ACoAs – Dealing with Disputes (Part 2)


ARE THE DIFFERENCES

between us too great?

PREVIOUS: Disputes #1

SITE: Resolving Neighbor Disputes

⬅️ Designed & assembled by DMT


HEALTHY Responding
✥ On the other hand if you & one other, or you & a group – who are in a specific disagreement – are willing to work things out, everyone must be able to communicate their side reasonably, using their Adult ego state. Strong emotions will always be part of those situations, especially from everyone’s WIC (most people have one), but must not be the driving force

Then there is usually a way to resolve the dispute without losing oneself or losing face. It includes the ability to identify the current issue causing the friction, for EACH side to admit if they were wrong (the 10th Step), to apologize for any ‘bad’ behavior & to explain what was really bothering them in the first place. Only then can you begin to rationally negotiate a limited compromise or figure out what’s beneficial to both sides.

Naturally, for this to happen, the person or group we’d be dealing with would have to have enough mental health so they can participate in this type of solution. One-sided efforts never work – where we are the only one always trying to be respectful & logical, or just giving in. (MORE….)

AN ASIDE: We’re familiar with the people who absolutely refuse to bend even a little on any point in dispute – the “Right-ists“.
⁉️ More confusing: When both parties do own their part in the dissension (a P-A put-down, angry comment, a snubs, gossip….), identify where they’re coming from & apologize, BUT then realize they really do not want to continue their association. Both parties can be satisfied they’ve cleaned up their side of the street, but the difficulty highlighted an incompatibility already present.

RECOVERY Awareness
For things to work out well – as much as possible, we need at least some awareness of each of the following points:

1. What are normal human needs / rights?
Coming from abusive & neglecting families, most ACoAs concluded that we don’t have any rights, & that we wouldn’t deserve them is we could imagine any! However, these are characteristics (in all 4 PMES categories) common to all human & also apply to us, absolutely

2. What is Mental Health vs. what are ACoA / narcissistic / dysfunctional patterns ? For the latter, we can review the posts: ACoA Laundry List  // Are you an ACoA , & for the former Character Traits & contrasts // Emotional Maturity…. as well as many books & websites.

3. What are my specific needs, wants, & BUTTONS?
This takes time & work – to identify needs, wants, dreams…. specific to us.
It includes doing family & personal inventories, & getting thoroughly acquainted with both our healthy & wounded Inner Children.
EXP of buttons:
🚺 Being accused wrongly / having to wait – for anything / not being understood / stupidity….

CHART: “Choosing relationship priorities… ” 


4. Is what’s bothering me a recurring pattern of behavior?
• New or brief acquaintances: If we thoroughly understand some dysfunctional way of thinking &/or acting and we’ve learned to trust our instincts, we can easily & quickly identify it in someone when we see it, even if we’ve just met or only known them a short time.
🎼 In case you doubt your ability to do this, CONSIDER: If you know a song very well, someone only needs to hum a few bars – for you to recognize it!

• Longer-term acquaintances: Being around someone for a some prolonged  time allows us to observe their characteristic ways of thinking, gesturing, behaving, talking…..
The problem is not in our ability to ‘see’, but rather our childhood training to be in denial, & a current unwillingness to acknowledge anything we think is too painful to accept.
EXP: 
If they — often or always over-react, treat us unfairly, are verbally & emotionally disrespectful, always late, often cancel…..–  it’s important to:
a. see these behaviors as the damage & abuse it is, and
b. not ignore what we see & feel, by pretending it’s not happening

NEXT: Dispute #3

Advertisements

ACoAs – Dealing with Disputes (Part 1)


THERE ARE SOLUTIONS
to many disagreements
 

PREVIOUS: Being Right #5b

SITE: “Side Taker. You fight – we decide who’s right.” FUN site

 

REVIEW
When there is a difference in taste, opinions, needs, goals…. between you & another person (or group) – it doesn’t automatically mean either you or they are wrong. Each one feels their version of events is the right one, & for each person it may be. YOU do not have to give up yours – just to keep the peace.

But ACoAs tend to hang out at the extremes – of everything – including disputes:
↘️ either thinking others are always right & we never are, discounting our own point of view altogether (co-dependent), OR
↗️ that our way of thinking & feeling is the only right one, discounting everyone else’s altogether (narcissist)

In the previous set of posts we’re reminded to acknowledge & accept that everyone has their own angle on life & it’s never exactly like ours. So at the very least – we should consider what others have to say, seeing if they have a point – with can include something good we’ve never thought of! Then evaluate it in light of our experiences & personal preferences, & maybe agree with it – or not.

But when you express who you genuinely are & what you need / want —
— AND a parent / spouse / ‘friend’/ adult-child / boss…. gives you a hard time : strongly objects, tries to change you, tries to prevent you from pursuing or reaching a goal / attacks….
— you may feel angry, but deeper is sadness, frustration & loneliness.

UNHEALTHY
However, unless we’ve done a lot of our own FoO work with a sense of our True identity, then having an intense disagreement with someone – where they’re angry with us (we’re hurt & angry too), & especially if they’re using narcissistic ‘logic’ to prove their point, we ACoAs will buy whatever they’re selling – outright.

● We’re left with the painful obsession about what just happened, which can go on for hours or days. We’re torn between outrage, fear & S-H. Was I right? or were they right? Should I apologize? What if it’s my fault? I can’t stand having someone angry at me…..
This kind of mental self-torture comes from not being clear about who we are (True Self) & fear of separation (abandonment), but most of all not knowing that we’re being abused & that we didn’t cause any of it !

If we stick around such people, without a strong UNIT (adult & good parent), our WIC is intimated & continually re-traumatized. If we engage, we’ll alternate between dragged-out verbal fights & folding in childish helplessness. (Excellent Article : “Gaslighting & Spite“).

🔶 Dealing with unhealed people is always very frustrating & painful. Even more so if you do have a modicum of mental health:
If you have the courage to object to any form of emotional abuse, or to something not done that should have been – usually because of passive- aggressiveness (insult her appearance, lie about where he was, forgot to buy an essential staple – again, didn’t pick up the kids, didn’t —– as promised)…..

……AND the problem-person refuses to admit any responsibility – or even a valid explanation – for their behavior, but always makes it your problem, putting all the blame on you…… (See post: “P-A comments“)
– you will find yourself greatly frustrated, but mostly aware of being powerless to get your needs met from such a person.

OUR unhealed REACTIONS
Holding in hurt & frustration, letting it pile up, & then exploding. ACoAs are afraid of conflict, but blowing up makes us feel worse than dealing with an issue while it’s still relatively small

• Blowing a small hurt or slight way out of proportion, & then reacting to that. Many times “Message received was not Message sent”. ACoAs hear some things thru the lens of family & school insults & bullying, so a casual remark can sound like a major insult

• Being defensive (over-explaining, denying, lying….), instead of considering the possible validity of the other person’s objection or point of view about us. ACoAs hate being caught in an imperfection, error or mess-up

• Refusing to even discuss a dispute, even if it’s presented in a reasonable way. Negative: because of feeling shame, guilt or arrogance (“not me!”)
Positive: from knowing that no matter what you say, you’re not going to be heard, they’re going to get nasty, or you’ll always be made wrong.

NEXT: Dealing with disputes #2

ACoAs being ‘RIGHT’ (Part 5b)

I GET SO MUCH MORE
from careful listening

PREVIOUS: ‘Right’ #5a

SITEs: “You don’t always have to be right” (hypnosis) = Purchase downloads

⬅️ IMAGE designed & assembled by DMT

Being Right (BR) the RIGHT WAY IS:
• keeping an open mind & heart, curious, willing to learn something new
• being open to the uniqueness of any given situation & drawing conclusions from other perspectives (but not from angry, unhealed people!)
• seeing what’s in other viewpoints that might have a degree of validity
• looking at the big picture rather than the immediate issue or situation
• learning to listen to what healthy & knowledgeable people have to say
• staying ‘present’, being conscious & available for what the world has to offer us, which will help us recognize where our next opportunity is coming from

☆ We may still end up sticking to our Truth – the best part of our core knowledge (“I know what I know”) – as well as revising damaged beliefs (CDs), thus finding saner ways to think about ourselves & the world

• Daily practicing open-mindedness, paying attention & humility (NOT humiliation) makes all our relationships work better.
But this can really be hard for those of us deeply attached to always having to be right (aBR). For ACoAs, being caught in a mistake, an oversight or a lack of info can bring up shame & perfectionism – a form of S-H 

✳️ Letting go of this compulsion requires legitimate validation of our painful experiences so we don’t always have to prove something. It also includes having permission to be seen. Most of us never had the right to disagree with our parents’ perspective, much less being allowed to have good things.

😮 While ACoAs who are afraid of saying the wrong thing need to speak up more (it’s OK to not know something or even be wrong sometimes!) —
🤔 — those of us who always have something to say (whether useful – or not), can benefit from truly listening

In either case, no matter how genuinely smart we are, if we ASK for info (“What did you mean when you said —?”….), we may be surprised by what’s going on in someone else’s head. Usually something we couldn’t have guessed!

NOTE: Our addiction to BR is another form of being controlling – rather than being in charge of ourselves. Healthy control requires knowing that there are options – to almost everything.
But with aBR – there are no option, no choices, no variations. It really is about not having ‘the right’ to think & feel – our own way – fueling the need for constant validation – from everyone else!

IDEAS for changing the aBR pattern
• Identify your aBR control beliefs (Use CD posts )
• Why are they so important to you? Where do they come from?
Ask : “What do I gain from trying to control everything?”
With those answers, continually check to see if you really do get what you assumed you would – by using aBR (usually not!)
Write down & correct ‘control rules’

When you feel the urge to force your way on a person or situation, decide not to – just this once (each time). Go with the flow & see what happens
Also notice whenever something is actually out of your control.
How does it feel? What can you learn? How can you make it an advantage?? HINT: You can relax more often!
Accept that there’s no such thing as control over PPT, only yourself.
(Modified from ‘Simple Life Strategies‘)

AND
modified fromFocused Attention’
1. Emotions are your Guidance System
When you’re uncomfortable, or anxious or angry – it could be that:
• something in the present is pushing your old buttons, so your wounded child is being reminded of past abuses & abandonments, OR
• they’re a warning signal that someone is mistreating you – no matter how subtle or indirect, OR
• something deeply important to you is missing from the situation

2. Identify what you DO want
Start by noticing what you’re thinking – usually about what you don’t like – & then state the reverse. You may think:
• “If they really cared about me they wouldn’t act that way!” So what you do want is acceptance, belonging, consideration, respect
“I hate when people lie to me!” So what you do want is being told the truth & reliability, so you can depend on others (feel safe)   ….etc….

3, Take Actions
Focus on specific things you can do or say each day that will create more of what you want. It will help if you improve what you say to yourself & how you behave. BUT mainly –
💗 If you want trust, caring, fun, intellectual stimulation, reliability, ‘sanity’, sobriety, spirituality…… look for people who already have those qualities & want to share them with you – without you having to rescue or fix them!

NEXT: Being Right #5c

ACoAs being ‘RIGHT’ (Part 5a)

KNOWING MY RIGHTS
makes it OK to not always be right!

PREVIOUS: Being Right (#5a)

SITE “Being right without being rude”

QUOTE: ”The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. ~ Proverbs 12:15

Being Right (BR) the RIGHT WAY
Each of us have a unique DNA, so our brains are wired differently. Along with the differences in our family & social background, how each of us thinks & feels is not like anyone else. Some of us may have similarities, but ultimately we can’t be in anyone else’s skin, nor they ours.
So, healthy BR is about :
• ownership of knowledge & wisdom, for the benefit of ourselves & others
• our responsibility to find our True Self, learn about dysfunction & about how the real world works
• standing by our personal wisdom, & defend all our rights, especially in any unhealthy environment.

We can verify “I know what I know” by using supporting evidence, usually based on positive experiences & education. But sometimes ‘existing knowledge’ can hinder us from opening our mind to possible alternatives & solutions, thus curbing the creative process. So having to be right – all the time – is overrated.

NOTE: We know that brain chemicals are triggered when reacting angrily to strong upsets (scroll to ‘special case’). They make us feel better – temporarily.  If ‘have a fight – feel better’ (aBR) is constantly repeated, it will set up an addictive cycle without dealing with the underlying problems.  CHART

• Instead – There’s another hormone that allows us to feel just as good as adrenaline, which is oxytocin*.  It’s activated by positive human connection, opening up networks in the executive brain (prefrontal cortex), increasing our ability to trust & be available for sharing.

* Studies now show that oxytocin (the ‘love hormone’) interferes with the release of cortisol, a hormones responsible for stress, so it reduces anxiety-raised blood pressure. It makes one feel affectionate, calm, generous, relaxed & trusting. It also improves sociability, reducing the feeling of isolation.

HUGS release oxytocin :). This chemical plays a big role in promoting & building lasting relationships, strengthening marriages & reducing conflicts, even building warmth & connection between strangers. (More…)

Opposite of being self-righteous (aBR) is NOT —
– saying we’re always wrong /stupid /a fu–up
– berating oneself for all the years of unhealthy superiority
– having to always know exactly what’s true or accurate
– assuming we don’t know anything, or should just shut up
– throwing out all the information we have in our mental data bank

🚧 🚦 NEITHER is it co-dependent people-pleasing, where we deny or ignore our own opinions, needs, emotions or desires! The only people who will tolerate that kind of communication are other PPs, P-As & other control freaks.

Instead – gaining Mental Health includes gently detaching from to our compulsive need for ‘Right-ness’. This will come from having our many painful experiences validated, knowing our true rights, & learning to identify harmful behavior in others – so we don’t keep trying to convince the unconvinceable.

We don’t always have to push our own agenda or always get our way. Al-Anon asks: ”How important is it?” – in the big scheme of things. Will we remember this incident 10 years from now? Some things are simply not worth the effort – such as being right all the time.
And some people will never agree with us anyway, or even understand our point of view.

Review EXP: Sarah is on a blind lunch-date in a fancy east-side restaurant, where the tables are 2′ apart in a small space. When the man tells her he’s an engineer she suspects the meet isn’t going to be successful. (He’s clearly an ST & she’s an NF = MBTI oil & water). Sure enough when she tells him she’s an astrologer – he begins to berate & belittle the profession.

Sarah is hurt & angry – her work has helped herself & many others. She wants to lash out & set him straight, but remembers the Al-Anon Q. So to not embarrass herself & not waste time justifying, she quickly asks him to say more about his profession – & then stops listening.
Instead she comforts her WIC & explains why saying anything is useless.
It’s the best self-care, & a win for her self-esteem!

NEXT: “Right” – #5b

ACoAs being “RIGHT” (Part 4)


IT’S ABSOLUTELY NORMAL
to get things wrong sometimes

PREVIOUS: Being Right (Part 1)

SITE: The Joy of Being Wrong

QUOTE: “….people find it far easier to forgive others for being wrong than being right.” Harry Potter in the Half-Blood Prince


A LOOK AT THE OTHER SIDE
Reality – In ‘Being Wrong’, author Kathryn Schulz argues that it’s time to embrace our errors. After all, making mistakes is inevitable, so we need to stop pretending we can imagine it out of existence.

Being Wrong (BW) is uncomfortable
The process of learning something (so that we’re skilled, correct, knowledgeable) takes time, determination & effort. And it includes getting things wrong from time to time. This is normal, & applies to everyone, but most ACoAs hate process, because it means something different than it does to less damaged people. We’d rather assume that what we already believe is the final word (so that we never have to be wrong), & expect others to go along with it. This is understandable for ACoAs, since BW makes us feel out of control.  Review “CDs & the Brain

Normal LEARNING Process
Stage 1: we are wrong but don’t know it.
Feels fine
Stage 2: we realize we are wrong.
Feels horrible
Stage 3: we are right. Feels fine again (More…)

SUGGESTION: If you find yourself at stage 2, don’t resist – take comfort. It means you’re on the way to being right – if you don’t give up.

✔︎ Resistance to BW says why most of us are so poor at following our own advice – we’re much better at diagnosing & solving other people’s problems. Even tho we can be quite accurate in our evaluation for them, we may badly this skill for ourselves, but it’s so much harder to accept or own our limitations & flaw, or make necessary changes.

✔︎ Resistance to BW explains why some of us have trouble getting started – trouble taking positive actions – even when it’s a ‘project’ we want to do, is worth doing & is actually possible. But since we can never do it perfectly, we put it off – either by endlessly fantasizing/talking about it, doing ‘research’ for months or years, or just avoiding it all together.

✔︎ Resistance to BW also suggests why it is so hard to let go of something that’s not turning out well (a bad relationship or the wrong job, the wrong investment, trying to do something we’re not equipped for….).
It’s often painfully obvious – to everyone else – when something isn’t working any more, or has never worked for us. We should cut our losses, but that would mean accepting that we’ve been wrong – which can feel too humiliating – especially for ACoAs.  So we plow on, whatever the personal or financial cost.

Being Wrong (BW) is OK!
What we think is absolutely right in most cases is only our opinion, & may or may not be correct or apply to anyone else. And – knowing ‘everything’ is not always a plus, depending on what’s motivating us (Unhealthy EnneaType 5s). A great deal of knowledge is useful only if it’s the right kind & put to good use, otherwise it makes us narrow-minded, even stubborn – harming us & others.

BW (mistakes, ignorance, foolishness, limitations….) has its advantages. Allowing ourselves to be imperfect (being human) frees us :
— to be open to infinite possibilities & to focus on solutions
— to find our own timing & style, so we can free our true inner genius
— from a great weight of oppressive & unrealistic responsibility
— from wasting time trying to be & do what’s truly impossible

The sky’s the limit. CONSIDER:

● Allowing ourselves to BW means opening our mind & heart to receiving other people’s knowledge & help, making creativity & options available

● While past experiences can be helpful, it’s important to not rely on them exclusively – especially if they represent expressions of our damage

● BW curbs or eliminates perfectionism (fear of failing), which is stifling. When we’re OK with BW, we’re not afraid to try new things, making life much more interesting & productive

● We gain more respect from others by admitting when we’re in the wrong or unsure. No one likes a know-it-all, who is too arrogant to take legitimate risks or unwilling to see other people’s point of view (See “Humility” )

●  When our opinion or facts are wrong, or we just have a poor attitude in dealing with others – admitting the truth to another person will preserve their dignity. Forcibly slanting an argument in our favor (aBD) or showing off at someone’s expense – diminishes them.

NEXT: Being Right (Part 4)

ACoAs being ‘RIGHT’ (Part 3b)


 

WHY DOESN’T EVERYONE
see my point of view!??

PREVIOUS: Being Right (#3)

SITE:’The Need To Be Right

⬅️IMAGE designed & assembled by DMT


REMINDER
: BR comes in various degrees of intensity. You may have a touch of it, or it may run your whole way of interacting with others.

ACoA addicted to Being Right – aBR (cont.)
No matter how helpful to others our info or how valid our beliefs are, the way we know we’re in the grip of aBR (a character defect) is that it doesn’t allow for anyone else to also be right – for themselves.
It fits the characteristics of an alcoholic or otherwise narcissistic family – as perfectionism & grandiosity.

▲Knowledgeable people who are reasonably healthy will share their expertise with anyone seeking it, but never press other to listen or to agree. They know everyone has the human right to their own info & choices.

▼Instead, ingrained Right-ists truly feel justified in their position,  rarely if ever open to seeing the arrogance & selfishness of their attitude. Whatever damage created this is so deeply hidden in the unconscious, that they are sure of themselves & comfortable in their superiority – there is no internal cognitive dissonance.

While the aBR form of communication may ‘feel right’ to the Right-ist, it’s abusive to others – as seen in oppressive political or religious environments.

And for us personally, aBR can easily be the impetus for attacking anyone who challenges our world view. Others may have good ideas, their own process, a different way of working toward a goal OR they may be deep in denial & acting out their damage.
Regardless, if what or who they are doesn’t agree with our ‘truth’, we will badger or cold-shoulder them.

We function from the unspoken thought:
“I can’t bear it when someone contradicts or ignores me. So I wait. I watch. I react. I pounce – ready to belittle, correct, insult, make fun of, negate…..”
And if someone stands up for their opinions or style – or just ignores us, we get very upset, get pushier, possibly even meaner. We won’t feel OK until & unless the other person capitulates.

RESULTS
While we who are Right-ists can easily find insecure wounded souls who will let themselves be bullied, none of our tactics work with long-term active addicts. 💂 If they want to keep ‘using’, nothing we do will stop them!

Being convinced there’s a certain way everyone should think or act ultimately leads to personal frustration, annoyance & disappointment when others don’t follow our rules or opinions. This increases our fear & rigidity. We feel betrayed, assuming someone has automatically agreed to follow our lead, but then reneged on the implied compliance.

This is a thoroughly mistaken assumption, since most people do not automatically fall in behind the Right-ist, & their silence does not mean agreement. And whenever there is even a crack in our illusion, as Right-ists we don’t see our narcissism, but prefer to attack & accuse others.

Giving everyone the message they are or should be exactly like us obviously undermines their ability or willingness to be cooperative & stay connected. If they don’t leave altogether, they pull away from us – the supposed ‘righteous’ one – reinforcing the sense of abandonment on both sides.

aBR prevents us from experiencing the understanding & intimacy we say we desire. We can’t understand why our partner/ boss/ child….. is so angry with us. We’re convinced they should be making changes – then we’d get along just fine! After all, we don’t want to confused ourselves with reality – like that others have the right to their own way of thinking & doing things – when we’ve already made up their mind for them!

Spiritual Narcissism – Many religious communities (all over the world) insist that their dogma is the only correct one, often condemning &/or ostracizing anyone who disputes or disagrees.

● Right-its can easily be dogma-zealot about anything we’re fired up about, trying to convince/convert the ‘ignorant’. We may sincerely believe we’re justified & being helpful, that having found the one & only ‘right way’ now we can set others straight & solve all their problems. But it’s up to the other person whether or not they are interested in our position, and what works for one person, family or group is not always right for another.

NEXT: Being Right (Part 5)

ACoAs being “RIGHT” (Part 3a)

IF I’M THE ONLY ONE WHO’S RIGHT
everyone else is worthless!

PREVIOUS: Being Right (#2)

SITE: 38 (
unhealthy) Ways to Win an Argument w/chart

• ‘The art of being right” = some of those 38 ways explained

DEFs:
▶︎ Right = A belief or action conforming to facts or truth. What is most favorable or desired
❖ Self-righteous = Convinced of one’s own righteousness (being perfect, therefore superior, even when well-hidden from most others), especially in stark contrast to the actions & beliefs of others. Being narrow-mindedly, moralistic. ~ Webster’s dictionary

REMINDER: BR comes in various degrees of intensity. You may have a touch of it, or it may run your whole way of interacting with others.

ACoA addicted to Being Right (aBR)
PAST: We suffered thru an abusive, controlling & neglected upbringing, Constantly forced to give up our way of thinking, doing or feeling around a Right-ist – we reacted as kids by fighting, fleeing, freezing or appeasing, (see Part 1) depending on our personal preference, which became our long-term style.
In general, being flooded with fear & anger temporarily diminishes the capacity to use the frontal cortex, which is needed for thinking, decision-making & self-control. Over time this has had long-term physical & mental consequences. As childhood victims of a Right-ist, we gradually became less able to express ourselves, seemingly less competent & articulate (brain-freeze). We may have seemed stupid, making the bullying Right-ist even more convinced of their superiority.

• With some oppressive authority figures, BR was dangerous because it showed them up & was considered ‘arrogant’, slowly forming our belief that we don’t know anything

• With others, a way to survive & avoid punishment was to always get it right, prove it without mistakes & to justify ourselves – forming the assumption that we must know everything.

🚦Double bind: Some of us were constantly told we were ignorant / stupid / unteachable – while at the same time expected to take care of them as if we were adults trained in several professions!

NOW: Always having to be right can be used as a protective cover, giving us a sense of stability & control. Projecting our scary childhood onto the whole world, we assume everything is still & forever unsafe, thus the assumption we need to be perfect – to prevent further danger.  Still desperate to please so we won’t keep getting abandoned, we wobble on the fence between these 2 false beliefs (know everything, know nothing), inevitably falling off, inevitably feeling miserable. This original dilemma has left us with rage & S-H, alternating between rebellion & paralysis.

• Many grew up with one or more severe narcissist – who always had to have their way. Then some of us took up the Right-ist mantle & carry it forward, tromping on others as we were tromped on. (See Right-ist characteristics – Part 2)

— SUBTLE but pervasive – perfectionism is aBR in disguise. We can keep this obsession better hidden, but the obvious result is decades of procrastination

— BLATANT: Wanting & insisting on getting our own way – most or all of the time – is the narcissism of the False Self, a common character flaw of wounded people (the majority!). We will push & push to get others to see that our way is the not only correct – but the only possibility.

As ‘dedicated’ Right-ists we negate or prevent input from others, no matter how logical. We’re so caught up in this defensive strategy that we’ll argue our point endlessly, trying to manipulate everyone in our life, even other people’s thoughts – especially in situations that are truly & totally beyond our control, such as with the active addicts we love (See “The Serenity Prayer backwards“)

• Feeling superior (aBR), we may not even realize our anxiety is temporarily relieved when we get our way: “I knew I was right! Now that you’ve got that straight, we can go on.” It calms us – our security blanket in our unsafe world. But it’s a false solution because our damage is still lurking in the background, waiting for someone or something to set it off. Unhealed, we’re driven by old, deep terror.

• But like any addiction, having to BR is very stressful – always vigilant, afraid to make a mistake, never truly safe, never comfortable.
While outside it shows up in the form of false pride – the need to feel important or better than everyone else, inside it’s driven by inadequacy & shame – which we may not even be aware of! Especially if we need to be seen as innocent, good & all-knowing, we’ll use charm & manipulation, alternating with anger & intimidation to force our agenda on others.

However, all we end up doing is alienating others by being high maintenance, or taking psychological prisoners of the insecure. In the process we sacrifice our own well-being.

NEXT:  Being right #3b