ACoAs – Arrogance vs HUMILITY (Part 2a)

to think well of myself – realistically

PREVIOUS: ARROGANCE vs Humility (Part 1)

SITE: The key to Dignified Humility: Admitting you’re Wrong

: “So, I’m not Perfect! – A Psychology of Humility ~ Robert J. Fury (not religious)

QUOTEs: “True humility is strength, not weakness. It disarms antagonism and ultimately conquers it.” ~Meher Baba
“To be truly great one has to stand with people, not above them” ~ Charles de Montesquieu, French politician & philosopher

DEF: From the Latin ‘humilitas’ = ‘low, from the earth, grounded’
• To not think oneself better than others (but never self-deprecating!)
• Recognize & accept our limitations based on an accurate estimate of our importance & value. Opposite of grandiosity, narcissism, hubris, & other forms of negative pride. EXP:
NOT H: IF Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt were to say that he is not a speedy guy, it would either be a joke, false humility or S-H, since he’s truly the speediest of all!
YES H: What he DID say was that – his accomplishments need to be placed in the context of Jamaican track-and-field emphasis and excellence, which reflect those who have helped him. !

HUMILITY (H), sometimes called “modesty”, is most often talked & written about in religious terms. The great religions espouse it, spiritual teachers encourage it, preachers & parents try to instill it.
➼ However, here we mainly want to consider what it means as a psychological & social character trait.

• But even without a religious context, H can still take on a moral and/or ethical dimension. It’s the ability to acknowledge that we have problems, faults, pains, make mistakes, act in ways that we don’t want to, say and think things that we know are not good…. Humility is acknowledging how we actually are, right now.

Oscar Ichazo, in ‘The Enneagram of Personality’, gives us a good clue to the meaning of H – as being a true virtue: “It is acceptance of the limits of the body – its capacities. The intellect holds unreal beliefs about its own powers. The body knows precisely what it can and cannot do. Humility in its largest sense is the knowledge of the true human position in the cosmic scale.”

Appropriate H (not martyrdom, S-H,  or victimhoodVictim vs Martyr (click on chart) is firmly rooted in self-esteem, an inner security that comes from permission to be oneself,  & the ability to provide for one’s own needs & wants – so we don’t have to depend on what others think of us to  be OK with ourselves. H people are clear that, while they know they definitely have personal value, they must see themselves in perspective, with the understanding that each of    us is a very small cog in a very large universe.
➼ With this broad & realistic view, the truly humble person cannot be humiliated.

NOTE: To develop H, children need to form a secure attachment, starting in infancy, which comes from receive balanced & consistent parenting, firm guidance & realistic role-modeling.
✥ As adults – a most important aspect of H is the realization that our lives & concerns are valuable, but no more important than anyone else’s.

H & P AXISDIAGRAM – Any extreme is unhealthy:
• Too much Pride & we act superior, untouchable
Too much H, & we’ll let every one walk on us
Healthy Pride is empowering
Healthy H means we don’t need to engage in impression management  ~ Barbara C. McCloskey, author

LaBouff & Assoc. ran 3 H studies (2012) with college students, which showed that humble people are more helpful than those who are less so. Students who reported valuing humility were willing to help another student, even without much external pressure. Other people also matter, & we can matter more to others if we matter ‘less’ to ourselves.

• Other studies echo this conclusion. H makes one a more valuable member of society & is a consistent predictor of generosity. It has been linked with better academic and job performance, & correlated with the Need for achievement (Na). It helps advance one’s fortune in the world, & is excellent for leadership.
— Humble people have better social relationships: tend to be cooperative, compassionate, flexible, forgiving, grateful, open, admit mistakes & avoid deception.

• Exline & Hill showed that H people are well-adjusted, kind, self-aware, intelligent without thinking they’re all-knowing, & accept their limitations. They ALSO value the welfare of other people, having the ability to ‘forget themselves’, when appropriate.

ARTICLE: “Humility is a consistent and robust predictor of generosity,” ~ Julie Exline and Peter Hill, Journal of Positive Psychology (5/12)

NEXT: Humility (Part 2b)

ACoAs – ARROGANCE vs Humility (Part 1)

canstock3205119I CAN ONLY STAND MYSELF
if I pretend to be superior!

PREVIOUS: Humiliation (Part 2)

SITE: “Arrogance

QUOTE: “Much to learn, you still have.” ~ YODA to Count Dooku, in Star Wars, Episode II
“Do you wish people to think well of you? Don’t speak well of yourself.” ~ Pascal
“Confidence without humility is Arrogance. Humility without confidence is self-deprecation.”

DEF: ARROGANCE (ARR) = inflating, exalting, over-valuing oneself. It’s “bigging yourself up”, whether publicly or just inside your own mind, & often involves knocking others down at the same time.
“The act or habit of making unjustified declarations in an overbearing manner…. exorbitant claims of rank, dignity, estimation, or power”

It’s one of 7 chief features of “dark” personality traits, based on 7 basic fears. These features are the False Self’s primary means of self-preservation. (MORE…..)7 char. WEAKNESS
Arrogance = fear of vulnerability
Impatience = of missed/lost opportunity
S-Destructiveness = of loss of control
S-Deprecation = of inadequacy
Martyrdom = of worthlessness
Greed= of lack / not having enough
Stubbornness = of change/new situations

ARR. is the result of Negative childhood experiences, then:
a. Misconceptions about the nature of Self, life & others
b. Constant (hidden) terror & insecurity (fear of abandonment)
c. Dysfunctional strategy to protect the Self, from the WIC
d. False Persona to hide a, b & c in adulthood

The opposite poles on either side of ARR are :
+ Pride (healthy): recognizing & valuing all our good qualities, rather than exaggerating them to mask or deny our normal human imperfections
- Vanity: an irrational belief in our superior attractiveness or abilities in the eyes of others – which is what happens when you fall for your own lies (egotism / narcissism)

• We all have the potential for arrogant tendencies, but for people with a strong fear of admitting or showing shared human limitations, it can become a dominant pattern. This character defect comes from a need to be seen as flawless, because exposing weaknesses makes them feel unbearably vulnerable (like Enneagram Type 1, but not exclusively). Hidden belief: “Who I really am will never be good enough for others to accept. So no one must ever see the real me.”
ACoAs are very familiar with this obsession with perfection, because our family punished or made fun of normal childhood needs & behavior, which they treated as unforgivable flaws!

ARR can be built on a wide variety of sandy/swampy foundations, such as:
— family lineage, ‘connections’, money, possessions
— achievements based on natural talents + hard work
— illusions / self-deception about non-existent personal qualities
— being stuck in past glory & accomplishments
HOWEVER - none of these things provide genuine self-esteem, which only has one source: Unconditional love!

ACoAs: Self-Hate & ARR
● On the one hand we see others as superior to us, ‘saner’, more capable, luckier, not damaged – like us….. We nurture the bad habit of “compare & despair”. Many of us have such a poor understanding of what self-esteem is that we’re often duped by people who have created a persona / False Self which makes them seem confident, but are actually arrogant, narcissistic & grandiose. Just because someone has a career, family, education, a social life…. doesn’t mean they’re healthy. Consider our own parents, who may have had some of these externals, yet were selfish, neglectful, cruel, even crazy.

● On the other hand – we have our own secret arrogance. Hard to believe? Don’t want to admit to this character defect? How could depressed, victim-y, self-hating ACoAs possible be arrogant?
ANS: No matter how well disguised, ARR is the WIC’s
— mistaken way of compensating for its deep sense of powerlessness
— copying how some of our caretakers acted, absorbed into our PP

Our ARR shows up in several ways, AS:
Self-Hate, which says we are the worst – the bad seed, evil …. AND
Superiority, which says “I’m actually better than everyone else, even tho they don’t know it. I’ll never let on, or they won’t like me.”

Co-dependence, which says that we can prevent others from feeling certain emotions (the ones we’re most afraid of) OR from abandoning us. That we have the power to control how others see & treat us, by how well we ‘behave’ (suppressing our True Self)
Dependence (as adults) which says we have the right to use others to ‘take care’ of us so we don’t have to, because we are victims. We wait for them to be substitute parents, to do for us what we can & should be doing for ourselves: waiting to be chosen (rather than choosing), to give us permission, approval, validation, basic info, constant pushing, motivation, love…. & most of all giving us an identity!

Grandiosity, which says we can do superhuman things, like fixing our parents’ pain & damage, getting narcissists to ‘see/hear‘ us, doing 20 things at once, skip over process, know things we were never taught…..
Perfectionism, which says we can make ourselves flaw-less, in order to be loved & approved of. (Failure is inevitable, which adds to our S-H)

Symbiosis (our narcissism), which says that everyone should think, feel & act the way WE do or would. We’re confused when they don’t.
IMPLIED: Everyone has to be just like us, otherwise the world is too dangerous for us to survive !!
HINT: Any time we say with anger or anguish: “I just can’t understand how he/she could do/be XYZ….” we are saying that because WE would feel or do things a certain way – they should too!… that our way is reasonable & correct, so how can they be so dumb, mean, selfish….?

BTW: It very IMP for ACoAs to learn & believe that it is NOT arrogant or selfish* to take care of ourselves, acknowledging our needs & acting on them – before the needs/wants of other adults.
➼ It is in fact self-esteem, a requirement for mature, successful living, so that we’re not ‘using’ others to get our needs met or to tell us who we are supposed to be.

*Selfish is when we expect someone to give themselves up for us – to do what we want them to do instead of what suits them.
Selfish is when we expect others to take care of us, instead of supporting them in taking loving care of themselves.

SELF-CARE is about taking responsibility for our own life, being in charge of our choices, being our own motivator – rather than blaming others or the ‘universe’ when we don’t feel taken care of. Self-care = Mental Health

NEXT: Humility

WHY ACoAs LIE (Part 2)

man hidingIT’S NOT SAFE
to let anyone know the real me!

PREVIOUS: Why ACoAs Lie (Part 1)

REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

3. UNTREATED ACoAs (cont)
At the same time ACoAs do the opposite. Yes, everyone lies sometimes & occasionally it’s the only safe recourse, but ACoAs tend to lie when it’s not actually necessary, useful or wise.  We can lie by making up untruths OR by omitting important info at crucial times (may be considered passive-aggressive)

COMPULSION: Compulsive liars (CLs) do so as a persistent, reflexive way of responding to questions. They bend the truth about most things, important & unimportant, since honesty feels awkward & uncomfortable, while lying feels right.
• Lying usually develops in early childhood, growing up in an environment where telling the truth was dangerous or unacceptable. For the most part, CLs are not overly manipulative or cunning (unlike sociopaths). They do know they’re not being honest, but it’s a hard pattern to break & one that takes its toll on every relationship

PAST: Lying was often the only way to protect ourselves & get some needs met in a stressful environment. We were constantly told our emotions & observations were wrong or crazy, so we learned to hide them from others & sometimes even from ourselves.  We understood very early that our parents really did not want to hear the truth, & so could save ourselves a lot of grief if we lied to them

Expl: Terry’s parents were restrictive & controlling, while being emotionally abusive & abandoning.  As a teen she fell in love with a man she knew they would be violently opposed to, so she came up with a plan to see him whenever their scheduled meshed.  From time to time she told her mother a few days ahead of a rendezvous that ‘next Tue’ she’d be at the library after school to study. Then every couple of days until then, she’d remind her mother about it so there would be no questions about her being late on those days. When Tue came Terry would get together with her guy. She was finally able to receive some desperately needed love & positive attention throughout her Senior year  – by lying!

Lying TO Ourselves:
• from SHAME & S-H
— to deny what really happened to us at home, still believing we were the cause of all the trouble
— having a desperate need to not see the truth about our parents’ damage, mental illness, addiction…. & so maintain parental viewpoints about everything. By staying loyal to the family (symbiotic), we continue to believe their lies & then perpetuate them
— to hide from our fear & pain, minimize our profound sense of loss & run from feelings of hopelessness, we can stay in denial
— deny our abilities & good qualities, to agree with the ‘bad voice’

Lying TO Others
• from GRANDIOSITY (cover up S-H)
— need to pretend we’re ‘normal’, so no one will won’t how evil we are
— to present ourselves as wonderful, happy, smart, clever – not hurting, not wounded, not desperately lonely….
— using bravado to compensate for feeling stupid & worthless
— to cover up all the things we were never taught by our family (how the world actually works, what people expect of us, how to connect…)

— to be a chameleon, changing ourselves into what we THINK you want
— to not say how we really feel about anything – or you’ll leave us
— to not hurt anyone else’s feelings, never admit to being hurt & angry, so whatever you do to us is OK, no matter how much we may hate it
— to not have to confront anyone or call them on their bad or abusive behavior, since we’re not sure we’re right & don’t want to get anyone angry at us, so end up MUTE (silence can also be a lie)!

✶ Because most of us are NOT pathological liars, we can gradually give up this character defect, as we:
— learn how it all started & that it was a defense mechanism which is no longer needed or useful
— are allowed to know who we are & be truthful about it
— develop boundaries from providing for our needs, wants, dreams & hopes
— choose healthier jobs, friends & lovers, who want to know our real opinions & feelings
— practice telling the truth & noticing that nothing bad happens to us!


WHY ACoAs LIE (Part 1)

when I tell people how awful I am?

PREVIOUS: Adult Play Benefits – #2

IRONIC & Humorous article : “How to Lie – 14 ways

Everyone lies, sometimes, in varying degrees – even knowing that it causes problems. This universal reaction is tied to self-esteem. People want to look good to themselves & to others. The higher the threat to ones self-image, the bigger the lies.
Many animals engage in deception, deliberately misleading another, but only humans are wired to deceive both themselves and others. Lying to oneself (denial), mostly unconscious, is used by people who believe they can not bear to acknowledge (not accept) what they know about themselves or their loved ones.
— to cover ones butt when they’ve done something wrong & don’t have the courage to admit it
— to make themselves feel smarter & superior to everyone – a way to have the power to fool or make fools of others, whom they disdain for swallow the lies
— to cover up feeling inferior, because they believe others won’t accept them for who they, so they “enhance”, “embellish”, “exaggerate” their accomplishments – … in conversation, on resumes, dating sites….

SOMETIMES lying to others is necessary, IF —
• is saves you from more abuse (as a child)
• your reputation, your rights or your life are in danger
• it could save your job,  your home, your community
• it protects your family from harm by another
• it’s the only way to protect your privacy
This is not an endorsement of lying, only an admission of some realities

• Pathological -grossly abnormal- liars (PLs) suffer from habitual dishonesty they can’t control, & can be part of other ailments such as Manic-depression, Paranoia, Conduct Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, etc. They actually believe their own lies, so they may not consciously realize what they’re saying is mostly fiction. It’s a persistent & pervasive compulsion, not motivated mainly by some kind of reward or other external factors (pressure, obligation, safety…)• An important component in pathological lying is the difference in the brain. A study by Yang et al., published in the British Journal of Psychiatry in 2007, found that brain scans of PLs showed structural differences in the prefrontal cortex. This area of the brain controls morality, honesty and remorse. PLs show a higher amount of white matter, which is possibly associated with increased brain activity (more lying), and a lower amount of gray matter, associated with the controls needed for moral behavior (less inhibiting factors).

• Some PLs may be Sociopaths – people who lie incessantly to get their way, are goal-oriented (i.e., lying is focused on self-gratification), have no regard or respect for the rights and feelings of others. They are often charming and charismatic, use their talented social skills in manipulative and self-centered ways, & have no remorse for their illegal or immoral activities

“We lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth”.  However, this trait does not imply that all of us are pathological liars, altho some are.

a. OVER-HONEST - another ACoA irony is that while we found lying to be a survival mechanism in our dangerous & chaotic childhood, we also have a compulsion to over-disclose (TMI), by telling:
• every little detail of a situation      • the bald truth to everyone
• what we know about others (can’t keep a secret)
• everything that’s wrong with us (S-H)
• exactly what we think of someone, no matter how inappropriate, cruel of self-destructive!

✶ The Inner Child part of us truly believes that to not tell someone what we know about them (their flaws, bad behavior, annoying ways…) or what we really think about a situation we’re upset about — is being untrue to ourselves! because:
— we want to let them know that we know (to not be ignored & to cut thru their denial)
— we want to rub their face in it (our rage at their deception)
— we want them to get the message & change! (as my dear mother used to say “Wake up & die right!”)

✶ What all this TMI really represents is lack of boundaries, lack of good judgment & letting the WIC run amok with its outrage! BUT behind that is an over-reaction to & an attempt at compensating for all the lies, secrets, denial & ‘mind-fucking’ we were drowning in as kids
✶ We have a right to our feelings about people & events, but it’s not always appropriate to blurt out whatever is whirling around in our head, especially without double-checking OUR motives

The 2 main keys for deciding what to say OR not is :
— what is our ultimate goal in a situation, which has to be decided by the Adult part of us, not the WIC! for it to be appropriate
— what will get us what we need without hurting ourselves, & whenever possible, other people

NEXT: Why ACoAs Lie (Part 2)



I’m not weak or wounded!


REVIEW:Rescuing: False Helping”, “Process

DISTORTED  COPING  (P = Perp / V = Victim)
As long as ACoAs have trouble facing the trauma of being childhood Victims, we can’t outgrow that state because it lives in our WIC & keeps getting acted out all over our lives.  Another ‘backwards’ ACoA pattern: while we do many destructive victim-y things to ourselves and let others do them to us, we also are masters at trying to cover up the inner wounds, the same way battered people try to hide broken bones & external bruising.

What’s NORMAL?
a. Normal can mean what is average for any location or situation, but may be positive or negative & is never absolute : It’s the norm for people in a bar to drink a lot. It’s the norm for men in prison to be raped. It’s the norm for children of addicts to be scarred. OR It’s the norm for great teachers to produce some excellent students. It’s the norm for country air to be healthier than city air. It’s the norm for money to make life easier
b. Normal can also mean anything that is the opposite of unhealthy, & is only positive: Normal is to be a whole human being. Normal is being happy & productive, with satisfying relationships. Normal is to care for ourselves. Normal is being part of a community & helping others. Normal is for love to heal …..

ACoAs desperately want to be ‘normal’, as in ‘b’, while not wanting to admit being damaged (NOT defective) with all it’s weaknesses, or having to do the hard work of Recovery to become healthy.  This ‘normal’ is a facade to cover up our lack of self-esteem & to quiet the bad voice, rather than being genuinely OK at our core. Many of us don’t want to ask for any kind of help, or be in groups that focus on healing, because “They’re all crazy & I’m not like them!”  But Al-anon teaches us: “You’re only as sick as your secrets.”  It’s one thing to feel empowered & be able to face life’s difficulties with equanimity & guts. It’s another to over-compensate for our un-acknowledged & unhealed history with grandiosity.

EXP: Trish was never taken care of as a child, even in basic ways, & was eventually left by her weak father to take care of her violent, mentally ill mother. In spite of not having any self-esteem or knowledge about self-care, in her early 20’s her talent as a performer got her periodic jobs in small venues. One day she found out she was pregnant, but wasn’t ready for motherhood & scheduled an abortion – for the same day that she had a gig in the Catskills. She went to the doctor in the am – alone, & that afternoon drove up to the mountains to sing – alone & in pain! It never occurred to her to have the operation on a different day, to have someone go with her, or that there was anything amiss about combining the 2 events – until pointed out to her by a therapist 20 yrs later!

KIDS: This is a normal characteristic of small children, all the way thru the teens – thinking they can do much more than they actually can (fly – with their arms, keep playing without having to eat or sleep, get away with misbehaving, doing something big – live driving or having sex – without guidance or training, not needing help “I can do it my-self!”….) It’s a self-focused survival mechanism – preventing children from being crushed by fully realizing the extent of their vulnerability.
The formal definition of grandiosity refers to anyone having a sense of uniqueness, superiority – ‘the belief that few others have anything in common with oneself and that one can only be understood by a few or very special people’. Sound familiar? This is a form of narcissism which is normal in children but should be outgrown by adulthood. For ACoAs it’s a continuation of that early psychological defense, from not having yet developed a healthy Adult Ego State. As long as our WIC runs the show we use that same protection to hide our sense of vulnerability – which NOW comes from being stuck in our frightening past.  Some EXAMPLES:

Self-Hate : All of S-H is a form of grandiosity – in negative terms: I are the ‘worst’, the most hopeless, I don’t have the capacity to love, I’ll never get better, I have to give up the hope of finding someone right for me….
— Always feeling separate – “I never fit anywhere”, different – but in a bad way, or superior – “I don’t have any problems”, while staying in the Victim role “You just don’t understand!”

No Limits : Not having boundaries – “I’m the same as you, you are me, we feel & think alike…” the state of an infant that we need to outgrow.
One form: Pushing ourselves until we collapse or go beyond normal limits – especially when in a weakened condition. (Run on an injured leg, overuse our hands, over-do exercise, go to work when very sick, try to rescue our Perps or other Victims, mind other peoples’ business ….)

Finished with an Issue : The opposite side of “I’ll never get better”. Most common in early Recovery – we think we’re DONE with a character defect or childhood pattern that we worked on for a little while. When that issue surfaces again (inevitably), we feel defeated, full of S-H & fall back into : I’m hopeless at this recovery stuff. I might as well not even try! REALITY: Repetition & Process lead to improvement – NOT perfection!

Perfectionism : This is an impossible goal, regardless of some spiritual teachings, yet we try to compensate for our ongoing inner & outer sense of danger by knowing everything & never making a mistake – instead of healing the wounds that cause our fear. We’re convinced that anything about us or in our actions that’s not 100% ideal (our distorted, inhuman standards) IS:
• proof of our inherent & permanently flawed identity, making us unworthy of anything good, since being defective means we can easily be thrown away. Our imperfect-ness is felt as a fatal weakness because the WIC says “Now no one will love or take care of me & then I’ll die”!
PS: This is not being dramatic – to a small child.
• our failure to sufficiently compensate for the above false assumptions which we then use to beat ourselves up – & try again to be inhuman
• the reason why we don’t even bother trying many things that we are actually capable of doing, lest we ‘fail’ (to be perfect). What an illusion. What a waste of possibilities!
(Read list of Characteristics)

GIVING UP Grandiosity?
To let go of this defense we need to know all our needs & rights, as well as our limitations.  It’s finding a healthy balance between realistic optimism based on acknowledging all examples of our progress – with a realistic understanding of the depth of our wounds & the ongoing nature of process, that will take the rest of our life – no matter how successful we become. That’s what it means to be human.  Al-anon slogan: “Progress, not perfection”!

NEXT: Negative Introject – #1


acoas & boundaries
why does love always hurt me?

PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Bs (Part 1)

2. ACoAs (cont)
c. Some Consequences

i.  FAILURE: No matter how badly we were treated or how angry we were about it, like all children – we were/are deeply attached to our parents & did not want to injure them. The told us their unhappiness was our fault (‘Parental Blame’) – so we turned ourselves inside out in a desperate attempt to protect them – but it never worked. We were a ‘failure’ at fixing their pain, because what they objected to (in us) was:
— normal behavior for a child, with our many developmental needs & limitations
— a reaction to us from their unhealed damage (buttons) which never had anything to do with us

EXP: One young mother would snap at her 8-year-old whenever Katie came home from school excited by a newly learned piece of info: “Mom, mom, did you know that ________?”  to which the wounded ACoA parent would say with great annoyance: “Of course I know that!” instead of being proud of her daughter. What she ‘heard’ was that her intelligence was being questioned, which came from being constantly put down by her mother!

ii. RISK: We developed a fear of taking any kind of risk, because it wasn’t safe to be ourselves in our family, where it should have been. How could we expect it to be safe anywhere else, with strangers? This is unconsciously expressed as a fear of ‘leaving home‘ (S & I),  so even if we physically move far away, we are internally loyal to the very system that has crippled up by staying attached to the toxic rules!  We isolate or stay & stay in harmful places, with unavailable or abusive people, don’t follow our dreams, or if we try – stop short of reaching our goals….

iii. INTENSE: Given the message that we were too much for them, our child’s grandiosity made us conclude that we were ‘negatively powerful’ – that if we were so detrimental to our family, we would naturally hurt everyone else in the world too – making us afraid to let anyone get too close to us as adults
✶ALSO,  it left many of us with the deep-seated belief that it would be better if we were dead – it would spare our family the suffering we seemed to be causing but couldn’t change!

d. No Boundaries – No Choices
Un-recovered ACoAs, even those of us who see ourselves as strong, smart, adventurous…. act like victims when we don’t have the right to choose who we connect with & who we leave behind!

Without Bs we fall into the co-dependent trap, because:
• we’re so afraid of having to face our abandonment pain, AND our S-H says no one can possibly love us — what a double bind! So when someone ‘wants’ us – our WIC is so relieved – that we accept them, even tho they’re totally self-centered & are just using us as their narcissistic supply. Often some deep part of us knows they are unsuitable, it won’t work out  & we may not even really like them!

• we convince ourselves to stay because they have some characteristics we find appealing, even similar to ourselves – even tho it’s not nearly enough to offset the enormity of their dysfunction (addictions, depression, self-hate, immaturity, narcissism, controlling, cruelty…)
• we’re afraid to reject anyone, worry about hurting their feelings, identify with their pain… instead of honoring ourselves (we identify too much with their WIC, while ignoring our own!)
• we focus on fulfilling their needs, wants and demands, so they won’t get upset & shut us out – while most of ours go unfulfilled…..

Some Consequences of weak or missing Boundaries
To US — get used by themB-less ACoA
— overwhelmed by their damage
— get burned out & exhausted
— eventually get enraged & attack
— bitter & disappointed with ‘love’

— get bored with us or never let go
— criticize us for not being perfect
— take as much as they can
— unaware of our needs & hurt
— blame us for their weaknesses

NEXT: Part 3 – The Symbiotic Conflict

ACoA CONCLUSIONS re. Painful Events (Part 1a)

thinking about events  

I can’t get anything right

PREVIOUSNoticing Painful Events  (Part 2)

REVIEW post : “What just happened

The middle circle (see below) is about how we mentally (Ts) assess or try to explain any event that is upsetting. Without the right info + S-H = we either blame ourselves or everyone else!  The unhealthy conclusions we come to (CDs) about ‘what just happened’ are mainly based on what we went thru as kids, so it will be from the WIC or PP’s point of view.

• Many of us are not even aware of what we’re thinking – we just react (As).  Even so, those reactions give us a good hint as to what’s going on in our head.  And what are we thinking?
Also, notice that between ‘Event’ & ‘Conclusion’ on the chart, there’s a space that is not acknowledged or accounted for – our emotional reaction to the original situation.

Reminder: The ‘painful events’ we react to so strongly may be:
— something genuinely insulting, shaming or otherwise abusive
— something which most people encounter just in the course of living (rudeness, ignorance, delays…)
— something accidental, from people just being busy or preoccupied

• When any of these get us excessively riled, it’s because it has pushed a button in us, which represents an old wound that’s still raw.  When anything or anyone bumps up against one of these wounds, we react with intense anxiety or rage.  Some of our buttons are:
— being ignored, nor responded to right away, having to wait too long
— being accused wrongly – of anything
— being stood up, or being let down (we take people too literally!)
— being controlled (told what to do)   – etc.

EXP: If you’re walking around with a physical sore which is very painful but not visible, and someone accidentally pushes hard against you in rush hour, aggravating the ache, how do you react? ACoAs tend to either go into a rage at the person and the whole world OR we feel sorry for ourselves, sulk & wonder why this is happening to us!

• So, our intense response to certain kinds of events are usually an over-reaction to the present situation. (“If it’s hysterical, it’s historical”). We really hate to hear this because it sound like our experience & our pain is being negated – just like at home!  This is NOT what is meant.
• Any over-reaction to normal, imperfect human situations (not pleasant BUT not really awful) comes from our Wounded Child – who is not actually living in ‘present time’, has unhealed emotional wounds, is still taking things personally, & feels unloved & unprotected – at least about that particular issue.

The Co-dependent Triangle: co-dep triangleRescuer, Victim & Perpetrator.
Every ACoA can switch between these 3 roles at a moment’s notice – depending on the person we’re with or the situation we’re in, but some ‘live’ in one of the roles more than the others. Regarding the present topic, we are talking about the Vs & Ps. (More in next post).Cause & Effect

a. IT’S ALL ME –  It’s my fault:  I’m bad, dumb, weak, lazy, ….

• The core emotion is FEAR
• ALL ACoAs start out from this premise, (S-H) & then layer it over with a variety of defenses. Whenever something doesn’t work out, or someone hurts us / ignores us / leaves us… we try to analyze what we did wrong & how we can fix it. We obsess for days, sometimes years about a painful situation, always from the point of view of self-blame.

➼ Unhealed ACoAs have a wide streak of narcissism – mainly in the form of: EVERYTHING IS ABOUT ME!  I know you’re saying “What, it’s not??”
It’s our default position, & continues to be as long as the WIC is in charge of our life. Once the UNIT takes over, that perspective greatly diminishes. And, yes there is a difference between believing we’re responsible for everything (S-H / grandiosity) vs being appropriately responsible for our T.E.A.s

Maria is sitting in a nigh school class with only 6 other people.  She’s an extrovert & would like to connect with someone to share info with.  Looking around, she sees only one other woman & looks at her several times.  The woman blatantly ignores her. Maria’s not just disappointed, she’s hurt. There’s a pain in her solar plexus, but all she can think is: “Nobody likes me!”

NEXT: CONCLUSIONS about painful events (Part 1b)