Co-Dependent Anger-Niceness (Part 3)


If I can carry them, I’ll be loved

PREVIOUS: Secretly angry-nice #1

SITEArticle 1 // Article 2


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEXT: Co-Dep defined #2


Anger & CO-DEPENDENCE (Part 2)

co-dep angerTHERE’S NO WAY
for me to win!

PREVIOUS: Anger & Co-D (Part 

SITE:Co-dependence Behavior

1. Re. OUR Anger
Dr Irene, on her “Verbal Abuse” site, notes that: Co-Ds misplace our anger – we don’t get angry when we should & get angry when we shouldn’t
ii. Disconnected : Emotional numbness comes at the very bottom of the Feeling Continuum (but before death 😦 ), body emotionsbecause the pain is SOOO great that we’ve had to cut everything off, so it represents the most painful level of feeling. Co-Ds who are still in denial will often say they had a happy or OK childhood.

The way we can tell it was NOT is by listening how they talk about themselves – blaming themselves for not getting what they wanted & needed growing up. Emotional Body’ chart

WHEN denial starts wearing off, we’re shocked – first by the pain, & then realizing that all this time our thinking has been way off! That’s liberating but also very scary, seeing how we’ve built much of our world on sand. We have to revamp our whole world view, & this can leave us with a lot of anger, realizing how great the abuse really was.

For a long time we may hate our parents, the rage coming in waves. We still want them to be what they can’t & never could be. Eventually we can accept that we no longer need them to take care of us – we are our own parent NOW, so we can learn to deal with them realistically – whatever that means for each of us.
BOOK: “Coping w/ Codependency” ~ Kay Marie Porterfield

b. INAPPROPRIATE anger/rage
Self-Hate: As co-dependents (Co-Ds) we are brutally critical of our own imperfections, even when they are absolutely normal for being human — whether making a mistake, not knowing something or making an error in judgment.
We also rage at ourselves any time we don’t get a need met or feel hurt – taking on the responsibility for other people’s limitations & unhealthy behavior. At the same time – we sabotage opportunities for getting those very needs met – to stay loyal to our early training. (“People should treat me better, but….“)

Repressed: In Claudia Black’s book “Deceived”, she places Co-D anger on a continuum:
Anger avoidance Sideways anger Rage.
The far left version is sometimes described as feeling dazed & defeated, often part of low-grade chronic depression. For many people (most often women), avoidance is a learned response to stress, over time, acquired in childhood, along with long-term painful/abusive adult relationships.

• Boiled frog syndrome: If placed into a pot of boiling water, a frog boiled frog syndromewill immediately jump to safety rather than burn to death. However, if the frog is placed in a pot filled with room-temperature water, & then very slowly brought to a boil, it will happily do the backstroke until it’s cooked from the inside out.

Co-D anger can be like that as well. In a volatile situation we may fight back or just leave. But if we let our emotions accumulate in the POT, we end up stewing in our own juices until it feels like we’re choking. Then the anger (& all the pain underneath) bursts outward in harmful ways, or inward with silence, uncontrollable crying, anxiety, constant fidgeting…..

• On the other hand, sudden flashes of unexpected anger at others can be a sure sign of co-dependency at its tipping point – in reaction to:
– someone not reading our mind – about what we need or want (so we don’t have to ask)
– being constantly disappointed, but still depending on someone to come thru for us – against all evidence
– not being able to get thru to someone, no matter how often we try

– always considering what someone else needs & they never reciprocate
– trying very hard to please someone who will never be pleased, but we keep trying
– trying to force someone to be or do something they either don’t want to do, or simply are not able
– hearing a correction or suggestion as criticism. triggering S-H
– wanting someone to take care of us, but won’tCodependency-&-Anger-Chart


NEXT: Anger & Co-D – part 3

Toxic Family ROLES (Part 1)

hate dringing 

& it’s up to me to fix them!

PREVIOUS: Family ROLES – general

These posts are focused on the alcoholic family, but we can also apply the roles to other dysfunctional systems. (Addiction = any substance, person or activity which is used as a numbing agent against inner pain, becomes the only center of someone’s life & which cause chemical changes in the brain – ‘love’, sugar, alcohol, over-exercising, drugs, porn, pot, religion ….)

REALITY re. any addictive system (drug = anything used compulsively):
• the addict’s use of their chosen drug(s) is the most important thing in the life of the whole family
• addiction in not the underlying cause of family problems, it is the denial of it & of the emotional pain everyone is feeling
• not talking about the use, actions that cover it up, providing alibis, blaming others, undeserved loyalty by the family to the active addict & to the whole toxic system – enable the addictions to continue
• nobody’s allowed to discuss the problem outside the family
• nobody says what they really feel or think, to themselves or to others

TYPICAL emotions of an addictive system
Anger: kids resent the drinking parent, but often transfer that anger to the non-drinking parent for being over-controlling, not providing support & protection, or for not leaving the addict
Anxiety: fear of arguments or violence create constant worry & emotional hyper-vigilance (never able to relax)

Confusion: the drinking parent’s mood swings & unpredictability can cause uncertainty & inner turmoil, paralyzing kids who don’t know what to do first, second or nextACoA pain

Depression: feelings of loneliness, helplessness & hopelessness are common — & inevitable
Distrust: constant disappointments, broken promises & mistreatment can make it hard for kids to trust anyone or develop close bonds with others

Embarrassment: kids are ashamed of the family “secret” & withdraw from other family members, classmates, friends….
Guilt: kids assume they’ve somehow caused the parent’s drinking

The DISEASE is the organizing principle in an addictive or depressed family system, says Claudia Black. The effected person becomes the central figure around which everyone else arranges their actions & reactions, usually in a slow insidious process, which becomes the family mobile.  Members do what they can to bring as much consistency, structure & safety as possible into a family that is unpredictable, chaotic & frightening. To do this they adopt certain roles, while the ‘problem’ becomes the “elephant in the room” which no one addresses

• In addictive & other narcissistic homes – children’s need for love, support & emotional nurturing is often minimized, made fun of or forgotten altogether – in the endless tug-of-war between the family & the ‘problem’.
With few role-models to show how emotions can be expressed positively, children shut down & stuff themselves into the straight-jacket of the Roles.

• Trouble follows when the people or the tasks connected to a subsystem overlap & become blurred with those of others (such as role reversal). They may be well-meaning, but the impulse for secrecy prevents anyone from reaching out for help, so the only option they have is a misguided attempts to protect the unit through denying or minimizing the problem.  The need to appear “normal” comes out in a distorted way because they don’t know what normal looks like. They compare their insides with everyone else’s outsides, & always lose by comparison

• At the same time, their worry about & love for the addict, & the all-pervasive fear of change,skiding inevitably cause family members’ gradual slide into devastation. As a parent’s substance abuse progresses, everyone must play a part in preserving the home.  TFRs are the ‘recipe for living’ in that environment (sometimes barely surviving), but discourage growth, make it hard to give or receive support & prevent everyone from responding from their True Self. Often times the rules attached to the roles are unrealistic, difficult or impossible to obey. These rules encourage dishonesty & manipulation in order to avoid rejection or punishment

NEXT: Toxic Family ROLES (Part 2)