Offering Unconditional, Indefinite Emotional Support to Anyone and Everyone, or to the Same Person for Years, in Whatever Situations – It’s a Trap!
December 15, 2021
Updated and Under Construction Dec 17, 2021
I would like to rewrite this page, to make it less long if I can. The original post was very long.
Briefly, as a placeholder, I’d like to say if you are an empath, kind hearted person, codependent, or a people pleaser, you need to acknowledge, realize, and accept there are some people who you cannot save or rescue, nor is it your obligation to do so – even if the person has legitimate, current painful life circumstances or a painful childhood past.
If you continually give empathy or emotional support to every person you meet as you go through life, and you put no limits or qualifications on it, you will end up either exhausting yourself (mentally or physically),
and/or, you will keep attracting troubled or dangerous users and persons to you who have personality disorders with no cure (e.g., sociopaths, narcissists).
And these types of people will seldom meet your needs in return (especially the narcissists, psychopaths, etc, will never care about meeting your needs. Some will periodically meet your needs long enough to keep you sucked into the relationship, if they sense you are backing off).
And it doesn’t take a large number of these people to wear you down, either. It only takes one or two emotionally needy, negative, or chronically unhappy or angry people to accomplish this.
If you currently have only one or two friends, family members, co-workers or acquaintances in your life right now who regularly rely on you for non-judgmental emotional support – they’re always sad, depressed, empty, or angry or in a crisis,
and they come running to you (via text messages, phone calls, etc) to listen to them rant or cry for hours… you will end up getting physically and mentally worn down.
No matter how loving you are and try to be, you will be secretly annoyed that this person is always texting or e-mailing you with their problems (usually the same 1 – 5 problems they’ve been complaining about for many years),
and they usually never ask about how YOU are doing,
AND they have shown no willingness to change their situation, their problem, or their attitude ABOUT their problem.
You’ll end up, looking back years later, most likely feeling resentment.
I know I spent years (over 35 or so years) giving other people a lot of non-judgmental emotional support, and it didn’t help those people at all; it was a huge waste of my time.
Be aware that there are people with personality disorders (such as narcissism and sociopathy) who tell you their sad childhood stories (especially early on in your relationship) because they intentionally WANT YOU TO PITY THEM.
Playing the, “Please Pity Me, I’ve Been A Victim in Life and Had a Really Sad Childhood, Nobody Ever Gives Me a Break in Life” Card is one method they use to lure in, fool, and entrap their prey (victims).
(Some of these people who play the “pity me” card may be Covert or Vulnerable Narcissists.)
But not everyone you meet who plays the “pity card” has a personality disorder – some just have garden variety Victim Syndrome, but they too will want you to feel sorry for them and never hold them accountable for their lives or the choices they make in life (that they complain to you about all the time).
I would possibly like to write more on all these issues later, to re-write this post.
In the meantime, if you were raised or brainwashed by your parents or church to be a people pleaser, a codependent, to think you should always ignore your own needs to help others, to think getting your own needs met is selfish,
if you are by nature a very empathetic, giving person, I implore you, stop giving away all your emotional support (empathy, care, affection, time, money) to people.
Please start becoming picky, choosy, and discriminating about to whom you grant emotional support, for how long you do so, under what circumstances, etc.
I may be re-writing this post later to fill it out, add some examples and so on.
Granting non-stop, unconditional emotional support all the time for everyone, (or for the same one or two friends in your life who are always sad, angry, or in crisis), is a trap!
Just like Admiral Ackbar from Star Wars Return of the Jedi said – “It’s a trap.”
Granting never-ending, un-conditional emotional support to people, regardless of the person, or regardless of their situation – no matter how sad and legitimate their grievance is…
(e.g., they may claim -or really do – have clinical depression; they’re an alcoholic; they have narcissism; they were abused in childhood – whatever their situation is)
can slide from meeting a legitimate need to becoming a form of enabling that will only serve to keep them in their dysfunction, and in the case of some of these people, there is no cure for narcissism, so endless emotional support and pity cannot heal or fix that person.
Be aware of whom you are giving your emotional support to, and mind how long you bestow it, and don’t keep dishing it out indefinitely.
In the mean time, until you get around to researching topics like codependency, emotional vampires, etc, here’s a few links to resources you may find useful:
On this blog:
(Link – off site link): The 5 Kinds of Emotional Vampires You Could Encounter
The drama queen, the victim, the constant talker, and more.
….2. The Victim
These vampires grate on you with their “poor-me” attitude. The world is against them, it’s the reason for their unhappiness.
When you offer a solution to their problems they say, “Yes, but…”
Eventually, you might end up screening your calls or purposely avoiding them. As a friend, you may want to help, but their tales of woe overwhelm you.
How to Protect Yourself: Set kind but firm limits. Listen briefly to the friend or relative but then say, “I love you but I can only listen for a few minutes unless you want to discuss solutions.” With a co-worker, sympathize by saying, “I’ll keep having good thoughts for things to work out.”
Then add, “I hope you understand, but I’m on deadline and must return to work.” Body language that telegraphs “This isn’t a good time,” such as crossing your arms and breaking eye contact, can help enforce these healthy limits.
(Link): Being Empathetic Vs. Enabling – 14 minute video (also embedded below):
(Link): The line between empathy and justification – 12 minute video (also embedded below):
This page may be edited after publication to add or edit content
Related Content on this Blog:
(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