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Post Info TOPIC: Placing Principles above Personalities C2C July 22, 2022

~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 645
Placing Principles above Personalities C2C July 22, 2022

Interesting topic today, from the C2C, about how the congenial atmosphere of an Al-Anon meeting is dependent on all

participants to be able to place "principles above personalities." I can see that is also true about membership and MIP as well.

The author goes on to say that it is not expected that we all like each other but that the membership has a common

goal/interest/belief that creates strength rather than negativity.

Todays Reminder: "I will keep an open mind toward each person I encounter today." "If I am ready to learn, anyone

can be my teacher."

Todays Quote: "The open door to helpful answers is communication based on love." "Such communication depends on

awareness of and respect for each others well-being and willingness to accept in another what may not measure up to our

own standards and expectations."~ The Dilemma of the Alcoholic Marriage

I see two topics, (1) concerning mutual respect among the membership of an Al-Anon group and (2) concerning respect

in a marriage or relationship.

Both are so equally important but I find the marriage/relationship respect a bit lacking because I am trying but my partner

is not. I sense within my group interactions that there is absolutely no issue. When my partner is not happy for what ever

reason, the first thing they do is lash out at me. So for the most part I detach and do not engage, but then there are times

when the line gets crossed and I have to step up and put a stop to the verbal assault. When that happens I honestly say

what I mean but not always in a nice way, probably because at that point I dont care anymore, I have had enough. So I

pick up where I left off and start over checking that my personality does not over-ride the basic principles of respect even

if it is not reciprocal.

What are your thoughts/feelings/experiences on the meaning of principles above personalities?


"Forgiveness doesn't excuse bad behavior, but it

does prevent bad behavior from destroying your heart". ~unknown


Senior Member

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Posts: 121

I agree on pretty much all of your points. I love seeing this in action in al-anon and in other group setting where people consciously practice similar principles. For example, I've noticed it's common for teachers in my recent studies to request something of this nature from the class at the beginning of a semester and then remind us of it when conflict occurs. (Isn't it great when these principles appear in the wider world?) When it's reciprocated, it's great and more than simply allowing me to function alongside people I might not personally like, it allows me the opportunity to learn things from that person that I might otherwise disregard, and that's often a valuable gift.

When it's not reciprocated, it can be very difficult, especially when it's someone you can't just disengage from. I know with my ex A, things reached a point where the abuse and outright malice from him made respect pretty much impossible and total disengagement was the only possible way I could protect myself or go forward. I think that's partly because we learn some of our unhealthy responses to abuse/ unfair treatment for a good reason.

When my ex-husband wouldn't stop calling and threatening me constantly, coming over and trying to force his way into my house etc I learned that if I acted completely insane, screaming into the phone, throwing things, saying crazy things, he would get rattled and leave me alone. It wasn't respectful to either of us for me to behave like that, it was just the only effective way I saw to make him leave me be. (Thankfully I learned about relying on the police etc instead a bit later haha. That's definitely the better option!) But my point is we learn some of these behaviours to protect ourselves and if someone is behaving in a threatening way it makes sense that we act out of self-preservation. I don't think it's fair to expect ourselves to immediately unlearn self-protection behaviours were might have spent a life-time building when we're constantly under fire from someone; I'm a big fan of being kind and understanding with ourselves first and foremost.

I don't know what the answer is to how to maintain this principle when dealing with abusive or unreasonable people that have a significant impact on us; my go-to response now is to simply disengage and if they persist, to refuse contact. But that doesn't work with closest/ live-in family and I haven't had to deal with an unreasonable partner for years now and don't think I ever will again, this issue being one of the primary reasons. Again, probably not a healthy response but one that keeps me safe.
I look forward to reading other's input and how they manage to treat abusive/ unreasonable people with respect when it is in their home and causing them harm.


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 2484

Debbie, thank your for your service on this great topic, and for all above ESH. It's taken a number of years in program for me to adjust to principles above personalities. I found this very difficult for much of my adult life. I have a better understanding of it now, because it's embedded in our entire program: Step 1, Live and let live, Let go and let God, Bless them change me, etc. Alanon teaches me about compassion and acceptance of others, even if I don't like them or what someone is doing.

My A is slightly improved, but still can have mood swings, erratic behavior, hostility, and verbal abuse towards me. It's fairly automatic now, to go right into detachment mode. Sometimes I can do it with love, and sometimes I can't. Progress not perfection.



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