, jay-walking will get you a ticket (in some places), if you’re with someone else make sure they’re safe too, always look both ways ….
Procedure – Stop at the corner, wait until the light is green, then go

• Healthy goals & healthy ways of achieving them are based on knowing who we are & what our Human Rights are.
Recovery EXP: 15 minutes before an evening lecture in a big auditorium a janitor is buffing the front vestibule floor, with the door wide open – so the noise is quite disruptive to the waiting audience. Bev goes out to ask the man to close the door. He completely ignores her, even though she stands there briefly to make sure he’s heard her. Nothing. She goes back to her seat. A minute later a man from the audience does the same – & the janitor closes the door!

noiseQs: ACoAs – If you were Bev:
— How would you be feeling – anger, resentment, S-H, shame…. ? and,
— What would you be thinking? “That x@*, how dare he ignore me?…. / I should have been more forceful / I shouldn’t have bothered him / he’s a chauvinist pig….”
— Would your goal have been to get the noise down PLUS be validated, respected, honored – as a female, by a hostile male?

What was Bev’s goal? ONLY to dampen the noise. She was willing to make the effort, which was appropriate, but how it got done didn’t matter to her!
When we have a True Self, with enough validation & support in our life from ourselves & from legitimate sources, we don’t try to get it (or demand it) from people who can’t or won’t give it!

Beginner’s Guide to Goal Setting” ~ Michael Hyatt
1. Keep goals few in number. Productivity studies show that you really can’t focus on more than 5–7 items at any one time. Concentrate on a handful of goals you can repeat almost from memory

2. Make goals “SMART”, the acronym for setting goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely (Explanation…)
write goals
3. Write goals down. This is critical. There is a huge power in writing, even if you don’t develop an action plan – yet, because it states your intention & can set things in motion (Book….)

4. Review goal frequently. This turns them into reality. Each time you can ask yourself “What’s the next step that will move me toward this goal?”, so you can let them inspire & be part of your daily task list

5. Share the goal selectively. Some writers suggest to ‘go public’ with your goals, even blogging them. But in his 2010 TED talk, Derek Sivers makes the compelling case that talking about your goals indiscriminately makes them less likely to happen, suggesting that it’s best to only tell people who are committed to being encouraging or to helping you achieve them.

NEXT: Getting needs met (1b)

ACoAs MANIPULATING Self & Others (Part 4b)

in charge 

PREVIOUS: Manipulating #4b

SITE: TED talk by Dan Pink : The puzzle of motivation 

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

NOTE: Every suggestion below is the same as all the others on this blog & all the other sources of Recovery info.

As mentioned in Part 4a, Christine Comaford states that “In every communication, in every conflict, we are subconsciously either reinforcing or begging for Safety, Belonging, & Mattering or a combination. It’s neurological… it’s primal… there is nothing you can do to override or change this subterranean subconscious programming.”

Not having had these basic human requirements provided for us as kids – we use Manipulation to compensate, which consists of 3 basic components, in a negative effort to fill-in the missing 3 positive needs:
a. Scheming – To get, get out of, or have someone else do something
b. Calculating – Being dishonest, devious, conniving
c. Controlling – Wily, sly, crafty
Of course – many ACoAs will rigorously deny using these tactics, especially a & b, especially those of us who feel like powerless & depressed victims. But S-H, co-dependence, boundary invasion, lying, withholding….. are definite examples of them

To grow, these harmful & useless patterns need to be addressed honestly (such as using AA / inventoryAl-Anon 4th Step or other forms of inventory), keeping track of how we manipulation ourselves & others. More than likely we’ll need help identifying our behaviors & attitudes, since they’re so deeply woven into the fabric of our daily lives we don’t even realize what they are. “Does a fish know it’s wet?”

Then going on to Step 5, we can begin the process of coming out of denial, overcoming shame & loneliness, speaking out loud the specific ways we’ve been using this defense ‘game’. Program has a saying: “You’re only as sick as your secrets”, so sharing our 4th Step is important,  if it’s done without self-hate, & used in the right place, with safe people.

All manipulation is a way to con ourselves into believing we should not have any needs, while conning others into providing them (or doing without) – because we cannot eliminate having them! SO, in order to heal:

• In every situation – start out by remembering you have one or more types of need, usually on more than one level (PMES). Work at figuring out what it is – in that situation – first on the physical level (help with picking out a present, cleaning the house, getting a job, health issues….), & then on a deeper level – what is the emotional need (validation, comfort, respect, support…..).

This is only do-able if we identify the legitimate needs which all human have, & then practice giving ourselves permission -slowly- to provide them, both from ourself & from appropriate outside sources.

• Use book-ending to prove to your WIC that getting your needs met now IS possible. As adults, the outcome of our efforts are successful more often than not – as long as we “go to the food market for food rather than the hardware store!” to get what we want or needtake astionc

• Be willing to sit with uncomfortable Emotions & encourage your WIC, when you:
— ask for help AND get it!
— try on a new behavior
— take better care of yourself
— stop an old pattern …..

• Build self-esteem – changing S-H messages into compassion, patience & self-kindness. If you KNOW you’re a worthwhile person, then you KNOW you have a right to your needs

• Make a daily effort to go to the right PPT for help to get your needs met legitimately – in non-exploitative ways

• Accept – graciously – that sometimes people can’t provide what you ask for – either at that specific time for their own reason – or not at all, because they don’t have it to give.
This is not a reflection on your worth or how they feel about you. Nor does it automatically make them bad or selfish. Either wait until they’re available, or go find another resource.

FROM “I want everyone else to do what I want” all needs
TO “Others have the right to do things their own way”

FROM “Everyone is or should be just like me”
TO “I can see that others have their own identity separate from mine,
who deserve as much respect & care as I want for myself”

FROM “Everyone else is only a source for provide my needs”
TO “I admit that others don’t owe me what I didn’t get from my family”

FROM “Everyone else is the solution to my problems”
TO “I’m responsible for finding answers & solving my problems”

FROM “Everything is THEIR fault”
TO “I’m responsible for my own actions”

FROM “I always have to be right, about everything”
TO “I can only know what’s right for me at this very moment, & it’s OK to be wrong, or not know something

FROM “I have to have my way, or else (I’ll die or I’ll kill you!)”
TO “I take care of myself, so I’m rarely desperate”

FROM “I’ll do anything to keep others from being angry at me (experienced as abandonment = separation, aloneness & death)

TO “Other people have a right to their emotions, including anger. I’m not a helpless child anymore. I have experiences & options – to take care of myself – even IF the other person temporarily withdraws, or is permanently gone.”

Manipulation is NOT a successful way to survive & feel safe.

NEXT: ACoAs – Meeting our NEEDS #1

ACoAs MANIPULATING Self & Others (Part 4a)


PREVIOUS: Manipulation #3c

SITE: Response Options to a Controlling/Manipulative Person

for abbrev.


RE-CAP – Manipulation (M) is the resort of :
a. the legitimately powerless (consider Children, Women, Poor & homeless, the Chronically ill, Minorities….), usually in small ways

b. anyone who internally believes themselves to have no options (the Learned Helplessness of ACoAs, addicts, victims….) BUT who actually do have the capacity to empower themselves – with the right help & persistent work in Recovery

c. AND, ironically, high achievers who’ve clawed their way into positions allowing them to be high-level manipulators, usually on a large-scale. By definition, such people shouldn’t need to manipulate – their whole life is about getting exactly what they want, at any cost. Yet these externally powerful bosses, politicians, parents, church leaders, salespeople…. base much of their interactions on being one-up, using every dirty psychological trick in the book.

This tells us that they too grew up in very damaging circumstancsuperiorityes, leaving them with a great need to compensate. Hidden under many layers of intelligence, determination & deviousness, they do not feel OK ‘just as they are’, with both strengths & limitations, so they rarely let their vulnerability show, even to themselves.

They’ve suppressed the awareness of their basic needs (safety, unconditional love & acceptance, mirroring, help….. AND having emotions!), which they consciously consider as weaknesses. Instead they settle for being feared, having power of others, looking good on the outside, & accumulating as much money & ‘stuff’ as they can manage.
So like the rest of us, whatever childhood needs were punished or neglected – will become the focus of their life’s activities, & how those are expressed will depend on their individual native personality, combined with the social environment of their upbringing.

In order to change this dysfunctional pattern it’s important the start identifying our specific way of ‘getting over’, looking at the harm Manipulation does, & the long-term effects on ourselves & others.

However, that’s only the beginning. Instead of only speaking of Manipulation as an evil thing (motivation ideasbad, arrogant, narcissistic), we need to also understand it as a defensive maneuver. It is used to ‘protect’ the WIC from feeling all the pain we’ve stored up from our past. We began using it to survive our abusive childhoods, & we’ve continued it as adults, fed by toxic family messages & examples.

On the surface this character defect is made up of conscious or unconscious BEHAVIORS, but to get anywhere we need to focus on MOTIVATION*, rather than on the visible actions.

*Motivation is goal-oriented energy which moves us to action, using mental focus & physical exertion to reach specific outcomes.

Ways to categorize Motivation
1. PRIMARY / basic = unlearned & common to both animals and humans (food & shelter, sex, fear & aggression, avoidance of pain….)
or SECONDARY / learned = which can differ from person to person (need for achievement, need for power….)type of motives

2. EXTRINSIC M.= when somebody else tries to make you do something
or INTRINSIC M. = when you want to do something

3. PULLING M. = external goals that influence how we act in order to achieve them
or PUSHING M. = internal changes (emotions, beliefs, hunger, illness….) that trigger a specific desire to act

4. POSITIVE M. = having the desire and the willingness to get or achieve something good
or NEGATIVE M. = to avoid undesirable or threatening situations

As for all human being, our primary motivation is survival – in any way possible. And for ACoAs – the over-riding component of survival is the NEED for SAFETY – the main aspects being avoidance of abandonment & avoidance of punishment (which often feel like the same thing!)

SAFETY, BELONGING & MATTERING are essential to good brainbelonging functioning, which gives us the ability to live well:
• the greater the feeling of safety, both emotional & physical, the more easily we can take appropriate risks
• the greater the feeling of connection with others, the more we can feel that we’re in this together, & that we belong
• the greater the feeling that we personally matter, that we can make a difference, & are contributing to the greater good, the greater the success in all aspects of our life (home, work, play…..) (MORE…..expanded)

SO, since our upbringing did not provide us with a sense of Safety, Connectedness & Mattering – manipulation is the only way we think we’ll feel safe.
Unfortunately it doesn’t work!

Motivation: The Why’s of Behavior(7 different theories)
Study of Motivation: Physiological, psychological, and philosophical approaches”(Scroll down)

NEXT: Manipulation #4b

ACoAs MANIPULATING Self & Others (Part 3c)

in your head  

PREVIOUS: Manipulation #3b

SITE: 8 Ways to spot Manipulators

page for abbrev.


Our Manipulative WAYS (cont.)
You 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 that they don’t care enough, are too selfish or have it easy, keeping 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 out

Judgmental – the (T) form of T.E.A.
— all the time about everything, a characteristic of narcissism
— occasionally, an indirect expression of abandonment terror, when triggered now by a person or situation, but don’t recognize it for what it is – a reminder of childhood neglect & abuse

Mirroring (negative)
Physically &/or verbally copying someone you want to influence, using their same body language, intonation pattern, language, preferences… makes them feel ‘seen’

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. Believe you’re better/superior – morally having more value as a person, rather than being better at certain things (not the same as having a higher IQ), in order one upto keep everyone at a distance & not acknowledge the need for connection, help, comfort….

b. Feel inferior, believing you’re worse than everyone else (weaker, dumber, less capable….)
— in order to stave off assumed inevitable abandonment, disappointment AND — to obey Family rule “I am unlovable” / “I’m too much trouble” / “Don’t have needs”….
— try to get other to meet our needs by starving ourself / deprivation indirectly by being ‘incapable’

c. Fake humility – hiding the compulsion to dominate by taking on the role of servant, helper, assistant – perhaps serving 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 is called for or expected. to make yourself indispensable so they’ll approve of you & never ‘go way‘ (from self-hate & fear of abandonment)

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 to get along, suffer in silence – but others can feel it
• give up what you want, to avoid conflict, but are quietly resentful
• don’t ask question, but always trying to explain or defend yourself
• talk in indirect or convoluted ways, instead of declarative statements
• being 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) – is a child’s attempt to spare the narcissistic family its pain, by taking it on & acting it out for them – assuming its efforts will alleviate the heaviness it can feel in everyone. It’s a way for this child to deny knowing that the alcoholic, narcissistic, codependent parents & other relatives are not willing to work on themselves, not going to take responsibility for their emotions or actions.

It’s a manipulative tactic (usually unconscious) which continues into adulthood. These ACoAs will go on sacrificing their own needs, their good name, their protect familystanding in the family or community, even their very life – if it will make others in the family ‘feel better’ by not having to look at their own damage & dysfunctional behavior! By extension, the Scapegoat will do the same for anyone else they care about.

By staying in this Toxic Role they set themselves up to be a negative focus for others – at home, in school, in business, in groups…. but ignore the fact that they are actually manipulating, as a way —
— to keep playing out the only ‘field position’ they know
— to get punished for being soooo bad, according to the abusers
— to get absolution for sins they were told they committed
— to solicit sympathy & ‘help’ without being able to ask for it

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 sacrifices go unappreciated & are never successful anyway, but only make others disrespect & dismiss the Scapegoat. So when they’re treat badly or ignored, this ACoA gets very angry at the people they’ve been trying to ‘save’.

Scapegoats only see the rejection & invisibility, left outfeel unloved, excluded, attacked – not recognizing or admitting that they —
— allow themselves to be used & toyed with by unscrupulous types
— experience any (real or imagined) slight as a direct rejection, as if others are even paying attention, or are hell-bent on hurting them
— perpetuate their childhood environment of fear, loneliness & abandonment BY not having a strong core identity based on self-esteem & self-respect.

NEXT: Manipulation #4a