OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 4)

I WANT TO BE ABLE
to enjoy all my rights

PREVIOUS: Outgrowing Angry-Niceness #3

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

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

Tool 4. RIGHTS (cont.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEXT: Outgrowing co-dep #5a

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Co-Dependent Anger-Niceness (Part 2)

 

I NEED SUPPORT
from ‘availables’!

 PREVIOUS: Co-dep angry-nice #1

SITE: 6 Basic human NEEDS

 

NEEDS:  As young, vulnerable beings every one of us had legitimate needs that were supposed to be met by caretakers, in order to flourish. Instead, we constantly got the message that our need were annoying, overwhelming, unacceptable, even ‘evil’. But since normal human requirements don’t go away, we had to find other ways to try to supply them. As a result –
— Co-deps will take on the submissive role, trying to get others to take care of them
— Passive-aggressives (P-As) will compensate by copying the dominant parent’s role, trying to exert power over others.
The purpose is the same as for the Co-dep, but reversed. Both styles are done indirectly, to hide their early abandonment rage

A fundamental human need is for connection, but angry-niceness, in any form, prevents that very thing. Focusing on ‘protecting’ others from our anger along with ignoring all of our needs & wants is classic ACoA damage (remember:”Damaged, not defective”!). Co-deps live by the Toxic Rule: “Every else’s needs are more important than mine (always)”. The obvious implication is that we should not have any needs – that needs are a weakness & therefore bad.

Sadly, we tend to surround ourselves & stay in relationships with un-recovering addicts & other narcissists – who take their damage out on us. While most of them truly do not have the capacity to provide an emotional connection (compassion, empathy, understanding, love….), we can still clearly state how we want others to behave toward us, which is about actions, not emotions (T.E.A.).

NOTE the difference between needs & obligations:
a. NEEDS are qualities, necessities & situations that are universal to everyone – see Maslow’s pyramid. There are also needs specific to you, based on your unique personality (EnneaType, Myers-Briggs Type, Signs, Numbers, Learning Style, heredity, PTSD, physical issues….)

b. OBLIGATIONS are activities that relate to functioning in the world as older children (homework, chores….) & as adults. People tend to say “I need to do the laundry, to get to work, to call my doctor, to finish this project, to do my taxes, to walk the dog….”. These are important but not your personality needs.

Of course – there is also the 2 ‘wounded’ versions.
1. Passive-Aggressive version: Many ACoAs find it hard to take care of basic maintenance tasks which represent self-care, or to honor outside obligations, like doing work we’re being paid to do. It’s the WIC saying – not just “I don’t wanna” – but flat-out ‘I won’t! & you can’t make me! You don’t care about me so I don’t care either”. It’s the hidden rage that makes us wait to be taken care of by others.

2. Co-Dependent version: Since ACoAs are not allowed to have needs, many of us focus all our energy on tasks & obligations, as if we could earn our way to heaven – the heaven of our family’s love! Co-deps take on too much – of everything – & then pile on the tasks of others as well, trying to do it all without help! No wonder we get sick, feel depressed, overwhelmed & angry!

AWARENESS: In our current life we’re afraid to honor the need of setting boundaries for ourselves as well as with others, & afraid to admit the need for others to treat us – at the very least – with respect, much less kindness.

But asking for better responses from others is very hard for us, because:
— we’ve been trained to not deserve better, so we think it’s selfish
— we really do know (even while in ‘denial’) that unhealthy, narcissistic peoplespeak up for me only care about themselves, do not want to change their ways, might retaliate in some form…..

Even so, we need to ask! Most of the time we’ll only get lip-service, but if you get thrown an occasional crumb, don’t let that keep you on their hook! It’s much better in the long run to gather your resolve, back off & suffer temporary crumb-withdrawal!
Otherwise, we end up feeling more & more confused, frustrated & hopeless, wondering why all our efforts aren’t paying off.

Speaking up is for the benefit of our Inner Child – no matter what the response from others !

ACoAs MANIPULATING Self & Others (Part 3a)

Manip chartPREVIOUS: Manipulating OURSELVES (Part 2c)

SITE: Motivation & Manipulation (<—- Graph )

BOOK : “In Sheep’s Clothing”
~ Dr. Geo. Simon, PhD
Re. an extensive repertoire of techniques that can be used to deny personal accountability & to manipulate others  (Extensive outline of book)


ACoAs MANIPULATING (M.) OTHERS

Most of us learned to manipulate (based on cognitive distortions) by watching/ living with manipulative parents & other family members, but some come by the skill naturally, & all of us had to use it, one way or another, to cope with the painful, complicated environment we started out in.

M. is a form of ‘acting out’ (Freudian def). Translation for ACoAs:
Compulsively taking actions or ‘forgetting’ to act, as a substitute expression of painful emotions we are not consciously experiencing.

REASONS for manipulating others:
By now, having lived in the world for some decades, we’ve had the oenvypportunity to watching how others function, & envy their ability to get their needs met while we feel stuck in the mud of our damage.
But we have also had many life experiences of our own – some even positive – so we DO know something about how to manage, but rarely if ever apply that info to ourselves – while often using our extensive care-taking skills on others.

This causes intense deprivation in PMES ways, since we are:
• Not allowed to have needs & not allowed to ask for anything
• Assume no one will ever provide for us if we ask directly, will be angry & punish us, the worst being Abandonment – withdrawing their connection to us
• Don’t have a right to give to ourselves (we think it’s arrogance)
• Don’t believe we don’t know how to – not having seen it from role models & not taught directly

confusedThis leaves us confused, ‘starving’, desperate – so we resort to the default position of manipulating – in order to (GOALS):
• prevent others from having power over us
• cover up Self-Hate, Shame, Loneliness
• get needs met from others instead of from self (taken care of)
• show our contempt for everyone, especially authority
• make connections in the only way we know how keep from getting abandoned, ever again (FoA)

FORMs of Manipulation
1. Direct / Overt (“Throwing others on the defensive”)
Bullies come in many guises, sometimes like a spiked hammer, sometimes like a Southern rose, sometimes covered in sheep’s clothing. Each one has gathered an extensive repertoire of techniques used to manipulate others, in order to gain power & deny any accountability for their actions. The Workplace Bullying Institute defines bullying as “repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators

The overt style is based on deliberate, intense confrontation designed to verbal bullychallenge people’s personal legitimacy, validity of their ‘performance’, or the value of their point, issue or complaint. The goal is to put others on the defensive, & nothing works better to achieve this than intimidation. Tactics can be fired off so quickly that they’re hard to identify & separate, and the slickest maneuvers use several tactics at once.

Most ACoAs hide their aggressive side, sometimes from themselves, but definitely towards others behind the many faces of co-dependence.
Sometimes it only comes out toward strangers, but more often toward their intimates – their mates, children & closest friends.
bylly typesBut the bully/sadist is there, having been created in response to the abuse we suffered for so long – the greater the original abuse, the more intense is our sadist/bully. In Recovery we can make friends with this aspect of ourselves, by acknowledging that “It really was that bad!”, safely venting our rage, & never letting the bully/sadist act out on others or ourselves.

EXP: Drama is often a clear indication of manipulation, its purpose to bury the real issues (personal or relational) in a giant pile of noise.  Includes:
— taking over every conversation, taking up too much space
— knowing how to get their way & insisting on it
— yelling & screaming, threatening or doing physical harm
— not good at sharing – anything
— talking over someone, ignoring all types of boundaries
— pushing their point of view rather than asking questions
— always bragging & showing off, to make others feel small
— pushing their way ahead of others, like in line
— writing / texting attack messages, all verbal abuse
— escalating arguments, not ‘letting go’ ….

Add your own

NEXT: ACoAs Manipulating Self & Others (Part 3b)

SAYINGS that MISREPRESENT (Part 3)


I’M NOT SURE
what to ask for!

PREVIOUS: SAYINGS…  (#2)

SITE: Aphorism looong list

See ACRONYM page for Abbrev.


REVIEW Intro in Part 1 if needed.

Be careful what you ask for – you may get it”
YES – said as a warning
if you’re superstitious, self-destructive, have a habit of choosing badly….

A different YES not as a negative, but can be stressful at first. This is when we determine to change something in our life, & perhaps ask HP for help – to be released from a bad relationship & find a good one, be provided with a new job/career, to live in a bigger, safer, more suitable location …..
And then it comes our way, not magically but because we did the foot-work and were in the right place at the right time.
BUT – if we’re not fully prepared to receive these blessings, we can feel uncomfortable, scared, unworthy…. That’s OK. If we ride it out & get validation from the right people, eventually we’ll be able to relax into it.

NO – As ACoAs, we don’t want to be so ‘careful’ that we don’t ask, since many of us have a poverty/deprivation approach to life. It’s imperative that we give ourselves permission to ask for what we NEED, first & foremost. This requires knowing who we are + knowing what our human rights are + being able to deal with the risk of not getting. Also it requires that we never go to people who have already proven – a hundred times over – that they’re not capable or willing.
THEN we can begin, slowly, to ask for bigger & better things, healthy things, fun things….. and when we get them – take them in, be happy, be grateful. Enjoy!

“I deserve.....” is a YES if you’re rewarded for earning a living, getting a good grade, winning at a sport or climbing a mountain….
It’s a definite NO when speaking of our rights as a person. We’re not supposed to deserve them. They’re ours no matter what.
Explanation in Outgrowing Co-dependent niceness #3. UPCOMING post.

“Well, at least you’re alive” / “You’ll be just fine, you’re strong”
YES – of course. We want to affirm life & let people know we care about their existence.
❤︎ However, without making this a NO, there is a way in which these phrases are a kind of insensitive throw-away. With many people it’s just a polite standard.
But if you just had a devastating loss & may even be injured – like a serious accident with a death, a full-scale house fire, a near drowning, a severe physical assault, a major illness…. You’re in pain, in mourning, in shock! so those comments are not comforting or uplifting.
Without looking for pity or to be rescued, some indication of empathy or sympathy would be welcome, rather than a glib pat on the head.

Forgive yourself”
YES for harmful things you did as a result of your damage
NO for being damaged in the first place!
Comments: “Outgrowing Co-Dependent Niceness #4” – UPCOMING post

“A good beginning makes a good ending”
NO –
in most instances for ACoAs before Recovery. We may start out a job, relationship, an exercise class or diet. If we start by marrying an alcoholic &/or other addict, it’s for-sure going to cause years, even decades of great stress & terror. It’s not uncommon for these to end with a bang. SeeFirst Impressions (idealizing) #2″ for details.

Also, if we start exercising, a diet, an advanced degree, a recovery book, a 12-Step program or therapy…. all with the best of intentions, it often peeters out with a whimper.   “Anxiety & T.E.A.” for info.

YES – if we pick the right kind of job/careers, or healthy & suited-to-us friends, mates, therapist, doctors….. then it’s likely that a good beginning would predict at least a neutral if not a good ending – when appropriate or necessary.

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder”
YESif it’s short-term & it’s someone you actually care about. So, if there are strong family ties, with spouses, siblings, children …. AND there’s a known time limit to the separation, then with Skype, texts, or phone calls, it’s manageable & the connection survives, or indeed grows stronger.

YES – but less healthily, for anyone with deep abandonment issues, a separation of almost any length – even a week – can intensify the longing. However this is not about a love connection but rather the WIC’s narcissistic desperation to not experience another loss. 

NO – long-distance relationships don’t usually have a great track record. People miss affection & sexual availability. They get caught up in daily life, & look for company, comfort & conversation wherever they can.  It’s easy to grow apart.

NO – In another sense: close family & very good friends (twins, siblings close in age or temperament, BFFs, war buddies….) can be separated for long periods & live far away, but whenever they talk it’s as if no time has passed. They may not grow fonder, but the original bond holds.

“Feelings aren’t factsis not about our emotions, as most people assume. The confusion comes from the reality that we use the word ‘feeling’ in 3 completely different ways: As physical sensations, as emotions AND as thoughts.  See POST

NEXT: Angry ‘nice’ people – Intro-a

ACoAs UNDER-Trusting (Part 1)

one eye open 

ALWAYS KEEP ONE EYE OPEN –
you never know where danger lurks!

PREVIOUS: OVER-Trusting (Part 2)

REVIEW post: ‘What is Shame

 

MISTRUST
is suspicion, SO the lack of trust rests in ourselves, by NOT using our intuition, observation, experience…. which results in a general sense of unease toward someone or something, but without proof (yet)
— when you have no reason to think someone will do the wrong thing, but you don’t have a reason to trust them either.
— OR: person or situation seem questionable, perhaps you intuition is picking up a hint from their words, action or manner
— OR: there’s actually no reason to be suspicious, so your mistrust is not deserved

DISTRUST
is certainty, SO the lack of trust rests in ‘them’
— when you have good reason to not trust someone based on your experiences with them, usually more than once
— are given reliable information about someone or something which lets you know they’re not safe / trustworthy

AS ADULTS (cont.) – UNDER-Trusting
The way we think (Ts – CDs) & react emotionally (Es – FoA) to how others behave (not paranoideven necessarily toward us) has a direct impact on our lack of trust.  It will be based on the combination of all our (unhappy) past relationships, but mainly those with our parents. This can easily lead to a subtle, underlying paranoia that colors everything. What is necessary for mental health & peace of mind is to see & understand who people are individually & not just lump them together as all bad or unsafe.

REALITY: Some people —
•  are simply not interested in us – nothing personal – we’re just not a good fit, or they’re caught up in their own little world
•  really are insensitive, mean or otherwise unavailable, which hurts
•  are just taking care of themselves instead of focusing on us – at the moment, so it feels like they’re turning their back, because we’re expecting them to be the good Inner Parent as our comforter & companion

Without a Healthy Adult ego-state the WIC we can’t tell the difference between these 3 groups – so when disappointed, we regress into that old ‘slough of despair” (Pilgrim’s Progress), where “all is cloudy, hopeless & no one is ‘good’!”

WHY ACoAs DON’T TRUST
Abandonment (many PMES losses)cling /rejected
In spite of the fact that we were raised by untrustworthy people & still long to be taken care of, as adults WE:
— continue to cling to people, places & situations which DO NOT have to the inherent capacity to provide even our most basic human needs, much less compensate for all we missed out on in childhood.  The combined deprivation adds up, which can be deadly to us & to those around us. The less we’re treated with respect, more abandoned we feel, the more wounded we get, the more demanding the WIC becomes – getting angrier & angrier.

When this core button is pushed we may use familiar character defects:
• withdraw, sulk, withhold          • be paranoid & accusatory
• get controlling & micromanage     • be clingy & desperatefreaked out
AND when our anxiety reaches a level of hysteria we can’t stop ourselves from making a painful situation worse, setting others up to fight with or withdraw from us, increasing our sense of loss & mistrust. Then we say “I knew it all along – no one is there for me!” even tho in some cases we contributed to it

Self-Hate
As a result of original abandonment, WE:
Internally:
— don’t know who we are, fundamentally
— can’t identify most our needs (even the basic, normal human ones) much less have the right to get them met
— are convinced we don’t deserve to be treated well, so don’t notice or reject anyone who is actually capable of being kind
— don’t trust our own knowledge, experience & observations wrongElli

Externally:
— we stay too long with unhealthy people
— don’t trust that anyone will ever be able or willing to help us
THEN – we say “I hate everyone, no one likes me, I don’t belong anywhere”….

NEXT: Under-Trusting (Part 2)

SYMBIOSIS & ACoAs (Part 1)

mother/infantAM I ME, AM I YOU & ARE YOU ME?
I hate myself, but I also want you to be exactly like me!

PREVIOUS: Autonomy & Attachment (#3b)

REVIEW: Ego States – CHILD

SITE: Do you Love to be needed or Need to be loved?

SYMBIOSIS
• As infants, all humans are born with a built-in biological & psychological set of tendencies, which interacts with & responds to their specific environment in their own unique way – but not with a formed personality.  The child’s first connection is to the mother (usually) & at first is not aware of a difference between it & it’s caretaker. This symbiosis (one-ness) is normal & appropriate. It allows the child to feel safe & protected while it gradually becomes acquainted with oneself & the big world it has come in to.

• Regardless of the type of home environment, nature & nurture (how we’re treated) combine to form what we think of as our SELF.  If born into a reasonably healthy family, the child is allowed & encouraged to develop it’s own way of being, true to the pre-set template they came into the world with.
✶ This creates a sense of external & then internal safety & gives permission to be oneself, which gradually makes it possible to function in the world as an individual who is comfortable in one’s skin & with other people.

IN CHILDHOOD
a. BROKEN Symbiosis – BUT, if the mother is not available or mother rejectingunable to connect with the infant so that the mother cannot nurture the infant from a deep place of love, the symbiotic bond is never formed or it too soon broken, before the child can tolerate it. This can be:
— because of’ illness or death, spousal abuse, external trauma such as natural disasters/ war / an accident…
— OR most commonly – a personality dysfunction like narcissism, anxiety, depression, rage at having to be a caretaker, not wanting to be tied down..

✶ This creates intense & long-lasting terror in the baby, with the message that there’s something fundamentally wrong with them. This can lead such children to spend the rest of their life trying to create that missing link with someone – anyone, to stop that terrible, relentless anxiety, SO
● they may find another wounded soul they can attach to & live together in isolation  – OR
● keep being attracted to emotionally unavailable people, reproducing the very abandonment they so fear (trying to symbiose with the ‘distant’ mother)

b. UNBROKEN Symbiosis – at the other extreme – some mothers who did not have that bond providedheli-mom in their own infancy will try to get it from their child – creating a captive which can never leave them! This type of mother will make every effort to negate the child’s individuality in favor of her own needs & wants, to make that little person her clone & will punish any disagreement or separation.
If there is no one else available or strong enough to interfere with this suffocating attachment (father, sibling or other…) the child never has the freedom to develop it’s own identity but stays dependent on the mother (& family or substitute) for it’s very existence throughout life.

This creates a child who grows up to (some or all):
• never leave home     • not have any rightsoctopus mom
• be depressed, isolated, suicidal
• have weak boundaries
• be unable to have healthy, autonomous relationships
• be terrified of abandonment in any form
• be unable to support oneself
• not trust one’s judgment
• not have one’s own opinions about things
• have only symbiotic relationships with domineering people….
OR
If the child is able to get away – then as an adult, they’ll be terrified of any close involvement with others – & the fear of being engulfed again is so unbearable that it’s expressed as fear of commitment. Even when they are in some form of relationship, they do it with extreme emotional detachment, need for total control, endless sexual conquests, come here – go away interactions, irresponsibility…. or just walking away & never look back!

➼ Both types are ripe for any form of addiction,  trying to fill that big emotional hole inside – but it never works.

NEXT: Symbiosis (#2)

‘TRYING TO LEAVE YOU’ Stages (Part 2)

cutting strings 

I GUESS THIS IS GOODBYE 😦How could this happen to me!?)

PREVIOUS: Intro, Differentiating, Limiting, Stagnating (#1)

ACTS OF DISTANCING ▼  (cont)

2.  AVOIDING

Normal: The 2 people have been in a committed relationship, but no longer see themselves in the dyad. They’ve withdrawn their emotions & are ‘spending‘ them elsewhere. Deep emotional distance is an indicator that the union is no longer salvageable. Each person knows in their mind  & heart they’re detaching, & need to protect themselves.

• They reorganize their lives to avoid being together & may even verbalize it: “I don’t want to talk to ____”. It can also show up by sleeping in separate beds or rooms, & one or both looking for a new place to live.
• People not living together will avoid calls, emails & texts.
“Leave me a message & I’ll get back to you” , “I’m really busy, so I’m sure you’ll understand if we don’t get together this week”.
Usually there’s less fighting, but what’s left may be sniping, sarcasm, put-downs. Otherwise, communication is only about practical necessities

1. TERMINATING (Final)
Normal: This stage can be done rather quickly or be dragged out for years.
• It is the actual physical leaving of the relationship with a little or a lot of psychological finality. If both parties can accept this, it makes it much easier to move on. I can’t do this any more. This is the end for me.”  — “Yeah, sure, whatever you say.”separation
• When one partner has come to their ending point, it’s important & respectful (‘clean‘) to actually tell the other person.  This is more likely with a longer-term connection.  Often with less developed ties, one person just stops taking calls, emails…

• Verbal messages are used to prepare for the end by only using ‘I’ or ‘me’ statements, & meant to create finality & permanent distance “This relationship isn’t working for me anymore” , “Please don’t call me again” .
• It’s not uncommon for one or both people to have another relationship, job, even a new city… waiting in the wings, even if the new ‘love’ is temporary, to get them thru the transition.
✶ Leaving may actually be a benefit for both, even if it hurts. They may need it to continue their career, their personal growth or to start a more suitable lifestyle.
♥               ♥                ♥
COMMENTS
Re. ACoAs: It’s difficult to make notes for each stage separately because we are so extreme – not going thru the steps at all, going thru them all in the first few weeks or staying for years even when we know better…. We too experience endings (leaving or being left), but suffer more that people who are less wounded. So these are general observations of ACoA patterns

LEAVING:  Regardless of our style, personality type…. when we can’t bear it anymore – we leave, but rarely in a healthy way:
a. Even tho weither ore know it’s dead & hopeless, we desperately try to hang on, begging, manipulating, threatening to kill ourselves….
b. We cut people off – cold turkey, without explanation & refuse any opportunity for closure.  If they’re the Clinging type, they will be unprepared & dumbfounded. We’re angry or fed up. We don’t want to deal with their abandonment issues, their tantrums, their sulking & self hate. We don’t want to get sucked back in. Our boundaries are not strong enough & it’s just not healthy

c. One or both create such drama, fighting, emotional upheaval – that the only possible outcome is an explosion & then the big split.  We don’t want to feel our abandonment pain either – anger is a cheap, fast & sometimes cruel or physically dangerous way to get out
d. For some, no matter how bad the situation, there’s no leaving at all – only an ending when one partner dies
e. Some ACoAs are capable of more appropriate exits, but it’s rare

STYLES
1. ACoA AVOIDERS: Some ACoAs are so afraid of commitment,
avoidersbeing trapped, being abused & then left, that they don’t make long-term connection at all, or they have short serial relationships, friends, jobs…
• They go thru these 5 steps very quickly, over & over, always finding fault with any hint of imperfection, always picking people & situations which reproduce our original abuse & abandonment, OR not giving themselves & others a chance to develop connections that would be beneficial

2. ACoA CLINGERS
a. Fantasy
● ACoAs often start out in a fantasy fog of symbiosis, all hopeful & excited. There may be very little thought, just a whirlwind of feelings. Or the thought is: ‘This time it will be different’disillusioned
● Then the dis-illusionment.  The other person says or does something so unacceptable that it breaks the trance of togetherness.  It may be something truly inappropriate, or just that they pushed an old button of ours.
● We may object, complain, attack, but we stay rather than start over. We accept the unacceptable & spend a lot of effort covering it up. And we feel depressed.

NEXT: “Trying to Leave you” (Part 2) – Clingers (b), Leaving