OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 7b)

I WANT TO IMPROVE
as many relationships 
as possible

PREVIOUS: Outgrow co-dep (#5b)

SITEs: Forgive Yourself to Heal   an abuse survivor’s journey
Healthy way to forgive yourself (and its dark side)


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

Tool 5c. FORGIVING Ourselves as ADULTS (cont.)

SELF-FORGIVENESS is letting go of guilt & shame, which takes persistent time & effort, and in never complete. Letting go means accepting that we can’t change our past, but can learn from it.
At its heart, Acceptance is seeing everything as it really is, no matter how unpleasant, rather than what we want it to be. Acceptance eliminates illusions & CDs, & so makes letting go possible.

++ Accept that we are wounded – not defective. Letting go means stopping the cruel inner rant – a choice we can implement every day. Given the very hard times we’ve been thru, it means that we need to be extra kind to ourselves. (Purpose of healthy parental mirroring – when they’re kinder to everyone but their own children)

++Accept Al-Anon’s 3 As: “I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it, I can’t cure it.” We can then let go of self-recrimination for anythingbecause it’s not the same as taking responsibility (scroll down) – which is acknowledging something about ourselves without adding “…..and therefore I’m bad.”  Now we can correct distorted thinking, & stop blaming or attacking ourselves for what may or may not be inadequacies & deficiencies

 ++ Accept our human limitations, which will allow us to let go of judging ourselves so harshly —
• for having depression & the need for medication
• for not knowing things everyone else seems to be ‘in on’
• for not being perfect // not knowing everything // making mistakes
• for being so scared inside // being controlling // nit-picking
• for procrastinating or never finishing anything…. all opposites of RIGHTS list

++ Accept that every child is programmed to follow their upbringing.  If it was alcoholic, dangerous, neglectful…. we drowned in too many rigid, harmful laws – or were completely left to our own devices. Now we can slowly form a new set of rules, loving & flexible – which will eliminate much of the need for fake niceness, so we’re free to be genuinely kind  (“ACoAs – Healthy Rules“)

++ Accept that along the way we’ll have to deal with the guilt that churns in our gut whenever we disobey any Toxic Family Rule, but it doesn’t last.
This is ‘good guilt’ because it signals that we’re doing something healthy for ourselves, by going against all our crazy training.

LETTING GO means:
• facing & dealing with our anger at our family, as well as all of our other T.E.As.
• releasing any & all accusations or blame of God / the Divine for painful experiences caused by humans
• being kind to ourselves, no matter what, & staying present for whatever Es come up
• accepting all our emotions, without reservation or judgment
• remembering, without S-H, painful & embarrassing situations we put ourselves in because of our anxiety, FoA & dissociation (out-to-lunchness)
• forgiving the things we didn’t do, which caused us or others harm.

EXP: In her 20’s Jenny had a little grey cat she loved a lot. As Greyling was getting older, he was getting thinner, but Jenny was too busy studying & writing papers for her college classes to pay much attention.

• One night Greyling flopped over on the bed, not able to stand. Jenny was worried, but just thought he was old. The next day she saw he was very weak – not moving, not eating – so she finally took him to the vet. The vet took one look at the little cat & turned angrily to Jenny.”You let this cat deteriorate to the point that he’s so dehydrated he had a stroke! There’s nothing I can do – he needs to be put down”.

• Jenny was devastated at the loss, & deeply ashamed of her neglect. She had caused this sweet creature severe suffering because of her obliviousness. Working it thru in therapy & ACoA meetings, she understood that ignoring the signs of illness in Greyling came from her grammar school time. She spent many years seeing her father in terrible pain from a long illness, often lying in a dark room but never complaining, while mother kept telling her to be very quiet & not bother him.
Jenny loved her dad & hurt deeply for him, but was totally helpless. To protect against her overwhelming frustration & powerlessness, she became numb to physical suffering.

• Accepting the connection between past & present, & continued to grieve Greyling, Jenny sincerely forgave herself for her inaction, without S-H, knowing where it came from. Even years later she sometimes feels sad for her dad & the cat, but has made sure to not make that mistake again.

NEXT: BEING Forgiven (#4e)

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Relationship FORM B. (Part 1)

  Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 6.03.46 AM

WE  SEE THINGS VERY DIFFERENTLY.
Can we understand each other better?

PREVIOUS: Relationship Form A. (#2)

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


“WHEN YOU….”

‘KtFoY’ = “Keep the focus on yourself!” (Read posts)
• We hear from many sources that to be mentally & emotionally mature, we need to take responsibility* for our own TEAs (thoughts, emotions, actions). Yet ACoAs were taught by our family & religion NOT to think about our own needs, tastes, ideas, values… only other people’s, ie. theirs – which means we’re not allowed to KtFoY.
It’s considered:
selfish, because it takes attention away from them
arrogant, because we feel so worthless that we have no rights
disobedient, because we’re not allowed to think for ourselves – only what they tell us to think. We’re all familiar with the PP’s poisonous voice whispering: “Who do you think you are?”
And no matter how intelligent or accomplished, without training, many ACoAs actually don’t know what KtFoY means or how to do it.

REMINDER: *Taking Responsibility is different from Self-Hate, which tells us everything bad / painful that happens to us and others – is our fault. Responsibility is not about fault, but rather ownership. It acknowledges what we have or have not thought, felt or done (T.E.A.) – period. S-H adds to that :”Yes I’ve done/ not done —- and therefore I am bad!” This is not KtFoY.

•  Taking responsibility without S-H allows us to determine who did what – if anything – & if there is anything we can learn or correct for next time – without shame or recrimination.

NEGATIVE USE:Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 6.16.44 AM
• Some ACoAs will use KtFoY to justify being selfish, thoughtless & inconsiderate – from their narcissism. Like, promising to do something important for another person, & then flaking. When confronted, they may say “Oh, I just needed to take care of myself” – without considering the consequences to anyone else.
• Other ACoAs think they’re being righteous when they use their version of KtFoY – but only to point a finger. Like: “I feel that you…. should be more… are being stupid for staying with… don’t know what you’re talking about… ought to do…”

POSITIVE USE:
•  Identify the thoughts & emotions YOU are having about a situation, leaving out as much reference to the other person as possible. That may take some soul-searching, but a good way to find our what’s going on inside is to ask the Inner Child or the PP. Either one is having some old emotional reaction which is the direct result of our thoughts. “If it’s hysterical it’s historical”.

•  Then, if appropriate, state what you’re thinking & feeling. Of course you’re reaction is in response to something or someone else, but focus on selfit’s YOUR response, regardless of that they do or say. Like:
— Re. Es: ‘When you talk like that it hurts my heart!’ or  ‘It’s very painful for me to watch you harm yourself’  or ‘I get so angry when you disappoint me, over & over!’
— Re. Ts:  “I simply don’t agree with your assessment of the situation” or “I don’t understand why you keep …” or “I know I didn’t do that, even if you don’t believe me”….

➼ Notice that these are all “I”  statements. It’s the best way to communicate, because it eliminates blaming or trying to control. AND it greatly cuts down on defensive, angry & resentful responses from others.
SO, back to this form – regarding something another person has done over & over that bothers you a lot. Notice:
— Form A. was about a future event that worries / angers you
— Form B. is about recent but ongoing past actions, you wish would stop

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WHEN YOU ___________________________________________
I FEEL  _______________________________________________
& BELIEVE THAT I AM ____________________________________
These are my thoughts & feelings, which are not your fault and which
you’re not responsible for.
HOWEVER, I’D APPRECIATE IT IF YOU WOULD ____________________________________________________
WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO TRY THAT? _______________________
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EXPL 1.
WHEN YOU (As) –  I appreciate you washing the dishes, but you keep on putting the sharp kitchen knives ‘face up’ in the silverware drain
I FEEL (Es)  – deeply hurt & then angry, because I often hurt my hand reaching for a fork or spoon
& BELIEVE THAT (Ts) – my welfare isn’t important to you
These are my …
HOWEVER, I’D APPRECIATE IT IF YOU (As) – would remember to always turn the knives ‘points down’!Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 6.11.20 AM.png
WOULD YOU BE WILLING…..?

Re. YOU
In general, this kind of communication “WHEN YOU…..” can be applied to your children, spouses, employees, maybe even a boss.
• Start by validating that this situation is real. Even if it’s trivial, you are having a reaction, so honor that first.
• Identify if it really is effecting you, OR it’s just something you personally can’t stand. EXP: Someone leaving dishes in the sink unwashed – may be annoying but doesn’t actually do you any harm, whereas someone verbally dismissing or attacking you does!

• Evaluate how severe it is (1-10) in relation to your specific needs, in relation to the bigger picture & to what is ‘normal’, real, healthy….
• Decide what you can do to help yourself if the other person can’t or won’t hear you & make a change. No matter what the issue, in many cases you will have to repeat the request over & over, which will try your patience.
• Depending on how serious the situation is, you have the right to how you feel about it. Work on the button this pushes from the past, do some writing, some pounding on the bed when you’re alone, talk about it in Meetings & therapy. Help your WIC deal with the feelings & correct any false beliefs you may have.

Re. THEM
Once you’ve figured out why this situation is bothering YOU (if it’s hysterical it’s Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 6.22.08 AMhistorical) then you might want to ask why they are / are not saying or doing this thing. Most of the time they don’t know OR won’t tell you, but any info you get will help you cope, especially if it doesn’t go away. We usually can bear an irritant better if we know the cause – especially since most of the time it has nothing to do with us!

• If nothing changes, at some point you’re going to have to step back & “zip the lip”! Constant complaining is irritating and ensures that the recipient will become resentful &/or close their ears to you – guaranteeing a stalemate.

NEXT: FORM B. (Part 2)

RESCUING – False Helping (Part 2)

ideal castle 

IT’S MY JOB TO FIX YOU
but it’s exhausting!

PREVIOUS: Rescuing (Part 1)

REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

 

RESCUING / ENABLING is an expression of Co-dependency, which can be defined as “suffering &/or dysfunction associated with or results from focusing on the needs / behavior of others. A constellation of responses by significant others, particularly family, to being involved with the active dependent.” (MORE….)
If we constantly rescue those we love from making mistakes, they will never learn to grow from them, and it allows them to stay dependent on our help for their well-being.

RESCUING examples
WHEN We:
• have to keep on helping, because they aren’t helping themselves / growing /  improving their lives
• need to keep nagging someone to change – for their benefit, yes, BUT mainly because it’s pushing some button in us, from our past
• give advice – especially un-asked-for, assuming we know what’s best for them,    and our need to show off how much we know (about everything)
• assume others cannot cope with their own pain and that it’s our life’s duty to protect & sooth them
HOW:
• always insist on having an answer to everyone’s problems – to solve their difficulty or emotional discomfortSserve a drunk
• use phrases like “You shouldn’t, you should…” as a way to tell someone how to be, how to feel, what actions to take
• enable someone to continue their self-destructive behavior
• not confront denial or challenge distorted thinking – when it harms us, although this has to be done carefully & with great wisdom
• not letting others know when we’re angry – when they hurt us, crossed our boundaries, were disrespectful… to not ‘upset’ or make them angry in return
• being afraid to say what we need, what we believe, what we don’t want… because we think it will hurt their feelings, or burden them
• try to distract others from their emotional pain (because we can’t handle our own & so don’t want to hear theirs)  by humor, changing the subject, telling them to DO something   ….
Trying to rescue others is NOT a successful way to accomplish our goals of wanting to CONNECT & to feel EMPOWERED.

SOME RESULTS of Rescuing
IN US:

• FEEL abandoned! – frustrated, drained, powerless, hopeless, a failure  – because they’re not improving &/or doing what we want
• Silently expect & eventually demand a return on our time, money, energy, attention… whether or not they asked for our efforts, or have any idea what  we need (they’re Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 8.48.49 PMsupposed to know, automatically)
• Get worn out / burnt out over – from over-doing for others without taking care of ourselves, sometimes even get sick, from exhaustion, & needing a ‘legitimate’ way to get some rest & care
• Become increasingly resentful & then in a rage – because they’re NOT listening to us, not reciprocating, not making our life easier… AFTER ALL WE’VE DONE !
– In some cases, we stay & rescue  – until we fall apart or die trying
– In some cases the rage become too great. First we beg, cajole, nag, THEN punish, verbally attack, maliciously gossip about them OR just cut them off without a word of explanation. Then they’re dead to us!

IN THEM:
• they stay immature (rescuing infantilizes others), get psychologically weaker (inner selfstay dependent, on us or someone else)
• don’t learn to take responsibility for their own life
• don’t get the experience of learning what works & doesn’t – for them
• feel humiliated, by being one-down & eventually get angry, resenting us for our power-position
• don’t get a chance to find out what they’re actually can do or be
• have a distorted view of us & themselves, and what is real

IN RECOVERY

The goal of all personal healing is S & I – Separation & Individuation.
That means that we have to become our own person – the ‘self’ we were born to be, designed & created by our Higher Power.   And that means –
Identify & acknowledge our needs (not others’ needs)
• Having permission to have those needs
• Actively getting those needs met – by ourselves, & with the help of a loving support system

That is called GROWING UP & TAKING RESPONSIBILITY!
It is NOT selfish to take care of ourselves – it is a mark of mental health !
(Read: What Recovery IS  / New Rules / Boundaries  / Healthy Families)

NEXT: Healthy Helping (Part 1)