OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 8a)


I CAN BE FREE OF some GUILT
if I admit when I mess things up

PREVIOUS: Outgrow co-dep (#4d)

SITEs: “How to apologize : Asking for forgiveness gracefully” 

RECOVERY from “Too Nice Syndrome” (TNS) cont.

Tool 6. FORGIVEN by OTHERS
DEF – It is when someone we’ve hurt:
grants pardon for or absolves us of a mistake or wrongdoing
• no longer blames or feels resentment toward us
• frees us from a previous obligation or penalty

QUOTEs: “A relationship is only as strong as each individual’s capacity to forgive and ask for forgiveness.”
“Apologizing does not always mean you are wrong, & the other person is right. It can mean you value the relationship more than your ego.”

ASKING for Forgiveness
We know that a component of Co-dep fake-niceness is the desire to hide our guilt at having been less than honorable toward others. Clearing out some of the underbrush of our moth-eaten defenses (P-P) means being willing to ‘make amends’ for our negative reactions, whenever possible. This begins with telling the truth about our behavior, without over- or under- stating it.

A FEW problem areas that can harm others:
Being controlling, close-minded, dependent, dishonest, judgmental, narcissistic, prejudiced, perfectionistic, superior …..
For more, refer to the 3 posts ‘How ACoAs abandon others & both Laundry Lists

AA’s Step 8 : Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all

Step 9 Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others

► While implementing the 9th Step is for our personal growth, it should not be taken without serious thought & preparation. It’s not going to help our healing if we don’t have a genuine desire to mend the breach with someone, but only do it because we’re supposed to, or are only thinking of how it will benefit ourselves.
That narcissistic approach will likely anger the other person, & leave us confused & bitter.
Making amends is about ‘amending’ our ways, otherwise a verbal apology is hollow.

But, before we can consider asking to be forgiven, we need to look at who we’re going to apologize to & exactly for what. (‘Making amends is more than an apology)

1. WHO: Note that Al-Anon/AA Step #8 says “be willing“, but #9 cautions “except when.…”.
• In some cases we’ll never be able to connect with the person we owe an amends to because they’re simply not available – from death, unknown location, or not wanting any contact with us. Then go back to Step 5 to put that specific event to rest.

• Also, there are times when telling someone what we did to-or-against them will hurt them much more than silence, if they were unaware of our misdeeds. Always consider the consequences of your words. It’s not their job to make you feel better!

• And, just because some unhealthy people accuse us of being abusive when we accidentally push their buttons, don’t do what they want or don’t agree with them, set a boundary or stand up for ourselves….. (because they don’t feel safe unless everyone is apologizingtheir carbon copy), it does NOT mean we owe them an apology.

💛 We can acknowledge their feelings by saying we understand they don’t like something we did or said – or not. Period. Don’t add buts, excuses or explanations. As long as you know you’re being true to yourselves in that situation – you’re OK.
We are responsible for being as ‘clean’ in motive & action as we can, but NOT for how others react – regardless of our behavior.

NEXT: Forgiven for WHAT (#8b)

OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 7c)


IT’S GOOD TO KNOW
I have lots of options

PREVIOUS: Forgiving our Adult #6b

SITE: An artist’s COMMITMENT to life

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


RECOVERY from “Too Nice Syndrome” (TNS) cont.

Tool 5c. FORGIVING Ourselves – as ADULTS is to:
1. LET GO of old patterns (As), harsh judgements & pointless comparisons (Ts)
————-
See “Letting go means….“, and to:
2. GIVE UP torturing ourselves for all the ways we’ve messed up (T.E.As)

GROWTH
• Use these 18 steps to process any Ts, Es or As you feel guilty about, as a way to take responsibility
• Write down what you’ve learned from all the tools (1-5) you’ve been using & any actions you’ve taken to repair or make amends. Let this sink in. Appreciate yourself.
• Decide what if anything remains to be done – inside your own heart or out in the world – and then do it. Let it sink in that you’re doing it, & appreciate yourself for this, too.
• Consciously continue forgiving yourself when needed:
“I forgive myself today for ______ , knowing that even with self-defeating T.E.A.s I am a good person with the RIGHT to be valued & loved. I take responsibility for my life (but not for other adults) & do what I could to make things better.”

PRACTICE Self-Forgiveness. Give yourself the empathy you always craved as a child. (“Is self-love selfish?” 10 good Answers)
Every morning look in the mirror & say to yourself:
❤️
I love you. I am grateful for another day
❤️ I am accountable for my decisions & actions today
❤️ I forgive me for anything that was not forgiven last night
❤️
I love you. Have a great day! 

And each evening, look & say:
💜 I love you. I am sorry for anything left undone today
💜 I am sorry for any fearful decisions & actions today
💜 I forgive myself, & am grateful for total forgiveness
💜 I accept & enjoy ALL my blessings. I love you. Sleep well. (MORE…..)

NOTE: Compassion is wired in from birth, and is good for us & for humanity. (But as ACoAs we know it can be cruelly suppressed by family & community!)

Other suggestions
Putting time & caring into each activity will reinforce your determination to outgrow co-dep & re-connect with your Natural Compassion. REPEAT often!
• Write a letter to your WIC listing all the things you’re ‘let go‘ of on his/her behalf
Build a visual bridge from here to where you want to be
• Write a 3rd person story or poem as the narrator, about how the main character (you) has / can / will free themselves of guilt & shame

• Create a tangible expression of old painful experiences & your fondest wishes:
sand tray art, and adult many topic ideas
– a collage, drawings or junk sculptures (Google images) to express emotions

• Make a memory bracelet or necklace with a colored bead or charm for every time you have already forgiven yourself, & add one when you do so from now on (w/ memory wire)

• Do something physical you enjoy – to release anger & hurt (run, bike, dance, t’ai chi, yoga, swim…..)
• Use Trauma Release work on unfinished business:
= Several methods scroll down // About the Pain Body  // Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises // Dealing with Recent or Childhood Trauma

►  The benefits of letting go & acceptance are worth the great struggle of having to outgrow our damage – by releasing the rage at ourselves & our abusers.

NEXT:

OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 7a)


I HAVE A LOT OF WORK
ahead of me!

PREVIOUS: Outgrow co-dep (#4b)

SITEs: • “How is Forgiveness Possible?“- a philosophical essay, complex & interesting

 

RECOVERY from “Too Nice Syndrome”(cont.)
Tool 5c. FORGIVING Ourselves – as ADULTS is to:
1. LET GO of old patterns (As), harsh judgements & pointless comparisons (Ts) ————- See “Letting go means….“, and to:
2. GIVE UP torturing ourselves for all the ways we’ve messed up (T.E.As)

IN ADULTHOOD
The many ways we have hurt ourselves & other people has been the result of our specific personality’s reactions to a very unhealthy upbringing. To outgrow co-dep it’s crucial to accept that, like everyone else, our dysfunction was a predictable outcome of our childhood experiences. We need to identify our ‘character defects’ in the light of our early training – instead of assuming they represent our basic self.

ACoA 4th Step: “We made a searching and blameless inventory of our parents because, in essence, we had become them” (Posts: Family Inventory //Their attitudes).
Co-dependent fake niceness tries to hide our angry disappointment at not being loved & cared for by our family. So we’re horrified at the suggestion that we might have  turned into a version of them. “NOT ME! I’ll never let myself drink too much, yell at & beat my mate & kids, lay around like a queen bee, be so controlling, be unfair, be poor, throw things, cheat, gamble, lie, pretend everything’s fine when it’s not…

AND YET, maybe only on the inside, we’re just as judgemental about others, hard on ourselves, afraid & insecure, be fake, skeptical or naive, afraid of intimacy …. as them. And we don’t want anyone to know, not even ourselves.
Yes, our long-term self-defeating behaviors are indeed aspects of our parents, incorporated into & modified by the WIC. But when we accept that, then self-blame can be stopped by self-forgiveness, both for all the things that were out of our control, & all the things we’ve done compulsively (unconsciously) out of damage.

We can start with the inventory of our beliefs, fears, resentments, interaction with others…. and this includes all our positive qualities, skills & experience. This is not an easy task. Many of us find it difficult to identify our good qualities because of rotten mirroring, much less our ‘wrongs’, which we’re too proud to admit to, or too ashamed.
TRY using the: Workbook re. ACoA 12 stepsand the Laundry List Workbook

As adults we are responsible for our actions, so now we have the option to make the changes that will improve our life. It helps to separate our T.E.A.s. correctly, into:
— moral faults : based on our personal value system, things we feel shame, guilt & remorse about, which need an appropriate proportion of repair or penalty
— weaknesses : things that would be best corrected, but don’t reserve punishment
— normal human activities & feelings which are not to be judged at all

It will benefit us most if we identify these categories with a compassionate heart. Then we can decide what to keep & what to work on outgrowing. Our Time-Line Inventory will show recurring patterns.

ACoA Step 5 : “We admitted to our Higher Power, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our childhood abandonment.
Once we have our personal ‘wounded’ list, & share it with H.P., a sponsor, therapist &/or wise friend…. we have a blueprint to work from – for ourselves & in relation to others in our life.
NOTE that it doesn’t say ‘our defects’, because that label leads ACoAs to think it’s our ‘core badness’. Instead, Abandonment leads to —> Self-hate, which leads to —-> acting out woundedness, which are expressions of our False Self.

To give us courage to face the daunting & terrifying task of these steps, #s 6-9 are helpful, as we take them in, & apply them.  READ: Realistic Recovery

NEXT: Self-Forgiveness (#4d)

OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 6a)

THIS PART IS
the hardest of all

PREVIOUS“: Outgrowing P-P , #4a

SITE: I Forgive Myself for…… from ‘Journey of Be’, scroll to 9/2015

QUOTE: “You’re the Average of the 5 people You spend the Most Time with”
Jim Rohn “The Art of Exceptional Living”

<—— ARTWORK from Tiny Buddha

 

RECOVERY from “Too Nice Syndrome”cont.

‘FORGIVING’ OURSELVES only applies to us as adults (next 2 posts), when the brain is capable of self-direction – understanding that the ‘character defects’ of the False Self were developed in childhood, which we had no control over.

Tool 6. Healing our CHILDHOOD T.E.A.s is to:
1. LET GO of our Self-hate (E) & endless recriminations (Ts) re. the past
————- See “Letting go means….“, and to:
2. GIVE UP the compulsion to keep punishing ourselves & stay miserable (Es)

Review: As earlier posts have indicated, the underpinnings to co-dep / P-P ‘niceness’ is unexpressed anger / rage. And under that is a vast sewer of stuffed emotions, the majority being fear/terror, but also disappointment, loneliness, longing, sadness, despair….. Cleaning out our damage includes facing & dealing with our anger at our family as well as all our other T.E.As.
It means having compassion for ourselves & being in the present.

Judgements: Along with forgiving others who have wronged us, we are told to ‘Forgive yourself’– but it’s not always clear which part of our life that refers to. Presumably it’s for all our ‘bad’ behavior, at any age.
This is tricky, because ACoA co-deps can take this to mean that our self-defeating patterns prove what our family said all along – that our very essence is bad/evil, which is why we’re supposed to need absolution.
Those unloving messages get added to children’s minds who combine Being & Doing into one thing.  So, still run by our WIC, ACoAs are plagued by the toxic rule: “I act bad because I am bad”, which we frantically try to hide with perfectionism& P-P.

REALITY:
If this were true then there could be no Recovery, no second chances, no spiritual healing & growth!
We need to “come to believe” that we are not bad & therefore unlovable, but rather severely wounded, as well as perfectly imperfect!

The starting point for all recovery is working to eliminate as much S-H as possible. See: Self-Hate & ACoAs, & counter it with ‘Emotional Needs & Resources, as well as ‘Emotional Maturity’ andACoAs & Self-esteem‘.

CHILDHOOD
(As)
ACTIONS: When being encouraged to see that S-H is a destructive lie, many ACoAs will counter by pointing out how difficult or bratty they were as teens, or even younger – as proof of their inherent ‘badness’.
Yes, some kids are quieter & some more rambunctious. But much of what our parents considered ‘misbehaving’ was a combination of:
a. our copy of & direct reactions to all the craziness we were stuck in
b. many perfectly normal kid ways – but mislabeled by unhealthy parents
(“10 Ways Kids Appear to Be Bad but Aren’t“)

(Ts) THINKING: The 2 categories of actions were based on:
a. the unique magical thinking of all children, who have a self-centered focus & a limited knowledge about how the world works
b. the many distortions & omissions fed to our growing brains by abusive parents, school, religion, our neighborhood & culture…..

(Es) EMOTIONS: (see list above) ACoAs often say they “feel crazy”- which is actually a cognitive issue, not emotional – because, growing up, most things truly didn’t make sense. It made our world chaotic & unpredictable, which is very scary to any child, who needs to feel safe as much as to feel loved.

THIS leads us back to self-forgiveness.
Forgiveness is always used in relation to having done something wrong. But as children much of what was labeled wrong about us was not! It doesn’t mean we were angels – far from it.  But every day we had to cope with extremely painful & frightening events. So it’s not appropriate or relevant to use the concept of forgiveness toward ourselves as children – for the survival strategies we developed in dire circumstances. There is nothing to forgive.

NEXT: Self-Forgiveness – in childhood (#4b-2)

OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 5b)


IT’S NOT EASY
to heal old wounds

PREVIOUS: Forgiving others #—

SITE: 15 things Forgiveness DOESN’T mean….

 

RECOVERY from “Too Nice Syndrome” (TSN) cont.

Tool 5a.
FORGIVING
OTHERS
(
DEF. in Part 4a)

Forgiving others is either:
1. about repairing relationships, to re-instate broken or lost trust, OR

2. letting go of the relationships because it cannot be repaired

NOTE: Forgiving in no way implies trusting the other person, nor does it guarantee the continuation of the relationship.

To repair a broken connection, both parties must be willing to participate.
• In some cases only one person has caused the problem – which they must own up to, & the aggrieved person will have to be willing to forgive. But forgiving a wound (letting of anger & resentment) does not guarantee a reinstatement of trust. That has to be earned by the wounder, & that takes time.

Some relationships CAN NOT be fixed & some shouldn’t be. This is especially true when someone has persistently acted badly. Do not ignore this!
There are situations where it’s not worth the effort to repair a relationship. No matter how hard we try, it’s not going to work, because the other person is won’t to meet us half way, unwilling to consider what motivates their disruptive behavior. Without that willingness, they will not change.

TOXIC people must be avoided whenever possible. If we were exposed to one or more for any length of time, we need to get away from them as soon as possible, & then heal the aftereffects – on our own, using all our tools – so they don’t keep hurting us (inside) even once they’re gone.

• In other cases two people have butted heads, each hurting the other – reacting from unhealed damage. If the relationship is worth salvaging – to both – then each will need to go to their separate corners to figure out what in their own background set them off. Then eventually come together to share their awarenesses, using only ‘-I-‘ statements.

This too is usually a slow process. Sometimes it will allow the relationship to continue – maybe stronger, maybe not.
OR – it will serve the purpose of each one knowing their side of the street is clean, but may force them to see they’re really not compatible going forward. Then the parting can be sad, but it eliminates residual guilt & regret.

GROWTH
Letting go of anger (Es) & resentments (Ts) is internal, which must then be expressed externally by changing old patterns into healthy ACTIONS (As).

++ CHOICES – We’re responsible now for choosing to surround ourselves with people who are self-caring, positive & kind. Then there would be a lot less to forgive!  Recovery means being much more discerning about who we trust. Since people tell us about themselves all the time – believe them! So it’s not actually them we should trust, but ourselves. We can work our way out of denial by carefully listening to & observing what others put out & then admit what we see & hear – especially when there is a persistent pattern to someone’s erratic /cruel /narcissistic / unavailable behavior

++ SPEAKING UP – As we outgrow P-P we can be much less ready to automatically forgive & forget’ indiscriminately. It’s not in anyone’s best interest. Repeatedly overlooking bad behavior in others not only harms us, but can also seriously effect our loved ones, friends & co-workers who are around the acting out, to everyone’s detriment. Being emotionally mature includes holding people accountable for their inconsistencies & incompetence, for not keeping their agreements, for damage they create, for abusive or disrespectful things they say…..

++ SELF-PROTECTION – At the same time we can avoid blaming others. In the present, if someone hurts our feelings or injures us in some other way, we must ask them to stop. We are not responsible for their reactions to that.  If they won’t stop, we can remove ourselves or at least keep our distance. We are not responsible for what the other person did or did not do – only for our Es & the way we handle it (As).
EXP: If someone steps on your toes, that’s on them. Definitely say OUCH! & move your foot.  If they keep stepping on it, that’s on you, for staying close enough for them to do it again & again.

NEXT: Accepting ourselves – in Childhood

Co-Dep EXTERNAL Negatives – from OTHERS

WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
I’m just trying to be nice!

PREVIOUS: External negatives – in us

SITE: Negotiation & the ‘niceness trap (4 parts, re. biz)

The HIGH COST of being ‘too nice’ (cont.)

NOTE: This is how others can react to co-dep ‘niceness’The ‘THEY’ applies to the unscrupulous, the walking wounded, or average joes/janes who aren’t malicious, but don’t have much psychological or personal insight.

NEGATIVE RESULTS – from OTHERS
• They take advantage of you
Being too available encourages depressed, passive-aggressive, addicted, lazy or narcissistic people (takers) to use you to their benefit – counting on your good nature, & giving nothing back! Once it’s clear that you’re ‘soft’, they’ll ignore any boundary or objection you try to apply. They’ll also demand increasingly more from you, taking you for granted

 They don’t trust you
Since most people assume that few of us are genuinely kind, they’ll tend to doubt your best intentions, considering it a red flag of insincerity. This is true in many circles, where dog-eat-dog prevails. People assume you want something in return, & you do – but probably not what they think. So you risking being misunderstood, since your motive is to be liked & accepted into the ‘inner circle’, no matter how tacky or immature it is

• They have expectations
Because you always do too much, you actually train people to expect you to function way beyond what’s reasonable, or what the job calls for. This becomes their norm for you, at home & work. People actually appreciate you less, taking you for granted, & depend on you to take up their share of responsibilities

They will people-please you
If you’re too nice all the time, your friends – or employees if you’re a boss – will be reluctant to tell you if you have distorted thinking about something or come up with an unworkable idea.  It’s a form of ‘polite deception’, since they don’t want to hurt you, & maybe they think (or know) you won’t be able to handle disagreements or reality. This prevents people from helping you think clearer, make better decisions, be emotionally healthier & more successful

They don’t respect you
You may be seen as a wimp, a patsy, a fool, or just naive – not someone worth listening to.  If you’re a boss, they assume you’re weak, not to be looked up to or able to lead. Whatever your role (family, friends, work), you may in fact be under the delusion that you are building friendships, protecting yourself from ‘depressives’ & making yourself indispensable

HOWEVER: Most unhealthy people talk about others behind their back! Your over-niceness just gives them another topic, & when you find out – third hand – you get angry, but silently, of course!

• They don’t take you seriously
If you let others get away with their ‘crap’, if you give everyone the benefit of the doubt when they clearly don’t deserve it, if you forgive & forget too easily –  people will take your position of  taking the ‘high road’ as oblivion, stupidity or that you don’t care. They will ignore & disregard any opinions or valid suggestions you have to offer, since they assume (or know) you won’t object

They ignore you
If you find it hard to say no, people will eventually assume you mean Yes – even when you say No. That gives them permission to keep pestering, coaxing or manipulating you to do something you actually don’t want to do, because they know you’re a pushover. Also, there are always those who will guilt trip you if you try refusing  them what they want, & some people will be able to talk you into helping them with everything – even when you’re not feeling well, or are busy with other things

• They take offense
If you’re doing too much, too fast & better than everyone else, it makes others look bad, which they will resent. If you’re too positive, pleasant, willing or too flattering, the higher-ups may find it acceptable or at least tolerable, but your peers will ‘not be amused’. This can also apply to parents vs children, siblings with each other, bosses vs co-workers…..

•  They only come or call when they need something
For most people you become nothing more than a means to an end – theirs. They only contact you when they need something, whether it’s a favor, a rush job or just someone to dump their woes on. You’re only a tool to be used, albeit very caring & full of helpful information

• They find you boring
 Your conversations are not usually very interesting. If you never push back, if you never have a clear opinion, if you don’t know what you want….. it’s as if you’re a blank, invisible, not someone others can connect with – which is unsatisfying. Plus it makes them do all the work in the relationship, which is tiring.

NEXT: EXTERNAL Neg. results #2

Co-Dep INTERNAL Negatives (Part 2)


I TRY & TRY, BUT

never seem to get anywhere

PREVIOUS: Co-Dep INTERNAL Negatives (Part 1)

SITE: Factors leading to Co-dep

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


INTERNAL
 High COST of angry-niceness
(cont.)

always outside

✔︎ On the Outside – for all our effort, you still have your nose pressed against the window – looking in! You’re still lonely, whether isolating or filling your social calendar to overflowing. When you relate to other from the facade of being OK but are really not, no one can truly know you

✔︎ Regretful – getting lost in the ‘Wudda-shudda-cudda” forest of self-recrimination & hopelessness, yet another way to prevent yourself from making healthy changes to improve your life

✔︎ Resentful – you don’t like this about yourself, but you’re filled with resentments. It’s the rage about what you didn’t get as a kid, & the rage NOW at not getting what you silently expect/demand from others. They’re supposed to read your mind so you don’t have to ask. And, why don’t they appreciate & reciprocate all you’ve been doing for them??  ”Why does _____ keep ignoring me? Why hasn’t she/he texted back? What did they mean by that remark??”…..

✔︎ Risk-Averse – being so dependent on others to feel OK keeps you from testing yourself to too what you’re actually capable of OR –
You can take risks in some parts of your life, proving you can do it, yet convinced you can’t try out new ways of doing or thinking – in other areas.

✔︎ Self-Sabotaging – making sure your goals & dreams never come true, staying in jobs & relationships you hate but can’t seem to extricate yourself, refusing to use the options that would help you move on.

✔︎ Sleepless (in Seattle??) – tossing & turning, worrying about what you have to do in the morning & the rest of the day – every day, about how you’re going to manage the ‘conversation’ you’re dreading (with the boss, a subordinate, a family member….), obsessing about an ‘incident’ yesterday by text or email because someone was mad at you….. NEVER ever really relaxed

✔︎ Suffering – stubbornly cling to your self-hate to (unconsciously) prove your deep loyalty to the family, so :
—  you pick people who are unhealthy, making yourself vulnerable to the same kind of neglect & abuse you got growing up, & sometimes even worse
— all the stress of suppressing your emotions + cruel self-talk + unhappy relationships = physical ailments, chronic & long-lasting

✔︎ Terrified – all the time, even if you don’t realize that’s why you’re breathing is so shallow. Scared to make a mistake or of not knowing something, of doing anything that will cause ‘them’ to leave you, or fire you, of taking a stand, of admitting your deepest emotions & sharing your pain, of honestly admitting your family’s abuse & neglect, or your own shortcomings….

✔︎ Trapped – with all the crazy, toxic people you’ve accumulated (& family you cling to), unwilling to extricate yourself because you don’t really want to see  how awful they are & how much they’re harming you, and you can’t bear the idea of ‘hurting’ them any more than they already are. BUT it’s OK to let yourself be terribly injured by them???

✔︎ Uncomfortable – in your skin, crying, being noticed in a group, with gifts or rewards, taking in praise & compliments, even the validation you say you crave

✔︎ Waiting – never having been allowed to know who you really are has insured that you can’t motivate yourself. You wait for any outside force to push you in some direction, never being sure if it’s what you want. If there’s no deadline or needy person – if it’s just you – you’re stalled!

✔︎ Wishy-washy – trouble making decisions, trouble being firm with others, sticking to your point of view: “What if it’s the wrong one? // What if they won’t like what I say? // I want o see what they’re going to do first // I’m not sure what they want me to be/see/feel… // I can’t figure out what to wear to that event, who should I be, how am I supposed to act?I don’t know what to feel about this”….

NEXT: Co-dep EXTERNAL negatives – in us #1