OUTGROWING Co-Dep Niceness (Part 1)

speak up for me
(I hope no one minds 🙄)

PREVIOUS : Neg EXTERNAL results from others (#2)

SITE : 45 Confidence Exercises…..

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

RECOVERY from “Too Nice Syndrome” (TNS)

Undoing our TNS isn’t accomplished by becoming a nasty bully or resentful isolate. Instead, we can apply the wisdom which the Snake of fable had not understood – that occasionally it’s necessary to hiss! Emotional maturity is about balancing between being well-behaved & putting our foot down when needed. BTW – both are only effective when coming from our Healthy Adult E.S. Ironically, being too nice also does others a disservice – preventing them from being their best, by giving their Inner Brat opportunities to come out & play whenever they feel like it – on our head!

The following TOOLS, used all together, can move us along in the right direction, (from Damage—–>——>——-> to Wellness), but if we’ve been a life-long people-pleaser, it’s going to take time, patience & perseverance. Remember ODAT & never give up!

++ “Getting it” in your bones that you didn’t cause your need to develop co-dependence (Co-dep) will greatly quiet the self-hate and PP voices, which say that it is your fault. Then you can outgrow the need for people-pleasing (P-P) which is one of many defense mechanisms. We are “Damaged, not defective”

☁︎ If you’re an ACoA, your needs & emotions (Es) were PP voicestomped on & ignored. Being ‘too nice’ was one way you survived, even if your siblings chose a different way to protect themselves. What does this tell us?
That we used whatever we could to deal with an emotionally & physically dangerous upbringing. We didn’t create that situation, SO this pattern is not an innate flaw in us. It’s correctable!

Tool 1. Facing FEARS

++ It’s normal for Co-deps to be fear-based, given our history. That fear may never go away completely, but can become much less intense. As we thaw out emotionally we can experience our feelings quicker when something hurts us – instead of it registering months or years later. Feeling old pain, as well as emotions that come up from a current event, will free up a lot of psychic energy we use to hold them down. This freedom makes us less scared, which gives us the courage to ask for what is rightfully ours, diminishing the grip of co-dependence.

Outgrow P-P is a combination of:
— rooting out abusive self-talk & correcting distorted ideas about life (CDs)
— consistently comforting & nurturing ourselves (self-care)

☁︎  T.E.A. = Most people combine Thinking (more from the Left brain) & Emotions (more from the Right brain) into one big messy hodgepodge.
If someone were to ask you (or you ask yourself) : “Are your/my fears realistic?” they are not referring to the emotion of fear, but rather to the toxic rules, projections, S-H….(Ts) that scare you (E).
Fear isL & R BRAIN fear – it’s neither realistic or unrealistic, which only applies to thinking. (“Feelings aren’t facts”).
Intense painful emotions are a signal that you’ve either tapped into childhood trama-pain, &/or you’re torturing yourself with cruel self-talk, causing terror.

Years of abusive & abandoning experiences created our fear – accumulating every hour, every day that we lived with those people (family, school, religion, neighborhood….). That feeling is an absolutely normal, appropriate emotional response to those events. We carry that pile of terror in our body, which we now attach to thoughts & current events – adding to the pile, keeping P-P in place (“Anxiety & T.E.A.s”)

REVERSED – As Co-deps we often get both our mental & emotional reactions backwards.  In terms of fear:
• we ignore or underplay emotionally damaging effects caused by actual people & situations that are inappropriate or outright harmful to us, BUT have a real effect on us even so, & yet —
• we can over-react emotionally with S-H & FoA to PPT that are either not dangerous at all, or are those uncomfortable pain-in-the-butt “that’s life” situations which seem overwhelming, but actually are fairly easy to smooth out, once we come to see them in a true perspective, & learn how to manage them

💚 So don’t let others keep confusing you. Be clear whether you (or they) are talking about Thoughts/beliefs OR Emotions – or Actions, & know how they’re related – or not!  Es can be a response to an As, without causing harmful Ts:
EXP: I can be very frustrated & angry (E) about a situation I truly have no control over, such as ‘being laid off from a job/ loss of a relationship/ illness of a loved one….’ (A), yet still have a positive mental attitude about myself, my life, even my future, such as “It’s not my fault / I know I can find something or someone else / I’m actually better off now / I pray for them….” (T). (See many posts re. EMOTIONS)

NEXT: Outgrowing P-P #2

ACoAs – ANXIETY & T.E.A. (Part 1)

T.E.A. chart
to all parts of my inner self

PREVIOUS: Fear of Responsibility (#5)

SITE: Consciousness & Emotions & the brain


T.E.A. (Thoughts, Emotions, Actions)
Most people are not taught to distinguish between there 3 modalities. This causes much confusion in how we express ourselves, & therefore creates much miscommunication in our relationships.
While the 3 categories feed off of each other, they are not the same thing. The most important thing to remember is that Thoughts & Actions can be changed &/or modified, but emotions just are. It is not healthy to try to control our emotions, while it is healthy & necessary to have a choice in what we say & do, depending on the situation we’re in.

THOUGHTs – always made up of a string of words.
All of us have running dialogues in our head much of the day, on the surface of our awareness, such as:
– planning what we ‘re going to do or ‘should’ be doingthinking mind
– reviewing what has happened to us or what we did (pleasant or not)
– ‘dreaming’, wishing, imagining, designing projects……
– worrying, obsessing – often about things we can’t control
– ranting to ourselves about people who hurt us & things we hate
– thinking about things we’ve seen or read
– planning things we want to say, either personal or for work……
What we’re thinking under the surface, out of our direct awareness, some deeply hidden, other accessible if we pay attention. (This is what sitting quietly in ‘meditation’ is for – to hear the chatter in our head.)

EMOTIONs – see extensive posts
These are always ONE WORD things – happy, sad, angry, amused, lonely, scared, pleased, sexy, excited……(NOTE: if you say “I feel” immediately followed immediately by a sentence – it’s not an emotion, but rather a thought. (“I feel like you don’t understand”)
See posts: Getting to Emotions – Under & Over // ACoA Emotions re Painful Events // ACoAs – accepting & accessing Es // What is Emotional Abuse? // Over-controlling ourselves

ACTIONs – both things that we DO as well as things that we DON’T do, that are helpful or harmful to ourselves & others.
See posts: Actions: Healthy opposites // Noticing painful events // Negative reactions to painful events // Positive responses

EXP: “Acting out” can be defined as –
– Any COMPULSIVE (temporarily out of conscious control) ↵
– ACTION or NON-action, which is ↵
– a way to externally EXPRESS or demonstrate ↵
– painful EMOTIONS we’re NOT aware of at all (ongoing repression), or not experiencing at the time, about a particular situation we’re in or that we anticipate
SUCH AS: being late for OR blanking out on an appointment that we didn’t realize is making us anxious // starting an argument at the end of a nice evening, weekend…. rather than feeling abandoned at the separation OR the suppressed emotions from our abusive childhood or any other traumatic events in our life
Experiencing ANXIETY
When was the last time you were struck by anxiety?
How long did it last? What caused it?
What did you do about it?
OR is it with you all the time? & how do you cope?

• All ACoAs are fear based, whether our preferred defensive style is to be phobic (passive, victim, timid, anxious) OR counter-phobic (don’t consciously feel scared, & then keep doing dangerous things to ‘prove it’). Given our painful, chaotic, abusive childhood – with very little comfort, explanations or guidance – we carry with us an enormous backlog of fear. This pile-up get suppressed, covered over, redirected….. so we barely realize it’s there.

Once we’ve cut ourselves off from being aware of the source of our fear, in many cases what we’re left with is anxiety – the free-floating painful flutter & tightness in our gut we don’t connect with anything in particular. 
– For those of us who try to skate past it, when something sets it off, we’re deeply shocked, overwhelmed, can’t cope, think we’re losing our mind……
And if we unexpectedly get too flooded with anxiety, without a healthy way to resolve it, it can trigger an anxiety attack, which is very scary & physically painful.

• ACoAs will do almost anything to avoid feeling emotions – especially fear.
‘Coping’ styles (escapes):coping styles
– keep so busy you can’t feel it (or much of anything else)
– withdraw, isolate from people, refuse help or comfort
– find other ways to escape (internet, tv, sleeping……)
– stay angry so you don’t feel scared
– blame everyone/everything else when upset or disappointed
– use various types of addictions to numb out any unpleasant Es
– dump on anyone who’ll listen: compulsively go on & on about situations & people in your life that upsets you, without any self-awareness or attempt at making appropriate changes where possible.

▶ And then there are those of us who are drowning in it – for days, months, yrs or as far back as we can remember – our constant daily companion. We don’t know what to do about it, don’t know the source & have never learned how to find a solution.

NEXT: T.E.A. & Anxiety (Part 2)