OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 2)


to help myself ‘let go’

PREVIOUS: Outgrowing P-P #1

<—- IMAGE from : “16 Acts of Self-Care to Get You Thru 2017

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

RECOVERY from “Too Nice Syndrome” (TNS) cont.
To outgrow People-Pleasing (P-P) we need to stand up for ourselves in T.E.A. For that to be effective it has to come from our Adult Ego State& not as a knee-jerk reaction from the WIC. This includes knowing when to be silent or walk away, which will depend on recognizing whether a situation is hopeless or not, especially when dealing with Personality Disordered people.

++ Self-esteem is fundamentally the result of unconditional love! To outgrow the need to P-P we can work at providing that for ourselves now, even tho we didn’t get is as kids. Our attention has to be internal – on who we are, what we need, what our rights are & how well we take care of ourselves

☁︎ Co-deps base a lot of their ‘value’ on how much they do for others. This is self-defeating, guaranteeing ‘failure’, because —
— it’s only about action rather than personal identity: external vs internal
— we’re selfishly using others as a prop for our WIC’s distorted self-image
— we’re dependent on the unpredictability of how others respond to us
— we can never do enough for some people, so we’ll always come up short
— we can never fix anyone else’s pain, & even if it were possible, the people we most want to ‘save’ (rescuing=false helping) are usually the most recalcitrant (absolutely UNwilling to work on themselves!)
— some people will never give us any appreciation or validation. Sadly those are the ones we chase the hardest & longest!

Self-esteem allows for INTIMACY. To be capable of intimacy we need to overcome a large chunk of our self-hate – by developing at least a working knowledge of our Rights, using good Boundaries, having a range of Emotions & a nodding acquaintance with our Inner Child, the UNIT & our True Self.

++ Practice saying YES to the things you do want
• SUCH AS things you’ve had an interest in or passionate about since childhood, even if you never got to pursue them. Now you can pick them up, just for pleasure, or maybe to start a whole new career:
— Say yes to learning new skills that will improve your income
— Say yes to healthier friends & lovers, jobs, living space….
— Say yes to a new couch, better clothes, flowers….(when you can)
— Say yes to filling some of your down-time with ‘good, clean fun’
— Say yes to taking time out just for yourself, to recharge
➤ Say YES to one thing you’ve been wanting to do (a small tattoo, a dance class, a Spiritual retreat…..), but are afraid others won’t like it or will make fun of it. Too bad. Do it anyway!

• There are other things you can be enthused about as short-term enjoyment, something or someone you’re only into for a while (maybe even a few years) and then: You got what you wanted from the experience // or you did as much with it as you could // or you’ve gradually become disappointed in it // or you, they or it has changed, & now it doesn’t suit you anymore….  You’re done, so move on & choose new PPT
++ Practice saying NO to things you don’t want
Don’t automatically say yes to everything others ask for. If something is really not okay with you, say NO. Or let people know it’s something you’re going to have to think about & then get back to them.

You don’t have to give any reason for not liking something, even if it’s temporary – and it’s OK to change your mind. Remember that “NO.” is a complete sentence.

Some people will accept your new-found voice without a fuss, but others will not. If asked “WHY don’t you want to, why can’t you, why aren’t you…..” – know your reason & state it briefly in a declarative sentence. Never start with “I feel that….., I guess……, Well, …… Sorry…..”.
You can say: “Thanks, but I’m not available, That’s not for me, Not today, I have too much on my plate, That’s not my taste, Thanks for the offer – but I like it where I am, I’m finished with that………”
(MORE ways to say NO nicely – on Pinterest)

NEXT: Outgrowing P-P #3


What to DO when CONFUSED (Part 2)


I can make a better decision

PREVIOUS:What can you do (Part 1)

REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

Because in most of our families every experience carried equal weight – always boring & unavailable or dramatic & dangerous – we never got the chance to learn ‘sane’ ways of accomplishing things, which includes: Having options, nuances & small chunks…. (Part 1), AND —
Prioritizing activitiesask yourself, or the boss, what needs to be done, & in what order: immediately (past due), in the near future (this month), in the next few months, or whenever you can fit it in. Al-anon teaches us to ask: “How important is it?”

This can be hard for ACoAs to answer
— if the goal, task, activity… is strictly for ourselves. After all, no good co-dependent is self- motivated. We can move mountains for others but not even a pebble for ourselves
— AND when the I.C. has a lot of anxiety & wants to do something – immediately, the self-destructive way, to douse the fires of old terror.

Compulsive behavior is always a way to deflect painful emotions we don’t want to feel & don’t compulsionknow how to deal with OR that we have the tools for, in Recovery, but don’t want to use them! Automatically giving our screaming kid what it wants – especially when unhealthy – retards our growth & can easily interfere with taking care of our present-day practical needs.
EXP:  The kid may be screaming: “I want a new jacket! / I want to have sex with —- (unhealthy, abusive, unavailable person)! /  I want a cigarette! / I don’t want to work!” etc.

SO – Before you impulsively DO what the kid wants, like rush right out & buy something or call that unavailable person – check in with yourself:
● Will taking this action AND/OR spending this money create problems in taking care of my other needs (protecting my kid from more abandonment & abuse, caring for my health, paying rent, food, meds or other bills?)
● If the answer is YES – then think twice about taking that action.  If the impulse is very strong, call someone who can help you deal with the painful EMOTIONS which are behind the anxiety. Do an Al-Anon phone meeting, pray or meditate, go to the gym, read soothing literature, take a walk ….

Once you’ve made a priority list, only do one thing on it – if that’s all the time you have. If that one thing also has to be cut down into chunks, do one & then mark it off. Seeing the tasks ticked off can be satisfying & encourages us to do more the next day / next time. High powered executives only to a few things at the top of their list every day. Of course most of us don’t have a staff to do the little stuff, but REMEMBER – without inner conflict most things take a lot of less time than we think!

One of the many reasons ACoAs have trouble making decisions is that we either don’t know we have any alternative choices or we’re not allowed to make use of any options we’re aware of. We’re stuck following a pre-set course & nothing else is possible – for us!

EXP: It always amazed Bonita that some women could just walk out on a date if they didn’t like how it was going – more than one women in a restaurant has excused herself “to the bathroom” & then snuck out the back. What a concept! In her younger days she never would have thought of that, much less done it.

THE “LAW”: Being trapped as kids in endlessly dire situations without any possible ‘out’ left ACoAs with the Toxic Rule: “If you don’t like it you have to stay”. Controlling parents also taught us: “It’s MY way or the highway”  & “Who do you think you are?”.  Not only were not allowed to leave bad situations, but we shouldn’t think for ourselves or disobey the ruling demigods – lest we be destroyed!parents as god
• That is how the WIC actually experienced our parent(s): as ‘gods’, and disobedience = our death. If that seems extreme, remember the intensity of your terror, as an adult, when you’ve said NO to a parent or mate, or tied something totally our of your comfort zone. Haven’t yet?  As long as we still hold these crippling belief we have little or no wiggle room, making it hard to impossible to take actions in a considered & effective way.

EXP: Shona’s father had given her a few of his extra tools to use in her first apartment after college. 20 yrs later she was still struggling to making do with limited & outdated implements for every repair job, no matter how unsuited they were for a particular task!
Eventually Shona realized this was a metaphor for the way she lived the rest of her life, & decided to work on expanding her sense of possibilities – starting at the most practical, undramatic level. Anytime she was out shopping, she’s stop in a hardware store & just LOOK at the huge variety of items – each made for a specific operation! Imagine being able to make life easier by having the right tool!

APPLY this to all areas of life – & start by finding out what’s available. While there are realistic limits to our capacities & to what’s possible in the world we live in, they are NOT nearly as narrow as we believe. In T.E.A. terms, Emotions also have a wide range of expressions, just as there are many ways to Think about something & a variety of ways to DO things.
The latter can certainly apply to small daily choices like what to wear or eat —> all the way to big ones like where to live, which jobs & relationships to pick or stay in…. One teacher drills this statement into his audience month after month: “Don’t be negative, just be open!” – a new rule to live by.

NEXT: What  to DO when… (Part 3