Weak DECISION Styles (Part 2)

no matter what they say!

PREVIOUS: Bad Decision Styles – #1



PART 2: Next 6 of 18 types of unsound decision making (D.M.) styles & their corrections. (No known source) While these types represent dysfunction, they’re based on each person’s native approach to life, with the addition of an unhealthy upbringing.

4 general Categories of D.M.
By Command – made without input from anyone else
By Consultation – inviting & include input from others
By Vote – discuss options & then call for a vote, majority rules
By Consensus – keep talking until everyone agrees on one outcome

Warning SIGNALS (interchange a. & b.) that:
a. you’re about to make a weak, unhealthy or dangerous decision:
• when you’re exhausted, sick, emotionally distressed or overwhelmed
• are not willing to change your mind when a situation changesbad choices
• only think of what you want & how you feel, ignoring everyone else
• base your choice only on fear, anxiety & low-self-esteem
• don’t plan for dealing with difficult people or unexpected events
• don’t consider the bigger context, or the possible consequences to you or to others
• twist yourself to fit other people’s expectations of how you should behave, conform to peer pressure or automatically agree with the majority (being overly dependent on others)
• ignore available information (newer, better) that would help you make a better choice about a person or situation

b. you have made a weak, unhealthy or dangerous decision:
• when you didn’t do anything even tho it was important to act
• acted before you were ready or before the time was right
• made a choice using familiar CDs, such as B & W thinking
• ignored glaring problems or important factors that you knew about a situation
• ignored hints that told you something was wrong or there was too much uncertainty
• chose a way of doing something so you wouldn’t have to ask for help
• picked an action based on “well at least I” ……have a job, don’t look stupid, have a boyfriend, am safe, to available information — which comes from a poverty or victim mentality
• based a decision on what you thought you should do, rather than what was right for you & the situation

Weak DECISION Styles (Part 1)

it’ll always be wrong!

PREVIOUS: Procrastinators Anon Tools



• First 6 of 18 types of un-sound decision-making (D.M.) styles & their corrections. (No known source) While these types all represent dysfunction, people gravitate to one of these styles as a reflection of their inborn approach to life, along with an unhealthy upbringing.
• No matter what our personal style, ACoAs have a great deal of difficulty making decisions. This deficiency has nothing to do with our basic intelligence, only our damage. An apparent exception are those in the Hero / Rescuer family role – who seem to be able to make decisions easily & continuously. But the hidden worm in the fruit is that they only do it on behalf of others. Decisions for themselves are rare & usually unhealthy

– D.M. is the process of identifying & choosing alternatives, based on our values & preferences &
– D.M. is the process of reducing enough uncertainty & doubt about our options to give us the freedom to pick out the best one at the moment

❀ SOME REASONS we have trouble with D.M.
• not having a clear identity (who am I, how do I present myself, what do I need or want….)
• letting the WIC (wounded inner child) be in charge of considering what to do, who either acts impulsively or is stuck / paralyzedbad decisions
• not trusting the knowledge, judgment & experience we’ve gathered throughout our life
• not realizing we have options to choose from, or better options than we think we have
not having permission to change our minds – about anything!
• being in denial about what we know regarding a person or situation

• fear of making the wrong choice – we think the wrong one will have life & death consequences, or result in severe punishment or self-hate, afraid of taking risks, asking for help, getting good things
• co-dependence: wanting to please everyone, all the time
• growing up with a series of double-binds (paralyzes us)
• not having enough or the correct information to decide accurately
• using CDs (cognitive distortions) in thinking about a problem

➼ As we Recover, some of these reasons melt away, some diminish & some we struggle with throughout life – & which is which will be different for different people.

Procrastinators Anon TOOLS

putting it off 

I’ll try them later!

PREVIOUS: ACoAS & Procrastination (#5)

POSTS:  “ACoAs & Procrastination” / / “Weak Decision Styles

Procrastinators-Anonymous.org – “a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from chronic procrastination.”
1. Break It Down: Break down projects into specific action steps; include preparation tasks in the breakdown.

2. Visualize: Plan what to do, then imagine yourself doing it. The more specific and vivid your visualization, the better. See yourself doing the task, and doing it well.

3. Ask Yourself Why: While you are visualizing doing the task, see if you can detect what it is about the task that feels odious to you, what uncomfortable emotions you are avoiding. Knowing what’s behind the avoidance can help you get past it – for example, address real problems or ignore irrational fears.

4. Focus on Long-Term Consequences: Procrastinators have a tendency to focus on short-term pleasure, and shut out awareness of long-term consequences. Remind yourself how panicked and awful you’ll feel if the task isn’t done, then imagine how good it will feel when the task is finished.

5. Avoid Time Binging: One reason procrastinators dread starting is that once they start they don’t let themselves stop. Plan to work on a task for a defined period of time, then set a timer. When the timer goes off, you’re done.

6. Use Small Blocks of Time: Procrastinators often have trouble doing tasks in incremental steps, and wait for big blocks of time that never come. When you have small blocks of time, use them to work on the task at hand.

7. Avoid Perfectionism: Procrastinators have a tendency to spend more time on a task than it warrants, so tasks that should be quick to do take an agonizingly long time. Notice this tendency and stop yourself. Some things require completion, not perfection.

8. Keep a Time Log: Increase your awareness of time by logging what you are doing throughout the day. This is a great diagnostic tool for discovering where your time went, and an excellent way to become better at estimating how long tasks take.

9. Develop Routines: To help structure your day and make a habit of things you always need to do, develop routines for what you do when you wake up, regular tasks of your workday, and what you need to do before going to bed.

10. Bookend Tasks and Time: Use the Bookending board on the P.A. Web site to check in throughout the day, or at the beginning or end of specific tasks you are dreading.

Please visit Procrastinators-Anonymous.org for more info.  Details are at the top of the Bookending board.  AS A REMINDER:

putting off cartoon


make notes 

& feel good about it!

PREVIOUS: Putting things off #4

SITE: Overcoming Procrastination

BOOK: “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength” by John Tierney, New York Times science writer, & psychologist Roy F. Baumeister.
It’s an unconventional “self-help” tome that, much like Timothy Wilson’s ‘Redirect’, grounds its insights & advice in 30 yrs of serious academic research into willfulness and self-control. While the book is fascinating in general, its 3rd chapter “A Brief History of the To-Do List, From God to Drew Carey,” is particularly interesting. (See REVIEW)

Co-dependent Motivation – To resolve our resistance to taking actions on our own behalf (all forms of self-care), we have to be clear WHY we want to or don’t want to do something. Most ACoAs can DO amazing things – as long as it’s not for ourselves.

EXP of an early pattern set-up
In a family of 4, the 2 girls share dish-washing duties, on alternate nights. One evening Mother finds pre-teen daughter playing with the suds, daydreaming, not finishing what’s in the sink. She says: “If you hate it so much do it fast & get it over with!”washing dishes

It sounds perfectly reasonable, BUT the girl has already internalized the Toxic RULE from her earliest years of being stifled & over-controlled, forming the rule “If you don’t like it, you have to stay”. Now mom is changing the rules??? The girl ignores her & keeps drifting.

This becomes a life-long habit of daydreaming & delaying chores that she hates – as long as she can get away with it.

• admit our damage is behind the procrastination & make a diligent effort to find out what our issues are
• know the difference between what the WIC & PP want VS. what is good for us – using the “Unit” as guide
• deal with our double binds, fear of A. & fear of success
• be willing -to be willing!- to relinquish the demand that someone else take care of us, in place of ourselves
• OWN that we have always had abilities & skills (observational & intuitive, thinking & feeling…) which we were born with, even at our most dysfunctional, we just didn’t know how to use them correctly

• find out what our realistic options are in any given situation, which means learning from others what’s possible in the world
• be able to ask for help when needed (information, emotional support, connections, referrals ….)
• be OK with getting praise & rewards, feeling successful, happy, empowered…..

➼ Know and be able to handle:process
• making mistakes, without self-judgment or giving up
• emotional discomfort & disappointment
• that process takes time
• that not everyone will be supportive, but to keep looking for those who can & will
• making changes in our ‘style‘. Much of what we believe is our ‘personality‘ is our False Self
• that not everything works out, but that doesn’t mean we’ve done something wrong, or the universe is against us
• that if we’re ‘in the flow’, getting what we want comes in Higher Power’s good time

INVENTORY: Divide actions into those you:
• need to take (work, self-care, chores, obligations…)
• want to take (relaxing, playing, creating, dating…)
Identify what’s causing your resistance to pursuing each activity:
• the toxic beliefs (Ts)
• the painful emotions (Es) you’re avoiding, but not actually feeling

• Keep the lists of activities available to look at when you have free time. Pick one from each list & do at least something towards getting it done, even if you can’t finish! ✶ ACoAs are often afraid that if we don’t finish something in one sitting, we’ll never go back – which we’ve proven to be the case time & again. However, once we start cleaning out the damage, we don’t have to be a slave to that pattern.make notes

PROCESS – Taking small steps toward any goal means to:
— Evaluate the outcome each time, taking notes
— BookEnd with the INNER child and trusted supporters
— Learn from any mistakes & make corrections
— Proceed to the next step
— Never give up. REST when needed
— Enjoy all successes, no matter how small!



file drAwer




Some readers have expressed a sense of  overwhelm by the amount of info presented. on this blog.
(SEE also 80+ pages of website: www.acoarecovery.comSoverwhelmwd

When working toward any goal it’s typical of ACoAs to skip Process, but instead insist on trying to do things ‘perfectly’ & NOT use small steps or do things in orderly stages.

Then the WIC balks at the ‘bigness’ of  the task / project /  procedure – & will quit part of the way in, or procrastinate & so not get started at all.



To get the most out of this blog – cruise thru each year (2010-2016, at top of Home Page) & just familiarize yourself with what’s available.
See what jumps out at you & only read that.

Then when Sprocessan issue comes up in your life, go back to the lists & read what applies.

Slow down enough to mull over what comes up for you.

ALWAYS take things in small chunks. The brain absorbs info better that way.


A LOT OF WORK to re-order all !
The complete listing of over 600 posts has been re-distributed (2010-2016).

Changes in site-map:

— Listed in order of topic posting, per month – rather than alphabetically

— Similar topics grouped together pr.year, as much as possible – rather
than by original writing date

— Space made between topics, or between bub-topics of a group, rather than
clumped together each month

— If something has not been ‘linked’, it means it’s a future post, in the pipeline.

Comments or corrections welcome.

Donna Marie



I can do to get going

PREVIOUS: Putting things off, #3

Reminder: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

SITE: ‘Beating Procrastination

“WHY BOTHER?” underlies all our indecision & procrastination. We don’t take genuine care of ourselves, no matter how busy or cocky we seem to others. On a deep level we’re paralyzed by:
a. Not knowing or having access to our healthy True Self, so we believe we don’t know what we want or like, nor what our rights are!

b. Not being allowed to be our own internal motivator so our only reason to take actions has to come from outside. We have to use family, a boss, teacher, a cause, religion, a career, friends & lover relationships, AND ultimately our terror of abandonment & punishment to push ourselves. Left to our own devices, we just collapse inward

Our Internal Conflicts:conflict
• losing someone, being hurt or punished vs. feeling ‘safe’ (even if that safety is an illusion or self-destructive)
• WIC & PP vs. the Healthy UNIT
• obeying vs. disobeying the Toxic Rules
• old patterns vs. new ways of doing things
• what we want vs. what we’re ‘supposed’ to be, do, think, feel

d. Double messages, originally forced on us by one or more adults, we had no choice but to internalize the resulting Double Binds* (simultaneous but opposing demands, with a penalty for whichever one we can’t fulfill).
• As kids they expected us to do for them (which may still be going on with an elderly parent), taking advantage of us to be their parent substitute – using hints, guilt, shaming, manipulation, demands, threats…. AND were angry / abusive if we did nothing (the penalty)
• BUT THEN were totally dissatisfied with & critical of (the penalty) whatever we did do for them, no matter how much effort we put in, what it cost us, what we had to sacrifice, how clever we were at it….

*EITHER WAY we were/are punished. If they’re still live we compulsively keep trying – to please them, over & over. If they’re not around anymore we often find some other needy, critical person to satisfy – always with the same impossible, painful results! YES, we’re addicted to the rejection, while maintaining the illusion that we have the power to change them, if only we try hard enough, long enough!chained to rules

Ultimately, we stopped trying – but only for ourselves, because:
• we’re still waiting for them to approve of us, & give us permission to have a life of our own life (free us of their bondage because we don’t believe we can do it ourselves!)
• we’re convinced that if we failed with them (the family, also school, religion), it’s inevitably that we’ll fail with everything & everyone else, so there’s no point in trying
• we’re waiting for someone – anyone – to come & rescue us so we don’t ever have to be our own parent!

• Unfortunately, delaying inevitable responsibilities (as well as ones we’ve taken on voluntarily) creates endless obsession & self-recrimination. “”I’m just lazy by nature”, “I can’t do anything right” , “I’ll just mess it up – again” ….procratination

So why would we rather worry ourselves sick than ‘just do it’?
• we SAY it’s just a habit – but it’s really our self-hate
• we’re used to longing for things, rather than having them
• we’re waiting to be taken care of
• we think we don’t know how, even tho we actually do
• staying loyal to the family by copying how those adults ‘handled’ daily actions & problems
• we’re not allowed to do things easily because suffering is the norm (if it’s too easy it doesn’t count)

RESULTS:old vs new
more anxiety, to the point of ulcers, migraines, auto-immune diseases, weight gain, depression….
• getting caught / ‘punished’ at work, by the IRS, angry family & friends…..
• adds to the S-H, so we stay in league with the PP
• lose out on more income, develop an illness, pay $$ penalties, lose a good opportunity….

• We expect that when we finally get something done that’s been weighing on us that we’ll feel relief – & sometimes we do.
But more often – we just feel empty! Once the obsessing is gone we’re left with the hole in our gut. At that point ACoAs often think “Now what do I do?” Like when we have a day off with no plans, no one to take care of or obey (like a boss, parent, spouse…) we don’t know what to do with our free time! Very often we do nothing, and find something else to obsess about – like the fact that we’re wasting time!

Doing things in a timely & competent manner would MEAN: fighing angel
a. Disobeying family rules, which enrages the PP, — AND
b. Showing us that we are actually capable (without having to be perfect), which enrages the WIC, because it would force us to give up the demand (& fantasy) of one day being taken care of by someone else – finally!

IRONY: Not taking ‘right actions’ causes worry AND inevitably self-hate! This is distressing, yet we think we’re avoiding pain!
REALITY: When we have 2 conflicting actions – both leading to emotional suffering – we need to pick the option that will contribute to our recovery & growth. Ultimately, the healthier option

NEXT: ACoAs & Procrastination #5



I want to, but just can’t get going!

PREVIOUS: “Putting things off” Part 2

POST:Why are you Stuck?”

1. HARD Stuff includes:
a. Internal FEAR of —
• not doing everything Perfectly (a form of S-H)
• not knowing how to do something (even tho we’re actually very
smart, clever, creative, knowledgeable)
• not knowing what to say when challenged or attacked
• looking weak, needy, incompetent, lazy, stupid…..
• having to stand up for ourselvesstandup
• making the ‘wrong’ choice, when having several options, or many demands on us at the same time
• having to feel the loneliness & pain of our original abandonment

b. External FEAR of —
• getting disappointing, hurting or angering someone
• being judged harshly (the way we do to ourselves)
• asking for help when we really need it
• having to deal with difficult people
• being interrupted & lose our train of thought /activity
• having to make everyone else happy (not be in pain) but resenting it

Which can show up as:
• Not being able to decide what to do first, when we have several options, or what to do at all (like with free time)
Starting things (refinishing a pc. of furniture, art work, a book, even relationships…) but never / rarely finishing anything – IF for ourselves
• Can’t motivate ourselves – to have a life of our own, as in following our dreams, leaving bad relationships, moving to a better location….!

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

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

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

But, like any good addict, we’ll do it the same way all over again, & again! WHAT? How can this be an addiction? WELL…. in this case it’s the addiction to: Fear + Adrenalin + S-H = Drama. This formula has become so much a part of our lives since childhood that we keep doing things (or not) to re-enforce the chemical surges it creates. Yet under this self-inflicted ‘excitement’, the WIC is just trying to protect itself the only way it knows how – by NOT doing anything. Yet it’s not enough to just label it as part of our ACoA damage, which it is. We need to know how it all got started (Past) & how we perpetuate it (Present).

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

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

• can’t be decisive: sometimes there are places we thinks we should go to, but really didn’t like, or we don’t feel well, or want to do something else, or do nothing at all…. even when it’s potentially pleasurable or valuable.
But we aren’t allowed to say NO to the inner Pressure-er (“what will they think if I don’t show up? / what if I miss out on something / maybe this will have the perfect answer to all my problems?….”). So instead of firmly deciding Yes or No, we dither & obsess, do nothing & then hate ourselvesindecisive

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

*** NEXT: CLICK ON : ACoAs & Procrastination” Part 4