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?

Advertisements

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)

OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 6b)


TO BE or NOT TO BE

willing to forgive myself –
that is the question!

PREVIOUS“: Outgrowing P-P #4a

SITE: 12 Ways to Accept Yourself

 

 

RECOVERY from “Too Nice Syndrome”cont.

Tool 6Healing our CHILDHOOD T.E.A. (cont.)
As we outgrow P-P we can clean out the underlying issue that permeates every part of our life: our Self-Hate, which is blaming ourselves for not getting our needs met. It’s anger/rage at our family turned in on ourselves

Reminder : Healthy, compassionate families, teachers & other leaders guide children with clarity, kindness, patience & humor. They set good examples, teach boundaries & realistic limits, explain the way people & things work, & help each child develop their Natural Self. (Healthy Parenting

That was not our experience. All our childhood emotions, words & actions which were called “too sensitive, disobedient, difficult, selfish, lazy, stupid …..” do not need to be forgiven. Instead, we can look back with sorrow & compassion for what we endured!

SO: Rather than struggling with the idea of having to forgive our youthful acting-out and normal child-reactions, we can benefit the most from Acceptance.  
As we clear out more S-H, we start to outgrow P-P automatically.

+ + Accept reality: We can let go of the – usually unconscious – twisted belief we may still have, that we’re hopelessly bone-deep failures because we originally:
• failed to be the kind of child who was good enough to have elicited love & approval from our parents
• failed to soothe & heal our parents’ many wounds
• failed to stop them from hurting us, each other & our siblings

++ Accept our child’s narcissism as normal, which made us think we had the power to do any of those things. Not! We can understand why we had those misguided ideas, & correct our thinking (the CDs) now, to stop blaming & attacking ourselves for what we believe are inadequacies & deficiencies

++ Accept that the mirroring we got as kids came from cracked mirrors – forcing us to see ourselves thru controlling, cruel, drunk, insensitive, neglectful, raging eyes! What we came to think of as our Self was mainly their sickness projected on to us – which became our Negative Introject. This psychological process – helpful or harmful – happens to every child & is not ‘forgiveness material’.  (Parental Mirroring provides child….)

++. Accept & stop judging ourselves absolutely, totally –  for:
— not being perfect // not knowing everything // making mistakes
— being so scared inside // being controlling // nit-picking
— having depression & the need for medication
— procrastinating or never finishing anything…  basically every opposite of the RIGHTS list

++ Accept that at first we’re going to feel guilt churning in our gut whenever we disobey a Toxic Family Rule, but we will slowly outgrow it.  This is ‘good guilt’ – in the short-term – because it signals doing something healthy for ourselves which goes against all our original crazy training.

The Tibetans have no word for ‘guilty.’ The closest is “Intelligent regret that decides to do things differently.”

++ Accept ourselves as valuable Children of God / HP / the Universe, which helps to stop the cruel inner rant (the WIC or PP) – a choice we can implement every day.
The benefits of self-acceptance are worth the great struggle of having to let go – of releasing the rage at ourselves & our abusers.

The FOUR AGREEMENTS by Miguel Ruiz
1.
Be impeccable with your word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don’t take anything personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say & do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions & actions of others you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don’t make assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions & express what you really want. Be as clear as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness & drama.

4. Always do your best
This will change from moment to moment, based on being healthy or sick, young or old, rested or tired…. Under any circumstance, simply do your best & you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

The ability to practice these principles (in all our affairs 🙂) comes from the Healthy Adult. They are never meant to be done perfectly – since that’s not possible. But the more we can incorporate them, the more Co-dependence will fall away.

NEXT: Self-forgiveness as ADULTS

OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 6a)

THIS PART IS
the hardest of all

PREVIOUS“: Outgrowing P-P , #4a

SITE: I Forgive Myself for…… from ‘Journey of Be’, scroll to 9/2015

QUOTE: “You’re the Average of the 5 people You spend the Most Time with”
Jim Rohn “The Art of Exceptional Living”

<—— ARTWORK from Tiny Buddha

 

RECOVERY from “Too Nice Syndrome”cont.

‘FORGIVING’ OURSELVES only applies to us as adults (next 2 posts), when the brain is capable of self-direction – understanding that the ‘character defects’ of the False Self were developed in childhood, which we had no control over.

Tool 6. Healing our CHILDHOOD T.E.A.s is to:
1. LET GO of our Self-hate (E) & endless recriminations (Ts) re. the past
————- See “Letting go means….“, and to:
2. GIVE UP the compulsion to keep punishing ourselves & stay miserable (Es)

Review: As earlier posts have indicated, the underpinnings to co-dep / P-P ‘niceness’ is unexpressed anger / rage. And under that is a vast sewer of stuffed emotions, the majority being fear/terror, but also disappointment, loneliness, longing, sadness, despair….. Cleaning out our damage includes facing & dealing with our anger at our family as well as all our other T.E.As.
It means having compassion for ourselves & being in the present.

Judgements: Along with forgiving others who have wronged us, we are told to ‘Forgive yourself’– but it’s not always clear which part of our life that refers to. Presumably it’s for all our ‘bad’ behavior, at any age.
This is tricky, because ACoA co-deps can take this to mean that our self-defeating patterns prove what our family said all along – that our very essence is bad/evil, which is why we’re supposed to need absolution.
Those unloving messages get added to children’s minds who combine Being & Doing into one thing.  So, still run by our WIC, ACoAs are plagued by the toxic rule: “I act bad because I am bad”, which we frantically try to hide with perfectionism& P-P.

REALITY:
If this were true then there could be no Recovery, no second chances, no spiritual healing & growth!
We need to “come to believe” that we are not bad & therefore unlovable, but rather severely wounded, as well as perfectly imperfect!

The starting point for all recovery is working to eliminate as much S-H as possible. See: Self-Hate & ACoAs, & counter it with ‘Emotional Needs & Resources, as well as ‘Emotional Maturity’ andACoAs & Self-esteem‘.

CHILDHOOD
(As)
ACTIONS: When being encouraged to see that S-H is a destructive lie, many ACoAs will counter by pointing out how difficult or bratty they were as teens, or even younger – as proof of their inherent ‘badness’.
Yes, some kids are quieter & some more rambunctious. But much of what our parents considered ‘misbehaving’ was a combination of:
a. our copy of & direct reactions to all the craziness we were stuck in
b. many perfectly normal kid ways – but mislabeled by unhealthy parents
(“10 Ways Kids Appear to Be Bad but Aren’t“)

(Ts) THINKING: The 2 categories of actions were based on:
a. the unique magical thinking of all children, who have a self-centered focus & a limited knowledge about how the world works
b. the many distortions & omissions fed to our growing brains by abusive parents, school, religion, our neighborhood & culture…..

(Es) EMOTIONS: (see list above) ACoAs often say they “feel crazy”- which is actually a cognitive issue, not emotional – because, growing up, most things truly didn’t make sense. It made our world chaotic & unpredictable, which is very scary to any child, who needs to feel safe as much as to feel loved.

THIS leads us back to self-forgiveness.
Forgiveness is always used in relation to having done something wrong. But as children much of what was labeled wrong about us was not! It doesn’t mean we were angels – far from it.  But every day we had to cope with extremely painful & frightening events. So it’s not appropriate or relevant to use the concept of forgiveness toward ourselves as children – for the survival strategies we developed in dire circumstances. There is nothing to forgive.

NEXT: Self-Forgiveness – in childhood (#4b-2)

OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 5b)


IT’S NOT EASY
to heal old wounds

PREVIOUS: Forgiving others #—

SITE: 15 things Forgiveness DOESN’T mean….

 

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

Tool 5a.
FORGIVING
OTHERS
(
DEF. in Part 4a)

Forgiving others is either:
1. about repairing relationships, to re-instate broken or lost trust, OR

2. letting go of the relationships because it cannot be repaired

NOTE: Forgiving in no way implies trusting the other person, nor does it guarantee the continuation of the relationship.

To repair a broken connection, both parties must be willing to participate.
• In some cases only one person has caused the problem – which they must own up to, & the aggrieved person will have to be willing to forgive. But forgiving a wound (letting of anger & resentment) does not guarantee a reinstatement of trust. That has to be earned by the wounder, & that takes time.

Some relationships CAN NOT be fixed & some shouldn’t be. This is especially true when someone has persistently acted badly. Do not ignore this!
There are situations where it’s not worth the effort to repair a relationship. No matter how hard we try, it’s not going to work, because the other person is won’t to meet us half way, unwilling to consider what motivates their disruptive behavior. Without that willingness, they will not change.

TOXIC people must be avoided whenever possible. If we were exposed to one or more for any length of time, we need to get away from them as soon as possible, & then heal the aftereffects – on our own, using all our tools – so they don’t keep hurting us (inside) even once they’re gone.

• In other cases two people have butted heads, each hurting the other – reacting from unhealed damage. If the relationship is worth salvaging – to both – then each will need to go to their separate corners to figure out what in their own background set them off. Then eventually come together to share their awarenesses, using only ‘-I-‘ statements.

This too is usually a slow process. Sometimes it will allow the relationship to continue – maybe stronger, maybe not.
OR – it will serve the purpose of each one knowing their side of the street is clean, but may force them to see they’re really not compatible going forward. Then the parting can be sad, but it eliminates residual guilt & regret.

GROWTH
Letting go of anger (Es) & resentments (Ts) is internal, which must then be expressed externally by changing old patterns into healthy ACTIONS (As).

++ CHOICES – We’re responsible now for choosing to surround ourselves with people who are self-caring, positive & kind. Then there would be a lot less to forgive!  Recovery means being much more discerning about who we trust. Since people tell us about themselves all the time – believe them! So it’s not actually them we should trust, but ourselves. We can work our way out of denial by carefully listening to & observing what others put out & then admit what we see & hear – especially when there is a persistent pattern to someone’s erratic /cruel /narcissistic / unavailable behavior

++ SPEAKING UP – As we outgrow P-P we can be much less ready to automatically forgive & forget’ indiscriminately. It’s not in anyone’s best interest. Repeatedly overlooking bad behavior in others not only harms us, but can also seriously effect our loved ones, friends & co-workers who are around the acting out, to everyone’s detriment. Being emotionally mature includes holding people accountable for their inconsistencies & incompetence, for not keeping their agreements, for damage they create, for abusive or disrespectful things they say…..

++ SELF-PROTECTION – At the same time we can avoid blaming others. In the present, if someone hurts our feelings or injures us in some other way, we must ask them to stop. We are not responsible for their reactions to that.  If they won’t stop, we can remove ourselves or at least keep our distance. We are not responsible for what the other person did or did not do – only for our Es & the way we handle it (As).
EXP: If someone steps on your toes, that’s on them. Definitely say OUCH! & move your foot.  If they keep stepping on it, that’s on you, for staying close enough for them to do it again & again.

NEXT: Accepting ourselves – in Childhood

OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 5a)

I DON’T KNOW
if I’ll ever be able to

PREVIOUS: Outgrowing P-P #3

SITEs: PMES forms of Self-Care 
• 30 day challenge, to make changes

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

Tool 5a. FORGIVING OTHERS
DEF:
a. To LET GO of our anger  (Es= the emotion), and our resentments (Ts= the angry thoughts /obsessions) toward anyone whose offenses, flaws or mistakes have seriously injured us   (See “Letting go means….“), and
b.  To GIVE UP the desire to punish, seek revenge or exact payment

ACoAs
The mental health, Recovery & religious communities keep telling us we must forgive others in order to move on, insisting it must happen before healing can occur. This may be true for some people, but doesn’t really work for most ACoAs.
Forgiveness is important, but it’s not that easy to extend it to all the damaging & crazy mates, friends, bosses…. we’ve collected along the way, & especially not toward the adults who tortured & neglected us as kids.
There are things done to us that are – or seem to be – unforgivable.

▶︎ For ACoA angry-nice people forgiveness IS about ‘letting go’ – but not first. Instead, it is the outcome of the process of gradually releasing layers of old pain, combined with developing the UNIT, so that we don’t need all those ‘unavailables’ anymore.

This takes a lot of time & effort, & maybe forgiving our abusers will never be complete because of the amount & intensity of trauma we suffered, but we are worth the effort to try, & that effort ends up benefiting every part of our life.

Not getting our rage out (& the tears underneath) is what keeps us stuck in obsession, which we’ve covered over with denial & then express as P-P angry-niceness. It will continue to plague us as long as we’re still desperate for their (unavailable) love & acceptance. Our WIC wants the Perpetrators to admit what they did, to genuinely feel sorry & to apologize. This rarely happens, so don’t hold your breath! Our anger is appropriate, but it must finally be vented safely so we don’t have to keep carrying its corrosive effect. (“How to forgive” – even if they never apologize!)

ACoAs live in one extreme or the other about almost everything.
As adult we are responsible for our Ts, Es & As, but as angry ‘nice people’ (P-P) we are afraid to admit our emotions & opinions, instead taking on the burden of other people’s feelings, especially if we love or need them, & especially if they’re acting needy or aloof. This comes from a set of opposites, a double message that becomes our bind :
— the WIC’s narcissistic desire to symbiose (be the same as me), AND
— the compulsion to escape from being ourselves (from S-H)

So, as long as we’re being run by the wounded child,
— we either refuse to even consider letting go (forgiving), or
— we’re too easy on everyone who hurt us.
Taking the High Road is more likely a way of staying in denial than it is of being emotionally free.

► Forgiving requires some mental & emotional distance from our wounds, by:
— having done enough venting of our old pain in safe ways
— having had our childhood experiences validated by people who understand
— having gotten enough correct info so our thinking is clearer
— having good enough boundaries so we can take care of ourselves
— having developed a healthy Adult to be more in charge of our choices

A VISUAL : We can think of our many painful memories as a series of pictures in a large gallery in our head – each one with an art lamp over it, the cord plugged into the wall at the baseboard. For us – the light is all the emotions attached to each memory, plugged into our nervous system.
A little at a time, by crying, raging, talking them thru & being validated –  in safe places – the plug can get pulled out of the wall. We’ll still be able to see the images, but they will be in shadow because much of the pain will be gone. THAT is letting go. That is the forgiveness that benefits us.

NEXT: Recovery – Forgiving ourselves (#5b)