👠 👠 👠

ISTJThe DUTY FULFILLER / Examiner / Inspector

🔑 Most Responsible

(11.6% world-wide) (16.4% ♂︎  // 6.9% ♀︎) The Rule lover // Enforcer

NATURAL – ‘Doing what should be done’
: to Prepare.

ISTJs are quiet & serious, interested in security & peaceful living, usually supporting or promoting establishments, because they value traditions & loyalty.
Their successes come from thoroughness & dependability, with a seemingly endless capacity for improving anything that takes their interest, because they have the unusual combination of imagination & organization.

They can be hard on themselves & others on work projects, & anyone caught slacking will lose their respect. Although extremely dependable perfectionists but don’t get trapped in it because of the pragmatic rule: “Does it work?”

ISTJs take pleasure in making everything orderly & organized – in all parts of life. Practical, matter-of-fact & realistic, they’re known for having well-developed powers of concentration, who work steadily towards goals regardless of distractions. They decide logically what should be done & work toward it steadily. (More….)

They’re : conscientious, conventional, compulsive, command, logical, need order, organized, realistic, reserved, practical, private, follow the rules & regulations, supportive, systematic, thorough, traditional, trustworthy

Hidden side: They can be quite vulnerable, getting depressed & anxious when faced with a difficult decision – because of their strong sense of accountability.
At the same time, they’re sillier, softer & stranger than most profiles dare to mention, and more so than ISTJs themselves realize. Some become so firmly set in their habits they may not notice how idiosyncratic they are. They can also have a knack for puns & poignant descriptions, though most people would never peg ISTJs as ‘poetic’.

• Life’s Purpose : To do what must be done.
• Their Law : You shall never be lazy.
• They Comfort others by saying: What the f– are feelings?

• They Say : I’ve completed everything according to the rules. When I give my word,  give my honor. WHAT are you doing?
Catchphrase : Do right & fear no man

Communication : Advice – Stop talking about the weather. They may be caught up with whatever they’re doing, but they’re available for a conversation when not busy. It’ll be fun.

Weaknesses : Tend to blame others, unusually impulsive, decreased efficiency, perfectionist
Manipulate : They have step by step instructions on how to judge & criticize you

Paradoxes : Dependable AND rigid. Need to obey authority AND need personal attention. Modest BUT proud, least weird of the types – making them a little weird

Value: dedication       • Fear : Not being able to fulfill responsibilities
Judge people by: their competence
Are Judged for : not being dependable

STRESSED by situations in illustration. They’re cool-headed, but hard like ice.

Under stress (Pure melancholy) ISTJs tend to see others as overly subjective & weak, which makes them think it’s time to take control & set things right. They can become domineering & uncompromising, assume their logic is the only valid standard, & try to impose it.
While they crave personal contact & affection, they won’t give in to their emotional side. They blame others for being corrupt, biased & disrespectful so that a self-righteous anger takes over.

Stress triggers can be things that challenge their natural preference for structure & logic. In the they can be accusatory & pessimistic, tending to withdraw & shut down. As the pressure becomes intolerable, psychological valves open to release frustration in inappropriate ways: bursts of anger, impulsive behaviors, excessive drinking or eating……

Hate : being nagged, being useless, under-performing, failing a test, letting others down, lack of honor, being misjudged, asking for help because it make them feel they’re burdening others, lack of leadership, someone behaving like Zooey Deschanel,

Don’t argue with ISTJ when they’re having : faith in you
Never : mislead them
Never tell them : “You didn’t even try”

Advice: You can’t fit individual differences into a (your) mold

ISTJs can become set in their ways, seen as rigid & impersonal. Too easily judgemental, they need to pay close attention to what they are making judgments about, & their motivations. Because they rend to do so without enough information, it’s best to start by understanding what they’re criticizing, & then form an opinion.

They’ll benefit from verbalizing their own views more often, but without too much detail, as well as being more aware of how people will feel in response.

Their greatest challenge has to do with being willing to change – finding the right balance between preserving what works while being open to experimental new ideas, where some will fail but others will reveal better ways of doing things. (More….)

ISTJ Relationships
YOU: are generally seen as someone who values traditions, is consistent & orderly. You develop strong loyalty in others & work hard to keep commitments. Your relationship superpower is Commitment.

Thrive in any that are: respectful and traditional

As a friend, you’re the super organized one who always shows up early, was the ‘smart one’ who answered all the Qs in class, & others can trust you with their life
Annoyed with: anyone who can’t be count on for anything

ISTJ Parent / child of ISTJ parent, ISTJ child  (ALSO…..)

Still single because : you’re uptight
Unhealthy behavior : taking the ‘shared-bathroom-schedule’ too seriously

Show interest by : ultra-intense eye contact
Show love by : handling problems or practical matters for you, offering advice

• You want to hear : I depend on you
• You’re attractive/sexy because : you have a natural rhythm & & structure, a strong will & intensity to follow your inner drummer, which many find desirable

• You should date : someone who can pull you out of your shell & force you to accept life’s messy bits, can teach you that taking risks & breaking rules can sometimes be fun

To attract you : be bubbly / charming enough to warm your heart, but flaky enough to imply they need your help (Your turn-on)

• Some famous ISTJs: Natalie Portman, Robert De Niro, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, George Washington, Queen Elizabeth II, George W. Bush





PREVIOUS: Parenting an ‘I’ child

SITE: • 11 Talents Is Don’t Realize They Have



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ISTPThe MECHANIC / Craftsman / Operator

🔑 Most Pragmatic

(5.4% world-wide) (8.5% ♂︎ 2.4% ♀︎)  The Quiet explorer // Engineer

NATURAL – “Ready to try anything once.”
to Inspect.

ISTPs are quiet, reserved, uncomplicated in their desires. They can seem somewhat detached or analytical, but have a rich inner world of observations about people, & are extremely perceptive of other’s feelings. They’re kind, tolerant & flexible, usually putting the needs of others before their own, & can be interested in serving others.

Conscientious, stable & practical, they value efficiency, security & traditions. They’re loyal to their peers & to their internal value systems, but not overly concerned with respecting laws & rules if they get in the way of getting something done.

ISTPs love learning, are excellent with mechanical things, & enjoy perfecting a craft by patiently applying their skills. Quiet observers until a problem appears, then act quickly to find workable solutions. They can remain calm while managing a crisis, quickly deciding what needs to be done to solve the problem

They are interested in cause & effect, will organize facts logically, & have a well-developed sense of space & function. Good at analyzing how things work, they can easily get through large amounts of data to get the core of practical problems.

Usually interested in & talented at extreme sports. Risk-takers who they live for the moment, they’re ready to try anything once. They’re well suited for an apocalyptic event, & without one they’ll make one up because they get bored

• They’re: adaptable, analytical, creative, energetic, fierce, great in a crisis, honest, independent, logical, rational, ready for anything, observant, physical, practical, seen as cool & aloof, spontaneous, technical, unemotional, unpretentious

Hidden side : They’re usually much more caring than most profiles give them credit for. They have a deep ‘brotherly-love’ nature, often using practical trouble-shooting skills to give their friends advice & help. While typically independent & solitary in pursuing their hobbies, they’re not that aloof in social situations, with a knack for observational humor

• Life’s Purpose: To fix what’s broken.
• Their Law : You shall always rebel.
• They Comfort others by saying: What happened this time?

• They Say : These rules are important for others, & if I feel like it I might follow  along. I’m fond of sports & the outdoors. Can we do something ‘cool’ now?
Catchphrase : A bad workman blames his tools

Communication : Advice – Talk more…. you’re OK. They don’t want to talk to (almost) anyone, they have better things to do – secretly – so no one will know

Weaknesses : Dislike commitment, psychologically isolated, over-emphasis on logic, so focused on improving things they come off as unappreciative
Manipulate : Will be mindlessly passive unless you have mechanical parts they can fix, or you have to push them off a cliff to get an adrenaline hit to get going

Paradoxes : Calculating AND uncaring. Are for all systems BUT against social systems. Stubborn BUT easygoing
Value: friendship         • Fear : Lack of independence

Judge people by: their smarts
Are Judged for : not wanting to try anything new

STRESSED by situations in illustration

Under stress (Melancholy-Sanguine) ISTPs have a tendency to resist or reject any request or situation that doesn’t fit their basic views on life.

Afraid of being controlled by others, they protect their freedom by cutting out demanding people, & only hang out with people who have the same, usually antisocial attitude.  In extreme cases they’ll feel alienated & upset, prone to complaining & hypersensitivity.

As pressure increases, they’re very likely to have a rebellious attitude against society & its organizational systems (government, political parties….), whose power they see as threatening their independence. By suspecting & blaming the system, they ‘leave’ reality & end up living as outcasts, ignoring common norms & values.

Hate : being trapped, lack of privacy, loss of control, being told what to do, stupidity, disrespect, rigid structure, asking for help because it make them think they won’t learn how to do it,  anyone who won’t ‘get their hands dirty’, when someone thinks they know what’s best for the ISTP, then steps in to their life & does that very thing

Don’t argue with an ISTP when they’re holding : a knife
Never : use them    • Never tell them: “You’re actually awful at hobbies”

Advice: Learn people-skills, because they’re useful & will get you places

ISTPs risk focusing so much on what needs to be done immediately that they miss the big picture. They don’t always follow through on projects that require them to work closely with others

ISTPs can avoid psychological breakdown by recognizing & valuing the human experience as a whole, regardless of personal differences. Accepting that human needs & aspirations are important & strikingly similar despite their variety, they can use their practical skills them to help society, instead of trying to bring it down. (MORE….)

ISTP Relationships
YOU: are generally fair & tolerant of a wide range of behavior, but then surprise others by clearly objecting when logical principles are attacked. Being quiet & reserved you can be a challenge to read. Your relationship superpower is Respect. 

Thrive in any that are: practical yet independent

• As a friend, you’re the sexy one who goes along with everything, seems to have your career all planned out, & always seems to know what’s wrong with their car or computer
Annoyed with : others who never want to try anything new

ISTP Parent / child of ISTP parent, ISTP child (ALSO....)

Still single because : you’re stuck in a Ti-Ni loop – re your stack (Ti-Se-Ni-Fe). Scroll to ‘davestone95’
Unhealthy behavior : distant, emotionally unavailable

Show interest by : confronting someone directly
Show love by : acknowledging practical needs, sharing useful info

• You want to hear : It’s up to you
• You’re attractive/sexy because : aloof, mysterious, broody, with a low-key humor – both an old soul & child-like – that’s intriguing & hard to miss

• You should date : someone who’ll give you space, but also force you to show more affection, who doesn’t let you push them away even tho’ you try, can force you out of your head & show you how to accept emotions

To attract you : they need to infiltrate your social circle, see you often but act nonchalant, & then offer sex (Your turn-on)

Some famous ISTPs: Keith Richards, Bruce Lee, Miles Davis, Tiger Woods, Katherine Hepburn, Clint Eastwood


Al-Anon STEP 10 – Comments (Part 3)

PREVIOUS: 10th Step #2

SITEs:  8 books for ACoA 

▪︎ Apology GUIDE

AA / Al-Anon Step 10 : “Continued to take personal inventory & when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

1. Daily Inventory

2. AND WHEN WE’RE WRONG  (cont.)

c. Something that did not hurt or upset another, but which we’re convinced did. Again, this is our narcissism – projecting how we’d feel if….. In fact, what we’re obsessing about may not have even registered, or if it did – it didn’t bother them.

So, before apologizingASK  “When I said/did ——, how did you feel?” (done right away, or at the next opportunity).
✔︎ If the other person was not upset, believe them & drop it!
THEN if you insist on explaining, justifying…. it’s not at all about making an amend to —-> the other person.
Instead – it’s all about you, trying to get them to make you feel better

✘ If it did bother them, then we can apologize, but not in a self-serving way by trying to justify our behavior!
However, sometimes BRIEFLY providing a legitimate context is helpful to the other person “I’m so sorry for ———, yesterday my mom was rushed to the hospital // I’d just had a chemo treatment…. // Sometime my brain-injury makes it hard to remember —– ” (Try not to use the word ‘but’ before the explanation!)

d. Human mistakes (not a tragedy). These can come from being tired, under great stress, over-doing or from ignorance. We need to have our own internal permission to be ‘normal’ (imperfect), to forgive ourselves & then make any necessary corrections.
Most other people are not as upset about our errors as we are

e. Things we said or did which actually hurt / harmed someone.
Sadly, the WIC still gets things backwards, as with the backwards Serenity Prayer.
We blame ourselves for things that are not wrongs, while having great difficulty owning long-term defense mechanisms : superiority, lying, lateness, insensitivity, laziness, procrastination, S-H ….).
Not noticing our unhealthy behavior is a lack of self-awareness – patterns we think “well, that’s just me” but are actually the False Self, & a deep-seated shame about our True-Self needs.

*    *    *    *    *    *
a. The Program phrase “Let it begin with me” certainly applies here.
If we accurately identify a ‘failing’, we can promptly admit it TO OURSELVES – without shame or S-H.  Hard for many ACoAs to do!

In Recovery we learn that character defects come from the wounded child &/or PP, so even with years of hard work they don’t go away fast or easily. We need to be KIND to ourselves, & patient with our process!
For in-depth info, read posts Outgrowing Co-dep Niceness #6a-7c”, re. Forgiving ourselves.

b. Re. OTHERS – 9th Step procedure applies here too – read post “Outgrowing Co-dep Niceness #8a = Being forgiven by others”.

A sponsor may suggest that “promptly” means to act within 48 hours – not a week or a year.  But for many ACoAs it can take hours or days before we realize we need to make an amend, or to take the time to overcome shame, or calm down from anger, & get some perspective.

As mentioned before, in some cases the person may not accept the amends or want to talk to us at all. Sometimes it’s not safe or even possible to reach them. An abusive boss, a mentally ill family member, a manipulative narcissist, the passive-aggressive….. can easily use a sincere ‘amend’ against us, if not right away, then some later time when it suits them.
We do need to use discretion & be self-protective.

Not wanting to apologize may seem like PRIDE on the surface, but actually it’s:
a. being ASHAMED of not being perfect
b. it’s something that was shamed / punished in our family growing up
To be able to apologize ‘easily’ we can not be choked with SHAME!

💠   💠    💠    💠
Read: ACoA 12 Steps

ACoA 10th Step: “We continued to take personal inventory & to love and approve of ourselves.”
• This is not arrogance or narcissism, but rather, self-care.
• It’s not about being at the extremes of either having to be “right” <—–> or of self-flagellation.
• AND keeping our side of the street clean does NOT mean staying with people who don’t want to be with us, who are subtly abusive or simply incompatible!

By accepting ourselves completely, we can slowly outgrow much of our damage, & uncover our True Self. This minimizes the amount & frequency of acting on character defects. It keeps us from isolating ourselves & judging everyone else.
“Admitting & Accepting” is the mental health of acknowledging our human-ness & the need to be part of the human race.

NEXT: MBTI Introverts

Al-Anon STEP 10 – Comments (Part 2)

PREVIOUS : 10th Step #1

SITE: 10th Step Worksheet 

A Study of Step 10 

AA/ Al-Anon Step 10 : “Continued to take personal inventory & when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

✔︎ What were my thoughts today?
NOTE: This is NOT what you said – only what was in your head.
Re: Yourself – most of this list will be the self-abusing thoughts from the PP or WIC.- ie. Self-Hate, either in the ‘I’ form (I’m such a failure) or ‘You’ form (You should have know that)
Re. Others – If you’re angry at someone, the thoughts will be harsh judgments & derogatory name calling
If you’re anxious, they’ll usually be thoughts of how to placate or avoid that person.

These will all be in the form of obsessions – going round & round, without asking yourself what childhood button was pushed, nor looking for a solution to the situation. (POSTS: “What just happened?”)

IMAGEs: they illustrate the positive & negative sides ➡️ of our thoughts & Es, NOT as mental illness, but actually normal in all humans

POSITIVE: Identify all helpful, kind, adult, realistic, mentally healthy thinking (“What she said had nothing to do with who I am // I’ve just reached my limit // I need help with this // that was a good meeting”…. )

✯   ✯   ✯   ✯   ✯
2. AND WHEN WE’RE WRONG  (see posts on “Being right“)

What kind of wrong(s)? First we need to distinguish between defects of character, what’s our responsibility & what’s S-H.
DEFECTS (same as short-comings) can be defined as “a fault or failure to meet a certain standard….” They are basically defense mechanisms (unhealthy patterns) that all of us develop in response to a painful childhood & outside traumas

** IMP: in 12-Step ‘work’, lists of defects always include emotions. This is WRONG! Emotions are never defects – only some thinking (CDs), AND some behavior patters (abusive actions) – which together are used to deny painful emotions.

RESPONSIBILITY is simply a frank acknowledgement of what we think, do & feel – or not, without judgement or self-abuse
We can still ‘feel bad’ about hurting someone & need to make it right if possible, but it does NOT cause shame or self-abuse

SELF-HATE is blaming ourselves for causing ANY hurt or fear we feel, & projecting abandonment, especially if someone ignored or harmed us, or if we’re not perfect!

We also need to Identify our rights, so we know what a wrong IS or is NOT. Just because someone doesn’t like what we say or do does not mean it was ‘a wrong’! SO, look for:

a. Something that was NOT wrong at all, but:
someone else made it sound like it was. This can be from :
— projecting their own disowned defect
— a way to deflect blame from themselves
— you happened to push a button in them
— being caught in a defect (lie, error, abuse….) which they’re ashamed of

someone hurt us & ⬅️ WE made it our fault – typical of codependents. We apologize in knee-jerk fashion, as if we caused the other person to say or do something inappropriate.
✸ While this reaction is deeply ingrained in ACoAs, it will most often show up when we’re around anyone who is oblivious to the effect of their actions, or who doesn’t care.

— This is the WIC taking responsibility for someone else’s narcissism
— It’s what we were trained to do by family & religion
— It’s carrying the guilt for them, since they won’t
— It’s as if we could teach them how to be responsible for their actions – like the alcoholic’s spouse who thinks they can ‘show’ the active drinker how to be moderate by example.

b. Something we were often punished for / made fun of…. as kids (family, school, religion…). It may have been normal child behaviors or inabilities, omissions, expressions of emotions….

This left us with a deep sense of Shame now re. expressing any imperfection which is then labeled as a character defect.
This emotion prevents us from thinking clearly, it silences us, makes us want to slink away, hide under the carpet, to die – the pain is so great, like a punch in the stomach!

NEXT: #3

Al-Anon STEP 10 – Comments (Part 1)

PREVIOUS : Use “THINK” instead of “feel” #2

SITE: Al-Anon Step 10 


AA/AL-Anon 10th Step: “Continued to take personal inventory & when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”

This Step separates into 3 distinct issues: inventory, wrongs, admitting


a. STEP 10 is a general evaluation of our activities for some brief period. The actual purpose is to help us stay present for what’s going on inside of us on a continuing basis.

It’s an antidote to our compulsion to escape the WIC’s old pain that hasn’t been cleaned out yet –  by retreating into the ‘lala land’s of FB, TV, reading, over-doing…. & various addictions. It’s a way to not slide back into denial, back into just DOing instead of BEing, back into our ACoA’s built-in forgetter state. 

b. WHEN? While it’s not stated, the assumption is that we take this step every day. In the Al-Anon book: “Paths to Recovery: Al-Anon’s Steps, Traditions and Concepts” a member writes that at first they did it once a day, then added a lunch time evaluation at work, so that anything that needed to be corrected could be done right away & then the afternoon would go more smoothly.

But each of us must find our own rhythm. The more regularly we get in the habit of checking in with ourselves, the more we can connect with our True Self, & burn off bits & pieces of our damage.

c. Continuing a personal inventory does not exclusively mean listing all the flaws, mistakes, omissions… we’ve committed that day.
Yet in the literature & in meetings the focus is mainly on character defects we identified in Step 4. Re. Step 10, one internet site says “Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them…..”

d. Simply doing it this way is lopsided. To be accurate it would be useful to make 2 – very brief – lists of both plusses & any negatives we observes in ourselves. If we’re doing this during the day, they can both be brief.

If it’s at the end of the day, we would benefit from sticking to only doing a positive inventory, as shown in the column —->. This is particularly important for ACoAs because our focus is always on what we did wrong, which keeps us stuck in narcissistic S-H. (More on ‘wrongs’ in Part 2)

And, to be ‘rigorously honest’ – we need to include all T.E.A.s (thoughts, emotions & actions) – without self-judgement – BRIEFLY. SO:
✔︎ What were my actions today?  This is what most of us focus on. This includes things like co-dependent people-pleasing or passive-aggressive reactions – which mostly hurts ourselves, but also hurts others by nor being present with them (psychological dishonesty) – some ways we abandon others.
ASK: Did I “Correct, Complain, Criticize?”

POSITIVE: Identify any & all actions, even if they’re easy, short, simple or repeated every day

✔︎ What were my emotions (Es) today? Excitement, anxiety, boredom, annoyance, anticipation, gratitude, pleasure…?

Since ACoAs have trouble identifying our Es, start by briefly listing any events of the day which might have bothered you but which you brushed aside at the time –  (someone ignored you, your ex called, you got a compliment, you forgot something…..)

Then ask yourself:  “IF I had had an E for each event, what might it have been? Sad, hurt, angry, relieved, pleased….

This inventory is particularly important if you feel drained, upset, antsy, obsessing…. at the end of the day but don’t know why.  Notice how these unrecognized Es add up & may contribute to your unease. Just because we don’t FEEL them, doesn’t mean they’re not there!

NOW: You can acknowledge some of these Es you’ve learned to suppress (denial), & can talk about them in meetings, therapy & with sponsors – to bring them into consciousness.
IMP: This will prevent having to act them out.

POSITIVE: Include a list of comfortable Es you experienced – no matter how subtle or brief. It’s important to reinforce all positives (peaceful, happy, relieved, relaxed….)

NEXT : Step 10 – #2 (re. Thoughts)

Using ‘THINK’ instead of ‘Feel’ (Part 2)


PREVIOUS: Think or feel #1

POSTS: “Emotions….” – there are 27 of them (in 2011 + Jan 2012) – in case anyone mistakenly thinks Emotions are being minimized 😱



The human brain is built for language – mainly on the Left side – the mental tool that allows us to formulate ideas, & the cognitive rules for linking them together. Being able to think clearly & accurately needs a healthy, well developed top part of the brain. The frontal lobe, particularly the area furthest forward – the prefrontal cortex – is involved in sophisticated inter-personal thinking skills. Both left & right sides of it are used for interactive social competence, & the mental skills needed for our emotional well-being.

For those of us in 12-Step Programs or faithful practitioners of a spiritual path,  Spiritual Principles tell us to be honorable in all our ways – as much as humanly possible. One of those ideals is to be Trustworthy, & one way to do that is to be sure we “say what we mean & mean what we say.”

This allows others to depend on us, without being co-dependent, as long as we’re speaking from our Truth. To be able to do that implies:
— we have internal permission to find out who we are, a day at a time
— we’re capable of & willing to be honest with ourselves about what we truly think & feel, AND can tell them apart
— have the right kind of language to figure out those out, & then express them

Mental vagueness makes knowing that impossible, & inaccurate speech creates misunderstanding, so we stay isolated & hurt others.
Instead, we need the right kind of info about such things as :
— how to talk to ourselves with kindness & patience
— having healthy boundaries, to know when to talk or not
— how to say things from the Adult ego state instead of from the WIC or PP

— who we’re talking to (sick family, loving mate, dumb boss….)
— what’s appropriate to say in various situations, like when it’s ok to get personal, & when we’re over-sharing
— how to deal with disagreements & conflict
— how to communicate emotions
— the difference between rescuing & helping
— what level of communication we’re dealing with ↗

Consciously, consistently practice saying “I THINK…..” instead of “I feel…”, will greatly help to figure who WE are, contributing to our ‘sanity’ & improving our connection with others – unless deliberately meaning to refer to body sensations or emotions.

The easiest way to know the difference:

❇  Sensations & Emotions are ONE WORD each, as many as we are experiencing at the time: “I feel tired & achy, but relieved & happy / I feel hungry but I’m too excited to eat / I’m so jumpy – I can’t relax…..”

✳ Thoughts are always MORE than one word (any sentence). “I think it’s time to ask for a raise / How long do you think it’ll take? / I think you’re a pain-in-the–!”…..

NOTE: Thoughts —-> lead to —-> emotions (Es), but we rarely actually say the Es in conversation. “I feel like you don’t like me” does not indicate any emotion.
More accurate possibilities would be: “I’m angry / sad / frustrated / lonely / afraid…. when I worry (think/believe) that you might not like me”

And we don’t have to be limited to the word ‘think / thought’. Here are others that fall into the M category of PMES, (Mental), which is the same as ‘cognitive’.

• “I assume you know what you’re doing”
• “I believe it’s time to end this affair”
• “I concluded she was angry at me”
• “They didn’t consider that a legitimate option”
• “I’m convinced my neighbor is spying on me!”
• “I figure they’re going to be half an hour late as usual”
• “I gathered this is your favorite restaurant”
• “I can’t imagine anyone being willing to help me”
• “I know now that I can trust you”

• “Did you notice the way she were looking at you?”
• “I observe that he never finishes anything”
• “I can’t stop obsessing about that mistake I made”
• “I’m projecting that no one at the party will like me”
• “Don’t even speculate about that!”
• “He suspected them of lying to the cops”
• “Did you think I was insulting you?”
• “I keep wondering how soon I can leave – politely!”
• “Did you understand that lecture?”

EXERCISE: As a contrast, figure out (Ts) how you’d (incorrectly) say these sentences using “I feel that…. / I feel like….” EXP: “I feel like I can trust you now”

Regularly including one of these THINKING words ⬆ in our sentences – instead of FEEL –  is a hard habit to break, but very worth the effort!

PS: This Chart identifies a wide range of Es, in 4 groupings. See how many you are aware of throughout your day. Stay aware for how they’re not thoughts.


Using ‘THINK’ instead of ‘Feel’ (Part 1)


POSTS: Feelings aren’t facts // Anxiety & T.E.A. // ACoAs & Emotions

REVIEW: Many of us are addicted to using the word ‘FEEL’ incorrectly & indiscriminately in all our communications, causing all sorts of problems. In English (& maybe in other Western languages), we use ‘feel’ to talk about 3 totally different categories of meaning:

👣 • Feel as physical SENSATIONS (right)
“I feel hungry, thirsty, exhausted, peppy, strong, the need too pee, energized….”

💝 • Feel as EMOTIONS (right)
“I feel sad, happy, sexy, excited, depressed, scared, angry, loving, sympathetic….”

🧠 • Feel as THOUGHTS (wrong)
“I feel that they don’t want me around” / “Do you feel like you can do that?”

This 3rd one is the big problem. Why? After all, it’s the most common way everyone expresses themselves, yet in this case we’re never referring to emotions (or even a sensation) but instead – only to thinking.
Feelings are not thoughts – see posts listed above. However, if asked how we feel, most of us tend to give long, sometimes rambling answers. And when therapists ask this question, they’re trying to elicit an emotion-answer. So they ask again: “How do you feel?” & off we go again, providing information (thoughts / opinions) but not emotions.

NOTE: This is not to dismiss our capacity to SENSE/intuit something about others (EXP: that Joe’s actually very upset, even though he’s acting all cheerful ….. that Mike & Sara have definitely cooled toward you – now they’re polite but less available)….
But saying “I feel like something’s wrong” still does not indicate what you feel about it (sympathy/ frustration / anxiety / annoyance). It’s an observation – however accurate it may be – but not an expression of emotion.

While this distorted way of talking may be the norm in our culture, for ACoAs it’s of much bigger relevance, since it leads to profound confusion for ourselves & when trying to communicate with others. It can make us say things like: “I feel crazy”.
— This could mean you’re overwhelmed by intense emotions, but crazy is a mental issue, not emotional
— OR that you’re lost in obsession about conflicting double messages (‘voices’)…. which are crazy-making, but doesn’t actually mean you’re crazy!
Instead, you could say “I’m scared – because I don’t know how to handle this mess!”

IMP: For ACoA, using the word ‘feel’ to mean ‘think’ makes it impossible to get the connection between our actual emotions – such as anxiety, worry, anger…. & what we’re saying to ourselves – usually negative thoughts (S-H / Projecting). Without having that connection we can’t find out who we really are, or get the help we need.

Long-term stress creates a communication split between the 2 halves of the brain – as a defense. Instead of working together, one side is used much more than the other, making it too dominant. Which side is ‘chosen’ comes from a combination of our native personality, the traumas we’ve suffered & our culture’s preferences. (Brain Repatterning exercises help get the 2 sides working together)

a. Many damaged people (addicts, narcissists, some ACoAs….) ‘live in their head’- the brain’s Left side. They:
— complain about everything, only talk about their actions (As) & gossip about what others are doing – whether they know them or not
— are only vaguely aware of what they actually think (Ts), even when they’re ranting about something!
— are numb to most or all their emotions which they’ve consistently buried (Es), & refuse to unearth – but act them out, usually to everyone’s detriment

b. The opposite type of wounded people (including very sensitive ACoAs) are dominated by the functions of the Right brain – ‘drama-queen or king’ types, caught up in what they’re convinced are ‘true’ emotions (Es), but are instead too intense & too long-lasting.
1. Their Es are rarely if every comfortable or joyous (not the high of being in a fantasy). A healthy emotional life includes a wide range of Es, not just extremes

2. Their Es are never at the bottom line – always going to rage instead of feeling sorrow or vulnerability, constantly anxious instead of feeling long-hidden anger, self-hate instead of feeling the original abandonment…..

3. The intensity is often way out of proportion to present-day events. Healthy emotions fall mostly in the mid-range (+/- 20, not +/- 100 from neutral)

4. Their Es can go on & on, for weeks, even years. Healthy emotions come & go rather quickly – a reasonable response to the moment, not about past or future

5. The intensity is actually messy globs of unprocessed old pain – real but “hysterical, because they’re historical”.
Since these people are automatically engulfed by painful Es whenever triggered, they don’t hear the very real – harmful – beliefs & obsessions hidden directly behind that wall of emotional flames.
Not being able to recognize their thoughts, they have no way to correct cognitive distortions from the Introject, or to comfort the WIC.

NEXT: Think vs Feel  #2