OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 8b)

when I’m forgiven

PREVIOUS: Asking forgiveness #8a

SITE:16 Common excuses for NOT asking for forgiveness”
(Familiar excuses applying to anyone unwilling to be accountable, + Christian references)


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

Tool 6. FORGIVEN by OTHERS (cont.)
WHO (in 8a)

2. For WHAT: Here again ACoAs get things backwards: (see Part 4a)
Too much: we apologize, often too often, for things what are not ‘offenses’, only because our S-H, via the PP, says everything we do & ARE is bad/unacceptable.
EXP: Billy’s sponsee was always making ‘humorous’ fun of himself & he wasn’t even a comic. When Billy wouldn’t laugh at yet another putdown the sponsee was annoyed: ‘You don’t have a sense of humor!”. Billy’s response: “Self-hate isn’t funny!”

Too little: at the same time we hide from admitting the actual insensitive or destructive things we say & do, because of shame, guilt & FoA. Yet such negative actions make us feel bad about ourselves, so we hide even more – acting like nothing ever happened, instead of cleaning up our mess whenever possible.

a. Imagined ‘character defects’ (see Part 8a).
The alcoholics & other narcissists we grew up with forced us to gauge relationships based on what they wanted or hated – which we now project onto everyone else. We assume others will be as weak, as judgmental, as demanding, as manipulative, as needy, as controlling, as dangerous, as easily upset…. as our parents were. So we’re always looking out for emotional traps, trying to avoid other people’s disapproval & anger.

That makes us constantly worried that we have annoyed, bothered, offended, disgusted…. everyone else. But if we were to ask a person about something we said or did that we were sure they disliked/hated – they couldn’t imagine what had us so worked up – it hadn’t registered.
And if we tried to apologize for some imagined slight (based on our mind-reading ‘talent’) & they did remember the incident but barely noticed it, they might look at us quizzically or with amusement – since to them it was no big deal!

b. Real ‘character defects’ – because of damage.
Shame is at the root of all our wounds,
& asking for anything is considered shameful. So having to be humbly honest with someone we’ve hurt & then ask to be forgiven for our thoughtless or hurtful actions can be very uncomfortable, even terrifying – but only to the WIC part of us.

REMINDER – Admitting we have character flaws is NOT an indictment of our whole being. It’s not only human to be imperfect, but as ACoAs we definitely have more ‘issues’ than people raised in safer homes. All are a combination of our parents’ defects (which became our Introject), our native personality, & our response to all the abuse we suffered.

IMP: Before approaching others with your 9th Step – be very sure you will be talking to someone capable of treating you with respect. If they’re volatile or disdainful, don’t engage!

A WAY to START is to ‘lightly’ ask the person if they remember the event? that  you’re concerned about – unless you already know. Don’t make it sound dire.
1.  If they don’t remember, then drop it. If they ask why, say “I just wondered” & nothing more.😓

2. If they do recall, ask how they feel about it. Don’t put words in their mouth!
• If they say they’re OK, believe them – don’t try to mind-read their intention.
So leave it alone. Your guilt is your own – they don’t owe you absolution.

3. 😂If they express hurt, anger or disappointment, you know it’s time to apologize. Again – they don’t have to forgive!

NEXT: Passive-Aggressive Niceness – Intro-a



being blamed 

No matter what I do, it’s wrong!

PREVIOUS: Self-Hate – #3

SEE posts : What is Guilt?
What is Shame?
• ACoAs’ Need for Revenge


There is a lot of talk in the ‘spiritual’ community about forgiveness – ie – that we should not be blamers. Not blaming ourselves (S-H) or others (an attack) is a good rule for us in the present – now that we’re adults. And that’s a discussion for another post.

However, those same teachers & preachers never talk about what was done to us as kids – that among many other types of harm, our parents unfairly, inappropriately blamed us for all kinds of things – and what that did to our tender & vulnerable developing sense of identity!  This post is about what happened TO US as children. A hallmark of alcoholic (& other emotionally unhealthy) families is the mistreatment of their children in all 4 of life’s aspects: Spiritual, Emotional, Mental, Physical.

➼ Parents blaming their children for ANYTHING is ABUSIVE. Blaming us is the same as holding us responsible for their deficiencies & unhappiness.
Remember – abuse is not just physical, in all its forms. It encompasses all the ways people harm others – especially their children – by injuring another’s rights, self-esteem, mental clarity, sense of safety, emotional equilibrium & boundaries. So Blame fits into 3 categories – S, M & E.

Our damaged parents blamed us for things which :Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 5.06.44 AM
a. were NOT our fault (difficulties because of a learning disability, like dyslexia or ADD; the illness or death of a parent; a parent being left by a lover or spouse…)
b. was a projection of what the parents are guilty of (being fearful, irresponsible, lazy, feeling unlovable, risk-averse….)
c. we were not doing what they’re being accused of (being a ‘whore’ when she’s too young to have had sex at all OR seducing a parent’s lover/ spouse, when that adult is actually sexually abusing the child; using drugs, when the kid never has…)

d. we couldn’t do, especially without any instruction, & is accused of being stupid – when he/she legitimately can’t know something (fixing a car or other machinery, shopping by themselves, ‘getting; a hard school subject,  expected to know how to fix a parent’s personal, sexual & financial problems or forced to take care of a drunk or crazy parent, alone…)
e. were actually no one’s fault (an act of God, getting sick or having an accident…
f. one of our siblings or other child did, but we were held responsible for, especially if we were the Hero or Scapegoat (start a fight; steal or break something; get into trouble at school…)

g. our parents were jealous of, because they couldn’t do something we could (a natural skill or gift) & so they made that ability a bad thing
h. was mostly not true – like: always lying (“Kids always lie so we can’t believe anything they say”), always being stubborn, selfish, too sensitive, difficult, disobedient, stupid….Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 5.07.37 AM
➼ This may be a group of normal childhood characteristics which:
— sick parent cannot tolerate because of their own issues
— occur sometimes as a defense in the child because of family abuse & neglect…
— happen occasionally because kids are human ie. imperfect. Those behaviors & attitudes then get demonized – which make them both a ‘sin’ and more likely to continue, while we try to be perfect. We CAN’T WIN in a sick environment.

SOURCES of Parental Blame
a. Projecting their own self-hate, frustration & inadequacy onto us
b. Copying what was done to them – without any self-awareness, considering the effect on us or questioning if their behavior made sense
c. Automatically reacting badly to normal child behaviors which trigger their own old pain (their denied traumas, still unresolved)

d. Another way to take the focus off of themselves – making us responsible for their unhappiness allowed them to keep their denial in tact, thus perpetuating the ‘disease’ of alcoholism & narcissism
e. Parental Narcissism – seeing us as an extension of themselves, rather than as separate individuals, & their need for us to be perfect – in order to keep up the illusion of their personal & family OK-ness.

Kids are too young & vulnerable to fight back, stand up for themselves or even understand exactly what’s being done to them – only that it HURTS! And when they’re old enough to try – if they dare – they’re punished without mercy!
➼ Pushing away intense S-H & shame —> creates the need to BLAME someone or something else for ones own fears & lacks.

Now when others blame us (if were victimized that way as kids) :
a. we believe what that person is accusing us of (boss, parent, lover, friend…) because it agrees with our Negative Introjectblamed
b. we take that blame on, which feeds our self-hate. We feel terrible, & try to ‘be/do better’ BUT we may not have been at fault in the first place and one can never win, anyway, when dealing with a blamer!

c. we continue to choose (unconsciously) those people as friends, lovers, bosses… who already have the habit of blaming others – TO:
• keep us connected to / locked into our family system, from a sense of loyalty, love AND denial about how much that system harmed us
• validate our self-hate: after all, if our family told us over & over that we’re a mess – and see – all these other people tell us that too – then it must be true !
➼ THAT WAY we never have to hold our parents responsible for their verbal & emotional abuse, because it feels ‘safer’ to keep blaming ourselves, even though it’s self-destructive! (review: “They did the BEST they could post, #2, b, ii.)

NEXT: ACoAs’ need for revenge


to humiliate myself & let others

PREVIOUS: Humiliation – Part 1

SITE: “” (Beyond Intractability)

QUOTE :“…. It is a pervasive and all too destructive influence in the behavior of individuals, groups, organizations, and nations.”  ~ Donald Klein, author of ‘The Humiliation Dynamic: Viewing the Task of Prevention’

2. INTERNAL Source: Self-humiliation
Being put down always comes from outside, being done TO someone, & is NOT OK with most victims.
However, if you were continually humiliated as a child – at school, in the playground, but especially at home, you came to believe you deserved it, and it’s the way you should always be treated. Even though it makes you feel angry, sad, lonely, hopeless…. and maybe consciously you don’t think it’s right or fair – you’ve internalize the mistreatment (of course) & will act it out in many, or all, parts of your life. This becomes our Bad Parent voice – absorbed as the Introject.

• For ACoAs, being humiliated is experienced as : “You’re attacking my feeling shameHumiliation very essence, & it seems to make enough sense that I’m doubting my own worth, & so I feel shame”.   It represents a lack of self-respect – not regarding our qualities or actions, but about the core of our being – saying we have no value. Without ‘serious’ help to understand & deal with it, we assume that it’s the norm for us – perpetuating our degredation, & finding others who will also reinforce the original pattern.

SHAME is internal. Is an emotional response to an insult to our Self. As we can only FEEL humiliated if we agree with what is said or done to us, either because of being a child, or being an adult with low self-worth. When we’re insecure about our rights & our value, we’re more prone to feel shame when disrespected, because we give too much weight to what others think of us than to what they think of ourselves.
NOTE: Feeling ashamed is from us. ‘Being shamed’ is the same things as ‘being humiliated’ – & is from others.

WAYS of behaving out of Self-Hate which humiliate, belittle, disrespect, shame ourselves (add your own):
● an adult always acting or sounding like a child (childish / immature)

● ‘chasing’ anyone who is just not interested or definitely unavailable, &/or something unrealistic, not appropriate…
● acting out in various ways, public drunkenness, lewdness, fighting
● always grabbing the spotlight, being arrogant, showing off
● being sexually inappropriate, promiscuous
● being inappropriate in a particular setting (you’re actions / language may be suited to another venue, but not the one you’ve chosen)
● dating people who neglect & abuse you

● justifying or over-explaining yourself
● making a fool of yourself, for attention, from rage or arrogance
● not having or using common sense
● not ‘letting go’, not accepting realitytalking too much
● talking trash, over-using sexual innuendos
● trying to do the impossible, punishing self or letting other punish us for making mistakes
● telling everyone your personal business / all of your flaws / dumping problems inappropriately
● trying to convince a narcissist of your point of view, or that you’re right & they’re wrong

For more background on this version of humiliation, review posts:
Self-Hate & ACoAs / Our Wounded Inner Child / Over-controlling Ourselves / Toxic Family RULES / What is Emotional Abuse?

3. RESULTS of being humiliated
Donald C. Klein in “The Humiliation Dynamic,” points out that being disrespected can cause some people to become consumed by their wounded pride, producing ‘humiliated fury’
• Even if the humiliation is not intentional, as from a misunderstanding, the consequences can be severe, ranging from interpersonal conflict to international terrorism. Author Evelin Lindner calls it the “nuclear bomb of emotions.”

In 2 studies (PubMed), students were subjected to shameful events every day for 2 weeks. They reported their resulting feelings of anger, also pointing out class-mates who got angry. Narcissism was treated as a potential factor in their reactions. As predicted, shameful events made children angry – especially boys with high narcissism scores. These results validate clinical theory that shaming events can trigger ‘humiliated fury’.humiliation depression

• When turned inward this fury can result in depression & apathy. The accompanying S-H prevents someone from being able to meet their own needs, let alone have energy available to love and care for others.
• When turned outward it can generate paranoia & revenge fantasies, which can lead to sadistic behavior. Humiliated fury unfortunately creates additional victims, often including innocent bystanders.

Some consequences
People in power use humiliation as a form of social control & oppression. The fear of humiliation can be a powerful motivator for taking actions – sometime positive (to prove ‘they’re wrong’), but more often negative.
• Humiliation (internal or external) has been linked to abuse (to self or others), academic failure, delinquency, depression, discrimination, learned helplessness, low self-esteem, marital conflict, social disruption, social isolation, under-achievement, torture – even death.

1. Decide if the humiliating comment or action that does not – in reality – diminish your self-image, decrease your position, or tarnish your public face / reputation. OR
2. If the event does harm you socially (there has to be a concrete result) – but not your self-esteem – what can you do to repair the situation? Use any positive help you can find. ORtime to evaluate
3. Does the humiliation feel so familiar that you believe it? It’s IMP to identify why specific comments / actions hurt you:
• How does it echo your childhood?
• What loss (realistic or emotion-based) does it represent to you? (of self-esteem, of connection, of social opportunities, of financial benefit….)
• What do you need to do – if anything – to counter it?

Possible Solutions to being humiliated:
• If possible, talk to the offender (from the Adult ego state) & ask for the behavior to stop
• If they will not respond favorably, leave the degrading environment and find a more appreciative one, when possible. OR
• If ‘trapped’, even temporarily, with an abuser (bully, controller, sadist, manipulator…) you can re-frame the painful experiences in some way that acknowledges your strength and ability to cope. Most importantly – do not take it personally. This increases self-confidence & diminishes the damaging effects & fear of humiliation.

Being humiliated, by oneself or others, is NEVER justified!

NEXT: Arrogance vs Humility (Part 1)


I can’t imagine ever getting off the ground!

PREVIOUS: Anger T & F, #2

SITE:Humiliation” (Wikipedia)

QUOTE: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

DEF: Being in a state of disgrace, a loss of prestige &/or self-respect
NOTE: Humiliation is not the same as humilityThe opposite of Humiliation is Appreciation

HUMILIATION originally comes from external sources – which then get internalized as part of the PP voice. For ACoAs it comes first & foremost from our family, & then often from school, church, neighborhood…. It’s ‘being shamed’ rather than feeling ashamed.

A lesser injury may cause us to “take offense” at something, which is cognitive, intellectual – about what or how we think. Humiliation is more demeaning & hurtful – visceral, existential – about who we are fundamentally.  In the present, usually ‘victims’ disagrees with the humiliation laid on them – don’t like it, know they don’t deserve it, the treatment is seen as unjust….but can’t always stop it from happening.

1.EXTERNAL Sources
Humiliation involves an event or ongoing situation that indicates unequal power in a relationship, where we are in a one-down position & unjustly diminished. Often the painful experience(s) is/are vividly remembered for a long time & can lead to anxiety, especially if the exposure was prolonged. It victim/perprequires:
1. a Perpetrator who is exercising negative power, possible in many different settings

2. a Victim who is truly powerless (child, minority, the poor….) or is re-enacting a long-held victim role, & so is vulnerable to being humiliated
3. one or more Witnesses to -or- observers of the event(s), such as family members, neighbors, teachers, the general public, peers, officials…. who usually do not object or help, sometimes even egging the perpetrator(s) on, as in bullying

➼ The following list was compiled by Leland R. Beaumont at Emotional Competency” & can be applied to children as well as adults. Add your own.

PHYSICAL / SEXUAL (most visible)
Being : • boundary invaded, trespassed on, privacy violated
• denied basic social amenities or needs
• forced to do or say something distasteful & self-shaming
• injured, assaulted (hit, spit on…), attacked
• isolated or physically abandoned
• molested, incested, raped
• often beaten, slapped, kicked, punched
• the loser in a dominance contest / cheated on
• exploited, suppressed, violated
Having :
• abilities diminished as a result of being disabled or immobilized
• basic personal freedoms lost (mobility, access, autonomy)elder abuse
• competence / confidence damaged – from being tricked, trapped, mislead, opposed, sabotaged, let down
• goals & plans constantly thwarted, over a long time
• resources diminished from being defrauded, robbed, cheated, evicted
• safety or security reduced by intimidation or threat
• to see / watch a loved ones sexually assaulted
• to watch a love interest flirt with another, causing intense jealousy

• blamed for things that have nothing to do with you
• blatantly rejected, treated unfairly, forced to back down
• betrayed, cheated, lied to, defrauded, suckered, duped
• denied basic personal & emotional needs
• deprived of privileges, rights or human dignity
• dependent (not by choice), especially on weaker people
• forced to swallow one’s pride
• laughed at, mocked, teased, ridiculed, given a dirty look
• lowered in ones own or another’s estimation, made to feel powerlessmade fun of
• made to look stupid or foolish
• manipulated, dominated, controlled, forced to submit
• taken for granted, use to fill a need in others
• denigrated for ones values & beliefs, made fun of
• snubbed, put down, disgraced, shamed (not the same as feeling ashamed)
• treated as an equal by someone of a lower-status
• treated like an object (it) or animal, rather than a person

• always held them at arm’s length (mate, child, ‘friend’)
• deliberately overlook or ignored
• falsely accused, or subject to slander, gossip, insinuations
• given the silent treatment, or treated as invisible
• made to wait for someone unnecessarily, habituallymental abuse
• threatened with abuse, including verbal (name calling…), physical, sexual, psychological

• acknowledgement or recognition withheld
• having to agree with someone’s opinion or beliefs when they contradict your own
• the attention you get be a manipulation (how, when…)
• to apologize unfairly, when not guilty of anything
• your experience or information dismissed, discounted, silenced

• forced to defer to others who are less honorable, intelligent or less qualified
• poor, unemployed, foreclosed, homeless
• reduced in rank, responsibility, role, title, positional, power, authority
• publicly disrespected, downgraded, defeated, slighted
• shamed by bad investments, debt, bankruptcyignored
• subjected to punishment, social powerlessness, imprisonment
• shamed for heritage, race, gender, appearance, character
• the victim of a practical joke, prank, or confidence scheme

NOTE: Not all recipients of these experiences are innocent. While many people are true victims – some ‘earn’ one or more of these mistreatments by acting out, being abusive, disrespectful…. or by unconsciously setting themselves up – to be taught a lesson, be punished or get pay-back.
This is not too say that humiliation is a healthy way to treat anyone – but is often the way people retaliate on a perpetrator, or copy their original tormentor by inflict on others injuries previously done to them.

NEXT: Humiliation (Part 2)

Ennea: TRIAD EMOTIONS (Part 1)

I don’t know what to do with them!

PREVIOUS: Triad Emotions – Intro

SITE: Enneagram: Ancient knowledge, modern psychology


234s – HEART / Feeling Triad: Low
Self-Esteem & Longing

PHYSIOLOGY: triad associated with the mammalian part of our brain
FOCUS: this ‘Center of Intelligence” uses emotions, intuition & imagery – rather than bodily senses
ROOT Emotions: SHAME, & GRIEF/Sadness, hidden HOSTILITY

RESPONSE: from their heart first, then the head, & gut last
POWER: from their ability to instinctively feel emotions
TIME: mainly to the Past, needing to feel connected to long-term relationships & events
UNDERSTAND Life: best when info is translated into symbols of desire, through people & stories about themselves or their old experiences

● 234s long for a sense of identity, of figuring out “Who am I?”. Instead of going inward for this information, their main attention is on getting Affirmation From Others, especially those they feel close to, to the point of side-lining their own deepest needs. Total reliance on validation from others can lead to only being able to see themselves thru others’ eyes, unreliable at best, or to low self-esteem & possibly despair. It’s also called the “image” triad, because of a concern with how they are ‘seen’triad :grief

GRIEF / Sadness comes from negating oneself by having substituted a ‘persona’ as a partial or full replacement for the True Self. As children they didn’t have accurate or adequate mirroring. Not being able to handle their pain, they chase after attention & validation. When they feel a real or imagined threat to a connection with an important ‘other’, they can get very distressed, even panicked. This motivates them to stay attached, or do whatever is necessary to re-connect.

IMMATURE: While they may seem very emotional to others, these Types are the least in touch with their primitive senses (the way 8s are). Their natural instinct is to pick up emotional energy from the environment, the same way an audience takes on the enthusiasm of a charismatic motivational speaker, & then acts it out as if it was their own, (like audiences do with Tony Robbins)
EXP: 4s can be pseudo-authentic (dramatic), who assume they must be unique to receive love…. Actually – for them true authenticity would be to include emotions they may think are too ‘ordinary’ (caring, comfortable, annoyed, disappointed….)
MATURE: When healthy, their sensitivity makes these Types admirable, being highly valued for their genuine thoughtfulness & interpersonal skills.

Hidden AGGRESSION: 234s don’t openly acknowledge their wish/need to be aggressive. Instead tStriad shamehey use manipulation, guilt & self-pity – more passive ways of asserting themselves, which they consider safer

SHAME : In this context, it is the feeling of being “in the spotlight,” under scrutiny, rather than feeling ashamed of themselves as human beings. It grows out of the deep-seated preoccupation with the need to “See me the way I want to be seen” (rather than for who they truly are), which motivates their characteristic styles.

TWOS (2s) Helpers / Caretakers
Dealing with emotions: 2s are the most emotionally externalized, focusing outward their grief & shame. They over-express the positive aspects of their heart – at the expense of being real, so it’s an incomplete or false contact. However, they get a lot out of giving of themselves & conforming to the needs of others around them.
Need to be seen: Shows up as the need to be recognized for their affection & care of others, a form of ‘possessive affectivity’*
*Affectivity: Something influenced by, sensitive to or results from emotions

Shame: 2s compensate for shame by denying hostility, trying always to act in an idealized way (good girl/good boy). They feel shame when they meet with any form of disapproval, because they want so badly to be loved. The try to control their shame by working very hard to convince type 2 heartthemselves & others of being totally virtuous. They only allow themselves pleasant emotions & thoughts toward others, while repressing ‘ugly’ ones (such as anger & resentment for not being appreciated enough) – denying the possibility they may not be unconditionally loving.
— As long as 2s can get positive emotional responses from others, they feel acceptable, which helps to control the shame.

THREES (3s) Achievers / Performers
Dealing with Emotions: at the core of the triad, 3s are most out of touch with their heart-feelings, which are suspended so they can make a good impression, get the job done, & behave as or become the type of person they believe will make the greatest impression or win the greatest accolades. So they need to repress shame & grief, making it hard for them to know directly what they want or could hold as theirs alone (needs, gifts, dreams, wants….)
Need to be seen: their own success is most important, especially career-wise. This kind of recognition-need can be called ‘functional affectivity’

Shame: they deny their shame by disconnecting from their hearts, hiding from their underlying feelings of inadequacy, & then try to fill the gap by ‘being’ what they achieve. They do feetype 3 heartl shame (but don’t recognize it as such) if they experience any form of rejection, because they so want to be desirable. 3s focus on accomplishing tasks & ‘managing’ their shame by trying to become what they imagine a valuable, successful person is like. They learn to perform well, to be acceptable, even outstanding, often driven to relentlessly pursue success as a way of staving off feelings of shame & fear of failure

NOTE: Healthy 3s – from bonding with a loving mother – are the most authentic souls on the planet. Self-actualized 3s attract others with their magnetic personalities
Unhealthy – from bonding with a narcissistic mother – become sham artists, to hide an undeveloped soul. Hard-driving achievers, they claw their way to the top & crow when they get there, but their own narcissism drives others away.

FOURS – Loyalists
Dealing with Emotions: 4s are emotionally internalized, under-expressing their connecting-heart, & focusing their grief & shame inward. They have an artistic temperament, a love for aesthetics & are intense about everything – absorbed in their inner life, but away from their true feelings.
Need to be seen: they deeply want recognition for their originality, the need to be considered unique & special, often with ‘negative affectivity’

Shame: they try to control their shame by shoving hostility down deep, never finding it, experience it when they feel they don’t belong or are criticized, because they’re so afraid of being defective, & are the most likely to feel inadequate. To compensate, they focus on how unique & special their type 4 heartparticular characteristics, emotions & talents are – highlight their individuality & creativity.
4s also cover up their shame by cultivating a rich, romantic fantasy life to escape having to deal with ‘reality’ – whatever seems drab or uninteresting to them – using dramatic feelings & imagination to soothe themselves, & fill in the sense of self they’re think is missing.
(MORE…. from Lynette Sheppard)

QUESTIONS to ask yourself – for 2, 3, 4s

CHART: The Christian Enneagram of Sanctification
BOOK: The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective  – R. Rohr & A. Ebert

NEXT: Triad Emotions (Head)


catching myself 

I’ll know who to trust & who not to!

PREVIOUS: Patterns of Mistrust #2

BOOK: Trust in the Balance”  Robert Bruce Shaw (re. Biz + overview)

QUOTES: “Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else’s.  ~Billy Wilder
“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” Garth Henrichs

‘TRUST’ comes from the German word “trost” meaning ‘consolation’, which implies feeling comfortable. In this context it’s relevant to remember that ACoAs almost never felt comforted growing up. It’s one reason we were never able to trust! And now, as adults, we don’t realize how much we still need to be comforted, so we’re ashamed when we feel vulnerable, needy & ‘feeling sorry’ for ourselves

Genuine trust is first & ultimately about being able to trust ONESELF, a quality we cultivate via our thumbsUpTrue inner Voice. It is not about who or what others are. This is hard for ACoAs to internalize because of our co-dependence & S-H.
• ACoAs need & want safety above all else – even more than love – neither of which our parents provided enough of, so we believe we’re not entitled to them
•  But we can’t feel safe if we can’t trust. AND we can’t trust as long as we are flooded with Self-Hate! The Al-Anon preamble says “…..we will love you until you can love yourself”. ACoAs need to find people & / or groups that are safe enough to help us heal so we can become kind to ourselves (via the Loving Parent) & trust that “I know what I know!” (via the Healthy Adult)

Assumption: ACoAs usually think of trust only in the  POSITIVE – ‘I can rely on X…… I can expect Y to…..’, which is true but only half the story, & encourages Over-T
Balance: Healthy Trust also has to include knowing who & what we CAN NOT rely on. The unrealiablecharacteristics of damage are just as predictable and reliable as those of Health, but only to mess things up. We can trust that a specific person will continually abuse us or disappoint.  We can trust that a specific location will usually be dangerous. We can trust that a type of event is the wrong one for us……   Once we know what to look for we can see it all around us, and we can depend on the outcome to be harmful or just a waste of time – & not have to keep getting hit over the head!

Exp: If you’re not paying attention when you go into a room & sit down on the first chair you come to – you may be shocked & maybe a little injured if it collapses & you land on your butt – because you assumed all chairs are equally well made & sturdy
• Yet that’s what we often do with people & situations – we don’t pay attention or evaluate who or what we’re getting involved with.  Many times we accept friends lovers, jobs, pets, invitations …. without asking questions of ourselves or others: “What do I want? Is this something I’m interested in? Does this suit my needs or fit with my personality?”

TRUST (T) is valid when :emotioanally dependable
• we’re clear about the ‘rules’ of T – rather than being in fantasy
• the prerequisites for T exist – we’ve done some due-diligence
• we assess who or what does NOT warrant our T – so we don’t waste time & energy on them
• we experience a positive outcome from trusting someone (feel calmer or relieved / get the introduction we were told about / receive the money we were promised / enjoy a shared experience ….)

Psychological REASONS for Trusting – most not so healthy! (Morton Deutsch, 1973)
Despair: when a situation we’re in is hopeless but we can’t get out of it (like being a child), then being trusting is the lesser of 2 evils, allowing a form of survival
Masochism: pain & unfulfilled trust (PMES abandonment) may be chosen over safety & pleasure. Since people tend to search out confirmation of prior expectations, they’ll trust badly & often find their expectations fulfilled
Social conformity: when trust is expected / demanded – by a parent, teacher, boss, gang leader….. –  & a member of that group doesn’t comply, they are severely punished, labeled a coward &/or ostracized

Impulsiveness: inappropriate weight / value / hope put on a future consequences or outcome ofimpulsive trusting something or someone, without thinking thru the possible danger to self or others
Innocence: not knowing enough to understand the inherent dangers of a situation, either from ignorance, CDs or mental immaturity
Risk-taking: even when the danger is great – if one subjectively thinks the possible gains far outweigh any possible loss, the gambling type is prepared to take that risk (this can apply to love as much as money)

Confidence: that you will find what is desired from another – rather than what you feared – but this also implies a certain level of riskfia-color
Faith: the trust-er has faith in a path that’s pre-ordained by a Higher Force, so that whatever happens is fated & therefore welcomed. This removes a great deal of the distress caused by any outcome of a faith-based decision, even when unpleasant or tragic
Virtue: in some cultures (perhaps: rural, religious, fraternities, armed forces, police, gangs, tight-knit criminals….) cooperation & friendly social relations are based on mutual trust & trustworthiness, which are considered a virtue & a prerequisite (“I’m no snitch”, “I’ve got you back”)ladder of inference

TRUST as LADDER metaphor & using INFERENCE
Think of trust on a vertical continuum – it takes patience & attention to develop trust with someone or in something, because they have to prove themselves. SO:
1. It’s best to only exchange trust with others – a rung at a time. Healthy people can risk offering the first rung as a token of good faith & a desire to connect
2. People always, always tell you how they expect to be treated AND how your relationship will always turn out – by how they consistently behave (MORE)

NEXT: Healthy Trust (Part 2)

ACoAs: PATTERNS of Mistrust (Part 1)

protect heart 

– even if it keeps me from being loved!I

PREVIOUS: UNDER-Trusting (Part 3)

It’s very important to remember: we are not to blame for being deeply mistrustful of everyone.
At the same time we need to be clear about how we perpetuate the patterns set down for us by our trauma (see CDs: INFO & the Brain) so we can stop beating ourselves up, feeling ashamed, & limiting our options. Instead we can try out new internal beliefs & external actions

• We have experienced many, many betrayals by the important people in our lives – whether by family, friends, spouse, school, church or government. Some or all of these betrayals are so extreme that we may never be able to forgive, regardless of what the ‘gurus’ tell us. This is not to deny the benefits of forgiveness – just that if we are not able to do it (yet) but believe we should, ‘or else’, we unfairly add to our self-hate & sense of failure.

PATTERNS* of Mistrust
* All of these are being generated by the WIC in an attempt to protect ourselves from further harm, but are totally unsuccessful, since they prevent us from getting the closeness & love we so desperately need – AND have a right to. And all are forms of control based on trying to stave off  more PMES abandonment.

FAKE MEWIC pretending
We clearly got the message that who & what we were as a child was unacceptable to our parents. So as adults, when interacting with others, we try to ‘improve’ our personality by twisting ourselves unnaturally into something we think this present-day person or group is going to want – the WIC dressed up

• We spend a lot of time trying to figure out “how I should feel”, “what I should wear”, “what I’m going to say”…… & never get it quite right, because it’s artificial. Of course, if we are being run by our WIC, we don’t know who we are or how to relate from a place of empowerment, so it is very hard to be healthy and safe at the same time

Some of us decide at the beginning of a relationship (potential friend or lover) what kind it’s going to be, without having enough information about the other person or giving it enough time to develop organically. We may think:peopel labels
• “This is just going to be a friendship”  • “This one is just for sex”
• “This one isn’t going to last”    • “This is just casual”
• “This is permanent”   • “This is the one I can’t live without”  • “This one I’ll hate forever”……

Again, this is trying to control the outcome and be prepared for the inevitable abandonment we expect.  Preconceived notions may –
• actually create a self-fulfilling prophecy of loss because we prevented it from growing into something positive
• shock us with unexpected results, if we have illusions about it
• severely disappoint all unrealistic expectations
• occasionally surprise us by turning into something better than hoped for

Because we were so often hurt as a child, we conclude that for the rest of our lives everyone* will inevitably do us harm, sooner or later.  So we assume the worst of everyone we meet, men & women, altho’ some of us may be more afraid of one gender than another, depending on which parent was more paranoidconsistently damaging or crueler.

• We actually scan our environment for the potential danger we’re sure is there & – of course – we find it.
• We ALSO ignore all the neutral or positive people & things around us, so we can maintain our ‘story’: “The whole world is dangerous”, in order to validate our childhood trauma

* This is our reaction even with people who have proven to consistently treat us well, making it hard to benefit from anyone who can be there for us – in healthy ways

NEXT: Patterns of Mistrust (Part 2)