Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Short Dictionary of ACoNese

One of the things that worry me about therapy is the tendency I've observed in some therapists to push forgiveness on clients. First forgive your parents, and after this amazing breakthrough we can start making real progress. This is especially dangerous for ACoNs, because we seem to have different definitions of this and other key terms, more toxic to us.

I had fun writing A Short Dictionary of Narcissese. This one, not so much. I'll try to find out what insane definitions I've made for key emotional terms. While Ns are eerily similar, ACoNs differ in ways we react to them, so I'll really be grateful for your own contributions to the dictionary!

For some words, I have more than one definition, depending on the situation:

Anger: The unforgivable sin.

Courage: Withstanding torture without a complaint is ideal courage. Some people defend themselves and can still be considered brave, but it would not be moral for me to ever stand up for myself.

Empathy: 1. Understanding and excusing others.

2. Weakness.

3. Fake.

Family: A cold prison.

Father: 1. Doting, loving, involved, constantly worrying warden.

2. Controlling, engulfing, easily offended dangerous tyrant.

Forgiveness: 1. Understanding and excusing someone's hurtful behavior, fully expecting it to be repeated.

2. Absolving someone from all blame and admitting they're perfect and you adore them.

3. Not caring what someone has done to you because you have no feelings about it, or them, or anything anyway.

Independence: 1. According to my parents, being lonely, cold, stuck-up.

2. Something I must achieve at all costs, though, of course, it will make me lonely, cold, stuck-up.

Involved: Enmeshed, engulfing.

Love: 1. What is used to control me. Both the carrot and the stick. What entitles them to do with me as they please. What can be taken away instantly, at the slightest provocation.

2. A fake, invented emotion. No one truly feels it, everyone's just dependent on each other and pretends that's love, when it's really weakness and fear of loneliness.

3. Allowing someone to hurt you and bravely withstanding the torture without a complaint. If that's not love, what is?

Mother: 1. Cheerful, loud, interested in appearances, fake.

2. Depressed, cowardly, weak mass of formless goo.

Respect: 1. Being an adoring slave.

2. Fear.

Success: 1. Something real and tangible I have to achieve to prove I'm not worthless.

2. Something real and tangible I must never achieve or I'll be destroyed for it.

Supportive: 1. Enmeshed, engulfing.

2. Criticizing.

Worry: 1. What they do all the time about you, so you constantly need to report to them and listen to criticism.

2. What I have to do all the time. Will they be angry? Will someone be angry? Am I doing enough? Am I fulfilling my potentials? Am I wasting my life?

Do you have other definitions? Do you have other words? Add to the dictionary!


  1. Silence: The calm before the storm. There is fear in the silence.

  2. Happy: What I'm must pretend to be at all times. But not too happy.

    Depressed: The other unforgivable sin. synonyms; sad, sorrowful.

    1. Wow, that's interesting. "Depressed" was normal in my home, but one shouldn't really express it too much, because then one is "spoiled" and "ungrateful."

  3. humour: an acceptable way to humilate and belittle

    crying: a manipulation used to create pity

    family: a mysteriously dark and dangerous place ie: Bermuda triangle or area 51

    love: a secret weapon normally kept just out of reach, often used as a motivational tool

  4. I am still so new to all of this (not to being emotionally abused, but to the ACoN community, but this dictionary was so so so accurate. I should print this off to take to my therapist when I go back in a couple of weeks. Is that okay with you if I do that?
    I have had a really hard time expressing what happened to me, and I even told my therapist just that. But I also told her how people like you have helped me to understand that there is almost a different language spoken fluently by people who were raised as we were. It intrigued her, but it may be slightly above her expertise or awareness, because she didn't have a response other then assent and understanding.
    PA, thank you so much for the help you gave here and in other forums. It has helped me to wake up and come out of the cave of my imprisonment, too.

    1. More than OK, I'd be flattered! Thank you for being here with us, it really means a lot to me :)

  5. Even the language is different, words are distorted and abusive, great idea to give a starting point of words that are defined differently. Hugs.


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