SYMPTOMS of Co-Dep Anger – toward others

WICs communicatingI’VE GOT TO BE NICE
so they won’t see my anger

PREVIOUS: Symptoms- in us

SITE: Co-Dependency  (includes characteristics Qs)

<— Inner children in adults

as you scroll thru these various lists (this & the previous), do NOT use them to berate yourself. If they are primarily psychological rather than medical, they tell us our degree of woundedness, embodied in the False Self. We did not cause these patterns, but it is our choice & option to correct them, a little at a time.

• Looking at Plutchik’s “Emotion Wheel” – we see that anger & fear are opposites – so:
— if we are only aware of or act from being anxious, depressed, feeling like a victim – we’re hiding intense anger we’re afraid to admit to
— if we are in a continual state of anger, rage, resentment & hostility – we are denying feelings of sadness, vulnerability, hopelessness & fear

NOTE: Some things in the list will seem counter-opposite, but can in fact be different sides of the same person, like – act Superior on the outside, feel Inferior on the inside, calm on the surface, but roiling inside…..
ALSO – you don’t need to identify with everything to say you’re hiding rage, & as stated above, some of these things can be caused by sources other that repressed Es (medication, temporary intense stressors, a major illness….).
See —- upcoming — statements which signal indirect anger

• ‘love-buy’ – overspend on gifts, tips, treats
• women often financially support their spouse
• rarely buy anything for yourself
• anticipate needs of others & supply them before being asked
• overly-kind (one of the subtlest forms of anger – think of Dexter, TV’s good-guy serial murderer bringing donuts to work)
• overly responsible at work, trouble delegating
• put yourself at risk rather than refuse someone’s request
• do much more than you’ve been askedscreen-shot-2017-02-24-at-11-41-20-pm

• agree with everything others say, or just smile
• patronize (as in the Southern phrase “Bless your heart!”)
• laugh at jokes that are not funny or you’ve heard many times
• listen endlessly to other people’s problems & complaints
• won’t speak up against disrespect or abuse
• only hint, obliquely, at what you want or don’t like
• mistake honest, respectful dialogue for malicious confrontation
• repress, deny, ignore true thoughts & emotions (dishonesty)
• complain to everyone else about your relationship dissatisfaction except to the one involved

• terrified of being dominated, & weakly try not to be, but  unconsciously act dependent, indecisive, unsure, non-assertive, with weak or no boundaries
• don’t go places or do things if your mate isn’t available or interested – then sulk, complain, cold-shopeople-pleaseulder
• refuse to leave harmful or ‘dead’ relationships, & make the other person responsible for ending it
• cause many ‘little problems’ that irritate your partner, & then seem surprised

• take a partner ‘hostage’ by needing them so much you can’t live without them, make them your whole world
• keep attracting partners that are overtly angry, P-As & narcissist, so you can keep being secretly angry – at them
• pick & stay with addicts, so you can fix them (control)
• don’t say what you want, like, need…. but expect others to mind-read
• withdraw from anyone you like, if it will prevent conflict – without explanation
• imagine worst-case scenarios even when things are going well
• keep bringing up old complaints  with children or mates

• go to any length to not rock to boatat risk
• keep recycling old ways of dealing with complicated situations
• re. sex – women – refuse to ask for what you want/like, never initiate, undermine mate’s sense of adequacy & skill, refuse to respond, lack of desire

NEXT: Co-Dep behavior #1

Why RESIST talking to the Inner Child? (Part 2)

love the kid 

to stop & talk to the kid!

PREVIOUS: Talking to the Inner Child (Part 1)

POST: “How to Dialogue with your I.C.”

When ACoAs in Recovery are asked “why don’t you talk to your Inner Child at all, OR if you do occasionally, then why not every day? ” –  the most common response is “I don’t know” – with a lilt & a shrug. :). We know we’re supposed to but we have so many ‘reasons’ for not doing it!

● It feels silly, stupid, fake, self-conscious
ANS: It’s going to be awkward in the beginning – like many new things.  The awkwardness is a form of resistance, from the WIC &/or the PP. If you keep at it – correctly – it begins to make sense, becomes more natural & automatic

 It feels ‘schizophrenic’
ANS: This term is mistakenly used because schizophrenics hear voices & sometimes talk to themselves. Schizophrenia is a devastating mental illness based in defective brain chemistry, with hallucinations & delusions. It has nothing to do with various Ego States interacting internally, which are normal conscious aspects of a whole personality.
NEVER apply it to the process of talking to the Inner Child.whose voice

I’m just making it up
ANS: Review the posts on Ego States. They’re real. First we need to learn about the various voices, how they sound, what their point of view & purpose is. With enough information & practice you can begin hearing the difference between them

I don’t know who’s talking
ANS: As stated in Part 1, “I” statements are either from the Adult, if it’s a logical thought, or the Inner Child, especially if it’s self-deprecating or self-defeating. The “You” form is the Parent voice, either mean or kind.
Remember that when you have strong emotions it’s definitely the Child.
Some of us hear the WIC very easily, some only our rational voice, some mainly the bad Parent. Writing out dialogues using both hands helps to differentiate the ego states

I don’t know what to say
ANS: Naturally! Because we constantly talk to ourselves with judgments & self-abuse, we won’t automatically know the healthy way to communicate. Obviously, we weren’t taught to speak kindly to ourselves, much less pay attention to what we actually think & feel. So changing the way we do that is definitely a new language.
— It has to be learned, from a good teacher, workbooks, listening to people anywhere who talk to their children appropriately, with respect, patience & warmth. When ACoAs hear what a reasonable & respectful Inner Parent can say to the Child, many of us remark: “Wow, that makes perfect sense, but I would never have thought of it”.

I never get a responsesilent child
ANS: Our Inner Child (Natural & Adapted) is all our historical ages, from birth on, so when we connect it can be with the pre-verbal child or one of the older ages. Once you connect, the IC will talk a lot!
— The youngest one won’t have words to respond, only emotions & sensations. Pay attention to what your body & imagination is telling you. — HOWEVER – most of the time we don’t get a response (assuming we’re actually trying to illicit one!) because the child doesn’t trust us yet – we haven’t proven ourselves consistent or safe. Do you make an effort to communicate regularly, & with compassion? OR do you sound like you original parents?
REALITY – if we are persistent in talking kindly, realistically to the kid & asking it Qs, eventually it will respond, even if it takes months, but only if we’re persistent & loving

Taking to the kid doesn’t work – I’m still in pain
ANS: Most ACoAs have a strong belief in magic! We think things should take very little time, that we should get things we want right away, that everyone should be nice…. AND we think that recovery will work fast, even if we don’t put much effort in. Soooo, “If I talk to the kid when it’s hurting the hurt will stop right away!” Right?
Sometimes it does, most of the time NOT. The immediate goal of this tool is to be with the child THRU it’s suffering, so it’s not alone. Some ‘piles’ of emotional pain will take longer to dissipate than others, depending on how much has been accumulated (a lot from the past – the size of a car wreck, OR a little in the present – the size of a stubbed toe, a paper cut…) vs. how much has been siphoned off by doing emotion work.

I don’t have time / it’s too much work, takes too longtoo much time
ANS: This is the same as saying you don’t have time to eat – ever. If you don’t nourish your body you get sick & eventually die. AND if you don’t feed you heart, mind & spirit with attention & love, you starve your essence. So no matter how outwardly successful you may be, your sad lonely, hurting part keeps gnawing away at your insides. As long as we ignore the kid, especially the wounded aspect, our damage runs our life! If you want your life to function better, this tool is an absolute must!

— Written dialogues using both hands does take time. If you’re serious about your recovery you’ll find a way – somehow. You know that you make time for the things you really want to do.
— BUT you can also be dialoguing in your head throughout the day – no matter where you are – in the bathroom, on the bus, waiting in line or on the phone, before you go to sleep…. ALSO, sometimes it’s enough to just mentally pat yourself on the chest, letting the kid know you’re thinking of him or her in a caring way.

NEXT: Talking to the I.C. (Part 3)



I have to protect myself at all costs


See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


1. RISK-AVERSE – This category is a form of withholding & resistance. It’s expressed:

— by not opening up emotionally in the right places, in order to heal (“You’re only as sick as your secrets”)
— by not being willing to feel & deal with our damage
— as all kinds of anorexia, not only with food but in many other areas of life ($$, love, career, self-care….)
We prevent ourselves from taking in all the good things available to us, depriving ourselves because of S-H, from the belief that we don’t have a right to prosperity & peacefulness. But the deeper reason for not risking very much is to keep up the fantasy / demand that someone else will eventually rescue us from having to grow up & be responsible for ourselves.

SOME ACoAs are :
a. MORE risk-averse – hardly ever taking risks of any kind, living mainly as victims, who stay in menial or unfulfilling jobs most of their work life, stay closer to home, don’t try new things, don’t reach out…
b. LESS averse: There are also some who are more adventuresome in many ways, possibly in the ‘action’ category, but afraid to risk in other important areas, often emotional, or a combination. EXAMPLES
NOT:silent scream
speaking up for yourself, asking for your needs or preferences, protecting the Inner Child
• asking for help; making calls; talking to unfamiliar people
• responding to a Q which you know the answer to; asking Qs when unsure or confused
• setting boundaries or limits on what is acceptable behavior from others
• avoiding people who are needy, users, leaches, abusers
• leaving a bad or outgrown relationship OR rarely or never being in one; having an adequate support system
• having an adequate salary to live comfortably (under-earning), or greatly increasing your income
• pursuing a career passion or vocation which has been a long-held dream; taking classes to expand your world, ‘following your bliss‘
• starting over, somewhere else that’s more suitable to you
• trying out new foods; changing personal style of clothes or hair when appropriate (with age…), improving your living conditions
• looking for new, better or easier ways to do things  —– etc.
• learning & then doing something creative, & showing it off

Present-day REASONSobey the rules
• can’t take center stage in your own life
• copy a parent’s life-long fear of risk
obey your specific toxic rules
• rebel against family demands for success
• don’t want to lose the proof of their abuse
• not allowed to be visible, or out-shine them

also FEAR – of:
• abandonment, reprisals, punishment
• authority; not being perfect; not picking the right thing
• being a ‘laughing stock’
• being shown as incompetent (not knowing)
• dealing with competition
• having to deal with others’ jealousy
• not getting deepest desires, anyway
• we’ll have to face our childhood damage AND CHANGE!
• have to S & I (outgrow & out do unsuccessful family)
• may have to leave someone unsafe or incompatible (parent, friends, mate, children, job, addictions, locations….) if they prevent our growth
• have to deal with the discomfort of getting good things & being successful, as an adult – which the WIC says it doesn’t know how to be
• then have to take more risky steps after that… maybe even scarier (like: write something, then publish, then promote, then…)

RECOVERY:  In terms of T.E.A., while risk is primarily about Actions, there are many which fit into Emotion & Thinking – the risk of personal growth, which comes from the WIC’s fear, as a result of:leave home
T. – internally disbelieving & disobeying the Negative Introject, which is our addiction & attachment to our family (giving up our denial)
E. – being able to tolerate the painful emotions what surface in the process of letting go, both from re-experiencing pent-up old pain, as well as facing being hurt by current family judgment & abuse for ‘leaving them’ ie. upsetting the family mobile by changing the dysfunctional dynamics.
A. …. & all the healthy actions: clearly objecting to abuse, disobeying Toxic Rules by doing positive things, & sometimes having to distance ourselves from actual family members & dealing with the possible fallout

NEXT:  Risk Addicted

ACoAs: Healthy RULES (Part 3)

new life 

a new life, a better life !!”


SITE: Healthy Family Rules

As mentioned in the last post, these statements are for the Healthy Adult & Loving Parent parts of our psyche – to know how to best take care of our Inner Child.
Each statement can be used as an inventory:
a. Resistance:
• why do I NOT want to include this in my life?
• what do I think will happen if I follow this idea?
• what do I need to give up in order to incorporate this?
b. Willingness:many Qs
• what do I need to have / do, before I can use this ?
• how can I implement this concept into my life?
• who can I ask for help with it?
• who do I know who already lives this?
c. Results:
• what happens when I act on this concept?
• how is it different from what I projected?
• what do I need to do, to increase this principle in my life?
OF COURSE – If you can add questions to this list – please do.

NEXT: Safe & Unsafe People

RESPONDING to Controllers (Part 1)

resist control 

unless I let them

PREVIOUS: Getting controlled – #3

REVIEW: ‘Relationship FORMS 1 & 2’

REMINDER: Go to Acronym PAGE for abbrev.


• Even when we’re with someone who is controlling, we always have at least some control of what happens to us, whether we use that option or not.  As Glenda the Good Witch says in The Wizard of Oz “You always had the power!” If we must stay with a C., we have to protect ourselves, otherwise all we can do is capitulate or leave.
EXP: As soon as Jody met sexy Sam at a party, she could tell that he was controlling – just like her mom. Even so, they started dating & eventually he moved in.  His charm compensated, but Jody still needed to deal with his habit of assuming she was exactly like him (narcissistic control). She went along if it didn’t matter to her, but stood her ground when it did. For a while at the beginning of the relationship, to shift the focus from any specific topic of contention – to the bigger picture – she started calling him ‘Martha’ whenever he acted like her mom! It took him a while to catch on, but eventually he got the point & backed off (but most C. won’t!)

Re. THEM – Cs are also wounded people who don’t have a right to their needs, but choose to manipulating others to provide for them & to feel cared for. Pay attention & evaluate which type you’re dealing with:
• Some are not consciously aware of being controlling, & will be confused or surprised if confronted.  They have no idea what they are doing ‘wrong’, but also don’t want to know, so they’re not likely correct their behavior
• Others are aware of trying to deceive or control but will vigorously deny it because they don’t want to be caught (it’s socially shameful) & they don’t want to be responsible for their actions or old pain. So they’re not likely to change either, because they’d have to deal with their damage
• A few will be willing to consider what they’re doing, when it’s pointed out & will work to change it
• And some of us are already in the processes of letting go of being controlling!
DECIDE: When responding to a C, consider what outcome you want:
— to inform, vent, set a boundary, for self-protection, fairness…. OR
— for revenge, to punish, retaliate, humiliate…."I" statement
✶ If you want to be as psychologically clean as humanly possible (NO perfectionism!) then practice making neutral or ‘I’ statements:
“I don’t respond well to being bossed around” , “That’s not helpful”!
“It sounds like you’re trying to get me to_________. Is that right?”
“When you ___________, I feel ___________” , “I’d rather__________”
“That’s not what works for me / how I feel about it / what I need…”

EXPECT: resistance in the form of excuses, protests, denials, blaming …. from the hard cases.  You can let them know you understand their feelings & wishes, but that you maintain the right to have yours, even if that upsets them, makes them angry, attack you or leave in a huff!
• No matter what their reaction, you decide what you’re going to agree to – OR NOT, based on your needs, not theirs!

REMEMBER: When someone insists on accusing you wrongly (a big button for ACoAs) or just refuses to ‘get it’, only state your truth as clearly as you can. You may have to repeat your position, but do not try to make them understand where you’re coming from, do not keep explaining why your point is valid, and do not justify yourself – ever!  To stay & argue with someone like that just makes a fool of you!
• The more relentless someone’s controlling behavior, the more narcissistic the person is. In that case you cannot win, because they cannot and will not see you as a separate individual with your own personality. The only healthy thing to do is walk away, no matter how much it hurts, even if it means letting them think they won the round.
➼ To do anything else is to humiliate ourselves!

MIRROR: If you’re around a controller long enough you’ll inevitably absorb the pain & rage they’re projecting evil mirroronto you (so they don’t have to deal with their own issues).  If we let this continue it’s because we still have too much S-H, AND as a co-dependent Rescuer we may think it’s helping them feel better – to ease the C’s pain by providing attention, understanding & compassion. But it’s never going to be enough to fill their bottomless pit AND it’s not our job to parent them! All we’re doing is rewarding them for toxic behavior, giving them permission to keep up the bad behavior, & allowing ourselves to be their emotional garbage can!   NOTE: The ‘evil’ is their disease, not the person.

CORRECTION: We need to reflect back to the C. what we hear them say & contrast that with our Truth. Also say how we feel as a result of their behavior, & if possible what emotions we observe in them.  “You just told me I’m no good for nothing. I know that’s not true about me AND it’s not a nice thing to say to anyone!” , “I heard you tell me I’m stupid for not knowing _____.  Why do you need to put me down?” , “You sound really angry at me. What’s really bothering you?”

Another way of saying this is: Throw the ball back in their court. Let them be responsible for their defense mechanisms – their unhealthy ways of communicating. Do not take it on & then feel bad about yourself.
Exp: While at a party Tina started to talk to a group of friends.  One of the men asked her what she did & she told him she was an Astrologer. He started making fun of her & her profession, which Tina did not appreciate. Instead of justifying her choice of career, or getting angry & attacking him, she put her hand on his shoulder, looked him in the eye, & calmly said: “Why are you talking to me that way?” He was stunned, & backed right up, barely knowing what to say – but actually apologized!

NEXT: Responding to Controllers (Part 2)