Co-Dep EXTERNAL Negatives – in US

would get me liked. Not! 

PREVIOUS: Co-dep External damage (#1)

SITE: Childhood Trauma Recovery ARCHIVE
Co-dep in Children

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

The HIGH COST of being ‘too nice’ (cont.)


• You have unrealistic expectations of others
Since you think of yourself as well-meaning, you may automatically assume that others have the same good intentions. When they don’t reciprocate’, you think it’s about you, that they’re being mean or taking you for granted. Not meeting your (unspoken) expectations feels too disappointing, easily leading to anger & resentment.  BUT it’s either your —
— faulty thinking: that everyone is just like you (symbiosis), when they may just be taking care of their own needs – instead of yours, and/or
faulty choices: sticking mainly to self-centered & abusive people who have no intention of reciprocating

EXP: ACoAs have our own version of Hansel & Gretel – You’re in the forest of daily life & run into the child-eating-ogre (‘perpetrator‘). Your WIC takes over, glued to the spot, looking up innocently, with big eyes & think: “You wouldn’t eat me, would you madam/ mister monster?” – instead of getting away as fast as possible, the way healthy people do!

You come off as tone-deafdo not tell to smile
Over-friendly people may mean well, but it can certainly be annoying, insensitive, even rude – rubbing others the wrong way  – because it’s a form of not listening.
EXP: A woman undergoing very painful medical treatments needed physical therapy. The young male receptionist in that office was a california-cheery type (but not in CA), who always beamed “It’s so good to see you!! How are you today?!!”
Walking slowly with a cane, the patient was obviously weak & in great discomfort. She was not amused by the greeting, much less uplifted. Even if his style was genuine, it truly lacked empathy, & was his need to project sunshine even tho’ it didn’t suit the situation. Being quietly gentle or even neutrally polite would have been much more soothing.

According to the School of Life, the too-nice are guilty of 3 major errors:
1. Believing you have to agree with everyone – making you a liar
2. Handing out empty compliments – making people think you’re fake
3. Being remorselessly upbeat – suggesting you can’t ‘read’ situations correctly, if at all – because you don’t have emotional intelligence (EQ)
These make it unsafe for others to reveal their truest selves when around us.

• You attract needy people
Just like ‘takers’ are your catnip, you are catnip to those even more desperate than you! Over-dramatic, clingy, controlling /demanding, whiny adult victim types will find you & try to drain you dry. They expect you to be mommy/daddy, therapist, nurse-maid, char, “butcher/ baker/candlestick maker”. And they’re manipulative, playing on your need to be needed, skilled at guilt-tripping if you don’t be-or-do what they want.
• You attract aggressive, demeaning treatment
Being over-friendly invites bullying from arrogant personality types, who instinctively recognize the “Kick-me” sign on your back that you don’t realize is there. They smell weakness – your insecurity, fear of loss & lack of boundaries – which energizes their sadistic need to vent their rage on others, rage toward their own weak family members who severely abandoned & disappointed them

•  You get stuck in this role
Once everyone gets used to your pattern of ‘selflessness’, it’s not only harder for you to change, but many people you know will strongly object if you do start having clear opinions & setting boundaries. It would mean they’d have to make changes too, which humans tend to resist

• You can’t do your job well
Especially as a boss, if you’re too easy & agreeable, you:
— won’t get rid of people hurting your company
— won’t stop workers, suppliers & customers from taking advantage
— can’t make company beneficial changes because it might ‘hurt’ someone
— can’t do great things that require forging your own way
(Stop being ‘nice’ at work)

• You can hurt others
Being too available for too long is so wearing that it leaves you with no time & energy for yourself or friends. If you’re dealing with needy people, whatever you give will never be enough. Without setting & holding to firm limits, & with no reciprocation or appreciation, you will eventually get fed up. Then you explode or cut them off cold turkey. This leaves the clingers confused & hurt, ‘loosing all faith in humanity’. But they just put their faith in someone who has their own ulterior motives & almost as weak boundaries as themselves.

NEXT: External negatives – in us #2


ACoAs & Emotions (Part 3)

clean out old Es 

but first I have to clean out the damage

PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Emotions #2

BOOK: Emotional Intelligence, by Goleman, 1995 “…..what it means to be smart”

ACoAs are often CONFUSED, because
— of our conflicting Es: old vs. current, WIC vs Adult, PP vs Adult…
— we confuse Es with thoughts/ beliefs, usually Toxic one, because we use the word “FEEL” to mean both (see ‘Feelings aren’t facts’)
— mix Es with normal human needs, which we’re deeply ashamed of
— we don’t even know what our RIGHTS are, or what ‘normal’ is, much less have permission to act on them

THEREFORE – it can be hard to figure out whether our strong emotional reactions are appropriate for a present-day event OR coming from an old wound. Usually it’s both. The good news is that as we heal & develop our “Unit” we can begin to tell the difference more easily & more often.
Whenever we’re obsessing (mentally ruminating about a hurt), start by writing down – briefly – an outline of the situation. Then we can ask ourselves some ‘look inside’ Qs to see what’s behind our reaction.

1. Which Toxic Rule is in play? (all have turned into self-destructive toxic rules
patterns, also called character defects)
Exp: “If I don’t like it, I have to stay” becomes passivity
2. Which of my WIC’s unmet needs am I re-experiencing?
Exp: Being constantly ignored or punished for trying to get attention

3. What am I thinking about this situation?
Exp: “They’re never going to call / write back”, “I’m unlovable”
4. Which of my old buttons is getting activated? — A ‘button’ is an emotional sore spot from things your family & others consistently did to you &/or to each other – that hurt you  Exp: Being accused wrongly / being shushed

5. Which ego state is likely in charge at the moment (WIC or PP) ?
6. If I’m acting out, which parent am I copying & how?
7. What am I most afraid of in this situation? (FoA, punishment, isolation, not being heard…)
➼ Use the info in other posts to help you answer these Qs.

Down side of some ‘New Age’ ideas
• Those of us brought up on religious, new age or other spiritual teachings that tells us to always be positive (“Be happy, don’t worry”) have found it impossible to live up to.  It has left us hating ourselves more, feeling desolate & hopeless of ever ‘getting there’. What they often don’t acknowledge is that we need to allow our human side to heal & be nurtured first, before we can aspire to be ‘serene’!

• While we certainly do aim for a balanced & peaceful emotional life, it’s not healthy – OR successful – to just cover painful emotions & harmful beliefs / thoughts with a bunch of platitudes & ‘positive thinking’, without first cleaning out old Es accumulated from as far back as childhood

Charles Whitfield, MD has provided a useful image:bad fruit
Take a basket of delicious fruit & let it sit for a long time until they rot. Someone comes along & says – “Ugh, that’s gross.  Let’s put some fresh fruit in there. It’ll look & smell so much better!”  So you do that & everything is fine – for a while. After all, it sounded like a good idea, & they were offering it for free.  BUT you added the beautiful fruit on top of the rotted ones without cleaning the basket out first
Q: What will happen to the new food?
A: After a while the fresh ones will start to rot from underneath!
Obvious? It seems not, since that’s exactly what many people do when they try to layer new ‘positive’ ideas & attitudes on top of all their emotional damage & cognitive distortions. They think they can escape the hard work of Recovery & still be ok!
Human Beings are like that basket – originally holding precious, wonderful qualities & potential. But to survive we had to create a False Self, added Toxic Rules & mixed in a lot of S-H.

➼ In Recovery we gradually ‘take out the garbage’ of our past, replacing it with the ‘good stuff’ we’ve been told about, so it doesn’t get contaminated!  As our Healthy Adult takes charge we start protecting ourselves, while being respectful towards others. We can be can be forceful but clear, getting to the point, asking for what we want. We just don’t have to be rude aggressive.
Practice making declarative sentences so you don’t beat around the bush
You can say “I know he’s being disrespectful”, instead of “I feel that he’s not respecting me” – which sounds like it’s only your opinion rather than what’s actually happening.

HEALING: When we’re emotionally in pain, the FIRST thing to do for our WIC is comfort him or her. Sometimes that’s all that is needed at the moment. Only then can we start asking the above Checklist Qs.bill of rights
We must develop the permission to have all our emotions, our human qualities & requirements.  We also need to receive validation (cognitive) & comfort (emotional) from as many people & for as long as we need them – as well as from our Higher Power. These responses heal enough of our old wounds so we can tolerate the intensity of those emotions as we re-experience them in Recovery – a little at a time. LOVE HEALS!

NEXT: Repressing Emotions