When Your Adult Child Becomes Abusive

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If your adult child or children were anyone else on this planet, would you allow them the leeway that you are giving to your abusive child or children?

Tough question to answer, isn’t it?  Part of that is because we have that “bond” with our child or children as a parent that supersedes any other relationship that we can have or have had in our lives.  Love is blind as they say so, we often blindfold ourselves to the three dimensional view of our child or children.  We can see glimpses of their flaws and faults but, that’s as much as our guilt will allow us to see.  It’s nearly impossible for us to be as fully objective about our own child or children as we may be able to be with other people.

The word “guilt” was used for good reason. As parents, not only does the love we have for them become overwhelming and blinding but, we tend to tie our own self-worth into our child or children.  The moment we dive deeply into being critical of our own flesh and blood that we brought into this world or even adopted from someone else’s womb, we tie ourselves to that child or children in a way that we cannot tie ourselves to anyone else on this planet.  A put-down of our child even from our own minds and whether we gave birth to them or not, is oftentimes, felt as a put-down upon ourselves as both parents as well as who we are in general as people.  If our child or children are not doing well in life or is somehow “flawed”, we can unconsciously or even consciously, figure that it’s our faults.  We can leap to the conclusion that somehow, we have failed as parents and therefore we are also flawed as people in one way or another.

Not everyone will completely blame themselves for their child’s failures in Life.  Some parents will be able to see that our children have made choices in friends or groups that they’ve chosen to hang around and blame them instead of ourselves.  However, somewhere, deep down inside of us, there’s still a feeling of somehow being imperfect as a parent because our child or children have made those choices whether we’ve discouraged it or outright forbidden it or not. On some level or another, we feel “guilt” in one capacity or another and can tear ourselves to shreds as both parents as well as people.

This then leads us back to the question of whether or not we would allow any other human being to treat us the way that we allow our adult children to treat us.

First of all, were someone else to be treating us with any level ranging from disrespect to outright abuse, we’d likely toss those people from our lives to some extent or another, for some time frame or another or, more likely, until there was at least a sincere apology from that person.  If it was a long-termed thing, we’d likely walk away and not look back.   With family, it’s not quite that easy.  We can even find ourselves being victims as adults to poor treatment from our own parents and siblings out of a feeling of obligation and duty.  However, having said that, we can also come to a point where we begin to distance ourselves either somewhat or totally from them and their abusive or manipulative ways.  Friends or others in our lives are even more likely to be walked away from under these circumstances.  Our children are not quite as easy to distance ourselves from because of the above and for other reasons.

There is likely few people that we put more of ourselves into than we do with our child or children.  Even as adults, we are still invested in many ways in our children’s lives and well-being.  After all, isn’t that our job?  At least, that’s what we may reason with ourselves but, the answer to that is a resounding “no” once our children become adults and, we don’t need to continue to allow them to use, abuse or treat us poorly once they have become adults.  Our “jobs” are done.  We gave birth to them, loved them, raised them, gave them what we could reasonably give them and we supported them in more than a roof over their heads.  There are exceptions of course in the parenting world to this but, we’re talking about the average parent here, not those who were abusive to their own children or neglectful in any way.

There are a few things to take into consideration in how parents can deal with their adult-abusive or even estranged child (a topic that not many sites will deal with).

Your influence over your adult child was watered down many years ago.

We all like to think that we still have some sort of power or control over our children’s lives once they are adults.  For some, this is true but, for the most part, our influences over our child, all of our teachings, morals and values that we feel we’ve instilled into them, was long ago watered down by the influences of many other people in our children’s lives as they grow.  We are no longer their sole source of influence.  Peers, bosses, teachers and society in general, also including technology as well as entertainment venues, have taken over the largest portion of what affects them or doesn’t affect them once they are adults and have been doing so for many years before this point.  Oftentimes, those sources are the biggest reasons for their actions, decisions or choices at this stage of their lives versus us, as parents.  We therefore, cannot continue to place blame upon ourselves for everything that our children decide to do or not do.  Those choices were influenced by many other sources and we are the least likely sources at this point in our children’s choices or lack of them so, we can halt the self-deprecating right there for their poor choices or in taking the blame for the way they treat us now.

Having given your child too much attention or in short, spoiling them.

A lot of parents from the 1980’s onwards are likely guilty of having given their child everything they could possibly give them including monetary things as well as attention, devotion, praise and love.  Parents of children from the 80’s onwards were also victims to a new way of thinking about parenting. Society was at a point where the theory was to reward children for almost everything that they did, including potty training.  They got stars, praise and even rewards or trophies for simply participating no matter how well they did or whether they did anything or not.  They simply had to show up more than half of the time in order to get a reward of some type or another.  Even education was play based and grades were given out according to effort, not necessarily, achievement.

This was a time frame in which parents were also encouraged to praise our children to the hilt for even small endeavours in the home and, it was done by most.  Support, praise, rewards and more of the same.  No matter what children did or didn’t do in those times, they were rewarded for one thing or another.  Not only did that lead us to believe that our children could do no wrong but, it led them to feeling “entitled” to getting rewarded in one way or another no matter what they did or didn’t do.  It was that entitlement that turned a fairly good chunk of those children into little narcissists who believed that the sun rose and set on them no matter what they did or didn’t do.  That wasn’t just parental influence but, also that of society in general.  Even were children to be disciplined at home, they were rewarded for even poor attitudes and skills outside of the home. Parents couldn’t override an entire system and if they tried, the parents became “The Hated Ones” because the rest of society and its systems were telling these children that they were “entitled”.   We did them no favours as human beings because it made it tougher for these kids to grow up into a tough, dog-eat-dog world where they weren’t able to cope well because everything had been handed to them up until this point.  That wasn’t necessarily parent’s faults but rather societal experimentation that failed these children and turned them into narcissistic tending little monsters who eventually, would grow up into adults who felt entitled and angry when they didn’t get what they wanted anymore from Life or their parents.

The “experts” are still saying that parents should tell their children they are loved no matter how badly they’ve treated us or, even if they have walked away on us and are now estranged from us.

Not to put down the so-called “experts” but, how many parents have tried with their children, always telling them that they are loved, only to find themselves being either doormats or punching bags for their children?

Answer:  Lots!

Sadly, many parents of children from the ’80s onwards are now finding their either fully adult or nearly adult children, treating them like yesterday’s garbage and being tossed to the side while they’re still telling their child, “I love you” and continuing to do so no matter how badly they are treated by their children.

Far be it from me to tell parents to not tell their children that they are loved and wanted.  Every parent needs to let their children know that much but, when that child not only disrespects that parent but, treats them poorly, it’s time to give up on the loving words and time to get real with their adult children by letting them know that while they are still loved, their attitudes and abusive, using actions will not be tolerated.  Enough already with sending them messages of “I love you” and leaving it there while rolling with the punches.  These are no longer 10 year old children who can’t understand the meanings of their actions fully.  These are fully grown adults who must learn that for every action, there’s an equal or greater reaction.  That doesn’t mean withdrawing love for them however, it does mean that these adults don’t get to treat their parents poorly and still get the benefits that they would if they were treating their parents with respect and love too.  Poor actions get poor reactions.  Withdrawal of love for them is never a solution but, rewarding them by permitting poor treatment is not the answer.  They need a wake-up call for their sakes as well as the parent’s own well-being.

If you wouldn’t let others treat you this way and would walk away from them, why are you letting your child do this to you?  

As has been said throughout this piece in differing ways, rewarding poor behaviour is akin to a form of abuse from parents.  We are not doing them any good by rewarding our children for their poor treatment of us or by putting up with it and giving them more and more of ourselves.  Life doesn’t work that way so, why should we?

When a child is rewarded for poor behaviour, attitudes, actions, choices or decisions, it re-inforces that behaviour within them.  No, they won’t like being said “no” to nor, will they love the idea that they’re not getting their own way or what they want if we do start to stand up to them as adults and let them know that it’s not ok to treat us in a poor manner.  However, continuing to give them what they want, expect or feel entitled to getting, is only bolstering the idea that poor behaviour, temper tantrums, threats of withdrawal from our lives and whatever else they can throw at us to manipulate us into giving them what they want is simply training them to continue treating us as parents, wrongly, poorly and with disregard as well as disrespect.

Let me say something perfectly clear here.

Giving more of yourself and handing everything to someone who is treating us badly, let alone our children, is a recipe for becoming a “doormat” for others.  In short, we are laying ourselves down on the ground and letting people walk on and wipe their feet on us.  That’s not right.  We are people too and it doesn’t matter who they are to us.  

Sadly, sometimes, we have to let them go and hope that they will eventually come back otherwise, we risk our lives becoming infected with toxicity.  

There’s no bigger health threat than having someone we love, treat us like dirt beneath their feet and making us feel like we don’t matter in this life.  That goes for our adult children.  We all need to feel wanted, loved, respected and treated fairly and well.  We deserve that from others especially, the very children that we lovingly raised to the adult level and oftentimes, sacrificed more than a good night’s sleep for.  Many parents can tell stories of having given up great careers, being able to travel or do things that they, themselves wanted to do for themselves that would have made them happy, in order to give everything to their child or children, leaving themselves unhappy, unfulfilled and only to be treated in an abusive, uncaring manner or worse, have that child or children walk out of their lives, without contact, care or concern for their parent(s) and their well-being.

More to the point, those children have become what one can consider a “toxin” to the parent, making them feel as though they’ve wasted those years of their lives on someone who cannot or more to the point, return that love, care or respect to their parents.  Not only that but, it wears on the parent’s psychological well-being and soon after, their physical health.  It’s a vicious cycle especially, when the parent continues to feel as though they simply need to do more, try harder, give more or plead with that child to keep their love or the adult child in their lives.  It’s akin to a dog or cat, chasing their own tails.  It’s a fruitless exercise in not only futility but in a form of an illness of one sort or another.  It won’t change your child and sometimes, the only way to make one person’s lives healthier, is for the parent to either distance themselves, limit their time or exposure to that child’s ill behaviour and treatment or, to completely walk away if the child doesn’t do it for themselves.

Yes, that all sounds counter-intuitive to what we feel or have been taught to think of as “proper parenting” but, this all leads back to the original question….

If this were anyone else in your life, would you continue to let that person abuse or mistreat you?

If your answer is “yes” then you, yourself need to find some counselling because you’re not valuing yourself as a person and instead, are valuing others above yourself.

If you answered “no” to this question then, why are you allowing and encouraging your adult child to continue to do it to you?

From my little corner of life, while this is a longer piece than I usually write, it’s an under said topic that needs addressing more and more fully.  We’ve turned out a couple of generations of children now, both adult and children who need to learn that you aren’t rewarded for treating others poorly.  There are consequences to their behaviours and reactions to their actions of equal or greater proportion.

Be well and let me know what you are dealing with in the comments, please.

Best wishes from one parent to another or to adult children who might be reading this and recognizing what may be happening in their own relationships with their parents.

Comment!

 

 

 

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau: A Canadian Letter On Dealing With President Trump

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Dear Justin:

We know that your good looks, charm and ability to awe crowds with your speeches and our money has gotten you as far as The Donald’s rants and lunatic acts have gotten him but, the time has come for you to actually act like Canada’s Prime Minister by standing up for Canadians with Trump at the helm now.

Your endless trips, handing out money all over the globe may have to be curtailed because you have Trump to deal with now and it’s going to take a lot of thinking, not charm or boyish good looks to win this one for the Canadian peoples that you have been sworn in to serve and protect.

It’s a well known fact that Canadians are polite and will try not to ruffle feathers however, that tactic will likely not work on Mr. D.J..  Giving him a congratulations and an extended hand to shake then, traveling off to other foreign countries or yet your 10,000th trip across Canada isn’t going to cut the mustard with a man who has more money than God and a mouth to boot.  Just as you don’t know what you’re doing as Prime Minister because you were never really a politician (no, you can’t count being the son of one), Trump wasn’t either.  Equally, just as Trump got into The White House because voters were fed up with politicians in Washington, you got in because voters up here were fed up with the status quo in the Conservatives.  Oh yes, and your pretty boy smile and muscles and…well….let’s not forget that you have your father’s last name too.

Let’s not forget that Trump is like a bull in a China shop while you’re still playing the role of the nice kid in the playground, giving out candy to be liked.  It isn’t going to work on Trump.  He hates candy and nice kids.  He wants to go out there, build walls around the country and grab women’s p*ssies.  Still want to play ball with him nicely?

Prime Minister Trudeau, do you think that you could grow a pair as well as a real back bone and stand up for the voters in Canada who voted you into office, keeping our rights and wellbeing in mind as you engage in politics with President Trump?  Do you think you could stay in one place long enough (Parliament would be nice) to build a strategy for dealing with Trump when he dumps Canada’s sorry arse into the Atlantic or Pacific ocean or decides that another wall between our two countries would balance out the one he wants Mexico to pay for?  Or, will you simply hand him over the money, straighten your tie, gel your hair and go on with your days in office?  Please don’t try to hone your Twitter skills.  Trump has that down pat already.

Canadians may be a polite bunch, eh?  However, we can guarantee you that there’s enough Canadians who will put on running shoes and march the streets of the major cities in Canada if you aren’t on guard for us.  Despite the cost of gas, our Loonie being worth nothing against the green back, we can still get to those cities to protest loud and clear.  Don’t make us do it, please.

Sincerely,

The Canadian Peoples

 

Why You Can’t Ignore Other People’s Thinking Or Feelings Without Consequence

I recently read what one could call an “inspirational” book that had an entire chapter dedicated towards the idea of speaking one’s mind in a non-confrontational way but, getting what one wants.  Within a few hours of finishing that chapter in the book, I was told about a video that contained a similar type of message but, expanded to include the idea that one should only hang around those who have the same ideals and lifestyle that you have.

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We’ve had a few large snow falls lately and my neighbour across the street whom I will call “Jane” had called me, upset and grumpy because her next-door neighbour has been outside with a loud snow blower at 6:30 a.m., clearing his snow from his property almost every morning.  The noise awoke Jane of course and her late shift working husband.  This happened three days in a row and, she was about to lose her cool with this man’s early morning work habits.

The snow blowing wasn’t the only thing this man had been doing early mornings though to get her to this point of frustration.  Summer or warmer days included 6 and 7 a.m. lawn mowing, electric hedge trimming and, a radio, hung in his garage full volume which acted like a megaphone blaring out onto the entire street from 6 or 7 a.m. until roughly noon when his work day was over and everyone was up.  He’d then, take a nap.

I thought about this scenario carefully and thoroughly.

Jane has a back issue and pain in spite of chiropractic care, heavy medications and physiotherapy, often keeps her awake most of the night.  It is often 4 or 5 a.m. before she can simply fall into a bit of a peaceful sleep.  Her husband tries to sleep during the mornings and into early afternoons.  Jane was not only in pain and getting depressed through lack of sleep but, her husband wasn’t getting his much needed sleep either.  Both of them were upset, angry and frustrated with the situation as well as one another. Even I have to admit that this man’s early electronic work habits were also being heard across the street and upsetting myself as well as other neighbours who also aren’t early risers either.  One neighbour has a baby who wasn’t sleeping through the night and needed her sleep when baby slept.  In short, it has been annoying everyone around the neighbourhood.

The video maker that I watched, had endorsed the idea of speaking one’s mind.  He  advocated that people not care what others thought yet, was “hurt” by someone else who felt that what the video maker was doing, was unfair to him as it disrupted his sleep far too early in the morning.  A commenter on this video, had brought up a few good points.  He/she had asked why the video maker was hurt by the fact that someone else had done exactly what the video maker was advocating people do by speaking their mind.  It hit me that the video maker was being unfair in expecting that there should be allowances for the endeavours they were setting out to do.

In my neighbour’s case, the man who was out there making loud noises at 6 and 7 a.m., that was a normal time for him to be out there, working.  He goes to bed at 9:30 or 10 p.m. and he rises at 5 a.m..  For him, 6 or 7 a.m. wasn’t early and he’s retired so, his time is his time.  He can do what he wants, when he wants for the most part.  Like the video maker had pointed out to him by his neighbour, the neighbour in my area didn’t take into consideration that he was not only breaking noise by-laws but, he didn’t take into consideration what everyone else living around him might think or feel.  He was doing as he pleased, as was the video maker in this case.  Truth was, by someone ignoring other people’s possible situations and doing what they wanted, when they wanted, these people were opening themselves up to other individual’s potential anger and the likely hurtful words and actions or reactions that will most likely ensue.

While in theory, it’s all well and good to say “do your own thing, how you want, when you want and not worry about other people or what they have to say,” unless you are living in a cave in the desert with no one else around you, you have to take other people and their circumstances into consideration as well, not just your own.  Not only had the video maker not taken this into consideration but, the neighbour in my case wasn’t doing that either.  As a matter of fact, the video maker had advocated standing his ground and continuing to do what he was doing at 7 and 8 a.m. no matter what effect it was having on his neighbour. Yet, he was talking about feeling hurt by his neighbour’s words while telling viewers to rise above someone else’s circumstances by changing how to think about it all and continuing to do it as wanted.  Wrong idea because I know what happened when the person on my street continued to ignore other people’s feelings, doing what he wanted, when he wanted.  It wasn’t pretty, kind or nice.

First of all, no…you don’t need to bow down to everyone and take their flack or put up with everything that they do and, yes…it is more desirable to just stay out of their way and be with people who don’t annoy you but, that’s not always possible to do.  We have to live next to these people and we have to sometimes, work with these people.  Most of us aren’t retired or living isolated from others.  Nor, is that desirable to do.  We need other people and we do live (most of us) in communities where we will have others to consider in a reasonable manner as to what we do, how we do it and when.  As a matter of fact, the video maker, contradicted themselves in several parts by saying the exact opposites of what was being preached in that video then, telling viewers how to mentally get out of that situation.  How about just stop doing it your way and compromising?  Did that not cross the video maker’s mind?  Apparently not.  It seems that the video maker wanted to do things his way and convert other people to his lifestyle or way of doing things.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch here, (not literally a ranch) it took a group of us to go and speak to this early bird neighbour and let him know that others are not as early a riser as he is and his work habits were ignoring everyone else’s rights to sleep later than him and that we all had reasons why we weren’t up at 5 a.m., ready to hear his snow blower, lawn mower, hedge trimmer or radio blaring by 6 or 7 a.m..  Since he was retired, we asked, could he not do this type of work and leave the radio off until at least 9 or 10 a.m., a more reasonable time for loud equipment, doing something else quiet, instead?  We met with resistance when he declared that it was his wish to get that done when he wanted to do it.  We tried citing the by-laws on the noise factor but that we didn’t wish to call city officials or police but, if he persisted, we’d have no choice but to do so.  What became clear was that he really and truly didn’t care.  He wanted it his way, on his time frame and nothing we said, no explanation was going to change that with him.  This is exactly what the video maker was saying as well about their own choices and yet, couldn’t understand why he had “hurt feelings”.

We still haven’t solved our own issue but, one thing does stand out.  When others don’t care about anyone else but themselves, their own wants and needs and, doesn’t take others into consideration, that’s a recipe for not only disaster but, likely hurt feelings as others shun and get angry.  It’s akin to the 2 year old who is told over and over again to stop jumping on the couch and getting a smack on the bottom or time out because the child persists in doing what he/she wants.  It’s going to happen.  One cannot simply change their thinking to suit what they want to do.  We have to take other’s feelings into consideration to some degree or another in a lot of instances.

One need not become a doormat, always thinking about what others will think or do if we do what we wish to do but, we also can’t simply ignore other’s rights by changing our thinking so that we can continue upsetting others and do what we want.  There’s got to be a balance somewhere and, unless we’re dealing with a difficult person who simply wants to control everything and everyone, we owe it to both ourselves and others to think twice about what we’re doing and how we can change that somehow to compromise to a suitable degree.  One cannot be selfish and expect not to have hurt feelings nor, can one always move away from those who bug us or don’t live as we do as the video maker would have us believe.  That’s narcissism from my perspective in my little corner of life.

Love, Light and Blessings.

 

 

Christmas Is Cancelled This Year

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Christmas is coming up, fast now.  If you’re Christian, you know what I mean and you’re feeling the pressure building.  If you’re not Christian, you have your holidays and can empathize.  However, this year, I’m feeling nostalgic as well as rather lost in a lot of ways.  In a way, while emotionally draining, I’m not feeling the stress that I usually feel.  I will explain what I mean by this statement but, I’m thinking that The Kranks (Christmas With The Kranks)   likely had the right original idea in skipping Christmas altogether and taking off for a tropical vacation.

First the lack of stress…with visions of The Griswolds in “Christmas Vacation” dancing through my head.

I used to be the accommodating family member who would take over all of the holiday meals and would shop for everyone until there were gifts galore all over the place.  I could barely stand up the day after Christmas and would have a nervous break down when the credit card bills started coming in the end of January.  It would take me months of penny scrimping and creative meals, no buying anything not needed 100% to dig us out of that financial nightmare.  Yes, we were saps.

Over the years, the family has diminished, not grown.  Most of my family has now passed away as has my husband’s family members.  What little family both of us do have left now, are not or barely speaking to us.  You see, we started having to say, “sorry…no” to things.  Hubby and I used to be the biggest doormats around for everyone and let’s just say that no one liked it when we had to politely start setting some boundaries and saying “no” to requests for money, money and more money that we didn’t have to begin with and couldn’t help them out anymore.  Worst, was our own daughter who found herself a boyfriend and they wanted to smoke weed in our home, with our 3 young nephews present and we told them to take it elsewhere.  No one left, likes having us say, “sorry…we can’t” so, they’ve kept their distance.  That leaves us alone for Christmas this year.  I’m not sure if it’s sad or if I should rejoice as I won’t have to scrimp and save to pay off the bills this year nor, do the work for everyone to enjoy?

What I do know is that it’s making me think twice about being too giving from here on out and learning to set up boundaries.  People don’t seem to like the fact that we finally stopped being a bank service or allowing things that aren’t right because we feared the back-lash from them if we said that simple word, “no”.  We’ve found that out and it was a shock at how they reacted to it.  It’s amazing how much people will take and appear to care when they are getting what they want out of you but, put the plug in the giving and they suddenly stop caring about you altogether.

We’re not quite sure what we will do for Christmas this year and, don’t get me wrong, it’s not relished by us that people have taken on this attitude with us but, it’s an eye opener to know that we were always considered not much more than a wish granter and morons to any of them. Their true colours and motives have shown through, including during a recent health issue where I required surgery and not one person bothered to pick up the phone to ask how I was feeling even when it didn’t go well.  Sadly, I realize that in spite of being blood related, it doesn’t mean caring about us but, we won’t be going down the same path of giving and laying down for these same people to wipe their feet on any longer.

As Christmas approaches, we’ve put up our lights at the usual time with the rest of our neighbours.  We’re about to put up our Christmas tree where the cat will knock it down a few times or the dog.  We’ll go on about our days the best that we can but, our hearts will not feel the same about Christmas again nor, will they feel the same about these family members, including our only child who is now an adult and estranged from us because we finally had the nerve to say “no” to them all for differing reasons.

I don’t know what we will do this Christmas but, I do know one thing.  We won’t be in debt this year, over-worked or exhausted and eating hamburg 100 ways for the next 6 months to pay off those Christmas bills that gave everyone a wonderful Christmas which obviously wasn’t appreciated to begin with.

However, from my little corner of life, that may be something that will be a relief and perhaps, the best Christmas we’ve had in decades.  Time will tell and I’m about to search for places to go have dinner out and make reservations.  Ahhh…to not have to shop, clean, set up, cook, serve, clean up and wear myself out this year.  That might be a nice change of pace.  In other words, Christmas as we knew it, has been cancelled this year.  I might like it.

 

 

Helping Can Become An Addiction Or An Escape

Helping others is a noble cause and more often than not, people need and want help to some extent or another but, when it becomes a habit within oneself it’s no longer about helping but, rather an outward expression of how one is feeling about themselves internally.

There’s a pay-off for chronic helpers in many ways but, there are two main reasons why people can get caught up in a vicious help cycle and it can become an addiction.  For some people, helping is like needing a “fix”.

Help Addictions can become an escape method.

Help Addictions can become an escape method.

 First, chronic helping can help us divert our attention away from dealing with something within either ourselves or our lives.  In other words, instead of working on what ails us and our own lives, we have the excuse, “I never get around to taking care of that because I am so busy helping (fill in the blanks here).  It can become an escape or an excuse or both and, that stops us from having to deal with our own issues.

Secondly, it can become a method by which we try to feel loved, wanted and, or needed by others.  If we are helping others, they will like us, thank us and want us around them type thinking.

In either case above, the chronic helper is not quite as healthy or altruistic as one might believe.  Even on a subconscious level, possibly totally unbeknownst to us, there’s something in it for those of us who do it.

It took a long time for me to get the idea that helping others is no guarantee of being loved, liked or wanted nor, is it truly an escape from having to fix what is going wrong within ourselves or our own lives.

I endured a lot of hurt, rejection and internal feelings of inadequacy, driving me even more towards more helping…until I realized that the source of my pain was actually coming from my chronic feeling the need to help.  I wasn’t feeling good anymore about it but rather, it was bringing me more pain.

Why?  That was the question I had to ask myself and I went in search of answers with a shocking set of revelations.

Helping Too Much Can Cause Rejection From Others 

Contrary to popular belief, what is called “Karma” doesn’t exactly work the way that one would think or hope that it should.  Doing good doesn’t alway bring good into your life.

Helping others can actually drive people away from you.  Here are several different reasons how and why.

  • People like what you DO for them, not necessarily, you.
  • The people that you help on a regular basis will eventually get used to you doing for them and therefore, come to see your help as your “job”. At that point, your help is no longer truly appreciated but, they become complacent and expect that type of behaviour from you.
  • Those you have helped often enough, will eventually show a vulnerability within  themselves to you and the last person that they want around them are those who know their weaknesses. They will seek out others who aren’t aware of them being weak in any way especially, during the good times in their lives.
  • Chronic helping can lead others to see you as a doormat.  When you are readily and frequently ready to help them, people can come to feel that you have no life of your own so, they no longer respect your time, energy or effort.  In effect, it’s like they’re doing you a favour by giving you something to do with your days, time and energy.
  • Being available and giving to them on a regular basis, without return expectation or as a constant set of favours, gives the impression that you have no boundaries.  If you have none, why should they respect you.  People like and respect people who like and respect themselves.
  • Your help can be resented because the person tends to feel constantly indebted even if only on a subconscious level and without you having indicated that you expected anything in return.  No one likes feeling continually indebted to someone else.

Ways To Deal With The Need To Chronic Help

  • Ask yourself what you are getting out of helping others.  You’re getting something out of doing this. Is it that “feel good feeling”?  If so, you might need to break that feeling down a bit further.
  • Helping others makes us all feel good but, doing it on a regular or chronic basis, may be becoming a a “drug” of sorts to numb or squash what ails you and your life.
  • Ask yourself what it is that is going on within yourself or your life that gives you the longing for this “drug”.  Is it approval, love, companionship, being needed, wanted, or even wanting people to feel indebted to you to in order to keep their loyalty.
  • Are you avoiding fixing issues within your own life and using helping others as an excuse as to why you can’t get to repairing what is wrong?
  • Could you be feeling guilty that someone else is in trouble of some kind and you’re soothing your own feelings of guilt for being ok in your own life in some way?
  • Are you too empathetic and over-identifying with other people?
  • Once you’ve weeded through the possible causes that keep you hooked on being a Chronic Helper, you can take action towards halting your need for over-helping.

Breaking The Cycle And Why You Should

The “warm and fuzzys” that we all feel when we get “thank you’s” from others is a great feeling.  We all love to feel good about ourselves, appreciated, needed and wanted.  It’s part of human nature and helping others is a good thing but, only when done in moderation and for the right reasons.  When we do it to garner love, attention, affection, being needed, wanted, liked or to avoid facing our own demons/quelling them, we are putting ourselves into a position to be used, abused, hurt and rejected.  Here are some points to help.

  1. Once you have identified the reason that you feel the need to chronically help.  STOP and listen to yourself and your inner voice.
  2. People like and respect people who like and respect themselves. We teach others how to treat us.  If you’re not respecting yourself, your time or your energy, they won’t either.  Put up boundaries and conditions for yourself and others.  Stop yourself before you try to help and place a value upon your help for them and yourself.
  3. Limit the amount of time that you’re going to help and what you will do to help.  Remember, their lives are NOT your responsibility (unless you’re a caregiver for a child, infirm or elderly person/pet.  Even then, give yourself time for yourself and respect your own needs too).
  4. If you’re doing it because you want to be liked, loved, appreciated, wanted, needed, are lonely or anything along those lines, this isn’t the way to get any of that for more than a couple of times.  Remember, people start loving what you can do for them, not you, after awhile. You’re working against getting those needs met by attempting to achieve it via chronic helping.
  5. Ask for something in return for your help if it’s more than once or twice. People respect help more when it’s being paid for in some way or another and they’ll respect you for it too.
  6. If you love that warm and fuzzy feeling helping gives you, volunteer!  There are charities all over the world and all sorts of opportunities to help others in organized, time-limited ways where you can get that feeling but be cut off in appropriate and healthy amounts.  Don’t volunteer more than what is being asked for either.
  7. Remember that sometimes, chronic helpers actually push their help on others..even when it’s not wanted.  When someone says, “it’s ok”…trust them.  It’s ok.  They don’t want or need your help.  Save yourself some heartache and possibly nasty feelings from others.  Back off and let them do it themselves.
  8. WAIT to be asked for help then, ask yourself what it will cost you to help them.  If it’s only once in a long while that you’re being asked and it’s not taking away from you, do it but, don’t anticipate everyone’s possible needs and offer it up on a silver platter.
  9. Remember that some people like being in certain predicaments and don’t want to get out of them.  When you recognize that in someone, back off. Let them be where they are.  They are getting something out of being there. Let them have it and figure it out for themselves.
  10. You’re not the only fish in the sea who can help.  Realize that and recognize that everyone has lessons to learn in one way or another.  Some people need to learn how to help themselves and others need to learn how to help others.  Let people learn what they need to learn.  You’re not a deity nor, omnipotent. Everyone needs to learn something, somehow.  Even children need to fall, get burned, hurt, lost etc., to learn what NOT to do and what to do.  Don’t take away their learning curves from them.

The Meddler, The Dupe And The Martyr

Lastly, think to yourself as having been labelled for helping others too much.  A lot of people will look at those who are chronic helpers as either “The Meddler”, “The Dupe” or “The Martyr”.

When people help too much, they often know a lot about the person’s personal life and, when not wanted, it turns you into a meddling position in their minds.  They can see you as someone who wants into their minds and lives especially, if you’re pushing your help onto them.

The Dupe is the one that people often think of as “good ole so-and-so” and often follow that with an “I’ll get her/him to do it!”  That’s when you’ve become nothing more than a doormat for them.  You don’t mean anything to them other than as a vehicle to get their needs met.  They’ll be off with other friends or family for lunch, dinner and shows who have done little, if anything for them while you’re left scratching your head, wondering why.  You’ve been “duped”.

The Martyr is the person who does so much for everyone else that others are reminded (whether you do it or not) that they’ve done a lot for that person or many.  Guilt sets in that they’ve allowed you to do it all for them and suddenly, they’re feeling inferior or as though you’re superior to them.  No one likes to be around people who make them feel that way whether intentionally or through their own inner thoughts and feelings.  You’re out of any of the good times or any lasting, healthy, fun and good relationship with them if you continue on with it.

Learn to love yourself.  Help yourself first.  Put your own oxygen mask on first.  To thine own self be true.  Charity begins at home.  Old but, wise pieces of advice to take. Take care of you first and others will follow suit with you.

I’m not a trained professional of any kind so, this is just how I’m seeing things from my little corner of life through experience and learning.

Knowing When To Hold Or Fold Them When It Comes To Friend’s Problems

There are times when we all will have to choose between keeping a friendship and letting it go.  It shouldn’t be this way and normally, it isn’t but there are times when a friend gives you no choice but to accept that there is no choice and either way, can lead to an issue. The only question that remains is which one will leave your self-respect intact?

woman-thinking

I am far more emotionally sensitive and have tried to be more helpful than I should be or is healthy for me to be. I’ve had more than enough experience in “people pleasing” and I’ve often been left hurt because of it.  It’s left me thinking about the lines between being helpful to someone else and being destructive to self.  Where is that line?

I’m no saint and I don’t pretend to be one. My halo is not a glowing gold and I certainly don’t have the wings of an angel but, I have prided myself on my ability to recognize a friend in need, doing everything that I can to help them out of any and all pain, if humanly possible.  I cannot stand to see people in pain.  I therefore, empathize myself into and out of a lot of energy loss and heartbreak because of it.

I recently had an issue with a long time, net friend.  She’s been in and out of personal troubles, more often than not, as a result of her own poor choices.  In spite of that, I have always tried to step in and help when she wants me to do so.  I have rarely ever refused her any help that I could possibly give her, even if it could only be a shoulder and an ear for hours on end, day after day.

However, this time came to a point where I could clearly see that her current trouble was multi-faceted and clearly due to her own mistakes as well as control issues that she has had in her own life.  It was at that point that I recognized that no good could come from me wading into this mess to bail her out as I would usually have done with her.  The price tag would have been far too great a drain on my own self-respect, energy and time.  Not only that but, my efforts wouldn’t have worked in this scenario because the issues involved were created by her own poor choices, needs and internal predicaments that she’s kept herself under.

As hard as it is to do, we sometimes need to let others fall and not feel the need to dust off their behinds for them.  Sometimes, people need that bruising with which to learn what is needed to be learned. By constantly stepping into it all, it would be akin to depriving them of perhaps, a learning experience.  This is where I decided to step aside this time.

Was I right?  I’m not sure yet.  I do know that by not leaping in to the murky waters this time to save her, I angered her.  Yet this time, I also recognized that had I continued on with trying to help her, I also would have stepped into a role that was not mine to step into nor, one that was helpful to her or me.

While I have incurred the wrath of her upset at my lack of being The Calvary this time, I somehow, deep down inside, knew that standing back was the right thing for me to do, for her sake and mine, whether she sees it that way or not and in a way, it felt relieving to have done so this time.  Her current predicament is one that she has created, expecting others to help her.  This is the one time that I stood back and saw that either way, helping or not helping, it wasn’t healthy for either one of us and would have led to the end of our friendship anyway. Either way, I was going to lose something.

I have no clue where this is all going to end up but, I do know that for at least this time, I grew a thicker skin and didn’t let my usual patterns rule my actions. I refused to allow a friend’s poor choices affect my life this time and that felt good.

As they say, “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions”.  It’s hard to please others but, really easy to tick them off. I may have lost a friend today but, I have gained something in return…the ability to know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em.

At least, that’s the way that I’m seeing things from My Little Corner of Life at this moment.