OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 5b)

to heal old wounds

PREVIOUS: Forgiving others #—

SITE: 15 things Forgiveness DOESN’T mean….



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

Tool 5a.
OTHERS (cont.)
DEF. in Part 4a)

Forgiving others is either:
1. about repairing relationships, to re-instate broken or lost trust, OR

2. letting go of the relationships because it cannot be repaired

NOTE: Forgiving in no way implies trusting the other person, nor does it guarantee the continuation of the relationship.

To repair a broken connection, both parties must be willing to participate.
• In some cases only one person has caused the problem – which they must own up to, & the aggrieved person will have to be willing to forgive. But forgiving a wound (letting of anger & resentment) does not guarantee a reinstatement of trust. That has to be earned by the wounder, & that takes time.

Some relationships CAN NOT be fixed & some shouldn’t be. This is especially true when someone has persistently acted badly. Do not ignore this!
There are situations where it’s not worth the effort to repair a relationship. No matter how hard we try, it’s not going to work, because the other person is won’t to meet us half way, unwilling to consider what motivates their disruptive behavior. Without that willingness, they will not change.

TOXIC people must be avoided whenever possible. If we were exposed to one or more for any length of time, we need to get away from them as soon as possible, & then heal the aftereffects – on our own, using all our tools – so they don’t keep hurting us (inside) even once they’re gone.

• In other cases two people have butted heads, each hurting the other – reacting from unhealed damage. If the relationship is worth salvaging – to both – then each will need to go to their separate corners to figure out what in their own background set them off. Then eventually come together to share their awarenesses, using only ‘-I-‘ statements.

This too is usually a slow process. Sometimes it will allow the relationship to continue – maybe stronger, maybe not.
OR – it will serve the purpose of each one knowing their side of the street is clean, but may force them to see they’re really not compatible going forward. Then the parting can be sad, but it eliminates residual guilt & regret.

Letting go of anger (Es) & resentments (Ts) is internal, which must then be expressed externally by changing old patterns into healthy ACTIONS (As).

++ CHOICES – We’re responsible now for choosing to surround ourselves with people who are self-caring, positive & kind. Then there would be a lot less to forgive!  Recovery means being much more discerning about who we trust. Since people tell us about themselves all the time – believe them! So it’s not actually them we should trust, but ourselves. We can work our way out of denial by carefully listening to & observing what others put out & then admit what we see & hear – especially when there is a persistent pattern to someone’s erratic /cruel /narcissistic / unavailable behavior

++ SPEAKING UP – As we outgrow P-P we can be much less ready to automatically forgive & forget’ indiscriminately. It’s not in anyone’s best interest. Repeatedly overlooking bad behavior in others not only harms us, but can also seriously effect our loved ones, friends & co-workers who are around the acting out, to everyone’s detriment. Being emotionally mature includes holding people accountable for their inconsistencies & incompetence, for not keeping their agreements, for damage they create, for abusive or disrespectful things they say…..

++ SELF-PROTECTION – At the same time we can avoid blaming others. In the present, if someone hurts our feelings or injures us in some other way, we must ask them to stop. We are not responsible for their reactions to that.  If they won’t stop, we can remove ourselves or at least keep our distance. We are not responsible for what the other person did or did not do – only for our Es & the way we handle it (As).
EXP: If someone steps on your toes, that’s on them. Definitely say OUCH! & move your foot.  If they keep stepping on it, that’s on you, for staying close enough for them to do it again & again.

NEXT: Accepting ourselves – in Childhood


POSITIVE Responses to Painful Events (Part 4)

Sfloral 4 


what’s the best way to handle this?

PREVIOUS: Positive Reactions – Thinking

REVIEW: Events, Emotions, Realistic Thinking

REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

First: THINK, take a minute to breath, grab a hold of your kid if it’s getting too worked up.  Being healthy does not mean we won’t want to react in an old way.  It does mean that we have a better alternative that is stronger than the pull of our damage.

Second: Check in to see what emotions are being stirred.  Your actions will be based on how well you understand positive reactionsyourself at that moment.
Third: Check your mental files for a ‘pre-recorded’ word or phrase you’ve practiced for such an occasion. You can draw from the list on  (see “Effective Responses”) . They really work.
• Talking or being silent are both a kind of action – active or passive.  What matters is which ego state it’s coming from.

EXP: Gina was sitting in a 12-Step meeting, listening to the thin, angry blond in all black leather go on & on for 5 minutes about how she HATED EVERYBODY! Gina’s immediate reaction (from her IC) was to go over to the woman & sooth her, be a friend, commiserate… but this time her inner Good Parent took over & said to the kid: “NO WAY! Didn’t you hear her?? She said everybody – that includes you. You’re not exempt just because you care, & you aren’t going to change her to make yourself feel safe!”

a. Saying Nothing – there are times when the only thing that makes any sense is to be quiet. We can give someone a quizzical or angry look or just a smile. A genuine laugh may be called for when something ridiculous or outrageous has been said, & no other response is possible! BUT NOT from anger or derision. Rather, with humor & a sense of irony.
Some resilenceasons to not do or say anything:
• it’s not a safe time or place
• it’s not worth the effort
• others are around & you would do yourself some harm
• you know the person or situation can not be corrected or improved
• you need time to process what just happened
➼ LETTING GO of being heard, of being right, of getting what you want , of fairness… is sometimes the ONLY possibility & takes a level of emotional maturity to accept

EXP: Sandra’s sponsee asked if she’s be at Friday nite’s meeting & she said yes.  That day she developed a cold & decided to stay in bed.  Sat morning the sponsee called very angry: ”Why didn’t you show up last nite? You said you’d be there & I brought you flowers for your B/day! You’re so unreliable, I can’t believe you stood me up….”  Sandra told her she was sick, but the woman didn’t believe her. A week later, when they saw each other, the sponsee started up again, berating her.  Sandra just stood there & listened. She decided that, knowing this woman, nothing she could say would make a difference.  So after a few minutes she said: “OK, bye” & left.  That was the end of their association.

✶ Sandra was aware that by not making the effort to convince her sponsee of her innocence, the other woman believed Sandra was agreeing with her & admitting fault! This is something Sandra has to ‘swallow’ & help her IC live with. But she’d learned from painful experience that justifying herself to anyone with a closed mind only made a fool of herself! It’s painful to be accused wrongly – at any time, but here she’d never be believed anyway, so why try doing the impossible?

b. Speaking Upspeak up
For this to be effective it has to come from the Healthy Adult ego state.  When we do that, it breaks the spell of tit-for-tat between the WIC interactions of the any 2 people.
EXP: Joe & Bev are in a good long-term relationship. In the early days when they were ironing out some kinks, Joe occasionally expressed frustration with himself: “I’m no good for nothing!”  One time, annoyed with Bev, he said “You’re no good for nothing”. She didn’t comment, knowing he was projecting his self-hate, plus, she could feel in every cell of her body that the remark did not apply to her.  When Joe said it again on another occasion, Bev calmly replied: “You know, that’s not a nice thing to say to anyone, Joe”.  And he never said it again!

c. Walking Away
walk away There are times when physically leaving is the best option.  It may only happen once in a whole relationship – but it is a way of saying
— I won’t put up with this but I won’t fight with you
— I can’t stop you from being a jerk, I just don’t have to put up with it
— it’s better if I leave than say something I’ll regret
— you’re obviously not being an adult right now (either coming from bad parent or WIC) & I refuse to interact with you until you are

NEXT: Positive Responses – Part 5 (more actions)