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John Bradshaw, p.2

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Carol Burnet, in the foreword to "The Family"

We must always look at emotional illness as a social crisis

Our violated true self stays
in hiding
because we have lost the connection between
what happened and the response to what happened. Since
the fantasy bond idealizes our persecutors, we can
only conclude that our neurotic, dysfunctional
behavior is about us and not them. But once we become
aware that our responses to violence are about what
happened to us and not about who we really are, we can
begin our recovery process. We can demythologize our
idealized parents and can see that we are not bad,
flawed or

one of our sample profiles, Mom is a religion addict.
It is very difficult to be in a conflict with someone
who is on a pedestal, who looks and acts holy.

In our
second example, Dad is a highly successful public
figure. He looks like a "perfect 10" in the
American way of making it. Yet both families are
extremely dysfunctional.

provides for him beautifully by keeping an immaculate
house and by being a consummate cook. She continually
nags, lectures, quotes Scripture, gripes, and on
occasion goes hysterical because of Biff's lack of
responsibility. Biff gets out of the house every
chance he can, even though he's only home for three
weekends a month. Pevilia tries to control everyone
and everything within her reach. She is avidly
religious. She has changed churches several times. The
reason is always that the church is not true enough to
the Bible. She has finally found a spiritual guru who
she thinks is a true messenger of God. She studies the
Bible daily with this self-appointed biblical


Pevilia smiles incessantly. She
thanks God for sending her such misfortune and has
been told over and

over again how much God must love
her because of her problems. Pevilia always seems to fo
know what is right. When the children are hurting, she
consoles them with scriptural quotations and moral
exhortations. This family is a compulsive family. Mom
is addicted to the ecstasy she feels when she
experiences her sense of righteousness in prayer or
moralizing with biblical readings or in religious
services. She uses this feeling of goodness to
distract herself from how lonely, disappointed, sad
and angry she feels. She plays the role of being good and righteous;Saint Mom.


Needs Sacrificed to the System Members of a dysfunctional family cannot get their individual needs met. Individual needs are put aside for the needs of the system.
...results in frozen feelings that contaminate one's emotional intelligence.  
Unmercifully judgmental of self and others. You constantly criticize yourself.
What you do is not good enough. You project your own self-critical judgment onto others.


A Abandonment issues
D Delusion and denial
U Undifferentiated ego mass
L Loneliness and isolation

T Thought disorders

C Control madness
H Hypervigilant (high-level anxiety)
I Internalized shame
L Lack of boundaries
D Disabled will
R Reactive and reenacting
E Equifinality
N Numbed out

O Offender with or without offender status
F Fixated personality

D Dissociated responses
Y Yearn for parental warmth and approval
S Secrets (dark)
F Faulty communication
U Underinvolved
N Neglect of developmental dependency needs
C Compulsive/addictive behaviors
T Trance -- carrying the family spell
I Intimacy problems
O Overinvolved (otheration)
N Narcissistically deprived
A Abuse victim
L Lack of coping skills (underlearning)

F False self;confused identity
A Avoid depression through activity
M Measured, judgmental and perfectionistic
I Inhibited trust
L Loss of own reality;damaged and weak boundaries
I Inflated self-image
E Emotional constraint (with or without dramatic outbursts)
S Spiritual bankruptcy

A. Abandonment issues.

You were physically abandoned by one or both of your parents. Your parents were there, but not emotionally available to you. You were physically, sexually or emotionally violated by someone in your family. Your developmental dependency needs were neglected. You were enmeshed in your parents' neediness or in the needs of your family system. You stay in relationships far beyond what is healthy.

D. Delusion and denial.

You believe everything is okay in spite of the facts that say things are not okay. You are unconscious and oblivious about the dysfunction that is going on.

U. Undifferentiated ego mass.

You carry the feelings, desires and secrets of other people in your family system. L. Loneliness and isolation. You have felt lonely all or most of your life. You feel isolated and different.

T. Thought disorders.

You get involved in generalities or details in order to avoid your painful feelings. You worry, ruminate and obsess a lot. You stay in your head to avoid your feelings. You read about your problems, rather than taking action. C. Control madness. You try to control yourself and everyone else. You feel extremely uncomfortable when you're out of control. You mask your efforts to control people and situations by "being helpful."?

H. Hypervigilant (high-level anxiety).

You live on guard. You are easily startled. You panic easily.

I. Internalized shame.

You feel flawed as a human being. You feel inadequate and hide behind a role or an addiction or character trait, like control, blame, criticism, perfectionism, contempt, power and rage. L. Lack of boundaries. You don't know where you end and others begin physically, emotionally, intellectually or spiritually. You don't know what you really stand for.

D. Disabled will.

You are willful. You try to control other people. You are grandiose. With you it's all or nothing.

R. Reactive and reenacting.

You react easily. You feel things unrelated to what is happening. You feel things more intensely than the event calls for. You find yourself repeating patterns over and over. E. Equifinality. No matter where you begin, your life seems to end at the same place. N. Numbed out. You don't feel your feelings. You don't know what you feel. You don't know how to express what you feel.

O. Offender with or without offender status.

You are actually an offender, or you are not an offender, but in fact play that role sometimes.

F. Fixated personality.

Your personality was arrested at an early developmental age. You are an adult, but your emotional age is very young. You look like an adult but feel very childish and needy. You feel like the lifeguard on a crowded beach, but you don't know how to swim.

D. Dissociated responses.

You have no memories of painful events of your childhood; you have a split personality; you depersonalize; you can't remember people's names or even the people you were with two years ago. You are out of touch with your body and your feelings.

Y. Yearn for parental warmth and approval.

You seek it in other relationships. You still try to gain your parents' approval and you yearn for the "perfect relationship."? You have an exaggerated need for others' approval. You fear offending others. You find emotionally unavailable partners (just like your parents were) and try to make them love you. You will go to almost any lengths to care and help your partner. You find people who need nurturing and take care of them.

S. Secrets (dark).

You carry dark secrets from your family of origin. You've never talked to anyone about how bad it was in your family, and you carry lots of secrets about your own life. You also carry sexual secrets that you would not want to tell anyone.

F. Faulty communication.

You have had trouble communicating in every relationship you've been in. Your partners frequently tell you that they do not understand what you say. You feel confused when communicating with others. When talking to people, no matter how good your intentions are to be sane and clear, it winds up the same, conflicted and confused.

U. Underinvolved.

You stand on the sidelines of life wishing you were a participant. You don't know how to initiate a relationship, a conversation, an activity. You are withdrawn and would rather bear the pangs of being alone than risk interaction. You are not spontaneous. You allow yourself very little excitement or fun.

N. Neglect of developmental dependency needs.

You never seem to be satisfied. No matter how much you anticipate something, soon after it is over, you feel restless and unsatisfied. You are childish and feel like a child a lot of the time. You cry when someone says really beautiful things about you. You feel as though you don't really belong much of the time. You are immature. You refuse to be responsible. You goof off and act childish.

C. Compulsive/addictive behaviors.

You have been or are now in an active compulsive/addictive behavior.

T. Trance - carrying the family spell

You still carry the family trance. You are fantasy-bonded and still idealize your parents. You still play the role(s) you played in your family system. Nothing has really changed in your family of origin;same dialogue, same fights, same gossip. Your significant relationship is just like the one you had with one or both of your parents.

I. Intimacy problems.

You have trouble in relationships; you've been married more than twice; you choose partners who embody the same emotional patterns of your primary caretakers. You are attracted to seductive sociopathic partners; you avoid partners who are kind, stable, reliable and interested in you. You find "nice"? men/women boring. When you start getting too close, you leave a relationship. You confuse closeness with compliance, intimacy with fusion.

O. Overinvolved (otheration).

You are drawn to needy people. You confuse love with pity. You are drawn to people who have problems that you think you can fix. You are drawn toward people and situations that are chaotic, uncertain and emotionally painful. You are dying and you see someone else's life flashing before your eyes.

N. Narcissistically deprived.

You feel empty inside. You compensate with addiction to chemicals, food, prestige, money, possessions, heroism, sex, power, violence, passive-dependent persons, children, etc., as a way of feeling important and worthwhile. You constantly seek admiration from others. Much of your energy is spent trying to impress others and get their approval.

A. Abuse victim.

You were physically, emotionally or sexually abused as a child. You are a victim in life and play that role in most areas of your existence. You feel hopeless about changing anything. Your identity comes from being a victim. You expend lots of energy impressing people with details of your victimization. Or: You were abused and have become an offender. You identified with the abusing parent or caretaker and act just like he or she did.

L. Lack of coping skills (underlearning).

You never learned how to do many things necessary for a fully functional life. Your methods of problem-solving do not work, but you continue to use the same ones over and over. You learned ways of caring for your wounds that, in fact, perpetuated them. You have no real knowledge of what is normal. (** healthy) Your bottom-line tolerance is quite abnormal.

F. False self;confused identity.

Your self-worth depends on your partner's success or failure. When you're not in a relationship, you feel an inner void. You feel responsible for making your partner happy. You take care of people to give yourself an identity. You wear masks, calculate, manipulate and play games. You act out rigid family roles and/or sex roles. When your partner has a stomachache, you take the antacid.

A. Avoid depression through activity.

You get actively involved in fixing unstable relationships. The more you are active and in your head, the more you can avoid your depression. You have an activity addiction like gambling, working or sexing.

M. Measured, judgmental and perfectionistic.

You have unrealistic expectations of yourself and others. You are rigid and inflexible. You are rigid and judgmental of yourself and others. You're stuck in your attitudes and behavior, even though it hurts to live the way you do. I. Inhibited trust. You don't trust anyone, including yourself. You doubt the validity of your own feelings, perceptions and judgments.

L. Loss of own reality;damaged and weak boundaries.

You take more than 50 percent of the responsibility, guilt and blame for whatever happens in a relationship. You know what others feel or need before you know your own feelings and needs. Any change in the status quo of a relationship is experienced as a threat by you. You feel embarrassed by what others do and take responsibility for their behavior. Or rather than risk abandonment, you withdraw and refuse to get involved.

I. Inflated self-image.

You live according to an ideal image of yourself, rather than what your true identity is. You have a grandiose and exaggerated notion of yourself.

E. Emotional constraint (with or without dramatic outbursts).

You control your emotions. You have dramatic outbursts of emotions that have been repressed for long periods of time. You have inappropriate outbursts of emotions. You go to great lengths to verbalize every feeling as soon as it enters your awareness. You do this so that you won't have to feel them for very long.

S. Spiritual bankruptcy.

You live totally oriented to the outside, believing that your worth and happiness lie outside of you. You have no awareness of your "inner life."?\\\