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The Devoted Fiend

October 14, 2009

devoted fiend Isn’t it a nuisance to find yourself rewinding somebody’s else woes and issues inside your mind?

Not to some people. It’s a kind of entertainment – playing the role of an amateur psychologist, sharing your opinions with friends and relatives. Getting involved.  And, this is an effective way of putting your own troubles aside.

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It is flattering. It makes us feel important and significant. We are agog to devour fresh news and keep our minds busy. These unresolved issues is our food for thought, especially when our own life seems to be too trouble-free.

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Where lie the delicate boundaries between being a “good friend, in need” and putting yourself down to misery, others’ lives dogging you all along the way sucking out energy and financial resources? You might be remunerated by the illusion of superiority.  By feeling secretly proud of being trusted and admitted to somebody’s private realm. These are subtle, but powerful incentives that dictate, almost force our actions. What next?

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Phone calls in the middle of the night from a colleague who has just split up for the sixth time from her ex-ex-ex, your aunt’s friend’s hysterical sister who is trying to figure out her life and your brother’s old university friend who … would you finish up the sentence?

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It can get worse, people asking you for money and dragging you into legal issues. Just like it happened to the Devoted Friend (well, maybe not legal issues, but his garden was in a total mess).

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There must be balance. Vanity vs misery. Being good vs being yourself.

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Do you believe in pure charity? I do not. We all gain something from anything we do for ourselves or others. It doesn’t always have to be money. There are spiritual values like Power, Vanity, Generosity, Importance, Superiority – to name a few.

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I have a friend, who is in a perpetual process of helping others. People call him nonstop, asking for advice, asking for money, asking to talk to other people, asking to sell, asking to buy, asking to lend, asking to rent – their pleas have no end! Does it make him happy? Not happy, but dignified.  Is there anything missing in his own life? I am sure there is.

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Another humanitarian acquaintance of mine is a young girl in her twenties, trying to look and sound maturer than she happens to be. In her friends’ cycle, she is known as a “shoulder to cry on” and many, who call themselves her friends, actually use her for that. Though she does not mind being “used” at all, despite her occasional lamentations. Balance is kept, everybody get their dose. No favors.

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I wonder whether these pseudo-psychologists have the integrity to analyze what underlies this kind of behavior. Crave for emotions? Balm for their own misery? Pure generosity – possible, but implausible.

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It is natural to help your friends, relatives and whoever there is. It is a virtue to give advice and lend money to people who matter to you. It is acceptable to get a call from friend in the middle of the night and let him cry his heart out. But not when filling your own void with somebody’s worries falls into a habit. There are questions you should ask yourself, then… Why have I been focused on my cousin’s relationship problems for the past few months? Why have I been resolving my friend’s fight with her boss during the week, ignoring a pile of unfinished tasks on my desk? Why did I cancel an appointment for the third time and rush to the other side of town to help another friend close a deal selling his apartment?

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It might take a while to realize, that we are not held responsible for whatever happens in the lives of our loved ones, our friends, colleagues and relatives. We might to some extent, if you like it that way. But not at the cost of our mental balance.

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Think about your life for a moment. Have you ever been dragged into becoming a problem-solving engine? Do you find yourself sinking into these “psycho-sessions” on a regular basis, not having a chance to share your grievances but halving the burden of others?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 18, 2009 2:06 am

    It’s very hard to slove simple habitual problem.
    Because we can’t recognize it.

    • ostrix permalink*
      October 18, 2009 5:35 am

      Especially, when it’s not our own problem ))

  2. October 18, 2009 11:54 am

    We are used to attributing problems to others.

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