Not long ago, one of my clients, Rani, wowed me with this:
“Some people don’t really deserve the benefit of the doubt.”
Experience taught Rani that somber truth. For months, she overlooked and excused multiple incidents of being used, deceived and manipulated by her friend, Val. “It finally reached such ludicrous proportions, I just couldn’t ignore it anymore,” she said in our counseling session.
Rani loaned her money, let her move in, gave her rides to and from work. The list grinds on. As for the loan, Val promised to pay it back, but so far “I have yet to receive a single nickle of it,” Rani said, disgusted.
Let’s face it, there’s a population of nice people out there and there’s a population of . . . uh, let’s just say, not-so-nice. They take advantage of the nice ones and the nice ones let them. That merely perpetuates a maddening set of circumstances . . . for the nice tribe, that is.
These two types attract each other like magnets. Self-centered versus other-centered. One is self-denying and willing to give up what they want and even need so that the other can experience a “happy” life.
When I ask these big-hearted people why they sacrifice themselves, they tell me things like, “I’ll feel guilty and mean if I do otherwise.” Ironically, they’re afraid of being self-centered and . . . not nice.
Rani no longer thinks that way. Her experience with Val opened her eyes to a fundamental truth: When the events of our lives don’t bring us peace, it’s vital that we opt to make life changes.
As for the “nice” word, she came to see that it isn’t nice to dishonor ourselves by tolerating being used and disrespected.
And it isn’t nice to keep feeding the parasites. How do they ever learn that parasiting isn’t nice? 🙂
Names are changed to honor client confidentiality.
14 responses to “The Latest Wow: Don’t Feed the Parasites!”
I have had and sometimes still have a bad habit of feeding parasites but have learned it’s okay to say no. If the parasites don’t like it they you don’t want them around anyway. My mom gave me good advice when I don’t know about something. She said you can tell them you need to think about it and you can always say you have plans even if your plans are to do nothing to avoid a parasite or even if you just don’t want to do something. Best advice! Love you mom!
I love your mom, too, Alissa!
Love the advice your mom gave you! I will store that away for future use.
We need parasite bug spray. Just whip that out when you feel one attacking. Maybe that’s a special mantra or something you say to “debug” the parasite.
If we don’t take care of ourselves who will? I think it’s pretty darn cool to look out for yourself. 🙂
Maybe the mantra would be: “I love myself”
For those of us with the “nice” gene, it’s a good idea to put the phrase Don’t Feed the Parasites on a sticky note and put it somewhere like on the fridge or the bathroom mirror. Too many of us tend to resort back to “nice” even when we know were killing ourselves and enabling the parasite.
Wow! Wonderful suggestion. And yes, we do enable and we do kill ourselves doing it . . . don’t we.
Love the mantra Salee!
I consider myself a “nice” person. It used to lead to disappointment and often rejection. My WOW moment happened when a friend of mine used me, lied to me and let me down at a pivotal moment in my life, yet again. That was enough! I used to feel weak because I was nice. Now that I’ve embraced my nature of giving and kindness and know the difference between someone who truly appreciates and someone who is truly selfish, I am proud of myself. Stand tall, fellow “Niceys”. We rock! 🙂
I like that … good for pondering. And the “Niceys” comment … You made me laugh, Jennifer.
I got some good advice on the subject of enabling. A friend said, “ask yourself what your getting out of enabling others?” I found myself in shock with my own response.
Interesting question … what do we get from enabling?