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.)

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,
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) was 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”

Guy Cheated On His Girlfriend After She Gave Him One Of Her Kidneys To Save His Life 

Guy Cheated On His Girlfriend After She Gave Him One Of Her Kidneys To Save His Life 

What an ingrate. What male entitlement. Wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a narcissist or sociopath.

I’d be seething with rage if I were her. – At least for awhile, but in situations like these, if you stay in that anger and rage, it can end up eating you up inside and you can waste precious time that way.

In the long run, it can be best for your mental health if, after you allow yourself time to grieve or feel enraged, to eventually let it go so you can move on.

It’s also stories like this one below that make me feel better about walking away from codependency a few years ago.

Back when I was a codependent, (because my mother and gender complementarian church I was raised in encouraged me to think that being a “godly woman” meant being a doormat, so they instilled all sorts of codependent behaviors into me and my thinking), I was taken advantage of constantly, by so many people – by my ex fiance, co-workers, family, friends.

I could totally see myself having done something like donate a kidney to a friend or boyfriend I knew years ago. These days? Nope. No way. Good luck with your dialysis!

The following story comes from the Bored Panda site, which has a bad habit of telling the main part of their news stories by embedding images (screen captures) from IG, Twitter, texts, and e-mails. I am not going to type all that, so if you want the full context of this story and see the comments this man and woman made to one another, click the link and view the screen caps on the page.

I think the guy in this story claimed to be a Christian – this is another strike against the Christian “equally yoked” rule. Your average Non-Christian guy is apt to treat you better than this so-called “Christian” one.

(Link): Guy Cheated On His Girlfriend After She Gave Him One Of Her Kidneys To Save His Life 

July 15, 2022

by Robertas Lisickis and Saulė Tolstych

… Donating an organ is considered one of the most altruistic things anyone could do, so you’d think there’d also be a high degree of gratitude in response, right?

Meet 30-year-old Colleen Le from Yorba Linda, California, with whom Bored Panda got in touch. Not too long ago, Colleen shared a video in satire form with the caption “excited my boyfriend gets a second chance at life after getting my kidney”. Plot twist, the last fraction of the second part of the video shows Colleen planking on the bed with the caption “cheats on me”.

Oof.

Well, there is context, so let’s rewind.

Continue reading “Guy Cheated On His Girlfriend After She Gave Him One Of Her Kidneys To Save His Life “

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)”

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”

Being Bitter and Blaming Others Can Ruin Your Health by Elizabeth Cohen

Being Bitter and Blaming Others Can Ruin Your Health by Elizabeth Cohen

(Link): Being Bitter and Blaming Others Can Ruin Your Health

Excerpts:

August 2011
By Elizabeth Cohen, Senior Medical Correspondent

…Feeling persistently resentful toward other people — the boss who fired you, the spouse who cheated on you — can indeed affect your physical health, according to a new book, “Embitterment: Societal, psychological, and clinical perspectives.”

In fact, the negative power of feeling bitter is so strong that the authors call for the creation of a new diagnosis called PTED, or post-traumatic embitterment disorder, to describe people who can’t forgive others’ transgressions against them.

“Bitterness is a nasty solvent that erodes every good thing,” says Dr. Charles Raison, associate professor of psychiatry at Emory University School of Medicine and CNNHealth’s Mental Health expert doctor.

What bitterness does to your body

Feeling bitter interferes with the body’s hormonal and immune systems, according to Carsten Wrosch, an associate professor of psychology at Concordia University in Montreal and an author of a chapter in the new book.

Studies have shown that bitter, angry people have higher blood pressure and heart rate and are more likely to die of heart disease and other illnesses.

Continue reading “Being Bitter and Blaming Others Can Ruin Your Health by Elizabeth Cohen”