Co-Dep INTERNAL Negatives (Part 1)

& 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)

 High COST of angry-niceness

beleaguered✔︎ 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?”…..

✔︎ 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!
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

NEXT:Internal Negatives #2

SYMPTOMS of Co-dep ANGER – in us

angry cat on face
the damage I’ve caused myself

PREVIOUS: Issues for Secretly-A.

SITE: ‘”Shame & Anger in Chronic Shyness”

See ACRONYM page fr abbrev.


• All of the characteristics listed are most likely combined with anxiety, fear, depression &/or with a mental or physical illness, menopause, genetic inheritance ….. which can be checked out medically

• If you identify with many of the behaviors & attitudes in this post & the next (‘toward others’), they’re likely to be:
— copies of what we heard & saw growing up, since we carry an Introject in the form of the Bad Parent voice, which we use on ourselves and on others
— the defensive ways we developed to cope with childhood stress

• These now express our self-hate, fear of abandonment, hidden suicidal wishes, how we placate people we’re afraid of, & try to get approval from people we’re afraid of loosing

Our PHYSICAL Symptoms
CHRONIC Complaints & Ailments, including hereditary weakness which get activated from long-term stress & rage-suppression
✔︎ Lethargy – trouble w/ sleep, drowsy at inappropriate times, always tired, feel ‘heavy’, hold body stiffly, frequent sighing, brain fogemotion-pain-body

✔︎ Illnesses – real, chronic or sequential = heart problems, obesity, ulcers, constipation, headaches, back & joint stiffness or  pain, frequent colds, auto-immune diseases, asthma, knot in your stomach or tightness in your throat

✔︎ Addictions – any type of substance abuse, food sensitivity…
✔︎ Neglect – avoid self-care & appropriate medical attention, get burnt out from over-doing for others,  can’t rest/vegg

✔︎ Systemic – muscle tension, poor memory, often distracted, loss of appetite or gorging on sweets
✔︎ Self-Harm – nail-biting, chewing inside of mouth, picking at skin, pulling out hair, head banging, cutting, often bumping into things

Our EMOTIONAL Symptoms
✔︎ Depression – (for no immediate or visible reason) low-grade but constant, boredom, loss of interest in things once enjoyed. Sulk, withdraw, pout, threaten or try suicide.  Exhaustion, burn-out from suppressing Es

✔︎ Anxiety – panic attacks, excessive irritability, impatience, can feel sad, scared, hurt – but never angry, other emotions more intense from pushing down anger, obsessive worry, fear of being alone but also of being dependent (“I hate you, Don’t leave me.”)

✔︎ Low self-esteem – trouble accepting yourself and others, blame self for harm that other do to you, feel unworthy of anything good, mentally beat self up all the time (rage turned inward)

✔︎ Superiority – feel ‘spiritual’, in control, better than – for never being angry, self-sacrificing martyr, the ‘good one’, control freak, know-it-all, everyone’s friend, helper, rescuer, center of attention

✔︎ Inappropriate Affect –  Mood swings, smiling while hurting or feeling angry, laughing when telling about your abuse & neglect, too calm – not angry but also not joyful, can have an explosive reaction – altho very rare – that’s out of proportion – so it scares others, always nice to people who regularly hurt you insecure /anxious

Our ATTITUDE Symptoms
• feel misunderstood & unappreciated
• often complain about, envy & resent those more fortunate
• are over-sensitive to criticism & afraid of any rejection
• afraid of competition & being seen as less than ‘perfect’
• act out self-sabotage & have a deprivation mentality
• keep a stiff upper lip, act as if you don’t need anyone
let others infringe on your rights & take advantage, but then complain bitterly
• lack of ambition or motivation (can be from depression)
• pretend something doesn’t matter when inside it does

• over-controlled/ monotone voice, or too loud & sharp
• constantly apologize, over-polite, over=helpful
• gossipy, two-faced, patronizing, sarcastic, complaining, flippant
• resist or have trouble talking about yourself, talk about issues/interests rather than personal thoughts & emotions
have weak or no boundaries, afraid to say NO, both to abuse & to things you simply don’t like or want

• busy all the time to avoid emotions, minding everyone else’s business, rush from one thing to the next – OR –
• procrastinating – both for tasks imposed by others,  AND things we say we want to do for ourselves, OR
habitual lateness, unreliable, unpredictable, don’t keep your word
• visibly ambivalent, indecisive, start in one direction & then shift into another without finishing the first
• financially lazy or irresponsible – under-earn, don’t focus on own talents
• compulsive debting – credit cards, chronic / borrowing, not repaying
• won’t plan for your financial future, worry @ $$ but hope for ‘magic fixes’

NEXT: Symptoms – hidden anger toward others

ACoAs – Set GOALS to MEET NEEDS (Part 1b)

lots of ideas 

PREVIOUS: Getting needs met (1a)

SITE:Understanding Self-Sabotage


1. GOALS (cont)

REMINDER: A goal is something to achieve, but it doesn’t have to be big or difficult. It can be anywhere FROM setting the alarm for a different time, cleaning the house, making a cold call, walking the dog, picking up the dry-cleaning….
TO getting a new job, taking a long trip, planning a party, breaking up with someone…..
• WE try our best to survive without the right kind of information & training about what’s ‘normal’ – healthy & appropriate in general, and suitable for us personally. As unhealed damaged people – no matter how intelligent, educated & accomplished – we are inevitably governed by the cruel push of the PP & the desperate fearful / rebellious WIC. Most ACoAs either :
— have great difficulty making decisions – we aren’t allowed to know or admit what we really need & want, can’t afford to risk making a mistake lest we get punished, & we want to avoid being disappointed yet again
— OR make them impulsively, without thinking thru the results – the possible consequences to ourselves or others – also based on childhood needs for WIC

• So many of our childhood needs were not met – correctly – which left us with the clear message that we’re not supposed to want or need anything for ourselves! Even if we did have some Physical ones met (roof, food, clothes, schooling….), which was a plus & allowed us to survive, any good things were undermined by all the neglect & abuse in the other PMES categories, especially Emotional. And for many of us even the P category was contaminated by beatings, incest, lack of basic provisions….

• This damaging background has created a great dilemma for us, a double bind that keeps many of us stuck:
a. we’re not allowed to have needs, especially emotional ones, BUT
b. we still have them ALL – can’t get rid of them no matter how hard we try to ignore & suppress them!
EXP: As mentioned in another post, a newcomer to Al-Anon figured out in a 4th-Step meeting that her belief was: “My biggest character defect is my need for love!” WHY? because she grew up feeling unloved, yet still desperately longed for it. Wasn’t it foolish to want something she was sure she had no right to & would never get?  (Review “Unrealistic Expectations”)

what goals?• To have deliberate, conscious goals is not easy for many ACoAs – even for those of us who’ve achieved some success in career, yet subtly recreate the family patterns in both work & personal life.

Our experience in childhood was of endless ‘sameness’ – the same drinking, the same unfairness, the same neglect, the same loneliness, the same terror…..
Ironically, most ACoAs are best at what we like to do the least!
As Adults we’re still trapped in the hopelessness of ever being able to reach our TRUE goals, whatever they may be. For many of us, the idea of possibilities was not part of the mental vocabulary in our family:
— we didn’t have the option of using our imagination for ourselves, except maybe as a way to escape the pain we were constantly in, AND
— we used our creativity to figure out ways to keep our parents, siblings, mates, children… from total self-destruction

• When we DO have an idea of what to do, ACoAs need to ask ourselves:
— “Whose goal is this anyway – my PP or the WIC?”  When a need/goal come from either one, it’s not safe to follow through.
— OR do I have a strong enough UNIT (Healthy Adult/Loving Parent) to do the very best I can for my Inner Child AND override the wounded voices?

➼ But it’s also imperative we remember “I know what I know”, because we have our own native wisdom! The Healthy Child has always knew a great many things which never got acknowledged & were too painful to remember. So now the Good Parent can listen to that still small voice, & help redirect the decision process to get the best live with shrink

EXPs of some inappropriate goals:
• when the WIC wants that ‘special’ man or woman for themselves, but that person is married, ‘crazy’, &/or just not interested. The child will obsess, chase, cling, beg, or withdraw from life, sulking & wounded, OR be angry & demanding, just wanting-what-it-wants

• when our WIC thinks we have to become the most powerful / famous person, no matter what it takes & who we step on, & that will get the approval of the PP + the attention / validation from everyone else in the world as compensation for parental rejection – to feel OK about ourselves

• when we’ve followed a career path to please our family, even though it doesn’t suit us at all, afraid to leave it & risk going after what’s most natural for us & would stay hookedmake us happy ….

• when we stay attached to abusive parents to insure getting their money, or an abusive mate to prevent losing security, money, position, sense of identity…..

GOALS that benefit us require

✧ enough about our True Self (which is always there from birth, no matter how buried & denied)
✧ that we’re basically safe, which lessens anxiety (free-floating terror), so we can take reasonable risks
✧ that nothing we do is perfect, can’t be perfect (because humans aren’t) & should not even be thought of in those terms
✧ there are a variety of options to choose frommany choices
✧ and believing in a positive, achievable future for ourself
✧ we’re allowed to follow our own path, even if others don’t approve or understand
✧ we have a right to use our strengths, experience & knowledge
✧ it’s OK to be positively powerful, effective & productive

REMINDER: HEALTHY goals are based on our RIGHTS & Self-esteem

NEXT: Getting need met – Implementation (Part 2)

ACoAs – Set GOALS to MEET NEEDS (Part 1a)

ACoAs Manipulating #3b

SITE: LIST of Personal Needs

SEE ACRONYM page for abbrev.

re. NEEDS – review post: ACoAs Manipulating Self & Others – Part 1
In order for us to get our needs met we must first identify what those are, have internal permission to pursue them, & then search out & use as many resources as are available to us to take care of ourselves. We cannot wait for or depend on others to meet our needs – others are only supposed to be support & company on our life’s journey – not substitute parents!

While we may not always know what we want to do “when we grow up”, taking any positive action can get our engine started – especially if the activities are things we have been interested in since childhood but never pursued. Taking a class or joining a ‘topics’ group (such as in MeetUp) may lead us to new ideas, possibilities & friends or mentors. Setting goals is a fundamental part of getting our needs met, first the cognitive component (idea), managing our anxiety (emotions) , & then taking the necessary actions. (T.E.A.)

PROCESS  includes 3 PARTS (Goals, Implementation, People)
Psychologist tell us that people who make consistent progress toward meaningful goals live happier, more satisfied lives than those who don’t.

NOTE: In terms of T.E.A., this topic focuses on the A, since just thinking about what we want is not enough – but it is the starting point.  THEN we have to act on our own behalf.

PURPOSE: Goal-setting is absolutely necessary & appropriate in order for us to be healthy & happy – when grounded in our Rights as human beings AND our own personal interests. They are a normal part of Adult thinking, providing long-term vision and short-term motivation.
Clearly defined goals:bulls eye- goal
• help to organize our time & resources
• let us know what additional info we need to get
• allow us to see progress as we go along, even if it it’s hard work & takes a long time to ‘arrive’
• help us measure & take pride in successful outcomes, which raises our self-confidence

Before taking an action, especially when the outcome is important to us, the first question we need to be clear about is: “What is my surface goal? then – what’s under that? & then under everything, what’s my deepest – perhaps unconscious – desire/wish/hope in this situation?”
Every action we take – or inaction – is driven by a goal – to find food, to not get fired, to buy something we want or need, to hang on to a relationship, to avoid pain, to please an authority, to learn something new, to entertain ourselves, to express creativity, to be accepted, protect loved ones……
and all goals are based on some need, normal human needs such as acceptance, attention, achievement, comfort, connection, knowledge, love, safety, shelter, validation….. needs in all 4 PMES categories.

Each action aimed at reaching a goal: mental health goals
• is a decision, often unconscious (see 3 Posts)↘︎
• which is based on our individual idea about how to achieve that (procedure)
• which in turn is formed by our most basic beliefs / rules about ourselves & how things function in the world.

EXP: Goal – To cross the street
Beliefs / rules – I can get to the other side safely, don’t run into the traffic or you can get hurt or killed, jay-walking will get you a ticket (in some places), if you’re with someone else make sure they’re safe too, always look both ways ….
Procedure – Stop at the corner, wait until the light is green, then go

• Healthy goals & healthy ways of achieving them are based on knowing who we are & what our Human Rights are.
Recovery EXP: 15 minutes before an evening lecture in a big auditorium a janitor is buffing the front vestibule floor, with the door wide open – so the noise is quite disruptive to the waiting audience. Bev goes out to ask the man to close the door. He completely ignores her, even though she stands there briefly to make sure he’s heard her. Nothing. She goes back to her seat. A minute later a man from the audience does the same – & the janitor closes the door!

noiseQs: ACoAs – If you were Bev:
— How would you be feeling – anger, resentment, S-H, shame…. ? and,
— What would you be thinking? “That x@*, how dare he ignore me?…. / I should have been more forceful / I shouldn’t have bothered him / he’s a chauvinist pig….”
— Would your goal have been to get the noise down PLUS be validated, respected, honored – as a female, by a hostile male?

What was Bev’s goal? ONLY to dampen the noise. She was willing to make the effort, which was appropriate, but how it got done didn’t matter to her!
When we have a True Self, with enough validation & support in our life from ourselves & from legitimate sources, we don’t try to get it (or demand it) from people who can’t or won’t give it!

Beginner’s Guide to Goal Setting” ~ Michael Hyatt
1. Keep goals few in number. Productivity studies show that you really can’t focus on more than 5–7 items at any one time. Concentrate on a handful of goals you can repeat almost from memory

2. Make goals “SMART”, the acronym for setting goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely (Explanation…)
write goals
3. Write goals down. This is critical. There is a huge power in writing, even if you don’t develop an action plan – yet, because it states your intention & can set things in motion (Book….)

4. Review goal frequently. This turns them into reality. Each time you can ask yourself “What’s the next step that will move me toward this goal?”, so you can let them inspire & be part of your daily task list

5. Share the goal selectively. Some writers suggest to ‘go public’ with your goals, even blogging them. But in his 2010 TED talk, Derek Sivers makes the compelling case that talking about your goals indiscriminately makes them less likely to happen, suggesting that it’s best to only tell people who are committed to being encouraging or to helping you achieve them.

NEXT: Getting needs met (1b)

ACoAs MANIPULATING Self & Others (Part 3c)

in your head  

PREVIOUS: Manipulation #3b

SITE: 8 Ways to spot Manipulators

page for abbrev.


Our Manipulative WAYS (cont.)
You start by asking someone for a small favor they don’t mind doing, & then foot in doorwhen they’re in the middle of it, add on other things or ask for the big thing you really wanted – making it hard for them to say no

Telling a conscientious victim that they don’t care enough, are too selfish or have it easy, keeping them in a self-doubting, anxious, submissive position. OR make someone feel bad that you don’t have qualities, people or things the way they do (you’re jealous /envious), so they’ll feel sorry & volunteer to help you out

Judgmental – the (T) form of T.E.A.
— all the time about everything, a characteristic of narcissism
— occasionally, an indirect expression of abandonment terror, when triggered now by a person or situation, but don’t recognize it for what it is – a reminder of childhood neglect & abuse

Mirroring (negative)
Physically &/or verbally copying someone you want to influence, using their same body language, intonation pattern, language, preferences… makes them feel ‘seen’

Saying yes to anything asked of you even when you’re not interested or it doesn’t suit you, & you don’t have time anyway – just so you’ll be liked. You over-book & then forget or cancel at the last-minute

One up-One Down
a. Believe you’re better/superior – morally having more value as a person, rather than being better at certain things (not the same as having a higher IQ), in order one upto keep everyone at a distance & not acknowledge the need for connection, help, comfort….

b. Feel inferior, believing you’re worse than everyone else (weaker, dumber, less capable….)
— in order to stave off assumed inevitable abandonment, disappointment AND — to obey Family rule “I am unlovable” / “I’m too much trouble” / “Don’t have needs”….
— try to get other to meet our needs by starving ourself / deprivation indirectly by being ‘incapable’

c. Fake humility – hiding the compulsion to dominate by taking on the role of servant, helper, assistant – perhaps serving a ‘higher cause’…. while controlling things from the wings

People-Pleasing / Perfectionism
Constantly trying to be or do whatever others want, or what you think they need/want, & going above & beyond what is called for or expected. to make yourself indispensable so they’ll approve of you & never ‘go way‘ (from self-hate & fear of abandonment)

Put a burden on others to be the good parents you never had BY:
• dismissing your own ‘voice’ & not taking up enough spacevictim
• going along to get along, suffer in silence – but others can feel it
• give up what you want, to avoid conflict, but are quietly resentful
• don’t ask question, but always trying to explain or defend yourself
• talk in indirect or convoluted ways, instead of declarative statements
• being withholding, as a form of silent disapproval
• believing you have nothing worthwhile to contribute……

COMBINED Manipulation of Self & Others
Taking on the Scapegoat Role as a child (NOT the same as being scapegoated by the family) – is a child’s attempt to spare the narcissistic family its pain, by taking it on & acting it out for them – assuming its efforts will alleviate the heaviness it can feel in everyone. It’s a way for this child to deny knowing that the alcoholic, narcissistic, codependent parents & other relatives are not willing to work on themselves, not going to take responsibility for their emotions or actions.

It’s a manipulative tactic (usually unconscious) which continues into adulthood. These ACoAs will go on sacrificing their own needs, their good name, their protect familystanding in the family or community, even their very life – if it will make others in the family ‘feel better’ by not having to look at their own damage & dysfunctional behavior! By extension, the Scapegoat will do the same for anyone else they care about.

By staying in this Toxic Role they set themselves up to be a negative focus for others – at home, in school, in business, in groups…. but ignore the fact that they are actually manipulating, as a way —
— to keep playing out the only ‘field position’ they know
— to get punished for being soooo bad, according to the abusers
— to get absolution for sins they were told they committed
— to solicit sympathy & ‘help’ without being able to ask for it

On one level this Role is genuinely taken on in the name of love, but at a deeper level it’s about the fear of losing connection, the ultimate childhood terror. Unfortunately, the sacrifices go unappreciated & are never successful anyway, but only make others disrespect & dismiss the Scapegoat. So when they’re treat badly or ignored, this ACoA gets very angry at the people they’ve been trying to ‘save’.

Scapegoats only see the rejection & invisibility, left outfeel unloved, excluded, attacked – not recognizing or admitting that they —
— allow themselves to be used & toyed with by unscrupulous types
— experience any (real or imagined) slight as a direct rejection, as if others are even paying attention, or are hell-bent on hurting them
— perpetuate their childhood environment of fear, loneliness & abandonment BY not having a strong core identity based on self-esteem & self-respect.

NEXT: Manipulation #4a

ACoAs MANIPULATING Self & Others (Part 3b)

juggling people 

PREVIOUS: Manipulation #3a

SITEs: 20 Subtle Signs of Workplace Bullying
Workplace Danger – Manipulative People”

BOOK: 30 COVERT ways of M. ~ Adelyn Birch


FORMS of Manipulation (cont.)
2. Indirect / Covert
Covert manipulation (M) is more subtle. Tactics (such as Evasion, Diversion, Blame….) have the power to be effective because they carefully hide aggressive & exploitative intentions, while at the same time putting the other person unconsciously on the defensive.
Sometimes, all it takes is a particular facial expression, non-verbal gesture, glance, glare, stare, or shrug. Sometimes the manipulator will send a carefully veiled “Now there’ll be some hell to pay!” message without making any kind of direct threat.

As stated in Part 1, M is an attempt at getting our needs met, but only indirectly, because we’re not allowed to HAVE them (shame is what we feel about each need never provided by our family). Back then, trying to get our needs met resulted in either being made fun of, punished or completely ignored.
BUT since our needs are NORMAL & therefore don’t go away, we look for alternative ways of meeting them while still obeying the toxic rules – which puts us in a double bind.

Our Manipulative WAYS
Avoid Asking
You expect others to guess what you need & then provide it. When they don’t – not being mind-readers – you feel very angry at them, get depressed & assume the ‘universe’ doesn’t want you to have the needs

You first reward someone, by identifying what they want/need & give it to them, just because you’re a ‘genuinely’ nice person. Then at some point pleasantly suggest that you would like something in return, & they’ll usually feel compelled to return the favor

Bugging / Pushypushy
At the other extreme, always nagging to get what you want, repeating the question, requesting or demanding, insisting…. to wear others down until they finally give in. Can’t tolerate NO as an answer, & constantly over-step boundaries

Charm / Good Looks
You use your best assets to encourage people to favor you over others (work, dating, purchasing…) by being positive, cheerful, self-confident, well-groomed, with approachable body language – to make them feel special for having your full attention

Conditional Approval & ‘love’
You’re kind, pleasant, helpful – but only if they’re just like you, you want what they can do for you, let you control them…. But get angry or withholding if they disagree, set limits on you, stand up for themselves,
won’t go along with your agenda….

Dishonest watching & listening
Pay close attention to what people tell you about themselves & their body language, figuring out their psychological/emotional makeup, in order to identify weakness or strength you can exploit

Distorting Facts
You manipulate information & reality by making it seem better than it is. OR leave out crucial info in am explanation, use info against the person,
overwhelm with facts & statistic, lie, make excuses, exaggerate, act like you know everything…. to avoid responsibility & feel more powerful

Keep someone who wants to please you in bondage (paralyzed) by subtly giving opposing messages they must obey or accept without question, to keep them confused & off balance (EXP: smile while insulting)

Use other people’s time, energy, money, talents – only for your benefit – by convincing them it’s for a good cause, will make them feel good, will provide ‘spiritual benefits/rewards….or promising some big reward, while compromising their rights & interests.

Fake Emotions
Use contrived emotions to be in control & get what you want, by acting angry to scare someone, solicitous to soften them, caring to keep their attention, weak & needy to get taken care of, insulted to create guilt…..fear & relief
Can be based on being emotionally stunted / disconnected to your Real Self & true emotions, copying what others do, to have the upper hand

To get someone to do what you want, but is resisting, you artificially create sudden mood swings, by first working on their fear (disapproval, threats to leave, withhold money….), & then when when they’ve been weakened & disarmed, ready to give in – you stop the pressure, tell them it’s OK…. which makes them so relieved they’ll do whatever you want

Flattering / Kissing up
Making others feel good by complementing them, acting totally interested in their lives…. so they’ll want to please you. It makes it hard for them to say NO, even against their better judgement, because they wouldn’t want you to be disappointed or think badly of them

NEXT: Manipulation #3c


to ask about the other person


SITE: “Asking the Right Questions
“Asking Qs is a subtle art, & everyone can benefit from improving their knowledge of questioning techniques. It’s the only way of accessing knowledge from other people, so asking the right Q, in the right way, is crucially important.”

Another indicator of ACoA damage is the fear of asking questions or worse – not even realizing it is necessary, appropriate, even imperative.
At the core of this issue is the unconscious but ingrained perspective that we should not hold other people responsible for their words & actions. As emotionally immature adults, we are still going on the assumption that everything is our fault (narcissistic S-H), & therefore it’s all up to us to correct misunderstandings & fix whatever is causing us pain (narcissistic grandiosity).

Most ACoAs stopped asking Qs because of the messages & reactions we got from our dysfunctional family as well as from outside sources such as school & religious institutions. “Children should be seen & not heard”. They :
— didn’t want their authority questioned
— didn’t want their bad behavior pointed out or abuse objected to
— didn’t want their hypocrisy & neglect uncovered….not allowed to ask
AND they
— couldn’t be bothered to listen or explain things
— didn’t have the patience to show us what they knew how to do
— made it sound like we’re dumb for not knowing things they knew
— told us we were disrespectful for questioning their authority
— punished us with a smack or with guilt for wanting to know what’s going on around us — made fun of us for exploring & being curious ……

NOTE: Curious & clever children may seem to be ‘challenging’ the adults “WHY … WHY…” But if we got a bad reaction (“you’re arrogant, you’re being difficult, you’re disrespectful”) it’s almost always because the person did NOT know the answer & was ashamed to admit it

No matter what Toxic family Role were fell in to as kids (Hero, Scapegoat, Lost Child, Mascot), ultimately we were on our own, because our wounded parents we unable to connect with us in healthy loving ways. We got the message that we were a burden to them – or worse – hated (“You’ll be the death of me yet!”). We understood that if we were to figure things out it would have to be from other sources, like school & our peers, but mainly by just watching other people & events. Quietly, secretly observing the world around us helped, but it didn’t encourage asking questions.

Our early trauma, distorted mirroring & lack of good role models has left holes in our ability to think of what to say. This is because of missing information, rather thanbeing mute stupidity. It literally means not having the vocabulary for legitimate questioning – what words to use, what point of view we need to come from, or what to expect.
BUT this can be learned from books such as “The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense”, & from others who have already know how.

Many of us believe that any form of Qs is impertinent, boundary invasive, & just plain rude – which is not true when Qs come from our Adult ES.
And when someone says or does something unkind, inappropriate, narcissistic or flat out mean – we justify, over-explain, excuse ourselves (Sorry, Sorry), instead of lobbing the ball back at the other person by saying something like:“What did you mean? // Why did you say it that way? // Is that what you would do – want?… (See “Useful Responses”).

ACoAs were not allowed to defend, protect or stand up for ourselves, to not have the right to object to abuse, & to never know what our true needs are. So we continue to live in a quasi-world of not really belonging, not having rights, not being heard, not having access to our personal power, & most of all – never truly feeling safe.  Others of us will bite back when we feel neglected, dismissed or accused, a version of the PP &/or WIC trying to protect ourselves, but this is simply ineffective & can serve to escalate a bad situation.

AN ASIDE: One of many effects of not having direct guidance, not being taught skills or appropriate socialization is a very deep belief that anything we figured out for ourselves was at best wrong, at worst absolutely worthless.

NOW – An antidote to this is to have at least one person who is knowledgeable in our area of activity & whom we respect – to .review what we’ve accomplished or created on our mentoringown. They can validate it’s accuracy, skill level & value. If that ‘mentor’ is fair & respectful, they can let us know the truth about our accomplishment – whether it be a piece of writing, a piece of art, an intellectual conclusion or any other form of expression. If the ‘verdict’ is less than stellar, we can look for ways to improve. If positive, the WIC part of us will be satisfied, & we can continue to flourish in whatever medium we’re best at.

NEXT: ACoAs & Asking Qs – Part 2