Thursday, April 28, 2011

Is That Ringing In My Ears The Fire Alarm?

One area of life I've always found troublesome, is dealing with "needy" people who are going through a hard time. My compassion for their difficult situation could lead me into not setting and maintaining appropriate boundaries. As a result, I'd get to a point where I felt that the person was devouring far too much of my time, attention, resources, with no end in sight, since the more I gave, the more was demanded. It was never enough.

Invariably, I'd reach a state of resentful frustration, and cut them off completely.  Before Al-Anon, not only was I unable to state my wants and needs clearly, I was also unable to hear the alarm bells going off in that part of my instinctual self which knows long before my conscious self does, that something is not right.

I've learned to pay closer attention - to myself, and to others. When those warning bells begin to ring, I don't try to incorporate them into the music, or dismiss them as a false alarm. I have a clearer understanding of what I respond to, and why. (I also have a better recognition of the rather unpleasant fact, that steely determination can be disguised with the softest of exteriors - that got me every time, because I was used to overt demands. Covert demands were below my radar screen.)

I must accept myself as I am, and the person making the demands, as they are.  I accept my susceptibility, my frustrations, my desires for change - it is what it is. I am what I am. The other person is who they are.

Acceptance gives me comfort, and peace, because I'm not struggling against anything. Experience has taught me that my Higher Power can do what I cannot. I choose to turn it over. I detach as far as I am able, and I do it as lovingly as I am able.

1 comment:

  1. I have been on both sides: the needy one and the one being devoured. Neither is a good place. But I do have a lot of compassion for those who are in need of a listener. I can detach but still listen.