OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 3)

  

IT’S A BALANCING ACT
but it’s worth it to me

PREVIOUS: Outgrowing Co-dep, #2

MEN:  Stop Being a “Nice” Guy

WOMEN – Don’t be so nice

 

RECOVERY from “Too Nice Syndrome” (TNS) cont.

Tool #3  ASSERTIVENESS (cont.)
As we practice self-care & accept things the way they really are, rather than how we would like them, we can be more direct in protecting ourselves. This makes P-P less & less necessary.

++ Don’t excuse your opinions (T), they are a part of you, even if only for the moment. However, to be sure of what we think & feel, we must first identify all those long-held ideas we had to swallow whole from our family, & separate them out from what we truly believe for ourselves. There are some things we can be sure of, unequivocally: “I know what I know”. But we can’t know everything – certainly not what others are thinking or feeling, unless they say – & we don’t have to know everything. If you believe in yourself, you’ll always want to keep learning AND won’t be ashamed to correct any ignorance or misconceptions

++ Identify your boundaries. We all have the need for personal space, a greater amount for some than for others. P-P generally deny this need, believing that not setting limit is the only way to keep people attached to us, (symbiosis). Trying to meld with each person we interact with means constantly taking on a new fake persona. At least when actors do that they get paid! And trying to be what others want or copying them – never gets us the pay-off we’re hungry for. Keeping this up year after year takes a lot of energy & creativity, but is ultimately exhausting AND ineffective! Remember “Zelig”?

++ Don’t shy away from conflict or confrontations. A basic philosophical tenet of martial art is to a) know how to defend yourself, if attacked, but b) never start the fight if you can avoid it. Following this 2-part principle psychologically is crucial to having a safer life. Books like “The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-defense” by S.H. Elgin, give us several excellent ‘weapons’.

When we start setting boundaries, some people will be confused & others will be angry – who may give you a hard time – since they’re used to you automatically giving in to whatever they want from you.

No matter how scary it is at first to deal with push-back, if you’re sure of your beliefs or needs, stick to your guns. Some of those reactors might even apologize later.
Eventually the right people will get used to the new you, even admire & respect the changes. The ones who can’t get with the new program will fall away. “Man’s rejection is God’s protection.”

Tool 4. RIGHTS
++
To outgrow P-P we need a replacement for the Toxic Rules that drive our co-dependence. We need to know our RIGHTS.

☁︎ BTW – How we use Language is as important in the quest for ‘sanity’ as other factors. The words & phrases we choose either help or hinder our progress.  A questionable statement we hear often is:“You deserve it” / or / “I deserve to…..”
The problem is the word ‘deserve’. Sounds OK? Well, in terms of actual meaning, ‘deserve’ refers to whatever is given as a reward for acceptable, special or difficult behavior (as in: “Here is your A+ / medal / Oscar / gold watch…..you deserve it”). It is something you earned, which is OK, since it’s good to be recognized & honored for accomplishments.

BUT, using ‘deserve’ in the context of personal growth is misguided, because it implies that our worth is based on how much & how well we DO thingsThis reinforces our difficult childhood, when we were only acceptable (if at all) on condition of how well we conformed to dysfunctional rules, instead of being loved unconditionally for just being here.

So, connecting “I deserve …..” with self-worth is a subtle distortion, disguised as Recovery, which ignores our BE-ing. The implied message is: “Produce or lose!” It sneakily tells us that we have to keep on earning validation for things which in fact are universal Human needs (love, freedom, respect, identity, guidance, dependability….), & therefore should not have to be struggled for. This deep-rooted negative assumption is why we keep trying to be perfect & please everyone.

NEXT: Outgrowing P-P #4

OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 2)


THERE ARE MANY WAYS

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.

Tool 2. SELF-WORTH
++ 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.

Tool 3. ASSERTIVENESS
++ 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
AND
++ 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

ACoAs – Set GOALS to MEET NEEDS (Part 2a)

implemeting goalsPREVIOUS: Meeting our NEEDS (Part 1b)

SITE: Develop Self-Efficacy Beliefs

QUOTEs: “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation” ~ David Thoreau

1. GOALS 

2. IMPLEMENTATION
DEF: “Carrying a plan forward and making it work”
Once we’ve picked a goal & written it down, we can start figuring out how to accomplish it. Breaking it down into small chunks is vital, & will tell us if the goal is actually do-able, if we already can do it, or if we need to learn something. The next steps include finding the right kind of help, being flexible in our thinking for making adjustments, & having contingency plans for the unexpected.

• How do we ACoAs try to ‘provide’ for our own needs? Not very well. Most of the ways are in the form of being controlling, isolation, lying, manipulation, over-work, people-pleasing, self-sacrifice, using others…. and most of us find it very hard to do actual PMES self-care.
We’re afraid to go all out to be happy & fulfilled, because we:
— can’t afford to risk going all out for our core ‘love’ or talent, in case we fail. Then we’d have nothing – the loss would be crushing.
— Besides, the PP’s message is that we’re too stupid, unlovable, unworthy to get anything right, so why try. Implementing goals? “Who do you think you are – anyway? / So you think you’re better than us???”

• Therefore, some of us :
— don’t know what we want, what to pursue, what to try out, drifting without any goals, just taking whoever or whatever comes our waypassive
— don’t even try to get our need met, eeking out a survival based in scarcity mentality – barely enough money, companionship, sex, attention, accomplishment, minimum shelter /clothing / food…. even tho we actually have the ability to find & provide some or all of these things
— don’t take risks, sticking to the ‘safest’ route possible, living lives of boredom or ‘quiet desperation’, like working in a post office for 35 yrs, marrying someone who will take care of us, being an active addict….

Others of us who are ambition / driven:
— are high achievers, either based on what our family pushed us into – which we hate, or from some natural gift we were born with, but which we continue to feel insecure about
ambitious— will succeed early in life (get a lead on Broadway, work on Wall Street, write a great first novel…. & then do something to ruin it so it slowly disintegrates – over the next 20-30 yrs
— will make the effort in some arena, & may even succeed to some degree – BUT either can’t get beyond a certain level
OR
— have to keep messing it up / failing / causing drama & problems / losing everything….
— work our butt off trying to be ‘the best’ so we can finally get the approval we’ve always longed for, but not ever to validate ourselves

WHY don’t we live in the power of our True Self?
➼ Because of the Double Bind: we’re not allowed to actually have our needs met BUT we can’t NOT have them. (ACoA Double Messages)
So, many of us try & fail, try & fail – over & over….. ending up hopeless, depressed & wanting to give up. Because of our childhood training, the brain becomes wired to only see ourselves & the world thru the eyes of dysfunction. We sabotage any goal which doesn’t conform to that training, which Freud called the “repetition compulsion”.

Our WIC thoroughly believes our only option is to stay attached to the family because they say they love us – of course – & the WIC is desperate to believe it, even tho we have years & years of proof to the contrary. To deny what we know, we keep obeying the PP voice & it’s toxic rules, (“If you don’t like it you have to stay”), since we assume that:
— the world isn’t safe AND we are sure that we are basically bad!
— if only we could be ‘perfect’ they’d finally, truly approve & love us

self-argumentSO – what are our deepest, most pervasive beliefs (Part 1)? What drives our goals & our actions?
Most of the time it’s the WIC’s cognitive distortions. Even if ACoAs can identify appropriate goals, we either sabotage out progress or can’t implement them at all, because it would mean disobeying the PP in our head & being disloyal to still-living family members. So instead, we’ve been using all sorts of dysfunctional PPT as a reason to act – anything but our own need, dreams, desires & feelings! (motivators)

NEXT: Goals to meet needs #3

People Should Treat Me Better – But I Won’t Let Them


ACoAs ARE IN A DOUBLE BIND  –
either way we lose ourselves,
to stay loyal to the family

PREVIOUS: Healthy Give & Take (#2)

READ posts re. Double Messages / Binds

ACoAs have a terrible dilemma :
1. On the one hand we desperately want to be loved, acknowledged, seen, heard. We complain bitterly for years that we have to chase people down, do all the work in relationships, friends don’t come thru for us, we’re too isolated, hate being lonely, we can’t trust anyone…
You know what kids used to say: ”No one loves me, everyone hates me, I’m going to eat worms & die!” (Toxic Rules)

Because we’re not allowed to be loved, comfortable and comforted, happy, thriving… we chase after those few who don’t want us at all, &/or are unavailable in some way, even if there was an initial attraction.  They let us know in a 1000 ways they’re not really able to connect (because of their self-hate & fear of intimacy) – but we don’t want to deal with that info, even when we hear it!

✶ The real reason for chasing the ‘impossible dream’ is that these unavailables are parent substitutes.  Our family gave us the message we were too much trouble, not worth bothering with, in their way, messy, greedy, unruly pain in the a–es.  We couldn’t live with that. We had to figure impossible dreamout a way to win them over, to love us, if only we knew how to fix ourselves & them.  BUT we never did.

✶ So now, with the current unavailables, we’re determined: this time we’ll get them, this time we’ll win – if only we’re perfect & persistent enough. OY!  (“Perfectionism”)

2. On the other hand, we’re terrified of getting too much attention, are 
uncomfortable with compliments, don’t want to ‘put anyone out’, can’t accept being given to. We think (conscious or unconscious):
a. I don’t deserve good things. After all, my family wasn’t that nice to me & they knew me best. So, when anyone else gets to know me they’ll also be disgusted, & leave me
b. If someone likes me, then they’re stupid, weak, needy (no one I’d want to be with) because they’re too dumb to know I’m not worth liking

c. OR if they’re being nice – they’re conning me, being polite, people-pleasing – & then just when I start enjoying things they’ll leave or want something from me I don’t have.  Sooner or later the real them will show up & I’ll be disappointed – againpush away
d. I don’t want to owe anyone – no one gives anything for free, everyone has an agenda….
e. If I admit I want to be liked & given to, then I’m the weak one, & that 
disgusts me. I’d rather be alone than be that vulnerable

f. People are just trying to control me by being nice, so they can get what they want, & make me do things their way…

ACoAs waffle back & forth between opposites – BUT only Negative ones
✶ either are too alone or chase people who aren’t interested / abuse them
✶ isolate for years or stay way too long with the wrong people
✶ keep hurting themselves & then find some addiction (not always a chemical) to dull the pain
✶ hate themselves for being too much or for not being enough
✶ act out Victim Role or Perpetrator role (aggressor, abuser) ….

WHY WE STAY in OLD PATTERN (even IF we know better)
✶  Loyalty to the family & it’s system (still think we need them)
✶ Don’t want to disobey the Toxic rules : they represent our connection to home AND we don’t want to be punished, AND if we obey them, the family will love / accept us
✶ MOST OF ALL : we don’t want to ‘get depressed’ ie. feel all that pain (sad, lonely, terror, hopeless, rage, powerless… ) of our parents not loving us the way we needed. broken loveWe knew the truth back then but it was too much to bear & we didn’t have many options, so we stuffed it down.

SO, NOW : If we give up our fantasies & illusions about the unavailables  – and walk away –  we’ll get flooded by that accumulated old pain! But if we know where all that pain is coming from, we can learn to manage it until it passes.  “If it’s hysterical, it’s historical”

It takes quite a bit of recovery (growing a Loving Inner Parent, part of the UNIT) to be able to tolerate feeling that are awful! & still be ok. With enough time & the right kind of support, we can go through it knowing that it was not our fault that our family (& others) couldn’t take care of & love us, so now it’s ok to let love in, today & every day from now on.

NEXT: Resist talking the IC? – #1

WHY ACoAs LIE (Part 1)

lying child YOU MEAN I’M NOT BEING HONEST
when I tell people how awful I am?

PREVIOUS: Adult Play Benefits – #2

IRONIC & Humorous article : How to Lie – 14 ways

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

 

1. GENERAL
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.
TO SELF
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 OTHERS:
— 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….lie to protect

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

2. PATHOLOGICAL
• 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 compulsive liaractivity (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

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

3. UNTREATED ACoAs
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)your flaws
• 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 – are :
— 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)

ACoAS & WEAK Boundaries (Part 2)

rigid Bs 

I DON’T LET MYSELF SAY ANYTHING
so I don’t upset other people

PREVIOUS: ACoAs & WEAK Bs (Part 1)

REVIEW: ACoA Rules – Healthy (Part 1-3)


CHARACTERISTICS of weak Bs
Weak Bs represent not having the right to our needs, & is expressed as a general passivity in our dealings with the world – letting people &circumstances push us around.
BTW, you may notice that some of these expressions of weak Bs are the same or similar to those of rigid Bs. This is only natural since the underlying causes all come from our unhealthy upbringing.

SEXUALB invasion
We have weak Bs if we:
• are unable to distinguish between love and sex
• have sex when we do not want to
• feel a need to always be in a sexual relationship
• attach our self-esteem to being sexually attractive
• let others touch us, even when it’s uncomfortable or inappropriate
fall in love at first sight (just because someone seems interested or reaches out to us

PRACTICAL
We have weak Bs if we:
• are unpredictable, undependable because of being indecisive
• allow others to take as much as they can from us (time, $$, energy….)
• set no specific limits on our willingness to help
• sacrifice our own goals, projects and self-care to help others – from FoA
• don’t protect our need for privacy, so allow our physical space to be invaded, such as let people
— stand or sit too close
— take and/or use something of ours without asking
— snoop around in our things…… without doing something about it
no choicehave to do something a certain way or modify our behavior so that someone else can continue their unproductive or unsafe behavior – being an enabler of any kind of bad or self-destructive behavior
• let others determine our wants, needs & tastes, sacrificing them to the desire of others
• give too much either by being controlling (B invading) OR overly responsible (having to do everything ourselves)
• allow others to take as much as they can from us (time, $$, energy….)• overcompensate for when we think we’ve messed up in word or action
• measure another person’s caring by material gifts – how much, what kind
• accept unwanted gifts to not hurt feelings or make others angry

MENTAL
We have weak Bs if we:
• let other people influence / effect our behavior, unclear about our own preferences
• verbally we agree with others even when we actually don’t
• are unable to ask for help, so have to constantly manipulate to get what we want (can’t ask directly)
• personalize everything, over-reacting to feelings or behavior of others (assume other’s reactions are all about us)

• feel like we’re covering something up or keeping a secret, such as battered wives hiding injuries, kids covering up parental addictions, emotional torture, mental illness….
• get too close too fast, share too much personal info (especially our faults) before establishing mutual trust/sharing
• ignore our inner voice & rely on others’ opinions, values & emotions more than our own
• allow the expectations of others to define our potential
• compromise values and beliefs to please others or to avoid conflict

EMOTIONAL
We have weak Bs if we:
• are dependent for our identity & emotional well-being on what blend or leave
others think of us, so have become chameleons OR isolates
• symbiotically attach ourselves to someone, or something
• need constant reassurance from others
• feel everything ‘too much’ & cannot contain own emotions
• are not comfortable being alone – at least some of the time

• people-please – say yes when we wants to say no, & then act out later, either on ourselves (S-H) or at the other (passive-aggression)
• are constantly preoccupied with & overwhelmed by others’ emotions, needs & problems (take on as if our own), feeling responsible for their happiness and fulfillment
• ignore our own discomfort, anger, anxiety or fear so someone else can be happy & comfortable
• feel & act like victims, have no balance of power or responsibility in relationships
• have a high tolerance for abuse, for being treated with disrespect
• can’t say no, even when wanting to, for fear of rejection (abandonment)

NEXT: RIGID Boundaries – #1