Friday, May 02, 2008

You Bring Out the Worst in Me

When people bring out the best in you, keep them around. But when people manage to bring out the very worst in you, it's best to distance yourself from them.

There are some in my family that, I believe, make it their life's work to hate on me.

How do you hate on a disabled person anyway?

What the hell is that all about?

As if the disabled person does not have enough to deal with... It's just plain ridiculous to add yet another issue for the disabled person to deal with.

I have given the last ten years of my life to help hold my family together, to provide them with what they need, to nurse them while they're sick, to keep them out of jail when crimes have been violated, to pay bills when bill collecters call, to encourage when depression has set in, to forgive when they have violated trust and codes of respect.

But what do they give me in return? Grief, heartache, negativity, disrespect, anger, sorrow, blame, and hatred.

In the past, I would try to respond in the same manner of Christ. I would just take it. I would be hurt, but I wouldn't allow it to make me sin.

But things have changed. I have changed.

My stress level is high. I'm eating more, working out less, and gaining weight. I'm not resting well. And I'm doing something that I haven't been doing in years. Cursing...

But I can't let my family take the whole blame on that. Senator Clinton has to share that. **A little humor**

Between my folks and my anger at Clinton and the mainstream media, I have developed a vocabulary that I had freed myself from over ten years ago.

When I curse, my family should be alarmed. They should feel bad that they have pushed me over the edge like that. But they don't.

You know who feels bad? I do.

So, here I am having to deal with yet another issue on top of my blindness. I have to face the fact that I haven't done a great job at not being moved and tossed from my convictions. I have to face the fact that I have been broken and effected by adversity. I have to face the fact that these people that I love so much, that I would give my life for, bring out the worst in me rather than the best.

Pray for me. I'm frustrated. I'm sad.



Francis L. Holland Blog said...


Thanks for sharing this. I've had to draw clear "boundaries" between myself and my duties and those mentally ill people who were part of my life, and their duties.

It sounds like a few Al-Anon meetings might help you in dealing with your family and your your own approach to dealing with them. You said,

"provide them with what they need, to nurse them while they're sick, to keep them out of jail when crimes have been violated, to pay bills when bill collecters call, to encourage when depression has set in, to forgive when they have violated trust and codes of respect."

"Helping" people when they constantly screw up is often called "enabling".

"Many times when family and friends try to "help" alcoholics, they are actually making it easier for them to continue in the progression of the disease.

This baffling phenomenon is called enabling, which takes many forms, all of which have the same effect -- allowing the alcoholic to avoid the consequences of his actions. This in turn allows the alcoholic to continue merrily along his (or her) drinking ways, secure in the knowledge that no matter how much he screws up, somebody will always be there to rescue him from his mistakes.

What is the difference between helping and enabling? There are many opinions and viewpoints on this, some of which can be found on the pages linked below, but here is a simple description:

Helping is doing something for someone that they are not capable of doing themselves. Enabling is doing for someone things that they could, and should be doing themselves." Enabling - When 'Helping' Doesn't Really Help

Even when people have mental illnesses, there still may be some ways in which they can take care of themselves, if we step out of the way and let them experience the pain of NOT taking care of themselves.

Unfortunately, it's part of mental illness that sometimes people who are mentally ill don't respond in ways that are constructive for them or for us. If so, then we need to understand that their illness is why they behave the way they do.

Why do I feel worse everytime I interact with certain people who are mentally ill? Often, because their illness makes them behave in ways that are completely inappropriate, self-and-other destructive, inconsiderate, antagonistic, etc.

Al-Anon's good because it helps to remind us not to expect more from people then their heads are able to give, and then for us to decide what we are going to do about it, now that we see the situation for what it is.

Shawn Williams said...

Thanks again for visiting Dallas South. I remember your excellent post during the Megan Williams ordeal. Keep up the excellent work.

Angie said...

Francis, thanks so much for that excellent resource. I'll definitely check it out. I will also pass it on to some of the family members of my clients.
And also thanks for pointing out that I'm an enabler. I always have known this. But I try to disguise it as helping. Sometimes, I wonder what's wrong with me.
I pretty much know that it is quite, quite hard for me to sit by and watch people hurt/self destruct. It hurts me. So, sometimes my enabling is prompted by selfishness. I help them so I won't hurt to see them hurt. Know what I mean? Perhaps I need counseling. **smile**
Francis, thanks again for your thoughtful comments and insight. Please come back and visit me.

Angie said...

Shawn: Thanks for stopping by my blog. And thanks for your thoughtful encouragement. I've been thinking about taking off my blogger's hat. Reading your comment made me wonder if now is the time. **shrug** There's so much to blog and write about.
Well, come back again. God bless you!

RainaMay said...

In response to Francis L. Holland's response: After being involved in a relationship the a person I believe to be a sociopath, I had to get some counseling. My counselor told me that I was a "rescuer." I remember being somewhat irritated at being labeled anything, let alone, THIS. However, it has been about 5 years since those therapy sessions and looking back, I can see a pattern of rescuing this person time and time again. So I admit that I WAS and DO HAVE the propensity to rescue..however, I have rehabbed myself and have taken a stand against this trait. My take on that the difference between a HEALTHY giver and a rescuer (enabler) is the COST. Enabling will always COST the enabler something...and more often than not, it is the most valuable thing...OUR IDENTITY, OUR BELIEFS, OUR VIRTUES.