Using writing, and meditation, and ice cream, and reading, and dreams,

and a whole lot of other tools to rediscover who I am,

after six years living with a man with OCPD.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A-Z: Kindness & Being A Pushover -
Not The Same Thing

We tend to give people not necessarily what they want, but what we would want if we were in their place.

Sometimes we think we are being kind, when in reality, what are we doing? Avoiding confrontation. Being "nice" - because it is much less work to be nice, right at the  moment, than to take a stand and say, "No." "No, that's not what I want; No, I don't want to do that. I understand that you want me to do X, but I choose to do Y."

Whatever your particular "no," is, it will take much energy and effort to maintain your position in the face of the disappointment, manipulation, or tantrum of somebody you do actually care about.

On one of the support boards I belong to, there's a new member, who's realized that she really doesn't want to live with her (untreated) hoarding fiance after all.  He's only partway moved in, and already there are boxes and piles everywhere. She's expressed her dismay, which her fiance has brushed off, and she's being instructed to "just jump over" the piles of books and belongings that already block her route to the bathroom and bed, with his  move less than half complete.

She wants to tell her fiance, "Whoa, wait a minute. Not what I signed up for, not how I want to live. I think you should stay in your own place, after all, or find another place to live." She's hinted at this already, but he's refused to take the hint. Still, she doesn't want to be mean. She thinks perhaps it'll be easier, if she simply goes along with it for a few months, brings it up gradually.  That it'll be kinder that way.

Kinder? Gentler? No, not really.

If you remember this song... you must be ancient.

If your partner would be devastated by something you say today, trust me, s/he will be just as devastated a week, or two, or ten from now. Please also note - if you are involved with a disordered person, and you stand up to him/her, they may throw a tantrum as large as that thrown by a 3 year old in the cereal aisle.  And be just as scarred in the long-term (that is, not at all) as that 3 year old. As the non-disordered person, taking the long-view is something only you can do.

Get help, if you don't have the courage/strength to confront him/her, but don't lie to yourself that you're simply trying to be nice/kind. Honestly? You're being chicken sh-t.

Letting a disordered person walk all over you is not, in the long run, a kindness. Not to them, not to you. Staying in a marriage with someone you have grown to loathe - not seeking counseling, not trying a trial separation, not trying to mend the marriage, or break it apart cleanly, but simply to fake it so you are not too bothered by the other person's distress or grief - you're not being kind. You're being a coward.

Take it from Queen Chickensh-t herself. I did not, in the end, spare my partner (or myself) any pain by dragging it out in hopes something miraculous would happen. The times I let him do something crazy and did not call him on it, out of fear (and sometimes, confusion) on my part, did not magically heal him.

You will have to leave - or stay with - a disordered person who is refusing treatment as long as seems right to you. But please, don't delude yourself that by postponing the issue, you are being kind. You're not. It's like a deferred payment on a credit card - it will come due, and with some rather hideous interest charges.

My A-Z theme is Issues related to Mental Health or Mental Illness.

Have you ever been "cruel to be kind"?
Has someone ever "let your down gradually" in a way that hurt more 
than if s/he'd been truthful straight up? Your thoughts?