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 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 4)

I WANT TO BE ABLE
to enjoy all my rights

PREVIOUS: Outgrowing Angry-Niceness #3

MEN: Break “Nice Guy” Stereotype
WOMEN:  What “She’s too nice” means

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

Tool 4. RIGHTS (cont.)

REVIEW the problem with the phrase “I deserve…..”, in Part 3

Instead of having to ‘sing for our supper’, we want to acknowledge & act on RIGHTS which are everyone’s birthright. They are strictly for our benefit, not in order to be ‘good’ or to take care of others.  As we start living by them, eventually they can become automatic!

YOU have a RIGHT 
❤︎ to Think, Feel, Speak & Act according to your True Self
❤︎ to be treated respectfully, no matted the circumstance
❤︎ to never say “I’m sorry” for being yourself, or just for being here & taking up space 😎
❤︎ to discover your passions & pursue them without interference
❤︎ to appreciate yourself whenever you stand your ground
❤︎ to not feel guilty for taking care of yourself or saying ‘no’
❤︎ to take time out to answer a Q or request (“I’ll let you know”)

❤︎ to not care – so much!  You can’t carry the burden of all the world’s problems – there are too many, just as the whole world can not care about yours. And since none of us has the power to fix another person, you can stick to handling the things that matter the most to you, to get the most out of your efforts

❤︎ to offer no justification!  Don’t lie, but don’t explain. Trying to prove your point – to unreceptive ears – can easily become self-humiliating. When an explanation is required, keep your answers clear & short

YOU have a RIGHT 
❤︎ to make mistakes // to not know // to be incompetent (every so often)
❤︎ to ask for help  // to change your mind // to ask Qs
❤︎ to not be responsible for other people’s needs, actions or problems
❤︎ to disagree with others & express your opinion // to not respond to ‘stupidity’

❤︎ to stop victimizing yourself
• Never chase perfection – there’s no such possibility for human beings. Only God is perfect. Focus on your actual qualities, natural talents & accomplishments
• Know when your kindness is being taken advantage of, speak up about it & pull back some
• Don’t compare yourself with others. Since each of us has a separate body & separate personality, we also each have our own life path. Live yours!

• Always be kind to yourself. Stop self-hating thoughts as soon as there pop up, checking to see what abandonment trigger set it off (BOOK: “Compassion & Self-Hate – An alternative to Despair“- T. Rubin)

❤︎ to be helpful & generous to others — IF you have enough PMES supplies of your own to share.  Only do what you are legitimately capable of, what fits with your own self-care needs & when you have the time (unless there’s an emergency that only you can deal with – which is rare)

❤︎ to take time out for yourself, even a little every day – to dream, to imagine a new possibility or something creative, to process the day’s experiences, to revel in an accomplishment, compliment or triumph

❤︎ to find & maintain contact with support systems in various parts of your life, the kinds that fit your personal tastes, your work concerns, family needs & social interests. Let others give you whatever help & encouragement they have to offer – if it’s what you need!  As the Al-anon Closing says ” ……We aren’t perfect. The welcome we give you may not show the warmth we have in our hearts for you. After a while, you’ll discover that ‘though you may not like all of us, you’ll love us in a very special way – the same way we already love you.”

❤︎ YOU HAVE a RIGHT to assert all these rights! (‘My Rights – Qs’)

NEXT: Outgrowing co-dep #5a

OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 2)


THERE ARE MANY WAYS

to help myself ‘let go’

PREVIOUS: Outgrowing P-P #1

<—- IMAGE from : “16 Acts of Self-Care to Get You Thru 2017


See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


RECOVERY from “Too Nice Syndrome” (TNS) cont.
To outgrow People-Pleasing (P-P) we need to stand up for ourselves in T.E.A. For that to be effective it has to come from our Adult Ego State& not as a knee-jerk reaction from the WIC. This includes knowing when to be silent or walk away, which will depend on recognizing whether a situation is hopeless or not, especially when dealing with Personality Disordered people.

Tool 2. SELF-WORTH
++ Self-esteem is fundamentally the result of unconditional love! To outgrow the need to P-P we can work at providing that for ourselves now, even tho we didn’t get is as kids. Our attention has to be internal – on who we are, what we need, what our rights are & how well we take care of ourselves

☁︎ Co-deps base a lot of their ‘value’ on how much they do for others. This is self-defeating, guaranteeing ‘failure’, because —
— it’s only about action rather than personal identity: external vs internal
— we’re selfishly using others as a prop for our WIC’s distorted self-image
— we’re dependent on the unpredictability of how others respond to us
— we can never do enough for some people, so we’ll always come up short
— we can never fix anyone else’s pain, & even if it were possible, the people we most want to ‘save’ (rescuing=false helping) are usually the most recalcitrant (absolutely UNwilling to work on themselves!)
— some people will never give us any appreciation or validation. Sadly those are the ones we chase the hardest & longest!

Self-esteem allows for INTIMACY. To be capable of intimacy we need to overcome a large chunk of our self-hate – by developing at least a working knowledge of our Rights, using good Boundaries, having a range of Emotions & a nodding acquaintance with our Inner Child, the UNIT & our True Self.

Tool 3. ASSERTIVENESS
++ Practice saying YES to the things you do want
• SUCH AS things you’ve had an interest in or passionate about since childhood, even if you never got to pursue them. Now you can pick them up, just for pleasure, or maybe to start a whole new career:
— Say yes to learning new skills that will improve your income
— Say yes to healthier friends & lovers, jobs, living space….
— Say yes to a new couch, better clothes, flowers….(when you can)
— Say yes to filling some of your down-time with ‘good, clean fun’
— Say yes to taking time out just for yourself, to recharge
➤ Say YES to one thing you’ve been wanting to do (a small tattoo, a dance class, a Spiritual retreat…..), but are afraid others won’t like it or will make fun of it. Too bad. Do it anyway!

• There are other things you can be enthused about as short-term enjoyment, something or someone you’re only into for a while (maybe even a few years) and then: You got what you wanted from the experience // or you did as much with it as you could // or you’ve gradually become disappointed in it // or you, they or it has changed, & now it doesn’t suit you anymore….  You’re done, so move on & choose new PPT
AND
++ Practice saying NO to things you don’t want
Don’t automatically say yes to everything others ask for. If something is really not okay with you, say NO. Or let people know it’s something you’re going to have to think about & then get back to them.

You don’t have to give any reason for not liking something, even if it’s temporary – and it’s OK to change your mind. Remember that “NO.” is a complete sentence.

Some people will accept your new-found voice without a fuss, but others will not. If asked “WHY don’t you want to, why can’t you, why aren’t you…..” – know your reason & state it briefly in a declarative sentence. Never start with “I feel that….., I guess……, Well, …… Sorry…..”.
You can say: “Thanks, but I’m not available, That’s not for me, Not today, I have too much on my plate, That’s not my taste, Thanks for the offer – but I like it where I am, I’m finished with that………”
(MORE ways to say NO nicely – on Pinterest)

NEXT: Outgrowing P-P #3

Co-Dep INTERNAL Negatives (Part 1)

P-A wifeI’M SO STRESSED OUT
& no one will help me!

PREVIOUS: Co-dep angry-nice (#2a)

BOOK: “The Book of No:
250 Ways to Say It – & Mean It, & Stop People-Pleasing Forever”
Susan Newman, PhD (book review)


INTERNAL
 High COST of angry-niceness
✔︎ Abandoned – as an adult.
To totally depend on others (especially on narcissists) to be ‘seen’ & for a sense of worth – will always leave you disappointed & even more alone. Yes, we need other people to help, encourage & validate. But self-esteem is an inside job, a combination of taking care of our WIC, growing the UNIT & relying on a Higher Power to heal our wounds.

✔︎ Addicted – Constantly depriving ourselves of needs, wants, dreams, goals…. makes the hole-in-our-soul** bigger & bigger. But since nature abhors a vacuum, we try to satisfy the longing for comfort & security with any addiction that fits our personality type. And it’s often a witch’s brew, engaging in several all at once or sequentially. If we’re constantly over-giving, we may escape by over-spending, over-eating, over-working…..

✔︎ Beleaguered (surrounded by troubles), yours & everyone else, until you just want to scream, but that’s too unacceptable, so you swallow the anger & collapse inward. Always saying “I’m sorry”- for things that are not your fault OR beyond your control, tying to placate
the monsters inside & out

✔︎ Burnt out – run yourself into the ground, a workhorse – or should we say ‘work like a dog’!?
– try to do more than everyone else
– never ask for help (including spouse & kids)
–  have outrageous expectations of yourself (perfectionism)

✔︎ Confused – “I don’t know how to____, I can’t seem to ____ // Why don’t I get any better? Why am I not appreciated? What am doing wrong? Should I have ____? Why don’t I ever get picked for ____? // I’m not sure who to listen to, who to believe. Isn’t my family right? What if my husband /wife is right about me?”…..

beleaguered

✔︎ Desperate – your frantic efforts to get your needs met in round-about ways always end up in disappointment & disaster. Sadly, no matter how much effort you put in & how determined you are, just like you can’t fix others, they can never fix you. Even so, you keep PMES starving, but refuse to feed yourself. You just get more & more desperate, often to the point of being suicidal

✔︎ Distrustful – if others do actually like you, it doesn’t count because:
– you don’t believe you’re worthwhile
– you don’t trust your own judgement as to who is sincere & who isn’t
– you idealize others, BUT are secretly sure no one is safe
– you know you’re not being emotionally honest, so assume they only like your fake front
– you don’t realize others can see your good qualities, even tho’ you can’t

✔︎ False Self – that you had to develop as child – continues to get reinforced & dominates our life.  Only focusing on your outsides, waiting to be rescued / taken care of guarantees disappointment, wastes decades of your life. You miss out on drive & spontaneity, ignoring opportunities to be creative, to use your natural gifts & to accept all aspects of yourself

✔︎ Frustrated – from never getting control over others to make them be what you want, & do what you need – so you can feel safe. From trying so hard to get it right but never ‘figuring it out’. From longing for the love you don’t think you deserve or have a right to. From living in the fantasy of how thing would be, if only……

✔︎ Gilt-ridden – any time you’re less than chipper, any time you have an angry thought about someone, any time you just can’t do something you think you should or what someone else wants, any time you take a minute out for yourself, anytime someone’s angry at you, any time you’re not perfect……

✔︎ Obsessive – endlessly ‘chewing the cud’, going ’round & ’round about:
– something you did or didn’t do, that you’re sure is going to make others turn away from you in anger or disgust – OR
– about what someone said that hurt, or what they didn’t do that you wanted….. wasting time & energy trying to figure out why?
SO you can fix it & not be abandoned!

NEXT:Internal Negatives #2

Co-Dependence Negatives – Intro-b

I’M PROUD OF WORKING
harder than everyone else!

PREVIOUS: Co-dep Intro-a

SITE: Childhood Trauma Recovery ARCHIVE

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

 

The HIGH COST of ‘too nice’ (cont.)
Co-Dependence & Anger have a reciprocal connection. Some people compensate for their fear/terror of rejection – for having their own needs, opinions & emotions such as anger – by using people-pleasing tactics. They may not have started out angry, but the longer they have to suppress their own needs & feelings, the angrier they get.  ‘Fake-nice’ has its limits, so when we can no longer hold down the rage that’s been building, we can explode outward – at others, OR or implode – on ourselves, getting depressed, physically ill &/or suicidal. (see also 3 posts)

Active Co-deps have not yet learned that:
• it’s normal for everyone to experience anger, being part of the kaleidoscope of emotions we’re born capable of
• we can give ourselves permission to feel & deal with all emotions
• there’s a difference between the WIC’s anger from S-H thoughts & unrealistic demands of others vs. appropriate anger at being victimized by family & others
• the best way to manage anger is to deal with it as soon as we can, each time we feel it – so it doesn’t have a chance to build up
• it’s imperative to find legitimate, effective outlets for anger, so it doesn’t get vented in situations harmful to ourselves or others
(‘Anger & Co-dependency‘. Great site by Dr. Irene)

Michelle Ferris (LMFT) offers 3 Co-Dep traits that breed anger & resentment
:
1. The Illusion of control — over others (the Serenity Prayer backwards)
2. Being a Superhero — always over-giving, never asking for help
3. The Lie of being FINE — superheroes aren’t supposed to be vulnerable or have needs (MORE….)

GIVER or TAKER??

In their book “The Givers & Takers“, the authors Evatt & Feld point out that – ironically – Takers are more ‘desirable’, in spite of & because of being less available, less forthcoming & less sensitive. When they do give – it’s more reluctantly, sporadically & for calculated reasons. They’re the ones who lean back instead of forward in their chair when having a conversation, who seem not to need anything, who have an air of mystery. Yet, they’re considered more sexually & socially attractive, while Easy/Soft is considered uninteresting!

The authors believe these are the Introverts of the world, while the Givers are the Extrovert. There may be some validity in that, because Introverts don’t need or want as much contact & interaction with others. But it’s not the whole story.
Introversion is an inborn characteristic & is not a sign of emotional damage.
On the other hand, dyed-in-the-wool Takers are more likely to be trying to compensate for childhood damage – withholding, arrogant, insecure & narcissistic – hiding behind silence, while feeding off of others who chase them.

Now, if you are the co-dependent Giver type, unavailables are like catnip to you – BUT you don’t want to be one of them! You’re too driven to give, sacrifice, be needed, rescue & fix – to be aloof. HOWEVER – if you are indeed an extrovert/ connector type by nature, you really do have a good heart, so it’s imperative you learn to moderate how much you give & to whom – if you want mental health & true safety. (Healthy Helping).

Not the Real you? Angry-niceness is a damage-trait, like all other character defects. The big mistake many of us make is to think these patterns represent our real personality, murmuring: “Well, that’s just who I am, I can’t help it.” Actually, it’s a manifestation of the False Self, rather than written in stone. So the good news is that it can slowly be changed, or at least greatly modified.

NEXT: INTERNAL negatives

Co-Dep Angry-Nice UNDERPINNINGS (Part 2)


I”LL DO ANYTHING
to keep you happy! 

PREVIOUS: Co-Dep Angry-Nice UNDERPINNINGS (#2)

BOOK: “Deceived” by Claudia Black, includes 3 types of anger

 

Co-dependence UNDERPINNINGS (cont.)
YOU HAVE:

• Filters – you weed out anything positive about yourself,  your actual accomplishments, positive opportunities….. including the people who actually do recognize value in you, who are willing to help you help yourself…..

• X-ray vision –  inside your personal Fun House, you’re looking into the eyes of everyone distorted mirrorelse trying to see who you are, but only seeing other people or distorted versions of yourself thru their eyes

• Fuzz – like a grey TV screen – whenever extreme terror shuts down your frontal cortex, i.e.. the ability to think at all, OR just that familiar vagueness that comes over you, especially when it’s for your own benefit. Your favorite phrase is: “I’m overwhelmed”. It’s easier to vegg out with favorite distractions than admit what you really feel & need

Magical thinking – you’re sure you have the ‘love’ & the will to fix broken people, & sure you’re doing it out of the goodness of your heart.  But actually – it’s to make them well enough to give you all the things you want for yourself but don’t have a right to get directly

• Mommy Issues – careening thru life looking to finally be rescued & taken care of, secretly scanning everyone you interact with: “Are you my mommy? – Are you my mommy?” Even if you think you only have Daddy issues (yes, they may be very real too), you still needed a strong, healthy mother back then, & where was she???

Nose – even in a room full of ‘normal’ people, if there’s one sick or needy person, you’ll ferret them out to latch on to or seduce – whichever works – to be their savior, in spite of feeling barely a few inches higher off the ground than them yourself, so you can feel a tiny bit less unlovable. Or because you assume none of the others would want to be with you??

• Pitch Fever – frantic to get everything done you’ve committed to, exhausted but never wanting to disappoint anyone, rushing from one task to the next, & feeling guilty for even thinking you need a break!

Reverse logic – getting the Serenity Prayer backwards. Instead of: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can & the wisdom to know the difference”, you compulsive try to do the impossible & keep putting off the things you really can do

put up walls• Walls – in spite of a desperate need to connect, you’re so terrified of intimacy that you compulsively pick emotionally unavailable friends, mated, jobs…. their harmful patterns keeping you at arm’s length, to guarantee that no one gets too close. If they did, they’d ‘find out’ how worthless you are – according to the PP in your head!

NEXT: Negative results – Intro