Co-Dep EXTERNAL Negatives – in US

screen-shot-2017-02-28-at-10-47-34-am
I WAS SO SURE BEING NICE
would get me liked. Not! 

PREVIOUS: Co-dep External damage (#1)

SITE: Childhood Trauma Recovery ARCHIVE
Co-dep in Children

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

The HIGH COST of being ‘too nice’ (cont.)

NEGATIVE RESULTS – in US

• You have unrealistic expectations of others
Since you think of yourself as well-meaning, you may automatically assume that others have the same good intentions. When they don’t reciprocate’, you think it’s about you, that they’re being mean or taking you for granted. Not meeting your (unspoken) expectations feels too disappointing, easily leading to anger & resentment.  BUT it’s either your —
— faulty thinking: that everyone is just like you (symbiosis), when they may just be taking care of their own needs – instead of yours, and/or
— 
faulty choices: sticking mainly to self-centered & abusive people who have no intention of reciprocating

EXP: ACoAs have our own version of Hansel & Gretel – You’re in the forest of daily life & run into the child-eating-ogre (‘perpetrator‘). Your WIC takes over, glued to the spot, looking up innocently, with big eyes & think: “You wouldn’t eat me, would you madam/ mister monster?” – instead of getting away as fast as possible, the way healthy people do!

You come off as tone-deafdo not tell to smile
Over-friendly people may mean well, but it can certainly be annoying, insensitive, even rude – rubbing others the wrong way  – because it’s a form of not listening.
EXP: A woman undergoing very painful medical treatments needed physical therapy. The young male receptionist in that office was a california-cheery type (but not in CA), who always beamed “It’s so good to see you!! How are you today?!!”
Walking slowly with a cane, the patient was obviously weak & in great discomfort. She was not amused by the greeting, much less uplifted. Even if his style was genuine, it truly lacked empathy, & was his need to project sunshine even tho’ it didn’t suit the situation. Being quietly gentle or even neutrally polite would have been much more soothing.

According to the School of Life, the too-nice are guilty of 3 major errors:
1. Believing you have to agree with everyone – making you a liar
2. Handing out empty compliments – making people think you’re fake
3. Being remorselessly upbeat – suggesting you can’t ‘read’ situations correctly, if at all – because you don’t have emotional intelligence (EQ)
These make it unsafe for others to reveal their truest selves when around us.

• You attract needy people
Just like ‘takers’ are your catnip, you are catnip to those even more desperate than you! Over-dramatic, clingy, controlling /demanding, whiny adult victim types will find you & try to drain you dry. They expect you to be mommy/daddy, therapist, nurse-maid, char, “butcher/ baker/candlestick maker”. And they’re manipulative, playing on your need to be needed, skilled at guilt-tripping if you don’t be-or-do what they want.
ALSO:
• You attract aggressive, demeaning treatment
Being over-friendly invites bullying from arrogant personality types, who instinctively recognize the “Kick-me” sign on your back that you don’t realize is there. They smell weakness – your insecurity, fear of loss & lack of boundaries – which energizes their sadistic need to vent their rage on others, rage toward their own weak family members who severely abandoned & disappointed them

•  You get stuck in this role
Once everyone gets used to your pattern of ‘selflessness’, it’s not only harder for you to change, but many people you know will strongly object if you do start having clear opinions & setting boundaries. It would mean they’d have to make changes too, which humans tend to resist

• You can’t do your job well
Especially as a boss, if you’re too easy & agreeable, you:
— won’t get rid of people hurting your company
— won’t stop workers, suppliers & customers from taking advantage
— can’t make company beneficial changes because it might ‘hurt’ someone
— can’t do great things that require forging your own way
(Stop being ‘nice’ at work)

• You can hurt others
Being too available for too long is so wearing that it leaves you with no time & energy for yourself or friends. If you’re dealing with needy people, whatever you give will never be enough. Without setting & holding to firm limits, & with no reciprocation or appreciation, you will eventually get fed up. Then you explode or cut them off cold turkey. This leaves the clingers confused & hurt, ‘loosing all faith in humanity’. But they just put their faith in someone who has their own ulterior motives & almost as weak boundaries as themselves.

NEXT: External negatives – in us #2

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Co-Dependent Anger-Niceness (Part 1)

too niceWHY DON’T PEOPLE APPRECIATE
how hard I work at pleasing them??

PREVIOUS: Symptoms of Angry-niceness – toward others

SITE: Being too nice – dangers in 4 areas of life

QUOTE: ” A person cannot truly be free without self-reflecting” — Hegel

POWER ISSUES
All dysfunctional thinking & behavior grows out of our personality interacting with the unhealthy parenting we were originally stuck with.

Co-dependence (‘Roles & Co-dep’ andAnger & C0-dep’ posts) begins in early childhood, & rarely if ever diminishes on its own. Instead, without Recovery, it usually gets progressively more exaggerated & painful. It’s most often set up by a dominant-submissive family pattern. Only the parent(s) or other caretakers were allowed to have any power – over everything – what you did, what you thought, what you felt, what you wore….. & all the things you were not allowed.
And when children’s PMES needs & emotions are ignored & punished, they grow up without knowing who they are, what their rights are & with the assumption they are not allowed to exercise personal power. (Our Rights).personal power

Power is not a dirty word or an evil concept. It is only a negative when used to force others to do what we want, since that means it’s without their consent & against their will. (Rescuing vs. Healthy Helping)
Internal, personal power is essential for healthy functioning. This is what’s missing or very weak in all secretly-angry people.
 ❤️
 Being thoughtful & kind to others, needing companionship, or even going out of our way to be helpful is NOT automatically co-dependence. Motivation is what counts. (Deserving vs. Rights)

USES: The seemingly contradictory reasons for people-pleasing is the 2-sided coin of being afraid of independence & at the same time of being dependent, ie. fear of both abandonment (Separation) and fear of intimacy (Symbiosis).
Some people are more terrified of one than the other – consciously – but the 2 are so deeply connected, they both contribute to ‘over-niceness’ as a way of keeping everyone at bay. (Boundaries & ACoAs #3, re. Stayers & Leavers)

fear of abandonment1. Fear of abandonment (FoA): We always feel like outsiders, longing to belong. Being over-nice is supposed to keep people attached to us, but is counter-productive since they never get to know our whole self, not just our wound-flaws but also our true beauty.

2. Fear of enmeshment (FoE): We’ve been hurt & betrayed too many time, & suffocated by a needy parent. Well, we’re nobody’s fool – we’ll just stay behind ofear of enmeshmentur wall!
Being over-nice is supposed to prevent others from crossing our boundaries to the point of strangulation, but instead it just covers a layer of ice, creating PMES starvation. BUT of course that’s because we don’t actually have boundaries, so have to use artificial protection.
(These are related to Attachment styles)

SELF-CENTERED?
If asked, most Co-dependents would swear they’re giving, caring, selfless creatures. Their True Self may be all those things & more, but Co-dependent angry-niceness is a defense mechanism, & the motivation for all those ‘helpful’ ways actually comes from the desperate needs of the WIC to shut up the PP in our head! Not to mention that under all that sweetness lurks a volcano, dormant but deadly.(‘Rescuing)

• We’re told that we can’t love others until we love ourselves. But we were taught that’s selfish & that we don’t deserve it anyway
• We’re supposed to stop only thinking of ourselves & consider other people’s point of view – but isn’t that what we’re already doing???

So, which is it? Me or them? Selfish or self-less? Well, it both because Mental Health is always about balance (20 characteristics).

3 Forms of Selfishness (S)
a. Neutral when we do anything good for ourselves, & it doesn’t involve anyone else
b. Bad – when we do interact with another in a way that seems to only benefit us, AND hurts the other. But it can also backfire. 
c
. Good
– when we do something that we like/ love/ want – with someone else, who also benefits. (MORE )

SO? In recovery our P-P / Co-dep hopefully diminishes, but any acting out of it is the BAD kind of Selfish, because – no matter how much we con ourselves, aware or not – the co-dep part of us is only interested in manipulate others into providing needs we didn’t get at home & that we don’t believe we can provide for ourselves.

❤️ But, the more we take care of ourselves, (good S.) the more we can clearly see other people as they actually are, both similar & very different, & respond accordingly (more good S.) – rather than what we want them to be or want from them (bad S.).
(“Abandonment pain, Now“// “How ACoAs Abandon Others“)

NEXT: Co-Dep angry-nice, #2

ACoAs – ARROGANCE vs Humility (Part 1)

I CAN ONLY STAND MYSELF
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

MIND-READING vs Intuition (Part 1b)

illusion
YOU DON’T KNOW ME!

I know I’m right

PREVIOUS: Mind-Reading  (Part 1a)

Posts: Symbiosis & ACoAs” &
How ACoAs Abandon Others”

 

1. MIND-READING (M-R)
a . Official meaning (previous post)

b. A Variation
Another way mind-reading can show up is projecting our wishes, needs & tastes onto others.  It’s not a strict interpretation of the definition, but is the same aspect of the child’s narcissism – ‘I am you & you are me.’  It’s still based on OUR personality, not on who the other person is.

INSTEAD OF nurturing us, our family:
• over-controlled us               •  expected us to be little adults
• demanded we be perfect and without needs – so they wouldn’t have to deal with us
• didn’t guide us, so we had to fend of ourselves, without much training!  – which then became another version of the ACoA Dilemma mentioned recently:
✓ As kids – we had to take care of ourselves – not always in material ways, but definitely emotional & often mental, which gave us the message we weren’t worthy of being taken care of – SO
✓ As Adults – we believe we should not / cannot care for ourselves, from lack of appropriate help and lack of permission

i. The WIC projects that everyone is like our parents – who were totally wrapped up in their own worries & addictions.worried child
• They expected us to figure out what they needed & then provide it. This was either said or implied, but we got the message.
✶ So that’s what we assume everyone else wants of us too.
• Also, we were punished for not getting it right!  Either directly, by them berating or hitting us, or just by continuing to be drunk, crazy, mean, depressed….  This left us with a great deal of anxiety – fearful that we’d get it wrong AND not knowing what to do or how to be, anyway

ii. We’re still trying to make everyone SAFE so we can feel less terrified, by making sure they have all their needs met – by us. The assumption is that everyone is as weak, needy, incompetent, scared, sick…… as our parents were.  The WIC is convinced that when we fix them, they will:  protect us, never leave us,  take care of us, love us …. if only we work hard enough to get it right. Unfortunately, as long as our Adapted Child picks, they’re going to be unsafe!

iii. At the same time it’s also a projection onto others of what we want & need, but are not confident we can provide for ourselves.  “If I take care of you, you will become strong (& grateful) & then be able to return the favor – without my having to ask!”  We learned it was shameful to have needs,  so we have to “depend on the kindness of strangers”.
WE are not allowed to have anything for our true self, so all our efforts go into ‘figuring out’ what others need.
SO :
1. our need for information becomes “I have to tell her why she’s doing that self-destructive thing – she’ll be so interested”arrogant helping
2. our desperate hunger to be loved becomes “I know he loves me”
3. our need for healing becomes “he‘ll be glad I gave him this
recovery book to read, because he’ll see the light & feel better”
4. our fear of loneliness becomes “How could you go on that trip alone?  That must have been depressing!”
5. our fear of abandonment becomes “It must have been so hard for you to leave that relationship / job / country…”
6. our fear of risk becomes “… that was so brave of you!”…..

➼ At first glance this may seem legitimate because it sounds like the focus is not on us but on the other person. Actually – we are making up what the other person is needing, thinking or feeling, without honoring or respecting who they are! ✶✶✶ Even when they have told us what they like or don’t like – we still believe we know better! How arrogant.

REALITY (of the previous 6 points):
1. she tells you you’re not being a good friend & just listen without   lecturing – that you’re insulting & insensitive
2. he barely knows you’re alive, or just sees you as a friendreality
3. he didn’t ask for the book, doesn’t read it, doesn’t take any other advice you give & tells you you’re being controlling
4. she has no problem going anywhere alone, & while she may feel a bit lonely, she makes friends wherever she goes
5. she was ready to leave, in fact – couldn’t wait!
6. it did not take bravery on his part because he was not afraid

EXP:  Ernie is an only child, raised by a mentally ill mother who sat staring at the wall – often for day, & then sometimes she’d be ok for a while – except for an occasional fit of rage.  His father was depressed & had no time for him. One way Ernie survived was to live in a fantasy world and also be a good student.
• As an adult he has done very well at ‘mental’ work that does not require much interact with others. Even so, he longs to know the  comfort of a loving relationship & family life, which he has never been able to achieve. When he walks down the street and sees couple hand-in-hand or a parent talking with their child – he assumes that their life is great, they have no problems, they are happy and will be so ‘forever’.

CONTINUING this style of M-R
Internally — stay ‘separate’ by living in our own fantasy world //  stay deprived by minimally providing for our own needs
Externally — actually hurt others instead of helping them // don’t interact with others based on reality
➼ No matter what excuse or explanation we make up about it, mind reading is detrimental to ourselves and others.

NEXT: Mind-Reading vs INTUITION – 2a

MIND READING vs. Intuition (Part 1a)

mind-reading IS IT REAL OR…..
am I just projecting?

PREVIOUS: Healthy RISK

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

1. MIND-READING (M-R)
a. OFFICIAL Meaning
This is one of the many Cognitive Distortions (CDs) that plague ACoA & alcoholic thinking:  “… an arbitrary conclusion that someone is thinking or reacting negatively to you, without any real evidence… often going contrary to what the other person actually says and does, and is almost always pessimistic in nature…”
• This CD is fundamentally a projection of our IC’s self-hate or the critical voice of our Negative Introject.  It is an example of narcissism, which allows the IC to conclude we are the same as the other person, so — if I think & feel a certain way, so will you!

Wikipedia: Psychological projection is a defense mechanism whereby a person unconsciously denies their own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, such as to the weather, or to other people…. it reduces anxiety by allowing a form of expression of the unwanted / unacceptable (unconscious) impulses or desires without letting the conscious mind recognize those needs & wishes.

➼ Mind-reading is completely about US – notmindreading
about the person or group we’re referring to.
Because of that, we insure staying disconnected from the rest of humanity, which reinforces our sense of alienation.  ACoAs are notorious for believing ‘We don’t belong anywhere’, even when in a room full of other ACoAs!

M-R comes from:
• our fear of separateness – if we ‘know’ what someone is thinking then we are joined (symbiotic) & can stave off the bitter loneliness of the IC
• knowing from experience that our parents did not love us unconditionally & so assume everyone else will feel the same towards us
• growing up in families where emotional & mental honesty was missing, so we had to guess at what others were thinking or feeling
• needing to protect ourselves at all times from the ‘dangerous’ world
• not being taught how to gather info correctly, we make up things. We’re not allowed to ask AND assume we won’t get the truth anyway
• trying to figure out how to behave (if I believe I know what you’re thinking I can adjust my actions accordingly)
SO OUR:
✧ S-H becomes “Nobody likeprojections me”
✧ FoA becomes “She would never spend time with me”
✧ paranoia becomes “I know they’re talking about me”
✧ fear of rejection becomes “She’ll too busy to help me”
✧ perfectionism becomes “They all thought my _____ was awful”
✧ lack of boundaries becomes “The boss expects me to be just like her!”

Me, me, me!  It completely erases others, as if they didn’t have separate identities, minds of their own OR had other things to think about besides us!

EXP: Paul sits anxiously in a 12-step meeting, raising his hand but not getting called on.  He’s convinced the speaker is deliberately avoiding him – “he must not want to hear what I have to say… he doesn’t like me… he thinks he’s better than me…”, so Paul sits & fumes.angry guy

Reality: If Paul had asked the speaker about this, he would have been told: “I’m sorry, I saw your hand, but just didn’t get to you.  It’s so hard to pick – you want to include everyone, but there’s just not enough time.”
EXP: If your therapist yawns or seems distracted – you assume he / she is bored with you.  Or if you get invited to a dinner party, you’re sure they only invited you along to make up the seating numbers.

➼  Reality: you’re therapist was up all nite with a sick child or writing their blog! :), & you were invited to dinner because the hostess likes you & knows you’ll be a great addition!
EXP of NOT mind-reading:
I taught my 12-week ACoA course “Knowledge is Power” over 10 years. Reaction from students varied widely in every class.   Some listened intently, taking notes & asking questions.  Others fidgeted, yawned, fell asleep, got mad, or stopped coming. Regarding the latter group – IF I had used the classic form of mind-reading, I would have assumed that even tho’ some students seem interested, the ‘disinterested’ people indicated the ‘truth’ – that I was a boring speaker, gave complicated or worthless info & generally wasted their time – the LIE thatScreen Shot 2015-08-30 at 11.33.21 PM the bad voice whispers!

➼ However, I KNOW I’m a good teacher, that my material is important & useful, & have been told by many students that the course greatly improved their lives.  I also know that some people were very tired (especially being an evening class), some had ADD & so usually have trouble sitting still for 2-3 hours, but most of all –  the class material brought up a lot of difficult awarenesses & intense pain, so that some people just wanted to opt out. So their seeming lack of interest was ALSO a validation of my work! So there – PP! See – Little One??

CONTINUING this kind of M-R keeps us:
• Internally  – attached to our dangerous family // anxious & needing to isolate
Externally – suspicious of everyone’s motives // missing out on all the good people & opportunities that present themselves
SO: Once we clearly know an un-recovered person’s toxic pattern from many painful encounters, it’s time to stop giving them the ‘benefit of the doubt’!  How many more times do we need to be hit over the head?

NEXT: MIND-READING vs Intuition – 1b

Unrealistic Expectations – OVER (Part 2)

unrealistic expectations 

WHAT DO YOU MEAN
you don’t know what I need?

PREVIOUS: Unrealistic Expectations (Part 1)

REVIEW post: “Symbiosis & ACoAs

 

What ACoAs SHOULD NOT expect from people – & life (cont.)
B. REGARDING OTHERS

1. Be Rescued: WE WANT too much from others, which is the WIC’s demand that somebody make up for what we didn’t get from our parents. Yes, demand. We know this because of the hurt & rage that comes up when we don’t get the care & attention we’re so desperate long for – but rarely verbalize. The bigger the disappointment, the greater the helpless rage
• This seems obvious with Compliers, by hooking up with Rescuer ACoAs, who will do way too much for the ‘poor helpless victims’

• It’s less obvious with Isolators, who don’t seem to need much, if anything. They have the same longing, if not more so, but are even more afraid & filled with shame to let anyone see how weak & needy they are. So they keep ‘starving’. And waiting – for a miracle – which they don’t deserve & don’t believe will come. But they still wait – instead of getting some of what they need for themselves
• Even harder to see is that Rescuers also want to be rescued.  They’re not allowed to be given to, but under all their care-taking are the intense demands they secretly have of the rescue-ee: “…make me feel valued, needed, smart, appreciated, capable, loved … and most of all – get well so you CAN take care of ME!”

2. Symbiosis: WE WANT / expect others to treat us the way we would treat them (a symbiotic wish) – as if symbiosiseveryone is our identical twin. ACoAs will often say “But, I would never do that to them!” or “I don’t understand how she could have said that?!” or “They can’t really be that dumb/ mean / selfish/ careless…” or “I don’t understand how she could not like that!” etc.
• So what? They are not us! It should be obvious, but clearly it’s not: they have separate bodies, separate experiences, separate minds, separate tastes … so why do we still expect them to be like us?!
• When we think that way we’re reacting to people the same way our parents treated us – as extensions of themselves, rather than as separate beings. That’s our narcissism.

3. Mind Reading:  WE WANT / expect that people will automatically know what we need & magically come thru for us, without having to ask for it! We’re not allowed to know what those needs are, & if we do, not allowed to get them met. So – we feel we have to “depend on the kindness of strangers”.  We want them to do things for us that we :
• never learned, & resist doing so now, even tho there’s more help & info available in the world than ever beforemind reader
• really can do for ourselves, but it would feel too lonely & sad if we did, by reminding us of the original A/A (no one to help)
• are terrified of trying / risking, since we believe we’re too stupid, incompetent, slow…AND what if we fail?
• know it will take a lot of time (process) & we’re impatient. As kids, having to wait usually meant it would never happen. So, don’t ask us to wait – some more!
• have trouble with (meeting our needs) because of a disability, like ADD or dyslexia, depression or other disorders, so we don’t make the effort to learn how to manage these disabilities.  We let them continue to victimize us

4. Control: WE WANT others to be something they aren’t or can’t be (ever – or not yet), because they are pushing buttons in us, & our damage gets activated, so we’re impatient, even desperate.  We’re afraid that if they don’t change we’ll be trapped with them & continue to be hurt, OR have to leave.
That puts us in a double bind: ✦ it’s painful to stay, it’s painful to leave. However, for most ACoAs, our FoA is greater than our tolerance for loneliness & sadness – so we stay!  angry woman

So then we may act like:
• raging, abusive crazies – as if yelling would get thru to them
• bullying control freaks – trying to make them give us what we want
• sullen, complaining victims – expressing all our childhood powerless & hopeless feelings in the form of passive anger
• punishing, vengeful harpies – probably like one of our parents, to express our extreme frustration and anxiety
• people-pleasers – being overly helpful, solicitous, care-taking to insure we’ll be indispensable, so they’ll never leave …..
➼  We are NOT fundamentally any of these things, but when our PP & WIC get activated, we act out all our unprocessed pain

So we (silently or loudly) WAIT & WAIT, all the time desperate & in a panic. When they don’t take care of us, we hate them for not coming thru BUT also blame ourselves for not being good enough to deserve it. We get depressed, ashamed, resentful & even more hopeless. We say: “I knew it. No one can be trusted”!  or “See, the universe doesn’t want me to have anything!”  Can you hear the kid screaming?

5. Of Relationships – WE WANT people we like – to like us back, regardless (is Cupid in your pocket?)
• we think we’ll be able to win over that one person in the room who is giving us the cold shoulder
• that someone we feel deeply connected to will be our friend, mate, mentor… always & forever, as long as we’re both alive cupid
• that the party, event, date, trip… with someone we love – will turn out exactly the way we fantasize / plan it to be – usually without letting the other person know what we’re expecting/ wanting!
• that someone will do what they said they would – for sure!, like, call us back, bring us something they promised, keep their word, help us out, give us some info we need… (a lot of people say they’ll do things & maybe mean it at the time, but maybe they’re just people-pleasing, or they forget, or change their mind, or get too busy)
• that if a new acquaintance is very friendly, & we spent a nice time together, once or twice, that they will make an effort to continue the association (It just doesn’t happen with some people – & it’s no ones fault!)

6. TIME: See post on unrealistic expectations about how long things should take, both too long & not long enough –ACoAs & TIME”

NEXT: Unrealistic Expectations – UNDER

Unrealistic Expectations – OVER (Part 1)

 

I DEMAND MAGIC!
After all, reality bites, doesn’t it?

PREVIOUS: THEIR Attitudes – #5

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

ACoA IRONY
POINT 1: On the one hand – ACoAs concluded that we can’t be anything, can’t have anything, can’t get anywhere! As a result of years of suffering, a deep part of us gave up early in life: “What’s the use, I should be dead anyway”.

➼ A reminder about Abuse & Abandonment (A/A)
• Coming from THEM: A/A may or may not have been deliberate but was very real (not our imagination), & the effects last a lifetime.  We didn’t get nurtured, had to raise ourselves, look after younger siblings & be there for our parents! AND got all sorts of abused – things that no child should ever have to endure!
• For US to deal with: A/A happened on all 4 PMES levels – Physical, Emotional, Mental, Spiritual – NOT just about someone going away, so we have to work on healing aspects of each one, from going to the bathroom  to our relationship with a H.P.

POINT 2: On the other hand –  ACoAs want everything done for us.
Because we experienced so much hurt & loss as kids – we want it to be made up to us, one way or another. To compensate we hang on to the magical thinking of a child, having these ‘great expectations’ of life & people, which are not just wishful thinking but a raging need – which include… the absolute conviction / expectation / assumption – about how of a date, event, relationship, meeting… should turn out – or we’ll die!
• On the surface we say: “I don’t know how, I’m not allowed, it’s too hard …” but the real, real truth – not matter how deeply we bury it – is that we don’t want to take care of ourselves.  If our family didn’t do it for us, then we’re not going to do it for ourselves now! So there!  We’ve suffered enough so we’re understandably resentful & petulant. We want ours! This is equally true for the Hero as for the Lost Child.

➼ What ACoAs SHOULD NOT expect from ourselves, other people, & life in general:
A. TOWARD OURSELVESvictim
While having wildly unrealistic expectations (U.E.) of others, we can start by seeing how off our own are:
• being the victim – that because we were abused as children, we don’t have to be responsible for ourselves or forge a life of our own
• our narcissism – that we have the power to always make things go our way, AND that who others are or what they want doesn’t really count – if it gets in the way of our needs!
Most ACoAs, especially Rescuers, would never admit this, at least not out loud.
•  “fairness” – the assumption that if we make enough of an effort (be good), we’ll definitely & automatically get a payoff!  So when we have to wait for something – we’re confused. After all we did our part. And if the waiting is too long, we despair, assuming it means it will never happen.

1. Staying Attached : WE WANT to stay connected to even the most abusive family members & believe it’s our fault when that never seems to work out in our favor
• many ACoAs still have the illusion that if only we are perfect, ‘good’, successful, smart, care-taking of them…. enough – our addicted, self-centered, self-hating, severely damaged parents or substitutes (spouse, boss, adult-child….) will finally accept & love us just the way we are, & so we never have to let go & grow upbarren tree
• even the smartest of us may harbor a secret hope that one day our parents &/or siblings will ‘get well / see the light…’ for themselves. We want them to get better, because we know they’re suffering BUT we also want it so we can stay connected to them

• some of us have a parent who does eventually enter AA, and may become less abusive in some ways – but unless they also do at least some FoO work they’re not going to be the parent we always wanted
• we’re so desperate to get their approval we refuse to see how incapable of loving us many of them really are – especially if they throw us a crumb once in a while.  Walking away or pulling back from such people entails “Crumb withdrawal”!
• when they hurt us yet again, we either suck it up & use our own addictions to numb the pain OR we turn it completely on ourselves & become depressed, non-functioning & suicidal – for a while after any encounter with them.

2. Unrealistic Recovery beliefs:
a. WE WANT to be ‘better’ fast – as in NOW. Some want magic – recovery without having to do anything
b. others WANT compensation: if we just work hard enough, we will overcome all our damage – as if we were never affected by our childhood at all!  When that never seems to happen or Recovery is soooo slow – we become discouraged & worse – defeated. At that point some of us give up.
• the reality is that some of our damage can heal completely, some things will be a lot less troubling & some things may never go away – we just have to learn to manage them correctly, with self-compassion!

c. we actually believe that if we get well enough:
— our character defects will vanish (I’ll never be angry again / I’ll never date that kind of person again / I’ll never feel that bad again”…..
— we’ll never again be hurt or effected by other people’s insensitivity & abuses, especially from our family – at all, ever again!

However – Health is a combination: Some unhealthy things others do will bother us less, especially if we have a lot less self-hate & much better boundaries. BUT many things we were numb to or ignorant of before – will absolutely no longer be acceptable. Bad behavior & bad energy will become so uncomfortable to be around that we will not tolerate it.

NEXT: Unrealistic Expectations – OVER (Part 2