OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 8b)

I FEEL MUCH BETTER
when I’m forgiven

PREVIOUS: Asking forgiveness #8a

SITE:16 Common excuses for NOT asking for forgiveness”
(Familiar excuses applying to anyone unwilling to be accountable, + Christian references)

 

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

Tool 6. FORGIVEN by OTHERS (cont.)
1.
WHO (in 8a)

2. For WHAT: Here again ACoAs get things backwards: (see Part 4a)
Too much: we apologize, often too often, for things what are not ‘offenses’, only because our S-H, via the PP, says everything we do & ARE is bad/unacceptable.
EXP: Billy’s sponsee was always making ‘humorous’ fun of himself & he wasn’t even a comic. When Billy wouldn’t laugh at yet another putdown the sponsee was annoyed: ‘You don’t have a sense of humor!”. Billy’s response: “Self-hate isn’t funny!”

Too little: at the same time we hide from admitting the actual insensitive or destructive things we say & do, because of shame, guilt & FoA. Yet such negative actions make us feel bad about ourselves, so we hide even more – acting like nothing ever happened, instead of cleaning up our mess whenever possible.

a. Imagined ‘character defects’ (see Part 8a).
The alcoholics & other narcissists we grew up with forced us to gauge relationships based on what they wanted or hated – which we now project onto everyone else. We assume others will be as weak, as judgmental, as demanding, as manipulative, as needy, as controlling, as dangerous, as easily upset…. as our parents were. So we’re always looking out for emotional traps, trying to avoid other people’s disapproval & anger.

That makes us constantly worried that we have annoyed, bothered, offended, disgusted…. everyone else. But if we were to ask a person about something we said or did that we were sure they disliked/hated – they couldn’t imagine what had us so worked up – it hadn’t registered.
And if we tried to apologize for some imagined slight (based on our mind-reading ‘talent’) & they did remember the incident but barely noticed it, they might look at us quizzically or with amusement – since to them it was no big deal!

b. Real ‘character defects’ – because of damage.
Shame is at the root of all our wounds,
& asking for anything is considered shameful. So having to be humbly honest with someone we’ve hurt & then ask to be forgiven for our thoughtless or hurtful actions can be very uncomfortable, even terrifying – but only to the WIC part of us.

REMINDER – Admitting we have character flaws is NOT an indictment of our whole being. It’s not only human to be imperfect, but as ACoAs we definitely have more ‘issues’ than people raised in safer homes. All are a combination of our parents’ defects (which became our Introject), our native personality, & our response to all the abuse we suffered.

IMP: Before approaching others with your 9th Step – be very sure you will be talking to someone capable of treating you with respect. If they’re volatile or disdainful, don’t engage!

A WAY to START is to ‘lightly’ ask the person if they remember the event? that  you’re concerned about – unless you already know. Don’t make it sound dire.
1.  If they don’t remember, then drop it. If they ask why, say “I just wondered” & nothing more.😓

2. If they do recall, ask how they feel about it. Don’t put words in their mouth!
• If they say they’re OK, believe them – don’t try to mind-read their intention.
So leave it alone. Your guilt is your own – they don’t owe you absolution.

3. 😂If they express hurt, anger or disappointment, you know it’s time to apologize. Again – they don’t have to forgive!

NEXT: Passive-Aggressive Niceness – Intro-a

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 6b)


TO BE or NOT TO BE

willing to forgive myself –
that is the question!

PREVIOUS“: Outgrowing P-P #4a

SITE: 12 Ways to Accept Yourself

 

 

RECOVERY from “Too Nice Syndrome”cont.

Tool 6Healing our CHILDHOOD T.E.A. (cont.)
As we outgrow P-P we can clean out the underlying issue that permeates every part of our life: our Self-Hate, which is blaming ourselves for not getting our needs met. It’s anger/rage at our family turned in on ourselves

Reminder : Healthy, compassionate families, teachers & other leaders guide children with clarity, kindness, patience & humor. They set good examples, teach boundaries & realistic limits, explain the way people & things work, & help each child develop their Natural Self. (Healthy Parenting

That was not our experience. All our childhood emotions, words & actions which were called “too sensitive, disobedient, difficult, selfish, lazy, stupid …..” do not need to be forgiven. Instead, we can look back with sorrow & compassion for what we endured!

SO: Rather than struggling with the idea of having to forgive our youthful acting-out and normal child-reactions, we can benefit the most from Acceptance.  
As we clear out more S-H, we start to outgrow P-P automatically.

+ + Accept reality: We can let go of the – usually unconscious – twisted belief we may still have, that we’re hopelessly bone-deep failures because we originally:
• failed to be the kind of child who was good enough to have elicited love & approval from our parents
• failed to soothe & heal our parents’ many wounds
• failed to stop them from hurting us, each other & our siblings

++ Accept our child’s narcissism as normal, which made us think we had the power to do any of those things. Not! We can understand why we had those misguided ideas, & correct our thinking (the CDs) now, to stop blaming & attacking ourselves for what we believe are inadequacies & deficiencies

++ Accept that the mirroring we got as kids came from cracked mirrors – forcing us to see ourselves thru controlling, cruel, drunk, insensitive, neglectful, raging eyes! What we came to think of as our Self was mainly their sickness projected on to us – which became our Negative Introject. This psychological process – helpful or harmful – happens to every child & is not ‘forgiveness material’.  (Parental Mirroring provides child….)

++. Accept & stop judging ourselves absolutely, totally –  for:
— not being perfect // not knowing everything // making mistakes
— being so scared inside // being controlling // nit-picking
— having depression & the need for medication
— procrastinating or never finishing anything…  basically every opposite of the RIGHTS list

++ Accept that at first we’re going to feel guilt churning in our gut whenever we disobey a Toxic Family Rule, but we will slowly outgrow it.  This is ‘good guilt’ – in the short-term – because it signals doing something healthy for ourselves which goes against all our original crazy training.

The Tibetans have no word for ‘guilty.’ The closest is “Intelligent regret that decides to do things differently.”

++ Accept ourselves as valuable Children of God / HP / the Universe, which helps to stop the cruel inner rant (the WIC or PP) – a choice we can implement every day.
The benefits of self-acceptance are worth the great struggle of having to let go – of releasing the rage at ourselves & our abusers.

The FOUR AGREEMENTS by Miguel Ruiz
1.
Be impeccable with your word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don’t take anything personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say & do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions & actions of others you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don’t make assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions & express what you really want. Be as clear as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness & drama.

4. Always do your best
This will change from moment to moment, based on being healthy or sick, young or old, rested or tired…. Under any circumstance, simply do your best & you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

The ability to practice these principles (in all our affairs 🙂) comes from the Healthy Adult. They are never meant to be done perfectly – since that’s not possible. But the more we can incorporate them, the more Co-dependence will fall away.

NEXT: Self-forgiveness as ADULTS

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