Mental Health DON’Ts…. (Part 1b)

Screen Shot 2016-07-03 at 1.37.13 AM 

MENTAL HEALTH
is easy – and fun!



PREVIOUS: EMHP – Part 1a


SITE: Physiology and Biology of Mental Toughness

 

REVIEW Intro in Part 1a


EMOTIONALLY & MENTALLY HEALTHY People (EMHP):

EMOTIONAL / PSYCHOLOGICAL (cont.)

EMHP Don’t Feel Pessimistic
ACoAs are more likely to see themselves (S-H), others & the world from a negative point of view (paranoia & hopelessness). The adults we grew up with were judgmental of everyone & everything, so we took on the same perspective. This meant ignoring all the positive things available in life, including the good things that we did experience.feel positive

EMHP generally feel optimistic about their lives and their futures, without ignoring stresses. They don’t let temporary difficulties or unimportant annoyances get them down – at least not for long. They know that obstacles are part of life, making an effort to solve what ever they can & accepting what they can’t change.
They don’t focus on their weaknesses – while still acknowledging them. No one can be perfect, for they don’t waste time trying. Instead they make continue working on improving themselves rather than feeling defeated.

EMHP Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves
There’s a difference between feeling sorry for yourself & having self-compassion for all that we’ve gone thru. The former is the Victim’s outlook on life, believing they can’t function because of the abuse in their past. While their childhood trauma was real, as adults they refuse to work at healing their damage in order to improve their present & future life. The underlying Victim position is that as long as they’re ‘incapacitated’ someone else will have to take care of them. If no one does, they remain helpless.
On the other hand, EMHP acknowledge their past traumas, with self-compassion, while fully accepting the unfair & painful but realistic truth that we are responsible for cleaning up the PMES mess our unhealthy family created for us.
(See posts ACoAs Feeling sorry – unhealthy & healthy”)

EMHP come to accept the way they were mistreated, both in childhood & as adults, compassionwithout denying the pain they lived thru. They’re able to emerge from trying circumstances with self-awareness & self-respect, even appreciating lessons learned. In the present when things don’t go well, they’re able to find realist ways to manage the situation, get the support they need, & believe in their worth, no matter what. It’s also understandable to feel sorry for one’s self briefly from time to time, especially after an uncontrollable event. It’s necessary to lick our wounds & regroup, to regain strength before moving on. EMHP are able to have gratitude for their positive qualities & the good thing they already have.

EMHP Don’t Avoid Alone Time
Many ACoAs are addicted to relationships and to staying busy, no matter how unsatisfying or damaging. They always need to be with or around someone, rescuing others or creating chaos, running away from themselves – desperate to hang on. They never seem to slow down enough to feel emotions, evaluate their motives or stop self-defeating behavior patterns.

When ACoAs in Recovery have down-time they often find themselves at sea – not knowing what to do with unstructured hours. They feel depressed, too lonely, can’t decide what to do, aren’t allowed to have fun or relax….. often wasting precious weekends or holidays, & then go back to their rat-race. Even those of us who are highly accomplished & talented are motivated by fear, rather than self-esteem.

But EMHP treasure time by themselves – using it to reflect, to plan ahead, to have alone timefun, be creative, do something not related to their work-life OR just rest! There are times when it’s truly necessary to pull back in order to allow for internal healing, but it’s not endless.

They don’t need others to give them a direction or to make them feel OK. They can be happy with others, but also be happy alone. Strong people are comfortable with their thoughts & emotions. If they’re stressed they know how to comfort themselves. They know that using down-time to change their routine or ‘vegging’ to regroup is crucial to mental & physical health. They know that play is part of a well-balanced life, & that they don’t need to constantly be ‘producing’ something to validate their existence. (MORE….)

EMHP Don’t Isolate themselves
At the other extreme, many ACoAs cut themselves off from regular contact with others – sometimes for decades – because of untreated Laundry List characteristics, mainly weak boundaries (Bs), self-hate (S-H) & fear of abandonment (FoA).

And we often confuse isolation (because of our damage) with healthy down-time or temporarily retreating to heal from past or current traumatic events. We also confuse isolation with being an Introvert. Healthy Introverts don’t need as much stimulation (lot’s of people & a flurry of activity), but are as social & talkative as Extroverts, just not in as intensely.

world kidsEMHP know that periodically being alone is need to process difficult experiences or old emotions, a temporary but needed part of personal growth. But they also know that cutting themselves off from emotionally safe & intellectually stimulating people/places/things (PPT) for long periods is not in their best interest.
Human beings do not thrive when isolated from others. Even when they don’t have the ideal family or intimate relationships, EMHP regularly make an effort to develop healthy & loving connections with others, perhaps even forming an extended family.  They make time to create warm & interesting memories.

NOTE: More “EMHP Don’ts” in future posts (Mental, Social & Action)

NEXT:

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Mental Health DON’Ts…. (Part 1a)

live well 

LIVING WELL
is the best revenge!

PREVIOUS:

SITE: 10 Things (physically) Healthy People do differently

SOURCE: Composite of many lists. Based on Amy Morin’s book “13 things Mentally Strong people Don’t Do.” Her 3-pronged approach to developing mental strength is about controlling our thoughts, emotions & behaviors (T.E.A.).

NOTE: Keep in mind that these “Don’ts” are the domain of our  WIC (Damaged Child) & PP  (Introject) therefore characteristics of our damage – which can be corrected. In order to be Mentally/Emotionally healthy we need to develop the Healthy Adult and Loving Parent (the UNIT).
Understanding the reality of our early experiences helps us accept that we can’t ‘Just do it’ or ‘Just let go’. All of Recovery is a process.
ALSO, some of these issues may be more deeply ingrained in us than others & will therefore take longer to heal. Some will never go away, but can be diminished greatly, and we can learn to manage them whenever they surface.

EMOTIONALLY & MENTALLY HEALTHY People (EMHP):
EMOTIONAL / PSYCHOLOGICAL
EMHP Don’t Let their Emotions Control them
ACoAs are learn, directly & indirectly, to deny & ignore any emotion the family / school / religion disapproves of. In some families it’s anger, in others it’s sadness & the need to be comforted….. This left us with the Toxic Rule “Don’t feel”. Our individual personalities cope with this injunction by either suppressing most or all emotion & being “all head”, or by consumed by our accumulated pain to the point of being overly-dramatic about anything that is upsetting, either too scared or too angry. This tells us that “If it’s hysterical, it’s historical”.
In either extreme we are being ruled by the WIC not knowing any other way of dealing with this Toxic Rule. In order to be an Emotionally & Mentally Healthy Person the UNIT must be in charge.E. Intelligence

EMHP can tolerate discomfort because they hold less old pain & because they know how to comfort themselves when distressed. They can identify & accept their emotions, know how to process them & chose how to act, so that they’re not controlled by them.
The way we perceive a situation has a tremendous power to either help or harm us. Since our emotions are largely generated by what we’re thinking (see post: T.E.A. & Anxiety) we can modify the reactions to our emotions by correction any CDs we may have. Overcoming challenges starts with seeing things objectively, rather than reacting from childhood damage. (ACoA Laundry List)

EMHP Don’t Try to be Happy all the Time
One of the coping mechanisms for ACoA is the try to be ‘UP’ or ‘positive’ all the time. This usually applies to the Hero (Toxic Role) or the “Good girl/boy” false persona. This is as unrealistic as being miserable all the time. It’s just another way to deny having a wide range of emotions. For every ACoA, happy/sadno matter our style, our underlying emotion is fear/terror. So we need to feel safe before we can truly be happy.

No one is happy all the time. Feeling peaceful & content – a day at a time – does not mean we have no complaints, dislikes or distress. EMHP don’t try to avoid painful emotions but incorporate them in an effort to be whole, to honor their True Self. They know that happiness, victory & fulfillment are a wonderful, valuable part of life, but not the whole story.

EMHP Don’t Live in the Past
ACoAs who are still ruled by the WIC & their PP think, feel & act as if they are still 5, 10 & 15 yrs old – still living in their dysfunctional family. Most of the time our reactions to present day events – positive, negative or neutral – are the same as when we were kids, because we project our family on to all current relationships.

EMHP avoid wasting mental energy in past disappointments OR in fantasies of the ‘good old days’. They’ve carefully evaluated both the distresses & the valuable experiences of their early years, so now they can invest most of their energy in creating the best possible present & future. Being present allows us to see things as they really are. EMHP tend to have a mindful, attentive way of engaging with the world.

As unhealed adults, ACoAs repeat the life-patterns set out for us by our family & other sources, which caused us to take many wrong turns – in the form of repeated harmful relationships, self-harm, deprivations….. While our history contributes to out over-all makeup, we are NOT our damage.live in the present

EMHP learn from their ‘mistakes’ & correct distorted thinking, so avoid repeating harmful patterns. This may include making amends to others (8th & 9th Steps) & forgiving themselves for ignorant or stubborn adherence to their Toxic Rules, so they no longer have to obsess about what happened in the past. EMHP know this takes time & they have the patience & perseverance to always be moving forward, no matter how slowly. One 12-Step slogan says: “Look back but don’t stare”. Some benefits from thinking about the past can be: identifying the lessons, considering facts not just emotions, & looking at PPT from a new perspective.

EMHP Don’t Violate / Sacrifice their Personal Values
Each of us have more than one value system – what we were taught by our family, by our religion, our early social environment, & what we develop in ourselves (from our Core Truth). Some of these may overlap, some may not. The problem for ACoAs is that we are either not allowed to find out what we truly believe, or more often have been so brainwashed by our toxic upbringing that we’re not allowed to live according to our personal beliefs even if we know what they are. (Core Values lists)

EMHP have figured out what they consider important – even essential to their identity – for themselves & in relation to the rest of the world. A value is a belief, a mission, or a philosophy that is meaningful but not always conscious – as many are taken for granted. They know that their personal Core Values are not automatically the same as that of other people or institutions, & they don’t try to impose them on others.

They do NOT value the impossible, like perfectionism, eternal human love, fairness…. They know everyone falls short sometimes, so they get back on the horse when they don’t live up to their ideals, & are also patient & forgiving to others then they also fall short. (MORE….)

NEXT: EMHP – Part 1b

Passive Aggressives – Review for ACoAs (Part 3)

not Pass-Agg 

WHAT A CONCEPT:
Honest doesn’t mean hostile. 
Pleasant doesn’t mean passive!

PREVIOUS: Passive-Aggressive ACoAs (Part 2)

SITEs:” Emotionally Volatile People
• “Difficult People & how to Handle Them

 

REVIEW (cont.)
3. CAUSEs of the game
ACoAs – from our family, school, religion…. we were NOT allowed :
• to be angry, to the point of not even knowing we are!
• to know what we wanted, how we felt, what we preferred (being too much of an individual got smashed – so it left us confused)
• to ask for anything (don’t bother them)
• taught to never put ourselves first
AND
• always had to always be perfect (no mistakes) – so better not choose anything
• no matter what we did, we were punished, so we couldn’t win
• safer to not be too visible (in a dangerous family, & later in abusive relationships)
taking any risk was discouraged, made fun of, punished (so now we can’t risk ‘failing’& being disappointed)

4. EFFECTs of the game
a. Negative BenefitsWE DON’T:
• have to figure out who we are, what we want & need
• have to disobey any of the toxic family rules
• have to admit we’re angry, even raging, underneath
• have to stand up to the ‘control freaks
• have to make a mistake & deal then with the consequences
• AND we get to blame others when something goes wrong
• & maintain the illusion of being nurtured (taken care of by others)

b. Negative Consequences:
• we are dis-empowered, loose self-esteem, stay a victim, are infantilized, stay mute, don’t risk anything
• always feel scared of losing people (FoA), of being disapproved
• increases our Self-Hate & Loneliness

• never get what we really want, unless by accident or by luck
• lose out on many opportunities to grow, to be heard, to have fun
• always feel scared of losing people, of being disapproved of
• make other people mad at us, a lot! for forcing them to carry all the responsibility & then getting blamed

4. HEALTHY
a. General: We need to identify
• all the ways we were hurt as kids, including the specific messages we got & still obey, like ‘don’t feel’ , ‘don’t talk’ (Toxic Rules)
• prevent the Wounded Inner Child from running our life BY growing a Healthy Adult & Loving Parent  who then can make executive decisions about how to own & express our needs
book-end with the IC, to outgrow living in the past. If done consistently, it will teach the IC the difference between what’s possible & real in the present, vs the way it was in our dysfunctional family

b. For Passive-Aggressives – we need to:
own our resenpassiveagrro3tments, anger, rage, bitterness, which are hidden
• learn safe ways of discharging our rage & healthy ways of expressing it to others, when it’s needed
• practice saying what we need, want, like, prefer – to find out that nothing bad happens to us or others
• stop looking for other people to be in charge of our lives, tell us what to do, make our decisions & choices
• keep a safe distance from anyone who is easily provoked to anger

Practice making ‘I statements’ every day, silently to yourself, so that it becomes easier & easier to say out loud:  “I want… I need… I don’t like… I’d rather…  that’s not for me… ” UNTIL it’s second nature!

c. For Volatiles – we need to:
• find out what’s under the rage: the reality of child abuse & neglect we lived thru, and the pain it created
• accept that the rage is legitimate, but our actions are not always healthyScreen Shot 2016-06-17 at 10.24.27 PM.png
• work on getting our rage out in safe, appropriate places (therapy groups, 12-step programs, doing rage-work at home, drawing, writing…)

own our Inner Sadist: make friends with it, but don’t ever let it act out
• learn calming techniques (bio-feedback, meditation, prayer, visualizations…)
• become safe enough to feel what’s underneath – grief, sadness, loneliness, hurt, sorrow, vulnerability
• keep a distance from P-As, who try to pull us in by their surface charm & ‘interest’ in us

Practice comforting & mentally holding the IC, so he/she doesn’t feel so alone with all it’s pain.  Give ourselves permission to cry – it is not a weakness – no matter what our family taught us!  Crying clears out toxins & releases pent-up emotional stress. It’s very necessary!

Realistically, while P-As can definitely work on having permission to express anger & rage, it’s usually up to the V. to STOP the game, stop reacting to / expecting (anything) from the P-A. Maybe even have to leave!

NEXT: Qs – Are you P-A?

Passive Aggressives – Review for ACoAs (Part 2)

P-A person

I’M NOT ALLOWED TO BE ANGRY
– but you are (lucky you)!

PREVIOUS: Passive-Aggressive ACoAs (#1)

SITE:When your Defenses lead you into trouble

REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

 

REVIEW (cont)

2. WHO plays the game (Chart – slide #7)
a. P-As always look for & often find another person who is overtly angry / volatile* (V.) to play the game with – no fun being stuck with all that UN-expressed rage alone! (See: Inter-personal games, Eric Berne).  As adults, they desperately need to maintain their illusions of being perfect, in the faint hope of getting or keeping their parents’ approval, being taught that strong emotions are considered dirty, messy, dangerous – even murderous! This pattern of being P-A is another unhealthy way of copin4 stylesg with intense FoA – fear of abandonment

b. ✶ Volatiles need P-As (or their part, or the game wouldn’t work):
• it gives them an excuse for letting out some of their rage ‘legitimately’
• it’s much safer than aiming the rage at the real target – their family
• the rage makes them feel powerful, to cover vulnerability & emptiness
• Vs are used to being disappointed, too, and are equally unconsciously addicted to finding people they can act out their childhood ‘story’ with.  And P-As do continually disappoint! It’s their trade-mark, & it can be used to identify them.

Sooner or later, usually later, it is inevitable that Vs will get angry, raging, even nasty at P-As – out of legitimate, intense, longstanding frustration!
Of course: Vs have to stick around for this! They’re part of the game.

DIRTY POOL – P-As unconsciously, sometimes knowingly, always use ‘available’ Volatiles as their own personal pressure valve – as if getting the V. to explode with rage would relieve their own pent-up hostility. When Vs get angry, P-As get very self-righteous. They feel victimized & cry: “I haven’t DONE anything!  Why are you attacking me?”

SO THEY GET TO:
• accuse Vs of being controlling, even though they set the V. up:
— to take care of them emotionally & practically
— to vent their anger/rage for them
— to make all the decisions in the relationship!

• make Vs the crazy or bad one (instead of themselves), of being abusive & unfair, of reacting to ‘nothing’. That way the Vs can be ‘the monster’ for pouring out that vile stuff (anger) which P-As are terrified in themselves.
Then they can continue to feel superior & ‘clean’, keeping their ‘good boy / good girl’ status. After all, P-As can point to being easy-going, never raising their voice, or letting out that ‘nasty‘ anger – right?

BUT that’s exactly the point – they don’t DO many things that are their responsibility, as well as not expressing their needs / wants.

When P-As make other people responsible for all the decisions they should be making Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 11.41.09 PMdo themselves, (even if they like the ones being made for them), they are neglecting to ‘show up’, hold up their end, be an equal partner or peer – ie. an adult.  P-As passively, stubbornly – yes angrily – demand to be taken care of! but never say what they actually want or need, because they don’t have permission

• THEN, if/when something goes wrong – when they don’t like the choices the V. made for them, or are disappointed with the outcome – they can blame the other person & continue to play the victim role

• AND P-As can say to the other person: “YOU’RE always making the decisions! YOU’RE so controlling!” (& unspoken: “I hate you”). Wow! How dishonest.
✶ BUT if the V. stops playing the game, the P-A may finally tip their hand – if only briefly – showing the true rage behind their mask

EXP: Mark (P-A) & Sandy (V.) meet at a classical concert & become art-loving, theater-going friends. Mark regularly says self-deprecating things that are clever & funny, & Sandy obliges by laughing.
After a few months Sandy becomes increasingly uncomfortable with her complicity in Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 12.04.49 AMMark’s self-hate. The next time he makes a crack about himself – she doesn’t laugh & is quiet.  He gets annoyed & indirectly insults her for not responding ‘correctly’.

Later he buys her a B/day gift which deeply offends her artistic & Christian values – an ugly-made Indian goddess statue – knowing her religious background! She can’t imagine his intention – but is outraged. She instantly blows up at him & gives the gift back. Naturally he’s hurt & angry – but doesn’t show it. Instead he mails her a scathing note – making her the ‘bad one’.  End of friendship! Sandy feels ashamed for blowing up but also relieved.

NEXT: Passive-Aggressive ACoAs, (Part 3)

Passive Aggressives – Review for ACoAs (Part 1)

passive aggressive house YOU’LL NEVER SEE HOW ANGRY I AM –
I barely know, myself!

PREVIOUS: P-A ‘nice’ comments

SITE: Constructive, Passive & Aggressive Leadership styles

REVIEW
1.The GAME (Post: How its played)
a. Passive-Aggressive ‘disorder’ (PAPD)
A 2-handed ‘game’ (‘Games People Play’ by Eric Berne), always requiring the Passive-Aggressive (P-As) person & the Volatile (Vs) one to react.

web-MDapparently compliant behavior, with intrinsic obstructive or stubborn qualities, to cover deeply felt aggressive feelings that cannot be more directly expressed….

Wikipedia ….a personality trait marked by a pervasive pattern of negative attitudes & passive, usually disavowed resistance … expressed as learned helplessness, procrastination, stubbornness, resentment, sullenness, or deliberate/repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks for which one is (often explicitly) responsible….

DSM VI … the behavior often reflects an unexpressed hostility or resentment stemming from a frustrating interpersonal or institutional relationship on which an individual is overly dependentScreen Shot 2016-06-14 at 11.00.40 PM

The Straight Dope …people who suffer from PAPD expect disappointment, and gain a sense of control over their lives by bringing it about.

b. ACoAs: MANY of us grew up in one of 2 emotional climates :
emotionally volatile – being around loud, hyper, dramatic, raging, volatile parents / relatives – which has made some ACoAs gun-shy. We had to sit on our own anger – there was so much flying around, and we didn’t want to be like them, so we shoved our rage into a huge locked room & tried to throw away the key. So now it comes out sideways!

emotionally repressed – the other extreme found some of us in a family of uptight, buttoned down, emotionally cut-off, perhaps P-A types, who made a point of suppressing any intense emotion in their children. They may have believed it was ‘spiritually correct’, or they just didn’t want their own repressed pain to get triggered, and they didn’t have the skill/ tools to deal with ‘big feelings’ from their kids. We either copied their style or became ‘dramatic’ & over-reactive to everything.

• Both styles have deeply effected our relationship to anger & rage.
IMP: These are normal human EMOTIONS (Es), which are just forms of energy & by themselves are not dangerous or bad.Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 11.09.50 PM.png
✶✶ What to watch out for are the ACTIONS we take to express these Es! If we express them safely, we don’t hurt anyone & in fact feel lighter & can function better. If they’re expressed badly we can cause pain to others, while adding to our shame, guilt & S-H.

c. Briefly:  P-As have a huge amount of accumulated anger & rage (from childhood, as well as in adulthood), which they’re not allowed to feel, much less admit to – in order to be the ‘good’ one. They have cultivated such a facade of ‘niceness’ they have fooled themselves (but not everyone).  They may be the Hero or Lost Child from any dysfunctional family –  the Rescuers, the People-pleasers, or the Invisibles. (Toxic Roles”)

no, no

P-As compulsively resent, oppose & thwart – indirectly – what they see as demands to function at a level others expect of them. They’re convinced that they’re still not allowed to have real power for themselves, & are afraid to admit their anger at being neglected & unloved. They end up saying NO to their own needs & wants – and to anything that would be good for them.

So they live in a state of deprivation, expecting others to read their mind & provide what they won’t give themselves. P-As are rarely if ever able to state outright what they want & don’t want, or distinguish between actual bullying & appropriate requests. They just say NO to everyone, regardless.

Suppressing their anger is a form of negative self-control, & then put all the rest of their effort into trying to control other people’s emotions, so they can sneakily get them to do what the P-A wants.  In light of their self-imposed limitation, P-As are inwardly driven to push hidden handsothers toward their secret goal (to prove they can’t be pushed around, and to get back at anyone who’s hurt them OR their substitutes) – while seeming to not push at all. (re. controlling). It’s a way:
— to get their agenda across without risking consequences &/or

NEXT: P-A ACoAs – Review (Part 2)

Passive-Aggressive ‘Nice’ People (Part 1)


AS LONG AS I CAN BE PRETEND-FRIENDLY
I can get away with a lot!

PREVIOUS: Outgrowing co-dep #4e

SITEs: “The Angry Smile: P-A behavior….”
Signs of a Covert Introvert Narcissist

MOTIVATION for P-A behavior

Dedicated life-long Passive-aggressives (P-As) are almost identical to classic narcissists. They share the following:
— when criticized, they feel rejected, humiliated & threatened
— as a defense, they react with disdain & defiance, even taking legitimate suggestions as criticism
AND the more severe P-As share:
— blaming, controlling, easily frustrated, insistence that others see them as they wish to be seen, intolerant of others’ views, self-absorbed, unaware of others’ needs, & oblivious to the effects of their behavior on others

Passive aggression is a hostile form of communication, a twisted way of trying to protect & preserve one’s integrity, dignity, needs & convictions. It’s done at other people’s expense – and always obliquely. Persistent P-As are no pushovers. They don’t alternate between passive & aggressive behaviors, but rather combine them into one, becoming ‘anger-sneaks’ so they can get you when you’re not looking. As a rule, they are deliberate contradictory: what they say (passive) is the opposite of they actually do (aggressive).
They may try their best to be ‘nice’, but leak constant dissatisfaction, & are both confusing & irritating to others.

P-A Communication
• Use criticism, humiliation & domination
• Frequently interrupt & don’t listen to others
• Talk in a loud voice or arrogant way OR give the Silent Treatment
• Tone is laced with irony or sarcasm
• Often talk down, are patronizing, gossip, complain & sulky
• 2-faced: sweet to your face but poisonous behind your back

Non-Verbal Communication
• Voice – often speak with a sugary sweet voice
• Posture – often asymmetrical, stand with hand on hip, & hip thrust out
• Gestures – can be jerky, quick
• Facial expression – often look sweet & innocent
• Spatial position – often too close, even touching others,  pretending to be warm & friendly (MORE…)

• Co-dependent Angry-nice people have a desperate need for others to give them 100% approval 100% of the time, & will do almost anything to get it, so they never have to feel their own S-H & abandonment pain.

✔︎ Passive-aggressives also want approval & acceptance, altho they’re not likely to admit it. Instead, they live by the a silent “Forget it” rule against all demands, and the ‘Yes, but….” reply to suggestions, even when asked for. It’s a type of  false boundary, used because they think it’s the only way to keep from being totally overrun by others.  (BOOK: “Games People Play”, Eric Berne review by Kurt Vonnegut)

This starts in childhood as a reaction to controlling, rigid & abusive parents, leaving the child with a hopeless outlook : “I have no control over my choices & feelings – whatsoever”. The more unhealthy & unfair the family’s expectations & restrictions were, the more the child resented & then resisted. And if expressions of anger were never tolerated by the adults, then the child’s:
1) resentment got turned back on the Self
2) awareness of the resentment eventually disappeared from consciousness, but then gets expressed as resistance
3) resistance becomes indiscriminate, seen now in all relationships

Excellent big SITE  re.”how parents prime children for victimization….”. Includes ACoA issues & some references to ‘spiritual’ lessons & misuses

RAGE at the abuse of to many rukespower by the original unloving adults becomes defiant anger at all authority figures – teachers, mates, bosses, political & religious leaders…… So, when others had normal expectations of the beleaguered child, the angry-nice teen & later the angry adult refuses, even if they silently agree with the realistic requests, a need to be functional, & even knowing the requirements would benefit them

5 Distinct & Increasingly Pathological LEVELS :
1. Temporary Compliance – (most common form) sounds like “I’m co-o-o-ming!”
2. Intentional Inefficiency –  carrying out a request in an unacceptable way
3. Letting a Problem Escalate – by inaction, they cause a foreseeable – & preventable – problem to happen, & take pleasure in the resulting anguish they secretly created
4. Hidden but Conscious Revenge – making a deliberate decision to get back at someone & then taking hidden actions to do it
5. Self-depreciation – (worst) going to self-destructive lengths to punish the person or group they’re in a rage at  (MORE……)

NEXT: P-A ‘Nice’ people #2

OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 3)

  

IT’S A BALANCING ACT
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