To Forgive Or Not To Forgive Your Abuser – The Unintended Fallout: Possible Emotional Abuse or Exploitation Of Your Codependent Friend or Family Member

To Forgive Or Not To Forgive Your Abuser – The Unintended Fallout: Possible Emotional Abuse or Exploitation Of Your Codependent Friend or Family Member

I was watching a video today by psychologist Dr. Ramani, who I like very much, and I agree with her most of the time.

I even agree with most of her comments in this particular recent video she made that I will be discussing in this post, but it brought to mind one over-looked aspect pertaining to volatile or abusive relationships.

In the video (link to that video here, and I will embed it below, the title is, “Is there virtue in forgiving a narcissist who doesn’t apologize?”), Dr. Ramani expressed that she pretty much disagrees with the concept that people should have to forgive others, or that forgiving others makes a person stronger, etc.

Dr. Ramani rightly points out in that video that continually forgiving pathologically narcissistic persons is a waste of your time, for various reasons I shall not explain here (you can watch her video for explanations). I do agree with her on that.

If someone in your life keeps hurting, abusing, or mistreating you, no matter how many times you’ve forgiven them and given them a second, third, etc, chance,
you need to accept the fact this person is more than likely NEVER going to change and that they merely view your willingness to always forgive him or her as a weakness to repeatedly exploit.
So cut that person from your life, or limit time around them.

It’s not that I disagree with Dr. Ramani’s comments in the video on the face of things, but, I am concerned for Codependents.

On a similar note, in years past, I’ve also read books or seen videos about how people can help their abused friends.

I’ve seen videos by women who divorced their abusive husbands who reel off a list of tips on how you, the friend, can be supportive towards the friend in the abusive marriage.

These videos, books, and online articles, contain lists of things to say or to avoid saying when trying to help someone who is currently in an abusive relationship or someone who was abused in childhood.

Many of these books, videos, and web pages (most by therapists, psychologists or recovered abusive victims) often stress that you, the friend, should just sit and listen to the friend – just validate the friend, do not give advice, judge, or criticize.

I am a recovered Codependent (I wrote a very, very long post about that here).

I am also an Introvert. Introverts naturally make better attentive listeners than Extroverts.

So, as someone who is an Introvert and a one-time Codependent, I was very adept at giving the sort of emotional support a lot of troubled people seek out and find comforting.

For over 35 years, due to the parenting of my mother and the guilt tripping-, sexist-, Codependent- pushing- teachings under “gender complementarianism” of the Southern Baptist church I was brought up in, I had no boundaries, I was not assertive, and it was implied it is my job or responsibility in life to rescue or help other people, whatever format that came in.

All of that was taught to me as I grew up under the false, gender complementarian assumption (and my mother and father bought into some of this thinking too) that God created women to be more caring than men, it would be un-feminine or selfish for a woman to have boundaries, and I was taught that it was women’s “duty” to be care-takers for the hurting.

For me, most often, the support and care-taking my Mom and church taught me to engage in came in the form of “Emotional Labor,” and it made my already bad mental health in years past even worse.

(I was diagnosed at a very young age with clinical depression, I also had anxiety disorders and had low self esteem for many years. I no longer have depression or low self esteem.)

If you are an abuse victim, or if you’ve been bullied at a job, or you were abused in a marriage, or you were sexually or physically abused as a child by a family member (or by a neighbor, or by whomever),
I know it can be helpful, now, as an adult, to sit and talk to an empathetic listener about it, it can feel so good for that listener to sit quietly while you do most of the talking, and for that person to validate you and your experiences.

It can be very healing and feel like a tremendous relief for that listener to refrain from victim blaming you, offering advice or platitudes.

It can help in the healing process for another adult to believe you and just offer non-judgmental emotional support as you relate your trauma and pain to them.

I realize all that.

But have you ever considered that the caring, non-judgmental, empathetic person you keep turning to, whether it’s a friend or a family member, might be highly codependent and your repeated use of that person as your emotional support system may be damaging to THAT PERSON?

Because I was that person, for over 35 years.

I was the sweet, caring, understanding, supportive listener that many people – co-workers on jobs, family, neighbors, friends –
would call, e-mail, snail mail, or text with their problems, because they KNEW I would always listen to them rant (for hours on end, if need be, over months and years), I would NEVER put time limits on their rants, and I would ALWAYS respond in a timely fashion to ranting or sad e-mails or texts.

I spent over 35 years giving a lot of non-qualified, no-strings-attached emotional support to a lot of emotionally wounded or abused people over my life.

Some of these people called or e-mailed me over job stress, health problems, troubled marriages, financial issues, or, they were single and were lonely – they couldn’t get a boyfriend (or girlfriend).

None of these people who called or texted me to complain or sob to me ever once considered how their regular, negative phone calls (or letters or face to face chats) were impacting me. For the ones who considered it, I suppose they didn’t care.

If you choose not to forgive your abuser, that is your choice to make, but…

Be aware that if you choose to not forgive but to also hold on to your hurt and anger, and to choose to ruminate on the abuse,
and should you choose to deal with and vent that anger and hurt by regularly calling your Codependent friend to listen to your rants or sobbing – you are abusing your Codependent friend or family member, which is not acceptable.

In all the years I granted emotional support to hurting people (including but not limited to co-workers who’d stop by my cubicle during work hours to bend my ear for an hour or more about their divorce or health problems), I was never once thanked.

The non-stop support I gave was never acknowledged. And giving that non-stop support was exhausting and taxing for me, as I know it can be for other Codependent persons.

A “thank you” once in awhile from these people who came to me to dump their problems on me would’ve been appreciated. I never got one.

Reciprocation would’ve been appreciated and helpful too, but the people who were abuse survivors, or assorted chronic complainers who used me to vent to, very rarely to never asked about ME and MY struggles in life.

Continue reading “To Forgive Or Not To Forgive Your Abuser – The Unintended Fallout: Possible Emotional Abuse or Exploitation Of Your Codependent Friend or Family Member”

Pathologies of Victimhood by R. Gunderman – The Danger of Victimhood Mentality

Pathologies of Victimhood by R. Gunderman – The Dangers of Victimhood Mentality

I wanted to explain a few things before I paste in excerpts from the article about victimhood by Gunderman, so nobody will misunderstand my views upfront.

I do think there are actual victims out there in life, including in the Christian church context. I am not denying that.

I recognize that sometimes painful or unfair things happen to all of us in life, and sometimes those painful things are due to other people’s cruelty, incompetence, negligence, or sins against us, and not due to any personal moral failings or choices we make.

Sometimes bad things happen to good people through no fault of those people. One can be more sinned against than sinner.

A few years ago, there was a guy on Twitter with several accounts (he seemed to be a Christian), all of which were disgustingly used to mock victims of church abuse or of sexual abuse whose churches tried to cover up the abuse.

I think he later deleted these accounts, or his accounts received so many complaints from others that Twitter deleted them all.

One of his Twitter accounts used the name “Victim Princess,” as if to suggest that any and all women who spoke out against abuse they received by their churches or by Christians was nothing but entitled, petty whining with no merit. I was appalled by his account.

This guy would do things like actually tweet rude or nasty comments at Christian women on Twitter who discussed how their church covered up their abuse by other church members.

Politically, I am a conservative, and I do not agree with the vast majority of liberal or progressive “woke,” intersectional identity politics, which is largely based on victimhood mentality.

In progressive identity politics, different identity groups end up competing for “who is the most oppressed and biggest victim in life,” which creates (not solves) all sorts of problems.

However, while I do think that the “woke” go over-board with their grievance culture mentality, that does not mean that people who complain about having been hurt in life are always lying, exaggerating, or trying to get special accommodations.

Out of Knee Jerk Dislike of Wokeness, Among Other Factors, Sadly, Too Often, Too Many Conservatives Minimize Actual Abuse

While some progressives over-play the “victim card” to exploit and manipulate others, it is still wrong for conservatives to deny, minimize, or to reject altogether that churches do usually cover up sexual abuse in their midst or by their members.

It is wrong for conservatives to fail to acknowledge the reality that most pastors and churches do in fact fail domestic abuse victims and constantly enable abusers.

I do think that most churches are insensitive and incompetent at handling abuse among their members, and that should change.

There is such a thing as a victim. People can be exploited, hurt, and abused by other people – that is not something that “woke” liberals and progressives are making up.

I’m a conservative who has been taken advantage of and bullied through my life by school mates, my ex fiance, siblings, co-workers on jobs, etc., and this through no fault of my own.

Victims do actually exist.

Conservatives can and have been abused and mistreated on an individual and group level, whether by liberal and progressive persons and policies, or by their spouses or bosses on jobs.

At one time or another, we’ve all been bullied, abused, harassed, exploited, or on the receiving end of rude or cutting comments, regardless of our identity or political beliefs.

It is therefore unrealistic and cruel for conservatives to act like any and every person who claims victim status is a sensitive snowflake or is lying about it.

Flip Side of Coin: People Who Choose to Stay in Victimhood Status (yes, it’s ultimately a choice), Refuse to Move Forward

However, I have seen people, and groups of people, who – whether they are actual victims or not – wallow in victimhood status and victimhood mentality, and this is not acceptable, either.

Some of those still participating in the “exvangelical” (ex-evangelical) tag over on Twitter in 2022, which has been going on for several years now, are one example of this.

I’ve seen so many people, under that “exvangelical” tag,  as well as non-ex-evangelical people I once befriended online,
or people (including family members I’ve had, real life friends and co-workers) who may have been honestly victimized and wounded in childhood or adulthood, but they remain “stuck” in their rage, anger, and hurt – they still think of themselves as victims, and they want to be viewed as victims.

They want to be endlessly coddled and validated.

These are people who are very resistant to, or who refuse to take, the only avenue out of the pain, regret, anger, and disappointment and into joy, peace, and happiness – which includes, after a period of grieving and anger (that comes to an end and does not go on indefinitely),

  • accepting, once for all, what happened to them,
    realizing that remaining focused on external causes and other people (ie, their abuser or abusive church) is keeping them “stuck,”
  • to make a deliberate decision at some point to move forward, whether they “feel like it” or not
    (i.e., to no longer stew in anger, to ruminate, stew in past wrongs done against them, to dwell on how life is unfair, to dwell upon the idea they are a good person who didn’t deserve the abuse, etc),
  • to realize in order to change their life for the better, they will have to look inwards,
    which will allow them to get to the next healing point…
  • take personal responsibility for their life, healing,
    and realize if you want your life to change,
    you will have to get active and make changes yourself
    – sitting around all day doing things like watching TV or complaining to people on social media about how life, your former church, God, or your abuser, treated you so unfairly
    (even if any and all those things are in fact true, ie, you WERE treated horribly and unfairly)
    – won’t ultimately help you in the long run, it won’t make the necessary changes;
    complaining frequently, and receiving validation that, yes, what happened to you was horrible and wrong, and yes, you were a victim who didn’t deserve abuse, will only offer temporary emotional relief but will not produce long lasting inner peace and happiness

Stewing in anger, hurt, and regret and enjoying or wanting to receive validation that one did not deserve to be abused, is all but a step in the overall journey of healing.
It is the first step… but too many victims want to stay in Step One forever and ever, rather than moving through the rest of the steps.

Yes, there should be time limits on how long you are angry, ruminating, and upset and wanting to receive validation – a lot of therapists and victims (and former victims) get upset when this view point is stated, but it’s true.

Maybe that time limit is different for each victim and should not be rushed – which is fine.

HOWEVER, I do not support any person staying mired in “victimhood land” perpetually.

Staying in step one – never getting over or past the anger and hurt, refusing to let go or from even considering to do so, being addicted to external validation like it’s a drug one craves and needs – is one huge component of what keeps people trapped in depression, anger, pain, and from enjoying the rest of their life.

If you feel perpetually wounded, hurt, or angry, as long as you keep shifting blame towards those outside you (even if yes, those others deserve that blame), as long as you continue to dwell on being angry at your abuser, at God, life circumstances, or former churches that treated you like trash, you’ll never be able to move on and enjoy life again.

You have to look inwards in order to move forward, and that is a choice one has to make, because it won’t instantaneously happen.

Furthermore, your emotions will never magically change on their own; you will never “feel” like getting up, making changes, and moving forward. It’s a matter or choice and self discipline.

So if your mindset is, “I will make changes and move on when I feel like it, when my emotions change,” that is never going to happen.

Moving on is more a matter of will.

While I do think there are actual victims out there (and anti-woke conservatives need to be sensitive to these persons),
I’m also aware of legitimate victims who cannot or who refuse to move on,

-and there are persons with Covert or Vulnerable Narcissism (a personality disorder – more about that on this blog (Link): here and (Link): here), a hallmark of which is holding a life-long self-pitying, victimhood mentality – these people, of their own accord, are mired in depression and misery of their own making, because they refuse to look inwards and take personal responsibility.

Covert Narcissists, for one, prefer to point the finger of blame for their misery at their family of origin, God, and / or their former church, ex-spouses, and so on. They never want to look at how their attitudes or actions keep them in a limited, unhappy situation.

Sorry for that very long intro, but I didn’t want anyone to get to the following link and excerpts and think by posting it that I am in denial that yes, at times in life, sometimes people have legitimate pain and grievances and can be honest to goodness victims.

I do believe there are honest- to- goodness victims out there and that these victims deserve compassion, empathy, and justice,
but – however –
I am also aware that, unfortunately, some people, whether legitimate victim or not, will milk and exploit a “victim” label to lash out at others, to demand special treatment (at the expense of others), and that  clinging to a “victim” identity and view of themselves will cause them to remain stuck in unhappiness.

I have more commentary below this link with excerpts:

Pathologies of Victimhood – the Essay

(Link): Pathologies of Victimhood by R. Gunderman – Victimhood Mentality

Excerpts:

by Richard Gunderman
November 13, 2022

[Piece opens by discussing the late Sacheen Littlefeather, who claimed to be a Native American but who was actually of Mexican descent. She wanted to be viewed as a Native American to depict herself as an undertrodden member of a victim class.
As someone who actually is part Native American, I don’t view myself as a victim, so I find her ploy strange]

…Everyone has experienced genuine victimization at some point in their lives. Some have been the victims of political persecution and violent assault, while others have suffered lesser slights, such as bullying, verbal insults, and interruptions when speaking.

Most of us have also experienced situations where presumed victimhood stemmed from a mistaken assumption—for example, a driver who “cut off” a fellow motorist by abruptly changing lanes might appear to harbor malicious intent, but it might turn out that he was merely attempting to get to the hospital as quickly as possible to be with an ailing loved one.

Some among us, however, have a habit of adopting a posture of victimhood too easily and too often, a tendency that can damage communities, interpersonal relationships, and supposed victims themselves.

Continue reading “Pathologies of Victimhood by R. Gunderman – The Danger of Victimhood Mentality”

Victim Blaming Codependents, or Victim Blaming People Who Exhibit Codependent Behaviors

Victim Blaming Codependents or Victim Blaming People Who Exhibit Codependent Behaviors

The concept of Codependency is not victim-blaming.

The concept of Codependency does not pathologize domestic abuse survivors,  targets of narcissistic abuse, or other victims of other types of abuse, contrary to a lot of online rhetoric I have seen, and I don’t care what psychiatrist with what degree behind his name has stated things like, “Codependency is victim blaming and pathologizing!” – that psychiatrist, despite his eight years in medical school, is wrong.

He is wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong.

I disagree with him entirely. And I do not have to have a medical degree to see where he’s wrong, and to know that he’s wrong.

I am a recovered codependent, and I remain astounded at people, especially therapists, psychologists, and abuse survivor advocates, who should know better, who never-the-less keep peddling this trope that the concept of Codependency is victim blaming, or it’s too broad in scope to be of much use.

(There are actually other mental health professionals out there who do not believe that Codependency is useless, too broad, or that it pathologizes anyone.)

A few months ago, when news stories about Anna Duggar were more prominent – she’s married to convicted child pornography user Josh Duggar, former reality television show star
– and then, a little later, when so-called abuse survivor advocates, such as Ashley Easter started commenting on that and victim blaming Anna Dugggar, and Amy Smith of Watchkeep began attacking journalist Julie Roys, I kept seeing these people, and others who follow them, showcase a very stunning misunderstanding of, or in some cases, a lack of awareness of, Codependency.

I may in the future do more posts – ones specific to Ashley Easter, Anna Duggar, and the Amy Smith – Julie Roys fiasco from months back – but for this post, I wanted to address this topic via at least two videos I saw on Dr. Ramani’s You Tube Channel.

Dr. Ramani is a psychologist who specializes in treating victims of narcissistic abuse.

I actually like Dr. Ramani quite a bit, and I’ve seen and listened to many of her videos. I like her on a personal level, and I think she’s quite astute.

I do  not feel comfortable being critical of someone who I usually agree with often, and who I find to be personable, but Dr. Ramani made a few comments in some of her videos here and there, pertaining to codependency, which I didn’t entirely agree with.

And no, I myself do not have to be a psychologist or have a mental health degree to form opinions or conclusions based upon what I hear and see!

While I do not have a mental health degree, I am college educated, and I did spend the past several years researching mental health topics. I did take psychology courses in college, but that is not what I earned my degree in.

So, I may not be an “expert” on mental health topics (in a degreed sense), but I am not an entirely uninformed person.

Continue reading “Victim Blaming Codependents, or Victim Blaming People Who Exhibit Codependent Behaviors”

When Narcissists Fake Being Sick to Manipulate You – Re: Boundaries, etc

When Narcissists Fake Being Sick to Manipulate You – Re: Boundaries, etc

I just blogged about this very topic just yesterday, June 25 (today is June 26) when I saw this video on You Tube today! Talk about coincidental timing!

So this psychologist, Dr. Ramani, made this 11.54 video (I’ll embed it below, you can also watch it on You Tube here) who discusses a letter by a woman married to a guy who uses (fake) illness as an excuse to leave social functions early.

The woman said her husband has a habit of faking sickness to get out of social obligations or to depart them early.

Well, the woman’s kid sister was turning 18, the family was throwing a birthday party / dinner for the young lady, and this married woman had her husband go with her.

The husband said he didn’t want to go, but the wife wouldn’t take No for an answer on this one – the husband never wanted to go to parties, and she seemed to feel like the husband would or could make an exception for this, since it was for her kid sister.

So they go to the party, the husband vomits on purpose while at the party but makes it look as though he’s sick – all so he can leave the party early and force his wife to go with him.

The psychologist who is discussing this story (she’s reading from a letter the woman wrote asking for advice) points out that so many people are quick to tell people like the woman who wrote this letter “to have boundaries,” which the woman tried on her (probably narcissistic) husband, but he didn’t heed her boundaries and instead actually doubled down on his obnoxious behavior.

I’ve seen several of Dr. Ramani’s videos before, she’s quite good, and I like her, but I always cringe a little when I hear mental health professionals who specialize in narcissism (as she does) sort of denigrate the concept of having boundaries, which she sort of does in the video embedded below.

Boundaries Usually Work And Are A Good Thing To Have

I spent 35 or so years (Link): as a severe codependent.

I believe boundaries are very important and can be life-saving and can improve one’s mental health.

Boundaries may not work in all situations or with all people, true enough, but by and large, boundaries DO work with most people and most situations and can save your self esteem, energy, mental health, and possibly your bank account in the long run.

Continue reading “When Narcissists Fake Being Sick to Manipulate You – Re: Boundaries, etc”

People Using Fake Sickness or Hardship To Con People Out Of Their Money, Attention, or Empathy

People Using Fake Sickness or Hardship To Con People Out Of Their Money, Attention, or Empathy

I came across this headline the other day in my Twitter feed:

(Link): Woman claimed she was bedridden to con more than £620,000 out of council

Excerpts from that article:

June 25, 2022
by S. Johnson

A woman claimed she was bedridden to con more than £620,000 from a council which she then used to pay for luxury holidays to America.

Frances Noble, 66, fooled social workers to commit what is suspected to be one of the largest fraud cases of its type to ever come before the English courts.

Between 2005 and 2018, Noble convinced Hertfordshire County Council she needed intensive round-the-clock home care.
— end —

I’ve seen similar news stories in the past several years – someone will claim to have cancer, or some other kind of hardship, but they are lying about it, and the reason they’re lying is to obtain monetary donations from the public.

Here’s another example (I may edit this post in the future to include more examples):

(Link): Married Mother and Father Fake the Wife’s Kidnapping, Used Donated Funds Meant to Help Find Kidnapped Wife to Pay off Couple’s Personal Credit Card Debt

I’ve written other posts about how I (Link): spent over three decades as a codependent. 

What I learned when I began getting over codependency, what I had my eyes opened to, is that there are people out there, whether legitimate victims or legitimately wounded in life,
or people who “play” at being a victim (some of these individuals may be (Link): Covert Narcissists) who will manipulate you, who will intentionally play on your pity and your heart strings or your guilt or sense of duty,
to get you to donate money to them, or to do things like listen to them complain weekly or monthly with compassion (ie, provide them with (Link): emotional labor), as they reiterate the same complaints repeatedly.

If you believe you may be a codependent, an empath with poor boundaries (which is essentially what a codependent is, but some people do not like the label “codependent”), or if you’re a people pleaser, I’d like for you to really get serious about not allowing your sense of compassion or empathy to sway you or to control every decision in your life.

Please stop automatically caving in and sending people money – because they ask you to, or you find out they’re going through a tough time, or because they look or sound sad.

Please stop feeling as though it’s your obligation or duty to rescue other people or do favors for them.

If you have a hard time saying “no” to people – out of fear of angering them, disappointing them, coming across as “selfish,” and/or from a fear of abandonment (i.e., “this person won’t stay in a relationship with me unless I keep doing favors for her”), please start researching the topic of people pleasing, boundaries, and codependency online if you cannot afford to see a therapist who specializes in the issue.

Continue reading “People Using Fake Sickness or Hardship To Con People Out Of Their Money, Attention, or Empathy”

Help! I Think I Made a Terrible Mistake When Helping My Elderly Neighbor (The Codependency, People Pleasing Trap)

Help! I Think I Made a Terrible Mistake When Helping My Elderly Neighbor (The Codependency, People Pleasing Trap)

The letter below, and the summaries of other ones I am mentioning here (below the link and excerpt), should be a wake up call to anyone who has a difficult time saying no to people, refusing to turn down their requests, whether out of a sense of guilt or fear.

If you really struggle with turning down people’s requests for favors or for help (even if it’s someone who seems to legitimately be in need of help, such as a solitary, lonely, elderly neighbor with chronic health problems who is in a wheel chair), you may be codependent, a people pleaser, or an empath with very bad boundaries.

(And there are people out there, such as, but not limited to, Covert Narcissists who can spot nice, sweet, giving people like you in a heart beat, and they will waste no time in taking advantage of your kindness to get their needs met.
Even genuinely well- meaning, kind, nice, non-narcissistic people will and can lean on you too much, if they are very needy and you don’t put boundaries up.)

You need to learn that it’s perfectly fine to draw boundaries with people, even elderly neighbors who live alone who have health problems.

It’s okay to be straight forward and tell such neighbors that while you’re fine doing X for them every Z number of weeks, that you don’t want to do it more than that often, and you don’t want to also do Y, Q, and R for them.

The following is a letter someone sent to an advice columnist.

I will be including more comments below this link and excerpt:

Dear Prudence: Help! I Think I Made a Terrible Mistake When Helping My Elderly Neighbor

I had no idea one kindness could turn into this.

Advice by Eric Thomas
June 4, 2022

Dear Prudence,

I moved into a new upstairs apartment five months ago. I made the mistake of helping my wheelchair-bound neighbor, “Stella,” with her groceries during my move.

Stella had her bag break in the parking lot after she got off the bus. I put down my boxes and ran to help with her items and then put them up in her kitchen.

Stella told me about how she was alone in the world and on a fixed income.

I told Stella I would be happy to run to the grocery store for her since I go once a week.

Stella calls me every day now. She has problems with her doctors, her bills, and for anything and everything, she calls me. I have tried to be kind and helpful—but now I need help.

I should have set firm boundaries earlier, but she is a little old lady, and I was lonely in a new city. But I am not her daughter or her granddaughter. I am okay with running to the grocery store or being an emergency contact or coming over for tea and a chat—but not this.

Adult services are useless.

Stella’s life isn’t in danger, and she had enough income to be disqualified from the majority of services.

She isn’t cruel or abusive or mean. She is old, scared, and alone in the world.

But she is suffocating me.

Continue reading “Help! I Think I Made a Terrible Mistake When Helping My Elderly Neighbor (The Codependency, People Pleasing Trap)”

An Assessment of the Article “Why the Religion of Self-Care is Really Sanctified Selfishness” – Christian Author is Indirectly Promoting Codependency, Which is Harmful

An Assessment of the Article “Why the Religion of Self-Care is Really Sanctified Selfishness” – Christian Author is Indirectly Promoting Codependency, Which is Harmful

A link to this article, from a site and Twitter account called “Truth Over Tribe,” came through my Twitter feed today.

I don’t think I am following these guys; this was a suggestion by Twitter that appeared in my timeline. The “Truth Over Tribe” site says on their site that they are “too liberal for conservatives and too conservative for liberals.”

Okay… I’m somewhat in the same place. I’m a conservative who occasionally disagrees with other conservatives, but I sure don’t agree with many positions of progressives.

After having skimmed over some articles on this site – the site owner and author seems to be a Patrick Miller – he seems to lean left of center.

I can tell he’s left of center from some of the commentary and language he’s used – for one, in the article below, he puts his Intersectional Feminism (a left wing concept) on full display by talking about how “self care” was really started by black people, white women love it, and these days, only white woman can (financially) afford it. (Though I didn’t quote those portions of his article below, but they are over on his site.)

(Does Miller realize that left wing darling BLM (Black Lives Matter) is misleading people financially or that they spend more on transgenderism than on race related issues?)

At any rate, let’s get on to the article on this site that alarmed me, and I will provide a few excerpts, and then I will comment on them to explain why I feel this piece goes horribly wrong:

(Link):  Why the Religion of Self-Care is Really Sanctified Selfishness

Excerpts:

by Patrick Miller

“To be happy, you need to leave toxic people behind.” The preaching Peloton instructor continued, “I’m talking about people who take more than they give. People who don’t care about your dreams. People whose selfishness impedes your ability to do what you want to do.”

 Oh crap. She just described my two-year-old. I guess it’s time to cut him off.

This is the gospel of self-care. The notion that the most important person in my life is me, and anyone who impedes my happiness is an existential threat to my emotional and physical well-being. …

… What’s the Religion of Self Care?

Continue reading “An Assessment of the Article “Why the Religion of Self-Care is Really Sanctified Selfishness” – Christian Author is Indirectly Promoting Codependency, Which is Harmful”

More Thoughts About ‘The Toilet Function of Friendship’ – Avoid or Minimize Contact with the Rachels and Fletchers of the World 

More Thoughts About ‘The Toilet Function of Friendship’ – Avoid or Minimize Contact with the Rachels and Fletchers of the World 

I did a blog post about this about three weeks ago:
((Link): When You’re in Imbalanced, Unfair Relationships – You’re the Free Therapist, The Supportive, Sounding Board Who Listens to Other People’s Non-Stop Complaining, But They Don’t Listen to You – re: The Toilet Function of Friendship).

I had more I wanted to say about this.

This guy’s blog post – Joseph Burgo’s post – about “The Toilet Function of Friendship” that I blogged about previously really hit home with me…

 especially since I am a recovered codependent who, over 35+ years during the time I was codependent (and used to have clinical depression and had low self esteem), kept attracting abusive, mean, nasty, self absorbed, pessimistic, depressed, emotionally needy and psychologically wounded or personality disordered people to me,

…and the comments left by people at the bottom of his post were also very eye opening or informative.

I wanted to discuss a few comments visitors left to his post, above all, a post by someone calling herself “Rachel,” and a comment by “Fletcher.”

I’ll probably save Fletcher’s and Rachel’s comments for last.

I notice a lot of the people who left comments below the post on Burgo’s blog say that they have been on the receiving end of this situation, where they attract negative or hurting friends who cope with life’s stress by “dumping” and venting about their problems to a sympathetic listener.

I too was in that position for many years, and it left me resentful, exhausted, and with nothing to show for it.

I’ve always been a very good, attentive listener.

I’m not the sort of person who attempts to pivot every conversation back on to herself, so… meaning…

If you’re my acquaintance or friend, and you stop by my cubicle during the work day or call me at home to confide in me about some problem you are having, I used to just sit there and let you talk for how ever many hours you wanted to rant and confide.

Even if I was wanting to get off the phone after 20 to 40 minutes, I was reluctant to end the phone call, so I’d sit there while the emotionally needy friend or family member droned on and on and on (or ranted and ranted in anger) about whatever problems they were having.

(I used to never, or very rarely, put time limits on people when they would complain to me, which left me utterly exhausted.

In my codependent years, I felt guilty if I tried to end people’s “complain and gripe” fests prematurely (because I was getting physically tired listening, or they were interrupting my work or whatever the reason), and I was afraid they’d break off friendship with me if I refused to allow them to use me as their “emotional toilet” or “free therapist.”

Only in the last few years, as I reflect upon my past, do I realize HOW UNFAIR this was to me.)

My habit was to just sit and listen thoughtfully, to nod my head in sympathy as you would rattle off your life’s stress to me, whether it was about your lazy, selfish boyfriend, or your ex-husband who wouldn’t pay child support, or your jerk boss making your work life awful – whatever it was.

And when I would finally speak up, after listening to you vent, I would only make empathetic, non-judgmental comments.

Back in my codependent, people pleasing days, I would tell you I was sorry you were under so much stress, and I hoped your situation would improve. I would validate your feelings, validate your situation, so you would feel heard and understood.

I rarely, oh so rarely, would give people who talked to me to complain to me, advice, judgement, criticism, or platitudes.

All of those relationship habits and qualities of mine that I had for many years made me very, very attractive to needy, angry, depressed, narcissistic, pessimistic, or unhappy people.

I now know better.

I think it does take a lot of life experience to get here, to be able to look at my past, to see where my Mom and church were in error to teach me as they did, (with their teachings being largely responsible for turning me into an attractive target for hurting, angry, or emotionally needy people), to see clearly the patterns of behavior.

Most of the people who used me to get their emotional needs met (but who seldom met mine in return) had very deep psychological problems or maladaptive coping skills.

Some had clinical depression (which I also had myself for over 30+ years), some may have been Covert Narcissists, some choose to cope with pain, disappointment, or anger in life by complaining to someone else – and I was often that “someone else.”

Some of these people have deeply entrenched psychological issues, and there is no amount of me listening to them and consoling them that is going to heal them. That concept took me much later in life to figure out, and that point was confirmed in various articles or books I read by psychologists and psychiatrists in the last few years.

These types of people really need to see a psychologist or licensed therapist over a period of weeks or months to work on their inner problems and relational styles that lead them to cope with their frustration or anger in life by constantly “dumping” them verbally on to a trusted friend for months or years.

If you are a people pleaser, an empath, or a codependent (whatever label you use for yourself), you need to accept that you will not get your needs met by ignoring your own and running around meeting other people’s needs, if that is one of your secret motivations for why you help others or act as their “emotional toilet” or “free therapist.”

(Some codependents think it’s not acceptable for them to get their needs met; they got the message from their family or church while they were growing up that it’s supposedly “selfish” for one to get one’s own needs met.

And no, it is not selfish to get one’s own needs met, or to expect people who say they are your friends to sometimes meet your needs in return. It’s part of a normal, healthy childhood or adulthood to get one’s needs met.)

If you’re a people pleaser, a codependent, you will have to be more intentional about when, to whom, under what circumstances, and for how long you will show someone else care, compassion, concern, or give them financial assistance.

Because if you do not learn to get comfortable with putting limits on your time, compassion, finances, and energy, you will be exploited and taken advantage of by many people who never (or rarely) meet your needs in return. All these people over decades will drain you dry and leave you exhausted.

I do think there are some times in life where it’s appropriate to grant people more emotional support than usual and not expect much in return.

But such occasions should be exceptions, such as, if your friend is in the grieving process over the death of a loved one, in such occasions, it may be acceptable to allow them to complain to you for hours over two to four years as they process the loss.

But if you have a friend who more or less contacts you regularly to complain a lot about every issue (and I mean the non-exceptions – just to rant about how they hate their job, their boyfriend is inconsiderate – your more tedious, normal life situations that are not as stressful, as say, a death in the family) – or maybe the same two or three (trivial, mundane) issues repeatedly – you really need to put limits on that person.

Most people who do this venting are only using you to get their emotional needs met, and they will NOT return the same non-judgmental emotional support to you that you granted them for weeks or years.

SAMPLE COMMENTS

From the (Link): Burgo blog post, some comments left by some of his blog visitors:

Tracey

by Tracey
Dec 10, 2020

Wow! What a powerful article and one I, too needed to hear and to equally recognize both sides.

I have ‘friends’ who dump on me that I should un-friend, but I have been loathe to do so for myriad reasons.

Continue reading “More Thoughts About ‘The Toilet Function of Friendship’ – Avoid or Minimize Contact with the Rachels and Fletchers of the World “

When You’re in Imbalanced, Unfair Relationships – You’re the Free Therapist, The Supportive, Sounding Board Who Listens to Other People’s Non-Stop Complaining, But They Don’t Listen to You – re: The Toilet Function of Friendship

When You’re in Imbalanced, Unfair Relationships – You’re the Free Therapist, The Supportive, Sounding Board Who Listens to Other People’s Non-Stop Complaining, But They Don’t Listen to You – re: The Toilet Function of Friendship

🧻🪠🚽

There are several sites or blogs carrying the same essay by the same guy (or very similar content – looks to me as though one author copied the work of this Burgo guy but didn’t credit him that I could see).

I very much related to this guy’s essay, because over the course of my life, I have often played the role of being the “toilet” for friends to dump their emotional problems or complaints into.

I think what a lot of what this guy describes is more common among women than men.

Women are socially conditioned to be warm, nurturing, and to console other people when they’re hurting, sad, frustrated, or angry.

The phrase “emotional labor” came to describe this “empathetic listening” type role a lot of women are expected to play for the people around them, whether those people are men, women, or co-workers, strangers on the street, friends, or family members.

And if you’re like me and played that “empathetic listener” to other people for decades, it is mother clucking exhausting.

And as you grow older, you will look back on your life and realize all that kind-hearted listening and consoling you dished out to your hurting or angry friends didn’t do anything for you or to help you in your life.

Continue reading “When You’re in Imbalanced, Unfair Relationships – You’re the Free Therapist, The Supportive, Sounding Board Who Listens to Other People’s Non-Stop Complaining, But They Don’t Listen to You – re: The Toilet Function of Friendship”

Emma the Ex Friend, Part 2 (I Won’t Play the Codependent or Rescuer Anymore)

Emma the Ex Friend, Part 2 (I Won’t Play the Codependent or Rescuer Anymore – Some Life Lessons Learned)

January 27, 2022

All names have been changed below.
I have also omitted or changed identifying details as much as possible so as to keep people’s identities anonymous.


Point 1 (Intro)

This post will stand to correct some of the false comments made to or about me by the crackpot, who calls herself “Donna Hazel,” (🤡) that visited this blog about two months ago, who has no understanding of what transpired between myself and my ex friend “Emma” (not her real name) over a several year period
((Link): Re the Crackpot Part 1 and (Link): Re the Crackpot Part 2),
and also to correct some of what Emma told me – some of which I briefly covered in this previous post, (Link): “Emma Responds

Emma did not want “emotional support” from me, though she framed it that way to me. As time went by, it became apparent to me that she was seeking pity and validation for her victim mentality.

“Emotional support” is not the same thing as pity. Enabling someone in their victimhood mentality is not healthy for that person.

I cannot save someone who does not want to be saved, nor is it my job to save someone else; each person has to take action to get help for himself or herself.

This lady approached me for friendship after she found my blog and my social media; I did not approach her.

This “Emma” person didn’t want a normal or healthy friendship, but rather, a relationship based on bonding over negativity, and further, one has to support her in her belief that she is a helpless victim in life. If you’re not willing to do that, she has no use for you. Crying Baby

The relationship I had with her felt transactional in nature at times – so long as I supported her self pity and agreed with her in some fashion that she’s a helpless victim and that life is always terrible…..
She was fine with things, and she found me useful – but once I began gently asking her to take more responsibility in her life, or ask her to consider if maybe doing so would help (something I did for myself, which helped me quite a bit), she quickly became angry and wanted me to defriend her on social media.

That is not normal behavior, nor the behavior of someone who wanted to have a normal friendship. She didn’t value me for me, but rather, what I had previously been doing for her – which was, feeling sorry for her. She was looking to have her negative and self pitying attitude validated by me – that was my value and my role.

Preface.

Years ago, when I was still very codependent (because my mother raised me to be codependent), I had a boss at a full time job who was a bully, and this woman boss, Lilly (not her real name), used to make my work life hell.

For the first year to year and a half of Lilly’s workplace abuse of me, I did not defend myself from her abuse in any way.

I did not so much as even politely verbally hold Lilly the boss accountable for her abuse of me, because I was raised by my mother and the evangelical, Southern Baptist culture I was raised in, never to be assertive.

Speaking up and having boundaries was considered by my mother, and the faith I was raised in, to be inappropriate, unloving, unfeminine, and selfish.

I also had extreme anxiety about confrontations for years.  I usually would not stand up to bullies because I was afraid of retaliation from them.

So I endured my supervisor’s workplace harassment for about a year, or a bit over a year, in silence. No push-back from me.

In the second year of the workplace abuse, when my anger finally out-weighed my fear of the boss, fear of confrontation, and whatever codependent brainwashing from my mother and the Christian faith, I began standing up to Lilly the abusive boss.

I was never mean-spirited, cruel, or unprofessional when confronting Lilly, but I did begin firmly yet politely pushing back and letting Lilly the abusive boss know I did not approve of her mistreatment of me.

Lilly did not like me finally standing up for myself, and she began depicting me as though I were the problematic one.

Lilly began acting as though I was in the wrong and she was the innocent victim – all because I merely finally began practicing normal, healthy boundaries with her, rather than sitting there quietly and enduring her bullying behavior towards me.

Once I began standing up to her, Lilly began speaking about me in front of others in the office as though I were a “trouble maker” who “has problems with authority figures.”

The truth is, I stopped being a doormat with Lilly – I had not become a “trouble maker” or a “problem employee” and so on, but she deceitfully began spinning my new-found boundaries and courage to confront her as me being a bad worker or a bad person.

I found myself in the same situation as that one a couple of months ago, when I did a blog post about how clinically depressed people can make decisions for themselves, and they can make choices.

I mentioned ex-friend “Emma” (not her real name) as one example of that situation in that post.

I was then torn apart by a visitor to this blog calling herself “Donna Hazel” (🤡) in the comments under that blog post (and in other replies that I did not allow to be published to this blog),
where Donna Hazel acted as though Emma is a poor, innocent, widdle lamb of a victim, and I was the villain and the “great big meanie” who was just being so heartless to Emma, and I was taking advantage of poor, poor, put-upon Emma.

Not only was that all untrue and a very weird mischaracterization of the post I had written, but the actual situation was flipped around.
(I will explain what I mean by that as this post progresses.)

Continue reading “Emma the Ex Friend, Part 2 (I Won’t Play the Codependent or Rescuer Anymore)”

Can She Bake or Not? (Emma The Ex Friend – How Honest Is She?)

Can She Bake or Not? (Emma The Ex Friend – How Honest Is She?)

All names and identifying information have been changed in the post below, so as to keep people anonymous.


Emma – the ex friend of mine who (Link): got into a spat with me in October 2021, asked me to defriend her on social media (which I did) – told me once a few years ago that she cannot bake.

She told me she cannot use an oven.

By the way, I’ve since discovered that this Emma person has blocked me on at least one social media platform, not sure about the other.

She had no reason to block me, as I have not tried to contact her at either account, nor have I “tagged” her. (I can still see her content to her account if I log out to view it.)

I did visit one of her social media accounts a few times up to late December 2021.

Emma found me years ago via my Twitter account and this blog, where she saw posts I had already made about problems I had with friends and family of mine, and my ex fiance.

Emma approached me wanting to know if she could be friends with me (not vice versa).
She spent several months asking me if she could know me better, asking if I would friend her on Facebook, but I was very reluctant to do that but finally gave in after months and months of her asking me.

“Emma” (not her real name), last I checked in December 2021, is still posting a lot of politically argumentative type content on her social media, but I noticed that she had an exchange with a lady about a recipe at that time, as well.

Let’s say the recipe was for home-made muffins (it was not, it was for something else. I am changing details or omitting them in this post so as to keep Emma anonymous).

Some lady posted a photo of some new muffin recipe she had tried, and Emma gushed to her about how delicious it looked, and she wished she had the recipe.

So, the lady responded by linking her to the muffin recipe.

I clicked on the muffin recipe, and in at least two of the several steps, it mentions pre-heating an oven, putting the muffins in the oven, then taking the muffins out of the oven briefly to pour in more ingredients, then putting the muffins back into the oven to let them finish cooking.

Emma then informed this woman she was looking forward to trying this recipe herself – so I take it that Emma will be baking these muffins in an oven?

I find this very odd, because a few years ago (this was probably around 2017 or 2018), when Emma told me her depression had gotten really bad, I wrote back, told her I was sorry to hear that, and I told her, you know, when I had clinical depression for over 30 years, and especially in the years after my mother died, I found that baking cookies lessened my depression at least for a little while.

Emma wrote me back years ago at that time and told me, “Oh, I can’t bake like you do! I can’t use an oven! It’s due to my hand injuries.”

Well, first of all, when I told her that I had tried baking (and jogging, bike riding, and other techniques) to manage my depression, I was not necessarily suggesting that she herself try baking, bike riding, and so on, but I knew even back then that she was apparently not doing enough to manage her depression.

Emma chooses (yes, it’s a choice she’s making) to spend a lot of time in passive activities, such as being on social media and watching television.

And spending a lot of time in front of screens will make depression worse, if a person has depression.

If you have depression, it is vital you take breaks from screens.

Get out of the house, go on a walk, play frisbee with your pet dog, meet a friend in person for a cup of coffee – that sort of thing.

Continue reading “Can She Bake or Not? (Emma The Ex Friend – How Honest Is She?)”

Life Lessons After Recovering from Codependency – I Can’t Save You, and I No Longer Want To

Life Lessons After Recovering from Codependency – I Can’t Save You, and I No Longer Want To

This will be a repetitive, somewhat rambling (and very long) post, because this involves a huge pet peeve of mine.

I very much resent any one lecturing me or accusing me of not being compassionate enough, or not giving enough “emotional support” in some situation or another, when they refuse to factor in what I’ve been through in my life and why I now do what I do.

I refer to this highly pertinent fact:

I spent over 3 decades of my life being very codependent. I was pathologically un-selfish, giving, and supportive of and to others to my own detriment.

It’s absolutely perverse and demonic to accuse a recovering codependent (such as myself), who has finally begun developing healthy boundaries, of being selfish or not being “giving” enough in relationships.

You’re accusing a former codependent of the very opposite things she spent decades doing, behaviors which caused her setbacks and harm in life. timeClock

I have since learned what a huge mistake that is (to live codependently), how toxic it is, and how much harm it caused me over my life.

I am now more picky and choosy about when, to whom, for how long, and under what conditions, I will grant other people non-judgmental emotional support or other types of help.

And it took me into middle age to figure out – just upon thinking things over, noticing patterns in my relationships, and from reading some books by psychologists  – that a big reason I kept attracting so many damaged, depressed, hurting, self absorbed, strange, or angry people is precisely because I was so giving, loving, and I didn’t put limits on anyone in any fashion.

For years, I was a very shy, people pleasing, undemanding, compliant, kind hearted, sensitive, caring person, and by my late 20s to early 30s and older, I kept wondering why when I did finally make a friend or two, that I seldom attracted normal, mentally healthy, fun, well-adjusted individuals who would meet my needs in return.

Attracting Disturbed, Angry, or Miserable People for Over 35 Years

Instead, I kept attracting selfish people, abusers, bullies, constant complainers, pessimists, self absorbed people, people with personality disorders, or people who were depressed, and while I was giving all these people a lot of my time, attention,  affection, emotional support (or sometimes money), they never thanked me for this, and the vast majority never met my needs in return.

It took me years to figure out why I kept attracting so many mal-adjusted or emotionally injured people into my life.

Continue reading “Life Lessons After Recovering from Codependency – I Can’t Save You, and I No Longer Want To”