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Behaviors that Hurt and the Loads to be Carried

Addiction and Violent Behaviors

Examples of phrases used by the addict parent to intimidate and produce fear. For sufferers, survivors of alcoholism, drug abuse, substance abuse, gambling, other addictions. Expert information, addictions support groups, chat, journals, and support lists.Violence is any physical contact which is not performed in a loving, nurturing, or respectful way. Young children may need some physical contact on occasion to set safe boundaries for them. An example would be spanking a child to prevent them from repeatedly going out into a busy street.

The difference between violence and boundary setting is clear. Is the child being spanked out of love and concern for their well being? Or are they being spanked as a way for the addict parent to vent (expel) angry, scared, or frustrated feelings? If it is the latter, the contact is violence. In this way, the child is being used as a drug as a way to help the addict feel better.

Violence includes "deprivation of basic needs" such as refusing the child access to:

  • Medical attention
  • Food
  • Clean water
  • Shelter
  • Clean air
  • A breath of air
  • Heat
  • A sense of safety (forcing the child into potentially life-threatening conditions)
  • The right to flee as needed (restraining a child in lock-up areas, binding a child, trapping a child, etc)
  • The right to expel body wastes (urine, feces, vomit, etc)
  • The right to sanitation
  • The right to expel tears, vomit, fear, anger, etc (the right to cry, the right to vomit, etc)

Shaming, humiliating, terrorizing, or injuring a child in connection with the access to basic needs is a type of deprivation. The child is being trained to practice self-deprivation as a way to avoid the shaming, humiliation, terrorization, and/ or injury.

Violence also includes being forced to witness or observe trauma, ritual, pornography, punishment, death, destruction, dismemberment, suffocation, crippling. And, all of human origin, without a support system to grieve or psychologically process the event. This includes the destruction or disposition of pets, farm animals, personal property, toys, clothing, bicycles, etc.

Rage

Rage is anger and frustration out of control. Rage might include throwing things, slamming doors, breaking things, all within the child's view. Considering the sheer size of an adult as compared to a child, a child viewing an adult who is raging out of control will be terrorized by the experience. The goals of an addicted parent raging are to expel feelings in order to "feel better" and at the same time, scare their objects of addiction into compliance. Remember compliance is one of the addict's expectations for their objects of addiction, which in this case is the child.

Coercion

Coercion is the threat of violence. Sam's addict parent, in an attempt to control, might say coercive things like:

(said from an angry victim stance)

  • "If you ever do that again, I'll beat you to a pulp."
  • "I'll beat you till you can't walk straight."
  • "Stop that crying or I'll give you something to cry about."
  • "Just wait till your dad gets home, he is going to really be angry."
  • "Would you like a spanking (beating)?, Get over here right now."
  • "Get in here right now or you'll get a spanking (beating)."
  • "Sometimes I wish you were dead. I hate you. I wished I'd never had kids. I wished I'd never had you."

The use of threat or destructive bargaining is also a part of coercion.

A terrorist uses coercion to control situations with some intended goal in mind. And just like the terrorist, the addict parent destructively controls with an intended goal in mind. The goal is to "feel better." Addicts who have a dependency relationship with their children control their fears by controlling their children. Children of addict parents who are controlled by the addict's use of coercion, grow up terrorized and not feeling safe. The emotional effects of coercion are more damaging to a child than to a child who has been beaten. A child growing up in coercion will always be wishing for something (bad) to happen in order for them to relieve their anxiety of waiting for something (bad) to happen.


"Intimidation" is a form of coercion. This destructive control behavior is designed to produce fear (terror) through intimidation in order to maintain control. Considering the size, strength, experience, and knowledge of an adult as compared to a child, intimidation is easy for an addicted parent to achieve. Lack of knowledge, strength, size, and experience on the part of the child ends up being a destructive control opportunity for the addict parent to make use of. They'll use the opportunity to intimidate in a destructive way by leading the child into feeling that they are somehow inadequate. This is accomplished by projecting a sense of multiple inadequacies onto the child i.e. lack of knowledge, strength, size, and experience. The child's resulting fears of inadequacy are then used by the addict parent to control the child. The following statements are examples of phases used by the addict parent in order to intimidate and produce fear.

(said from an angry victim stance)

  • "You should have known better!"
  • "I don't care if you're tired!"
  • "I don't care if you're too little!"
  • "I don't care if you can't!"
  • "Hurry-up pokie (slowpoke)!"
  • "Get going right now!"
  • "I don't care if you think you can't do that!"
  • "You're just stupid, that's your problem!"
  • "Your problem is that you're too stupid to remember!"

Doomsayer

"The worst is going to happen if . . . . ." This type of destructive control behavior is used by the addict parent in order to shame, scare, or terrorize the child into compliance. The addicted parent will predict some catastrophe and then use it to control the child. The addicted parent might say something like, "If you do this, then ________ will happen. And it will really be terrible; something really bad will happen to you."

I remember spilling sugar when I was little. My mother turned to me full of terror and fury and said, "Now ants are going to come into the house!" The idea was to instill shame, terror, or fear into me in order to force (control) me into not making the same mistake twice. Doomsaying is also a form of coercion. That is to say controlling by use of fear, terror, and shame.

Unfortunately, the thought had not occurred to her that cleaning up the sugar would change that "catastrophic" outcome. Her perceptions and reactions to this "catastrophic" outcome were based on information that she received as a child. And left unexamined, she continues to react or overreact in response to these same kinds of events as an adult doomsayer, and with no forethought as to the possible changes that have occurred over time or alternate coping strategies for the situation.

Playing the Victim

Playing the Victim is an extremely effective technique used to control someone (especially children). The addict parent controls the child's behavior by becoming the so-called wounded victim. The child might say or do something that the addict parent becomes uncomfortable with. In reaction to the child's behavior, the addict parent responds by saying something like this:

(said from an angry victim stance)

  • "How could you do that to your mother?"
  • "Mommy thinks you don't love her anymore."
  • "You don't care about me at all, do you."
  • "You're hurting mommy. You're driving her crazy and no one will be able to take care of you then!"

This destructive control behavior uses false guilt to control the child. When the addict parent plays the victim, the child looks inward and thinks: "How could I do that to my parent . . . . . She (or He) looks so hurt and sounds so angry or depressed . . . . She's (or He's) talking and looking at me; therefore I must have caused her (or his) pain . . . . I'd better be good so I don't hurt her (or him) anymore. . . . . she's (or he's) the only one I have to take care of me and the alternative of taking care of myself scares me to death because that's impossible for myself as a child to do. I could die. I'm sure I'd die."

The goal of an addict who is addicted to their child is to "feel better" by controlling the child. As stated before, control is equated to compliance and compliance is equated to no frustration. No frustration or conflict is equated to security and security equates to a happy addict. Unfortunately, Children of addict parents grow up full of false guilt or shame as a result of being trained by the addict parent's use of playing the victim. They (the children) automatically feel guilty, terrified, and anxious when they come in contact with anyone playing the victim.


Shaming and Abusive Language

Shaming and Abusive Language are destructive control behaviors that use shaming remarks, names, and labels to control the child. Shaming is not the same as false guilt. Shaming is judging with the intent to humiliate and discount the child's sense of self-worth.

An addicted parent may see or hear something that the child has done or said and begin to "feel bad." In response to their own feelings of bad-ness or shame, they'll try to project these internal feelings externally onto the child. The addicted parent will do this by saying things in a victim-like way such as,

(said from an angry victim stance)

  • "Why did you do that?."
  • "What a stupid thing to do."
  • "Why are you so stupid?"
  • "I thought I raised you better than that."
  • "You ought to know better."
  • "You should of known better."
  • "You're embarrassing me and pissing me off."
  • "Stop that right now; everyone is looking; you're being naughty (or a bad) girl/ boy."

Shame is designed to lead the child into believing that they are somehow inadequate, strange, or not good enough. The addict "feels better" by expelling their internal feelings of shame or bad-ness and projecting that shame or bad-ness onto the child. In this way, the child has been used as a drug in order for the addict to feel better or avoid "feeling bad."

Neglect and Abandonment

Neglect and Abandonment is present in any relationship where one or more of the individuals in the relationship is an addict. Abandonment refers to physically or "emotionally" leaving the child in favor of the addiction. Neglect refers to the lack of either "emotional" or physical maintenance that a child requires in order to grow and develop. The absence of food, clothing, shelter, and medical care are examples of physical neglect or abandonment. The absence of nurturing, compassion, hugging, holding, listening, and other kinds of "emotional" support, are examples of "emotional" neglect or abandonment.

It is hard to see "emotional" neglect or abandonment. The addict may appear to be home all the time and apparently taking care of the child's needs. However, "emotional" neglect or abandonment can't be seen without spending time observing the addict and child in the relationship. Addicts "emotionally" abandon or neglect everything in favor of satisfying their addiction (this includes addictions to work, exercise, food, sex, gambling, religion, etc). Children who have addict parents are forced to forfeit their relationship with their addict parent in favor of the addiction. The addiction is stronger than the child. Even though the child is an object of addiction, the addiction takes precedence. By that I mean, from an outside view (a view from outside the family) it will appear that the child is receiving attention, when in fact, it is the addiction itself (the child as an object of addiction) which is receiving the attention and not the child as a sentient being.

Talking in "lecture form" is a type of "emotional" neglect or abandonment. Lecturing a child is talking to a child or at a child without asking them for their opinion or listening to them in return. It's a one-sided conversation where the addict uses the child in order to expel internal feelings or thoughts. The child's identity or "emotional self" is not acknowledged or affirmed in a conversation that uses lecture form.

Excessively talking, interrupting, and competing for conversation are also types of "emotional" neglect or abandonment. A child never really gets heard in these kinds of interaction because the addict parent is thinking about what to say next instead of listening. They are preoccupied with (addicted to) controlling the conversation instead of listening to what's being said by the child.

"Silence" is another way to "emotionally" neglect or abandon a child. By not sharing anything intimate or vulnerable with the child, or not sharing information that the child needs to grow and develop, the child is " emotionally" and "intellectually" neglected and abandoned. The child is left alone without "emotional" or "intellectual" information to grow and develop. Silence is another way of destructively controlling. That is to say, information is power and holding onto information empowers the addict by not having to feel vulnerable. The child will never know a sense of comfort by knowing that the addict has also felt vulnerable at times or has felt vulnerable as a child.

Emotional or physical neglect and abandonment are used as control techniques by the addict parent. If an object of addiction becomes too difficult for the addict to use i.e. control, the object will be discarded. In a similar way, if the child of an addict parent becomes too difficult to use, i.e. control or to make compliant, he or she will be discarded. Children of addict parents learn that in order to stay accepted in their family they must remain easy to use, and be without boundary (do nothing to frustrate the addict). Children of addict parents learn how to become easy to use by becoming invisible; which means to become compliant and without needs, or suffer the consequences of being apparent, real, noticeable, with boundaries, and having needs.

Talking to keep distance (or avoiding intimacy).

I notice that my father talks compulsively as a way to distance himself from the listener. I have noticed myself doing the same thing. By reacting to what's being said instead of listening to what's being said, I end up thinking of what to say next and never hear what's being said. Children growing up in addiction may experience this type of "emotional" abandonment as "taking to keep a distance." A conversation is occurring but no one is being heard. The addict controls intimacy (emotional closeness), or the lack of it, by talking and reacting to what is being said as a way to distance themselves from the listener.


Addicts also distance themselves from the listener by using the word "You" in place of the word "I." Addicts express their opinions, feelings, beliefs, or experiences by using the word "You " in place of the word "I." This creates confusion in the conversation and places distance between themselves and the listener. A child growing up with an addicted parent who uses this kind of conversation style experiences the interaction as being confusing, attacking, and lonely (emotionally abandoned and neglected).

When expressing themselves with this kind of "You" vs. "I" distancing behavior they project responsibility for their feelings onto the listener and at the same time create distance between themselves and the listener. The following is an example list of "You" statements versus "I" statements.

  • You: "You know when you feel mad how you . . . . . . . ."
  • I: "I know when I feel mad how I . . . . . . . ."
  • You: "You'd think you'd be able to figure it out or at least . . . . . . ."
  • I: "I'd have thought I'd have been able to figure it out or at least . ."
  • You: "Yesterday I got caught in traffic and you know how you get ."
  • I: "Yesterday I got caught in traffic and I know when I get . . ."
  • You: "You know everybody, you'd think would have . . . ."
  • I: "I would have thought everyone would have . . . ."

"Gathering armies" is another way addict parents create distance and at the same time create artificial power. As a way to distance themselves, inflate themselves, and artificially gather support for an opinion or feeling they are having, they use phrases and words which lead the listener to believe that more than one (more than the addict alone) is in support of an opinion or feeling they are expressing. Examples:

  • "We think . . . . . . . . . . .
"(instead of I think . . . . . . )
  • "They think you . . . . .
"(instead of I think you . . . .)
  • "None of us . . . . . . . .
"(instead of I don't . . . . . . . .)
  • "All of us . . . . . . . . . . . ..
"(instead of I . . . . . . . . . .)
  • "Nobody . . . . . . . . . . .
"(instead of I . . . . . . . . . . . .)
  • "They said. . . . . . . . . .
"(instead of I said . . . . . . . .)
  • "We said . . . . . . . . . . .

"(instead of I said . . . . . . . .)

All of these statements create artificial power and replace the addict's responsibility for their opinions or feelings alone, with the combined responsibility of other people. It's rare that a non-recovering addict would take responsibility for an opinion or feeling alone, especially if that opinion or feeling has the potential to create conflict. The avoidance of taking responsibility alone is also referred to as blaming. By artificially inflating themselves, they believe that they are actively reducing their risk of conflict. Conflicts create feeling; which create intimacy. Feelings and intimacy "go hand in hand" and addict parents are unable to cope with strong feelings or intimacy. As stated before, they lack the coping skills and the knowledge to do so.

Disapproval, dirty looks, and sarcasm (as discounting)

Disapproval, dirty looks, and sarcasm are all types of destructive control behaviors that the addict parent uses to keep their objects of addiction easy to use. All of these destructive control behaviors are abusive. All of these behaviors are used as a way to "discount" i.e. to belittle, minimize, ignore, or emotionally abandon the child. Discounting may be subtle or dramatic. As an example say that the child shares something painful (emotionally or physically) about him or herself with the addict parent. Do to the addict's dependency nature in the relationship, he or she will, in turn, begin to "feel bad" about what they are hearing from the child. Since addict parents are without coping skills for feeling bad, they react or lash out in order to avoid hearing anything that they feel might cause them to "feel bad." As a way to destructively disconnect from the pain they are experiencing (feeling bad), they will try to control the information they are hearing by discounting it. "It" being the child's pain which in effect discounts the child's sense of worthiness to have pain.


More specifically, sarcasm is hidden anger or resentment "coming out sideways." Coming out "sideways" means to be hidden, unclear in origin, or unclear in intent. The child hears words that the addict parent is saying but experiences a message other than the words were intended to communicate. The following examples compare a sarcastic statement (sarcasm) and its mixed message, with a clear statement (non-sarcastic) and its non-mixed message. From addict-parent to object-child:

Clear: "Thank-you."
Message received by the child: "I sincerely appreciate what you've done for me."
 
Sarcasm: "Thank-you . . . ."
Message received by the child: "What a jerk you are. You've just victimized me."

Clear: "You're welcome."
Message received by the child: "Thanks for acknowledging my action."
 
Sarcasm: "You're welcome . . . ."
Message received by the child: "What a jerk you are. You've just victimized me."

Clear: "Yea I really like that."
Message received by the child: "I really enjoy that"
 
Sarcasm: "Yea I really like that . . . ."
Message received by the child: "What a jerk you are. You've just victimized me. How stupid can you be?"

Clear: "Sure."
Message received by the child: "Yes."
 
Sarcasm: "Sure . . . ."
Message received by the child: "No or I hate it. What a jerk you are. You've just victimized me. Don't you have any brains?"

Clear: "Thanks for sharing."
Message received by the child: "Thank-you for your information. I've appreciated what you've done. I've enjoyed getting to know you.
 
Sarcasm: "Thanks for sharing . . . ."
Message received by the child: "I do not appreciate what you've said or done. What a jerk you are. You've just victimized me."

Sarcasm is an attack of hidden nature. The addict parent's inference is that the child has victimized them in some way. The "some way" is hidden and not revealed. The child is left injured and without cause or explanation. They only know that they feel bad for some unknown reason.

Dirty looks are facial expressions that discount, ignore, minimize, or (as with sarcasm) disapprove of what the child is saying or doing. Dirty looks are types of sarcasm reduced even further in clarity. Instead of unclear or sarcastic word messages, the addict parent uses unclear facial expressions.

Disapproval, dirty looks, sarcasm, and teasing are all discounting and minimizing techniques used by the addict to alter their (the addict's) feelings about what they are hearing from the child by attempting to alter the child's reality about what they are feeling.

Disapproval, dirty looks, sarcasm, and teasing are types of attacks. When Janet Geringer Woititz refers to guessing at what normal is, for children of alcoholics (addict parents), I believe that to include the inability to distinguish an attack from a non-attack. As objects of addiction, these children have psychologically trained their feelings to become unavailable to them as a way to cope with repeated attacks or the threat of attack. As a result of this, their feelings have become so unavailable to them that they subsequently become emotionally and cognitively unaware of an attack at the time it occurs (4).

This phenomenon is also described by Whitfield (1989) and Cermak (1986) as "psychic numbing." Children raised as objects of addiction are under attack or the threat of attack throughout the duration of their childhood and sometimes beyond. They are like combat soldiers waiting for an attack to occur. Cermak (1986) writes that during periods of extreme stress, such as an attack or the waiting for an attack to occur (the threat of death, injury, and the feeling of being unable to flee), "combat soldiers are often called upon to act regardless of how they are feeling. Their survival depends upon their ability to suspend feelings in favor of taking steps to ensure their safety." This is a characteristic of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. In the case of children trained to be objects of addiction, you might say that they were forced into fighting a war without weapons to protect themselves and they were unable to see the enemy. This is one of the reasons why so many children of dysfunctional families withdraw into isolation. It's the last resort in fighting an unseen enemy and fighting an enemy without a weapon of defense. You might say that this guide is an exposure of the enemy by exposing the attack methods i.e. the destructive control behaviors that hurt.


In addition to the unavailability of emotion, they are not sure they've been attacked because there is no one there to validate the attack. This is also a characteristic of PTSD in that "the person's support system includes those who encourage denial" (Cermak 40). In consideration of these points, disapproval, dirty looks, .i.sarcasm, and teasing are types of covert attacks because they are (1) unknown or hidden from the child either by the child's need to suspend their feelings (deny their feelings) in order to ensure their survival or (2) because of the denial used by the addict parents and other family members (hiding the enemy). Destructive control behaviors as discussed in this section of the guide are all forms of an emotional or physical attack on the child.

Whichever of these techniques is used it will add up to: "How can I control the object of my addiction in order for me to feel better (or not to feel bad)?"

What the uninformed addict doesn't know is that, no one or no thing is responsible for the feelings of someone else. We each physiologically and psychologically generate our own experiences of feeling in response to a stimuli. The stimuli is not the source nor the trained response socialized into the addict. The addict's trained or socialized response is his or her own affair exclusive of the stimuli.

Addict parents assume that because they are "feeling bad," someone else must be at fault. They're unable to accept themselves as being at fault i.e. take responsibility for their own feelings and actions because to be "at fault," when they were growing up as children in their own dysfunctional environments, meant that abuse would occur. As a result of this conditioning, addicts are scared to death of "feeling at fault" for anything. They will blame as an instinctive survival response when they experience the perception of having to survive. Needing to survive includes avoiding injury, pain, or humiliation.

The addict parent pattern taught to them, when he or she was a child was to blame someone else for their actions and for how they feel. And as a result of this unexamined training they continue the pattern by blaming other people for their feelings and actions including their children. Children who carry the load of feeling responsible for the feelings and the actions of their addict parent(s) carry a heavy load. Some loads are so heavy that children of addict parents become sick, commit suicide, and even homicide in order to escape the load. As a result of using this destructive control behavior, the first load that children who were raised as an object of an addiction will carry is:

  • The load of feeling responsible for the feelings of their addict parent(s).

Note: The load list is also called the "old baggage" list. Old baggage is an accumulation of past events and psychological double binds which go unresolved and consequently load a person down emotionally and physically.

Since the goal of an addict parent is to not to "feel bad" and they assign that responsibility to the child, the child of an addict parent will never be able to share anything painful about themselves with their addict parent. As stated before, when the child tries to share something painful with their addict parent, the addict parent will react or respond to the sharing of that information in a negative and non-supporting way (discounting). There is a painful and invisible cord of dependency which ties or connects the addict with their object of addiction. As a result of this invisible cord, when the object is in pain, the addict is in pain; which causes them to recoil or pull back from their object of addiction; either that or they use some method of disguising, discounting, or diminishing; causing the object's pain to become invisible or unknown to them (the addict parent).

Addict parents are scared to death of having bad feelings and will repress them at any cost. So what are "bad feelings" to an addict parent? An addict parent considers bad feelings to be any feelings of sadness, grief, fear, anger, disappointment, frustration, guilt, loneliness, shame, or any other feelings of pain (including physical pain). Children of addicts cannot share sadness, grief, fear, anger, disappointment, frustration, guilt, loneliness, shame, or any other feelings of pain. Because of this phenomena, children of addicts are forced to cope with their pain alone. Addicts are unable to cope with feelings of pain. Children of addicts, as a result of this kind of destructive control conditioning, equate having pain with being abused or the need to hide their pain in order to survive.

As stated before, the most common reaction of an addict parent to a child's pain would be to try and discount or minimize that pain. When the child shares something painful, usually in the form of a complaint, the addict parent discounts or minimizes what's being said by saying things to the child like:

  • "Oh-h-h that doesn't hurt."
  • "Just forget about it, look on the bright side."
  • "Just ignore it."
  • "Don't worry about it."
  • "Remember, every cloud has a silver lining."
  • "At least you still have . . . . . "
  • "You're bugging me; you don't have to bug me now."
  • "You think that's bad, when I was your age . . . . ."

Whichever phrase is used, it will be designed to discount and minimize the child's feelings (the child's pain). The addict's objective will be to alter his or her feelings (the addict's feelings) by trying to alter the reality of what his or her child is feeling. In this way they are using the child in a dependency way in order to feel good, better, or avoid "feeling bad." As a result, the child's pain (feelings) goes unaccepted and non-supported by the addict parent and remains repressed and unresolved for the child for years. The child now carries two loads:

  • The load of feeling responsible for the feelings of their addict parent(s).
  • And the load of their own unresolved grief and repressed pain (coping with pain alone).

"I consider empathy and dependency to be very confusing issues for Americans today. I also consider love and pity to be equally as confused. A common phrase heard in recovery these days is: Where are all the healthy people, why are they so hard to find? This leads me to believe that the is an immense amount of dysfunctional behavior being displayed by a lot of people. This is not meant as an attack; It's only an observation for consideration."

Perfectionism

Perfectionism is a destructive control behavior designed to keep from "feeling bad" about mistakes. Addict parents, and eventually their children as objects of addiction, believe that mistakes are invitations for disapproval and abuse. Disapproval and abuse are equated to not having "good feelings." And not having "good feelings" is equated to terror. It's the terror that precedes and impulsively propels the perfectionism. Thoughts of imperfection (or mistakes) create an immediate response of terror and the corresponding need to control. An addict parent will perceive things to be "out of control" when they aren't perfect, on time, exactly right, exactly known for sure, etc. They also believe that it is possible to avoid disapproval, rejection, conflict, and abuse, by being perfect and avoiding mistakes; or intensively striving to know the outcome for sure.

The children of addict parents, as objects of addiction, are required to be perfect. Referring back to the analogy of the bottle of booze, a bottle of booze is unable to make mistakes which would cause this previously discussed impulsive response to terror in an addict parent. Booze just sits there . . . in silence . . . . , until it is used. Addict parents expect the same kind of usage and flawless-invisible behavior from their children. Perfectionism adds a third load to the children of addicts; the load of being flawless and invisible. The load list for children of addict parents now includes the following:

  • The load of feeling responsible for the feelings of their addict parent(s).
  • The load of their own unresolved grief and repressed pain (coping with pain alone).
  • The load of having to be perfect (or invisible).

Because of the denial of terror which addict parents have in conjunction with making mistakes, they do not have compassion for mistakes. Incidentally, compassion gives children permission to learn how to learn from mistakes, instead of being abused or controlled by the resulting fear of making mistakes.

Perfectionism also requires that a person be without limitations. A limitless person is able to survive by doing anything and everything perfectly; and with the least amount of assistance from the addict parent. As with mistakes, addict parents lack compassion for limitations. A person (child or adult) with limits is seen as defective, weak, being needy, and that being the case, susceptible to death or abuse. A child with limitations is considered to be an aggravation and a burden. An addict parent sees a child with age appropriate limitations as something that they'll have to make adjustments or accommodations for; which causes hostile resentments within the addict parent due to their own deprivation of needs as an infant, child, adolescent, or adult. (Whitfield 1989). They are so in need that they insist on having their needs met immediately by the child, adolescents, or other adults in their environment regardless of any age, intelligence, physical, sexual, or emotional limitation. In this alone they (addict parents) are an immense boundary-less terror for children and adolescents to be around.

The following is a list of perfectionistic messages that the addict parent may use to instil perfectionism and promote limitlessness in their child as an object of addiction.

(said from an angry victim stance)

  • "Are you done yet?" ****
  • "Are you sure about that?" ****
  • "Be careful!" **
  • "Cleanup that mess!" **
  • "Do I have to do everything around here?" **
  • "Do I have to do everything for you?" **
  • "Do I have to do everything myself!" **
  • "Don't be late!" ***
  • "Don't bother me now!" *
  • "Don't bother me!" *
  • "Don't break anything!" *
  • "Don't do a half-ass job!" *
  • "Don't fight!" *
  • "Don't forget!" *
  • "Don't hit anyone!" *
  • "Don't hurt yourself!" *
  • "Don't make a mess!" *
  • "Don't make any noise!" *
  • "Don't screw this up!" *
  • "Don't screw-up!" *
  • "Hurry-up!" **
  • "I don't believe you!" (explain now!) **
  • "I know you can do better than this!" **
  • "I thought you were smart-er than that." ****

  • "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right!" **
  • "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well!" **
  • "Is this all?" (give me more now!) **
  • "Is this it?" (give me more now!) **
  • "Is this the best you can do?" You doing your best?) ****
  • "Pick that up right now!" **
  • "Stop that crying!" **
  • "That's a terrible thing to do!" (Stop it now!) **
  • "You are going to hurt someone!" *
  • "You are going to hurt yourself!" *
  • "You can do better than that!" **
  • "You don't care about anybody but yourself! DO YOU. . . ." **
  • "You'd better be right!" ****
  • "You'd better do it again!" **
  • "You'd better do it over till you get it right!" **
  • "You'd better do that right now!" **
  • "You'd better get this done right now!" **
  • "You'd better learn to do this yourself!" **
  • "You'd better make sure!" **
  • "You'd better not be lying to me!" ***
  • "You'd better not forget!" *
  • "You're being bad!" ***
  • "You're being irresponsible!" ***
  • "You're going to be late!" *
  • "You're going to break that!" *
  • "You're going to have to learn to do this yourself!" **

The hidden message in each of the above phases is that the child is imperfect (stupid, dumb, or lacking in ability) as they are as a child.

The sanctions or reinforcements for the statements above:

* You'll be in trouble if you do. I'll injure or punish you, or God will injure or punish you, or someone will injure or punish you. I need to use you to feel better, Now!

** You'll be in trouble if you don't. I'll injure or punish you, or God will injure or punish you, or someone will injure or punish you. I need to use you to feel better, Now!

*** You'll be in trouble if you are. I'll injure or punish you, or God will injure or punish you, or someone will injure or punish you. I need to use you to feel better, Now!

**** You'll be in trouble if you aren't. I'll injure or punish you, or God will injure or punish you, or someone will injure or punish you. I need to use you to feel better, Now!

"Conversation perfection" is a style of controlled conversation and perfectionism. It's a type of maneuvering behavior that shapes the conversation so that it may be accepted (or heard) by the addict.

When I experience this type of destructive control behavior from an addict I find myself feeling resentful, frustrated, angry, and thinking, "No, I don't think that's what I said!" The destructive control behavior includes:

A- The addict "adding" information to what I have said as if what I have said was inadequate.

Example:

My Statement: "I think the movie (we saw) was great."

Response: "Yea, great and long too. Next time we should bring overnight bags."

B- The addict interrupting to "steer the information" they are hearing in another direction.

Example:

My statement: "I think the . . . . .

Response: "Think the movie was long, right? Next time we're going to need overnight bags."


C- The addict responding with information that "restates" the information they've heard in a more acceptable form.

Example:

My statement: "I think the movie was great."

Response: "You mean the movie was long don't you?"


D- The addict "arguing with the information" to reshape it and create conflict.

Example:

My statement: "I think the movie was great."

Response: "No, the movie was long."


How ever the response is designed it will alter, add, or change the information that the addict is hearing in order for it to be more acceptable. This is one of the many reasons children of addict parents begin to believe they are unacceptable. Their action and their speech appear to always be under scrutiny or correction.

By controlling a conversation the addict parent censors what they hear in order not to feel bad. The result, when speaking with a child, is the censuring (abandonment) of the child. There is a lack of support or affirmation for the child's belief system. Additionally, the child is expected to acknowledge or affirm the addict's belief system.

Leading in to a facet of the next control behavior, children of addict parents are unable to compete in a healthy way in controlled conversations such as described earlier. It's impossible to do without "straining beyond" their age appropriate limitations. Straining to be heard is a part of the "required to be without limitations" behavior described earlier. They (the children) are unable to be comfortable being themselves and still get their listening needs met. At family get-togethers, in dysfunctional families, children and adults compete for conversation in order to be heard, but no one ever really gets heard.

Control as Competition

Addicts compulsively try to win as a way to maintain control and feel good (or avoid feeling bad). Winning is associated with perfectionism and controlling the outcome. The denied terror in the perfectionism, and the resulting need to control the outcome, propel the addict parent into the need to win. As a result of this, and the lack of their own self worth due to being raised as objects of addiction themselves, they choose to exploit their children in order to gain a sense of worth. When a child tries to say something important, the addict parent will respond in a way that leads the child to believe that the statement they have made was of no consequence. When a child tries to express a sense of accomplishment, the addict responds in a way that leads the child to believe that the accomplishment they've achieved was of no consequence. When the child tries to compete for attention, the addict parent responds by switching into "compete mode" with the intent to compete, win, ignore, and repress the child.

"Despite what competitive parents may claim to want for their children, their hidden agenda is to ensure that their children can't outdo them." (Forward 105).

Unless the child acts out or rebels in some way, in order to be recognized as an identity or a person, and not the object of an addiction, the addict will continue to compete and repress the child. The addict's addiction to win is stronger than the child's identity and welfare. The weight of unhealthy (dependency) competition is something that children of dysfunctional families experience as: "not feeling good enough." Another unhealthy load, the load of "not feeling good enough," is added to the load list.

  • The load of feeling responsible for the feelings of their addict parent(s).
  • The load of their own unresolved grief and repressed pain (coping with pain alone).
  • The load of having to be perfect (or invisible).
  • The load of not ever feeling good enough.

Approval seeking or fishing for acceptance

Approval seeking or fishing for acceptance is another load that children of addicts bear. "I need you to make me feel ok." Children of addict parents will be used like a drug, by the addict parent, for emotional and physiological support to feel better (feel approved of, accepted, ok, affirmed, or not in pain and anxiety). Not having received the emotional support and skills to "feel better" from their own parents or guardians, addict parents continue to seek and "fish" for the missing approval, good feelings, and emotional support, from their children. The load of emotional support is now added to the load list.

  • The load of feeling responsible for the feelings of their addict parent(s).
  • The load of their own unresolved grief and repressed pain (coping with pain alone).
  • The load of having to be perfect (or invisible).
  • The load of not ever feeling good enough.
  • The load of emotional support for the addict.

Addict parents will "fish" for approval, acceptance, ok-ed-ness, or affirmation in an infinite number of covert ways. A child might hear their addictive parent say things like:

(said from a depressed or helpless victim stance)

  • "Oh, I don't think I'm very good at that."
  • "Tell mommy you like her new dress, don't ya like my new dress?"
  • "Don't ya love yer old dad?, tell daddy ya love him."
  • "Tell mommy you love her."
  • "Do you still love mommy?"
  • "Do you still love daddy?"
  • "You're so smart/ pretty/ handsome, I wish I could be that way."
  • "I'm just not good at doing this."
  • "I don't think I'm good at playing games."
  • "I guess I'm just getting old."
  • "I'm not getting any younger; you should understand that."
  • "I'm not as young as I used to be."
  • "You probably think this sounds stupid or silly, but . . . . . "
  • "You're doing (this). Right? Right? Right?
  • "You're just (whatever). Right? Right? Right?

All of the phrases, whichever or however they are used, have one thing in common. They are designed to trick or coerce the child in to offering some sort of approval and emotional support for the addict and their behavior. It is a very crazy making game that addicts play to win, with no rules. The goal is to solicit a response from the child that would lead the addict to "feel better." It's a dependency relationship. And the other players (the children) in the game, don't count.

Lying to avoid disapproval is another approval seeking behavior which uses the child to feel better. An addict parent fears disapproval and conflict; and as a result of this fear, they lie to avoid disapproval or conflict. The addict offers information and/ or something that he or she believes the child will approve of (in this way the child is being used like a drug for the addict to feel better). The information and/ or the something ends up to be a falsehood, leading the child to believe that they are unworthy of the original offering. In addition, the child becomes angry and hurt as a result of being betrayed by the addict's falsehood. Children of addicts often feel "let down" and lied to, as a result of their addict parent's need to control disapproval and/ or avoid conflict. Lying creates distrust. Distrust is common within dysfunctional families (it's part of the crazy making game). Distrust is also part of the emotional load (the repressed pain load) carried by child raised as objects of addiction.

False Caring

Another way addicts use children as emotional support is by offering a sense of " false caring." False caring is where the addict pretends to be concerned with how the child's life is going, or what the child thinks, as a way to invite conversation about their own life, or opinion, and gain listening support at the same time. As an example, the addict may say something like the following:

  • "How's your day going?"
  • "Have you been sick lately?"
  • "What do you think about . . . . . . ?"
  • "Have you gotten . . . . . . . . . done?"
  • "Do you like . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ?"
  • "What do you think of . . . . . . . . ?"
  • "Do you think it's ok to . . . . . . . .?"

The addict will usually listen momentarily to the child's response, then interrupt at the first opportunity to talk about the topic in relationship to themselves. This leads the child to feel like their addict parent wasn't interested in hearing what it was they had to say in the first place. In this way the child is being abandoned and repressed. In addition to feeling abandoned or repressed in the conversation, the child is now expected to offer listening support as well. What ever the question is, however it is phased, it will have a "hidden agenda" for being asked. The hidden agenda will be to use the child (like a drug) for emotional and physiological support in order to feel better.

When this happens to me I feel like saying, "Why did you ask me about how I feel if you weren't going to listen? And why ask, if the whole purpose for your asking was to talk about yourself while I sit here expected to listen to you; especially someone who isn't going to listen to me?" The situation most common to me would be in the following conversation example:

Addict: (The bait) "How's your day going?"

Child: (The hook) "Fine, except the lunch line was really long at school today."

Addict: (The sinker) "Oh I know what you mean. Today I went to the bank and the line was awful. The tellers must have been on break or something. That bank really needs to do something about that. All I had to do was cash a small check and they couldn't even take the time to let me go ahead of the other people. I'm thinking of changing banks. Maybe that will teach them a lesson and they'll start thinking about what it means to lose customers. The more I think about it, the more I think I'll just do that. You know that pisses me off the more I think about waiting there. I'm a good customer and don't deserve to be treated like that, I . . . . . etc."

The child's frustrations with the lunch line were never really heard. Addict parents believe that by relating a story to the child of similar occurrence, they have in fact listened to the child. In truth, they have reacted to the child's information and not listened to the child. The child's feelings were repressed, abandoned and not heard. In addition the child was used as listening support (adding insult to injury). The addict baited the child into a false sense of concern for the child's feelings, thoughts, or opinions; when in fact, the addict just wanted (needed) to use the child as a listener in order to talk about their day with no intention of listening to the child in return. In this way, the child is used as listening (emotional or physiological) support for the addict in order for the addict to "feel better."


 

The next three destructive control behaviors . . . . ,

Offering unauthentic approval for some gain,

Gifts or money offered for some gain,

Offering anything for gain (of some hidden goal),

. . . . . are just variations of the fishing for approval game.

The one thing that all three behaviors have in common is the same kind of hidden gain or agenda; which is the agenda of using the child like a drug to feel better by seeking approval, affirmation, acceptance, and ok-ed-ness from the child. When a child receives a gift from an addict parent, they are then expected or manipulated into giving something back. This is conditional love, i.e. "I'll give you this gift if you do something in return so I can feel good (I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine)." In this way, the child is being used like a drug. During the use of these types of destructive control behaviors the addict will make statements similar to the ones below.

  • "Here's your gift, isn't it big/ good/ pretty/ just what you wanted/ etc.?"(gift for gain).
  • "You're such a good helper, would you get that for mommy?"(unauthentic approval for gain).
  • "You're so pretty, now don't dirty your dress." (unauthentic approval for gain).
  • "I know I can trust you, now don't drop that cake." (unauthentic approval for gain).
  • "I got your gift early, so you could take it with you. Aren't you happy?"(gift for gain).
  • "I bought this for you because your so special. By the way, have you cleaned up your room today?" (gift for gain).
  • "I know you like this, don't you?" (something else for gain).
  • "Here is that toy you really wanted, now don't break it." (gift for gain).
  • "Tell your grandma that you really liked the gifts she gave you." (gift for gain).
  • "What do you say?" (Thank-you) "That's right." (gift for gain).

The "agenda" of addiction is to "feel better" and "avoid feeling bad." The child, as an object of addiction, is being used to support the addict in the addiction. A role reversal is in effect as a result of the addiction agenda. Parents are considered to be responsible, as part of their parenting responsibilities, for helping their children to feel worthy by supporting them emotionally as well as physically. In the case of children raised in dysfunctional families, where one or both parents are addicts, the situation is reversed. The child is expected to take on the parenting role by emotionally and physiologically supporting the addict parent. Thus, from the child's terrified point of view, the following occurs; "I'll have to take care of you (or be ok) so that you'll be able (or be ok) to take care of me."

When helping isn't helping

When helping isn't helping is when it's an addiction. Addicts use this type of destructive control behavior as another way to seek approval; approval from the child which they need in order to "feel better." The script for an addict using "helping behavior" as a cover or hidden agenda for approval seeking (in order to feel better) is:

"I need to use you in order to feel better." If you'll let me help you, you'll feel better about me and I'll feel better about me. You'll like me and I'll like me. And if help is refused or rejected,"WHAT?, YOU DON'T WANT MY HELP?, HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?, WHAT A TERRIBLE THING YOU'VE DONE TO ME." "WHAT A JERK YOU ARE FOR NOT LETTING ME HELP YOU."

Children raised with this type of destructive control behavior will feel the extreme weight of this type of hidden approval seeking agenda in the form of helping. Addicts will offer help and even force help on to someone in order to feel better. They (the addict parent) will require that their objects of addiction (the recipients of their help) be accepting of their help. Rejection of their help is seen (by the addict parent) as being victimized by the person refusing the help.

(said from an angry victim stance, or left unsaid and held as a victim-like resentment)

  • "How could you possibly not want my help, after all the things I've done for you. You've really hurt me. How could you hurt me like this?"

In addition, they assume that they have done something wrong by offering help which was not accepted. Addicts offer help or use helping behavior as a way to use people to feel accepted. Children of addict parents have been abused, beaten, and abandoned for refusing to allow their addict parent to force help onto them. Unfortunately, in the name of helping, addicts will use their children in order to feel better. This is another form of conditional love. That is to say, "I'll assist you, but only on my terms. Your terms (or needs) are unrecognizable or are of no account to me."

There's an omnipotent and egocentric attitude that accompanies the helping behavior:

"I can help you better than you can help yourself."

AND,

"If I don't help you, you're going to pay for it."

(Translation: I'm unable to feel good unless I help you. I need to use you in order to feel better. You'd better necessitate my feelings of good or I'll injure you).

These scripts are the messages that children of addict parents receive about helping. Helping of this kind is an addiction or a "compulsion." The 52nd printing of Roget's College Thesaurus lists the following entries under the word "compulsion."

Compulsion. "verbs- compel, force, make, drive, coerce, constrain, enforce, necessitate, oblige; force upon, press; cram, thrust or force down the throat; make a point of, insist upon, take no denial; put down, dragoon; extort, wring from; drag into; bind over; pin or tie down; require, tax, put in force, put teeth in; restrain; hold down; commandeer, draft, conscript, impress" (65).

Some religions add further complications to this type of destructive control behavior by promoting messages such as:

  • "Helping is the Christian thing to do."
  • "God will love you if you help your fellow man."
  • "We reap what we sow (If I help you, you'll help me). "
  • "Forgive them for they know not what they do; help them anyway."
  • "Good Christians help people."
  • "Do onto others, as you would want them to do onto you (Addict's hidden agenda: If I help you, you're supposed to help me)."

These reinforcements add justification and give the addict sanctioned permission to compel themselves into helping behavior as a destructive control behavior.

One of the problems of dependency is "intense need." This intensity causes a got-to-get-it-all-done-right-now behavior. As a result of this behavior, addicts ignore asking for permission to help, or for that matter, permission for anything if they conclude that it might obstruct their need to "feel better" by doing so. Addicts for the most part do not wait until they have been asked for help. They force help. And "forced help" is a "boundary violation." They are operating on the principal that a child is an object of use and therefore does not need to be asked for permission to be used.

Imagine the child to be a country. Imagine that country to be surrounded by borders. These borders are the boundaries for that country. When these borders are invaded without consent, the act is considered to be hostile. The hostile invasion of a country is called a boundary violation. Similarly, the hostile invasion of a child is called a boundary violation. (Choose to see "Projection" later in this section for a further explanation of "Boundaries.)"

Excessive probing and lack of privacy

Excessive probing and lack of privacy are also "boundary violations." Excessive probing is where the addict probes for a purpose and that purpose is to gain information which is destructively used against the child. A child waits in fear of information being taken by force (excessive probing) that will be used against them. The information is extracted by the addict in an act of coercion and terrorism. A child looses their sense of safety whenever there is a boundary violation.

Excessive probing would include any statement that is designed to access the child's thoughts in order to gain information which was originally protected by the child before it was extracted by the addict parent. Examples of destructive probing statements:

(said from an angry victim stance)

  • "Tell me why you did that, and don't lie!"
  • "I know you did this so you might as well tell me the truth!"
  • "I'm sure I saw you do that, don't lie to me!"
  • "Where have you been!"
  • "Do you think I'm stupid? I can tell your lying to me (You must be holding something back or trying to hide something)!"

All of these excessive and destructive probing statements are designed to invade the child's boundaries and force them to surrender information against their will without regard to their emotional safety. An addict only knows that in order to avoid "feeling bad" he or she must invade and control information that was originally controlled (protected) by the child. In an unhealthy, chimerical, or distorted view from addict to child, " My will is more powerful than yours." A child who is being used as an object of addiction is expected to be compliant (surrender information) and fears for their safety when they do not submit to an unauthorized invasion (a violation of their boundaries).

Lack of privacy includes excessive probing, the physical act of entering someone else's room or bath area, .i.staring; (as an invasion or as a way to invade), or looking through someone else's personal effects, all without permission. All of these activities are an invasion and the act of invasion without permission is again a "boundary violation."

Addicts do not respect boundaries. They have an intuitive sense of what a boundary violation is but choose to ignore that information. As an addict, the choice for them is choosing between the addiction to the child and the child's physical or emotional safeness or wellness (safeness or wellness as felt by the child). Unfortunately, satisfying the addiction is stronger and subsequently more important than the concern or well being of the child. The child's welfare is thought of in terms of how to feed the addiction and satisfy the compulsion. The crime with addiction is that it is usually a silent attack i.e. feeding the addiction behind closed car doors, closed bedroom doors, or basements and then trying to look excessively good to the outside community by repressing, concealing, or controlling anything that might "look bad" or unacceptable. An addict parent is basically addicted to controlling, either in the form of controlling themselves (their behaviors and their feelings), and/ or controlling other people in the same way. And controlling information or personal space empowers the addict with feelings of control. Controlling is a way addict parents "feel better."

Lack of privacy may also be "taking an inventory" of the child. It's an intrusion and a boundary violation. Taking an inventory of someone means to take an accounting of their behavior and reading it back to them or analyzing them aloud. A child, who's inventory is being taken, will feel like someone has just invaded their mind, stolen information, and then exposed it to the world like spoils of war. It's an attack and pilfering of the child's mind and spirit. Some mild examples of inventory taking would be statements like:

  • "I know you're going to like this."
  • "Mommy knows you won't like this, so you can't have it."
  • "I knew you would do this."
  • "You don't like that. I remember the last time you . . . . ."

Some more serious examples of inventory taking would be:

(said from an angry or envious victimstance)

  • "You're just stubborn/ lazy/ shy/ excited/ small/ slow/ etc." (Labels that judge negatively).
  • "I (or You) know you're only doing this to . . . . . . . . "
  • "I know what your thinking (something) and it's wrong."
  • "You're not fooling me, I know exactly what you're up to."
  • "You're pretty/ talented/ good/ easy/ nice/ quick/ smart/etc." (Labels that create expectation).

These kinds of statements, that presume to know something personal about the child, more than the child would know about themselves, are considered to be an inventory taking which is a boundary violation; more specifically, the addict foregoes any question that would ask in a nurturing way for "permission" to obtain information in order to affirm or verify their perceptions of the child at the time.


Projection

Projection is a way addict parents unloads themselves emotionally onto the child by shifting the responsibility for their feelings onto the child. The shifting of responsibility for their feelings onto the child is also called "blaming." Blaming the child for the addict's feelings. The addict forces (blames) the child into excepting responsibility for their feelings. The forcing of responsibility is a boundary violation. It's a type of invasion which forces the child to except extra emotional and physiological loads.

Imagine the child to be a country. Let's call this country "Child Country."

Imagine the addict to be a country and let's call this country "Addict Country."

Each country has borders, or boundaries, which surround the country and keep it safe.

Imagine the neighboring country of Addict Country forcing the burden of their internal affairs onto Child Country. As an example, say that Addict Country has a sudden increase in population. Let's call this sudden increase in population a population explosion. The population explosion is so big that Addict Country is unable to cope with the sudden expansion. In order to relieve this sudden internal growth, they feel it necessary to expand outward. Unfortunately they don't have the land resources within their own country to accommodate the expansion. The only way to resolve the burden of this sudden growth is to invade a neighboring country. They will choose to invade the nearest neighboring country with the weakest borders. The nearest country with the weakest borders is Child Country.

Addict Country's ability to invade Child country is more powerful than Child Country's ability to protect it's borders. The invasion of Child Country is called a boundary violation (the boundaries, or borders, of Child Country have been invaded).

Using the same story, but replacing the elements in motion with human attributes, we get the following:

  • Country Story - Human Equivalent.
  • Child Country - The child.
  • Addict Country - The addict.
  • Borders (boundaries) - The personal protective space.
  • Population explosion - The addict's overflow of internal feelings.
  • The expansion - The load of emotion.
  • Expanding outward - Projecting feelings.
  • Land resources - Coping skills for feelings.
  • The ability to invade - Strength, experience, size, skill.

We now have the human equivalent to the country story. The result would be the following human story.

The addict has a sudden increase in feelings. Unable to cope with the load of these feelings, they project these feelings onto the child. The child's personal protective space is invaded and emotionally (and physiologically) loaded down with the addict's feelings. Due to this invasion of the child's personal protective space, a boundary violation has occurred.

Below are some examples of projection. The first statement is the projection. The projection is what the child hears. The statements that follow are the addicts concealed feelings (ACF), which the child does not hear. As a result of not hearing these concealed feelings, the child is loaded down emotionally with loads (assumes the loads) that the child assumes that they are supposed to carry (accommodate or make adjustments) for the addict.


Examples of Projection

Projection: "You're Stupid."

ACF:

  • "I'm frustrated with the limits I think you have."
  • "I'm angry that the expectations I have of you aren't being met."
  • "I feel like you aren't meeting my needs."
  • "I feel helpless."

Projection: "You're Selfish."

ACF:

  • "I feel less important than you and I think it's you're fault.."
  • "I feel like you should discard you're feelings in favor of mine."
  • "I feel like you aren't meeting my needs."
  • "I feel helpless and unloved when you take care of yourself."

Projection: "You're Crazy."

ACF:

  • "I'm unable to accept you and your feelings."
  • "I feel angry or threatened by what I am hearing."
  • "I feel inadequate."
  • "I feel helpless."

Projection: "You're just lazy."

ACF:

  • "I have expectations for myself and I think you should be able to meet those same expectations."
  • "I can't cope with your limits, no matter how healthy they are."
  • "I feel helpless."

Projection: "You're a bitch /an asshole."

ACF:

  • "I expect you to behave in a certain way."
  • "I feel helpless, inadequate, angry, hurt, etc. that you're not behaving in a way that I feel good about."
  • "I feel like you aren't meeting my needs."
  • "I feel like I need you to take care of me and my needs."

Projection: "Grow up!"

ACF:

  • "I expect you to behave in a certain way." ;
  • "I feel helpless, inadequate, angry, hurt, etc. that you're not behaving in a way that I feel good about."
  • "I feel like you aren't meeting my needs."
  • "I feel like I need you to take care of me and my needs."

Projection: "You're a big baby!"

ACF:

  • "I expect you to behave in a certain way." ;
  • "I feel helpless, inadequate, angry, hurt, etc. that you're not behaving in a way that I feel good about."
  • "I feel like you aren't meeting my needs."
  • "I feel like I need you to take care of me and my needs."

Projection: "You're a snob."

ACF:

  • "I feel inadequate when I chose to be around you." ;
  • "I feel helpless, inadequate, angry, hurt, etc. that you're not behaving in a way that I feel good about."
  • "I feel like you aren't meeting my needs."
  • "I feel like I need you to take care of me and my needs."

Projection: "You're just weird."

ACF:

  • "I feel unable to accept you.."
  • "I expect you to behave in a certain way."
  • "I feel helpless, inadequate, angry, hurt, etc. that you're not behaving in a way that I feel good about."
  • "I feel like you aren't meeting my needs."
  • "I feel like I need you to take care of me and my needs."

Projection: "You're just thinking of yourself."

ACF:

  • "I think you should abandon your needs in favor of mine." ;
  • "I feel angry that I can't use you."
  • "I feel like you aren't meeting my needs."
  • "I feel helpless."

Projection: "Nobody is going to like you if you do that."

ACF:

  • "I'm frustrated with you, I don't like what you're doing." ;
  • "I expect you to behave in a certain way."
  • "I feel helpless, inadequate, angry, hurt, etc. that you're not behaving in a way that I feel good about."
  • "I feel like you aren't meeting my needs."
  • "I feel like I need you to take care of me and my needs."

Projection: "You can't do that!"

ACF:

  • "I feel anger when I think you are going to do something that I consider to be inappropriate." ;
  • "I expect you to behave in a certain way."
  • "I feel helpless, inadequate, angry, hurt, etc. that you're not behaving in a way that I feel good about."
  • "I feel like you aren't meeting my needs."
  • "I feel like I need you to take care of me and my needs."

Projection: "You're just doing that to be a smart ass."

ACF:

  • "I'm sure that I can read your mind." ;
  • "I'm unable to cope with your behavior."
  • "I expect you to behave in a certain way."
  • "I feel helpless, inadequate, angry, hurt, etc. that you're not behaving in a way that I feel good about."
  • "I feel like you aren't meeting my needs."
  • "I feel like I need you to take care of me and my needs."

Projection: "I think you're doing this just because . . . . . ."

ACF:

  • "I'm sure that I can read your mind." ;
  • "I'm unable to cope with your behavior."
  • "I expect you to behave in a certain way."
  • "I feel helpless, inadequate, angry, hurt, etc. that you're not behaving in a way that I feel good about."
  • "I feel like you aren't meeting my needs."
  • "I feel like I need you to take care of me and my needs."

Projection: "You're just doing this to get attention."

ACF:

  • "I'm envious of your abilities and feeling inadequate with my own." ;
  • "I'm sure that I can read your mind."
  • "I'm unable to cope with your behavior."
  • "I expect you to behave in a certain way."
  • "I feel helpless, inadequate, angry, hurt, etc. that you're not behaving in a way that I feel good about."
  • "I feel like you aren't meeting my needs."
  • "I feel like I need you to take care of me and my needs."

Projection: "You are embarrassing me!"

ACF:

  • "I feel anger when I think you are going to do something that I consider to be inappropriate." ;
  • "I expect you to behave in a certain way."
  • "I feel helpless, inadequate, angry, hurt, etc. that you're not behaving in a way that I feel good about."
  • "I feel like you aren't meeting my needs."
  • "I feel like I need you to take care of me and my needs."

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APA Reference
Writer, H. (2008, December 16). Behaviors that Hurt and the Loads to be Carried, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/addictions/articles/behaviors-that-hurt-and-the-loads-to-be-carried

Last Updated: April 26, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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