OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 6b)


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
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


ACoAs MANIPULATING Self & Others (Part 2a)


PREVIOUS: Manipulation & Needs (Part 1)

SITE:   8 Negative Thoughts That Manipulate Your Mind

REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


While we think of ourselves as victims – which we were as children BUT are no longer – we are now victimized internally by our Negative Introject as well as our damaged Adapted Child, who desperately clings to the old ways. Fed by the PP & constantly reinforced by the WIC, Self-Hate carries a powerful energy – to prevent us from being able to S & I, in order to have a better, more satisfying life.kid-whipped

Even in Recovery, some of find it very hard to shift out of paranoia, self-destructiveness, hopelessness & procrastination. These & many other ‘character defects’ are expressions of our WIC, who is looking for parents to take care of her/him, & is adamantly opposed to having our own positive UNIT be that caretaker! (inner parent & adult). In truth, the WIC only wants the original parents – to love us unconditionally.

A kids, because we were continually around addicts, abusers – Wounded Children themselves – in our most vulnerable years, we had no choice but to absorb their distorted view of us, themselves & the world. Most of what they passed on to us are manipulations – anything to not look at themselves or take responsibility for their words & actions. Sadly, we are doing exactly the same thing – which many of deny & are insulted at the very suggestion.

WIC-PP alliance
Program & others Personal Growth modalities tell that all Recovery & emotional maturity is “an inside job”, yet many of us keep focusing outside of ourselves. So, while we only think of Manipulation as something done to others, for us as ACoAs, the most intense manipulation is internal, coming from the PP who controls the WIC, who in turn constantly tries to convince our rational self of what the PP is saying. The PP is especially loud when we try to take the power away from it – to take care of ourselves, by loving our Inner Child (wounded & healthy parts) in all the ways our original family never could.

PP’s Manipulation (Negative Introject)
Everything the WIC believes originally came from the people we grew up with. Now the PP is in our head, continuing the barrage of lies. To keep us attached to the toxic family system, it uses every dirty trick in the book to paralyze us.  It’s made up of the ‘us/we’, a composite of the adults who programmed our thinking & outlook on life.
It says to the WIC:
— you’re crazy, over-reacting, too sensitive
— you don’t know what you’re talking about
— you can’t do it without us, you’re too weakStep on the WIC
— WE NEED you, only WE count, we’re suffering
— you don’t really feel that way
— you’ll be sorry when we’re gone
— you’re ungrateful – look at everything we’ve done for you
— it was never that bad, you’re just being a dram queen/king
— you owe us, we did the best we could

PROBLEM: Physically an Adult, but still emotionally immature:
1. We believe these manipulative lies, so we consistently, persistently don’t counter the lies the WIS & PP are selling, perpetuating our S-H
2. In reality we do have intuition, we’ve accumulated a great deal of knowledge & experiences, had moments of clarity, have very real choices & opportunities…. which the WIC ignores, forgets or completely negates
3. There have been a few people who have helped us along the way, we have had a few pleasurable moments, there have been a few opportunities to heal & grow, but we undervalue or deny them completely! And for some us – there have been more than a few. Yet we let the underlying Toxic Messages keep winning out.

It’s important to remember that we all have an Inner Parent, but for us as ACoAs & addicts, one part of this Ego State (voice) is usually contemptuous & cruel, while another part may be kindly but weak, both sides neglectful in important ways.
“Introjections involve attitudes, behaviors, emotions & perceptions that are usually gathered from influential or authoritative people in one’s life. They are neither digested nor analyzed; they are simply adopted as a part of one’s personality as concepts that one considers should be believed or behaviors that one thinks ought to be followed.” (MORE…..)

Freudian: Introjection is “The internalization of authority” – the demands & expectation of our parents, & so by extension society, which become part of our personality structure. This creates a conflict between externally imposed rules & our own repressed, socially unacceptable, desires & needs. However, (except for psychotics / sociopaths / malignant narcissists), the super-ego provides an endless self-policing process, to reinforce family restrictions long after the original authority is changed, unavailable or gone.

Object Relations Theory: D. W. Winnicott said that when we use the defense mechanisms of projection or introjection …. we (temporarily) hand over omnipotence to another person, letting them be our manager – even tho they may never be aware of it!

A classic example of Introjection is Butters Stotch, in SOUTH PARK, who seems to have completely internalized his alcoholic father’s frequent use of grounding as a punishment.

Review POSTS: Negative Benefits // Emotions & the Body // Dealing with the PP (healing)

NEXT: Manipulating OURSELVES (Part 2b)


World-on-ShouldersOWNING MY T.E.A.s:
even if my buttons get pushed,
I’m responsible for my reactions

: Being responsible #3

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


AS ADULTS – Over-responsibility re. US (cont.)
As a guide to personal growth, the 12 Steps of AA are all about taking personal responsibility. They include:
Step 4: Made a searching & fearless moral inventory of ourselves
Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves & to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
Step 9: Made direct amends to such people (we had harmed) whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory, & when we were wrong, promptly admitted it

NOTE: However, it’s very common for addicts & co-dependents to not understand or to misuse the 12 Steps, especially in early Recovery.

Comment on Step 4 (re. ourselves)
ACoAs find it very difficult, sometimes for many years in Recovery, to sit down & write this out. We:
— don’t know what character defect are – they’re so much a part of the fabric of our life, & which ones we’re actually guilty of. “Does a fish know it’s wet?”
— we have so much S-H & shame that it’s too painful to admit anything, even tho we think we’re guilty even when we’re not
— we don’t realize that an inventory includes personal gifts, skills, talents….

Comments on Step 5 (re. hiding from everyone)
— Because of the WIC’s shame, it’s painful to share our defects with others. We’re so used to being chastised or made fun of, that doing this Step feel emotionally dangerous
— So many of us have a distorted view of ‘God as we understand Him/Her’, because as John rejct helpBradshaw reminds us:
“Before the age of 7 we deify our parents. After that we parentalize our deity.” So if we make our Higher Power in the image of our abusive, neglectful parents, we can not avail ourselves of the Deity as a safe source of help & comfort.

● If we look up at the sky & only see our unsafe mother’s or father’s face, then it is obscuring the Loving Being who is waiting to connect with us & heal our fear & sorrow. Our WIC needs to be given a corrected view of HP. This comes first by developing the Loving Parent toward ourselves that we never had – which is our responsibility – & then will become a more accurate vision of who the HP really is.

Comment on Step 9 (re. TMI: Over-disclosing)
Making amends is a very important part of relieving guilt & shame – when done in the right way, in the right environment. A saying in Program is “You’re only as sick as your secrets”.  HOWEVER, ACoAs with weak boundaries & being driven by the WIC’s anxiety will either not ‘admit’ or admit willy-nilly.
—> A vital & much neglected part is at the end of this Step: ‘’…except when to do so…”  Sometimes telling an aggrieved person what we’ve done or said is not a responsible action & will only do everyone harm.
EXP: A man loves his wife & kids, & doesn’t want to lose them, but is nevertheless unfaithful (ACoA incest-survivor).  He’s filled with guilt, & tries to stop, but doesn’t;  he wants to tell his wife, but knows if he does, she’ll leave.

a. Some unhealthy reasons to tell her would be:
• push away anxiety about ‘being bad’, so he doesn’t have to deal with his emotional painscreen-shot-2015-08-14-at-7-58-16-am
• have a fantasy hope that she’ll forgive & let him stay (so he can then ‘get away with it’ AND be absolved)
• the need to be punished, no matter the consequences to everyone (he doesn’t really deserve to be part of a loving family)
• a wish for his wife to be his watch-dog (use her as the controlling mother) – because he doesn’t really want to stop acting out, but may do so to be the ‘good boy’, or maybe keep acting out as a form of rebellion

b. Some responsible things for him to do:
• identify childhood issues & self-hate, which motivate the cheating
• deal with this in therapy & with the support of 12-Step Programs
• be genuinely willing to correct his ways (disloyalty is a character defect)
• be able to handle his emotional distress in more appropriate ways, not dump it at his wife’s feet so she could make him feel better.

Comment on Step 10
This is often misused by ACoAs in the service of perpetuating our self-hate — seeing everything we do as wrong (sorry, sorry, sorry!), which is NOT what it says. Rather:  “…and, when we were wrong…” which is not all of the time.
 Many ACoAs think that telling everyone they meet about ALL their flaws, trauma & problems, in great detail, is being honest & responsible. NOT. screen-shot-2015-07-15-at-10-09-17-pm
This compulsion is actually:
• SELF-HATE, which says: I’m so bad, worthless, unlovable & a fuck up
that I can never do anything right AND I have to let everyone know that I know, so  they don’t think I have an arrogant bone in my body
• LACK of BOUNDARIES – not having any sense of appropriateness as to  who, what, where and how to tell about our damage. One woman used to say all in one breath: ”Hi, I’m Mary, I was raped!”
• FEAR OF ABANDONMENT – ACoAs default position is that: “I will be abandoned sooner or later, without fail, anyway – so why not get it over with before I get too attached to someone. I’ll tell them about all my flaws so they won’t be shocked & disgusted when they finally figure it out, and then leave me when I’m already involved, which will be inevitable (says S-H & PP).

NEXT: Fear of responsibility (Part 5)


not trapped 

there’s a way to protect myself

PREVIOUS: Fear of Responsibility (#1)

POST: Toxic Family Rules


SO — with all the frustration & lack of ‘success’ as children to fix our family, we assume that if we failed at that we’ll inevitably fail at everything else – so why bother. Since they didn’t take responsibility for their emotions & actions we didn’t learn how to either, & we don’t know there’s clear line between what’s our job in life & what isn’t.

a. Re. US – we do NOT:
• take care of ourselves – body, living space, appearance…self-neglect
• acknowledge the damage done to us, & get the right help
• stand up for our rights, provide for our own needs
• use our inborn talents & don’t contribute our best to society
• prosper, perpetuating general ‘anorexia’ — under-earning, bad relationships, isolation….

• Most ACoAs do not show obvious outward signs of this underlying problem, but all of us suffer from it to some degree, even in Recovery. We:
— didn’t learn self-care from our family, having been neglected & mistreated, thus given the message that we didn’t deserve any better, and
— this left us with a lack of information as to what self-care is, so that we don’t actually think in terms of what we need

• At the extreme, there are some of us whose self-neglect is more visible. Gibbons (2006) defined self-neglect as: “The inability (intentional or not) to maintain a socially & culturally accepted standard of self-care, with the potential for serious consequences to the health and well-being of the self-neglecters, perhaps even to their community.” (Wikipedia) (MORE….)

Some symptoms of self-neglect include hoarding items & pets, feelings of isolation, living in an unclean environment, poor personal hygiene, neglecting household maintenance, unwillingness to take medication, unkempt personal appearance, eccentric behaviors……(ACoAs may only have 1 or 2 of these & still ‘seem normal’ on the outside, but the damage is there).

b. Re. OTHERS:
At the same time we often treat others badly (How ACoAs Abandon Others5 posts):
• by not considering others’ rights, boundaries & emotions, being so focused on our pain & trying to protect ourselves
• by our narcissism, idealizing, constant criticism, being controlling…
THIS INCLUDES how we treat both our children and other adults

According to the WIC, we still have no one we can depend on for our needs, AND we’re responsible for everyone & slaveeverything around us. We say we don’t want to have such a great burden, YET we reject being with people or groups who would allow us to relax, focus on ourselves & also be supported. This leaves us completely overwhelmed & exhausted.
So with the assumption that we have to carry the weight of any association (personal or professional), we are too scared to be fully committed.

● To take healthy, ‘adult’ responsibility for our choices & relationships, we would need to become familiar with and embrace our True Self, via S & I, which is the goal of all therapy & Recovery. However, ACoAs greatest addiction is to our family of origin, making it very hard to let go of our symbiotic attachment to them. This result is a great resistance to taking center stage in our life, instead – playing the satellite (or slave) to someone or something else.
The irony is that at the same time – we think everything others do or say is about us, taking everything personally – which is not the ADULT ego state being responsible for ourselves, but rather the narcissistic stance of the WIC.

• While we consciously insist we never want to be anything like ‘them’, unconsciously we copy  them in every way possible, having absorbed the PP, ie. negative introject. Because the WIC is by nature narcissistic, it can’t distinguish itself from our narcissistic parents. SO:
— If they didn’t take responsibility for themselves, we won’t either.
— If they never connected with their True Self, we won’t either
— If they treated us badly, we’ll do the same to ourselves…..

• Even when ACoAs truly want to be connected in a meaningful way, our terror of being trapped in the position of caretaker leads us to have a back-door mentality – always looking for an out: finding fault, being resentful, feeling inferior or superior, getting bored…. & above all – picking people who are emotionally unavailable & not suited to our personality, but familiar because of our family structure. Keeping ourselves at emotional arm’s-length in all our interactions is the only way we think we can protect ourselves, since w don’t have actual boundaries

distanceThe WIC says: “I can’t afford to commit myself to anything serious – especially if it’s really important to me – because then I’ll be stuck having to handle everything (perfectly) myself. I don’t know how & I resent being in that position – so I won’t. Besides, since I always fail at getting my needs met:
— it’ll be too painful to try & fail again (lose out on what I really want)
— I’ll have to re-live all the ways I failed my family as a kid, kicking up more of my S-H

NEXT: Fear of Responsibility (Part 3)

BOOK: “Trauma & Recovery”

Trauma book

Judith Lewis Herman is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Training Director of the Victims of Violence Program at The Cambridge Hospital.



In “Trauma and Recovery” Judith Herman describes in detail the healing process for people struggling with a combination of problems related to overt abuse, being unwanted, & other devastating experiences in their past. The book gives a three-stage model of recovery from these events, including childhood sexual abuse.

Trauma results include:
Substance addictions
Behavioral addictions (porn, anonymous sex, gambling,…)
Self-harming behaviors (cutting, burning, hair pulling…)
Dissociation (spacing out, blanking out, losing time…)

The following statement refers to how self-hate is formed – by introjecting
the Bad Parent – & why it’s so hard to give up

quote re abused child S-H












REVIEW posts: ACoAs & Self-Hate  //  Negative Introject 
// Abuse of children //
  Toxic Family RULES //
Ego states –  Summary  // Ego states – PARENT  #4

ACoAs & PROJECTING (not Projection)

or it will any minute now!

PREVIOUS: Book Suggestions

ARTICLEs: “Mistakes of projecting your future” (AlcoholicsFriend.com)
•“Things My Dog Taught Me: Don’t Project Negative Outcomes”
Hope Vs. ‘Realism’ – Challenging the Negative Assumptions of our Fears

DEF: PROJECTING (a CD=cognitive distortion) – Imagining one or more bad / painful / disastrous things will always & inevitably happen in the future, in general or re. a specific person or situation (victim mentality / ‘learned helplessness’ / scapegoat).
NOTE: This is not the same as correctly knowing who someone is & what to expect of them. EXP: “My whole life my mom has said mean or insensitive to me or about me. She’s never changed, so I know any time I talk to her in the future it will be the same.”

Not the same as Projection – a defense mechanism (via Freud), in which a person:
a. Unconsciously rejects one or more unacceptable qualities they have – or believe they have – AND attributes that same quality to another person, animal or situation. Often the other does not have that quality.
b. Attributes actual negative characteristics of their dysfunctional family members on to others, who may not have those characteristics.
EXP: My father was a mean abusive so-&-so, therefore all men are badbiz projections
Projecting Self-doubts on Others”

Positive OR Negative scenarios
In business it’s called forecasting, looking at all possible outcomes based on previous performance, a “what if” exercise that is done at a higher level of abstraction, with a ‘what is hoped for’ & “what could be” perspective. CHART

However, ACoAs almost never project that things will work out, that we’ll be happy, that we’ll get what we asked for, that our relationships will be beneficial, that we’ll get the job we want…. No-o-o-o! We assume the worst – only pdisaster forecastrojecting negative outcomes – pain, disappointment, suffering, disaster.

WHY? Because:
a. our childhood was filled with endless suffering & deprivation
b. we have unconsciously, but consistently been reproducing that original chaos & abandonment in our adult life. (Repetition Compulsion). Unfortunately, it’s the WIC’s way of staying loyal to the family system, even tho’ it was harmful to our parents & continues to harm us.

WHAT is the underlying belief / assumption?
• That we have no choice but to be trapped in bad situations (Toxic Rule: “If you don’t like it you have to stay”)
• Therefore we have to figure out all the bad things that will for sure happen – could be to us, or to a loved one, a family member, a beloved pet, the new job, house, neighborhood….
• the more we prepare for the inevitable, the more we can protect ourselves

Secondary assumptionbased on S-H, also a defense mechanism:
Since everything bad that has happened & is happening to us (or our loved ones) is our fault, we have to figure out how to correct the problem in order to stop the pain
• If we fail, it just proves how worthless & stupid we are, & therefore unworthy of anything good

We are in a Double Bind when: (see post on ACoA Double Messages)
A. we think that if we’re prepared for the worst, it won’t be so painful, we’ll know how to fix things, be able to manage, won’t be so effected….
At the same time:
B. we aren’t allowed to make things better (Toxic Rule) AND therefore can’t even imagine viable options, much less implement them, can’t ask for appropriate & useful help, much less to leave an unsuitable person or bad environment

Always keep in mind:I=C reating
• it’s the WIC who is doing the scary projecting, based on actual childhood (& many adult) experiences, and who still believes the PP voice (negative introject), & its cruel family Rules: “Life is only hardship, You can never be happy, You have to keep struggling, You can never ‘get there’, You have no choices, Don’t ever risk...”

• the difference between Feeling (emotion) & THINKING. Negative projections are always CDs (cognitive distortions), which are the beliefs / thoughts (Ts) of T.E.A.  Scary projections DO fill us with painful emotions (Es), such as anxiety, hopelessness & despair, but are generated by the negative thoughts. See post: “Feelings aren’t facts

NOTE: Projecting is NOT the same as Planning Ahead. Planning ahead starts with the assumption that things are possible, & that we have options. It can be: evaluating a current or potential relationship, a new job or living space, picking a pet, a diet, a doctor, a vacation…..
• It includes having or getting enough information so we can do a ‘cost-benefit’ analysis (pros & cons), and making an inventory of our assets or liabilities – in order to fill in what’s missing (if possible).
• It does NOT include unrealistic expectations, denial about what is not possible, nor narcissistic entitlement (to what’s not rightfully ours.)

Whether you’re having trouble with a person or situation OR going to try something new / different, OR making a change:
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS! – in general, as well as specific to the issue (posts: My Rights // Healthy Rules // Recovery Thoughts // What Recovery IS)

• Develop the ‘UNIT’ to be in charge of the WIC, correcting the CDs as they surface. Set a healthy boundary with the Bad Voice: “Stop scaring my kid!” (posts: What just happened? // Noticing painful events)

• Comfort & talk to the Inner Child, correcting the beliefs & soothing the fear (posts: “Our Wounded Inner Child”, Bookending with the IC”)

• Use Positive affirmations. Come up with your own – they work best. They need to be directly opposite the specific beliefs your WIC is holding, or a replacement (“No one can ever love me” becomes “—– & —– & —– & me & HP already love you”)

• Get help (if you need it) TO:images
— identify what you really want & need in a situation
— figure out the most useful opposite beliefs
— learn what legitimate options there may be
— list realistic pros & cons
(See charts in Why are you stuck?, and What to Do when confused)

• For anyone with a spiritual bent, read healing literature, meditate & pray for guidance – for ‘right thinking’ & to heal the underlying terror all ACoAs carry from childhood.

NEXT: Defense Mechanisms #1

Ego States – PARENT (Part 1)

good paretn 

I can take care of myself well

PREVIOUS: Ego States – CHILD -#5

POSTS:  The Introject (PP)

Reminder: Ego states are normal internal parts of ourselves and are supposed to work together for our benefit – as aspects of our True Self. Before considering how they apply to our interactions with others, it’s important to understand – AND apply – how they’re meant to interact on our own behalf.

PARENT Ego State (PES) ‘Extero-psyche’
PAST: This E.S. is our Introject (positive or toxic) – an internal picture of how we saw our real parents & other important care-givers when we were growing up. Children pick up just as much subliminal info about the people around us as what’s visible. But since all children think they’re the center of the universe, they assume everything the adults do & say is about them, which leads to a limited understanding & sometimes distorted perspective of them. This combination becomes the blueprint for the way to think of ourselves & how function in the world. In healthy families this template will have less discrepancy with reality, but for ACoAs what we absorbed was not only OUR immature thinking BUT also their WIC & PP!

PRESENT: The experiences, emotions & instruction we got from family were taken in wholesale, without consciously considering whether we really agree with any of it or if it suited us.  The PES is now our ingrained voice of authority, combining our native personality with our conditioning. It’s made up of a huge number of hidden and obvious mental recordings.  We are in Parent mode when we evaluate things, make generalized statements about the world, look after ourselves or others. This is OK as long as we have a Good Parent voice, & the Adult stays in charge (See Contamination’)family4

● If our family was loving & reasonably healthy then our Inner Parent is a positive one, having taken in useful & accurate rules and regulations, realistic knowledge about the world, how to be appropriately nurturing & helpful…. but even for such people a portion of those parental messages will be out of date & need to changed or modified because:
— we’re no longer children, so some of those rules no longer apply
— in many cases society has moved on (the role of women, fear of technology…), making some of the early info useless or limiting

● , that part of us is mainly the toxic Parent (PP), with B & W, distorted and cruel beliefs that torture us & hold us back. Interestingly, many ACoAs have a version of a Loving Parent, which we only use for others – in the form of care-taking, rescuing, people-pleasing AND sometimes being of genuine help (teacher, nurse, leader, parent….) – BUT don’t apply that benevolence to ourselves.
Our harmful internalized messages have to be identified & replaced:
— they were severely damaging, leaving us with the conclusion “I’m so unworthy, no one will ever love me”
— they don’t apply to positive relationships with healthier people, so we can’t use them to guide us in interactions with others

Ego State POSITIONSe.s. Positions
Berne suggested the 3 ego states may correspond to parts of the brain, and that 2nd & 3rd order states contain hereditary material.

1st Order
– Basic T.A. model
● Parent, driven by beliefs, via things we were taught – acquired rather than inborn
● Adult, driven by thoughts, via what we’ve learned ourselves – called the neo-psyche (neo-cortex)
● Child, driven by emotions, via what we feel & intuit – called the archeo-psyche, vaguely connected to the reptilian brain (MORE...)

2nd Order
– Ideally this is a complete & well-adjusted ADULT with all 3 aspects working to benefit each other as a unit:
P2 (Parent E.A. as part of the whole) is focused on self-nurturing, as well as the care & protection of children.
● A2 (Adult E.S. of the whole) is mature, wise, makes good decisions, interacts with the other 2 parts & generally acts on behalf of oneself whenever practical functions / decisions / actions are needed.
● C2 (Child E.S. of the whole) is the ideally well-adjusted, un-wounded creative force of ones life. It’s made up of: P1 – the Adapted Child, A1 – called the Little Professor (always asking “WHY?”) & C2 the Natural Child.

3rd Order – Focus is on the Adapted Child with it’s accumulated trauma (see posts re. Child E.S.).

PURPOSE: The survival of the Species
For US: In general – the PES allows us to function AUTOMATICALLY, so we can respond to many aspects of our life without having to think about ‘How or What’ (how to behave in different situation, how to ride a bike or dress ourselves, what we believe, what comes next, what’s right….). This saves time & effort, freeing up the Adult part to make decisions ‘in the now’.
ALSO – it’s the way we treat ourselves, both in inner dialogue & actions. The Inner Parent is either loving or abusive. Because it’s how we parent ourselves, we need to identify it’s toxic content, & then work to correct them.
• P1 in this chart indicates the stage when the ‘early parent’ (C’s P) is formed – from birth to about age fivegood mom

For OTHERS: Functions as PARENT to the next generation (our own children, & anyone else in genuine need), by combining family experience with our native personality and what we’ve taught ourselves
The ideal parent is “all-about-the-child”, nurturing and protecting them.
• P2: The grown-up Parent ego state is formed between ages 5 to around 20, with continued input from authority of caretaker figures. After that, any time P2 gets triggered, people tend to reacts just like their original role models. But since each of us also brings our own personality, and for some – our Recovery – to how we express P2, it’s possible to act much better than our dysfunctional training!

NEXT: PARENT E.S. (Part 2)