Wednesday, September 27, 2006

That whole 'rescuer' thing

It's really interesting to see human dynamics currently play out on a national stage. Hillary is defending Bill, Condi is defending Bush, etc.

We all have something in common. I admit it freely. If I don't watch it, I can really fall into the trap of playing 'rescuer,' not only with my own dysfunctional family, but with friends that I love dearly.

For those few people who view my blog on regular basis, no doubt you saw the epic that I wrote in defense of my friend.

She didn't ask me to do it, but after hearing and seeing first hand how her ex basically raped her of her personal belongings and the equity in the house that they owned together, as well as when I found out her side of the story, concerning the physical abuse that happened, that 'rescuer' impulse kicked into overdrive.

However, in acting on that impulse, I'm not truly letting my friend do the work she needs to do, in order to continue to move through her anger and pain. In trying to avenge the trespasses against her, I may be guilty of trying to do her work for her. As well, I'm only serving as a reminder of her ex, when I try to avenge.

It's evident that she is more than capable of standing up for herself and taking care of herself, period.

As well, I realize, now, that I'm only perpetuating another triangle, in addition to the one that her ex and her ex's new partner keep trying to create with her, through their own blogs. Those dreaded triangles! Each of us has our own truth; our own version of events in our present and past, filtered through our imperfectness.

In college, a very dear professor that I knew kept urging me to go to law school. She told me that my dissertations and orations in her class, concerning those considered underdogs in American History, could sway a jury to do whatever I asked.

I believe the context to which she was referring was the Rosenberg trials and executions. I had a visceral reaction to that dark time in American history, because I do not believe justice was served.

That's the way it's always been for me. I speak up and out for the underdog, and I will stand up for my friends, period, if I believe that they have been harmed. Harder for me, is speaking up for myself.

In those times when my self esteem is in the toilet, that's hard to do. I've had to force myself to do it for me, but I have no problem doing it for other people.

As I have learned the hard way, playing 'rescuer' only gets you into trouble. The person that you are 'rescuing' may--at some point--resent what you are doing and/or blame you for any repercussions from your 'rescuing'.

Before that happens to me, again, I need to recognize that element to my personality, and instead of 'rescuing' my friend, I need to urge her to continue to do the work needed to truly let go of the hurt, bitterness and anger (and she so has a right to feel all of it, given what happened), and trust that better times are ahead for her. Those good times are already beginning for her.

She's been dating again, which is a good sign. Even more encouraging is that she's seeing the warning signs, earlier, as she's dating different women. But, after posting my epic, I feel it's time to move on from even caring about what her ex is up to, her motives, and her own version of the truth that she needs to continue in order to create her personna with the new gf.

My friend feels the same way about the situation.

What's done is done, period. In moving on, one doesn't forget the pain but takes a long look at it and leaves it in the past where it belongs. Because as long as you hold hatred or anger against the person that wronged you, that transgressor still has complete control over you. Letting go seems like the easiest thing to do, but it's very hard to put into action.

It's very hard, I feel, for all of us to not want to do spur the Universe along, especially in the area of Karma. When we feel someone has wronged us, lied to us or hurt us on purpose, we wonder why--sometimes--it seems that the person that wronged us is reaping nothing but positive benefits from their destructive actions toward us.

In this case, the transgressor moved right on with a new girlfriend, which proved to my friend that the transgressor was already forming an emotional bond with the new girlfriend well before she left my friend.

It's very difficult to let that sort of pain go, when the person that has purposely set out to hurt you, destroy you, seems to get everything that they want, while you are forced to sit among the ruins of the relationship. Meanwhile, they are perpetuating lies about your relationship to people you may never even know.

Unfortunately, we cannot control the Universe. Karma is real and it's not discriminatory. It's just the way things work. I've certainly reaped what I have sown plenty of times. When I have purposely done or said something negative about another person, in anger, it may take a year, three months, three weeks, three days but at some point that negative energy I put out is going to come back to me in some form.

The person that I wronged may not be there to see it happen to me, but it's a humbling experience when you finally receive that collective comeuppance. As hard as it is, once you relinquish control of all of the resentment, anger and bitterness and truly let the Universe handle it, there is a real peace that envelopes you.

It's no longer about fear and anger. It's about moving forward and learning from the painful experience.

It's one of the hardest life lessons to learn, and I'm still trying to master it myself. As well, I'm learning to see my own warning signals, when I feel the need to start rescuing someone.

With that said, I'm going to leave "the epic" up for the next day, and then I will delete those posts. I've gotten wrapped up in wanting to 'get' my friend's ex, or make the ex see that what she did was so wrong. But that's not going to happen right now, nor is it my place to try and make it happen.

I just love my friend, and I think what happened was very unfair. Life goes on.

1 comment:

Terry Carroll said...

As a reluctant resident of the South (Texas), I am allowed to say such regionally stupid things like "I have no dog in this hunt."

I wish you hadn't deleted your whole "epic," because the point of most blogs is not to change the world or right all wrongs, but to have some place to articulate yourself in writing. The feelings and thoughts and ideas which led you to write your "epic" were real and genuine, possibly not the way you want to be remembered, but still you.

Okay. You are a "rescuer." You are also a human being, which means you will occasionally elicit "awe" and at other times "embarrassment." But no matter what, you contribute something to the Universe even when it isn't particularly pleasant because you have a gift of articulation that other people don't.

People who are victimized by others, in any way, often have little they can do but utter a "primal scream." You have the ability to put that "primal scream" into words, and that's valuable to OTHERS who may have experienced abuse, to be given WORDS TO EXPRESS what they feel, even if it's from the experience of OTHERS.

When I worked on a Suicide Hotline, I found that my personal experience with depression coupled with a "gift for articulation" was an invaluable asset when talking to people whose "primal scream" saw no outlet other than to "off" themselves. I could say "so you feel this or that way and feel like doing this or that and are angry at such and so and feel helpless to do anything about it etc." and would often hear in response something like "Yes! Yes! You understand!" and their level of angst would ease considerably.

What's done is done. But in depriving others of the opportunity to benefit from your articulation of friendship AND how badly people can treat one another, this ugly fact of life too often repeated has been lost.

Being a "rescuer" has its faults. But it also has its virtues. I suffer from some of the same malady, and have been scorched on a number of occasions, but I'd rather be "me the rescuer" than someone else who doesn't care.

Be a little less harsh on yourself. Yes, other people have to grow through conquering their own demons and overcoming obstacles, but there's a need for "Good Samaritans." Don't be too embarrassed to be one.