RED FLAGS from Psychopaths (Part 2)


LISTEN TO PATTERN

of their conversation

PREVIOUS: Red Flags #1

BOOK HOW to TAKE REVENGE on a NARCISSIST: Take your power back by using their secret techniques 

 

List BASED ON: “30 Red Flags of Manipulative People”

2. SOCIAL Manipulation
Comparing – you with everyone else in their life, including your eventual replacement. When idealizing you, they make you feel special by telling you how much better you are than these people. Later, when devaluing you, they use these comparisons to cut you down

Communicating – texts you dozens of times a day, adding compliments, flattery, songs & poems on Facebook….  You come to rely on this flood of attention as a source of confidence

In Demand – they surround themselves with former lovers and potential mates,  bragging that their exes still want to sleep with him/her, but assures you not to worry. You feel jealous believing your partner is in high demand

Exes, exes, exes – it’s the psychopath’s favorite topic of conversation & you’re stuck listening about them all the time – their names & everything that happened between them – but only the psychopath’s version

Denouncing – they seem to have an unusually amount of crazies in their past. They bad-mouth previous business & personal exes who ‘abandoned’ them, labeling those people as disloyal,  jealous, bipolar, alcoholic….  They will speak about you the same way to their next target

Rivalry – psychopaths shift their laser focus from you back to previously denounced exes, using social media to post ambiguous videos & status updates, old songs & inside jokes, making you doubt your importance to them, while seemingly innocent.

Boredom – They focus more on their new activity & ignore older ones with you. They don’t seem to care when you leave their side, since they can just as easily move on to the next source of energy

• Isolating – If you try to maintain ties with family & friends outside your relationship, they will ensure to undermine each one until you’re severed.
And if you work hard to foster inner peace in your life, they will make it their mission to destroy every avenue you use

Mind reading. Psychopaths expect you to always be able to know what they want or need, when they’re upset, when they don’t feel well, when they want you to do something – all without saying!

Shape shifting. They adopt different personae for different people or groups, transforming their outward personality to match their audience. But sometimes they forget what role they’re playing with you, then slip & accidentally use the wrong mask. You begin to wonder – Who are they really?
Very eerie, but it’s not Multiple Personality Disorder. Each shift is conscious & cleverly molded – all to cover their inner emptiness.

3. GENERAL
• Fun – They actively search our extreme sports & dangerous activities, from a need to feel excitement via high risk & intensity. Anything from BASE jumping to having sex in public, from juggling matches to carelessly cheating on a mate

Dichotomy – they confuse you with a combination of swaggering street-smarts toughness, while at the same time giving off a little boy/girl ‘innocence’ or goodness (not real!).

Fake ‘tears’ – Their emotions are shallow & short-lived.
— While they know how to copy emotions they see in others, only occasionally does the mask slip – unconsciously, giving you the feeling that something’s ‘off’
— You may catch flashes of contempt (feeling superior), unrelated to anything going at the time. Micro-expressions leak out their true opinions
— Rage is one of the few Es they actually feel, but even so they can go from being in a rage to compete calm in a minute

TMI – They love to tell about shady & ‘dirty’ things they’ve done (business & sexual) – as if those were something to be proud of – while giving the impression that’s all in the past for them

Fake goodness
– They create a ‘saintly’ aura engaging in phony altruism (volunteering, donating, gift-giving…), & can’t wait to boast about the great things they do for others – to gain your trust

Talking style – On the one hand their speech is filled with ‘umm / er / uh’ s… maybe needing the time or mental effort to come up with the next lie, ‘story’ or way to make a good impression.
On the other hand – they can barrage with endless (sometimes interesting) monologues, like being on stage, but ignore responses or interruptions

Blame others – nothing is ever their fault. They spend all their time rationalizing their behavior rather than improving it

Overwhelming selfishness – only their needs, desires, opinions, upsets… count    (Modified from “Identifying a Psychopath….”)

NEXT: Psychopath RED FLAGS #3

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DEALING with P-As: Managing (Part 5)


I’LL DO WHAT I CAN
but it’s not all up to me!

PREVIOUS: Dealing with PAs – #4

SITE: Confronting P-A behavior
 re. resistance to being confronted = #4

 

OUR RESPONSES
Set limits, set consequences – & then follow through.
CRUCIAL: Identify the P-A’s dysfunctional behavior, & then state what it will cost them to continue it – with you. It’s a powerful tool – throwing down the gauntlet. It says you’re not the pushover they’re used to dealing with. Their maneuvers are basically a power struggle – with the whole world, but especially against anyone they see as an authority figure – in relation to themselves (spouse, teacher, family member, church, governments….) . So you can’t let it pass.

One of the biggest mistakes Receivers make is to be much too lenient. Once you give in to the P-A’s pattern, you’ve lost the game they’re playing. Ignoring or going along with their tactics, or taking on their responsibilities, is enabling & encourage them to continue.

Although you don’t want to provoke an angry confrontation, you also don’t need to be the P-A’s punching bag. Make it clear that you won’t tolerate being mistreated. It’s your right to set boundaries. This is equally true about their language & their non-actions, all of which are forms of abuse & therefore damaging to your relationship, & to work outcomes. For most people it takes practice to be assertive, & sometimes even courage.

Offer one or more serious/important consequences. Said simply & calmly, it may make them think twice about their automatic reactions & perhaps encourage them to modify their behavior – shifting from obstruction to cooperation. READ  7  types of power that encourages positive change.

Make sure the punishment fits the crime. Because P-A patterns are so frustrating, consequences/punishments can quickly go overboard (like screaming “I’m never ever talking to you again!” in the heat of the moment). Taking a time-out for yourself can help to come up with the best response. AND – you may need to talk to someone you trust to give you another perspective – or just a word of encouragement to stay strong. There’s nothing weak or shameful in getting support.

EXP
: If this problem has gone on for too long – decide: Do I just need a break, or is it time to end the friendship altogether? / Is this person  needed in this job, or should I fire them?….. OR – If someone is habitually late to meet you at an agreed upon time – after the 3rd or 4th time Let them know that from now on that you’ll only wait 15 min. & then leave. Don’t keep waiting.

So no matter what their reaction is to being called out, as an Rs you need to stand pat about how much you’re willing to take going forward. Follow through on the limits you set – to let the P-A know you’re not willing to pay the price for their acting out.
If possible, give the P-A a chance to help solve the problem at hand, asking them for constructive, practical solutions to improve or fix the situation (at work or at home). BUT if all you get are complaints & criticisms, don’t agree or disagree. Just say that you’ll keep what they said in mind, & go back to the point

Reinforce appropriate/good behavior – with the goal of increasing its frequency. It can be: punishing bad responses or rewarding good ones – which are harder so notice. So be on the lookout for positive changes – which include expressions of true emotions & any unhealthy tactic not done.

Decide when to detach or avoid the P-A completely. If you’ve given them every chance to ‘correct’, spoken to them reasonable, given them options &/or consequences – AND nothing changes – it’s perfectly reasonable to spend a lot less time with them or end the relationship. Sometimes this can be very difficult & painful, but you have to put your own well-being first. (Self-care)
However, if it’s a casual acquaintance – it’s easier to just avoid them.

What can help you deal with a P-A you care deeply about is to focus on their best qualities. Make a list & add to it if/when you see positive changes. Sometimes reinforcing the best in others will give them a reason to improve themselves.
NOTE: This does not apply to active addicts or other narcissists. Their S-H won’t allow for compliments & their acting-out can not be reinforced or excused.

NEXT: P-A

DEALING with P-As: Emotions (Part 3)


HIDDEN ANGER

is tricky to deal with

PREVIOUS :
Dealing with P-As #2

SITE: BLOG re. P-A relationship


Our EMOTIONS
Notice how you feel around the P-A.
Pay close attention to your instincts. You’ll definitely feel frustrated, & then angry. If you don’t know what’s happening or you’re blaming yourself you may even despair. You are actually in a situation you can’t win – nothing you say or do seems to please them or get them to hear you.
• You can feel hurt if they give you the silent treatment
• You’ll feel annoyed that they’re always complaining, but don’t do anything to improve their situation
• You’ll likely feel tired or deflated, IF you’ve been trying to make sense of their behavior, & spending a lot of energy trying to get them to co-operate.

Make Friends With Your Anger
To be effective in dealing with P-As you have to be OK with your own feeling of anger at them (acceptance) – because that’s a normal reaction to being jerked around.

REMEMBER: We have our own hot buttons, which P-As can take advantage of  – once they get to know us. Identify them, & then notice when you get real anxious or have a strong angry reaction when one of them is bumped into.
EXP
: When ignored / accused wrongly / called ‘too sensitive’ / treated as stupid / taken advantage of / not given credit…..

Moderate your response
Develop a “Teflon coating” for yourself when dealing with P-As — stay calm, keep your voice neutral, hold your emotions in check. The less reactive you are, the less fuel they have for their hidden anger tactics

• If possible, find out what the P-A’s angry about – in the present situation. Notice a problem they’re reacting to as soon as you can

• Because P-As don’t show their anger, you can talk to someone who knows them well enough to tell you the P-A’s buttons, & what subtle signs to look for

• Think seriously about what might really be driving the P-A’s behavior, which is usually a symptom of something else (or deeper) that’s upsetting them. NOTE: these is a tools for you, not in order to fix them

Stay as neutral as you can manage – even if you have to act-as-if. When you do get upset (which is likely), calm yourself down first before addressing whatever issue that’s bothering you – take a walk, crank up the music & dance, call a sponsor, read a page or two from the Al-Anon “Just for Today” Meditations…..
Then figure out exactly what you need/want from this situation, what is actually possible & what realistic outcome you can live with

It’s also good to practice ++ self-talk (until it’s automatic), such as:
• I recognize his ______ as P-A behavior – it’s a familiar pattern which I see & acknowledge
• He wants me to get angry & yell, so it’ll end up being my problem, not his
• I know what’s behind her procrastination, intentional inefficiency, ‘laziness’…
• It is her anger/ resentment that she’s not owning up to

🤔”I didn’t cause it / I can’t control it / I can’t cure it”.
• I don’t want to (& won’t) participate in this pointless P-A manipulation
• I deserve to be treated at least with respect, at best more lovingly
• I trust my gut reaction when I feel jabbed – because that’s what just happened

Empathize
Learn reflective listening & express empathy toward the P-A, which can sometimes be helpful in dealing with sideways anger.
In any case, be compassionate toward yourself & the other person. While this may be difficult, expressing empathy for the P-A can help disarm them. You can reflect (mirror back) their suppressed emotions by saying things like, “It seems like you were frustrated by what happened in school / at work….  today. That makes sense & must have been hard…..”
It helps to remind yourself that someone has probably been patient, understanding & compassionate towards you at times when you were not at our best. Pay it forward.

FROM Elephant Journal: “The passive-aggressive individual is not a bad person, they are simply a person who has been deeply hurt.
And when such a person is a family member, friend, or intimate partner, the only way to stay present is with expansive love.
Pushing such a person to be honest or direct does not work because they cannot see past their own fear and hurt.
Space and time are essential for healing.
Even more so, trusting that person & seeing the best in them can alleviate the fear, & reassure them that they are trusted, held with love, & embraced with security.”

PS: In most cases it’s the P-A’s behavior / communication that’s hurtful / unhealthy (bad), not the essence of the person. This is because the ‘acting out’ comes from the person’s False Self, rather than their hidden Healthy / True Self. However – their hurtful behavior is not to be excused or overlooked.

NEXT: Dealing w/ P-As #4

DEALING with Passive-Aggressives (Part 1)

THOSE PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVES
will drive me crazy – if I let them!

PREVIOUS: P-A ACoAs #3

SITE: Dealing w/ P-A STUDENTS (for parents & teachers)

BOOK: The Angry Smile

REMINDER: “Passive-aggressives are not less angry, just less direct.”
A good portion of passive-aggressives (P-As) were raised by mothers who were neglectful, non-nurturing, overly controlling, not allowing for any self-expression…..
So you didn’t cause it. If you’re in a relationship with a passive aggressive person, stay focused on yourself, & what you want to accomplish.  We are only responsible for our T.E.A.s.

Our responses will be safest & least drama-producing for ourselves & others when they come from the Parent ego state, as part of our True Self – rather than re-acting from the False Self / WIC. This includes making sure our own anger is healthy – because P-As do sorely try our patience!

REVIEW of some P-A tactics – THEY:
⚡️ Avoid work and social obligations, often making excuses
⚡️ Critical, Blame others for personal failures
⚡️ Complain of being unappreciated or misunderstood
⚡️ Exaggerate misfortunes, often run late
⚡️ Don’t do something that’s asked of them, reluctant or fail to keep promises
⚡️ Are persistently pessimistic, even when things are going well
⚡️ Sabotage, are sarcastic, give the silent treatment, withholding intimacy

At Work – a P-A ‘team’ member may:
• Use fake manners to cover a lack of genuine respect / manners
• Interrupt – with a quick “sorry” – without real acknowledgment of the other person’s presence, conversation or activity
• Smile, & then do whatever they want by saying to the  other person, “You don’t mind, do you?”

• Take credit for what another team member said – by restating it as if it’s her own idea
• Use subtle sarcasm against a team member and call it humor “Just kidding”!
• Intellectualize instead of apologize –
“I wonder why I did that?” instead of, “I’m so sorry.”

• Use neutral statements instead of true empathy. “Yes, it is difficult, isn’t it?” instead of, “How can I help? Let’s look at it and find a solution”
• Hold others to a very high standard of behavior & call them on imperfections / mistakes / oversights… in front of others (shaming)
• Use apparently logical reasons to undermine others’ success – and then say “You understand, don’t you? / You don’t mind, right?”…… (Lydia Dishman)

ISSUES for us to OVERCOME
🌀 No boundaries.
P-As
have a nose for People-pleasers (P-Ps), Scapegoats & Victims – anyone with a big red button on their forehead that says “You can mess with me because I can’t stand up for myself”.
• False-nice people (the Passives) have weak boundaries, low self-esteem & are afraid of conflict – making them perfect targets for the P-A’s hostility.

• P-As (who have walls around them) create drama & confusion that reinforces the Passive’s feeling of universal unsafely, & which directly impacts her/his ability to accomplish tasks, whether in business or at home.
‼️ P-As know when & how much they can get away with! so it’s up to us to work on developing / strengthening our Boundaries.

🌀 Confusing Communication
P-As will say one thing (like “Sure, sounds great!”) but mean the exact opposite, which is disorienting & disconcerting. Even if we (the Receiver) don’t fit into the Passive category we can still get lost in the morass of the P-A’s manipulation if we don’t understand the game they’re playing. Pay attention!

• And if we tend to be straightforward, we assume others are too, so we’re likely to take the P-A’s apparent agreement for a commitment: They said they’d call the IRS / pick up the laundry / look for a job / do their homework / get that project done by Fri…. didn’t they?

But for ACoAs, especially if we grew up with P-As, when we now have to deal with another P-A for any length of time (which we may have inadvertently picked as boss, spouse, friend…..), some part of us can have a ‘sneaking suspicion’ they’re going to flake on us or drag out the promised action endlessly – but we still hope that this time…..

Sadly, depending on someone who is determined to constantly stone-wall leaves us endlessly disappointed, & having to do everything ourselves anyway. Sometimes it’s not even worth asking .

🌀 Fighting fire with fire?
It’s inevitable that we’ll be frustrated & angry around P-As. But approaching them with sarcasm or our own passive-aggressiveness will only strengthen their resolve to be defiant. Besides, they’re much better at it – having had a lot more practice. 🙂
<—– If we meet their anger with ours, the interaction will escalate, or they’ll just withdraw even more.  Remember that you’re always dealing with their hidden angry Inner Child!
We’re not likely to ever get the co-operation we want or need, so trying to ‘shake it out of them’ never works.

NEXT: Dealing with P-As (#2)

Passive-Aggressive ‘Nice’ COMMENTS

screen-shot-2017-02-18-at-8-13-46-amI HAVE LOTS OF WAYS
of being covertly angry 

PREVIOUS: P-A #1

SITE27 Most Passive-Aggressive Things That Ever Happened

** Southern P-A forms of “Bless your heart!” (humorous but true)

P-A Commuter Types – (London)

 Some things Passive-Aggressives SAY:
Using their cherished bag-of-tricks to combat insecurity, especially if they feel pushed outside their comfort zone, P-As silently hope for attention & approval, trying to prevent loss of connection by avoiding confrontation.

The following statements are meant to express disappointment, hurt & hostility, but are coded in the form of underhanded innuendos instead of respectful honesty. Totally confusing most people, this style insures that P-As do not get their needs met!
When P-As give those little looks, roll their eyes, or throw out subtly nasty comments, most won’t catch on that they’re being messed with, but it may feel like being on an emotional roller coaster.

It can leave someone wondering:
“Did I hear right? / / Did they mean to be mean? / / If I react, will they make a joke or tell me I’m too sensitive?……”,
which is what the P-A wants – for others to always be off-balance.

NOTE: Emotionally healthy people are self-reflective, so not only do they have decent self-esteem, but also are not afraid to own their ‘stuff’.  So they tend not to point fingers at others, keeping the focus on themselves, are not ashamed of their emotions, & can communicate in direct ways using ‘I’ statements.
EXP: “I’m not going to be able to be able to help you with that.”// This is who I am, please accept me as is….”

BUT dyed-in-the-wool P-As have none of those characteristics. Almost all of the following statements are ‘you’ types of comments (some implied), and none of the “I” statements admit honest wishes & needs or take personal responsibility

This list includes things can be said/written between family members, between friends, between mates, at school & at work.

I’m not mad – this is a lie if their over-all pattern is being P-A
Fine. Whatever – sulking, they want you to stop bugging them
Sure, I’d be happy to – they don’t want to & have no intention of doing it
I’m coming! – foot-dragging so they don’t have to do something you want
I didn’t know you meant now – means I won’t let you control when I do what you want, which I don’t want to do anyway

• You asking for too much / just want everything to be perfect – they don’t want to do what you asked but can’t get away with putting it off, so they do it badly or half-assed, then are defensive when you rightly object to a sloppy execution
If you really want to – means I don’t really want to, but won’t say so
You decide / whatever you want – (as a pattern) never taking responsibility for what they want & them criticized your choices
Don’t bother! – means I really want you to do _____, & angry that you won’t
• We’re all watching your progress and hoping the best for you – we don’t have a lot of hope or confidence in you

• Oh my dear, you’re looking so much better today – boy have you been looking like something the cat dragged in lately
• This is far too complicated for you to understand – dumb, dumb, dumb
• It’s nice that you’ve found a friend – finally. You’re not very desirable
• How is your therapy progressing? – you’re such a mess, I don’t think even this will help // You don’t seem to be getting any better
Aren’t we pretty today? – Who do you think you are? / / Is that what you’re going to wear? // What you’re wearing is ugly

If you insist! – means I don’t want you to, but won’t ask you to stop
It’s fine if you’re late, again – feel disrespected but they think it’s too petty to object directly (don’t have a right to be considered)
No worries – short for Screw You
I thought you knew/ are in the loop – they had no intention of including you

Thanks in advance – you’re expected to do something they want, without your input or consent
• I was curious about / surprised / confused by… is disguised criticism
I h0pe it’s worth it – they’re worried about a choice or decision
you’re making & don’t want you to do it, and hope you fail

• You’ve done so well for someone with your limitations /with what you had to work with – means the P-A is patting you on the head, but is actually very displeased & disappointed in you, & blames you
So… (by itself) – another form of Screw you, or what’s your point?
— If in a sentence: So….When are we going? / have you called them back yet?….. – the P-A is clearly agitated, worried…. but won’t admit it

I was only joking – sarcasm meant to stab at you. It’s not funny
• I didn’t mean anything by it – means ‘pretend you didn’t get it’
• Don’t take it so personally – means it was a very personal barb
Why are you getting so upset? – means “Ha, I got you!”
I didn’t do anything (wrong) – complete denial of their abuse or neglect
You’re too sensitive – P-As don’t want you to object to their hostility
You’re so intense / too emotional – P-As are hiding their own anger & pain, so don’t want your emotions to stir up their suppressed ones
You’re imagining things – means that if you’re ‘crazy’, they’re home free

NEXT: P-A ACoAs (Part 1)

Passive-Aggressive ‘Nice’ People (Part 2)

IT’S LONELY
being with a P-A

PREVIOUS: P-A #1

SITE Passive-aggressiveness
(in general & about men)

 

P-A CATEGORIES
Unintentionally hurtful type. They believe they’re trying not to hurt others, not wanting anyone to feel bad. So they aim to be ‘perfect’, to not say or do anything obvious that might make the other person dislike them & ‘go away’. However, their anger is a barrier, felt at a nonverbal level, but others will have no way of knowing what’s wrong. Because P-As don’t have access to ALL their emotions, their quietly defiant interactions prevent true intimacy, keeping people at arm’s length. Bottom line – they abandon a part of themselves, as well as people closest to them.

Self-protective type. This is the strategy used by P-As when they feel the need to protect themselves at all cost, & believe they have no other options – even tho this may not be true – as a way to protect their self-concept, their job or personal interests. Usually based in repeated childhood experiences, they think they don’t deserve to speak their mind, afraid to be honest & open. So a P-A, who wants to believe they’re acting in your best interest, can say hurtful things because they’re actually trying to protecting their self-image as well as prevent punishment (being fired, losing a friend, having someone be angry at them,,,,,). If confronted directly they’ll defend themselves or blame the other person, instead of seeing their part.

Malicious type. Since this series of posts are about surface-nice-people, it may seem incongruous to include the P-As who aren’t so ‘nice’. But here it’s not their actions we’re considering – only their motivation. This type consciously wants to hurt anyone & everyone – without getting caught – planing out attacks or impulsively reacting to whoever annoys them in the moment (like spitting in the drink they offer you). And some in this category are subtler than owolf/sheep's clothingthers, keeping their ‘nice’ mask on.

One way they can play the game is to get others riled up & defensive, who then act out the P-A’s denied rage for them. Such a parent might say to their teenage child: “You should really try to treat your mother better after all the sacrifices I’ve made for you. You’re so selfish”. This is an emotionally abusive effort to control the child’s behavior, but often only succeeds in generating guilt & resentment. Then this kind of parent can accuse the teen of being ‘difficult’! Every time the P-A gets away with it (friends, family, work….), their tactics are reinforced while still seeming to be innocent.

SILENCE (is not always golden!)
. Many writes assert that the Silent Treatment is the P-A’s favorite weapon. It’s a deliberate choice to not speak to someone for a protracted length of time. It will be repeated any time the angry-nice person wants to punish another for any number of hurts, real or imagined, by shutting down emotionally & withdrawing, without admitting how angry the P-A really is.

It’s a way of manipulating others into doing what the P-A wants by treating the ‘offender’ as if they’re invisible, in the hope that they’ll get the message “Do what I want/ be how I want – or I cut you off”. This is not about withdrawing love, since love is unconditional, but rather removing approval, & for approval-dependent people (many ACoAs), it’s a powerful form of control.

This silence is a sanitized version of murder. While the purpose is not to erase someone physically/ permanently, it is psychologically & emotionally deadly, causing far-reaching injury.
🔪 🔫 Physical murder means: “I do not like you. Therefore, I am going to make sure you do not exist – by killing you.”
💘☁︎ Silent treatment means: “I do not like you. Therefore, I am going to treat you as though you do not exist – by not speaking to you.”

The tactic produces a great deal of fear in the adults who are vulnerable to it – because of a desperate need to please – and especially for children when repeatedly ignored by a parent.
 (See: Qs to ask oneself, in upcoming post)

SITE: The Real Reason Why The Narcissist Punishes You” 

NEXT: P-As #3

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)