OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 3)


but it’s worth it to me

PREVIOUS: Outgrowing Co-dep, #2

MEN:  Stop Being a “Nice” Guy

WOMEN – Don’t be so nice


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

Tool #3  ASSERTIVENESS (cont.)
As we practice self-care & accept things the way they really are, rather than how we would like them, we can be more direct in protecting ourselves. This makes P-P less & less necessary.

++ Don’t excuse your opinions (T), they are a part of you, even if only for the moment. However, to be sure of what we think & feel, we must first identify all those long-held ideas we had to swallow whole from our family, & separate them out from what we truly believe for ourselves. There are some things we can be sure of, unequivocally: “I know what I know”. But we can’t know everything – certainly not what others are thinking or feeling, unless they say – & we don’t have to know everything. If you believe in yourself, you’ll always want to keep learning AND won’t be ashamed to correct any ignorance or misconceptions

++ Identify your boundaries. We all have the need for personal space, a greater amount for some than for others. P-P generally deny this need, believing that not setting limit is the only way to keep people attached to us, (symbiosis). Trying to meld with each person we interact with means constantly taking on a new fake persona. At least when actors do that they get paid! And trying to be what others want or copying them – never gets us the pay-off we’re hungry for. Keeping this up year after year takes a lot of energy & creativity, but is ultimately exhausting AND ineffective! Remember “Zelig”?

++ Don’t shy away from conflict or confrontations. A basic philosophical tenet of martial art is to a) know how to defend yourself, if attacked, but b) never start the fight if you can avoid it. Following this 2-part principle psychologically is crucial to having a safer life. Books like “The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-defense” by S.H. Elgin, give us several excellent ‘weapons’.

When we start setting boundaries, some people will be confused & others will be angry – who may give you a hard time – since they’re used to you automatically giving in to whatever they want from you.

No matter how scary it is at first to deal with push-back, if you’re sure of your beliefs or needs, stick to your guns. Some of those reactors might even apologize later.
Eventually the right people will get used to the new you, even admire & respect the changes. The ones who can’t get with the new program will fall away. “Man’s rejection is God’s protection.”

Tool 4. RIGHTS
To outgrow P-P we need a replacement for the Toxic Rules that drive our co-dependence. We need to know our RIGHTS.

☁︎ BTW – How we use Language is as important in the quest for ‘sanity’ as other factors. The words & phrases we choose either help or hinder our progress.  A questionable statement we hear often is:“You deserve it” / or / “I deserve to…..”
The problem is the word ‘deserve’. Sounds OK? Well, in terms of actual meaning, ‘deserve’ refers to whatever is given as a reward for acceptable, special or difficult behavior (as in: “Here is your A+ / medal / Oscar / gold watch…..you deserve it”). It is something you earned, which is OK, since it’s good to be recognized & honored for accomplishments.

BUT, using ‘deserve’ in the context of personal growth is misguided, because it implies that our worth is based on how much & how well we DO thingsThis reinforces our difficult childhood, when we were only acceptable (if at all) on condition of how well we conformed to dysfunctional rules, instead of being loved unconditionally for just being here.

So, connecting “I deserve …..” with self-worth is a subtle distortion, disguised as Recovery, which ignores our BE-ing. The implied message is: “Produce or lose!” It sneakily tells us that we have to keep on earning validation for things which in fact are universal Human needs (love, freedom, respect, identity, guidance, dependability….), & therefore should not have to be struggled for. This deep-rooted negative assumption is why we keep trying to be perfect & please everyone.

NEXT: Outgrowing P-P #4

OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 1)

speak up for me
(I hope no one minds 🙄)

PREVIOUS : Neg EXTERNAL results from others (#2)

SITE : 45 Confidence Exercises…..

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

RECOVERY from “Too Nice Syndrome” (TNS)

Undoing our TNS isn’t accomplished by becoming a nasty bully or resentful isolate. Instead, we can apply the wisdom which the Snake of fable had not understood – that occasionally it’s necessary to hiss! Emotional maturity is about balancing between being well-behaved & putting our foot down when needed. BTW – both are only effective when coming from our Healthy Adult E.S. Ironically, being too nice also does others a disservice – preventing them from being their best, by giving their Inner Brat opportunities to come out & play whenever they feel like it – on our head!

The following TOOLS, used all together, can move us along in the right direction, (from Damage—–>——>——-> to Wellness), but if we’ve been a life-long people-pleaser, it’s going to take time, patience & perseverance. Remember ODAT & never give up!

++ “Getting it” in your bones that you didn’t cause your need to develop co-dependence (Co-dep) will greatly quiet the self-hate and PP voices, which say that it is your fault. Then you can outgrow the need for people-pleasing (P-P) which is one of many defense mechanisms. We are “Damaged, not defective”

☁︎ If you’re an ACoA, your needs & emotions (Es) were PP voicestomped on & ignored. Being ‘too nice’ was one way you survived, even if your siblings chose a different way to protect themselves. What does this tell us?
That we used whatever we could to deal with an emotionally & physically dangerous upbringing. We didn’t create that situation, SO this pattern is not an innate flaw in us. It’s correctable!

Tool 1. Facing FEARS

++ It’s normal for Co-deps to be fear-based, given our history. That fear may never go away completely, but can become much less intense. As we thaw out emotionally we can experience our feelings quicker when something hurts us – instead of it registering months or years later. Feeling old pain, as well as emotions that come up from a current event, will free up a lot of psychic energy we use to hold them down. This freedom makes us less scared, which gives us the courage to ask for what is rightfully ours, diminishing the grip of co-dependence.

Outgrow P-P is a combination of:
— rooting out abusive self-talk & correcting distorted ideas about life (CDs)
— consistently comforting & nurturing ourselves (self-care)

☁︎  T.E.A. = Most people combine Thinking (more from the Left brain) & Emotions (more from the Right brain) into one big messy hodgepodge.
If someone were to ask you (or you ask yourself) : “Are your/my fears realistic?” they are not referring to the emotion of fear, but rather to the toxic rules, projections, S-H….(Ts) that scare you (E).
Fear isL & R BRAIN fear – it’s neither realistic or unrealistic, which only applies to thinking. (“Feelings aren’t facts”).
Intense painful emotions are a signal that you’ve either tapped into childhood trama-pain, &/or you’re torturing yourself with cruel self-talk, causing terror.

Years of abusive & abandoning experiences created our fear – accumulating every hour, every day that we lived with those people (family, school, religion, neighborhood….). That feeling is an absolutely normal, appropriate emotional response to those events. We carry that pile of terror in our body, which we now attach to thoughts & current events – adding to the pile, keeping P-P in place (“Anxiety & T.E.A.s”)

REVERSED – As Co-deps we often get both our mental & emotional reactions backwards.  In terms of fear:
• we ignore or underplay emotionally damaging effects caused by actual people & situations that are inappropriate or outright harmful to us, BUT have a real effect on us even so, & yet —
• we can over-react emotionally with S-H & FoA to PPT that are either not dangerous at all, or are those uncomfortable pain-in-the-butt “that’s life” situations which seem overwhelming, but actually are fairly easy to smooth out, once we come to see them in a true perspective, & learn how to manage them

💚 So don’t let others keep confusing you. Be clear whether you (or they) are talking about Thoughts/beliefs OR Emotions – or Actions, & know how they’re related – or not!  Es can be a response to an As, without causing harmful Ts:
EXP: I can be very frustrated & angry (E) about a situation I truly have no control over, such as ‘being laid off from a job/ loss of a relationship/ illness of a loved one….’ (A), yet still have a positive mental attitude about myself, my life, even my future, such as “It’s not my fault / I know I can find something or someone else / I’m actually better off now / I pray for them….” (T). (See many posts re. EMOTIONS)

NEXT: Outgrowing P-P #2

SYMPTOMS of Co-Dep Anger – toward others

WICs communicatingI’VE GOT TO BE NICE
so they won’t see my anger

PREVIOUS: Symptoms- in us

SITE: Co-Dependency  (includes characteristics Qs)

<— Inner children in adults

as you scroll thru these various lists (this & the previous), do NOT use them to berate yourself. If they are primarily psychological rather than medical, they tell us our degree of woundedness, embodied in the False Self. We did not cause these patterns, but it is our choice & option to correct them, a little at a time.

• Looking at Plutchik’s “Emotion Wheel” – we see that anger & fear are opposites – so:
— if we are only aware of or act from being anxious, depressed, feeling like a victim – we’re hiding intense anger we’re afraid to admit to
— if we are in a continual state of anger, rage, resentment & hostility – we are denying feelings of sadness, vulnerability, hopelessness & fear

NOTE: Some things in the list will seem counter-opposite, but can in fact be different sides of the same person, like – act Superior on the outside, feel Inferior on the inside, calm on the surface, but roiling inside…..
ALSO – you don’t need to identify with everything to say you’re hiding rage, & as stated above, some of these things can be caused by sources other that repressed Es (medication, temporary intense stressors, a major illness….).
See —- upcoming — statements which signal indirect anger

• ‘love-buy’ – overspend on gifts, tips, treats
• women often financially support their spouse
• rarely buy anything for yourself
• anticipate needs of others & supply them before being asked
• overly-kind (one of the subtlest forms of anger – think of Dexter, TV’s good-guy serial murderer bringing donuts to work)
• overly responsible at work, trouble delegating
• put yourself at risk rather than refuse someone’s request
• do much more than you’ve been askedscreen-shot-2017-02-24-at-11-41-20-pm

• agree with everything others say, or just smile
• patronize (as in the Southern phrase “Bless your heart!”)
• laugh at jokes that are not funny or you’ve heard many times
• listen endlessly to other people’s problems & complaints
• won’t speak up against disrespect or abuse
• only hint, obliquely, at what you want or don’t like
• mistake honest, respectful dialogue for malicious confrontation
• repress, deny, ignore true thoughts & emotions (dishonesty)
• complain to everyone else about your relationship dissatisfaction except to the one involved

• terrified of being dominated, & weakly try not to be, but  unconsciously act dependent, indecisive, unsure, non-assertive, with weak or no boundaries
• don’t go places or do things if your mate isn’t available or interested – then sulk, complain, cold-shopeople-pleaseulder
• refuse to leave harmful or ‘dead’ relationships, & make the other person responsible for ending it
• cause many ‘little problems’ that irritate your partner, & then seem surprised

• take a partner ‘hostage’ by needing them so much you can’t live without them, make them your whole world
• keep attracting partners that are overtly angry, P-As & narcissist, so you can keep being secretly angry – at them
• pick & stay with addicts, so you can fix them (control)
• don’t say what you want, like, need…. but expect others to mind-read
• withdraw from anyone you like, if it will prevent conflict – without explanation
• imagine worst-case scenarios even when things are going well
• keep bringing up old complaints  with children or mates

• go to any length to not rock to boatat risk
• keep recycling old ways of dealing with complicated situations
• re. sex – women – refuse to ask for what you want/like, never initiate, undermine mate’s sense of adequacy & skill, refuse to respond, lack of desire

NEXT: Co-Dep behavior #1

Co-Dependent Anger-Niceness (Part 3)


If I can carry them, I’ll be loved

PREVIOUS: Secretly angry-nice #1

SITEArticle 1 // Article 2


True Kindness is a positive trait, coming from an inner place of abundance – the person having enough of their needs & wants met from their healthy family, themselves & in the world. It allows them to be reasonably happy with themselves & their life, without being complacent. As a result, they can be thoughtful & generous toward others, without desperately needing or expecting a return.

This satisfaction then translates into relating positively toward others, AND carries them thru hard times – showers or storms  – which happen to us all.  Being a genuinely kind person is never a liability when it’s an outgrowth of our personal nice neighborsstrength, emotional stability & human understanding.    (Boundaries posts).

True Kindness is all the opposites of co-dependence. It’s being true to our own needs & values, expressing this to others so they know where they stand with us.
Sometimes healthy kindness is uncomfortable. Sometimes it means saying ‘No to someone’s request or demand, because it’s not good for us, or not good for them – like not giving money to an active addict, or not spending the night with a stranger….

NOTE:  Our True Self may indeed be helpful, caring & kind. And for wounded people who want to scrub off the False Self layer, with enough Recovery we who are ‘natural helpers’ can find a balance between legitimate giving & appropriate self-care.
Other personality Types can finally uncover & admit that it’s not really their style at all – they need more privacy & solitude to fulfill healthy goals & natural talents.
ARTICLE:”For Everyone who has been called ‘Too Nice’.” Re. Positive niceness!!

Co-dependent Fake Niceness
Most people occasionally need to hide their anger behind the face of politeness –  especially when it’s the only way to protect oneself.  This is normal.
Here we’re focusing on suppressed-anger-niceness as a way of life. It’s a defense mechanisms, one of many ways our damage shows up, used to disguise our unhealed wounds of the past. Childhood abandonment always leaves us with a great deal of anger, which ‘nice’ people turn in on themselves. Lacking genuine self-esteem, we latch on to others so we can manipulate them into providing our many unmet needs, instead of working to develop these for ourselves.

Co-Dep is an outgrowth of self-hate, which tells us that we caused our own pain, from birth – on. And according to this distorted thinking, if wehappy-man caused it then we surely can cure it, which is the WIC’s sense of false power, who is convinced that we can control how we are treated – by being extra good – no, perfect!   (opposite of Al-anon’s 3 Cs)
But all we end up doing is twisting ourselves into whatever pretzel we think others want, and trying to fix people who are the least likely to change – the narcissists & addicts around us who are too self-absorbed to even see us, much less care. Neither effort ever works!

In reality we could not possibly have caused any of our early suffering, since the damaged adults who raised us were already fully formed before we arrived! It’s not fair that we have to clean up the mess they left us with, but we do have the power to heal much of it, if we want a better life. Yet many people are unwilling to shed deep-seated defenses as it would mean dealing with the original wounds that caused their need for them.

Without a strong inner core of self-esteem, clear thinking & good boundaries, the reason for the way we interact with others is not ‘clean’. At the very least, the surface agreeableness of our angry-niceness is a pretense. At the extreme, being overly-sweet, overly-solicitous, overly-helpful hides our anger even more deeply. All types are (almost) never angry – on the outside!

Actually, our carefully controlled actions are basically self-serving, because we’re only being ‘so good’ as a way of conning others into taking care of us – emotionally, psychologically – & often in all 4 PMES way. Whether or not we’re aware of our compulsive patterns is not relevant here. (See Part 1 re. Selfishness).too helpful

If you’re still actively Secretly-Angry, you want to be seen as a kind person, in spite of how you feel inside, because society considers that a virtue. And being desperate for positive strokes, you assume that’s what is always required & expected of you. But you’re still living in emotional deprivation, so no amount of people-pleasing will fill the void.

Then, the more you do for others, especially if there’s no acknowledgement or appreciation – the angrier you get. But ‘nice’ people aren’t supposed to get angry – so the feeling transforms into resentments.

NEXT: Co-Dep defined #2

Secretly Angry “Nice” People (Intro-c)

angry inner child
having these feelings!

PREVIOUS: Secretly-angry (Intro-a)

SITE: Emotions are NOT Bad Behavior
(What we needed as kids)


Ways we AVOID feeling anger

PERSONAL    • Ignore all uncomfortable emotions // Pretend painful things haven’t happened to us or our loved ones // Ignore RED flags in others
• Live in our head, obsessing // Constantly intellectualize, analyze
• Keep all our conversations superficial, only talk about what we’re Do-íngdistancing• Talk about everyone else’s business
• Bury A. under a guise of ‘spirituality’/ good works
• Keep so busy we never stop to notice emotions
• Cling to bad relationships, keep everyone at arm’s length, or avoid all
• Constantly think about self-improvement, but never risk taking action

• Overeat /choose sugary & fatty foods
• Excessive use of alcohol, recreational or prescription drugs
• Any compulsive behavior (internet, smoking, sex, exercise, shopping, gambling …..) that distracts & numbs us
• Tight muscles, causing headaches, back spasms, shoulder pain, teeth grinding….
• Chronic/ auto-immune  illnesses, that keep us weak & debilitated

– like other Es – can be caused by many different internal & external circumstance (10 posts), in some cases an appropriate emotional response to various kinds of harm, & in others cases an over-reaction to a current event that triggers unhealed childhood wounds.

Fear is the survival emotion we feel in our nerves & gut when actually in a dangerous situation, like being high up somewhere, being yelled at or slapped,fight/flight suddenly get a serious illness, in a car accident, being fired…..

— future oriented: 
It’s what we feel leading up to a (real or imagined) dangerous, stressful or threatening situation – like anticipating going to the dentist, waiting to see the boss, in line at the airport…. And some people are born with a particularly sensitive nervous system, predisposing them to be more intensely affected by stressors, especially as children

— past oriented: It’s the suppressed psychic energy of rage & terror from years of living in chaotic, dangerous environments, which is now stuck in our body. This  backlog then fuels the fearful thoughts that are behind so much of our present-day worry. So we can connect Anger & Anxiety, 2 sides of the same coin, even tho on the surface they seem contradictory, because Anxiety is usually associated with fear, which can make us timid (Flight), while Anger tends to temporarily energize, fueling actions & reactions (Fight).

INTERESTING: Anxiety is far from a new thing. In the 4th century BC, Hippocrates wrote that anxiousness is “a difficult disease. The patient thinks he has something like a thorn, something pricking him in his viscera, and nausea torments him.”

EXPs of the anger-anxiety connection
• Irritation: 
Being anxious all the time can make us annoyed & miserable (“Don’t bother me!”), which can lead to more frustration & anger

Overwhelmed : the anxiety of having too much on our plate, with little or no  help, & already feeling inadequate – can eventually turn to hopeless-silent-anger, at ourselves or at others, or both

Loss of Control
: Being out of control for a long time is very painful & draining. But having to suppress our rage about it for many years creates its own anxiety – making us scared of ‘loosing it’, of not being able to hold it all down – because if were to let the rage out it would severely hurt others

Continually being in unhealthy relationships leaves us with plenty of anger. If it’s unsafe to admit or expres it, it gets turned in on ourselves as S-H. When this becomes too great to bear, it gets projected out onto the world – usually towards everyone except the ones who originally injured us – passing blame for our woes onto others as a way of explaining the anxiety.

NEXT: Issues for angry-nice people #1

Secretly Angry “Nice” People (Intro-a)

secretly nice -1I ALWAYS HAVE TO ACT NICE
to hide how angry I really am

PREVIOUS: Multiple Intelligences #3e

POST: What about Anger?”


Our culture does not support, tolerate or excuse expressing anger in obvious ways – except when participating in or watching sports, or being drunk! Oh right, the BIRDS can be angry – but not humans! One reason is that most people assume there’s only one way to let it out – explosively, dangerously – which of course scares people, since it can be physically & emotionally unsafe.
But it’s not the only way (“Ways to react” posts).

Since everyone was born with the ability to feel anger (A.), just as we have the natural capacity to experience all the other Es – in varying degrees – each of us figures out how to deal with it, based on our personal tendencies & what we copied or learned as kids. In our society, A. is usually called a ‘negative’* emotion – even by the best regarded teachers, writers & therapists. This is wrong!
This misnomer comes from NOT separating the TEA components:
❤️ The Emotion itself (physical energy & information about our environment), vs.
💀 the way we frame it in our Thinking (acceptable or unacceptable), vs.
✍🏽 how we Act on it – Positively or Negatively.

*The E. of Anger itself should never be designated as a negative! It is not only blatantly inaccurate to do so, but does it a great injustice – because A. gives vital information about bad things happening to us or around us. NO emotion is negative, only harmful thoughts & actions are! Anger is a necessary & appropriate reaction to 3 main things:
✔︎ being scared, being frustrated & being hurt (such as threatened, ignored, disrespected….). (see T.E.A. // ‘Feelings aren’t facts’ )

★ And anger is a healthy response to any abuse & deprivation of very real needs (attention, safety, respect, love, freedom, encouragement, comfort….)

Normally, Anger can be:
• an immediate response to a particular situation, or
• gradually built up from a series of real or perceived injustices or threats, or
• a slow escalation from long-term abuse, neglect, or being treated unfairly

Emotionally HEALTHY Nice People have good self-esteem. They are:
• direct, clear & positive in communication & behavior
• happy, self-assured, assertive, confident, relaxed, easy
• well-behaved, socially appropriate, well-mannered, generous
• thoughtful, helpful, kind, loyal, respectful, sensitive to others

But when someone doesn’t have any safe outlet for their anger, it will go underground. It becomes a part of our ‘Shadow“,  (aspects of ourselves we find unacceptable) so we reject & push the anger into the unconscious.
However, the emotion never goes away on its own – until it’s expressed in safe ways and by fixing the causes, if possible. Instead, it stays locked in our muscles, ligaments, organs & auras. (See ‘Symptoms)
Over time, this trapped energy will become too big to be contained & will end up coming out sideways!

Freud once likened anger to the smoke in an old-fashioned wood-burning stove: Normally, the smoke goes up the chimney, safely away. But if this is blocked up, the smoke will leak out – thru the grate, under the door, thru the vents…. choking everyone in the house. It needs to be cleaned out. But if all avenues of escape stay blocked, the fire will eventually go out, making the stove useless.

In the same way, blocking up the natural flow of our anger-energy becomes harmful to self and others. If we shut it down for too long, it puts out our internal fire, & makes us ineffective. We need a safe outlet for all emotions.

NEXT: Secretly angry nice people (Intro-b)


me typing




Dear Readers,

Thank you for your interest in this blog & your continued support.

From time to time I have received objections to my use of acronyms & abbrev.

I would like to offer some additional thoughts:

✤ In the past 6+ years I have written & published over 680 posts! I have also written many more that are in the pipeline

✤ Each series of posts (by topic) takes many, many hours, & often weeks, to put together. With my readers always in mind, I go over each one 5-10 times to insure they are clear, logical & the best I can do. It’s inevitable that occasionally I’ll miss something, but Perfection is never a goal!

✤ For each individual post much time is spent researching relevant articles, (listed near the top of the page & throughout), as added-value to the topic. This includes noting references to info from other sourcesdoing researchscreen-shot-2017-02-07-at-5-10-52-pm

✤ I also take hours & hours to comb thru images to add flavor & clarity to each post. In many cases, when I can’t find what I want, I take yet more time to combine up to 6 images into the scene that fits the text

✤ I have rewritten many old posts when necessary, especially breaking up ones that were originally too long

✤ I recently revised all the ‘sitemap‘ lists by year (2010-2016) to group topics together that were written at very different times, which also means going thru over 500 of the posts to re-set all their pub dates, as well as all the relevant links to other posts!

✤ Sitting at the computer for hours & hours & hours to do this work is my great love, but I’m a senior (70) w/ Fibromyalgia & other physical issues, making the task quite tiring. So I try to find ways to make my life a little easier, which includes a few shortcuts

NOTE: This is not the only place you’ll find such shortcuts, used mainly with phrases that are often repeated, as in my posts.
You may have seen scientific, medical & other type of articles which use acronyms, as well as in AL-Anon (ODAT, ACA, HP….), & psychology (MBTI, NLP, MMPI….)

MY REQUEST:willingness??
Since I have put so much effort & care into this work, would you be willing to put a little extra effort in as well – to learn the acronyms?

Of course, it’s fine if this doesn’t work for you.

Thank you.