PREVIOUS: Outgrow co-dep (#4b)
SITEs: • “How is Forgiveness Possible?“- a philosophical essay, complex & interesting
RECOVERY from “Too Nice Syndrome”(cont.)
Tool 5c. FORGIVING Ourselves – as ADULTS – is to:
1. LET GO of old patterns (As), harsh judgements & pointless comparisons (Ts) ————- See “Letting go means….“, and to:
2. GIVE UP torturing ourselves for all the ways we’ve messed up (T.E.As)
The many ways we have hurt ourselves & other people has been the result of our specific personality’s reactions to a very unhealthy upbringing. To outgrow co-dep it’s crucial to accept that, like everyone else, our dysfunction was a predictable outcome of our childhood experiences. We need to identify our ‘character defects’ in the light of our early training – instead of assuming they represent our basic self.
ACoA 4th Step: “We made a searching and blameless inventory of our parents because, in essence, we had become them” (Posts: Family Inventory //Their attitudes).
Co-dependent fake niceness tries to hide our angry disappointment at not being loved & cared for by our family. So we’re horrified at the suggestion that we might have turned into a version of them. “NOT ME! I’ll never let myself drink too much, yell at & beat my mate & kids, lay around like a queen bee, be so controlling, be unfair, be poor, throw things, cheat, gamble, lie, pretend everything’s fine when it’s not…
AND YET, maybe only on the inside, we’re just as judgemental about others, hard on ourselves, afraid & insecure, be fake, skeptical or naive, afraid of intimacy …. as them. And we don’t want anyone to know, not even ourselves.
Yes, our long-term self-defeating behaviors are indeed aspects of our parents, incorporated into & modified by the WIC. But when we accept that, then self-blame can be stopped by self-forgiveness, both for all the things that were out of our control, & all the things we’ve done compulsively (unconsciously) out of damage.
We can start with the inventory of our beliefs, fears, resentments, interaction with others…. and this includes all our positive qualities, skills & experience. This is not an easy task. Many of us find it difficult to identify our good qualities because of rotten mirroring, much less our ‘wrongs’, which we’re too proud to admit to, or too ashamed.
TRY using the: Workbook re. ACoA 12 steps, and the Laundry List Workbook
As adults we are responsible for our actions, so now we have the option to make the changes that will improve our life. It helps to separate our T.E.A.s. correctly, into:
— moral faults : based on our personal value system, things we feel shame, guilt & remorse about, which need an appropriate proportion of repair or penalty
— weaknesses : things that would be best corrected, but don’t reserve punishment
— normal human activities & feelings which are not to be judged at all
It will benefit us most if we identify these categories with a compassionate heart. Then we can decide what to keep & what to work on outgrowing. Our Time-Line Inventory will show recurring patterns.
ACoA Step 5 : “We admitted to our Higher Power, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our childhood abandonment.”
Once we have our personal ‘wounded’ list, & share it with H.P., a sponsor, therapist &/or wise friend…. we have a blueprint to work from – for ourselves & in relation to others in our life.
NOTE that it doesn’t say ‘our defects’, because that label leads ACoAs to think it’s our ‘core badness’. Instead, Abandonment leads to —> Self-hate, which leads to —-> acting out woundedness, which are expressions of our False Self.
To give us courage to face the daunting & terrifying task of these steps, #s 6-9 are helpful, as we take them in, & apply them. READ: Realistic Recovery
NEXT: Self-Forgiveness (#4d)