“He will disappear without me”: how to stop indulging others?
Man among people
“We met my husband in a cafe. He sat down with me, began to pour out his soul: the work is hard, there is not enough time for personal life. As a child, his father left the family, his mother began to lead men to her. When he grew up, he himself met women only for the sake of sex.
His words touched me. I guess I felt sorry for him then. They began to meet. He drank all this time, started affair on the side. When I could not stand it, I rushed to my knees, blocked the door, begged me not to leave. I stayed. I don’t know why – maybe out of pity after the story that he told. Thought we could live together, he would settle down. But then everything went again in a new way. “
This is a real story, and there are many of them – on forums, in the lives of friends and relatives, even in your own. Indulging behavior can manifest itself in a variety of forms.
The daughter secretly brings the flask of alcohol to the drinking father to the hospital, although the doctors strictly forbade him to drink.
Parents constantly lend money to an adult son, pay his bills, buy groceries.
The wife forgives and justifies the husband, who raises her hand and humiliates her.
The family protects and rescues from the misfortune a “non-good-natured” relative who constantly has problems with the law.
Indulgence does not occur from scratch. Co-dependent relationships often become “breeding ground”. It is easy to recognize co-dependence – it does not have equal rights, and each of the “partners” (in fact, there is no partnership here) accepts this state of affairs. One behaves passively, infantilely, recklessly. Another closes his eyes to his shortcomings and the harm that he does to himself and others, and acts as a deliverer. “He breaks – I repair” – this phrase from the film “Pokrovsky Gate” quite accurately describes the distribution of roles in the co-dependent pair.
The Redeemer can complain about his “fate”, be angry with a partner dependent on him, defiantly break off relations with him – but do not change anything. He justifies his efforts with duty (“this is my cross, and I have to bear it”, “such is my fate”), pity (“what if he disappears without me”), love (“I loved him like that, and that’s it “). Many deliverers see in their actions a shade of high destiny: “I save a person from falling, I alone / alone keep him afloat.”
The reasons we indulge
1. Concern for a loved one: we feel his suffering and want to alleviate it.
2. Fear that a loved one might get into trouble.
3. Fear of running into conflict.
4. Inability to set boundaries.
5. Fear that a loved one will leave, decides to take revenge, destroys our lives.
Indulging is like trying to appease a dragon by regularly feeding sheep to it. Perhaps the dragon will someday eat up and fly away, but it will not be soon. And so, at least, the village will be whole. True, from time to time the monster breaks the contract (three sheep per week), sets fires to just frolic. But residents are afraid to fight back, because then their fragile, but with such hard-won security will be destroyed.
The Redeemer also chooses to continue his suffering, because he is in the illusion that he controls the situation. Illusions – because concessions will not deter a dependent person from new “exploits”. On the contrary, feeling a reliable rear in the face of the deliverer, he will continue to poison the life of himself and others. Indulgence is, first of all, the problem of the deliverer, which he often does not realize. It is from this that the path to a sober view of the situation begins, which may have a positive ending.
1. Recognize your limits
We cannot change another person. Inspire, show him the path to change, offer his help – yes. But do not take control of his life. In the case of indulgence, we do not control anything – we only eliminate the consequences of the destruction caused by man.
2. Separate yourself from another person
The Deliverer will sigh, but “pull his strap” and “drag his cross” to the end. It seems to him that if he leaves his ward for a second, he will get even deeper bogged down in trouble. Then you will have to make even more efforts to rescue him.
This reasoning implies that we are fully responsible for the actions of another person. But he is not a puppet, and we are not puppeteers. His decisions belong only to him. Recognizing this, we do not become selfish. We only recognize the natural boundaries between ourselves and others: I am I, and you are you.
3. End self-deception
It would be more correct to say – with the denial of the obvious. When we indulge a person in his addiction or encourage his defiant behavior, we assure ourselves that all this is for his own good. But in reality, it is our participation that allows him to do nothing, not to realize his problems and not try to solve them.
Empathy forces us to choose the fastest and easiest way to alleviate the suffering of another
Perhaps he needs qualified help (doctor, psychotherapist). But the deliverer with his “care” drowns out this awareness, gives a false hope: one can live as before, and everything will be fine.
4. Mute empathy
Compassion is a wonderful feeling, but in the case of a co-dependent relationship, it can become an insidious load, pulling us down. Conscience convinces: “you cannot abandon a man alone with his weaknesses,” “he is an enemy to himself, and you abandon him alone in the fight against this enemy.”
The problem is that empathy forces us to choose the fastest and easiest way to alleviate the suffering of another. We see how an alcoholic relative is tormented, and we buy him a drink. We are melting from the surging tenderness of a partner who rushed at us with fists yesterday. But all these situations are only part of the recurring scenario.
If we stop giving in to manipulations, we do not become “bad” – we are looking for a more constructive way to deal with the problem.
5. Think What Makes You Indulge
Maybe your indulging behavior is the result of your own insecurity, anxiety, guilt? This is one of the reasons why the deliverer, even trying to get out of this role, often returns to the same point: his self-esteem falls, anxiety increases, and shame and guilt make life unbearable.
To avoid this, you should seek the advice of a therapist. There are special techniques that help to understand the true causes of anxiety and remove it, to bring self-esteem from under the blow.
The main thing: until you work out the motives of your behavior, you will again and again return to the futile hopes of changing another person with the help of indulgence. The dragon cannot be driven away by sacrificing to it. You can only expel him or find another, safer place to live.
If your loved one is dear to you, do not indulge him in his weaknesses. Offer him help, offer to outline a plan that will help him deal with the problem. If he agrees to your conditions – act.
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