ACoAs: Deserving vs Rights (Part 2)


– if only I could be sure!

PREVIOUS: Deserving Vs. Rights (#1)

REVIEW post : Not Enough Love?

SEE ACRONYM page for abbrev.

1. NOT Deserving (cont.)
We were given the message that we had to earn our parent’s love & approval –  yet we never succeeded because the adults either are capable or not capable of providing, which has nothing to do with the child. This has kept us from developing self-esteem, because that is created by UNconditional love! The resulting feeling of unworthiness is so deeply ingrained in ACoAs that it prevents many of us from even imagining possibilities, much less allowing us to actively pursue normal goals, expressing our natural talents or following our dreams!

As adults we believe – wrongly – that we only deserve things (sort of) if we follow the Toxic Rules.
On the one hand, deprived ACoAs who follow those rules feel that to:obey
be loved – we have to suppress ourselves, please everyone else, not have needs, shut off many of our emotions, never object to other people abuse or selfishness…..
get affection, attention / sex … we have to give in to whom ever want us, deny having boundaries, focus on the needs & desires of the other person instead of ourselves …..
be respected &/or admired – we have to be perfect, out-achieve everyone else, have all the answers, ‘religiously’ follow our training …..

On the other hand – some ACoAs who are ALSO not allowed to have their needs – becomes rebellious & try to grab everything they can.worry / guilt EXPs: When ACoAs inherit money, we quickly squander it all because:
• we’re emotionally & mentally immature – being run by the WIC
• have been so poor & deprived that we’re trying to make up for all our suffering
feel guilty for having more than others, & our co-dependence tell us to give away instead of valuing the gift & using it wisely
• deeply believe we don’t deserve it (S-H) so we convince ourselves we shouldn’t have the money because we didn’t earn it, which actually comes from the PP voice

AND – Being sexually promiscuous / over-eating / over-spending / over-learning / out-doing everyone…. are ways to try to suck up as much as possible (objects, attention, info, variety, power…. ) – anything to fill the hole in our soul.


a. There are some things that cannot be earned, so we should never try – like love,immature respect, options, freedom from abuse ….
Under-‘deserving’: Regardless of the source, any tinge of not being allowed….. represents our Child’s allegiance to the bad voice & therefore the toxic aspect of our parents & society. The WIC part of us would rather stay ‘small’ in the world, be invisible, ignore its talents & deny or limit its opportunities – than disobey the family rules – for fear of punishment, abandonment & death!

b. There are things in life we DO need to earn – an education, our career, our income, Recovery, physical well-being, healthy respect, honors ….
Earning means that we have to work at reaching certain goals, using our intelligence, being persevering & asking for appropriate support.
Over-‘deservi'entitled'ng’: People who narcissistically think they are entitled to whatever they want, whenever they want it – have been raised incorrectly, so end up selfish & arrogant  (the seeming opposite extreme of not deserving). IRONICALLY – their real focus is on trying to make up for the same deep-seated sense of not being accepted by family for their True Self.

• The idea of ‘earning’ also relates to the phrase many healers want us to repeat: “I forgive myself for….” Even if it is meant as a way to let go of self-blame, for ACoAs it does the opposite: it reinforces our belief that we caused (earned) our damage – by not being perfect-ly lovable!
CORRECTION: We DO need to take responsibility – as adults – for our unhealthy actions which come from our damage – which is not the same as needing to forgive ourselves. And we are responsible for cleaning out & correcting the distortions we grew up with – but we did not cause that damage!

The healthy version of Having Rights is one of many concepts antithetical to the ‘twin towers’ of alcoholism & narcissism. In terms of the dis-ease, Deserving & Having Rights are polar opposites.  People in Recovery often say that we “deserve to be……. deserve to have…..”.  This can be misleading since it assumes that we did something to merit x or y, so it is conditional.
Therefore if we fail to act a certain way we assume we don’t deserve.human rughts

• As we mature & heal we eventually come to understand that just being born gives us certain rights, as human being with a soul & a connection to the Universal Spirit – a far greater power than any one of us & beyond our understanding. As has been said many times in 12 step programs: “God does not make trash!”  SO – if we are all one & part of the Universal Energy then we do NOT have to earn / pay for / suffer for the qualities & benefits that are our human rights.

EXP: A Program boyfriend told Keisha: “My loving you is none of your business”. He meant that she had not caused him to love me, SO she couldn’t make him not love her. So she could stop obsessing about how she was going to ‘ruin it’ because she wasn’t good enough, or because of what she said or did.  If she had learned that we have always had the right to be loved – Keisha would never have worried at all ! It only depends on who we are with.

REMINDER: NO one has the power to make another person love us, including our parents. They either had the ability already – by the time we were born – or they didn’t!

NEXT: Deserving vs. Rights (Part 3)


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