so I don’t do anything

SITE: “Fight Procrastination” – P. vs Payoff / P vs. Pain. charts

QUOTE: “Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” ~ Marthe Troly-Curtin

ACoA “LOGIC”: I keep putting it off because –
• IF I ignore it long enough maybe it’ll magically go away
• I feel comforted – because not being fully functional keeps me from having to feel the abandonment pain of no one being there to teach, help or encourage me thru things when growing up
• It’s not fair that I have to do things by myself, for myself
• Since I hate doing it, I’ll wait until the very last hour or two, then cram in whatever I can manage. That way I’ll have an excuse for not doing it better (no time)

ALSO: maybe there’ll be a hail-mary save (rescued),
OR someone usually does show up to help at the last minute (luck), so I’ll just wait

NOW we put things off because of:
• it reminds us of how we didn’t get helped as kids. All those ‘little’ abandonments add up to one big pain!Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 3.59.01 AM
• automatically assume we’ll be abused, or left (A.) if we act on our own behalf
• haven’t learned how to deal with the PP voice that controls the WIC (Introject)
• we are deeply conflicted – to do or not do, to obey or disobey, to do it our way or theirs, to be separate or stay symbiotic…. and intense inner conflicts leave us paralyzed!
• afraid of ‘hurting’ others’ feelings OR having them be angry at us, which means getting emotionally abandoned (cut off)

• we don’t know what’s actually stopping us (denial)
• we never actually learned process how to get reach a goal by going thru a series of necessary steps. We look fcan't swimor instant grat, or we make a half-hearted attempt, or we take the least effective steps. When these don’t work we give up, rather than learn what actually works!
• we believe in our deepest being that anything we do has to be perfect, & not being able to that – we end up doing nothing
• anything we’ve figure out for ourselves is either wrong or not of any value (crap)
• don’t know how to do something AND can’t ask for help, OR feel like we have no one to ask
• afraid of what we’ll find out (outcome of a job interview, medical tests, how much is -or isn’t- in the bank…)

ULTIMATELY – we put things off :
a. so we won’t feel so alone – that inner loneliness of not having nurturing parents growing up! Being our own caretaker, being competent – even in small things – is an emotional reminder of how terribly alone we always felt as kids – no one to guide (only bully), no one to comfort (only control), no one to encourage (only shame)…. inner aloneness
• Instead of doing something positive, all that wasted time spent worrying, obsessing about things we’re not getting done actually serves a purpose for the WIC : it fills up the emptiness inside – where a good parent should be – the Inner Supporters we never had (early abandonment).

EXP: Pre-Recovery, Tina needed to replace a knob for her radio that had fallen off & was lost. She knew she had the manufacturer’s purchase list in her files, but felt a general lethargy about taking the action = all of 5 minutes to find, make the call & order the tiny part. It was several months before she did this simple task.
• In the mean time Tina had to turn the radio on & off by awkwardly using 2 fingers on the sound stub. When the part arrived, in a little pouch, it sat on her night table several more weeks. Eventually she ‘faced’ the great task of taking the knob out of the package & clicking it into place = all of 1 minute!

b. because we have a deep (usually unacknowledged) feeling of hopelessness. After all – the WIC believes that our actions are supposed to get us the love & attention we’re always craved, specifically from our parents (dead or alive!). The Child’s logic says – “since they hurt me & hated me, it has to be my fault, so I have to find a way to fix it.” But no matter how hard we work at being the perfect son or daughter, we rarely achieve this wish. So eventually drowningtaking actions gets harder & harder. Scapegoat & Lost Child ACoAs give up trying a lot sooner than Heroes & Mascots, but they never give up wanting to be loved & accepted! They just pretend they don’t care!

c. we feel powerless to have any effect on our environment (being efficacious). We could never get our parents (& sometimes siblings) to notice us, listen to us, take us seriously, consider or feelings & needs. So why would we be able to influence anyone else in the world? If we have no ability to influence, then why even try to DO anything?

NEXT: “Putting things off” Part 3



lazy, sloppy
so I just won’t!


SITE: : 15 Ways to Productively Procrastinate”

POST: “What to do when Confused” (Jy ’10)

NOTE: In terms of T.E.A., this topic is about ACTIONs. When we say we’re stuck, it often means that we’re not able or willing to take actions we know are needed & good for us, or that we would like to do, but ‘can’t’.

ACoAs are ‘famous’ for putting things off.
Of course, there are the over-controlled action-junkies among us who are always doing, doing, doing : for work, for the family, for the community – but not for ourselves. For these ACoAs, the ‘putting off’ issue is about not taking care of our own needs.

1. PAST Causes of Procrastinationchaos
These situations happened from the very beginning of our lives:
• Endless family chaos. No matter what we started (studying, playing, chores, going to bed….) or how hard we worked to put something together (a project), some drama or another would take precedence. Our life kept getting sidetracked by someone else’s mess or bigger needs. We’d have to start all over again, or never get back to it at all

• Absorbing & taking on our parent’s fear – who repeatedly warned us about the dangers of people, places & things, so we became fearful of everything too

Double Messages, leaving us feeling crazy – who constantly gave us confusing or conflicting messages about what was expected of us, or how to do things, so now we don’t trust our judgement

• Lack of positive Mirroring: not having someone clearly reflect back to us how we do things, what our personal style is, how our mind works, what our specific abilities are…. SO we always end up saying “I don’t know who I am, what I like, what I want to do when I grow up…”,  even tho since then we’ve had a lifetime of experiences, learning, accomplishments…. which give us lots of definite hints & signs

• Expected &/or forced to take care of them, never allowed to focus on ourselves, so now we we refuse to use all that experience & creativity for ourselves, wanting someone else to do it for us. Been there, done that!

Punished (insulyelled atts, being hit, yelled at, sent to our room, made fun of, threatened….) – for having need, wants & emotions, as well as for not doing everything the ‘right’ way, ie. their way, or just not knowing how to do something – even tho we were too young, untrained & inexperienced, but they expected us to be mind-readers, & act like adults anyway!

Neglected, ignored – having to fend for ourselves – left alone to figure things out, when too young – not getting encouragement, guidance, ‘how to’ or just safe & loving company, which made us feel insecure & too alone.

Nothing was ever good enough:
— parents constantly criticized everyone & everything, arbitrarily
— we were never acceptable (much less appreciated) – they found fault with our taste & choices (our taste in clothes, music, friends… )
— criticized, made fun of or punished for not knowing things, not for “doing better”….
— AND for being too smart, intuitive, clever, artistic….(parents were threatened & jealous)accordion girl

• Forced to do, learn or study something we hated – or truly did not suit our True Self –  sometimes for years (sports, camping, an instrument, a particular profession… spending time with hated family members, sent away to school, put to work …), so now we do as little as possible or as poorly as we can get away with

• Being constantly discouraged / undermined by the adults when we talked about our opinions, plans, dreams (“There’s no future/ money / jobs… in X / That’s dumb… / Don’t waste your time on Y…..”)
— OR not allowed to help them with anything – chores, working on the car, cooking, painting the house, decorating…. as if we were too slow or too dumb, so we think we can’t do things

• Being put down when we actual did something – just trying to figure out how to do a new task, taking longer to learn something than they had patience for (none), not ‘getting’ something (like math)
— ALSO, insulted, attacked, made fun of…. for things we naturally did really well (games, sewing, sports, art, languages…), especially if they could NOT do it as well or at all, pushing their insecurity or envy buttonsdiscouraged

•  Had dismissed or devalued whatever good we tried to do, like wanting to help, showing concern, being on our best behavior, suppressing ourselves to please them…. even the gifts we made or bought for them were ignored, given away or returned!

• Were never (or rarely) acknowledged – much less – praised for what we did accomplish. (Kids need validation for any effort, without it having to be of world-class quality!). So now we don’t value our accomplishments either

NEXT: “Putting things off” Part 2

ACoAs & CONFUSION (Part 1)

I just can’t get it right!

PREVIOUS: Ennea Humor #5

SITE: Sometimes Confusion Is A Good Thing

QUOTE: “If you can’t convince them, confuse them” ~ Harry S Truman

DEF of Confusion (C) 
– Mentally disoriented – the inability to make decisions clearly & quickly
– C occurs when another person’s Boundaries are vague, not easily understood, or in conflict with themselves

NOTE: These posts refer to C which is NOT caused by long-term severe mental illness or physical changes in the brain due to accident, aging, chemicals/ medication, drug use or illness.

Important distinction – confusion is always a cognitive (mental) not an emotional issue. It’s about whether or not we can think clearly, based on what’s going on in our head or how someone else is presenting information.

For ACoAs – overcoming life-long confusion is mainly about identifying & correcting cognitive distortions (CDs) / toxic beliefs, which lead to procrastination, self-doubt, perfectionism & self-hate! To do that we need to know enough about ourselves AND how the world really functions – to not blindly follow what our unhealthy family taught us, or what the WIC has come to believe because of it.

The opposite of confusion is Certainty, which is not the same as being rigid, dogmatic or opinionated.
Based on NLP, David Rock explains that there are 5 major goals of the human brain geared towards ‘maintaining’, ie. increasing positives and reducing negatives (SCARF model):
Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness & Fairness.  (MORE….)SCARF model

• Executive Coach Ed Batista commented that certainty is a result of the brain’s effort to conserve energy, derived from the limited capacity of the prefrontal cortex, the seat of executive function….
We resist putting great mental effort into decision-making & impulse control because the body is preserving resources for a possible emergency in the next moment, & the same dynamic contributes to resisting uncertainty.” (CHART & info….)

Some causes of Mental / Psychological confusion
• Complex lifestyles – too much to do & not enough time, constant stress
• Denial, not wanting to admit & accept the way things really are (re. people, places, things), & so use a variety of defenses to mask the truth

confusion/stress• Dysfunctional interactions, & deliberately Distorted info – from media, politicians, advertising, cults, corporations …..
• Ignorance or Grandiosity – trying figure out  or do something without enough or the correct info

• Major changes (Recovery process, new work, moving, divorce…..) because we don’t know what’s ahead
• Misunderstanding & differences between countries, boss & workers, men & women, people speaking different languages…..conf & info
• Overwhelming amounts of info from too many different sources (especially for Introverts)

Again, here we’re only concerned with the kind of confusion which comes from distorted ways people communicate with themselves or to others, with words & body language, either unconsciously or deliberately.

When someone says “I feel confused”, they’re being unclear. It sounds like they’re speaking about an emotion (I feel), but this ‘feel’ only refers to thinking. (See post: “Feelings aren’t facts).
— The phrase actually means that the person can’t be sure what to think about something (I can’t figure out this jumble in my head) – often because of CDs, convoluted & conflicting beliefs, obsessions & toxic rules.

• We can also be (mentally) confused when we have several or conflicting emotions re. the same situation – happy, sad, lonely…. No one taught us (info = mental) that having + / – emotions at the same time is not unusual, & comes from the same or different ego states.
EXP: Parent – loving someone while being angry with them
Adult – being relieved someone’s gone / Child: (yet) missing them…..

So then it’s not one emotion or another, but may be 2 or more at the same time. Think in terms of layers – but rather coming from different levels of desire, experience, need or maturity. In any case, this is still a cognitive dilemma – a lack of information or self-knowledge. Having many differing emotions is not actually confusing, only what we’re believing or being limited in our understanding of human complexity.

NEXT: ACoAs & Confusion #2

Enneagram Type 1 – Flaws in us ALL

type 1 flaws
just so!

PREVIOUS: ALL Type flaws – Intro


IMPORTANT: If needed, to understand the meaning / purpose of each topic, review ‘All Type Flaws in us – INTRO’.
Associated Type inside the ( )


Type 1 COWARDICE because of CDs (#6)
— re. making mistakes: 1s are obsessed with getting everything right, making no mistakes, being correct & appropriate
— re. hurting other people: worry when you’ve done something really bad, about having hurt others, being harshly judgmental, projecting your anger on someone who doesn’t deserve it….
— re. being spontaneous: believe that it’s not OK, even dangerous to not have tight controls on your impulses & action

Type 1 FLATTERY – by: (#2)
— THINKING about how to be polite & well-mannered toward others at times when you really don’t want to
— Make logical excuses for the poor character or behavior of another because this person exhibits something you admire
— ‘Forget’ your legitimate objections to someone you despise, as a way of suppressing your anger (‘reaction formation’)

Type 1 LAZINESS (Indolence) (#9)
You may not seem lazy at all, since you’re so precise & action oriented. But, indolence is actually a disowned characteristic of 1s (‘Nine Lenses on the World’ by Jerry Wagner), a not-me quality that gets projected onto others. You think of yourself as responsible, disciplined & highly attentive – but on closer examination there’s more than a little indolence
— Focus too much on getting something ‘just right’ leads to ignoring other items, factors or events that are equally or much more relevant & important
— Taking on so much of your #7 Arrow qualities, you only focus on chasing pleasure, at the expense of important activities & responsibilities, being blind to the consequences of slacking off
— Paying so much attention to your own opinions & ideas that you ignore the ideas of others

Type 1 MOODINESS (melancholy & resulting separation) (#4)
— Think you’re really bad or worthless for having made a mistake, or done something you’re not proud of (being human)
— Believe that another person is really bad or without value because they made a mistake
— Obsess on what’s missing in your life because something’s imperfect, or didn’t live up to your expectations

Type 1 PLANNING (as compulsion) (#7)
When stressed, obsessively thinking about how to structure & organize a task in a normal situation, as if your life depends on it

Type 1 RESENTMENT – by: (#1)
— Constantly being judgmental, dividing the world into all-good vs. all-bad, such as right-wrong, appropriate-inappropriate, should-should not
— Taking mental note of what’s wrong rather than what’s right in most situations
— Noticing other people’s ‘mistakes’ & not letting it go – “How could he do that?, Why can’t people be more responsible?”….

Type 1 STINGINESS (#5)friendly
— Re. being Open: Assuming you’re THE “holder” of rules & standards, being the ‘correct’ one, stingy about acknowledging opposing viewpoints
— Re. being Appreciative: focused so much on mistakes, that you’re stingy about offering compliments to yourself & others
— Re. Sharing: not willing to share or give away something lovely & unique, as if that would lessen the value of the “precious” object

Type 1 VANITY (#3)
— Assume you’re superior because of you ‘higher’ standards
— Believe you’re the arbiters of excellence – because you can ‘recognize’ quality better than most
— Convinced your commitment to being responsible in every way is so much greater / deeper than in others

Type 1 VENGEANCE (#8)
What sets you off is thinking someone has :
— criticized or lied to you, not acted responsibly, taken arbitrary control
REACTION: accusations & blame that often gets verbalized, or disapproval & dismissal expressed thru obvious body-language (turn your back, frown, sneer, silence…..)
GROWTH – Be willing to listen with an open heart and open mind

Too tight, squinting – so you only see certain things around you, while missing others
Lesson: If we only look for what’s precise, right or clear, we can mistakenly assume something that looks great is worthwhile – when it isn’t, OR ‘see’ something as flawed – when it’s actually fine as is

Hold on to: Resentments (which build up), being right or in control, not making mistakes, compulsively keeping your structured lives just so
Why: to keep your sense-of-self as someone who is faultless, responsible
Let go: of the belief that everything must be perfectly ordered & executed

Type 1 OFF-BALANCE – by:
— Being convinced you’ve made a mistake or that you inevitably will
— Not dealing with your anger/resentment. Instead become overly upset with someone else’s minor ‘infraction’ (real or imagined). Then – feel remorse & guilt / S-H for becoming so angry at them
— Being criticized, either by yourself, a respected person, or bothperfectionism reward

Type 1 MAYA (delusion)
Think that being so completely self-controlled will give you the joys and pleasures you want, as a reward for being so good. Not always!

Type 1 WORRY
“Will I get this right? Will I be fully prepared? Have I offended someone or been impolite? Will I lose control of myself? Will I feel incompetent? What if I did something wrong?”…..

NEXT: All Type FLAWS – Type 2

ACoAs – ARROGANCE vs Humility (Part 1)

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, #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…..)
Arrogance = FEAR of vulnerabilitychar defects
Impatience = f. of missed or lost opportunity
Self-Destruction = f.  of loss of control
Self-Deprecation = f. of inadequacy
Martyrdom = f. of worthlessness
Greed= f. of lack / not having enough
Stubbornness = f. of change or new situations

ARR. is the result of Negative childhood experiences, causing:
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. a False Persona to hide a, b & c in adulthood

The opposite poles on either side of ARR are :
– Vanity (unhealthy False Self):  an irrational / obsessive belief in our superior attractiveness or abilities as reflected in the eyes of others – which is what happens when we fall for our own lies (egotism & narcissism).
It comes from the Latin vanities: empty, foolish, futile, untruthful

+ Pride (healthy Confidence): recognizing & valuing all our good qualities, rather than exaggerating or making them up to mask or deny our normal human imperfections. It can be seen as the positive version of ARR, an expression of the True Self, by being realistic about our innate value as human beings

confidence vs ARR

• 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 Ennea 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? secret ARRDon’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!arrogance

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

ACoAs & TIME (Part 2)

take so much longer than I think??!!

PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Time (Part 1)

ARTICLE: Kids, ADHD & Time



2. REQUIRED TIME (cont.)
b. Much less time than is realistic. There are the ACoAs who:
• always over-book, plan things too close together, don’t allow enough time to get places or time for possible delays – and don’t allow for process… Like: how long it takes for – a renovation, a doctor visit, to taking a trip, developing a friendship, wait for a delivery, a check, an email or the return of a phone call! (it pushes our Abandonment button)

• try to do several things at one time. This does not refer to multi-tasking, but rather expecting, magically, to be able to be in more than one place at a time, like 2 conflicting events – without planning to do things consecutively, OR just pick one & let the other go.  Like: making plans to go shopping alone and have lunch with a friend – at about the same time!  It’s one of the reason some ACoAs are habitually late.

SOURCE: Psychologically, our WIC is stuck at a very young age (pre-clock-child timereading) as a result of trauma.
NORMAL: Small children are very much in the moment, living from event to event, so time is unrelated to behavior. Motion-in-time (action) seems to be a succession of unplanned situations that just happen. There are no boundaries.

Children flow through consecutive activities, none of which are measured by clock-time. They live in infinite space, with no responsibility for the past or the future. Time has no real duration, events have no beginning or end. Before developing structured thought, there can be no “time” for a child…..

DAMAGE: Adults who act that way are in a temporary or constant state of regression – not living in present time-reality & not being run by a Healthy Adult ego state. Difficulty in accurately assessing & using time is another way ACoAs are ‘out of control’*.
* BTW – being ‘out of control’ means only one thing: Not having a choice, in a particular moment, in a given situation. This can be either compulsively (without a conscious decision) DO-ing something – like verbally attacking a person, or NOT doing something – like not leaving a place where you’re being hurt in some way.

Suggestion for Correction
If you identify with this issue, then no matter what the activity – always add 2x or 3x the amount of time you’re sure it will take. If it’s less, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. If the extra time was needed, you won’t feel as frustrated, disappointed & angry.

For a while, each evening you can write down:
• a simple outline of activities you’re planning for the next day, including daily routines, like getting ready, eating, chores… Don’t forget transportation times.  If you look on GoogleMaps, it tells you times allotted to get from point A to point B.
• decide how much total time you want to allot, in chunks (2 hrs in the am, or 4 hrs in the pm, or 3 hrs before bedtime…) to each segmentcheck time

• Next to each action – write how long you think it will or should take. Then add 15-30 min. to each item.
• If you don’t know, pick an easy action you can repeat once a day, for a week, & time how long it took.
OR set a timer to go off every half hr, do an activity & see how far you get in that time. KEEP A LOG! If you get stuck, write down what you were feeling and thinking at the point where you stopped your activity.

• Adding up the actual time amounts something lasted will give you an idea of how many things you can get done in your personal time-frame. What are you thinking and FEELING?Timelog

• Choose the activities you most have to do first, & then balance it with some healthy soothing or fun treat for your kid. If you do have to put off play time, AND if you promise to make it up later, be sure to do at least one of them on the next  ‘free day’, or else your IC:
— will be angry, sulky, disappointed, despondent…
— will experience You (the Adult) as being as bad as the PP (abusive, unfair, uncaring, untruthful…)
— won’t be able to depend on you, trust you in future, be willing to turn its ‘power’ over to you – in order to be taken care of.

NEXT: ACoAs & Time (Part 3)



I’m not weak or wounded!

PREVIOUS: Victim or not?

SEE posts:Rescuing”  //  “Process


DISTORTED  COPING  (P = Perp / V = Victim)
As long as ACoAs have trouble facing the trauma of being a Victim IN our childhood, 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 / wounded (NOT defective), with all it’s weaknesses, nor having to do the hard work of normalRecovery to become healthy.  This false-normal is a facade to cover our lack of self-esteem & to quiet the bad voice (the PP), 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 kid flyingcan 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 undersoverlappingtand!”

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.
EXP: 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:perfectionism
• 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!

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: What is Emotional Abuse? #1