Mental Health DON’Ts…. (Part 1b)

Screen Shot 2016-07-03 at 1.37.13 AM 

MENTAL HEALTH
is easy – and fun!



PREVIOUS: EMHP – Part 1a


SITE: Physiology and Biology of Mental Toughness

 

REVIEW Intro in Part 1a


EMOTIONALLY & MENTALLY HEALTHY People (EMHP):

EMOTIONAL / PSYCHOLOGICAL (cont.)

EMHP Don’t Feel Pessimistic
ACoAs are more likely to see themselves (S-H), others & the world from a negative point of view (paranoia & hopelessness). The adults we grew up with were judgmental of everyone & everything, so we took on the same perspective. This meant ignoring all the positive things available in life, including the good things that we did experience.feel positive

EMHP generally feel optimistic about their lives and their futures, without ignoring stresses. They don’t let temporary difficulties or unimportant annoyances get them down – at least not for long. They know that obstacles are part of life, making an effort to solve what ever they can & accepting what they can’t change.
They don’t focus on their weaknesses – while still acknowledging them. No one can be perfect, for they don’t waste time trying. Instead they make continue working on improving themselves rather than feeling defeated.

EMHP Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves
There’s a difference between feeling sorry for yourself & having self-compassion for all that we’ve gone thru. The former is the Victim’s outlook on life, believing they can’t function because of the abuse in their past. While their childhood trauma was real, as adults they refuse to work at healing their damage in order to improve their present & future life. The underlying Victim position is that as long as they’re ‘incapacitated’ someone else will have to take care of them. If no one does, they remain helpless.
On the other hand, EMHP acknowledge their past traumas, with self-compassion, while fully accepting the unfair & painful but realistic truth that we are responsible for cleaning up the PMES mess our unhealthy family created for us.
(See posts ACoAs Feeling sorry – unhealthy & healthy”)

EMHP come to accept the way they were mistreated, both in childhood & as adults, compassionwithout denying the pain they lived thru. They’re able to emerge from trying circumstances with self-awareness & self-respect, even appreciating lessons learned. In the present when things don’t go well, they’re able to find realist ways to manage the situation, get the support they need, & believe in their worth, no matter what. It’s also understandable to feel sorry for one’s self briefly from time to time, especially after an uncontrollable event. It’s necessary to lick our wounds & regroup, to regain strength before moving on. EMHP are able to have gratitude for their positive qualities & the good thing they already have.

EMHP Don’t Avoid Alone Time
Many ACoAs are addicted to relationships and to staying busy, no matter how unsatisfying or damaging. They always need to be with or around someone, rescuing others or creating chaos, running away from themselves – desperate to hang on. They never seem to slow down enough to feel emotions, evaluate their motives or stop self-defeating behavior patterns.

When ACoAs in Recovery have down-time they often find themselves at sea – not knowing what to do with unstructured hours. They feel depressed, too lonely, can’t decide what to do, aren’t allowed to have fun or relax….. often wasting precious weekends or holidays, & then go back to their rat-race. Even those of us who are highly accomplished & talented are motivated by fear, rather than self-esteem.

But EMHP treasure time by themselves – using it to reflect, to plan ahead, to have alone timefun, be creative, do something not related to their work-life OR just rest! There are times when it’s truly necessary to pull back in order to allow for internal healing, but it’s not endless.

They don’t need others to give them a direction or to make them feel OK. They can be happy with others, but also be happy alone. Strong people are comfortable with their thoughts & emotions. If they’re stressed they know how to comfort themselves. They know that using down-time to change their routine or ‘vegging’ to regroup is crucial to mental & physical health. They know that play is part of a well-balanced life, & that they don’t need to constantly be ‘producing’ something to validate their existence. (MORE….)

EMHP Don’t Isolate themselves
At the other extreme, many ACoAs cut themselves off from regular contact with others – sometimes for decades – because of untreated Laundry List characteristics, mainly weak boundaries (Bs), self-hate (S-H) & fear of abandonment (FoA).

And we often confuse isolation (because of our damage) with healthy down-time or temporarily retreating to heal from past or current traumatic events. We also confuse isolation with being an Introvert. Healthy Introverts don’t need as much stimulation (lot’s of people & a flurry of activity), but are as social & talkative as Extroverts, just not in as intensely.

world kidsEMHP know that periodically being alone is need to process difficult experiences or old emotions, a temporary but needed part of personal growth. But they also know that cutting themselves off from emotionally safe & intellectually stimulating people/places/things (PPT) for long periods is not in their best interest.
Human beings do not thrive when isolated from others. Even when they don’t have the ideal family or intimate relationships, EMHP regularly make an effort to develop healthy & loving connections with others, perhaps even forming an extended family.  They make time to create warm & interesting memories.

NOTE: More “EMHP Don’ts” in future posts (Mental, Social & Action)

NEXT:

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Mental Health DON’Ts…. (Part 1a)

live well 

LIVING WELL
is the best revenge!

PREVIOUS:

SITE: 10 Things (physically) Healthy People do differently

SOURCE: Composite of many lists. Based on Amy Morin’s book “13 things Mentally Strong people Don’t Do.” Her 3-pronged approach to developing mental strength is about controlling our thoughts, emotions & behaviors (T.E.A.).

NOTE: Keep in mind that these “Don’ts” are the domain of our  WIC (Damaged Child) & PP  (Introject) therefore characteristics of our damage – which can be corrected. In order to be Mentally/Emotionally healthy we need to develop the Healthy Adult and Loving Parent (the UNIT).
Understanding the reality of our early experiences helps us accept that we can’t ‘Just do it’ or ‘Just let go’. All of Recovery is a process.
ALSO, some of these issues may be more deeply ingrained in us than others & will therefore take longer to heal. Some will never go away, but can be diminished greatly, and we can learn to manage them whenever they surface.

EMOTIONALLY & MENTALLY HEALTHY People (EMHP):
EMOTIONAL / PSYCHOLOGICAL
EMHP Don’t Let their Emotions Control them
ACoAs are learn, directly & indirectly, to deny & ignore any emotion the family / school / religion disapproves of. In some families it’s anger, in others it’s sadness & the need to be comforted….. This left us with the Toxic Rule “Don’t feel”. Our individual personalities cope with this injunction by either suppressing most or all emotion & being “all head”, or by consumed by our accumulated pain to the point of being overly-dramatic about anything that is upsetting, either too scared or too angry. This tells us that “If it’s hysterical, it’s historical”.
In either extreme we are being ruled by the WIC not knowing any other way of dealing with this Toxic Rule. In order to be an Emotionally & Mentally Healthy Person the UNIT must be in charge.E. Intelligence

EMHP can tolerate discomfort because they hold less old pain & because they know how to comfort themselves when distressed. They can identify & accept their emotions, know how to process them & chose how to act, so that they’re not controlled by them.
The way we perceive a situation has a tremendous power to either help or harm us. Since our emotions are largely generated by what we’re thinking (see post: T.E.A. & Anxiety) we can modify the reactions to our emotions by correction any CDs we may have. Overcoming challenges starts with seeing things objectively, rather than reacting from childhood damage. (ACoA Laundry List)

EMHP Don’t Try to be Happy all the Time
One of the coping mechanisms for ACoA is the try to be ‘UP’ or ‘positive’ all the time. This usually applies to the Hero (Toxic Role) or the “Good girl/boy” false persona. This is as unrealistic as being miserable all the time. It’s just another way to deny having a wide range of emotions. For every ACoA, happy/sadno matter our style, our underlying emotion is fear/terror. So we need to feel safe before we can truly be happy.

No one is happy all the time. Feeling peaceful & content – a day at a time – does not mean we have no complaints, dislikes or distress. EMHP don’t try to avoid painful emotions but incorporate them in an effort to be whole, to honor their True Self. They know that happiness, victory & fulfillment are a wonderful, valuable part of life, but not the whole story.

EMHP Don’t Live in the Past
ACoAs who are still ruled by the WIC & their PP think, feel & act as if they are still 5, 10 & 15 yrs old – still living in their dysfunctional family. Most of the time our reactions to present day events – positive, negative or neutral – are the same as when we were kids, because we project our family on to all current relationships.

EMHP avoid wasting mental energy in past disappointments OR in fantasies of the ‘good old days’. They’ve carefully evaluated both the distresses & the valuable experiences of their early years, so now they can invest most of their energy in creating the best possible present & future. Being present allows us to see things as they really are. EMHP tend to have a mindful, attentive way of engaging with the world.

As unhealed adults, ACoAs repeat the life-patterns set out for us by our family & other sources, which caused us to take many wrong turns – in the form of repeated harmful relationships, self-harm, deprivations….. While our history contributes to out over-all makeup, we are NOT our damage.live in the present

EMHP learn from their ‘mistakes’ & correct distorted thinking, so avoid repeating harmful patterns. This may include making amends to others (8th & 9th Steps) & forgiving themselves for ignorant or stubborn adherence to their Toxic Rules, so they no longer have to obsess about what happened in the past. EMHP know this takes time & they have the patience & perseverance to always be moving forward, no matter how slowly. One 12-Step slogan says: “Look back but don’t stare”. Some benefits from thinking about the past can be: identifying the lessons, considering facts not just emotions, & looking at PPT from a new perspective.

EMHP Don’t Violate / Sacrifice their Personal Values
Each of us have more than one value system – what we were taught by our family, by our religion, our early social environment, & what we develop in ourselves (from our Core Truth). Some of these may overlap, some may not. The problem for ACoAs is that we are either not allowed to find out what we truly believe, or more often have been so brainwashed by our toxic upbringing that we’re not allowed to live according to our personal beliefs even if we know what they are. (Core Values lists)

EMHP have figured out what they consider important – even essential to their identity – for themselves & in relation to the rest of the world. A value is a belief, a mission, or a philosophy that is meaningful but not always conscious – as many are taken for granted. They know that their personal Core Values are not automatically the same as that of other people or institutions, & they don’t try to impose them on others.

They do NOT value the impossible, like perfectionism, eternal human love, fairness…. They know everyone falls short sometimes, so they get back on the horse when they don’t live up to their ideals, & are also patient & forgiving to others then they also fall short. (MORE….)

NEXT: EMHP – Part 1b

Psychological DISORDERS (Part 1)


I’M NOT CRAZY –
just a little ‘off’!

PREVIOUS: Communication (#1)

POSTs: Principles of Character 1 & 2

SITEs: STARLING: online educational videos, community support, and evidence based tools – to help improve mental health

 

PERSONALITY: A pattern of relatively permanent traits & unique characteristics that give both consistency & individuality to a person’s behavior.
TRAITS contribute to individual differences in behavior, consistently over time, & across a variety of situations.
CHARACTERISTICS are unique qualities of a person that include temperament, physique & intelligence.

SOCIAL INTERACTIONS are based on a person’s level of healthy character or disorder, & can be looked at from 3 points of view:
• Inward-facing perspective – the Self judging itself (self-concept)
• Outward-facing perspective – the Self judging other people
• Inner-outer: Introject judgments about the Self, but from the perspective of others

BEFORE looking at the various degrees of psychological disorders, we need a look at what mental health is – to use as a comparison.

O.C.E.A.N. traits:
Openness to experience, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, & Neuroticism
These BIG FIVE are dimensions of character (CHART) which represent the most important qualities shaping our social interactions. Extensive research shows these qualities have biological origins & are remarkably universal. One study that looked at people from more than 50 different countries found that these 5 traits accurately described personality from Germany to China. (Descriptions). Traits are rated on a scale from most to least. (People at the extremes)

ACoA reminder: Most of us think that our usual way of being is our actual personality (who we were born as) because it’s how we’ve been since childhood. However – anyone growing up in a very damaging environment forms a False Self as protection, in response to their environment. It’s the FS, a combination of the PP & the WIC, which houses the different disorders. With a lot of FoO work, most can be improved if not totally healed, but not all wounded people are willing to go thru the process needed to Recover.

HEALTHY – According to Otto Kernberg, someone is mentally healthy if they have a well-organized personality, which functions reasonably well because their reality testing is mostly intact. Such people have an integrated sense of Self, with an accurate Self-to-Other concept, allowing them to hold opposite feelings about any person (& themselves) – at the same time – without changing their realistic opinion of them. Everyone is experienced as a consistent ‘whole’, even tho they have both positive & negative qualities. NOTE: This does not mean they like everyone!

Thomas Fuchs (U. of Heidelberg) states: “Narrative Identity* implies a continuity of the personal past, present & future – essentially based on the capacity of a person to integrate contradictory aspects & tendencies into a coherent, overarching sense & view of themselves.”
*Narrative Identity = forming an identity by combining life experiences into an internalized, evolving story of the Self that provides them with a sense of unity & purpose in life.

UNHEALTHY –  However, people with a fragmented sense of Self cannot easily do this.  (This is not about multiple personality or schizophrenic dissociation).

Instead, their minds store separate split-off images of others as being either all bad or all good at any given moment, rather than as a single cohesive personality who has many different aspects.
So they don’t understand that their own experience of someone has changed – depending on the circumstance of their interactions, but actually believe the person has somehow changed. This prevents them from holding a consistent sense of Self & others across time & situations.(Object Relations Theory)
EXP: If you smile & are friendly to me, you are a totally good person – in that moment – who I like & feel safe with. If at some other time you hurt my feelings or ignore me, you are then a totally bad person – in that moment – & so I absolutely don’t feel safe with you.

😟 As a way of coping, the brain compartmentalizes traumatic experiences to keep us from feeling too much pain (physical &/or emotional) – creating dissociation. It can show up as a detachment or spacing out. A part of our attention is missing, so we don’t recognize what we’re thinking or need, & often don’t notice or hear things in our surroundings, or right in front of us all the time. But fundamentally – what’s missing is a connection to some or all our emotions.
SITE: Help for Organizing your mind

NEXT: Personality Disorders (Part 2)

COMMUNICATION Categories (Part 6)


NOBODY SEEMS
to be listening to me!

PREVIOUS: Comm categories #2 

QUOTE: “A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.”
Mark Twain

 

CATEGORIZING Communication (Comm) cont.

7. Re. WAYS to ENGAGE in comm
Level 1: Messages into the Ether
Snail mail, email & texting have some things in common. They’re sent out, & a response can sometimes take days or weeks. Since they’re not conversational (back & forth) there can be a high level of misunderstanding, possibly leading to hurt feelings, even fights.

Level 2: Back & forth Messaging
It’s conversational, but still done remotely (IM, text….). Such exchanges are more casual & direct, so confusion is less likely, since one or both can catch distortions or misses with each reply.
However, its bite-size style means it’s not well-suited to discussing complex issues.

Level 3: A Verbal Dialogue
Here participants get to express their opinions directly, plus adding a whole layer of implied info via Para-language. These can hint at excitement, pleasure, peacefulness OR annoyance, frustration, stress…. that are harder to detect in writing. A drawback is that they often require scheduling, but sometimes things need to be cleared up quickly via phone.

Level 4: In-Person Spontaneous Discussion
When something important comes up unexpectedly, we might decide to seek out the others person for a conversation. Spontaneous discussions can be  effective for problem-solving, getting an immediate need met or making a plan. Benefits come from adding a new level of mutual understanding & co-operation. But it doesn’t always work – discomfort with spontaneity, lack of privacy, the other person being too busy or not in the mood…. can get in the way.

Level 5: In-Person Scheduled Discussion
What makes this level special is the mutual agreement to set aside time.
Planning does not have to make the meeting Formal, but gives both parties time to think about the topic. Successful & dynamic interactions come from combining self-awareness, non-verbal intelligence & privacy, to ensure comfort & trust. (From )

VALUE: Observing admired leaders, we can see that good comm. judgment is very important to their success.
For example, knowing what
can be done at Level 2, versus what must be done Level 5 – & doing it – is a sign of sound leadership instinct, as well as knowing what to expect in personal relationships.

8. Re. PMES Categories
SOCIAL
: Talking about anything of mutual interest – news, sports, weather…. It’s superficial but truly useful, allowing us to function among strangers without burdening them with TMI about our life.  It also helps determine whether someone is neutral, a potential friend or enemy

MENTAL: Talking about facts, helpful tips, ideas, non-controversial beliefs, plans & strategies, as in professional conversations. Unfortunately, some people go out of their way to be the ‘best’ at it, so that no one is smarter, wittier or more knowledgeable, & they never have to be wrong.

The distance between the first two levels is relatively short. Polite conversation can turn into a mentally stimulating one very quickly & then collapse back into small talk or none at all – without discomfort. Except for conversations with a controlling know-it-all, these two levels are safe.

EMOTIONAL: Here talk is about aspirations, fears, wants, needs & joys. Sometimes eyes well up, lips quiver, & the voice chokes. Other times those same eyes light up, heart pounds & words flow with joy, or fail from awe.

• The distance between #1 & 2 AND #3 is rather wide, because #3 requires intimacy, transparency, trust & vulnerability. Most of us are afraid of being wrong or looking foolish, & absolutely terrified of rejection.
Participating at this level opens us to possible rejection, hurt & being scarred. Over-all, this level is easier for women to navigate, partly expressing emotions is more socially acceptable, & because a portion of women’s Corpus Callosum is thicker than men’s, perhaps allowing more access across the hemispheres emotions to be verbalized  (MORE….)

SPIRITUAL. This is the hardest to identify & describe, not only because our culture is so secular, but because few people are willing to drop down into the level of faith – for themselves – much less to speak of it to others.
It melts away push-pull, give-take win-lose, me-you. There are no distortions from emotional mental or social games, allowing for the highest level of resonance, creating an energetic embrace that sustains & heals.

‼️ Understanding all these forms of comm allows us to identify & then choose which is most appropriate for any given situation.
It can be too easy to go down the path of least resistance, but that can get us into trouble, so it’s important to be more thoughtful about how & when we communicate.
It’s better to do it the right way – focusing on our goals & using whichever level will help us get there.

NEXT: Comm. Levels #3

Passive Aggressives – Review for ACoAs (Part 3)

not Pass-Agg 

WHAT A CONCEPT:
Honest doesn’t mean hostile. 
Pleasant doesn’t mean passive!

PREVIOUS: Passive-Aggressive ACoAs (Part 2)

SITEs:” Emotionally Volatile People
• “Difficult People & how to Handle Them

 

REVIEW (cont.)
3. CAUSEs of the game
ACoAs – from our family, school, religion…. we were NOT allowed :
• to be angry, to the point of not even knowing we are!
• to know what we wanted, how we felt, what we preferred (being too much of an individual got smashed – so it left us confused)
• to ask for anything (don’t bother them)
• taught to never put ourselves first
AND
• always had to always be perfect (no mistakes) – so better not choose anything
• no matter what we did, we were punished, so we couldn’t win
• safer to not be too visible (in a dangerous family, & later in abusive relationships)
taking any risk was discouraged, made fun of, punished (so now we can’t risk ‘failing’& being disappointed)

4. EFFECTs of the game
a. Negative BenefitsWE DON’T:
• have to figure out who we are, what we want & need
• have to disobey any of the toxic family rules
• have to admit we’re angry, even raging, underneath
• have to stand up to the ‘control freaks
• have to make a mistake & deal then with the consequences
• AND we get to blame others when something goes wrong
• & maintain the illusion of being nurtured (taken care of by others)

b. Negative Consequences:
• we are dis-empowered, loose self-esteem, stay a victim, are infantilized, stay mute, don’t risk anything
• always feel scared of losing people (FoA), of being disapproved
• increases our Self-Hate & Loneliness

• never get what we really want, unless by accident or by luck
• lose out on many opportunities to grow, to be heard, to have fun
• always feel scared of losing people, of being disapproved of
• make other people mad at us, a lot! for forcing them to carry all the responsibility & then getting blamed

4. HEALTHY
a. General: We need to identify
• all the ways we were hurt as kids, including the specific messages we got & still obey, like ‘don’t feel’ , ‘don’t talk’ (Toxic Rules)
• prevent the Wounded Inner Child from running our life BY growing a Healthy Adult & Loving Parent  who then can make executive decisions about how to own & express our needs
book-end with the IC, to outgrow living in the past. If done consistently, it will teach the IC the difference between what’s possible & real in the present, vs the way it was in our dysfunctional family

b. For Passive-Aggressives – we need to:
own our resenpassiveagrro3tments, anger, rage, bitterness, which are hidden
• learn safe ways of discharging our rage & healthy ways of expressing it to others, when it’s needed
• practice saying what we need, want, like, prefer – to find out that nothing bad happens to us or others
• stop looking for other people to be in charge of our lives, tell us what to do, make our decisions & choices
• keep a safe distance from anyone who is easily provoked to anger

Practice making ‘I statements’ every day, silently to yourself, so that it becomes easier & easier to say out loud:  “I want… I need… I don’t like… I’d rather…  that’s not for me… ” UNTIL it’s second nature!

c. For Volatiles – we need to:
• find out what’s under the rage: the reality of child abuse & neglect we lived thru, and the pain it created
• accept that the rage is legitimate, but our actions are not always healthyScreen Shot 2016-06-17 at 10.24.27 PM.png
• work on getting our rage out in safe, appropriate places (therapy groups, 12-step programs, doing rage-work at home, drawing, writing…)

own our Inner Sadist: make friends with it, but don’t ever let it act out
• learn calming techniques (bio-feedback, meditation, prayer, visualizations…)
• become safe enough to feel what’s underneath – grief, sadness, loneliness, hurt, sorrow, vulnerability
• keep a distance from P-As, who try to pull us in by their surface charm & ‘interest’ in us

Practice comforting & mentally holding the IC, so he/she doesn’t feel so alone with all it’s pain.  Give ourselves permission to cry – it is not a weakness – no matter what our family taught us!  Crying clears out toxins & releases pent-up emotional stress. It’s very necessary!

Realistically, while P-As can definitely work on having permission to express anger & rage, it’s usually up to the V. to STOP the game, stop reacting to / expecting (anything) from the P-A. Maybe even have to leave!

NEXT: Qs – Are you P-A?

Passive Aggressives – Review for ACoAs (Part 2)

P-A person

I’M NOT ALLOWED TO BE ANGRY
– but you are (lucky you)!

PREVIOUS: Passive-Aggressive ACoAs (#1)

SITE:When your Defenses lead you into trouble

REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

 

REVIEW (cont)

2. WHO plays the game (Chart – slide #7)
a. P-As always look for & often find another person who is overtly angry / volatile* (V.) to play the game with – no fun being stuck with all that UN-expressed rage alone! (See: Inter-personal games, Eric Berne).  As adults, they desperately need to maintain their illusions of being perfect, in the faint hope of getting or keeping their parents’ approval, being taught that strong emotions are considered dirty, messy, dangerous – even murderous! This pattern of being P-A is another unhealthy way of copin4 stylesg with intense FoA – fear of abandonment

b. ✶ Volatiles need P-As (or their part, or the game wouldn’t work):
• it gives them an excuse for letting out some of their rage ‘legitimately’
• it’s much safer than aiming the rage at the real target – their family
• the rage makes them feel powerful, to cover vulnerability & emptiness
• Vs are used to being disappointed, too, and are equally unconsciously addicted to finding people they can act out their childhood ‘story’ with.  And P-As do continually disappoint! It’s their trade-mark, & it can be used to identify them.

Sooner or later, usually later, it is inevitable that Vs will get angry, raging, even nasty at P-As – out of legitimate, intense, longstanding frustration!
Of course: Vs have to stick around for this! They’re part of the game.

DIRTY POOL – P-As unconsciously, sometimes knowingly, always use ‘available’ Volatiles as their own personal pressure valve – as if getting the V. to explode with rage would relieve their own pent-up hostility. When Vs get angry, P-As get very self-righteous. They feel victimized & cry: “I haven’t DONE anything!  Why are you attacking me?”

SO THEY GET TO:
• accuse Vs of being controlling, even though they set the V. up:
— to take care of them emotionally & practically
— to vent their anger/rage for them
— to make all the decisions in the relationship!

• make Vs the crazy or bad one (instead of themselves), of being abusive & unfair, of reacting to ‘nothing’. That way the Vs can be ‘the monster’ for pouring out that vile stuff (anger) which P-As are terrified in themselves.
Then they can continue to feel superior & ‘clean’, keeping their ‘good boy / good girl’ status. After all, P-As can point to being easy-going, never raising their voice, or letting out that ‘nasty‘ anger – right?

BUT that’s exactly the point – they don’t DO many things that are their responsibility, as well as not expressing their needs / wants.

When P-As make other people responsible for all the decisions they should be making Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 11.41.09 PMdo themselves, (even if they like the ones being made for them), they are neglecting to ‘show up’, hold up their end, be an equal partner or peer – ie. an adult.  P-As passively, stubbornly – yes angrily – demand to be taken care of! but never say what they actually want or need, because they don’t have permission

• THEN, if/when something goes wrong – when they don’t like the choices the V. made for them, or are disappointed with the outcome – they can blame the other person & continue to play the victim role

• AND P-As can say to the other person: “YOU’RE always making the decisions! YOU’RE so controlling!” (& unspoken: “I hate you”). Wow! How dishonest.
✶ BUT if the V. stops playing the game, the P-A may finally tip their hand – if only briefly – showing the true rage behind their mask

EXP: Mark (P-A) & Sandy (V.) meet at a classical concert & become art-loving, theater-going friends. Mark regularly says self-deprecating things that are clever & funny, & Sandy obliges by laughing.
After a few months Sandy becomes increasingly uncomfortable with her complicity in Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 12.04.49 AMMark’s self-hate. The next time he makes a crack about himself – she doesn’t laugh & is quiet.  He gets annoyed & indirectly insults her for not responding ‘correctly’.

Later he buys her a B/day gift which deeply offends her artistic & Christian values – an ugly-made Indian goddess statue – knowing her religious background! She can’t imagine his intention – but is outraged. She instantly blows up at him & gives the gift back. Naturally he’s hurt & angry – but doesn’t show it. Instead he mails her a scathing note – making her the ‘bad one’.  End of friendship! Sandy feels ashamed for blowing up but also relieved.

NEXT: Passive-Aggressive ACoAs, (Part 3)

Passive Aggressives – Review for ACoAs (Part 1)

passive aggressive house YOU’LL NEVER SEE HOW ANGRY I AM –
I barely know, myself!

PREVIOUS: P-A ‘nice’ comments

SITE: Constructive, Passive & Aggressive Leadership styles

REVIEW
1.The GAME (Post: How its played)
a. Passive-Aggressive ‘disorder’ (PAPD)
A 2-handed ‘game’ (‘Games People Play’ by Eric Berne), always requiring the Passive-Aggressive (P-As) person & the Volatile (Vs) one to react.

web-MDapparently compliant behavior, with intrinsic obstructive or stubborn qualities, to cover deeply felt aggressive feelings that cannot be more directly expressed….

Wikipedia ….a personality trait marked by a pervasive pattern of negative attitudes & passive, usually disavowed resistance … expressed as learned helplessness, procrastination, stubbornness, resentment, sullenness, or deliberate/repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks for which one is (often explicitly) responsible….

DSM VI … the behavior often reflects an unexpressed hostility or resentment stemming from a frustrating interpersonal or institutional relationship on which an individual is overly dependentScreen Shot 2016-06-14 at 11.00.40 PM

The Straight Dope …people who suffer from PAPD expect disappointment, and gain a sense of control over their lives by bringing it about.

b. ACoAs: MANY of us grew up in one of 2 emotional climates :
emotionally volatile – being around loud, hyper, dramatic, raging, volatile parents / relatives – which has made some ACoAs gun-shy. We had to sit on our own anger – there was so much flying around, and we didn’t want to be like them, so we shoved our rage into a huge locked room & tried to throw away the key. So now it comes out sideways!

emotionally repressed – the other extreme found some of us in a family of uptight, buttoned down, emotionally cut-off, perhaps P-A types, who made a point of suppressing any intense emotion in their children. They may have believed it was ‘spiritually correct’, or they just didn’t want their own repressed pain to get triggered, and they didn’t have the skill/ tools to deal with ‘big feelings’ from their kids. We either copied their style or became ‘dramatic’ & over-reactive to everything.

• Both styles have deeply effected our relationship to anger & rage.
IMP: These are normal human EMOTIONS (Es), which are just forms of energy & by themselves are not dangerous or bad.Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 11.09.50 PM.png
✶✶ What to watch out for are the ACTIONS we take to express these Es! If we express them safely, we don’t hurt anyone & in fact feel lighter & can function better. If they’re expressed badly we can cause pain to others, while adding to our shame, guilt & S-H.

c. Briefly:  P-As have a huge amount of accumulated anger & rage (from childhood, as well as in adulthood), which they’re not allowed to feel, much less admit to – in order to be the ‘good’ one. They have cultivated such a facade of ‘niceness’ they have fooled themselves (but not everyone).  They may be the Hero or Lost Child from any dysfunctional family –  the Rescuers, the People-pleasers, or the Invisibles. (Toxic Roles”)

no, no

P-As compulsively resent, oppose & thwart – indirectly – what they see as demands to function at a level others expect of them. They’re convinced that they’re still not allowed to have real power for themselves, & are afraid to admit their anger at being neglected & unloved. They end up saying NO to their own needs & wants – and to anything that would be good for them.

So they live in a state of deprivation, expecting others to read their mind & provide what they won’t give themselves. P-As are rarely if ever able to state outright what they want & don’t want, or distinguish between actual bullying & appropriate requests. They just say NO to everyone, regardless.

Suppressing their anger is a form of negative self-control, & then put all the rest of their effort into trying to control other people’s emotions, so they can sneakily get them to do what the P-A wants.  In light of their self-imposed limitation, P-As are inwardly driven to push hidden handsothers toward their secret goal (to prove they can’t be pushed around, and to get back at anyone who’s hurt them OR their substitutes) – while seeming to not push at all. (re. controlling). It’s a way:
— to get their agenda across without risking consequences &/or

NEXT: P-A ACoAs – Review (Part 2)